In fact, as you read this, it has encircled you and is chronoporting you back thirty years. Are you tired of complaining about the quality of mega-crossover events and having your joy in comics eclipsed by picayune details of plot and art that cause you to miss the forest for the trees? Yes; I'm tired of that, too... .
So, welcome to May 1976, where you're safe from all the awfulness of the DC Comics of 2006! Let's go to the comic book store and see what joys await you because Everything Used to Be Better, you know.
Oh, wait; that's right -- there is no local comic book store. No matter where you live on the entire planet. There are no comic book stores, period.
Oops. Well, I'm sure if you drive or walk for miles to scrounge around in the back of 10 or 12 bookstores and drugstores, you'll find one that carries comics with a few issues that haven't already been torn, or damaged, or gone yellow, or already been bought by some irate parent trying to shut their kids up on a cross-country auto trip. Better hurry, because there's probably only one or two copies of each issue...!
Let's see what FABULOUS comics await you!
Ah, the legendary Batman Family title, where every month a grown man in a Robin costume and a crimefighting Congresswoman engage in goofy repartee and needlessly acrobatic fighting techniques like the one meaninglessly portrayed on this cover. That's what they did. Every month. Really.
In this issue, Babs & Dick combat Freeway, the Technician, Bugg, and Dr. Excess. Yow! They don't write 'em like that any more! Come to think of it, I believe Dr. Excess was not only the villain, but the writer... .
Hm. At least there's a Bathound story and a Signalman story. Each of which were actually written 20 years earlier. I love that picture of Ace: "Bathound Loves You."
Oo, I found another undamaged comic behind that one: Karate Kid 2! Not Ralph Macchio, silly; Karate Kid, the Legionnaire so cheesy he made Bouncing Boy look like an eminence grise. This is "Martial Arts Mayhem at Its Mightiest", folks.
What's he up to? Fighting Major Disaster (who's surfing on a giant communion wafer) and the Disasterettes to save the U.N. back here in 1976.
Why? Because it's 1976 and people still think the U.N. is worth saving. It is, of course; Diana Prince has to work somewhere. I mean, it's not like she can just open a dress shop in the Village or something!
What's Batman doing? That's it; Batman is always doing something cool. Batman will make us happy we're not in the evil future of 2006 any longer... .
Batman 275 finds our hero fighting a motorcycle gang on an ice rink in a classic, "The Ferry Blows at Midnight." How? Why?
Who cares? It's 1976. Writers just come up with some wacky centerpiece scene ("I know; in his forty year history, Batman's never fought a motorcycle gang on an iceskating rink!") then build a flimsy story around it.
It doesn't matter; there is no continuity, there are no ramifications, nothing has to make sense. In 1976, life, both in the real world and comics, is just one big Austin Powers movie.
But surely it's part of some larger plan? Perhaps a criminal mastermind is behind it all? Well, no. The only Special Guest Villain in this story is ...
wait for it ...
Snicker. Giggle. Snort. Okay, Beavis, settle down. Suffice it to say that while the ferry may wait till midnight to blow, the story is way ahead of it.
Meanwhile, in Metropolis, Superman is fighting Black Rock.
Who? Black Rock. Black. Rock. Come on, people! You know...!
A broadcasting company wanted a superhero on payroll so they had the brilliant scientist head of research guy (every network had them in the 1970s, you know) whip up a supersuit, then the scientist hypnotizes the network president into wearing this "Black Rock" outfit and fighting Superman, then hypnotizes that guy's nephew, a comedian named Les Vegas who constantly made TV-themed puns, into becoming Black Rock, then becomes Black Rock himself.
No, I am not making that up. Oh, by the way, isn't that exactly what you would wear if you were a supervillain named "Black Rock"? Green bodysuit, purple hood and cape; why, of course, it is.
Johns? Morrison? Palmiotti? Ha! Who needs those hacks? Here in 1976 we've got Elliot S! Maggin, baby, and, no, the exclamation point is not a typo; have your parents explain it to you. Hey, wait ... I think I've figured out "Dr. Excess's" secret identity!
Well, if those mainstreamers aren't satisfying you, here's one: Claw the Unconquered 7. It's about a guy who lost his hand and got it replaced with a magical one, having sword and sorcery adventures in an undersea city.
Boy, if only we could have had a comic like that in 2006! It'd be as popular, classic, and critically acclaimed as Claw!
What about the ever-engaging JLA? This is the Bronze Era, the fabled satellite league, which everyone knows rocked out loud....
Here they are fighting, um...
a purple thing with Flash's legs, Hawkman's head, and a detachable arm.
I assume their opponent is superpowerless except from the waist down. Well, let's put that issue on the "buy pile" immediately; don't even have to crack that open to know it's a winner.
Just what are Oliver and Arthur's lower halves doing? I ... I'm not quite sure. But it sure makes the monster mad. Maybe it's the Comics Code Authority Monster. Aren't there supposed to be word balloons or narration bursts that explain it?
- Monster: "I've stolen the Flash's lower parts -- and now I want yours!"
- Narration: "Beware ... the Mish-Mash Monster!"
- Aquaman: "MY SWORD!!!"
Points to whoever comes up with the best expository blurb for this cover, by the way.
I won't spoil the plot for others, but in 2006 they can still buy that comic and find out how great it was. Probably at the same drug store we're at right now in 1976, in fact. Except in their evil future it's not Winkleman's Family Pharmacy, it's CVS.
Oh, as long as we're buying comics in May 1976, there's at least one other we should definitely get. It'll be good ... eventually.
Say, in about 30 years: