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.
This was a small, feisty, doomed push for a bit there in 1987-88 to recapture the superhero magic. It succeeded. It’s a superior supers comic, full of action and plot, somehow combining totally kid-friendly with complete lucidity, standard but completely justified actions and interactions. It was charming, intelligent, wonderfully drawn, and fun. Eight issues is all we got.
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.
I wasn’t a DC reader. The few issues included in the mother-lode I’d inherited from my brothers were obviously sub-par, and my pennies were scarce enough already. But still, I encountered Kobra in his initial appearance, the first three issues of his title comic in 1976. You might not remember or know about these three-comics in clear plastic packs that were sold at the time, either a random set of latest issues or three in a sequence like this one, but it was one of those. I think I got it as a party favor.