Friday, June 27, 2008

Detective Comics #378

Detective Comics #378 (On Sale: June 27, 1968) has a very cool, very dramatic cover by Irv Novick.

"Batman! Drop Dead... Twice" is by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Joe Giella. Batman and Robin have a falling out which causes the Boy Wonder to leave the team. At the same time Salvo, a professional crook, and his apprentice Chino have a similar fight. Chino rents a room and takes in Dick Grayson as his roommate. Dick soon discovers that Chino is a crook, but he hopes that he can set the boy straight. Instead Chino intends to use Dick as bait to kill Batman. Chino dresses Dick in a Robin costume, then sends Batman a note that will lead him into a trap.

Meanwhile, Salvo has also learned about the Batman-Robin split. He dresses his assistant Chopper as Robin and uses the same plan as Chino to set a trap for Batman. The Caped Crusader then receives two notes that claim Robin is a prisoner. Batman must then perform two rescues simultaneously.

The Elongated Man back-up, "Menace of the Man-Killing Shooting Gallery," is by Gardner Fox and Sid Greene. Hanford Jenkins has been threatened by a local syndicate. They have planted weapons in his apartment disguised as ordinary objects. Before the weapons are activated, they make a telltale click. When Jenkins hears the click, he shoots the objects with a gun to stop them from exploding.

When the Dibnys visit their friends who live in the same building as Jenkins, they hear gunshots. The neighbors have become accustomed to the shots, but Ralph becomes suspicious.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Adventure Comics #371

Adventure Comics #371 (On Sale: June 27, 1968) has a Legion of Super-Heroes cover by Neal Adams that illustrates the back-up reprint in this issue. Strange Uncle Morty, strange.

This issue begins with "The Colossal Failure" by Jim Shooter, Curt Swan and Jack Abel. Colossal Boy is spending a quiet evening at home with his parents when two men claiming to represent Universe TV call on the Allons to interview them as part of a documentary on the Legion. When the men set up their equipment, however, it gives off rays that turn Mr. and Mrs. Allon to glass. They then explain that their criminal superiors have assigned them to learn the exact details of the Legion training and testing program. Since such knowledge is classified and known only to members of the selection board, the men give Gim two weeks to uncover the information, and teleport away with his parents as hostages.

Afraid to tell his comrades of his problem, Gim deliberately fails on a mission and submits to retraining in order to gain the needed information. Bouncing Boy, temporarily acting as instructor at the Legion Academy, suspects something wrong and, hoping to find clues to Gim's problem in the Allons' apartment, discovers a top-secret manual and illegal notes on the Legion training procedures. Reprinted in Best of DC #24 and Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 8 HC.

The back-up is our cover feature, "When Superboy Walked Out on the Legion," a reprint from Superboy #101, where it was originally entitled , "The Valhalla of Super-Companions." This was originally not a Legion story and only in this reprint are the Legion inserted in a couple of new panels. Whatever you want to call it, it was drawn by George Papp. An alien ship arrives on Earth and puts the residents of Smallville to sleep. Othar, the alien leader, wants Superboy to return to his homeworld of Thrann to live. The Boy of Steel is forced to comply in order to wake the sleeping people. Othar stops at several other worlds and blackmails their heroes into coming to Thrann as well.

On Thrann, the heroes compete to determine leadership. Superboy wins by performing the greatest feat, but everyone misses their homeworlds. The heroes begin to fight among themselves, forcing Othar to realize his mistake in bringing the heroes to Thrann. He allows them to return home where they belong.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Action Comics #366

Action Comics #366 (On Sale: June 27, 1968) has a cover by Neal Adams over a Carmine Infantino layout. I don't know what it is about this cover that I like so much, but I do really like it.

"Substitute Superman" is by Leo Dorfman, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Continuing from previous issues, Superman, suffering from the deadly Virus X, plunges into the distant sun Flammbron. The living flame creatures inside the sun protect the weakened Man of Steel from destruction. They then show him that he has been cured of the Kryptonian leprosy which was killing him. Superman realizes that the white kryptonite throw at his rocket by the Bizarros killed the virus because it was a form of plant life.

Superman returns to Earth and is surprised that the world is not mourning him. He discovers that someone else has been posing as Superman. His initial attempts to learn this person's identity fail, but he eventually realizes that his Justice League friends are responsible. Superman meets them at the Secret Sanctuary and announces his return.

The Supergirl back-up is "Stanhope -- Off Limits" by Cary Bates and Kurt Schaffenberger. While Supergirl is away from Stanhope on a rescue mission, two costumed women, Alpha and Beta, encircle the school in an energy bubble. The Linda Lee robot that is trapped inside the bubble calls Supergirl for help. When the Girl of Steel arrives on the scene, Alpha and Beta explain that a bomb inside the shield will detonate if Supergirl attempts to break the barrier. Alpha and Beta then enter the school grounds to look for student David Carew.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #85

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #85 (On Sale: June 25, 1968) has pretty cool cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with "When Lois Was More Super Than Superman" by Leo Dorfman, Irv Novick and Mike Esposito. Lois joins three other women who are invited to visit Kandor as part of a cultural exchange program. Lois is knocked unconscious by some Kandorian protesters who are angry that Superman has not spent more time trying to restore the city to normal size. Lois is revived by Dr. Cor-Lar, a Kandorian scientist who gives Lois a super-serum which grants her temporary super-powers.

Lois uses her new powers in Kandor and protects ski jumper Karen Varley from an accident. When the powers begin to wear off, she has withdrawal symptoms. Dr. Cor-Lar offers her more serum, but forces Lois to sign a contract in which Lois promises to do a job for the doctor.

Lois then returns to Earth and protects Superman from a Kryptonite trap set by Dr. Ulrich. When Superman sees that Lois has super-powers, he proposes to her. However, Lois's powers begin to wear off again, leaving her under the control of Dr. Cor-Lar.

The back-up is "Lois Lane's Childhood," a reprint from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #26 drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger. When Lois Lane was a child, she was just as curious as she would be as an adult. Her curiosity got her into many dangerous situations including wandering into the woods one day as a baby. Fortunately for Lois, baby Kal-El left a rattle toy in an experimental rocket belonging to his father Jor-El. When the rocket was sent into space, it found it’s way to Earth. The toy saved Lois from a rattlesnake before becoming lost in quicksand.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Stanley and His Monster #111

Stanley and His Monster #111 (On Sale: June 25, 1968) has a cover by Bob Oksner.

This issue begins with "Film Flam Man" drawn by Bob Oksner and Tex Blaisdell, which is followed by "Badtime Story" drawn by Henry Scarpelli. We end with "Superhulk" drawn by Bob Oksner and Tex Blaisdell. I have no writing credits for these stories, but would be surprised if they were not written by Arnold Drake, though they may not be. In Comic Book Artist #1, Joe Orlando talked extensively about getting the Stanley book...

One of the first books I got to edit was Stanley and His Monster and in the beginning, I decided to change it into three short stories instead of one issue-length story, after I read a few issues. I realized that it took 24 pages to get one joke. So I made up my mind that it was going to be three eight-pagers with good premises ending up with a good payoff to a good joke. I wanted to use Arnold Drake because I understood that Arnold made considerable contributions to the development of that book and I felt I owed him-but I was told that he was in Europe.

I waited as my deadline got closer and closer and it led to my famous fight up there with Arnold that kind of made my reputation as a character. Arnold returned to the States-I had never met him-but when I did, he came across as a pushy guy who acted like he owned the place. He was friends with all the staff, and on a first name basis with the publisher. I was really pissed by this time as I had only three weeks to the deadline and I didn't have a script which I had to get to an artist. I kept sending telegrams to Arnold, but I never got answers.

When I complained, I was told, "No, no. You have to wait for Arnold." So when he walked into my office, I tried not to insult him, but I did premise the idea of doing three short stories that would speed up the creative process and give me the opportunity to divide the scripts among three artists, so I would have my chance to make my deadline. We argued and he pointed his finger at me and said, "I say that it's going to be one 24-page story!"

I looked at him and said, "You're really saying that?" And he said, "Absolutely!" I said, "You know that I am the editor." And he said, "And I don't care who you are- you don't know who I am." I said, "Okay. Arnold Drake, go fuck yourself because you're off the book." Arnold was taken aback. "You're telling me I'm fired? You know, I'm going to the Publisher! I've been here for twenty years!" So Arnold stormed into the Publisher's office...

So, Arnold storms down to the Publisher's office and I was called in. The Publisher is sitting there with his advisers who were the print buyers, distribution reps, and the V.P. was there. All eyes were upon me and I was on the spot. I knew that if I did not impress (Irwin) Donenfeld this time, I was through. Arnold was sitting there with his arms crossed and a smug smile across his face with his hat on. He always wore his hat in the office (I think it was because he had a bald spot). Donenfeld looked at me and said, "Joe, did you tell Arnold to go fuck himself?"

I said that I did and he said, "Well, I don't think that kind of language should be used in an office. It's terrible, deplorable and you should apologize to Arnold." I said, "Well, did Arnold tell you the reasons why I got so angry?" I told them and when my explanation didn't go over too well, he said, "You work that out with Arnold." And that told me right away that I couldn't fire the guy.

I said, "With all due respect, I will apologize to Arnold if he takes his hat off." I went on to say that because in a million years I would never walk into your office with a hat on my head. I would have it in my hand. Some giggling started and Arnold made a lame joke that he had the hat on because he was Jewish, but then came the silence. Arnold looked at the Publisher and said, "Irwin, do you want me to take my hat off?" Irwin said, "Take your hat off." And I said, "I apologize for telling you to go fuck yourself, Arnold."

I knew that I had made a hit with Irwin because that night I had a date with a really gorgeous lady. I was trying to impress her, and we were sitting in this restaurant and the waiter comes over with a bottle of champagne and says, "Mr. Orlando, we are honored to have a famous cartoonist like yourself eat here. The champagne is compliments of the house." Even I was impressed, then I looked across the way from where we were sitting and there was Irwin in a booth. He winked and gave me the high sign. The lady did not see this-she was very impressed.

My guess is that if Arnold wrote the stories int e first Orlando issue, he might have also wrote these, but you never know. By the way, you gotta love the kind of interviews the guys at Twomorrows do on a regular basis.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Heart Throbs #115

Heart Throbs #115 (On Sale: June 25, 1968) has a cover by Jay Scott Pike.

We begin with "Cry Alone" drawn by Tony Abruzzo and follow that with "Model for Love" a reprint from Falling In Love #54 drawn by Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs. We end with "3 Girls--Their Lives...Their Loves Episode 14" which is drawn by Jay Scott Pike.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Hawk and the Dove #1

Hawk and the Dove #1 (On Sale: June 25, 1968) has a cover by Steve Ditko. It features one of the odd details about this strip, the way that Ditko had the characters change into their costumes in this weird sort of patchwork way. This issue and the next also feature the strange Ditko head shots bookending the logo, with a roaring Hawk and a Dove that look like he is going to cry. You couldn't tell which one of these characters Ditko was more in touch with now could you?

Writer Steve Skeates was not at all happy with the strong arm Steve Ditko wielded on this strip. As he noted in Comic Book Artist #5:

The first book I wrote full script, and then Ditko redid it, extending some scenes and cutting out others. So then I had to go back and do it Marvel-style even though I had already done the script. That was sort of a hassle. The second story (The Hawk and the Dove #1) we did do Marvel-style from the start and they changed so much of my plot that I told them to write the plot themselves for the next one.

I said, "I really don't want to write these plots because you're just going to change them anyway. So you write the next one" Ditko took me up on it...

A lot of changes would happen after I turned in a script. Quite often, my idea of what to do with the Dove was have him do brave stuff - and then it would be changed by either Dick or Steve into the Hawk doing that stuff.

They'd say it was out of character for the Dove. They seemed to be equating Dove with wimp, wuss, coward or whatever. And I don't really think it was because they were more hawkish. I just don't think that they knew what a dove was.

In Comic Book Artist #1, Dick Giordano agreed:

Ditko would pretty much eliminate whatever was in Steve Skeates' scripts that he didn't feel belonged there. At that point, I think that Ditko's agenda was more the furthering of his philosophical views than writing and drawing entertaining stories. Mr. A, which immediately followed, illustrates that point to some degree. I have no problem with his beliefs- whether I believe in them or not is irrelevant-I just don't think that comic books per se are the proper vehicle for a forum. I don't think we should promote the existence or non-existence of God.
Inside this issue we have "The Dove is a Very Gentle Bird," scripted by Steve Skeates and plotted and drawn by Steve Ditko. When a party attended by Judge Irwin Hall and his two sons is interrupted by a gang of crooks called the Drop-Outs, Hank Hall becomes the Hawk and tries to stop the robbery. The crooks get away, and Judge Hall declares the Hawk a menace. Hawk escapes before the police arrive and accuses Don of cowardice for not taking action.

Hawk continues to hunt for the crooks, but they strike at an art show which Don is attending. Don refuses to resort to violence to stop the crooks, so he decides to take action another way. He remembers that Rita Watkins, one of the party guests, acted like she knew one of the crooks. Don tracks her down and learns where the crooks are hiding.

Hawk has already found the crooks' hide-out and is there when Don arrives. Don finally becomes the Dove to help his brother, but he refuses to hit the crooks. Instead he tires them out by dodging their attacks, then entangles them with rope. Hawk and Dove leave the crooks for police and continue their argument of violence vs. non-violence all the way home.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Girls' Love Stories #137

Girls' Love Stories #137 (On Sale: June 25, 1968) has strange looking Ric Estrada cover.

We begin with "Not Good Enough for Me" drawn by Ric Estrada and follow that with "Not Good Enough for Me" which is inked by Vince Colletta. That is followed by "A Time for Tears" which is inked by Bernard Sachs. We end with "Fallen Star, Fallen Heart" drawn by John Rosenberger.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Brave and the Bold #79

Brave and the Bold #79 (On Sale: June 25, 1968) has a wonderful cover by Neal Adams featuring Batman and Deadman.

Inside we have the classic Batman/Deadman team-up, "The Track of the Hook," by Bob Haney and Neal Adams. Deadman comes to Gotham to seek the help of Batman, the world's greatest detective, to locate Hook, the man who killed Boston Brand. Batman is involved with another murder case involving small-time racketeer Whitey Marsh who was also killed by a man with a hook. Batman decides to leave the case for the police, while he tries to find the identity of a syndicate leader known as the King. Deadman takes over Batman's body, then leaves a recorded message revealing himself and his story. He succeeds in gaining Batman's commitment to finding Hook.

The trail leads Batman to Max Chill, the brother of Joe Chill, the killer of Bruce Wayne's parents. Max wore a fake hook on his wrist to throw suspicion away from himself. Max dies trying to escape. Deadman realizes that his own killer is not involved in this case.

Crusader Carleton K. Kaine has been pressuring Batman and Commissioner Gordon to find the King. Batman believes it is Jack Le Sabre, while Gordon suspects Big Jim Coltrane. Batman traces clues found with Chill that lead him back to the crime syndicate and realizes that Kaine is the real crime boss. This classic has been reprinted in Super-Team Family #2, Deadman #5, Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol. 1 HC, and Showcase Presents: The Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Swing With Scooter #14

Swing With Scooter #14 (On Sale: June 20, 1968) has a cover by Henry Scarpelli.

Inside we have Scooter in "Sylvester... Son of Ahbu" drawn by Henry Scarpelli and which is reprinted in Swing With Scooter #35. Scooter also stars in "Sir Scooter... Dragon Slayer" and "Scooter's Swingin' Chick." Lastly we have Scooter and Sylvester in "Better Never Than Late."

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Superman #209

Superman #209 (On Sale: June 20, 1968) has a cover by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.

Inside we have "The Clark Kent Monster" by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and Jack Abel. When an alien brain creature comes to Earth it attacks Superman with deadly mento-bursts. The blasts are powerful, but they are deflected off Superman's invulnerable body and back at the creature. The creature is destroyed, but it is able to connect with some of Superman's brain cells and reform in the identity of Clark Kent.

The alien Clark heads for the Daily Planet and displays uncharacteristic self-confidence. He single-handedly defeats the Marauder Mob with new powers. As his power increased, he becomes a menace.

The back-up is "The Super-Servant of Crime" a reprint from Superman #130 by Robert Bernstein, Curt Swan and John Sikela. Superman needs to raise money for charity so he burrows into a gold vein and takes the gold. The owner of the land, a criminal named Mulloy, claims Superman is stealing the gold. Superman makes an agreement with Mulloy to perform super tasks for Mulloy.

Mulloy makes several requests of Superman, but each time Superman brings him something of little value. For his final request, Mulloy asks Superman not to capture him. Superman agrees, and the caretaker of the land, Baldy, knocks Mulloy out and takes him to the authorities.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Hawkman #27

Hawkman #27 (On Sale: June 20, 1968) has a great cover by Joe Kubert on this, the last issue of Hawkman.

Inside we have "...When the Snow-Fiend Strikes" by Raymond Marais, Dick Dillin and Charles Cuidera. Hawkman and Hawkgirl prevent the Leopard Gang from robbing the Midway City penthouse of Prince Sabul o Tala, who tells them how his country was attacked by Yeti. He is also afraid that they may have to accept military assistance from outside to handle the problem, and that this could lead to occupation. Hawkman agrees to help, although he insists that Shayera stay behind.

He is attacked by a Yeti upon arrival, and Hawkgirl, monitoring him from their ship, flies to his aid, as he is taken in by Golo, the last of the true Yeti, who explains that the others are not of his race. The couple tracks the false Yeti to a cave filled with foreign soldiers, and this leads to Sabul's throneroom.

Hawkman now suspects Sabul has lied to them and that he is the leader of the flying Yeti, but Sabul gathers his people to allow the hero to indict him publicly, an action which backfires when they don't believe him. Hawkgirl disproves the theory when she hears General Kin-Yo's plan to assassinate Sabul and his cabinet with the Yeti, and the attack of the Snow-Fiend reveals it as a robot, guided by Sabul's cousin Vana.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Falling In Love #101

Falling In Love #101 (On Sale: June 20, 1968) has a cover penciled by Irv Novick and inked by, who? Looks like Dick Giordano to me but it's not listed in the DG Checklist. Also, DC is moving away from the standard romance comic cover, where, regardless of the editor, the cover was from the final story in the book and had the story's title on the cover.

Inside we have with "I Had No Right to Love" and "Stay Away from My Heart" both penciled by John Rosenberger. Lastly we have "The Voice of Love" a reprint from Falling In Love #50 drawn by Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sugar and Spike #78

Sugar and Spike #78 (On Sale: June 18, 1968) has a cover by Sheldon Mayer.

Inside we have "Beware of Froolers," which is, as usual, written and drawn by Sheldon Mayer.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Star Spangled War Stories #140

Star Spangled War Stories #140 (On Sale: June 18, 1968) has a nice Enemy Ace cover by Joe Kubert.

"The Face of the Hangman" is by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert. It has been reprinted in Enemy Ace Archives Vol. 1 HC and Showcase Presents: Enemy Ace Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Metal Men #33

Metal Men #33 (On Sale: June 18, 1968) has a dramatic cover by Mike Sekowsky and George Roussos as we get a new direction for the book, The New Hunted Metal Men.

"Recipe to Kill a Robot" is by Robert Kanigher, Mike Sekowsky and George Roussos. Doc Magnus enhances the Metal Men and increases their powers. However, he is injured in the process and slips into a coma. Will's brother Colonel David Magnus takes charge of the robots and sends them out to stop a fire. However, the Metal Men find their new powers hard to contain. They end up causing more harm which soon turns the public and the authorities against them.

The Metal Men become hunted. Lead stays behind to protect the retreat of the others. Then a giant alien fly creature known as Fferka attacks. Tina helps Lead stop the creature, but it bursts open and several smaller creatures emerge. They are forced to run away as the tiny flies grow into giants.

The Metal Men return to Doc's lab and are temporarily deactivated by Colonel Magnus. When the authorities are unable to stop the attacking flies, he reactivate the robots and sends them into battle. The alien flies are from another planet and intend to conquer Earth.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Young Love #69

Young Love #69 (On Sale: June 13, 1968) is an oddly sized 64-Page Giant.

"Tears for a Dream" is pencilled by John Romita and comes to us from Heart Throbs #85. "Heartbreak in Paradise" is drawn by Jay Scott Pike and is reprinted from Secret Hearts #91 as is "A Shoe for Cinderella" which comes from Secret hearts #88. "Moment of Truth" is by persons unknown and is from Falling In Love #54. "To Hide from Love" is also by persons unknown and is from Girls' Love Stories #66 where it was entitled "To Hide in a Dream". Also by person unknown is "Forgive Me, Forget Me" from Girls' Love Stories #74. We end with "Curtain for a Heart" from Falling In Love #54 and drawn by Bernard Sachs.

Edited by Jack Miller.

World's Finest Comics #177

World's Finest Comics #177 (On Sale: June 13, 1968) has a cover by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.

"Duel of the Crime Kings" is by Jim Shooter, Curt Swan and Mike Esposito. The Joker breaks Lex Luthor out of Gotham prison and Luthor takes the Joker to a hidden cache of loot and weapons. Superman and Batman have followed the crooks, but they are unable to capture them. Luthor then uses a time machine to transport three historical figures from the past into the present to help commit crimes. He summons Benedict Arnold, Baron Von Munchhausen, and Leonardo Da Vinci.

Leonardo helps Luthor build weapons, while Von Munchhausen's lies inspire the Joker to plan crimes. Benedict Arnold serves as a field general for the crooks during their crimes, but he secretly sets Luthor and the Joker against one another.

The back-up story is "Dead Silence" drawn by Nick Cardy and reprinted from Gang Busters #67.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Showcase #76

Showcase #76 (On Sale: June 13, 1968) is a classic issue featuring the debut of DC's most conflicted western hero, Bat Lash. It sports a nice cover by Nick Cardy and puts forth the question asked in dozens of DC house ads (see below) in the previous months: "Will he Save the West -- or Ruin it?"

As Sergio Aragones told Mark Evanier at the 1998 San Diego Comic-Con:

I was, by that time, living in New York and I was called by Joe Orlando and Carmine Infantino. We went to a restaurant next to DC Comics and they talked about new projects and stuff. They said they wanted to create a different western and they had the name, "Bat Lash." I said, "Don't say anymore. I'll bring you something."

So I went home and thought of a more European western. In those times, all the westerns were very, very aggressive with the cliché of the American Cowboy with very beautiful clothes and able to shoot guns out of other people's hands.

I have adored the western I brought in ideas and sketches and they liked what I did. They took it to Nick and said, "Go ahead!" It's very hard because I write the way I talk...pretty bad. [laughter] People don't understand so what I do to save time (and it's much easier for me because I'm more visual) I draw my scripts and put in very basic dialogue. I would put in notes to the artist saying, "Please don't use this as reference!" [laughter]

Instead of writing about a saucer, for instance, it was just as easy for me to draw a saucer. So I would do the scripts on 8-1/2" x 11" paper, divided into panels, and I would draw the story very crudely, but with no intention for the artist to follow the drawings. When I saw the first work that Nick did, I was so emotional.
(Pheasant in Aspic) is written by Sergio Aragones and drawn by Nick Cardy. Bat Lash is forced to leave town when the boyfriend of a woman that he has been romancing tries to kill him. On his trip to the next town of Welcome, Bat Lash catches a pheasant which he intends to have for dinner. When he reaches Welcome, he notices that most of the honest people are leaving town. Criminals have taken over the town making it unsafe for good people.

Bat Lash brings his pheasant to the local restaurant to have it cooked. Diane, the woman running the place, wants to leave town, but Bat Lash refuses to let her leave until he has dinner. He then goes to the general store to buy additional ingredients.

Bat is confronted by crooks who try to force him out of town. The cowboy proves stubborn and hard to kill. Despite several attacks and trouble from the locals, Bat Lash finally gets Diane to finish cooking his dinner. When he offers her the first bite, she refuses to eat since it has been poisoned. Diane admits that she is the head of the criminal gang, so Bat Lash escorts her to the nearest jail before leaving town. Shamefully never reprinted.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Justice League of America #64

Justice League of America #64 (On Sale: June 13, 1968) has a cover by new JLA penciler Dick Dillin who moved over from Blackhawk. Previous penciler Mike Sekowsky is about to take over pencilling duties on The New Wonder Woman. the cover is inked by Jack Abel and gives us our first look at the new Red Tornado.

"The Stormy Return of the Red Tornado" is by Gardner Fox, Dick Dillin and Sid Greene. A meeting of the Justice Society is interrupted by the appearance of a faceless super-hero with whirlwind powers calling himself the Red Tornado, who claims to be a former JSA member. Presented with evidence that the true Red Tornado was a housewife named Ma Hunkel, the intruder begins to doubt his own identity, but is determined to prove himself as a super-hero.

He accompanies Flash, Hourman, Dr. Fate, Black Canary, and Starman to the scene of a museum robbery being staged by criminals who, like himself, have no facial features, but only succeeds in ensuring his fellow heroes' defeat, and the apparent deaths of all but Dr. Fate. Frantic to redeem himself, he tracks down the mastermind behind the robbery – T.O. Morrow, a scientific villain who once fought Green Lantern and Flash of Earth-1.

Overcoming Red Tornado, Morrow is forced to revive him when his computer-forecaster informs him that his next crime will succeed only if the android is present to try to prevent it.Reprinted in Justice League of America Archives Vol. 8 HC and Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 2 TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Young Romance #155

Young Romance #155 (On Sale: June 11, 1968) has a cover pencilled by Jay Scott Pike.

"Love is What It's All About" is drawn by Mike Sekowsky and Joe Orlando. "His Ring Around My Finger" is a reprint from Falling In Love #52 drawn by Arthur Peddy and Bernard Sachs. Lastly we have "He'll Break Your Heart" drawn by Ric Estrada.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #113

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #113 (On Sale: June 11, 1968), AKA 80pg. Giant #G-50 has a cover by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito on the theme The Anti-Superman Issue!

We start with "The Super-Brain of Jimmy Olsen" from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #22 by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Ray Burnley. Inventor, Professor Potter, demonstrates his new evolution machine on Jimmy Olsen. The machine gives Jimmy a super-brain for 12 hours. During that time, Jimmy orders Superman to move several large objects around the Earth. If Superman refuses, he threatens to expose his secret identity. Superman complies, and eventually Jimmy's super-brain wears off. Jimmy has no memories of his evolved experience, but he left a note for Superman.

Next is "The Helmet of Hate" from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #68 by Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan and George Klein. Jimmy borrows a Red Kryptonite gun and the Helmet of Hate from the Superman Museum. When he puts on the helmet, he becomes evil and lures Superman into a trap in which he uses the Red Kryptonite gun. Superman is transformed into a devil and begins helping the underworld.

Space criminals Boz and Grumm watch the events, and when Superman approaches them to form an alliance, they allow him onboard their ship.

This is followed by "The Outlaw Jimmy Olsen" from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #27 by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Ray Burnley. An evil duplicate of Jimmy Olsen is created by a ray made by Professor Potter. The evil Jimmy commits crimes and uses Kryptonite to learn Superman’s secret identity.

Next we have "The Betrayal of Superman" from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #8 by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Ray Burnley. Jimmy helps his sick friend Dick Crane by taking over a case as a private investigator. After agreeing to help, he learns the assignment is to learn Superman’s secret identity and expose it to Bart Gordon. Jimmy disguises himself and takes the case. However, he secretly works with Superman, so that when Gordon sees Superman is his secret identity, Superman’s back is turned, and Gordon can’t see his face.

Next is "Jimmy Olsen's Secret Power" from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #55 by Robert Bernstein, Curt Swan and Stan Kaye. Jimmy is ordered by his editor to bring in some scoops, so he calls Superman for assistance. The Man of Steel offers to give Jimmy some scoops on his capture of the East Side Gang. After Superman captures one group of the gang, Jimmy visits Professor Potter, who has been replaced by a crook. The crook gives Jimmy a horseshoe which repels objects coming near it.

Later, Superman continues to try and gets scoops for Jimmy, but each time the crooks are not where a tip has told Superman they should be. The Man of Steel also sees Jimmy talking with gangster Nick Kaye. After several incidents Superman believes Jimmy is working with the gangsters, but he finds out the the horseshoe contains a radio that allowed the crooks to overhear Superman’s plans.

This is followed by "The Boy Who Killed Superman" from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #28 by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Ray Burnley. Jimmy is transported to the 60th century by accident. He learns that he is known throughout history as a villain because he killed Superman. Jimmy tries to hide, but the future authorities catch him and send him back to his own time. Superman meets him and explains that Jimmy didn’t kill him; it would be a hoax to trap some crooks.

Next is "Jimmy Olsen, Juvenile Delinquent" from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #40 by Robert Bernstein, Curt Swan and John Forte. Jimmy Olsen goes undercover to expose a gang of teenage hoodlums known as the Kings. While gathering evidence Jimmy discovers that Perry White’s son, Hank, is a member of the gang. Jimmy feels bad when he tells Perry about his son, but Perry gives the go ahead for the story.

When Jimmy returns to the gang, they uncover his disguise and take him prisoner.

Rounding out the issue is "King of the Giant Ants" from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #54 by Robert Bernstein, Curt Swan and Stan Kaye. Mr. Mxyzptlk returns to Metropolis with a plan to pester Superman. Unfortunately, a strong wind blows off his hat, which then ends up in the possession of Jimmy Olsen. The hat grants Jimmy wishes including giving him super powers.

Jimmy then flies off to handle an army of giant ants. The ants force Jimmy to work with them by threatening Superman’s life. After nearly defeating the ants, Jimmy is hypnotized by the leader, Mgoro.

Jimmy tries to kill Superman, but is then awakened from a dream. The ants were a part of the dream, it seems that Mxyzptlk’s hat contained Red Kryptonite so that when Jimmy asks for super powers, he became affected by it.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Leave It To Binky #62

Leave It To Binky #62 (On Sale: June 11, 1968) has a cover by Bob Oksner. Reminds me of that joke by Woody Allen about him water skiing on his honeymoon, how great he looked with the wind blowing through his red hair, the sun glinting off is one oiled muscle and his wife frantically rowing the boat.

(Hmm... so there's going to be a block party...) is a reprint from Leave It To Binky #25, while (Heh-heh! Hello, Pop!) is a reprint from Leave It To Binky #27 . Both stories feature artwork that has been altered to update the clothing and hairstyles of the characters.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

G.I. Combat #131

G.I. Combat #131 (On Sale: June 11, 1968) has a nice Haunted Tank cover by Joe Kubert and Russ Heath.

The Haunted Tank stars in "The Devil for Dinner" by Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath. The back-up is "A Promise to 3 Dead Buddies" by Jack Abel.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Blackhawk #242

Blackhawk #242 (On Sale: June 11, 1968) has Pat Boyette's first cover and first artwork for DC. It features a new Blackhawk logo, good for this one issue only and the return of the original Blackhawk uniforms.

This book tells you everything you ever should need to know about what kind a editor was Dick Giordano. When Dick was given the Blackhawk book he was told there were only three issues left before cancellation. Last issue featured the inventory work he was given from previous editor George Kashdan; it is in these final two issues that we see Giordano's take on Blackhawk.

In Dick Giordano: Changing Comics, One Day At A Time by Michael Eury, Giordano relates, "Blackhawk was one of my favorite comics when I was a kid." As such Giordano hoped to resuscitate the series or at least send the book off in a style he felt it deserved. Dick found a way to do that by perusing Kashdan's unopened mail.

From Dick Giordano: Changing Comics, One Day At A Time...

Recalls Marv Wolfman, who was then in his late teens and active in comics fandom: "I had sent in a spec script for Blackhawk, which was being edited by George Kashdan at the time. I didn't like the direction of the series. They had changed the Blackhawks into something called the 'Junk Heap Heroes'--which they where." Wolfman's treatment restored the Blackhawks to their former glory, and Giordano, having met Marv at several conventions, called the teen and offered to print the story (although it was dialogued by Bob Haney). "The was my first published work for DC," says Wolfman.
Giordano was not satisfied to just return the book to its former direction, he also wanted something special for the last two issues, so he phoned long-time golden-age Blackhawk artist Reed Crandall and offered the last two issues to him. Crandall was hesitant to accept the assignment, but was finally won over by Giordano's enthusiasm for the project. This was one of those times that Dick's "hands-off" style of editing almost proved fatal.

He called Crandall two weeks before the art was due for a status and Crandall confessed that he hadn't started and the aged Crandall admitted he "couldn't do this anymore." Really in a tight deadline bind, Giordano called on his old Charlton friend Pat Boyette to knock out the last issues of Blackhawk.

"My Brother – My Enemy" is plotted by Marv Wolfman, scripted by Bob Haney and drawn by Pat Boyette. The Blackhawks learn that G.E.O.R.G.E. has been wiped out by a villain known as the Black Mask. Without their special equipment, the Blackhawks are forced to return to their original uniforms and tactics to track down their foe. Blackhawk soon learns that the Black Mask is secretly his brother Jack, whom Blackhawk thought to be long dead.

During the early days of World War II before the Blackhawks were formed, Bart Hawk (Blackhawk's real name is revealed for the first time) and his brother were pilots flying a mission against the Nazis. Jack's plane was used as a decoy and shot down. Bart believed his brother dead and left his unit to become Blackhawk. However, Jack survived and was found by the Nazis. His damaged body was molded into a weapon and his mind was turned against his former allies and brother. Before the newly created Black Mask could seek vengeance, the Blackhawks bombed the Nazi camp. The Nazis were killed and Jack fell into a sleep of suspended animation.

Having recently awakened from his long slumber, Jack, now the Black Mask is eager to destroy his brother. The Blackhawks return to Blackhawk Island where Black Mask unleashes the War Wheel against them. The Blackhawks prevail in the fight. Black Mask is able to elude capture following the battle when Blackhawk is unable to fire upon his own brother.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Unexpected #108

Unexpected #108 (On Sale: June 6, 1968) has a really great cover by Jack Sparling. I love the color on this one as well.

Johnny Peril stars in "Journey to a Nightmare" by George Kashdan and Jack Sparling. This story is followed by "The Cat with 1,000 Lives" by Dave Wood and Jack Sparling.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Flash #181

Flash #181 (On Sale: June 6, 1968) has a fairly cool cover by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.

"The Attack of the Samuroids" is by Frank Robbins, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Continuing from Robbin's first Flash story last issue, Flash is defeated by Baron Katana and his Samuroids. While the Flash is held prisoner, Captain Hash and Hideki Toshira approach Castle Heron under the pretense of filming a movie. Their presence helps Flash escape. The Samuroids then attack. Iris is held as a hostage by Baron Katana, but Flash is able to rescue her after destroying the machine which powers the Samuroids.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Batman #204

Batman #204 (On Sale: June 6, 1968) has a pretty interesting cover by Irv Novick that sure looks like it was based on a Carmine Infantino design. This is the first Batman cover to feature a darker, more moody feel. Carmine Infantino bought out Bob Kane's Batman contract and this issue ushers in Infantino's new direction for Batman - darker and more serious, with stories that are much more mystery and action oriented.

That new direction begins with "Operation:Blindfold" by new Batman scribe Frank Robbins and new Batman artist Irv Novick and inker Joe Giella. People talk about how Neal Adams redefined the batman character, but Novick and the over-all editorial direction at DC had just as much to do with the transformation of the character.

A criminal mastermind known as the Schemer kills a blind man and plants evidence to make Commissioner Gordon believe the man is Batman. Since Gordon believe the Caped Crusader is dead, when the real Batman arrives on the scene, the police commissioner thinks he is a phony and has him arrested. With Batman out of the way the Schemer then stages an armored car robbery using crooks disguised as blind men. This new direction began with a story continued next issue.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Secret Six #3

Secret Six #3 (On Sale: June 4, 1968) has a cover by Jack Sparling.

"To Kill a Mockingbird!" is plotted by E. Nelson Bridwell, scripted by Joe Gill and drawn by Jack Sparling. After five of the Six have unsuccessful attempts on their lives, they pair off to keep an eye on each other. While working with King, Mike is kidnapped by the Syndicate -- who were responsible for the other murder attempts.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Our Army at War #196

Our Army at War #196 (On Sale: June 4, 1968) has an interesting cover by Joe Kubert.

Sgt. Rock stars in "Stop the War -- I Want to Get Off" written and drawn by Joe Kubert. After three nights of no sleep Rock takes four green Easy Co. replacements out on patrol, where they are killed by the big gun fire from an enemy bunker. Seeing his dead comrades, Rock goes a little crazy and after tossing a few grenades into the enemy turret Rock declares, "I-I've had enough! ENOUGH! No more killin'... No more blood... NO MORE WAR!" Out of the smoke of the burning tank an unknown soldier confronts Rock, telling him he is not alone, that every soldier has felt the same.

As the smoke gets thicker Rock sees back into prehistoric time as cave men band together as an army to fight a bear, to protect their families. Rock shuts his eyes and when he opens them again he is looking at a Roman soldier, Horatio, who fought the Etruscan Army in order to give his comrades time to regroup. The white smoke turns to snow and Rock is now watching General George Washington at Valley Forge, who must watch his men suffer because the country depends on them.

Then Rock sees Hitler, slave labor camps and finally concentration camps and he finally says he has seen enough. When he looks up the unknown soldier is gone and Rock is all alone. (Thanks to my friend Dave Potts for sending me scans of this story.) This is Kubert's second Rock script and proved quite popular as it was reprinted in Our Army at War #269, DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #21, Sgt. Rock #395 and Sgt. Rock #20.

The back up story "Indians Don't Fight by the Book" was written by Howard Liss and drawn by Russ Heath. It was reprinted in Four-Star Battle Tales #2

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Challengers of the Unknown #63

Challengers of the Unknown #63 (On Sale: June 4, 1968) has a cover by Bob Brown. The coloring is pretty awful on this one, but the art by Brown is rather nice.

Inside we have "None Shall Escape the Walking Evil" by Arnold Drake, Bob Brown and Jack Abel. Count Karnak of the Legion of the Weird restored Mistress Wycker to life. She then promises to make another effort to join the Legion by killing the Challengers. The other Legion members offer their help including Kaftu who summon Tukamenon, a giant mummy pledged to his service.

Tukamenon attacks the Challs while Kaftu uses a magic jewel to blind Red's brother Tino Manarry. The team escapes and rushes Tino to the hospital. Tino's blindness can only be cured with a transplant, so Red donates an eye. While Red and Tino recover Tukamenon attacks again.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Atom #38

Atom #38 (On Sale: June 4, 1968) has a cover by Mike Sekowsky and Joe Giella.

"Sinister Stopover... Earth" is by Frank Robbins, Mike Sekowsky and George Roussos. While assisting the military with its testing of an airborne targeting system, Ray Palmer witnesses the disappearance of several paratroopers after the appearance of a UFO. Ray links the disappearance with that of Professor Alvin who goes missing while scuba diving with Jean Loring. Ray and frogman Jonah Wale investigate and are captured by aliens called Physalians. The aliens are using humans as hosts and taking them into nuclear power plants to gather energy. However, the radiation from the plants are killing the people. The Atom is able to save the possessed people and shut down the nuclear reactors which prevents the Physalians from feeding.

This is the final issue of the Atom, which will change names next issue and be rebord as Atom and Hawkman.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.