Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #99

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #99 (On Sale: December 23, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

This issue, the last DC book of 1969 begins with our cover-story, "Is Lois Lane Guilty?" by Robert Kanigher and Irv Novick.

The back-up story is "The Man Who Was Clark Kent's Double" from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #3 and drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger. While investigating a story of a modern day Robin Hood in the town of Hadley, Lois Lane meets Mark Benton who looks identical to Clark Kent. She quickly falls in love with Mark, but he slips away several times. She begins to suspect him of being Robin Hood.

While several attempts to learn the truth fail, Lois finally finds the Robin Hood mask in his coat pocket. Mark is upset because his Robin Hood act was done to help the poor. He is really a wealthy man named Ronald Van Horton. He assumed the Mark Benton identity because he doesn’t want people to like him for his money. He had planned to propose, but Lois’s suspicions show a lack of trust. She is heartbroken when Mark dumps her.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Heart Throbs #124

Heart Throbs #124 (On Sale: December 23, 1969) has a cover by Ric Estrada and Vinny Colletta.

This issue begins with our cover-story, "Love Stop," drawn by Ric Estrada and Vinny Colletta. This one is a long, 24-page stroy. We end with "The Girl Voted Most Likely to Succeed" penciled by Jay Scott Pike.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Girls' Love Stories #149

Girls' Love Stories #149 (On Sale: December 23, 1969) has a cover penciled by Ric Estrada. Some have this credited to Nick Cardy, but those people are on serious drugs.

This issue begins with our cover-story, "Forbidden Love," penciled by Ric Estrada. Next is "For Better or Worse" penciled by John Rosenberger. That is followed by "...But Only in My Dreams" penciled by Ric Estrada. We end with Confessions : "Episode 3" penciled by John Rosenberger.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

From Beyond the Unknown #3

From Beyond the Unknown #3 (On Sale: December 23, 1969) has a great cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with our cover-story, "When Earth Turned into a Comet" reprinted from Strange Adventures #150 and created by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella. An astronaut on the Moon uses illusion and bluff to save the Earth from invaders.

Next is "Prisoner of the Electronic Eye" from Mystery In Space #53 and the work of John Broome, Gil Kane and Frank Giacoia. A man must figure out how to escape from an inescapable room so he can stop Earth and Saturn from going to war.

The next story is "The Space Hermit" from Strange Adventures #34 and the product of Sid Gerson and Henry Sharp. When an alien sealed in an indestructible bubble crashes into a ballpark a scientist works to free him. The question is should he? Between 1953 and 1955 Henry Enoch Sharp drew 15 science-fiction stories fro DC Comics appearing in Mystery In Space and Strange Adventures; this is the only one of those stories where Sharp provided both pencils and inks. During his tenure at DC Sharp also worked for St. John Publishing.

Henry Enoch Sharp started off in the early 1950s working for the pulps, drawing for Fantastic Adventures and Other Worlds along with doing some advertising work. As the pulps began to die, Sharp switched over to comics, spending four years at Ziff-Davis where he worked on a number of books including G.I. Joe (see his cover painting for G.I. Joe #10, which is actually issue #1) and Sky Pilot. Then in a change of careers, Sharp began to work in television as a writer where he had a successful run through the mid-1970s.

Henry Sharp wrote for such diverse shows as The Real McCoys, Bachelor Father, The Donna Read Show, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Andy Griffith Show, McHales's Navy, Bewitched, Here Comes the Brides, Mission: Impossible, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Target, MacKenzie's Raiders and The Addams Family. Moreover, Sharp was the Story Consultant and one of the writers for The Wild Wild West for four years. In the 1970s he wrote for Valley of the Dinosaurs, Super Friends and The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan.

Our last story is "Escape from Earth" reprinted from Mystery In Space #61 and created by John Broome and Murphy Anderson. In the 30th century the Council of Eternity decrees that all the people of Earth must enter the Chamber of Immortality so they will live forever. Four people decide that the new immortals no longer seem fully human and contrive to escape from Earth and find a new planet to live on as mortals, even though this means if caught immortality will be forced on them and they will be given a jail sentence of 100,000 years!

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Detective Comics #396

Detective Comics #396 (On Sale: December 23, 1969) has a cover by Neal Adams.

This issue begins with Batman in "The Brain-Pickers" by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Joe Giella. Wall Street wiz-kid Rory Bell makes the cover of Now! Magazine and the notice of Bruce Wayne and three thugs led by a guy named Sharf. Bell rides around on his motorcycle and radio-phones in his orders to his broker and girl friend, Nan Owens.

Sharf has a buddy who works at the garage where Bell keeps his bike and has had his helmet bugged, so that when he places an order Sharf and his buddies will be able to "share in the wealth." Their plan goes south when they find out Bell phones in his orders in code.

As it ends up Nan is Bruce's broker as well and Bruce calls in to see how "the street" is reacting to Wayne Enterprises proposed merger with Seven-Star Pictures. Nan mentions how Bell has bought in for a "big slice" and how others are following his lead. Meantime, Sharf and his buddies waylay Bell on his bike and say they are going to hold him up in a motel room for a few days and make all the same trades as he does to get rich quick.

Bell tells them it doesn't work that way, that if he can't ride his bike he can't figure out what to trade, so the thugs agree to just follow him by car. Bell's first order is to sell Wayne Enterprises which forces Nan to Call Bruce to try and soften the blow on "the street." Eventually Bruce figures out that Bell's orders are really a code for where he located and as Batman Bruce goes to intercept him.

At a gas station Batman confronts the thugs and has to use the remote-control features of the new Batmobile to foil the thug's plans. All in all a pretty stupid story. I remember liking Robbins' run on Batman, so either it gets a lot better or I didn't have very good taste in writing back then.

Much better written by Frank Robbins is the back-up Batgirl story, "The Orchid-Crusher," drawn by Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson. The Orchid-Killer is murdering one redhead after another and Barbara Gordon is even dreaming that as Batgirl she is a victim of the killer. She learns that the last victim had registered at a computer dating service when she finds a book with the woman's dating card used as a bookmark. She tracks down the last borrower of the book, but he has moved out of his apartment. Barbara immediately rents the apartment and also joins the computer dating service. She has to brush off Jason Bard's advances as she waits for the trap she is setting to be sprung.

She does get a date through the service, a mousy looking man named Max Tournov, but he seems harmless, till he buys her an orchid and then tries to kiss her. She sends him over her shoulder and he responds by crushing he orchid and running off. As Batgirl Barbara gives chase, but loses him. As she frantically searches, she is pulled into a dark alley by an unseen figure who says, "A red-headed Batgirl will do for now!"

The filler story is "The Master of Mind Over Matter" from Strange Adventures #26 by Jack Miller, Gil Kane and John Giunta. This is a tight little story about a psychiatrist and amateur magician named Blake, whom the police asked to report on the sudden death of a magician named Elmo the Great, since the man had been investigating Elmo for a while. It seemed Elmo could do miraculous things: levitate people, turn water into wine, etc. Blake was present when Elmo suddenly died. In his report he tells the police that he believes an alien creature had entered Elmo's body and was the source of his amazing powers. The police scoff at such nonsense and leave. Blake then reveals that he knows what he says to be true because when Elmo died the creature entered his own body.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Brave and the Bold #88

Brave and the Bold #88 (On Sale: December 23, 1969) has a cool Batman and Wildcat cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with Batman and Wildcat in "Count Ten ...and Die" by Bob Haney, Irv Novick and Mike Esposito. Much like the Vigilante in this month's Justice League of America, this too is a new Wildcat of Earth 1 and never before seen. Bruce Wayne visits a flophouse on skid row to find Ted Grant, the retired undefeated heavyweight champion, who has fallen on hard times since he left the world of heavyweight competition to open a gym for underprivileged children. Over time Ted lost the gym and is now just another bum existing on the seedier side of town.

Bruce offers to pay off all of Grant's debts if Ted will coach the American boxing team for the World Youth Games in Vienna, in which Bruce is coaching the fencing team. Ted declines, saying his best days are in the past and after Bruce leaves he pulls out his old Wildcat costume and thinks how he is even too old and slow to wear it anymore. But when he sees Bruce being hassled by two guys on the street, Ted leaps into action and takes the two out easily. He decides that maybe their is still life in his old bones after all and accepts Bruce's offer. After Ted leaves Bruce pays off the two "thugs" whom he hired to rough him up knowing it would spur Ted into action.

Weeks later in Vienna, the seemingly Russian coach (if is never said for sure), Koslov, taunts Grant in front of his team, saying he was too afraid of Koslov to ever fight him. Meanwhile, as Batman, Bruce is briefed by "Military Intelligence" in Vienna on a free-lance spy named Kurt Schimmerling who was supposed to sell some information on the date the "other side" is planning on launching an armed space station. Schimmerling never delivered the information and it is now assumed that the "other side" has offered him more to sell it back to them. Batman's job is to get the information from Schimmerling before he sells it back.

Back in the athlete's village Ted breaks up a fight between the American boxing team and the team from the "other side." Koslov is there to say that the Americans started the fight and are bad sportsmen. Signs of "Americans Go Home!" and "Americans Don't Play Fair" spring up around the village and later Koslov eggs Ted on and challenges him to a fight, which Ted backs away from. His kids see it all and are afraid of becoming a laughing stock and Bruce tells him that he has now become part of the cold war and needs to fight Koslov and win. Grant is unsure what to do and walks off to think it over.

Bruce needs the time to change back into Batman and pick up Schimmerling's trail. He finds him and begins following him through the streets of Vienna. Meanwhile Ted has borrowed a bike from the cycling team and is tooling through the streets in his old Wildcat uniform when he sees Batman chasing Schimmerling into the sewers. Schimmerling loses Batman there but Wildcat picks up the trail only to lose him as well when he is suckered over a waterfall.

Back as Ted Grant spots him entering an amusement park and when Ted takes a ride on the giant Ferris wheel, Batman joins him in the car. Batman tells Ted that he must fight Koslov and says that Ted has not lost his old gifts at all and to prove it takes Ted on in a massive fight in the car. In the end only Ted emerges, Batman flat on the floor and thinking that though he pulled some punches, that Ted was quite a scrapper in his time.

The ploy works and Ted begins to train for the fight with Koslov. Batman meanwhile sets a timer on the arena lights to turn them off in the seventh round, figuring that if Ted is losing he will "take his place using a plasti-face-mask from my disguise kit." Batman then gets back on the trail of Schimmerling finding a ticket to the Koslov/Grant fight in his room, but before he can act on this information he is captured by agents from the "other side."

Later the big fight takes place and Ted goes out strong against Koslov, but by the fourth round Ted is tired out and Koslov is coming on strong. Later when Koslov gets Ted in tight he tells him that they have Batman and that if he wants to see him alive he needs to lose the fight. Just then the lights go out and Ted knocks Koslov out, carries him out to a nicely placed cycle with sidecar and gets the now awake Koslov to tell him that they are keeping Batman on a river barge.

Ted drives off a bridge onto the barge and rescues Batman and they somehow manager to get back to the arena before the lights go back on. Batman spots Schimmerling as Koslov knocks Ted to the mat. As Batman follows Schimmerling out of the arena and Ted is being counted out, Batman throws a batarang into the ring to land in front of Ted on which Batman has written "has-been!" This is enough to inspire Ted to his feet where he knocks out Koslov. Meantime Batman is able to intercept the transfer of information between Schimmerling and the folks from the "other side"

The American boxing team does well in the games and Ted begins to think that maybe Wildcat isn't completely washed up either. Reprinted in Showcase Presents: The Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups Vol. 2 TPB.

The back-ups are both filler stories written by Murray Boltinoff and drawn by George Tuska: "Death Turns the Dial" and "Killed with Kindness."

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Adventure Comics #389

Adventure Comics #389 (On Sale: December 23, 1969) has a cover by Murphy Anderson.

This issue begins with Supergirl in "The Mystery Magician" by Robert Kanigher, Winslow Mortimer and Bob Oksner. The back-up Supergirl story, "Supergirl's Jilted Boy Friends"is by Cary Bates and Kurt Schaffenberger.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Action Comics #385

Action Comics #385 (On Sale: December 23, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

This issue begins with Superman in "The Immortal Superman" by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and George Roussos. The back-up Legion of Super-Heroes story, "The Fallen Starboy" is by E. Nelson Bridwell, Winslow Mortimer and Jack Abel. This story was reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 9 HC and is the first LSH story in years not written by the now departed Jim Shooter.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Swing With Scooter #25

Swing With Scooter #25 (On Sale: December 18, 1969) has a cover by Henry Scarpelli.

This issue has four Scooter tales: "It's Work Like Ants for the Xmas Dance," "Snow Fun -- Being a Fund Raiser," "Santa's Li'l Helpers" and "Kenny Goes Hollywood."

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Star Spangled War Stories #149

Star Spangled War Stories #149 (On Sale: December 18, 1969) has an Enemy Ace cover by Joe Kubert.

This issue begins with Enemy Ace in "Reach for the Heavens" by the normal team of Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert. This is another in a long line of neat little war stories by Kanigher and Kubert, this one revealing the origin of the scar on Von Hammer's face.

One evening Von Hammer thinks back to the days when he was a raw recruit, he and the other young men with him, waiting to learn how to fly. One man though was driven, Heinrich Muller did not want to join the others in youthful camaraderie; all he cared about was learning to fight to kill the enemy.

One day the men played a prank on Muller and he demanded satisfaction from Von Hammer, singling him out. The next morning they dueled with swords till Muller drew first blood and Von Hammer apologized for himself and the men. Muller's reply was, "The scar I put on your face is the only apology I want, Herr Von Hammer!"

From then on the men get serious and finally the day comes when they will get to go up in the planes for the first time. Von Hammer and Muller go together in the rear cockpit on the training mission. Once aloft they spot a French fighter. who, knowing they are training leaves them alone. But Muller pulls out his pistol and begins shooting at the Frenchman against the protest of Von Hammer. When they land Muller cannot understand why he is not commended for shooting down the French fighter.

Back in the present when the morning arrives, Muller is at the Jagdstaffel, assigned to Von Hammer. Muller looks more bitter and determined than ever. That day on patrol they run into an enemy patrol and Muller murders an defenseless British pilot who is out of ammunition. This distracts Von Hammer to the point where he is shot down. As his plane heads for the ground Muller dives after him and Von Hammer jumps from his burning plane to the landing gear of Muller's plane. The English attack till they are all out of ammunition and Muller gently lays the plane down allowing Von Hammer to hit the ground safely. When Von Hammer goes to thank him for saving his life he finds that he is dead. "I felt my heart cry bitter my dry eyes reached for the the killer skies!"

This story has been reprinted in DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #21, Enemy Ace Archives Vol. 2 HC and Showcase Presents: Enemy Ace Vol. 1 TPB.

Next is the Viking Prince in "The Terror Stone" reprinted from Brave and the Bold #11 and also the work of Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert. All weapons of metal are being seized by a mysterious power from the village of the Viking Prince. Even Jon's boat is torn asunder as the nails are pulled from the boards and disappear out to sea. Jon has a small boat made with wooden nails and carrying only wooden weapons he sets out to see what is causing the strange actions of all metal. He finds the ship of his enemy Baron Thorvald carrying a large rock that fell from the sky and which is the source of the strange metal attraction.

Jon boards the ship and when the rock is pushed overboard, he uses his wooden sword to sever the rope keeping it captive. His men then show up in the ship that has been secretly tailing him and Thorvald is defeated.

Lastly is "Boadicea Queen of the Iceni" the work of the late, great Ric Estrada.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Our Army at War #216

Our Army at War #216 (On Sale: December 18, 1969) has a cover by Joe Kubert.

We begin with Sgt. Rock in "Doom Over Easy" from Our Army at War #107 by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert. After Easy Company is shelled by enemy fire, Everett, a new member of Easy, begins having visions of the future. He tries to switch positions with Buster and Ice Cream Soldier after Rock has given them assignments. Rock refuses to make the switch, and the other soldiers die. When Rock goes on a mission himself, Everett comes along to prevent Rock from dying. Rock and Everett both survive, though another blast robs Everett of his precognition.

In the original printing of this story, Ice Cream Soldier dies in action. Here the name of the dead soldier is changed to Young Willy. Since Ice Cream Soldier went on to appear in later Sgt. Rock stories, this change makes sense.

Next is "Silver Star for a Tin Can" from Our Fighting Forces #33 by Bob Haney and Russ Heath. That is followed by "Last on a Match" by Hank Chapman, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito and reprinted from G.I. Combat #77. Next is "Unknown G.I." from Our Fighting Forces #41 and created by Bob Haney and Russ Heath. "Return to Beach Red" from Our Fighting Forces #11 is next and created by Bob Haney and Joe Kubert,

"Introducing -- the Haunted Tank" is reprinted from G.I. Combat #87 and the creation of Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath. Jeb Stuart the commander of an M-3 tank and his crew assist a squad of heavier Pershing tanks. The Pershings are destroyed by enemy bombers, leaving only Stuart's tank to take on a squad of heavy German tanks.

The tiny tank is shelled by the heavy guns of a German "Tiger" tank, and it falls into a ravine. The crew is knocked out, leaving it an easy target for the enemy tank. However, the M-3 manages to fire a shot that destroys the enemy tank. When Jeb and the crew awaken, they are shocked to find the enemy tank destroyed, as they had not fired their gun.

The tank then continues on its mission to protect a squad of infantry. Using its better speed and maneuverability, the M-3 is able to take on and defeat an entire unit of German tanks. Jeb Stuart is the only one that can hear laughter which comes from the ghost of civil war General Jeb Stuart, who has protected his descendant and the tank.

Lastly we have Great Battles of History "Chaeronaea" written and drawn by Ric Estrada.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Witching Hour #7

Witching Hour #7 (On Sale: December 16, 1969) has a cover by Neal Adams.

We have the usual wonderful framing sequence drawn by Alex Toth. We begin with "The Big Break" drawn by Bill Draut. It is our cover-story and a tale concerning an escaped convict and what may be a family curse or the fantastic imaginings of a dying man.

Next is "The Captive" and I won't hazard to guess who drew this one, but it is a tale of an unknown, but brilliant artist and a retired gangster who comes to him looking for a painting or a statue that will make him immortal. He just might get what he asked for.

That is followed by "Look Homeward, Angelo" inked by Jack Abel. In this tale a young adopted boy asks his parents if he had a real mother and father. They say of course, but they don't know who they were and tell young Angelo to shut up. Strange things begin happening at the house: the wife is attacked by nightmarish creatures, the furniture floats in the air and crashes to the floor. The couple come unglued, blaming each other for bringing Angelo into the family and causing all these problems. They take Angelo back to the orphanage and tell them they must take him back. Just then they are joined by a hippie-looking couple who say that they are Angelo's parents and that they had put him in the orphanage to learn about human love. The couple turn into angels and fly away with Angelo, leaving the couple pointing accusing fingers at each other.

We end with "Trick or Treat" drawn by Michael Kaluta. This is a small page and a half story about con-artist who is dressed up as the devil in order to relieve some devil worshipers of their money. His only problem is the real devil has plans of his own. This little piece of fluff is Michael Kaluta's first credited work at DC. Kaluta would be associated with DC for decades to come, doing some of his finest comic work here. From Carson of Venus to Spawn of Frankenstein to his amazing Shadow work, Kaluta would make a name for himself at DC.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Superman #224

Superman #224 (On Sale: December 16, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Jack Abel.

This issue contains the feature-length imaginary story "Beware the Super-Genius Baby" by Robert Kanigher, Curt Swan and George Roussos.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Falling In Love #113

Falling In Love #113 (On Sale: December 16, 1969) has a another wonderful cover by Nick Cardy.

We begin with "I.O.U.: My Heart" inked by Vinny Colletta. Next is "The Most Bitter Lesson of Her Life" penciled by Lee Elias. We end with our cover-story, "Please, Please, Don't Tell Him About Me" inked by Vinny Colletta.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Debbi's Dates #6

Debbi's Dates #6 (On Sale: December 16, 1969) has a cover by Henry Scarpelli.

We begin with Buddy in "Seeing Isn't Believing." That is followed by Benedict in "The Ski Champ" drawn by Henry Scarpelli. Next is Debbi's Dates in "Two Down and One to Go" and we end with the Ding-a-Lings in "Fun in the Sun."

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Friday, December 11, 2009

World's Finest Comics #191

World's Finest Comics #191 (On Sale: December 11, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Jack Abel.

We begin with Superman and Batman in "Execution on Krypton" by Cary Bates, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. The back-up Robin story is "Stone-Deaf Robin" reprinted from Star Spangled Comics #130 and is by David Reed and Jim Mooney.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Showcase #88

Showcase #88 (On Sale: December 11, 1969) has a Jason's Quest cover by Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano.

We begin with "The Beginning" of Jason's Quest, written and drawn by Mike Sekowsky and inked by Frank Giacoia. Every resource I can find says this story was inked by Dick Giordano, but I am looking at the pages and it just ain't so, no way, no how.

Before we get to the recap of this book, I must say a few words about Mike Sekowsky at this point in his career. Mike had been in comics since 1941 when he started at Timely and had drawn just about every genre there was: super-hero, western, war, funny animal, romance, TV , jungle action and science-fiction, and though he was known as a super-hero artist, he obviously was more attracted to action stories with more humanistic characters.

While everyone else at DC was chasing Marvel super-heroes or attempting to relive their time at EC, Mike Sekowsky was following a different path. He made the Metal Men look human and turned them into thriller characters on the run. He participated big-time in the biggest deflowering of super-powers in comic history by separating Wonder Woman from her powers and costume. He took chances on new types of books and I for one appreciated the effort. I may be the only one, but I particularly appreciated Jason's Quest.

We begin at "The Beginning" as Jason Davis' father has been mortally wounded in a shooting. Summoned by the doctors to his deathbed, the blonde young man listens to a stunning series of revelations. His real name is Jason Grant, Jr. and when he was just a child his real father had been murdered by a mobster named Tuborg, who sought the elder Grant's latest invention. As Tuborg's killers combed the house for witnesses, Grant's servant, Davis, rushed to the nursery, commanding the nanny to take Jason's twin sister, someone Jason never knew existed, into hiding while he did the same with young Jason. The nanny headed for London while Davis brought Jason to America. Over the next nineteen years, Davis moved himself and Jason constantly, always trying to stay one step ahead of Tuborg's searching thugs.

In preparation for the day Jason would take over the fight, Davis drilled commando training into the boy's head. With his final breath, he gasped, "Your sister ... somehow your father secreted on her person evidence that will end Tuborg and his evil empire. In the fireplace at home ... the box your father gave me -- it has your papers ... money ... and -- and ... I'm ... I'm ... sor --"

In five and a half short pages, including one splash, Sekowsky has neatly set up the entire series and there is not a spandex outfit or alien super-power in sight.

Unknown to Jason, Tuborg had planted a bug in the hospital room and heard every word. Finding Jason's sister was now their number one priority. Jason flies to London, buys a motorcycle and begins his search for his sister. From an ex-neighbor he gets a picture of her and a direction; she is heading for the continent.

Tuborg's men ambush Jason on the road and though they don't get the picture, they get enough clues to track her to a ferry soon to go across the channel. On the ferry Jason saves a woman named Gee Gee from two thugs. Gee Gee asks if Jason would like to travel with her, but he declines, wanting instead to head out looking for his sister. As he drives away Gee Gee removes her black wig and is revealed as Jason's sister.

The three-page back-up "Ghost Rider" is written and drawn by Mike Sekowsky and really is inked by Dick Giordano. It is the tale of teenagers, bikers and ghostly riders.

Edited by Mike Sekowsky.

Justice League of America #78

Justice League of America #78 (On Sale: December 11, 1969) has a more than slightly misleading, though nicely-drawn cover by Gil Kane.

We begin with "The Coming of the Doomsters" by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin and Joe Giella. In Star City Green Arrow assists a night watchman at a factory on the docks shooting it out with a group of armed thugs, using a Flare Arrow to throw some light on the situation. When the arrow hits the water it erupts in flames and Arrow signals for some JLA assistance. Answering the call is Green Lantern and Superman who make quick work of the flames now threatening the city. Once the fire is out they disburse, not hearing the plea of the watchman to talk about something that the watchman says may hold the key to the future of the entire human race.

Green Lantern and Superman take Green Arrow to, well, to New York (not called by name of course) to the top of the building which houses DC Comics (also not called by name of course) to show him the Thanagarian relativity beam system (think Star Trek-like transporter device) which the JLA has installed there. Superman explains that since their headquarters was compromised by the Joker in Justice League of America #777, they have built a new headquarters and Green Arrow in now standing in the doorway. The transporter energizes and Green Arrow is teleported to the new JLA satellite headquarters 23,300 miles above New York in a geosynchronous orbit, where the rest of the team is waiting for him.

The JLA are to appear at a charity event that night and down earthside the watchman is making his way toward it when he is the victim of a drive-by shooting. He avoids the gunfire though and returns his own, blowing out a car tire and sending the car into a pole. When the thugs extract themselves from the wrecked car, the watchman is gone, but they now think they know where he is going and their conversation makes it clear that they are not from Earth.

Meanwhile, at the charity event the JLA are introducing the crowd to Black Canary when the watchman arrives, followed closely by the two goons from the car. Canary attacks using her judo and Green Lantern protects her from the goons' alien weapons. As the thugs go down Superman jumps on their bodies shielding everyone from the self-destruct blast of the thugs, now revealed as androids of some sort. The watchman grabs the alien weapons and he and the JLA retire to a more private facility, their orbiting headquarters.

The watchman explains how he was hired on by the new factory in town and was assaulted by the amount of pollution the thing put out. When he asked workers what they were producing, no one seemed to know. The watchman soon realized that the product the factory was making was pollution and he stole some papers proving it. Some "men" from the factory chased him and that is where Green Arrow found him. The watchman introduces himself as Greg Sanders, who used to go by the name of the Vigilante, but gave up that life years ago. Now of course, since the Vigilante from the Golden Age was from Earth 2, this is actually the first appearance of this character. So, not only has Denny O'Neil given us the new JLA headquarters this issue, he has introduced a new DC character as well.

The stolen paperwork includes a star map and Superman and Green Lantern head off to explore that end of the story. The rest of the JLA head off to the factory, except for Green Arrow who wants to have a "conversation" with the Star City City Manager, where it seems the City Manager knows the factory only makes pollution and doesn't care as it provides jobs and taxes and that is all that matters. He has Green Arrow thrown in jail Personal aside here: as the husband of an ex-City Manager, the person you might find with that sort of attitude would be a Mayor, i.e., a politician, not a City Manager, who is governed by a whole set of ethics that politicians know nothing of.

Meanwhile the rest of the JLA have made a quick stop at a western goods store and purchased the makings of a new Vigilante costume. Along with that and the alien guns, the Vigilante is back in business. While at the same time on the alien world pointing at by the stolen paperwork Green Lantern and Superman find a desolate destroyed ash-can of a planet where once a vibrant civilization existed.

At the factory the JLA and the Vigilante are confronted and eventually overwhelmed by the alien automatons. As we leave for the month they are being lowered into vats of bubbling, noxious death! This tale has been reprinted in Justice League of America Archives Vol. 9 HC and Showcase Presents:Justice League of America Vol. 4 TPB.

The back-up story is "The Man Who Hated Science!" by Jack Miller and John Giunta and reprinted from Mystery In Space #6.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Young Romance #164

Young Romance #164 (On Sale: December 9, 1969) has a cover inked by Vinny Colletta.

We begin with "The Searing Conclusion to Next Door to Love" drawn by Alex Toth and Ric Dano (Dick Giordano). Next is "Please... Don't Step on My Heart." Next is a lovelorn letters section, Laura Penn...Your Romance Reporter with an illustration by John Romita. That is followed by a fashion page, Dates 'n Mates drawn by Ric Estrada. We end with "I Laughed at Love" inked by Vinny Colletta.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Sugar and Spike #88

Sugar and Spike #88 (On Sale: December 9, 1969) has a cover by Sheldon Mayer.

We have three Sugar and Spike stories this issue: "Little Arthur Strikes Again," "Eggs, Sunny-Side Down" and "Why Babies Do What They Do," all writen and drawn by Sheldon Mayer.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Leave It To Binky #71

Leave It To Binky #71 (On Sale: December 9, 1969) has a cover by Henry Scarpelli.

We begin with Binky in "The T.V. Man" by John Albano, Winslow Mortimer and Bill Draut which was reprinted in Best of DC #29. Next is Binky in "Supporting Your Local Policeman." That is followed by Binky's Buddies in "Easy Bread" by Barbara Friedlander, Winslow Mortimer and Henry Scarpelli. This was reprinted in Best of DC #70. We end with Binky in "(Where are you going in such a temper, Binky?)."

Edited by Joe Orlando.

G.I. Combat #140

G.I. Combat #140 (On Sale: December 9, 1969) has a cover by Joe Kubert.

We begin with "The Last Tank" from All-American Men of War #50 by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert. Next is "Time Bomb Tank" from Our Fighting Forces #53 by Bob Haney and Russ Heath. That is followed by "Second-String Soldier" from Our Army at War #71 by Bob Haney and Mort Drucker. We end with "Face of the Enemy" from Our Army at War #56 by Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath.

Edited by Joe Kubert..

Friday, December 4, 2009

Unexpected #117

Unexpected #117 (On Sale: December 4, 1969) has a cover by Nick Cardy.

We begin with Johnny Peril in "Midnight Summons the Executioner" by George Kashdan and Sid Greene. This is the last Johnny Peril story for ten years. Next is "Hands of Death" by Murray Boltinoff and Jerry Grandenetti. That is followed by "The House That Hate Built" by Carl Wessler and George Tuska. This story was reprinted in Unexpected #161. We end with "Death of the Man Who Never Lived" by Carl Wessler and Bruno Premiani.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Flash #194

Flash #194 (On Sale: December 4, 1969) has a cover by Neal Adams.

The Flash stars in "The Bride Cast Two Shadows" by John Broome, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. Joan Boardman awakens one night in a trance, walking out of her hotel murmuring something about finding "her love." On the street she sees a poster of the Flash and thinks, "It's him!" The Flash is a few blocks away fighting the Owl Gang and during the fight Joan rushes into the line of fire and is knocked unconscious. When the police and Iris arrive (Iris in her role as a news photographer), Iris suggests that they take the unconscious girl to her house (in real life something this stupid would never happen, but in John Broomeland, this is the norm).

Once there, Joan wakes up and begins referring to the Flash as Daniel. Whenever the woman stares at Barry, he has visions of a past life where he is proposing and planning for his wedding to Elfriede Talman who is the spitting image of Joan Boardman. Eventually Iris uncovers the story of Daniel Porter and Elfriede Talman. Daniel was the mayor of Central City a hundred years ago and is a look-alike for Barry. On the night before his wedding to Elfriede, she disappeared in a freak storm. When Joan awakens again they notice that she casts two shadows, as if two people were in possession of her body.

The next time Joan looks at Barry he does not fight the visions and joins her in marriage. They are then both swept into another realm, where Elfriede says she lives and can visit the Earth once every hundred years for a single day. As she departs, the Flash tries to find his way back to reality but is attacked by a number of demons. Finally, he is able to make his way out of the strange realm, where he finds that Joan Boardman is fine once again and remembers nothing of the past 24 hours.

Confession time. I have never much cared for the art team of Ross Andru and Mike Esposito and found it strange that for years Esposito was the only inker of Ross Andru's pencils (the team actually goes all the way back to Andru's first story for DC in 1953). I particularly did not like the team on the Flash, as Andru's characters seem a little clunky and off-balance and this trait was something that I certainly did not think applied to the Flash. That said, I thought much of the art in this issue worked for me, particularly the scenes of the Flash fighting the demons. Odd that Ross Andru should finally get it "right" on this his last story as the Flash artist.

The back-up story is "The Man Who Televised Time" from Strange Adventures #13 and produced by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella. This little story is about a professor who offers $1 million for an invention that will change the world. The first man has what he calls a perpetual motion machine, but has forgotten to take into account the wear caused by friction. Next is a man who claims his machine can extract gold from water, but it costs more to run than it can produce in gold. Next is a man who has invented a sonic typewriter, but it has no way of dealing with homophones. The last man says that he has a machine that can retrieve past light waves and display the past on a television screen. The professor has this man arrested for fraud when he shows sound and pictures at the same time, since sound waves travel at a very different speed than light waves.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Batman #219

Batman #219 (On Sale: December 4, 1969) has a nice cover by Neal Adams. This is the last issue to use this long-time logo.

We begin with our cover-story, "Death Casts the Deciding Vote" by Frank Robbins, Irv Novick and Dick Giordano. Bruce Wayne heads to the state capitol to find public funding for his Victims Inc, Program but when he reaches the governor's office he finds Senator Lincoln Webster already there. Webster is visiting on the sly and informs Bruce that a new anti-crime bill he is sponsoring will put V.I.P. out of business, but that there might be a federal "Health and Welfare" bill that some of Bruce's ideas might be tacked on to.

Webster invites Bruce to fly with him back to Washington, DC where he needs to be tomorrow to vote on his bill and promises to introduce Bruce tot he right people. Little do they know that they are being watched and followed as they leave the state house. They take a commuter flight back to DC but things go bad almost immediately.

Unbeknownst to Bruce and Webster, the plane has been hijacked. Bruce notices that the plane is flying in the wrong direction and breaks into the cockpit to see what is going on. There he is knocked out and hijackers tell the passengers that Bruce was a hijacker and that they are the FBI. Webster knows something is up, but does not want to reveal his identity. They put Bruce in a back room where he escapes and returns to the front of the plane as Batman. They threaten to kill Webster if Batman doesn't stop and he is also captured and thrown in with Bruce Wayne (Bruce used inflated Mae Wests to fill out his clothing when he changed into Batman garb).

The hijackers land the plane at an abandoned airfield. There they reveal that they are simply holding Webster until after the vote of his bill, so that it will fail. When they go to check on Batman, they find an unconscious Bruce Wayne and an open door where they assume Batman has escaped. They move Bruce back up with the passengers and he talks the Senator into faking a heart attack. Bruce convinces the hijackers to fly to a nearby medic. When they take off, batman pops up in the cockpit. The gunmen freak out and run back into the passenger area where Bruce gets the better of them. He then rushes to the cockpit where he deflates the Batman suit he had rigged with the wheels hydraulic mechanism and tells the pilots to head for DC.

As they approach DC for landing the wheels open and suck the Batman suit out of the plane, which is sort of what you see on the slightly misleading cover. Not a great story by any means, but also not what this issue is known for.

The back-up story is "The Silent Night of the Batman" by Mike Friedrich, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano. This is a beautifully done Christmas tale of a Christmas Eve which Batman spends singing Christmas carols with Commissioner Gordon and his men, while out across Gotham the spirit of Batman stops one crime after another. Sometimes it is a Batman toy, sometimes a blind man in a Batman costume, sometimes the shadow of a suspension bridge forming a Batman symbol. It is a classic tale like no other and has been reprinted in Limited Collectors' Edition C-43, Christmas with the Super-Heroes #1 and Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol. 2 HC.

One more back-up before we go and that is "Time to Kill" by Henry Kuttner and John Giunta and reprinted from Phantom Stranger #5. This is a great little story about a rivalry between two scientists, a time machine and a murder that becomes a suicide. Henry Kuttner was a client of Julius Schwartz's, a science-fiction writer who only wrote 21 stories for DC comics. Twenty of them were written between 1944 and 1946 and all twenty were Green Lantern stories. This, his 21st and last story was written in 1953. Besides his work for DC, Kuttner also wrote for Fawcett, Ace and Avon Comics and worked for a while out of the Chesler Studio.

Kuttner was married to Catherine Louise Moore, also a writer and they co-authored a number of science-fiction novels together. Kuttner is the creator of Elak of Atlantis, an early sword and sorcery character. Ten of Kuttner's novels were published after his death in 1958. The Best of Henry Kuttner was published in 1987 and Catherine Lucille Moore and Henry Kuttner: A Marriage of Souls and Talent: A Working Bibliography was published in 1986.

Kuttner wrote under a number of pseudonyms including Lewis Padgett. One of his stories (co-written with his wife) was Mimsy Were the Borogoves which was adapted into the feature-length film The Last Mimzy.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Our Army at War #215

Our Army at War #215 (On Sale: December 2, 1969) has a Sgt. Rock cover by Joe Kubert.

We begin with Sgt. Rock in "The Pied Piper of Peril" by Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath. In a small French town Rock and Easy Co. are ambushed by a squad of SS Troopers. Through the use of slang terms Rock is able to communicate to his men without the Nazis understanding and is able to kill the entire squad, save their commander. The fighting over the women, children and old people of the town come out of hiding and thank Rock and his men for saving them.

Almost immediately the prisoner seems to have some strange power over the youngsters of the town. They sit and watch him while he whittles a flute and seem to spend all of there time around him. Bulldozer remarks how it reminds him of the Pied Piper story. The kids will have nothing to do with Rock or his men and actually seem to protect the Nazi from his captors.

Then next night the kids steal Easy's guns while they sleep and Rock and the SS Officer square off, where Rock finally takes him out. The kids then confess that the Nazi had told them they would never see their fathers alive and that their mothers would also be killed if they did not cooperate with him. A pretty silly story of not much consequence if you ask me.

Next is "The Face of Death" drawn by Fred Ray regarding Joel Kurt, an artist sent by newspapers to try and capture the feel of battle during the Civil War. Kurt keep getting closer and closer to the action, saying he wants to capture the "face of death" for his readers, but he always feels he is failing. Finally he disobeys orders and follows the men during a charge against the Confederates, where he is shot. After the battle they find him leaning up against a tree, where he asks for his paper and pencils. He says, "I've got it... got it at last! Now..eveyonel...will see...the real face of death!" He then dies and when they look at the paper there is nothing but a scribble on it. The only way to see the real face of death, is to die. This story I liked.

We end with a Great Battles of History story, "Liegnitz and the Mongol Tide" written and drawn by Ric Estrada. It is more of a history lesson than a story of the battle where Duke Henry of Sliesia was defeated by the Mongol hoard.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

House of Secrets #84

House of Secrets #84 (On Sale: December 2, 1969) has a cover by Neal Adams.

The book begins and ends with a nice framing sequence drawn by Bill Draut. The first tale is "If I Had But World Enough and Time" by Len Wein, Dick Dillin and Mike Peppe, a tale of suburbia and the perils and ultimate escape that can be found in watching a lot of television.

That is followed by "Double or Nothing" by Marv Wolfman and Sid Greene. This is a tale about Clifford King who runs a crooked gambling room and learns that even crooked games are no match for a man with the right "system."

Next is "The Unbelievable! The Unexplained" by Steve Skeates, Jack Sparling and Jack Abel. Ruth has a plan to steal her uncle's estate by having him committed and placed into a nursing home. Who can blame her, the old guy was catatonic, staring off into space as if he had seen something too horrible to accept. Shortly after moving in to her uncle's home and shortly after he dies in the nursing home, Ruth is busy looking for the deed to the home when she finds a mysterious key. Once in her had the key begins to throb and Ruth is forced to go where the key demands, in this case to an old house in the fog. There she opens a door and sees something, something beyond description that drives her mad. Somehow she makes it back to the estate, but she is in a catatonic state much like her uncle. Well, ,she coveted everything he had, and she got what she coveted. I liked the way that Skeates was able to immerse Abel into the story on this one.

The last story in the book is our cover-story, "If I Should Die Before I Wake..." by Len Wein and Jack Sparling, the story of Alan Fry, a man who dares not sleep for when he does he is attacked by Morlon in the land of Somnia. Fry tries to find refuge at a psychiatrist's office, but Morlon finds him even there. The entire contents were reprinted in Showcase Presents: The House of Secrets Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Challengers of the Unknown #72

Challengers of the Unknown #72 (On Sale: December 2, 1969) has a cover by Neal Adams.

The Challengers of the Unknown star in "A Plague of Darkness" by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin and Frank Giacoia. The back-up story is "Nobody Lives Forever... or Do They?" by Dave Wood and Lee Elias.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Green Lantern #74

Green Lantern #74 (On Sale: November 26, 1969) has a great cover by Gil Kane.

Green Lantern stars in "Lost In Space" by Mike Friedrich, Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson. This is Friedrich's last Green Lantern story and it's a pretty good one, uniting two villains and two secondary characters (OK, one of them is also one of the villains) and has a nice feel to it. On top of that we have some wonderful artwork by Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson. Good issue this one.

Continuing from last issue which ended with Green Lantern turning Star Sapphire back into Carol Ferris and Sapphire giving one last command before being vanquished, a command that banished Green Lantern to space in his civilian identity and with no knowledge that he is Green Lantern. So, we begin with Hal Jordan floating in space and freaking out! He tries to keep his sanity by remembering what he knows to be true: He is Hal Jordan. He used to be a test pilot. He now has something to do with toys. Yes, he sells toys!

In his pocket he finds a toy spaceship and as he begins to lose his grip on sanity he wishes it to be real, and suddenly it is! Hal knows of only one man who can accomplish that, Green Lantern and so he remembers who he is! As Green Lantern he heads back to Earth to finally tell Carol Ferris who she is. He finds her on the beach and as he nears her she turns back into Star Sapphire. It is the work of Sinestro, who returns to Sapphire the royal gem whom which she obtains her powers.

Together Sinestro and Sapphire attack Green Lantern, whose 24 hours of power suddenly run out. He falls to the sand and Sinestro moves in for the kill. But he has not counted on Sapphire's love for Green Lantern, she only wishes to defeat him so that he will relent to be her mate. Sapphire and Sinestro begin to battle one another in a fight most evenly matches.

Meanwhile Tom "Pieface" Kalmaku wakes up to the news that Green Lantern has been severely injured. Seeing video of Lantern on the beach Tom heads out to assist. Green Lantern on the other hand awakes and seeing Sinestro and Star Sapphire engaged in battle slowly begins to crawl back to his hotel, where his power battery is stashed. The effort is grueling and as he closes in on the hotel steps Sinestro puts up a barrier in his path. Green Lantern collapses, but Tom is waiting in the bushes with the power battery and after a quick recharge Lantern heads back into battle.

Sensing that Sinestro is only a match for him with the added power of Star Sapphire, Green Lantern takes her out first and Sinestro gives up. However, as Green Lantern tries to take him in, he disappears. Green Lantern finds Carol Ferris on the beach and finally tells her that her obsession with him is a dangerous thing, for she is Star Sapphire. She refuses to accept the truth and runs off. Back at Tom's house, Tom says that at least Carol never did anything as Sapphire to land her in jail and Hal agrees.

This story has been reprinted in Green Lantern :The Greatest Stories Ever Told TPB and Showcase Presents: Green Lantern Vol. 4 TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Girls' Romances #146

Girls' Romances #146 (On Sale: November 26, 1969) has a cover by Jay Scott Pike and Vinny Colletta.

We begin with "I'll Never Love Again" penciled by John Rosenberger. That is followed by "Beggar for Love" penciled by Jay Scott Pike. We end with our cover-story, "Girl with a Reputation," which was also penciled by Jay Scott Pike.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Detective Comics #395

Detective Comics #395 (On Sale: November 26, 1969) has a wonderful cover by Neal Adams. The cover could only have been improved if they had let it go the full height of the book, with the logo on the illustration instead of above it.

We begin with Batman in "The Secret of the Waiting Graves" by Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano. This classic issue redefined what a Batman story should be. Building on the ideas Neal Adams has told Julius Schwartz months earlier, this is a different Batman than we have seen before. First, without any of the nonsense of his previous few issues, this is Batman alone. No Robin, no Alfred, no Wayne Manor or Wayne Foundation, no V.I.P., no Batmobile or Batarang. Besides his body and his mind, the only tool Batman uses is a rope (not called a Batrope mind you). The entire story takes place at night and one of the tools Batman does use is that his appearance scares people. Nothing campy or hammy in this story.

This is not the guy you have seen before; the character has been remolded to more aptly fit the way Neal Adams draws him. It is not the most complicated of stories, but it is just enough to give you a feel of this new character, the one replacing the Batman you have known in the past.

The entire story takes place on a single night in Central Mexico. Bruce Wayne and every other "social butterfly in the Western Hemisphere" have been invited to a huge fiesta on the estate of notorious recluse Juan Muerto. Bruce is out touring the estate when trouble first appears. Some of the guests are engaging in a night-time hot-air balloon race when the balloon of one of the competitors, Pedro Valdes, is attacked by trained falcons, which shred his balloon. As Valdes plummets to the ground he is saved from certain death by Batman, who as Bruce Wayne quickly returns to the party.

There Bruce dances with Juan's wife, Delores, a beautiful young woman who speaks to Bruce in an oddly condescending way, as if she were talking to a child. Bruce senses a strange mustiness about her, that he can't explain. Bruce mentions how odd it is for them to hold their fiesta in a graveyard and Delores responds that she and Juan choose to laugh at death rather than fear it. Just then the returning Valdes is attacked once again, as a brazier near him shatters and Bruce hears the muffled sound of a silenced gun. Slipping away from Delores Muerto, Bruce once again sheds his civilian guise to become the Dark Knight.

He finds a group of killers on top of a nearby ridge and leaps into their midst. His sudden appearance frightens them and his quick fists begin to work them over. But one of the men summons a pair of wolves who attack Batman. He leaps into a tree to escape their jaws and from there leaps off a cliff, plummeting over the edge. The killers hear no splash of batman hitting the water below and assume he has hit the rocks and is no longer a problem.

Back at the fiesta, the Muertos decide that two bungled assassinations are enough for one night and will take matters into their own hands. They find Valdes and say they want to show him something that can be found in the old monastery on the grounds. Valdes wonders if it might be a flower. Hanging from a rope under the cliff, Batman hears the discussion and follows the group to the monastery. The Muertos show Valdes the Sybil flowers, which according to legend bestow immortality at the cost of one's sanity. Valdes reveals that he is a government agent, here to arrest the Muertos who accidentally left one of the Sybil blossoms in their hotel room during a recent stay in Mexico City. The Muertos attack Valdes and overpower him and when Batman comes to his rescue he is overtaken by the hallucinogenic nature of the scent given off by the Sybils.

Batman is knocked out by Muerto and when he comes to he and Valdes are tied up in the Monastery. The Muertos let loose the trained falcons to tear their captives apart, but Batman has been using Valdes' badge to cut at his ropes and the pain caused by the falcon attack has cleared his brain somewhat. He kicks a few falcons senseless and bags the last one with his cape before dragging Valdes out of the monastery. Once clear of the flowers Batman tosses back a torch setting the Sybils afire.

From afar the Muertos see the flames. Delores laments that this is the last patch of Sybils left and that their immortality is being "burned from the soil" She rushes off to save them and Juan follows, extolling her to calm herself, to remember that extreme excitement cancels the effect of the flowers fumes. As they race through the graveyard toward the monastery, Juan warns her that she will lose her beauty, that age will seize her, that her limbs will stiffen, the skin of her face will crack and crease and her heart will wither. that they are opening the portals of death itself. With each step they grow older and more enfeebled till finally they fall together into a set of waiting graves. Batman arrives and adds in their date of death. Juan was 129, his wife 126.

This classic tale, the first real modern Batman story has been reprinted in Batman from the 30s to the 70s HC, Dynamic Classics #1, Saga of Ra's Al Ghul #2, Millennium Edition: Detective Comics 395 (#27) and Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol. 2 HC.

The back-up is Robin in "Drop Out...or Drop Dead!" by Frank Robbins, Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson. Continuing from last issue the phony cops are happy when Robin shows up and starts pounding Jonah the CTT leader. They are more than happy to have Robin provide the physical proof of their police brutality. Robin is knocked unconscious. While out the other CTT members are stirring up the campus, but the students are still not ready to strike. From the campus the CTT members call the "cops" to bring in the "clincher."

Jonah tells them not to harm Robin and Dick (who they think is locked in the silo) and the "cops" agree, but after Jonah has left they attempt to kill Robin. They are some sort of "reds" who want to shut down America's campuses one at a time. Robin takes them out and as Disk, returns them to the campus, where they are in time to stop the strike vote and expose the fraud of the CTT. This story has been reprinted in Millennium Edition: Detective Comics 395 (#27) and Showcase Presents: Robin the Boy Wonder Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Adventure Comics #388

Adventure Comics #388 (On Sale: November 26, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

We begin with Supergirl in "The Kindergarten Criminal" by Leo Dorfman, Winslow Mortimer and Jack Abel. That is followed by Supergirl in "The Romance Machine" by Cary Bates and Kurt Schaffenberger.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Action Comics #384

Action Comics #384 (On Sale: November 26, 1969) has a nice cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson. I particularly like the cop on this cover.

We begin with Superman in "The Forbidden Costume" by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and George Roussos. That is followed by the Legion of Super-Heroes in "Lament for a Legionnaire" by Jim Shooter, Winslow Mortimer and Jack Abel. This is Jim Shooter's last story for DC for about five years. He will work at Marvel for a week or two and then leaves the comic book industry for a while, returning to Pittsburgh.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #126

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #126 (On Sale: November 25, 1969) has a nice cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

We begin with "Jimmy Olsen -- Traitor" by Leo Dorfman and Pete Costanza. That is followed by our cover-story, "The Mystery of Kryptonite Plus" by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and George Roussos.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Date With Debbi #7

Date With Debbi #7 (On Sale: November 25, 1969) has a cover by Henry Scarpelli.

We begin with Debbi in "The Pinch-Hitter" with pencils by John Rosenberger. Debbi helps out at a gas station.

That is followed by six miniskirt designs for Debbi and Mona sent in by readers.

Next is Debbi in "Double Trouble" in which Benedict asks Debbi to the movies but she ends up going with Buddy.

The third Debbi story, "Dress Dilemma," is by Barbara Friedlander, Doug Crane and Henry Scarpelli.

Our last story is an untitled Flowers story. Christmas story with the Flowers family.

We end with teen fads and tips for groovy teens submitted by readers

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Superboy #162

Superboy #162 (On Sale: November 20, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

The feature-length Superboy tale, "The Super-Phantom of Smallville" is by Frank Robbins and Bob Brown.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Secret Hearts #141

Secret Hearts #141 (On Sale: November 20, 1969) has a cover inked by Vinny Collitta.

We begin with "20 Miles to Heart Break" by Barbara Friedlander, Alex Toth and Vinny Colletta and reprinted in Young Love #123. Next is "Joanna" penciled by Ric Estrada. That is followed by "My Brother... My Rival?" inked by Bernard Sachs. We end with "The Girl Nobody Loved" inked by Vinny Colletta.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Adventures of Jerry Lewis #116

Adventures of Jerry Lewis #116 (On Sale: November 20, 1969) has a cover by Bob Oksner.

We have three Jerry stories this issue, beginning with "The Abominable Schmoman," followed by "The Fortune Haunters" and ending with "The Job That Starts at the Top."

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Teen Titans #25 (On Sale: November 18, 1969) has a powerful cover by Nick Cardy.

The Teen Titans take a dramatic turn in "The Titans Kill a Saint" by Robert Kanigher and Nick Cardy. In an absolute classic art job by Cardy we begin with the Titans and the Hawk and the Dove watching a surgery take place and blaming themselves. Later in the recovery room they attempt to talk to the patient, Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Arthur Swenson, but as they do so, he dies. In shock and tears the Titans are called to the morgue for a meeting of some sort. When the dejected Titans leave a short time later they run into Lilith, onto whom they try to foist some of the blame for Swenson's death, but she will have none of their nonsense and splits.

The Titans think back to how it all began a few hours earlier at the Canary Cottage Discotheque, where they met a dancer named Lilith, who knew who the Titans were even in their civilian identities and asked to join the team. She said her power is that she just knows things, like she knows the Titans will open the door to death tonight. They blow Lilith off and leave running into a peace rally, where Dr. Swenson is speaking. As the crowd begins to get heated, the Titans head for a back alley to change only to run into the Hawk and the Dove doing the same thing.

Back inside they all do what they can to control the crowd but when a man pulls a gun, Speedy, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash and the Hawk and the Dove all jump him and try to wrest the gun from his hands. It goes off and the single bullet strikes Dr. Swenson in the head. Speedy rushes them all to the hospital, where our story began. We also learn that when they went to the morgue, they were confronted by the Justice League who told them that they had violated their most sacred duty and that something must be done about it. Superman tells them that they must act as their own judge and jury and Batman warns that if they do not reach a decision by the day's end that the JLA will execute punishment on their own.

The Titans wander the streets, finding themselves eventually at the docks, where they are met by a small boat containing Lilith and Mr. Jupiter, the richest man in the world. Jupiter says he has an urgent government mission that he wants the Titans to undertake, but that the mission may change them forever and may even cost them their lives. Lilith leaves them, saying she knows she is a reminder to them of what has happened. The Titans go with Jupiter back to his estate to hear more.

Jupiter explains that he is in charge of a secret training project to prepare teens for the task of handling the world's problems and asks them if they will join. Robin bows out, saying that he has already committed to college. Though he leaves, the rest of the Titans and the Hawk and the Dove accept and are taken to Jupiter's secret headquarters on the 13th floor of his skyscraper complex, a floor run completely by computers.

There the Titans once again meet Lilith and give up their uniforms and fore go their powers to join Jupiter's secret project. This classic story was reprinted in Showcase Presents: Teen Titans Vol. 2 TPB.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Strange Adventures #222

Strange Adventures #222 (On Sale: November 18, 1969) has an Adam Strange cover by Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson.

We begin with "Beyond the Wall of Death" by Denny O'Neil, Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson. This was the first new Adam Strange story in a very long time and I guess was a try-out of sorts to see if new material picked up sales. Apparently it did not, as there were no more new Adam Strange stories in Strange Adventures. I used to own this book, but can no longer locate it, so I don't remember anything about the story.

Next is "Treasure Planet" from Mystery In Space #15 by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Bernard Sachs.

We end with the Atomic Knights in "Thanksgiving Day -- 1990" from Strange Adventures #132 and by the standard team of John Broome and Murphy Anderson. Using the seeds obtained from the Atlantean island and new cultivation techniques, the Atomic Knights are able to grow trees in Durvale within a few months. To celebrate the success of the trees, they invite people from several surviving communities to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Elsewhere, Khagan, the leader of the Atlanteans has escaped the peril that befell the island of Atlantis. In the months since he escaped the island, he has been able to learn much of the post-World War III world and the Atomic Knights.

When Khagan learns of the Thanksgiving celebration, he sends his men to attack. Douglas is wounded by the mirror weapons of the Atlanteans. The other Atomic Knight defend themselves and defeat the attackers. Wayne Hobard is appointed to guard the prisoners.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #98

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #98 (On Sale: November 13, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

We begin with "I Betrayed Superman" by Robert Kanigher and Irv Novick. This story was reprinted in Superman Family #176. The back-up story is "Tomorrow I Die" by Robert Kanigher, Curt Swan and George Roussos.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Phantom Stranger #5

Phantom Stranger #5 (On Sale: November 13, 1969) has a nice cover by Neal Adams. This will be the last cover for a while that shows the Stranger as an actual character on the cover.

We begin with "The Devil's Playground" by Robert Kanigher, Mike Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson. I cannot tell you how much I dislike the writing in this issue, mainly as it pertains to the four "hippie" characters returning from last issue. These four: Spartacus, Wild Rose, Attile and Mister Square (you can't make up names that bad! Oh wait, Robert Kanigher actually did!), are at the beach one night when they hear a man calling out. When they get to him they find him dead. When they go to show the body to a security guard, it is missing.

Back in "the city," the four teenagers, Dr. Thirteen and Tala all end up at the same dance club, where a man named Earl Winthrop is breaking up with his girlfriend Vera. Broken-hearted Vera drives off into the night and, after hitting an oil slick on the road, off a bridge and into the ocean. The Phantom Stranger appears and retrieves her dead body from the deep, bringing her to shore where the police are waiting.

Meanwhile, back at the club, Earl is now on to another conquest, this time it is Wild Rose who, along with her friends recognize Earl Winthrop as the man they saw drowned at the beach. Rose dances with Winthrop and Tala decides to set the club on fire. The Phantom Stranger shows up and uses his cape to put out the fire. Tala tries to win him over with a kiss and then leaves, while Dr. Thirteen once again calls the Stranger a phony.

Outside Winthrop invites everyone to party at his beach house while he flies to Florida. The house keeper lets them in but shows them a newspaper with a headline regarding Winthrop being lost at sea. The gang parties anyway (it is the 60's after all) and eventually Winthrop shows up saying the newspaper was mistaken, yet with a bit of seaweed hanging off his hand. The kids notice that Earl dances with every woman in the room and seems to ask each one the same question, which always results in the woman laughing.

They get a warning that a hurricane is coming and everyone leaves the beach house except Earl, the four kids and Dr. Thirteen. Earl takes Wild Rose out to the beach for a walk and confides in her that the newspaper was right and that his plane did crash. While floating in the sea a strange light appeared and told Earl that he was doomed to float in eternal loneliness forever unless he can find someone who will weep tears of pity for him. He told every woman he met tonight his story and they all laughed at him, but Wild Rose does cry for him and he returns to the sea to meet his end.

However Tala shows up to see that Wild Rose joins Winthrop in death and a fight ensues between her and the Phantom Stranger. In the end, the Stranger wins and Dr. Thirteen once again, calls the Stranger a phony. Wow, was this a badly written story.

The back-up story is "The Devil's Footprints" by Robert Kanigher and the unusal, but good-looking art team of Curt Swan and Nick Cardy.

This entire book was reprinted in Showcase Presents Phantom Stranger Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Girls' Love Stories #148

Girls' Love Stories #148 (On Sale: November 13, 1969) has a nice cover by Nick Cardy.

We begin with "My Double Love" inked by Vinny Colletta. Next is the cover-story, "Doormat for Love" penciled by John Rosenberger. That is followed by "The Stranger Next Door" penciled by Ric Estrada. We end with Confessions "Episode 2" also penciled by John Rosenberger.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

DC Special #6

DC Special #6 (On Sale: November 11, 1969) has a beautiful cover by Neal Adams with a really big logo for The Wild Frontier issue.

We begin with Daniel Boone in "Son of Chief Black Fish" from Legends of Daniel Boone #1, drawn by Nick Cardy. Next is Tomahawk in "The Junior Ghost Patrol" from World's Finest Comics #69 by Dave Wood and Nick Cardy. That is followed by Davy Crockett in "War Stick of Chief Fighting Elk" from Frontier Fighters #4, drawn by John Prentice. That is followed by Kit Carson in "The Raiders of the Oregon Trail" also from Frontier Fighters #4 and drawn by Howard Sherman. We have Buffalo Bill in "Young Bill -- of the Pony Express" from Frontier Fighters #6 by Dave Wood and Joe Kubert. We end with Pow-Wow Smith in (The Tenderfoot Deputy) from Detective Comics #178 and drawn by Leonard Starr.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Batman #218

Batman #218 (On Sale: November 11, 1969) has a cover by Murphy Anderson. This is the last issue to feature this long-running Batman logo.

We begin with "Batman and Robin's Greatest Mystery" which is reprinted from Detective Comics #234 and created by Ed Hamilton, Sheldon Moldoff and Stan Kaye. Batman and Robin track down a crook, Jay Caird, who has stolen a sonic weapon. When the weapon is turned on the Dynamic Duo, they are knocked out and begin suffering from amnesia. Commissioner Gordon allows them to search the police files for clues to their secret identities in hopes that it will restore their lost memories.

Batman finds several clues while reading the files. He learns that he is wealthy, is a pilot, and a polo player. With the possibilities narrowed, Batman is able to guess that he is Bruce Wayne. He drives to Wayne Manor where his memories begin to return. With his recovery, he remembers where Caird was headed, and together with Robin, Batman captured the crook.

Next is "The Hand from Nowhere" reprinted from Batman #130 and created by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris. A giant hand appears above a factory. The hand is controlled by two alien creatures. Batman confronts the aliens who are making the hand steal metal ore. Batman is unable to capture the aliens because the giant hand protects them.

Batman follows the trail of the aliens as they steal several other metals. The aliens make a raid on some valuable platinum, and Batman is able to uncover their scheme. The whole setup has been a hoax. The aliens are really disguised crooks. Batman locates the hideout and finds that Superman’s frequent foe, Lex Luthor is behind it. Batman takes control of the hand, which Luthor invented, capturing Luthor and his gang.

That is followed by "The Man Who Couldn't Be Tried Twice" reprinted from Batman #118 and created by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff and Ray Burnley. Batman testifies in a murder case to help free the defendant, James Lee, who is accused of killing his former trapeze artist partner. Lee is acquitted, then brags that he did kill his partner, Wyler. Batman’s name is ruined, but he uncovers evidence proving that the circus owner, David Dial, is the real killer. Dial bribed Lee to brag so that no one would find him. Batman then brings both men to justice.

That brings us to "The Body in the Bat-Cave" reprinted from Batman #121 and created by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris. Batman and Robin discover the body of electronics genius turned criminal Alec Wyre in the Bat-Cave. They believe wire and an associate discovered the cave, then the associate murdered him. Batman then tracks down three suspects, despite the fact that one must know his secret identity. All three suspects prove to be false leads. Batman then deduces that Wyre found the Bat-Cave on his own and was knocked dead when he hit his head on a stalactite. The location of the Bat-Cave and Batman's secret identity therefore remains a secret.

Next is "Four Hours to Live" which originally appeared in the Sunday Batman newspaper strip from June 11 to July 30th, 1944.

We end with "The League Against Batman" from Detective Comics #197 and created by David V. Reed, Dick Sprang and Charles Paris. A new hooded criminal known as the Wrecker strikes against Batman by destroying objects dedicated to the crime fighter. He destroys Batman toys, signs, and sculptures, claiming to seek revenge for his three brothers who were executed after Batman captured them.

Dwight Forrow, a man who wrote a book about Batman, receives a death threat and is assigned two police bodyguards. The Wrecker still succeeds in carrying out the threat, apparently killing Forrow.

Batman and the police believe that the Wrecker is Skip Denton, who had three criminal brothers. However Batman finds a clue that proves the real identity of the Wrecker. Police apprehend Denton, but Batman clears him by finding Forrow alive. Forrow and his brother were running an insurance scam and set Denton up. A sunburn on Forrow's hand gave the crook away and allowed Batman to apprehend him.

Edited by E. Nelson Bridwell.