…Can have lasting impressions. Max checks out a kid buying some cool comics at Super-Fly and thinks back to one of the comics that had a big impression on him as a young boy.
Super-Fly Comics & Games’ plucky sidekick Max Lake has embarked on a journey to read his collection of DC & other comics! Join Max each week every Friday as he takes on his Library! Titles reviewed by this blog do not necessarily reflect what the store has in stock, but you can always email the store to special order something that you’ve seen here at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call Super-Fly at (937) 767-1445 or just ask someone at the store next time you’re there for special orders. You can read past entries of the blog here. Any questions or comments for Max should be sent to email@example.com or feel free to comment in the comments section below. Check out @maxdlake to follow Max on Twitter. The things Max writes do not necessarily reflect the views of Super-Fly Comics & Games, and Super-Fly Comics & Games is not responsible for what Max says—especially anything that bugs you.
Things have been a little hectic making both reading and working at Super-Fly difficult. I’d have worked more at the ‘Fly, but the last couple days have seen the store staffed by three other guys so I wasn’t really needed. I came in today for a couple hours and worked with my pal Atom Harley Lisi so he could get a lunch break, and helped out a few customers. One set of customers was a mom and her young son, who went through a bunch of back issues. After looking awhile, he came up to the counter.
“He likes the old comics,” his mother said.
Does he ever! He had a Marvel Captain Marvel issue, something I forget and a Charton Captain Atom issue—in fact the last Charlton Captain Atom issue, which features Captain Atom fighting the magician 13 (something I reviewed waaaaaay back when I was doing the Action Heroes Archives). I was reminded of my own comics buying habits as a kid, going through the back issues of comic shops looking for something cool and just getting random stuff that caught my fancy. I was also kind of jealous. I didn’t know Super-Fly had such back issues! I rang them up and sent them on their way, and then looked to see if there were any more Charlton issues of Captain Atom. Sure enough, they had 3-4 of them (memory evades me now as to specific issues, but one of them at least was the first Doctor Spectro story) and I pulled them aside into my file. Sure, I have them all in the Action Heroes Archives, but owning the issues—even less than stellar copies—seemed cool to me. It’s just more stuff in my file to go in my oversized collection but what the heck! It’s not like there’s a lot of Captain Atom stuff out there.
I stayed a little bit longer and then headed out. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to read anything, but there were plenty of customers to keep me busy. Tony, Jared and the rest of the gang get back tomorrow and it’ll be great to have them back! Here’s hoping they had a great show!
NOTES FROM NOW (10/4/12): Super-Fly did indeed have a great show at C2E2. Not only did the gang have success in sales, but Jared AKA JFX316 acted as DJ for the show and made a huge splash. Watch this man, his star is rising.
It’s cool to read this entry now and look back on this kid being interested in these Silver Age Captain Atom stories. Not only did I find some Captain Atom comics for myself (including one with an alternate cover than the one for the issue reprinted in Action Heroes Archives Vol. 1—awesome!) that I could set aside, but I took a stroll down memory lane of the back issue hunts of my youth. Some finds were .25 cent Batman or Detective Comics, but one of my more interesting (and impressionable) finds was an issue of All Star-Squadron (issue #59 to be exact!) I flipped through as a child after finding it on one of those now all-but-forgotten spindle racks comics used to be displayed in mainstream bookstores or convenience stores.
All-Star Squadron was a book from the 80s, which was set in World War II and featured about every Golden Age super hero from the 1940s that DC had the rights to. The “All-Star” part of the name was derived from the original All-Star Comics of the 40s which featured the original adventures of the Justice Society of America—comics’ first super hero team. This later would become All-Star Western in the 1950s and would drop the super heroes completely in favor of Western stories. I mention this because DC has re-launched their Jonah Hex title as All-Star Western, featuring Jonah and other Western heroes. But I am seriously digressing here…
In the issue of All-Star Squadron, the team had to vote on something because the Golden Age Robotman (though I believe Robotman was originally created in the Silver Age and a version of him was retconned into All-Star Squadron) had done something wrong by creating a female robot. The vote was depicted by a single page spread of just about every single fricking member depicted in a panel saying their vote. This was back in an era where All-Star Squadron was still set on “Earth 2”—a parallel Earth where the original versions of the Flash and Green Lantern lived, alongside of versions of heroes like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and a slew of other heroes such as Hourman, the Atom, Doctor Fate and Starman existed side by side and had their heyday in WWII. On top of all these characters, there were heroes created or changed specifically for All-Star Squadron (such as Robotman as previously mentioned), so it is was a mighty line up and massive vote. As Golden Age characters are unusually bright and cheerful, this appealed to me as a kid. I subsequently got into anything that featured the All-Star Squadron, the Justice Society, or even the kids of the Justice Society in the book Infinity Inc. Years later in the late 1990s, after I had pretty much given up on comics, DC launched a new Justice Society series called JSA which dragged me back into the medium. From collecting the individual issues, I started getting the TPBs (trade paperbacks) for the series, which re-ignited my comics addiction and ultimately led to my Library as it stands now.
So yeah, comics that intrigue you as a kid can have lasting results. I think it’s really cool that this young man picked out some awesome Steve Ditko Captain Atom comics to check out. Who knows if it will have such a significant impression, but at least he’s reading some neat Silver Age stuff. If you didn’t catch why I like these comics, check out my coverage of Action Heroes Archives Vol. 1 here and Action Heroes Archives Vol. 2 here, here, here, here and here. DC was wise to invest in Captain Atom and the Charlton characters, not only because they’ve been pretty cool in the DCU but because they were the inspiration for Watchmen for Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
And speaking of the Charlton heroes, (POTENTIAL SPOILER) what do you know if the (seemingly Vic Sage) Question didn’t just pop back up in Justice League #0! I don’t consider this to be too bad a spoiler, as it’s been all over the internet for weeks. But very cool! I have long mourned his death back after lung cancer got him. I mean, his replacement Renee Montoya is an awesome Question, but you have to love the original—even if he seems a bit different and supernatural now.
The coolest thing about looking back on this kid buying old Captain Atom comics, is that my good pal Loren (L.S.) Goins picked up a couple of the Captain Atom issues I set aside for myself out of my file and gave them to me as birthday presents back in May. They are now a treasured part of my collection in the Library, and it’s cool to remember my pal getting me such an awesome gift—especially as he’s no longer living in the area. So if you’re reading, thanks a bunch for those comics, Loren! We miss you buddy!