- Booster Gold
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Monday, December 20, 2021
The life of any comic book hero would be a lonely one if not for the many characters who have made up their supporting cast. Just as Superman has Lois Lane and Batman has Alfred, Booster Gold has also shared his adventures with quite a few people over the years. Today we look at two of those, Benny and Marty.
From the moment Booster Gold made his public debut, publisher Skip Andrews realized the larger-than-life hero would be a perfect addition to the Blaze Comics universe of characters. And thus did Andrews unwittingly set in motion the events that would lead to the death of his star writer/artist team of Benny Lindgren and Marty Kramer.
This is their story.
Booster Gold #4, 1986
Booster Gold #7, 1986
Booster Gold #9, 1986
Booster Gold #10, 1986
Being a comic book creator is a dangerous life!
By the way, in 2015, I asked Booster Gold writer Dan Jurgens whether Benny and Marty were based on real world New Teen Titans creators Marv Wolfman and George Pérez. Jurgens answered:
I wouldn't go that far with Benny and Marty, though there may be a hint of truth to it. In a way, they were based more on the idea of team books and their creative teams of that era.
Thanks, Dan. And thanks to Marv and George for being so inspiring!
Are you interested in meeting other "People in his Neighborhood"? Follow these links to get to know Mrs. Carter, Daniel Carter, Michelle Carter, Trixie Collins, Nurse Devlin, Dirk Davis, Rani, Skeets, Jack Soo, Mackenzie Garrison, Rip Hunter, Monica Lake, Doctor Shocker, Blackguard, and Mister Twister.
Monday, November 1, 2021
The life of any comic book hero would be a lonely one if not for the many characters who have made up their supporting cast. Just as Superman has Lois Lane and Batman has Alfred, Booster Gold has also shared his adventures with quite a few people over the years. Today we look at one of those, Mister Twister.
Who is Mister Twister, you ask? Here's the man himself, from his first (and so far only) confrontation with Booster Gold in 1987's Booster Gold #5:
That Mister Twister was a "bizarre lunatic" with a giant bomb who attempted to hold the Metropolis Mammoths ice hockey team and its arena full of fans hostage for $3,000,000.
But was he really "The one, the only"? It's hard to tell.
As it happens, the very first person to use the alias Mister Twister was a novelist named Dan Judd who took to a life of crime and bedeviled Superman... in 1946 on Earth-2!
Judd was only as criminal as was necessary to get material for his book, and hung up his alter ego when his manuscript was published. For more details on this bit of alternate-Earth history, track down a copy of Action Comics #96!
Many years later, someone more significant — and much more malignant — would adopt the name Mister Twister. His story began when the government of a typical American community called Hatton Corners declined to respect a contract made by their founders.
The Brave and the Bold #54, 1964
When Hatton Corners didn't make good its debt, Bromwell "Brom" Stikk did what any wronged landowner would do: he used mysticism to control the weather and enslave the town's teenagers!
Unfortunately for Stikk, Hattons Corners' teenagers had friends in the teenaged sidekicks of the Justice League. Mister Twister ultimately proved no match for Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad. The teens' teamwork in saving Hatton Corners paved the way for the formation of the Teen Titans, but the horrible Mister Twister was arrested by the authorities and would not be seen again for some time, at least not as Bromwell Stikk.
When Twister finally reappeared in the months after the Crisis on Infinite Earths re-wrote the entire DC Universe in 1985, his mystical powers had been replaced by technology. Twister's face and powers may have changed, but his methodology hadn't. His goal was still holding young men and women hostage for money. And he was still no match for sidekicks.
Was this mad bomber calling himself "Mister Twister" the post-Crisis incarnation of Bromwell Stikk? It's possible. It certainly wouldn't be the craziest twist in Stikk's story.
Years after the Metroplex bombing attempt, the Teen Titans would learn (in Secret Origins Annual #3, 1989) that their longtime foe Gargoyle was actually Stikk disguised and empowered by a cosmic entity called the Antithesis. Stikk would finally free himself from the Antithesis' control and beg Roy Harper for forgiveness for his past wickedness (in Justice League of America #16, 2008).
As so often happens in the DCU, past wickedness would not be forgotten, and Mister Twister was reborn again in the wake of Convergence as a literal demon — and the explanation for why the New 52 Titans hadn't remembered their past adventures together.
Titans Hunt #8, 2016
Even as a demon, Mister Twister was defeated by a team of former sidekicks. Some things *never* change.
Are you interested in meeting other "People in his Neighborhood"? Follow these links to get to know Mrs. Carter, Daniel Carter, Michelle Carter, Trixie Collins, Nurse Devlin, Dirk Davis, Rani, Skeets, Jack Soo, Mackenzie Garrison, Rip Hunter, Monica Lake, Doctor Shocker, and Blackguard.
Monday, September 6, 2021
The life of any comic book hero would be a lonely one if not for the many characters who have made up their supporting cast. Just as Superman has Lois Lane and Batman has Alfred, Booster Gold has also shared his adventures with quite a few people over the years. Today we look at one of those, his mother.
Today is Labor Day in America, a holiday to celebrate those who helped ensure that we don't have to work on holidays. Do you know who still has to work holidays? Mothers.
Mothers never get days off. It's a tough job, made all the tougher when you're poor, single, and have twin mouths to feed. That's true today, and will still be true for the mother of Michael Jon "Booster" Carter and his sister Michelle in AD 2462 Gotham City.
The birth name of Mrs. Carter remains a mystery to the public record. Her last name was borrowed from a man who turned his back on his own family, and her children always call her "Ma." But what's really important is that she loved and supported her children, even the conceited one who played college football.
When Ma got sick, can anyone blame Booster for turning to a life of crime to ensure that she got the treatment she needed? Isn't that what any good son would do?
And when Ma found out her son had cheated to pay for her treatment, can anyone blame her for being disappointed in him? Wouldn't every good mother hope that she had raised her children better than that?
Sometimes, when we're angry, we say things we don't really mean and can't take back. Booster Carter wouldn't even get the opportunity to try. To distance himself from his mistakes, he made the fateful decision to steal a time machine and runaway into the past. By the time he found a way back, it was too late.
There could be no reconciliation. Tragically, Ma Carter would never learn of her son's heroic self-redemption.
Or wouldn't she? Nothing is as straightforward as it seems in the life of a time traveler.
While Booster would live his life believing that he had missed his opportunity to set things right, fate had other plans. Years later (from Booster's perspective), an attempt to keep Superman from doing unintentional harm to history resulted in an accidental trip back to the Gotham City of 2642. Thus Booster Gold was given a rare a second chance to clear the air.
If you get a chance this holiday, maybe you should call your mother.
Are you interested in meeting other "People in his Neighborhood"? Follow these links to get to know Daniel Carter, Michelle Carter, Trixie Collins, Nurse Devlin, Dirk Davis, Rani, Skeets, Jack Soo, Mackenzie Garrison, Rip Hunter, Monica Lake, Doctor Shocker, and Blackguard.
Monday, August 9, 2021
The life of any comic book hero would be a lonely one if not for the many characters who have made up their supporting cast. Just as Superman has Lois Lane and Batman has Alfred, Booster Gold has also shared his adventures with quite a few people over the years. Today we look at one of those, Blackguard.
When you hear "Batman villain," you probably think of the Joker. Superman has Lex Luthor, and Wonder Woman has Cheetah. It's an old adage that all heroes are defined by their opponents. But before you can battle the king, you have to work your way up the hill.
Long before Joker, Batman started his career against Doctor Death. Superman originally matched wits with the Ulra-Humanite; Wonder Woman had Princess Maru. Everyone has to start somewhere.
Booster Gold started with Blackguard in the pages of Booster Gold #1.
Blackguard's technology was a gift of his sponsor, the criminal organization 1000, who had hired him to steal technology from Metropolis' S.T.A.R. Labs. A clumsy getaway resulted in his first, accidental encounter with rookie hero Booster Gold.
The inaugural confrontation between hero and villain took up most of the pages in Booster Gold #1 as the matched pair took turns showcasing their super powers and abilities. Both had scientifically advanced power suits. Booster was lithe; Blackguard was strong. Booster had energy lasers; Blackguard had an energy mace. Booster was smarter, and Blackguard was ultimately defeated.
Everyone's got to have a gimmick, and "being defeated" would soon become Blackguard's. Despite his considerable cybernetic strength and amazing, mentally-controlled energy constructs, Blackguard's general incompetence would lead to his defeat again...
Blackguard appeared on three of the first four covers of Booster Gold beginning in 1985, but unlike our hero, Blackguard's journey would be out of the public eye. While Booster was growing rich and/or famous, the forgotten villain spent most of the next few decades — except for a *very* brief stint as a henchman for the devil Neron — in maximum security prisons The Slab or Belle Reve. He gave himself the aspirational nickname, "The Human Killing Spree" (in Guy Gardner: Warrior #36) but given his track record, it's hard to believe he could ever successfully kill even a single person — unless it was by accident.
When he was finally paroled in 2005, Blackguard turned over a new leaf. Using his given name, Richard "Dick" Hertz, he partnered with experienced restaurateur Guy Gardner and opened a bar in the building next door to Booster Gold's Super Buddies team headquarters.
Like so many other would-be reformed villains, Blackguard was eventually given a second chance to do bad, and he still tried to make the best of it as an agent of Task Force X, better known as the Suicide Squad. In Blackguard's case, it lived up to its name.
Ironically, Blackguard has become more famous in death than he ever was in life. He made his live-action movie debut in last week's The Suicide Squad, where he is portrayed by Pete Davidson.
Meanwhile, glory-seeking Booster Gold is still waiting for his shot at movie stardom. Blackguard didn't win at much, but at least he's got that.
Are you interested in meeting other "People in his Neighborhood"? Follow these links to get to know Trixie Collins, Daniel Carter, Jack Soo, Rani, Dirk Davis, Skeets, Mackenzie Garrison, Rip Hunter, Michelle Carter, Nurse Devlin, Monica Lake, and Doctor Shocker.
Friday, May 14, 2021
If you visited your Local Comic Shop this week, you might have picked up a copy of the DC Festival of Heroes: The Asian Celebration #1 like I did. The title is an accurate representation of what's inside the book, and I enjoyed the much-deserved spotlight on characters who too rarely get their share of the accolades.
If I had any problem with the book, it was only that it was too short. DC Comics has several other notable Asian characters worthy of more attention, characters like August General in Iron, Rising Sun, Maya, Doctor Light, and the head of Research and Design for Booster Gold International, Dr. Jack Soo.
In the spirit of further celebration of the contribution of Asian characters to the DC Universe, what follows is a post about Soo's trailblazing contribution to the cast of Booster Gold Volume 1 in the 1980s, previously published on the Boosterrific blog in 2015:
It cannot be denied that the original cast of Booster Gold was pale. Michael Carter was white. Trixie Collins was white. Dirk Davis was white. About the only characters in the first six issues who weren't white were Booster's orange cats, Jack and Jill. (Hey, it's not Booster's fault that Metropolis was settled almost exclusively by Western Europeans and Kryptonians.)
The eventual introduction of supporting cast member Dr. Jack Soo in Booster Gold #7 finally provided an injection of some much needed color.
Jack Soo was the best young inventor at Scientific and Technological Advanced Research Laboratories (aka S.T.A.R. Labs) when he was hired to create a new female super suit for Goldstar, Inc. He delivered on his reputation and earned his place in Booster Gold's supporting cast.
While Soo's specific heritage is never addressed, his tan skin, dark hair, and narrow eyes indicate Asian ethnicity. "Soo" also happens to be a Westernization of the fairly common Chinese surname "Su."
Of course, it's hard not to notice the sudden appearance of an ethnic minority in a comic full of white characters. But was Asian the right race for Booster Gold's first new supporting character? I mean, isn't "Asian scientist" a little cliched?
As always, I turned to creator Dan Jurgens for the answer.
Yes, we realized that we need to have a more diverse cast.
I would also add that "Asian scientist" might seem a bit stereotypical now, but it certainly wasn't 30 years ago.
Jurgens has a point there. While ethnic Asians make up almost 15% of all modern science, technology, engineering, and technology jobs in America today (second in percentage only to — you guessed it — whites), that number was closer to 5% in 1980 according to census.gov.
We haven't seen Jack since Booster Gold #22 (1987). I assume that's because he's been hard at work in his lab creating new wonders. Thanks for all your hard work, Dr. Soo.
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