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    Group Therapy for Super-Heroes

by Rob Gustaveson

        One likes how the X-men (New Mutants and X-Factor & Alpha Flight ((all Marvel Comics)) are not like the Avengers (Marvel) or Teen Titans (DC).  Maybe a little like the Legion of Super Heroes (DC) or the Green Lantern Corps (DC) in some way.  

There were cool Group Therapy sessions in the Hulk comic title thus, perhaps, the title for this potential article.  Jim Starlin’s Warlock series had some dark imaginings.  Frank Miller and Howard Chaykin are out there.  Remember this, those who write comics may be coming from a place unique to their consciousness.  

The Inhuman’s though (Marvel) are perhaps among my favorite group of characters.   Aside from a few of the characters found in the New Gods and Forever People (both DC comics) (Orion and Metron to be exact) just were not quite as eloquent and excitingly deep and creative as the Inhuman’s character’s and storyline in my opinion.  

That Marvel would try different characters and combos (including Marvel Team-Up and Marvel 2 in One) was one example of the greatness that was Marvel (as already mentioned in my first 5000 word article released in 2001).  

The Fantastic Four along with the Silver Surfer and Warlock (originally called HIM) both born in the FF along with Watcher and Galactus is one of the earliest groups of the 1960’s along with, of course, Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes in Adventure Comics starting with issue #247.

As a kid sick in bed at home a lot from school I would read these wondrous adventures and zany storylines.  Looking forward each Tues. & Thurs. (back then) to their release was one of my only joys growing up (other than TV and film).  I was not good at baseball for I was always too young and having no one to practice with.  Though my Dad did play catch with me and that was a reward unto itself.  And Harold who was older and much more talented did help me excel at basketball.  I was good at softball.  But sports was not my thing, really.  Though I loved contests we had on our block and Caroms at after school and summertime programs.  Swimming and jumping off the high dive was like being a super hero tome and it really felt good.  

I read a lot of comic books back then including Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee and Our Army at War (Sgt. Rock, DC)illustrated by Joe Kubert.  I dabbled in these strange and cool DC comics:  BlackHawk, Inferior Five, Doom Patrol, Metal Men (got me through Boy Scout camp (suffering from hours of boredom) where I was too young (Compared to the ages of my fellow Scouts ((parents use camp as a place to have the kids babysat so they can have some free time))) twice — the second time in Utah riding a horse up a hill bareback sliding off and rolling down the hill (was dangerous and fun), Suicide Squad.   One could say I became an adrenaline junkie.  Though I am not one now.  And people I have worked with were probably more so.  I was a serious skateboarder (around my block) before it was fashionable.  Body surfing also is like flying.  

The title of the first superhero comic book I ever bought was an Action (Superman) comic in the early 1960’s.  Superman was the main character and strangely each character except Perry White got his own comic:  Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen etc.  

I was not into horror comics until later when Berni Wrightson and a few others I liked illustrated some.  Then again anything by Steve Ditko…all his Fantasy work with Stan Lee I read with great zeal.  Fantasy SF stories by Angelo Torres, Wally Wood, Williamson and Frazetta I would read voraciously as well.

And from Tower Comics (Wally Wood’s work in) T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents was a real treat. I do not recall reading Marvel’s: Defender’s, Guardian’s of the Galaxy, Champions, ExCalibur, or Invaders.  Maybe one or two issues.

There are many other “groups of Superheroes” but I really didn’t read them.  If the art was exceptional though I would read the comic title from any Company or Creator.

Of course there were many (non animation) Films & TV shows that fell into the action-fantasy-super-hero-adventure genre that I watched regularly when they came out. 

I own every comic video that I care about and will attempt to get them all as released.

I watched every single Star Trek (every series and film), Superman (Superboy all versions Smallville, Lois and Clark, etc., including La Fem Nikita (original versions of the Film and TV), The Prisoner, Man from U.N.C.L.E. (including the comics), NCIS on TV now (love it), Avaatar, Batman  (no offense but the 1960’s Batman was not my thing… too campy — my own imagination was much better nor did I ever really enjoy a Batman comic book until one by Alan Moore) (enjoyed the last 2-3 Batman films though), Superman (with the original George Reeves (the TV series with zany underground Aliens), Spider-man including the animated version and TV show, X-men, Dr. Strange TV series (Average) and Hulk TV series (loved it in spite of the Fugitive theme). 

David Carradine in Kung-Fu is one of my favorite TV shows ever (original version).  I would watch Dr. Who a little but never really loved it.  Wild Wild West remains a serious favorite (only the original series not the film).  I’d watch the original TV version Mission Impossible (rarely that fond of it).  Bat Masterson and many Westerns.  Gilligan’s Island.  I dream of Geni.  Twilight Zone.  Bewitched. Supergirl film.  (Yes I liked it).  

And Outer Limits which my Dad worked on.  Because my Dad worked on many films and TV shows I also watched things outside my genre’s.  

Deepak Chopra attended comic con and starting writing outside his genre of Spiritual and Self Help, Religious and of Science.  And is now moving in games dealing with Chakra’s and self exploration.  Harlan Ellison also was involved in the creation of a game.

More to come.  6-18-2011 Working draft.1-30-12  3-07-13© Rob Gustaveson


by Robert Vincent

When you hear someone say words like geek, freak, nerd, fan-boy and so forth you are listening to the hate spew of comic (and SF) outsiders.  For no one who is a comic book lover (an aficionado) would name themselves in a derogatory way on purpose.  Though somehow some of the neo-caustic-fan-press seems to have accepted this.  

These are often people who have read one genre of comics (probably alternative) and have been ignored by fans, dealers, show organizers and publishers and artists and writers and seek to get attention.  

Nowadays people think calling someone a computer geek as being somehow ok or even noble.  It isn’t.  It’s a subtle put down and defines the self hate of the perpetrator even more that the one being assailed.  And what is more it is often inaccurate, overtly hostile and labels the labeler a real twit.  Then again it is so mainstream now and accepted that I laugh at it and give it little attention.  Watching “The Big Bang Theory” cracks me up.  

Remember I had a comic store next to a Science Fiction club and, no offense, many of the people did fall into the nerd category.  Even I was called a nerd once by a cruel horny wonderful woman.  As much as I say the sub-consciousness does not compare to the super-consciousness (found in real meditation) the SF realm (shows, club, events) did provide experience.

But lately our society is taking a look at bullying and trying to write legislation against that.  

Imagine if all political parties were not allowed to lie during and near elections.  That could be the necessary change in this world, I think, that would make us more human. 

And thank you Supreme Court left over from the Bush administration for making it possible for corporations calling themselves Citizen’s United to literally thwart a Democracy (we have never really had) in America and civilized humanity.

Rob G.© Copyright — Gustaveson 2011, 2013, 2020 All rights reserved.

Published by comiczar99

I sell comics and comic art and have collected my whole life. I have some amazing Sun. Newspaper strips of Tarzan, Prince Valiant, Flash Gordon available for sale directly from me. (Fair prices) All in plastic --not shrinkwrapped. 1930's-1950's They are by Alex Raymond and Hal Foster. I probably have 50,000 comics for sale; And over 30 pages of comic art for sale. email me to get the ball rolling (if you want to buy some).

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