Secret Origins #43: Hawk & Dove, Cave Carson, and Chris KL-99

Ryan Daly welcomes Anj and Paul Hix back to the show to make sense of Hawk & Dove from Secret Origins #43. Next, Andy Kapellusch joins Ryan for the origin of Cave Carson. Finally, Professor Alan schools Ryan in the mystery of Chris KL-99.

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“Premonition” (Theme for Secret Origins Podcast) written and performed by Neil Daly.

Additional music: “Opposites Attract” by Paula Abdul; “Underground” by David Bowie; “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds.

Thanks for listening!

32 responses to “Secret Origins #43: Hawk & Dove, Cave Carson, and Chris KL-99

  1. Fantastic to be a part of this podcast, Ryan, and especially in such good company.

    I wonder if the darkening of Cave Carson was part of the let’s-dirty-up-all-our-heroes movement that swept DC at that time giving us drunk Hal Jordan, greedy womaniser Wally West, drug addict Katar Hol and who can forget ‘everyone on Rann actually hates you’ Adam Strange.

    I don’t remember Cave Carson doing much in Time Masters other than providing an underground taxi service. He did show up in Trinity War if I recall, but we’ve all been waiting for the glory that will surely come with CAVE CARSON HAS A CYBERNETIC EYE. Wonder what other characters from that era can be revived with equally evocative titles? DANE DORRANCE HAS TIGHT BUNS.

    1. Don’t forget Rip Hunter being dumped into Robert Anton Wilson -land, with the Illuminati (though Vandal Savage kind of made that work). Kind of surprised we didn’t get the Sea Devils hunting wales or something.

  2. The Professor! A doctor! Paula Abdul’s duet with an animated cat!

    Ryan, this show has nowhere to go but straight down now.

  3. Ah, Hawk and Dove! The series that proves that there are no characters so bad that they cannot be made worse by connecting them to the Lords of Order and Chaos.

    So at least Cave Carson and Chris KL-99 have that going for them.

  4. Paul and Anj make a good podcasting duo. Like those issues of B&B and DCCP that had two guest stars instead of two, it probably shouldn’t work but it did.

    Been trying to figure out the connection between Prof Alan and Chris KL-99. Then it dawned on me: 99 cents is usually the code for cheap, or at the very least a discounted item. Bingo.

    I never really liked Hawk and Dove as characters. Even as a fuzzy-headed, bleeding heart, wants-to-force-everyone-to-get-gay-married Liberal, I always realized that, as a superhero, Dove Just. Doesn’t. Work. That moment in Crisis when he stops Robotman from smashing the crystalized Black Adam into tiny bits remains one of my most hated moments for the character. Rejiggering them as “Chaos” and “Order” makes sense, but by then I had long stopped caring. I am positive the next episode featuring a “Hawk” character will be much more interesting.

    As guests start clocking their final SO appearances, this show is going to be like the last six months of Johnny Carson’s tenure on the TONIGHT SHOW. Not that I mind that, it’s just an observation.

    1. I always felt that Dove needed to be handled more like Caine, in the Kung-Fu tv series; one who seeks peace but will defend when attacked or another is about to be harmed and the aggressor won’t listen to reason. Soft martial arts, such as aikido made more sense for the character. Ditko just created the character to be a punching bag for Hawk and no one seemed to be able to counteract that. The female Dove was an improvement over Don Hall; but, that isn’t saying much.

  5. Excellent show, great guests, fab music and a terrific host fella. I never liked the original Hawk and Dove combo but Dawn and Hank led a majorly fun comic… until all the Order and Chaos and mushy stuff came in. Usually I’m great with the Lords of Order, I loved how they gave Amethyst a shot in the arm, adored Flaw & Child, but they just ruined Hawk & Dove. Yeah, they always got their powers from some mystic voice, but after that they were pretty much street level heroes. Making them all hairy and glowy… no thanks.

    I’d forgotten Cave Carson had a cybernetic eye, but here’s Gerard Way telling me where it happened.
    http://www.newsarama.com/30457-gerard-way-on-doom-patrol-cave-carson-we-get-super-f-in-weird.html
    And if anyone’s not read the original Resurrection Man series by Abnett and Lanning and Jackson (he’ll always be Butch to me) Guice, seek it out, it’s fab. Has Shagg come across the Body Doubles, I wonder…

    Anyway, I’m not a fan of the Whatever Happened To the Secret Origin of Cave Carson story here, the darkened hero world was already a cliche by the time this appeared. What’s wrong with embracing the wonder of the concept, rather than showing that Cave and co trod underground with feet of clay? Reading this interview with Way, mind, it sounds as if he’s been reading this issue.

    I like the John Workman art on Chris KL 99 a lot, you can’t half tell John Workman used to work on Star*Reach. As for the story, I’ll get me coat.

  6. For a very rough issue, content-wise, this was a great episode, thanks to the guests, and you too Ryan, I suppose.

    I was big into the Hawk and Dove mini and ongoing series. Anj and Paul were right, this was a great run. So this seems like an odd back-up story or something. The art is uninspired at best, and just incomprehensible at worst. I’m a big fan of Von Eden’s earlier work as well, but he ain’t bringing it here.

    I like Tim Truman’s artwork, but who really wanted to deconstruct Cave Carson? There’s barely a foundation to take apart! When Loeb and Sale give the Challs this same treatment in a few years, it makes a bit more sense. Their original title lasted for years, and then they had a few revivals as well. I guess Bob Wayne was just into trying to make these forgotten DC properties relevant, but I think you have to care about a property before you can appreciate it being torn apart.

    Chris KL-99….what?!? This may be the biggest headscratcher of the entire series. A new Secret Origin for a character no one was going to do anything with. I like Workman’s art well enough, and I recall he did a very Mike Sekowsky-like JLA Secret Files profile page during the much-lamented “Silver Age” 5th week event in the late 90s. Speaking of which…why was this dedicated to Mike Sekowsky? According to Mike’s Amazing World, he never worked on the feature. Did these creators even know which character they were working on?

    Oh, and as to the cover, yes, I think Paul nailed it on the head, Cullins is having Mignola-envy here, for certain. Oh, and I thought that was one of Cave’s cronies too. It wasn’t until this episode that I realized it was meant to be Chris.

    Again, great show, despite being one of the weakest issues of the series. That speaks volumes about this show, and the talent pool Ryan has to draw from!

    Chris

    1. I totally forgot to bring up the Mike Sekowsky thing during my talk with Professor Alan but that confused me, too. Sekowsky died early in 1989, probably as this issue was being prepped. But I, too, could find no connection between him and any of these characters. Was there really no better comic published in June of 1989 that could have been dedicated to the memory of the guy who created Justice League of America? That baffles me.

      1. Probably a personal dedication from Waid. he’s a big Silver Age guy, and Sekowsky was probably a favorite (for JLA). This was his book; so, he probably did it of his own accord. I gave away my collection of comics from this era a long time ago, so I’m not sure; but, I believe Sekowsky’s death was featured in a house feature, at some point. As much as Sekowsky was the JLA artist, I much preferred his work on Diana Prince, Wonder Woman and the THUNDER Agents (on some of the THUNDER Squad stories). He also worked for Hanna-Barbera (possibly on the Super Friends).

  7. First of all, I think I’m proud to say that I own the TIME MASTERS trade, so I ran to it (sauntered, really; my comic room isn’t big enough to run across without crashing into a wall) and cracked it open to check on the details of how Cave Carson’s stolen Nazi gold factored into that Rip Hunter story. After being disappointed by the re-read, I remembered to focus on Carson’s role – basically he helps rescue Rip Hunter and his group (just before their HQ blows up) and takes him to his old underground base, and offers the loot he has just sitting in a storage room as a way for Rip to rebuilt his equipment and fund his adventuring to defeat the story’s big bad (Vandal Savage, of course). That’s it. One could say Carson is drawn in a dejected way when the loot is shown, and read into that about his feelings on still possessing Nazi gold, but the writers Wayne & Shiner sadly offer nothing else character wise to back that up.

    Regarding the rest of this Secret Origins issue: I grabbed this issue out of a 50 cent bin a few years ago SOLELY because of Cave Carson and Chris KL-99 in the lower left corner of this Paris Cullins cover. I love the obscure folks who show up in this last year of Secret Origins (and let’s face it, in any backup and anthology stories across ‘The Big 2’ publishing) – it’s mostly page filler, yes, but I’ve always been a fan of giving forgotten heroes (literally, in Carson’s case) a little modern exposure.

    Hawk & Dove were not a draw whatsoever – I’d go so far as to say that have done nothing for me, ever. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story of theirs that I liked (save maybe a story featuring Hawk & Dove II vs. a new batch of Female Furies) so I skipped over their origin here entirely. I did chuckle at the look on Barter’s face on the last page, though, as his mind is blown & world is flipped upside down by the big dragon and his lovey dovey bling – because Von Eeden felt he needed to have his eyes closed at this critical earthshaking moment??

    Cave’s story was neat, more of an overview than an origin, but the story does seem to work that short lived publication history into an actual short lived adventuring career. I’ve never gravitated to many of the stories Tim Truman has pencilled – though some of his western stories I’ve seen here and there have looked lovely – but I really liked his art here. Not perfect, but he gave the story more grit and grime *without* giving it a dark grim tone (as was, and still is, the tradition of the time).

    Chris KL-99’s story…….inoffensive, definitely too short, but I’m a fan of John Workman’s lettering (which, especially in Walt Simonson comics, becomes an excellent form of art itself) so I enjoyed seeing his artwork, which somehow looks exactly like I thought it would. Reminded me a bit of Mike Mignola, too, whose early work looked somewhat similar around this time too.

    And yes, I’m also buying that new Gerard Way Cave Carson comic because of the title (and Michael Avon Oeming art)…

  8. When I realized it was time for the Secret Origins #43 podcast, I was totally like “crap, I own Secret Origins #43? How the hell did that happen? I don’t like or care anything about any of these characters. I keep skipping #45, and I kinda like Blackhawk and don’t know enough about El Diablo. But I bought this at some point? Dang it!”

    I look at this cover, and all I see is Hawk & Dove exploring the colon of The Living Colossus. There are other people in It? If you say so. I never bothered to look at this too closely. Again, I even own this? How? When? Why?

    You guys tell the story of Hawk and Dove a lot nicer than I heard it, and it’s a tale of immediate creative and commercial failure whose failure is the one thing everyone involved could agree upon. My understanding is that noted right winger Steve Ditko created the book with the intention that Hawk be a hero after his own heart, while Dove would merely be a straw man through which Ditko would criticize the impotent pinko lefties. Steve Skeates was offended by this both due to his opposing political orientation and on a pure storytelling basis. Skeates would use the dialogue to give Dove the more sympathetic and intelligent personality while Hawk was made brutish, despite being vastly more proactive in the art. Ditko was furious that his message was being corrupted by Skeates and immediately quit, soon followed by Skeates, and then the book was cancelled after only six issues (despite boasting Gil Kane art.) So the creators had bad experiences, the characters went unfulfilled, the publisher was hot to kill the book and the fans were not enthused by it, either.

    Unfortunately, their design was okay, there was the kernel of a good idea in Hawk & Dove, and they were college aged heroes. So they joined the periphery of Teen Titans adventures, so they got play in the NTT era, so we’ll never be rid of them.

    I’m a loud, galling liberal, but I enjoy Steve Ditko’s libertarian/objectivist Charlton work a lot better than his time as a square peg at DC (Stalker somewhat excepted) because he had a sympathetic but more centrist writer in Joe Gill to massage his message into something commercially viable. At Charlton, it felt like Ditko was creating heroes for his worldview, where at DC it seemed like he was trying to join the old hacks in attempting to replicate Marvel Comics without understanding how beyond aping the most superficial aspects of the competition. Stan Lee absolutely deserves the criticism he’s received and more besides, but there are no Marvel Comics without him, and Ditko never had Marvel within himself, as evidenced by the likes of Hawk & Dove.

    I read at least one Silver Age Hawk and Dove issue, at least one issue of the Liefeld mini-series, several random issues of the Kesels’ ongoing, too many of their Titans appearances, and even some of that one mini-series from the late ’90s were a new Dove was a slacker dude guitarist and Hawk was Sarah Connor. They all sucked. I can see how you could make the concept work, but I haven’t seen that anyone else has, and I wouldn’t waste my notions on these decades of duds. Also included, their Secret Origin which might not have made sense if I cared enough to question it instead of letting the lame story and art cross my eyes and brain any longer than it took to read all the words on all the pages so I could say I’d read and comprehended it as a purely mechanical exercise.

    But hey, Anj could have just said he once wrote a guest piece about Hawk and Dove and maybe even linked to it, but he never fails to tell everyone he did these things at Diabolu Frank’s Bloodlines blog, offering more promotion for my spare pages than I ever would have bothered to. He’s a better man than me, not that anyone thought otherwise.

  9. “I hate everything about this story … but I don’t want to be overly negative” says Ryan 😉

    This was such a fun episode featuring characters I have little knowledge of.

    Of course, I’m most familiar with Hawk and Dove and it was a great idea to have both Paul and Anj as guests, but even with both of them on the show they weren’t able to balance the scales between their love of the characters and Ryan’s completely opposite view! Great discussion.

    Andy’s enthusiasm for Cave Carson made me want to read more of those stories, though not that Secret Origins story.

    And, of course, hearing Professor Alan talk about sci-fi comics is always great fun. I also enthusiastically recommend his reviews of the excellent Adam Strange comics at Relatively Geeky.

    Great episode Ryan!

    1. One thing I must ask though … why didn’t you and Andy discuss that amazing cross-over between Cave Carson and The Warlord in Skartaris?!?!? … 😉

  10. I don’t recall the exact quote, but J.M. DeMatteis told me words to the effect of people wanted reinvention in the 1980s. I imagine the Silver and even Bronze Age comics fan had been reared on strictly predictable formula, and when the likes of Alan Moore and Frank Miller blew the doors off stagnant comics tropes, everyone clamored for more. Of course, DeMatteis was one of the few talents with craft that could hold up to their standards, so there were a lot of journeymen running around irreparably breaking other people’s toys, chasing the dragon of bold new directions. The whole point of a shared universe continuity is to create an infrastructure that helps folks tell stories with the greatest ease by leaning on stable continuity in the face of a never-ending weekly schedule and audience entropy. The lesson Marvel & DC have both unlearned to their detriment is that if you’re constantly blowing up your freeways, it prevents people from getting to where they need to go to keep the readership happy.

    Cave Carson would have thrived in Marvel’s old welfare state of continuity. Spider-Man has been kidnapped by the Mole Man and the Fantastic Four are in the Negative Zone. How can the likes of street level private investigators Power Man and Iron Fist save their buddy? By reaching out to fellow professional Cave Carson, who happens to have a lab conveniently located right off the rail line in some part of New York commonly known to locals but “iconic” to the rest of us. To bad Carson is at pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps DC, where he was given a series of employment opportunities sixty years ago and under-performed, so they seized his assets and started living in the sewer. Only after DC Marvelized did he receive some compassion in the form of the Forgotten Heroes, but only a couple or three issues per decade (like the stint in Resurrection Man where he turned up with the ’90s cybernetic eye.) Of course, now Cave is getting a new ongoing series centered on a radical reinvention, which is a very DC thing to do, and seems to be working out for him.

    I agree with everyone that the characterization of Carson and company in the Secret Origin is squicky and makes it difficult to think of the characters without conjuring up unethical corporate espionage and Nazi Holocaust spoils. Also, the abuse of that thing they call a monkey that does not exist on any Earth we inhabit (and recalls the better drawn pets of both Starslayer and Grimjack.) I also assume Tim Truman was trying to reference the early stories through the panels of more simplistic art, but fundamentals were never his strong suit, so that just looks bad. Truman is a stylist who covers his gaps up in extra detailing, or in the case of Hawkworld by bringing in Enrique Alcatena and Sam Parsons to elaborate heavily on his work to the point of it looking vastly different from his other efforts. I’m very fond of Truman from this period, so the panels that look like they connect to Cynosure work best for me. Truman is a hippie bluesman who never felt comfortable with the inherent fascism of super-heroes, which explains why he mostly stuck to adventure heroes like he did here and in his throwback Guns of the Dragon mini-series (teaming Enemy Ace, Bat Lash, Biff Bradley, and Chop-Chop against Vandal Savage.)

  11. My intro to Hawk & Dove was as a mention, in DC Super Stars #1, which reprinted some Teen Titans story. They appeared only in an info segment about other Titans. I wouldn’t actually see them in a story until the tail end of the original Titans series, when they were part of Titans West (where they didn’t do much). The first major story was a later-era Brave and the Bold, where they were adults and brought back together again. It was a pretty decent story; but, the follow-up was the death of Dove, in Crisis. I read the Kesel/Liefeld mini, liked it well enough, and then the regular series (mostly for Kesel’s writing). The premise doesn’t work; but, mostly for reasons I mention above. I hated the whole Order and Chaos schtick going on at DC, at this point. It bored me. DC didn’t have a Michael Moorcock writing for them to make it work. The closest was Neil Gaiman, who used them as minor figures in Season of Mist. Ditko created Dove to be a punching bag, which made him a useless chaarcter from the get go. A better way to go would be to treat him like Kwai Chang Caine, in Kung-Fu; a spiritual pacifist who fights only to defend. That fits into the superhero world better, though you still wouldn’t have someone who would seek combat. Like Kung-Fu, you’d need to give him a quest that brings him into repeated conflict.

    Speaking of Moorcock, I got a heavy Eternal Champion vibe when I read the portion with the knight and his Lord of Order medallion. He makes a good Corum or Elric. The story is good, as most of Kesel’s writing is; but, it doesn’t really make me want to read the series. That’s more down to concept than content, though. Funny thing is, I was reading the series. I don’t recall why I picked up the mini, other than curiosity about the characters and that Brave and the Bold issue.

    Loved the Cave Carson story. Bob Wayne was a decent pulp writer and Truman was a fantastic pulp artist. I was reading Scout around this time, got into Grimjack a bit after and loved Truman and friends’ work on the Airboy and Airfighter titles, at Eclipse. Truman loved this stuff and he made it look great. I haven’t read the original stories; but, I enjoyed this and the same with Time Masters. I still say DC should revive Adventure Comics and use it for pulp adventures of chaarcters like the Challengers of the Unknown, Cave Carson, the Secret Six (the original), King Faraday, Sarge Steel, and other adventure characters. Get guys like Chuck Dixon, Mike Grell, Beau Smith, John Ostrander and Tim Truman to work on them and just let them go to town. yeah, I don’t see the current regime doing that. Oh how we miss you, Jenette Kahn, Paul Levitz and Dick Giordano. Truman, himself, did a great little mini-series, in this kind of realm, in the early 2000s, Guns of the Dragon. It features Bat Lash, Enemy Ace, Chop-Chop, Miss fear (Blackhawk enemy) and Vandal Savage, in an adventure that involves the dinosaur island fromThe War That Time Forgot. It is truly awesome and I appear to be the only person who read it.

    You guys are misunderstanding the gold issue in the story. There were laws in place that prevented gold hording and the like. Currency markets, while the gold standard was in place, underwent big upheaval, in the post-WW2 era, eventually leading Nixon to take US currency off the Gold Standard. Cave and the gang would have to turn in the gold, not because it was stolen, but because of gold ownership restrictions.

    Cave falls into the 80s flirtation with deconstruction of heroic adventure and some of the moral implications of their adventures. In some cases it made for interesting, mature stories. Like most things though, it got worse with imitation and repetition and was run into the ground. I kind of like it in some of these types of characters, as morality tales were big elements of pulp fiction. It does tamper the sense of wonder, though good writers can balance that. I think Bob Wayne and Lewis Shiner (who contributed to George RR Martin’s excellent Wild Cards series) would have done a lot more to even the slate, had they had more than just Time Masters to continue this kid of stuff.

    Chris KL-99 does sound very Edmond Hamilton. Wonder if he ever encountered the Star Wolves? When Prof. Alan says Chris KL-99, it sounds like a promo for a radio station; “Chris KL-99, the future’s hits, all day, every day!”

    One thing worth mentioning is how under-sung Barb Randall (the ex-Barb Kesel) was. She was an excellent editor and writer and she demonstrated it in snippets, when she got the chance. She moved on the DC to Dark Horse, where she got to stretch her muscles some more, though some of that was their rather dull Comics Greatest World stuff (meh…). She also worked at Crossgen; but, hasn’t been around the mainstream in a while. I suspect the fact she has been outspoken about sexism in the industry hasn’t won her friends at DC, where sexual harassers are protected. Shame, really. You’d think that with the Big 2 giving lip service to diversity they’d seek out people with a rep for that.

    1. Fascinating, I’ve never heard of Guns of the Dragon (1998, apparently). Did it not get a single hous ad? It looks all kinds of fun.

      Barbara Kesel also wrote the fun Ultragirl mini at Marvel, drawn by Leonard Kirk and worth seeking out.

  12. I agree with Hix that Armageddon 2001 ruined Hawk & Dove. But they weren’t the only casualties. Captain Atom was never the same. His title was cancelled (probably more due to sales than A2001) and he became more and more confusing and convoluted. In the pages of Extreme Justice, Monarch returned and was revealed to be Captain Atom. It makes my brain hurt!

    1. Hey hey, let’s not forget Armageddon: The Alien Agenda which followed Captain Atom and Monarch jumping around through time while trying to deal with aliens having some kind of agenda.

      On second thought, how quickly can we burn all known copies?

  13. Great episode. I own this issue. I hate this issue. I’m noticing the less I liked an issue, the more I seem to like the corespondening podcast. This was a great episode….

  14. Hoo-boy, did I ever come to meet Hawk & Dove in the most backward manner. I have never heard of the duo until Armageddon 2001 #2. Then I got their cards in the DC Cosmic Cards set, and only years later did I finally get the H&D mini. Lordy lordy, what a ride.

    If anybody is unfamiliar with Armageddon 2001 or just wants to revisit, (Shameless plug moment) I’m currently going back through the storyline over at http://armageddon2001.blogspot.com but really only two books actually relate to Hawk & Dove, so take that as you might.

    Ryan, et al, another great episode all around, even if this issue could probably be called Mort Origins and sold equally as well.

  15. Very interesting episode Ryan.

    The Hawk and Dove story does sound like a .5 issue rather than a stand alone story. Never read the series with Hank and Dawn and my first introduction to the characters was in the Armageddon 2001 #2 special which set up the Monarch role. I managed to find a second hand copy of the Kesel-Liefeld 1980s miniseries in trade paperback and it was an interesting story with quite good art. I also got the New 52 series which was quite bad by comparison. I see they are part of the Titans team after Rebirth so maybe as part of an ensemble they may come across better?

    As well as his role in the Suicide Squad/Doom Patrol crossover, another of Hawk’s appearances before the appearance of Dawn was in Booster Gold where he again acted idiotically in a story set in Mexico. Hawk definitely needed a Dove because as a solo character, he was not good.

    I also read the Cave Carson story in the Time Masters trade paperback. Cave was part of the story but again was not a nice character – he was having an affair with his research assistant at the start of the story and broke it off with her when the University found out. This led to him recommending her to Rip Hunter to help him in his quest. Cave then later joined Rip’s team to help with financial assistance as I recall.

    Cave Carson also turned up in the early issues of the Eclipso series. He was recommended by Amanda Waller to Bruce Gordon to help his team (which included Creeper) through the caves of Parador to spy on Eclipso; unfortunately, Eclipso have eclipsed a whole cave of bats(!) which attacked the team – later on it was revealed that Cave Carson had his legs broken by Eclipso and dumped over the border.

    As an aside, during Keith Giffen’s Suicide Squad run in the early 200s, Sgt Rock had an assistant named Bulldozer – was that Cave Carson’s Bulldozer by any chance?

    Chris KL-99 – well, that’s a first, a DC Character I had never heard of before! Unfortunately his story in Secret Origins does not induce me to clamour for more stories.

    Despite the lacklustre lineup of characters, you and your guests made this a great show to listen to, and you should have more fun with the Mud Pack episode next time out.

  16. Ryan,
    Another excellent episode. I will really miss this show when you wrap up in 9 short episodes. Finishing this entire series is a real accomplishment. I don’t know that even Roy Thomas has read that much Roy Thomas.

    I bought Secret Origins the way I would imagine a lot of people did – I only bought issues when I liked a character that was featured. That leads to a wonky list of issues in my collection. I was especially conscious to buy issues that featured a character whose book I was collecting. That is why my favorite issues of this series are the Animal Man issue and this issue. Morrison did such a great job in his issue telling Buddy’s origin while adding a new layer to the new origin he was building in the monthly book. Like all things Morrison, it was a meta-textual look at an origin that was in fact “secret” because it was being told anew month by month.

    While this Hawk and Dove issue does not reach those heights, it does add two key elements to the H and D monthly – details about the Barterer and the origin of why H and D were given powers by the Lords of Order and Chaos. In the continuum of the monthly book, this issue works well. As an issue of Secret Origins? Well….But, given how subpar some of the straight origin issues are, I’d actually rather have an issue that ties directly into an ongoing. In fact, that might have been a better model for the series. I’m reminded of how good that Suicide Squad issue is as a lead in to the new series. It makes more sense as a business model than “Let’s let Roy Thomas dive into his Golden Age comics like Scrooge McDuck into a vault of gold.”

    The Cave Carson origin made zero sense at the time, but it was nice that this episode came out as excitement for Gerard Way’s Young Animal line is building. I’m really hopeful that this is a second renaissance for boutique lines at DC. It is an absolute shame that Vertigo went from the pinnacle of creativity and risk to a husk of its formal self. Maybe this line can inject DC with some much needed weirdness that made DC in the late 80’s so fun and inventive.

    Again, great show! I even liked the episodes with my podcasting partner Dr. G, and I know firsthand what a radio prima donna he can be. :)

  17. I’ll take 1980s “Whatever Happened To…” over “Secret Origins” every time, because the former was all about telling a complete story that regarded the character’s history, while the latter was too often preoccupied with setting up questionable stories maybe to come or “fixing” what wasn’t broken. More Rex the First Wonder Dog on the Moon (a quality Cardigans album BTW) and less screwing around with Chris-KL-99-25-or-6-to-4 to a fan base made up of Father McKenzie’s parishioners. I’ve always liked John Workman’s retro-newspaper strip style (usually recalling Jim Holdaway and reserved for pin-ups,) but here he looks more like a 1970s liberal utopian PSA poster from the public health clinic. It’s interesting to see this style applied to a Silver Age nobody, and the story similarly feels like an O. Henry wannabe one-off sci-fi short for an off-brand sci-fi anthology (Charlton? Pacific?) My one concern is that I’m uncomfortable with everyone in the story looking like a life model class nude with painted on unitards. Again, an aesthetic about a decade deferred.

    I only own about three more issues of this series, so I’m glad I won’t actually have to do much more reading. That’s often a chore. I also surprised myself how much I had to say about this issue’s sorry lot, but I’m guaranteed a tight-lipped week when the Mud Pack, lesser Legionnaires, and Newsboy Legion issues drop.

    In case it comes up in the feedback, Anj and I already talked on Twitter about how he did plug DC Bloodlines on the podcast.

    The Captain Atom: Armageddon maxi-series where he toured Wildstorm before its integration was no great shakes, either. You’d think a five year run would give people some faith in the concept, but it seems like every Captain Atom revival has revolved around either Monarch or Dr. Manhattan.

  18. Finally catching up on old episodes…

    I have to step in to defend John Workman. While he might be better known as a letterer, he was also a pretty good artist on his own. He did a lot of fan-press work that appeared in publications like Comic Reader and Amazing Heroes. (If I recall, there was quite a bit of pin-up artwork that Shagg might have approved of.) While I don’t have the Secret Origins issue in front of me, based off the samples on the website, it looks like there might have been an editorial request to make the artwork look a certain way. Rest assured that John Workman can indeed draw faces.

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