Friday, September 5, 2008

Brother Power, the Geek #2

Brother Power, the Geek #2 (On Sale: September 5, 1968) has a cover by the legendary Joe Simon, the creator of Brother Power. Not a bad cover this time out.

"A Visit from the Dead" is by Joe Simon though like last issue the artwork is generally credited to Al Bare and Bill Draut and Jack Oleck is considered the co-writer. As we last left Brother Power, the Geek he had driven his motorcycle off a bridge to a watery doom. As we pick up the story while fishing some kids accidentally hook a Geek. Then a guy named the Baron decides to steal Brother Power’s boots, so then he and his gang fly their homemade bi-plane to go do it.

Brother Power kicks their butts and recaps his origin. The kids get him a job in a market, where he starts as a mover and bag boy but moves up the ranks. He ends up finding work and encouraging other hippies (the group from the first issue show up) to do so, eventually getting hired by the J.P. Acme Corporation just as it was taken over by the wicked Lord Sliderule. Brother Power's ingenuity still made the assembly line run more efficiently.

Lord Sliderule launches an unmanned space missile that malfunctions and explodes and the factory is surrounded by tanks who want to destroy the Geek. Geek runs into the Baron, who has become a hippie, and has a glider crash into the tanks. Brother Power was last seen being shot into space on orders from Governor Ronald Reagan, after trying to prevent the sabotage of a rocket launch by Mad Dawg and his gang, knowing it would be blamed on hippies. yeah, it wasn't the tightest of plots.

This was the final issue of Brother Power, The Geek and it has long been regarded as one of the biggest flops in DC history. However, the demise of Brother Power, the Geek had little to do, actually, nothing to do with sales. While sales were modest, Brother Power's real problem was with some of the old-time DC staff. To be precise, Mort Weisinger.

Carmine Infantino has claimed in several interviews following his retirement that Superman editor Mort Weisinger disliked the character very strongly, and petitioned DC publisher Jack Liebowitz to shut down the title. Infantino and others who knew and worked with "Uncle Mortie" have said that Weisinger harbored an admitted dislike for the hippie subculture of the 60's, and felt that Simon portrayed them too sympathetically.

According to Joe Simon, the third issue was canceled just before the finished artwork was to be set up for print duplication, and to this day Simon refuses to discuss exactly what the plot of this issue was about, nor release any of the original art.

Would Brother Power, the Geek ever became a mainstream hit at DC? I kind of doubt it, but it certainly would have had a longer shot. Most of the books that DC killed during this time period were given a full year to make it or die; Geek never got that shot.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

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