Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pounds of the Seventies: the Last Fight of the Condor

Comments: As highly romanticized a version of life as a high schooler as American Graffitti. It’s a rather innocent version of high school, for sure; there are problems, but it’s not a place where bullies beat friends of the lead character to death. More “popcorn” than that! What this title would’ve been like under Steve Gerber, though, isn’t the issue.

For all his problems, Nova’s world generally seems a bit brighter than the Marvels before it or around it. This would’ve been appropriate as a cartoon of its time, or better yet, it’s a bit ahead of its time. Post-Japanese cartoons by the 1980s could’ve done something great with this property, especially in the hands of writers so involved as Marv Wolfman. It’s never too silly or cute, though, at least not for long. No cartoon hero of American television had the depth of Richard Rider. His Nova costume and power? Just awesome! I understand the parent groups of the time had a lot to do with taking any edge out of Saturday morning cartoons, but you could have a parent-friendly beam come out of his helmet in place of a punch here and there...see what I mean?

This is why the high school Richard seems a bit innocent, if not naive: it’s romanticized as an alter ego for a crowd just below, but near that age. I think if you are between ten and fifteen when this comes out, you might really appreciate preparing yourself for this latter adolescence to come by fortifying your spirit with an imagined alter ego who really could be YOU, as you strive towards differentiation and individuality, perhaps without much clue save you don’t want to be too much like anything you see.

Despite our outrageous jokes, the high school years of me and my friends were hardly THE WIRE, either, and looking back, it was more innocent really that I may have supposed, or at times, wanted! I think, for a younger person, imagining having a caring group of friends fits nicely with opening to develop such attachments growing up.

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