- Booster Gold
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Friday, June 26, 2020
Not so long ago, Booster booster Fin called my attention to a comic I had long overlooked. It wasn't a missed Booster Gold appearance. Not quite, anyway.
Just see if this banter doesn't sound familiar:
art by David Williams and Kelsey Shannon
Those panels are from The Authority: The Lost Year, a series in which the Authority bounced from one alternate universe to another. (This was back in 2010, before the New 52 folded the Wildstorm Universe into the mainstream DCnU.)
Issues #8 and #9 were written by Grant Morrison, Keith Giffen, and J.M. DeMatteis and featured an alternate universe in which the local Authority looked and acted a lot like a particular, best-selling DC Comics team of the late 1980s.
The meta-textural take on the Justice League International by the JLI's original writing team is delightful, especially as contrasted with the modern, no-nonsense Authority concept (itself strongly reminiscent of the extreme 1990s love affair with "mature" sex and violence content).
As you can see, that's Blue Beetle in the role of the Authority's Midnighter (a Batman-like vigilante) and Booster Gold as Apollo (whose character is a riff on Superman — so fitting!) In their original continuity, Apollo and Midnighter are a homosexual couple, allowing the issue's writers to directly tackle the longstanding Boostle phenomenon 'shipping Blue and Gold into a romantic relationship.
I'm sorry I hadn't realized this book existed sooner. Thanks, Fin.
Wednesday, June 24, 2020
A recent clickbait listicle at CBR.com written by Brett Hoover has the very pointed title "Justice League: 5 Reasons Why Blue Beetle Is The Most Annoying Member (& 5 Why It's Booster Gold)."
I was initially going to let this obvious bit of fanboy-baiting slide, but then I decided that if I wasn't willing to fight for Booster Gold, who would? So in the interest of giving equal time to Booster bashers, let me directly address those 5 reasons. (I'll leave it to others to defend Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes.)
Reason 5. Booster Gold: Believes Himself To Be More Powerful Than He Really Is
Superheroes have egos. In fact, in most cases that is what makes them super as they are constantly trying to improve themselves to live up to their own and others' expectations of them. That said, in the case of Booster Gold, it is just sad how he tries to portray himself as one of Earth's mightiest heroes when, in fact, he is just a chump in a costume. What is even sadder is that, because of his enormous ego, he doesn't even notice that others see through his facade.
No one can deny that Booster Gold has an over-sized ego, but if the premise is that he's the worst Justice Leaguer, the real question is whether his ego is more over-inflated than other Leaguers. I'd say Booster's sense of self-importance, while impressive, is dwarfed by the runaway delusions of self-important grandeur often displayed by the likes of Batman, Hawkman, Green Arrow, or
Parallax Extant Hal Jordan.
Reason 4. Booster Gold: Not Earth's Mightiest Hero
Certain superheroes seek to earn their place in the top ranks of the Justice League. Many work for years to even get admitted to the A-level superhero squad. While all are heroic in their own way and are confident in their own powers, Booster Gold takes his accomplishments and quadruples the amount of importance his actions really played in any situation. It isn't wrong to be confident but confidence is something that is obtained through surviving the tough battles, not just given like he wants it to be.
This sure sounds like a duplication of the first complaint. No less a talent than Geoff Johns dubbed Booster Gold "The Greatest Hero You've Never Heard Of" explicitly because when a time-cop like Booster Gold does his job correctly and saves a multiverse, you don't see the tough battles he fought on your behalf. If someone has to be a publicly recognized, best-selling A-lister before they join the league, someone might want to break the news gently to Martian Manhunter, Red Tornado, and Firestorm.
Reason 3. Booster Gold: Attention Seeking Superhero
Booster Gold isn't known for his modesty when it comes to the good deeds he has committed. In fact, he oftentimes hopes and prays that there is a camera on each corner taking his picture as he saves the day. This attention-seeking aspect of his persona leaves many superhero allies with a bad taste in their mouth when forced to team up with him. Yet, instead of realizing how pathetic such a demeanor truly is, he instead begins to believe their animosity is because of his true heroism.
Sure, Booster has frequently lamented not receiving the earned respect of his peers, but that final sentence is patently untrue. I think you, like so many others before you, have confused him with Green Lantern, specifically Guy Gardner. Or Obsidian. Or Triumph. (Surely I'm not the only person who remembers Triumph, the founding leaguer who was lost in timeline shenanigans. Speaking of timeline shenanigans....)
Reason 2. Booster Gold: Mentored By His Own Son
Some of the worst things shows or comics about time travel have to deal with are the paradoxes these travelers inflict on time itself. Fans see it often enough by the Flash who has jumped around the past and the future on countless occasions. Booster Gold's attempts at messing with time ultimately resulted in him not only coming in contact with his son, but being mentored by the child he hadn't yet raised, along with having his future self shape his past self.
Time paradoxes make for bad Justice Leaguers? Sure, Triumph was a jerk, but time paradoxes are practically a prerequisite for league membership. Stalwarts like Superman and Supergirl had plenty of time-twisting adventures with the future's Legion of Super-Heroes in their past, Plastic Man's JLA adventures through time would prove him functionally immortal, and Moon Maiden seemed nice enough while she existed. (Can anyone explain why the Flash gets a pass here? Is it because the Cosmic Treadmill is cool? Because it is.)
Reason 1. Booster Gold: Runs From The Present To Live In The Past
There's a common time travel fantasy about going back in time with modern technology in order to impress the denizens of the past. If that weren't the main reason Booster Gold traveled in time, it wouldn't be so sad. Booster Gold was so unimportant in his time that the only way to feed his ego was to time travel to the past and show off his futuristic technology.
Well, you have me there. It's not a very heroic origin, is it? I guess there's a reason the Justice League never let a criminal like Lex Luthor join. Oh, they did? Well, then. Case dismissed.
Friday, April 17, 2020
Tired of being trapped in the house with your family? Would a trip to a tropical island resort hit the spot right about now? How about revisiting Club JLI!
Part of the fun of Booster Gold is that he's not the straightest of arrows. Sometimes he gets up to shenanigans that would make other heroes blush, none bigger than the time he and his BFF Blue Beetle established the casino resort on KooeyKooeyKooey in Justice League America #34.
Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite covers for two very important reasons: the boobs beside the pool.
Obviously, the boobs I'm talking about are Blue Beetle (with his scarab-pattern swim trunks!) and Booster Gold. But there is so much else to enjoy in this busy comedic scene, like level-headed team leaders Batman and Martian Manhunter holding back a raving Maxwell Lord on the left, and on the right, criminals Major Disaster and Big Sir sneaking over the hedge with their ill-gotten gains.
All that and, of course, Fire displaying the best of her Brazilian charms in a stunning two-piece bikini and swim skirt. Her expression tells us very clearly what she thinks about the two knuckleheads responsible for the hijinks erupting around her. Good ol' Bea.
This issue was released in 1989, and it's hard to believe that artist Adam Hughes had only been working professionally for two years at the time. Hughes has since become world-famous for his pinup covers of beautiful heroines, including but hardly limited to Wonder Woman and Catwoman. As you can see from the variety of poses and expressions on this cover alone, Hughes deserves recognition and high praise for far more than just cheesecake.
I have to admit this cover belongs to one of my favorite issues, as those of you familiar with my recent list of 12 Best Booster Gold Stories Ever already know. I'll explain why next week.
Stay tuned, Booster boosters!
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
In the comments of my blog post about the single greatest Booster Gold comic ever written (Justice League #4), there was some discussion about when exactly Booster's comic book portrayals turned from fun-loving but competent crime fighter (as portrayed in his own original series) to bumbling moron (as portrayed in 52 and just about everywhere since).
The timing of that change can be narrowed to shortly after the dawn of the 21st-century. No so coincidentally, that's about the same time that Blue Beetle's character also got an overhaul before coming to a very gory end.
Blue Beetle, who during the JLI years always played the fool in the original Blue and Gold dynamic, lost his sense of humor for his inclusion in the 1999 L.A.W. (Living Assault Weapons) mini-series reuniting the former Charlton Comics characters. For a few years following, he appeared much more prominently in DC Comics than his best friend, notably in issues of Birds of Prey, where he was diagnosed with a weak heart and semi-retired from heroics. This allowed his more serious demeanor a chance to take root with readers and editors alike.
I'd always assumed that was why, when Beetle and Booster were reunited in 2003's Formerly Known as the Justice League, the comedy roles of the two super buddies were swapped. However, when I put that question to JLI writer J.M. DeMatteis on Twitter last week, he revealed a different reason.
Whatever you think of the change, you have to admit that "just because" is as good a reason as Beetle and Booster ever had for any of their hijinx.
And now you know the rest of the story. (Thanks to Ariel for inspiring this topic.)
Friday, February 7, 2020
I mentioned on Monday that I had been looking for something else on Twitter when I found that enamel pin. That something was some art of Booster Gold in an anime/Freakazoid!-sort of style. I did finally find what I was looking for:
Turns out that's not an official DC release but a very polished piece of fan art by self-taught artist @Jokeb0i. If you're interested, those panels culminated in a gif punchline you can see at ask-jokeboi.tumblr.com/.
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