The World According to Keitho

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Posts Tagged ‘comic books’

Why don’t super heroes ever smile?

Posted by keithosaunders on September 17, 2016

I was a big comic book fan growing up and I have a retained a love for the Marvel and DC silver age books that I collected. Every once in a while I’ll look at a recent issue of the Avengers or the Justice League of America to see how my favorite heroes have progressed.  The drawings are more realistic and the dialogue is more sophisticated but overall the current books are joyless affairs.

Where is the whimsy that I remember?  The Justice League had a beatnik sidekick named Snapper Carr who had no powers whatsoever.  Sure he was annoying and practically superfluous to the plot, but he was someone that you might actually meet in real life.  Remember Spiderman?  He had girlfriend problems, as well as a nagging, pain in the ass aunt for crying out loud!

The current heroes have all the charm of TSA agents.  Not only would I not want to hang out with them, I would be scared to death!

Image result for silver age justice league of america

the Justice League of America of the Benes!!!!!!!! by dinei

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Posted in comics, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

The baseball card collector from hell

Posted by keithosaunders on November 5, 2015

frank howard

Like a lot of kids I collected baseball cards. I remember having most of the 68-70 Topps series. This was the era when the players largely resembled marines.  Frank Howard’s card comes to mind because it was kind of scary –  he was this behemoth who for some reason wore frame-less glasses.  He looked like a combination intellectual and ax-murderer.  In a few years the hippie culture would catch up to baseball at which point long hair and fancy beards and mustaches would abound.  But in 1969, even though the rest of the world was turning on and tuning out, the average baseball players look was that of a buttoned down nerd automaton.  Kind of like today’s Yankees.

Did I save the cards?  Yes, but – and you knew there would be a ‘but’ –  they are far from mint condition.  In fact, is there a category below ‘poor’?  Well below?

You see, way back in 1945 during the war…what do you mean what war?  THE BIG ONE.  WW DEUCE.  Now where was I?  OK, my Dad was quarantined for two weeks after returning from Japan. Since Al Gore would not invent the internet for another 50 years, my Dad had nothing to do. All he had was a few back issues of Stars and Stripes and a deck of playing cards.  What did he do?  Why he invented the greatest card baseball game in the history of card baseball games!

Now we fast forward a few decades to 1970 at which point Dad taught the game to me.  Picture the Lion King without actual singing or drama.  I instantly loved the game.  I took to it like Lucas Duda to a called third strike.

So:  I had a card baseball game and actual baseball cards. What to do…

Here’s 10 year old Keitho:

Say, I bet I can use my baseball cards as my lineup for the card game!  Hmm…I but I don’t have enough infielders in my Braves deck. Think, Keitho, think…I’VE GOT IT!  I’ll write 3B in ink on this Hank Aaron card and voila – hours of unbound fun!

Suffice it to say that 80% of my remaining cards have been horribly defaced.

For years I would play entire seasons (there were card football and basketball games as well) and I still have my folder containing all of the season stats.  For some reason I remember that one of my World Series was the Dodgers vs the Bluejays, and this was when the Jays had only been around a few years and were still bad.

So there you have it.  I collected comics and baseball cards and all I ended up with were these lousy memories.  Just kidding — the memories are actually pretty good.  Prettyyyyyyy, prettyyyyy, good!

larrydavid

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Days of comics

Posted by keithosaunders on November 4, 2015

jla2

Moving on.  (I’m still in the denial stage of what just happened re the World Series.)

I follow this person on Twitter who posts pictures of silver age comic books from the 60s and 70s.  He’s running an ebay business and the photos come with a link where you can purchase said comics, some with a price tag north of $100.00. Still, I enjoy seeing the photos of the comics, many of which I bought new, before tragically selling them for a pittance after deciding I had outgrown them. I wrote about that here.

At first I dabbled in Archie comics but soon gravitated towards the superhero books.  I was more of a DC man but I bought Marvel as well.  My favorite comic was the Justice League of America. I loved the idea of an interchangeable roster of heroes, each with his or her distinctive costume. I can still name the seven original Leaguers: Superman, Batman, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, & Wonder Woman.  Like major league baseball, expansion would come to the Justice League and the first three additions were Green Arrow, the Atom, & Hawkman. (think of them as the Mets, Colt 45s, & Angels)

My favorite heroes’ were the Flash, the Atom, Hawkman, and Green Lantern.  I wasn’t that interested in Superman and Batman since they were kind of obvious and over-exposed.  What’s the deal with Superman anyway?  Is he some kind of Aryan ideal?  Batman is damaged goods – a psychotic who saw his parents gunned down.  (Come to think of it that actually makes him more likable) Aquaman’s power was too limiting, requiring water for him to be of any use.  Green Arrow was not exotic enough and I was never a Robin Hood guy.  In the early 70s, in an effort to compete with the more colorful Marvel personalities, DC gave Green Arrow a spiffier costume, long hair and a hipster goatee.  They also gave him a hothead personality, as well as a love-interest, Black Canary.  I liked him a little more in those days but he never cracked my big four.

I was drawn to the more science-fictiony characters.  The Atom could shrink yet somehow retain his true weight. Hawkman, being from the planet Thanager, used alien science. The Flash was a police-scientist in his secret identity (Barry Allen) and Green Lantern?  Well he’s not that sciency, but come on, what’s cooler, than an enormous power-ring green fist?

Next post we’ll go over baseball cards.

Posted in comics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

The DC reboot

Posted by keithosaunders on September 2, 2011

When I was eight my Mom, Aunt, brother, and I drove from Los Angeles to Bakersfield to go to a cousin’s Bar Mitzvah.   After the service there was a party at my cousin’s house.  At some point I found myself alone in his room, and there I discovered his comic book collection.  He had dozens, if not hundreds of magazines.  I spent my remaining time at that house holed up in that room reading Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Hawkman comics.

When we returned home I started asking my parents for spare change so I could buy my own comics.  In the next two years I amassed a fairly respectable collection.  The Justice League of America, which consisted of most of the aforementioned heroes, was my favorite title , but I also liked the Legion of Super Heroes, as well as some of the Marvel books, such as Iron Man, Thor, Spiderman, and the Avengers.

Comics cost 12 cents when I began collecting, and by the time I stopped they had gone up to a quarter.  These days they’ll set you back between $2.50 and $3.00. 

One day, when I had reached the ripe old age of thirteen, I was walking down Hollywood Boulevard when I came across a collectible store, filled with old movie scripts, posters, and yes, comics.  There I learned that you could make cold, hard cash by selling your comics to the store.  It was that easy.  So, like the idiot I was, (and would remain) I sold my entire collection.  For $20.00.

A few years later I was nineteen, and thanks to a drummer friend who had saved his comics, I got back into collecting.  At that time, if you weren’t that picky about buying mint condition, you could still get the old Silver Age comics for decent prices.  [The Silver Age generally refers to the comics made between the ’50s and the early ’70s.]

I was able to replenish most, if not all of my collection, and this time I was smart enough to hold onto them.  They exist today 3,000 miles east of where I live in an upstairs garage in Shokan, New York. 

This is top of mind because of all things, DC comics is in the news.  In the last week I have heard a segment on All Things Considered, as well as read an article in the Oakland Tribune, about DC comics.  DC is the older of the two big comics companies — that’s where Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman come from.  Marvel has Spiderman, Hulk, and Captain America, among others.

But I digress.  This month DC is in the process of rebooting their entire catalogue of comics.  Every book — I believe there are 52 of them — is starting over at #1, and the heroes are going to have different origins, and in some cases, different powers.  In the case of Action Comics this is a shame.  Superman originated in Action Comics way back in 1938, and the book has remained in existence all of these years, making it well into the 900s.  How cool would it have been to have a chance to buy Action 1,000? 

A lot has said about the rebranding of these heroes, but I have read very little about what the differences are going to be — just that they want to make them more relevant to modern times.  What does this mean?  Are the heroes going to use smart phones and have tattoos?  I hope this isn’t a lot of smoke and mirrors about change.  (I’m looking at you, Obama!)  If they’re going to the trouble of starting over, I want to see some real change. 

I’m actually considering checking out some of these books.  I may even subscribe to the new Justice League.  I hope they do a good job, but if they don’t, I hope they revert to Action Comics #945.             

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