Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Saga of the Super-Sons, Showcase Presents Sgt. Rock

Here's how this works: I finish reading something, and I tell you about it, and I try not to bore you to death.

And then there was the time that Superman and Batman got married in the 1950s and had kids. Clark Jr. and Bruce Jr. grew to be teens in the mid-70s and had to totally deal with their square parents, who were just were not with the scene, man. And because Superman Jr. was only half as powerful as his dad, the old man was always laying down the law and saying he shouldn't get involved with either criminals or chicks. Talk about a generation gap! Didn't these relics understand this was the dawning of the Age of Aquarius? Sometimes a cat's just got to do his own thing, you dig?

DC actually published this lunatic stuff for years in the pages of World's Finest Comics. One month, you'd have Superman and Batman in a traditional team-up, and the next month, you'd have their otherwise unmentioned teenage sons riding around the country on motorcycles having bizarre, quasi-socially relevant adventures. The Super-Sons were quietly shelved after Bob Haney moved on to other titles, apart from an odd, unnecessary retcon published a couple of years later. Every Super-Sons appearance is reprinted in this collection. Recommended for nostalgists and completists.

Oh, it's Robert Kanigher again.

This isn't quite as much of a slog as Kanigher's other 1960s titles, but it's still very repetitive and very uninspiring. Actually, the principal draw is Joe Kubert's artwork, but you won't believe the shortcuts he chose to take to get all these pages turned in. There are countless panels with nothing but explosions or helmets flying, or close-ups of rifle barrels.

DC wasn't entirely like this in the 1960s - the TV show era of Batman, for instance, is silly and inventive and fun - but Kanigher's books display an amazing sense of malaise and a lack of imagination. They weren't made to be read one after another, and the total absence of any continuing subplots or storylines mean that you can put this book down at any time, not missing anything. I hoped Rock would have aged better than this, but it didn't. Not recommended.

(Originally posted February 13, 2008 at hipsterdad's LJ.)

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