June 11, 2021

So somebody today on a DC Comics fans page asked fellow members to post their five favorite “DC Events” of all time. And then provided a list of storylines that included Crisis on Infinite Earths and all the post-Crisis usual suspects (Death of Superman, Nightfall, Infinite Crisis, Blackest Night, Final Crisis, et al).

My initial response was to yawn and mutter under my breath, “Not this stuff again.” Then I gave the question some deeper thought and - being the rapidly aging, unapologetic Baby Boomer that I am - offered the following response:

•.     •.     •

First, I’m going to begin by stating right up front that my definition of “DC Events” is going to be different than yours, because in my mind the term can be - and SHOULD be - used to define story arcs in regular ongoing series as well as all these mini, maxi and limited series titles you’ve listed here.

Secondly - and this is likely to offend some of you, so apologies in advance - of the titles listed here the ONLY ones I still enjoy reading after all these years are Crisis On Infinite Earths and Legends. Millennium was okay in the first reading but has lost its luster for me over the years; same with the whole Death/Return of Superman thing, which today reads more like a primer on how to manipulate your audience into spending their money than an example of solid storytelling. Of the other titles on the list, most of them came out after I’d quit buying comics on a regular basis and so I never read them - and those few I did read didn’t do anything for me.

So with THAT introduction out of the way - and with my two favorite titles on your list, Crisis and Legends, more or less relegated to “Honorable Mention” status because of their essential ubiquitousness when it comes to creating such rankings - I’ll share with you my list of five personal favorite DC “event” storylines ever. (And yes, the list is going to show my age; that sort of thing is unavoidable when you’re within spitting distance of 60 years old and still discussing favorite comic books):

1. Green Lantern-Green Arrow: “The Killing Of An Archer/Green Arrow Is Dead!/The Fate Of An Archer” - Three-part storyline that appeared as a backup feature in The Flash issues 217-219, 1972

2. Superman: “Kryptonite Nevermore” (a.k.a “The Sandman Saga”) - Multi-part story arc published in published in Superman (Volume 1) issues 233-235, 237-238, and 240–242, 1971

3. The New Teen Titans: “The Judas Contract” - Four-part story arc published in issues 42-44 of Tales of the Teen Titans and Tales Of The Teen Titans Annual No. 4, 1984

4. Justice League of America: "Crisis In Earth-Prime!" - Five-part story arc published in issues 207-209 of Justice League of America and issues 14-15 of All-Star Squadron, 1982

5. The Original Ra’s Al Ghul Saga (a.k.a  “Tales Of The Demon”) - Seven-part story arc originally published in Detective Comics issue 411 and Batman issues 232, 235, 240, and 242-244, 1971-72

(in addition to Crisis On
Infinite Earths
 and Legends 
as stated above)

1. Batman: "Who Knows What Evil--?" - Single-issue story in Batman No. 253, teaming the Caped Crusader with The Shadow (whose adventures were being published in a DC series at the time), 1973

2. Superman: “The Amazing Story of Superman-Red/Superman-Blue” - Single-issue “imaginary story” originally published Superman issue 162, 1963

3. Superman: "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" - Two-part story arc originally published in Superman (Volume 1) issue 423 and Action Comics issue 583, 1986

4. DC-Marvel Special: “Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man: The Battle of the Century” - Special oversized comic jointly published by DC and Marvel, the second following their collaboration on MGM's Marvelous Wizard of Oz, 1976. (And yes, this WAS an event.)

5. The Atom: "Sword of the Atom” - Multi-part storyline told over the course of one four-part mini-series, Sword of the Atom (1983) and three subsequent Sword of the Atom Special issues published in 1984, 1985 and 1988. Even though I was in my 20s by the time these titles were published, the combination of super heroics and Tolkienesque fantasy for a time really reignited my childhood love for comic books.



June 2, 2021
(My granddaughter, Zoey Romania Small - photo taken by her Uncle Josh, May 8 2021)

All his life he’s heard the stories. 

The stories are all he has, to be honest. They are his only link to those long-ago days. He was there, but he doesn’t remember any of it; he was just a babe, after all. The first of a family’s next generation. A generation which, it was supposed, would have the best of everything this nation - this world - might have to offer.

That was the promise. That was the dream. ...

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May 26, 2021

Next Tuesday, June 1, I will observe my 58th birthday.

All right, all together now: “BIIIIIIIIIIIGGG DEAL!”

Well, yeah, for me it actually kind of is a big deal. On a couple of levels.

For one thing, it further puts the lie to a couple of teachers I had back in high school who, for whatever reason, fully expected me to have joined the Choir Invisible long before now. To this day I’m not really sure just why they had me, of all people, pegged for an early demise. But they did.

Maybe it has s...

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May 24, 2021

I was driving back to work after lunch this afternoon and heard a fellow on the radio say that today is National Brothers Day.

There was a time when I would have happily celebrated my relationship with my siblings but, alas, those days are gone...

I am the oldest of three brothers. We were close growing up, but life happens and things change. The middle brother got himself into some pretty serious legal trouble, but seemed on the way to turning his life around when he died of a sudden illnes...

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May 20, 2021

Some days you just get a goofy idea in your head that you simply can't shake until you do something about it...
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April 14, 2021

I had the opportunity this past weekend to finally catch a trio of movies I‘d been wanting to see for some time.

First up was the current blockbuster Godzilla Vs. Kong, the fourth (and final, according to some reports) entry in the Warner Brothers “Monster Universe” series that began with 2014’s Godzilla. Like its predecessors, it is a no-holds-barred roller coster ride; not so much a remake as a complete reimagining of the 1962 Japanese film King Kong Vs. Godzilla, the new film makes ...

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March 25, 2021
Another entry from our "Comic Book Covers We'd Like To See" Department...
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March 10, 2021

It occurred to me this past weekend, as I closed the cover of a book I had just completed, that the one good thing that came out of this past year - what with all the quarantining and fighting off the virus and shivering in that recent Arctic blast - was that I had ample opportunity to catch up on my reading.

Even when you’re a lifelong bookworm like myself, there are times when you have little choice but to stifle the urge to curl up with that latest acquisition from Barnes and Noble beca...

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March 3, 2021

People have been going on for years about how Alec Guinness hated Star Wars

He didn’t, not really. What he hated was that so many filmgoers who loved his portrayal of Obi-Wan Kenobi seemed to know him only for that role and were unfamiliar with the long, lengthy career he had enjoyed prior to the 1977 classic.

While Guinness noted in several interviews that he did not really understand the film when it was in production (in a letter to a friend after getting the role, he described the s...

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February 24, 2021

(NOTE: The following is a longer version of my “Small Talk” newspaper column published in the print edition of the Johnston County Sentinel’s Feb. 25, 2021, edition. I wrote the column at home over the weekend and found I had written longer than my weekly allotted space allows, so I had to trim it down some to fit. Here is the full-length version, live and in person… or something like that.)

It happened a long, long time ago now. I usually don’t like to talk about it; as a man much...

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About Me

John Allen Small John A. Small is an award-winning newspaper journalist, columnist and broadcaster whose work has been honored by the Oklahoma Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press, the National Newspaper Association, and the Oklahoma Education Association. He and his wife Melissa were married in 1986; they have two sons, Joshua Orrin (born 1991) and William Ian (born 1996). Mr. Small is the News Editor and columnist for the Johnston County Capital-Democrat, a weekly newspaper headquartered in Tishomingo, OK. He obtained his nickname, "Bard of the Lesser Boulevards," from a journalism colleague - the late Phil Byrum - in recognition of the success of his popular newspaper column, "Small Talk." (In addition to the many awards the column itself has received over the years, a radio version of "Small Talk" earned an award for "Best Small Market Commentary" from the Society of Professional Journalists in 1998.) John was born in Oklahoma City in 1963; lived in the Bradley-Bourbonnais-Kankakee area of Illinois for most of the next 28 years (with brief sojourns in Texas and Athens, Greece, thrown in to break up the monotony); then returned to his native state in 1991, where he currently resides in the Tishomingo/Ravia area. He graduated from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in 1981, and received his bachelor's degree in journalism from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais in 1991. The years between high school and college were a period frought with numerous exploits and misadventures, some of which have become the stuff of legend; nobody was hurt along the way, however, which should count for something. In addition to his professional career as a journalist he has published two short story collections: "Days Gone By: Legends And Tales Of Sipokni West" (2007), a collection of western stories; and "Something In The Air" (2011), a more eclectic collection. He was also a contributor to the 2005 Locus Award-nominated science fiction anthology "Myths For The Modern Age: Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe," edited by Win Scott Eckert. In additon he has written a stage play and a self-published cookbook; served as project editor for a book about the JFK assassination entitled "The Men On The Sixth Floor"; and has either published or posted on the Internet a number of essays, stories and poems. He has also won writing awards from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Library of Poetry. He is a past president of the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce in Tishomingo; was a charter member and past president of the Johnston County Reading Council, the local literacy advocacy and "friends of the library" organization; served as Johnston County's first-ever Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator in 1994-95; served two terms as chairman of the Johnston County (OK) Democratic Party; and has taught journalism classes for local Boy Scout Merit Badge Fairs. He is a member of the New Wold Newton Meteorics Society.
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