Saturday, January 21, 2012

Batman, Season One

Ah, the sixties Batman series.  Most superhero dorks have probably at least heard of it, even if only in the context of “that show that made nobody take comics SERIOUSLY anymore.” Because, as we all know, comic books were serious business in the 1960s.  By the way, have you been to the World of 1,000 Olsens?  Lovely this time of year.  Just don’t make eye contact with the locals.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Teen Titans #1

For my first trick, I present to you the very first issue of the very first official Teen Titans comic, Teen Titans #1, published in 1966.  Eventually, this would become one of DC’s most popular team books, spawning multiple incarnations, two cartoon series, and an animated film.  So just how do these marvelous munchkins spend their debut issue?  Destroying historical artifacts, propagandizing the Peace Corps, and interacting with racial stereotypes, of course!

Just What Is a Superhero, Anyway?

Hello, good citizens, and thanks for visiting Warriors!  When I was first considering putting this blog together, I knew that I wanted it to be a center of discussion for everything that has a superhero in it: comic books, movies, television shows, games, books… you name it, I’ll review it (if I can get my hands on it and if I can make it interesting).  But then I got to thinking—just what is a superhero, anyway?  I’ve geeked out over superheroes for years now, and yet I’ve never really taken the time to sit down and figure out a set definition for what a superhero is.  And since the content of this blog depends on such a definition, I figure now is as good a time as any to sort one out.

1. I suppose the most important trait of a superhero is that they fight for truth and justice and all that other fun stuff.  But that can’t be the only qualification, or else every cop, spy, and detective show ever made would have to count as a superhero show, not to mention a good chunk of the westerns and sci-fi.  And as awesome as these kinds of programs are, I don’t think anyone here would consider Remington Steele to be a superhero (although his knowledge of old movies is pretty superheroic).

2. Superheroes generally have costumes.  Spandex, masks, capes, cowls, tights, utility belts, and underwear worn on the outside are all considered to be standard superhero attire.  Standard, that is, but not necessary.  A lot of people think of the Punisher as a superhero, even though he doesn’t really have a costume in the traditional sense of the word.

3. Like with costumes, superheroes often have some kind of special power that we mere mortals don’t, or at least some kind of technology that gives them special powers.  Again, powers aren’t a requirement, but a lot of superheroes do have them.  Those that don’t generally fall into the “spiffy technology” category.  So the presence of inhuman abilities is probably a good indication of a superhero.

4. A superhero has to hide his or her identity on a regular basis, or did so at one time.  This doesn’t necessarily equal having a dual identity—I consider the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to be superheroes, but they don’t usually put on glasses and pretend to be newspaper reporters.  Rather, they fight at night when no-one can see them and hide in the sewers during the day.  Additionally, there are a few superheroes who, in recent years, gave up the whole “secret identity” shtick, but that doesn’t mean they gave up being superheroes. 

5. Superheroes must have supervillains.  In other words, the hero can’t be like Indiana Jones who always stumbles into trouble without meaning to.  It sort of ties back to the idea of fighting for justice—they must be intentionally trying to help/save people.  A hero is only as effective as his or her villain, and so there must be some kind of official baddie or baddies (preferably recurring, in the case of comics and TV shows) for the hero to be super.

I think my science professors had an easier time determining the definition of life than I’m having determining the definition of superhero.  There are so many ifs, ands, and buts up there!

Okay, here’s what I’ll do.  Everything I review MUST HAVE a character that fits into Number One and AT LEAST two of the other requirements.  That probably still leaves quite a bit of wiggle room for characters I don’t consider superheroes to worm their way in.  (By my definition, the Michael Landon character from Highway to Heaven—who hides his real identity from almost everyone and has special powers—is a superhero!!!)  This may not necessarily be a bad thing, if I run across something with a semi-superhero that I really, really want to write about.  I might also include stuff that isn’t directly about superheroes but is strongly linked back to them (e.g. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay).  In short, if it’s got anything to do with a superhero as defined above, I’m willing to take a look.

In any case, what I review is going to be heavily skewed towards DC, especially towards the beginning, because that’s what I know the most about, have the most of, and feel most comfortable discussing.  That doesn’t mean I have anything against other companies’ output, however, and I’ll do my best to make the content as varied as I can.  To start out, I’ll update this blog every other Saturday (not counting random announcements, updates, or reactions to superhero-related news), though I’ve got something “special” planned for February and will update every week for that month.

Also, you might want to get used to the jokes about old and obscure television programs.