October 4th, 2012

Two-Face... FOREVER!!!

A primer to the non-Two-Face stars of Walt Simonson's "The Judas Coin" (mildly NSFW)

For the past couple weeks, I've been working on my review of Walt Simonson's new graphic novel, The Judas Coin, watching my post get increasingly long-winded as I filled it with more scans, tangents, links, gifs, and all manner of distractions until the actual review itself was dwarfed by everything else! The post is currently huge, and I haven't even gotten to the book itself!

How did I manage to pull this off, you ask? Well, because I realized that it was impossible to talk about The Judas Coin without talking about all of the characters involved. One of the biggest hang-ups some readers are having with The Judas Coin is the cast of D-list Silver Age characters who are so obscure here that they didn't even appear on Batman: The Brave and the Bold! And that show had EVERYBODY! Sure, a couple of them appeared on Justice League Unlimited, but I can attest that nobody who saw those episodes remembers those characters if they hadn't already been familiar with them going in. Those were great treats for fans, but generally insufficient intros for n00bs.

So this is "Flower Cowboy," got it.

Personally, I don't think you necessarily need to know anything about them to enjoy Simonson's stories because Simonson is just that good of a storyteller who knows how to play up their archetypical aspects to make them pretty much accessible to everyone. But even still, a bit of familiarity with these characters couldn't hurt. Speaking personally as someone who was at least familiar with most of these characters and completely ignorant about one of them, I enjoyed the story on the first go-round, but I've come to love it even more after researching these characters for the past week!

So before I post (or even write) the review itself, I'd like to examine the characters involved first in their own post, just to give everyone--including me--a crash-course tour of these obscure heroes of yesteryear, and the subsequent attempts to make them relevant in the decades well past their prime! There's a lot of history behind the cut, so grab a snack and let's dig in!

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By the way, would anybody be able to provide scans from The Judas Coin? I don't have a scanner at present, and while I have several of Simonson's sketches, there are some parts that I really want to actually show those of you who aren't able to get the book immediately. Obviously, the Two-Face section especially takes priority, especially the last few pages. The climactic moment was ambiguous enough that it got me and Henchgirl into a briefly-heated debate over how we interpreted it, so I want to run it by you guys and see what you make of it.

If I have to settle for taking a blurry photo from my iPhone camera, I will, dammit! But nobody wants that! So be a pal and help your old buddy Hef out, if you can!