Friday, August 29, 2008

Detective Comics #380

Detective Comics #380 (On Sale: August 29, 1968) has a cover by Irv Novick.

"Marital-Bliss Miss" is by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Joe Giella. Virginia "Ginny" Jenkins barges in to Wayne Manor and claims to be married to Bruce Wayne. Bruce plays along with her so that he can learn the reason for her actions. Ginny fears that her brother Jim wants to kill Bruce, so she pretends to be married to him to save his life.

Batman begins investigating Jim Jenkins to learn his reasons for wanting Bruce dead. He finds that Jenkins was turned down for a Wayne Foundation grant several times by bank president and Foundation treasurer Eugene Driscoll. When Batman visits Jenkins's office, he is attacked and Jim is killed by a third party.
Batman exposes Driscoll as the killer after proving that the two men had once attempted a bank robbery together. Jenkins wanted to kill Bruce, so that Driscoll would gain full control of the Foundation funds, and he could blackmail his former partner for millions. Driscoll is caught, and Bruce's marriage hoax is ended.

The Elongated Man stars in "Fortune in a Flower Pot" by Gardner Fox and Sid Greene.
Ralph and Sue Dibny witness two men planting gold coins in a flower pot. While Ralph ponders their motives, the two men are attacked by hoods. The Elongated Man stops the crooks. He then learns that the owner of the coins Elwin Trent was planting them to analyze the soil in an attempt to find more coins buried on his dead brother's estate.

Once the mystery of the planted coins is solved, Ralph believes the hoods were hired by a coin dealer who was the only other person to know about the coins. The Elongated Man tries to prove his suspicions, but his deductions were wrong.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Captain Action #1

Captain Action #1 (On Sale: August 29, 1968) has a cover by Irv Novick. OK, I have to admit as a kid and the proud owner of a Captain Action doll, I was jazzed when this hit the stands and grabbed me a copy immediately.

"Origin of Captain Action" is by Jim Shooter and Wally Wood. This was my first exposure to the legendary Wally Wood and I loved what I saw. While on an archaeological dig in Spain Professor Clive Arno uncovers evidence that shows the Gods of many ancient cultures were actually the same alien beings. He also finds a box of coins that grant him the powers of the gods. His assistant Krellik tries to steal the coins, but is prevented from doing so. Arno then returns to America with the coins with the intention of becoming a super-hero named Captain Action.

When Arno reveals his plans to his son Carl, the boy shows him a newspaper in which Captain Action is shown as a criminal. Arno realizes that Krellik has taken his idea and corrupted it using the powers granted to him by evil gods.

When Krellik strikes again dressed as Captain Action in an attempt to frame Arno for his crime, Superman is there to stop him. However, the real Captain Action accompanied by Carl, now the costumed Action Boy push Superman out of the way to battle Krellik. While the crook escapes from the first battle, Captain Action tracks down his foe again, but is nearly killed when Krellik finds a cache of weapons left on Earth by the aliens.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Bat Lash #1

Bat Lash #1 (On Sale: August 29, 1968) has a cover by Nick Cardy. I never cared for the coloring on this one, maybe the weakest of all the Bat Lash covers.

"We're A-Comin' ta Get You" is plotted by Sergio Aragones, scripted by Denny O'Neil and drawn by Nick Cardy. Bat Lash leaves No Hope Junction to avoid a lynch mob. On the road he meets a monk named Sebastian who offers him kindness. Sebastian has one piece of a marker that leads to the lost fortune of Don Sergio Aragones. After parting ways, Sebastian is killed by outlaws seeking the marker. Bat Lash is wounded while fighting them.

Bat Lash recovers in the town of Wormhole not far from the monastery where Sebastian was headed. He tells the monks there that Sebastian was killed, but the monks are really the outlaws. They then frame Bat for Sebastian's murder.

Bat escapes from jail and locates another traveling monk who carries another marker to the treasure. He takes the monk's place and returns to the monastery. He then sells the crooks the second marker. The sheriff catches Bat on the way out, but he talks his way out of trouble. While romancing Sebastian's niece, he discovers a third marker needed to find the treasure. He allows the sheriff to take the fortune after capturing the outlaws. Bat keeps the money he made from selling the second marker and leaves town. Shamelessly never reprinted.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Adventure Comics #373

Adventure Comics #373 (On Sale: August 29, 1968) has a cover by Neal Adams.

"The Tornado Twins" is by Jim Shooter and Winslow Mortimer. An alarm summons the Legionnaires to the United Planets Vehicle Research Center, where crooks are stealing the vehicles stored there. When the super-heroes arrive, they find the crooks already bound and captured by two youths who introduce themselves as Don and Dawn Allen. Karate Kid tries to question them to no avail, and the two depart.

Later, the Legion answers an emergency summons at the Alpha Iron Mine, where people are trapped underground in a cave-in caused by malfunctioning robot workers. During their rescue attempt, several Legionnaires are overcome by the robots, and a second cave-in cuts Superboy off from his comrades. Because a Green Kryptonite meteor thwarts his attempt to dig them free, he rushes to the surface to get help. Don and Dawn Allen suddenly appear and use their abilities to vibrate through the fallen earth. Dawn causes the robots to smash against the cave wall with a wave of her hand.

The rescue gets full coverage by the press. The Legionnaires, suspicious, do some investigating, but fail to uncover any incriminating information on the Allens. When Don and Dawn reappear to save the day at a third emergency, a fire at a chemical plant, the Legion members watch them in action, then offer them membership, which the Allens refuse. An irritated Karate Kid starts a fight with Don Allen in which the others are quickly involved, but they are defeated by Don and Dawn.

When next an alarm comes in, the Legionnaires' morale is so low that they leave it unanswered, assuming that Don and Dawn will take care of it. After some moments, however, they investigate and fly to Central Square where they find a gigantic alien spaceship. Reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 8 HC.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Action Comics #368

Action Comics #368 (On Sale: August 29, 1968) has a cover by Carmine Infantino.

"The Unemployed Superman" is by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Jack Abel. Superman returns to Earth after spending time on a replica world built in Krypton's image. He quickly discovers that all crime has ceased while he was away. Every criminal on Earth has reformed. He also discovers that there have been no natural disasters. Even his old foes Mr. Mxyzptlk and Jax-Ur appear to have reformed.

Feeling useless and wanting some action Superman returns to his Fortress. He orders three of his robots to attack him. After doing so, they destroy themselves. Superman is then confronted by an alien crystal creature who identifies itself as a Sentinel. The Sentinel takes credit for making Earth a utopia and convinces Superman to go into exile on a world with a red sun.

The Supergirl back-up, "Supergirl's Stand to Save Stanhope." by Cary Bates and Kurt Schaffenberger, continues from last issue as Supergirl manages to warn Superman before he breaks through a barrier surrounding Stanhope College. He avoids a collision that would destroy the school by accelerating and traveling into the recent past. He soon discovers that Supergirl has exposed herself to Gold Kryptonite and removed her powers.

On campus, Supergirl and David Carew attempt to disarm the bomb planted by Alpha and Beta. They discover the bomb is a fake. Supergirl is then able to snap the students out of their hypnotic trance, but David is captured by the female criminals.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #115

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #115 (On Sale: August 27, 1968) has one of my favorite Neal Adams' covers of all time. I know that so much of my appreciation is due to the masterful color work on this, but I also like the almost Wally Wood inspired Superman figure and the wonderful staging of the scene fore which Adams was so well-known.

"Survival of the Fittest" is by Leo Dorfman and Pete Costanza, In a very rare-for-the-time crossover, Aquaman guest-stars. In some even rarer-for-the-time continuity, Aquaman's quest for Mera (Aquaman #40-#48) is mentioned. DC was changing folks, slowly but surely. While reporting on the maiden voyage of a new atomic submarine, Jimmy Olsen rescues the crew when the sub is caught in a whirlpool. Aquaman then arrives to help save the submarine. The whirlpool was caused by Captain Bane, the disguised identity of the Old Man of the Sea.

Seeking revenge against Aquaman and Jimmy, the Old Man of the Sea arranges for Jimmy to gain Aquaman's powers. Then disguised as Superman he arranges for Jimmy and Aquaman to prove which is the best by taking them into the desert. Jimmy is barely able to stay alive, but Aquaman appears to die. The Old Man then strands Jimmy in the middle of the ocean without powers.

When he returns to Earth, Superman apprehends the Old Man, taking the trickster to a lifeless water world where he can't trouble Earth again. Superman also reveals that Aquaman survived when his body was returned to the ocean, the water revived it. Jimmy is also still alive having found a life preserver from the Titanic floating in the ocean.

The back-up is "The Kid Who Unmasked Superman" by Dave Wood and Pete Costanza. Duncan Brite joins the Jimmy Olsen Fan Club with the intention of discovering Superman's secret identity. When Superman visits the club, Duncan gets an impression of Superman's ear, a footprint, and a strand of his hair. Duncan then compares the evidence to men at the Daily Planet. He suspects Clark Kent, but Clark realizes that Duncan's motives.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Stanley and His Monster #112

Stanley and His Monster #112 (On Sale: August 27, 1968) has a cover by Bob Oksner and Tex Blaisdell on this, its final issue.

We begin with "Like Father, Like Son?" and "Painting the Town, Red" both by persons unknown. We end with "All Kinds of Spot" written by Stanley creator Arnold Drake and drawn by Henry Scarpelli, which was reprinted in Best of DC #49.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Heart Throbs #116

Heart Throbs #116 (On Sale: August 27, 1968) has a cover by Jay Scott Pike. I'm not real crazy about this one.

We begin with "The Truth About a Lie" a reprint from Falling In Love #50 drawn by John Romita. This is followed by a Cindy the Salesgirl story drawn by Jay Scott Pike and "3 Girls--Their Lives...Their Loves, Episode 15" also drawn by Jay Scott Pike.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Hawk and the Dove #2

Hawk and the Dove #2 (On Sale: August 27, 1968) has a cover by Steve Ditko.

"Jailbreak" is by Steve Skeates and Steve Ditko. While Hank and Don Hall are vacationing on their uncle's farm, a group of convicts escape from a nearby prison. While Hank and his father run in to several of them on the road, the two prison break organizers enter the farm house where Don and his mother are staying. Don tries to get them to surrender peacefully, but is unable to convince them.

Hank returns to the farmhouse and becomes Hawk. He then tackles one of the crooks. Don becomes the Dove, but he stands by his principles and does not resort to violence. When getting physically beaten by the other crook, he is able to subdue his opponent without hitting him. After the crooks are taken into police custody, Don feels that he has proven, at least to himself, that violence is unnecessary.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Green Lantern #64

Green Lantern #64 (On Sale: August 27, 1968) has a kind of bland cover by Mike Sekowsky and Joe Giella.

"Death to Green Lantern" is by Denny O'Neil, Mike Sekowsky and Joe Giella. While performing at a charity event, Green Lantern receives a dose a radiation which makes him act irresponsibly. The Guardians notice his behavior and take away his power ring. Green Lantern is soon contacted by a Coast City criminal who gives him new power rings which utilize laser technology. Green Lantern then continues his irresponsible rampage making him the enemy of police.

Green Lantern is finally apprehended after his new power rings run out of power. He is taken to state prison and placed in a cell next to Hector Hammond. Hammond explains that he was responsible for exposing Green Lantern to the radiation and now plans to kill his old foe. However before Hammond can finish his mental assault, three hippies bail Green Lantern out of jail.

Green Lantern then confronts Hammond's henchmen that gave him the power rings. He defeats them using his own skill and fists. After the fight, a Guardian appears and explains that Green Lantern still possesses his real power ring. Hammond only made Green Lantern believe that his ring was taken away. Green Lantern then recharges his ring and restores his good name.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Girls' Romances #136

Girls' Romances #136 (On Sale: August 27, 1968) has a beautifully modish cover by Jay Scott Pike. I love the colors on this one!

We begin with "Secret Love" drawn by John Rosenberger, followed by "Letter to a Lost Love" drawn by John Romita and reprinted from Secret Hearts #91 and finally "My Time to Love Part II" drawn by Jay Scott Pike.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Brave and the Bold #80

Brave and the Bold #80 (On Sale: August 27, 1968) has a wonderful cover by Neal Adams featuring Batman and The Creeper.

"And Hellgrammite is His Name" is by Bob Haney, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano. As a huge Creeper fan I was really jazzed to see this issue wherein the Creeper visits Gotham to enlist the aid of Batman in stopping a bug-like criminal called the Hellgrammite. Batman and Commissioner Gordon consider the Creeper to be a criminal and attempt to apprehend him. Batman eventually calls a truce and together the two heroes go after the Hellgrammite.

The crook has kidnapped various gang leaders and is attempting to transform them into super-strong bug creatures like himself. Creeper locates the crooks, and Batman helps free them from the transforming cocoons before the process can be completed.

The Creeper then calls out Hellgrammite in his identity of Jack Ryder. The villain is led into a trap where Batman and the Creeper defeat him. Commissioner Gordon then arrives on the scene to arrest the Creeper. However, the Creeper is already on his way out of Gotham. This story has been reprinted in Best of the Brave and the Bold #4, 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, August 22, 2008

Swing With Scooter #15

Swing With Scooter #15 (On Sale: August 22, 1968) has a cover by Henri Scarpelli.

We begin with "Will the Real Princess Please Step Forward?" drawn by Henri Scarpelli, followed by "Lover, Lover, Run for Cover" by persons unknown and finally "Sink or Swim" by Henri Scarpelli which was later reprinted in Swing with Scooter #35.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Superboy #151

Superboy #151 (On Sale: August 22, 1968) has a pretty damn cool cover by Neal Adams.

"D.O.A. – in Cold Blood" is by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Jack Abel. While on patrol Superboy checks out a light in the Smallville High School office. Momentarily blinded by a beam of light while flying through an open window he reaches out blindly and grabs someone. When his sight returns, Superboy finds that he grabbed Lana Lang and killed her. He also finds evidence that she was stealing mid-terms from the office.

Superboy brings the body to the police station and turns himself in to Captain Hall. The police show him a note from Lana that tells them she is afraid of Superboy. An examination of the school office doesn't match Superboy's story about the accident. The Boy of Steel is then locked up.

Superboy begins to suspect Lana is still alive after he receives a note that disintegrates, and after Lana's body is missing from the coffin. Using his x-ray and telescopic vision from inside his jail cell Superboy locates Lana in the hands of Anton Lumar, a photographer who has found a method of making three dimensional photo duplicates that disintegrate.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Secret Hearts #131

Secret Hearts #131 (On Sale: August 22, 1968) has a cover by persons unknown.

We begin with "Pity -- Not Love" also by persons unknown and then move on to "Duel of Hearts" drawn by Tony Abruzzo and Bernard Sachs. This brings us to "Reach for Happiness -- Episode 22" also by persons unknown.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sugar and Spike #79

Sugar and Spike #79 (On Sale: August 20, 1968) has a cover by Sheldon Mayer.

As usual, the Sugar and Spike story "The Mystery of the Swiped Sea-Turtle," is written and drawn by Sheldon Mayer.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Metal Men #34

Metal Men #34 (On Sale: August 20, 1968) has another interesting cover by Mike Sekowsky and Jack Abel.

The Metal Men star in "Death Comes Calling" by Robert Kanigher, Mike Sekowsky and George Roussos. Continuing from last issue, the police attempt to apprehend the Metal Men after the robots have lost the public trust. The chase is interrupted when an alien from another galaxy is attracted to Earth by unusual volcanic activity. The Metal Men attempt to stop the alien, but they only succeed in endangering the authorities. The Metal Men decide to return to the lab until the authorities ask for their help. However, Tina remains in the alien's hands.

The police are unable to harm the alien either. When the alien animates store mannequins into an army, the police are forced to summon the Metal Men again. While the robots battle the wax army, Tina lures the alien into an active volcano.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Star Spangled War Stories #141

Star Spangled War Stories #141 (On Sale: August 18, 1968) has a not so impressive Enemy Ace cover by Joe Kubert. It is also the last issue to use this lack-luster Enemy Ace logo.

Inside we have Enemy Ace in "The Bull" by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert. This story was reprinted in DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #7, Enemy Ace Archives Vol. 1 HC and Showcase Presents:Enemy Ace Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Young Romance #156

Young Romance #156 (On Sale: August 13, 1968) has a cover by persons unknown. Anyone care to guess the artist?

We begin with "Love is What It's All About" pencilled by Mike Sekowsky and inked by Joe Orlando. That is followed by "Two Girls from Yesterday" drawn by Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs and reprinted from Falling In Love #57. We round out the isseu with "Surfbunnies" drawn by Bill Draut.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #87

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #87 (On Sale: August 13, 1968) has a cover by Neal Adams. This one just doesn't work for me; the Superman figure seems distorted and unnatural looking due to the angle and the Cor-Lar figure in green is only in this bizarre position so that her legs do not extent off the cover.

We begin with "Feud of the Super-Femmes" by Leo Dorfman, Irv Novick and Mike Esposito. Continuing from previous issues, Lois has gained super-powers with the help of Kandorian scientist Cor-Lar. However, the scientist forces Lois to retrieve a rare bird from another world. Lois brings the bird back to Kandor, but is told that Earth's atmosphere is now poisonous to her. Cor-Lar then takes Lois's place on Earth while Lois remains behind as a super-hero in Kandor.

Lois rescues a Kandorian archaeologist and discovers a secret cache of Jor-El's inventions. Inside the cache is a supply of Kandorite, a mineral that can remove super-powers from anyone native to Kandor. She also learns that Cor-Lar lied about Earth's atmosphere being poisonous. She returns to Earth and exposes the scientist to Kandorite to remove Cor-Lar's powers. Lois's powers wear off, and Cor-Lar is returned to Kandor to pay for her crimes.

The back-up is "The Jealous Lois Lane" from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #31 and is drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger. Lois Lane agrees to test a special emotion detecting device for Professor Potter. When Lois becomes jealous a bell will sound. As the girl reporter follows Superman around, she becomes jealous, but she prevents the bell from ringing. When she returns to the Planet, Superman is there, and the building fire alarm accidentally sounds. Everyone believes it is the bell from the emotion detector. Lois is upset because she had tried hard to make the Man of Steel believe she was not a jealous person. Wow, and they saw fit to reprint this one.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Girls' Love Stories #138

Girls' Love Stories #138 (On Sale: August 13, 1968) has a cover obviously penciled by Carmine Infantino. Anyone care to guess the inker?

We begin with "A Second Look at Love" pencilled by Ric Estrada. That is followed by "Tell Me How to Love" drawn by John Romita and Bernard Sachs. Since Romita was drawing Spider-Man at Marvel by this time this is either a reprint or something from the vault that was seeing the light of day for the first time (blow the dust off of this baby!). Lastly we have our cover-story, "Don't Leave Me Again."

Edited by Jack Miller.

G.I. Combat #132

G.I. Combat #132 (On Sale: August 13, 1968) has a pretty boring Haunted Tank cover by Joe Kubert. I blame this sort of thing on the editor, not the artist... oh, never mind.

The Haunted Tank stars in "The Executioner" by Robert Kanigher, Mike Sekowsky and Joe Giella. I don't recall Sekowsky ever doing a Haunted Tank tale. This one was reprinted in Showcase Presents: Haunted Tank Vol. 2 TPB.

The back-up story is "The Walls of Death" drawn by Jack Abel.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Unexpected #109

Unexpected #109 (On Sale: August 8, 1968) has nicely colored cover by Jack Sparling. This is the last issue with this logo (which made it a whole five issues) and it will be replaced a logo that will also last only five issues.

Johnny Peril stars in "Baptism by Starfire" by George Kashdan and Jack Sparling. Next is "The Vengeful Windmill" by Dave Wood and Bill Draut which was reprinted in Unexpected #162. Our final story is "Die, Dream Girl, Die" by Dave Wood and Jack Sparling.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Leave It To Binky #63

Leave It To Binky #63 (On Sale: August 8, 1968) has a goofy cover by Bob Oksner and Tex Blaisdell.

This issue has (Peggy -- look! A friendship pin...) from Leave it To Binky #27, (Come on, Dopey! You bark...) from Leave it To Binky #25, and (Hiya, Binky, ole boy!) from Leave it To Binky #26.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Blackhawk #243

Blackhawk #243 (On Sale: August 8, 1968) is the end of a long run that began with Blackhawk #9 in 1944 at Quality Comics. This final issue has an odd cover by Pat Boyette. Of course Blackhawk would return in 1976 for a seven-issue run and 1982 for a 23-issue run, bringing the final numbering up to 273.

This swansong is "Mission Incredible" by Bob Haney and Pat Boyette. As the Blackhawks attempt to rebuild Blackhawk Island after the attack by the Black Mask, they receive a mission to rescue Anya, the daughter of Professor Keroff from the clutches of an assassin, Strogoff. The assassin has killed Keroff and wants Anya because she possesses knowledge of the professor research and formulas. The Blackhawks break her out of Strogoff's facility in Asia, then make their way back to friendly territory, doing battle with Strogoff's men along the way. They eventually convince the assassin that Anya has perished in an explosion, so he calls off the pursuit.

When Anya is safe, she mistrusts Blackhawk because he made her throw away her beloved doll, to convince Strogoff that the girl was dead. Olaf is able to charm the girl and get her to pass along Keroff's research by inviting her to the circus.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

World's Finest Comics #179

World's Finest Comics #179 (On Sale: August 6, 1968), AKA 80pg. Giant #G-52, has a cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with "The Origin of the Superman-Batman Team" from World's Finest Comics #94 by Edmond Hamilton, Dick Sprang and Stan Kaye. Lex Luthor has escaped prison, and Superman will not let Batman help him recapture the criminal. He has instead taken a new partner, Powerman. Batman and Robin trail Superman to learn why he has refused their help.

Robin recalls the first time he and Batman met the Man of Steel. They had run across some Kryptonite smugglers and gone to warn Superman. They teamed up, but at the final stage Superman refused their help in order to protect them. Batman disguised himself as Superman anyway to assist his new friend. Together they defeated the gang.

Batman suspects Superman is protecting him again. He returns to Luthor’s cell and discovers that Luthor is using a powerful new weapon. He devises a shield to protect himself from the weapon and captures Luthor. Superman then reveals that Powerman is a robot. He used the robot to get close to his foe, because Luthor was also using Kryptonite.

Next is "The Mightiest Team in the World" from Superman #76 by Edmond Hamilton, Curt Swan and John Fischetti. This is the story where Superman and Batman discover each other’s secret identities. Both Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne board a cruise ship and end up sharing a cabin. When a fire breaks out, both switch to their alternate identities of Superman and Batman. Batman rescues Lois Lane, while Superman puts out the fire.

Later aboard ship they protect their identities from Lois Lane, while tracking down a jewel thief, John Smilter. Superman must save the ship from danger, while Batman captures Smilter and once again rescues Lois. When the ship arrives at port, the duo once again protects their secret identities from Lois.

This is followed by "Batman – Double for Superman" from World's Finest Comics #71 by Alvin Schwartz, Curt Swan and Stan Kaye. Superman rescues Batman and Robin, when the Bat-plane is shot down by crooks. In the process, Lois Lane witnesses Clark Kent change into Superman. Batman and Superman agree to switch identities to confuse Lois, so she won’t realize she has discovered Superman’s secret identity.

Superman disguised as Batman follows the crooks, but is felled by a piece of Kryptonite. Meanwhile, Batman disguised as Superman tries to convince Lois that Superman is Bruce Wayne. When Superman fails to return Batman tracks him down at the crooks’ hide-out. Lois also arrives, discovering Clark wearing the Batman costume. Batman rescues Clark from the Kryptonite and apprehends the crooks. Lois is still confused by the secret identity situation and believes it was a prank perpetrated by Superman.

Next is "When Gotham City Challenged Metropolis" from World's Finest Comics #76 by Edmond Hamilton, Curt Swan and Stan Kaye. Superman and Batman compete in a contest to determine which whether Gotham City or Metropolis will host a science convention. Superman patrols Gotham and performs four feats in the allotted time frame. Batman is able to perform five feat in Metropolis, earning him the victory for Gotham City.

Batman tried hard to win the contest because one of the inventions on display at the convention emits Kryptonite rays. When the machine is tested, Superman is nearby and weakened. However, the machine malfunctions and destroys itself. Superman then reveals he performed a fifth feat, so the convention is held in both cities.

"The Dictator of Kandor" from World's Finest Comics #100 is next, by Bill Finger, Dick Sprang and Stan Kaye. Luthor has invented a belt which reduces him and his gang to tiny size. Using the belts, Luthor sets up a trap for Superman. Unknown to Superman, he brings Luthor into the Fortress of Solitude inside a machine Luthor has built to use as a Trojan horse.

Once inside the Fortress, Luthor infiltrates the bottled city of Kandor. Superman follows him inside, but without his powers in the Kandorian City, he is captured by Luthor’s gang. Luthor then forces the citizens of Kandor to give him their advanced weapons.

Following a lead of their own, Batman and Robin arrive at the Fortress and enter Kandor. They rescue Superman and take on Luthor with him. Luthor is victorious and leaves Kandor. However, the heroes are still alive and follow him outside. Superman and Batman remain tiny in size because the belts they used were broken, but Superman’s powers return. Together they defeat Luthor and his men.

Lastly we have "The Club of Heroes" from World's Finest Comics #89 by Edmond Hamilton, Dick Sprang and Stan Kaye. Superman, Batman, and several heroes from around the world are called together to form a Club of Heroes. The members decide to elect the chairman of the club based on heroic deeds performed that week. Each hero is selfless and wants another to be elected chairman, so they don’t take credit for their own rescues.

Superman is knocked unconscious by an unknown force while stopping a lightning storm. An unknown hero, Lightning-Man, appears and accomplishes Superman’s duties. The next day a similar event happens and Lightning-Man once again makes the scene while Superman is incapacitated.

Batman suspects that Lightning-Man is behind Superman’s problems. He suspects that the new hero is trying to win chairmanship in the club which is exactly what happens.

When Lightning-Man appears again however, Batman proves that the identity of the new hero is Superman himself. An orbiting piece of Kryptonite is affecting him causing him to assume another identity. The Kryptonite is removed, Superman returns to normal, and he remains chairman of the club.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Secret Six #4

Secret Six #4 (On Sale: August 6, 1968) has only a so-so cover by Jack Sparling.

"Escape for an Enemy" is plotted by E. Nelson Bridwell, scripted by Joe Gill and drawn by Jack Sparling. This issue focuses on King Savage. The Hollywood stunt man had been a fighter pilot during the Korean War. After having been shot down and captured by the North Koreans, he escaped imprisonment and made it back to his own lines in time to warn U.N. forces of an imminent Chinese ambush. But while imprisoned, under torture, King revealed valuable information about American forces. As he reveals here, it was Mockingbird who provided King the tools and weapons which enabled him to escape prison in time to warn the U. N. troops of the North Korean ambush.

The Six's mission is to rescue a North Korean general from the Red Chinese before he can be executed as a traitor and to turn him over to the U.S. authorities for interrogation. This general just happens to have been the commandant of the prison camp where King was held during the war and the one who forced King to betray his country.

This issue has another example of Dick Giordano's "hands off" style of editing, giving his writers and artists pretty much free reign to create as they saw fit, causing mistakes to be made.

In this issue Joe Gill wrote a thought balloon for Carlo that says, "If Doc is Mockingbird…I had to make this look good!" Now since the underlying gimmick to this entire series is that one of the members of the Secret Six is actually Mockingbird, and nobody knows who he is, this little faux pas just eliminated Carlo from suspicion and therefore weakened the basic premise of the entire series.

I wish I was home and could get hold of my Secret Six issues as some people on the net say this "mistake" actually took place in issue #2, not issue #4. Argh! Who to trust, who to trust?

Edited by Dick Giordano.

DC Special #1

DC Special #1 (On Sale: August 6, 1968), or as they called it, "The Daring and the Different," a, wow I've never seen one of these before, reprint book! This first issue is a tribute to Carmine Infantino, at this point, the head of DC Comics and sports a cover by said head honcho.

We begin with "The Mystery of the Menacing Mask," a Batman story from Detective Comics #327 by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella. This story introduces the "New Look" Batman, which included changes to the general direction of the feature. The stories now rely less on science fiction, aliens, and giant monsters. Instead the stories focus on Batman's detective abilities and include more down-to-Earth opponents. Other changes include the loss of Batman's supporting cast: Batwoman, Bat-Girl, Bat-Mite, and Ace the Bat-Hound.

Artistically, the "New Look" includes a stylistic change to the pencils of Carmine Infantino. Bob Kane had gotten credit for all Batman stories up to this point even though the vast majority were done by ghost artists. His name no longer appears on the stories.

Batman's costume now includes a yellow oval around the Bat-symbol on his chest. This change was first seen in World's Finest Comics #141, which predates this story.

While trailing a jewel thief, Batman is caught in an explosion. He is unharmed, but a red "X" suddenly appears on his forehead. A similar mark appears on Robin's forehead, then both marks disappear. After analyzing his mask, Batman is able to trace the chemical in the mark to Frank Fenton, the thief. However, Fenton is able to use the marks to paralyze Batman and Robin, then escape.

Batman and Robin decide to search Gotham Village, where several crooks have disappeared, to locate Fenton. They meet Linda Greene, who shows them a map with an "X" like the one on their foreheads. Batman then follows Linda's fiance James Greene. The trail leads to an underworld hide-out. Fenton is there and tries to protect the crooks using his power over Batman. However, Batman and Robin use lead liners on their heads to protect themselves from the paralyzing rays. After taking down the crooks, including Fenton, Batman learns that the hide-out is run by the leader of a Committee to Preserve Gotham Village, Roland Meacham.

Next is "The Doorway to the Unknown," a Flash story from Flash #148, and also created by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella. When Flash returns home after an adventure, he finds Fred Dallman waiting in his apartment. Dallman explains that he has embezzled money from his bank and that another man, David Dean, was convicted of the crime. Dean was sent to prison and is now a hostage held by escaped convicts. After Dallman finishes his story, he disappears.

Flash races to Arizona City where the jail break occurred. He finds and rescues Dean, who explains that his brother Jack is also in trouble. Flash protects Jack, who is being recruited by some hoodlums. Then Flash searches for Dallman. Flash learns that Dallman died in a car crash before he confessed in Barry's apartment. Flash finds the money and clears Dean, but he remains puzzled by the after-death appearance of Dallman.

This is followed by "The Scientific Crook-Catcher," a Detective Chimp story from Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #29 and created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino. Bobo, the Detective Chimp, goes undercover as a scientist to enter a science convention in search of criminal Larry the Lynx. Bobo tries to maintain his cover, but his disguise is pulled off by one of the machines. Bobo suspects Larry the Lynx was responsible and unmasks the crook. Bobo then chases Larry through the exhibit hall and eventually makes the capture.

Next we have "Mystery of the Giant Footprints," an Adam Strange story from Mystery In Space #57, by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson. When Adam Strange returns to Rann using the Zeta Beam, Alanna takes him to visit a sinking island where they encounter several giants. The giants are Rhollians, an alien race which is affected by the metal Orichalkum. The presence of the metal is the galaxy has caused their race to grow, and it will eventually kill them. The aliens have found Orichalkum on the island and plan to sink it as they did ancient Atlantis. With the island and the Orichalkum underwater, it cannot affect them.

Adam and Alanna are briefly captured, but escape and lead the Rhollians on a chase across the island. The island begins to sink, as it does on a regular basis, convincing the aliens that their work is done. They leave the planet, and Adam and Alanna are rescued. Alanna plans to send a ship after them to insure they do not return.

We end with "Challenge of the Headless Baseball Team," a Strange Sports story from Brave and the Bold #45 by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella.

Besides the obvious fact that this was just a reprint book, I found myself buying most issues of DC Special.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Atom & Hawkman #39

Atom & Hawkman #39 (On Sale: August 6, 1968). Say good-bye to the Atom, say good-bye to Hawkman, and say hello to the Atom and Hawkman book taking over the numbering from the Atom and sporting the first of seven wonderful covers by Joe Kubert.

They began this new merged book with a merged Atom/Hawkman story, "Vengeance of the Silver Vulture," by Robert Kanigher, Murphy Anderson and Joe Giella. The Halls and Ray Palmer, on vacation in Mexico City, are told a prophecy that wings will come between them. Shayera goes shopping alone, while Carter and Ray take a helicopter to see Mayan ruins where they rescue a boy from a trained puma. The animal was set upon him by the descendent of an ancient high priest because he had dared to stop an animal sacrifice. This priest, Tekla, has sent his followers into a dangerous mine to seek the Silver Vulture, an artifact which is a supposed harbinger of evil for the tribe. Katar stops them, and the Atom enters the mine instead.

He finds the statue, but it releases gases that cause him to hate all winged creatures. When he leaves the mine, he knocks out Hawkman, and the priest gets the Vulture. Shayera is summoned to help, but is captured by Tekla, anaesthetized, and dressed as a reincarnation of his high priestess. When her husband sees her, he fails to recognize her.

Hawkman sends a vulture to bring Ray back, but the Atom kills the bird. The Atom returns to the village with Miguel, the boy he had helped rescue earlier, and once there, a lightning bolt restores his senses. He frees Hawkman, Hawkgirl frees herself, and they overcome the Mayans. The Silver Vulture melts on the sacrificial pyre. Reprinted in Showcase Presents:Hawkman Vol. 2 TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Superman #210

Superman #210 (On Sale: August 1, 1968) has an interesting cover by Neal Adams.

"Clark Kent's Last Rites" is by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and Mike Esposito. Superman assumes the identity of a mystic named Astar to trap a superstitious crook, Rabbit-Foot Willie. After the crooks are caught, Superman notices that Lois is strangely attracted to Astar. He decides to fake the death of Clark Kent and begins romancing Lois in the guise of the fortune-teller. Superman makes Lois feel guilty about her previous treatment of Clark. When Clark's memory begins to come between her and Astar, Superman resumes his role as Clark Kent. Lois is happy that her friend is still alive, and she vows to treat him better.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Our Army at War #198

Our Army at War #198 (On Sale: August 1, 1968) has an intersting Sgt. Rock cover by Joe Kubert.

Our cover story is the Sgt. Rock adventure "Plugged Nickel" by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert. Next is "Killer – Man Fish" by Robert Kanigher and Charles Cuidera. Lastly we have a reprint from Star Spangles War Stories #88, "The Sergeant is a Monkey," by Hank Chapman and Russ Heath.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Falling In Love #102

Falling In Love #102 (On Sale: August 1, 1968) has a cover by John Rosenberger.

The issue begins with "No More Love for Me" a story reprinted in Young Romance #197. Next is "Deceiving Heart" a reprint from Heart Throbs #83 drawn by Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs. Lastly is our cover story "Too Late for Love" drawn by John Rosenberger.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Challengers of the Unknown #64

Challengers of the Unknown #64 (On Sale: August 1, 1968) has a cover by Joe Kubert that I have always loved.

"Invitation to a Hanging" is by Robert Kanigher and Jack Sparling. The Challengers are invited to the execution of three criminals who vow to seek revenge from the grave. After the convicts are killed, the judge and district attorney who convicted them are killed by their apparent ghosts. The Challengers investigate and discover the grave of their boss Doc Hemlock is empty.

The Challengers are captured and taken to Hemlock's hideout. The crook is actually still alive and is using robot duplicates of the executed convicts to exact his revenge.

The back up story is the origin of the Challengers, "The Secrets of the Sorcerer's Box," a reprint from Showcase #6 by Dave Wood and Jack Kirby. Four men, Rocky Davis, Ace Morgan, Red Ryan, and Prof. Haley are scheduled to appear on the television show "Heroes". Ace is piloting the plane carrying the men to the show. The plane runs into poor weather, causing it to crash. The men miraculously survive. Red’s watch which should have been destroyed works perfectly, causing Ace to suppose the men are living on "borrowed time". At Prof’s suggestion, the men band together to take more risk as the Challengers of the Unknown.

A request for the daredevil services comes in from Morelian, an alleged descendant of Merlin. His assignment for the Challs is to open a mystic box that has four segments.

On a deserted island, Rocky opens the first compartment. Inside is a giant egg which hatches overnight into a giant humanoid creature. The creature walks across the ocean destroying ships and taking Red in the process. Ace and Prof. pursue the monster which eventually drops Red. Prof. eventually figures that the monster is composed of pure thought and wishes the creature away.

Red is returned to the island where Rocky has opened the second segment of the box. A freezing sun is inside which draws the heat from everything, freezing Rocky. Red manages to trap the sun in a vacuum sealed container.

Ace and Prof. return to the island, and Ace opens the third segment. A device which spins a web of plastic flies out at tremendous speed. The Challs follow the device to Australia, eventually gaining control over it with the container it was originally contained in.

When the Challs return to the island, Morelian has opened the final section of the box. Inside is a ring which supposedly gives him immortality. He flies off in his plane, but quickly crashes down upon the box. The box has what contained the immortality not the ring, which was sudden death.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.