The nom de plume* of "Dave-El" is, as I like to point out to anyone before they run away, is my Kryptonian name, derived from my first name and the first initial of my last name.
Dammit, I think that's pretty darn clever!
*French for "We are out of plums."
Ahem! Anyway, such nerd like thinking should not come as surprise given my nearly life long comic book habit. And Kal-El himself, Superman, is right up there as one of my top favorites as a kid and, with some ups and downs, remains so today. While the main attraction was, of course, the colorful costume and the flashy super powers, the part of the Superman mythos that resonated with young Dave-El at a deeper level was Clark Kent. I identified with Clark, the mild mannered schlup, a nice enough guy but he doesn't quite fit in. It goes without saying that I did not have a super suit under my close and possessed nothing like super powers but the very idea that someone could be more than what others suspected was as much of a tantalizing fantasy as it was to watch Clark toss off that blue suit and fly over the spires of Metropolis.
But Superman is not my topic for today.
Today, I want to talk about the first really big thrill I got reading a comic book. It is a comic book that even today, I would put up there with the best of DC Comics from the 1970s. And sadly, it is a story that does not end well for young Dave-El.
But I get ahead of myself.
When I first started reading the super hero titles from DC Comics in earnest, one of the titles I gravitated towards was Superboy. Well, that was the official title in the small print indicia at the bottom of page one. But the cover proclaimed this book as the home of Superboy AND the Legion of Super Heroes. The concept of a bunch of young super heroes a 1,000 years in the future (with a time travelling Superboy joining the gang) having adventures on a super advanced Earth and across the cosmos was in and of itself enough to engage my imagination. But there was an added lure that drew my eyes to this title: the art of Mike Grell.
"Iron" Mike Grell (so named due to his love of iron-rich beef liver) was just getting started as an artist at DC and the Legion was his signature book and for good reason. Machinery looked modern, metal gleamed and the characters were sleek in a way one might expect the denizens of the future might look. Now Mike's art was not without its drawbacks: apparently the 30th century had little need for backgrounds. And it seems the future is also going to be very warm considering the skimpiness of Mike's character designs.