- Booster Gold
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Friday, April 24, 2020
It didn't take long after Booster Gold joined the Justice League before he and Blue Beetle were inseparable. (Some might say insufferable!) The pair quickly became the Abbott and Costello of superheroics, their pranks and self-interested business ventures providing a comedic release from the stress of facing down would-be world conquerors six days a week.
None of their hijinks is bigger, more famous, or more disastrous than the time they established a casino on the tropical island of KooeyKooeyKooey, as seen in the story "Club JLI" published in Justice League America #34 (1989), an issue that easily ranks among the twelve best Booster Gold comics.
Writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis had been sowing the seeds for what would become "Club JLI" for months. After the JLI fought aliens in the South Pacific (Justice League International #23), the island nation of KooeyKooeyKooey decided to allow the JLI to host an embassy on its territory (Justice League International Annual #3). Their own tropical paradise on the far side of the world was the perfect opportunity for Booster and Beetle to establish the one business venture guaranteed to make money: a casino. The house always wins, right?
What out heroes didn't plan for was that their venture would attract the attention of another would-be world conqueror — the DCU is practically infested with them — the aptly named Major Disaster. Disaster also wanted to get rich, and he had an ace-in-the-hole, his card-counting companion, Big Sir. Together, the pair set out to break the bank.
Unfortunately for everyone, the bank had been established with money embezzled from the JLI's United Nations-funded bank accounts. Our heroes had assumed that they would be making so much money so fast, they would be able to replace the money before it was noticed missing. Oops.
As if things couldn't get any worse, Aquaman arrives to inform the newly-bankrupt heroes that their island paradise KooeyKooeyKooey isn't a normal island. It's alive. And it's not very interested in having a resort on its back.
By the end of the issue, Beetle and Booster find themselves far worse off than they were before, which is par for the course for our two favorite hard-luck heroes. Better luck next time, guys.
As you can see in the panels above, this Giffen/DeMatteis masterpiece is a perfect mix of comedy and action. Almost every panel has either a punchline or plot consequence. Most of the humor comes from the personalities of the characters involved, and the events will provide material enough to propel plots for months' worth of issues. (The fallout of the Club JLI misadventure will lead directly to Booster's quitting the League for a leadership position in the Conglomerate.)
And while I'm heaping praise on the writers, I'd be remiss to omit the contributions made by Adam Hughes, who was drawing only his fourth DC Comic! Even considering the limitations of four-color printing on newsprint, Hughes' character are so full of life that they nearly spring from the page. It must have been a hard job to follow the original JLI artist, master of expressions Kevin Maguire, but Hughes proves a formidable talent in his own right. (How many copies did DC sell based on Hughes' brilliant cover alone?)
Sometimes everything works, elevating what might otherwise be a light adventure story into a truly great comics. Justice League America #34 is one such case, and that's why it is rightly included among The Best Booster Gold Stories Ever.
Friday, April 17, 2020
Tired of being trapped in the house with your family? Would a trip to a tropical island resort hit the spot right about now? How about revisiting Club JLI!
Part of the fun of Booster Gold is that he's not the straightest of arrows. Sometimes he gets up to shenanigans that would make other heroes blush, none bigger than the time he and his BFF Blue Beetle established the casino resort on KooeyKooeyKooey in Justice League America #34.
Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite covers for two very important reasons: the boobs beside the pool.
Obviously, the boobs I'm talking about are Blue Beetle (with his scarab-pattern swim trunks!) and Booster Gold. But there is so much else to enjoy in this busy comedic scene, like level-headed team leaders Batman and Martian Manhunter holding back a raving Maxwell Lord on the left, and on the right, criminals Major Disaster and Big Sir sneaking over the hedge with their ill-gotten gains.
All that and, of course, Fire displaying the best of her Brazilian charms in a stunning two-piece bikini and swim skirt. Her expression tells us very clearly what she thinks about the two knuckleheads responsible for the hijinks erupting around her. Good ol' Bea.
This issue was released in 1989, and it's hard to believe that artist Adam Hughes had only been working professionally for two years at the time. Hughes has since become world-famous for his pinup covers of beautiful heroines, including but hardly limited to Wonder Woman and Catwoman. As you can see from the variety of poses and expressions on this cover alone, Hughes deserves recognition and high praise for far more than just cheesecake.
I have to admit this cover belongs to one of my favorite issues, as those of you familiar with my recent list of 12 Best Booster Gold Stories Ever already know. I'll explain why next week.
Stay tuned, Booster boosters!
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Justice League America #78 was released on this date 23 years ago. I like to remember it as the time that Jay Garrick (the original Flash) lied to Booster Gold.
Despite what you see in the panel above, when Garrick led the post-"Death of Superman" Justice League into action, Booster was left at home.
Ah, the good old days. In hindsight, Booster should have been happy to appear on panel at all. #FreeBoosterGold
Friday, May 6, 2011
Once upon a time, DC Comics used to publish yearbooks for the direct market spotlighting their planned titles for the upcoming year. Looking back, the best things about these books are what didn't come to pass. This image appeared on page 239(!) of the DC Comics 1993 Editorial Presentation: The Year of Change promotional book.
This pin-up image signed by cheesecake artist Bill Lux and Rick Burchett with its unusual cast of characters (Fire, Maxima, Wonder Woman and Oberon?), was never used in the series itself.
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