Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Detective Comics #379

Detective Comics #379 (On Sale: July 30, 1968) has a so-so cover by Irv Novick.

"Two Killings for the Price of One" is by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Joe Giella. Continuing from last issue, Batman receives two blackmail demands both claiming that Robin is a hostage. He must appear in two places simultaneously, so Alfred fills in for him to perform a rescue at the pier. Dressed as Batman, Alfred tries to save the real Robin who is being used as a decoy by the youthful crook, Chino. Alfred fails to rescue Robin and falls into the harbor.

Meanwhile the real Batman attempts to rescue a phony Robin from a rooftop. The decoy and a sniper try to kill him, but Batman manages to escape. Realizing that the real Robin is at the pier, he leaves the scene and rushes to help Alfred.

Chino believes that Batman is dead when he sees him fall into the harbor. He calls his guardian, Salvo who had arranged the other trap for Batman, to gloat. Salvo and his men then head for the pier to eliminate Chino. The boy then finds himself on the run from the real Batman and his former guardian.

The back-up Elongated Man story, "The Elongated Man's Magic Moment," is by Gardner Fox and Sid Greene. Zatara has opened a magic shop after retiring from crime-fighting. Crooks attack him, intending to use his magic for crime. The magician is knocked unconscious and has a dream about the Elongated Man. While talking in his sleep, he casts a spell that gives Ralph his magic abilities.

Ralph and Sue are enjoying a day of kite flying with Sue's nephew Robby. A cloud moves down the kite string and touches Ralph, giving him Zatara's magic. Ralph learns he has the powers when he accidentally conjures a lion from thin air. He dispels the lion, then seeks out Zatara for answers.

Ralph finds Zatara, but is hit in the head. The crooks attack him, so he tries to confront them with magic. He is unable to focus fast enough to speak backwards and effectively cast spells, so he resorts to using his stretching abilities to stop the crooks.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Adventure Comics #372

Adventure Comics #372 (On Sale: July 30, 1968) has a very cool Neal Adams cover. Love that visual of a glass Superboy being shattered.

"School for Super-Villains" is by Jim Shooter, Curt Swan and Jack Abel. Continuing from last issue, the two crooks who had forced Colossal Boy to betray his comrades meet him with a new proposition, even as Bouncing Boy and Ultra Boy visit the Allon apartment in hope of questioning Gim's parents and discover that the Allons had mysteriously vanished a week earlier.

Back at Legion Headquarters, Brainiac 5 examines Mrs. Allon's life-jewel, a gem linked with its owner's life-force. Shrinking Violet reduces to atomic size and travels through the infra-energy beam connecting the jewel to Mrs. Allon, and is thus transported to a strange distant planet. There she finds an exact duplicate of the Legion training center, which is being used to instruct future members of a Legion of Super-Villains. Colossal Boy, who remembers much of the data he stole, is present as a teacher. Tarik the Mute, a man who turned criminal when a police blaster accidentally hit his throat, ruining his voice, and who now communicates by beaming his thoughts to a telepathic android which speaks for him, is the organizer of the evil Legion counterpart.

Violet reports to the Legionnaires, who now realize that Colossal Boy had betrayed them only because the criminals are holding his parents. They decide to infiltrate the villains' school to help him, and Superboy, Chameleon Boy, and two Legion Academy trainees, Chemical King and Timber Wolf, are chosen for the job. They disguise themselves as students who failed Legion training and create a staged disturbance in order to get themselves noticed. A man representing Tarik sees them, offers them sanctuary, and takes them to the Super-Villain school.

Touring the complex, the four disguised heroes note familiar faces belonging to such Legion traitors and rejects as Nemesis Kid, Spider Girl, Radiation Roy, and Lightning Lad's brother Mekt, now the villainous Lightning Lord. Colossal Boy recognizes the four before they have a chance to confer with him, however, and exposes their true identities. In the battle that follows, the heroes are captured and condemned to be turned into glass and shattered.

The next morning, the four are brought to the death-room to be executed before the entire student body. When Superboy is seemingly turned to glass and smashed, Colossal Boy goes berserk. In the ensuing melee, the surviving heroes summon the other Legionnaires and together they break up the villain school. Superboy knocks out Tarik when the villain attempts to destroy Mr. and Mrs. Allon in revenge. The Boy of Steel had actually exchanged identities with Chameleon Boy, who had used his power to become glass, thus making it seem that Superboy had been destroyed.

The Allons are returned to normal, Colossal Boy is restored to full Legion membership, and Chemical King and Timber Wolf earn their Legion Academy diplomas and join the team. Reprinted in Best of DC #24 and Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 8 HC.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Action Comics #367

Action Comics #367 (On Sale: July 30, 1968) has a Neal Adams cover over a Carmine Infantino layout.

"Mysteries of the Superman Awards" is by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and George Klein. This is George Klein's final inking effort at DC, a career that began in 1944 inking a Jack Kirby Boy Commandos story in Detective #85. After being pushed out of DC by Carmine Infantino, Klein would move to Marvel where he would produce amazing runs on The Avengers inking John Buscema and Daredevil inking Gene Colan. Klein's final assignment at Marvel was inking Jack Kirby in The Mighty Thor #168-169. There is no telling how long his career at Marvel would have lasted (Klein was the uncredited inker of Fantastic Four #1 in 1961), but tragically, Klein died in 1969, in his fifties, of cirrhosis of the liver, six months after getting married.

In our story, Superman attends an award ceremony in which worthy people receive an achievement award for helping the Man of Steel. This year's winner is Clark Kent, but Superman and Clark cannot appear together. While Lois looks for Clark, Superman tries to dream up a way to cover his secret identity. His robots are unable to respond because his apartment is being painted, and Bruce Wayne is attending the ceremony too, so Batman can't fill in for Clark.

While Superman thinks of a solution, the commissioner tells the audience the stories of the past three award winners which include a baby who disabled a scientist's prediction machine, a hermit who saved Superman from the Revenge Squad, and a forest ranger who died while saving Superman from Kryptonite, then donated his heart to save another life.

Our cover story is "The Evil of Alpha and Beta" by Cary Bates and Kurt Schaffenberger. Continuing from last issue, Supergirl exposes herself to Gold Kryptonite to permanently remove her super powers. She then assumes her Linda Danvers identity and is discovered outside the shield that surrounds Stanhope College. The evil Alpha and Beta capture her and bring her back inside. Had she still possessed her powers, Supergirl would have triggered a bomb that would destroy the school.

Once she gets inside the shield, Linda meets David Carew, a student which Alpha and Beta believe will invent valuable Noricon. David and Linda try to free the students from hypnosis, but David sees the Linda Lee robot. Supergirl then reveals herself and convinces David that the robot is the real Linda.

Before they can find and dismantle the bomb, Supergirl sees Superman returning from a space mission and attempting to break through the shield. Supergirl tries to warn Superman about the bomb before he reaches the shield.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Friday, July 25, 2008

World's Finest Comics #178

World's Finest Comics #178 (On Sale: July 25, 1968) has a cover by Neal Adams that I have always loved. First you have the unusual guest appearance by Green Arrow then you have Superman holding up this typical Curt Swan costume. I have just always loved this one.

"The Has-Been Superman" is by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and Jack Abel. In yet another imaginary story, Superman investigates a rip in space in which several probes have disappeared. He travels through the rift to another dimension and finds the missing probes inside a giant guard mechanism. He returns to Earth, but alien antiseptic from inside the machine permanently causes him to lose his powers.

Superman soon becomes bored since he has to give up his crime-fighting career. He decides to carry on without powers just like Batman and Green Arrow. He creates a new costume with a gimmicked cape and becomes Nova.

Batman receives an alert about a prowler on a movie studio lot. When he investigates he finds that the suspect is actually Superman engaging in training exercises. Batman wishes Superman luck, but doubts that he will succeed in his new crime-fighting identity. The former Man of Steel soon runs into his first gang of criminals and as Batman feared, he loses the fight and is captured.Superman investigates a rip in space in which several probes have disappeared. He travels through the rift to another dimension and finds the missing probes inside a giant guard mechanism. He returns to Earth, but alien antiseptic from inside the machine permanently causes him to lose his powers.

Superman soon becomes bored since he has to give up his crime-fighting career. He decides to carry on without powers just like Batman and Green Arrow. He creates a new costume with a gimmicked cape and becomes Nova.

Batman receives an alert about a prowler on a movie studio lot. When he investigates he finds that the suspect is actually Superman engaging in training exercises. Batman wishes Superman luck, but doubts that he will succeed in his new crime-fighting identity. The former Man of Steel soon runs into his first gang of criminals and as Batman feared, he loses the fight and is captured. Reprinted in DC Special Series #23.

The back-up is "Rip Van Superman," a Superman story from Superman #107 by Bill Finger, Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye. Superman stops a runaway cyclotron, but he is put in a coma by the experience. He awakens one thousand years in the future to a world of supermen. The men of the future all have super powers and rely on robots.

A renegade scientist, Drago, takes control of the moon-prison and causing great tidal waves. All of the robots are also disabled. Superman inspires the citizens to take action and defeat Drago.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Showcase #77

Showcase #77 (On Sale: July 25, 1968) has a wonderful Angel and the Ape cover by Bob Oksner and Tex Blaisdell.

"Angel and the Ape" is by John Albano, Bob Oksner and Tex Blaisdell and this is John Albano's first writing for DC. Albano would go on to creat one of the biggest western hits DC ever had in Jonah Hex. Mr. Trumbell hires Angel O'Day, a private investigator, to protect him from men trying to kill him. Angel and her partner Sam Simeon, an intelligent gorilla help fight off several attackers, then Sam leaves to deliver a comic strip to Stan Bragg, editor of Brainpix Comics.

After dropping off the artwork, Sam returns home where he receives a call for help from Angel. She has been kidnapped along with Trumbell. Sam traces them to the local zoo and rescues Angel. Together they locate Trumbell and his captor, the zookeeper. Angel exposes the zookeeper as a spy who was trying to retrieve secret plans hidden inside a cast on Trumbell's foot. While the plans seems to be for a new rocket, they are actually plans for a new ride at Disneyland.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Justice League of America #65

Justice League of America #65 (On Sale: July 25, 1968) has a cover by Dick Dillin and Joe Giella.

"T.O. Morrow Kills the Justice League -- Today" is by Gardner Fox, Dick Dillin and Sid Greene. Continuing from last issue, Energy-duplicates of Steve Trevor, Jean Loring, Hawkgirl, Mera, and Midge appear at a meeting of the Justice League and kill Wonder Woman, Atom, Hawkman, Aquaman, and Snapper Carr, respectively. Then Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Green Arrow are forced to battle a trio of strange creatures. Defeating them, they locate the mastermind behind these attacks, T.O. Morrow, in their Souvenir Room, where he reactivates past foes Amazo, Starro, Dr. Light, Super-Duper, and the Crystal Creature, who succeed in besting the heroes.

Meanwhile, on Earth-2, the Red Tornado has survived the blast that killed his fellow JSA members, and tracks Morrow to Earth-1. He then recruits the real Steve, Jean, Hawkgirl, Mera, and Midge, who are able to restore the JLA members their duplicates had killed. These five heroes team with the Tornado to stop Morrow's plan to instigate a war between the two Earths. With the villain's capture, Red Tornado gains the means to revive the other five JLA members and his JSA comrades, and finally learns his true origin: he is an android created by Morrow as part of his scheme against the Justice Society. Reprinted in Justice League of America Archives Vol. 8 HC and Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 2 TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Teen Titans #17

Teen Titans #17 (On Sale: July 23, 1968) has a beautiful Nick Cardy cover.

"Holy Thimbles, It's the Mad Mod" is by Bob Haney and Nick Cardy. The Teen Titans travel to London for a Command Performance at which they will meet the Queen. On a sightseeing tour, Robin becomes accidentally locked in the Tower of London, leaving Kid Flash, Aqualad, and Wonder Girl to retrieve the Queen's royal sceptre, stolen by the Mad Mod, without the Boy Wonder's aid. Their costumes gimmicked by the Mod so as to halve their super-powers, the Titans are unable to stop the villain, until the ruse is discovered and they change uniforms. Then Aqualad rescues an escaping Mod from drowning, while Kid Flash and Wonder Girl defeat his henchmen, and the sceptre is returned to the Royal Family.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Strange Adventures #214

Strange Adventures #214 (On Sale: July 23, 1968) has a very nice Deadman cover by Neal Adams.

"To Haunt a Killer" is by Robert Kanigher and Neal Adams. Deadman has run out of leads to track down the Hook. He regrets the loss of his life and takes over the body of Phil, a man attending the circus. Deadman enjoys an evening with Phil's fiance Ruth, but he eventually comes to realize that taking another man's life is wrong. He leaves Phil's body, only to discover too late that the man is a professional killer.

After Phil murders Fred Ames, Deadman follows Phil and meets the boss who hired him. Deadman then takes control of Phil again and forces him to break his engagement to Ruth. He must then act to save her life. However, Phil's boss double-crosses the killer and tries to have him killed too. Deadman saves Phil's life, but makes him a hero in the process.

Deadman wants to see justice served, so he takes control of Fred Ames's father and disguises himself as Fred. He then haunts the killer and forces him to confess. As Phil is taken into police custody, another killer disguised as a cop murders him and escapes. Reprinted in Deadman #6.

Take a look at Neal Adams' original cover for this issue. I have no idea why they would turn this one down. What too dynamic for ya (found this by the way on Robby Reed's excellent Dial B for BLOG site)?

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Beware the Creeper #3

Beware the Creeper #3 (On Sale: July 23, 1968) has a nice Steve Ditko cover.

(The Isle of Fear) is by Denny O'Neil and Steve Ditko. Jack Ryder parachutes onto a recently discovered island to find Vera Sweet who has gone missing. Ryder discovers that the natives are being oppressed by a man calling himself the Supreme One. As the Creeper, he prevents one of the peasants from being executed. He then discovers that one of the Supreme One's men is Wingy Ames, a recently escaped convict.

Ryder disguises himself as one of the crooks. He finds that the island is being used by crooks as a hideout. They also have Vera held captive. Ryder is exposed and tied up with Vera in a cave.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Flash #182

Flash #182 (On Sale: July 18, 1968) has a cover by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.

We begin with "The Thief Who Stole All the Money in Central City" by John Broome, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Abra Kadabra returns to the 20th century to attend a magicians' convention. When the other magicians attempt to throw him out because of his criminal past, Kadabra hypnotizes them all into becoming criminals too. The Flash stops several of the magician robberies and learns that his old foe has returned.

Kadabra then uses a device to hypnotizes every person in Central City. He commands them all to bring him all the money in town. Flash is also under the spell and helps to collect the money for the crook. Abra Kadabra then humiliates the Flash by making him act like a dog.

Our cover story, "The Flash's Super-Speed Phobia," is next, and t is also by John Broome, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. The Flash searches Central City for Sneakers Sneed and his gang. He passes an electric eye beam which clashes with his super-speed and causes him to crash into a door. When he gets up, Flash discovers that he becomes dizzy every time he tries to run fast.

Without his speed to aid him, Flash is still able to find the gang. However, they are able to escape. Flash pursues them in a taxi cab. He then catches up to the gang and beats them without the use of his powers.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Batman #205

Batman #205 (On Sale: July 18, 1968) has a pretty cool Irv Novick cover.

"Blind as a... Bat?" is by Frank Robbins, Irv Novick and Joe Giella. Continuing from last issue, the police believe that Batman is dead and have taken him into custody, thinking him to be an impostor. Batman escapes from the police and switches outfits with a member of the Schemer's gang. The police take the man in the Batman costume to jail, while Batman dressed as a blind man meets Robin to prevent an armored car robbery. They succeed in stopping the crooks, but Robin is captured.

The Schemer takes Robin to a camouflaged submarine where he intends to fire missiles to take down an airplane carrying gold. He then plans to salvage the gold from the ocean.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Spectre #6

Spectre #6 (On Sale: July 16, 1968) in a total and complete departure from the Neal Adams covers of the past four issues, has a really poorly colored cover by Jerry Grandenetti and Murphy Anderson.

"Pilgrims of Peril" is by Gardner Fox, Jerry Grandenetti and Murphy Anderson. Jim Corrigan responds to trouble in Gateway City's Old Quarter. Four spectral pilgrims have chased away the residents and erected a smokey barrier that prevents entry to the area. The Spectre crosses the barrier and follows a young boy named Billy who was trapped inside. They soon find themselves in the realm of Geimpo in battle against the demon lord Nawor. The Spectre is able to defeat Nawor using earthly objects from Billy's pockets.

Back on Earth Jim Corrigan has lost his battle against the spectral pilgrims. Hundreds of years ago they tried to bring Nawor to Earth using magic talismans. They failed, but Nawor allowed them to return every 100 years to try again. This time they finally succeed in bringing Nawor to Earth.

The Spectre battles Nawor again, but now on Earth, the demon is invincible. Billy helps Jim Corrigan escape and defeat the pilgrims which weakens Nawor. The Spectre then uses a rowan tree to defeat the demon and banish him. The spectral pilgrims then dissolve into dust. Reprinted in Adventure Comics #499.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Inferior Five #10

Inferior Five #10 (On Sale: July 16, 1968) has a cover by Winslow Mortimer and Tex Blaisdell featuring some obvious Marvel characters and Superman. This is the Five's last issue.

"A Monster Rally" is by E. Nelson Bridwell, Winslow Mortimer and Tex Blaisdell. Earth is invaded by little green men. Many heroes respond to the invasion including the Inferior Five. However, the aliens are able to use their mental abilities to hypnotize the Kookie Quartet (Mr. Manplastic, Vanishing Queen, Matchstick Kid, and Whatchamaycallit), the Submoron (Prince Nabob), and the Cobweb Kid. The Inferior Five also fail to stop the invaders.

Finally Superman returns from a space mission and forces the aliens to leave Earth. After the battle the Inferior Five recovers, but the other defeated heroes blame them for their own failures and plot revenge.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Doom Patrol #121

Doom Patrol #121 (On Sale: July 16, 1968) has a very dramatic Joe Orlando cover that says it all: "Is this the Beginning or the End of the Doom Patrol?" For many years this was the end, as in a startling final issue, Doom Patrol creator Arnold Drake kills them all!

In "The Death of the Doom Patrol?," by Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani, the Doom Patrol is destroyed. Striking back at all her former allies, Madame Rouge returns and apparently destroys the Brotherhood of Evil. She then launches a series of devastating attacks against the Doom Patrol in their own headquarters. To safeguard innocent bystanders, the team retreats to an island base prepared by the Chief for emergencies, unaware that they are being tracked by Madame Rouge and her new ally, Captain Zahl, an ex-Nazi foe of the Chief.

Immobilizing the three heroes, Zahl issues an ultimatum: either they allow him to blow up the island and destroy them, or he will cause a similar blast to destroy a tiny fishing village of fourteen inhabitants. The Doom Patrol members heroically vote to sacrifice themselves, and Zahl detonates the island over Madame Rouge's protests. The world mourns the loss of the Doom Patrol, and Steve Dayton vows to find and destroy the murderers of his wife.

Talk about an ending! From day one the Doom Patrol was Arnold Drake's baby and when the book ended he took his baby with it. Elasti-Girl, Negative Man and the Chief all die in this issue. Robotman, the Brain and Monsieur Mallah all appear to die as well, but survive as revealed in Showcase #94 (1977) and New Teen Titans #14 (1981). It appears that this ground-breaking issue has never been reprinted.

In a 1999 interview with Katherine Keller (no relation to me), Arnold Drake spoke of his beloved Doom Patrol:

Murray Boltinoff the editor, came to me one day, or I went to him one day and he said, "We're having a lot of trouble with My Greatest Adventure, it's starting to lay an egg. The era of the superhero has taken over completely. My Greatest Adventure has ordinary heroes. We need some kind of superhero to punch it up." So I said okay, went out and came back a couple of hours later with the basic idea about the man in the wheelchair who is the great brain, and runs this group of superheroes who hate being superheroes. That was the new aspect. That was the thing that made Doom Patrol different, these people hated being superheroes. And they were a little bit self-pitying, just a little bit, and the chief was constantly telling them, "Stop crying in your beer." That made them something that wasn't around at the time.

I enjoyed that experience, not only because it was a fresh idea, but also because I did 48 issues, and this gave me a chance to develop the characters and to get into ever more complex relationships, and so on. That's why I really liked it, because I controlled it. I could make it do what I wanted it to do. In most magazine houses, I would write a character for 3-4 issues, then somebody else would come in and write it. And then someone else would come in, and that's grown even worse today, it's even more so today. The result is there's no real continuity, everybody's making up his own little universe. Everybody's got his own Batman or his own Superman. And I think that probably weakened it, made them less real.
Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Bomba #7

Bomba #7 (On Sale: July 16, 1968) has on this, its final issue, another interesting piece by Jack Sparling. One gets the feeling with these last few Bomba covers that Sparling had free-reign to do whatever he wanted and they just squeezed in the logo wherever they could.

"Nightmare" is the name of this story by Denny O'Neil and Jack Sparling. That's about all I know. Unlike Blackhawk, which was also scheduled for cancellation when Giordano was handed the reigns, Dick didn't seem all that interested in spending much time on this book.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Young Love #70

Young Love #70 (On Sale: July 11, 1968) has a cover that is at least inked by Dick Giordano and perhaps penciled by him as well.

We begin with "My First Date My First Kiss" followed by "Return to My Heart", a reprint from Falling In Love #51. We end with a Lisa St. Claire story most likely written by Dick Giordano and Jack Miller and drawn by Jay Scott Pike.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #86

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #86 (On Sale: July 11, 1968), AKA 80-Page Giant G-51, has an unusual cover attributed to Neal Adams pencils and Al Plastino inks featuring Lois' Schemes and Dreams to Marry Superman!

We begin with "Lois Lane's Wedding Day" reprinted from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #37 and drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger. Lois goes undercover to expose a crooked Sweethearts’ Club. She learns that the club owner is planning a fake marriage to encourage more people to join the club. Lois and Clark pretend to be hired actors, playing the parts of the marriage couple.

The club owner learns that Lois has been spying and hires a real preacher to perform the ceremony. Lois finds that she is now really married to Clark. When they embark on the planned honeymoon, Clark tries to tell Lois that he is Superman, but she doesn’t believe him.

Next is "The Wife of Superman" from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #23 and also drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger. In this imaginary story, Lois and Clark enjoy a day in the park with their super powered children, Larry and Carole. The children each wear a control belt which their parents can use to remove their powers temporarily if they cause trouble. Clark must still keep his identity secret because Lois has no powers.

Lana Lang takes over Lois’s vacant job at the Planet. She begins to chase after Superman which makes Lois angry. Superman can not tell Lana that he is already married to Lois. Lois tries to get her job back, but no one will hire a married woman. Wow, it was the 60's folks!

Our next tale is "Lana Lang's Romance with Superman VI" from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #36 and drawn by Curt Swan and George Klein. In yet another imaginary story, Superman marries Lois Lane after inventing a formula to give her super powers. Lana is miserable that Superman did not choose her. She signs herself up for an experiment designed to send her to the fourth dimension. Instead she arrives in the future where she meets Superman III, a descendant of Superman. She falls in love with him and agrees to stay in the future as his wife.

This is followed by "Lois Lane's Secret Identity" from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #29 and drawn by John Forte. Lois goes undercover as Lorelei Larue to expose a bandit who robs society women of their jewels. Lois is successful in exposing the crook, but Superman has to rescue her. The Man of Steel does not recognize Lois in her disguise, and he immediately falls in love with Lorelei.

Lois begins dating Superman as Lorelei which makes her jealous of herself (They don't write them like this anymore!). She tries to sabotage their relationship but fails, finally giving in to Superman’s marriage proposal. At the ceremony, the justice of the peace reads the signature of the wedding license, Kltpzyxm, forcing the disguised Mxyzptlk to return to the 5th dimension.

Superman, who was under the spell of the imp, returns to normal, and Lois explains that she suspected Mxyzptlk’s involvement in the Man of Steel’s strange behavior.

The next story is "The Silver Coin of Fate" reprinted from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #32 and drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger. Superman decides to end the rivalry between Lois and Land forever by flipping a coin and then marrying whichever girl is the winner. Lois wins, but Lana still tries to prevent Lois from getting married after she sees the coin. Superman takes Lana into the future, so that she can not interfere.

At the wedding Clark Kent takes Superman aside and tells him that he knows Superman is a fake. Superman is revealed to be a Bizarro. Before he can go through with the wedding, his naturally Bizarro appearance takes over due to a cure created by the real Superman. Lois is horrified, forcing the Bizarro to flee. Superman then brings Lana back.

Next Lois becomes "The Bride of Luthor" in a reprint from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #34 and drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger. In our third imaginary story of the issue,l Luthor has escaped from jail and kidnaps Lois Lane. He takes her to the planet Omark and meets some telepaths. The telepaths change Luthor and turn him into a force for good. Lois is returned to Earth, and Luthor turns himself in.

Using his science for good, Luthor saves the life of the governor and is pardoned. He invents many devices which benefit mankind and saves the life of Lois. Lois then marries him and together they have a son, Larry.

Although Luthor has tried to hide his criminal past from his son, Larry soon discovers that his father was once Superman’s greatest foe. Larry also turns to crime and as a result accidentally kills his father. Lois regrets ever setting events in motion by marrying Lex.

Finally, we end with "The Devil and Lois Lane" from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #41 and drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger. After overhearing Lois say that she would sell her soul to marry Superman, the Man of Steel disguises himself as the Devil and makes Lois believe that she has signed a contract with Satan. Lois discovers the trick eventually and becomes enraged at the staged wedding ceremony. Superman admits to his trick, claiming it was for Lois’s own good.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Our Fighting Forces #115

Our Fighting Forces #115 (On Sale: July 11, 1968) has a rather uninspiring cover by Joe Kubert featuring Lt. Hunter's Hellcats.

"Death in the Desert" featuring Lt. Hunter's Hellcats is by Robert Kanigher and Frank Thorne. This is Thorne's first art for DC, a company he will work at for the next nine years, including a 22-issue run on Tomahawk which will do for the inside of the book what Neal Adams' covers did for the outside of the book. However, Thorne's popularity will skyrocket when he leaves DC to draw Red Sonja for Marvel.

The back-up stories are "Double-Cross" from Our Fighting Forces #77 by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert and "Tank in Town" from Star Spangled War Stories #58 by Bob Haney and Jerry Grandenetti.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Green Lantern #63

Green Lantern #63 (On Sale: July 11, 1968) features Neal Adams' first Green Lantern cover. In a few years Neal, along with Denny O'Neil, will take over this strip creating some of the most important comics of all time (certainly some of the most reproduced comics of all time).

"This is the Way... the World Ends" is written by, speak of the devil, Denny O'Neil in his first of two Green Lantern stories, and drawn by Jack Sparling and Sid Greene. While visiting his brother Jim Jordan is California, Hal Jordan is suddenly teleported to another planet. He uses his power ring in an attempt to contact other Green Lanterns or the Guardians, but he finds no trace of either. He then has a vision of a little girl telling him to return to Earth.

Green Lantern arrives on Earth which is now a barren wasteland. He finds one living person on the planet, a woman named Teira. After rescuing her from some gaseous yellow cloud creatures, he brings her to her father Gracchus.

Gracchus explains that Earth was destroyed by a recent attack, but Green Lantern doesn't believe him. He then demands the truth. Gracchus tells him that he was a scientist from Ort, a planet consumed in a perpetual state of war. Gracchus wanted to end the war, but his people did not. He then fled to Earth, but found that war was a constant plague there as well.

Now he has brought Green Lantern back in time before life exists on Earth to prevent it from ever developing. Yep, now that is a Denny O'Neil plot! Never reprinted.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Girls' Romances #135

Girls' Romances #135 (On Sale: July 11, 1968) has a cover by Jay Scott Pike, but not a very interesting one.

We begin with "When Love Goes Away" drawn by John Rosenberger, followed up by "A Day for Tears" from Falling In Love #55 drawn by Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs. Next is "Lonely Heart" drawn by Tony Abruzzo. Lastly we have "My Time to Love Part 1" drawn by Jay Scott Pike.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #114

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #114 (On Sale: July 9, 1968) has a cover by Curt Swan and Jack Abel (I never much cared for Abel's inks on Swan; a real let-down after all those years of George Klein's superb inks).

"The Wrongo Superman" is by Richard Hughes and Pete Costanza. This is only one of four stories that Hughes wrote for DC. Mr. Mxyzptlk makes a bet with a friend from his home in Zrfff that he can make a fool of Superman for a week without giving himself away. He then visits Earth and hires salesman Jethro Hale to sell a line of Jimmy Olsen endorsed products. Whenever the products are used near Superman, he begins acting like a fool.

Superman suspects that Red Kryptonite is to blame for his strange behavior. However, analysis of the Olsen products detects no trace of Kryptonite.

The back-up story is "A Visit from Superman's Pal" a reprint from Superboy #55 by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Jack Burnley. This story was originally a Superboy story and has been altered to be a Jimmy Olsen story. An accident causes Jimmy Olsen to travel back in time. He lands in Smallville during Superboy's time. He meets the Boy of Steel, who agrees to send Jimmy back to his own time period. Jimmy asks to stay briefly, so that he can get a story.

Jimmy soon meets Clark Kent. When Lana Lang voices her suspicions that Clark is Superboy, Jimmy also becomes curious. Superboy reveals his secret to Jimmy and working together, they fool Lana.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

House of Mystery #176

House of Mystery #176 (On Sale: July 9, 1968) has another fairly spooky cover by Neal Adams and the Adams' kids are back!

Inside we begin with a one-page introduction featuring Cain, which DC says is written and drawn by Joe Orlando, though the art looks more like Jerry Grandenetti to me. The first story is "The House of No Return" a reprint from House of Mystery #131 drawn by Sid Greene.

That is followed by a Page 13 written by Joe Orlando and drawn by Sergio Aragones and a three-page Cain's Game Room by Sergio Aragones. Lastly we have "The Roots of Evil" by Marv Wolfman and Jack Sparling. This is Wolfman's first full script for DC and centered around lost love, revenge, crazed scientists and thinking plants. It and the entire book was reprinted in Showcase Presents: The House of Mystery Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Tomahawk #118

Tomahawk #118 (On Sale: July 4, 1968) has a fairly cool cover by Neal Adams. I love the coloring on this one.

"Tomahawk: Guilty of Murder" is by George Kashdan, Jerry Grandenetti and Joe Orlando. This is the first DC art by Grandenetti in four years. The back-up story is "The Ranger Who Wouldn't Fight" by France Herron and Fred Ray.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Superboy #150

Superboy #150 (On Sale: July 4, 1968) has a cover by Neal Adams.

"The Stranger Who Stalks Smallville" is by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Jack Abel. During an intense storm, Superboy discovers that the nearby dam has been damaged. He repairs the dam using a strange indestructible parachute which he finds nearby. When he returns home he finds that a mysterious stranger has invaded the Kent home. The stranger is a robot who parachuted into Smallville and struck the dam. Calling himself Mr. Cipher, the robot orders the Kents to stay inside the house.

Superboy cannot act against him because his x-ray vision reveals a bomb inside the robot. Superboy quickly builds a bomb-proof room in the basement. He then lures Mr. Cipher downstairs, but the robot hits him with Kryptonite. The Boy of Steel only recovers when some chemicals accidentally combine to provide a temporary antidote.

Lana then stops by the house for dinner. The Kents quickly learn that another Cipher robot has invaded the Lang home.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Secret Hearts #130

Secret Hearts #130 (On Sale: July 4, 1968) has a cover by Jay Scott Pike.

We begin with "Leave Me, Leave Me" pencilled by Vinnie Colletta. That is followed by "Too Long to Wait" pencilled by John Rosenberger. Lastly we have "Reach for Happiness Episode 21" pencilled by Jay Scott Pike.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Brother Power, the Geek #1

Brother Power, the Geek #1 (On Sale: July 4, 1968) has a cover by the legendary Joe Simon, the creator of Brother Power. Man do I dislike the color on this one.

You can't say DC wasn't trying new ideas, as Joe Orlando reacalled in Comic Book Artist #1, "Carmine (Infantino) called me into his office and told me I was Joe Simon's editor. Joe had Brother Power the Geek's first issue written and drawn so I just did the paperwork. I didn't think that it was my kind of book but it was Joe Simon! Can I give him corrections?! Not me! Am I going to stand in the way of the man who originated Romance comics? So Brother Power, the Geek did not become the Newsboy Legion but it was fun working with Joe"

This first issue, "A Thing is Born," credits the story and art to Joe Simon, yet it has been widely reported that in actuality the book was co-written by Jack Oleck and drawn by Al Bare and Bill Draut. Regardless of the actual creators, the first issue opens with a motorcycle gang running over a group of hippies. Seeking refuge, some of the hippies hide in a tailor shop, and one of them puts his clothes on an old dummy to dry them by the radiator. The dummy is struck by lightning and comes to life. The motorcycle gang burst in, and the dummy fends off their attack.

The hippies quickly dub him Brother Power and alternately, the Geek (the book was originally supposed to be called “The Freak” but higher-ups at DC thought that was too drug-related). They teach the Geek to talk, but naturally it is their version of English is 60’s comic book hippie lingo.

Our two hippie friends and Brother Power go to the Psychedelic Circus Parade, but it’s actually a trap by the motorcycle gang from earlier, the Mongrels. Brother Power is kidnapped, and the hippies band together to save him, dressing in weird superhero costumes. It’s described in the actual dialogue as a “comic book hero happening!” There is a huge fight which also involves a strong man, but the good guys get free and Brother Power becomes leader of the flower children.

After this, Brother Power decides to run for congressional office (I'm not making this up), but the gang comes after him. Confronted by the gang again there is another fight and and then the cops get involved. The book ends with Brother Power driving a motorcycle off a bridge to a watery doom.

To say this is not your typical DC comic book is to put it mildly. According to Simon, the concept behind Brother Power was derived heavily from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, right down to reanimation with the use of lightning. At the same time, Simon was also attempting to capture the sort of "wandering outcast philosopher" characterization that made Marvel Comics' Silver Surfer a cult hit amongst the college student readers of the period.

Brother Power has long been regarded as one of the biggest flops in DC history; next issue being his last, but as I will go into next issue, the demise of Brother Power, the Geek had little to do, actually, nothing to do with sales. See you then.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Adventures of Jerry Lewis #108

Adventures of Jerry Lewis #108 (On Sale: July 4, 1968) has a cover at least penciled by Bob Oksner.

This issue features short stories beginning with "The Cons Who Went to Kids' Camps." That is followed by "Low I.Q. High Snafu" which was reprinted in Adventures of Jerry Lewis #121 (wow, that was quick!) and "Lion Down on the Job." I have no other information on these stories.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wonder Woman #178

Wonder Woman #178 (On Sale: July 2, 1968) introduces a radical departure for DC's #1 super-heroine as The New Wonder Woman debuts in a hip sort of cover by Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano.

"Wonder Woman’s Rival" is by Denny O'Neil, Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano and it is a radical turning point for the character, one that within two years would be totally forgotten, as if it never happened. (as a kid watching the undoing of the next few year's worth of books really pissed me off). Steve Trevor is accused of murder after he is seen getting into a fight with Alex Block shortly before the man is killed. Steve claims that he was with a female hippie at the time, but the girl cannot be found since he never learned her name (the problem with using loose hippie girls as your alibi!). Steve is forced to stand trial where Wonder Woman gives damning testimony telling the court that Steve told her Block did not deserve to live. Steve is found guilty of murder and sent to prison.

Wonder Woman hopes to clear Steve, but she is unable to blend in with the hippie culture. In her Diana Prince identity, she gets a make-over, then enters the hippie club where Steve met the girl. She is tipped off by a hippie named Buck, but he is killed before he can tell her more about the girl. Diana is able to trace the girl's ring to a pawn shop and finally gets the girl's name and address.

Diana then meets up with Steve friend Roger Seely, who was Block's business partner. They contact the girl, who can now provide an alibi for Steve. Seely, the real killer, then reveals himself and tries to kill the girls. Wonder Woman save the hippie, then captures Seely and clears Steve. When Steve begins to express a new appreciation for Diana, Wonder Woman decides it is time for her to change too. Reprinted in Diana Prince:Wonder Woman Vol. 1 TPB.

This issue only covers the changes to the Diana Prince identity, and it is really next issue that the huge changes take place, but this was such a breath of fresh air in 1968. There was always this hypocrisy in Wonder Woman/Diana Prince that bothered me and it had to do with the way she presented herself as Diana Prince. Diana pined away over the hunky Steve Trevor, who was sometimes a real asshole and not a very nice guy, simply because of his looks; it was pretty much a physical attraction. At the same time Wonder Woman created this sexless Diana Prince identity and would get pissed that Steve wasn't attracted to her and instead had the hots for the sexy Wonder Woman. Even as a kid I saw the hypocrisy in this. At least in the books for the next few years, this was removed from the series and the series was better off because of it. More on this in later issues.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Our Army at War #197

Our Army at War #197 (On Sale: July 2, 1968) has a Sgt. Rock cover by Joe Kubert. I think better coloring could have made this one more effective.

We begin with Sgt. Rock in "Last Exit for Easy" by Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath. The back-up story is "No Foxhole for Baby" by Howard Liss and Jack Abel.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Aquaman #41

Aquaman #41 (On Sale: July 2, 1968) has another cool cover by Nick Cardy.

The search for Mera continues in "The Trail of the Ring" by Steve Skeates and Jim Aparo. After returning to Atlantis, Aquaman questions a wise man about the five-sided ring worn by Mera's kidnappers. The man tells him that it likely belongs to the Marzons, a distant undersea people. Aquaman leaves Atlantis in the hands of Narkran, his deputy and undertakes his quest to find his missing wife. Aqualad wants to accompany his mentor, but is too injured to leave Atlantis.

Aquaman passes through the Depths, a shortcut that will take him to the Maarzons. He is attacked by creatures that dwell in this region of the ocean, and is forced to flee. He comes across a strange city in which the people live side-by-side with strange luminescent creatures.

The Sea King witnesses a creature attack one of the people from the city. Aquaman comes to her defense when no one else will and kills the creature. He is then arrested and made to stand trial. He then learns that the creatures provide light and heat for these people and are allowed to eat them. Because of his actions, Aquaman is considered a criminal. Reprinted in Adventure Comics #492.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Anthro #2

Anthro #2 (On Sale: July 2, 1968) has a cover by Howie Post.

Like all Anthro stories, "Apes or Men" is written and drawn by Howie Post. Anthro flees from Chief Tugg's tribe and an unfavorable marriage to Tugg's ugly daughter Ita. He is pursued by a warrior and chased into a bear's cave. The bear forces Anthro to climb a tree to escape. He is saved by the beautiful huntress Embra, who is Chief Tugg's younger daughter. Anthro and Embra pledge themselves to one another, but they must wait until Ita is wed before they can be officially married.

Anthro returns to his family as winter sets in. Food is scarce, and his younger brother Lart is unable to hunt because of a leg wound. Lart wishes to sacrifice himself to a cannibal tribe, so that his family can eat. Anthro tracks him down and brings Lart back to the cave just as a race of sub-men are attacking. Anthro fights off one attack and returns to his family's cave dwelling, but the ape men soon return.

Edited by Joe Orlando.