Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Dr. Solar: Man of the Awesome

I was perplexed. Why the hell was Dark Horse reprinting the old Dell/Gold Key stuff? The stuff that inspired those lame Valiant comics in the nineties. I saw no point, honestly. But my good buddy Alex insisted that it was, indeed, "good shit." So I got the Solar trade and sat myself back on the train to do some reading. First I noticed the art, mostly by Bob Fujitani. Really nice, sturdy work reminiscent of 60's adventure strips in the papers. Realistic figures before Neal Adams came along and people started thinking his romanticism was realistic.

The stories are . . .not groundbreaking, but, considering the times, low on the kind of stuff that really dates older comics. But each story has a good hook, a nice 3 or 5 act structure, and a satisfying conclusion that leaves further serial tales open. So, nothing to scream about, but decent stuff for which I have no complaints.

So there's not really anything on the surface that blows my mind. But it does. Maybe it's the early issues, where Solar is just a guy in a suit who happens to be fucking RADIOACTIVE! He glows green and lives in a lead-lined office. And his powers are constantly expanding, tangentially correspond to some scientific theory or fact, and look AWESOME. It's this GREEN GUY in a suit swimming around in the ocean ABSORBING RADIOACTIVITY. It's just the sort of fun, cool stuff that tedious "adult" superhero comics lack.

When he gets the costume, they make a better case of him having one than most comics. And it's a pretty cool design, honestly. The best elements of the silver age Flash and Cyclops, pretty much, before either had appeared. But even that costume can't compete with a green dude in a suit doing amazing things. That's a great image, and you can't underrate that stuff in genre comics.

Speaking of which, oh, man, those covers!


Blogger alex said...

You should reiterate that this DOCTOR SOLAR is the Original Gangsta, not the lame impostor of the nineties Valiant crap.

And this post by me, your pal, should be re-read, in tandem with yours, to complete the Gold Key expereince:

Friday, December 17, 2004
MAGNUS ROBOT FIGHTER makes me Shoot My Load

somewhere here:

1/25/2005 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger alex said...

Also, I don't know if you stressed this enough...

For the better part of the Archive, Doctor Solar WEARS A LABCOAT AND SUNGLASSES, and he has GREEN SKIN.

A necktie. A streak in his hair. Trim good looks. AND RADIOACTIVE GREEN SKIN.

He's so cool.

I have a man crush on Doctor Solar.

1/25/2005 08:12:00 PM  

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