The 2nd Tel Aviv Comics Exhibition

September 6, 2002

By Avi Green

I’ve never been to a real comics convention like those held in the USA so far. Which is a shame, because that’s where the real action can be found, with artists and writers all coming to give speeches and all that.

But luckily, I have been to the comics exhibitions held in Tel Aviv at the city’s Cinematheque (there have been two of them so far), and I enjoyed all my time there.

There were some good exhibitions of children’s drawings, and the Bat-Yam based Comics World was in charge of the sales of plenty of comics, old and new.

I also found a few old comics that I used to own there, such as an old issue of Justice League of America (#220 volume 2.) from 1981.

I was so lucky to get more than a few goodies there, mostly in TPB format, of comic book story arcs from the years gone by that I’ll sure enjoy reading, including John Byrne’s Fantastic Four: Visionaires, collecting some of his best work from the early 1980’s on "The World’s Greatest Comics Magazine!"

This was only the second exhibition for comics that was held at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, and I’m certainly hoping that there will be more to come in the near future. The future, as I can see it, shines bright for such fairs.

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My first reads in comics

With the Tel Aviv Comics exhibition having been told as best as possible, I now thought I’d relate some of the first issues of comics that I read when I was but a tot.

The first comic book I read was an issue of Fantastic Four from 1973 (#139, volume 1.), which had Ben Grimm, best known as The Thing, and Johnny Storm, alias the Human Torch, fighting against an insane metahuman who called himself Miracle Man. It had on the cover the Thing’s most well known exclamation, “It’s clobberin’ time!” In the end, however, some ancient Indian spirits plucked the madman Miracle Man off the face of the earth and told our heroes that he was being to somewhere far away until he could cured of the madness that plagued him.

That was the first Marvel comic I read too, for that matter. The first DC comic I read was The Flash #230 vol. 1. From 1974 which was called “Fury of the Fire Demon!” The story had Barry Allen, then the Flash of the DCU, dealing with Albert Desmond, then reformed from his days as a criminal, after his peculiar split personality went haywire again and was running around loose in his guise as Dr. Alchemy again. The scene that really stands out in my memory from that issue was of the Flash speeding up a column of water sprayed by the Central City Fire Department onto a burning building so that he could climb up onto the top of the building.

(Trivia note: Albert Desmond first appeared in Showcase #13 in 1958 as Mr. Element. In the following issue of that series, while in jail, he learned that his cellmate's "lucky stone" was actually a powerful "Philosopher's Stone", and subsequently escaped from prison to find it, then taking up a new criminal career as Dr. Alchemy. He later reformed and married, becoming best friends with Flash's alter ego, Barry Allen, and his wife, Iris West Allen, best known today as the aunt of current Flash Wally West, then Kid Flash and a founding member of the Teen Titans. )

This issue also included a backup story with Green Lantern called "The Man from Yesterday." In it, Hal Jordan, then in the role of the emerald warrior, was pitted against what may have a replicant of Aaron Burr, the man who killed Hamilton, as told in the issue. The culprit was trying make off with a train carrying a valuble exhibition, with an army of robots dressed in 18th century style clothing to back him up ("What! A bumpkin thinks to stop us!").

Two other comics that I read were a 1981 issue of Justice League of America that I’ve already referenced above, five years before the Crisis on Infinite Earths that featured a warlord who said on the cover “Come closer, Justice Society, and learn the true origin of Black Canary!” That story I'll leave up to the readers to find out though; it wouldn't be good to spoil what this, or any other issue of those classic tales, had to offer.

And there was also an issue of Amazing Spider-Man from 1974 titled “Madness Means the Mindworm!” In this issue, Peter Parker, known to us all readers as Spider-Man was looking for a new apartment after the old one he shared with the late Harry Osborn was bombed by the latter in an attempt to kill him when he briefly figured out that Peter and Spidey are one and the same. Until he could do so, he was invited to stay over at the apartment of his former rival at high school, Flash Thompson, who by now wanted to fully reconcile with him. While staying at the apartment, little did they know that a strange man known to the readers, if anyone, as the Mindworm, was living in an old ramshackle house nearby in the neighborhood, and plotting to control the minds of the neighborhood’s residents, hoping to feed on their thoughts. Luckily, Spidey came to the rescue and managed to disable the Mindworm with a stun clap to the ears.

There were a few more gems from what is often referred to as the Bronze Age of comics (which goes between the years 1970-1987) that I once had and enjoyed a lot back then, but alas, they have all been given away over the years to a friend of mine, and there’s just no telling if and when I’ll get to read them again. But they were all some of the best stuff from my childhood, and I’ll always remember them with fondness.

Will DC finally put the crossovers to rest for awhile?

The latest crossover story arc from DC, Bruce Wayne: Murderer?, and it’s followup, Bruce Wayne: Fugitive has just come to a close at last. I won’t spoil it for anyone who’s interested in checking through all the backissues of the Batman franchise and its spinoffs or wants to read the whole thing in TPB format, but I will say that while this latest of three crossovers that came so alarmingly close to each other in release did have its high points, it still severely dampened my enthusiasm for crossovers from Marvel and DC, at least for awhile.

So is DC going to please let the whole crossover concept get some R&R for at least a few years? It would be most truly appreciated, considering not only how expensive comics are becoming, but how even the crossovers can eventually get worn out if not given some rest and recovery.

I really don’t want to put down the whole idea, but enough is enough. If you do it all so close together, it just doesn’t work out at all.

I do, however, have an idea that might be a good substitute for crossovers: a miniseries that involves several superheroes working together that’s separate from the other ongoing books, and can be either in or out of the mainstream continuity.

If DC or Marvel could try this out, who knows, it might work, and could help save some people a lot of money so that they don’t have to buy so many books simultaneously.

Avi Green, who wishes that he could’ve covered some of the first comics exhibition at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque last year too, can be reached at

Copyright 2002 Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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