Issue #2, Pages 30 & 31: Hourman's Addiction

Click the image to see it larger

The Golden Age
©1993 DC Comics. All Rights Reserved.

by James Robinson & Paul Smith
Issue #2, Pages 30 & 31: Hourman's Addiction
Graphite and ink on board
22" x 17"

What Watchmen did for the largely forgotten Charlton characters (who were summarily revived via new series), The Golden Age did for the Justice Society of America...

James Robinson’s vast knowledge of obscure Golden Age comic book continuity made him the perfect choice to reboot the JSA. That initial project, The Golden Age, was originally produced as an Elseworlds story but became the springboard for reviving the original comic book super group. His work on this series helped establish the backstory for his Eisner Award winning, seven-year run on Starman. The story open in the McCarthy era America of the 1950s and reveals the very un-heroic civilian lives of the retired heroes of the Justice Society of America and the All-Star Squadron, some of whom have become blacklisted, divorced, addicted, amnesiac, unraveled and megalomaniacal. What follows is an A-List drama in B-Movie trappings, which helped to establish a new point of view for comic book readers of superhero fiction: namely that their heroes were human, with human flaws and petty problems. Of course, when a meta-human has an off day, a million people can die.

Paul Smith had previously scored with fans as the penciler of the post John Byrne era of Chris Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men, then the most popular comic in America. Nostalgia for that era is strong and his ten-issue run has been collected and reprinted multiple times. His natural illustration skill gave a strong, graphic presentation to the JSA that had never quite been captured before. His use of overlays and circular storytelling mechanics brought just a hint of Jim Steranko into his deco panels, achieving a genuine feel of the era documented in this tale from the past. Smith and Robinson were honored with an Eisner nomination for Best Finite/Limited Series, and the collected trade paperback editon has undergone multiple printings and routinely charts on “all-time best” lists in critical comic book publications. The two would reteam and produce the 1997 Best New Series Eisner Award winning Leave It to Chance and Robinson would pick up a second award that year for Best Serialized Story in Starman #20-23’s “Sand and Stars.”

The page above is a double page splash of Hourman coming to grips with his addiction to the pills that give him his power. John Costanza's lettering, rendered in cursive, suggests a journal –deepening the connection between character and reader and making the most of James Robinson's marvelous script. This is a wonderful example of Paul Smith's bag of visul tricks, but it's also a delightful example of comic book lettering before the digital era.



For further information contact us at (323) 547-3227
or E-mail us at