Armagideon Time

Archive for the ‘Nobody’s Favorites’ category

When it comes to hobbies which lend themselves to effective supervillainy, the art of juggling is right down there next to philately and marigold cultivation. It’s not that I’m impugning the quick-thinking and manual dexterity of juggling enthusiasts, it’s just that it’s difficult to perceive an appropriate aura of menace from something I reflexively associate [...]

There was a very strict hierarchy at play in the Zayre’s action figure aisle during the Golden Age of Articulated Plastic Crap. Where perennial favorites and popular sellers occupied high profile peg-space, the unloved assortment of knock-offs and also-rans was consigned to a large wire mesh bin which spanned the length of the aisle’s bottom [...]

I’ve written up a number of DC’s “mature readers” sci-fi and fantasy offerings from the late 1980s over the course of this feature. That class of funnybooks — to my mind, at least — reflects the core essence of “nobody’s favorite” more than any Silver Age also-ran or art-directed 1990s travesty ever could. These works [...]

Sometime in the spring of 1985, a bunch of my classmates gathered around the school print shop’s giant light table and discussed a WIKKID AWESOME film movie aired on HBO the previous night. As it happened to coincide with one of my family’s on-again-off-again rounds as pay TV subscribers, it was one of the few [...]

Roughly half a decade before the Great Chromium Crash, the funnybook business experienced an equally significant — if lesser-chronicled — market correction which left plenty of shattered dreams and unsellable overstock in its wake. This earlier implosion was a consequence of the industry’s switch to direct market distribution over the course of the 1980s. The [...]

While fans and other funnybook boosters argue the role of comics in the greater body of mass media, very few specifics are given about what that role actually entails. Sales figures are bandied about like arcane formulas and (quite laudable) matters of accessibility and inclusion are given a good deal of discussion, but there’s also [...]

Dazzler is one of those characters — alongside Gambit and the android Red Tornado — who would instantly qualify for Nobody’s Favorite status…if they didn’t possess an inexplicable and quite vociferous fanbase. The mutant disco (no affiliation) diva was an abortive bit of cross-media multimarketing, an attempt to capture the power of the boogie fever [...]

The last significant peak of Cold War anxieties regarding nuclear annihilation unfolded between 1982 and 1985, when panic over communist expansionism in places like Central America and Afghanistan came up against the hardline militarism of the Reagan Administration. It was the era of The Day After, Red Dawn, Rocky IV, and “99 Luftballons” — where [...]

August 1939. The Second Sino-Japanese war is raging on the Asian mainland and the Nazi (and Soviet) invasion of Poland is mere weeks away. A depression-weary America attempts to steer a neutralist course through the geopolitical minefield, but anxieties are running high. The people need a hero, a mythic champion willing to take up arms [...]

Is it possible for a creative work to be brilliant and horrible in equal measure? I’m not talking about things like Birth of a Nation or Triumph of the Will, where masterful artistic craftsmanship was placed in service of hateful ideologies. I’m talking about works where gold and garbage are so closely intermingled that it [...]

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