Friday, May 16, 2008

Memoirs of a Bronze Age Baby: Dazzler #1

Dazzler #1 hit the racks a few months after my 8th birthday. I don't think I had ever seen a book with so much hype (this was long before I was relatively media savvy), and I just had to buy a copy. The painted cover immediately grabs your attention and lets you know that you're stepping into a work that will try to fuse the New York disco scene with the Marvel Universe. I love the blatant appeal to superhero fans by throwing in head shots of Iron Man, Spidey, Nightcrawler and the Enchantress (ok - that ones doesn't make much sense, but I guess it's cause she actually plays a major role). I've always been interested in finding out why Larkin's painting is signed '79 and this issue is cover dated March, 1981. Did Dazzler sit in disco limbo for over a year. Wasn't that the key year in which disco died, making this projected dated before it even launched?

Does it all work out in the end? I really don't know - like many people I bought #1 and never touched Dazzler again. It sat in a short box as a guilty pleasure of sorts. What kind of Batman-worshipping kid could admit to the world that he owned this book? It would still be a few years before I noticed the Wally Wood inspired aspects of Bob Larkin's anatomy work. The story follows the typical Shooter-era formula 1) show dingy New York apartment 2) showcase New York rapists 3) have Spidey swing by 4) flashback to stern father 5) cram as many X-Men and Avengers into a few panels as possible and 6) have an American Idol style showdown between the hero and villain. Ok, at least the last one is a bit novel, but boy does it come across as lame today. As I understand, Dazzler got better as the years rolled along but I just couldn't bring myself to care.

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