Whenever someone asks me who my very favorite comic book character is, I’m always tempted to take the easy path. I really like Dick Grayson, so why not say, “Robin?” Everyone knows who that is! Or Wonder Woman. I do love Wonder Woman. But in the end, I could never betray my top favorite!
So who the hell is my favorite? Why, The Greatest Hero You’ve Never Heard Of:
BOOSTER GOLD aka MICHAEL JON CARTER
This answer never fails to get me a side-eye, a “why?!” or a “who?!” Yeah, yeah. I know. As far as mainstream superheroes go, Booster Gold is a bit different from his caped peers and that can make for a really off-putting character for some people. What I want to do is shine a little light on a character that doesn’t get enough attention and make him more accessible to the masses!
His story starts in the 25th century, where Batman and Superman are historical figures! He was a star football player in college, hoping to make it into the big leagues when his mother fell very ill. She required treatment that their family couldn’t afford, so he started betting on and throwing his own football games. Unfortunately, he was caught, arrested, kicked out of school, and disowned by the mother he risked everything to help!
After being released from jail, he managed to get a job as a night watchmen at the Metropolis Space Museum. After seeing pictures and artifacts from heroes of the past (well… the present for us), Booster decided he wanted to be a hero too! But what’s a dude to do if he’s been shamed and humiliated in his own time? Steal Rip Hunter’s time machine, a super suit, a flight ring, and become a super hero in the past, obviously!
Booster hooks up with manager Max Lord in order to win fame and glory in our time! Max forms the new Justice League International, with Booster as a main player, and thus the shenanigans begin!
WHY I LOVE BOOSTER
When the people who even know who he is find out that Booster Gold is my favorite super hero, they do NOT get it. Booster is an egomaniacal showboater who would do anything for a buck, they say! He’s goofy and has no idea what he’s doing! Why on earth would I like a character like that?
It’s true, that’s how Booster started out. But over the 20-some years of his character’s existence, he’s been one of the most dynamic heroes I’ve ever read. Here are some of the main reasons I love Booster so much.
- His Friendship with Ted Kord!
One of the first, fastest, and biggest developments for Booster Gold’s character was becoming friends with the second Blue Beetle, Ted Kord. Let me tell ya– these dudes have caused me so much laughter and so many tears!
Their friendship had many ups and downs, but I challenge anyone to find a stronger relationship (platonic, romantic, or otherwise) than theirs. Ted’s death affected Booster so profoundly that it lead to a drastic change in his character as he mourned for several years.
You may think it’s a recent fad, but the trend towards the grim and gritty and serious within comics is nothing new. In an era of over-manliness (lookin’ at you, late 80’s and early 90’s), Booster was different! It’s a character that dared to kinda silly. He’s always getting himself in trouble and getting into shenanigans. That’s the kind of stuff that I’m interested in!
- His Character Development!
As I just mentioned, Ted’s death had a huge impact on Booster Gold and his character started to go through many changes. All of these changes have been really organic and human. In his final run before the New 52, he’s sacrificed his reputation and continued to let people think he was a self-serving idiot looking for cash, all the while saving other heroes without them knowing about it. He grew into a really stand-up guy, adopting a daughter and leading his old Justice League group against Max Lord one more time.
SO YOU WANNA READ SOME BOOSTER?
I’m gonna be straight up with y’all. I do not like what’s happened to Booster in the New52. Luckily for you dudes, there’s a load of Boosterful comics to read pre-Flashpoint! And you know it just wouldn’t be a comics post by Elyse if I didn’t lay down the fundamentals chronologically**!
**Not everything Booster has been in has been collected (for instance, the 90’s run called Extreme Justice). I’ve only included things that are available to read in trades or hardcovers and have linked to where I’ve managed to find them to purchase.
1.) Showcase Presents: Booster Gold
This collects Booster’s original solo run from the 80’s! It’s cheesy and perfect and filled with amazing ridiculous fashion on buff figures! Could you ASK for any more?!
2.) Justice League International
The book that dared to be different! Like I mentioned before, the late-80’s and early-90’s was a dark, macho time for comics– maybe even more-so than now! And you’ve got Frank Miller to thank for that! His The Dark Knight Returns changed the tone of comics completely and they haven’t been the same since! That didn’t jive with everyone, though. So J. M. DeMatteis, Keith Giffen, and Kevin Maguire teamed up to fight the grittiness with an all-new Justice League! A funny one! In this run, Booster meets Ted Kord and the biggest bromance of DC comics is born!
3.) Formerly Known as the Justice League
Way after disbanding, Max Lord tries to get the team together again to make a buck or two! This is where it starts to get really goofy! There’s trouble in paradise as Booster and Ted’s relationship becomes rocky! Oh, the drama!
4.) I Can’t Believe it’s Not the Justice League
Same feel as “Formerly Known…” Lots of goofiness! Booster accidentally transports the team to the depths of hell where they must run a fast food restaurant called “Beelze Burger.” While these two books are really silly, they contained clues as to what would soon be happening within the greater DCU in the form of the Funny Aneurysm trope!
5.) The OMAC Project
In this one, things start to get serious. Booster has given up the superhero life after the tragic events of Identity Crisis, but agrees to get back in the business when Ted Kord notices something very nefarious going on within his company. Nobody takes Ted seriously due to his B-hero status, except for Booster. And everyone will come to regret that.
Not to be confused with the New 52, 52 was a comic that detailed the goings-on in the year directly following Infinite Crisis. Booster is back to his money-grubbing ways in this one, causing his reputation with other heroes to become even worse than it was (and it wasn’t good to begin with, y’all!). While Booster is the star of one of the volumes, the other volumes are actually really great too! Totally recommended!
7.) Booster Gold
Finally his own solo run again, hooray! Booster just wants to get back into the Justice League after ruining his reputation, but, needless to say, nobody’s feelin’ that. The others offer him a tentative membership, if he can manage to not be shitty– something he’s finally mature enough to accomplish. Unfoooortunately, Rip Hunter comes along and informs him that he must help to repair a goofed up time stream, and to do that he must draw as little attention and respect from other heroes as possible. So while saving every other hero’s life, he must outwardly appear to be the idiot he once was.
8.) Justice League: Generation Lost
Max Lord is back! He’s erased everyone’s memory of his existence except for the original Justice League International and things get personal when everyone seems to remember Ted’s death as a suicide rather than a murder. Booster takes the lead hunting Max down in this really cool run that I’ve read maybe 15 times!
After all of this came Flashpoint, the crossover event that rebooted DC’s entire continuity. Booster is one of the few time travelers in DC and is important to this event because he might just be the only one who now remembers the world before the New 52. What comes of that remains to be seen, but hopefully we’ll find out soon!
So there ya have it! You may decide you want to read some Booster Gold, you might not. But should you try it out and like what you read, please consider supporting the one-shot (Booster Gold: Future’s End #1) coming out soon. With comics, it’s always a “vote with your dollars” situation and the only way to keep your favorite comics going is by actually buying them. Despite what I think about the new Booster, I have to believe that supporting him will lead to good things!