The first comic-book I can remember reading is World’s Finest #244, which came out in 1977. I would have been six, then, and — if I remember correctly — it was a gift while I was recovering from having my tonsils out. Anyway, my original copy disintegrated after many years, but, impelled by nostalgia, I repurchased it. Looking through it again, it does retain some interest: in the lead Superman-Batman story, the leads bicker and snark at each other like an old married couple, and pretty much never communicate about strategy. I also like that at one point Batman casually refers to “my spies” (is there a Bat-C.I.A.?) There are an incessant drumbeat of footnotes (the Rainbow Archer previously appeared in Four Star Spectacular, for example). Black Canary, disguised as a gymnast, takes time out from chasing a wannabe murderer to put on her wig. Green Arrow gets to bellow, “Nobody gets away with hitting my woman!” which I’m sure was a comfort to Canary. Wonder Woman intones that she has a “vision of everlasting peace on earth” while we see a close-up of the bad-guys she’s just beaten-up. And in a special insert, Jenette Kahn explains that $1.00 anthology titles will allow comics to return to the newstand in force.

Looking at this issue again, it does somewhat challenge my general belief that comic art was better in the 70s…though I don’t know. The drawing is mediocre throughout, but the coloring is a lot less offensive, and the layouts are clear and somewhat varied, if not adventurous. I’d still rather look at this than most of what’s available in super-hero art today, I guess…though that’s certainly damning with faint praise.

Anyway, I’ve done an abstract drawing based on one of the pages for my ongoing series of such things. The original is drawn by Mike Nasser and inked by Terry Austin. The story was by Tony Isabella, so presumably some combination of those folks and/or DC own the copyright. Here ’tis:

And here’s my version:

The text on mine reads, “Red is for stop. Blue is for please don’t turn left into the gate,” which is something Siah’s been saying with some frequency lately. Don’t know why.

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