85 – DAZZLER (and Post-Comic-Con)

10 Aug

Subject: Dazzler
Real Name: Alison Blaire
Height: 5’8″ Weight: 115 lbs.
First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #130, February 1980

Power Ratings:

  • Energy Projection: 4/7
  • Mental Powers: 1/7
  • Strength: 2/7
  • Fighting Ability: 3/7
  • Intelligence: 2/7

In a way this post is the culmination of all the work I’ve put into this blog, thus far at least (I know you guys can’t wait for me to review the Checklist card). As I’d alluded before with the Longshot card, I’ve developed a soft spot for X-Men‘s more ridiculous characters, ones that don’t hold up to face value across the sands of time. DAZZLER is the pinnacle of this.

My renewed affection for Dazzler came when I was reading collections of Chronological X-Men (google it if you don’t know what that is). In the midst of the Dark Phoenix saga,  at the height of X-Men’s resurgence under the team of Chris Claremont and John Byrne, Marvel decides to introduce a mutant for our (their) time: disco queen Allison Blaire, aka the Dazzler.

The very definition of synergy, Dazzler sprung from an epic collaboration between Marvel and Casablanca Records, to have spanned a comic book, toys, disco records, and a movie (Bo Derek had been tapped to play her real-life appearance). Of course, by the time of her first appearance in February 1980, disco was already on its way out. Casablanca pulled out of the project, but Marvel decided to launch as a monthly series anyway, perhaps hoping to at least continue riding the mutant mania, her series lasting an otherwise miraculous 42 issues (the tag for issue #42 declares “Because you demanded it, the LAST issue of the Dazzler!”)

The comics were ridiculous and insipid, and whatever charming sincerity was found in the book seemed more a manifestation of the creators’ desperation to not concede defeat, but that’s precisely what made Dazzler a disarming distraction among the other mutant books. And by now you know how I love rooting for the losers.

And lest you doubt my devotion to Ms. Blaire, just see what I spent most of my time doing at this past Comic Con:

That’s right, I spent most of my time in the 50-cent bins, buying every Dazzler I could find (in fact I even accidentally bought two copies of issue #2). I currently have 26 of the 42 issue run, and I can’t wait for next year’s Comic-Con to finish out the collection.

Even better, guess whom I got to sign my (second) copy of Dazzler #1:

That’s right, A-list artist John Romita Jr., co-creator of Kick-Ass, and penciller of Dazzler #1. He let out a loud sarcastic laugh when I brought this in front of him to sign, and then told the person next to him “you know how actors have that one role they really regret having done? This is it.” And then upon asking him for a Dazzler sketch, he refused me. But he did agree to pose for the picture.

In the 80′s Dazzler subsisted as one of the members of the X-Men benchwarmers (the more popular members having moved into X-Factor or were otherwise indisposed), and by the Jim Lee X-Men she joined Longshot in Mojoverse to help free his people, which is the Dazzler we see depicted in this card. She looks pretty badass, and Lee actually seems to have enjoyed drawing her, but man those weapons are ridiculously unnecessary. This is the same girl that (somehow) stood against Hulk, She-Hulk, Galactus, Dr. Doom, and the Enchantress! Maybe those power packs on her are really big speakers. Her Power Ratings show formidable Energy Projection ratings, and 3/7 for Fighting Ability seems to account for her freedom fighter status.

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4 Responses to “85 – DAZZLER (and Post-Comic-Con)”

  1. Drew August 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

    I have fond memories of buying her comics for 25 to 50 cents, as well, from assorted used comic bins. I found a lot of reprints from there, as well. I like the character – they have been doing an acceptable job retconning the disco origins, which dated her even when she premiered. Considering that her track record was better than other X-Men versus these threats, I think the Energy Projection is fair given her transduction ability is limited to one energy type, even if the ability itself is unlimited. I like this card. Sadly enough, I was never able to find this storyline in any graphic novel or used comic bin. I became a Dazzler fan during Claremont’s run back in the ’90s (i.e. the Australia era).

  2. admin August 11, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    If you haven’t already read it, there’s a fantastic Dazzler back-up story in Classic X-Men #37 by Fabian Nicieza in 1989 that takes place right around the time of her first appearance. It kind of reeks of post-Reagan-era Bohemian coffee-shop philosophy (literally), but it’s a great bit of exploration about why exactly someone with superpowers needs to foresake their hopes and dreams to be a superhero (a nice twist on Spider-Man’s theme).

    Dazz’s story actually boils down into the personal struggles of a mutant trying to live a normal life better than most other mutant characters at the time (who are, of course, flying around space, depowering Ms. Marvel, or ruling the Savage Land).

  3. Drew August 12, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    I really like this costume, by the way!

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