Saturday, July 31, 2010

1993 DC Comics Bloodlines Annuals Checklist Card

The Bloodlines annual event of 1993 was my chosen gateway into the greater DC Universe after abandoning Marvel Comics. It involved shapeshifting aliens drinking the spinal fluid of humans, leaving the victims who survived the ordeal with super-powers. I went into the details of why I thought this was a good idea here. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm proud of my reading habits being associated with a widely mocked and often awful crossover, but one of this blog's missions is to defend and redeem the funkier areas of the DCU, digging out the diamonds in the rough.

I've done a poor job of protecting this checklist card, which I believe came polybagged with Capitol City Distribution's Advance Comics consumer catalog. That was my catalog of choice until DC went exclusive to Diamond after Marvel kicked off the Distribution Wars by acquiring Heroes World. Anyhow, this poor checklist has been bummed around various boxes and bags for nearly twenty years, but at least I never folded it in half as directed by the dotted line.

Fluorescent inks were used on the logos of the various Bloodlines books, which I think looked quite snazzy and holds up well. I think an attempt was made at using similar inks on this card, but whether it was due to a lack of contrast or poor quality, the art and text is a washed out pink. It less recalls H.R. Giger than John Waters, which is only as scary as your tolerance for the transgendered determines.

The woefully represented art was supplied by Arthur Adams, who designed the aliens and their human alter-egos around the concept of the Seven Deadly Sins. The stock poses later turned up in the Skybox Trading Card Set, although they were sadly never published in full. Adams did some great action turnarounds that often featured DC heroes for scale.

Bloodlines snaked its way through six months worth of annuals, broken up into three fairly arbitrary waves...


Outbreak ran from May 4th-June 29th, although I don't recall any demarcation point from one set to another. The aliens were introduced by Lobo, crash landed on Earth in Man of Steel, and began a cycle of kill-create metahuman-team up against aliens that ran through all the books.

  • Robin Annual #2
  • Action Comics Annual #5
  • Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #4
  • Green Arrow Annual #6
  • Detective Comics Annual #6
  • Justice League America Annual #7
  • Adventures of Superman Annual #5
  • Hawkman Annual #1

Earthplague is not a legitimate compound word with any inherent meaning, yet my spell check is fine with it in a way it isn't with "spellcheck." It ran from July 6th through August 24th.

  • Deathstroke Annual #2
  • Eclipso Annual #1
  • Demon Annual #2
  • Batman: Legends of The Dark Knight Annual #3
  • Team Titans Annual #1
  • L.E.G.I.O.N. Annual #4

Unlike previous year's annual events like Armageddon 2001 and Eclipso: The Darkness Within, there was no real overarching story or progression, so these waves are that much more nonsensical. Each of the prior events had bookends to initiate and conclude their epics, yet both gelled toward their ends as the heroes got wise and launched concerted efforts against their threats. Bloodlines was like a Wile E. Coyote cartoon marathon of variations on a simple theme. There were four different Superman that year, a couple of Batmen, and a pair of disconnected Justice Leagues on different continents. At least L.E.G.I.O.N. picked up some strands.

The big finish was a two part extra length mini-series separated by the weeks of October 12th and 19th. You could probably read it independently, but if I correctly recall how shabbily thrown together it was, why would you want to? Then again, the same criteria could be applied to the whole shebang, and even on to this blog, so I'll just let that sleeping dog lie.

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