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Wednesday, March 25, 2020
If you can make it to your Local Comic Shop today, and if your shop hasn't already been closed by the ongoing COVID-19 emergency measures, you might consider picking up Harley Quinn: The Final Trial, a collection reprinting Booster Gold's appearances in Harley Quinn #66 and #67.
Sadly, as I'm sure most of you who visit this site already know, this is to be the last New Comics Day for a while. Diamond Comics Distributors, the sole distributor of all major American comic publishers, has announced that they are not shipping anything "until further notice." I don't disagree that this is probably a necessity in the current environment, but I'm still disappointed by the news.
I've been buying comics once a week since before the inception of the direct market, so I honestly don't know what life is like without a weekly trip to the comics shop. I feel a little like I've lost a limb.
(Once upon a time, I commented to a friend that I didn't understand how people could go a week without comics. Sometime later, I had to miss a week while out of town — I was literally driving across the country — and he teased me about it. The moral to this story, I guess, is be careful what you say to your friends.)
Not that the distribution halt will make all that much difference to Booster boosters. So far as I'm aware, there's only one book guest staring Booster in the current pipeline. On the up side, Booster Gold has already appeared, by my count, in over 850 comics in the past 35 years. That's plenty of re-reading material for any apocalypse.
Retailers and publishers are going to be the ones to really suffer as their revenue streams are closed indefinitely. (Forbes.com has a pretty good piece on what this may mean to the future of the direct marketplace.) They can use all the support we can give them. If you can afford it, consider filling in the holes in your Booster Gold comics collection by mail order from your LCS. After all, we need them to still be there when Diamond finally re-opens their doors, whenever that may be.
UPDATE 2020-03-25: not thirty minutes before I walked in the door of my LCS this afternoon, my local government announced that starting tomorrow, all local "nonessential" businesses must close for the next two weeks. Which certainly means it's a good thing for them that Diamond won't be shipping while they cannot receive the stock. Hooray, silver lining!
Friday, March 13, 2020
You may have heard that there's something of a global health crisis ongoing right now. As someone with older parents, I find it a little scary, which makes it a fitting topic for Friday the 13th. What would make me feel better is a super hero who could stop a spreading disease dead in its tracks.
Which brings me to that time that Booster Gold single-handedly prevented a disease outbreak (with a little help from Skeets).
Of course, when pandemics strike the DC Universe, there's usually some super villain at work. That was definitely the case in the story "Dream of Terror" published in Booster Gold #17 (1987).
Dr. Pete Babich is biologist and eugenicist obsessed with solving the problems of social inequality. Like so many bad guys, Babich considers himself a hero who believes that he alone has "the courage to do what must be done." Specifically, he means releasing a virulent, globe-spanning disease that will kill everyone he considers to be "undesirable," by which he means "poor."
To initiate his class warfare, he enlists the help of the Teen Titan Hawk. Babich has misled Hawk into thinking that the disease won't kill outright, but will instead sterilize the population. For some reason, Hawk still thinks this is a good idea.
Babich's initial target? Mexicans. He might have gotten away with it, too, if the Russians hadn't gotten involved via their agent, the mercenary Cheshire. (This is an American comic, remember? With us, it's always Mexicans and Russians.)
Because of the Russians' attempt to steal Babich's creation to use for their own purposes, the evil doctor is exposed to his own disease. It works as advertised, destroying a certain undesirable human in a scene delightfully dripping with dramatic irony.
It would be tragedy if Babich's engineered plague went on to kill hundreds or thousands worldwide, but this being a comic book, that's not going to happen. Especially not with Booster Gold on the scene.
Everyone lives happily ever after!
I certainly don't mean to suggest that COVID-19 is the work of a super villain (or the Russians). I just find reassurance in stories about good, powerful people putting their own lives on the line to save us. In the DC Universe, they're called super heroes. In the real world, we call them health care professionals.
Stay safe, everybody. (Personally, I'll be spending the foreseeable future indoors reading comics, so it's not all bad.)
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