I Googled “comics pariah” and all I found was a picture of me.

§ April 13th, 2020 § Filed under question time § 3 Comments

Got a lot to get through today, but first let me note that yes, your favorite comic shop owner…me, I’m talking about me, smart guy…was interviewed for this New York Times article about the impact of the coronavirus on the comic book industry. Now, you might be able to read it for free or not, ain’t entirely sure how that whole set-up works, but hey, I’m ihn the Times, spreading some of that fake news you’ve all heard about. It’s an interesting article, and I think the writer did a good job making me sound like I know what I’m talking about, for which I’m grateful.

Okay, now let’s finish up what I couldn’t finish on Friday, my responses to your commments on this post about characters what may have some long-term staying power.

The extremely positive Yes! said

“DC sort of hit a wall in New 52, having to spend the a lot of stories attempting to reintroduce everyone. There’s been a lot of fun new ones like Bunker and Super-Man. But karma insists that for every Gotham Academy there’s must be a Green Team.”

Hmm, that’s something I hadn’t considered, that the focus was on retooling what already existed for current audiences versus trying to get new concepts out there. I do agree that the New Super-Man was a very fun title, but I don’t know if we’ll see that character again, or if we do, it’ll be in the same tone as in his own series.

“I bet soon Pandora will end up like Harbinger, a forgotten footnote to confuse future TPB readers.”

Remember when we were all excited about trying to find Pandora’s “Where’s Waldo?”-esque appearances in the early New 52 comics? Anyway, I suspect we’ll see Harbinger in a comic again before we ever see the return of Pandora.

Funny thing about Harbinger, and the other two Big! New! Star! that popped up in Crisis on Infinite Earths:


…is that they pop up now and again to this day. Well, maybe not this exact day but you get my meaning. So they’ve beeen around for 35 years, two of ’em even made it into live-action TV shows…I think they’re qualifying as long-lasting, if not houshold name, characters.

I was also looking them up on Wikipedia to see what’s up with them, and it turns out they sure died a lot. People just loved killin’ ’em off. And I noticed that for a couple of them, Pariah and Lady Quark, they would get kiled, then show up later alive in another comic with no explanation other than “the writer/editor forget to check. Or in Pariah’s case, killed, revived, then show as still dead later. Anyway, thought that was interesting.

Oh, and despite being around for as long as she was, I was looking up Lady Quark to see if she’d made any appearances beyond Crisis and that issue of DC Comics Presents and lo, she was a big part of L.E.G.I.O.N.….a comic that I read and really enjoyed. She was just that memorable, I guess.

Oh, right, Yes! still has more to say:

“(Chris Kent seems in retrospect to have been a dry run of sorts. He didn’t get a ton of negative response if I remember correctly. I wonder if that gave DC the confidence to try a more permanent introduction)”

For those of you coming in late, Chris Kent was a Kryptonian child Supes and Lois were raising until he ended up trapped in the Phantom Zone and out of the series.* I glossed over a whole lot there but that’s basically it. But yes, Yes1, maybe it wasn’t a direct tryout for giving Lois and Clark a kid of their own, but maybe the mostly positive response helped influence the decision.

There’s precedence, in that there was a “Supergirl” wished into existence by Jimmy Olsen in Superman #123, not long before the actual Supergirl showed up in Action #252. (There were other “Super Girl” type characters in the Superman comics prior to that one, but that one in Superman #123 felt like more of the dry run for what was coming.)

• • •

BK Munn lets me know

“The only reason I know Skaar is the Hulk and the Agents of SMASH cartoon show, which is still on one of the kids channels here.”

Oh, okay, that’s interesting. I didn’t realize that. So Skaar is still getting some usage somewhere, if not (current, that I recall) in the comics. Marvel and/or Disney lets no IP gather moss, I guess!

• • •

And just to acknowledge a couple of you jokers, yes, perhaps my phrasing it “Damian Wayne, the son of Batman and the current Robin” is a tad ambiguous. LOOK YOU KNOW WHAT I MEANT

• • •

So for next time, I’ll finally be covering Tim’s long-ago Twitter question regarding Twitter pal Tim’s query about folks overvaluing comics they were trying to sell. I’ve got a couple of specific examples that I’ll be covering, so I hope to see you back here on Wednesday. I mean, what else are we all doing, right?

* Cassand’s comment made me go look it up, since I couldn’t remember, and yup, there was a new version of Chris Kent who shows up during DC’s “Rebirth” initiative.

3 Responses to “I Googled “comics pariah” and all I found was a picture of me.”

  • Andrew-TLA says:

    There’s at least one other Lady Quark appearance out there. She was in an early issue of the Will Payton Starman by Roger Stern and Tom Lyle, and served as an excuse for the fight scene of the month.

    Which isn’t a bad thing, at all. I really liked that version of Starman, and consider it a shame that James Robinson decided he had always been Prince Gavyn.

  • BK Munn says:

    Even though I was a teenager breathlessly awaiting each issue of Crisis back in the 80s, I couldn’t remember much about Pariah except that he was the guy who showed up and was only able to look on in anguish while your planet was destroyed. And for some reason he needed a cape to do that. I suppose he was sort of like Uatu the Watcher in the sense that he was a Cosmic Bystander, but instead of doing something useful, like writing it all down, all he could do was uselessly fret and shriek in panic, more like a Cassandra/canary-in-the-coalmine. I’m always amused that even the dumbest comic book character has a Wikipedia entry longer than most Canadian prime ministers, but Pariah’s was mercifully short. It did remind me that the Monitors are the Watchers-slash-continuity-cops-slash-time-cops of the DCU and Pariah’s reason for existence in the DCU is nonexistent outside of his role in Crisis as the dude who is for some arcane reason is doomed to relive the deaths of his own universe because he was the scientist who first rang the Anti-Monitor’s doorbell, or whatever. The idea that he’s going to hang around after Crisis, supposedly “exploring the new world” alongside the other two created-specifically-for-the-series characters Lady Quark & Harbinger, was laughable. Did Wolfman really think everyone would be lining up to have the floating indestructible crybaby from another dimension on their superteam or guest-star in their solo adventure? I mean, it’s right there in his name. A little more succinct than Unpopular Joe or Mad Prophet of the Anti-Monitor, but c’mon.

  • Thom H. says:

    I have a great fondness for Pariah — and all things related to the original Crisis — but I agree he wasn’t really built to last.

    One of the main reasons Crisis was so exciting, to my young mind at the time anyway, was because there were real stakes. Old characters were dying and new ones were being created all the time.

    Off the top of my head, Crisis gave us the Monitor, the Anti-Monitor, Pariah, Harbinger, Lady Quark (and her family), the new Wildcat, the new Flash, and Alexander Luthor, Jr. I’m probably forgetting a couple.

    Maybe they’re not the most exciting bunch, but not too shabby for a year-long mini-series.

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