My first Roy Thomas comic was also my first Marvel comic. I was a wee lad in third grade, a big devotee of the Batman TV show, and had thus far successfully badgered my mother into buying precisely one comic from the spinner rack at Young’s Market. Some time later, I found myself parked on a naugahyde couch awaiting my turn in the barber’s chair, when my eyes fell upon the cover of Uncanny X-Men #29. This was my introduction to both the Marvel Universe and its best writer, Roy Thomas.
I was 23 when Lawn Chair Larry slipped the surly bonds of earth; I actually clipped out the newspaper article at the time, because I thought it was so perfect and inspiring, that ideal combination of vision, ingenuity, and the determination to do a spectacularly stupid thing and somehow pull it off. Larry’s great adventure has been the springboard for a movie, a Broadway musical, a couple of episodes of TV series, a hoax, and possibly even the movie ‘Up’. Because it’s just that inspiring.
The Tick, a reboot of the live-action TV series that was a reboot of the animated series that was adapted from the comic book that started out as a comic store mascot, has finally arrived on Amazon’s original programming channel, so I thought I’d take a moment to look at some of the other superhero comedy-parody-satire offerings that may have influenced, or been influenced by, what is obviously the most successful entry into the genre.
As a kid, my favorite superheroes were the Flash and Green Lantern. The Flash, because his real power wasn’t super-speed; his speed was a tool he used, but his real power was that he was smart – he outsmarted his opponents. Green Lantern worked on two levels. First, he had a ring that was functionally magic; if he could think of it, the ring could do it. Second, and more importantly, the ring ran on willpower. He had to bring resolve to the fight, to dig in and hold on and never give up, because if he didn’t, the ring would fail. He kept that willpower up through something completely unique to comics: his daily oath.
I’ve been an admirer of the tiny giant, June Foray, from the time I was able to read the end credits on the cartoons. She was not only one of the greatest voice actors ever, she was also a wonderful, warm and gracious lady. Last week, she passed away at the age of 99.
What’s puzzling about Wonder Woman is the reaction from a small-but-noisy contingent of men; what is it about this film that provokes such anger and hostility in certain quarters? What are the things in ‘Wonder Woman’ that seem like such a threat to these guys? I think there’s one thing in particular that’s a sticking point; I think what bothers them more than anything is that Diana’s fight matters.
In case you haven’t heard about it, here’s a tale of the time Disney ran into “the Streisand Effect.” The event took place in 1984, when the World Wide Web didn’t yet exist and very few people outside of the military or academia had email; even Disney still routed typed memos by hand via office workers. The story revolves around the making of ‘The Great Mouse Detective’.