Finally -- after wrasslin' with an (inexplicably) balky uploading process all this weekend, re: my own site -- I read the Adam Strange article. <g> And it shines as one of the nicest patches o' writing I've yet seen in FANZING, Mike. VERY well done! ;-))
Too: I quite enjoyed the "War Comics" article, as well and the cover scans accompanying (both in selection and reproduction) were chosen with obvious intelligence. (My only quibble -- and it is only that; nothing more)-- is that neither Kubert's marvelous "Enemy Ace" covers (STAR-SPANGLED WAR STORIES) nor Kalutta's eerie and evocative stuff (WEIRD WAR TALES) made final "cut," in this instance.
I'm glad you sent me an updated letter to visit the site. It was like a good refresher for me with many thoughtful opinions and researched articles for me to peruse. I also enjoyed Tim Truman's interview and the little bits of information about ADD. It just goes to reaffirm that comic book creators can come from anywhere. I enjoyed the DC War heroes piece in The Hall of Justice and hope there is a companion article about Blackhawk, which hopefully would include Quality's run and the Evanier/Spiegle material which was probably the most faithful to the Blackhawk of the Quality era. You may wish to do (if you haven't already done so) a general article about all the companies and characters that DC has absorbed from Fawcett and Quality to Charlton's Action Heroes and Wildstorm. It would also be nice to read about how each acquisition affects the characters, and how those characters are forced to conform into DC's world.
Keep on sending me those reminders. I need my butt kicked.
Neil A. Hansen
I really like Fanzing and hope to see it continue for a long time. It is the kind of thing that fandom needs to continually renew interest in the medium.
Oh, and I'm impressed! I thought I was the only one who remembered poor Flex!
Minister of Infernal Repairs
Great idea!!!! I have been a fan of the Metal Men since their first issue back in the dark, old 1960s. Get this series going so I can start reliving those days of swashbuckling metallurgical wonders. I hope this takes form.
Could I translate your cold metal story of the Metal Men in order to put it on our web page? DCTopia is a Spanish fan fiction project we're editing on the net and we have a section for hypertime stories, stories than never could be as your story. If we could count with your agreement, we put the story translated to Spanish and a link to your page.
Thanks for your attention. Let me know what you think.
Michael replies: You certainly may! That sounds like a great idea. I'd love to expand the audience who can enjoy that story or any FANZING story, for that matter.
If you're interested in more Fanzing stories, let us know. Just off the top of my head for that "Elseworlds" section, my "Air Force Two" might also qualify, as would "Choices", the "alt.showcase.94" stories, Louise's Titans stories and her "A Crown To the Aged" which is tied in to Kingdom Come. Just let us know which ones you'd like, and we'll see if the respective writers are agreeable.
We'd love to make a link to this Spanish fan fiction site, if you'll send us the URL.
Hi dear Fanzingers:
As usual you make wonder why you aren't working for DC!
I've enjoyed many stories from you: "Growing Pains" & "In the Waiting Room"
stands between my favorites. I'm sorry because due to job obligations, I don't have the time to read the last FANZING, but I know it is great for sure. Keep up the good work and congratulations to Michael again!
P.S. (for Louise Freeman): Well I'm a Batman & Superman fan, but I must to say that any character from DC universe interest me so much, but lately DC is killing some of my favorites (Ice, Hal Jordan, etc.) Here in Bolivia we can acquire comics from Superman & Batman and some special (like Kingdom Come) only, so I don't read anything about the Titans, but thanks to FANZING I get at least a basic knowledge about these characters. I hope things really change soon. You can't imagine how we are waiting here for the next comic about our heroes to come. A Mexican editorial "Editorial VID", is publishing DC material for the Latin (Central and South America) market, but their deliveries to my country are sometimes very late. But at least thanks to them I can be able to read (and collect) the complete Crisis on Infinite Earths. Well that's all for now.
A thankful reader and loyal Fanzinger
Muchas gracias for your great letter, Gevalher. Glad we can help out some of the international DC fans. And for those months when you just don't have time, I'm happy to inform you that, thanks to Michael's work on our new and improved Archives section, all of our back issues are available for anyone to read at their leisure.
Hey! I just read your article about DC Combat and must say that is one of the funniest things I've ever read. I think it's hilarious how you made it sound just like how video game companies would about a DC fighting game. I think that would be funny to see a game made from that since it would be a laugh riot and fun. I do in fact hope if they do really do a fighting game that it's good and has all the big guns since a DC game would be lame without them. Anyways, bravo on a great issue of FANZING and I'll be looking forward to the July issue, keep up the good work!
I read FANZING in small doses and today I read your DC Combat videogame article. Totally incredible! I was quietly chuckling the whole way through, and then I got to the "Black Condor - all he does is fly" part and had a good laugh. My fellow occupants in the computer lab gave me strange looks, but your column made my day!
David R. Black
A few months ago I finally took the plunge and started collecting Adam Strange Mystery In Space appearances. Ever since then, I've been bemoaning the fact that I've never seen a really good article on the history of Adam Strange as a character. So you can understand my excitement when I pulled up the new FANZING and saw that Adam was featured in this month's "DCU History 101."
Unfortunately, my excitement soon faded when I read the article. While I understand that FANZING is a fan publication, and that Matt Morrison and Michael Hutchison are most likely not professional writers, it would be nice to have an article written by someone who could appear to have read more than just one or two of the stories being discussed.
Matt Morrison's profile of the early Adam Strange stories was full of mistakes that even a casual glance at Overstreet could have corrected. Adam began his run in Mystery In Space #53 not #52. Hawkman's Mystery In Space appearances were his third try-out as a character and came before the launch of his solo title, not afterwards. There were only three issues with Hawkman stories and a book-length team-up in #90. So Adam wasn't squeezed-out by Hawkman. In fact, the cover of #90 features Adam Strange solo even though it's a team-up story.
The reason that Schwartz, Fox, and Infantino left Adam Strange is because of the launch of the "new look" Batman. The last Schwartz issue of Mystery In Space was dated May 1964, the same month the "new look" Batman began in Detective Comics. Basically, Schwartz and Schiff just "traded titles" and creative teams. Dave Wood was most likely the writer of the Schiff-edited stories, and Lee Ellis was the artist. Adam Strange also appeared in eleven, not ten issues under Schiff's editorship.
The "revival" attempt in 1970 were really only half-hearted try-outs instead of an actual attempt to revive the series. Denny O'Neil and Gil Kane only did one story in Strange Adventures #222. The second story by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson (Strange Adventures #226) was an illustrated short story that was a marvelous tribute to Adam Strange's pulp roots.
Michael Hutchison's analysis of the original stories was not much better. One of the major attractions of the original Adam Strange stories is not the "Silver Age Silliness" that they contain, but rather how sophisticated these stories were in comparison to other comic stories of the time. It's true that Adam's logic does get a little loopy at time in the tradition of most Silver Age stories, but there are plenty of examples in the original stories of Adam "thinking" his way out of ingenious traps. The logic used in the story he mentions is not so outlandish considering the way Superman's powers were treated at the time. Namely, Superman was vulnerable to anything Kryptonian, therefore Kanjar Ro might be vulnerable to anything from his home world.
Infantino's depiction of Rann is anything but "60s deco." It is in fact inspired more by Art Deco design of the 20s and 30s giving Rann an exotic and unique appearance full of spiral ramps and towering edifices. Furthermore, signs on Rann are not actually written in English, but appear that way for the benefit of the reader. In fact, several times through the series the point is made that Adam and Alanna are conversing in the language of Rann. In Mystery In Space #78 the Vantorians use giant flaming letters in the sky to send a message to the inhabitants of Rann - Rannian letters, not English. Alanna translates the message not only for the benefit of Adam (who I assume can speak Rannian but cannot read it) but also the readers.
The characterization of Alanna and Adam's relationship to her is another outstanding feature of the series. While it's true the Adam Strange stories, like most Silver Age tales, were primarily plot-driven, Gardner Fox was quite deft at inserting subtle but strong bits of characterization. Although Alanna was cast as the "damsel in distress" on more than one occasion, there are also plenty of times her courage and physical action would save the day - a role that was very unusual for female characters in comics of the time. Adam and Alanna's devotion to each other is an element that can only be appreciated fully through reading several issues. Maybe I just have a dirty mind, but I've always felt Adam and Alanna's relationship was so intense that they were "bumpin' uglies" long before they were ever married in Justice League of America #121. That is, when they could find time in between saving the planet!
One last point, "What's so intriguing about Alanna that Adam can't just find a woman like her here?" Well, how 'bout the simple fact that Adam is in love with Alanna, not another woman just like her!
In all fairness, I did think that Hutchison's analysis of the more modern Adam Strange appearances were on the mark. And I especially want to thank him for steering me clear of the Adam Strange miniseries which I never got around to picking up, and I certainly won't bother with it
Similarly, Morrison's endpiece on the reconstruction of Adam Strange was also well-done. The recent Starman story is probably the main thing that has rekindled my long-time love of this character.
Good subject, but next time, do a little homework.
Michael replies:Thanks for your feedback on our article. I have learned that it is, in general, very difficult to duplicate the research done by a devoted fan who has committed a portion of his income to buying back issues. (That makes sense; I wouldn't expect a reporter on an assignment to duplicate my slavish devotion to Elongated Man!) At FANZING, we work for free and don't have the income required to buy every single Silver Age appearance of a character; I daresay we'd do a much better job if we had access to the DC Comics archive rooms!
I certainly tried to research Adam Strange as much as possible, but the scarcity and high prices of those Silver Age comics limited me to about ten comics. I could only give my impressions of those ten, which is why I left the historical section largely to Matt. I confess that it's certainly possible that this random sampling produced some of the lamer examples of Adam Strange stories.
I can't really answer for Matt, although some of his errors were minor. As for my section, I think that, with one exception, you can't really call them errors but differences of opinion.
The error would be in my use of the term "60s deco," which obviously didn't communicate what I wanted to communicate. I freely admit that my vocabulary tends to be inadequate on the subjects of art and architecture. But what I was trying to say is that a lot of the Rann architecture looked like very plain Earth architecture. Even when the artist(s) tried to do something futuristic, it looked like the kind of futuristic architecture used in 1950s stylized drive-in malt shops which now looks quite dated. (Rather like Troy McClure's house on "The Simpsons") Again, I'm perhaps not communicating this well enough. I think I'll just scan in some examples (wish I'd done that in the original article).
I knew that Adam (and through him, the reader) was seeing Rannian language as English thanks to the menticizer which programmed his brain in seconds, thank you very much. Regarding the example you cite, I see no reason why he wouldn't be able to read it as well. Alien language translation has always been a stumbling block in sci-fi; it's best to accept whatever explanation is given and then suspend your disbelief (such as situations where other Earth people arrive and begin talking to Rannians without translation). But my point was that an Earth factory bearing an Earth-style sign with very typical English block lettering well, it just doesn't strike me as an attempt to look alien!
I stand by what I said about the silly kinds of logic used by Adam unless someone can point me to a better example than Kanjar Ro being vulnerable to a chunk of his planet.
As for Alanna again, maybe I got a bad batch. She may use her brain at times, but "not being a bimbo" doesn't exactly make her a goddess worth the kind of trouble that Adam goes through. We've grown as a society (and as a comic-reading audience) and we now expect guys to love women for more than their beauty. If he's just looking for a raven-haired beauty, he could find tons of them on Earth. I'm sure it's something beyond that but what? It's not good enough to be told "this is the girlfriend character and Adam likes her"; we need to see the magical quality of this interplanetary Helen of Rann that gets Adam to jeopardize his career, spend his life's savings and risk his life just to get back to her. The Silver Age comics weren't concerned with developing their female characters, and I was hoping that the modern stories would give us a few moments that showed us what was so special about Alanna.
And on the topic of sex Adam and Alanna may have pre-maritally indulged, certainly, but that wasn't my point. I was saying that, had it really been Sardath's primary goal to get his daughter impregnated by an Earthman, a man so unrepentantly left-brained wouldn't have tolerated all the time that Adam spent dressed. "Hey, Bucky Jet-Butt, quit'cher monster fighting and let our defense forces handle the Giant Gas-Beasts of Gorrdo. You're needed in the bedroom!" he'd exclaim. Of course, the main reason this is hard to reconcile is that Alan Moore made it up and it doesn't really jibe with the Silver Age stories.
I would like to know if there are any websites, that you are aware of, that may have info on Blue Devil . DC Online doesn't even seem to have any I'm starting to get discouraged!!!
I'm a big fan of BD even today. This would be a big help. Also, if you could relay the message, I'd like other BD fans to email me at BLACKKFOX@aol.com.
Michael replies: Well, I have every appearance of his. If you have a specific question, I might be able to answer it. But I don't know of any web sites. Maybe I'll put Blue Devil in a future "Hall of Justice" if his origin doesn't appear anywhere else on the Web!
LOVED the Captain Comet proposal! Absolutely LOVED it! I've always felt the "space" part of the current DC Universe has been sadly overlooked (what, don't any OTHER planets have heroes?) and it would be fun to see Comet try to bring together characters from the GL Corps, the L.E.G.I.O.N, the Omega Men and the Darkstars into the Knights of the Galaxy, considering all the problems they would have clashing (and a beginning to the United Planets? Cool!). Could even use the New Gods--Earth can't be the only planet Darkseid's interested in--and there's plenty of old storylines that need to be picked up again, or new ones created (for instance, why isn't it until Adam Strange starts up that there's been no real "United Nations of Planets" in the DCU? Maybe there was once and it fell? Anyway, just wanted to say I loved the idea. Good one.
Keep showing Kurt's art and ideas what a talent!!
Great work on the archives. I'm an avid fan fiction reader and this way I was able to catch up on some missing pieces. Give Marilee my compliments for 'Choices'. I especially like the 'Batman - Catwoman' relationship. When is the next chapter coming?
Keep up the good work.
Great stuff! It is SO nice to see the REAL Huntress again. I liked her back in the old days when she was still Batman's daughter, but the recent depiction of her well, I have trouble seeing her as a hero sometimes. Anyone who can complain that Batman's too soft on criminals shudder .let's just say I wouldn't want her protecting MY city. She might mistake me for one of the bad guys.
The way that you're looking at the various depictions of Dick Grayson is great too, and his reactions to all the "might have beens" that he's been faced with. Thank God it is Dick doing this little jaunt and not Bruce his own counterpart would have probably taken him apart. At least Dick has gotten some manners pounded into his head over the years.
Well, that's all for now. Keep up the good work, and I'll try to keep my printer supplied with enough paper to print this stuff out.
I have been reading the continuing story "Choices" by Marilee Stephens. I have really enjoyed it. Over on the fan fiction page of the Titans web site (www.keeffee.com/titans/fiction.shtml), was reading an unfinished work also by Ms. Stephens entitled "An Unlikely Pair". I would love to be able to finish reading this story, provided it has been finished of course.
If you would pass along my name and email address to Ms. Stephens I would greatly appreciate it.
You hear that, Mari? Your public demands! That silly little PhD dissertation can wait, can't it? ;)
Just a question about the Metal Men. Are the symbols on their chests alchemical symbols, or what? I've tried looking them up in chemistry web sites, and I can't find a single one.
Michael replies: Instead of trying to tackle this one myself, I've decided to put you in touch
with Professor John P. Selegue. He works in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky, and he's also one of the geniuses behind the "Periodic Table of Comics" athttp://www.uky.edu/~holler/periodic/periodic.html
Dr. Selegue responded: Dear Justin: Gold, Tin Iron and Mercury sport alchemical symbols on their foreheads and chests -- or left thigh for Platinum. You can see the forehead symbols at http://www.uky.edu/~holler/periodic/periodic.html
The symbol P with a dot for platinum and L for lead were apparently just made up by the artist. Capital L for Lead (Duh!) is especially galling because it is neither the alchemical symbol nor the currently used symbol, Pb. Both Lead and Platinum do have alchemical symbols. You can find them and many other symbols in a terrific index at http://www.symbols.com/contents.html
The new and improved archives really look great! I think that the archival issue viewer format is neater to use, because you get the feeling that you're looking at an actual back issue of FANZING, but I tend to overlook a few features while using it. I browsed through the new archives and found a few articles and features I hadn't noticed before. The new archives are much more specific (and therefore easier to find certain items with) and like an ultimate FANZING index.
Both the archival viewer and the new archival index complement each other nicely. Where one is a spiffed up, nice for browsing version, the other is a "bare bones" locator of specifics. The casual reader and the hardcore fan both benefit from this dual archive, symbiotic situation.
Great job, and I wish you good luck with submitting your proposals to DC.
David R. Black
Well, you said you want feedback so here goes:
Thanks, by the way for a great site. I hope you keep up the good work -- and congrats on the nuptials as well.
Is it just me, or is the current run of JLA really confusing? It seems that every time I pick up an issue, I have to go back and read the previous one just to piece together what is going on. Most of the time, I find that the amount of action that goes on "off panel" is just too much! My prime example
of this is the "Tomorrow Woman" story. A great concept, but wouldn't it have been much more effective for the fans to get to know Tomorrow Woman for at least a few months before the story wrapped? I think that in most cases, Morrison is flying at such a breakneck pace that most of the details are lost. I find this very frustrating! I think my favorite parts of JLA in the past are the interaction of the heroes as friends, which we almost NEVER see in the current run.
Also, when Giffen was writing JLA, I begged DC to use Plastic Man - he would have been perfect with that lighthearted style. This run, however, is just begging for the return of Elongated Man. I hope he will not be exiled to comic book limbo for too long.
Anyway, that's my 2 cents. Replies can be directed to DCJules2@aol.com