Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Sheesh. Back when I was an unrepentant adolescent turdfarm, comic books and Christmas went hand-in-hand or maybe even gland-in-hand if you were good in spotting those hidden pictures that Fred Wertham and Ham Fisher warned us about. But hey, if there was one thing that I liked to do during school break it was read comic books because I had the time to do it, and besides it sure beat hanging around with your relatives showing off all of their rare and expensive gadgets they got when all you had to show for your name was a brand new package of undies and of course those high brow improve your mind items like science games that, like any other attempt to mix funzies and learning, didn't teach you diddly squat!  Toss in a few TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST and MRS. WIGGS OF THE CABBAGE PATCH books for good measure, and you knew that Christmas certainly spelled T-R-O-U-B-L-E and it wasn't like you exactly wanted to wait until next year....

I gotta admit that I dug out this DC UNIVERSE CHRISTMAS book hoping to get into more of an old timey holiday spirit, but the stories presented therein certainly did not conjure memories of that New Year's Party where I spent the first few hours of 1972 reading the final installment of "the Kree-Skrull War" in THE AVENGERS. Naw, I spent the time it took to read this book in abject misery, and I was upset not only at the hackneyed sight if what had become of comic books since the mid-seventies when I pretty much gave up on 'em for price and content reasons, but at the lack of energy, power and general feeling these once engaging titles now oozed forth like syphilitic pus from Iggy's main vein.

I kinda felt like some guy that was held captive by the barbarians for fifty years who's just been rescued and has headed home to watch some boffo tee-vee only to find that BEN CASEY has been replaced by GREY'S ANATOMY! "Man, woman, birth, death, infinity, diarrhea..."

First off, gotta say that the artwork that permeates the newer entries is abysmal. It's the kinda stuff where every muscle bulge and sinew is exaggerated beyond belief looking like a reject from some Da Vinci notebook he had the good sense to dump into the old waste-a-basket. Gazing at the Golden Age sagas after looking at most if not all of the nineties-era quap certainly was good for the eyes especially since you don't get to see all of the abdominal bulges that Superman sports and Wonder Woman's nipples do not protrude from her chestplate as they would in some R. Crumb comic (not that hers ever did, or at least they never did when I was looking!).

Of course the stories are especially sappy which would figure given they deal with the holiday season. And yeah, DC had a flair for gooey melodramatics what with Dick Grayson shedding a tear when leaving Wayne Manor for college, and the soldiers of Company "C" actually enjoying the talents of a ventriloquist as if they were first graders at a school assembly. (My dad once told me that when he was in the army the guys would just hoot and holler in disapproval whenever sentimentality would permeate a moom pitcher they were watching...those hardened fighting men knew phonus balonus heart-string tugs when they saw it, and like me they LET IT BE KNOWN!!!!!!! ) If you can imagine all of the worst aspects of seventies DC emote condensed into a short piece of filler fluff magnified a few more times, believe you me you will be buying up more than the usual amount of Glucera next time you go to the market!

Not that this book is a total douse since the Golden Age stories, even the sappy Superman one guest-starring ol' St. Whatzizname, sure read better'n whatever else pops up in the book. (And hey, I gotta say that I never did care for the revamped Sandman that Joe Simon and Jack Kirby did...gimme the original with the gas mask and suit anyday!) I will take some of that back since the two-page filler where Kirby's Darkseid (a fave rave for me considering his rather Marvel-ish look and mean mofo demeanor) is given a lump o' coal was a nice if too brief diversion. But otherwise I get the feeling that the folks at DC really must hate the Winter Solstice as the pagan types like to call it if all they have to offer us are Bat Lash (why not Jonah Hex?)  and the Flash engaging in cheap heroics and fuzzy storylines?

Hey guys, you really woulda done us all good if ya left this one on the shelf. At least gimme an old Sheldon Mayer-drawn RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER which had more Christmas cheer and kiddoid jollies than this collection of uneven pap!

1 comment:

Bill S. said...

You really summed up well what's gone wrong with comics over the last few decades...and this has infected the world of film adaptations of comic book characters also. Bah humbug!
I feel like one of those old geezers of our parents' generation who kept hoping the Big Band era would come back.
Give me the early 60's Archie newspaper strips or the old BORIS KARLOFF TALES OF MYSTERY comic books...or Krazy Kat on an off day...