Friday, April 27, 2007

Action Comics #351

Action Comics #351 (On Sale: April 27, 1967) has a cover by Curt Swan and George Klein. I think we are beginning to see an effort on DCs part to make their covers more dynamic. The Superman character on this one is not very typical for Curt Swan and there are even more departures in style for Swan in the months ahead.

Inside we have the cover story, "Zha-Vam the Invincible" by Otto Binder and Wayne Boring. The leaders of a crime syndicate meet to elect a new leader after Superman has captured their last boss. The meeting is interrupted by the appearance of Zha-Vam, a super powered crook who demands to be voted the leader. Zha-Vam displays his powers which including the lightning of Zeus, the strength of Hercules, the invulnerability of Achilles, the flame-breath of Vulcan, the archery of Apollo, and the speed of Mercury (I wonder where they cam up with this idea for a character?). After his impressive display of power, Zha-Vam is elected the crime syndicate leader.

Zha-Vam soon leads the crooks in a raid on the Fort Knox gold reserve. Superman attempts to stop the robbery leading to a fantastic battle between the two super powered men. Zha-Vam proves to be the equal of Superman. He then uses additional power available from his belt which allows him to grow to titanic size. He throws Superman into outer space. By the time the Man of Steel recovers and returns to Earth, Zha-Vam has disappeared leaving behind only a message for Superman. The message tells Superman to leave Earth.

The second story is "Jimmy Olsen Marries Supergirl" is by Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan and Stan Kaye and is reprinted from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #57. In this "imaginary tale" Jimmy returns to Midvale Orphanage where he once stayed while he had amnesia. There, he meets Linda Lee while displaying his trophies. Linda becomes exposed to Red Kryptonite, causing her to lose her powers and memories of her life as Supergirl. She and Jimmy then fall in love and get married.

When Linda’s memories return, she reveals the existence of Supergirl to Jimmy. Jimmy keeps the secret, and Supergirl gets Jimmy to fall in love with her. Torn between the two women he loves, Jimmy vows never to see Supergirl again to be faithful in his marriage to Linda.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Adventure Comics #357

Adventure Comics #357 (On Sale: April 27, 1967) has a more standard Curt Swan/George Klein cover.

Inside "The Ghost of Ferro Lad" is by Jim Shooter, Curt Swan and George Klein. In it the four Legionnaires who fought alongside Ferro Lad against the Sun-Eater, Superboy, Cosmic Boy, Sun Boy, and Princess Projectra, place a wreath at his memorial on Shanghalla, the cemetery satellite, then return to Earth, each obsessed with his memory. Meanwhile, a strange object from space pierces the walls of the Legion Clubhouse, and implants itself in the master control panel.

That night, the four heroes battle an unseen foe who causes nearly every object in the Clubhouse to attack them. After the barrage ends, a message burned in the wall indicates that Ferro Lad's ghost is haunting them, and Brainiac 5 and Saturn Girl, enroute to a law-enforcement convention on another planet, are summoned back to the Clubhouse to hear this news.

The ghost reappears to the foursome later that night and attacks, while Brainiac 5 attempts in vain to detect it with his equipment. When Saturn Girl tries to sense it with her powers, it shocks her into unconsciousness. The ghost departs after destroying Ferro Lad's belongings, and Brainiac 5 is as perplexed as the others.

After putting Saturn Girl in the care of doctors, the other Legionnaires hold a séance, with Princess Projectra as the medium, in an attempt to contact Ferro Lad's ghost. The ghost appears, and orders the Legion to disband, which they do. Reprinted in Best of DC #24 and Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 6 HC.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Detective Comics #364

Detective Comics #364 (On Sale: April 27, 1967) has a fairly cool cover by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson.

"The Curious Case of the Crime-Less Clues" is by Gardner Fox, Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella. Batman and Robin stop several crimes. At each crime scene they find strange clues that seem to have been left by their arch-enemies. However, each of the villains in question is already in prison. After receiving the final clue Batman realizes that their Founder's Day float is being targeted. Batman sets a trap, but when the float explodes the villain behind the attack fails to reveal himself.

The Elongated Man back-up "The Ship That Sank Twice" is by Gardner Fox and Irv Novick. Ralph Dibny and his wife witness a man purchasing a boat that he knows will sink the first time he puts it in the water. Curious, Ralph follows the man and watches the boat sink near a freighter. The man is taken aboard the ship, which was his plan all along.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Strange Adventures #201

Strange Adventures #201 (On Sale: April 27, 1967) has a great Carmine Infantino and George Roussos Animal Man cover. What sells better than an purple gorilla? How about a purple gorilla in a black and white pen-striped suit and polka-dot tie? I love the colors on this one too: purple, green and orange.

Inside we have "The Cackling Conjurer" drawn by Bernard Baily. The Animal Man story is the second feature. "The Mod Gorilla Boss" is drawn by Jack Sparling. In it Buddy witnesses a robbery committed by a gang whose leader appears to be a gorilla. Buddy tries to stop the robbery as Animal-Man, but he can't absorb the gorilla's strength. After a pair of battles with the gorilla boss, Animal-Man is captured and locked up.

Edited by Jack Schiff.

This is the last issue of Strange Adventures with the original logo. It lasted unchanged for seventeen years, while the new logo, to be unveiled next issue, will last a year and a half. The problem with some books cannot be corrected by changing the logo. For years Strange Adventures had been the home of odd-ball science fiction stories and third-rate heroes like Immortal Man and Animal Man. In four months it would premiere a strip that would change the look of comic super-heroes forever, though it still would not garner any sales.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

World's Finest Comics #167

World's Finest Comics #167 (On Sale: April 25, 1967) has an interesting Curt Swan and George Klein cover. I bought this one used a few months later, 'cause who could resist this cover?

Inside we have the cover story "The New Superman and Batman Team." This is writer Cary Bates' first full story (he sold some plots earlier that were scripted by Ed Hamilton) and it is a doozy, drawn by Curt Swan and George Klein. This story is an imaginary story, which was DCs way of doing stories that did not take place in the "real" world of DC Comics, and may be the only Superman-Batman World's Finest issue without Bruce Wayne. "How can you have a Batman story without Bruce" you ask? Take a look.

Jor-El sends his son Kal-El to Earth as Krypton is destroyed. On the trip to Earth Kal-El's rocket passes a Gold Kryptonite meteor which removes his super powers permanently. Kal-El then lands on Earth, is found by the Kents, and named Clark Kent.

Clark grows up in Smallville and becomes friends with genius Lex Luthor. While Clark doesn't possess powers, Luthor creates a serum to give himself powers and becomes Superboy. Meanwhile, the Kents are killed by a hoodlum. Clark vows vengeance and is sent to live with his uncle Kendall in Gotham City where he eventually grows up to become Batman.

Luthor later moves to Metropolis and becomes a reporter at the Daily Planet. He also continues his career as Superman. On a case involving Brainiac, Superman and Batman join forces, then discover each others secret identities.

In his personal life Clark meets and falls for Lois Lane. The two marry, then Clark shares his secret identity with Lois. When Supergirl lands on Earth Lois and Clark agree to adopt her and she becomes Linda Kent.

Still later, Toyman battles Superman, Batman, and Supergirl. During the fight Batman succumbs to one of Toyman's weapons which reacts with the Gold Kryptonite poisoning from Kal-El's infancy. Clark then learns of his Kryptonian heritage. This was reprinted in Best of DC #19.

Jack Selegue over on the DC History list mentions that by today's standards this much plot would require at least a six-issue mini-series, but Bates packs it into one neat little package. How economical is the scripting? There is room for a back-up story!

And what an odd choice for a back-up story in a Superman/Batman book: "The Three Prophecies" is a Jack Kirby reprint from House of Secrets #3.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Justice League of America #54

Justice League of America #54 (On Sale: April 25, 1967) has a nice cover by Mike Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson. As a kid I remember thinking the Royal Flush Gang were cool villains, but after this appearance the disappeared for almost ten years.

Inside we have the cover story "History-Making Costumes of the Royal Flush Gang" by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Sid Greene. Hal Jordan ends up hospitalized when he tries to deliver a treasure map for an explorer who died in a car crash. Aware that Hal is secretly Green Lantern, the Flash calls the Justice League in to complete the mission, only to find not only Hal, but also others, under attack by characters dressed as a knight, a judge, a queen, a serpent, and a Greek warrior.

Batman deduces that their foes are actually the Royal Flush Gang, since, according to the history of cards, the King of Clubs was derived from Alexander the Great, the Queen from Queen Elizabeth I, and the Jack from Sir Lancelot, while the ace is called a serpent in Spanish, and three tens, in poker, is called a Judge Duffy.

Deciphering the treasure map as best they can, the Gang locates ancient weapons and books saved from the lost libraries of the ancient world, which they use against Batman, Flash, J'onn J'onzz, Wonder Woman, and the Atom. Reprinted in the Justice League of America Archives Vol. 7 HC.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Heart Throbs #108

Heart Throbs #108 (On Sale: April 20, 1967) has a very nice cover by Jay Scott Pike, doing his best Stan Drake impersonation (it's a month too early to be doing his best Neal Adams impersonation).

Information on romance comics is always sketchy at best. Most collectors are guys and guys didn't buy romance comics (though I have to say looking at the art on some of these covers, we all may have missed out). Jay Scott Pike was a staple of the DC romance books for most of the 1960s. He employed a number of styles, but this one, his Stan Drake, is one of my favorites.

Inside we begin with "How Do You Say, 'I Don't Love You Anymore'?" drawn by Manny Stallman, followed by "A Kiss from a Stranger" penciled by Jay Scott Pike and reprinted from Heart Throbs #54. Lastly is our cover story "3 Girls -- Their Lives...Their Loves, Episode 7" another strip drawn by Jay Scott Pike.

The "3 Girls" strip was part of a 25-part story that followed the love lives of three Manhattan ladies sharing an apartment (and men), one of the "soap opera" continuation strips that were added to two of the DC romance books in the mid 1960s in an attempt to boost sales. The other, "Reach for Happiness" ran in the pages of Secret Hearts. They all lasted about two years and since they were never tried again, I would guess that the sales were not very impacted by the "soaps"

Edited by Barbara Friedlander.

Brave and the Bold #72

Brave and the Bold #72 (On Sale: April 20, 1967) has a really nice cover by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson; love that spectral Flash. I think it was years later that I went back and bought this issue. As a kid the Spectre gave me the creeps!

Inside we have The Spectre and The Flash in "Phantom Flash, Cosmic Traitor" by Bob Haney, Carmine Infantino and Charles Cuidera. While on a visit to Earth-2, the Flash of Earth-1 is captured by two criminals. The crooks turn him over to the ghost of Luther Jarvis, AKA the Ghost Ace. Jarvis intends to use Flash as the instrument for revenge against his former World War I squadron members.

After turning the Flash in a spectral being under his control, the Ghost Ace kidnaps the former pilots and forces them to duel him in the skies. The Spectre investigates the disappearance of the pilots and comes to their aid. He prevents their murder, then challenges the Ghost Ace to a fair fight.

Edited by George Kashdan.

Metal Men #26

Metal Men #26 (On Sale: April 20, 1967) features a Ross Andru and Mike Esposito cover.

"Menace of the Metal Mods" is by Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. In it while Doc Magnus works on a new plastic robot, the Metal Men attend a high school prom. The dance is disrupted by an attack by a group called the Metal Mods. The Mods are humans painted to look like robots, and they escape with Tina as their captive. However, Platinum leaves a trail for her teammates to follow. They come to her rescue and defeat the Metal Mods.

Before they can return to the dance, the robots hear a distress call which they trace to an alien world. The world is run by robots who need help against their human slaves that are rebelling. The Metal Men are hypnotized into working for the humans.

Edited by Robert Kanigher.

Swing With Scooter #7

Swing With Scooter #7 (On Sale: April 20, 1967) has what I would guess to be a Joe Orlando and Mike Esposito cover.

Inside we have "The Crazy Mad Scientist Who Hated Little Red Riding Hood" and "Love on Wheels." Having seen pages from the first story I can say it is inked by Mike Esposito and most likely penciled by Joe Orlando. Anyone have the Scooter books and want to take a guess at IDing the writers and artists?

Edited by Jack Miller.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Batman #192

Batman #192 (On Sale: April 18, 1967) has a nice cover by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson.

Inside we have the cover story "The Crystal Ball That Betrayed Batman" by Gardner Fox, Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella. Batman and Robin stumble across a robbery committed by the Fearsome Foursome, henchmen for a crook known as the Swami. So far, the Swami has allegedly foreseen dangers that would befall his gang and planned his crimes to avoid the law. Batman manages to apprehend one member of the gang, Silent Stan, but the others escape.

Batman disguises himself as Stan, then visits the crook's apartment. He finds the rest of the gang there including the Swami. However, the Swami uses his crystal ball and discovers that Stan is Batman in disguise. Batman is then trapped, as is Robin who was waiting outside.

The back-up story "Dick Grayson's Secret Guardian" and is also by Gardner Fox, Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella. Dick Grayson tries to recruit other students for the Gotham High basketball team. Frank Reynolds, a tall boy gladly agrees to join, but Toughy Loomis laughs at Dick's suggestion. Later, Toughy and his friends attack Dick and try to beat him up. Dick is unable to use his skills as Robin to defend himself, for fear of giving away his secret identity.

A masked man surprises Toughy during the fight by coming to Dick's aid. The bullies are scared off, and the masked man disappears too.

Edited by Julius Schwartz

Flash #171

Flash #171 (On Sale: April 18, 1967) features a cover I have always loved by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson.

"Here Lies the Flash – Dead and Unburied" is by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Sid Greene. In it the Flash is puzzled by a series of robberies committed by the Green Ghost in which the crook seemingly disappears. The Green Ghost is really Doctor Light using a device known as a photonikron to make himself appear as ordinary objects.

Doctor Light sets a trap for the Flash at the Flash Museum. Doctor Light believes that he has succeeded in killing the Flash and casts an illusion on the speedsters body to make him look like a block on concrete. Flash is then left on the street and passed by people without notice.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Sugar and Spike #71

Sugar and Spike #71 (On Sale: April 18, 1967) has a cover by Sheldon Mayer.

Inside we have "Double-Trouble" written and drawn by Sheldon Mayer.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Star Spangled War Stories #133

Star Spangled War Stories #133 (On Sale: April 18, 1967) has another great Russ Heath "War That Time Forgot" cover. Like the last two war books, the color could be a little better, but the visual is terrific.

Inside we have "You Owe Me a Death" by Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath featuring "War That Time Forgot."

The backup story is "Thunder in the Desert" by Robert Kanigher and Jerry Grandenetti.

Edited by Robert Kanigher.

Doom Patrol #112

Doom Patrol #112 (On Sale: April 18, 1967) has a cover by Bruno Premiani.

Inside we have the cover story "Brothers in Blood" by Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani. Continuing from last issues, the Doom Patrol and the Brotherhood of Evil become temporary partners against Zarox-13, who plots the destruction of the world. Madame Rouge becomes a "hostage" in the Doom Patrol "camp" to ensure the Brotherhood's good behavior, enabling the Chief to learn her true origin.

After an automobile accident, actress Laur De Mille suffered brain damage and became an uncontrollable schizophrenic, until "cured" by being turned totally to evil by the Brain.

The second story, "Waif of the Wilderness," is also by Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani. In this retelling of Beast Boy's origin, Gar Logan gains the power to take on any animal form as a child, as well as green hair and skin, when his medical researcher father uses an experimental process to save him from a fatal jungle disease.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Green Lantern #53

Green Lantern #53 (On Sale: April 13, 1967) features an interesting Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson cover.

"Captive of the Evil Eye" is by John Broome and Gil Kane. In it Hal Jordan takes a job in the Northwest as an insurance adjuster. On one of his first assignments, Hal is sent to the site of a meteor strike. There, Hal discovers a giant alien named Thotan sucking up the Earth's oxygen to take back to his own world. Green Lantern battle the alien who has immunized himself against Hal's power ring. While fighting Thotan, Hal becomes trapped inside his body. Reprinted in DC Special #19.

Our back-up story is "Two Green Lanterns in the Family" by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Sid Greene. Hal visits his brother Jim and learns that Jim's wife Sue still believes that her husband is Green Lantern. Jim wore a Green Lantern costume to amuse their new baby boy Howard, and Sue mistook it for a real Green Lantern uniform.

Hal agrees to baby-sit his new nephew while Jim and Sue go out. Later, Jim calls to check on Howard, whom Hal has been amusing as Green Lantern. During the call, Jim witnesses a robbery and tries to intercede. Reprinted in DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #4.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Girls' Romances #125

Girls' Romances #125 (On Sale: April 13, 1967) has a very nice cover by Jay Scott Pike.

Inside we begin with "Her Reputation -- Ruined Her Love" drawn by Jay Scott Pike, followed by "Love is Only a Dream" penciled by Bernard Sachs and reprinted from Girls' Romances #46. Lastly is our cover story "When Will You Grow Up?" another strip drawn by Jay Scott Pike.

Edited by Barbara Friedlander.

Fox and the Crow #104

Fox and the Crow #104 (On Sale: April 13, 1967) has a Stanley and his Monster cover most likely by Winslow Mortimer.

Inside we have a Stanley and his Monster story, "Who's Who at the Zoo?" by Arnold Drake and Winslow Mortimer.

It is followed by a pair of titleless Fox and Crow stories from persons unknown.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Blackhawk #233

Blackhawk #233 (On Sale: April 13, 1967) as usual has a cover by Dick Dillin and Charles Cuidera.

Inside we have "Too Late, the Leaper" by Bob Haney, Dick Dillin and Charles Cuidera. The Blackhawks continue searching a passenger ship for a container of nerve gas. They are unable to find the canister, but their search has drawn the attention of their enemies. The team is framed for ransacking the room of an ambassador, so they are thrown in the brig.

The Blackhawks escape the brig just as a group of terrorists board the ship. The team engages the terrorists and defeats them. However, their mission to find the nerve gas before the ship reaches port fails.

I saw no mention of Batroc.

Edited by George Kashdan.

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #102

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #102 (On Sale: April 13, 1967) has a great Curt Swan/George Klein cover. It's the kind of cover that just grabbed you as a kid. What the heck was Superman doing to Jimmy this time? You had to buy it 'cause you had to find out!

Inside we have the cover story, "Superman's Greatest Double-Cross" by Leo Dorfman and Pete Costanza. Perry White criticizes Jimmy for failing to bring in any big scoops. When Jimmy tracks down a story, Clark Kent beats him to the punch which starts a feud between the reporters. Jimmy then receives a tip about gambler Spade Felton, Clark receives the same tip and arrives at the same location as Jimmy. Jimmy becomes enraged and tries to fight Clark, who is forced to feign weakness.

Following the fight, Felton kidnaps Jimmy. He demands that Jimmy reveal Superman's secret identity. Since he doesn't know Superman's secret, Jimmy hypnotizes himself into believing that Clark Kent is Superman.

The crooks release Jimmy who begins telling everyone in town that Clark is Superman. Jimmy's strange behavior gets him put in an institution, while Felton tries to kill Clark.

The second story is "Jimmy Olsen -- Campus Hero" is also by Leo Dorfman and Pete Costanza. After Jimmy Olsen testifies against Nick Harkins of Homicide, Inc. he becomes a target of the gang. Jimmy leaves town and goes undercover to Stanhope College as Jeff Ogden. Linda Danvers alias Supergirl recognizes Jimmy, but promises not to blow his cover.
Mr. Quick is hired by Homicide, Inc. to kill Jimmy and quickly tracks him to Stanhope.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Superman #197

Superman #197 (On Sale: April 11, 1967) also known as 80 Page Giant #G-36 is an "All Clark Kent Issue" an sports a Curt Swan/George Klein cover. As a kid I always thought these themed 80-page giants were just a whole bunch of goofy fun. They packed them full of everything they could find that might interest a kid: cavemen, firefighters, gangsters and robots. What's not to love?

Inside we start with "Clark Kent's New Mother and Father" from Action Comics #189 by Edmond Hamilton, Curt Swan and Ray Burnley. Next we have "Clark Kent Meets Al Capone" from Superman #142 by Otto Binder, Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye. In it Superman travels into the past to get the measurements of a gigantosaur, but he is weakened by Titano’s Kryptonite vision during his return. The weakness causes Superman to stop before reaching the present. He ends up in the 1920’s. There, he meets a young Perry White and helps him get a story about Al Capone.

Next is "The Truth Mirror" from Action Comics #269 by Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan and George Klein. Lois Lane receives a mirror from her uncle Ned. The mirror possesses magical properties which allow it to show a person's true self. The mirror reveals two disguised criminals to Lois as well as the secrets of some of her friends. Lois then uses the mirror to learn Superman’s secret identity.

Next we have "Caveman Clark Kent" from Action Comics #169 by David V. Reed and Al Plastino followed by "Clark Kent Fireman of Steel" from Superman #129 by Otto Binder and Al Plastino. In it Clark Kent has taken a job as a temporary fireman for a news story. Chief Hogan does not want Kent around and tries to get him to quit by placing Kent in danger. Clark still acts timid, but his powers as Superman save him. He is forced to protect his secret identity several times, but eventually the chief is forced to believe Kent leads a charmed life.

Next is "Superman's Toughest Day" from Action Comics #282 by Bill Finger and Al Plastino. In it Clark Kent takes a day off from the Daily Planet and assumes his duties as Superman. A Clark Kent robot is sent to fill in for him on a date with Lois Lane to tour a plastic factory. The robot’s hands become covered with a solvent which exposes the metal underneath.

The last story is "When There Was No Clark Kent" from Superman #127 by Jerry Coleman, Curt Swan and Stan Kaye. In this tale while collecting information for a story at the Bottle Works, an explosion apparently kills Clark Kent. Unable to find a way to explain how Clark survived, Superman decides to go without a secret identity.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Hawkman #20

Hawkman #20 (On Sale: April 11, 1967) has a nice cover by Murphy Anderson.

Inside we have "Death of the Living Flame" by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson. On the Aegean island of Tharos, the Living Flame of Kalonika is extinguished and its guard slain. The evidence points to visiting archaeologist Carter Hall, who had been seeking an alternate entrance to the cave which housed the flame. Hawkgirl saves him from the mob, and they determine that their guide Gregory must be responsible. He was the only one who knew they'd discovered a hidden temple behind the flame. They come across him and his men looting the temple, and, as they battle, earthquakes shake the island.

The second story is the cover story "Lion-Mane -- the Tabu Menace" and is also by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson. On his way to meet archaeologist Ed Dawson in Iran, Hawkman saves a native lion-hunter from a lion attack, and also learns of Mithra, a meteor "god" that changed the lions in the valley to tame, domesticated beasts. It was forbidden to gaze upon Mithra, but a brave warrior did so. Immediately, the lions became wild again, and the warrior was transformed into a lion-man called Lion-Mane, who killed many men and women of the valley. When he died, the warrior warned that nobody should look at the meteor again. The lions would remain tame until someone broke the taboo and became the new Lion-Mane.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Young Romance #148

Young Romance #148 (On Sale: April 11, 1967) has a cover by persons unknown.

Inside we have "No Right to His Love," credits unknown. Next is "To You, with Love" a reprint from Secret Hearts #55 also with credits unknown though the artwork was updated for changes in hairstyles and clothes. Lastly we have our cover story "What Kind of a Girl Are You?" which is also a reprint, this one from Falling In Love #129.

Edited by Jack Miller.

G.I. Combat #124

G.I. Combat #124 (On Sale: April 11, 1967) has another striking Russ Heath cover. Like last week's war book, the color could be a little better, but there is nothing to complain about the art itself.

Inside we have "Scratch That Tank" by Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath featuring the Haunted Tank.

The backup story is "Death of a Boy -- Birth of a Man" by Robert Kanigher and Irv Novick featuring Johnny Cloud.

Edited by Robert Kanigher.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Superboy #139

Superboy #139 (On Sale: April 6, 1967) has a pretty nice Curt Swan/George Klein cover, though three years later Neal Adams would do basically the same cover to much more dramatic affect.

Inside we have the cover story, "The Town That Hated Superboy" written by Otto Binder and drawn by George Papp, or at least someone claiming to be George Papp. Chic Stone was ghosting for Papp at DC around this time. While seeking for a Kryptonite antidote for Superboy, Lex Luthor experiments with Gas X. A lab accident forces Superboy to blow the gas out of the lab where it dissipates into the air. Following the incident, each time Superboy uses his super vision, monsters appear. Superboy corrals the creatures, but the town links them to the Boy of Steel. Superboy is unable to explain the monsters and is forced into temporary exile.

The second story is "The Samson of Smallville" and is by Leo Dorfman and once again someone using the name of George Papp. Clark Kent and his classmates take a tour of Curio Castle. An exhibit in the castle contains famous hairpieces of history. A legend surrounding the exhibit states that by touching the hairpieces, a person takes on the characteristics of the original owner.

When lightning strikes the castle Clark must use his super strength to save everyone.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

House of Mystery #167

House of Mystery #167 (On Sale: April 6, 1967) has a Dial H for HERO Jim Mooney cover.

Inside we have "The Fantastic Rainbow Raider" by David Wood and Jim Mooney. Crime chief Doc Quin invents a device that turns him into the Rainbow Raider. Quin's flesh becomes different colors of the rainbow. Each color gives him a different super-power. When he and his gang begin a series of robberies, Robby Reed uses his H-Dial to become Balloon Boy.

Robby catches up to the Rainbow Raider after a robbery, however Quin uses his powers to create an orange mist which covers his escape. When Balloon Boy finally catches up to the gang at another robber, the Rainbow Raider absorbs his energy and powers.

The backup story is "Marco Xavier, Manhunter's Ally" and features the Martian Manhunter. It is written by Jack Miller and drawn by Joe Certa. In it Mr. V contacts Marco Xavier and asks him to provide tips to the Martian Manhunter. Mr. V fears that Xavier has been too involved in Vulture's recent activities, so by tipping off the Manhunter he hopes to divert suspicion.

Since Xavier is really the Manhunter he follows the tip off and stops one of Vulture's crimes. When Mr. V orders Xavier to provide another tip, J'onn becomes suspicious. He discovers that Vulture has a bigger operation planned elsewhere, and the tips are being used to divert the Manhunter.

Edited by Jack Schiff.

Secret Hearts #120

Secret Hearts #120 (On Sale: April 6, 1967) has a passable cover by Jay Scott Pike (this poor scan was all I could find).

Inside we have "Please, Please -- Don't Let Me Wake Up" drawn by Jay Scott Pike and "Winter in My Heart" by Mike Sekowsky. Lastly we have "Reach for Happiness, Episode 11" drawn by Jay Scott Pike.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Tales of the Unexpected #101

Tales of the Unexpected #101 (On Sale: April 6, 1967) has a cover by Carmine Infantino and George Roussos. Infantino and Roussos seemed to be the team of choice at DC for the science-fiction/monster/mystery books at this time.

Inside we have "The Man in the Liquid Mask" drawn by Bernard Baily, "We Fought the Giant of Island X" a reprint from My Greatest Adventure #9 drawn by Ruben Moreira and the cover story "The Guardian Monster" drawn by George Roussos.

Edited by Jack Schiff.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Our Army at War #181

Our Army at War #181 (On Sale: April 4, 1967) has a wonderful Russ Heath cover. The color could be a little better (and had this cover been published even a year later, it would have been), but the DC war books were already looking great.

Inside we have "Monday's Coward -- Tuesday's Hero" by Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath featuring Sgt. Rock.

Scott M has a nice piece on Heath on his blog, Seduction of the Indifferent that is worth perusing. Between Russ Heath and Joe Kubert DC war books had the best tag-team artist of any genre at the time (surpassed only by the science-fiction tag-team of Al Williamson and Wally Wood at EC in the 1950s). Both Kubert and Heath were just masters hitting their peak between 1965 and 1980. It was a wondrous time to buy war comics.

The backup story is "Paper Bullets" by Hank Chapman and Jack Abel.

Edited by Robert Kanigher.

Atom #31

Atom #31 (On Sale: April 4, 1967) has a nice cover by Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson.

Inside we have "Good Man, Bad Man – Turnabout Thief" by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Sid Greene. The Atom stops a gang of crooks that are attempting to rob Ray Palmer's lab. During the battle Mrs. Burns, a cleaning lady, is injured. Ray takes her to the hospital where she is treated with a photonoscope. As she recovers, Mrs. Burns calls out for her son Johnny. At the same time Hawkman and Hawkgirl battle a gang of crooks led by Johnny Burns. In the middle of the fight, Johnny unexpectedly reconsiders his evil ways and reforms. He helps Hawkman defeat his gang and turns himself in.

Later after Atom and Hawkman relate their stories to one another, Hawkman brings Johnny to see his mother. During the reunion, Hawkgirl sends a distress call to Hawkman, who is joined by the Atom in answering the call.

Atom and Hawkman then battle Toyboy, a costumed crook with power over toys. After disabling the crook, they unmask him and discover that it is Johnny Burns.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Adventures of Bob Hope #105

Adventures of Bob Hope #105 (On Sale: April 4, 1967) has a cover by person or persons unknown.

Inside we have "The Crawling Creature of Creepmore Castle" by Arnold Drake and Bob Oksner. This would be Oksner's last issue. I think we all know who takes over the art starting next issue.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Challengers of the Unknown #56

Challengers of the Unknown #56 (On Sale: April 4, 1967) has an interesting Bob Brown cover. Brown's finishes are rather dull, but his layout is very nice. I wonder what a Bob Brown/Neal Adams cover would have looked like. Didn't Klaus Janson ink Brown on Daredevil to some good effect years later?

Inside we have "License to Kill" by Arnold Drake and Bob Brown. Sounds like a James Bond film.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.