I love comics. I love superheroes. I have loved both for more than 30 years and have amassed a fair sized collection of comic books and collectibles over the years. Yes, I’m a grown man, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still be a fan, collector, or aficionado of both the medium and its most popular format. It used to irk me when people made fun of me for being a collector – as if being into comics and toys stunted my growth or made me less of a man. Well, as the years went on I’m still a fan of comics and superheroes and toys; I still have the items I grew up with and I still appreciate them with much fondness. I can’t say the same for all of those naysayers. They are a fading memory.
As the years passed, and as my reading habits matured, many different characters became favorites of mine. I like many comic book characters, superheroes or not, but in this posting I would like to discuss my favorite characters — I’ll describe a little bit about their history and origins, appearances in other mediums, and pinpoint the defining moment in the character’s rich history that made me their…Super-Fan!
The character of Booster Gold was created by a young up and coming artist named Dan Jurgens in 1986. Jurgens would later pen and illustrate the monumental Death of Superman story arc a few years later. Booster Gold had the distinction of being the very first new character to debut in the DC Universe after the epic mini-series Crisis on Infinite Earths changed the landscape of the company’s Universe of superheroes — and in his own title to boot!
Booster Gold first appeared through in-house print ads running throughout various DC Comics titles in 1986 for several months prior to his first in-issue appearance. His first canonical appearance was in Booster Gold #1 (1986), but his origin was not revealed until several issues later.
Michael Jon Carter was an all-star Football Quarterback in peak athletic condition, from the 25th Century, that was banned from playing the sport ever again once it was discovered that he was fixing games for profit (later retconned that it was his sleazy father that forced him to rig the games). After being arrested and having his sentence commuted to community service, Michael worked at the Metropolis History Museum as a Security Guard. Working there for several months, and befriending a security droid named Skeets, Michael ventured into the Hall of Superheroes of the 20th Century and was mesmerized by the grandeur and fame that superheroes received during that era. Feeling that he was now a nobody in his era because of his scandal, and that he really had nothing to lose, he fashioned a costume out of stolen technology from various eras — including a Legion of Superheroes flight ring –grabbed his pal Skeets, and hopped into Rip Hunter‘s Time Machine and set a course to 1980’s America. Metropolis specifically. It was Michael’s hope to once again find the fame and fortune he craved by becoming a superhero and product pitchman. The idealistic decade of excess, the 1980’s, was the perfect backdrop for him to start his life anew. With Skeets in tow, Michael adopted the name Booster Gold and began his crime-fighting career. He was soon hired by an agency, had an agent, and was making tons of money in endorsement deals. His manufactured costume allowed him the ability to fly, power blasts, force fields, and enchanted strength. Later enchantments to his suit allowed him to phase in and out of time periods when in communication with Rip Hunter’s Time Sphere.
Booster Gold is a second tier character that became more and more of a comedic character as the years progressed. This was in large part because of his close association with fellow superhero Ted Kord…the Blue Beetle. The two characters became intertwined following their long stints in the Justice League and that image tarnished a great deal of the potential of both characters. It wasn’t until Ted Kord was murdered in the Countdown to Infinite Crisis Special in 2005, did Booster start to veer away from being depicted as a clown. Fan favorite writer Geoff Johns wrote Booster Gold’s exploits in the year long universe-wide series 52, which tailored Booster Gold with a new mission statement as protector of the time stream. Given a new popularity following that series, Johns continued to write Booster Gold’s adventures in a brand new series in 2006. When DC Comics relaunched their branding with The New 52 in 2011, Booster was front and center as the leader of the Justice League International. After that books cancellation, Booster Gold was last seen traversing the time stream in an attempt to halt a great disaster.
THE BLUE AND THE GOLD
For the better part of 20 years Booster Gold shared his exploits with the Blue Beetle. They became best friends and Beetle was often the voice of reason whenever Booster devised a hair-brained get rich quick scheme. Their tomfoolery often had them both viewed as incompetent imbeciles in the eyes of the rest of the superhero community. When Ted Kord was killed at the hands of their former friend and benefactor Maxwell Lord, Booster took it hard and disappeared for awhile. Travelling back to the future. When he returned to this era, and following his involvement in the Infinite Crisis (2007), he had a new purpose as protector of the time stream alongside fellow chrono-hero Rip Hunter. But in order to accomplish his mission without any interference, Booster must hide his accomplishments and his mission from the public and continue having them believe that he is an idiot. For a glory hound like Booster Gold, that was a tough pill to swallow for awhile. But he continues his mission diligently trying to honour the sacrifice of his best friend.
MY DEFINING BOOSTER GOLD MOMENT – WHEN I FELL IN LOVE WITH THE CHARACTER
The very first time that I was introduced to Booster Gold, is when I became an instant fan. I had started collecting the retooled Justice League title in 1987 from the first issue of this new series. In the fourth issue, weasely businessman Maxwell Lord found his way into the JL’s headquarters and immediately demands Booster Gold’s inclusion on the team. Having no familiarity with the character whatsoever (this was long before the halcyon days of the Internet to look things up), I thought ‘who’s this nerd’? Booster, feeling dejected by the Justice League’s response to his presence, decides to leave as he knows when he’s not wanted. Upon his departure, he stumbles upon the villainous Royal Flush Gang ready to ambush the League and have already prepared traps around the perimeter. Booster contends with the entire lot and vanquishes them, which you’ll see on the scans below. Impressed by his abilities, quick thinking and prowess, Batman recommends Booster Gold for Justice League membership. Booster has one of the longest tenures on this incarnation of the team, along with good friends Blue Beetle and the former Global Guardians known as Fire and Ice.