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Old 02-01-2019, 04:00 AM   #1
Leo656
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Stories You Love That Most People Never Heard Of

Topic.

I have a bunch of 'em. We all know about the Watchmens, the Dark Knights, the Clone Sagas, and all'a that jazz. Let's talk about some of our favorite "pet" stories; ones that mean a lot to us personally, but aren't part of the larger conversation when people talk about comic books and the "greatest" stories ever told. They can be objectively "great", but they don't have to be, because it's all relative anyway. They can even be ones that most people may not like. As long as it impacted you personally, it counts.

Spoilers will be unavoidable and I'm not gonna bother trying very hard to avoid them anyway, just to let you know. So if you wanna use Spoiler tags, fine, but I wouldn't sweat it. Be as detailed as you want; the more the better, I say.

- Adventures of Superman Annual #1: "The Union" (1987)

This was one of the first comics I owned, and if you know me well you've heard me mention it before. In brief: The President sends Superman to investigate a small town in South Dakota where every living inhabitant seems to have vanished into thin air. Superman encounters a giant, blob-like mass of flesh, and after they do battle he's faced with the alien Word-Bringer, who reveals that he's in fact murdered the entire town (pets too) to "free them" from their flesh-prisons, and has turned them all into a hive-mind which he controls (physically manifesting their remains as the blob creature), giving him great mental powers. The alien flees upon witnessing Superman's rage; the hive-mind reaches out to Superman and tells him that they collectively refuse to exist in that intolerable state, and they beg him to put them out of their misery. When he refuses, they psychically overtake him and, to his horror, force him to shut down the life support systems which sustain their "brain", granting the sweet release of death.

This was my first exposure to the concept of a "Pyrrhic Victory", and frankly, I loved it. My Dad used to read it to me when I was 4-5; I eventually wore out a few copies, then couldn't find it for many years, but thankfully I eventually replaced it. I think it's actually Dan Jurgens's very first published Superman work, so if you're a fan of his, check it out.

Trivia: This story was followed up on two years later during Superman's self-imposed exile in space, following his execution of Zod and subsequent split personality/nervous breakdown event. The issue is Adventures of Superman #452: "Hell Beyond", where he encounters the Word-Bringer again, and is ultimately successful in reaching a compromise whereby, rather than resorting to kidnapping and murder, only those who volunteer would be selected for "The Union". Superman warns him not to f*ck it up and that was the end of that, forever. Kind of a mediocre ending, but the original story has a sincere and definite Creepiness Factor. It's totally unorthodox for a Superman story, right up until the "Did Superman actually just 'kill' an entire town?/"It's okay, they made him do it" ending, which is why it's so great.
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Old 02-01-2019, 04:32 AM   #2
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There is a story from my childhood that I learned as a part of my class during my early school years. It is a story that holds a very special place in my heart, but one that I never able to track down on the Interent, even to this day.

A rough summary of the story goes as follows:

There once lived a fisherman on a coastal village, poor but content with his life.

Life was as usual for him, until one day he spotted a beautiful woman walking out from the sea.

He was intrigued and smitten by her in an instant.

Despite many warnings from the villagers not to approach humanoids from the sea, the man defied the local traditions, by approaching the woman to talk to her about how beautiful she was.

She made him on offer, that she could take him to a place where countless other beautiful women like her lived. He would get to stay there for three days, and there, he would live like a king.

He took up the offer, and followed her into the sea, where she used her magical powers to give him the ability to breathe underwater. When he arrived in the mysterious city, it was exactly how she had described it to him.

The next three days were pure bliss for the man, for he would gorge on the most royal of feasts, sleep on the finest of beds, and meet the most beautiful looking women he had ever seen during his stay at the palace.

When it was time for him to go, the woman who brought him in the first place, also bought him to shore safely, taking away his ability to breathe underwater, and giving him a parting gift.

The man asked what was inside the box, to which the woman replied that it was a box that he must never open at any cost, returning back to the sea afterwards.

The man then returned to his village. To his surprise however, no one recognized him. When he told his name to a village elder, she proclaimed that she only remembered his name from legends told to her by her great grandmother. These were the legends of a man who walked into the sea 300 years ago after following a forbidden woman, never to return.

Realizing the situation he was in, the man walked away from the village, feeling depressed as to how he had lost his entire life in the village just for those three days of pleasure which started and finished in the blink of an eye. Having nothing else to do, the man looked at the box which was given to him by the forbidden woman in curiosity.

He opened it at last, releasing a magical spell that transformed him into an old man, who had aged by three hundred years, matching the new time period that he was now living in.

The End.

I've tried searching for the story online using key words and concepts from the story, but to no luck. That may be a blessing however, as it makes the story all the more fantastical, and nostalgic in my eyes.

This is the music I listen to when I think about the story and have come to associate with it, just to capture the magical atmosphere:

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The biggest villains were the censors.
What they could do without being held back is my question.
Shredder could've done more than blow up the Channel Six building.
I don't mean as far as murdering Splinter, but think of the possibilities if censors were not an issue.
Shredder and Krang combined had the biggest arsenal of any villains in all of the cartoons.

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Old 02-01-2019, 04:46 AM   #3
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- "The Red Glass Trilogy": Superman #56, Adventures of Superman #479, and Action Comics #666 (1991)


I don't even know where to begin, because this story is just SO COOL. Keep in mind, although the DCU has been a "dark", PG-13/R-rated universe since the mid-80s, it was still rare for the flagship super-hero books like Superman or Batman to delve into straight-up horror-type stories at the time. If you were an unsuspecting kid who just happened to pick these issues up off the spinner rack, like me, this story blew your face off about five pages in and didn't let up until the very end. And it was impossible to put down, because... these things weren't actually HAPPENING, right? These bizarre, horrifying things surely weren't REAL, were they? You had to keep reading, just to see what the hell was going on!

I won't be able to explain it in an adequate fashion, but I'll try. People are suddenly terrified of Superman. Confused, he starts accidentally killing them while trying to save them. He finds himself faced with a museum full of murdered villains, all dead by his own hand, although he has no memory of it... nor of crippling Lois, who he accidentally kills next when confronted. As things escalate, Superman confusedly tries to make sense of what's happening, while accidentally lashing out and killing everyone in his way, starting with the Justice League and eventually wiping out most of the life on Earth. All the while, Superman is horrified, confused, and genuinely afraid as the bodies pile up, despite his constant insistence that he couldn't possibly have done, or be doing, any of this.

THANKFULLY, it's ultimately revealed that it was all an elaborate hallucination. The government had sent Superman to the moon to investigate a strange object that had been causing radio interference or something like that; what he found was a gigantic, red, crystalline alien being (the "Red Glass" from the title) which had become trapped deep in the soil. In telepathically reaching out to Superman for help, their minds became linked, but their lack of a common language led to confusion, and a kind of extreme sensory feedback; Superman was in this state mistakenly led to believe he was living out his greatest nightmare - a complete and total loss of control. Relieved, he finally frees the alien, but is shaken to the core by the experience.

See, we get these kinds of stories all the time nowadays - possibly Too Often - but stories like this were extremely rare in 1991, and furthermore, the execution was more on the cerebral angle of the affair moreso than being graphically violent. There are a lot of disturbing images, but they stop short of being excessive and are entirely befitting the story. But the writing is really where it shines; you completely feel Superman's confusion, fear, pain and sorrow as things just keep getting worse with each passing moment, and his overwhelming relief upon realizing that it wasn't real. And instead of being a throwaway "imaginary story" with no repercussions or actual meaning, it had the benefit of being in-continuity and presenting a rare exploration of Superman's greatest fears and insecurities. Superman's biggest fear isn't Kryptonite, it's losing control, hurting people, betraying himself... this was one of the very first times we were ever shown what the Worst-Case Scenario would look like, and it was deeply affecting. His resolve to never, ever let anything like that actually come to pass is what ultimately makes the story an uplifting one.

Dark? You bet'cha. But it's very, VERY good. Better than any of its modern "copycat" stories, I'd wager. If you're not put off by the idea of Superman starring in a psychological horror story, it's definitely worth a read.
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Old 02-01-2019, 05:49 AM   #4
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A book that my mother had when she was a kid (and is in our home library)



It's about a pair of caterpillars trying to search for meaning in life, and has the counterculture stank of being written in 1972. And yet for that description and blast of yellow on most of the pages, it has a somber feeling to me.
This ain't no "Hungry Caterpillar" storybook...especially when it involves the leads breaking away from other caterpillars who are literally climbing over each other to "reach the top", not actually knowing why, and many dying in the effort...yeah, that sounds like 70's counterculture.


It's mildly a hippie book, that's just a little sad, but I love it. One of those books for adult understanding wrapped up as children's literature. Of course it can (and should) be read by children, but it's one of those things that when they become adults, the bolt up in bed in a cold sweat whispering "oh that's what it was about"

(And the way the caterpillars are drawn is so freakin' cute. They look like those magic worms)
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Old 02-01-2019, 09:40 AM   #5
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((Realizes that he mostly had Comic Books in mind when creating the thread, then later realizes that most people probably won't reply with anything comic-related since he forgot to specify it in the thread title))

It's fine, I'unno how I missed that though. Anyways, good response so far, looking forward to more.
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Old 02-01-2019, 09:56 AM   #6
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The Dortmunder series, by Donald Westlake. Really, anything by Donald Westlake.
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Old 02-01-2019, 10:30 AM   #7
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Brave and the Bold #108

It starts with Batman almost dying trying to save a kidnapped child, and ends up in a crazy hunt for Evil itself.
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Old 02-01-2019, 10:41 AM   #8
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This would be a perfect opportunity to mention that I am all about details, so don't be stingy with 'em, folks.
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Old 02-01-2019, 10:45 AM   #9
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That'd spoil the story. But it does involve Bats might've sold his soul to the devil to survive.

Spoiler:
But it also might have been Hitler, and Sgt. Rock teams up with batman to stop him
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Old 02-01-2019, 10:49 AM   #10
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Again, if you're concerned about Spoilers then just tag 'em.

I anticipate that at least some people are like me, and will generally respond to a spoiler-y thing with, "Hey, that actually sounds neat, I wasn't interested before but now I'm suuuuuper curious."

Anyways, I don't have that one. I somehow have a few DC Comics Presents, but not a lot of the original Brave and the Bold.

3 Points for Sgt. Rock reference. Where's HIS f*ckin' movie, eh? EH?!
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Old 02-01-2019, 10:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Candy Kappa View Post
Brave and the Bold #108

It starts with Batman almost dying trying to save a kidnapped child, and ends up in a crazy hunt for Evil itself.
Sgt. Rock appearance, right? B&B is one of my classic runs. There was one that stood out like that. It was DC Special Series#8 which featured Deadman, Sgt. Rock, and Sherlock Holmes versus The Devil. Bob Haney was so out there at times.

I will post again when I am off work with some Bat centric tales.
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Old 02-01-2019, 12:03 PM   #12
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3 Points for Sgt. Rock reference. Where's HIS f*ckin' movie, eh? EH?!
I was going to quip Sqt. Rock gets his movie when Jonah Hex does, but then I remembered...

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Sgt. Rock appearance, right? B&B is one of my classic runs. There was one that stood out like that. It was DC Special Series#8 which featured Deadman, Sgt. Rock, and Sherlock Holmes versus The Devil. Bob Haney was so out there at times.
That's the one. I first read it in a Norwegian print of Batman, or Lynvingen (lit. Lightning Wing) as he was so... cleverly named

The next story in that Norwegian comic was iirc a story about Joker breaking out of jail via pumping a helium balloon and flying away, talk about tonal whiplash.
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:19 PM   #13
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"Where Were You The Night Batman Was Killed?" is fantastic and zany. A bizarre trial proving guilt claimed by Joker, Riddler, Catwoman, and Lex Luthor (who's purpose was to promote Superman: The Movie to Batman fans). I love the twist and turns in it and recommend it to any Batfans! What a treasure it was to find in the back issue bin.


https://dc.fandom.com/wiki/Batman:_W..._Was_Killed%3F
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:40 PM   #14
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Didn't they make an episode of B:TAS like that? (or...am I thinking of that "I threw a rock at him!" poker game)
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:56 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Didn't they make an episode of B:TAS like that? (or...am I thinking of that "I threw a rock at him!" poker game)
You are thinking of "Trial" which was inspired by the arc,but not exactly like that.
Trial's synopsis:Gotham's new DA, Janet Van Dorn, is out to capture Batman, but both she and him end up captured by some of Batman's main enemies instead. They are soon put on a kangaroo trial by the Joker (the judge), Two-Face (the prosecutor), the Ventriloquist (the bailiff), Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, the Mad Hatter, Killer Croc, the Scarecrow, and the Riddler (the jury), in front of other criminals held at Arkham. If the defense (Batman and the D.A.) can prove that Batman is not the cause for everyone's turn to crime, they will be set free. When the jury gives the verdict of 'not guilty', the villains have little intention of following through on their deal...

The arc in the comic centers around which of the four killed Batman not if Bamtan made them into who they are with a D.A. who hates Batman as well forced to defend him. Its a great concept in itself, but I prefer the comic.
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Old 02-01-2019, 10:25 PM   #16
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More, MORE! C'mon, this is fun. I have more but I don't wanna just blow 'em all in one shot. Keep it up!
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Old 02-02-2019, 05:59 AM   #17
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Another hidden gem is The Lazurus Affair. This 1981 4 parter from Batman#332 to #335 shows the Lazurus pit for the first time. It also is the only time we see Dick Grayson as Robin team up with Catwoman. Robin goes to her for help after Batman takes off with Talia under suspicious circumstances and King Faraday gets involved. A must read for any Bat fans!


How about you take a turn with a DC villain profile, Leo?
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Old 02-02-2019, 06:40 AM   #18
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This thread is AWESOME. Keep'em comin', guys!
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Old 02-02-2019, 07:12 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Candy Kappa View Post
I was going to quip Sqt. Rock gets his movie when Jonah Hex does, but then I remembered...



That's the one. I first read it in a Norwegian print of Batman, or Lynvingen (lit. Lightning Wing) as he was so... cleverly named

The next story in that Norwegian comic was iirc a story about Joker breaking out of jail via pumping a helium balloon and flying away, talk about tonal whiplash.
Out of curiosity, do you know the title and issue where Joker escaping via hellium balloon is from?
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Old 02-02-2019, 07:15 AM   #20
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Out of curiosity, do you know the title and issue where Joker escaping via hellium balloon is from?
Sadly no, and it's all I remember from that story. Two-Face might have been in it too.
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