Tom’s Summer Vacation

Labor Day weekend has arrived. This means I will have to put away the seersucker for nine months. Football is starting up and baseball is coming to the end. I am moving. Again. Do not worry about my back though. I have been working out so now I am totally ripped. We are also hiring movers. As I head to the Berkshires for a relaxing weekend of white wine and croquet, I want to close out this summer with an overview of what I have been reading this past season.


Undertaker Aquaman

I'm not quite dead yet!

I have read a lot of Aquaman this summer. That is to be expected when you are doing a podcast that is all about Silver Age Aquaman. I often joke about people who seem intent on trying to read every single comic book published. They ask if they should start with Action Comics #1 when jumping into the capes crowd. Reading every super hero comic is impossible and the desire to do so is a mark of insanity. If you pick out just one character, you might be able to pull off that type of caper. I have read every single Barry Allen Flash comic. Now that I see that written out, I might actually be insane. Of course, the fact that Barry was dead for a couple decades is to my advantage in this situation. Unless I get a job as night security at an arctic station, I probably will not read every single Aquaman story.

Reading all these old stories in a methodical manner has slowly changed my perspective on comics. I have always dug the old stories but I have been soaking in a Silver Age marinade for the last five years. Every time I hear about a plot twist in a modern comic book my internal response is, “Oh. Ok. Whatever.” That looks a lot harsher written out than how it feels in my head. It is more of an acceptance of everything that pops up, cause I have added a really, really, long term context to everything I read. I do not recommend that all of you start reading Silver Age comics every day (you should), but I think that is where I get my reasonableness from. Once you have read four consecutive stories featuring Quisp you are willing to roll with the punches on just about anything.


Ten years from now when I think about Supergods by Grant Morrison I am going to remember getting horribly sunburnt on a beach in Gloucester while reading about Batman “tripping balls” but being able to keep his wits about him. (Side note: That passage made me laugh hard because of a speaker I heard sophomore year of high school. My catholic school brought in a guy to talk about drug addiction. The problem was that it did not really sound very terrible because he mostly talked about “tripping balls” while working behind a bar. He screamed and sweated a tremendous amount. It was not effective. Actually, he rather looked like Grant Morrison.)  It was one of those sunburns that makes it really hard to sleep for a couple days. I was on the threshold of heat stroke. Hoppy the Marvel Bunny might have showed up at one point.

Aside from the sunburn, which is I only partially blamed on the book, I loved reading Supergods. I have heard and read a few people referring to it as a history book, which I think, is not entirely accurate. It is a history of Grant Morrison’s fandom not necessarily a history of superhero comics. If you approach the book understanding that this is simply one man’s perspective on superheroes it can be quite a rewarding experience.  I have a great appreciation for anyone who is able to describe exactly what makes them a fan of a piece of art. You may not agree with what Morrison loves but you will not leave confused to where his passions lay. As someone who spends a great deal of time trying, to express what they love about comics I found the book to be an inspiration. If his opinions piss you off, I can only point you in the direction of Oasis and say: Don’t put your life in the hands/ of a comic book creator/ who will throw it all away. Grant Morrison’s opinion of Superman does not make yours invalid.

Doctor Who Omnibus Vols 1 & 2DoctorCricket

The single greatest set of bathroom books I have ever owned. Following the older style of the TV show (pre-relaunch specifically),  these reprints feature serialized stories broken down into bite-sized pieces. Some of the stories can run for a while, while others are just one shots. Unlike the older TV episodes, the comic really keeps the pace humming. The art has its own sense of style while still making sure you know whom the characters are. Of particular interest to me, where a set of stories entitled The Stockbridge Horror in the second volume revolving around the Fifth Doctor Written by Steve Parkhouse with art by Parkhouse, Mick Austin, and Paul Neary the story explores a rather reluctant Doctor receiving comeuppance for his reckless behavior.

Usually we see a Doctor anxious to jump into action. Here we see our hero more interested in taking a break and playing cricket. His neglect of the TARDIS mixed with an earlier misadventure leads a dangerous creature to humanity’s past. His transgression is to a level that it almost leads to his arrest by his fellow Time Lords. I have always enjoyed that the Fifth Doctor had a tendency not to know the answer to everything, which is carried on this comic. At times, he is almost a passenger in the story. If you dig the TV show, you need to give these reprints a shot.


There you go. A summer spent getting sunburnt, talking a lot, and using the bathroom. The American dream writ large in neon Tom colors.  I have got some B.P.R.D. lined up for the fall so expect some frog related puns later in the year. Now I have dig up my shawl neck sweaters and snifters.

Tom Katers does in fact wear a seersucker to all summer events.


  1. Dear Tom,
    You are super awesome and I love your podcast. Keep up the good work and take a break once in awhile!

    Scott in Wylie, TX

  2. I love Tom’s articles here but I’ve always wondered if I need to have the comics he covers to hand if I decided to start listening to his podcast. Any thoughts?

    • Check his podcast out if you’re interested. You definitely don’t need the issues he’s going over on hand to enjoy the podcast. I’ve listened to a bit of Tom vs. JLA, all of Tom vs. The Flash, and now keep up with Tom vs. Aquaman and I typically don’t have any of those issues.

      I did pick up a Flash vs. Rogues trade, which includes the first appearances of all of Barry’s original Rogues. It was a lot of fun to go back and listen to those episodes of Tom vs. Flash while looking through the trade. But again, not necessary. I’d recommend starting with the first Tom vs. Aquaman because there is less to catch up on and when he started he was already insanely good at it.

    • Absolutely not. In the entire run of TOM VS. THE JLA/FLASH/AQUAMAN I’ve only once had the comic to read along with Tom and, honestly, it really didn’t enhance the experience all that much.

    • Thanks @Conor and @stasisbal you’ve convinced me to give it a go!

  3. ” Sure, I was having fun beating up on the scarecrow and tripping balls on his fear gas. But now, I’m living in a Bat-Van down by the river!!!!” – Chris Farley as Batman

  4. Wait a minute, seersucker is covered in the white after Labor Day rule? I had no idea, now I have to reorganize my closet this weekend. Thanks a lot Tom!!!

  5. While I did not agree with all Morrison said I generally found the book entertaining. The one thing that drug it down was his very overt live and obsession with get high later in the book. I am not particularly taken with or fascinated by druggie culture and he really hammers that for a good 4 or 5 chapters.

  6. “…, I probably will not read every single Aquaman story.” LOL – you don’t sound convinced.

    As I read the later half of Supergods, I was struck by how much GM loves vinyl clothing.

  7. It sounds like I really need to pick up a copy of “Supergods.”