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Monday, May 30, 2022

LOOK!! First Appearance of Booster Gold

Last week on Twitter, the image of a 1938 house advertisement for Action Comics #1 inspired Russ Burlingame to compare it to "that Direct Currents-style book that circulates as '1: Booster Gold' from time to time."

For those of you who don't know, Burlingame was talking about this, DC Releases Vol.1, No. 21, February, 1986:

© DC Comics

DC Releases was a free handout for customers in the nascent direct comics market of the mid-to-late 1980s. (No. 48 was the final issue before it was replaced by Direct Currents, which continued to promote DC products for another decade.) This is called the "February" issue because it was promoting books with a "February" cover date, although they were mostly being sold to consumers in October/November 1985.

The solicitation text — likely written by DC's promotional copywriter extraordinaire, Paul Kupperberg — is pretty Boosterrific:

He's In It For The Bucks!

Talk shows! Prime-time commercials! Opening night bashes! T.V. guest appearances! Product endorsements! Where does this guy come from?

Just between you and me, the other heroes in the DC Universe aren't too hot on Booster Gold's strivings for star-status. But Skeets, on the other hand, is loving it! Skeets? Oh. He's Booster's flying, computerized companion. Who knows where he came from, either. But wherever it is, all the gossip columns have it that he and Booster came together!

As Metropolis goes goo-goo and ga-ga over this empowered hunk (ya gotta hand it to the guy), he keeps his priorities straight! He knows that being a celebrity super-hero means being a super-hero first, and when B.G. puts his powers into drive—watch out!

In this premier issue, Booster must recover a satellite guidance system stolen from S.T.A.R. Labs (I hope he doesn't miss his contract negotiation meeting because of that!) And: Action explodes in the streets of Metropolis when the incredibly strong Blackguard meets our affluent hero face-to-face!

Dan Jurgens, penciller on The Legion of Super-Heroes, Sun Devils, and Warlord, and Mike DeCarlo, who inked Dan on Warlord, promise a super-action series, seasoned with just the right blend of satire, urbane wit, and humor. So, as Booster Gold would say, buy, buy, buy!

While the widely-seen house ad for Booster Gold #1 that was included in Crisis on Infinite Earths #11 (and almost every other book DC published in October 1985) is more famous and much more widely seen than DC Releases, this handout was created specifically to promote books released on October 8, 1985 (including Crisis on Infinite Earths #11). Therefore, as Russ said, Booster's cover panel here is very likely the character's very first public appearance.

That's why you'll find copies going for $500 on eBay.

Personally, I'd rather spend my money on comics rather than advertisements for comics, but you do you.

Comments (0) | Add a Comment | Tags: dan jurgens dc releases mike decarlo paul kupperberg

Monday, April 25, 2022

New Release: Justice League 75

This week, DC is killing off the Justice League, which is bad for them but good for us because Booster Gold is on the third variant ("CVR D") card stock cover by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund!

© DC Comics

Yes, this cover is the rare self-homage, as Jurgens references his own work (inked by Brett Breeding) on the poster accompanying Superman #75 in 1993. (Superman dies once every thirty years, I guess.)

I have no reason yet to suspect that Booster Gold will actually be *in* the book, but *on* a book is good enough for me. Consider buying this comic and making Skeets happy.

Comments (0) | Add a Comment | Tags: covers covers dan jurgens justice league norm rapmund

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

And the Identity of the Black Beetle Is...

Don't worry, there are no spoilers for Blue and Gold #8 in today's post, but I can't say the same for the following link to!

Now that you've been appropriately warned, here's the link to where Russ Burlingame has a recap of how it took DC thirteen years (!) to finally tell us who the Black Beetle was:

The original plan to reveal the Black Beetle's true identity, was to do it in Booster Gold #25. The mystery proved so intriguing to readers, and the story for #25 was already so full, that Jurgens and DC opted to put it off until a planned double-sized story in Booster Gold #50. Unfortunately for Booster fans, Flashpoint happened, and the series ended with Booster Gold #47 in 2011 as part of the line-wide "The New 52" reboot. This is the villain's first significant appearance since.

To add a little extra salt to that wound, I will remind you that Booster Gold #47 was actually the 49th issue for the title. In addition to the 47 conventionally sequential-numbered issues, there were also 0 and 1,000,000 issues as well. So we could have had the reveal in a double-sized 50th issue number 48 if DC had let the series go on for just one more month.

And while we're on the topic of salty wounds, can we even be sure that the Black Beetle we got in Blue and Gold was the same character who put together the villainous Time Stealers in Booster Gold Volume 2 #7? As Russ points out, DC History is not what it used to be.

Honestly, I was so angry that the New 52 reboot truncated the continuity of my favorite characters that I strongly considered swearing off DC Comics entirely. (I meant it, too. As several ex-friends can tell you, I'm the sort of guy who can hold a grudge forever. It's not healthy.)

Several reboots and rebirths later, I still don't buy as many DC comics as I used to, but I have happily bought multiple copies of each issue of Blue and Gold with no regrets, no matter who they say Black Beetle is. I feel that's been money well spent, and I'd be glad to give DC more if they decide they want to do it again.

Comments (6) | Add a Comment | Tags: black beetle dan jurgens russ burlingame

Monday, April 18, 2022

New Release: Blue and Gold 8

If you are a Booster Gold fan — and considering that you're reading, you probably are — stop for a minute to consider that the character's creator, Dan Jurgens, has materially contributed to Booster's development for the past 37 years and counting! That's a spectacular run and a lot of good comics. Thanks, Dan!

Which brings us to the end of Jurgen's latest set of adventures with his creation: Blue and Gold #8, hitting the shelves of your Local Comic Shop this week!

© DC Comics

If you're eager for a look at the first few pages, has a preview, but you'll have to read the whole book to find out who the Black Beetle really is!

© DC Comics

Buy this issue and make Skeets happy!

(Sneak peek courtesy longtime Booster booster Chris Aguinaldo, who traveled forward in time to get his hands on a copy early but *still* won't tell me who Black Beetle is!)

Comments (2) | Add a Comment | Tags: blue and gold chris aguinaldo dan jurgens new releases previews

Monday, April 11, 2022

The Story of a Story

Here's an interesting footnote in the adventures of Booster Gold.

George Morrow at recently referenced a 2006 Pulse article in which Jennifer M. Contino interviewed comedian Patton Oswalt, writer of JLA: Welcome to the Working Week, about his "upcoming" contribution to the Justice League Unlimited comic book:

THE PULSE: Out of all the superhero cartoons that have come and gone, what do you like the best about JLU?

OSWALT: The wide-ranging aspect. Also, they don’t just focus on the Big 5. I also like what they do with the villains. I wish they’d just do an Injustice Society cartoon. Wow!

THE PULSE: That would be cool. What is your JLU story about? How did you get involved with doing a story for that imprint?

OSWALT: Well, I tried out to be the monthly writer, but they thought a lot of my story pitches blew. But there was one they liked, which involves Booster Gold and The Atomic Knight. So that’s the one I’m doing.

THE PULSE: Out of the zillions of heroes in the JLU universe, how did you settle on Booster Gold and the Atomic Knight?

OSWALT: I thought of the kind of story I’d like to tell first, and then went through my old Who’s Who and figured out who’d be the best characters to tell that story emotionally. We’ll see.

As we all know by now, we didn't see. Justice League Unlimited was cancelled in 2008, never having included any story crossing Booster Gold with the Atomic Knights. But Oswalt is very correct that it would make a great pairing.

Every Booster booster knows that Booster Gold arrived in our "present day" on August 20, 1985, a date our hero selected in part because it occurred before a nuclear conflict of the late 20th century (Booster Gold #14). But what you may not have realized is that the nuclear war of Booster's future history was better known as The Great Disaster of the DC Universe, and according to the heroic Atomic Knights, it happened in October 1986 ("Rise of the Atomic Knights", Strange Adventures #117).

Given that the goal of the Atomic Knights was to rebuild society after the disaster, a crossover story between them and future rags-to-riches success story Booster Gold would be a good story set-up!

In hindsight we know definitively there was no nuclear disaster in the DCU in 1986. Superman discovered that the original stories of the Atomic Knights were all fictional simulations (in DC Comics Presents #57, 1983), and the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths Atomic Knights would go on to aid the city of Bludhaven after a scaled-down nuclear event in Crisis Aftermath: Battle for Bludhaven — a mini-series drawn by Dan Jurgens!

Will we ever get to read Oswalt's story? Only time will tell.

Comments (1) | Add a Comment | Tags: atomic knight battle for bludhaven comiccon dan jurgens george morrow interviews jennifer contino justice league unlimited patton oswalt pulse

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