Friday, May 29, 2009

Detective Comics #389

Detective Comics #389 (On Sale: May 29, 1969) has a nice cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with "Batman's Evil Eye" by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Joe Giella. This is not one of Frank Robbins' better efforts. When a story begins with Professor Crane, AKA the Scarecrow being released from prison and Batman begins striking fear into the hearts of criminals again, it shouldn't take Batman so many pages to figure out who is behind it. This story is so simplistic and half-assedly written that I'm not even going to bother repeating the plot. Suffice to say, Batman scares people and by looking in the mirror he scares himself and in the end the Scarecrow loses.

That is followed by our back-up Batgirl story "Batgirl's Bag of Tricks" by Frank Robbins, Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson. Continuing from last issue, Barbara in a Batgirl costume not her own has followed "Batman" to an airline costume party where her new roommate, whom she is impersonating, is the guest of honor. Seeing "Batman" hook up with others dressed as the Flash, Superman and Green Lantern she has eavesdropped and found out that her new roommate is in a jewel smuggling ring with the other "heroes." She now finds herself taking on the other "heroes," minus Batgirl's weapons-bag.

The gang subdue her, but the fight has brought the police. This gives Barbara the edge and she knocks out both the Flash, Green Lantern and Batman, but Superman gets away. Thinking Barbara is her roommate, Darlene Dawson, she is given the award for Air-Hostess With the Mostest" then beats a hasty retreat. Remembering that Darlene said she was going to visit her Grandfather on this, his birthday, Barbara cycles out to Cosby Corners in search of the Dawsons, not knowing that "Superman" is tailing her, thinking she is Darlene and heading for the jewels she stole from them.

When she finds the Dawsons she learns that Grandpa is actually the brains behind Darlene's crimes. Deciding to take them down Barbara fights Darlene while Gramps pulls out an old Tommy Gun. At the same time "Superman" shows up sees that there are two Darlenes and decides to kill them both. However, it's been a long time since Grandpa's bootlegging days and the Thompson is a little too much gun for him. Bullets fly haphazardly around the room, killing "Superman." Barbara stops Grandpa cold with a two-tiered birthday cake in the chops. This has been reprinted in Batman in the Sixties TPB and Showcase Presents: Batgirl Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Adventure Comics #382

Adventure Comics #382 (On Sale: May 29, 1969) has a Supergirl cover by Curt Swan and Neal Adams.

The feature-length Supergirl story "The Super-Team's Split-Up," is by Cary Bates and Kurt Schaffenberger. Looking at both the cover and the story here, you can see that DC wanted to try a Supergirl book, so long as it looked exactly like a Superman book. It would really take Mike Sekowsky in a year or so to turn this book into anything other than a Superman in a skirt clone.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Action Comics #378

Action Comics #378 (On Sale: May 29, 1969) has a great Curt Swan and Neal Adams cover.

We begin with Superman in "The Devil's Partner" by Jim Shooter, Curt Swan and Jack Abel.

That is followed by the Legion of Super-Heroes in "The Forbidden Fruit" by Jim Shooter, Winslow Mortimer and Mike Esposito.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Green Lantern #70

Green Lantern #70 (On Sale: May 27, 1969) has a nice cover by Gil Kane.

Green Lantern stars in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Earth" by John Broome, Gil Kane and Vinnie Colletta. I remember this one from when I was a kid, as it has one of the strangest solutions for killing a space monster I have ever read. The Guardians call Green Lantern to take out a gigantic creature that eats gravity. OK, I know that gravity is a force and not a thing, but hey, it eats gravity, OK? Green Lantern is attacked by the creature and eventually kills it by making it eat its own shit, or as John Broome put it, "Its own waste product." I kid you not.

But this issue is not just about shit-eating monsters, it's about a toy factory on the planet Ghyra, where the circuitry in a "Hilar-Toy" goes haywire and instead of making people laugh, it causes people to fight. Unable to fix the indestructible Hilar the makers turn it off and throw it away, but it still finds itself "active" and locates a space ship in the junkyard, which it uses to escape. With no plan of where to go, Hilar sees Green Lantern fly by, returning from giving the gravity eater a shit-eating grin, and follows him back to Earth.

After a run-in with the police for jay-walking the Hilar finds a TV studio as a hiding place. There he interrupts the filming of a TV comedy show which brings him to the attention of Hal Jordan (working his first day as a toy salesman). As Green Lantern he rushes to the studio only to find that any attack against Hilar is rerouted back at himself. Some gangsters see Hilar take out Green Lantern on TV and saying that he only wants to make people laugh. They high-tail it down to the studio and pick up Hilar by pretending to find everything he says funny.

The gangsters win over Hilar's confidence and bring him along when they go to rob a train. When Green Lantern shows up, Hilar again knocks him out cold. When he comes to, Green Lantern finds the gangsters' car and begins to take them out one at a time and then turns to face Hilar. Hilar has realized that his "friends" are evil and tries to communicate that to Green Lantern telepathically, but GL is using his ring to create an impenetrable aura around himself. Lantern uses his ring to steal Hilar's gravity and he crumbles like the toy he is.

Discovering that Hilar is just a malfunctioning toy, Green Lantern returns Hilar to Ghyra, repairs his faulty circuits and as he leaves Hilar is on stage and getting big laughs with his "A funny thing happened on the way to Earth" story.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Girls' Romances #142

Girls' Romances #142 (On Sale: May 27, 1969) has a cover by Jay Scott Pike and Vinny Colletta.

We begin with "No Love for Janie" penciled by Jay Scott Pike. If the cover is any indication, it was likely inked by Vinnie Colletta. That is followed by "Possessed by My Love" also penciled by Jay Scott Pike. Next is an untitled Betty's Boutique penciled by John Rosenberger. Lastly is "Meant for Each Other" a reprint from Secret Hearts #36 and drawn by Arthur Peddy and Bernard Sachs.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #121

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #121 (On Sale: May 22, 1969) has a great Curt Swan and Neal Adams cover. I love the way Adams' inks respect the Swan pencils on this one.

We begin with "The Three Lives of Superman" by Jim Shooter and Pete Costanza.

That is followed by our cover-story, "Jimmy Olsen's Death Trick," by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and Jack Abel.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

DC Special #4

DC Special #4 (On Sale: May 22, 1969) has a cover by Neal Adams for the 13 Shock-Ending Stories issue.

We begin with a framing sequence for 13 Shock-Ending Stories 13 by Mark Hanerfeld and Bill Draut. This is famous for being the first appearance of Abel, caretaker of the House of Secrets. Not only did Hanerfeld write Abel's first appearance he is the original model for Abel.

Next is "Ghost Writer" drawn by Leonard Starr and reprinted from House of Mystery #19. That is followed by "The Magic Hammer" drawn by Jack Kirby and reprinted from Tales of the Unexpected #16 where it was originally entitled "The Magic Stick."

We next have "A Piece of Rope" from House of Mystery #5. Jerry Grandenetti drew "Last Mile Martin" from House of Mystery #15 "The Dream Lamp " is drawn by John Prentice and is reprinted from Tales of the Unexpected #1.

Next is "Door of No Return" written by Murray Boltinoff and drawn by George Roussos and reprinted from House of Secrets #62. That is followed by "Beware after Dark" drawn by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella and reprinted from Sensation Mystery #114.

"The Tree Man of Tanganyika" comes to us from House of Mystery #30 and is drawn by Ralph Mayo. Ralph Mayo was the art director of AC Comics in the 1940s. He drew 'Black Terror and Tim' for America's Best Comics, Black Terror and Exciting Comics. He also penciled some 'Miss Masque' splash pages. In the 1950s he drew Jann of the Jungle for Marvel, 'Camilla' for Fiction House and crime stories for Lev Gleason and St. John. He was penciller and/or inker on Dell titles like Dragoon Wells Massacre, Jungle Jim, Lassie, Quentin Durward and Roy Rogers. His first work for DC was in Mr. District Attorney #2 in 1948. He worked mainly on the Johnny Quick feature in Adventure Comics and drew 66 stories in all for DC before his death in 1956. Some of his last work was with Al Williamson on Jann of the Jungle.

Next is "Written in the Sands" drawn by George Papp and reprinted from House of Mystery #26. "The Secret of Salzo the Great" comes to us from artist John Prentice and House of Mystery #2. That is followed by "Secret Locked in the Ice" from House of Secrets #63 and the pen of artist Gene Colan.

Rounding out the issue is "The Bullet Man" drawn by Bernard Baily from Tales of the Unexpected #17 and "The Strange Faces of Death" drawn by Ruben Moreira and reprinted from House of Mystery #19.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Windy and Willy #2

Windy and Willy #2 (On Sale: May 20, 1969) has a cover by Bob Oksner.

"The Two Astro-Nuts" is of course a reprint from Many Loves of Dobie Gillis #25 by Arnold Drake and Bob Oksner. They have renamed the characters and touched up the artwork to be more modern and to avoid copyright infringement.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Superboy #158

Superboy #158 (On Sale: May 20, 1969) has a great dramatic cover by Neal Adams.

"Superboy's Darkest Secret" is by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Wally Wood. With these great Neal Adams' covers, the interesting Frank Robbins' scripts and Wally Wood's inks, Superboy was one of the more interesting, yet unsung titles DC was producing at the time.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Secret Hearts #137

Secret Hearts #137 (On Sale: May 20, 1969) has a cover by, well, if I had to guess (and since I don't know, I do), I'd say Ric Estrada and Dick Giordano.

We begin with "Forbidden Romance" penciled by Tony Abruzzo. Next is "Today's Heartbreak" a reprint from Secret Hearts #43 inked by Bernard Sachs. We end with "Reach for Happiness Episode 28" by persons unknown.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Anthro #6

Anthro #6 (On Sale: May 20, 1969) has a cover reported to be by the signed Howie Post, but only a crazy person would deny the Wally Wood inks on the Nima and Embra figures. This is the final issue of Anthro.

(The Marriage of Anthro) is written and penciled by Howie Post and inked by Wally Wood. Anthro leaves the tribe of his uncle to search for Embra. After an encounter with a white lion and a giant, Anthro finds Embra and her father Tugg. The trio return to Do-Ahn's village where a marriage is arranged for Tugg's eldest daughter Ita.

Anthro then proceeds to marry Embra. Before the ceremony is complete, the ritual is challenged by Nima, a woman of the bear tribe. As a result of her challenge Nima and Embra fight for the right to marry Anthro. The girls knock each other out which results in the match ending as a draw. As a result the law requires that Anthro marry both women.

Howie Post's Anthro was a one-of-a-kind character and didn't fit real well in the DC universe. Beginning life in Showcase #74 it would be nine years later before Anthro appeared again and again it would be in the pages of Showcase, this time issue #100 with a small cameo. He would appear only three more times in Crisis on Infinite Earths #2, #5 and #10.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Teen Titans #22

Teen Titans #22 (On Sale: May 15, 1969) has another great Nick Cardy cover.

We begin with the Teen Titans in "Halfway to Holocaust" written and penciled by Neal Adams and inked by Nick Cardy. Continuing from last issue, while Speedy and Wonder Girl battle an extra dimensional creature that suddenly appears in the criminals' control-room, Robin and Kid Flash, under the control of the aliens, are used to discover a third dimensional world, invisible to the Dimension-X-dwellers, which exists adjacent to both their world and Earth. Escaping, they rejoin their teammates in this adjoining dimension, only to be pursued by the aliens.

The battle between Titans and aliens is cut short when a community-intelligence being, the sole sentient native to the newly discovered dimension, takes on the form of a giant archer in imitation of Speedy, and drives the minions of Dimension X back to their own world. Promising that never again will beings from Dimension X use his world as a gateway to Earth, the "archer" allows the Titans to depart in peace. This story has been reprinted in Best of DC #18 and Showcase Presents: Teen Titans Vol. 2 TPB.

The back-up story, "The Origin of Wonder Girl" is by Marv Wolfman, Gil Kane and Nick Cardy. This story is sort of a side story to the first story in this issue. Upon the Titan's return to Earth, Wonder Girl unexpectedly collapses, the result of a recently recurring series of fainting spells. In explanation, she tells the other Titans her origin for the first time.

As a child, she had been saved from an apartment building fire by Wonder Woman, and taken by her to Paradise Island to live after all attempts to ascertain her identity or those of her parents (presumed to be a couple killed in the blaze) had failed. Becoming Queen Hippolyta's foster daughter and Wonder Woman's foster sister, she was unable to compete with the Amazons on a physical level, lacking their special powers, and so was given powers almost identical to those of Wonder Woman by Paula, the Amazon chief scientist, using the Purple Ray.

Returning to the outside world to join the Teen Titans, she was forced to stay behind when the other Amazons sojourned to another dimension to recharge their magical powers, and had been secretly living in Titan Lair since that time. Now, she takes the name Donna Troy as a civilian identity and moves into an apartment in Greenwich Village with new girlfriend Sharon Tracy.

Later, she is contacted by Queen Hippolyta, who informs her that the Amazons' use of the Purple Ray had been accidentally responsible for her recurring weak spells, a problem which has now been corrected. Wonder Girl celebrates her new life by designing a new costume and changing her hairstyle. Reprinted in DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #5 and Showcase Presents: Teen Titans Vol. 2 TPB.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Strange Adventures #219

Strange Adventures #219 (On Sale: May 15, 1969) has an Atomic Knights cover (minus the Knights) by Joe Kubert.

Adam Strange stars in "Menace of the Robot Raiders" from Mystery In Space #53 and created by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Bernard Sachs. Adam Strange returns to Rann to find Alanna in control of a giant robot. The robot and others like it were given to the people of Ranagar in exchange for a mineral by some aliens, the Griks. When the robots rebel, the Griks are believed to be responsible. Adam fights to free Alanna, then he confronts the Griks, who claim to be innocent. Adam traces the controller to Vor Kan, the Ranagaran man responsible for keeping the robots operational. Adam destroys his control device and captures Vor Kan, before being sent back to Earth by the Zeta Beam.

Our cover-story is "The Cavemen of New York" featuring the Atomic Knights, reprinted from Strange Adventures #123 and produced by John Broome and Murphy Anderson. The Atomic Knights visit New York City to find a cache of food and supplies in a large fallout shelter. The city took a direct hit in the war and no life remains. The Knights enter the shelter and are attacked by a band of former men, who now resemble cro-magnons. After fending off the attack, the knights befriend one of the men. They are able to calm the rest of the group as well. After a brief respite underground, protected from the radiation above, the Knights leave New York and the cavemen behind.

Lastly we have a Space Cabbie story "Space-Flight to Danger," from Mystery In Space #28 and created by Otto Binder, Gil Kane and Bernard Sachs. Space Cabbie buys a new battery case for his taxi at an auto parts story. He chooses a case from the bottom of the stack because it is in the best condition. The salesmen doesn't want to sell it to him, but the cab driver refuses the give up the case.

After installing the new battery case, Space Cabbie takes on several jobs. He then notices several bizarre incidents designed to separate him from his cab. He finally allows one of the men to search his cab and steal the battery case. Space Cabbie then summons the Interplanetary Police and is able to lead them to the crook.

The crook is working for the auto parts salesmen. The battery case that Space Cabbie purchased contains a map to the gang's hidden loot. The police arrest the gang, and Space Cabbie earns a reward for their capture.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Date With Debbi #4

Date With Debbi #4 (On Sale: May 15, 1969) has a cover by Samm Schwartz. This is the last issue to use this original logo.

We begin with Debbi in "T.V. or Not T.V.," is penciled by Jack Sparling; They're filming a TV show at the school, and Debbi wants to be in it.

Next we have Debbi in "And the Beat Goes On," drawn by Samm Schwartz.

That is followed by "Double Standard," another Debbi story by persons unknown.

Next is an untitled Flowers story drawn by Phil Mendez.

We end with "Tennis Bums" a Debbi story by Henry Boltinoff and John Rosenberger. Buddy is humiliated to be beaten at tennis by Debbi. This story was reprinted in Best of DC #39.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #93

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #93 (On Sale: May 13, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Neal Adams featuring the New Wonder Woman.

"The Superman-Wonder Woman Team" is by Robert Kanigher and Irv Novick. I remember just liking the fact that DC was showcasing the powerless Wonder Woman in other books, though I don't remember anything about this story in particular. This has been reprinted in Diana Prince: Wonder Woman Vol. 2 TPB.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Phantom Stranger #2

Phantom Stranger #2 (On Sale: May 13, 1969) has a cover by Bill Draut. The character is still two issues away from a stylistic redesign at the hands of Neal Adams which will transform the character forever.

The new story this issue is "The Man Who Died Three Times" by Mike Friedrich and Bill Draut. With this story they bring the Doctor Thirteen character into interaction with the Stranger. This was reprinted in Showcase Presents Phantom Stranger Vol. 1 TPB.

They round out the book with reprints. From the old Phantom Stranger #1 comes "The House of Strange Secrets" by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella. Neal Hunter is lured to a strange house after he is led of the main road. Neal enters the house and is greeted by a man who wishes to kill him. The Phantom Stranger appears and protects Neal. The killer then disappears and the house changes.

Neal and the Phantom Stranger explore the house as the killer strikes again. The Stranger learns that the killer is the former apprentice of a dead magician named Robart. He believes that by killing Hunter he will gain immortality. The Stranger then exposes the killer's magic as a fraud and rescues Neal. The apprentice is killed himself during an attack on the Stranger.

From Star Spangled Comics #128 comes Doctor Thirteen in "The Girl Who Lived 5,000 Years" by France Herron and Leonard Starr.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Girls' Love Stories #144

Girls' Love Stories #144 (On Sale: May 13, 1969) has a cover by supposedly George Tuska and Vinny Colletta. It looks nothing like Tuska and certainly nothing like the Tuska/Colletta art on Iron Man at Marvel. Oddly, this cover falls back on the old logo that was replaced two issues prior.

We begin with "Can Love Last Forever?" drawn by John Rosenberger. Next is "Too Late for Tears" a reprint from Secret Hearts #43 drawn by John Romita and Bernard Sachs. That is followed by "He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not" drawn by Jay Scott Pike. Lastly is our cover-story, "Memory of Margret" drawn by George Tuska and Vinny Colletta.

This is George Tuska's first work of DC in ten years (Tales of the Unexpected #34) and his first cover since Uncle Sam #3 in 1942.

George Tuska studied at the National Academy School of Art. In 1939, he became an assistant on the Scorchy Smith newspaper comic strip. As he explained in an interview in Alter Ego #3, he also worked for for the Eisner & Iger studio, "alongside Bob Powell, Lou Fine, and Mike Sekowsky" , adding that the studio later expanded "with Charles Sultan, John Celardo, Nick Cardy, and [writer] Toni Blum joining in. I worked on 'Shark Brodie' [for Fiction House], 'Spike Marlin' [in Harvey Comics' Speed Comics, as Carl Larson], and other strips" for comics including Fiction House's Jungle Comics and Wings Comics, and Fox Comics' Wonderworld Comics and Mystery Men Comics."

Tuska later left to work with packager Harry "A" Chesler's studio, helping to supply content for such Fawcett Comics publications as Captain Marvel Adventures, and for such characters as Golden Arrow, Uncle Sam and El Carim. Tuska also drew the debut of the Quality Comics feature Hercules — starring a superhuman circus strongman, not the mythological figure — in Hit Comics #1 (July 1940).

Following Tuska's military service in World War II, he worked on Lev Gleason Publications' comic-book series Crime Does Not Pay, and later became one of the last writer-artists of Scorchy Smith, which ran until 1961. Tuska also did the comic strip Buck Rogers from 1959-1967.

Tuska freelanced primarily for Marvel during the 1960s Silver Age of comic books and beyond, penciling and occasionally inking other artists on series including Ghost Rider, Luke Cage, Power Man, Black Goliath, Sub-Mariner, The X-Men and the movie tie-in series Planet of the Apes. His first Marvel story, a "Tales of the Watcher" feature in Tales of Suspense #58 (Nov. 1964), had a special introduction by editor Stan Lee hailing the return of the Golden Age great. He enjoyed a nearly ten-year, sometimes briefly interrupted, run on Iron Man from issue #5 (Sept. 1968) to #106 (Jan. 1978).

His work at DC would include numerous romance and horror/mystery stories, but he is best remembered at DC for his super-hero work, starting with Challengers of the Unknown #73 in 1970. Besides the Challs, Tuska would work on the Teen Titans, Superboy, Superman in Action Comics and Superman Family, Jimmy Olsen in Superman Family, Justice League of America, Legion of Super-Heroes, Superman/Batman and Black Lightning in World's Finest Comics, Masters of the Universe, Green Lantern, Infinity Inc., and Fury of Firestorm.

George Tuska also pulled a 15-year stint drawing The World's Greatest Superheroes Present Superman newspaper strip from 1978-1993. His last DC work was on a Wildcat story in Wildcats: Mosaic #1 in 2000. Tuska retired from active comics work as of the 2000s and lives in Manchester, New Jersey where he does commissioned art. He also makes the rounds of many of the comic conventions even though he is currently 93 years old.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Binky's Buddies #4

Binky's Buddies #4 (On Sale: May 13, 1969) has a cover by Bob Oksner.

We have four stories this issue: "From Riches to Rags," "The Hero," "Tolling the Bells" and "What a Banana" staring Binky's Buddies, Binky, Buzzy and Benny all by person's unknown.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Angel and the Ape #5

Angel and the Ape #5 (On Sale: May 13, 1969) has a cover by Bob Oksner. It looks like the staff of Benedict Arnold High School (a school populated by Universal Horror-style monsters) from the now canceled Adventures of Bob Hope comic are now a part of Angel and the Ape.

Once again we know very little about this issue. It begins with "Pigeon Mob" drawn by Bob Oksner and finishes with "The Case of Hippie, Hippie, Hooray" drawn by Artie Saaf and Wally Wood.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Young Love #75

Young Love #75 (On Sale: May 8, 1969) has a cover at least inked by Dick Giordano. Dick may have also provided the pencils.

Once again we know very little about this issue. It begins with "Help Romance Along" by persons unknown and then moves on to "Dance Till Dawn," a reprint from Secret Hearts #42 which is also by persons unknown. We round out the issue with an untitled Lisa St. Claire story and, hitting the trifecta, it is also by persons unknown.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Our Fighting Forces #120

Our Fighting Forces #120 (On Sale: May 8, 1969) has another Lt. Hunter's Hellcats cover by Joe Kubert.

This issue begins with Lt. Hunter's Hellcats in "Devil in the Dark" by Robert Kanigher and Art Saaf.

The back-up story is "Killer on My Back" drawn by the Scottish wonder Ken Barr.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

House of Mystery #181

House of Mystery #181 (On Sale: May 8, 1969) has another beautiful cover by Neal Adams, with some wonderfully moody coloring.

We begin with "Sir Greeley's Revenge" by Otto Binder and Frank Springer. Except for a single story printed in House of Mystery #257 in 1978, this is the last DC story by the great Otto Binder. This is also the last DC story for Frank Springer for seven years. This is a great little story about orphan Tim Halloway taken in one cold winter night by the rich and powerful Sir Greeley. He is a kind man who takes an immediate liking to the poor child, particularly when he find that Tim has a natural ability on the piano. The Sir's affection for Tim does not sit well with his spinster sister Abigail and his nephew Percy.

They try to toss Tim back to the streets, but Sir Greeley steps in and lets them know that they too stay at his house solely due to his generosity. Sir Greeley provides Tim with the best of piano teachers and Tim's abilities grow, but death comes one night for Sir Greeley. At the reading of his will, Abigail and Percy learn that they are only given half of Sir Greeley's estate and the the other half goes to young Tim, provided he can perform at a concert and not make a single mistake, thus proving him worthy.

Abigail and Percy begin to distract Tim from his practicing for the concert, forcing him to ride horses, which they purposefully startle in an unsuccessful attempt to break Tim's arm. The ghost of Sir Greeley returns to keep young Tim on the right path. The next day Abigail makes Tim split logs for hours, creating swollen, bleeding hands that are unable to practice. Seeing the depths to which his kin will stoop, Sir Greeley's ghost lures Abigail and Percy to the basement where they uncover a cache of gold coins which rain down upon them. Suddenly they realize that the coins are filling the room and that it is too late for them to escape. They die swallowed up by the fortune they craved.

When the concert finally comes Tim plays flawlessly and wins the entirety of Sir Greeley's estate, which pleases the old ghost very much. Reprinted in House of Mystery #229.

After a Page 13 by Sergio Aragones we have "The Siren of Satan" by Robert Kanigher and Bernie Wrightson. The artwork is vintage very early Bernie Wrightson, with lots of cross-hatched backgrounds and Frank Frazetta-inspired figures, but the story by Kanigher is a real turd involving the ancient Egyptian princess Re-Na. She was the most beautiful of women, but the god Ro-Tan placed a curse on anyone who would fall in love with her. Even after her death, we see that throughout the centuries, one captive of her affection after another died from the curse of Ro-Tan. Her beautifully carved sarcophagus eventually makes it's way to America and is purchased at auction by Jason, who, believing that everyone is plotting to steal Re-Na from him, hides out at the House of Mystery and shelters the sarcophagus in a nearby cemetery.

When Jason's fiancé traces him to the House, Cain points her to the cemetery where she finds Jason slumped over the sarcophagus and at her touch his body turns to dust. We are then asked who will next fall victim to the curse? Could it be you?

Sergio Aragones ends the book with another round of Cain's Game Room. The entire contents was reprinted in Showcase Presents: The House of Mystery Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tomahawk #123

Tomahawk #123 (On Sale: May 6, 1969) has another absolutely stunning cover by Neal Adams. This is just a thing of beauty.

This issue contains two Tomahawk stories. the first is "The Stallions of Death" by Robert Kanigher and Frank Thorne. The second is, "The Unknown Warrior" drawn by Bob Brown and a reprint from Tomahawk #49.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Superman #218

Superman #218 (On Sale: May 6, 1969) has another Curt Swan and Neal Adams cover.

"Superman's Secret Past" is by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and Jack Abel. I don't know wat was going on here, but Mr. Mxyzpitlk had sometihng to do with it.

The back-up is a reprint from Action Comics #273, "The World of Mr. Mxyzptlk," by Jerry Siegel and Al Plastino. Mr. Mxyzptlk returns to plague Superman who is late for a performance at the Smallville orphanage. Superman gets the imp to say his name backwards, sending him home, but the delay forces him to cancel his performance.

Superman then enters Mxyzptlk’s 5th dimensional world and begins pulling pranks on Mxyzptlk who is running for Mayor. The pranks sabotage Mxyzptlk’s campaign, angering the imp. Mxyzptlk tries to trick Superman into saying his name backwards. When he is finally successful at getting the Man of Steel to say "Namrepus", Superman does not return home.

When it is announced that Mxyzptlk has lost the election, Superman says "Le-Lak", which is Kal-El, his true name backwards. This returns him to Earth, but Mxyzptlk, who did not hear Superman say his name, is left confused.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Falling In Love #108

Falling In Love #108 (On Sale: May 6, 1969) has an ugly cover by Ric Estrada and Vinny Colletta. I blame Colletta.

We lost Ric Estrada on May 1 to cancer. Ric drew his first story for DC, a war story for Our Army At War in 1955 and his second story, a romance tale for Girls' Romance in 1967. He started his long run beginning in 1968 and would end his association with DC in 1986. He would draw 289 stories in all for DC.

Sure he was the guy they went to for romance and war stories, but Ric drew lots of other things. He had a story in every issue of Hot Wheels except the first one. He drew the first seven issues of Amethyst. He did comedy in Plop and Welcome Back Kotter He didn't like drawing super-heroes, but he did a dozen Wonder Woman stories and numerous issues of Richard Dragon: Kung Fu Fighter, Super Friends, Blackhawk and the Karate Kid. He did the Legion of Super-Heroes, Wonder Girl, The Creeper, Beowulf, Isis, The Justice Society of America, and the Freedom Fighters. Ric could do it all.

I'm just going to lift liberally here from Mark Evanier's post the morning Ric died.
Ric was born February 26, 1928 in Havana, Cuba and began selling his work at age 13 to a popular Cuban magazine called Bohemia. He attended University of Havana where, he always claimed, another student was Fidel Castro.

Via a relative, he developed a friendship with Ernest Hemingway, who took an interest in the young artist's work and encouraged him to relocate to New York. Ric moved there at age 20 but never stayed in one place for very long, traveling the world and living briefly in dozens of other cities. Whenever he was back in Manhattan, he managed to work in comic books, including two of his proudest jobs...stories for the EC war comics edited and written by Harvey Kurtzman. Other companies that were glad to have his art included Hillman, Western Publishing, St. John and Ziff-Davis.

Ric occasionally dabbled in newspaper strips, including assisting on Flash Gordon and drawing some of the Flash Gordon comic books. Most of his comic book work was done in the sixties and seventies for DC, primarily on romance and war comics. But there was a period where (against his preference, he said), he was assigned to super-hero titles, primarily as a "rough penciller." Ric didn't like super-heroes and didn't feel he had the flair for them, and he also didn't like producing anything less than finished artwork. Still, that was where he was told his services were needed so he penciled comics like All-Star Comics, Freedom Fighters and Karate Kid.

Despite the grief it caused him and his own dissatisfaction with the work, it was often quite wonderful...though not as grand as when Ric was allowed to be Ric. Besides, Ric was never satisfied with his own work. In the seventies, he did several war stories for DC's combat titles that garnered great praise, particularly from his fellow artists. It was hard to tell Ric how good you thought they were without him blushing red and giving you an honest, humble argument.

In the 80's Ric moved to Los Angeles and worked for the Hanna-Barbera studio as a designer and layout artist. He was much-loved about the building...and repeatedly flattered as younger artists sought him out to praise his comic work.

Ric was married three times and had eight children. One son, Seth, is currently producing a documentary on his father. You can find out more about it at the Ric Estrada website and view some of the raw footage on this page.
I always liked Ric's work. My wife and I shared an elevator with Ric at the San Diego Comic-Con a few years ago. He walked in and I said "Hi, great to see you." Ric sees that his name tag is backwards and says, "You don't even know who I am." I said, "Ric, you are one of those guys who looks like you were drawn by you. Of course I know who you are." I think he was kind of shocked than anyone recognized him. He was a very self-effacing guy and you couldn't help liking him. I always liked his artwork.

We begin with "Does He Still Love Her?" drawn by John Rosenberger and later reprinted in Young Romance #197. That is followed by our cover story, "Don't Pity Me -- Love Me" drawn by Ric Estrada and Vinny Colletta. Next is "The Write Time to Love" drawn by Wally Wood and Vinny Colletta. Lastly we have "Heart of a Lifetime" drawn by Arthur Peddy and Bernard Sachs.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff

Batman #213

Batman #213 (On Sale: May 6, 1969) has a cover by Bill Draut and Vinny Colletta hearkening back to the style of Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson for this 30th Anniversary special issue.

We begin with a new tale, "The Origin of Robin" by E. Nelson Bridwell, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. This story has been reprinted in DC Special Series #19 and Showcase Presents: Robin the Boy Wonder Vol. 1 TPB.

Next is "Here Comes Alfred" from Batman #16 and created by Don Cameron, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson. Crooks attack a recently arrived passenger from England. Batman and Robin are on hand to fight off the crooks, who manage to escape. The intended victim is an amateur sleuth named Alfred. Later, Alfred arrives at Bruce Wayne's home. Alfred's father Jarvis was Bruce's father's butler. Alfred intends to carry on in the family tradition. Despite Bruce's protests Alfred makes himself comfortable.

That night the crooks return trying to steal Alfred's valise. Batman once again chases away the crooks. While Batman follows them, Alfred accidentally discovers the Bat-Cave and the secret identities of the Dynamic Duo.

Having trailed the thieves to a music hall, Batman and Robin are captured. Alfred also follows and manages to rescue them. Batman then apprehends the crooks, who are after the crown jewels of Dorian. The Duke of Dorian was a passenger on the ship that carried Alfred.

The following evening, Alfred brings Bruce and Dick their uniforms, revealing that he knows their secret identities. Bruce is surprised, but decides to keep the trustworthy man on as his butler.

That is followed by "The Game of Death," a Robin tale from Star Spangled Comics #127 and created by David V. Reed and Jim Mooney.

Next is "The Man Behind the Red Hood" from Detective Comics #168, created by Bill Finger, Lew Sayre Schwartz and George Roussos.

We end with "The Challenge of Clay-Face" from Detective Comics #298 and the work of Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris. A mysterious new crook with the power to change shape, Clay-Face, arrives in Gotham and begins a life of crime. Clay-Face is really Matt Hagen, a crook who has found a pool of strange chemicals which allow him to change shape.

Clay-Face’s crimes put him at odds with Batman and Robin. His powers allow him to elude capture, but during one encounter they nearly fail him as they wear off. After escaping Hagen returns to the chemical pool and restores his powers.

To protect himself from further trouble Clay-Face hires two henchmen, but one leaves a clue at a crime scene which allows Batman to track him down. Batman captures the henchmen while Robin trails Hagen back to his hide-out. Together the Dynamic Duo stall Hagen until his powers wear off allowing them to make an easy arrest.

Edited by E. Nelson Bridwell.

Aquaman #46

Aquaman #46 (On Sale: May 6, 1969) has another wonderful, very dramatic cover by Nick Cardy. I would definitely buy a calendar featuring only Nick Cardy Aquaman covers. The problem would be narrowing it down to only twelve.

Our feature-length Aquaman story, "The Explanation," is by Steve Skeates and Jim Aparo. Continuing from last issue, Aquaman awakens following his rescue from the artificial whirlpool and finds Mera. She takes him to a hospital and tells him what happened to her. She was captured by Atlantean thieves who had been exiled from Atlantis. The thieves who worked for Narkran turned her over to surface criminals who intended to use her hard water powers to hijack cargo ships. Mera refused to help, but was forced to give in when the crooks claim they have Aquaman as their captive too.

Mera was being held in a tank in the crooks' underwater headquarters. When Aquaman broke into the hideout, he jarred the controls that kept Mera's cell closed. Once she got free, she was able to escape and help rescue Aquaman from the whirlpool. Aquaman completes his recovery in the hospital, then returns to Atlantis to confront Narkran.

Meanwhile, Aqualad continues his fight with the Bugala, and Aquagirl unites with a group of Atlantean rebels who wish to overthrow Narkran. This was reprinted in Adventure Comics #497.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Adventures of Jerry Lewis #113

Adventures of Jerry Lewis #113 (On Sale: May 6, 1969) has another nice Bob Oksner cover.

This issue contains three Jerry Lewis stories, "Hal, Hal, the Gang's All Here," "Mr. Misfortune Teller" and "Beware the Dog-Catcher." I have no information on any of these, though Bob Oksner may have drawn some of them. I have no idea who took over the writing of Jerry once Arnold Drake was ousted from the company.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Wonder Woman #183

Wonder Woman #183 (On Sale: May 1, 1969) has another nice cover by Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano.

Our feature-length Wonder Woman story "Return to Paradise Island" is written and penciled by Mike Sekowsky and inked by Dick Giordano. Answering her mother, Hippolyta's call for help, Diana and I Ching are brought to Paradise Island only to find Hippolyta lying in an enchanted sleep from which she cannot be awakened. Paradise Island has been terribly ravaged by war, a war brought on by Diana's grandfather, Ares, God of War, in his mad quest to wrest from his daughter, Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, the secret of dimensional travel. It is a secret that he needs and want so that he may pour his armies onto Earth and other worlds, knowing that only through war can he again be the powerful god he once was.

Rallying her mother's Amazons to her, Diana leads them against Ares in a desperate attempt to stop him. They fight bravely, but against such overwhelming odds as Ares throws at them, even Amazon bravery and courage cannot prevail. Driven back into the mountains, Diana and her Amazons wait for the battle they must fight and the battle they know they cannot win. It has been reprinted in Wonder Woman #198 and Diana Prince: Wonder Woman Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Mike Sekowsky.

Our Army at War #208

Our Army at War #208 (On Sale: May 1, 1969) has another nice Sgt. Rock cover by Joe Kubert.

We begin with our Sgt. Rock cover-story, "A Piece of Rag... a Hank of Hair" by Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath. This has been reprinted in Sgt. Rock #396 and Sgt. Rock Special #10. Next is "I Love a Spitfire" written and drawn by Ken Barr. This is the only story the Scottish Barr wrote for DC and his second providing artwork. We end the issue with "Move On" a reprint from All-American Men of War #56 by Bob Haney and Joe Kubert.

Edited by Joe Kubert.