Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Perfect Panel Project #2

Thanks to the internet wag Linkara, I have a better understanding of the term 'The Silver Age'. It's a comic book term for the comics (DC's comics primarily) of the 1950's and 1960's. It is considered by many to begin when Barry Allen became the Flash and by some to end when Gwen Stacey is killed over at Marvel.
We're supposed to pretend this period never happened while reading modern DC comics.
Because, as my very pro-Marvel friend Diego once said, 'The DC Silver Age is a window into madness.'
Case in point is this panel in Adventure Comics #271 from 1960. I read it for Superboy's 'first' meeting with Luthor, but as a special bonus I found a panel that perfectly illustrates Silver Age Aquaman.

What I would like to express here is that this story 'The Second Deluge' uncredited, is indeed mad. It's barking. Captain Noah is gathering two of every animal aboard his modern ark as part of some cock-eyed scheme to harvest gold from seawater. Aquaman, naturally, foils him with octopi and fish telepathy.
And I also want to say how awesome that is. Ludicrous?
Absolutely. Unscientific? Indubitibly. Misspelled words? You bet your butte. But this addled era is chock-a-block with creativity. Nameless souls toiling beneath DC's cruel yoke pulling fish story after fish story out of the ether for delighted kids back when kids still read comics and got delighted. And that rocks. Imagination is a precious commodity that should be celebrated wherever it may be found. If you think hammerhead sharks can't be good riveters because they can't literally hammer with their eye-sockets then you just aren't thinking big enough, crazy enough, enough like a kid.
I envy them, the Silver Age writers. Not the living hand to mouth, working themselves into early graves in obscurity, wasting their lives on 'kiddie stuff'. Not the misogyny, everyday racism, oppressive cultural conformity and non-existent emotional outlets, either. Actually, as usual, I would NEVER VOLUNTEER TO GO TO THE PAST.
But... the sheer volume of imagination! I am frequently amazed by it.
Also, they appear to enjoy the odd story about spankings.
But I'll leave that for wiser heads to examine.
All hail the Silver Age, baby! It's nutty cuckoo and that's the way I likes it.

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