Monday, May 31, 2010


I've been collecting comic books for decades, and like most kids, I cut my teeth on the most recognizable heroes. However, I was a precocious kid, tending toward the unfamiliar and left-of-center. It didn't take me long to grow bored with Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman, so when I read their titles, it was usually during team-ups with obscure heroes like Ragman, Air Wave and Animal Man. Even where my tastes were in line with the mainstream, I skewed away from the iconic and more toward the angsty melodrama of The New Teen Titans. Through most of the 1980s, I found the DC Universe too staid for my taste, with the exception of favored weirdos like Ambush Bug, Blue Devil and Swamp Thing, busy as they were mocking or reinventing elements of said universe.

Things began to change rapidly at DC Comics following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, in which worlds died, heroes died, and things would would never again be the same. I found the darker, more contemporary takes on DC's old stiffs appealing, but I usually just visited their titles for a while before losing interest. I continued to make mine Marvel, with some independents thrown in.

Going into the 1990s, everything in comics became more extreme, flashy, and ultimately empty. The Marvel titles I once loved had either fallen into deep disrepair or completely sold out to the speculator market. Amidst all this hubbub was DC Comics, still too principled to truly buy into the scene, with the withering market share to prove it. Once again, the New Titans provided my entryway into DC, this time through the cynically violent Titans Hunt epic. While it was obvious the creators were throwing their own lesser characters under the bus in a bid for attention, there was still a Bronze Age excitement, craft and heart under the pretend spectacle. Other such events at DC kept me coming back for more,  as their stories remained a priority by sheer necessity, due to their lack of name artists or "hot" properties.

Still familiarizing myself with the modern DC Universe, I decided to collect their 1993 Bloodlines event, a story running through all that year's summer annuals. The stunt promised to introduce at least one all-new character per title, plus expose me to a bunch of pre-existing ones I wasn't entirely up on. It was like one of those cheesy old team-up titles I used to read writ large. This was all against the backdrop of Geiger Alien knock-offs with vampiric tendencies, in that while drinking the spinal fluid out of hundreds of humans, they unintentionally empowering the occasional victim through their own juices. It was still more plausible than Marvel's wonders of nuclear radiation, and even slightly less lazy an origin than mutants being born into the gig. The stories tended to be violent, poorly executed and dumb, but being the 1990s, that was about par for the course. From there, I collected all of the #0 issues of DC Comics released after the Zero Hour mini-series, which promised introductory jumping-on points for every one of their current ongoing series. The batting average was much higher on these books, and sealed the deal with my becoming a hardcore DC fan through into the next decade.

Fifteen years later, DC Comics has returned to the schadenfreude of the early 1990s, this time with all the heartless zeal and vapid characterization of the worst Image Comics excesses. I am not so much a DC Comics fan as a guy with romantic memories from the boxes of books in my closet. This has led me to start blogs for favorites like the Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman, which progressed into Justice League Detroit and my continuation of a well liked Atom blog. Trying to maintain a regular presence across so many endeavors is extremely time consuming, so as much as I'd love to devote blogs to dozens of other characters, I'm trying to know when to say when.

Half a year ago, I started planning a crossover with a mass of other blogs, and after several months of strenuous effort, it never quite came together to my liking. During one such affair, I had an idea that this sort of thing would be easier with a hub-- a "Newsarama" for DC bloggers to post new items or links abroad. There are so many great blogs that wither and die on the vine needlessly, when they could be kept going through a group effort. Rather than take an extended, often indefinite hiatus, bloggers could look to a "clubhouse" of potential contributors to help maintain their blogs. I'd never see myself starting a Green Arrow blog, for instance, but I could whip up a Green Arrow post for one interesting story I wanted to discuss, or just as a favor to a friend. Since I had created a side blog to contain a bunch of crossover posts already, which already had several listed contributors, why not convert it into this catch-all DC "clubhouse" blog?

I chose the "DC Bloodlines" name both for my misguided tenderness toward that event, and to mark this as a blog not for just the high and mighty cash cows, but for the lowliest of loser characters. Bring us your Joe Publics-- your Animas-- your humble New Bloods. I also thought it made a nice allusion to DC's long history and legacy characters. Finally, I wanted to make it clear that while Golden and Silver Age silliness is welcome here, I don't want to be accused of starting another conservative "good ol' days" blog. Fans of Lobo, Deathstroke, and assorted other grimmer types have a place here too. Mostly though, I just needed a proper home for my own random DC posts about various and sundry. Hopefully, folks reading this blog will find something of interest in at least some facets of the joint, and the really enthusiastic can drop me a line about becoming a contributor at email_of_diabolu at Yahoo.