This will surprise most of the people reading this, but there was a time when I was kind of a geek. No, really, I was! And as a geek, I was required to have a geeky hobby. My hobby was collecting comic books- not to lock in plastic and save until they were worth billions of dollars, just to buy them, read them, and then stick them in a trunk.

As I got older, I gave most of them away- but I still have a couple laying around, including what I consider to be the best... comic... EVER:

Detective Comics 493

Detective Comics #503
Cover-dated August 1980

Why is this the best comic ever? Because it contains not one, not two, not three- but FIVE brilliant stories - and it introduces two characters that are now more popular than Batman himself! I'm almost embarrassed to talk about these stories, because they are all so well known, but I tihnk it helps show how far downhill today's comics have slid.

Story One: "Riddles In The Dark!"

The Swashbuckler- now with maps to the stars' homes!Batman has to travel to Houston to defeat the Riddler- but he's never been there before! Luckily, a new (but now-classic) hero appears to lend him a map- the SWASHBUCKLER! Looking back at this, it's hard to believe that the Swashbuckler was ever just a guest star in someone else's book.

Story Two: "The Face of Humanity!"

The Red Tornado is one of the most powerful members of the Justice League. He can fly and generate gale force winds. He is bulletproof and super-strong. But there are villains who are even more powerful, including this now-famous foe:

Mr. Kool!
Mister Kool!

Yes, Mr. Kool- a "ghetto" villain so realistic, only a couple of white guys living in the 'burbs could have created him! How does Red Tornado defeat him? He doesn't! Instead, an old lady threatens Mr. Kool and he gives up! This depresses Red Tornado so much that he starts to cry! Talk about THRILLS!

Story Three: "The Man in Black Wears Green!"

Robin the Teen Wonder beats up his bodyguard!

Story Four: "The 18-Wheel Contract!"

As it says on the cover, the Human Target takes on The Truckers. Apparently in the DC universe "The Truckers" are not just guys who driver for 18 hours a day moving junk cross-country; they're like a gang or something. Anyway, HT beats 'em up.

Story Five: "Flames of FEAR!"

Batgirl attends a housing plan meeting and jumps out a window!