Howdy, fellow babies! Before we resume with the overview of DC's Mr. Terrific, I've got some news for y'all. Due to a small but fervent demand in public and in private, the serialization of "Two Ships" will now come to you not once, but twice weekly, tentatively on Mondays and Fridays. That will still give me leeway to do my random posts and my regular Comical Wednesday posts, as well as muck around with the occasional Theme Thursday or Sepia Saturday entries.
And now... Part Two of "Mr. Terrific... Loser?"
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Last time, I treated you with a history of Terry Sloane (also spelled "Sloan" over the years), a/k/a Mister Terrific, a 1940s character revived in the 1960s by DC Comics. I'll start you off by throwing the last few sentences of the first segment at you:
Apparently, there wasn't enough about Terry Sloane for anyone in comics -- readers as well as DC's own writers and artists -- to find particularly dramatic. So, during a period in the late 1970s when my youthful comic-reading habits were at a relative low, the following issue of Justice League of America appeared:
Where's Terry Sloane on that cover? Think about it.
Briefly: Mr. Terrific came out of retirement -- comics' way of saying he donned his silly costume again -- to warn the Justice Society (and the Justice League as well) that an old JSA foe, the Spirit King, had returned to cause trouble.
The threat was real. The next time we saw poor Terry was when the members of the JLA and JSA found his corpse. The ordinarily death-obsessed comic business allowed Mr. Terrific to be slain off-panel, without even an illustration of him on the cover!
"But," you may be saying, "the second part of that two-parter must have avenged Mr. Terrific's casual killing, right?" Wrong. Thank you, writer Gerry Conway! (The same writer who'd killed off Spider-Man's girlfriend Gwen Stacy a few years earlier, by the way.)
Hell, they didn't deal with the Spirit King until years later. No lie, fellow babies.
And that panel above is about as much respect as the poor b@$t@rd got for years afterward.
A 1989 series called Hero Hotline had a character called Ms. Terrific, but other than the ripped-off uniform, no one ever bothered to explain the connection, if any.
The real Mr. Terrific even started getting a few covers once the 1990s hit, because some of the folks at DC had the same fondness for the old characters as I did and do.
Yeah, I know, I know... "He's dead. What's with all the new crap?" Well, luckily for people like me, there's such a thing as a flashback story. I mean, you have seen movies about Abe Lincoln, right?
1997 saw the debut of a new Mr. Terrific, Michael Holt. I'm not going to discuss him here, but only because 1. this post is already too effin' long, and 2. I'm not incredibly familiar with the character anyway.
Through the magic of time travel and other such plot devices, the two Mr. Terrifics -- or would that be Misters Terrific? -- have met.
By the way, fellow babies, I'm not a big fan of action figures, but I want one of these!
But I'm not the only fan of ol' Terry Sloane. The relatively recent book pictured below has a back-up story featuring Sloane, written by none other than Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon!
But who if anyone, you wonder, could really do something that could justify Mr. Terrific's existence, and pacify over-aged "kids" like myself who felt that the character had somehow been cheated?
Why, scripter James Robinson, of course, in his outstanding Starman series which I've dealt with before.
The Jack Knight Starman, son of the original Starman, Ted Knight, had an occasion to speak with several of the deceased JSA members, including Mr. Terrific. (Hey, it's comics; don't ask.)
Terry: Having "Fair Play" as an emblem. That's what people remember. That's why they loved me. It was so corny, naive. But people bought it.
Terry: I was always a second-stringer. Whatever that factor is... that thing that makes a great superhero... I didn't have it.
Jack Knight rises to the occasion.
Jack: The words "Fair Play." They're only corny and naive... Hell, they're just plain dumb... but only if you didn't believe them yourself. If you believed them... enough to wear them proudly like you did... maybe that makes you the greatest hero of them all.
Terry: Oh, I believed them. I still do. I'll believe those words forever.
Heh. Somehow, I'll bet he does.
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And now for something a little more frivolous and light-hearted than usual. Just to show you how delightfully incestuous the field of comics can be, let's see how many ways today's post ties into several of my previous score of Comical Wednesday posts!
- The briefly-mentioned Ms. Terrific appeared in the Hero Hotline series. Hero Hotline was created by Bob Rozakis and Stephen DeStephano... who also created 'Mazing Man!
- Mr. Terrific's "Fair Play" emblem was not on his chest, but on his stomach... as were the emblems of the Fat Fury and Lt. Hercules!
- The Starman tie-in is kinda obvious...
- As a member of the JSA, of course, Mr.Terrific appeared in All-Star Comics.
- CBS' Mr. Terrific was shown at 8:00 p.m., and followed on NBC by a similar parody superhero, Captain Nice, at 8:30.
So, as I so often say, see how these things all come together?
Thanks for your time.