For Your Consideration: DC’s Booster Gold: The Big Fall


Robert Greenberger

Robert Greenberger


by Robert Greenberger

The first half of the 1980s saw DC Comics introduce many new series and characters, with very few sticking around. It was certainly an interesting period of experimentation and perhaps the one with the most staying power was a time-traveling football star.

Dan Jurgens had broken in as a penciller a few years earlier, impressing Mike Grell enough to have the tyro debut on Warlord. In short order, Jurgens was a steady presence at the company, working with Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas on the Sun Devils maxiseries before stepping in to dialogue and eventually write the final three issues.

Having proven his versatility, he was able to sell Executive Editor Dick Giordano on a brand-new hero, one he would write and draw, firmly set within the new post-Crisis continuity. No one knew what to expect when Booster Gold arrived in late 1985, but the character has endured, most recently being a pivotal player in the Rebirth reality as seen in the just-concluded Heroes in Crisis.

Booster Gold: The Big Fall

Booster Gold: The Big Fall


Now, we get to revisit where it all began with the 320-page hardcover, Booster Gold: The Big Fall, collecting those fist dozen issues. In an email conversation, Jurgens recounted, “The inspiration for Booster came from a couple of different places.

Booster Gold #11

Booster Gold #11


“First of all, celebrity culture was changing. Entertainment Tonight premiered in the early ‘80s and People Magazine first showed up on the stands a few years before that. There seemed to be more media outlets focusing on celebrities, which gave them higher profiles and a greater ability to endorse products.

“On top of that, I remember watching the ’84 Olympics and the commentators talking about the massive endorsement deal an athlete would be able to sign.

“Put all that together, along with a lot of other ideas I had been playing around with and the end result was Booster Gold.”

Booster Gold #4

Booster Gold #4


Jurgens pitched the idea to Giordano and was surprised at how quickly the series was picked up. “At the time, DC was a remarkably fun place to work,” Jurgens recounted. “They were very, very open to new ideas and concepts. The company was committed to trying new things.

“I was at a convention in Dallas that Dick Giordano and Pat Bastienne were also attending. Dick was always highly encouraging and always said if I had anything in terms of a project idea, to bring it to him.

“We had breakfast before the Con started and I pitched him the basic concept of Booster—where he came from, what motivated him and what would make him different. At that point, I didn’t even have the pitch written out. I believe I had a preliminary sketch.

“In any case, Dick went for it on the spot, telling me I could consider the project as having a green light. All I had to do was get him something on paper so he could get the ball rolling.”

Booster Gold #7

Booster Gold #7


Jon Michael Carter was a 25th century college football player, disgraced after throwing a game at the insistence of his gambler father. Reduced to working as a security guard at the Space Museum, he stole a Legion flight ring, Brainiac 5’s force field belt, and used Rip Hunter’s time sphere to go to the 20th century to find fame, fortune, and redemption as the first corporately-sponsored superhero. Guiding him along the way was Skeets, the AI floating device that was his personal Jiminy Cricket. In short order, he arrived in Metropolis, fought Blackguard and Mindancer, and by issue seven, finally met up with the city’s Man of Steel. Soon after, Booster had to confront Brainy and members of the Legion who came to investigate his use of their gear. This led to a confrontation with the new foe, Chiller. All behind the scenes was the threat of the Director, who had been a presence almost from the beginning.

Booster Gold #12

Booster Gold #12


The series benefitted from the consistency of Jurgens as writer/penciller with solid inking from Mike DeCarlo. Slowly, but surely, the character was integrated into the greater DC Universe, culminating in his joining the revamped (and hilarious) Justice League.

Does the series hold up after thirty years? “I think Booster does, of course. Quite honestly, I think that in this age of social media and complete celebrity infatuation, that he’s more relevant now than he was then,” Jurgens said.

“As for the others, I’m still partial to his agent, Dirk Davis. He’d also fit the times quite well. I think Booster’s struggle to find himself as hero also holds up, particularly against the rest of the DCU.

“DC’s heroes have always had the shine of perfection—almost to a fault. Booster was certainly not perfect. He had made his share of mistakes and was trying to make up for it. Yes, he was also trying to make a buck while doing his thing, but he was still trying to do the right thing. He just went about it in somewhat awkward fashion.

“So I think the basic concept of the character and tone of the stories still hold up. I wish I had been a more accomplished writer at the time, because all these years later, I feel I could have done a better job.”

Booster Gold #8

Booster Gold #8


Still, these are consistently entertaining stories and being collected in color for the first time, makes for an excellent opportunity to see for yourself.