January 4 - So, what's up next in my countdown? Why it's...
The Top Ten WOMP Events of 2007 - Number Seven
FallCon! Yep, in spite of my pronouncements that my comic book convention days were over (at least for a bit), The WOMP Staff and I again set up shop at the annual MCBA FallCon in St. Paul anyway. The event was marked by crazy, crazy heat (which had me sweating like I was wearing a parka in a footrace), some geeky shopping with The Staff (the first time we'd ever walked the floor of a con together), and connections with our "FallCon friends" whom we see only there, once a year. It was a lot of fun (well, the heat was definitely not fun, but everything else was). In fact, I'm pretty sure that we'll be back at 2008's convention...this time with a portable fan!
So, here's some of what I've been thinking regarding millionaire characters in comic books. I think that, as plot devices, they are literary descendants of mythical emperors. I think that ancient stories of kings (as opposed to those of gods or common folk) often emphasized the advantages, responsibilities, and pitfalls of wealth. From Arthur, Siegfried, Midas, and Oberon, to the emperor-with-no-clothes-on and the Burger King (that mask creeps me out, by the way), kings have had exciting adventures and exploits based, at least in part, to their monetary freedom, and often birthright responsibility, to do so. They are often shown to be as noble as heroes, as vain as teenagers, and as corruptible by wealth as any of us. In more recent years, many of the pulp heroes - godfathers to the comics - were millionaires. In fact, all of the best ones were; The Shadow, Doc Savage, The Spider, and so forth (maybe even Zorro, who, at the very least, is wealthy and aristocratic). In an era punctuated by The Great Depression, it was not only fun to read about millionaire playboys, but seeing them sacrifice for the well-being of others was something akin to social justice. That a man should have riches when most others had nothing meant that he'd better be doing some sort of public good with it or he'd be considered a villain...especially since most Depression-proof fortunes were built by the less-than-noble robber-barons. And some millionaire characters were villains, of course, especially when comics picked up the millionaires-torch. More tomorrow. Here's your Millionaire Comic Book Character of The Day - Kent Allard/Lamont Cranston!