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Grumpy Old Fan | Snow-day comics

Not pictured: Hawkman

Not pictured: Hawkman

Winter finally caught up with the Memphis suburbs over the past couple of weeks, bringing nasty bouts with freezing rain and (currently) a little snow. Digging out from under the ice has been more tedious than anything else, but the persistent cold kept us all housebound for a little while. Of course, compared to folks in other parts of the country, we are very lucky.

Still, the mere idea of days at home with nothing else to do made me want to search the DC archives on comiXology for decent binge-reading material. Everything from the New 52 forward is available there, so the following recommendations are for older series. I’ve tried to stay away from the bigger names, and go instead for stories and series which might make the time indoors a little more tolerable. They’re also organized according to Convergence eras, so even if you’re not coping with the cold, you can still look forward to April and May.

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Grumpy Old Fan | 43 for 43

The longest journey begins with a single issue

Every week, hard as it may be to believe, I try honestly to offer something I think might interest the larger group of DC Domics superhero readers. However, this week I am invoking a personal privilege. For one thing, with Halloween on a Wednesday (when I usually end up writing these essays), the holiday will more than likely take priority.

The main reason, though, is that today is my birthday, and as you might have guessed from the headline, this year is my 43rd birthday. Therefore, this week I have pulled together an especially memorable DC story and/or issue from each of those years, 1969 through 2012. (Note: They may not always line up with the actual year, but just for simplicity’s sake, all dates are cover dates.) These aren’t necessarily the best or most noteworthy stories of their particular years, but they’ve stuck with me. Besides, while I’ve read a lot of comics from a lot of sources, for whatever reason DC has been the constant. Maybe when I’m 50 I’ll have something more comprehensive.

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Grumpy Old Fan | Retired … or “Doomed?”

Doom Patrol #121

Doom Patrol #121

(This starts out cynical, but it gets better.)

DC’s superhero line is essentially an intellectual-property farm. Every new issue cements the company’s hold on its existing characters and/or introduces new characters for future exploitation. If, by some chance, a particular story turns out to be Art, so much the better. The important thing is to maintain those property rights.

Accordingly, it’s rare that a character is “retired,” a la Jack “Starman” Knight or Tommy “Hitman” Monaghan, when his story has reached a stopping point. A little while back I wrote that maybe the New Teen Titans had reached their own peak at the end of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez’s original run. Originally I wanted to revisit that, and list a few more titles which perhaps might have benefited from similar retirements.  Let’s do that, at least briefly….

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