Sunday, September 20, 2015

Batman '66 Meets...

One of my favorite comics growing up was The Brave and the Bold. Every month, Batman would team-up with another hero for an adventure. According to Wikipedia, The Brave and the Bold became a Batman team-up book due to the popularity of the '66 live action Batman television series. The Brave and the Bold was part of the wave of Batmania. The Batman team-ups started with The Brave and the Bold #74 and ran through the 200th and final issue in 1982. The Brave and the Bold featured the first appearances of both the Justice League of America and Teen Titans. The book introduced Metamorpho and the Suicide Squad. Mark Waid and George Perez were part of a revival of the book starting in April 2007. This revival only lasted a few years, thirty-five issues, through August, 2010.

When the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold was launched, two comic book series set in continuity were launched as well. The first series reached twenty-two issues; the second series reached sixteen.

In 2014, after launching the Batman '66 title, DC Comics brought together Ralph Garman, Kevin Smith, Ty Templeton and Alex Ross for a comic book sequel to the second season two-part episode "A Piece of the Action/Batman's Satisfaction" featuring guest stars Van Williams as The Green Hornet, Bruce Lee as Kato and Roger C. Carmel as Colonel Gumm. The six-issue mini-series, Batman '66 Meets The Green Hornet featured the team-up of The Joker and the newly christened General Gumm.

In December 2015, Jeff Parker launches Batman '66 Meets The Man From UNCLE. The Man From UNCLE was an NBC espionage series that ran from 1964 to 1968. It was also a Gold Key comic book series from May 1965 to April 1969. There were twenty-two issues in the comic book series.

The announcement of this second team-up series got me thinking: What other '60's combination television-comic book series could be the next for The Dynamic Duo? Below are my Top Five suggestions. Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments below.

5) The Monkees

The British duo Chad and Jeremy made a number of appearances on '60's television, from The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Patty Duke Show, Laredo, The Dating Game and My Three Sons. They also appeared in the two-part "The Cat's Meow/The Bat's Kow Tow", where Catwoman steals their voices!

Batman was part of the '60's pop-culture, from the music scene to the surf scene.

The Monkees, an American version of The Beatles, was not just a half-hour NBC sitcom about a rock band. Dell Comics published seventeen issues between 1967 and 1969.

One of the cool things about The Monkees was The Monkee Men!

It would be pretty cool for Batman and Robin to meet The Monkee Men!

4) Get Smart

The '60's were all about spies. Sean Connery as James Bond; Patrick MacNee as John Steed on BBC in The Avengers; James Coburn as Derek Flint; Dean Martin as Matt Helm; Robert Culp and Bill Cosby in I Spy; and Don Adams as CONTROL Agent 86, Maxwell Smart in Get Smart.

Since The Dynamic Duo will be teaming up with Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin from UNCLE, it seems only fitting that they should also team up with another Dell Comics character, Maxwell Smart.

Maybe Batman and Robin and Agents 86 and 99 could come together to thwart a KAOS plot by Seigfried.

3) My Favorite Martian

My Favorite Martian was a brilliant sitcom. Bill Bixby, who would later star as David Banner - "physician; scientist" - otherwise known as The Incredible Hulk, played newspaper reporter, Tim O'Hara. O'Hara stumbles across the story of the century - a Martian on Earth! Ray Walston played The Martian, who becomes Tim's Uncle Martin.

Uncle Martin had some great powers and gadgets. He had a spaceship; a time machine; he could turn invisible, read minds and levitate things with a forefinger!

My Favorite Martian was a Gold Key comic book series that ran for nine issues from 1964 to 1966.

DC is no stranger to Martians. One of their most prominent aliens is J'onn J'onzz, The Martian Manhunter! J'onn was seemingly a combination of Superman and Batman.

It would be interesting for The Dynamic Duo to team up with Tim and Uncle Martin for either a '66 adventure or maybe a time travel story.

2) The Wild, Wild West

The Wild, Wild West was a steampunk James Bond. Or, "James Bond on horseback". Modern gadgets and gizmos re-imagined in the Old West, with Robert Conrad and Ross Martin as US Secret Service Agents James West and Artemis Gordon. Steampunk was a genre popularized by 19th Century authors Jules Verne, Mary Shelley and H. G. Wells.

Another Gold Key Comics title, The Wild, Wild West reached seven issues in 1966.

The Batman comics that inspired the 1966 live action series had Batman and Robin travelling back in time to the Old West. It would be interesting to pair Adam West's Batman with Robert Conrad's James West for a Wild, Wild West adventure - maybe involving Shame?

1) Star Trek

Star Trek is quite possibly the longest running series ever. Three seasons on NBC in the 1960's; six feature films with the original cast. A Gold Key comic book series that ran from 1967 to 1979. A Marvel Comics series that produced eighteen issues. Two separate DC Comics series, one that reached fifty-six issues, another that reached eighty issues. Most recently an ongoing IDW series, featuring new stories with the rebooted, re-imagined, original crew. A long-running novel series.

Although a fixture set three hundred years in the future, Star Trek: The Original Series is definitely a product of the 1960's. A starship; cool gadgets and gizmos; a pointy-eared Vulcan.

One of Star Trek's specialties is time travel. Either a slingshot around the sun or through The Guardian of Forever. It's quite possible that The USS Enterprise could visit 1966 Gotham and Batman and Robin. Maybe Gotham would be another City on the Edge of Forever.

Those are my suggestions. Based on television shows that were also comic book series.

Maybe you've got a suggestion or two. Feel free to share.

Saturday, September 19, 2015


DC Comics Present and Chief Content Officer, Diane Nelson recently said (clickable link there) that there would be no shared universe between television properties like Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, Legends of Tomorrow, Vixen, Supergirl and the upcoming slate of films like Batman V. Superman. The reason is that it would hinder natural storytelling.

Nelson's quote is that it would, "...end up handcuffing our creators into trying to work with the same storyline or force them to hold back characters or introduce certain characters. Ultimately it hinders the ability for someone like (showrunner) Bruno Heller to come in and create ‘Gotham.’"

You can read the quote in a number of places. I found it here (clickable link).

As a fan of DC Comics characters, yes, this does bother me. It really shouldn't. It shouldn't give me the impression that characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are being managed by people that really do not understand them. There are a lot of fans, like myself, that believe that comics have been corporatized and the characters reduced to brands, and storytelling eliminated completely. There seems to be no shortage of disenfranchised comic book fans.

I had to stop and think about what she said.

DC Entertainment is home to the Multiverse. So, she understands what she's saying. To DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. creating multiple, individual, separate threads is not unusual. It would be unusual for DC and Warner Bros. to have a single, cohesive universe and timeline. That's Marvel's thing. Marvel is known for a single cohesive timeline. Marvel may dabble in multiple, alternate realities; however, those are secondary, or subordinate to the main single, cohesive timeline. Marvel may have had an Ultimate Universe; and now, a Cinematic Universe, but only DC has it's realities "categorized".

  • Earth-2 (Two) is pretty much everything Golden Age. More recently it has become an alternate reality, but originally it was Classic DC. Jay Garrick, Alan Scott, Carter Hall, Ted Grant; The Justice Society of America. Featuring alternate, or old-fashioned takes on Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. 
  • Earth-1 (One), where Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman really live, along with more modern heroes like Barry Allen, Hal Jordan, Ray Palmer, along with Katar and Shayera Hol.
  • Earth-3 (Three), for evil versions like Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman, Johnny Quick and Power Ring. The Crime Syndicate has pretty much eliminated all other meta-humans to conquer that Earth.
There's also an Earth-S for The Shazam Family, there was an Earth for the Quality Comics heroes, an Earth-X for heroes like Plastic Man and Uncle Sam. There were each a bunch of different Earths for different purposes.

The purpose of 1985's Crisis on Infinite Earths was to streamline everything, boil down all the alternate realities, timelines, universes and Earths into a single, cohesive DCU. It lasted for roughly twenty-five years and was most recently undone. DC now has 52 Earths!

The truth is, DC specializes in alternate realities. Look at the multiple iterations of Batman. There were the politically incorrect films in the 1940's; followed by the campy '66 television series; the late '60's, '70's and '80's cartoons as well as the Super Friends interpretation. There was the 1989 Batman film, followed in style by the 1992 Batman: The Animated Series. Batman teamed up with Superman, then the Justice League. There was a cartoon that looked at the early years of The Batman; then Batman: The Brave and the Bold. There was Beware The Batman. Now, we have a Batman-less television series, Gotham. This is just live action and animation. Batman has changed noticeably by decade in comics. Neal Adams and Dennis O'Neil specifically changed Batman following the cancellation of the Batman television series in 1969, returning him to his original dark, Gothic roots from the late '30's and early '40's.

Batman is just one of DC's many characters that has changed over the years. The only honest way to explain all of the different iterations co-existing is through multiversity. Which is DC's specialty.

Even though Marvel has Golden Age characters; Captain America, The Human Torch and Namor, the Sub-Mariner, Marvel has never had a separate or alternate timeline for these characters. The alternate realities are more "What If?", or "Elseworlds" material. Marvel has one single history and timeline, whereas DC has multiple, alternate histories. Which it continues to re-write.

As a fan of DC Comics and characters like Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Justice League and Teen Titans, this is pretty disappointing. As much as I might like the comics, the cartoons, the television series or films, they are all going to be different from one another for the sake of "storytelling". It was incredibly disappointing that Smallville wrapped up with such a sense of hope and optimism and Man of Steel was released with a continued sense of dark brooding and angst. At least we have Superman: The Movie and Superman II.

As a fan, the question I'm left with is this: What stories are served by having a weekly television series franchise with one Barry Allen and a periodic film franchise starring another Barry Allen? Wouldn't that be limiting the scope of either, so as not to infringe on either? A television series can tell certain stories that roll out over weeks at a time. A film is more of a capsule. It tells a single story. It's a single adventure. There is an event and that event mist be resolved. Wouldn't there be a natural desire and inclination to recycle that audience from television to film, and from film and television to comic books and novelizations? Loop the media?

Looking at Nelson's argument involving the Fox drama Gotham, a Batman-less Batman series, the timeline there seems wonky. While no ages are given in the comics, none of the characters look older than Batman, except Gordon and Alfred. At least, on paper. Maybe in Batman '66 The Joker was a little older than Adam West's Batman. Gotham is presenting the formation of a Batman rogues gallery. Yes, it's compelling. But the basic conceit is that Batman inspired these tragic figures to come out of the shadows. More importantly, these characters are much more than any police force can handle because of their singular uniqueness. Gotham is contained in one "snow globe", while the big screen Batman is self-contained in another "snow globe" - separate from each other. That creates more confusion than it eliminates. I'm okay with Adam West being different from the Michael Keaton, Kevin Conroy and Diedrich Bader versions of Batman. But to have two similar versions co-existing simultaneously?

"I'm Young!"
"I'm Old!"
That's like the two Jennifers seeing themselves in Back to the Future, Part II.

Shocking, and confusing.

As a fan of DC Comics and some of the greatest characters ever, here's what I want: Keep It Simple, Stupid.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Everything Is Awesome!

A Review: Lego Justice League vs. Bizarro League

The Lego feature, Justice League vs. Bizarro League is an enjoyable animated movie.

The film opens with Bizarro terrorizing a playground full of children and their mothers in a battle with a merry-go-round octopus. For Bizarro, everything is opposite, yet in most instances he is still driven by a need to be a hero and save the day. In comic book stories, Bizarro's opposite sense of rescue is to put someone in danger. Here, that doesn't seem to be the case. The danger comes as a byproduct of Bizarro's rescue effort. He's not portrayed as a villain. More than less he comes off as a hapless hero, a wannabe. He's also confused as Superman's twin brother. something that causes The Man of Steel no end of embarrassment. This brotherhood drives the story of the film.

Superman banishes his ugly, "red-headed stepbrother" to the square Bizarroworld. He uses natural, inanimate rocks to create citizens for Bizarro to protect, and create a Bizarro Daily Planet building. This is where Bizarro develops a sense of putting those around him in danger, so that he can then step in and save the day. Although Bizarro is an imperfect clone created by Luthor, Superman's actions develop Bizarro's villainous behavior and character. Bizarro comes off as lonely and unfortunate. A sad, tragic figure. Like the kid in school that nobody will play with. Here, Bizarro comes off with more empathy than in any previous appearance. The shift in storytelling as writers such as Sholly Fisch will tell you, is that there are no bad people, just bad decisions and actions. A true villain, according to Robert McKee's Story, is the character that thinks he's the hero and what he is doing is right. That's Bizarro.

Not long after being banished to Bizarroworld, the super-Frankenstein returns, gets his hands on Luthor's duplicator ray-gun and zaps the Justice League, creating Batzarro, the world's worst detective; Bizarra, Wonder Woman's warrior princess counter; Cyzarro, a duplicate of Cyborg, and Greenzarro a timid version of Guy Gardner. Bizarro an his League overpower the Justice League and make their escape to Bizarroworld. The Justice League follows.

On Bizarroworld, both Leagues face Darksied!, and Desaad! They are harvesting the strange rocks on Bizarroworld to power a weapon to use against Earth's heroes! Duh-duh-duh-duhnnnnn!!!!

Both Leagues must work together to stop Darksied. As if things weren't already complicated, Bizarro has Luthor's Kryptonite bomb and Batman has brought along his own chunk of Kryptonite! In the end however (SPOILER ALERT) team-work, camaraderie and brotherly-love save the day.

There are a lot of things that make this feature enjoyable. Even though I can't bring myself to acknowledge Teen Titan Vic Stone as a Justice League Member, Cyborg and Guy Gardner provide comic relief. So does Batman, as his distrust of Superman and working as part of a team builds over the course of the adventure. Cyborg as comic relief is both a pro and a con. His constant prattle is just a reminder that he is a better fit with the Teen Titans. He comes off more as a sidekick than a colleague. I understand his inclusion in the League: with Superman and Green Lantern filling the cosmic role, J'onn J'onzz is the odd man out as a Martian. In modern times, technology has replaced science fiction as a frontier. Also, as a Martian, J'onn is more of a local, than the other mysterious alien races. Still, the League's classic line-up has stood the test of time.

Cyborg was the only real source of grating irritation. The rest of the story is a nice throwback to when DC super-heroes and cartoons were fun and wacky, like Super Friends.

I give Lego Justice League vs. Bizarro League five stars for awesomeness.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

NEW Teen Titans

On Monday, The Nerdist broke a story about the line-up for TNT Network's Titans series, based on the DC comic book team Teen Titans. The line-up was revealed as Dick Grayson's Robin; wheel-chair bound Barbara Gordon - who may be Batgirl or Oracle - Hank Hall's Hawk and Dawn Granger's Dove; the Rachel Roth Raven from Geoff Johns' run on Titans and Princess Koriand'r of the planet Tameran, Starfire. Titans, on TNT is said to be drawing heavily from the Marv Wolfman and George Perez era, The New Teen Titans. Warner Bros. has declined comment on the story revealing the line-up. Here's the thing, though. This line-up isn't really representative of the Titans. It may very well be the line-up, bringing together different eras through the characters. It just feels like something is missing.

First off, it's very bird-centric. That's the most obvious thing that jumps out at me. "Huh! They're almost all birds!" Robin, Hawk, Dove, Raven, Batgirl. Starfire is the only one that can actually fly, though. It's also very Bat-centric and Gothic. Robin, Batgirl and Raven all fit that very mystic, gothic Batman-family genre. It's also a very volatile team. Hawk, Starfire and Robin are known for the serious "warrior" mentality. This isn't a very well rounded line-up. My first reaction was, Where's Donna Troy's Wonder Girl? Where's Mal Duncan? Where's Lilith? Where's Gar Logan's Beast Boy? I'm assuming that they're not going to be anchored down with Garth's Aqualad. Wally West's Kid Flash is probably licensed to the CW's The Flash series. Roy Harper's Arsenal is on Arrow. I have to confess that I'm not watching Arrow, so I don't know if Mia Deardon is part of the cast. That would mean that Speedy would be completely unavailable to the series. Supergirl is scheduled for CBS, and there's been talk of crossovers with The Flash and Arrow on CW - which is a pretty interesting concept - but no mention in The Nerdist story about a crossover with Titans. Yet.

And then it hit me. The genius of the Marv Wolfman-George Perez era of The New Teen Titans. Maybe you realized it a long time ago.

Victor Stone, codenamed Cyborg, is probably one of the greatest new characters in the history of comic books. He is so important, that he replaced J'onn J'onzz, The Martian Manhunter as a founding member of the rebooted Justice League. He's gone from having cybernetic parts to actually having Boom Tube technology from Jack Kirby's New Gods. With Cyborg as part of the Justice League now, the shift is from science fiction to science technology. The Justice League was very science fiction. Superman, Green Lantern, The Martian Manhunter, all alien in nature. A good majority of the adventures the Justice League had in the Silver and early Bronze Ages were in space. They moved their headquarters from a cave, like Batman's, to a satellite orbiting the Earth. Since the end of the Space Age, and the mothballing of the US Space Program, science fiction and aliens are not that big a deal anymore. But science technology is.

That's why Cyborg was an awesome New Teen Titan. It's pretty confusing that he's still part of the animated Teen Titans Go! series and yet has been added into the Justice League, first through Smallville, the Justice League comic book reboot and is part of the Superman sequel. During the Wolfman-Perez era of New Teen Titans, Vic's adjustment and his personal life was an ongoing sub-plot. He was angry over being handicapped and he was bitter toward his father. How he coped made for some great stories. Plus his friendship with Gar Logan was pretty cool. The pair were a super-hero Odd Couple. From what I've read of the rebooted Justice League - which is just a few issues past the six issue secret origin arc - Vic's Cyborg feels like the odd man out. He's supposed to be the core of this new Justice League just as he was the New Teen Titans. He's taking the place of The Martian Manhunter, who for years maintained a psychic link between all the members. Now, it's a communications link. I don't think I'm the only Titans fan that wishes Vic was back at the kids' table.

In addition to Wolfman and Perez's Cyborg, they created Raven and Starfire. They complimented the gizmos and gadgetry. Raven brought mysticism, and Starfire brought science fiction to the team. The New Teen Titans greatest enemies was Raven's father, the demon Trigon. Another rogue was the charismatic cult leader, Brother Blood. Both were in Raven's mystic wheelhouse. Blackfire, another Titans foe, was Starfire's sister. The Titans fought a couple of alien races bent on recapturing Starfire and enslaving her home planet.

What didn't work in the first two incarnations of Teen Titans was straight-forward super-heroics. The Classic Teen Titans were written by old dudes that were on the wrong side of the generation gap. The stories and dialogue showed that they were trying but really had no idea what young people in the '60's were like. A lot of the stories put the Titans in situations where they took a stand against adults. Forgettable villains like Mister Twister and Ding-Don-Daddy turn the Titans into something like a Beatles movie or a Beach movie with Frankie and Annette. The Titans greatest foe of the Bronze Age was Dr. Light, who was only practicing on them, so he could take on the Justice League. He turned out to be a pretty lame adversary.

I feel sorry for the creative teams that have come after Marv Wolfman and George Perez. They really did something unique. They took the team and made it something more than just a super-hero comic book about hitting bad guys. As a fan, it's hard to see what Dan Jurgens and Geoff Johns have done and what Wil Pfeifer is doing, without comparing it and becoming nostalgic about "the good old days". It's gotta suck when an announcement is made like The Nerdist, featuring the Titans line-up for TNT and see the line saying that the show will rely on the New Teen Titans era of the '80's. Sure, that's pretty much the era that any fan is familiar with.

I'd like to see a live actions Titans series or film that mirrors the great stories that I've enjoyed. Something that encompasses the three new characters that Wolfman and Perez created. Something that involves technology, mysticism and science fiction.

That would be pretty cool. Who knows, maybe these are the characters that can do that. What do you think?

Monday, February 2, 2015


So, a week or so back, #FourComics was trending on Facebook. The concept was to "post four covers of comics that you were influenced by or loved as you were growing up."

I know I'm not the only one that grew up on the 1966 live action Batman television series.

Another staple of the '60's was Spider-Man.

If you're like me and you grew up on the animated Spider-Man and the live action Batman, life was pretty cool!

I started reading comic books around 1975. I say around, because the first comics I got were a three-pack: The Amazing Spider-Man 147, Invincible Iron Man 77 and The Incredible Hulk 190, all from August of 1975.

I consider The Amazing Spider-Man #147 my first comic book, even though it was in a three-pack. "The Tarantula is a Very Deadly Beast" features the politically incorrect, stereotype Anton Miguel Rodriguez breaking out of prison and resuming his career as the aforementioned deadly Tarantula. Even though The Tarantula may appear to be offensive, the costume and modus operandi is pretty cool. As a Spider-Man rogue, he's pretty awesome. I'm surprised he's not right up there with Doctor Octopus, Kraven and The Scorpion. Spider-Man has always had a pretty cool rogues gallery. It wasn't until years later, when I read someone's analysis somewhere online that, as a teenage super-hero, Spider-Man's rogues were all adults. Spider-Man was the first hero to focus on teenage angst and the generation gap. After Spider-Man, it was The X-Men and then the Teen Titans. The Amazing Spider-Man #147 also featured Gwen Stacy and The Jackal. At the time, I didn't know Gwen had died. She had died two years before, in June 1973, in The Amazing Spider-Man #121, "The Night Gwen Stacy Died". This issue is also part of the original clone saga. The Gwen seen here is a clone. Later issues of The Amazing Spider-Man feature the webslinger fighting a clone of himself. The clone would later return, taking on the identity of Ben Reilly, The Scarlet Spider. When Powers writer, Brian Michael Bendis launched Ultimate Spider-Man, he did some pretty amazing things with Gwen Stacy. Gwen is back next month in her own title, Spider-Gwen.

Because I grew up watching the '60's Spider-Man cartoon, and read this issue, I've joined the legion of Spider-Man fans. I picked up a few of the paperback collections of the early issues of The Amazing Spider-Man. I read the newspaper comic strip. I followed Ultimate Spider-Man from the first issue all the way through to Ultimate Peter Parker's death. I keep meaning to give Miles Morales a try as the new Ultimate Spider-Man, but Peter's death was such a perfect The End, I just can't seem to bring myself to read stories with Miles. The other reasons are; I have three kids now, and my comic book budget has shrunk. With three kids, I barely have time to re-read the comics I have. And I don't mind that.

Even though I got Batman #277 a year later in June 1976, Batman 279, from September '76 made a bigger impression. Batman #277 was almost forgettable. A David V. Reed story with art by Ernie Chan is almost a Scooby Doo adventure, in the everglades,involving a gang that uses a costume of a sea monster to commit crime. If I remember, they're pirates or something and they're stealing oil. They trap Batman in an oil pipe and he has to drill his way out. The death-trap is very claustrophobic. After capturing the gang, he comments on how he needs to get an airboat, like the ones used later on CSI: Miami.

But that's Batman #277..."The Riddle of the Man Who Walked Backwards".

Batman #277, September 1976, is "Riddler on the Rampage"! It's another David V. Reed story, with an Ernie Chan cover and Neal Adams interior art! The Riddler is back and bombarding Batman and Robin with riddles! Dick Grayson is back from Hudson University and The Dynamic Duo are back in action! It wasn't until a couple of years later, when my parents bought me the awesome hardcover, Batman From the '30's to the 70's that I got to read the incredible "One Bullet Too Many" from Batman 217, December 1969. Following the cancellation of the live action Batman television series, editor Julius Schwartz reinvigorated Batman and returned him to his Gothic roots. Dick Grayson went off to college, Wayne Manor was shuttered and Bruce Wayne and Wayne Enterprises were relocated to downtown Gotham City and a high rise with a way cool penthouse apartment. In Batman #279, with all the riddles, I learned that museum guards do not - repeat, do not - patrol in pairs. Henchmen dressed as museum guards do, though.

I'm a fan of The Riddler because of Frank Gorshin's brilliant, Emmy-nominated performance in the role on the '66 series. The Riddler is everything The Joker could be and should be. Maniacal. Intimidating. The Riddler was a better rogue on the series that Ceasar Romero's Joker. The classic "The Laughing Fish" really re-established The Joker as a schizophrenic, sociopathic madman. The Riddler would make a comeback on Batman: The Animated Series; and, later, as the mastermind behind the entire "Hush" storyline by Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee. When DC launched the weekly Trinity series by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley, one of the rogues was an alternate version of The Riddler. In the series, Edward Nigma had reformed and become a private investigator.

I started to pick up comic books more frequently. I read The Avengers #150. I started reading more DC, though. Action Comics, The Brave and the Bold, Batman, DC Comics Presents, Detective Comics, The Flash, Green Lantern, The Legion of Super-Heroes, Superman, The World's Finest. On days that I wasn't in school, my mom would take me to work with her and I'd earn some money to buy comic books at the newsstand and smoke shop across the street from the train station. The comic books were on the magazine shelf all the way in the back of the store. Not like today, where you walk into Barnes & Noble and the magazines are right inside the front door, and the comic books are at the far right. One of the bigger comic books of the mid-'70's was Marvel's Star Wars. My brother took me to see the film, and it was pretty cool. I just didn't see how that could work as a comic book. I had the two oversized comics adapting the movie. I didn't start reading the comic until issue 12, June of '78. I think I started collecting it more the following year, in June of '79. It was okay. Marvel was adapting Star Wars and the original Battlestar Galactica and Classic Star Trek following The Motion Picture. But then, in the '80's, Marvel released a three-issue The A-Team tie-in.

In 1980, I discovered artist George Perez and The New Teen Titans! As a fan of Robin from the television series, seeing The Boy Wonder leading other sidekicks of the Justice League was pretty cool! Along with Robin, there was Changeling - the former Beast Boy - Cyborg, Kid Flash - The Flash's sidekick - Raven, Starfire and Wonder Girl - Wonder Woman's sidekick. I missed the first issue, but picked up the second. It featured Deathstroke, the Terminator. I missed a few issues, until I picked up issue twelve at a convenience store at camp! Around this time I discovered comic book specialty shops. We had a new one in town open up!

I'm pretty sure everyone agrees that there wasn't a single issue that Marv Wolfman and George Perez mis-fired on. It wasn't until around 1985, when they were working on Crisis on Infinite Earths, and moving away from New Teen Titans that things started to come undone. They did get me interested in the previous Teen Titans. Aqualad, Kid Flash, Robin, Speedy, Wonder Girl.

There are a lot of really good issues of The New Teen Titans. A lot of significant, relevant stories. My favorite is the single issue, done-in-one, where Wally West - Kid Flash - writes his parents about a recent adventure. It's New Teen Titans 20, June 1982.

Around this same time, George Perez was everywhere. He was doing covers for DC; and he did the artwork for Justice League of America 200 and The Avengers 200. The Avengers 200 is a pretty cool issue, except for the fact that the story is pretty creepy. The Avengers encounter an entity that turns out to have impregnated Carol Danvers - Ms. Marvel. She gives birth, and the entity quickly ages to adulthood. At the end of the story she goes of to another dimension with him. So she gives birth to a really good looking guy that she runs away with. He's her "son", but he's like her "boyfriend". Does that make her like the original "cougar"? Like I said, kinda creepy for a comic book.

Justice League #200 is just flat out awesome.

The Justice League never had an origin, like The Avengers. They never faced a Loki. There was never a villain that drew them together. They never had a first issue origin. The team first came together in The Brave and the Bold 28 to fight Starro. They fought some dud named Xotar in the following issue; then Professor T. O. Morrow's Amazo in The Brave and the Bold 30. In their first issue, they fought Despero. Discounting their first appearance in The Brave and the Bold, they never had an origin. Until Justice League of America #9, when they face an unnamed group of aliens engaged in a contest of champions to become ruler of their alien home world. The aliens take on different forms and the League ultimately joins together to defeat them. Originally, the League was made up of Aquaman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman, with Batman and Superman in more of a background or supporting role. Honorary member status for The World's Finest. Batman and Superman became more active with the League and J'onn J'onzz was sent packing back to Mars. J'onn certainly got the short straw when it came to the League. He came back to join Aquaman's Detroit League in mid-'80's and stayed on as part of Batman's late-'80's League. He was finally a mainstay in the '90's and '00's. He was finally shunted off to Stormwatch in the great DC reboot of 2011, replaced by New Teen Titan Cyborg.

Justice League #200 brings back the aliens from issue nine. It seems the aliens have planted a post-hypnotic impression on the original members and they go and release the aliens they defeated years before. Later members of the team must now battle the original members and stop the alien menace again. It's just flat out awesome.

The Super Friends cartoon was a big deal in the early and mid 1970's. The cartoon had a companion comic book which was pretty cool. In 1979, Adam West, Burt Ward and Frank Gorshin reunited for The Challenge/Roast of the Super Heroes, which was pretty amazing. As a fan of Batman, seeing him in Justice League of America was pretty cool. He was a founding member!

I've stuck with the Justice League off and on over the years. Mark Waid's Justice League: A Midsummer's Nightmare is a pretty cool story. Alex Ross has done some pretty cool stuff with the team. He did the art for Paul Dini's JLA: Liberty and Justice. Ross also worked with Jim Krueger and Doug Braithwaite on a twelve-issue series, Justice, which was an homage to the Super Friends cartoon. The League was updated by Dini with Bruce Timm in the 2001 Cartoon Network animated series. The companion comic book for that series is pretty cool, too.

So, those are my four.

What's your four?