Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Comic That Ended the Silver Age, #1: Gettin' Kookie

Let's talk about the DCU's greatest betrayal, the one that ended the Silver Age:

"Snapper Carr-- Super-Traitor!" Justice League America #77 (1969).  

By that I mean, 'betrayal of one character by another in-universe".  The greatest betrayal would otherwise be Identity Crisis (by DC of its readers), of course.

Maybe you are already familiar with this story, but I'll wager a lot of less experienced readers aren't.  It's one of the most important DC comics of all time, which makes its current obscurity all the more ironic.  

Let's start with a question for those of you under, say, 40: Who is Snapper Carr?  Most of you will answer this guy:
Kara Danvers extra-dickish boss on "Supergirl"

But it's not. That's just one of those examples of the CW-verse slapping a random name stolen from the comics on a totally different character (kind of like how "Felicity Smoak" is actually Firestorm's stepmom).  

Real Snapper Carr was the JLA's teen sidekick in the Silver Age.  Well, mascot, really, since Snapper had no powers or abilities (except super-annoyingness).

There's so much more and so much more WORSE I could show you about Snapper Carr.  
Google it.

Snapper seems to have been modeled on secondary character turned teen sensation Edd "Kookie" Byrnes from the teevee show 77 Sunset Strip; Snapper was introduced in 1960 when Kookie-mania was in full-swing. His look AND his tendency to speak in faux-hip-lingo are dead giveaways. Why put such a character in the JLA, already brimming over with eight of DC's biggest heroes struggling for screen time?  

Right now my fingers are ALSO expressing how I feel about your induction into the JLA, Snapper. At least, one of them is.

As always, writers must have thought that young readers needed "someone to identify with", overlooking the fact that we read comics to identify with the HEROES, not their hangers-on.  I have long suspected that Snapper Carr was really put in the League for Green Arrow's sake:

Leaving behind Snapper Carr would give ANYONE a broad grin.

Specifically, Snapper Carr was there to give readers someone to hate other than Green Arrow.

The universe -- both ours and DC's -- suffered under Snapper Carr for about nine years, thanks to his creator, Gardner Fox.  During which time Snapper was "The Wesley" of the JLA, despite being a total idiot (or sometimes because of it).

"Only SNAPPER CARR is ignorant enough to save us!"

Look how SAD Wonder Woman is that they have to be saved AGAIN by Snapper Carr. "It's bad enough being saved by a man... but by SNAPPER CARR?!  I miss Etta so much."

But a deadly meteor from another dimension was headed directly toward Snapper, heaven-bent on his humiliation and destruction. That meteor?  Denny O'Neil.

"Doom, Thy Name is...DENNY!"

More on that soon....


Anonymous said...

Even Kookie had a pretty short shelf-life on "77 Sunset Strip"; it wasn't long before the oily shifty Roscoe stole the spotlight from him, and to add insult to injury, they even introduced clean-cut Robert Logan as the new young people focus character.

Insomnia and late night TV, you are a harsh mistress.

Anyway, you'd think DC would have picked up on how little anyone gave a damn about Kookie or his cheap knockoffs. Then again, DC is never good at tapping into popular culture, and they are never worse than when they are trying to figure out what Marvel is doing right and they're doing wrong. I'm considering that an ongoing problem, considering that DC recently tried to turn Superman into Wolverine (motorcycle, bad attitude, punches cops, powers failing).

Scipio said...

Wow, I hadn't thought about it that way. you're right, that's just what they were doing with Superman.

Toddmichael said...

"Specifically, Snapper Carr was there to give readers someone to hate other than Green Arrow."

Hah! So True.

Neil said...

As for the current television version, #NotMySnapper

Scipio said...


Anonymous said...

How to make this point delicately. "Snapper" is occasionally used to mean a certain part of female anatomy, and a "car" is otherwise known as a "wagon".

You know that I ain't braggin', she's a real Snapper Carr.

SallyP said...

It's so true. Snapper Carr is possibly the MOST annoying little weasel in the entire DC universe. And the Marvel universe as well.

Unknown said...

I guess I'm in the minority as pretty much the only Snapper Carr fan in existence.

Of course, I liked Wesley Crusher too.

Slaughter said...

I love this kind of post, Scipio, guiding us through some of them wacky old comics. Its my favorite type among your excellent posts.

Redforce said...

I just realized something - wouldn't Martian Manhunter snapping his fingers in that last panel have killed at least two or three people in that cell?!

Redforce said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Redforce said...

And that panel with them marching together side by side... Holy Crap, Denny O'Neil invented the Armageddon Walk!