Coda to the Canwellian Holidays

As promised in the prior post that summarizes my holiday activities, here is what my siblings combined forces to procure as my “big” 2018 Christmas present, a gift many comics fans will appreciate, I believe:

This large (36 inches wide by 27 inches high) framed compilation contains reproductions of the # 1-issue covers of the “Big Six” DC Comics superheroes. We all know the significance of the number-one issues of Action, Detective, and Sensation Comics, as well as All Star # 8, All American # 15, and More Fun # 73, but for the general public, #1 issues bearing the characters’ logos are far more compelling than historical first appearances. And the general public was very much in mind when this piece was assembled, since my Florida-based brother-in-law found it while he was traveling on business. It was part of a hotel lobby display, one of a group of auction items up for sale, with the proceeds collected from all the items going to support a worthy charitable cause.

Thinking of my 1990s Batman work for DC (The Gauntlet, Batman Chronicles # 14) — plus his own boyhood watching the various DC Saturday morning cartoon shows, including Super Friends, for which Alex Toth did so much fine work — my brother-in-law envisioned this as a fine Christmas gift for me, though he expected it would be a long-shot to actually win the auction. Co-ordinating with my siblings and agreeing on how much money each of them would contribute, he entered a bid representing their combined amount — and was pleasantly astonished, weeks later, to get a call telling him they had won!

It was, of course, a very nice gesture from all my siblings, and I’m indebted to them and to their families for going to such lengths just for me; I’m humbled by and obliged for their kindness. Here’s a zoom-in on the legend displayed between the Wonder Woman and Aquaman covers, giving the years of publication for each of these issues. Take a look, then I’ll join you on the other side for a closing thought:

We tend to think, “Wow — 1939 to 1962! That’s a lot of years between Superman # 1 (earliest of the bunch) and Aquaman # 1 (the most recent).” Certainly the twenty-three years between the two comics is demonstrated when one compares them in terms of graphic design, cover price, and the existence and use of the Comics Code Authority seal. But consider …

Twenty-three years from 1962 and Aquaman # 1 is 1985; neither of DC’s mid-’80s smash hits (The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen) had yet to see print. Twenty-three years from 1985 is 2008: the biggest stories in superherodom (the Iron Man and Dark Knight films) were taking place in cineplexes, not on the comic book page. And from 2008, as I type these words, we are now eleven years still farther down the line. So yes, it was indeed a long time between Superman # 1 and Aquaman # 1 — but almost two and a half times that span has passed between Aquaman # 1 and today! It seems hard to believe to those of us who vividly remember the Red Sox “Impossible Dream” year of 1967, or sitting glued to the TV set, watching Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon …

Shifting attention away from such sobering thoughts, the topic of superheroics seemed an appropriate one to use as a theme to launch the LOAC Wheel of Fortune. If you read the piece I’m posting immediately after this one, you’ll see why. See you there as we give that Wheel its inaugural spin!

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