The Spectre wears a green Speedo over bare, pasty white skin. And he is scary as shit, man.
It’s the late 1980s – chosen as a transition from one set of codes, meanings, confrontations, confusions, and stereotypes regarding American black people during the mid-late 1970s to another set which settled hard into place by the mid-1990s. Read the rest of this entry
Cast your mind back to 1987, before Gulf War I. Here are the first two issues of Suicide Squad, which absolutely needed a villainous antagonist evil enough to justify the dark-and-edgy premise of the U.S. government using supervillain felons for black ops. Need darker-and-edgier to fight! Read the rest of this entry
Politics and autobio sing a duet in this post! This title was central to my big dive back into comics, in the flush of First, Comico, Eclipse, and specifically Dark Horse, itself on the heels of the now long-forgotten “black and white boom.” Read the rest of this entry
I can imagine the senior editor logic easily, upon seeing the mid-late 80s Suicide Squad pitch: “hey, the fans evidently want raw meat, Marvel’s massacring mutants, we have all these useless and unmarketable villains lying around, might as well blow’em up, one by one, or two by two if the plot needs it.” Oooh, awesome, here’s a fictional context for using them as cannon fodder so we can enter the “we’re gritty too” body count competition.
During my senior year of college, I was 22, reading a story about a man drinking alone on his 50th birthday, visited by the ghosts of those he’d killed, presented with no particular interest or revelation concerning whether they’re “real” or not. I sit here now just after my 51st birthday and the story is as good today.
So I’ll tell you an anecdote from the late 80s. This was during the two years between college and grad school, when I was living in Chicago and working at the Field Museum, living in a studio in Hyde Park, and living life as a series of daily adventures. Read the rest of this entry
This is the third of my series of posts regarding the original 6-issue series Marshal Law. The two previous two were Looking for a hero and Back from the Zone. This one’s a little shy on visual content, because it’d be gross. I want to talk about rape in 1986-1988 comics, which means a shocking lot of it.
Oh golly look, comics admit gay people exist, it’s a new day, the sun is breaking out from behind the clouds … … ‘cept you know, for those of us who were reading other comics once in a while this whole time.
I’d returned to reading comics in the summer of 1985. By the summer of 1986, I blush to confess, I had become an ardent letter-writer to multiple titles, a letterhack as the term went then, as well as pen-pal with several other people with the same behavioral disorder (remember: no email, no internet, no personal computers, nothin’ but paper letters and the phone, people). Read the rest of this entry
You know how “smart” in comics actually means stupid? This time, as they often did in Suicide Squad, John Ostrander and Kim Yale pulled a reversal: a character introduced as a superficial fanatic, never billed as or discussed otherwise, who was smart as a whip. Wikipedia tells me he only appeared in twenty-two comics issues, ever, associated only with this series, but they were solid gold.