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Destined to have been put in a Snyder film.

§ September 25th, 2023 § Filed under batman, dc comics § 11 Comments

So I’m always processing back issues at the shop…I have enough old comics just sitting in the boxes in the back room that I can probably spend the remaining few years of my life just bagging and tagging funnybooks for sale. Usually it’s a pretty quick process and I don’t get held up on any single item, puzzling over what I’m going to price it. But once in a great while, I hit bit of a roadblock that’s got me wondering.

In this case, it’s a copy of Superman und Batman (or just Superman according to the indicia inside), a German comic published in 1968:

This issue features a fairly important story in comics history, the introduction of the modern version of Batgirl (Barbara Gordon). The original English edition was released with a cover date of January 1967 (so likely very late in 1966):

Most striking of course is the color change, from the dark background on the U.S. version, versus the bright white background on the German edition.

Pages inside are good ‘n’ bright. with all the text machine-relettered verus hand printing:

And here’s the back cover because what the heck, I scanned it so here you go:

The original sells for several thousand dollars in good shape. But what of the German reissue? I’ve sold lots of non-English translations of older American superhero comics over the years, and in general they’re priced relatively low to move as more novelties than anything else.

Now, comics in Spanish do well since I live in an era with many speakers of it. But the few German comics I’ve had sit around a bit, but this one may be the exception.

Now, the original Detective #359 can sell thousands of dollars, depending on condition of course. But a reprint of a (cough) “key” story released overseas? This is taking some research as to what the potential price would be, but it’s going to take a while. In the meantime, thought I’d show it to you, because it’s pretty neat!

Also, the title should more accurately be Superman und Batman und Flash, because between the stories featuring Supes and Bats was this Flash story:

“Hey Zack, what’s up.”

Just ramblin’ about the past.

§ September 22nd, 2023 § Filed under collecting, dc comics § 17 Comments

I miss being able to flip open a comics ‘zine and seeing a pure and simple news blurb like this:

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like reading about scandals and shenanigans in the comics industry as much as the next guy, but it’s…just nice where the item is entirely “this dude got a job on this comic.”

And whatta comic it was:

I bought this new off the rack in 1981, where 12-year-old me was still learning about the back continuity of DC’s heroes. And Tales of the Green Lantern Corps went deep into the history of that particular franchise. Between this, reprints of older stories in DC’s digests, and seeing that Golden Age/Silver Age GL team up against Krona on the early Nickelodeon show Video Comics, I knew pretty much everything I needed to know about Green Lantern.

I really ate up that stuff as a young Mikester, trying to find out about the histories of all these characters. It’s probably why I really appreciated Roy Thomas’ work on DC’s Golden Age characters at the time, as that fan feared no footnotes, exposited every exposition. I loved it all. Now, going back as Old Mikester, approaching it as storytelling versus an educational textbook, that early ’80s Golden Age material doesn’t go down quite as smoothly, but I’ll always appreciate the lessons of Roy ‘n’ pals.

Those aforementioned digests helped a lot too, reprinting from DC’s vast back catalog in themed releases…”here’s the Justice League one, here’s one with a bunch of secret origins, here’s one with Batman villains.” I grabbed those whenever I could. Even if they weren’t necessarily “educational” in the sense of explaining pertinent details of the past, it was still fun to see these tales of yesteryear, and even so E. Nelson Bridwell (or someone) usually had a small text piece providing historical context for the contents.

Sometimes the digests were like mini-graphic novels, like this one which included this whole “Batman – Murderer!” storyline. Or this whole “Warlord versus his arch-nemesis Deimos” one.

And then, going back to supplying some background to their currents series, there’s that one pictured to the right…a digest focused on the Justice Society, released shortly after the debut of of Roy Thomas’s Golden Age-centric All-Star Squadron, It not only featured an origin of the Justice Society, but also included the first Per Degaton story, a character that would again rise to some prominence during the ’80s.

Look, I wasn’t sure where I was going to end up when I started writing this post…it’s just that seeing that ancient news blurb made me nostalgic for a simpler time as a comic collector. One where I actually did wonder who was going to write/draw what title, and one where I still eagerly awaited any glimpses into the past either via reprints or flashbacks.

news blurb from Comics Feature #9 (1981)

There goes my Fables stage musical.

§ September 18th, 2023 § Filed under dc comics, publishing, retailing § 19 Comments

An update to Friday’s post about Bill Willingham declaring his Fables comic to be in the public domain: in a shocking turn of events, the publisher of Fables, DC Comics, has a problem with that. They released an announcement that basically says “Fables is ours, don’t even try it, we’re looking at you Rob Liefeld” and okay I added that last part, but still, they’re not into the whole “public domain” thing as one would expect.

And like I said, this ain’t gonna be settled ’til there’s been a lawsuit or three, so…um, don’t make up stories based on public domain fairy tale characters that even slightly resemble those published under the Fables label, I guess? And certainly don’t call it Fables.

Anyway, there may be a lot of probable…grey area to this story, as has been brought up in the comments to Friday’s post. We’ll see how this plays out.

To answer the question Sean brought up regarding who owns Willingham’s superhero team the Elementals: I actually Googled the phrase “who owns the elementals comic book” and up popped the name “Andrew Rev.”

“Comico’s publisher, Andrew Rev, purchased the Elementals property from Willingham in the 1990s.”

So I presume ol’ Andrew is still just sitting on the rights, and doing nothing with them. Or trying to do something with them and none of us know about it because it hasn’t been going anywhere. Ah well.

• • •

In other news, I’ve got medical stuff going on in the mornings for the first part of the week, so…posting may be light on Wednesday. I’m only getting this much typing done right now because I got an early start Sunday evening. But at least I wanted to show you this picture:

Believe it or not, I thought I was smiling. But I guess comics are Serious Bizness so my stern look of disapproval at all of you is the best I can manage.

So anyway, those comics. That Amazing Fantasy #15 and Amazing Spider-Man #1. About a year and a half ago a gentlemen brought in some Silver Age Marvel for sale and I purchased them from him. He and his family had inherited these and over a few weeks he offered up several comics to me that I of course had to buy. Then one week he showed me those two omics in the picture there. He wasn’t quite sure if he wanted to part with them just yet, but we talked about them and how we’d sell them and so on.

I saw him a few more times over the following months, buying other comics from him but he still wasn’t ready to part with those two books. Until he was, just recently! And before you ask…no, they’re sold, I don’t have them hanging around the store, so keep your Ocean’s 11-style shenanigans out of my shop. But I guess after all our dealings together he decided he liked the cut of my jib and asked me to handle these two beauties.

More and more stuff has shown up from this collection, and one of the unintended consequences of letting people know I had an Amazing Fantasy #15 is that I’m seeing and hearing from a lot of people about what I have to offer in my shop. Now, while I’ve been in this business for three and a half decades, I’m not a Big Name Retailer. I’m probably not even the biggest retailer in the county. So it probably came as a surprise to a lot of folks that this nobody with a tiny shop out in Camarillo, CA is suddenly awash in The Big Books.

This won’t last forever, of course. This collection will eventually run out (though there’s plenty of good stuff I still need to process) and once I no longer had The Big Books folks will move on. Unless more people bring me stuff like this after seeing…um, that I had stuff like this. I don’t know, we’ll see. But it’s been fun looking through these books that I haven’t had in my hands in a while.

…Like that Amazing Fantasy #15. Last time I held one of those in my hands was just before the big price jump in the…1990s, I think? Back when we had it for a few hundred dollars, as opposed to the…quite a bit more it commands now? Quite the item, and it was good to see it in person once again.

Not a lawyer, not even a little bit.

§ September 15th, 2023 § Filed under dc comics, publishing § 19 Comments

So I suppose the big, surprising news of the week is Bill Willingham announcing that he is giving Fables over to the public domain. According to his press release (warning: Substack link), his frustrations with the current publisher of Fables, DC Comics, has brought him to this decision.

There has been an enormous amount of commentary on this already, and here I am slopping more on the pile. You’ll see a lot of people saying things like “I’m not a copyright lawyer, but” and then pontificating on the ramifications of this, and look, I’m only human. I’m gonna ramble on about it myself, because there are a few questions I have, a few responses I want to relate, and so on.

First off, can Bill Willingham even do this? Can you announce that something is just “public domain” now and that’s that? A few years back Tom Lehrer put all his music into the public domain, and apparently it was quite the chore on his part to do so. Granted, I’m getting the “quite the chore” part second hand, since I’m not finding a primary source for that, but Tom definitely dood it. And I presume the hard part was getting any record labels with whom he had prior arrangements to play along.

But what does this Fables announcement mean, exactly? Various commentators have noted dumping a thing into the public domain isn’t necessarily a thing you can do. The Techdirt article link I posted suggest that really the best you can do is say “I won’t, and no heirs (if any) will, sue you if you use this thing I own.” As pal Nat said on Bluesky, maybe Willingham can offer what amounts to a free license to everyone to use his Fables material…which may conflict with preexisting contracts Willingham has with DC.

Willingham’s take is that, while he’s under contract to DC, he himself can’t do anything with Fables outside their purview…but by offering Fables up for free, everyone else can. Now I’m sure there’s going to be a test case for this eventually, as, say, Dynamite decides to publish their own Fables book, and DC/Warner/Discovery says “hold on there, pardner,” and slaps a big lawsuit or, at minimum, a cease and desist on them. The legality of “anyone can use Fables is going to be settled by courts, I’m almost positive.

It’s that contract with DC that I’m now wondering about, after Nat pointed it out. I am presuming Willingham’s lawyers looked over everything and gave him the “sure, go ahead” with this announcement. As he says repeatedly, he is the sole owner of the property, and outside the agreements he has with DC, he can do whatever he wants with it. But I suspect DC is going to spend at least a little money in legal action deciding if in fact this is the case. Willingham said that part of what moved him to this course of action was that he couldn’t afford the time or money to sue DC, but he may end up in court about this anyway.

As anther Bluesky user said (and Neil Gaiman concurred), this may be less about getting Fables into the public domain than about basically putting the screws to DC regarding their own ability to make new Fables comics. After all, ol’ Bill was pretty pissed at DC. (Given that he lost control over a previous comic he created, Elementals, I imagine he’s pretty sensitive about ownership of his work.)

Also, as many folks have joked, “at last, we can do stories about Snow White and the Big Bad Wolf!” I know, I know, Fables primarily concerned itself with characters from fairy tales, all of whom were already in the public domain. The situations, stories, and character interpretations are all Willingham’s, of course, and that’s what he’s offering up. It’s like, anyone can do Frankenstein’s Monster, but only Universal Studios can do the Frankenstein’s Monster you immediately thought of when you read the name.

I’m reminded a bit of Dave Sim, who has said that Cerebus would enter the public domain upon his death. Again, this is likely the “no one will sue you” option more than actual public domain, but Dave owns Cerebus outright and, far as I know, has no legal contracts involving the character with outside parties. Quite a different situation than that with Fables, where an entertainment conglomerate has at least some minor interest in the property.

Basically what I’m saying is, nobody knows for sure how this is going to work until someone tries to make it work, and we see how DC reacts. Like, don’t look for “Stan Lee Presents Fables” from Marvel anytime soon. Though…if Marvel still has publication rights to comics based on Once Upon A Time, maybe we can get that crossover we’ve always wanted…!

Okay, fine, it’s Abra Kadabra.

§ August 30th, 2023 § Filed under dc comics, flash § 33 Comments

Picking up on Monday’s “Trial of the Flash” post, Daniel T links to an interview with its writer, Cary Bates, with relevant info. Daniel T has a choice quote from the interview about Crisis and how it affected his story (and what could have come afterwards).

And Scipio…ah, Scipio, fellow veteran of the early 2000s comicsweblogosphere, the horrors we’ve seen. Anyhoo, Scipio popped in to remind me of one of the more…out-there elements of the whole “Trial of the Flash” storyline: Nathan Newbury:

Okay, SPOILERS for a nearly 40-year-old story just below.

Mr. Newbury was an accountant who was serving on the jury for the Flash’s trial. But, as we learn eventually, Mr. Newbury was…”psychically possessed” by a mind from the distant future who was convinced of the hero’s innocence. And also spoke in an overly elaborate manner that I think was said future mind having to communicate using Newbury’s ingrained speech patterns, but I don’t know if that was ever made explicit. (Sorry, I just reread #350, wasn’t going to dive back into the whole series, like, tonight.)

Now by any reasonable standard, once ths court found out about this level of jury-tampering, it’d all be declared a mistrial and they’d start over, right? Well, not according to this news report:

I’ve said before that the nightly news in the Marvel Universe would be indistinguishable from watching wrestling, and that the televised news reports in the DC Universe would instead inspire fear and madness in those who watched. I think this bit of insanity supports the argument. Though I suspect a certain forthcoming Big Trial in the real world may surpass even these wild events. I’m putting my nickel down on “space aliens” in the office pool.

From what I read of Nathan Newbury’s appearance in #350…I mean, it wasn’t so bad. It wasn’t quite the deus ex machina it feels like it should be, if only because the future mind in question has a prior connection to the Flash. And it’s not like Flash comics haven’t been rife with time travel shenanigans over the decades.

So ultimately the most troubling thing about Mr. Newbury is his moustache. That’s a moustache that challenges you. And frankly, the true surprise villain of the piece has a sidekick in this issue with the name of “Snurff,” and that, my friend, is the real crime.

What’s nice about Flash #350, the last of the series, is that Bates (according to the interview linked above) was given enough warning and time to lay groundwork for events coming in Crisis on Infinite Earths via foreshadowing and fore-blatantly-just-saying-he’s-gonna-die-ing.

Plus, there’s the fact that the issue’s villain (I don’t know why I’m being coy, I said there’d be spoilers) is trying to resolve “time turbulence” caused by all the time-traveling bullshit that had been going on (like the Reverse-Flash dying centuries before he was born). For selfish reasons, he’s actually trying to do a good thing, even somehow, it’s implied, saving the Flash from his impending death. He’s practically begging the Flash to let his plan play out even as he’s caught, but to no avail, adding to the coming tragedy that Barry Allen could’ve escaped but for his own actions.

Pretty wild stuff for the final issue of the superhero that ushered in the Silver Age (unless you’re one of those Martian Manhunter truthers). The final caption boxes on the last page read “And they lived happily ever after…for a while…” just to twist that knife a little more. Ah well, it’s all moot now, as thanks to DC’s ongoing plan to make Crisis “never not was” it’s mostly been undone, with Barry being dragged back into current continuity with varying levels of success.

Back then, though, before all the death and return and death again of characters, some of whom don’t even have the decency to stay dead a full month or so before being brought back after their highly publicized demise — it’s a little hard to convey the uncertainty DC fans had, knowing that characters could die or at least be fundamentally changed in this coming Crisis event. And that if the Flash could go, who else is safe? It was quite the feeling, one that was unique to superhero comics of the period.

News Flash.

§ August 9th, 2023 § Filed under dc comics, flash, publishing § 5 Comments

Update to the William Messner-Loebs talk from last week (reminder: here’s his GoFundMe) — a couple of you noted that DC has announced a new omnibus reprint of his (and Greg LaRocque’s) run on The Flash.

I haven’t found an issue listing yet, but that’s definitely the cover from the first issue on that omnibus there. That has me wondering if they’re going to include the first 14 issues of this Flash series written by Mike Baron, or just pick up from #15, Messner-Loebs’ first. I mean, I presume not, I just see Loebs’ name there. It’s good stuff, regardless, and Loebs picks up from Baron’s run, fleshing out situations and characters and keeping things weird and exciting.

I would kind of preferred paperbacks, but as was noted in my comments, maybe those will come later. But so long as some money is getting to Loebs from this, it’s a welcome move from DC.

Who signed off on this?

§ June 28th, 2023 § Filed under dc comics, publishing § 6 Comments

So every once in a while I take a look on the eBay for 1996’s Flex Mentallo #3:

…not because I need a copy (I bought mine way back when it was new), but out of perverse fascination with how the book gets listed. Specifically because of this cover detail:

…featuring the signatures of the book’s writer and artist, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. Not actual signatures, mind you, but part of the actual cover image. If you look closely, you can see the comic book coloring details in the “penlines” of the signatures:

But if you only ever see the one copy of this comic, and didn’t, say, unbundle a giant pile of them after arrival from Diamond to put them on the shelf and seeing the dozens of copies with identical autographs on each one, then at first glace maybe, just maybe, you might thing you had some genuine hand-scribblings.

Such as the person who listed this item for sale:

Currently it’s just the one listing, which is unusual given that in the past I could usually find four or five at any given time. Maybe folks are learning, maybe I just caught eBay at a good/bad time, maybe enough buyers have complained in the past, I don’t know.

Which does have me thinking about buyers who did purchase one of these off eBay as a “signed” item, believing to this day that they have a rare collector’s item. Ah, well. I don’t remember anyone thinking this when they were buying the item new off the rack (because they could see with their own eyes that every copy had identical “inscriptions”). I do recall having to explain once or twice over the years when buying collections that these weren’t actually hand-signed.

To be fair, this isn’t a common cover design element, so I can’t blame people for being momentarily fooled. And I wouldn’t put it past Morrision and/or Quitely if that wasn’t a planed prank on their part, still playing out all these years later.

No live-action Demon yet, far as I can tell.

§ February 1st, 2023 § Filed under dc comics § 29 Comments

Sure, I know, everyone’s seen this, James Gunn’s announcement of DC’s movie/TV plans over the next couple or three years. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the announcement that we’re getting a Swamp Thing movie out of this. Maybe.

According to Gunn, this is the first stage (or most of the first stage) of their decade-long multimedia plan of, well, catching up to Marvel. (That Gunn repeatedly uses the word “marvelous” in this pitch is, as I’d said on Twitter, either a poor choice of words on his part, or entirely deliberate.) This “chapter” is titled “Gods and Monsters,” recycling a title previously used by DC, and so called because, like I said before, Swamp Thing is involved here, as are the Creature Commandos, in a move that I’m pretty sure no one predicted. The “Gods” part would be the new Superman film, a movie with the Authority (also a surprise, particularly to the original artist), and Supergirl, and so on. And then there’s the Green Lantern and Booster Gold TV shows coming to HBO Max, not sure which side those fall on. Or I’m just being too literal.

Of course, I’m like someone asked to watch a new Netflix show or pick up a new Marvel first issue…I’ve no confidence in any of this actually lasting. The way the new regime at Warner Bros. cuts/cancels/just outright buries things, like shelving the nearly-complete Batgirl movie and dropping a bunch of stuff off their HBO Max service, I feel like all it’s going to take is for one thing to underperform in this proposed slate of releases, and, poof, Gunn is gone, all the shows are cancelled, and we’re back to square one. And by “square one” I mean “a Batman movie of some kind.”

I mean, I don’t know, maybe Gunn and whatever that other guy’s name was have got some pretty solid contracts locked down allowing them the time to develop these properties. But with Swamp Thing the last in line here, I’m not holding my breath. I’m glad to see it’s on their minds, anyway.


§ January 25th, 2023 § Filed under dc comics, publishing § 12 Comments

So I was rereading the Grant Morrison/Charles Troug Animal Man series, because why wouldn’t I, when I noticed something I hadn’t noticed before…or paid so little attention to way back when because I didn’t have a blog at the time on which to mountainize this molehill.

I like spotting the seams of comics production in the finished product, sometimes. Like the occasional coloring note accidentally left in the margin of a page. Or, for an example I can actually show you, when an entire caption is added to a page to keep a story from entirely slagging a company’s bread-and-butter.

And then there’s just simple word replacement, like in Animal Man #1 (1988) where the word “ass” (presumably) is substituted with the word “butt.”

Here are a couple closer looks, where it’s easy to see the lettering mismatches with the rest of the book, along with the slightly-off spacing.

It’s just a little amusing, is all, not quite on the level of some very obviously (and frankly, sloppily) relettered dialogue on a splash page in Preacher where some purposefully vulgar content replaced something that must have been even more appalling. But even mentioning Preacher adds to the contrast between this early prudishness language versus the oh, the places they’d go once the Vertigo label gets slapped on the front cover.

It also somewhat brings to mind this bit from Mr. Show (please pardon the presence of a Jan. 6 participant):

I’m of two minds here, where either they could have changed it back, because really does it matter; or it’s fine as it is, a visible measure of restraint in a medium that often excessively goes in the opposite direction in the name of “mature content.”

Not to go all “I’m not a prude, but” on you here — I mean, I’ve been known to say “poop,” quietly, when no one else is in the room — but there have been times when it felt like someone on a “not for kids” comic book really wanted to test that freedom and give us wall-to-wall naughty words, which can get a tad wearying after a while. I mean, it’s fine, whatever, but reading “fuck” thirty times in the space of a couple of pages kinda undermines whatever impact it has. (Except in the Nick Fury comics by Garth Ennis, where somehow it’s hilarious.)

This is all just to say it was, in its way, quaint to see the word “butt” pasted into that Animal Man comic. Grant Morrison and editor Karen Berger, I appreciate your “butts!”

Er, you know what I mean.

Bring on the bad guys.

§ September 28th, 2022 § Filed under dc comics § 17 Comments

I’m going to jump ahead and address a comment from Monday’s post — DK’s, to be specific, in which he talks about the relative lack of motivation for DC’s various villains.

It’s funny, this topic had sort of crossed my mind the other day, but along the lines of “what makes a villain an arch-nemesis.” Superman is easy, as it’s Lex Luthor: world’s strongest man versus the world’s smartest man. Batman, it’s the Joker: a man trying to impose order on a chaotic world versus a man who creates chaos. Wonder Woman is a little more difficult, as while thematically it’s Ares (a woman representing peace versus the God of War), I don’t know that this pairing showed up a whole lot until the latter half of Princess Diana’s existence.

I mentioned the word “thematically,” and that’s what these match-ups are, battles of opposites. It doesn’t say much in terms of characterization so much as plot considerations. Why (aside from the hair thing) does Luthor hate Superman? What compels the Joker to spread chaos? …Wonder Woman and Ares I’m willing to give a pass on possible internal motivations, as, well, Ares is the God of War, there’s no real subtlety here.

I tried to spread this out to Marvel characters, like Spider-Man, but that’s harder to nail down. Like, why would it be the Green Goblin? Is an octopus the natural enemy of a spider? And so on. I came to the conclusion the Spider-Man’s arch-nemesis is the irresponsible use of power, especially that gained through scientific mishap. Yes, the ol’ “intangible quality” trick. But I think it fits…Peter Parker got his powers from science gone awry. and used them for good. Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, the Lizard gained theirs the same way and used them for eeeeeevil. Granted, not sure Venom fits into this entirely neatly, but I was just pondering, not laying down law here.

But again, like I said, this doesn’t dive into specific character motivations as opposed to the thematic/plot-oriented purposes to which these characters are utilized.

That said, let’s go through DK’s list:

“Luthor: He’s basically Trump, but actually rich.”

I am not even sure what Luthor’s exact deal is right now. Post-Crisis, he’s a power-hungry dude pissed that there’s someone more powerful around, who has also continually got the better of him. As time wore on, he became more of a mix of the Silver Age Luthor and the Byrne/Wolfman-era Luthor, a rich businessman who just freely uses advanced science to do…I don’t know, whatever. Join the Justice League, that sort of thing.

His modern motivation is still his hatred of Superman’s apparent superiority, but he couches it (as he does in this week’s Action, in fact) in his desire to remove “alien influence” on Earth. And that it would get rid of the guy who always makes him look bad, well, that’s just a happy coincidence.

“Joker: Murder clown, haven’t even given him a real name for 75+ years.”

I sort of go into it above…the Joker doesn’t really need a specific motivation beyond wanted to wreak a little havoc, and it just so happens it’s usually Batman there to stop him. As to a specific motivation as to why he would do that…well, I guess The Killing Joke is now just straight-up officially the origin of the Joker, all that built-in ambiguity in the original story just jettisoned for the purposes of current comic-booking.

As such, I suppose the Joker’s motivation is…well, basically what I said above, causing chaos And with Killing Joke now canon, the death of his wife, among other things, is what drove him to this point, lashing out at a world that destroyed his life.

Oh, and I did write a bit about DC finally, weirdly, giving the Joker an official real name, but frankly I won’t believe it ’til I see it in black and white in whatever the next iteration of Who’s Who in the DC Universe will be.

“Sinestro: Power corrupts (just this one dude, not the 10,000 others with rings)”

I mean, that’s good enough I think. Sinestro fell out with the Guardians like (here we go) Lucifer rebelling against God and being cast out of Heaven. Sinestro hates his former bosses and their Green Lantern force, and especially the face of that authority, their arguably greatest member after Ch’p, Hal Jordan. I know that (I think) Gerard Jones added emphasis to the whole “Sinestro is obsessed with maintaining order” element, which I think is still a part of the character’s drive.

“Reverse Flash: Admit it, lazy AF concept. Can’t even be bothered to give him a real supervillain name.”

Ah yes, the “bigger, badder version of the hero” trope we all know so well from most of the Marvel movies. But to be fair, his full moniker was “Professor Zoom, the Reverse-Flash,” which, c’mon, that’s pretty cool. Now I’m just talkin’ the original dude here, don’t get me started on all these other Reverse-Flashes that turned up.

What I do like about Reverse-Flash is that his deal was that he was a dude in the future who thought the 20th century Flash was awesome, replicated the accident that gave the Flash his powers, and then discovered he was going to come the Flash’s enemy, which drove him mad, turning him into the Flash’s enemy. It’s this weird, sci-fi time loop thing that I happen to like.

During Waid’s run on the Flash comic, he altered the origin slightly by having RF (sorry, tired of typing that out), still a big fan, go back in time and discover that not only was he going to be a villain, but that the Flash would kill him. Anyway, that’s a whole thing that I won’t get into here, but I think this provides a nice, unusual motivation for the character. Yes, it’s “he hates him because he hates him,” but the background is interesting enough to support it.

“Gorilla Grodd: Kill All Humans, as I am not a human and I am better than them.”

Look, evil telepathic superpowered intelligent gorilla has got to be motivation enough, right? I’m going entirely from memory here, but Grodd was trying to take over Gorilla City from its leader, Solovar, and Flash interfered, and now the Flash is also on Grodd’s shit list? I’m pretty sure that’s right. Anyway, c’mon, he’s a gorilla villain, let’s cut him some slack.

“Deathstroke: I get paid to be Evil. I have no idea why Bruce Wayne doesn’t just pay me to be good.”

I mean, assassin-for-hire who goes after superheroes, that’s good, I think. Admittedly he’s not very successful against them, which makes me wonder how he makes any money (“okay, sure, you haven’t killed any of the Titans yet, but maybe the 20th time’s the charm, do you take personal checks?”). I suppose in the Teen Titans’ case, it’s more “personal vendetta” as time went on, but I think being a hired gun who keeps getting hired despite being almost entirely ineffectual by necessity kinda works.

“Per Degaton: This secret dies with Roy Thomas.”

Ah, Per Degaton. The would-be dictator who used his boss’s time machine to rampage through history, screwing around with time, and also bother the Justice Society of America, all in his attempts to become, as I said, a dictator.

When he was reintroduced into DC Comics in the 1980s, DC also reprinted his (I believe) first appearance from the Golden Age in one of their reprint digests, so anyone new to the character (like I was) could get his deal. And his deal is that whenever his plans get undone, he’s thrown back into the normal timeline as a lab assistant:

I love that this seems to be his eternal fate (with one or two exceptions over the years)…just sent back to where he was, frustrated by the memory of what was undone.

“Brainiac: I am the smartest being in the universe but I want City Funko Pops for some reason.”

He collects cities either to study, to preserve them, to put on his own planet so he could rule them…he had a few reasons for doing what he did. End result of any of these reasons: he came to your planet to grab a city and take off. Kinda like Galactus, only he just stole a city instead of eating a planet.

I do like the animated series origin, where he’s an embodiment of Krypton’s artificial intelligence network that survives the planet’s explosion, and he goes on collecting data (i.e. planets) which puts him in conflict with Krypton’s last son. Whatever version seems to come down to “Brainiac does evil science stuff and Superman tries to stop him.” Plus, it’s nice to have a regular (and powerful) alien nemesis for Supes, in contrast to his vast array of Earthbound bad guys.

Anyway, those were my thoughts on those particular DC villains. Again, just some off-the-top-of-my-head ideas, so I’m sure I got a fact wrong here and there. You know where to correct me!

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