Thursday, August 27, 2015

Secret Origins

One of my favorite things about reading comics is origin stories, especially for characters that I knew about but haven't read much of. That's why the Secret Origins comics were some that I loved to find in the back issue bins. This series gave the origin of two different heroes per issue, with different writing and art teams depending on which character was being covered.

This gave me a way to learn about who certain characters were, and where they came from, in those dark days before the internet. No, not all of the issues were good, but some were down right great. Regardless of the quality, it was a terrific place to get this kind of info, and lead me to seek out some comics that I might not have, otherwise.

For a great look back at these issues, I can't recommend the Secret Origins Podcast, hosted by Ryan Daly, enough. In each episode, you get a look back at an issue with a different guest host for each character. And you might just be hearing me on there fairly soon. Maybe concerning a certain green-cloaked figure in the image here. But you never can tell.

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Archaeology of Childhood

The Hall of Justice, prominently displayed in our office at home.
As many of my Facebook friends know, I was recently blessed by having several toys of my childhood returned to me by the Uncle and Aunt. Among these toys was my Super Powers Hall of Justice, which seems to be mostly complete. Heck, it even still has the Batman file card in the "On Duty" slot. This lead me to a flood of memories. Playing not only with my Super Powers figures, but also with my GI Joes and Hot Wheels/Matchbox cars (which were also included in the bag).

I think it's fascinating how there are things that I know that I owned at some point, but until it's actually in my hands, there are things that I don't remember about it. It's the same phenomenon that people get with smells or sounds that trigger memories. For me, it seems, those senses are sight and touch, but they have to be together. I've seen pictures of the Hall of Justice, and fairly recently, but I didn't remember the adventures that Superman, Batman, and Robin (Yes, my figures were the World's Finest Team) went on until it was on my coffee table and I was putting it back together.

Of course, since I believe that toys are meant to be played with, I've pretty much passed these on to my daughter. I would like to make sure I watch her play with them, just so they don't get destroyed, but I'm not going to leave them up on the shelf all the time. In fact, here's a video of Kira and I going over the Hall of Justice. Enjoy!

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Legacy Heroes

One of the big things at DC Comics in the late 80's/early 90's was the concept of the Legacy Hero. With the result of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" being that everything occurred on one Earth in one timeline, you couldn't have alternate versions of the characters running around. Obviously all the Supermans became Superman and all the Batmans became Batman, because they were all Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne, respectfully, no matter what universe they were in.

But what about Green Lantern, The Flash, and others like them? You know, different people that used the same superhero name? Well, that's where the Legacy Hero comes in. In the Post-Crisis universe, Jay Garrick was still The Flash in the 1940's, but he was succeeded by Barry Allen, who was then succeeded by Wally West.

The implication here is that you can have heroes that grow too old to continue on, or even die in the line of duty, and then have that name live on with a new hero. I think that's brilliant and I had hopped that we'd see the eventual aging of the main characters, but that was not to happen. Well, it did happen when handled by John Bryne in his Generations mini-series.

Unfortunately, the current administration of DC has scrapped all of that, along with what made DC unique, in favor of overpriced books and a "dark and gritty" feel. Not to mention that they have also decided that the "iconic" heroes HAVE to be the ones featured, so they undid A LOT of good storytelling in order to get Hal Jordan and Barry Allen back. Good thing I'm only reading the old stuff these days, or it might upset me.

Why did that make DC unique, you may ask? Well, Marvel has always been a "status quo" kind of universe. No matter what happened, Steve Rogers always went back to being Captain America, Tony Stark always went back to being Iron Man, The Fantastic Four were always going to be Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben. They went with the "illusion of change" way too much. Not that I don't enjoy those stories, but I'm on record as wanting Peter Parker to grow the heck up already.

Now, however, there are umpteen Hulks, twenty Avengers teams, etc. Again, if I wasn't already priced out of the market, I might get upset over that.

It all boils down to that I like progression in my stories, be they four color or not, and going back to the same well continually just gets really boring after awhile.

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Cartoon TV Themes

As I'm sure you're already aware, I released an episode of The Hammer Podcasts! on my favorite Cartoon TV Themes. If you haven't heard it yet, you can find it here. And, for your enjoyment, below I have the videos for all the themes I talked about.

As I limited myself to 9 this time out, I thought I'd post a few that didn't quite make the cut. In no particular order, here they are.

I know there are a bunch that didn't make the cut, even with the runners up, but I'd like to hear your opinions. What did you think of my list? Should I have put swapped something out? Let me know either in the comments here or drop an e-mail to

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