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This is for the ladies – Booster Gold #6

May 28, 2011

I was yakking with a comic store owner the other day, and somehow we got onto the subject of Booster Gold. I’m not sure what brought him up, but I was struck by a little factoid that was relayed to me. At this store, a normal friendly neighborhood comic shop, 60% of the subscribers/purchasers of the current Booster Gold title are women. Also at this particular establishment, about 15% of all subscribers/regulars are women. There’s an obvious gap there, even if the second figure is a looser estimate.

Hmm.

I realize that the numbers may not be indicative of the title’s readership as a whole and that the sample size may be insufficient for any generalizations, but still… It raises the question: What in hell do chicks see in this guy? I must uncover the answer. Could it be his effortless, blond movie star hair? Could it be his skin-tight attire? His taut glutes? What?

To find the answer, I’ll turn to the font that solves all of life’s mysteries.

A comic book.

For this puzzler, I really can’t think of any better place to make a start than a book that boasts the first telling of Booster’s origin, written and pencilled by character-creator Dan Jurgens (with inks from Mike DeCarlo). It comes in the early days of the title and the character, as the Booster Gold mythos (commercialism fused with attention-seeking heroism) was still being fleshed out. But maybe it can give us some clues. Let’s put on our Sherlock Holmes hats, stick a meerschaum pipe in our mouths, pull out our magnifying glasses and get down into the marrow of this conundrum.

In “To Cross the Rubicon,” the catalyst for the story’s action is the crash-landing of a teeny-weeny alien dude, one who rapidly befriends a kid (Jason Redfern) E.T.-style:

When the alien is brought home he flashes a Superman symbol on a wall, like R2-D2 relaying the “you’re our only hope” message. Young Jason sees a Booster Gold ad on the tube and gets the idea that Booster could be the guy to help him get in touch with Supes. He heads to the Booster offices and manages (quite easily) to get in and see Mr. Gold, who’s also eager to meet Supes, still being new in town (Metropolis) and all. After whipping up a costume for Jason (somebody call Child Protective Services…), Booster (wearing his “dress-up” cape) , Jason, hovering secretary/conscience/Gal Friday Skeets and mini-dude all head out to rendezvous with the Man of Steel and get to the bottom of things.

Superman is, however, not all that thrilled with Booster and his fame-whore ways. His harsh words hit Booster hard, and a “What’s his deal?” aside to Skeets opens up the little future-machine’s revelation flood-gates — remind me to never confide any dark secrets to hovering robots:

So begineth the flashback (or is it a flashforward?).

Booster’s history is known to most of us, but here it is as presented for the first time. There is, of course, the athletic success:

What? Football helmets with weird facemasks and visors? Surely this must be THE FUTURE!

A betting scandal ruins Booster’s nascent football career, and with his friends and family turning their backs on him, he takes a job as a night watchman in the Space Museum (yes, that Space Museum) to make ends meet:

It’s not long before Booster gets the bright idea to travel back in time and make a new, heroic life for himself. To that end he disables Skeets (a fellow museum guard) and gathers up the tools of his new trade:

And here we are. Superman still isn’t all that impressed:

No one can wag a finger quite like Kal-El.

Then another mini-dude shows up, shocks everyone into unconsciousness and beams them aboard its ship. End of issue.

Before I delve dangerously into pop-psychology — is this one of (if not the) first times that Juregens drew Superman? For a man who’s had a long association with the character (including killing him), that’s a bit of a milestone (if it indeed is the first).

Now, what can we distill from all this? Why might there be a preponderance of X-chromosomes reading Booster’s book?

If I had to guess, and I’m really trying to not sound like a chauvinist pig here, it’d be that origin of his. He’s a bit of a bad boy. A “good” one, but a bad boy nonetheless. From what I hear about women out in nature, they dig the bad boy. The dark elements in his jock past (scandal/thief) add an element of the rogue to him, and combined with his mild outsider/cocky playboy status and pretty-boy looks perhaps make him irresistible to that 60% female subscriber base. I know there are tons of other things that go into his character: his saving the universe, the fun nature of his time travel hijinks, even the grand old JLI “Bwahaha!” days. And more. But if I had to make a wager, I’d bet on that bad/pretty boy stuff. Just a hunch. I’d ask an actual woman about all this, but the ladies I’m friendly with wouldn’t know Booster Gold from a booster seat or Solid Gold.

That, my friends, is my amateur psycho-analysis for the day. I feel like Lucy in Peanuts. Where’s my 5 cents?

And you know what? Maybe the gender discrepancy I cited above is just a minor, statistically insignificant aberration. In that case, please disregard this entire post. Move along. Nothing to see here.

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