KC Carlson by Stuart Immonen

KC Carlson by Stuart Immonen

A KC COLUMN by KC Carlson

It’s getting late, now it’s time to go

It’s over the top, now it’s outta control

Just a matter of time ’til the zero hour

‘Til the zero hour

Lyrics to “Zero Hour” by Peter Case of the Plimsouls (1980)

Zero Hour: Crisis in Time HC

Zero Hour: Crisis in Time HC

Before we do anything else, as with any good fight, we need to do a weigh-in: First up is the original Zero Hour: Crisis in Time paperback collection, first published in 1994 (later collected as a hardcover). This is a standard 6.5” x 10.25” book — but the key factor of comparison here is the spine measurement, and this 158-page TPB comes in at not quite a quarter of an inch. Conversely, the recently published Zero Hour: Crisis in Time 25th Anniversary Omnibus clocks in at a whopping 1,096 pages. It measures up as 7.25“ x 11” (which means it’s NOT the solicited 8.5” x 11”), and its spine depth is almost 2 1/2 inches. This dramatic difference is because the original TPB only collects the five-issue Zero Hour miniseries (which is numbered in backwards order as if it were a countdown to something… 4… 3… 2… 1… 0!), and the additional short stories from Showcase ’94 #8-9 which served as a lead-in to the Main Zero Hour storyline.

Zero Hour: Crisis in Time 25th Anniversary Omnibus

Zero Hour: Crisis in Time 25th Anniversary Omnibus

The Zero Hour: Crisis in Time 25th Anniversary Omnibus includes all of the above, PLUS the following tie-ins: (Which is why it’s over a thousand pages!)

* Action Comics #703

* Adventures of Superman #516

* Anima #7

* Batman #511

* Batman: Shadow of the Bat #31

* Catwoman #14

* Damage #0 and #6

* Darkstars #24

* Detective Comics #678

* The Flash #0 and 94

* Green Arrow #90

* Green Lantern #0 and 55

* Guy Gardner: Warrior #24

* Hawkman #13

* Justice League America #92

* Justice League Europe #68

* Justice League Task Force #16

* L.E.G.I.O.N. #70

* Legionnaires #18

* Legion of Super-Heroes #61

* Outsiders #11

* Robin #10

* Steel #8

* Superboy #8

* Superman #93

* Superman: The Man of Steel #0 and 37

* Team Titans #24

* and Valor #23.

Zero Hour #4

Zero Hour #4

Since we’re doing the list thing up front, here’s a (hopefully) complete list of everybody who wrote or drew something for the miniseries: Writers: Dan Jurgens, Mark Waid, Chuck Dixon, Tom Joyner, Karl Kesel, Ron Marz, Louise Simonson, Christopher Priest, Mike W. Barr, Kurt Busiek, Kevin Dooley, Jo Duffy, Michael Jan Friedman, Alan Grant, Tom McCraw, William Messner-Loebs, David, Michelinie, Doug Moench, Mike McAvennie, Tom Peyer, Beau Smith, Elizabeth Hand, Jeff Jensen, Phil Jimenez, and Paul Witcover.

You should note that the name Mike McAvennie is listed here. When he wasn’t writing Zero Hour stories, he was my very capable Assistant Editor. I have no doubt in my mind that the behind-the-scenes editorial stuff would have been a lot worse without Mike’s very capable organizational skills as well as his perfect timing when somebody (usually me) really needed a good joke.

Action Comics #703

Action Comics #703

Artists: Dan Jurgens, Tom Grummett, Darryl Banks, Jon Bogdanove, Jackson Guice, Phil Jimenez, Brent Anderson, Derec Aucoin, Jim Balent, Eduardo Barreto, Chris Batista, Bret Blevins, Mike Collins, Colleen Doran, Frank Fosco, Chris Gardner, Stuart Immonen, Peter Krause, Greg LaRocque, Steve Lieber, Mike Manley, Bill Marimon, Graham Nolan, Carlos Pacheco, Paul Pelletier, Luke Ross, Nigel Tully, Mike Wieringo, Jason Armstrong, Arnie Jorgensen, Mitch Byrd, Craig Hamilton, Mike Parobeck, Howard Porter, Jerry Ordway, Ken Branch, Joe Rubenstein, Jose Marzan, Jr., Dan Davis, Don Hillsman, Dennis Janke, Romeo Tanghal, Justine Mara Anderson, Will Blyberg, Ron Boyd, Robert Campanella, Dave Cooper, Ray Kryssing, Bob McLeod, James Pascoe, Rich Rankin, Denis Rodier, Curt Shoultz, Bob Smith, John Stokes, Wayne Faucher, Andrew Pepoy, Matt Banning, Rich Faber, Craig Hamilton, Doug Hazlewood, Stan Woch, and Rus Sever.

Detective Comics #678

Detective Comics #678

In case you are wondering why Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway’s names are are bold-faced, it because they were the primary creators involved in Zero Hour. Dan Jurgens was the writer/pencil artist, and Jerry Ordway is credited as “Finished Art”, which means inking plus more. This is the very first time that all the Zero Hour-related issues have been collected within a single volume, which is why the lists of artists and writers are so long. Dan and Jerry already had plenty to do in the core Zero Hour miniseries, which many people have forgotten was originally published weeklyevery Wednesday in a single five-week month!

Guy Gardner: Warrior #24

Guy Gardner: Warrior #24

As for me, I actually did some writing/collating for Zero Hour myself. I made the rookie mistake of suggesting that DC should take this opportunity to clear up all of the continuity/timeline oddities that had occurred over 50-some years of publications. I guess it never dawned on me that anyone would actually say yes to this, but Paul Levitz did, and assigned me to do it. (Don’t tell anybody this, but I actually had much of it roughed out before I got the green light, so all I had to do was convince the other editors to play along — which they (mostly) did overwhelmingly!)

Guy Gardner: Warrior #24

Guy Gardner: Warrior #24

One thing that most fans don’t know is that later Paul had the finalized timeline blown up and displayed prominently in one of the DC hallways, where there were many discussions about what was “right” (or at least still around) and what had “disappeared”. It made me laugh to occasionally walk by to see sticky notes attached to the Timeline.

So, Why Am I Talking About All This (Again)?

Legionnaires #18

Legionnaires #18

Because the Omnibus is so cool! It’s got (as far as I can remember) all of the titles that tied into Zero Hour, plus a mini-version of the then-“new” DC Timeline, which probably only stayed stable for a month or so, until something changed again — which is as it should be! New people and places and things should constantly be added, subtracted, or modified if needed! That’s what keeps our favorite fictional universes fresh and exciting!

There’s also a huge gallery of covers and promotional material — and the deeper you get into it, the more likely you’ll find something that you’ve never seen before! I was there, and I don’t remember seeing some of this stuff!


Valor #23

Valor #23

KC CARLSON SEZ: Please don’t ask me what Zero Hour tastes like. If I had to guess, I’d say that it tastes like chicken!

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. If push came to shove, I’d imagine Zero Hour might taste like pulp paper and staples, if I don’t stop being a smart aleck around Dan and Jerry. They could pretty much take me in a fair fight. Plus, they’ve both got time on their side. (I’m older than both of them. But not by much.)


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