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In which Greg cops an attitude, which is probably not that healthy, but tries to overcome it by giving a quiz

by  in Comic News Comment

I know that since we moved over here we have a bigger audience (I don’t know how much bigger, since the Great Cronin jealously guards those numbers!), and therefore we have a bigger range of opinions chiming in.  I have noticed that recently, people seem to be meaner to me, and it has made me cry.  Why, good readers, don’t you like me?  How can I live without your approval????

It’s strange.  I look at who links to us, and people are always linking to Greg Hatcher’s Friday columns, because, let’s face it, they’re excellent and thought-provoking.  People are also always linking to Brian’s comic book urban legends revealed, again, because they’re excellent (and famous!).  People link to some things I write, too, occasionally because they like what I wrote, but recently, because they think I’m an idiot.  The other day I came across a LiveJournal on which the writer claimed I can’t review comics because I didn’t remember that the Amazons had a purple healing ray.  If you think that’s stupid, well, you’re not alone.

I don’t know why Brian asked me to contribute to this site.  I suppose he liked my writing style and thought I had something interesting to say about comics.  You’d have to ask him.  I do know he didn’t ask me because of my knowledge of arcane, meaningless trivia about comic books, but apparently if I don’t possess that, whether or not I think a book is good is worthless.  I mean, I can’t possibly know if Casanova is any good if I don’t know the name of Spider-Man’s pet cat, can I?

I’m not sure why people get so upset about this stuff.  The person above devoted a whole (short) post to saying that he’s not going to read this blog anymore because I, a humble contributor, didn’t know something relatively minor.  Really?  I know, I’m writing a whole post about how angry I am, but I’m not really angry, because I have more important things to worry about.  I have two daughters to raise, so comics are just what they should be in my life – distracting entertainment.  Still, this is a weird phenomenon.

Is it because I have been picking on DC superhero comics?  That’s not exactly it, because those of you who read this blog a while back remember how I was raked over the coals for hating Owly.  But it has something to do with it.  I have been accused more than once of having an “agenda,” even though I’m not entirely sure what that agenda is.  I guess I don’t love superheroes as much as I should.  I do love superheroes, though, and I get very upset when superhero comics don’t live up to the wonderful expectations we all have for them.  Just giving us a comic book with just a character we remember fondly and little else isn’t fucking good enough.  Brian has fond memories of the “depowered” Wonder Woman, and I’m sure seeing her at the end of Wonder Woman #1 was a nice shot of nostalgia for him, but I very much doubt that he would keep buying the book if it started to suck (if he didn’t get comics downloaded directly into his brain, that is, as per his deal with Mephisto).  Nobody should buy a book for its potential – well, not for long, anyway (a few issues is okay).  There are far too many good books for you to hope that New Avengers will eventually be good (I don’t read the book; I just picked it at random, so don’t yell at me).

The idea that I – or anyone, by the way – can’t review comic books because we are not steeped in DC or Marvel’s convoluted history is ridiculous.  When I write these reviews (the one on Infinite Crisis took me four days, by the way, because I wasn’t working on it 24-7), I don’t have the time nor the inclination to dig through my comic book collection to find out the references, nor should I have to surf the Internets to find the answers.  Part of the problem with IC is that it was occasionally too obscure.  Mogo, for instance.  I knew who he was, but if you didn’t, you might be momentarily distracted by the big Green Lantern planet.  As for the Purple Death Ray, I only mentioned it because it sounded so goofy in context.  Imagine that thousands of robots are flying toward you to kill you and then say, with the gravitas that the scene demands, “The purple death ray has been completed.”  It’s stupid.  Cute, sure, but stupid in the context of the situation.  And if that upsets you, maybe you should ask yourself why you take comics so seriously.  They’re only comics, after all.

Well, this was more bitter than I wanted.  Like I said, they’re only comics!  One thing I like about blogs is when I post something, we have comments so that people can debate things.  If I get something wrong, I expect to be corrected, but it would be nice if it was done without rancor.  I don’t attack commenters personally, because life is too short.  So if I screw something up (and let’s face it, I’m not perfect), let me know.  It’s perfectly fine for a commenter to write, “Uh, Greg, it was in 1977 that the Bedeviler was revealed to be Astonisho-Man’s fiancee, not in 1975, and it took place in Mighty Suburban Tales #312, not 213.  And remember, thanks to that retcon, Citizen Crane never had that sexy sidekick Back Ho.  She no longer exists.”  That’s cool.  But I’ll say it again, if you don’t like my reviews, don’t read them.  And can we keep the personal attacks to a minimum?  And I don’t have an agenda beyond wanting comics to be good and to thrill me and to tell stories that are marvelous.  I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

I can’t leave my bitterness behind completely, though!  I figured, since people berate me for my lack of knowledge, to quiz you on your knowledge!  No prizes for this one, just the satisfaction of knowing the answers.  These are questions that I know the answers to simply from memory, so my challenge to you, good readers, is: Leave your answers in the comments, but DO NOT do any research to find them out!  That means no digging through your comic book collection and not browsing on-line.  Because, you know, if you don’t know all of these answers from memory, obviously you have no business reviewing comics or commenting on others.  Whoops, was that too bitter?

I have no plans to change, by the way.  I just wanted to get this off my chest.  Begin answering!

1. What is the name of John’s psychiatrist/lover in Faust: Love of the Damned?

2. In what issue of Starman do we first hear a reference to the “bad dwarf”?

3. How old does Scorpio claim to be in the “Who Remembers Scorpio?” story from Defenders #46-50?

4. Who illustrated the excellent Neil Gaiman-written Riddler origin story in Secret Origins Special #1?

5. Who blinded Betsy Braddock?

6. What is the name of Niles Caulder’s “wife”?

7. In what comic book did Moon Knight first appear?

8. Who created Vesper Fairchild?

9. In what issue of Uncanny X-Men does Jubilee first appear, and who are the villains in the issue?

10. What kind of poem did Richard Madoc mention when Morpheus cursed him with idea diarrhea?

11. Who are the “villains” that Buddy is hired to find in Peter Milligan’s run on Animal Man?

12. Who was Wonder Woman’s publicist?

13. Hunter Rose adopted a young girl.  What was her name?

14. Into whose body does the Ultra-Humanite put Hitler’s brain in The Golden Age?

15. Who’s the hero of Rex Mundi?

16. What is Dreadstar’s first name?

17. What job does Pappy get when the Scurvy Dogs are forced to seek employment?

18. What’s Chris Grahame’s strange secret in Kingdom of the Wicked?

19. Who was the Sin-Eater?

20. Who was the Suicide Squad trying to rescue when they were stopped by the Justice League?

Have fun!  Remember – you’re on the honor system.  No cheating, please!