Friday, February 29, 2008

Strange Adventures #211

Strange Adventures #211 (On Sale: February 29, 1968) has a nice dramatic cover by Neal Adams.

"How Close to Me My Killer?" is by Jack Miller and Neal Adams. Deadman follows the trail of the Hook to Mexico. He is surprised to find his twin brother, Cleveland Brand, living in Mexico. He begins to suspect that Cleveland was involved in his murder, but instead discovers that Cleve is really part of an immigrant smuggling operation. When Cleveland is ordered to kill the workers to prevent them from being discovered by police, he refuses. Deadman then helps his brother stop the other smugglers. This story has been reprinted in Deadman #4.

The back-up story featuring the Space Museum is "Earth Victory -- by a Hair." It is a reprint from Strange Adventures #124 and is by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Detective Comics #374

Detective Comics #374 (On Sale: February 29, 1968) has a very nice cover by Carmine Infantino and Irv Novick. I love the new, grittier look that Novick was adding to Batman.

"Hunt for a Robin-Killer" is by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Sid Greene. Batman and Robin track the Lemon brothers to an old warehouse. While Batman goes in the front door, Robin circles around the back. Batman takes down the gang alone, when Robin does not make it inside. After the fight, Batman checks the alley and finds that Robin was attacked and nearly killed.

Batman begins a man-hunt for Robin's attacker while the Boy Wonder recovers in the hospital. The Caped Crusader apprehends Jim Condors whom the clues point to as Robin's attacker. However, Condors has an alibi provided by Commissioner Gordon, so he threatens to sue Batman and the city. This story has been reprinted in Batman #257.

The back-up Elongated Man story, "The Amazing Crook-Gatcher," is by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Sid Greene. Charles Bryant has invented a new gun called a crook-gatcher which he claims can hit crooks around corners. He joins Elongated Man during a bank robbery and fires the gun through a pedestrian to hit one of the crooks. Following the capture of the other crooks, Bryant receives publicity for his invention.

When the Elongated Man returns home, Sue mentions that crooks might go after Bryant before he can turn the crook-gatcher over to the police. Ralph finds that Bryant has indeed been kidnapped. He also learns that the pedestrian at the bank robbery was Lila Taylor, Bryant's fiancee.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Adventure Comics #367

Adventure Comics #367 (On Sale: February 29, 1968) has a nice cover by Neal Adams. Compare this one to the supposed Curt Swan cover from Adventure Comics #361.

"No Escape from the Circle of Death" is by Jim Shooter, Curt Swan and George Klein. As construction progresses on the new Legion Headquarters, Karate Kid greets Brainiac 5 and Sun Boy with the news that he is about to depart to Japan for a much-needed vacation. After the three tour the complex, Karate Kid takes his leave, while his comrades examine the many items they have received as housewarming gifts, including one marked in an indecipherable alien language.

Meanwhile, a mysterious group called the Dark Circle spies on Earth from halfway across the galaxy, and decides that now is the time to strike.

As Karate Kid arrives in Tokyo and visits his aged mentor, a blast from outside tears a hole in the wall of their building and nearly kills them. Karate Kid stares through the hole to see an army of alien invaders. He fights back, but is overwhelmed by sheer numbers. His attempt to contact his fellow Legionnaires and obtain assistance is useless, as they too are fighting the aliens, who are appearing all over Earth.

At Legion Headquarters. the Legionnaires fight valiantly, but are eventually taken captive. Only Brainiac 5 escapes, and since the Legion arsenal is under close guard, he sneaks into the storage area and frantically searches among their gifts for a suitable weapon. When several aliens come to investigate the noise, he wishes Karate Kid was present to hold them off, and the Kid suddenly appears.

Realizing what has happened, Brainiac 5 recovers the crate with the strange writing, and removes the machine inside it. He grasps the device and concentrates, and in a sudden burst of incredible force, the aliens are swept off Earth back to their own worlds, and the new Legion Headquarters complex is instantly completed.

Brainiac 5 tells his awestruck comrades that the device is a Miracle Machine, a device that converts thoughts into reality. He theorizes that it originated in the Controllers' universe, and this is confirmed when a Controller materializes before them, and warns of its vast potential for disaster. Heeding that warning, the Legionnaires seal the Miracle Machine in a cube of inertron until mankind is wise enough to use it. This story has been reprinted in DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #8 and Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 7 HC.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Action Comics #362

Action Comics #362 (On Sale: February 29, 1968) has a Neal Adams cover, and a strange one at that!

"The Head of Hate" is by Leo Dorfman, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Ventor Caine, a ventriloquist, robs an armored car full of cash. Clark Kent was riding in the car and is taken prisoner. Ventor blames Superman for capturing his twin brother Bruno. Bruno died in jail, but Ventor has fashioned a dummy of Bruno and in his insanity believes that his twin still lives.

To gain revenge, Ventor hypnotizes Clark Kent using super-hypnosis powered by a damaged Superman robot. The hypnosis appears to have succeeded. Clark turns from coward to a fighting man, but he still refuses to hurt Superman. Ventor then uses dummies of Clark's friends to convince him that Superman has killed Lois, Jimmy, and Perry. Clark then agrees to help Ventor by killing Superman, unaware that he himself is the real Man of Steel.

The back-up Supergirl story is "The 40th Century Outlaw" by Otto Binder and Kurt Schaffenberger. Linda Danvers wins an opportunity to become an exchange student. To her surprise she changes places with a Stanhope student from the 40th century. Linda gets a guided tour of the future Stanhope, but is shocked when she learns that Supergirl is considered a criminal.

During her tour, Linda is forced to become Supergirl to stop an out of control robot. Authorities quickly apprehend her and force her to stand trial. Robin the Boy Wonder acts as her defense attorney since he accidentally arrived in the 40th century after a visit to the 30th century Legion of Super-Heroes.

At trial Robin pleads Supergirl's case, but then uncovers stolen property in the Girl of Steel's cape pouch. Supergirl is convicted and is branded an outlaw.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #110

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #110 (On Sale: February 27, 1968) features a cool Neal Adams cover. This thing reminds me of those great golden age Superman covers.

"Jimmy Olsen's Blackest Deeds" is by Jim Shooter, Curt Swan and George Klein. Jimmy Olsen volunteers for an experiment which allows him to go back in time and assume the bodies of men for which he is genetically similar (and by that they apparently mean other people who are side-kicks to heroes!). In one of his past lives, Jimmy was Janus, a friend of Julius Caesar. Jimmy learns that he betrayed Caesar and allowed the ruler to be assassinated.

In another of Jimmy's lives, he was Sir Oliver, a knight who served Richard the Lion-Hearted. During a battle, Jimmy was ordered to protect Richard, but he fled. Richard's attack succeeded, but the king was fatally wounded as a result of Jimmy's desertion.

Jimmy then takes the place of a Civil War soldier. After the war, the soldier is posted as a guard outside Ford Theatre while President Lincoln is watching a play. Jimmy falls asleep on guard duty and allows John Wilkes Booth to enter and kill Lincoln.

When Jimmy returns to the present he is disturbed that he brought about the downfall of great men. He worries that the same will happen to Superman, so he goes into exile.

The back-up story, "The Menace of Superman's Fan Mail," is a reprint from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #35, by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Stan Kaye. To increase circulation at the Daily Planet, Jimmy Olsen runs a promotion in which he will answer questions about Superman. Thousands of letters arrive, each asking a different question which Jimmy answers. Some letters ask for a personal response from Superman himself, who agrees to help.

A criminal named "Labs" Logan has developed a Kryptonite solution which he puts onto some return envelopes. When Superman licks them he is slowly poisoned. As the poison begins to take effect, Superman becomes weaker.

"Labs" forces Jimmy to give Superman another poisoned envelope, which when licked by Superman, causes him to pass out.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Green Lantern #60

Green Lantern #60 (On Sale: February 27, 1968) features an interesting cover by Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson.

"Spotlight on the Lamp-Lighter" is by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Sid Greene. Scientist Lee Carver is the victim of a lab accident which takes his eyesight. Carver discovers a type of Ultra-Light which enables him to see again. This enables him to complete his work on a transmutation machine which can alter the structure of objects for about 40 minutes.

Deciding to make the world suffer for the loss of his eyesight, Carver becomes the Lamplighter and uses his new invention for crime. Hal Jordan investigates the first robbery and becomes involved as Green Lantern. Although the villain escapes their first encounter, GL is able to track down the Lamplighter a second time.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Girls' Romances #132

Girls' Romances #132 (On Sale: February 27, 1968) has a cover pencilled by John Rosenberger.

Inside we begin with "Double Date" and "Sudden Enchantment" both inked by Bernard Sachs, the later a reprint from Falling In Love #3. We round out the issue with our cover story, "The Only One for Me" which is pencilled by John Rosenberger.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Star Spangled War Stories #138

Star Spangled War Stories #138 (On Sale: February 22, 1968) has a nice cover by newly promoted editor Joe Kubert featuring Enemy Ace, who takes over a book for the first time in his first appearance in three years.

"The Slayers and the Slain," featuring Baron Hans Von Hammer, Enemy Ace, the German ace fighter pilot of 1917, is by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert. This story has been reprinted in Star Spangled War Stories #161, Sgt. Rock #17 and Enemy Ace Archives Vol. 1 HC.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Stanley and His Monster #109

Stanley and His Monster #109 (On Sale: February 22, 1968) features a Bob Oskner cover and is the first issue of this book, which takes over the numbering of The Fox and the Crow where Stanley and his Monster had been appearing for the past few years. This is also the only issue to use this horror-themed logo.

"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Infinity" is by Arnold Drake, Bob Oksner and Tex Blaisdell.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Heart Throbs #113

Heart Throbs #113 (On Sale: February 22, 1968) has a cover pencilled by Jay Scott Pike.

Inside we begin with "The Truth About Love," creative team unknown. Next is "Memo to a Broken Heart" a reprint from Falling In Love #35 and inked by Bernard Sachs. We round out the issue with "3 Girls -- Their Lives... Their Loves -- Episode 12" which is pencilled by Jay Scott Pike.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Brave and the Bold #77

Brave and the Bold #77 (On Sale: February 22, 1968) has a cover by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito featuring Batman and The Atom.

"So Thunders the Cannoneer" featuring Batman and The Atom is by Bob Haney, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Batman suspects that a train known as the Brotherhood Express ,containing treasures from several countries, will be robbed as it passes through Gotham City. Batman discovers that many of the treasures have been replaced with fakes. When evidence shows that the crime was committed by tiny people, he calls the Atom for assistance.

The train was robbed by the Cannoneer, a circus performer who has blackmailed the midget girl Lilli De La Pooche into helping him. Batman tracks down a circus train containing the real treasures and battles the Cannoneer while the Atom duels the miniature girl. This story was reprinted in Showcase Presents the Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by George Kashdan.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Swing With Scooter #12

Swing With Scooter #12 (On Sale: February 20, 1968) wants to fool you into thinking you are buying an Archie comic and you know this strip is a good as dead, at least creatively.

The stories are "Live and Lion" featuring Scooter, "Diet Riot" featuring Sylvester, "Mali-Boo" featuring Malibu, "It's No Picnic" featuring Penny and Cookie and an untitled Malibu strip.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Superboy #146

Superboy #146 (On Sale: February 20, 1968) has an "OK" cover by Neal Adams.

"The Runaway Superboy" is by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and Sheldon Moldoff. Clark Kent leaves home and meets up with two runaway boys on the road. He deduces that one boy is Barry Porter who has left home after his father accused him of theft. Superboy proves to Dr. Porter that Barry is not a thief, so the boy returns home.

The other boy, Ducks, is an homely orphan. When a runaway steamroller threatens to hit a blind couple, Ducks helps them get out of the way while Clark secretly uses his powers to stop the steamroller. Ducks is then adopted by the blind couple.

Clark then continues on his own. His foster parents send out an anonymous notice that Superboy has run away from home. Superboy sees the notice, but he mysteriously refuses to return home.

The back-up is "The Notorious Captain Sinbad Kent" reprinted from Superboy #79 and by Robert Bernstein and John Sikela. For a school project, the Kent family line is traced back to Captain Sinbad Kent, a pirate in the days of the Revolutionary War. The town of Smallville learns of the Kent lineage and begins to harass Jonathan at the Kent store.

Superboy travels back in time to learn the truth about his adopted ancestor. He soon discovers that the accounts are true, and Captain Sinbad is indeed a notorious pirate. Later, however, Superboy learns that Sinbad is actually working undercover for the colonists in their fight with the British. Superboy aids the captain and then returns home to his own time.

With no way to prove the reasons for his ancestors actions, Jonathan plans to leave Smallville. A document is uncovered though that exonerates Captain Sinbad and reveals his true motives. The Kent name is finally cleared.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Secret Hearts #127

Secret Hearts #127 (On Sale: February 20, 1968) has a so-so cover by Jay Scott Pike.

Inside we begin with "Unworthy of Love" drawn by Jay Scott Pike. That is followed by "Catch My Heart" a reprint from Falling In Love #32 and inked by Bernard Sachs. We round out the issue with "Reach for Happiness -- Episode 18" which is pencilled by Jay Scott Pike.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Hawkman #25

Hawkman #25 (On Sale: February 20, 1968) has a cover by Dick Dillin and Charles Cuidera.

"Return of the Death Goddess" is by Bob Haney, Dick Dillin and Charles Cuidera. Professor Martin, an obsessed blind archaeologist, donates a statue of Medusa which he uncovered to the Midway City Museum, only to free the spirit of the monster by kissing the statue's lips, as per his translation of the inscription. The spirit professes its love and appreciation, telling him that he need only kiss the statue again to save her if she is imperiled.

She then selects Shiera Hall as her host vessel, and begins her revenge on mankind. First she creates a fire demon which blows up a powder company; this sets nearly all the city on fire. Hawkman rescues endangered residents, the uses Thanagarian electro-knuckles to smash a dam and flood the city, which puts out the fire. Medusa then frees zoo animals, and when the army attacks she dispatches a minotaur to demolish their tanks, a hurricane to down a jet, and finally attacks Hawkman herself.

As Martin hears a radio report of the hero's imminent defeat by Medusa, he kisses the statue, and infuses her with more power. Fortunately, Hawkman is able to smash the statue, and Shayera is returned to normal.

The back-up story is a golden age reprint from Flash Comics #11, (The Heart Patient) by Gardner Fox and Sheldon Moldoff. Carter Hall sees his old friend Tommy Rogers who is suffering from a heart condition. Tommy’s doctor tries to convince Carter that he too has a weak heart. Carter believes Tommy is being scammed and investigates as Hawkman.

Hawkman discovers that Tommy’s girlfriend is working with the doctor to poison Tommy and steal his money. The Winged Avenger then exposes the scheme and brings both the doctor and the girl, Betty, to justice. This story is reprinted in Golden Age Hawkman Archives Vol. 1.

Edited by George Kashdan.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sugar and Spike #76

Sugar and Spike #76 On Sale: February 15, 1968) has a cover by Sheldon Mayer as usual, or should I say, as always.

"The Blehh Strikes Thrice" is by written and drawn by Sheldon Mayer.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Metal Men #31

Metal Men #31 On Sale: February 15, 1968) has a cover by Gil Kane, which, for some reason, reminds me of the covers Walt Simonson did years later on the Metal Men revival.

"The Amazing School for Robots" is by Otto Binder, Gil Kane and Mike Esposito. Doc Magnus creates a second team of Metal Men in case the first team is damaged. The second team which consists of Silver, Osmium, Gallium, Iridia, Zinc, and Cobalt are then trained by the original Metal Men. The new robots prove to be as good or better than their mentors and jealousy ensues. When Doc praises the replacements, the first team decides to quit.

Each of the original Metal Men take ordinary jobs, while Tina meets a disembodied intelligence from space named Darzz. She frees Darzz from an energy globe which then allows him to animate the inanimate. Darzz is secretly evil and uses Tina to take control of the replacement Metal Men.

The original team of Metal Men reunite to battle their replacements now under the control of Darzz. In combat, they exploit the weaknesses of the new robots and destroy them all. After Darzz has been defeated, Doc praises his original Metal Men and vows that he will not create another group to replace them.

Edited by Robert Kanigher.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #82

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #82 On Sale: February 13, 1968) has a cover by Neal Adams.

"The Tragic Fate of the Superman Sweethearts" is by Leo Dorfman, Irv Novick and Mike Esposito. Lois Lane is transported to the future after boarding a time machine space ship. She arrives in the year 4068 and learns that she is destined to marry Superman. However, the marriage is short-lived when the couple is killed on their honeymoon by the Executioners.

Lois then returns to her own time period. Superman proposes to her just as history had shown. She reluctantly accepts, but tries to avert their tragic deaths. Lois's seemingly fails to change history when Superman is exposed to Gold Kryptonite and the newlyweds' plane crashes.

The couple survive because Superman suspected trouble and took a Gold Kryptonite antidote prior to exposure (Same bat-time! Same Bat-Channel!). Lois then returns to the future with Superman and learns that the people of Katraz are actually criminals. The version of history Lois saw on her previous trip was rewritten to suit the criminals' wishes. When Lois and Superman return home, they agree to get an annulment of their marriage.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Girls' Love Stories #134

Girls' Love Stories #134 On Sale: February 13, 1968) has a cover by John Rosenberger featuring one of the Olsen twins (I call 'em as I see 'em).

We start off with "I Don't Love You Anymore" by persons unknown, followed closely by "Goodbye to Love" and "A Message of Love" both inked by Bernard Sachs. We end with our cover-story, "One More Tomorrow" pencilled by John Rosenberger.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Young Romance #153

Young Romance #153 On Sale: February 8, 1968) has a rather dull looking cover by Tony Abruzzo and someone else, maybe Jack Abel.

We start off with "Love is Just a Word" drawn by Howard Purcell. That is followed by "Stranger to My Heart" a reprint from Girls' Romances #58 pencilled by John Forte. We end with our cover-story, "Too Late for Love," pencilled by Tony Abruzzo.

Edited by Jack Miller.

G.I. Combat #129

G.I. Combat #129 (On Sale: February 8, 1968) has a really nice Russ Heath cover (is there any other kind?)

"Hold That Town for a Dead Man" featuring the Haunted Tank is by Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath. The back-up story, "Combat Nightmare" is drawn by Jack Abel.

Edited by Robert Kanigher.

Flash #178

Flash #178 (On Sale: February 8, 1968), AKA 80 Page Giant #G-46, has a cover by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito featuring the "Scarlet Speedster's Most Terrific Team-Ups!"

We begin with "Land of Golden Giants," from Flash #120, by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella. Barry Allen and Iris West are accompanying Dr. Manners on a scientific expedition. Iris’ nephew Wally West and Gail, the scientists granddaughter, are going as well. This is an historic story in that prior to the trip Barry reveals his identity as the Flash to Wally, who is also Kid Flash.

The expedition arrives off the coast of South America. Dr. Manners plans to prove that South America was once joined with the African continent. A nearby volcanic eruption triggers an earthquake and the expedition is badly damaged. As the group recovers they notice that the volcanic mountain is no longer anywhere to be seen.

Barry and Wally go exploring and come across a prehistoric tribe. A tribesman warns the pair of Flashes of a giant. The giant attacks and captures Flash. He is barely able to escape the giant’s grasp. Using some metal cabling that was brought on the expedition, Flash and his partner manage to tie the giant up.

Flash realizes that the expedition has been sent back through time and also learns that Dr. Manners’ theory is correct. A violent earthquake begins and the continents are about to become separated. Flash and Kid Flash help the tribesmen escape their village (nothing like changing a little history while you're back in time!). A group of giants attack, but they are washed away by flood waters. Using their super-speed vibrations, Flash and Kid Flash are able to transport the expedition back to the present before the disaster strikes. Dr. Manners brings back a photograph that proves his theory to be correct.

Next is "Double Danger on Earth," a reprint from Flash #129 by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella. Earth-2 is imperiled by deadly radiation which was created when a comet struck the sun. The Flash of Earth-2, Jay Garrick, desperately seeks a method to remove the radiation as the radiation is killing all life on Earth. A meteorite in the Arizona desert is absorbing the radiation, but it has mysteriously disappeared. Garrick theorizes that an identical meteorite should be on Earth-1. He travels between Earths to bring back the meteorite and save his world.

On Earth-1, Barry Allen and Iris West are attending a costume party for charity. The charity proceeds are stolen by Captain Cold. The Trickster, who also has come to steal the money, steps in and takes the loot from Cold. Garrick arrives on the scene looking for Barry and spots the thieves. Barry, seeing the battle, races to help in his Flash identity. Confronted by two Flashes, the villains team-up to escape with the money.

With the crooks out of sight, Jay explains to Barry the problem on his world. Barry makes arrangements for Jay to acquire the meteorite. Using his powers Jay is able to dig it up and break it into smaller pieces.

Before transporting the fragments back to his world, Jay agrees to help Barry catch the crooks. They bait a trap for the pair which reveals that valuable diamonds were found in the meteorite. Captain Cold and the Trickster show up to steal the diamonds, and the Flashes are able to follow them back to their hide-out and capture them.

With the villains taken out of action, Jay transports the fragments back to Earth-2. The meteorite dust removes the radiation and saves the world. The dust is also synthesized so when the same disaster strikes Earth-1, the synthetic dust is able to protect that world as well.

This story is historic in that a flashback sequence briefly relates the first story of All-Star Comics #57. The Justice Society of America appear in the flashback and would make their first non-flashback modern appearance later in Flash #137.

The final story is "Captives of the Cosmic Ray," a reprint from Flash #131 produced by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella. While Barry Allen is vacationing in Coast City, an alien ship flies over the area. Barry and his friend Hal Jordan chase the ship as Flash and Green Lantern. A yellow beam strikes Flash and takes him aboard the ship. Green Lantern follows it to an unknown planet. The two heroes are attacked by the planet itself but manage to escape and return to Earth.

When they arrive on Earth, our heroes discover the planet has been invaded by the Myrmitons. The alien being hold the world hostage unless the heroes surrender. Flash and Green Lantern agree to give up their powers, but Flash devises a trick to fool the invaders.

The Myrmitons realize that they have been tricked, but the heroes have already made their way to the base of the villains. Flash disables the machines that were threatening the population while Green Lantern captures the aliens. With the invasion thwarted, our heroes return to their civilian identities.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Blackhawk #240

Blackhawk #240 On Sale: February 8, 1968) has a cover by Dick Dillin and Charles Cuidera. Dig that 60's free-form lettering!

"He Who Must Die" is by Bob Haney, Dick Dillin and Charles Cuidera. Andre, backed up by the other Blackhawks, approaches female spy Natasha Zero to gain a deadly nerve gas and prevent it from falling into enemy hands. Natasha leads Andre into a trap set by her buyer, Le Croc. The other Blackhawks appear to fall victim to the nerve gas, but they are protected with the aid of nose filters. The Blackhawks then apprehend Le Croc and Natasha, exposing the female spy as a man.

I'll never forget that last panel when Blackhawk proclaims, "She's a man, baby!" OK, maybe that panel never happened.

The back-up story "The Perils of Blackie, the Wonder Bird," is a reprint from Blackhawk #111 drawn by Dick Dillin and Sheldon Moldoff. Undercover aboard a smuggling ship, government agent Roger Vance intends to deliver a message to the Blackhawks using Blackie, the Blackhawk bird, as a messenger. The smugglers intercept Blackie, but they can't find the message. Blackie is able to signal the Blackhawks who find the smugglers and capture them. They also retrieve the message hidden inside a hollow feather. No wonder they can't find anyone to claim credit for the writing!

Edited by George Kashdan.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Unexpected #106

Unexpected #106 On Sale: February 6, 1968) sports a pretty tame Howard Purcell and Jack Abel Johnny Peril cover.

"The Doorway into Time" is a Johnny Peril story written and penciled by Howard Purcell and inked by George Roussos. Johnny was last seen in Sensation Mystery #116, July/August 1953. It is followed by "Probability Zero," a reprint from Strange Adventures #32 by Sid Gerson, Frank Giacoia and Sy Barry. The last story in the issue is "Roehmer's Revenge" by Carl Wessler and George Roussos. It will be reprinted in Unexpected #161.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Superman #205

Superman #205 On Sale: February 6, 1968) features a cool cover by Neal Adams.

"The Man Who Destroyed Krypton" is by Otto Binder and Al Plastino. An emergency meeting is called by the President and his military advisers because Earth is threatened by the space villain Black Zero. The officials appeal to Superman for help, and he soon uncovers the villain masquerading as the Chief of Scotland Yard. During their first confrontation, Black Zero reveals to Superman that he was responsible for Krypton's destruction. Following Jor-El's speech to the Science Council, the explosive reaction in the core was dying down, but Black Zero rekindled the atomic fires which resulted in the planet's eventual doom.

Black Zero proves to be a difficult opponent for Superman to fight. He gains help from Jax-Ur. Though normally the Man of Steel's foe, the Phantom Zone criminal wants revenge for Krypton's destruction. Superman is able to locate the anti-matter bomb that will destroy Earth, but he cannot divert it. Superman still prevails by drilling a hole through the Earth for the missile to pass.

Black Zero then tries to destroy Metropolis, but Jax-Ur turns him to stone. Before returning to the Phantom Zone, Jax-Ur destroys the stoned Black Zero, so that the villain can never be restored to life. Ouch, that's gotta hurt!

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Falling In Love #98

Falling In Love #98 On Sale: February 6, 1968) features a really beautiful cover by John Rosenberger.

(Cindy the Salesgirl) is drawn by Winslow Mortimer and is followed by "Love is a Lonely Hunter" a reprint from Girls' Romances #60 drawn by Arthur Peddy and Bernard Sachs. The issue completes with "Please Take Me Back" drawn by John Rosenberger.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Secret Six #1

Secret Six #1 (On Sale: February 1, 1968) features the second strange DC cover of the month. This Frank Springer cover is actually the first page of the story

(Code Name:Mockingbird) is by E. Nelson Bridwell and Frank Springer. The Secret Six are six trained specialists who are blackmailed by the mysterious and never seen Mockingbird (who communicates through pre-recorded messages) into going on missions. Think of it as Mission: Impossible with a twist. One of the six is not who they appear to be; one of the six is actually Mockingbird.

Which of the six are who they appear to be and which one is their blackmailer? How can they work as a team knowing that one of them is pulling all the strings? This was a completely new type of book for DC and a real breath of fresh air in 1968. I was a big Secret Six fan!

The Six are:

King Savage, who was a pilot during the Korean War, and was shot down and ended up revealing secrets to the enemy. Mockingbird freed him and allowed him to warn the UN. He works for Mockingbird or else Mockingbird reveals that he is not a war hero, but a coward. He was the stunt guy in the group.

Carlo di Rienzi, who was a magician in Italy, who fell afoul of the mob. They killed his wife and severely injured di Rienzi and his son. Mockingbird gave him the treatment he needs to be able to walk, but if he does not work for Mockingbird, the treatment vanishes. He was an escape artist.

Lili de Neuve was a famous actress framed for murder. Mockingbird came up with an alibi to save her, but if she did not work for him, the alibi would vanish. She was a masterful disguise artist.

August Durant was a famous scientist who was infected by enemies of America with a virus. Mockingbird devised an antidote, but he only gave Durant enough of the antidote so that Durant would need to keep coming back to him for more. And if he did not work for Mockingbird? You guessed it. Durant was the brains of the group.

Crimson Dawn was a socialite who was hoodwinked by a "suitor." She was so ashamed that she needed Mockingbird to create a new identity for her, as a famous model (Mockingbird did this with the help of Lili de Neuve). If she did not work for him, he would reveal her identity. She was the seductress of the group.

Tiger Force was a boxer who refused to take a fall. He was beaten by the mob, but saved by Mockingbird. He then created a new identity, which Mockingbird will reveal if Force does not work for Mockingbird. He was the brawn of the group.

This issue was reprinted in Brave and the Bold #117.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Our Army at War #192

Our Army at War #192 (On Sale: February 1, 1968) features a nice, drammatic Joe Kubert Sgt Rock cover.

"A Firing Squad for a Sergeant" is the book-length Sgt. Rock feature by Robert Kanigher, Joe Kubert and Jack Abel. Kubert rarely had someone ink his work, but at the time he was working on the Green Beret newspaper strip and sometimes needed help making his DC deadlines.

Edited by Robert Kanigher.

Challengers of the Unknown #61

Challengers of the Unknown #61 (On Sale: February 1, 1968) features a poorly colored cover by Bob Brown. I think it is interesting, the John Buscema vibe the Professor Chang character gives off on this cover. I'm not in any way suggesting that Buscema had anything to do with it, just that DC was really trying to get a Marvel-look to some of the covers they were producing.

"The Robot Hounds of Chang" is by Arnold Drake and Bob Brown. After a series of heists involving robots, the Challengers trace the thefts to Professor Chang, an inventor on a a remote island. The team is captured shortly after landing and forced to endure a chase across the island pursued by Chang's robotic creatures. Ace eventually disables the robot brain powering the robots. Chang himself is dragged into the ocean when one of the powerless robots falls from the sky.

The back-up story is "The Chall Without a Memory" and is by the same team of Arnold Drake and Bob Brown. Red tells the other Challengers the story concerning events that happened to him following his apparent death. Instead of killing him, the explosion Red set off knocked him into the air where he eventually fell to Earth and got amnesia. Soldiers found him and locked him in prison, but Red managed to escape. He earns money by gambling, but still could not remember anything about his previous life.

Eventually he remembered Vaniki Island where the League of Challenger-Haters was incarcerated. He traveled to the island and was tricked by Multi-Man into creating a dose of liquid light which the villain needed to shapeshift. Red saw through Multi-Man's lies and swallowed the formula himself. The chemicals allowed him to shapeshift, but drove him mad. He then left the island.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Atom #36

Atom #36 (On Sale: February 1, 1968) features a really cool Gil Kane cover, as the action comes spilling out from inside the book. This will not be DC's only strange cover this month.

"Duel Between the Dual Atoms" is by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Sid Greene. Al Pratt, the Atom of Earth-2, is set up on a blind date only to discover that his date has turned into a old woman. Other women on Earth-2 have also mysteriously aged. Unable to find a cause or a solution to the problem on his Earth, Al visits Earth-1 to see if a similar situation exists there.

Al tracks down the Atom of Earth-1, Ray Palmer, and discovers that Ray is ten years younger and has no memory of his Atom identity. Al brings Atom to Earth-2 in hopes that Ray will be cured. Ray's proper age is restored, but he becomes violent and begins fighting Al.

As the fight between the two Atoms continues, Al decides to take Ray back to Earth-1. Unfortunately, the trip takes a detour into an world between dimensions. Al finally takes the upper hand and returns to Earth-1 with Ray, who once again becomes young.

The young Ray Palmer has no memory of his Earth-2 counterpart and runs away. Reprinted in Crisis on Multiple Earths:Team-Ups Vol. 2 TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.