The Boycott of DC Comics: Pt. 1 (EDITORIAL)
The other night, on a humble, I broke ranks with my DC boycotting brethren and did something I hadn’t done since I was a child fiending for Saturday morning entertainment: I watched a DC cartoon, make that an animated feature. It was called Justice League: War, and frankly it was well above my expectations of anything DC was capable of cranking out. In fact, I’m not ashamed to publicly pay this achievement the highest compliment someone with my history can pay it:
It made me wanna run right out and buy, and read, DC comic books!
That’s right, I said: READ. DC. COMICS.
I grew up in the MARVEL UNIVERSE. A universe where Gotham City, Metropolis, Central City, Paradise Island, Krypton and wherever the hell that green-suited guy with the ring is from, are all the cosmic equivalent of flyover states. In the comic cosmos, there was, for the most part, only Queens, Manhattan, the advanced African nation of Wakanda, the Negative Zone, and of course there was Brooklyn, my home.
And in my Brooklyn, in the late 70s / early 80s, DC comics were quite simply unacceptable.
Who the hell knows how these things happen? Certain items, brands, TV shows, pets, you name it; even some people just acquire a stigma and somehow wind-up on the Brooklyn shitlist and remain taboo, whether justifiably or not, eternally. My Brooklyn’s relationship with DC comics was kinda like America’s relationship with Cuba, inflexible to the point of irrational, an outdated meme perpetuated beyond most people’s remembrance of how or when it started. And it didn’t matter, cuz being caught with a DC Comic book was tantamount to getting caught jerking off to Jet Magazine pin-ups in the boys locker room…nah, that’s too light. Actually, it was the social equivalent of getting caught at the choking your chicken while flipping through the pages of some muscle magazine featuring Lou Ferrigno flexing on the cover and a rippling Arnold Schwarzenegger Pumping Iron as its centerfold.
It was that bad. Something you’d likely never live down.
I grew up in the ‘hood proper, to be sure, but make no mistake about it, many of my closest friends were FanBros through and through. From comics to baseball cards, to the arcade versions of Space Invaders and Asteroids, even Pong, and then Atari, etc…we were into all of it, hardcore, full-tilt. And this was the norm, mind you.
But then there were those next-level geeks, like me, who secretly collected rocks (even stole books from Grand Army Plaza library to increase my knowledge of their properties, convinced that I was destined to make the geological find of the millenium, in Prospect Park) and kept them in egg cartons, labeled and filed, stacked damn near floor-to-ceiling in my bedroom; an obsession that began one day while digging a hole in my backyard and discovering a golden-like substance (probably petrified dog shit but no one could convince me that it wasn’t the tip of a golden iceberg until I’d dug a tunnel damn near to Brownsville).
The reason these egg cartons were stockpiled in my bedroom was because, well, they couldn’t fit in the closet; for that was where I kept my holiest of holies, my treasure beyond measure: My Topps baseball card collection (Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Reggie Jackson among them) and my Marvel comics, all read once or twice, three times the most, cataloged and stored in plastic sleeves with cardboard backs.
Emphasis on Marvel Comics, I should add.
I had other comics, as well, but they never made the closet treasure chest. I’m talking Archie, Dennis the Menace, and a couple of other crap titles I can hardly remember. Some Mad and Cracked Magazines, National Lampoon, and shit like that. Those were the ones I left sitting around for friends and family to finger.
No one got to touch the treasure.
Not only were DC Comics socially prohibitive, but I really wasn’t interested in any of their characters, either. I mean, even as a child I was a connoisseur, and sharp enough to know shit from shinola. And while it wasn’t exactly fair to hold comics accountable for their TV manifestations, I absolutely did. Especially when it came to DC comics for I didn’t have any comic books to compare, for example, that lame ass
George Reeves’ Superman with. And while the Adam West Batman had its moment, it was mostly crap and predictable. The Linda Carter Wonder Woman, though easy on the eyes, especially when she twirled around jiggling her assets, was otherwise just whack, that Shazam / Captain Marvel character was just a boy living with an old guy in a fucking mobile home and, whatever, and the Super Friends cartoon, I admit, had me at first, but then devolved into a goof-fest with those super silly-assed Wonder twins (ugh). None of these I would want to spend my days watching, let alone reading, and certainly nothing I would risk ending up in Spofford Juvey Jail with my Irish Spring on a string for stealing from the newsstand on Franklin Avenue (like I did virtually every comic in my collection at that time) that’s for damn sure.
That’s the kind of pre-adolescent sticky-fingered, rock-collecting snob in the ‘hood I was.
The Richard Donner / Christopher Reeves Superman, however, gave me a pause of reconsideration, one that would eventually lead to a turnabout. I mean, Superman Parts one and two are still deservedly on my top 10 list of Superhero movies. Must have sat there in the Metropolitan theater in downtown Brooklyn by myself watching that first one about four times without leaving my seat. That “You got me? Who’s got you?” Lois Lane rescue / helicopter catch scene still almost triggers #ThugTears, and had pre-teen me damn near bawling. Good thing I was alone.
Then came the actual first instance of turnabout.
..to be continued