Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #968 - Where are my damn rocket boots?
Hello last day of February.
So, it's been a while since there was much of any comic book content on this blog. Granted, I have been writing about Black Panther -- because, you know, A GREAT MOVIE came out, just sayin' -- so there was that Kirby Black Panther post and a post on the current Black Panther comic within the last couple of weeks. But before those posts, my last post that was not a T-shirt reprint as in Hey Mom #939 reprinting more Black Panther stuff again, it was January fifth when I shared about DC and Marvel Sales and even longer since I wrote something original or shared comic book cover galleries, such as maybe July 7th, 2017 with Hey Mom #731 and a reprint of stuff about the Legion of Superheroes or Hey Mom #682 from May 19, 2017 when I shared a cover gallery that was not themed.
So, I know. I have been remiss in original content and even more remiss with posts about comic books I am reading. I have several comic book posts in various states of completion, most recently a post I want to finish writing on recent Batman comic books that I thought were excellent and worthy of note. Stay tuned. I intend to write that post.
Today is another share, but it is also an extraction. I am putting it in the Hey Mom Reprint category, even though it was never a Hey Mom post, as you can see, Mom, as I originally posted the content in April of 2015, three months before you died.
I think this is one of my better pieces of writing, and so I am happy to share it again as a stand alone and not part of the original weekly comics posting (which was more like a monthly feature anyway).
I added a couple of links. I added a link to the typewriter post mentioned in the text, which is another of the better things I have written; also, I posted a link to the entire Nova comic book cover gallery that I have on the blog as a stand alone because I didn't want to add it to any post, especially this one. See the Nova links section for the Nova cover link.
And then I close with a totally random comic book cover gallery because it was time.
This entry was originally posted here: http://sensedoubt.blogspot.com/2015/04/weekly-comics-for-140827.html
Subtitled - "WHERE ARE MY DAMN ROCKET BOOTS?"
Being the meandering and unstructured thoughts of chris tower who reads too many comic books by some people's definition of "too many" and has very little time to write about what he has read.
Looking through the comics for August 27, 2014, I was struck by the image of NOVA from Guardians of the Galaxy #18. Following this line of thought, I am once again on a nostalgia trip back to the 1970s, much like the last blog's investigation of typewriters.
Today's blog post will investigate our world and culture of both the past and the future with the present as its launch point. This last part about the present as launching point may seem obvious, and yet I could surely launch from a different time and perspective, so it seems important to note.
The idea of a superhero that is essentially a human rocket with an indestructible helmet made out of an alien metal excited me beyond capacity for words as a teenager of 14 years of age when Nova #1 premiered in September of 1976. I was so taken with the character of Nova that I asked my father to make one of the best cake designs in frosting he ever accomplished for my birthday a few months later in January of 1977 as I have already immortalized on my T-shirts blog and do so again here.
For more on my childhood and birthdays, please consult: Birthdays at my house in T-shirt 303 Space Ghost. I still think this is an amazing cake decoration. Just the use of the yellow-colored frosting is worth noting. But look at what a great job he did with the star patterns on Nova's chest. My Dad would practice the designs on wax paper often before committing the final design to the cake.
I am forever indebted and privileged to have a father who would devote such time into making a frosting design as intricate as this one and a mother who facilitated the rest of the birthday treats. I had an idyllic childhood.
And yet I digress...
My childhood is a story I already explored in the afore-linked blog post. Back to Nova and the future.
From the beginning Nova was called the Human Rocket, which is why I asked about the whereabouts of my damn rocket boots in the subtitle. Visually, the way artists draw Nova in flight looks like he has rocket boots, and since Iron Man does, this seems a logical leap.
Those of you who are REALLY comic nerds know that Nova does not have actual rocket boots. I am taking a bit of artistic license here for the sake of a clearer science object that makes more sense for my subject: the promised future that has not been delivered. In truth, Nova's power comes from the Nova-Force. The special Xandarian helmet manifests the suit, which doubles as sealed space-suit when needed, and propels Nova in flight at incredible speeds. As you can see in art from the issue, John Buscema draws Nova's rocket-like flight as if his entire lower body is a propulsion effect, much like the characterization of Cannonball in Marvel Comics in the 1980s.
Being a human rocket seemed like a great idea at the age of 15. The hard round, bullet-style helmet, the blasting-like rocket effect, the super-fueled joyride are all very much allusions to sex and puberty and the cosmic-powered hormones coursing through the veins of all boys at this age. To a boy in those circumstances, rocket boots seemed like the perfect fashion accessory. I was ready to explode and reach escape velocity in just a few seconds.
I am sure you "get" the allusion here.
I have always seen the connections between this kind of super-power and sex, but I have resisted the idea many psychologists pander (starting with Freud) that dreams of flying are always about sex.
Why aren't dreams of flying, sometimes, just about flying?
Even forty some years later, the idea of flying is very attractive just as a stress-reliever, and though this may be intermingled with desire for sex in ways that cannot be easily separated, if I think too much about Nova and his flight powers, I may dream of flying, and right now, unlike my fourteen-year-old self, the dream may be more about flying than sex.
But this blog post is not about sex; it's about Nova as the Human Rocket and the future we were promised, which has not really come to pass in some ways, and yet has exceeded our expectations in others.
But first, more about NOVA.
From 1975 or so until some time in the early 1980s, I enjoyed subscriptions to some Marvel Comics that I loved, such as Uncanny X-Men (the new Claremont-Cockrum-Byrne works), Avengers, Fantastic Four, and Howard the Duck. I was also a much more frequent visitor to various news stands and had more allowance money than when I was younger, and so I was able to put together consistent and consecutive runs of many of the titles I liked beyond those I have listed, such as Iron Fist, Killraven, Legion of Superheroes, and Daredevil. But the subscriptions ensured that I would not miss issues and that the issues would arrive in the postal mail, for the most part, in nearly pristine condition.
Now, researching the origins for Nova, I am excited to learn that Marv Wolfman (who would go on to create one of my favorite comics of all time at DC in The New Teen Titans) originally conceived Nova in a fanzine in the 1960s with Len Wein. This is meaningful to me because I did my own fanzine writing in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Ten years after Wolfman's own fanzine era, working at Marvel Comics as an editor and writer, he launches Nova, which runs for a delightful twenty-five issues before flaming off. Near the end, it sputtered, going bi-monthly and with artist Carmine Infantino replacing the Buscemas, mostly Sal Buscema, who drew the majority of the issues. No quality was lost there as Infantino was highly skilled (though I prefer the Buscemas), but the look of Nova did take on that of The Flash, and Infantino's work at DC.
A brief digression. Here's two relevant pages from that comic. Follow the link if you are interested in more exploration down memory lane as Diversions of a Groovy Kind is a great blog.
To thwart the Grand Master, Daredevil engages in a simple flip of the coin game. Because of his special powers, his touch is so sensitive that he knows exactly how the disc is balanced and can flip it just right to ensure that it's heads side up in the end.
There's interesting stuff on the subject of chess in comics online. There's "Chess in Comics" by Kerry Lawless and apparently Scott McCloud's obsession with chess as a comic story HERE. For those not in the know, McCloud is famous for the seminal UNDERSTANDING COMICS book and just recently Sculptor, a graphic novel, and previously, ZOT!, a longer graphic novel that was published serially in the 1980s.
Here's those pages from the Defenders issue with the rest, again, at the following link
Giant Size Defenders #3 via Diversions of the Groovy Kind.
Onward to that subject....after a few Nova resources...
Here's a but on Nova's powers.
"Powers include flight, enhanced strength, speed and durability. Nova derives his powers from an energy source called the Nova-Force, which all Nova Centurions wield. Richard Rider had the greatest potential for control as his knowledge of his power increased . Nova wears a standard Xandarian StarCorps uniform, designed to accommodate his powers without being damaged by them. In addition, the uniform has a life support function that can sustain Rider under the most extreme environmental conditions. It can act as a space suit by locking off the mouth and eyes of the helmet. The helmet can also pick up radio transmissions, as well as act as a heads-up display for tracking energy signatures." - More on Marvel.com: http://marvel.com/universe/Nova_(Richard_Rider)#ixzz3UmgowadDNOVA LINKS
NOVA - original
Here's a cool NOVA fan page.
COMIC VINE - NOVA - ORIGINAL SERIES
Comic Vine - NOVA character page
Weren't we promised that such technology would come to pass by now?
We're supposed to all have personal flight devices by now, right?
Which would you rather have a smart phone or a personal flight device?
I think I would opt for the personal flight device.
It's 2015, which looked a long way off back in 1976. I thought about this era because, after all, this is what science fiction was for. But I kind of wanted a jet pack, a flying car, a rocket sled, rocket-powered boots, or even better a personal flight device, like a flight ring, by now.
In 1976, in the aftermath of the United States Apollo program, I was convinced that 40 years onward, by 2015 at least, we would have at least one orbital space colony, a lunar colony, and even a Mars colony. I figured we would have quit our dependence on oil and coal and would have found better and cleaner means of producing energy. And we have, but we have not replaced our usage yet.
I felt assured by the SF writing world that new technology would be developed to get us to the next star system by 2015, Alpha Centauri being likely as its the closest star system with the closest earth-like planet. And if our near light travel to this system did not cause a time traveling anomaly thrusting our astronauts into a future in which apes have taken over the Planet Earth, then we might make contact with an alien species. Though cool and mysterious, I never really "bought" the contact stories with an ineffable obelisk, a la 2001 a Space Odyssey, or certainly a few years later, the cryptic yet helpful aliens who create a whole new planetary system by transforming Jupiter into a star, as in 2010 - The year we make contact.
Amid all this amazing space travel and communion with alien species, we would all have flying cars and/or our own personal flight devices. Sure, some kind of jet or rocket pack or boot rockets would be cool, but much more elegant would be the Legion of Superheroes flight rings with their force field space suits.
Computers would remain large machines with banks of circuitry, cube or large panel screens, and discs for storage. I knew there would be some computer communications, but barely conceived of the Internet as a young boy in the mid-1970s, let alone the portable computing power that I would enjoy now forty years in the future. Star Trek showed computers as large devices and storage on disks. Though some portable devices existed they were like giant clip boards and not at all like my compact smart phone or touch screen tablet.
And so, we have future promised and not delivered and also a future not promised that has been delivered beyond wildest expectations. We do not have personal flight devices, but we have smart phones.
Apparently, I am not the only one who has thought about this issue. There's a great deal of activity online for "where is my damn jet pack?" I searched jet pack as I figured it may have better results than "rocket boots." Most searches about rocket boots provide results for various games or Iron Man.
Check out these delightful links, especially the Ellis stuff.
When Do I get my jet pack?
Where is my damn jet pack?
Your flying cars are on their way!
First jet pack?
It's 2007 and where's my DAMN JET PACK?
Jet Pack Solves Everything - source
ELLIS - Someone stole your future - 2007
ELLIS - Rachel Armstrong on Where Our Future Went -2013
ELLIS - Future Underground - 2004
ELLIS via SEQUART Doktor Sleepless - Unfinished Apocalypse
COMIC BOOK PHILOSOPHER - Ellis - Doktor Sleepless - the Future
WARREN ELLIS answers your questions about THE FUTURE
sidenote - ELLIS - The Final Solution - evil - dogs
Comic Art Gallery
Cover Gallery notes: I have seved several covers from these Marvel western comics from the 1970s. The covers in many cases outperformed the stories. I just finished reading Marvel's Resurrection of Jean Grey comic series, which was decent though not great, so I grabbed this wonderful Mayhew cover of the Phoenix to share. I am always going to take an opportunity to share Deadman or Aquaman covers. These are two of my favorites. My screen saver displays the contents of the comic book folder, and the other day the Neal Adams Superboy cover shown here came up. These teaser covers were some of the best things produced in the 1960s and 1970s. I was wearing my Mister Miracle T-shirt when I made this cover gallery while around the same time my friend Waly showed an Instagram with Mister Miracle and Big Barda. Even though I have almost sworn off mini-series completely, I am enjoying the Mister Miracle 12-issue series at DC. A MOEBIUS city - just because. Monstress is back!! Read last month's issue! I am often a month behind because of when my comics are shipped so I am eagerly anticipating the next issue, even though it will probably not hit the top ten books first read in my stack simply because I want to take my time with it. My studies of the order I read my comics -- which I spared you reading on this blog for a very long time even though I am still making the lists -- is more about what is quick to read and enjoyable than favorites, strictly speaking. Ms. Marvel is a book that I almost dropped but couldn't because it's so GREAT! I love these Matt Baker romance comic book covers from the 1950s and 1960s. I have saved many of them. I just read a bunch of X-Men stuff in addition to the Jean Grey thing. Kitty and Peter are getting married? I like it. FF Natch. I am hoping that a return of the Fantastic Four to the Marvel Universe is at the end of the Marvel-Two-in-One mini-series that I had to buy, even though Jim Chueng is apparently too slow -- or otherwise occupied -- to draw all the issues! One of my all-time favorite Hulk covers. And Iron Fist because I love him, always loved John Byrne, who I wish was still making Marvel or DC comics, and this is a really good one.
Reflect and connect.
Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you, Mom.
I miss you so very much, Mom.
Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.
- Days ago = 970 days ago
- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1802.28 -10:10
NEW (written 1708.27) NOTE on time: I am now in the same time zone as Google! So, when I post at 10:10 a.m. PDT to coincide with the time of your death, Mom, I am now actually posting late, so it's really 1:10 p.m. EDT. But I will continue to use the time stamp of 10:10 a.m. to remember the time of your death, Mom. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom.