Wednesday, February 14, 2018

It's all fun and games...

...until some planet loses it's sun!

I originally bought them with dimes from returned bottles out of a spinner rack at a corner-shop. The first 'super' comics to grab my interest since Supergirl (Kurt Schaffenberger version), and Shazam! (which also had Schaffenberger art) earlier... the 'Uncanny' X-Men! I was just in time for Phoenix to meet up with some British television inspired villains (looking like Peter Wynegarde and backed by a Hellfire Club straight out of the Patrick MacNee and Diana Rigg Avengers) and become rather a bit twisted (a Peter Cushing lookalike named Hammer was to be found in the Iron Man comics of the same time). Dark Phoenix was pretty trippy stuff to be reading at the age of twelve, but what really got me reading was that they introduced a mutant girl around my age! The characters were actually fairly 'real' looking, and even wore interesting clothing some of the time. Wow. I wondered what made them want to change (usually without any comment or verbal agreement) into the gaudy spandex, but you know, you just accept these things as somehow necessary in a comic book. If not for that though I reasoned, this could be decent science fiction ala John Wyndham, Theodore Sturgeon or A.E. Van Vogt.

Anyway, I wanted to post something, so thought I'd blather on like a newly forged fan and gush about the Chris Claremont & John Byrne X-Men comics I've been buying/re-buying. Someone slipped my bf a copy of X-Men: The Hidden Years #1 at some point in the years past and it sat there until I glommed onto it and eventually sought out all the ones that came after it. I guess it was inevitable I'd want to follow up with what I could afford of the '70s issues I loved so much. The art had a lot of expression, preserved by star inker Terry Austin, the women in particular had presence and humanity (and a subtle sexuality in contrast to a lot of the ridiculous stuff that others would plaster about the super-universes before long).

And then of course Phoenix had to die. That sun she lustily scarfed down had an inhabited planet of billions... oops! Even at 12 I knew phoenixes rise from their ashes (plus they would've told me in the Dark Shadows re-runs), and so she has come back over and over. The best come-back though was finding out original X-Woman Jean Grey wasn't actually Phoenix after all. Thank you Kurt Busiek (apparently), and again John Byrne. But by then I had really reached the end of following comics (Supergirl's dead body gracing various covers played a part in that; it seemed like everyone had been getting rid of super females in particular since Phoenix had been put on trial and taking the ultimate fifth). It was good to know poor Jean Grey hadn't died after all, and her humanity even in copied form had actually saved all of creation! Yay! Now Supergirl has been on tv for three seasons too, so it's easier than ever for me to 'get my cape on'. I missed this bit of colourful fantasy in my life after all.