Tuesday, 2 June 2015


I'm now sadly a middle aged ol' fart and my reading matter these days is reading comics on disc....I'm ploughing through decades of DC and MARVEL comics ,THE AVENGERS to AQUAMAN; SPIDERMAN TO SUPERMAN and THE X-MEN and the list goes on!....Sad and tragic?..Yes i know i've been told many times, butit keeps me happy ,so all you mature ,know it all friends and family.."Shut yer gob!"

The American idea that the world begins and ends at the borders of Manhatten and is filled to the gunnells with all kinds of super heroes ,good and diabollically evil, monsters ,alien races ,etc knocking 7 bells outta each other is fascinating. 

New York is the home of the skyscraper and is known as 'THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS!' Which is reasonable enough if you imagine yourself trying to sleep as THE INCREDIBLE HULK and GODZILLA are flattening skyscrapers ,THE X-MEN or THE AVENGERS are fighting mystic alien hordes at the bottom of your street most nights of the week.

The two main creators of our beloved SUPERHEROES are MARVEL and D.C. comics. Marvel tend to stick to 'Noo-YOIK!' while DC tend to have their 'heroes' in their home cities....BATMAN/GOTHAM ;   SUPERMAN/ METROPOLIS; THE GREEN ARROW/CENTRAL CITY; FLASH/STAR CITY. But the main thing is they are all based on 'THE BIG APPLE', the artists don't have to be too geographically or architecturally accurate, whereas Marvels may be able to take liberties, but only sometimes.

It amazes me how old some of these characters are ,most of the existed popular ones sold even today ,came about in the early 60's SPIDERMAN,THE X-MEN,FANTASTIC 4, etc and many DC guys n' super gals. But the biggies SUPERMAN, BATMAN, CAPTAIN AMERICA ,jeez!..They came out in the 30'-40's

DC were a bit more traditional and BATMANwas a masked detective ,but their superheroes tended to be from outer space. Whereas those whizz bang futuristic new boys at Marvel went for the exposure to radiation angle . In the MIGHTY MARVEL UNIVERSE if you were exposed to cosmic or gamma rays ,they always seemed to be the favourite forms of radiation at Marvel....Whereas you or me would be irradiated and suffer agonising illnesses and certain death they would be endowed with super powers.....Force beams from your eyes;Super strength ; Turn into the biggest ,greenest man in ripped trousers; Given the proportionate strength ,speed n' reflexes of a spider; Even fly; Turn into an elasticated stretchy man ,etc,etc.....

When i was a kid there was a few heroes without super powers ,to which i would groan with bored disgust. But one of the all-time classic comic characters is BATMAN and he's a self trained super detective, and his history of stories and villians are known to all even those who dont read comics. So i bite my middle aged tongue and say some of these athletic non super heroes are great. They were often trained for years in lost temples in the himalayas or by lone masters living in the middle of nowhere....Theres nobody like that or mystic temples in Warrington so i don't s'pose i'll be a hero around here!

BATMAN is an interesting character and has been around with his trusty sidekick ROBIN since he was a small minor character in DETECTIVE COMICS no:27 then there was no looking back. He was made into a few American black n' white telly serials and on the radio. In the 1960's a television version starring ADAM WEST hit the tellys of our green n' pleasant land. Everybody of a certain age can still hum the dynamic theme tune and had a toy BATMOBILE as a kid! It was on over two nights ,always with a cliffhangar and a fight with the baddies along with graphic comic sound effects on screen like ...POW!..SOCK!...KERSMACK!...ZINGO!....

It was played totally camp with tongue firmly in cheek and it was wonderful. All kinds of celebrities wanted to appear as baddies or to make appearences in the legendary Batman and Robin walking with the aid of the BATARANG and BATROPE up the side of a skyscraper, celebrities would hang out of the window holding conversations with the 'DYNAMIC DUO!'...Great stuff!...The silliness and campness may have damaged the comics ,etc, but later the character became very grim and dark indeed in comic and in film beating the shit out of the nasty underworld of GOTHAM CITY swooping out of the darkness from his grapling hook and line the trusty batarang!

Various heroes can fly ,but the other mode beloved of those sad one who can't is 'swinging!....These swingers have a variety of shooting lines between skyscrapers and swooping between them or grabbing a flagpole as every skyscraper in the US has a handy flagpole. BATMAN has his Batarang and ropes all tucked up in his UTILITY BELT. The GREEN ARROW fires his bow n' arrow firing an arrow into a building wall and using them as a zip line. DAREDEVIL who was blinded by radioactive chemicals which enhanced his senses and gave him a form of radar sense he has what the yanks call a 'BILLY CLUB' but it has a line for all those flagpoles.

SPIDERMAN'S alter-ego was a scientific genius PETER PARKER who created this incredibly strong elasticated web fluid and web shooters to fire them at skyscrapers up the Avenue. I wondered did they ever shoot a bit too far so when they swang did they ever swing down too far and scrape their spandex drawers on the road tarmac or smack into a truck or a car!

The real daddy of the heroes is SUPERMAN, he is so powerful he can push planets out of orbit and fly into the core of the sun just to light a ciggie ,if ,god forbid he had bad habits like smoking. He could fire heat beams ,x rays ,telescopic rays from his eyes . He could freeze deserts with his breath , he was totally invulnerable . I wonder how he controlled that almost infinite strength ,if he shook your hand would you ever play the piano again? If him and his lady, LOIS LANE ever 'got to it!' how would she survive? I believe in the later comics Superman and WONDER WOMAN got together ,i'd imagine she could handle our man from KRYPTON.

SUPERMAN is the one who created all the od superhero cliches, the changing in the phonebox, the tearing the shirt oen to reveal his costume. Mobile phones have got rid of phoneboxes ,so our heroes have nowhere for the quick change to save the world ...So if the world isn't saved it's your fault for having a mobile texting all day n' night, while diabolical evil geniuses and super villians overun the planet.

Maybe public toilets can take the phone booth's place , but maybe  all those strange fellahs arrested in public toilets are superheroes trying to save the world....Maybe George Michael is a superhero and thats why he got arrested in so many!