Friday, March 28, 2008

Detective Comics #375

Detective Comics #375 (On Sale: March 28, 1968) has a cover by Irv Novick.

"The Frigid Finger of Fate" is drawn by Chic Stone and Sid Greene. Pete Maddox discovers that when he sleeps in cold temperatures, his dream reveal the future. He uses this new ability to win money at the track. However, things go wrong when he tells people about the dreams. If he does, the dreams no longer come true.

Pete hires some crooks to rob a diamond exchange. Batman apprehends the crooks, who believe that Pete set them up. Pete then dreams he kills Batman. However, the crooks come after Pete. He tries to stop them by telling them about his plan to kill the Caped Crusader. By informing the crooks, Pete is no longer able to kill Batman, who apprehends the crooks.

Pete continues to use his ability, but he requires a colder temperature each time. When he tries to sleep in a butcher's freezer, the cold kills him.

The Elongated Man back-up, "The Face That Stopped Clocks," is by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and George Roussos. Ralph Dibny meets a man who claims that his face can stop clocks. He demonstrates this ability by stopping Sue Dibny's wristwatch and a wall clock. The man dons a mask, then leaves. Ralph follows his cab, but the man disappears leaving the mask behind.

Ralph finds an address on the mask which leads him to a robbery scene. Ralph stops the crime, then realizes that he got the address backwards. He then goes to the correct address where he finds that Sue has put together a birthday party for him. The clock stopping man was a fake that Sue arranged as a mystery for Ralph's birthday gift.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Adventure Comics #368

Adventure Comics #368 (On Sale: March 28, 1968) has another cover by Neal Adams.

"The Mutiny of the Super-Heroines" is by Jim Shooter, Curt Swan and George Klein. After Karate Kid and Superboy test Val's fighting skills, they and the other Legionnaires are summoned to Metropolis Spaceport to rescue a spaceship carrying an alien ambassador to Earth. Upon their arrival the ship crash-lands in a ball of flame, but the ambassador, a woman from the planet Taltar named Thora, easily frees herself, and emerges unscathed.

Her society is a matriarchal one, and she expresses a marked distaste of all males, but she cordially greets President Boltax of Earth. Later, Thora researches Legion lore, and carves miniature statues of the female Legionnaires, then touches a stud on her bracelet and causes an eerie radiation to bathe the statuettes.

The result shows itself the following morning, when the Legion girls wake to find that their powers have been increased fantastically. Supergirl is now immune to Kryptonite, and she rescues her cousin Superboy from a Green Kryptonite trap.

The boys, suspecting that the girls' increased powers may be the result of a rare space disease, quarantine them, while Thora continues to treat the statuettes with radiation at various intervals. When the boys are trapped by inmates while attempting to quell a riot at the Prison Citadel on Mt. Metro, the girls break quarantine to save them. However, the boys chastise them for doing so, and the girls respond by angrily battling and defeating them.

Now the bruised and battered male Legionnaires realize that a person, and not a disease, is behind the heroines' physical and mental change. Thora gloats over her division of the Legion, and visits the girls at headquarters. As the division between the boys and the girls grows wider, Shadow Lass makes a remark about Brainiac 5 that shocks Supergirl, who remembers their romance.

Thora keeps bathing the statuettes in radiation, and when the time seems right, she has the girls attack the boys and nearly kill them. The story was later reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 8 HC.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Action Comics #363

Action Comics #363 (On Sale: March 28, 1968) has a cover by Neal Adams over a Carmine Infantino layout.

"The Leper from Krypton" is by Leo Dorfman, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Lex Luthor develops Virus X, a plague germ mixed with Kryptonite that is capable of killing Superman. He gives the virus to the criminal ventriloquist Ventor who has hypnotized Clark Kent. Ventor then orders Kent to infect Superman. Clark doesn't remember that he is Superman, but he does try to put the virus on his own pillow. His exposed skin touches the virus and infects him.

The infection causes Superman to snap out of the hypnosis, but he soon develops plague symptoms. Luthor then tells the world that Superman is infected with Virus X. People begin to fear the Man of Steel, and he is forced to leave town. Before leaving Clark intends to leave a letter at the Daily Planet.

The Supergirl back-up is "The Landmark Looters" by Otto Binder and Kurt Schaffenberger. Several famous landmarks from around the world have been snatched by giant tweezers. Supergirl investigates and discovers two giant alien children are playing a game called Snatchaway which is similar to monopoly, but they are using real landmarks instead of markers. Supergirl is unable to stop the delinquents because they possess super-powers of their own. She is forced to play the game with them.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Teen Titans #15

Teen Titans #15 (On Sale: March 26, 1968) has a cover by Nick Cardy. In my opinion this is the last so-so cover Cardy will ever do for this title.

"Captain Rumble Blasts the Scene" is by Bob Haney, Lee Elias and Nick Cardy. Elias hadn't really drawn super-heroes since a stint on Green Arrow in the early 60s, but is one of those "old timers" who did his first work at DC in 1947. In search of Ken Matthews, a teenage runaway, the Teen Titans go undercover as hippies. With the help of a neighborhood guru, they stop a cycle gang from terrorizing the hippie community, and save Ken and his girlfriend from becoming involved with mobsters. Reprinted in Showcase Presents:Teen Titans Vol. 1 TPB

Dick Giordano has taken over as editor.

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #83

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #83 (On Sale: March 26, 1968) has a pretty cool cover by Neal Adams.

"Witch on Wheels" is by Frank Robbins, Irv Novick and Mike Esposito and marks Robbins' first work at DC. Lois writes a series of articles on a cycle gang called the Maniacs. However, she wants to get the inside information on the gang, so when the gang leader Kaiser Bill approaches her, Lois petitions to join the gang. The gang is reluctant to accept Lois as a biker. They require her to perform an initiation stunt of vandalism.

After Lois helps the gang, Superman gets involved by going undercover as cyclist King Cross. Secretly using his powers to perform riding stunts, Superman shows up Kaiser and tries to win leadership from him.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Strange Adventures #212

Strange Adventures #212 (On Sale: March 26 1968) starts off with a nice dramatic Neal Adams Deadman cover.

"The Fatal Call of Vengeance" is written and drawn by Neal Adams; this is Neal's second story for DC. Unable to locate the Hook in Mexico, Deadman return to America when he finds that his brother Cleveland has taken his place at the Hills Brothers Circus. Cleveland hopes to smoke out his brother's killer and is nearly killed by a lion.

Deadman saves him, but he is unable to save Tiny, when the strong man dons the Deadman costume. Hook has hired Kleigman the animal trainer to impersonate him. Tiny chases Kleigman, which sets them both up for the Hook's sniper rifle. Deadman arrives too late, and the Hook escapes. Reprinted in Deadman #4.

The back-up story is "The Man with the Op Art Eyes" drawn by Lee Elias.

Dick Giordano has taken over as editor.

Girls' Love Stories #135

Girls' Love Stories #135 (On Sale: March 26, 1968) has a very nice cover by John Rosenberger.

The issue begins with "A Torrent of Tears" drawn by John Rosenberger, which is followed by an untitled Cindy the Salesgirl story by persons unknown. Next is "The Wrong Road to Love" drawn by Arthur Peddy and Bernard Sachs. Lastly is "The End of Romance -- The Beginning of Love" drawn by John Rosenberger, which was later reprinted in Heart Throbs #141.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Beware the Creeper #1

Beware the Creeper #1 (On Sale: March 26, 1968) has a wonderful cover by Steve Ditko.

"Where Lurks the Menace?" is scripted by Denny O'Neil and plotted and drawn by Steve Ditko. This is O'Neil's first work for DC, having been brought over from Charlton by editor Giordano. An underworld informant named Jurgens is killed by a masked murderer known as the Terror before he can pass information to Jack Ryder. Ryder does get a few names from the dying man. The first of which is underworld boss Gerk Kreg.

Kreg and other crime boss's are being threatened by the Terror. Ryder visits Kreg as the Creeper, and begins to suspect that Kreg is the masked killer. The Creeper is unable to get proof, so he visits the other names given to him by Jurgens including Hack Axeley, an investigator.

When the Terror finds that Ryder has been investigating him, he attacks. Ryder is able to escape and become the Creeper. After a fight on the rooftops, Creeper is able to expose the Terror as Axeley's assistant Forbes, who has been blackmailing crooks. Creeper is able to take down Forbes and Kreg and escape as the police arrive.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Plastic Man #10

Plastic Man #10 (On Sale: March 21, 1968) has a cover by Jack Sparling, a new logo and a death sentence in this its last issue.

"The Terrible Plastic Twin" is by Arnold Drake and Jack Sparling (I don't know what the insides looked like, but Sparling did a bang-up job with Plas on that cover). When Gordy is injured in an explosion Plastic Man donates his blood for a life-saving transfusion. The blood saves Gordy, but also gives him Plastic Man's powers. Gordy then tries to become a super-hero and show Plas how to fight crime. Instead, Plastic Man has to work extra hard to protect Gordy from getting into trouble. After Plas defeats killer doll-maker Marcel Mannequin at Madame DeLute's high society party, Gordy realizes that Plastic Man's methods, though unconventional, are effective.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Inferior Five #8

Inferior Five #8 (On Sale: March 21, 1968) has cover by Winslow Mortimer and Tex Blaisdell.

"A Little Junk... Can Go a Long Way" is written by E. Nelson Bridwell and Don Segall and drawn by Winslow Mortimer and Tex Blaisdell. Herman Cramer, alias the Blimp, calls his friends the Inferior Five for help when a growing pile of junk buries his diner. City leaders have been unable to control the junk pile, so the super-heroes climb the to the top. At the top they discover their old foe Dr. Gruesome who has created an atomic egg which he plans to drop on the United Nations. The Inferior Five steal the egg, but Awkwardman drops it. Fortunately when it lands on some military troops it turns out to be a dud. The Inferior Five then must clean up the junk.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Doom Patrol #119

Doom Patrol #119 (On Sale: March 21, 1968) has what I think is a very cool cover by Bob Brown. That 60s psychedelic vibe is flying high at DC this month!

"In the Shadow of the Great Guru" is by Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani. The Yaramishi Rama Yogi, a mystic guru, transforms Robotman into an ardent pacifist who refuses to use violence for any reason. When the Doom Patrol investigates, the guru captures Negative Man and Elasti-Girl and inflicts them with unreasoning fear and hatred, respectively, which he can trigger in them at a given posthypnotic signal. The team members almost destroy each other before overcoming the Guru's power over them and battling him and his followers to a standstill.

The villain's true plot, however, succeeds. While the Doom Patrol is occupied with his machinations, he is able to undo the Chief's rehabilitation of Madame Rouge, who disappears and becomes a villainess in her own right, swearing to destroy the Chief.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Bomba the Jungle Boy #5

Bomba the Jungle Boy #5 (On Sale: March 21, 1968) has cover by Jack Sparling.

"Tampu Lives -- Bomba Dies" is by George Kashdan and Jack Sparling. Though fired as an editor, Kashdan would write for DC for another decade and more.
Edited by Dick Giordano.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Superman #206

Superman #206 (On Sale: March 19, 1968) has cover by Neal Adams.

"The Day Superman Became an Assassin" is by Jim Shooter and Al Plastino. Superman attends a celebration for the hero Dyno-Man on the planet Sorrta. During a parade, Dyno-Man is killed in an explosion. Superman is immediately accused of causing the blast. He is taken into custody by Dramon, head of security, and fitted with a red sun energy belt that neutralizes his powers. Superman is then injected with a chemical that causes a fit of rage and a phony confession to the murder.

Superman's case is given to lawyer Rilora Dorc, who soon finds evidence that implicates Dramon in the frame job. Before she can act on the information, Superman is broken out of jail by vigilantes who want to kill him. Rilora is captured by Dramon and nearly executed too.

The back-up is "The Menace of Mr. Mxyzptlk," a reprint from Superman #131 by Jerry Coleman and Al Plastino. Mr. Mxyzptlk returns from the 5th dimension to play tricks on Superman. Superman tries to send Mxyzptlk back home by making him say his name backwards. This time however, the imp has an alarm, that warns him when he is about to say his name backwards.

Superman gets Mxyzptlk to remove his hat, where the alarm is stored. However, when Superman and Lois Lane trick him into saying Kltpzyxm, Mxyzptlk’s head cold makes him lose his voice.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Spectre #4

Spectre #4 (On Sale: March 19, 1968) has cover by Neal Adams. I'm not sure why this cover doesn't work for me, but it doesn't

"Stop That Kid.. Before He Wrecks the World" is written and drawn by Neal Adams; this is Neal's first writing for DC. Jim Corrigan investigates a case involving a missing boy, Hamilton Benedict. The Spectre locates the boy who has been possessed by an evil spirit. The Spectre tries to draw the evil out of the boy, but he is unable to do so without causing harm. The evil spirit then begins causing destruction on Earth.

Spectre tracks the source of the evil through space. He finds several worlds that the spirit visited which are now completely evil. The Spectre returns to Earth without a solution on how to stop the evil without killing Hamilton. Jim Corrigan urges him to make a decision to save the world or save the boy.

The Spectre then begins his attack. Though he initially decides to sacrifice the boy, he cannot go through with it. This story was reprinted in Adventure Comics #497.

Edited by Julie Schwartz.

Falling In Love #99

Falling In Love #99 (On Sale: March 19, 1968) has a very mod cover by Ric Estrada.

A few years ago I shared an elevator in my hotel at the San Diego Comic-Con with Ric and I said something like, "I've always enjoyed your work." Ric responded by making sure his badge was not showing and then saying, "You have no idea who I am." I guess Ric was not used to being recognized. I said, "Ric, you are one of those guys who looks like you were drawn by you; your face looks like a Ric Estrada face."

Inside "Two Faces of Love" is drawn by John Rosenberger, "Stolen Dreams" drawn by Arthur Peddy and Bernard Sachs, and "Slave to Love" drawn by Ric Estrada.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Young Love #67

Young Love #67 (On Sale: March 14, 1968) has cover by persons unknown.

Inside "Deep in the Heart of Steve," "Remember Rosalie" reprinted from Falling In Love #35 and "I Gave My Love Away" are all by persons unknown.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Superboy #147

Superboy #147 (On Sale: March 14, 1968), also known as 80 Page Giant #G-47, features the Legion of Super-Heroes and sports a cover by Curt Swan and Neal Adams.

"The Origin of the Legion" is by E. Nelson Bridwell and Pete Costanza. In a room in the newly-built Legion Headquarters complex, three statues honor the group's founders. One, of Lightning Lad, wields electricity between its hands; Cosmic Boy's image suspends a metal ball between its hands with a magnetic charge; the third, of Saturn Girl, mentally communicates the story of the Legion's origin to all who enter the room.

On the planet Winath, Garth Ranzz bids his family goodbye, and boards a ship bound for Earth. He takes a seat next to another youth named Rokk Krinn, of the planet Braal. The two become friends, and Rokk explains that his people have magnetic powers, developed to battle the metal monsters of that world, and that, since he is considered an adult at fourteen, he is hoping to use his ability to find work on Earth. Garth, in turn, tells how he, his twin sister Ayla, and older brother Mekt gained the ability to wield lightning when they were attacked by lightning monsters on the wild planet Korbal, where their ship was forced to land. Mekt later disappeared, and Garth hopes that the Science Police on Earth can help find him.

Meanwhile, a shuttle craft from Saturn brings new passengers to the ship, including the richest man in the universe, R.J. Brande, and a gorgeous blonde bound for Earth's Science Police Academy, Imra Ardeen.

The ship finally reaches Earth's Metropolis Spaceport, and as its passengers debark, two men run up to them and reach for guns. Imra reads their minds and screams a warning, and Rokk and Garth immediately use their powers to disarm the killers. Imra's telepathy further tells her that Brande's cousin, Doyle, had sent them to kill the rich man, so that he could inherit his money and pay his debts to a gambling syndicate.

A grateful and impressed Brande summons the three youths to his office the following morning, where he suggests that they band together as a crime fighting organization to be bankrolled by him, and uses Superboy and Supergirl as examples. They all agree, and before long, Brande has them outfitted in new costumes and gives them new names to go with them: Rokk is now Cosmic Boy, Garth is Lightning Lad, and Imra is Saturn Girl. Brande Industries erects a yellow, rocket-shaped clubhouse for the trio, and their new computer selects Cosmic Boy as their leader.

The three then write a Legion Constitution, which contains strict-by-laws, and are voted honorary citizenship on all member worlds of the United Planets. They are also made deputies of the Science Police.

Some days later, they gain two members, Triplicate Girl, who reveals her power to them by having each separately accompany one of her three selves to the clubhouse, and Phantom Girl, who easily infiltrates their supposedly impenetrable headquarters, and is made a member on the grounds that she help secure them against "ghostly" intruders. Not bad for eight pages of story! Reprinted in Secret Origins #6, Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 8 HC and Superboy #147 Replica Edition #1.

"The Boy with Ultra-Powers" from Superboy #98 is by Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan and George Klein. A costumed youth called Ultra Boy secretly arrives in Smallville with his adult mentor, Marla, intent upon discovering Superboy's secret identity. Ultra Boy at first suspects that Pete Ross is the Boy of Steel, but then correctly deduces that Clark Kent is actually Superboy.

When Pete accidentally becomes locked in a bank vault, Ultra Boy’s power of penetra-vision which, unlike Superboy’s super-vision, can melt and see through lead, enables him to assist Superboy in rescuing Pete. He then reveals that he is a time-traveler from the future planet Rimbor and an applicant for membership in the Legion of Super-Heroes, who have assigned him the task of unmasking Superboy as an initiation test. Having completed the test, he and Marla, actually the Legion’s Senior Advisor, return to the future.

"The Legion of Super-Traitors" from Adventure Comics #293 is by Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan and George Klein. When powerful alien creatures known as the Brain-Globes of Rambat scheme to move Earth to their own solar system, they realize that they must first subdue Superboy. After unsuccessfully attempting to control Superboy themselves, they summon the Legionnaires from the Earth’s future, and mentally command them to defeat him.

Once this is done, the overconfident Brain-Globes release the heroes from their trance. Together, they are not powerful enough to defeat the aliens, until they notice that the Brain-Globes are incapable of controlling the minds of animals. Manning the Time Sphere, the Legionnaires gather Krypto, Streaky, Beppo, and Comet (aka Super-Dog, Super-Cat, Super-Monkey, and Super-Horse), who, united as the Legion of Super-Pets, defeat the Brain-Globes. The Legion returns them to their proper time eras before Superboy recovers to dismantle the Brain Globes’ machines. Superboy remains unaware of the pets’ involvement, and thus unaware of the future existence of Supergirl.

"Supergirl's Three Super-Girl Friends" from Action Comics #276 is by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney. One year after first meeting the Legion, Supergirl is once again invited to try out for membership. In the 30th century, she is told that new rules allow two members to join each year, and meets several other applicants, including Brainiac 5, the descendant of the original Brainiac, one of Superman’s greatest foes. She distrusts him until, after her own initiation test, he risks his life by giving her his force-shield belt to protect her from a giant Kryptonite meteor.

Along with Brainiac 5, who allows her to keep the belt, Supergirl is inducted into the Legion. She returns home confident that she’ll never have to worry about Kryptonite again; however, an explosion damages the belt beyond repair, and she is vulnerable once more.

"The Secret of the Seventh Super-Hero" from Adventure Comics #290 is by Robert Bernstein and George Papp. Tom Tanner, a juvenile delinquent escapee from the state reform school, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Clark Kent, arrives in Smallville and is mistaken for Clark by everyone, even Ma Kent, who unwittingly gives away Superboy’s secret identity. Tanner decides that he likes his new life as Clark and intends to remain in his place.

Meanwhile, outside Smallville, Superboy meets with Sun Boy, the newest member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, who has arrived from the future. He explains that he is in the 20th century to gather and return to a secret vault the six pieces of a super-weapon once dismantled and buried in Superboy’s time by the Legion. However, once the Boy of Steel gathers the pieces, Sun Boy, actually a villainous impostor, assembles them into a robot which emits a ray that can change good people into evil, and vice versa. He then sends the robot after Clark Kent.

Shortly thereafter, Superboy appears and begins an evil rampage, until such time as the bogus Sun Boy's guard is down. Then he destroys the robot, and takes the villain back to the future, where he explains to the Legion that the impersonator had given himself away by not giving the official Legion handshake.

The "Clark Kent" affected by the robot’s ray was Tom Tanner, who as a result is reformed and loses his knowledge of Superboy’s secret.

"The Legion of Super-Villains" reprinted from Superman #147 is by Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan and Sheldon Moldoff. Lex Luthor, who has known of the existence of the Legion of Super-Heroes for years, theorizes that there should also be a Legion of Super-Villains, and, working from prison, he constructs a device that allows him to contact them. The Super-Villains break him out of jail, and, with him, lure Superman to a remote planetoid and capture him.

However, before these criminals can execute Superman, the adult Legion of Super-Heroes intervenes, and fights the Super-Villains to a standstill. Unable to defeat them, the Legionnaires listen as Luthor challenges them to sacrifice one of their number for Superman. Saturn Woman volunteers, and the villains allow the Man of Steel time to perform one last deed in her honor. With a giant shovel, he gathers some material from the rings of Saturn, and creates a similar ring around the planetoid. When he does, Saturn Queen surprises everyone by suddenly using her powers to defeat her partners.

Superman then explains that he had theorized that radiations from the rings of Saturn would cancel out the evil tendencies of inhabitants of that world. He gives the reformed Saturn Queen a small chunk from the rings that will prevent her from returning to evil, then takes Luthor back to his prison on Earth as the Legionnaires likewise take the Super-Villains to jail.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Our Fighting Forces #113

Our Fighting Forces #113 (On Sale: March 14, 1968) has another nice Irv Novick cover featuring Lt. Hunter's Hellcats.

"Operation – Survival" is by Robert Kanigher and Jack Abel and features Lt. Hunter's Hellcats. The back-up, "Tanks Are More Than Steel" is drawn by Jack Sparling.

Edited by Robert Kanigher.

House of Mystery #174

House of Mystery #174 (On Sale: March 14, 1968) has a nice spooky cover by new editor Joe Orlando and George Roussos.

Gone is Dial H for HERO, The Martian Manhunter and editor George Kashdan. In their place is an idea that hasn't been attempted since the Comics Code was created in the 1950s: horror is returning to comics, though this first attempt is really just a compilation of old reprints with a new cover and a smidgen of humor from Sergio Aragones.

"The Wondrous Witch's Cauldron" is drawn by Lee Elias and reprinted from House of Secrets #58. "The Man Who Hated Good Luck" drawn by Johnny Quest creator Doug Wildey is from House of Secrets #17 and contains some really beautiful Wildey artwork. A man saves a stranger from a runaway horse and is granted four strokes of good luck, but is told he must turn the first three down to capture the fourth, which is the greatest of them all.

(You'd better hang on to your good luck amulets...) is written by Joe Orlando and drawn by Mad's Sergio Aragones. "Museum of Worthless Inventions" from House of Secrets #13 is drawn by Bernard Baily while "The Court of Creatures," featuring Mark Merlin, is by Jack Miller, Carmine Infantino and Mort Meskin and comes to us from House of Secrets #43.

The entire contents of this book was reprinted in Showcase Presents The House of Mystery #1.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

World's Finest Comics #175

World's Finest Comics #175 (On Sale: March 12, 1968) has a beautiful Neal Adams cover.

"The Superman-Batman Revenge Squads" is a classic story for mainly the artwork. It is written by Leo Dorfman and drawn by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano. This is only Giordano's third piece for DC, the last being two years prior. This is the beginning however of one of the greatest artistic teams in comic history, even if it is a rocky start.

In Dick Giordano: Changing Comics, One Day At A Time by Michael Eury, Giordano relates, "I remember getting the pencils. They were the best pages I'd ever gotten to handle. And it was the weakest job I ever did with Neal."

Personally, I don't thank the pages are that bad, but maybe that's just me.

Batman and Superman hold an annual contest where they challenge one another in tests of skill. The newly formed Batman Revenge Squad teams up with the Superman Revenge Squad to sabotage the contests. They all plant bombs in the trophies that the two heroes collect. When the trophies are brought back to the Bat-Cave and the Fortress of Solitude, they explode. Reprinted in Super-Team Family #1, Superman in the Sixties TPB, and Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol. 1 HC.

The back-up story features the Martian Manhunter in "The Strange Experiment of Dr. Erdel," a reprint from Detective Comics #225 by Joe Smachson and Joe Certa and is the first Martian Manhunter story. Professor Mark Erdel has designs a robot brain that can probe other dimensions. The first time he uses the machine to probe space and time, the machine teleports a green-skinned alien to Earth.

Using telepathy the alien communicates to Dr. Erdel. He is J’onn J’onzz, a martian scientist. J’onzz requests to be sent home. The professor explains that in order to send the martian home he must redesign the robot brain which could take years. In order to blend in with the population, J’onzz changes his appearance to that of an ordinary Earthman. Abruptly, the professor collapses, suffering from a heart attack. The shock of the experience has killed him. J’onzz is now trapped on Earth.

J’onzz takes the Earth name John Jones and explores the world. He is able to extract gold from sea water to get some money. After traveling the world, J’onzz decides to fight crime as a police detective. He qualifies and quickly becomes a rookie detective.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Showcase #74

Showcase #74 (On Sale: March 12, 1968) has a nice Howie Post cover featuring the debut of Post's Anthro.

"It Could Be You" is written and drawn by Howie Post. This is Post's first DC comic since "The Tale of the Cat" in World's Finest Comics #70, published in 1954. Anthro is the first Cro-Magnon boy born in the Stone Age. His father, Neanderthal caveman Ne-Ahn is the chief of his tribe, his mother a captive member of another tribe.

Anthro and his father go hunting before the winter season. During their pursuit of a mammoth, Anthro's father falls and drops his spear, so the boy picks it up and chases the mammoth. Using the spear, Anthro is able to kill the beast.

Anthro returns home expecting to be congratulated for his success, but instead his father challenges him. Picking up the fallen spear was an insult, so the older caveman demands a fight to the death. Anthro prevails, but he refuses to kill his father. He then establishes a new law based on love.

Edited by Carmine Infantino.

Justice League of America #62

Justice League of America #62 (On Sale: March 12, 1968) has an odd POV cover by Mike Sekowsky and George Roussos.

"Panic from a Blackmail Box" is by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and George Roussos. In 1945, an investigative reporter drowned in Lake Michamaw. Lost with him was a box of incriminating evidence he had compiled. Now the box is found, and industrial engineer Harold Loomis is revealed to be the son of gangster Leo Locke, while archaeologist Homer Gridley is exposed as a former fraud. The two unite to find and take revenge upon whoever found the evidence against them and turned it over to the newspapers.

Flash is drawn into the case by his brother-in-law, the editor of the paper that first published the information, and he in turn involves the Justice League. While investigating, the members become involved in a gang war between the Pyrotekniks, criminals using special "fireworks" weapons, and the Bulleteers, their rivals.

They capture the first gang, and discover the leader to be Leo Locke, who found the box of evidence, and exposed his own son as part of a plot to trap his rivals. Now that he is in jail, he will not be able to protect Loomis as planned, so he begs the JLA to do so for him. Reprinted in Justice League of America Archives Vol. 8 HC.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Wonder Woman #176

Wonder Woman #176 (On Sale: March 7, 1968) has another odd Carmine Infantino and Irv Novick cover.

"Threat of the Triple Stars" is by Robert Kanigher, Irv Novick and Mike Esposito. A set of triplets named Jackie, Johnny, and Joey Star are given a formula which transforms them from weaklings into super-powered heroes. The three men don costumes and compete for Wonder Woman's affections on a day in which the Amazon is without her powers (This story occurs on June 18th, a day on which Wonder Woman has no powers each year.).

Each of the Stars proposes to her, but before Wonder Woman can give them an answer they lose their powers. The Amazon Princess tells them that she wouldn't have married any of them anyway since she still has a mission to help humanity.

This book is a mess, but Dick Giordano will soon change the look and feel of Wonder Woman in a very big way.

Edited by Robert Kanigher.

Tomahawk #116

Tomahawk #116 (On Sale: March 7 1968) has, well, one of the most beautiful covers I have ever seen. I mean talk about a gorgeous piece of work, Neal Adams with a single cover totally redefined the Tomahawk character. Wow!

We begin with "The Last Mile of Massacre Trail" by Carl Wessler and Fred Ray. Change will be coming to the insides of this book to match the new look on the covers, but it doesn't start in this issue. The back-up is "The Making of a Hero" which is also by Carl Wessler and Fred Ray.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Aquaman #39

Aquaman #39 (On Sale: March 7, 1968) has yet another beautiful cover by Nick Cardy, but to me the more important thing about this issue is that it is the first DC comic edited by Dick Giordano. I'm gonna talk more about Dick in the coming weeks, but just so you know, Giordano was, in my opinion, the best editor DC comics ever had. More on that later.

"How to Kill a Sea King" is by Bob Haney and Nick Cardy. This will be the last Aquaman issue for both though Cardy will remain through the rest of this run on the book as the cover artist and doing some of the best work he ever did. We have some absolutely stunning covers coming from Cardy in the next two years.

A group of Venusian space raiders plan to invade Earth. However, the Venusian authorities foresee the attack and plant a block of Uritrium in the ocean. The Uritrium is deadly to Venusian and will thwart the invasion, so Ka'arl, the invasion leader, dispatches Aliena his assistant to Earth.

Aliena earns the trust of Aquaman by saving his life from a situation she created. She then convinces him to bury the Uritrium deep under the sea floor. With the deadly element gone, the raiders begin their attack. Aquaman tries to stop the invaders, but he is nearly killed.

Under Giordano's guidance, this book is about to undergo a most wondrous transformation. I can't wait for the next issue!

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Adventures of Jerry Lewis #106

Adventures of Jerry Lewis #106 (On Sale: March 7, 1968) has a nice Bob Oksner cover.

I know nothing about "The Cockeyed Private Eye" that is inside this book, but most likely it was written by the late, great Arnold Drake and drawn by the late, great Bob Oksner. Most likely.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Our Army at War #193

Our Army at War #193 (On Sale: March 5, 1968) has another beautiful cover by Joe Kubert.

We begin with "Blood in the Desert," a Sgt. Rock story by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert. The back-up is "Frogman Delivery," a reprint from Our Fighting Forces #2 by David Kahn and Russ Heath.

Edited by Robert Kanigher.

Flash #179

Flash #179 (On Sale: March 5, 1968) has a Ross Andru and Mike Esposito cover.

"The Flash -- Fact or Fiction?" by Cary Bates, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito is a Bates classic. " Flash encounters a hurricane-like creature known as a Nok which feeds off Flash's aura. The Nok follows the Flash, who is unable to find a way to stop the creature. An alien hunter appears and tells Flash that he is responsible for bringing the Nok to Earth, but the Flash must recapture it before his ship leaves.

While fighting the Nok, Flash is thrown into a parallel universe. He soon discovers that super-heroes only exist as comic book characters in this reality (This it the first story to take place on Earth-Prime, a parallel universe in which the Flash and other super-heroes only exist as comic book characters. It is not the real Earth and would later develop two super-heroes of its own, Ultraa and Superboy.). He is unable to cross the dimensional barrier to return home, so he looks up the one person who will believe that he is a super-hero, DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz.

At the DC offices, Flash meets Julie and proves that he has super speed. Julie then gathers parts for the Flash to build a cosmic treadmill. The treadmill enables him to return to Earth-1. Once, he is back in his own universe, Flash is able to stop the Nok using a chemical that mimics his aura. The alien hunter then takes the Nok away from Earth.Reprinted in Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told HC, Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told TPB and Flash: The Greatest Stories Ever Told TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Batman #201

Batman #201 (On Sale: March 5, 1968) features Irv Novick's first full Batman cover.

"Batman's Gangland Guardians" is by Gardner Fox, Chic Stone and Joe Giella. When a west coast crime syndicate moves to Gotham City they plan a series of death traps to eliminate Batman. Worried that they will become the syndicate's next targets when Batman is dead, seven of Gotham's top villains team up to protect Batman from the death traps.

The Penguin supplies the details to Catwoman, the Joker, Cluemaster, Johnny Witts, the Getaway Genius, and the Mad Hatter which allow them to foil the traps. Another Gotham crook, Mr. Esper is also working to help Batman by secretly passing the information to the Penguin.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.