Dec 21, 2015

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 300: World's Finest Comics #269, July 1981

300 days!

Not that I want to give the impression that I can't commit to anything, but I'm surprised that I've managed to do a consistent 300 days of posting to this blog. As the old saying goes, "Practice makes perfect," and this amount of writing is certainly great practice. But after 300 days, I'm only in the early stages of my journey toward perfection, I think.

From sentient viruses to being buried alive. It seems this stack of comics from the dollar bin is demonstrating Jungian synchronicity. As I noted yesterday, the idea of a virus that takes over one's body is amongst my greatest fears. Perhaps the greatest, at least in terms of irrational terror, is of being buried alive. I'm quite claustrophobic, and what happens to Batman in the cover story of this issue is just about one of the worst things I can imagine. Thank goodness he remains more calm and collected than I would in the same situation.

This issue, arriving 4 years before the tumult of Crisis, offers a showcase of some of the best artists of the last years of the Silver Age. Rich Buckler is a great exemplar of the DC style of the late 70s and early 80s. Trevor Von Eeden, in the "Green Arrow" story in this issue offers one of the more realistic depictions of breasts that I've seen in superhero comics (it's the little details that matter). In the "Hawkman & Hawkgirl" story, Alex Saviuk gives Shayera Hol wonderful muscle definition, showing us that it's not only the male superheroes that have to be "ripped" in order to do the job they do. Of all the art in this issue, the Saviuk/Rodriguez stuff in this story is probably the best. Don Newton's "Captain Marvel, Jr." work offers a nice combination of the more realistic art toward which DC moves in this era and the stylized art that's characterized the Marvel Family work through its existence. In particular, Newton captures facial expression in a way that many comics artists cannot.

The writing is less impressive than the art, unfortunately. Gerry Conway is a capable writer, and his deployment of the 70s address to the protagonist in the caption box is effective, but the story as a whole is relatively tame. The same goes for the rest of the stories - tame. It's hard to feel like there's really anything at stake in any of these adventures, hence my concentration on the art, rather than the writing. Oh, and if I can just offer an opinion here, too, this version of Green Arrow, roving reporter for the Star City "Daily Star" is a complete dick. As a poor woman relates the story of her incarcerated brother, GA is trying to decide if she's a "10" or an "11." Total. Dick.

What I actually found the most interesting about this comic was the inside back cover, which features "The Daily Planet Feature Page." The creator profile on this page is for one Laurie Sutton, a woman who scripts the "Adam Strange" adventures of this era. It's always great to hear of women working in the industry at this time (and at any time, really). Mainstream comics still struggles with the "boys club" mentality, though greater strides are taken with each passing year to quash that notion. In the late 70s and early 80s, however, I imagine the idea of a woman working prominently in comics was even less likely, so to see Ms. Sutton profiled is lovely. I'm curious to read some of her Adam Strange stuff.

We've almost worked through the dollar bin comics I recently procured. It's probably time I pulled out my holiday comics and read one or two, in the spirit of the season.

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