MOUNTAIN COMICS #34 - DAZZLER #8
Mountain Comics returns with fellow network all-star Paul Kien joining Rob in the cabin to discuss "Hell...Hell is For Harry" by Danny Fingeroth, Frank Springer, and Vince Colletta from DAZZLER #8!
Check out images from this comic by clicking here!
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18 responses to “Mountain Comics #34 – Dazzler #8”
Yay! It’s officially summer, and Mountain Comics is back. I love this show. Particularly when you can look back on an old book with new insight. I made self only had Dazzler #1 and that was because Spider-Man was on the cover. That book, along with Power Pack #6 was just one of those times, when the choice of comics in the magazine section was slim indeed. I never had any interest in Power Pack, but Spider-Man was prominent on the cover, so bought it.
It’s another we’ve lost over the years now that the way we buy comics has changed so much. The mystery of what we were going to find when we approached that rack. Was there going to be a bunch of Spider-Man books? Did we already have that Batman comic? Wow! Who’s this Moon Knight guy? He look weird. Bet he won’t be around long.
Ok, I’ve blathered on long enough. Great show Rob and Paul. Thanks for the trip back to 81, I’m gonna go see Raiders of the Lost Atc in a theater while I’m here!
Really? You kick off a new season with an issue of Dazzler? I guess the thinking is that henceforth we have nowhere to go but up…
Seriously, though: I, too, am happy that Mountain Comics is back. I always enjoy the conversations regardless of the material being discussed.
As to the issue at hand, based on the cover and a few of the images in your gallery, I do recall having this issue, although I remember absolutely nothing about the story and your summary didn’t do anything to jog my memory. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the Dazzler, then or now, and back then I often wondered why they created and introduced (in X-men in 1979) a character based on a music style and pop culture phenomenon that was already beginning to fade and actively loathed by many at the time her solo series was launched in 1981. Even so, I occasionally picked it up out of curiosity, but I stopped reading it entirely about two or three issues after this one – which, by the way, address one of the topics you brought up, i.e., Dazzler’s powers. As I recall, it was established that if she absorbed enough sound, she could do more than just make light-shows, she could also shoot lasers out of her hands and so forth.
And speaking of fads that had already passed, the use of “sit on it” in this issue is really odd. Yes, Happy Days was still on the air at the time, but at that point I don’t think anyone was using that phrase in the show any more, and it certainly wasn’t being used by the man (or rather, kid) on the street.
Anyway, good job Rob and Paul. Looking forward to future episodes.
Commenting just on the introduction.
I think that you and Paul are the closest network members who don’t work on a show together regularly. Chris and Cindy are the actual closest. Here in Canada, Bass and i are close-by, and 4 out of 6 of the Hot Squad are at less than 20 minutes WALK from me, less by car.
Why bother having such a big country if you’re all right there together?
Mountain Comics is back, let the summer begin!
It’s terrific to hear Cousin Paul on the show, Batman Family Reunion is such a great addition to the network.
Rob, I am sorry to hear that the Trading Post has stopped selling comics, but don’t you work from home these days? Have you thought about moving to the Poconos for the summer with Kelly, and working from there, behind the counter of a wee shack selling comics, helping kids get lovely memories for their future podcast careers? You’re welcome.
You lads hit the nail on the head in identifying Dazzler as a fun soap opera, I was a tad older than Rob and I lapped it up. I bought every issue and it was especially good to see Alison’s confidence in herself and her powers grow – yeah, she was basically using big colourful bubbles of light at the beginning but little by little learned more offensive uses, creating lasers and sundry light blasts (we’d seen some of that potential in Amazing Spider-Man #203 when she was possessed by Lightmaster).
It’s true that Alison was originally going to be a Black character, look at her dialogue in the first half of Dazzler #1, Jim Shooter has her sounding like Luke Cage as she takes on the bad guy ‘turkeys’.
Writer Danny Fingeroth really did work hard making Dazzler a compelling book and I enjoyed the Frank Springer pencils. (I think Paul was confusing Frank Springer with Frank Robbins – he mentioned not enjoying Springer’s work on Batman and Invaders – now, Springer did ink Invaders, but he was working over the distinctive and divisive pencils of Frank Springer, who also pencilled a few Batman issues, when he wasn’t creating Man-Bat).
I’d never thought of Dazzler’s colleague Lance as a coded gay, I just assumed he was a muscle dude. I’d not realised the name was a bit of a cheeky gag – Wonder Woman had a Lance too, and he was certainly an undeclared gay, at least originally).
I agree, Dazzler would be perfect for a TV series – as well as the potential for effects Paul notes, every time she uses her powers we could have a new interesting loud soundtrack.
The worst thing that ever happened to Dazzler was her becoming an X-Man, making her forever after a bit player. You know what Marvel should do? Have her go back to law school in between appearances (we don’t see her for years at a time) and set up a law firm with Jen Walters – who wouldn’t buy a Dazzler/She-Hulk buddy book?
Mr Meeker really wasn’t a villain name that would bring readers back, unless they were British readers who assumed it was a Rentaghost tie-in.
Martin you are 100% right! I was confusing Frank Springer and Frank Robbins! Apologies to both of them. Good catch!
And thanks for the kind words.
Paul wasn’t entirely wrong about Frank Springer even if he was confusing him with Frank Robbins. Springer was one of the many artists to be credited as Bob Kane over the years so you might have seen some of his Batman art.
My kind of Mountain Comic issue of Dazzler was issue number 4. It was actually the first Marvel US comic. Our next door neighbours used to go to Florida for Disney every year and one year they picked up Dazzler number 4 whilst there. When they returned to the UK it was quickly passed on to me as the only local kid who was still reading comics. I loved that comic. Because of this I have a particular love for Frank Springer’s art and Dazzler is one of my favourite characters. Nostalgia is a strong force.
Into the discussion of Lance. I’m pretty sure he was not intended to be coded as gay. If you look at the first issue drawn by John Romita Jr and compare the images of Lance to your one and only Bullpen Bulletins Hunk of the Month you will see that Lance was clearly based on JRJR himself. I have always wondered if Harry is based on anyone in particular. The patter is a little Stan Lee but he clearly doesn’t look like Stan. I have seen a suggestion that it could be a caricature of Carmine Infantino when he was DC publisher. I’ve only seen one image from that era and the hairline and the cigar are similar but Carmine is definitely slimmer than Harry.
I wish I’d managed to get a Rentaghost joke in before Martin. I’m just not quick enough.
Top marks for knowledge, Damian, but if Springer wasn’t credited on Batman, and he only ever inked Invaders, I say Paul couldn’t have known he disliked his pencilling. It was just a wee mistake, no biggie.
Excellent John Romita Jr spot, Damian!
Oh, I’m going down a Lance-sized rabbit hole… in issue three of Dazzler, Lance surprises Alison by quoting Classical poetry… and he’s wearing a sweatshirt with a big old heart on it! JR JR pencils only some of the issue, with the late, underrated Alan Kupperberg taking over, it looks to me like this Lance is by Kupperberg, with inker Armando Gil – JR JR draws the first scene of Lance in regular black vest, inked by Danny Bulanadi.
Maybe writer Tom DeFalco is indeed coding Lance. Perhaps I need a read-through of the whole series. Now, what would we call a Dazzler podcast, the Blaine Pitch Project?
Regarding more mysteries of journeyman Frank Springer: As far as I know, only drew two Batman stories, in the late 60s, and was apeing a bit of Carmine Infantino’s style in them. Although a big “BOB KANE” credit was tagged onto the splash of Batman #197. This was around the time Infantino ascended to editorial, and urged DC to buy Kane out and be rid of his “ghost” factory.
This early morning I looked at my phone with groggy eyes and spotted this episode posting. I snapped up awake and listened to it this morning. I started reading Dazzler several years ago because I was at New York Comic Con and I spotted an issue for sale in the dollar bin. So as a lark I got a few issues for a friend as mine as a joke. I never got around giving the issues to him and I started reading it. I was hooked! Why? It’s set in the 1970’s, featured disco, roller-skates, and the superhero has the weakest powers I have ever seen. So then I collected all the issues and even managed to get Dazzler’s first appearance in “Uncanny X-Men” #130 (February 1980).
The reason Marvel released Dazzler based off my discussion with Danny Fingeroth (at Big Apple Con) it was a cash grab in the disco market. Fingeroth said every fad Marvel did they started too late . Notice the first appearance of Dazzler was 1980 – at that point disco was nearly dead already. This exact day disco died was on July 12, 1979 with the infamous “Disco Demolition” night at Chicago’s Comiskey Park.
The writing was great from issues 1-11 with Fingeroth and then issues got really wonky. I still like them all. The Marvel Masterworks releases are amazing. Volume 1-3 have come out recently. If you like Dazzler (or Rollerskating Disco) , check out the movie Skatetown USA (1979) featuring Scott Baio, Patrick Swayze, Flip Wilson, Maureen McCormick’ and Katherine Kelly Lang.
Great episode and I mean that despite that you both are from Jersey and can’t pump your own gas.
Impressive podcast most impresses. I either started collecting dazzler/at age 13 at or age 12. Though I have been collecting her through the X-Men comics first. Since at that point I noticed her she was already part of the X-Men team. I had found my first comic book shop in Lafayette Louisiana which is where I lived at the time. The Acadiana book exchange. Later the Acadiana look at comic exchange. Though to be honest by 89 it became more of a comic book shop because that’s what most of us came from. I was collected comics. And I ended up buying a lot of dancers back issues. I definitely was a bigger fan of the blue spandex outfit that this 70s one peace she wears. Though judging from artwork and cosplayers this is definitely the one that most people like. I probably had this issue in my collection at the time.
.One point I got rid of all my comics. Until coming back. At any rate you can definitely see the rock ‘n roll influence in this comic. The title of it being based on a Pat Benatar’s song. So weird for such a comic book-ish plot to have that title. Since hell is for children was a song to inform people about the horrors of child abuse. The enforcers were never a big time group but they work. And if they were to update their look would have meant they would have to do so Dashing Dan, Montana and Ox. Work well using their outdated outfits. Kind of like the spirit. Could you really see Will Eisner’s the Spirit running around in a hoodie with blue jeans and a pair of tennis shoes? It just doesn’t work. They’re going to look out of style and anytime you look at them from any time with these. Besides they’re just kind of there to be the muscle for ever the real villain is. It is pretty cool that you brought back Mountain comics. And said that there are so few comics shops you won’t be able to add to your to read pile Rob. Since that back story does work very well for this particular project. Oh back to the as well as her light powers she does have a laser beam she can fire from her hand. And she can make the light powers into a energy force to knock people over.
And now comes the part I I hate to do. But, I have to give Vince props. And of all people come to his defense. I’m definitely not a fan of his aching work on most things. However, as much as I like Robinsons work on horror books. And the writing he did on Batman. I was never a big fan of his stuff. And unless this is a secondary style he keeps in his back pocket Vince definitely did a lot of favors to this to make it fit this character. Can you imagine the Vampirella like looking women and people that Robinson normally draws in this book? I just don’t think it would work. And all of you establishing courts are there. What was the old Mr. Kubrert thing? Make sure the establishing shots and backgrounds are good enough to where you can tell where everything is. And it is harder to draw with fewer lines that it is to draw the ton of them. And in each of these drawings you can tell where everything is and what’s going on. And while I don’t have a ton of Robinson artwork. The details of his background were never as Jack Kirby levels. All of these things once again pass the Mr. Joe’s rule of credibility. It may not be photorealistic but you can tell everything is.
Though I haven’t seen the un-inked version of this artwork it tells the story it doesn’t supposed to. Their characters look in a way that would fit this particular story. And having seen Robinsons invaders story. Like Don Heck each sins to stay with one style drawing. So I hate to say it but I think in this one case thence was a plus as being the inker. Sorry. I was shocked to hear me say this is anyone. As for Lance, know this is pretty much how guys dressed in the eighth. He Is not part of my guild shall we say. Just like the rollerskates were a thing of the 80s. Well late 70s early 80s. It’s just as bizarre on her as it is on Ironman. Though there is a reason her blue spandex costume does not have these goofy rollerskates on them. Actually her comic had one more issue with a graphic novel. Where her boyfriend at the time and possible manager convinces her to tell everyone she’s a mutant. Which kills her career and she’s able to become a member of the X men. So it seems how awesome was raised in that case. I don’t see any pictures of the main bad guy here and I don’t have any warmth collection. I ended up losing all of my dazzler comics. And while I did replace my huntress ones with the TBS. I haven’t gotten around to looking for anything to replace the Allison Blair ones. Though I did do an RPG were I played her sister but changed her powers.
A long story but it doesn’t really fit this. So I can’t really say is that master look better or worse though . Also back to Lance he seems to be embarrassed when he looks foolish and front of Harry’s secretary Casey. He seems to have a bit of a crush on her from what I can tell. But, I don’t know this church are very well. For whatever reason I don’t remember Him. So who knows? They may have built to that later. Just from what I’m seeing of this issue that seems to be the case. Doesn’t matter either way. I do know at one point she started dating the beyond. So this comic had a decent tie-in to the second secret war. I say second can he was already making himself look like Capt. America. But with the perm haircut. And a white leather suit I can’t really see Steve Rogers wearing. Although if they want to bring back Chris Evans. They could have him play the beyonder when they make the secret wars movie. Sorry if I offended anyone. At any rate cool podcast and was cool to hear a member of the Batman family podcast on the mountain podcast feed. Can’t wait to hear the next episode.
Wait the art was by Frank Springer …not Robinson. Opps. This kills half my coment….ops. This is good Springer art. Though yeah…would have been better with a different inker. Opps. cover look cool.
Great to see Mountain Comics is back! I discovered older episodes after a deep dive through FW Presents and loved it. I remember listening to an episode about an issue of Conan when my wife came over to my desk to ask what I was listening to. I said, “It’s a podcast about a guy who, as a kid, used to buy comics when he’d go to the Poconos every summer. Then each episode he talks about one of the comics.” She stared at me blankly and walked away. Apparently my elevator pitch didn’t hit the mark with my wife, but, hey, I still like it. Welcome back to the mountains, Rob. Make sure you look out for big tree roots when riding around on your Huffy bike. You’ll spill your cherry slushie.
Great to have Mountain Comics back. I have picked up the occasional Dazzler out of quarter bins here and there but didn’t buy any off the rack.
I sort of like the soap opera feel I got from the books I read. I got the occasional similar vibe from the original She-Hulk book as well. And if the gallery posts are indicative, you got your money’s worth. Whew … lots of panel and dialogue!
As for why you got this issue Rob, I will invoke Shag and say she is rather shapely on the cover. Perhaps something or things caught your eye?
And after seeing the gallery, I will now start inserting ‘April Fool Suckers!’ into my everyday parlance.
Great to have Mountain Comics back, and on it’s own feed! Always a pleasure to hear Paul on the network more. And we know you two could actually PHYSICALLY be in the Poconos, so all the better.
I never bought or read a single issue of Dazzler. I could barely bring myself to buy Wonder Woman, and only did that for the Huntress back-ups. What can I say? I was an unenlightened little snot back then. If I’d ever cracked an issue open, maybe the “good girl” art would have convinced me otherwise. Springer does do nice work in that department, and as Paul points out, Colletta harkens back to his old romance comics roots often when depicting Allison.
A few years back, a frequent poster on the Back Issue Magazine Facebook Group did a series of posts covering every issue of Dazzler AND the infamous Marvel Graphic Novel #12, Dazzler: The Movie (even though there never was a Dazzler: The Movie). The examination of the evolution, and then de-evolution and portrayal of Allison Blair’s character was quite fascinating. The GN (with art by Springer and Colletta) has Dazzler being manipulated and sexually seduced by a sleazy, older celebrity, and it reads nowadays as quite mysoginistic and frankly pretty gross. There seems to be some…projecting on the part of the writer, Marvel’s EIC Big Jim Shooter. I wish those posts were in a blog I can link to. But if you can ever find them, they are worth your time.
Looking forward to more trips to “Beautiful Mt. Airey Lodge”!