Using shock for monetary gain or to sway public opinion is not a new concept, especially during a time of war. This tasteless ad for War Bonds appeared in the Fiction House pulp magazine Planet Stories #8 (Fall 1944). What is not clear is the identity or occupation of the victim in the ad. Is it a staged warning that Americans could be killed on U.S. soil or is it a photo of a deceased soldier on the battle field? It is open to interpretation, but it is pretty clear that the reader was supposed to assume the latter and that the figure in the field is a soldier who died because they did not support the war effort.
Quite a bit was said a few months ago about Mary Marvel, a symbol of purity in DC Comics, being “ruined” when she became the possessor (or was possessed by) the powers of Black Adam and Eclipso. Mary was no longer the avatar of all that was good and in fact all of the Marvels were dirtied up a bit for the contemporary comic book market. This is a sort of nonsense in my opinion and not all necessary as character development. I have always believed the squeaky-clean Marvels could show up in a Vertigo title with no problem or mis-characterization. They are the angelic force to balance against whatever evil nastiness was out there giving Swamp-Thing or Constantine a hard time.
So I waited a bit to see what reaction there would be to Mary re-gaining her goodness-based magic powers in Countdown. What I noticed was that there was very little mention of it aside from a few blog entries and forum posts glad that Mary had changed back to “normal”.
But did she?
What people may not have noticed is that after throwing off the skin-tight latex she is not quite back to her old self. Readers may have missed, or just don’t care because of the lukewarm reception Countdown seems to be getting, that Mary’s symbol is no longer golden and is now a shade of gray. This is probably permanent as the symbol has now remained gray (or even black, depending on the artistic license) over several appearances. While Mary was appropriately thankful to once again have the blessing of the gods she hasn’t really explored her newest self yet. Mary has now done too much, seen too much to be considered pure any longer. She is no longer of one side or the other and is instead a living Yin Yang symbol that is reflected in her costume. Plainly, the gray lightning bolt is her “Scarlet Letter” and serves as public notice and as a warning that Mary Marvel is no longer pure and perhaps is not to be trusted.
It is now up to the writers to make use of whatever new concept Mary is going to be a part of. The entire Marvel Family is going through some changes, some of which may allow them to support and sustain their own title. Hopefully, Mary will not be prone to “Hulking Out” in the future and forgetting herself and killing a few bad guys for a sense of hacked-out false drama. In the pantheon of DC heroes, especially in regards to the magical ones, I think that at least a few need to be the avatars of all that is good.
Linus finds Lucy’s collection of 1990s comic books, purchased en masse and saved by her parents to pay for her college education.
While I can recognize the special and bizarre genius of Ernie Bushmiller I’ve never been able to take much of a liking to Nancy and her pals. So when I came across this horrifying house ad for Comics on Parade #69 I knew I had to share it. Any strip that depicts those miserable little urchins getting gacked is okay with me.
Sparkler #91 (Jan-Feb 1950).
My dog is cool and he is not like those other stupid pets a family members owns. His name is “LT” and my mom says it is after some San Diego football player but I disagree because they suck and are choking wussies and it really means “Lotta Trouble” or “Little Tyke” depending on what he is getting into.