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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Taking It to the Max

I recently got an email from Travis Bickle, and although he was clearly "talkin' to me," I think it's best if I just pass along exactly what he said:

We certainly are in a heavy Booster dry spell right now, which is why I was pathetically exuberant upon finding the news I'm about to share. HBO just updated its streaming service to be called simply "Max" instead of "HBO Max" (really clever change), and with this came some slight adjustments to other aspects of the experience as well, including allowing HBO's userbase to more options for their avatars in-app. Now, a user's profile can be represented by none other than Booster Gold, utilizing his look from the JLU animated series. Previously the options were a lot more limited.

© DC Comics

Just last week, Warner Bros. Discovery put out a press release announcing new avatars were coming to their retooled app. Booster was nowhere to be seen. I'm very glad to see that oversight has been corrected.

Thanks for the news, Travis, but don't stay up all night watching movies. Lack of sleep is bad for your mental health.

Comments (3) | Add a Comment | Tags: hbo jadeknight2008 jake justice league unlimited max taxi driver travis bickle

Friday, May 26, 2023

My Favorite Pages: Justice League Intl 9

My Favorite Pages

The third Booster Gold comic released on September 15, 1987 was Justice League International #9, which contained events explicitly taking place immediately after Millennium #1 (also released on September 15).

As it happens, for several reasons, not the least of which was limited funding, I didn't buy every Justice League International comic the week it was released. But it happens that I did buy this one because it tied into Millennium #1. (So I'm living proof that major crossover events sell books, I guess.)

I mention that because at the time, page 3 was my favorite page simply for the reason that I always thought it was cool that Blue Beetle was able to put out a cry for help with his breath on a window.

© DC Comics

But my tastes have changed. These days, I have a different favorite page... for two specific reasons. One of those reasons will be immediately self-evident to all Booster boosters who lay eyes on it:

© DC Comics

See? Booster Gold is just the coolest. (Golly, I love those panels 3-6 of reaction shots zooming in closer and closer to the eyes before the big reveal that it was Booster Gold who saved the day.... just in time for Blue Beetle to bring our arrogant hero back down to Earth! What a wonderful sequence.)

The second — and considerably nerdier — reason I love this page is how wrong it is.

What you see above is the page as it appeared in more modern reprints on higher quality paper. You can see that the re-colorist (presumably using the original color master?) maintained the coloring mistakes that the late, great Gene D'Angelo unintentionally made in the original newsprint publication, such as Booster's flesh-colored star and Martian Manhunter wearing Booster's pants.

When the same issue was republished just a few years ago in Justice League International: Born Again, the page coloring was corrected, but washing out the existing color from scans of the original resulted in thinner blacks. The overall effect is a page that actually looks worse despite the "correction." (Leave D'Angelo's work alone!)

And both of those reprints have eliminated one of my favorite details: the page number! In the original publication, this is clearly marked "14" in the lower left corner. Why did it go away when other pages have maintained their in-art numbering?

(Side note: As a chronicler, I love page numbers! Please, please, please, bring back page numbers, DC!)

All of these little idiosyncrasies plus a badass Booster Gold moment add up to make page 14 (numbered or not) my favorite page of the issue.

Comments (0) | Add a Comment | Tags: blue beetle favorite pages gene d'angelo justice league international millennium

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Comic Books for Fun and Profit

Booster booster Eskana has recently found Booster Gold in a very unexpected place: a 1987 issue of the academic Journal of Consumer Research.

The journal article, "Material Values in the Comics: A Content Analysis of Comic Books Featuring Themes of Wealth," as its author Russell W. Belk explains, "seeks to investigate a more detailed agenda of materialistic themes expressed in comic books." To do this, he studied stories from popular series featuring wealthy characters, specifically issues of Fox and Crow, Archie, Uncle Scrooge, and Richie Rich.

Comic book aficionados will not be surprised to learn that the results of this qualitative and quantitative analysis of American pop-culture reveals that American pop-culture generally reflects Protestant Christian values. "In terms of wealth and consumption per se, the message in the stories seems to be that material possessions can be both good and bad."

Booster Gold appears more or less as a footnote following the article's conclusion, wherein the author concedes that the stories of yesteryear may not be indicative of future themes, especially considering the more "fallible and human superheroes" who began appearing in the 1970s and 80s. Particular attention is drawn to — you guessed it — Booster Gold Volume 1. "If Booster Gold is a prototype, it will be extremely interesting to examine the messages about materialism that are delivered to the next generation of comic book readers."

Given that nearly four decades later, Booster continues to be a polarizing figure explicitly because of his unquenchable twin desires for wealth and fame, I'd say not all that much has changed. Thank goodness. (And thanks to Eskana for bringing this article to our attention.)


Russell W. Belk, Material Values in the Comics: A Content Analysis of Comic Books Featuring Themes of Wealth, Journal of Consumer Research, Volume 14, Issue 1, June 1987, Pages 26–42,

Comments (1) | Add a Comment | Tags: eskana journal of consumer resarch russell w. belk

Monday, May 22, 2023

Summer Vacation

Don't expect to see Booster Gold in any of this week's books. Don't expect to see him in any book in August, either.

DC released their August solicitations last week with nary a Booster in sight. Nor even a Dan Jurgens credit, which is important because Jurgens has historically been the one to sneak Booster back into the spotlight.

To be fair, most of the August books tie-in to the Knight Terrors event, and I can't say I'm sad that Booster looks to be missing out on that. (Perhaps he'll show up as a cameo appearance in someone else's nightmare?)

August does have a one-shot G'nort's Illustrated Swimsuit special. Could we see Booster in that? G'nort was Booster's Justice League International teammate for a while, and no hero in the DCU looks better in a swimsuit than our hero, as demonstrated in 2020's DC Cybernetic Summer!

© DC Comics

And even if we don't have new comics coming, we've still got plenty of old comics to read. Comics like 2014's Scribblenauts Unmasked: A Crisis of Imagination #7. I didn't know about that one until J told me last week. Thanks, J.

Keep your eyes peeled, Booster boosters. You never know where you'll find Booster Gold next!

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Friday, May 19, 2023

My Favorite Pages: Millennium 1

My Favorite Pages

Last week's featured book, Booster Gold #23, was just one of three comics with significant Booster Gold content released on September 15, 1987.

The second is Millennium #1, the first entry in a months-long event that would span the entire DC Universe. If you are familiar with Millennium, you are probably aware that it is... not especially beloved, largely because of the editorial mandate that each series being published had to tie-in, often in the most ham-fisted ways possible.

Especially in relation to Booster Gold.

But that's not the topic at hand. Even misguided comics can have fun pages. A highlight of events like these is always seeing all the heroes milling around as though they were regular partygoers at a costume party, like this crowd scene from page 14.

© DC Comics

It's actually kind of difficult to make these overcrowded group shots work as anything other than a class photo, but here artist Joe Staton and letterer Bob Lappan manage to give the scene some life as the dialog trickles back and forth down the page. Each snippet of conversation gives the impression that we're eavesdropping on natural dialog just as the camera comes to focus on the talker (or thinker, as the case may be).

Most importantly, Booster boosters are guaranteed to enjoy a callback to the running joke of people calling our hero "Buster." It's a classic!

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