Saturday, January 05, 2008

Top 20 of 2007: #12 Dr. Fate Archives Volume 1

Way back in July, I asked whether or not the Dr. Fate Archives was Golden Age Greatness or the Most Amazing Comic Book Series Ever. You should read that post, because I'm not going to rehash it here, but I showed why the Dr. Fate Archives Volume 1 is pretty amazing stuff, at least for the first half of the volume, before everyone decided to de-Lovecraft the comic and turn it into Superman-lite.

I've read quite a bit of DC Golden Age stuff, including every issue of All-Star Comics, a healthy sampling of Flash Comics, Sensation Comics, Adventure Comics, whatever series the Golden Age Green Lantern appeared in, as well as a large dose of Batman and Superman. Dr. Fate is by far, by FAR, my favorite of them all. Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman's work on the early issues is the spiritual relative to Fletcher Hanks's Stardust, only sometimes more illogical, and with a Cthulhu vibe. The original Dr. Fate was a bastard with a vengeful streak--an inexplicable mystical being who could destroy planets while carrying his girlfriend under his arm.

And every solo Dr. Fate story is included in this one volume! What a collection!

Unfortunately, the stories do become bland and generic about halfway through, once Dr. Fate's mask shrinks to show off his chin. Having a prominent chin meant that Dr. Fate did a lot more punching than shooting-magical-lightning-bolts-of-death, and, no, I don't see the connection there either, but that's what happened. So, I pretend that those later Dr. Fate stories don't exist, and just reread the first half of the book. I still like having all the stories, by the way, I just ignore the crappy ones. It's just nice to know they're there, that the collection is complete. It makes me feel safe. Seriously, though, the early stories are the ones to read. Again and again.

Read it, and cower in terror at the Fish-Men of Nyarl-Amen.

1 comment:

Matthew E said...

Well, did you ever read that story in All-Star Squadron where they explain the helmet thing? Basically, Nabu manifests himself a little *too* much in the full-face helmet, and Kent Nelson figures that the only responsible thing to do is switch to the half-helmet. It means he's a lot less powerful (and has to do more punching and stuff) but at least he's his own man.