Before Grant Morrison led readers on a trip across DC’s Multiversity, before he guided Animal Man through the wastelands of Character Limbo, before DC hit the reset button of Crisis on Infinite Earths in the first place, there was Ambush Bug. In 1985, DC published a four issue mini-series starring the absurd hero of the same name co-written by Keith Giffen and Robert Loren Fleming and illustrated by Giffen. The series is a wacky, almost surreal dance through the current state of DC continuity. Along the way, Giffen and Fleming find plenty of targets for ridicule, while at the same time celebrating the silliness that is superhero comics. Does some of it get too silly? Perhaps, yet, in the same spirit of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, there is an anarchic spirit which enlivens the books, rendering nearly every page of it inspired fun.
Delays are nothing new to comic books. In the 90s, readers of From Hell quickly grew accustomed to waiting several months for the next installment of Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s historical opus. It took two years for the epilogue to surface. Less drastic, though still irregular was the final year of Sandman, during which I treated the release of a new issue as an unpredictable surprise. Neil Gaiman once observed that it took him three weeks to script a single issue of Sandman, which did leave me wondering how he had much time for the myriad other projects he was pursuing. (Still wish that Sweeny Todd adaptation he was planning with Michael Zulli had happened). Miracleman had already seen delays during the final Alan Moore arc Olympus, and this continued with Gaiman’s The Golden Age. One reader even wrote in saying that the series must be the “slowest comic ever”; editorial deflected by suggesting that Moore’s Big Numbers or “any Brian Bolland project” were much more protracted). However, as readers today also know, delays are often worth the wait. Olympus and The Golden Age are both outstanding storylines which rank amongst Moore and Gaiman’s best work. Also publisher Eclipse’s financial difficulties (bankruptcy would jarringly cut short Gaiman’s second arc The Silver Age after only two issues) should be taken into account as well. Regardless, Eclipse decided to put out a limited series that would help tide over fans between The Golden and Silver Age.