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Friday, September 16, 2022

My Favorite Pages: Booster Gold 9

My Favorite Pages

To borrow another quote from Tom King's interview with Russ Burlingame exclusive to The Gold Exchange The Boosterrific Edition book:

Booster puts up a lot of shields — he's got forcefields; it's a good metaphor — but he puts up a lot of shields around himself, and some of those shields hide a lot of depth.

I couldn't agree more with that. If there's anything that Booster Gold is known for, it's his over-the-top confidence, but that confidence is often just an act, a projection of how Booster *wants* people to see him.

Rarely is the difference between Booster's private and public persona more visible than in my favorite page from Booster Gold volume 1 #9, the scene in which Michael Jon "Booster" Carter officially becomes Booster Gold.

© DC Comics

Golly, I miss thought balloons in comics.

That "At least it's... different!" really sums up another key aspect of Booster's personality: his determination to make the best of every situation (even when he's responsible for making the current situation so bad).

He might be a time traveler, but Booster Gold is always looking forward.

Comments (0) | Add a Comment | Tags: balloons favorite pages gold exchange interviews origins ronald reagan russ burlingame tom king

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

25 Years of Mindless Behavior

For years and years, artists believed that the best way to show what a comic strip character was thinking was to put their internal dialog in fluffy, bubbly word balloons. According to comics historian Brian Cronin, credit for that innovation belongs to Rudolph Dirks' Katzenjammer Kids newspaper comic strip in the early years of the 20th century.

However, at the dawn of the 21st century, this method began to fall out of favor in mainstream American superhero comics. Old-fashioned, abstract thought balloons were gradually replaced by the more "realistic" approach of putting the same internal dialog in square boxes, as though characters are narrating their behaviors after the fact.

Since this transition happened incrementally over time, it passed largely without comment. Which made me wonder, "When was the last time that Booster Gold used a thought balloon?"

The answer to this question is Superman #124, cover-dated June 1997.

© DC Comics

© DC Comics

So far as I've been able to tell, Booster Gold never thought again.

It just so happens that this issue also marks the last appearance of Booster's clunky late-90s armor, so it also represents something of bookend to his 1990s adventures. If loosing thought balloons is the price we had to pay to get Booster Gold back in tights, I think I can live with that.

Comments (0) | Add a Comment | Tags: balloons brian cronin superman

Monday, November 7, 2011

International Exchange: JLI #3

Russ Burlingame's latest "International Exchange" column with Dan Jurgens will soon be live at The Outhouse. A preview of the column is already posted at Comic Jurgens seems to be everywhere right now -- in addition to last week's two linked interviews, Jurgens is also interviewed at Comic Book Movie -- but Burlingame still finds a way to get some good information from the typically tight-lipped Jurgens, even if it isn't strictly Booster Gold related. Hey, whatever happened to thought balloons? You never really see them anymore, and I always kinda look at Guy's monologue at the end [of Justice League International #3] and think, "If only he'd been quieter...!".

DJ: Thought balloons have largely disappeared from comics, in general. There are circumstances where they work, others where they don't. My general approach is that if one member of the team has thought balloons, let's say Rocket Red, then they all should. And Batman never should, in my view.

© DC Comics

I suspect that Booster's last thought balloons appeared in Extreme Justice, 16 years ago. These days internal dialogue is almost always replaced by first person narrative boxes. This isn't necessarily a narrative improvement as much as it is an artistic convention.

That said, it is awfully hard to image Batman showing thought balloons in a team setting in 2011, isn't it?

Comments (2) | Add a Comment | Tags: dan jurgens international exchange justice league international russ burlingame style thought balloons

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