- Booster Gold
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Monday, January 27, 2020
Earlier this month, I laid out what I consider to be the twelve best Booster Gold comics in the character's 35-year history. I start with my personal favorite. If you only read one comic book featuring Booster Gold in your entire life, make it Justice League #4 (1987).
The story, aptly titled "Winning Hand," begins with Batman considering the merits of allowing businessman Maxwell Lord IV to foister new members on the newly-formed league. It's a great twist on established canon. Membership in the Justice League to this point had been limited to those nominated by card-holding members. Just being nominated usually meant a big boost in popularity. Naturally, a glory hound like Booster Gold was itching to be involved, even if it meant being backed by someone so obviously unethical as Mr. Lord.
However, Booster isn't entirely without scruples (or pride). Following the example set by Dr. Light, he walks away from the complicated situation rather than let himself be used. What Booster doesn't realize is that Lord has planned for that, too. While Booster is giving his inevitable post-meeting press interview, lives are threatened. Despite the fact that he has just been emotionally crushed by Lord's con job, Booster selflessly jumps into action to save threatened innocents.
Inside the Justice Cave, Batman takes advantage of the chaotic situation. He orders his colleagues to observe Booster in action so that they judge what the newest hero on the scene is really made of. Thus, Booster Gold finds himself in solo conflict with longtime league foes the Royal Flush Gang.
Booster Gold is more than up to the challenge. Using a full array of his impressive technology-based powers and more than a little of his innate intelligence and verve, Booster defeats the four human members of the gang in as many pages.
The victory earns Booster a round of applause from observing leaguers. He even gets a smile from an approving Batman. Many people would have been irritated by Batman's refusal to aid them, but not Booster. The former quarterback is actually pleased to have an audience. He does love the limelight.
The afterparty is short-lived. The fifth and final member of the gang, the Amazo-like android Ace, crashes the scene to make quick work of the league's most powerful members. This leaves Booster Gold to save the day. Well, Booster Gold and his soon-to-be best friend, Blue Beetle. Having known one another for only a few minutes, the pair teams up to destroy the rampaging robot once and for all.
What began as a job interview leads results in Booster's dream coming true (and a dawning new friendship). Batman offers Booster full membership in the league in a show of appreciation and respect, giving the young hero the credibility he so desired (and earned).
How can you not love that?
The issue's script by Keith Giffen is as perfectly paced as the best action movies, and the dialogue by J.M. DeMatteis positively crackles with authenticity, wit, and enthusiasm. Booster Gold comes off as the hero the league needs, and the league itself is clearly a family in the making. Add in Kevin Maguire's unparalleled ability to express both action and emotion (not to mention his brilliantly "cheeky" cover), and you have a guaranteed recipe for success.
Did I say this is my favorite Booster Gold comic? Make it my favorite comic, period.
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.
Monday, July 8, 2019
The old adage says never judge a book by its cover, but that's exactly what comic books expect you to do. If you like what you see on the cover, take a look inside!
Some covers do their jobs better than others. Some are truly outstanding in their own right. Among those is Kevin Maguire's composition for Justice League #4 (1987)
Maguire's mastery of body language and facial expressions was as important to the success of the "International" era of the Justice League as Keith Giffen's action-packed plots and J.M. DeMatteis' comedic dialogue. This cover doesn't need extra text to grab the reader's attention!
Look at Booster up there: the surprised underdog caught by a larger, unknown villain strong enough to defeat Green Lanterns, Earth's Mightiest Mortal, and (gulp!) Batman. It's a real David-and-Goliath scenario that will play out on the pages inside. Who wouldn't want to read that?
In addition to the promise of action, Maguire also echos the comedic tone of the writing inside with the "cheek"-y placement of that title logo. (Comics Code Authority approved!) Perhaps Booster is shocked that the solid-blue villain who defeated Martian Manhunter isn't wearing any pants. Watchmen was released concurrently with this title, so could that be Doctor Manhattan "moon"-lighting in the DC Universe? My curiosity is piqued! I guess I'll have to pick it up and look inside.
It happens that Justice League #4 doesn't just have one of my favorite covers. It is also my personal favorite Booster Gold story. It introduced Booster Gold to a whole new audience and did so in a way that demonstrated Booster's humanity and the value his powers could bring to the team. All that is summed-up on the cover. Brilliant!
What are some of your favorite covers?
Monday, February 19, 2018
Aaron Young interviewed Dan Jurgens at Ace Comic Con 2017, and that interview has now appeared at ComicsVerse.com. Jurgens is unusually frank about his relationship with his most famous creation.
ComicsVerse: So, moving on, you've created a lot of iconic characters in comics. My favorite is Booster Gold, and you're written Booster Gold quite a few times, and I just wondered if you feel any sort of ownership over that character.
Whether you, you know, kind of have a sort of protective over that character. You know, have you ever had it where you're, like, read an issue written by anybody else and you're like, "Oh no, that's not what Booster Gold would do!" you know, or whatever, or, you know? Just talk about that, I’m just curious.
Dan Jurgens: Yeah, that happens but for the most part, you know, I've done most of the stories that were out there. And when Keith Giffen and Marc DeMatteis, for example, were using him in JUSTICE LEAGUE, Keith always said, "We're borrowing the character."
And I always looked at that as sort of like an Earth JUSTICE LEAGUE thing anyway which was just fine and I, you know, genuinely liked the dimension that Keith brought to the character, but for the most part, it's something I do enjoy doing. I don't know if ownership is quite the right word as much as kind of I suppose it's true that I’m sort of protective of the character 'cause I can kind of know where it can go and what it can do.
While Booster Gold belongs to DC Comics to use (or ignore) at their will, Jurgens can proudly take credit that no writer has had more of a hand in guiding and developing Booster Gold. He's written nearly a fifth of all the stories in which Booster Gold appears. Only Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis come close. (They combine to about an eighth.) There are few comic book characters in history that can boast such creative consistency over so many decades.
You can find the whole interview at ComicsVerse.com.
Monday, November 6, 2017
While I like most Booster Gold comics, I love some more than others. Among my favorites is Justice League Quarterly #1, the first appearance of the Conglomerate, released on this date in 1990.
The issue's story, "Corporate Maneuvers (and leveraged buyouts)," was a logical counterpoint to the Justice League International era. Unwilling to sit back and let the nations of the world monopolize influence on the activities of formerly independent super heroes, the major international corporations of the DC Universe developed their own team: the Conglomerate. It was only natural that the original Corporate Crusader himself would lead them into battle.
The Conglomerate went on to much early success which created tension with Booster's friends in the JLI, especially Blue Beetle. I probably don't need to tell you that the two teams have to overcome their jealousy of one another to save the day, but it's very satisfying when the inevitable finally happens.
You probably won't see this issue on any "must read" list for new Booster Gold fans. I admit that it's mainly a Justice League International story. However, Booster Gold does have a starring role, and the story does directly address the dichotomy of Michael Jon Carter's "shallow" public persona versus his more noble self-identification. For that reason alone, I think it's worth a look for people interested in the evolution of my favorite character.
Besides, who doesn't love that leather jacket?
In honor of the issue's anniversary, here's Adam Hughes' original pencil work for the cover — an homage to Kevin Maguire much duplicated "crowded elevator" cover for Justice League #1 — as published in Back Issue #2 (February 2004). As you can see, an uninvited guest crashed this party! Click the image to embiggen.
Here's to the good old days!
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