- Booster Gold
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Monday, October 21, 2019
If the 1980s was about anything, that thing was big business. Greed was good, deal making was an art, and Capitalism finally conquered Communism. Corporate interests dominated politics, and commercialism owned everything else. Into that environment came the original superhero salesman: Booster Gold.
No cover of the era exemplifies that aspect of our hero more than Booster Gold #11 (1986).
Pencils by Dan Jurgens, Inks by Jerry Ordway
This image is a delightful snapshot of time when J.R. deserved to be shot, and Micheal Knight was a lone crusader in a dangerous world. Booster does his best Don Johnson impersonation in his square-shouldered white linen blazer. He winks at us over his Max Headroom shades, reassuring us that he knows what cool is. If this guy is selling, you're buying.
It might look like an ad for the most 1980s car ever, but what Booster is really selling here is comic books. You can't own a Brysler Boostermobile, but you can own this comic. I'd buy that for a dollar. And I did. Because I was cool, too.
Friday, October 18, 2019
The DC Comics reading world of 1986 was not ready for the debut of Booster Gold. Who could blame them? Gambler-turned-thief-turned-celebrity sounds more like a traditional DC villain than a hero. Anti-heroes wouldn't become all the rage for a few more years yet. Creator Dan Jurgens was ahead of his time.
The letter columns of early Booster Gold books were filled with complaints that the hero was inherently unlikable. A typical letter, from Booster Gold #5 called him "egotistical, self-absorbed, conceited, self-hyping, and immodest," which even Booster boosters have to admit was a pretty accurate assessment. This situation was only made worse once Booster's origin was revealed in issue #6. No less a moral authority than Superman thought Booster was "nothing more than a 25th-century crook!"
Souring fan reaction to the character was a major factor in the cancellation of the original Booster Gold series. Jurgens resisted polishing Booster's rougher edges, and the Powers That Were decided to move Booster in a new direction with Justice League International where Booster's less palatable character traits were often exploited for comic effect. This worked out in Booster's favor. It was with the JLI that Booster really became a star.
As such things go, public demand for the Justice League led to the JLI team being featured in three consecutive issues of Secret Origins, giving Jurgens another opportunity to sell Booster's origin to the comics reading public. This time he did what he had previously been unwilling to do: he made Booster Gold sympathetic.
In Secret Origins #35, released on this day in 1988, it is revealed that Michael "Booster" Carter only started gambling on his own football games in order to afford an expensive operation for his sick mother. No longer was he a selfish lout. Now Booster was a good son!
"Child with a heart of gold breaking the law to help his family" may not be the most original origin, but it did the job burnishing Booster's tarnished reputation with readers. Booster's worst mistakes could now be chalked up to good intentions. I'm sure Superman would agree that even 25th-century crooks deserve a second chance.
Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Booster booster Cort harvested a bumper crop of commission Booster Gold this season. Check them out!
Boosterrific as always, Cort. Thanks for sharing.
Friday, October 11, 2019
I come across a lot of unusual things in pursuit of all things Booster Gold. Perhaps the most unusual in 2019 is the discovery that there is a thoroughbred racehorse who shares our hero's name.
According to Equibase.com, the gelding Booster Gold raced in the September 27 Maiden Special for two-year-olds at the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in Charles Town, West Virginia. Maidens are races for horses who have not won before. Booster Gold still qualifies. He finished last in a field of 8.
The rules for naming thoroughbred horses are extensive. According to the The American Stud Book Principal Rules and Requirements, Section V, Subsection 6, Part F.6: "Names clearly having commercial, artistic or creative significance" are not eligible for use. For example, "Superman" and "Batman" are off limits. Apparently, the arbiter of names, the Jockey Club, thinks that "Booster Gold" has no "commercial, artistic or creative significance." Given how well the horse has raced so far, they might be right.
To be fair, it's not clear whether the horse is actually named for the super hero. "Booster" and "Gold" are common enough words that do bump into one another occasionally — as I'll attest after seeing countless promotions for make-up, card games, and shoes — and certainly horse breeders must always be struggling to find new 18-or-less letter phrases that the Jokey Club will approve. There are only so many ways to work "winner" into a unique phrase.
So to the owner of Booster Gold, may I say that if you're looking to spur your horse to greater success, maybe you should consider getting him a partner. I suggest naming your next horse "Blue Beetle". Blue and Gold probably won't win you many races, but I promise you'll get a kick out of their shared misadventures. Blue and Gold forever!
UPDATE 10-18-2019: Booster Gold ran a second race today on the same track, this time with blinkers on, and came in fifth... out of five horses. Official scorekeeper comment: "was never a factor." Maybe that's just what he wants us to think.
Wednesday, October 9, 2019
It seems that in my glee over Bootser's cover appearances on Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #2, I missed a second Booster Gold appearance last week. Fortunately for us all, Booster booster J directed me to Harley Quinn #66 which included panels of Booster Gold and Harley hooking up in the Coney Island Wonder Wheel Ferris wheel.
words by Sam Humprhies, art by Sami Basri, Hi-Fi
Wow. Heroes in Crisis sure made some strange bedfellows. (Amusingly, earlier in the issue, Harley's mother tells her that she has "terrible taste in men.")
Given that the panel appears in a comic book within a comic book (and therefore isn't the "real" Booster or Harley), does this count as an example of in-universe 'shipping? Is such a thing possible? Maybe it's better if I don't find out.
Thanks to J for the spot.
If that's not enough Booster Gold for you this New Comic Book Day, consider taking a listen to Mike Avila's interview with Dan Jurgens for SyFy Wire's Behind the Panel podcast. As you might expect from the episode title, "Dan Jurgens on Booster Gold and the Death of Superman," about half of the 22-minute interview covers the creation of Booster Gold. Enjoy listening.
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