The titles that led me to become the huge DC Comics fan I am today?
Who's Who In The DC Universe, Crisis On Infinite Earths and the comic that started it all for me, All-Star Squadron. As a young kid, there was nothing better than the sudden rush of information and the sense of discovery that every issue seemed to bring.
Who knew there was such a thing as The Golden Age?
In the grand scheme of what we know as The DC Universe, as it stands today, ASS (a better acronym you'll never find) was its corner foundation.
Recently, caught in a wave of nostalgia, I bought the first year's worth and...
How the hell did I ever become a DC Comics fan.
This stuff was pretty impenetrable, an American comics history lesson taught by the guy who wrote Conan The Barbarian.
Lots of character introduction and story-wise, just a bit all-over-the-place.
"Hey, Roosevelt needs us."
"Let's go get Robotman."
"Hey, Robotman! Wanna fight Nazis?'
"Sure! I hate Nazis. Let's go to Philadelphia and find Liberty Belle, she hates Nazis, too!"
And that just may be the problem I have reading The All-Stars as an adult is the over-explanation of everything.
Writer Roy Thomas takes a lot of care in explaining the various threads and connections to the WWII period in which these DC Comics mainstays were created. While its fascinating, it slows the storytelling down to a crawl, leading me as an adult to wonder what I saw in these comics.
As I read further, I felt my resistance dropping, simply coming to appreciate exactly what it was I was seeing:
Someone's simple love of comics. And something even greater. (More on that in a moment.)
The realizations that:
Yes, there was a Robotman before there was a Doom Patrol Robotman. Plastic Man as a cornerstone of comics' Golden Age. The wanting to address Aquaman's long, continuous comics history, yellow gloves and all. The belief that even The Red Bee should have a place at the heroes table.
With characters occupying a space in one of history's most infamous of times and origins comprising varying degrees of nebulousness, Thomas was charged with making sense of something that had been ignored for quite a while at DC Comics:
All-Star Squadron was the book that taught me about inter-connectivity and the role it can play in fiction and most importantly, history.
At that point in my life, I had no idea of the scope of the second World War. Living under a Cold War generated mentality, I never knew the unthinkable had happened and that America was once allied with... *gasp*... Russia! I had no idea what The Spear of Destiny was much less its importance in Western/Judeo-Christian history.
These are things I learned about while reading the shared adventures of men and women who wear tight clothes and fire heat blasts from their eyeballs.
When you really think about it, you really have to ask yourself, "How the hell could I NOT have become a DC Comics fan."