Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Justice Society of America #8 (1993)

Oh no! Hate! It must be stopped!

That caption sounded sarcastic, didn't it? It sort of sounds like a centrist arguing against somebody saying something that nobody should be on the other side of. "Of course Black Lives Matter! Nobody is saying they don't! Why even bother bringing it up?! You're just causing trouble!" is the kind of thing that has made me hate people who identify as "non-political" or "centrist" or "libertarian" or "Proud Husband. Father. Christian." Nobody needs to hear from you if the only thing you have to say is that nobody needs to be fighting for the things they need to be fighting for! "If it's already a crime, why do we need more stringent laws for punishing crimes motivated by hate. Aren't all criminal acts hateful?" says the person ignoring reality for their own selfish interests of which I can't even begin to guess.

Enough about people who have chosen to be non-people. Let's discuss a comic book from 1993 that probably takes a stronger stance against fascism than a frightening large number of Americans today.

This advert on the inside front cover would be better if the picture over "very rare" was a cow. I mean, it wouldn't work for baseball cards but I would like it better.

I think the best part about actually living in a world where superheroes are real is that day in 5th Grade when Hawkman and Hawkwoman visit your class to talk about Egyptian archaeology.

The issue begins by catching up with Hawkman and Hawkwoman as they continue their quest to steal Egyptian cultural artifacts. You have to give them a pass on this though! In 1993, people just believed archaeology was a thrilling way to bring treasures into museums for everybody to share! It's not like we had hundreds of years to reflect on how terrible this practice was. You have to do some cultural math by subtracting the number of years Western culture believed whatever it did was right and just from, I don't, negative 100? Do you think we'll have learned some humbleness and respect in one hundred years? Most kids who grew up in the 70s wanted to be boring ass truck drivers but by the 80s, thanks to Indiana Jones, they wanted to be boring ass archaeologists. Kids aren't the greatest at determining what a fun adult job might be.

Did you know there are people who get angry at the supposition that digging up and taking cultural artifacts and treasures from other countries to bring back to your own might be theft? Generally they're the same type of people who believe that all advances to civilization were brought about by white culture. They hold this opinion through absolutely no evidence at all. How do I know they don't have any evidence? Because if they looked for evidence, they'd wind up reading history and realize their claim was too ludicrous to continue defending.

You might think Hawkgirl is commenting on the gigantic sarcophagus the native archaeologists are opening but I know she's making an innuendo about Hawkman's cock because she's doing that thing with her hat where she lifts it up and down and waggles her eyebrows.

It's not really much of a joke though because nobody expects Hawkman's penis to be as large as a fifty foot long sarcophagus. I mean, I'm sure it's big but it's not going to be unwieldy! It's probably almost exactly the same size and shape as his mace.

Interlude: here are some Facebook posts I made on several different July 26thes because I guess I think of it as a holiday to entertain my future self every July 26th? Whatever the case, I love Past Me more than Future Me and possibly even more than Present Me.

Because of the Hays Code, Alfred Fatcock had to change his name to keep making films.

How patriotic would you consider a person who got a flag pregnant?

War Games is my favorite movie because it taught me that trying is pointless.

The first item on my bucket list is to buy a bucket.

End of Interlude.

Can you tell I'm stalling because maybe eight issues of this comic book was too much?

Here's an adult riddle: What's twenty-five feet long, wrapped in bandages, and has an eye in the middle of its head?

This guy's penis!

I don't recognize the guy with three eyes but I'm sure he's some immortal wizard named Amn Thoth or something.

While the Carters discover ancient mummy curses, Johnny Quick tries to convince Rex that his hour of strength doesn't come from a drug at all but deep inside him. He doesn't need to pop pills to be a superhero; he just needs to balance his chakras and figure out his mantra. Then he'll tap into some deep spiritual part of himself that is probably just a meta(l)gene and whammo! Hourman is back and straight edge! But Rex doesn't buy it. Especially since learning his mantra isn't going to cure his son's cancer (which he got from taking Miraclo).

Also in the hospital is Wesley Dodd who is doing therapy to recover from his stroke. Plus his friend Bishop Tumutuu who was some guy who fought against Apartheid. And because the Bishop is in the hospital, the white supremacists are gathering outside to not wish him well.

Shouldn't they hear what they have to say and debate them to better strengthen their own side of the argument on why all people should have equal opportunity with all rights and freedoms promised by this country?

I'm absolutely for freedom of all speech. But the problem that the American media and a lot of people on the Internet have fallen into is the idea that all speech needs to be discussed and debated equally. That's the whole "freedom of speech" trap. Whenever somebody on Twitter wants to debate some terrible topic that nearly all kind and forward thinking people realize is a monstrous and terrible idea and you simply mock them for their terrible beliefs or tell them to shut up, they think you're clamping down on their free speech. No, sir. You were able to say the stupid thing you wanted to say. What you actually want is for a Constitutional Amendment that forces me tor respect what you said and debate it as if the matter has yet to be resolved. The media does this all the time by allowing both sides of an opinion to debate which only legitimizes the side with the terrible take. Sure, we should allow racists to go on CNN and declare their stance on race relations. But the people on the other side shouldn't be debating that topic with them. They should just laugh at them and point and tell them how terrible they are. Maybe get some of that slime from You Can't Do That on Television for rebuttals. Freedom of speech needs way more mockery and far less debate if it's going to recover.

Hourman responds to the white supremacists with a "None of my business!" because he's a terrible centrist who believes that if the status quo isn't making his life rough, why rock the boat? Also his son is dying of cancer so maybe he's a bit distracted. I shouldn't be so hard on him when he's wracked with the guilt of probably killing his son with his drugs.

The white supremacists begin making trouble so it's time for the JSA to put an end to hate! Or will hate win out? I mean, this comic book was written in 1993 and I don't feel like hate has backed down.

Sure, he's against metahumans now. But just wait until one of them decides to wear on of those stupid hats and silly robes!

Watching the speedsters begin to get pummeled by the huge mass of white supremacists, Hourman accidentally balances his chakras! He's suddenly powerful without the drugs or the black lights or the Doctor Fate deep muscle massages! Now if he can convince his son that the power of Miraclo has been inside him all along, his son will have the strength to battle the cancer! Why did I use an exclamation point on that previous sentence when I don't really fucking care about Rex Tyler and his son!

Hourman crashes out of the hospital window to save Johnny Quick. He lets Jesse do her own thing because he's heard about women's lib and also she's not an old man whose powers have significantly dwindled over time.

My adrenal gland just got bigger too!

In the end, the Bishop is saved and even Wesley Dodd joins the fight! Or he just absentmindedly shot off his sandman gun and coincidentally put the Bishop's assassin to sleep. It's hard to tell since he's still suffering from his retirement party stroke.

The issue ends with Green Lantern surfing the television when he comes upon Carter Hall's interview program where he's interviewing the mummy they dug up, a man named Edmund Kulak. Since Green Lantern recognizes him, I guess he's one of the JSA's foes. According to the Who's Who, Kulak can use his third eye to cause everybody on Earth to hate each other. I guess that's why the white supremacists were acting up (and also wearing eyes on their hats and robes). Having a magical reason for racism is always a better comic book story than acknowledging a lot of people are racist of their own free will. Imagine all the angry letters that the pre-Comicsgate generation would have had to write in! "I'm not racist but I don't think you should portray all white people as racist because that is racist! Logic for the win!"

That might seem like I created a 1993 Strawman but have you read the letters reacting to the Tales of the Teen Titans Spotlight on Starfire about Apartheid? My pretend letter was practically verbatim of one or two of the letters Mike Gold had to respond to on that series!

Justice Society of America #8 Rating: B-. I think I've read enough old stories about old people fighting immortals. The whole mortality angle is really bringing me down!

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