‘Four Color Memories’ – by K. Patrick Glover – Installment the Twelfth, In Which We Say Hello to Another Universe


‘Four Color Memories’ by K. Patrick Glover

K. Patrick Glover is the writer of the webcomic The Invisible Skein, which is illustrated by Amanda Hayes.

‘Four Color Memories’ is a column about the comics of our youth, full of nostalgia for the days when heroes were heroes and villains were villains, before the Avengers were DARK and before the Lanterns were BLACK.

To see a directory of previous installments of the column, please click here!

Installment the Twelfth

In Which We Say Hello to Another Universe

The first DC comic that I remember owning was a copy of Brave and The Bold #123 (Dec 1975) featuring Batman, Plastic Man and Metamorpho. My only real exposure to DC’s characters up to that point had been on TV. I had seen reruns of both the Adam West Batman show and the old George Reeves Superman series, along with several cartoons.

I found the characters intriguing, but distinctly different in tone from those in the Marvel Universe. Batman in particular caught my attention, which is why I ended up with that copy of Brave and The Bold by Bob Haney and Jim Aparo. (And isn’t it odd that my entry points into both Marvel and DC were team-up books? There’s probably a whole column in that somewhere.)

I slowly began to get individual issues of several DC titles. More Brave and The Bold, Batman, Detective Comics, Justice League. There was a big difference between DC and Marvel titles. Where Marvel’s tight continuity left me compelled to collect each issue, DC was much looser. The stories were very much a villain of the month sort of affair with little plot or sub-plot carrying over from issue to issue (with the exception of the occasional multi part story). I had no desire to get every issue of a DC title, I simply grabbed what looked interesting.

I remember very few stories from that period. There was a great four part story in Batman about several villains taking credit for Batman’s supposed death (this was later re-done as an episode of Batman: The Animated Series). There was the Englehart / Rogers run on Detective Comics. I remember Superman fighting Captain Marvel (Shazam!) in the Justice League. And I remember some Superman issues featuring Metallo and the Parasite, but honestly, I remember the covers more than the stories themselves.

That all changed in 1980. I had picked up a copy of DC Comics Presents #26 (yet another team-up book) starring Superman and Green Lantern. I wasn’t a huge fan of either character, but the art was by Jim Starlin and I was a big fan of his after his work on Captain Marvel (the Kree version) and Warlock over at Marvel.

DC was trying a new experiment at the time. They would do eight page preview stories of upcoming titles and insert them into ongoing series, to introduce the book to an existing audience. This issue of DC Comics Presents (what a title) had one of those previews, for an upcoming title called The New Teen Titans. With a story by Marv Wolfman and art by George Perez (both favorites of mine from their days at Marvel, Marv from Amazing Spider-Man and George from The Avengers) the preview was fascinating and left me with a definite taste for more.

In concept, you wouldn’t think the book would have caused the stir that it did. The Titans certainly weren’t new, the team had been around since the sixties. The set-up was simply junior Justice League, sidekicks on parade, so to speak. Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Changeling, plus a few new characters like Raven, Cyborg and Starfire.

But the execution was certainly something new to DC and the series caught fire. The Titans quickly shot up the charts and became the kind of sensation that the X-Men had become over at Marvel. Perez was meticulous in the artwork and Wolfman brought a firm sense of continuity into the book, with plot threads that continued over several years and kept you always coming back.

In 1983, Wolfman spun a new series out of the Titans, a book called Vigilante, about a former D.A. who had worked with the Titans until his family was killed and he became, well, a vigilante. The spin-off book had a more adult tone and was the start of a coming trend at DC.

The following year saw Alan Moore taking over Saga of The Swamp Thing and when I read his first issue I knew things would never be the same again. Moore had a different way of looking at the DC Universe and he explored the darker corners of what had been a brightly lit world. Even the Justice League seemed somewhat disturbing in his hands.

Then came the Crisis. Which is a story for next week.

See you then,

K. Patrick Glover

Ancillary matters -

Don’t forget that my webcomic The Invisible Skein, launched on Dec 14th at http://www.theinvisibleskein.com.

I can be found regularly at my blog, http://kpatrickglover.wordpress.com or on the Twitter thing at http://www.twitter.com/kpatrickglover

Related posts:

  1. ‘Four Color Memories’ by K. Patrick Glover - Installment the Second, in Which Fear and Loathing is Entirely Appropriate
  2. ‘Four Color Memories’ By K. Patrick Glover - Installment The Fifth, In Which We Meet The Three Kings
  3. ‘Four Color Memories’ By K. Patrick Glover - Installment The Fourth, In Which Worlds Collide
  4. ‘Four Color Memories’ - by K. Patrick Glover - Installment the Seventh, In Which We Speak With Gerry Conway
  5. ‘Four Color Memories’ by K. Patrick Glover - Installment the Third, in Which Questions Arise and Problems Are Solved


One Response to “‘Four Color Memories’ – by K. Patrick Glover – Installment the Twelfth, In Which We Say Hello to Another Universe”
  1. Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing was just mind-blowing. Like Watchmen, you find new stuff in it every time you re-read it. Check out the online Swamp Thing Annotations at http://www.angelfire.com/pop/bay55/SwampThing/SwampBase.html

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