Brainiac On Banjo #076: King Of Fame

There’s a blind man looking for a shadow of doubt / There’s a rich man sleeping on a golden bed / There’s a skeleton choking on a crust of bread / King of pain • “King of Pain,” written by Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner CBE, a.k.a. Sting. Fun Fact: Sting wrote this little ditty while staying at Ian Fleming’s former Goldeneye estate in Jamaica. If you don’t get the connection, hang on … you will.

As one can determine from my frequent incursions into Earth-Ether, when it comes to Tom King I’ve been a fan since “A Once Crowded Sky.” His work on The Vision, Mister Miracle, Batman, various incarnations of Robin, and a whole lot more screams for itself, to borrow from civil rights activist Clara Luper.

Because of these acts of commotion, I have had more than a few inquiries as to the heat of my appreciation for his brand spanking new Strange Adventures series, which is all about Adam Strange, who has been one of my very favorite DC characters since I first encountered Showcase #17. Seriously – I had just finished a check-up from my pediatrician back in 1958, and my mother had to fill a prescription at the drug store downstairs. No, I did not drive there. I took the bus. C’mon; I just turned eight.

Yes, I was looking forward to this new series. After all, why not? One of my favorite characters written, but (evidently) not rebooted by an A-Lister, a crackerjack writer. And the first issue came out. And I read it; not immediately, but that very day. It’s unusual for me to do anything the very first day, no matter what it may be.

So what did I think about it?

How the fuck should I know? It’s the first issue of a 12-part story! It’s just barely started!

If you think of, say, Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, during the first one-twelfth of her run she looked like a truly major contender, and she pretty much kept that pace until last Tuesday. Now, nope, she tanked. Life does have its bitter moments, and politics is a lot like the comic book racket – but without backing boards.

Tom King and his artist pals Mitch Gerads and Evan Shaner got off to a very interesting start. Hey, what more do you want from the first of twelve issues? “Nice start, pal” is about as good as it should get … even though that statement carries with it the unspoken warning of “so don’t screw this up!”

But I’m a polite guy, at least to most people. So I will add this.

Tom had been a counter-terrorism officer for the CIA. If he was half as good at that as he is a writer, then as an American citizen, I fear he might have made a career error. But, then again, I cannot fault a person for moving on to a gig where he’d have a lot more creative freedom… and get a hell of a lot more respect.

Now I have conflated Adam Strange, Sting, the CIA, Ian Fleming, Elizabeth Warren, Clara Luper … and Tom King.

My life is almost complete.

Well, almost.