DC ComicsNew Talent Showdays

NTS #1 – Rock of Ages

New Talent Showcase #1 (Rock of Ages)
“The Rock of Ages”
Story – Tod Smith
Colors – Helen Vesik
Edits – Roger Slifer

Into every anthology, a one-off shall fall.  Today’s New Talent Showdays takes a look at a one-and-done.  I’m looking forward to seeing more of these… in fact, I wish Action Comics Weekly popped more of this sort of thing into their rotation (so long as all of the one-offs didn’t feature the Phantom friggin’ Stranger).

Let’s pop right in!

Submitted for your approval, one Paul March… a man on a self-appointed quest… a quest for answers.  His journey brings him to a remote mountain, in a part of the world he had never darkened.  Atop the mountain, sits a man… and this man, aged and alone, has been waiting for Mr. March’s visit for a very long time.  While this old man has answers… they appear to be to different questions than the ones Paul brought.

The old man tells him that the answers are in fact here… however, to find them… Paul will have to do the exact same thing he did… sit, and wait.  The old man shares that he has been sitting on this spot for fifty years… if March does the same, all will be revealed.  Well, Paul doesn’t like the sound of that… and so, he backhands the poor old fool with all his might!

Killing him.

And so, without the old man around to be given his nebulous “answers”, Paul decides to sit… and sit… and sit.  Wouldn’tcha know it, some fifty years later, the answers come to him.

Also, some fifty years later, the cycle begins anew.

This was pretty clever, I guess… and coming in at only four-pages, didn’t overstay its welcome.

If it wasn’t obvious by my hacky opening paragraph… this felt very much to me like a Twilight Zone episode… only without the implied guilt about how man is the worst thing ever.  Though, in fairness, our Mr. March is portrayed like a jerk.

We don’t know what he’s running from… and we don’t know what answers he’s seeking… but really, none of that matters here.  It’s all about the “calling”, I suppose… and, from the looks of it, this “calling” chooses a new vessel every half-century.  The cycle repeats without end… giving us a feeling of both optimism that the answers to the riddles of the universe are eventually answered… and hopelessness, in the understanding that once the knowledge is procured… the original “vessel” will probably be murdered by their successor.

Not sure if there’s a lesson to be learned here.  Patience, perhaps?  Though, if patience were the thing… the cycle would be broken, right?  Oh well… I’ve probably already devoted more thought to this than most.  I suppose we can leave it for now.  Talk about lack of patience, right?  Overall, though… I enjoyed this well enough.

Let’s meet our maker… it’s just one dude this time out, Tod Smith.  We’d already met him here at the blog… he provided pencils for a good chunk of the earliest part of the Green Lantern Action Comics Weekly feature (including the Oprah chapter!).  This here little story, if the DC Wiki is to be believed, is Tod’s only credit as a writer.  If that’s true, it’s kind of a shame… because, this was quite well-written.  Not overblown and flowery as we might expect from a “New Talent”.  As for his art… well, Smith’s had a fairly prolific career… at both Marvel and DC (among others).  It looks like his longest stint on art was for Marvel’s Darkhawk series in the early 1990’s, where he stuck around for 24 issues.  Other notable runs include Vigilante, and Omega Men for DC… and Green Hornet for NOW Comics.

Tomorrow: Let’s all meet up in the year Two-Thousand (Sixty-Four)

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