As part of the ramp-up to writer Warren Ellis’ taking over writing duties of Astonishing X-Men from Joss Whedon in the summer of 2008, Marvel released a Sketchbook to promote the visualizations of new regular artist, Simone Bianchi.
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‘We cannot build our own future without helping others to build theirs’.
—Bill Clinton (1946-present), former US President
‘We don’t all crumble at the sight of some clown in a flag’.
—Thor, God of Thunder, Earth-1610
It’s exceedingly obvious that every single person who has ever lived—even
people with the most rudimentary knowledge of history or politics—has their own distinct definition of what a leader is or should (at least attempt) to be. To the recently-paroled Lynette ‘Squeaky’ Fromme, that leader was a mass-murdering cultist and self-proclaimed returned ‘Messiah’ named Charles Manson. To the advocates of recognition of universal Civil Rights in the United States through non-violent methods (which birthed, of course, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s X-Men), Martin Luther King, Jr. was the man to follow. To Britain’s frighteningly Orwellian incarnation of the Conservative Party in the 1980s, Margaret Thatcher was the be-all, end-all (Warren Ellis is famous for having noted ‘I grew up in the 80s in England: we’d wake up each morning and look out the window to see if the government had finally put Daleks on the streets’).
However, since the United States declared its independence in the late 18th Century, one sort of Western leader has captivated popular media, including comicbooks, in a way not even fairytale princes and Arthurian legends have been able to manage: the American President, a position that, in itself, is almost mythical in stature, if not in actual relevance.
Plastic Man never shows his eyes. True, you see them when he’s out of costume and character, resuming the role of his alter-ego, Eel O’Brien. But the character with which Jack Cole has become most associated never lets you see his eyes.
‘Cartoonists “become” each character in their comics, acting out every gesture and expression’, writes Art Spiegelman in Jack Cole and Plastic Man: Forms Stretched to Their Limits (co-created with Chip Kidd). ‘It’s in this ontological sense that Cole most resembles Plastic Man—as the Spirit of Cartooning’.
He’s the greatest superhero you’ve never heard of! Well, if you follow the DCU you’ve probably heard of him, but may not yet have embraced him. His name is Booster Gold. And now’s the time to get to know him.
Booster Gold comes to us a failure from the future only to return to the past a hero to protect the timeline. His cover? An egocentric, media-hungry, JLA B-Lister named. . .Booster Gold. In fact, not only might he be the greatest superhero you’ve never heard of, but it’s high time Booster Gold take his place among the pantheon of the greatest superheroes of all-time.
Sometimes plans change. Originally, I ‘d meant to review the second half of Earth X’s storyline, then take a closer look at the artwork of both the covers and interiors. However, on rereading, one main concept of the book is overwhelming my thoughts: sacrifice. Heroes must always sacrifice. It is what sets them apart from everyone else. The idea of being selfless is often foreign to many. Too often, people are too selfish to do what is right. By contrast the characters in our comicbooks sacrifice and selflessness it look so easy.
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