Beauology 101: The Art of Superhero Conversation

"This is how you write comic books...." (Beau Smith & Lora Innes)

“This is how you write comic books….” (Beau Smith & Lora Innes)

by Beau Smith

The main thing that has always drawn me to comic books has been how the characters interact with each other. As a kid, my first comic books were superhero comics, that’s the main reason they are still the staple of my reading today was an adult way past 21. Yes, as a kid, I was mesmerized by the four color, full throttle action and fights, that’s very natural. As my reading and comprehending skills grew, so did my fascination with how these characters responded to, and behaved with, each other.

Fantastic Four #48

Fantastic Four #48

The depth of the characters at Marvel Comics in the 1960s is what drew me away from making DC Comics my “first buys” when I entered the supermarket and drug stores. Where I used to always snatch up The Justice League Of America or Batman first, I was now picking them well after I had bought whatever new Marvel Comics were in the spinner rack. The reason for this was because, even though I didn’t realize it at the time, I was hooked on the soap opera activities that were spotlighted in The Amazing Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, Daredevil, and most of the other comic books in the Marvel line. DC Comics wasn’t really giving me that at that time.

"That's It, Lois, You Don't Need His Box Office Millions."

“That’s It, Lois, You Don’t Need His Box Office Millions.”

My friends who also read comic books at that time, along with myself, used to sit and talk about how we would act if we had the powers of some of the superheroes, what bad guys would we most want to fight, and what ones would we simply smash and forget. As we got a little older, we would pick what female character would be our girlfriend in our make believe superhero world. (I always figured on Lois Lane, so I could save her from that boring, king of the spit curl, Superman.)

It seemed then that the Marvel characters would joke around with each other, say sarcastic but clever things to the bad guys as they thumped them, and even fight with each other for what seemed at times to be no reason at all. As a kid and teenager, we loved that.

"Paste Pot Pete-Super Glue Goofball."

“Paste Pot Pete-Super Glue Goofball.”

The bad guys at Marvel during this time period all thought they were world beaters, from Doctor Doom to Paste Pot Pete. I liked that. Even the lowest villains on the Marvel totem pole thought their four-color crap didn’t stink. Plant Man would take on anyone and figure he would come out on top. Even when they had doubts about their super heroic adversary, like The Cobra going up against Thor, Cobra was smart enough to partner up with Mr. Hyde so he would have someone powerful enough to go toe-to toe with Thor, and also have someone to throw under the bus when things got bad. DC Comics didn’t have this in the mid-to late 60s.

"The Might Crusaders-It Wasn't Meant To Be Funny..."

“The Might Crusaders-It Wasn’t Meant To Be Funny…”

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago here in your Beauology class, Tower Comics had the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents who gave Marvel a run for their 1960s money with smartly written and dialogued characters. Even Archie Comics had their Mighty Crusaders and other superhero titles that decided to mesh the camp of Batman with the soap opera of Marvel. They made for some really fun, over the top reading. They weren’t real serious, but they sure were funny.

"Yeah, I Don't Remember This One Either, But I'd Buy It."

“Yeah, I Don’t Remember This One Either, But I’d Buy It.”

One of my favorite reading treats then was to buy Sgt. Rock and Sgt. Fury every month. Both had incredible art, but Sgt. Rock was my serious war drama and Sgt. Fury was my action packed, fun fest. Read a Sgt. Fury and tell me you don’t enjoy the fast talking friendship between Fury and his cast members. The best was when Fury and the Howling Commandos would meet up against Strucker and The Blitz Squad. What a blast! I used to dream of that becoming a movie. The best barroom brawl of WWII.

"We're Not Ready For Any Rocking Chairs Yet."

“We’re Not Ready For Any Rocking Chairs Yet.”

Today, I still look, and long, for great interaction between the characters. Think about it, the richer and longer the character’s history, the more fun it should be reading about them with other characters. The teaming of Captain America, Bucky, and The Sub-Mariner should be the most interesting conversation in Marvel Comics because of their history then and now. At DC, a coffee shop conversation between Batman and Superman would make anyone want to be a fly on that diner wall.

"Who's Your Daddy?  No....Who's YOUR Daddy?"  Art By George Perez

“Who’s Your Daddy? No….Who’s YOUR Daddy?” Art By George Perez

Cross it over and think what a team up of Thor and Wonder Woman would be like if they were to start chit chatting and comparing their family trees. Some amazing stuff waiting to happen and to be bought.

My search goes on fellow readers. I also want to promise you that when the opportunity comes back around for me to play in the Marvel or DC playpen, I will do my very best to make any interaction entertaining and full of action.

Keep reading,

Beau Smith

The Flying Fist Ranch

For more Super-Team Family fun, check out their website here.



We'd love to hear from you, feel free to add to the discussion!