August 03, 2013

What comic touched you the most?

It's a rare thing, especially in the contemporary era, but there are the occasional issue (or issues) that simply emotional affect you. Because they're freakin' so well done, done by great writers. Here's three of mine:

IRON MAN (vol. 1) #78 -- "Long Time Gone." This was actually a "filler" issue, if you can believe it, back at a time when Marvel actually fulfilled its monthly publication obligations even if the next story wasn't yet ready. Writer Bill Mantlo has Tony Stark reminiscing about a particular adventure in Vietnam. He had Iron Man on site to check out how one of Stark's new weapons worked on the battlefield. Along the way, Stark is witness to the utter brutality of war, and eventually encounters a young -- and blind -- Viet Cong guerrilla. His hitches the young lad to his back and they both trek to safety. If you have dry eyes at the end you must have been an extra in Equilibrium.

MARVELS (Trade Paperback). Specifically, the chapter dealing primarily with the X-Men and the "Mutant Scare," which is supposed to coincide with the mutant team's first encounter with the robot Sentinels. If you don't already know, Marvels is a huge retrospective of key moments in Marvel history written by the modern master of continuity, Kurt Busiek (with painted art by Alex Ross). Told from the perspective of a Daily Bugle photographer, Phil Sheldon, the heart-wrenching moment comes about when Sheldon returns home from work one day to discover his daughters have befriended a homeless mutant girl. The girl, Maggie, was abandoned by her parents most probably because of her horribly misshapen facial features. Maggie is taken in by the Sheldons, but after the climactic night of the Mutant Scare where the Sentinels patrolled New York, Phil rushes home to make sure his family is OK -- knowing they're harboring a mutant. His girls greet him with tears running down their faces; Maggie had run away ... because she didn't want to put the welfare of the Sheldons in jeopardy (according to her cute handwritten note -- see below). The conclusion is a tear-jerker, with Sheldon's oldest daughter tearfully asking him if Maggie will be OK. All he can respond is "I hope so."

SUPERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY. This, in contrast to the two above, is a feel-good story that should leave you with a big smile on your face at story's conclusion. Also written by Kurt Busiek, it's about an alternate universe Superman who only wants to help out humanity and live in peace with his family -- a wife and twin daughters. But, the US government keeps harassing him. Eventually Supes works out an agreement with a government agent which enables him to protect his family. Like with the Marvels chapter above, if you have a family, the ending of Identity should have you closing the book and sighing in complete satisfaction.

What are some of yours?

Posted by Hube at August 3, 2013 11:31 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Oddly enough one of the comics that stays with me for so long, so many years later, is Sgt. Fury #28 "And not a man shall remain alive." It is the story of Baron Strucker being sent by Hitler to pacify the resistance in the French town of Chambleaux at the same time the Howling Commandos are sent in to bolster that resistance. In it we see one of the most devastating empathetic (not sympathetic) portraits of how German officers slipped into becoming barbarians.

Another irony: this is perhaps one of the best scripts Stan Lee ever wrote, rising above the comics medium, but it was part one of a two-parter. In the second part Lee completely dropped the ball and the whole story descended into a hopelessly prolonged Fury-Strucker fight scene (I suspect he wrote himself into a corner in Part 1 and couldn't find a way out). Nonetheless issue #28 stands alone as an example of popular comics extending beyond their limitations.

As runners-up I'd give a nod to Joe Kubert's "Fax from Sarajevo"

Posted by: Steve Newton at August 3, 2013 12:46 PM

"Immortal, Invisible" from Eightball #16.

A teen's last night of trick-or-treating.

Posted by: LS at August 6, 2013 05:21 PM

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