Review: Dazzler #1

Dazzler #1 cover
Cover by Bob Larkin

Dazzler #1
Published and © by Marvel, March 1981

Title: “So Bright This Star”
Synopsis: Disco singer Alison Blaire teams with superheroes, tries to find a job and wins a sing-off against the Enchantress.

Writer: Tom DeFalco
Penciler: John Romita, Jr.
Inker: Alfredo Alcala

Review: Dazzler #1 is not an awful comic. It’s not good, by any means, but not nearly as bad as its reputation would suggest. Conceived by committee as a movie tie-in, the character is more marketing creation than act of inspiration. And it shows, as this debut issue lacks any real spark. Tom DeFalco’s prose is over the top and his dialogue can be painful. The relatively early art from John Romita Jr. shows potential, but lacks the unique style he would later develop (and Alfredo Alcala’s rather bland inks don’t help, either).

Grade: C

Second opinion: “The first issue … had 11 guest stars, so Marvel also knew it was bad.” – Frank Plowright, FantaCo’s Chronicle’s Series Annual #1, 1983 … “A total turkey.” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003

Cool factor: Umm … the cover is awfully nice? And there’s a nice scene establishing just how evil the Enchantress can be.
Not-so-cool factor: Too many guest stars (Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Avengers). That painful sing off against the Enchantress. Mirrored, high-heeled boots with magnetically attached roller skates. And the fact that Pink Floyd and Billy Joel are the two musical acts mentioned in this disco-themed comic.

Notable: According to a splash-page blurb in this issue, Dazzler “conceived by Alice Donenfeld, John Romita Jr. and Jim Shooter with some help from Stan Lee, Al Milgrom, Roger Stern and Tom DeFalco.” … According to “Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World’s Greatest Comics,” Dazzler #1 was the first regular series from Marvel to debut exclusively through the direct market, selling an impressive 428,000 copies.
Collector’s note: According to MyComicShop.com, there is a misprint variant in which pages 24-25 are printed in B&W, as well as a 2019 facsimile edition.

Character quotable: “But chasing a dream can be so lonely … so terribly, terribly lonely.” – Allison “Dazzler” Blaire, apparently oblivious to the gazillion guest stars running around this issue

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on March 26, 2010.

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