Saturday, November 29, 2008

Holiday Shopping Ideas

This is a detour from our normal entries here.

The holidays are quickly approaching and I, for one, am always on the look-out for gift ideas for my friends and family. Here are a couple of ideas from Asgard Press of Wilmington Delaware. Asgard's main line of business seems to be posters, calendars and notecards for university alumni, but they also make a couple of products that are dead on for the pop culture enthusiast on our shopping list.

The first is the Vintage DC Comics Super Heroes 2009 Wall Calendar. Starting with September 2008 and going through December 2009 you get monthly calendars featuring sixteen classic covers from the Golden and Silver Ages of DC Comics. These are archival-quality reproductions printed using eco-friendly soy-based inks on 100% recycled heavy stock. The calendar opens out to 11"x30" and each page has a perforated 11"x14" cover, removable and suitable for framing, so unlike many calendars that are next to useless once the month has past, this one affords other opportunities to enjoy the artwork. I can't say enough about the quality of this calendar; it's really beautifully done.

The calendar also has two introductions to these classic DC covers, The Golden Age and Silver Ages of Comic Books, By Bill Jourdain and Shoulder to Shoulder: Comic Book Heroes in the Golden and Silver Ages, By Dr. Arnold T. Blumberg. Covers included are Superman #9, Showcase #4 (the first Silver Age Flash), The Brave and the Bold #28 (the first Justice League of America), Batman #27, World's Finest #4, Showcase #60 (the return of The Spectre). Wonder Woman #1, Action #252 (the first Supergirl), Detective #359 (the first Batgirl), Green Lantern #1, Justice League of American #21 (the return of the Justice Society of America), Captain Marvel #6, Flash Comics #37, Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #1, Batman #44 and Comic Cavalcade #13.

Also from Asgard and in the same format is the Vintage MAD Magazine 2009 Calendar with an introduction by Maria Reidelbach, author of Completely MAD: A History of the Comic Book and Magazine entitled "Alfred for President!" Each page also contains six small reproductions of inside pages from each magazine. Covers include #105 (Batman and Alfred E. Robin by Norman Mingo), #52 featuring a beautiful carolers cover by Kelly Freas, #137 which has a nice Jack Davis cover, #5 (a comic book cover by Bill Elder), #186 (Jack Rickard's "The Mad Start Trek Musical" cover) and Don Martin's brilliant dueling corner Santa's cover from issue #68 among others. Another wonderful product from Asgard.

Both calendars sell for $18.95 and can be purchased on the Asgard on-line website. Shipping is $3.99 a calendar or free if you buy more than $50.00 worth (that's two for gifts and one for yourself, or vice versa!). Check them out and support a small press guy putting out a wonderful, quality product.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Detective Comics #383

Detective Comics #383 (On Sale: November 28, 1968) has a cover by Irv Novick.

We begin with "The Fortune-Cookie Caper" by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Joe Giella. While dining in a Chinese restaurant, Robin accidentally intercepts a coded message inside a fortune cookie. Crooks attack and steal the message, but not before Robin reads it. The message is an old Chinese joke about a prisoner in a bakery. Robin suspects the joke is literal and searches a nearby bakery, while Batman follows another theory.

Batman finds the men who stole the message. They are hijacking a shipment of fortune cookies being used to smuggle pearls into the country. Robin finds the leaders of the pearl smugglers at the bakery, but is captured. Batman rescues him and apprehends the rest of the smugglers.

The back-up Elongated Man story, "Pursuit of the Bugged Bandits," is by Gardner Fox and Sid Greene. Continuing from last issue, the Elongated Man is knocked out while trying to apprehend a gang of jewel thieves. Fortunately young Billy Warner has placed a coin with a transmitter inside the crooks' car. Ralph uses the transmitter to find the getaway car which was stolen by a street gang. He questions the gang members to learn where they got the car. The Elongated Man then finds and apprehends the thieves.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Adventure Comics #376

Adventure Comics #376 (On Sale: November 28, 1968) has a cover by Curt Swan and Neal Adams.

"The Execution of Chameleon Boy" is by Jim Shooter and Winslow Mortimer. Continuing from last issues, Bouncing Boy finds himself in an extra-dimensional world not unlike that of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, whose people use modern technological implements which nonetheless resemble ancient devices. He learns that Kodar the Black Vassal, a powerful baron, seeks the hand of the kingdom's Princess Elwinda, daughter of King Artros, and then the kingdom itself. Since none of Artros's men dare to face him, a challenge was issued to the Legion of Super-Heroes' mightiest member. If the Legionnaire defeats Kodar, he will win the princess's hand.

When instruments indicate that Bouncing Boy is not what he seems, he is revealed as Chameleon Boy, who had disguised himself as Bouncing Boy, while his pet, Proty II, became a duplicate of his master. Since the real Bouncing Boy had been knocked unconscious during the battle, Chameleon Boy had decided to borrow Bouncing Boy's identity, hoping it would help him win the contest.

Touring the kingdom in the form of a bird, Chameleon Boy sees Princess Elwinda in a walled garden and flies to her. Although initially afraid of his powers and alien appearance, she soon accepts him for what he is, and the two grow close. When the Legionnaire is summoned before Artros and his council, however, he is informed that he will not be allowed to fight Kodar because he might win, and an alien cannot be permitted to claim Elwinda. When he rebels, they imprison him, and Elwinda fruitlessly pleads his case.

Some days later, Kodar and his forces attack. Artros and his men fall before him, but Chameleon Boy's cell is blasted open during the course of the battle. Chameleon Boy then defeats Kodar and is honored by a grateful Artros. He asks to marry Elwinda, and a ceremony is performed on the battlefield in which the couple takes vows under raised axes.

Meanwhile, the Legionnaires have realized that Chameleon Boy is missing, and are using the seven stones of Alactos to search the dimensions for him. When they suddenly find him, they suppose that he is about to be executed, and so use a teleport ray to bring him back to Earth, permanently sealing the dimensional passage between the two worlds in the process. Reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 8 HC.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Action Comics #371

Action Comics #371 (On Sale: November 28, 1968) has a fairly nice cover by Curt Swan and Neal Adams.

We begin with "The President of Steel" by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Jack Abel. Continuing from last issues, while using an alien super-computer Clark Kent is attacked by a spy named Agent Zero-Zero. Clark must pretend to be unconscious to protect his secret identity, but a invisible ray from the computer wipes out his memory. The spy then places Clark in a helicopter which crashes. Upon impact Clark revives, but with no memory of either identity. His powers and super-costume soon convince him that he is Superman, but he does not remember that he is Clark Kent.

Superman tries to solve the puzzle of his other identity. When he tries to ask the President for help, he learns that he is missing. Superman assumes that he might be the President and soon takes his place. Superman then acts as leader of the country and as a super-hero.

Meanwhile, the spy Agent Zero-Zero has assumed Clark's identity. He meets the President at a press function and acts to protect the President to further his cover. Superman, as the President, awards Clark a medal. Soon thereafter Superman learns that the real President was at sea on a secret mission. He explains his mistake to the real President, then resumes his search for his own secret identity.

The back-up Supergirl story, "The Supergirl Best-Seller," is by Leo Dorfman and Kurt Schaffenberger. Librarian Hilda Powell publishes a book about Supergirl. The book contains many secrets that Hilda should not know about. Supergirl questions Hilda and tries to have the book recalled, but her efforts fail.

Supergirl tries to discover how Hilda possesses knowledge of her adventures. When Hilda claims that she plans to publish another book about Supergirl's future life, the Girl of Steel realizes where Hilda got her information. Supergirl briefly moved the library into the future to protect it from an alien attack. She hypothesizes that a person from the future left a biography of Supergirl's life in the library before she returned it to the present.

When Supergirl finds the book, she reads a small section detailing how she prevented a disaster from occurring. Supergirl then acts differently to prevent the disaster. As a result the book from the future ceases to exist, and the knowledge disappears from the memories of all involved.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Teen Titans #19

Teen Titans #19 (On Sale: November 26, 1968) has a nice cover by Nick Cardy.

"Stepping Stones for a Giant Killer" is by Mike Friedrich, Gil Kane and Wally Wood. This is Mike Friedrich's only Teen Titans story. His plans to defeat the Justice League mocked by Headmaster Mind, an old JLA foe, Punch, a teenage would-be-super-villain, vows to prove himself by destroying the Teen Titans first. Speedy rejoins the Titans, and he and Wonder Girl are captured by Punch when they investigate racial riots at a New England high school. At the same time, Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad are defeated by high-frequency sound and light devices while on a mission to a midwestern community.

Reunited as Punch's prisoners, the Titans use teamwork to escape his traps and overcome the youthful villain and his followers. Afterward, Aqualad returns to Atlantis for an extended leave, ostensibly in order to look after the infant Aquababy while Aquaman is involved in a quest for his missing wife, Mera. this kind of cross referencing of plots was unusual for DC at the time but something editor Dick Giordano would do often. Speedy becomes Aqualad's replacement among the Titans. Reprinted in Super-Team Family #1 and Showcase Presents: Teen Titans Vol. 2 TPB.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #117

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #117 (On Sale: November 26, 1968) has a cover by Curt Swan and Neal Adams.

We begin with the punly-titled "The Planet of the Capes" by Otto Binder and Pete Costanza. Jimmy and Professor Lang find an alien device in the desert that was left on Earth millions of years ago. The device transports Jimmy to a parallel universe where the rich wear capes and slaves do not. Since Jimmy is not wearing a cape he is arrested as a slave.

Jimmy is taken to an auction where he is purchased by a duplicate of Clark Kent who wears a Superman cape. Jimmy learns that cloth is rare on this world which makes the capes prized possessions. When Jimmy finds stolen money in Clark's office, he reports him to the police, only to discover that Clark is actually a hero on this world.

Jimmy is sold again at auction to Perry White. Jimmy helps him track down a missing Batman cape, before being sold to his own double, the Jimmy Olsen of this world. After helping his double perform a circus act for a movie, Jimmy makes his own cape out of the clothing he was wearing when he came to this world. Now that he owns a cape, he gains his freedom.

Jimmy's new cape causes him to be noticed by Mr. X, the designer of the capes. Jimmy meets Mr. X and learns that he is Jor-El who escaped Krypton's destruction in this universe. The capes Jor-El created wer duplicated from ones he saw when a group of heroes from Jimmy's universe visited this world. Jimmy is then sent back to his own universe when Jor-El uses a Dimension Zone ray on him.

The back-up story is "The Son of Jimmy Olsen," from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #56 and created by Jerry Siegel and Kurt Schaffenberger. Jimmy Olsen and Lucy Lane have married and had a son, Jimmy Olsen Jr. Jimmy Jr. falls in love with the daughter of Lois Lane and Clark Kent, Lola Kent. Lola however, cannot marry Jimmy because she is secretly Supermaid. When Jimmy learns this, he finds a plant which gives him super powers, enabling them to get married. Lois Lane is also given powers by the plant serum. Luthor, however, exposes the family to a gas which removes their powers, and since both Superman and Supermaid revealed their secret identities to the world, the underworld can now strike at their families.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Green Lantern #66

Green Lantern #66 (On Sale: November 26, 1968) has a cover by Mike Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson.

"5708 A.D.... a Nice Year to Visit -- But I Wouldn’t Want to Live Then" is by John Broome, Mike Sekowsky and Joe Giella. Green Lantern returns to the future era which he has often visited and is reunited with Dasor and Iona Vane. They explain that machines are now performing all the work on the planet, and humans are allowed to relax. GL discovers that the people including Dasor and Vane are under the control of an alien named Gudron. When defeated Gudron disintegrates, and the people are free from his control.

Green Lantern attempts to return to his own time period, but an unseen force stops him. When he consults Iona and Dasor, he discovers them hypnotized again. This time the culprit is Gudron's boss, Vortan. GL defeats him too, then realizes that both aliens were created by a computer than has achieved independent intelligence. Green Lantern destroys the computer, permanently ending the threat, before returning to his own time period.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Girls' Romances #138

Girls' Romances #138 (On Sale: November 26, 1968) has a cover penciled by Vince Colletta.

We begin with "Love from a Stranger" penciled by Tony Abruzzo and later reprinted in Love Stories #152. That is followed by "Romance Without Love" inked by Bernard Sachs, which must be a reprint from somewhere and "Bring Me Your Heart" which is reprinted from Falling In Love #28 and penciled by John Forte. The book ends with "Letters of Heartbreak" penciled by Vince Colletta and repornted in Young Love #112.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Date With Debbi #1

Date With Debbi #1 (On Sale: November 26, 1968) has a cover by Samm Schwartz. This may be the only Dick Giordano edited book I not only did not buy but I don't think I ever saw on the stands.

We begin with Debbi in "Detention's the Thing," in which Debbi bumps into the new boy in school, Todd and gets detention

That is followed by Binky in "Training Blacks and Blues". Binky gets on the football team

We end with Debbi in "Eeeek -- It's a Heap."  Buddy picks up the girls in a Jeep to go to the Country Club. All of these are by persons unknown.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Superboy #153

Superboy #153 (On Sale: November 21, 1968) has a cover by Neal Adams. I remember buying this book, being hooked by this cover.

"Challenge of the Cosmic Invaders" is by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Wally Wood. This was the beginning of Wally Wood's run as inker of Superboy, a run which would last almost a year. Superboy discovers that everyone in Smallville has suddenly vanished. A race of invisible aliens takes credit. They demand that Superboy bring them all the world's leaders or they will not restore the residents of Smallville to existence. Superboy constructs robot duplicates of the world leaders which the aliens take over. Superboy then hypnotizes them into surrender.

One alien escapes from Superboy and renews his demands. The Boy of Steel then creates a special liquid compound which he sprays over the town square which makes the alien visible. The creature changes into a gaseous form to escape. Superboy inhales the creature into his indestructible body then blows the creature into an indestructible glass prison. After the alien threat is neutralized, Superboy returns to the town square to clean up his mess.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Strange Adventures #216

Strange Adventures #216 (On Sale: November 14, 1968) ends Deadman's run with a wonderful cover by Neal Adams.

"But I Still Exist" is written and drawn by Neal Adams and it is a visual tour de force. Continuing from last issue, Deadman leaves the lair of the League of Assassins after he is unable to prevent Hook's death. He is surprised to find Vashnu waiting outside with a scroll that mentions the hidden land of Nanda Parbat. Deadman also watches the Sensei order Willie Smith to destroy it. Deadman decides to tag along with Willie to thwart his mission.

When over the appropriate airspace Deadman fights Willie using the body of a pilot. Willie falls from the plane, but uses a parachute to survive. Deadman floats down to the Earth, but becomes solid when he enters Nanda Parbat. No longer a ghost, Deadman meets Taj Ze and Lotus, residents of this strange land of peace.

Deadman learns that if he leaves the city he will become a ghost again. He confronts Rama Kushna who can be reached via a temple guarded by Taj Ze. Rama agrees to allow Deadman to remain on Earth as a force for good to achieve balance. Deadman then leaves Nanda Parbat and becomes a ghost once again. He is followed by Lotus, who is dragged outside by Willie Smith where she becomes evil again. Reprinted in Deadman #7 and continued in the Brave and the Bold #86.

This book is known though for Neal Adams' amazing pop art effects. My favorite was the page where if you look at the panels as a whole it is a giant face of Deadman.

Thanks to Robbie Reed over at Dial B for Blog for these crisp and clear shots of Neal's' Deadman work.

This book was meant to be the start of a new Deadman. With his killer found Rama Kushna gives Deadman a new mission, to ""balance the forces of good and evil" in the world. We only get a peek at this in the Brave and the Bold follow-up and that's too bad. I would have loved to see where Adams would have taken this character for which he obviously had so much affection.

The back-up story was "I Lost My Past," a reprint from Tales of the Unexpected #3 drawn by Mad Magazine's own Mort Drucker.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Secret Hearts #133 (On Sale: November 21, 1968) has a cover that looks like pure Dick Giordano to me.

We begin with "Love, Love, Go Away" penciled by Tony Abruzzo. That is followed by "Long After Heartbreak" inked by Bernard Sachs, which must be a reprint from somewhere. Next we have an untitled Cindy the Salesgirl story drawn by Winslow Mortimer. The book ends with "Reach for Happiness, Episode 24" by persons unknown.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Beware the Creeper #5

Beware the Creeper #5 (On Sale: November 21, 1968) has a cover by Steve Ditko.

"The Color of Rain is Death" is by Denny O'Neil, Steve Ditko and Mike Peppe. Peppe last worked for DC on Mr. District Attorney #27 in 1952 and world ink only a hand-full of DC books in the next few years before disappearing completely. Continuing from last issue, after the Creeper's battle with Sumo, he tracks down Bulldog Bird. When he confronts Bird about being an agent of Proteus, he is struck from behind. When he recovers he discovers that Proteus has framed Jack Ryder. Using a clue he got from Sumo, the Creeper tracks down Proteus. However, police interrupt the battle and arrest him in his Jack Ryder identity.

Jack is able to convince his boss Bill Brane that he is not Proteus. After being released from jail, Creeper tracks down Proteus again. Their battle leads to the sewers where Creeper is momentarily blinded. Proteus gains the upper hand. Before leaving the Creeper to drown, Proteus shows his foe his true identity.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Anthro #4

Anthro #4 (On Sale: November 21, 1968) has a cover by Howie Post.

"The Prophecy" continues the story of Anthro and is written and drawn by Howie Post. Anthro and his family are welcomed into a tropical city heated by hot springs. The people of the city believe Lart is a child of prophecy and make him their king. Queen Flamma, the former leader of the matriarchy prior to Lart's arrival, tries to seduce Anthro as a means of controlling the boy king. When Anthro resists her, Flamma's minister Omal tricks Lart into signing his brother's death warrant. When quakes strike the city, Flamma tries to sacrifice Lart to her goddess. Anthro rescues his brother, and the family escapes the city using a raft.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Spectre #8

Spectre #8 (On Sale: November 19, 1968) has a really cool cover by Nick Cardy.

"The Parchment of Power Perilous" is by Steve Skeates, Jerry Grandenetti and Murphy Anderson. This is Skeates' first work ad DC for someone other than Dick Giordano. An 18th century sorcerer attempts to open a doorway to unlimited power. He records the secret on parchment, then realizes that such power is evil. When he attempts to destroy the parchment, his apprentice Narkran kills him. Narkran then uses the parchment to gain limitless power and leaves the Earthly plane. Eventually he realizes that his body cannot contain such power. He must return to Earth and find the parchment which he believes contains additional secrets vital to his survival.

Meanwhile, the Spectre helps Jim Corrigan battle the Carstagg Mob. The Spectre acts recklessly and nearly kills an innocent bystander. The Spectre is punished for his actions and will be given a weakness when presented with stressful situations in the future.

Narkran returns to the Earthly plane after 200 years seeking the parchment. The Spectre goes to battle the supernatural foe. As the battle ensues, the Spectre's new weakness presents itself in the form of blindness. The Spectre then must overcome Narkran without his vision. He does so, then he also destroys the parchment. Narkran is destroyed, and the Spectre's eyesight returns. Reprinted in Adventure Comics #502.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #89

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #89 (On Sale: November 14, 1968) has a cover by Carmine Infantino and Neal Adams.

"The Bride of Batman" is an imaginary tale by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and Mike Esposito. When Superman is away on a mission with Wonder Woman, the lonely Lois Lane begins dating Bruce Wayne. They eventually fall in love and decide to marry. Superman regrets his own missed opportunity with Lois, but he serves as best man at their wedding. After the marriage ceremony, Bruce reveals his secret identity to Lois.

The couple is happy and soon they have a son, Bruce Junior. As the boy grows older, Batman and Robin begin training him. Meanwhile Lois is captured by an underworld gang who want to learn Batman's secret identity. When threatened Lois tells the gang that Clark Kent is Batman.

Lois is released and tells Bruce about what she did. Lois and Batman then act to protect Clark, though he is really invulnerable. When the gang tries to kill him, Batman foils their plot. The crooks are apprehended and convinced that Clark is not the Caped Crusader. Later Superman explains to Batman that his fear of crooks making a connection between he and Lois was the reason he never married her.

Edited by Mort Weisinger

Girls' Love Stories #140

Girls' Love Stories #140 (On Sale: November 14, 1968) has a cover by Ric Estrada and Dick Giordano.

We begin with "New Face, New Love" penciled by John Rosenberger. That is followed by "Never Look at Love" drawn by John Romita and Bernard Sachs, which must be a reprint from somewhere. Next we have an untitled Cindy the Salesgirl story also penciled by John Rosenberger. The book ends with "My Computer Romance" penciled by Ric Estrada.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Binky's Buddies #1

Binky's Buddies #1 (On Sale: November 14, 1968) has a cover by Bob Oksner.

We begin with Binky's Buddies in "A Little Jinx Goes a Long Way." That is followed by an untitled Benny story and an untitled Buzzy story. The book ends with Binky starring in "Forgotten Kiss." I have no information on writers, artists or story content.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Angel and the Ape #2

Angel and the Ape #2 (On Sale: November 14, 1968) has a cover by Bob Oksner.

"Most Fantastic Robbery in History" is co-written by Sergio Aragones, co-written and penciled by Bob Oksner and inked by Wally Wood. Angel is kidnapped by the Bikini Gang, a family of criminal circus performers. After quitting his job working for Stan Bragg, Sam Simeon tracks the gang to a run-down circus and rescues Angel. He then pursues work at D.Z. Comics, but Stan lures him back by faking his own death. Angel then lures the crooks to Brain-Pix Comics and calls the police. The cops apprehend the crooks, and Sam makes Stan look like a killer. Stan is arrested and vows vengeance.

The great EC science-fiction artist Wally Wood returned to DC Comics after a number of years two months prior, penciling and inking Captain Action #1. With the exception of a single story in Strange Adventures #154 in 1963 Wood had not worked at DC since he stopped inking Jack Kirby's Challengers of the Unknown pencils in 1959. With the demise of the Tower Comics Thunder Agents books, Wood needed work and found it mostly as an inker at DC.

He would ink Oksner's Angel and the Ape pencils for the rest of the series, displaying his humorous style he popularized at Mad Magazine and would soon begin a long stint on Superboy inking Bob Brown, drawing more on the realism of his EC work and his super-hero work at Tower.

Edited by Joe Orlando

Adventures of Jerry Lewis #110

Adventures of Jerry Lewis #110 (On Sale: November 14, 1968) has a cover by Bob Oksner.

We begin with "The Strange Body in the Purple Trunks", followed by "A Real Gone Steer" and ending with "By Hook or by Crook." I have no information about any of the writers, but Steven Rowe says that all of the art is by our old friend Bob Oksner.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Young Love #72

Young Love #72 (On Sale: November 12, 1968) has a cover at least inked by Dick Giordano and featuring the last hurrah for this logo.

We begin with "My Love Lie" and follow that with "Frightened Heart" from Girls' Love Stories #40. Lastly we end with an untitled The Life and Loves of Lisa St. Claire.

Edited by Dick Giordano .

Our Fighting Forces #117

Our Fighting Forces #117 (On Sale: November 12, 1968) has a Lt. Hunter's Hellcats cover by Joe Kubert.

We begin with Lt. Hunter's Hellcats in "Colder Than Death" by Robert Kanigher and Frank Thorne. Next is "The Three GIs" from Star Spangled War Stories #62 by Bill Finger and Russ Heath. Lastly we have "Medal in the Mud" written and drawn by Fred Ray.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

House of Mystery #178

House of Mystery #178 (On Sale: November 12, 1968) has a gorgeous cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with a one-page intro by Joe Orlando. This is followed by the gem of the book, "The Game" written and drawn by Neal Adams. This is one of the most amazing Neal Adams stories ever. The artwork is just wonderful, employing a grease pencil on Bristol board technique that permeates the pages with this grainy feel. Young Jamie Markus is walking home from a birthday party where he won the door prize, a board game, when it begins to rain. A light sprinkle turns into a raging storm and Jaime frantically looks for shelter, finding it in the old Unger House. The house is empty except for a large four-poster bed, with curtained valance. When Jamie hears someone coming he hides under the bed. Feeling silly he comes out of hiding to find a young boy in the bed who looks exactly like Jamie.

Jamie's doppelganger tries to get him to leave but changes his mind when he sees the game. Enclosed in the curtained bed the two boys spend hours playing the game until finally Jamie wins. Just then the other boy dives under the covers as a hand comes through the curtains and grabs Jamie. And then...well, why spoil a great ending. This was Adams at his very best. Reprinted in DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #17 and Deadman #1.

Next is "The Man Who Haunted a Ghost" from House of Mystery #35 and drawn by Jim Mooney. In the middle of this story is a Page 13 humor piece. Following it is a Cain's game Room page by Sergio Aragones. Lastly is "What's the Youth?" by E. Nelson Bridwell, Winslow Mortimer and George Roussos.

This entire book was reprinted in Showcase Presents: The House of Mystery Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Batman #208

Batman #208 (On Sale: November 12, 1968), 80pg. Giant #G-55, has a cover by Nick Cardy featuring Who is the Most Important Woman in Batman's Life?

This book contains"The Women in Batman's Life" by E. Nelson Bridwell, Gil Kane and Jack Abel. This story is a new framing sequence that surrounds reprinted stories. This framing sequence consists mostly of flashbacks to earlier events in the career of the Earth-1 Batman. Some of these events parallel adventures of the Earth-2 Batman. It should not be assumed that all other Earth-2 stories have Earth-1 parallels.

Mrs. Chilton, the woman that cared for Bruce Wayne following the death of his parents, remembers various events from the career of Batman that involve important women in his life. The women she remembers are: Julie Madison, Catwoman, Linda Page, Vicki Vale, Batwoman, Kaye Daye, Aunt Harriet, Patricia Powell, Marcia Monroe, Poison Ivy, and Batgirl. Unbeknownst to Bruce, Mrs. Chilton knows that he is Batman and that her sons Joe and Max Chill played important roles as villains in Batman's life.

The first woman is Catwoman in "The Secret Life of the Catwoman" a reprint from Batman #62 by Bill Finger, Lew Sayre Schwartz and Charles Paris. Next is Vicki Vale in "Vicki Vale's Secret" from Batman #73 by David V. Reed, Lew Sayre Schwartz and Charles Paris. Next we have Batwoman in "The Menace of the Firefly" from Batman #126 by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris wherein Firefly robs a party at which Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, and Kathy Kane are guests. The crook gets away, but Kathy sees the host, Ted Carson, slip away prior to Batman appearing on the scene. She suspects Ted is Batman, but when she confront him, she learns he is really the Firefly. Batman and Robin predict where Firefly will strike next, and Kathy shows up as Batwoman to stop the crook.

Next is "The Dilemma of the Detective's Daughter" from Batman #165 by France Herron, Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella. Patricia Powell, the daughter of Lt. Mike Powell, graduates from the police academy with top honors. She receives her awards from Batman and is immediately promoted to detective. She tells Batman that she has a crush on Bruce Wayne, though the two have never officially met.

Batman keeps an eye on Patricia. During her first case, Pat investigates the kidnapping of Professor Smedley. Batman helps her track down the Professor. The Dark Knight apprehends the crooks, while Pat releases the professor. Later, Pat attends a weekend party held by Bruce Wayne, where she meets him for the first time.

This issue also contains excerpts reprinted from other stories including: two pages from Detective Comics #203, one page from Detective Comics #233, one page from Batman #194, one page from Detective Comics #328, five pages from Brave and the Bold #64, two pages from Batman #181, two pages from Batman #182, and five pages from Detective Comics #359.

Edited by E. Nelson Bridwell.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tomahawk #120

Tomahawk #120 (On Sale: November 7, 1968) has a cover by Nick Cardy. I think the coloring pretty much destroys this nicely-drawn Cardy cover..

We begin with "The Coward Who Lived Forever" by Robert Kanigher and Frank Thorne. The back-up story is "A Bullet Meant for Me" by Bill Finger and Bob Brown.

Bill Finger was pretty much fired by DC with this issue. He would sale a couple of mystery stories in 1974 and 1976, but for all intents and purposes, Finger's career ended here. His career begin 30 years prior in a book called Detective Comics. The 27th issue of Detective Comics to be exact. In a little story called "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate." Maybe you've heard of it; it introduced a character called, oh, what was his name? Oh yeah, the Batman.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Superman #213

Superman #213 (On Sale: November 7, 1968) has a cover by Carmine Infantino and Neal Adams.

We begin with "The Most Dangerous Door in the World" by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and Jack Abel. Superman issues a statement to the public that a special vault with valuable contents will open when he dies. The vault is made of indestructible Supermanium and is kept under heavy guard. Luthor, provoked by articles in the Daily Planet, renews his efforts to kill the Man of Steel, who exhibits signs that he is weakened.

Luthor steals the vault uses a modified version of Brainiac's shrink ray. He then uses robots with Kryptonite inside to kill Superman. Thinking that he has finally succeeded in his goal, Luthor waits for the vault to open. When it doesn't, he uses every means necessary to break into the vault.

Luthor finally succeeds in opening the vault and discovers Superman inside. The Man of Steel apprehends Luthor, then explains that Mordru had magically imprisoned him in the vault. Supergirl and the adult Brainiac 5 then tricked Luthor into opening it by having the Legionnaire pose as the Man of Steel. Angry at being tricked, Luthor is nevertheless sent back to prison vowing vengeance. Reprinted in Best of DC #27.

The back up story is "The Orphans of Space," a reprint from Superman #144 by Jerry Siegel and Al Plastino. Superman, Supergirl, and Krypto are at the Fortress of Solitude when the Man of Steel notices a plane trying to land nearby. Superman uses the capes of the three heroes to make warning flags so the plane does not land and discover the Fortress. When the plane leaves Superman returns the capes and experiments with a machine he has found.

The machine causes a huge explosion that destroys Earth. The super-trio are the only survivors. Shortly, the Interstellar Council brings Superman up on charges for destroying the planet. All three are stripped of their powers and relocated to a primordial planet.

The three awaken to discover that it was a Red Kryptonite induced hallucination. Apparently their capes were exposed to a Red K mist while used as flags. Superman removes the dust and stores it in a lead container in the Fortress.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Falling In Love #104

Falling In Love #104 (On Sale: November 7, 1968) has a cover penciled by Ric Estrada and inked by maybe Dick Giordano.

We begin with "The Secret in My Past" penciled by John Rosenberger. Next is "My Three Wishes" a reprint from Falling In Love #29 drawn by Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs. That is followed by an untitled Cindy the Salesgirl story drawn by Winslow Mortimer. Lastly we have our cover story, "The Truth About Men " penciled by Ric Estrada.

Edited by Jack Miller.

DC Special #2

DC Special #2 (On Sale: November 7, 1968) has nice "Top Teen Favorites in a Hippy Happy Holiday Happening" cover by Bob Oksner.

We begin with Binky in (Puff! I ran all the way!) and (Here's your peach melba!) both drawn by Bob Oksner. Next is Buzzy in (How'd you like some ice cream, Suzie?), most likely also drawn by Bob Oksner and Date With Judy in (Are you seeing Chuck again tonight?) drawn by Graham Place. That is followed by Melvin in (How come you didn't get any research books...) drawn by Mad-man Mort Drucker and Everything Happens to Harvey in (Steppin' out tonight, hey, Harvey?) drawn by Irwin Hasen. Next is Date with Judy in (So long, Candy!) drawn by Graham Place and Buzzy in (Hey, kids! Have you seen the display...), once again most likely drawn by Bob Oksner.

We end with another Date with Judy strip, (Hey, Candy! What's this I hear about...) drawn by Graham Place and Binky in (But, soft! What light through yonder window...) drawn by Bob Oksner. These are all very old reprints, the writers are unknown and all of the Date With Judy stories in this issue were retitled "Candy" (as DC no longer had the Judy rights).

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wonder Woman #180

Wonder Woman #180 (On Sale: November 5, 1968) has a cover by Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano.

"A Death for Diana" is by Denny O'Neil, Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano. Diana Prince and I-Ching are approached by Tim Trench, a private investigator who is after Doctor Cyber. The trio is attacked by Cyber's gang, but they survive. The villain then orders her gang to kill Diana, who has resumed her training with Ching.

Diana is lured to the hospital to check on Steve Trevor. She is intercepted along the way and nearly killed in a taxi cab. Trench and Ching assist Diana in escaping, then they assault a castle hide-out used by Doctor Cyber. Steve Trevor has been abducted from the hospital and is killed. Diana and Ching stop several of members Doctor Cyber's gang. Trench is captured and taken directly to Cyber, who is revealed to be a woman. Reprinted in Diana Prince: Wonder Woman Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Jack Miller.

Our Army at War #201

Our Army at War #201 (On Sale: November 5, 1968) has an odd Sgt. Rock cover by Joe Kubert.

We begin with Sgt. Rock in "The Graffiti Writer" by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert. Next is "Drummer of Waterloo" a reprint from Our Army At War #14 by William Woolfolk and EC Comics great Bernie Krigstein. Lastly we have "Battle Time" a reprint from Our Army At War #52 by Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Aquaman #43

Aquaman #43 (On Sale: November 5, 1968) has another beautiful cover by Nick Cardy.

"To Win is to Lose" is by Steve Skeates and Jim Aparo. Vulko counteracts the substance that has been infused into the dome surrounding Atlantis. He then restores the Atlantean water-breathing ability to the people. While Atlantis celebrates, Aquagirl discovers that the injured Aqualad has gone missing.

Aqualad's head injury has caused him partial amnesia. He still believes that Aquaman is trying to find Mera in the Sorcerers' city where Aqualad received his injuries. Seeking to help his mentor, Aqualad heads for the city and is captured by the men of Eldfur.

Meanwhile, Aquaman, still injured from his fight with Black Manta, finds a city inhabited by immobile giants. He meets an explorer from the surface Phil Darson who helps patch up Aquaman's injured arm. From information gathered from Darson, Aquaman begins to suspect that Mera was kidnapped by surface men.

Elsewhere, Aqualad is taken to the Eldfur arena and is forced to battle a Eldfur champion. He wins the fight and regains his full memories at the same time. The men of Eldfur celebrate his victory since they intend to use him to battle the Bugala, a monster that periodically attacks them.

Back in Atlantis, an earthquake rocks the city. Reprinted in Adventure Comics #494.

Edited by Dick Giordano.