Friday, September 12, 2008

Showcase #78

Showcase #78 (On Sale: September 12, 1968) has very nice Johnny Double cover by Dick Giordano.

"Meet Jonny Double..." is plotted by Marv Wolfman, scripted by Joe Gill and drawn by Jack Sparling. Down-on-his-luck private investigator Jonny Double gets a case to help Wilson Twain, a financier who has received death threats from the synicate. Jonny begins questioning underworld informants and draws the attention of the criminals. After taking a beating, Jonny traces the crooks to businessmen Piker and Glass. He is spotted snooping in their office, and the crooks try to kill him. Jonny stays alive and defeats the crooks, leaving them for Lt. Branigan his former boss on the police force.

The last five single issue debuts in Showcase resulted in five six-issue series, but Johnny Double would not be so lucky. The story I have read, and I don't remember where, is that Johnny Double was supposed to be a "Disguise Expert/Bodyguard," who would through the use of disguise become the body double of someone targeted for murder. For some reason the "Double" name was kept, but the concept was jettisoned. Four years later Len Wein would revisit that concept in The Human Target in the pages of Action Comics.

As for Johnny Double, he was a character that, for a time, would not die. He was revived in 1970 in Challengers of the Unknown #79 (an issue also featuring Deadman and a few pages drawn by Neal Adams) and then more famously went on for a stint in Wonder Woman beginning in 1972.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

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