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Ixnay by Night

Starman

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I've mentioned here in different threads that I'm a big fan of James Robinson.  While not everything he writes is good (or even readable, looking at you "Cry For Justice"), he's a writer that I always make time for even if I'm not a fan of the characters he's writing, like with his current Wonder Woman run.  His work on Grendel, Scarlet Witch, Batman, the JSA...all solid to really great work.  Starman, though, holds a place in my heart that's unmatched by any other comic series, it's easily my favorite completed comic work.

I used to make it a point every 2 or so years to go back and re-read Starman from start to finish, a task that was made a whole lot easier when DC released the six Omnibus volumes.  While I was always drawn in by the way Robinson tied everything in the series together during the epic "Grand Guignol", and I certainly recognized the dramatic beats he was hitting as the series wrapped up, it's only been in recent years that I've truly felt and understood the emotional impact of that last year plus of the series.  My last read-through of the series was back in 2013, and as I was making my way through the volumes my father was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer.  A prognosis of 6 months turned into death after 6 weeks, and my dad passed away while I was smack-dab in the middle of "Grand Guignol".  I wasn't able to finish reading the series, I don't want to spoil anything for people who haven't read it, but it hit me so hard emotionally and the wound of my dad's death was so raw that it colored my opinion on the series.  It wasn't just an expertly and intricately plotted superhero series, it was now one of the saddest and most bittersweet conclusions I'd ever read.

It was only a few months ago that I decided to read the series through again, for the first time in 4 years.  Now, though, the way I'm relating to Starman has changed once again.   Instead of looking at it as a son dealing with the death of my father, I'm now a father myself.  Starman was ultimately about the relationship between father and son, and while the end of "Grand Guignol" (and the final issue) is still bittersweet and brings up tons of depressing memories it also reminds me that it wasn't long after losing my father that I gained my son.  In that way, Jack Knight became my avatar, and the series itself is a testament to how comics as a medium can touch someone deep in their soul. 

And god damn could Tony Harris draw the hell out of that comic. 

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A. Heathen    1,136

Definitely a favourite of mine.

I just did a quick search of the forum and there's a brief discussion from 2004 !

Christian leading with some good thoughts. 

 

I always thought the Times Past idea would suit Hellblazer. Now Robinson used it in his Wonder Woman.

 

The use of continuity and new ideas was just perfect,  without the over-egged puddingness of your Alan Moore reboots (closer to his Miracleman i guess).

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dogpoet    468

I think just how moving that comic is as a whole can get overlooked in discussions about it: I can't imagine anybody reading it the first time and not misting up over a few issues. For some reason, though, discussion tends to focus more on the legacy/history backstory and the story issues arising from Jack's tat fetish, which are usually great fun and extremely clever, but just don't have the same impact as the more emotional stuff.

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Christian    756

Oh, I thought you said Jack's "fat fetish"....I was like, "Sweet! I don't remember that aspect of the character!"....then I saw what you actually wrote.

It's been so long since I've read the series that I don't have much of worth to offer, but Adrian pointed out that I created a thread way back when I was first reading the series that might be good to dig up and see some Forum members thoughts on the series when it was still more fresh in some of our minds.

EDIT: Just read through that thread, and see that I got very lazy, and decided to stop reviewing the series as I read it. Ah well, that's my usual work ethic. To be fair, I was actually writing my own short stories back at that time, so I was using my spare time to good effect, when I was deciding to not bother with reviews.

So, that was the complete CD-ROM of Starman that Rogan sent me which I was discussing in that thread. Funny, my computer doesn't even play discs anymore. That's something that's not even considered an essential part of computers anymore, everything is just downloaded from the internet now.

That means I must have read Starman again at a later date, because I did eventually get around to buying the TPBs and the issues missing from the collections (this was the shitty, spotty TPB job that DC did with Starman, before they collected everything in omnibus editions).

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dogpoet    468

Just think: if the comic had lasted another five years, then we'd doubtless have had scenes of Jack sneaking up behind people and croaking "I'm Tatman!" into their ear...

 

I've started collecting the bits to put a PC together (as the Mac I'm writing this on has really pissed me off enough to want to replace it) and you can still get internal optical drives, Christian. The big manufacturers just don't seem to be bothering putting them into desktops or laptops any more. Might it be worth getting one while you still can and seeing if there's an empty drive bay on whatever you're using at the moment it'll fit into, if not having one is bothering you?

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Christian    756

It's not that big of a deal. I have some old files from my old desktop computer which hard-drive crashed saved on disc, which I was using with my last laptop.

I haven't really been that bothered by not having access to that old material since I've had to buy a new laptop.

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dogpoet    468

You can probably still get a USB DVD drive a lot cheaper than rebuilding your computer anyway.

(The thing that does worry me a bit is software reinstallation: it's no use being able to download updates online if the damned thing is just showing you a blue screen of death when you turn it on. It needs an optical drive it can boot from to reinstall the operating system if need be.)

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