Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bring on the Back-ups: "Mighty Master of the Martial Arts!" by Maggin, Oksner, and Colletta

Hey, hey, hey,Groove-ophiles! Although the original Captain Marvel was the star of DC's SHAZAM!, sometimes he was also the star of the back-up feature. If that's a little strange, think about this: while DC hired artists (like Bob Oksner and Vinnie Colletta) who could give the Big Red Cheese a decidedly Golden Age vibe, they hired writers (like Elliot S! Maggin) who would give the stories a modern-day flavor. "Mighty Master of the Martial Arts!" (from SHAZAM! #12 (February 1974) is a perfect example of what I'm rappin' about. Golden Age look, but everybody's Kung Fu Fightin' in this classic yarn. Dig it!







4 comments:

  1. Those lines over Billy's pupil dots always make me wince. I wish they would've just stuck to the Beck model. But then, I hate DC's later decision to put Cap back in his button-up suit.

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  2. The "Wisdom of Solomon" isn't very cynical, is it?

    I enjoy that our martial arts expert, who trains his body all day, sits down for a meal that's a whole duck plus a giant punch-bowled sized serving of some unidentified green stuff!

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  3. I would have preferred that they stick to the Beck model, but the lines and the return to the button-up suit didn't ruin the strip for me.I got used to it, and didn't really notice after a while. I thought the "suspended animation" explanation in #1 (to update the cast to the present) was an unnecessary complication, but I could tolerate it. I loved the tongue-in-cheek approach. The idea of costumed super heroes is inherently silly, and, for me, they don't work when played too straight. The current "Curse of Shazam" is a mess. DC has plenty of characters (Deadman, Spectre, Phantom Stranger) who are well suited to a grimdark series. There is no need to corrupt Captain Marvel.

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    Replies
    1. Indeed, Cap is incorruptible and should be treated as such. He'd be better served if they let him be on his own Earth-S where things are lighter all around and he can remain the #1 hero of his world. Slotting him in Superman's universe and the grim-n-gritty milieu that holds sway makes no sense.

      I also dislike he decision to make Cap a grown-up Billy when in fact they were two separate individuals with distinct personalities.

      Ordway did a pretty good "modernized" version of the Marvel Family back in that "Power of Shazam" series. If he must be modernized, please do it the Ord-Way!

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