Friday, June 26, 2009

Girls' Love Stories #145

Girls' Love Stories #145 (On Sale: June 26, 1969) has another sexy cover by Nick Cardy.

We begin with "Tears for Tomorrow" drawn by Gene Colan. This one must have been in inventory for a while.

Next is "Stand-In for Love" from Secret Hearts #40 and inked by Bernard Sachs.

We end with "My Secret" penciled by Jay Scott Pike.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Detective Comics #390

Detective Comics #390 (On Sale: June 26, 1969) has a Batman cover by Irv Novick.

We begin with "If the Coffin Fits -- Wear It" by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Joe Giella. There is a new villain in Gotham, the Masquerader, and every time Batman fights him his goons rip Batman's costume to shreds. Batman is down to his last bat-suit when he gets a call from Commissioner Gordon, who has a note from the Masquerader. The note contains a clue that sends Batman and Robin to the Gotham Coliseum where the Annual Gotham Sports Show is being held. complete with an exhibit of gold medal, cups and trophies. While Robin releases the bound and gagged guards, Batman interrupts the Masquerader and his gang in mid theft, but his goons once again manage to shred Batman's costume. Robin and the police show up to help mop up the gang but the Masquerader gets away through an air-conditioner duct that seems way too small for the Masquerader's bulk.

Bat at his hide out one of the Masquerader's goons hands him a piece of Batman's costume containing the label of Batman's tailor, Sam Tweed. Back in the Batcave batman calls Tweed to order a new costume and Sam says he has one ready and waiting and that he will drop it off at police headquarters as usual. Robin is sent into town to fetch Batman's costume and arrives back in time to hear Batman get another call from Gordon with another clue from the Masquerader. Inside the box with Batman's costumes they find a Masquerader costume and when Batman calls Sam Tweed, Sam confesses that he was forced at gun-point to put add in the extra costume. Sam is about to reveal the Masqueraders identity when Batman hears two gunshots and the Masquerader gets on the phone.

Batman sends Robin off where the clue seems to point and he heads over to Sam's shop, finding him barely alive. He gives Batman an address before slipping into unconsciousness as the ambulance arrives to take Sam to the hospital. Batman heads off to the address Sam gave him, bursting into the building and finding the Masquerader waiting for him. The Masquerader turns on some giant heat lamps and Batman attacks him. Batman's fists, seem to bounce off the Masquerader to no ill effect as the Masquerader mentions that Batman must be feeling a little constricted right about now.

Batman grabs the Masquerader in a bear hug, but he presses a button in his suit and it deflates, making him much smaller. Batman is fining it almost impossible to move as his suit is getting smaller and smaller and the Masquerader brags that he has "sewed you into your own shroud!" He reveals himself to be Sam Tweed, who had created a special costume made of hygroscopic mono-filament, strong as steel but loose and flexible ass long as it can absorb moisture from the air. Under the head-lamps it is slowly constricting and will crush Batman, leaving Tweed to become the mastermind of crime in Gotham. With his last bit of strength, batman pulls a small laser from his utility belt and aims it at the ceiling causing the automatic sprinkler system to engage. Moister returned to his suit, Batman makes quick work of Tweed.

The back-up Robin story "Countdown to Chaos" is by Mike Friedrich, Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson. This is a story of vignettes that don't seem to come together as a whole, yet, though I'm sure they will by next issue. Dick Grayson returns to Gotham High after having the flue, specifically to the editorial offices of the Gotham High Owl. There we learn that Dick not only has a date tonight with cutie editor Sandy Cole, but that he has been working on digging up information about which side of the campus, east or west, will be the site of new classroom construction. This is apparently a sticking point in the negotiations between the contract-less teachers union and the school district. We also learnt that editor Craig "Rocky" Rockland is working on a major, "hold the presses" editorial, but he is keeping its contents under wraps.

That night after Gotham High beats Skyline, some kids wearing Skyline jackets start attacking Gotham students. Unfortunately one of their targets has a secret identity and quickly changes into it in order to pound some Skyline butt. One of the "kids" seems older than the rest, but he gets away and Robin can't take the time to chase him as he has to turn back into Dick Grayson or spoil his date with Sandy. None of the Skyline kids will say why they attacked the Gotham kids.

The next week Rocky's editorial has come out, stating why the west-side site is superior for the new construction. that same afternoon the head negotiator gets a phone call threatening his family if he doesn't do as he is told. He then holds a press conference saying that because of the obstinance of the teacher's representatives, there will be no further talks. Dick knows this means the teachers will go on strike. It has been reprinted in Batman in the Sixties TPB and Showcase Presents: Robin the Boy Wonder Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Adventure Comics #383

Adventure Comics #383 (On Sale: June 26, 1969) has a Supergirl cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with Supergirl in "Please Stop My Funeral" by Robert Kanigher, Winslow Mortimer and Murphy Anderson.

Next is Supergirl again in "Supergirl's Day of Danger" by Cary Bates and Kurt Schaffenberger.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Action Comics #379

Action Comics #379 (On Sale: June 26, 1969) has a Superman cover by Curt Swan and Neal Adams.

We begin with Superman in "The Eliminator" by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and Jack Abel. This story was reprinted in Best of DC #38.

Next is the Legion of Super-Heroes in "One of Us is an Imposter" by E. Nelson Bridwell, Winslow Mortimer and Murphy Anderson. This story was reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 9 HC.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #94

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #94 (On Sale: June 24, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Neal Adams.

We begin with "The Lois Lane in the Mystic Mirror" by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and Mike Esposito.

The back-up story is "Superman's Flight from Lois Lane" a reprint from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #20 drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger. Superman travels back in time to escape Lois Lane. He gets a job at WMET as a disc jockey instead of at the Daily Planet. He checks up on Lois and learns that she is still getting into trouble. He makes frequent rescues, but he is now menaced by his secretary, Liza Landis. Liza tries to prove Clark is Superman. Finally, when Lois shows up to interview him, he gives up and restores things to their original way.

I wish I had more information on the first story. I don't, but I do have some video of the writer, Leo Dorfman. This was brought to my attention by Mark Evanier on his blog, News From ME.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Heart Throbs #121

Heart Throbs #121 (On Sale: June 24, 1969) has a pretty damn controversial cover by Nick Cardy.

We begin with "3 Girls -- Their Lives...Their Loves, Episode 20" drawn by Jay Scott Pike, which looks like it is our cover story. Next is "Second Choice" drawn by Tony Abruzzo.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Brave and the Bold #85

Brave and the Bold #85 (On Sale: June 24, 1969) has the classic Neal Adams' Batman and the new Green Arrow cover.

I can still smell the paper and the ink of this issue, I poured over it so much, digesting every panel over and over. This book was a revelation to me; I think it hooked me on comics more than any other book. After living through John, and Martin and Bobby, the opening assassination attempt gripped me because it felt so real. The 1960's were a decade of liberal politicians being gunned down in our streets and this book gave us a revised hero, a modern-day Robin Hood, who was there to help fight the corruption of our country. He had a mustache and a goatee and cool new threads and he was an obvious good man. It put Batman into this world too, and said that he was more than just a crime fighter. Both of these heroes were the "rich guys" of DC, but both of them show that they cannot be corrupted by their wealth, as some are. A classic issue for sure.

Batman and Green Arrow star in "The Senator's Been Shot!" by Bob Haney and Neal Adams. Election day and Senator Paul Cathcart wins the race only to be shot while making his acceptance speech, falling into the arms of friend Bruce Wayne. Bruce changes into Batman and chases down the assassins, but is foiled by a low overpass. Bruce Wayne visits Paul's room at Gothan State Hospital where Paul's son Edmond is by his father's side, Paul in a coma.

Bruce gets a call from the governor who discusses the importance of an anti-crime bill that Paul was going to vote for and the need to appoint someone else in Paul's place. Bruce suggests Paul's son, Edmond, but the governor says that Edmond's psychiatric practice keeps him too busy and he wants to appoint Bruce as Senator. The governor mentions how the bill is aimed at the biggest crime combine of all run by Miklos Minotaur, who may be behind the assassination attempt. Bruce says he will think about it.

Meanwhile Oliver Queen is finishing up plans for "New Island" a second Gotham that could save the state from bankruptcy. The only other bidder on the project is Argonaut Unlimited run by Miklos Minotaur. After his assistant locks up the plans and leaves, Oliver pulls out his new Green Arrow costume. He ponders if he should give up Green Arrow completely and devote his energies to helping humanity instead as plain old Oliver Queen. At the same time he notes that his assistant has stolen the plans for New Island a man on a window-washing rig throws a grenade into Oliver's office, but an arrow with a hook on it flings the grenade out the window where it explodes harmlessly. He pulls out a duplicate set of plans for New Island and can't figure out which identity is more important, Oliver Queen or Green Arrow.

The next day Bruce and Edmond are at the gym working out when Bruce tells Edmond that he is not sure he will take the governor's appointment. Edmond lashes out at him, that people's lives are at stake and "you won't even stand up and be counted." Bruce confesses that he can't because he has another job to do, Batman's job, "because I am Batman!" Bruce continues that he told Edmond because he knows that, as a psychiatrist, Edmond will never reveal his secret and because he needs his advice. Who is more important, Senator Bruce Wayne or Batman?

Later Edmond is looking over the New Island project with Oliver Queen when Oliver confides that he is Green Arrow and needs Edmond's help is figuring out which identity is more important. That night in his office, as Edmond ponders the two heroes coming to the same crisis in their lives, he is kidnapped by two of Minotaur's goons. Hours later Green Arrow pays Edmond a visit but finds Batman there instead. They listen to a secret recording that Edmond had running. Hearing that Minotaur is behind Edmond's capture both heroes silently think Minotaur is trying to get to their civilian identities through Edmond.

The next morning Bruce Wayne is sworn in as a US Senator, while Green Arrow parachutes onto a small Mediterranean island and plants a tracking device on Minotaur's yacht as it enters a hidden grotto. The tracking device is found and destroyed, leaving Green Arrow lost in the grotto. Minotaur releases his private hunting stock into the grotto and Green Arrow is attacked by a bear, a boar and a lion. He takes them out but is floored by the charging lion.

He is awakened later by Batman, who has tracked him through his Justice League locator transmitter. Batman uses a real bat and another locator device to find their way out of the grotto. Batman and Green Arrow crash into Minotaur's lair, only Minotaur puts a gun to Edmond's head and tells them to stop or he will kill Edmond. Green Arrow jams the trigger of Minotaur's gun with a trick arrow and while they are fighting his men, Minotaur escapes.

Bruce flies back to Washington for the crime bill vote while Oliver invites Minotaur to a lavish party on the island. When Minotaur arrives Oliver tries to have him arrested, but Minotaur notes that he cannot be arrested in a foreign country. Oliver then informs him that he should have noticed that the party was at the American Embassy. Oliver knocks him out and they take him away in a helicopter from the roof. Meanwhile back in Washington, Batman lands at the airport and makes it by Batrope and leg-power to the Senate, where he quickly changes into his civilian duds in time to vote for the crime bill.

Later Edmond meets both Oliver and Bruce separately. Oliver thinks that there is room in his life for both of his identities, while Bruce has resigned his Senate seat and has chosen the road of Batman. Later, alone in his office Paul begins sessions of self-hypnosis to wipe the knowledge of the secret identities from his mind. This classic story has been reprinted in DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #23, Best of the Brave and the Bold #1, Millennium Edition: The Brave and the Bold 85 (#48), Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol. 1 HC, Showcase Presents Green Arrow Vol. 1 TPB and Showcase Presents the Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups Vol. 1 TPB.

Some mention must be given to the loose artwork by Neal Adams. It has none of the stiffness that would creep into his work over the years as he labored to be "Neal Adams," rather than a great comic book artist. Just my opinion here, but Adams seemed to just be having fun in these days; he hadn't yet become the "it guy" of comics and with nothing to keep proving, he was free to just cut loose.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Bat Lash #6

Bat Lash #6 (On Sale: June 24, 1969) has a cover by Nick Cardy.

(Revenge) is by Sergio Aragones, Denny O'Neil, Mile Sekowsky and Nick Cardy. Some people claim that Nick Cardy was the penciler and Mike Sekowsky was the inker, but this is nonsense. Cardy even talks about this issue in The Art of Nick Cardy saying, "...I was too busy and his pencils really lightened the load. Mike and I went way back so he was great to step in and assist. Mike had a wonderful eye for design. I always felt Mike's talent was wasted on super-hero books."

The story opens with Bat Lash riding through a driving rainstorm when he comes upon a funeral in progress. As he is getting off his horse he notices that the preacher's voices sounds sort of familiar. Bat walks up to the grave and faces off against the preacher gunning him down with a lightning quick draw. The local sheriff is present and pulls his gun on Bat, saying that was "the brazenest thing I ever seen...cold-blooded murder in front of twenty witnesses!" Only Bat points out that the "preacher" has a .44 derringer in his had and was about a second away from gunning down Bat. The sheriff doesn't know what to make of this, but decides to lock Bat Lash up till he figures out what is going on.

While in a nice dry cell Bat relates the story of "preacher" Rickett, how 10 years earlier Bat lived on a farm with his family and how one day Rickett rode into their property, bringing good news. Seems he had discovered oil on their land. Rickett talks Bat's father into selling his farm to get the cash up for well equipment. Only, they drilled for an entire week and never hit any oil. When young Bat was looking for rocks to build a fireplace he found an empty oil barrel and knew his family had been swindled.

I'd love to tell you the rest of the story, only I can't find my copy. All I can locate is my copy of All-Star Western #9, which reprints the first half of this issue. Reprinted in All-Star Western #9, All-Star Western #10 and Millennium Edition: All-Star Western 10 (#17).

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Recently Updated Entries

Since I am going back and flushing out some of the issues I had little information on in the past, I have added a list of Recently Updated Entries to the site. It's on the right side, just above the Blog Archive. I think they are worth another look if you only saw them when they went up.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Witching Hour #4

Witching Hour #4 (On Sale: June 19, 1969) has a cover by Nick Cardy. I like the way the girl is reciting the book's title, something they did often in the early issues.

This issue's framing sequence, "The Witching Hour Welcome Wagon" is drawn by the great Alex Toth. Cynthia has talked Mordred and Mildred into visiting the new neighbors. They each tell the new neighbors a tale. Mildred tells "A Matter of Conscience" drawn by Winslow Mortimer. Harvey Harrington thinks his house is trying to kill him and so he goes to Exorciser Inc, where he hires the services of Tamroth. They go back to Harrington's house where he informs Tamroth that all of the ghostly action takes place in one room, the room his wife died in twelve years ago. he is positive that she is trying to kill him, but he swears that he did not kill her, that he tried to get her a doctor, but was too late.

Tamroth lights the "torch of the blue flame" and the room shimmers around them as they are transported to the realm of the underworld. They are drawn towards a hooded figure which Tamroth tells Harrington is the one he seeks. The hooded one sends forth a swarm of flying creatures and while Tamroth fights them Harrington moves toward the hooded figure. Using the torch Harrington lashes out at the figure who is the "one at fault," never noticing that the hooded figure is Harrington himself.

Suddenly they are back in Harrington's home and Tamroth explains that he is actually a psychiatrist and that Harrington is suffering from a guilt complex over his wife's death, that he is the cause of all the disturbances at his home. But just then a vase crashes against the wall.

Next it is Cynthia's turn to spin a tale. "Disaster in a Jar" is drawn by Pat Boyette. Amos Canby is a door-to-door salesman who can't make a sale. Everyone thinks he is a fraud and a phony. What he peddles is Magic Youth Skin Cream, a product of his own creation. He goes from town to town and it is always the same. They call him a "fake" and a "cheat" and a "bum." but Amos knows something everyone else does not; his cream actually works. He decides that what he needs to do is give away some free samples and that night he makes up a new batch, a batch that he calls "extra special."

The next day he starts giving out samples and the women flock to him. Within three weeks Amos is a rich man and decides to spend his cash in the stock market, cornering a market. Meanwhile a local research lab does and analysis of the cream but can't figure out what it is.

One year later to the day Amos's customers all lose their hair, starting a run on wigs. For weeks there are runs on wigs all over the country and on the news one night it is revealed that every facility for manufacturing wigs in the country is under the control of Amos Canby. Money well invested I would say.

By the way, Boyette does a great Chet Huntly and David Brinkley in this story. And take a look at the page here, particularly the fourth panel. I don't know how much of this was in the script and how much is Boyette having fun, but the "DownEnOut Hotel" and the "Rooms $1.50 and Down" signs cracked me up, not to mention the man throwing his wife out of the window and her response, "I've lost his love!"

Lastly it is Mordred's turn and she tells the tale "A Fistful of Fire!!" drawn by Jose Delbo. It is 1692 and Judge Samuel Sewell has just burned another witch at the stake in Salem, Massachusetts. The town doctor asks Sewell how long the witch burnings will continue and Sewell replies that the burnings are indeed unpleasant, particularly on an empty stomach. Judge Sewell invites the doctor to his house for dinner and they take a short-cut through the woods in hopes of getting home before a storm breaks. While in the woods Sewell admits that the evidence against the witch today was sketchy at best, but that is because the really are no witches, he is simply ridding the world of evil people and calling them witches makes the job easier to do.

At the same time a coven of witches is casting a spell against Sewell and they catch up to the two men in the woods just as the storm breaks. The witches attack but are repelled by the doctor who reveals that he too has magical dark powers. Be bests the witches at their own game and they rush away convinced that they have tussled with the devil himself. But the doctor reveals that he is actually a warlock.

This is Jose Delbo's first artwork for DC. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1933 where he became the assistant of comic artist Carlos Clemen, Delbo moved to the US in 1965. He worked at Wally Wood's Tower Comics drawing Secret Agent Mike Manley in Fight the Enemy. At Gold Key he drew Buck Rogers and Doctor Solar.

At DC Delbo would draw 163 stories between 1969 and 1990. Besides his work on the horror books, Delbo would draw the second-string strips: Robin, Batgirl, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, The Atom, Superboy. Tomahawk, Sandman. He did a number of Red Tornado stories in World's Finest Comics a string of Superman/Batman stories also for World's Finest Comics and finished his DC career drawing The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. In between he managed to draw the daily Superman newspaper strip. But he is mainly remembered at DC for a six-year stint on Wonder Woman, where his pencils were usually smothered by Vinny Colletta.

At Marvel Delbo drew the Thundercats and he did a three-year run on The Transformers.

Jose Delbo retired from the comic book business and lives now in Boca Raton, Florida, where he runs the Delbo Cartoon Camp, a summer camp for teaching children how to draw comics.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Swing With Scooter #21

Swing With Scooter #21 (On Sale: June 19, 1969) has a cover by Henry Scarpelli.

We begin with Scooter in "Harem-Scarem" drawn by Doug Crane and Henry Scarpelli. and in "He's All Wet" by persons unknown. That is followed by an untitled Malibu page also by persons unknown.

Next is "The Picnic Sick-Nik" drawn by Winslow Mortimer and Henry Scarpelli and reprinted in Best of DC #39. Next is "Watusi or Bust" and an untitled page all by persons unknown.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #122

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #122 (On Sale: June 19, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Neal Adams.

We begin with "A Date with Miss Metropolis" reprinted from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #27 by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Ray Burnley. Jimmy Olsen agrees to interview the winner of the Miss Metropolis contest. He thinks it was a beauty contest, so he tries to impress her. When he arrives though he finds out that she is ugly. He doesn’t want to hurt her feelings, but he tries to get out of dating her. However, everything Jimmy tries backfires. Finally, he disguises himself as an Englishman to romance Gloria. She jilts Jimmy, freeing him from her attention.

Next is "Jimmy Olsen, Freak" reprinted from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #59 by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and George Klein. An alien girl comes to Earth and meets Jimmy. She wants to marry him and gives him a belt, which allows him to gain super-powers. Jimmy agrees to the marriage, but when he learns that Ilona has four other husbands, he wants to back out. Superman arranges to make Ilona believe Jimmy has two other wives, causing her to leave without him. Lucy Lane now wants to date Jimmy since he was seen with a beautiful woman.

That is followed by "The Girl Who Was Lucy Lane's Double" reprinted from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #60 and by Robert Bernstein, Curt Swan and George Klein. Jimmy Olsen spots Streaky and sees the super-cat travel back in time. Jimmy uses the Sunevian Magic Belt given to him by Princess Ilona to follow Streaky back to colonial Salem. He meets a girl there named Lucinda Lawrence who resembles Lucy Lane. Jimmy’s actions using the magic belt get him branded a witch. Lucinda, who is a real witch, saves Jimmy from being killed and sends him back to his own time.

Our next story is "Jimmy Olsen, Wolf-Man" reprinted from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #52 and by Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan and Stan Kaye. Mxyzptlk returns to Earth and becomes infatuated with Lucy Lane. When he approaches her however she claims to have a boyfriend already, Jimmy Olsen. The imp decides to eliminate Jimmy by once again using the wolfman potion to transform him into a Wolf-Man.

Superman arranges for Supergirl, whom Jimmy knows only as Miss X, to kiss Jimmy. This time however it does not revert Jimmy back to normal because of Mxyzptlk’s magic. Jimmy also receives kisses from Lois Lane, Lucy, Lori Lemaris and Lana Lang, but none are effective.

Miss Gzptlsnz, Mxyzptlk’s girlfriend, arrives, kisses Jimmy, and cures him. She then tricks the imp back to his own dimension and explains that her magic allowed Jimmy to return to normal.

Next is "Jimmy the Soda Jerk" reprinted from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #58 by Robert Bernstein Curt Swan and George Klein. Jimmy Olsen goes undercover as a soda jerk to discover how ex-con drugstore owner, Legs Halleck is passing messages to his gang. Jimmy fumbles through his job trying to locate the hidden messages until he gets an idea. He asks a fat woman, Elsie, who has a crush on him to step on the scales of a weight machine. The machine dispenses a card with directions for the gang on it if the person is over 300 lbs. This helps Jimmy get proof against Halleck and his fat partner, Willie Paxton, who was receiving the messages.

That is followed by "The Human Porcupine" reprinted from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #65 by Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan and George Klein. Miss Gzptlsnz from Mr. Mxyzptlk’s 5th dimension visits Earth seeking a husband. Jimmy tells her that he is not interested, then makes a cruel comment to Superman about her. Miss Gzptlsnz gets revenge by changing Jimmy into a human porcupine. She forces him to remain that way until he agrees to marry her. Jimmy tries and finally manages to get the imp girl to say her name backwards, returning her to the 5th dimension, reversing the spell, and returning Jimmy to normal.

We end with "Jimmy Olsen's Viking Sweetheart" reprinted from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #69 and by Leo Dorfman and John Forte. Jimmy and his fan club visit a ski resort where Jimmy is once again jilted by Lucy Lane. The fan club uses a female robot to make Lucy jealous. Jimmy is unaware that his new girlfriend is a robot, but Lucy finds out and makes the robot dump Jimmy. When she is about to gloat, Lucy discovers that Jimmy was about to dump the robot himself because of his love for Lucy. Finally she decides to give Jimmy another chance.
Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Superman #219

Superman #219 (On Sale: June 17, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Neal Adams.

We begin with "Clark Kent, Hero... Superman, Public Enemy" by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and Jack Abel. This is followed by "The Super Heat-Wave of Metropolis" by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and Joe Giella.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Sugar and Spike #84

Sugar and Spike #84 (On Sale: June 17, 1969) has a cover by Sheldon Mayer.

Inside we have "Bernie the Brain's Biggest Blunder" written and drawn by Sheldon Mayer.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Star Spangled War Stories #146

Star Spangled War Stories #146 (On Sale: June 17, 1969) has an Enemy Ace cover by Joe Kubert and a declaration that this is a "Special Issue!" That is of course DC talk for reprints!.

There is a very short Joe Kubert drawn framing sequence around the two reprints regarding a new pilot who, as von Hammer puts it, is "mistaken...if you believe only you live in fear of the killer skies!" The first is (Balloon for a Hawk) from Our Fighting Forces #60 by Bob Haney and Russ Heath and concerns the first American to fly with the French. The unnamed Lieutenant plays a bar-room game his first night in France with the French pilots where they throw darts at balloons representing the Germans. The Lieutenant hits the balloon representing the German ace known as the Hawk. But real combat proves more difficult and on his first mission he is shot down by the Hawk, barely making it back to the field before crashing.

When he recovers he is grounded by the French Colonel. But one day, as a Spad is landing The Hawk shoots it down and the Lieutenant leaps for a nearby plane and gives chase. However, the Hawk is a better pilot and slowly lures the Lieutenant's plane over his own filed where he shoots it down and he is taken prisoner. He makes a run for it and hops into a hot-air balloon used to guard the field against strafing. He casts off and is soon facing down the Hawk again, balloon against Fokker. The balloon eventually catches fire and he once again plummets to the ground, only the torn balloon gets caught in a tree breaking his fall and as the Hawk moves in for the kill, the Lieutenant fires the balloons guns and blasts the Hawk out of the sky.

The second is "Brother Enemy" from All-American Men of War #101 by Hank Chapman, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. This story begins with the sinking of Titanic and identical twins Richard and Carl being put on separate lifeboats, while their parents perish. They never do get back together and five years later Richard joins the Air Force and hopes to find Carl also in the service. Everywhere he goes he asks if anyone has seen someone who looks exactly like him, but they always answer in the negative.

One day in a bombing run over Germany Richard gets into a dogfight with a German Black ace, Richard's gunfire rips into the German's cockpit splattering oil into the face of the German ace, who rips off his goggles to see and Richard finds himself looking into his own face. The German ace is his brother Carl. Richard pulls off the fight and lets Carl get away, but back on the ground his loyalty is questioned. On their very next mission they meet the Black Squadron again and this time it is Carl who sends bullets into Richard's cockpit, shattering his goggles. When Richard takes them off Carl sees that it is his brother and this time he is the one to pull out of the fight. He too is reprimanded when he lands.

The next day the two squadrons meet for a third time in the killer skies and Richard and Carl go after each other with everything they have, eventually both running out of bullets. They play a dangerous game of chicken in the air and neither pulls out. Their planes crash into each other. Carl is knocked unconscious and Richard leaps to Carl's disabled plane and while the two squadrons watch, they fall to the ground. Two battered figures crawl from the burning remains and embrace each other as the brothers they are.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Metal Men #39

Metal Men #39 (On Sale: June 17, 1969) has a cover by Mike Sekowsky and George Roussos.

The Metal Men star in the book-length story, "Beauty of the Beast" written and penciled by Mike Sekowsky and inked by George Roussos.

Edited by Mike Sekowsky.

Falling In Love #109

Falling In Love #109 (On Sale: June 17, 1969) has a cover inked by Vinny Colletta.

We begin with "Diary of a Love Thief" penciled by John Rosenberger. Next is "The Last Bridge to Romance" inked by Vinny Colletta. That is followed by "Only in My Dreams?" inked by Bernard Sachs and reprinted from Secret Hearts #36. We end with "I'll Never Forget That Day" by persons unknown.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Debbi's Dates #3

Debbi's Dates #3 (On Sale: June 17, 1969) has a cover penciled by Samm Schwartz.

We begin with "Buddy Gets the Cake" drawn by John Rosenberger. That is followed by two more Debbi's Dates stories, "That's the Way the Rock Crumbles" and "When All the Votes Are Out" of which I have no information.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Running Late

I've been a bit behind this month in getting the entries up. There are a couple of reasons for this, but one of the main reasons is that I am hitting a stretch of comics with very little information available on-line. I get most of what I post from the Grand Comics Database, Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics or the DC Comics Database. To that basic information I add my own personal recollections and observations. Sometimes I have to do a Google search for a specific issue as I find nothing on a particular issue, story-wise, at any of these sites. That is happening more and more frequently as we hit the middle third of 1969.

What I have done to rectify this lack of information is start pulling out my old books. Some of my collection is easy to get to and some is not, but I have pulled a number of titles from 1969 out and have begun rereading them so that I have something to put into these entries. You can pretty much pick those books out; they are the ones where I get wordy. I find it hard to cull a book down to a few short sentences, so I tend to ramble on somewhat. You will also notice that I am going back in some cases to books from April and May and adding in the storyline as I find the book and reread it.

I hope that the readers of this blog appreciate the extra effort here, just know that sometimes that extra effort results in the listing going up 40 years and a few days later.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Young Romance #161

Young Romance #161 (On Sale: June 12, 1969) has a cover penciled by Arthur Peddy.

We begin with "Dance with Me, Darling" a reprint from Secret Hearts #38 inked by Bernard Sachs. Next is "Heartbreak" inked by Vinny Colletta. That is followed by "Teen-Age Queen of the Year" penciled by John Rosenberger. We end with "My First Love Was My Last Love" also penciled by John Rosenberger.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

World's Finest Comics #186

World's Finest Comics #186 (On Sale: June 12, 1969) has a cover by Carmine Infantino and Neal Adams.

We begin with Superman and Batman in "The Bat Witch" by Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.

The back-up is a Johnny Quick reprint from Adventure Comics #202 "The Human Hot-Rodders" by Otto Binder and Ralph Mayo. Death row inmate Bull Barton is scheduled for execution. His gang begins a series of bizarre robberies involving ordinary animals; sometimes they steal the animals, other times they leave them behind. Johnny Quick uncovers their secret code to Bull, alerting him to a gun hidden inside the prison cake. Johnny stops the scheme and Bull is executed on time.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Showcase #84

Showcase #84 (On Sale: June 12, 1969) has a Nightmaster cover by Joe Kubert.

"Come Darkness, Come Death" is by Denny O'Neil and Bernie Wrightson, with an artistic assist from Mike Kaluta and Jeff Jones. Nightmaster Jim Rook and his barbarian friend, Tark, and the mentally-challenged albino guide, Boz hold one-side of a chasm. The warlocks and their mystical flying ship and Nightmaster's captured fiance, Janet, are on the other. In frustration Jim picks a fight with Tark, but it is soon interrupted when smoke from the warlock's ship drifts across the chasm, materializing into ribbons of evil which then forms into two giant spiders. The magic of the spiders is no match for the magic of the Sword of Night, and Jim defeats the two spiders.

But the court wizard has other ideas and sends forth blizzard winds which carry thousands of spiders toward our heroes. Horribly outnumbered, they make there way towards a cave only to have their path cut off by the spiders. As Jim prepares for the onslaught, thousands of rays of light streak from the cave and blast the spiders, obliterating them. Tark knows that only one man could have the power to create such a spell and guesses that the cave they have found is the home of Mar-Grouch the Mystic.

They enter the cave and beseech Mar-Grouch to return Janet from the clutches of the warlocks, something he agrees to do. However, the Court Wizard has cast a spell over Janet, turning her into a servant girl named Mizzi and commanding her to kill the Nightmaster if she can. Mar-Grouch's spell returns Mizzi and Jim is incensed that Mar-Grouch got the wrong girl. Still, Mar-Grouch offers one last bit of aid to the group, some wings they can wear to cross the chasm and attack the warlocks.

The wings are powered by crystals found on the ground and they are told to gather into pouches only the green crystals to make the wings fly, but to avoid the yellow crystals which attract the Arivegs, hideous flying plants. But Mizzi fills Jim's pouch and fills it full of yellow crystals, causing the Arivegs to attack Jim. Tark takes hold of Jim as he tosses his pouch away and they continue on their way to the ship.

Once inside they confront the warlocks but are subdued by mystic gases. When Nightmaster awakens he and Tark are tied up in the hold of the ship and are soon to be tortured and killed, but the warlock, Duke Spero wants to know why Jim Rook has been fighting, why he has not returned to Earth where he belongs and Jim says it is because of his love for Janet. Somehow his speech reaches through the spell fogging Mizzi's/Janet's mind and she decides to help. While Spero is boasting, Mizzi secretly cuts Jim's ropes and moments later when Spero reveals that Mizzi is really Jan, Jim leaps into action, forcing Spero and his wizard to flee through a dimensional vortex to Earth, with Jim and Janet in hot pursuit.

Jim forces the warlocks back through the portal to Myrra. Jim and Janet stumble out into the street, where they walk together in silence for hours. As the sun is rising they speak of what a dream, a fantasy they both shared and how it could not possibly have been real. Then Jim Rook feels the cold hard steel of the Sword of Night in his hands and knows that though he is Jim Rook, he is also Nightmaster.

This is the last of the Nightmaster series. Being Bernie Wrightson's first full book, his two Nightmaster stories are pretty uneven artistically and have ample assists from friends such as Mike Kaluta and Jeff Jones (such as in the half-page above, obviously penciled by Jeff Jones).

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Justice League of America #73

Justice League of America #73 (On Sale: June 12, 1969) has a cover by Joe Kubert featuring none of the Justice League; those are all Justice Society heroes.

"Star Light, Star Bright -- Death Star I See Tonight" is by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin and Sid Greene. Long ago the Council of Living Stars (go figure), removes all energy, save enough to sustain him, from the star Aquarius, who is guilty of some unnamed heinous crimes. Aquarius is adrift in the cosmos for eons, till one day he spies Earth.

The Red Tornado is at JLA headquarters relating a tale of the Justice Society of America to the members at large. It starts with Ted Knight seeing some strange glow in the sky and checking it out as Starman. He blasts the glow with his Cosmic Rod, only to have the blast returned to him with increased force. The "glow" begins to form into a creature and grabs the rod from Starman's hand, leaving him to plummet to the ground, where Larry and Dinah Drake Lance have just entered Knight's observatory, bearing gifts of food.

Starman crashes through the skylight and Dinah gets into her Black Canary garb to do a quick reconnoiter of the grounds. There she is attacked by husband Larry, whom she quickly dispatches. Larry remembers nothing about attacking Dinah and sensing something is very wrong, she summons the rest of the JSA. However, each is delayed by one thing or another, having to do with inanimate objects or unexpected people, such as the small boy on the cover, temporarily gaining amazing powers. Dr Fate senses a dark force is present and attacks. Aquarius makes his presence known and that the Cosmic Rod is beginning to restore his long lost energy.

One by one the JSA attack Aquarius and each is defeated. After Superman and Wonder Woman go down in defeat, the remainder of the team attack en mass, but Aquarius claims that he is done toying with Earth and cold rays of death spread out from his body and the Earth simply fades away. But Dr. Fate, sensing what was happening erected an ectoplasmic shield around the JSA members. Fate explains that Aquarius has transported the people and objects of Earth to another dimension, where they will cease to exist if the JSA members were to die; that the only link Earth has to reality is the minds of the JSAers.

While Aquarius gloats Dr. Fate knows that they have but a slim hope of survival, for before Aquarius transported Earth away Fate sent a telepathic message to the Red Tornado, to go to Earth-One and tell the Justice League what has happened. This story has been reprinted in Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 2 TPB, Justice League of America Archives Vol. 9 HC and Showcase Presents: Justice League of America Vol. 4 TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

G.I. Combat #137

G.I. Combat #137 (On Sale: June 12, 1969) has a Haunted Tank cover by Joe Kubert. This one is a sub-genre of the "we think we are OK but the Nazis are about to attack us" where the character is either deaf or blind.

We begin with the Haunted Tank in "We Can't See" by Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath. This was reprinted in Showcase Presents: Haunted Tank Vol. 2 TPB.

The back-up is a reprint from All-American Men of War #64, "Story of a Boot" by Bob Haney and Joe Kubert.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Swing With Scooter #20

Swing With Scooter #20 (On Sale: June 10, 1969), AKA Giant F-1, has a cover by Henry Scarpelli. This was the beginning of a second Giant series at DC.

This issue begins with four Scooter stories: "If It's Free I'll Take It," "Sign Here, Please," "Carnival Time" and "Cousin Roger's Hang-Up." Next is a Penny and Cookie story, "Golf Anyone," "Cool Bongos" and a final Scooter story, "Johnny, You Kill Me." I have no credits for story details on any of these.
Edited by Joe Orlando.

Leave It To Binky #68

Leave It To Binky #68 (On Sale: June 10, 1969) has a cover by Henry Scarpelli.

This issue has four Binky stories: "X Marks the Spot," "The Dance Lesson," "The Fortune Teller" and "Binky Slept Here." I have no credits for story details on any of these.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Unexpected #114

Unexpected #114 (On Sale: June 5, 1969) has an unimpressive cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with Johnny Peril in "My Self -- My Enemy" by George Kashdan, Ed Robbins and Vinnie Colletta. That is followed by our cover-story, "The Well of Second Chances" by Dave Wood and Artie Saaf.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Flash #190

Flash #190 (On Sale: June 5, 1969) has another brilliant cover by Joe Kubert. This is the second of Kubert's three-issue run on the cover of the Flash. What I like about these Kubert covers is three-fold: 1) they are technically excellent, 2) they are dramatic as all get out, and 3) the scenes depicted actually occur inside.

We begin with "Super-Speed Agent of the Flash" by John Broome, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. A tornado is heading for a trailer park on the outskirts of Central City. Flash creates his own countering tornado to nullify the real tornado. As the two whirlwinds meet Flash is sucked up between the vortexes and knocked unconscious. When he awakens he finds his leg is broken and, like on the cover, is told he will never run again.

Barry Allen returns home, leg in a cast and begins to mope about in his wheelchair. As the days drag on and the crime rate in Central City begins to rise, Barry comes up with a plan. Barry has Iris up the openings in his uniform while he works at super-speed to create a series of radio-controlled miniature transistor circuits which he places at different points in his costume. After inflating his costume with air Barry has created a Flash automaton.

By vibrating at super-speed Barry in his wheelchair is able to invisibly follow his Flash automaton through Central City. In this manner Flash is able to bring down the Muscle Men gang. The next day Flash visits the doctor only to find out that some mysterious vibrations (Barry vibrating to invisibility) has healed his broken leg.

Our back-up story is "Ten Years to Live -- One Second to Die" also by John Broome, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. After the previous episode, Flash takes his wheelchair, cast and crutches to Dexter Myles at The Flash Museum. While there Dexter relates how his young assistant, Joel Travis, had been bragging to his friends, a group called the Far-Outers (oh, don't you just love 60's DC hipness?), what good friends he was with the Flash and promised to get the Flash to come to one of their meetings. Not really knowing Flash, Joel attempted to "borrow" one of the Flash uniforms from the museum, but was caught by Dexter and promised to not do it again. However, a uniform is missing ans so is Joel.

Flash goes to find Joel to convince him how dangerous it is to pretend to be the Flash, but when he gets to the Far-Outers' place, he finds they have trapped Joel in a cell and gassed him and are talking about the million dollars they are going to make off of this. Vibrating at invisibility, Flash replaces himself for Joel and pretends to be knocked out in order to find the big boss behind the million-dollar payoff.

They take him to the home of "Blue-Chip" Chipman, a thief who specialized in negotiable stocks and bonds and who has recently finished a 10-year stretch in the slammer. He plans on keeping the Flash locked up in a cell in his house for the same amount of time he spent in the joint. Chipman has planted 10 bombs in 10 busy locations in Central City and if the Flash tried to leave his cell his very absence will automatically set off the blasts, killing hundreds or thousands of innocent people. Chipman demonstrates the threat is for real by blowing up and abandoned hotel behind his mansion.

Flash timed the detonation of the hotel and realizes there is a one-second spurt of high-frequency energy between the time the detonator was pushed the detonation. Flash jumps from his cell and then follows the detonator energy spurts to each of the ten locations, disarming each bomb before it can explode. Flash punches out Chipman and reprimands Joel for his impersonation act, but lets him keep his job at The Flash Museum.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Batman #214

Batman #214 (On Sale: June 5, 1969) has one of those covers where DC was trying so hard to be hip and failing so hugely that it made you want to cry. Well, in retrospect it does; I think I thought it was kind of hip when I was 12. Cover by Irv Novick.
The feature-length Batman story "Batman's Marriage Trap" is by Frank Robbins, Irv Novick and Joe Giella. The winner of the Queen of Gotham beauty contest wins a night on the town with Gotham's most "coveted male," Batman. A gang leader, Strack figures since the whole night will be televised, and they will know Batman's every move, this is the perfect night to go on a crime spree. It works just as Strack planned and the next morning finds Bruce and Dick lamenting that they can never get a night off and Strack working on a scheme to make this kind of night a regular occurrence.

The beautiful Cleo is brought in and shows up the next morning at a posh Madison Avenue ad agency with a million-dollar budget for promoting W.E.B., Women to the End of Bachelorhood, a group dedicated to removing Batman's bachelorhood, the "one barrier to happy marriage in Gotham, the symbol of all single male eligibles." The city is soon flooded with wave after wave of Batman, "Wanted for Marriage" signs, fliers, and posters. Barbara Gordon smells something fishy in this supposed "grass-roots" movement to snare Batman and goes to check out the local W.E.B. chapter. Women begin picketing City Hall and when Batman and Robin show up they find Batgirl among those picketing "Batman Unfair to Gotham Gals!"

Trying to get away from the mob Batman and Robin are thwarted by the mass of women until they are saved by Cleo, whose smoking car puts out a smoke screen, letting the dynamic duo escape. But Cleo is playing "hard to get" and pretends she is uninterested in Batman. Later Cloe passes out police-band radios to the women so they can track batman's every move and they show up when Batman and Robin intercept a gang of fur thieves. The only thing that saves them from the mob is Cleo, who once again brushes Batman off.

Back at Strack's hideout he informs Cleo that the plan to keep Batman distracted is working great and that the gang is making more money than ever. Meanwhile, Batman is finding it hard to get Cleo off his mind, but soon the duo finds themselves on the trail of a gang of luxury car thieves. When they see the gang trying to steal Cleo's sports car they intercept them only to find it is a trap. However, once again they are saved by Cleo who confesses that she has fallen for Batman, but the gang get the drop on her and are about to execute all of them when Batgirl shows up and the ass-kicking begins.

Batgirl relates how she joined W.E.B. to get to the bottom of the campaign and then started following Cleo. Cleo admits she was part of the gang and is tearfully put into handcuffs. Batman however, gives her a chance to make things right and using her information and her car Batman and a disguised Batgirl are able to capture Strack and end the gang's crime spree. Because of her help Cleo has been promised clemency and without the W.E.B. campaign stirring things up, Batman's life goes back to normal. Well, as normal a life as you can have when you dress up as a giant bat and fight crime. This story, guest-starring Batgirl has been reprinted in Showcase Presents: Batgirl Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Our Army at War #209

Our Army at War #209 (On Sale: June 3, 1969) has another cool cover by Joe Kubert. The "we think we are OK but the Nazis are about to attack us" cover might be a cliche of DC war books, but nobody does this cliche better than Kubert.

We begin with Sgt. Rock in "I'm Still Alive" by Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath. While on patrol in Nazi country, the new replacement in Easy Co., Tiny Tim, wants to buddy up with Rock, telling Rock, "M-my old buddy g-got killed!" Before Rock can answer Easy is awash with Nazis in close hand-to-had and gun-butt to face combat. When the Nazis take off, Tiny Tim seems dazed and amazed that he is still alive.

He relates to Easy the fate of his last four-man squad, guys he had been through basic with, as they hit the beach at Normandy and how they came face-to-face with a Panzer. Tim loaded their bazooka, but before his buddy Charlie could fire, the Panzer ripped into them. Charlie was the only survivor and used the bazooka to take out the Panzer, but his friends were still dead. Just then Easy is attacked by two Focke-Wulf 190's and as they come in for a strafing run Tim screams that he is a jinx and so he runs off into the strafing, pulling the F.W.'s attention and making them easy pickings for Easy.

They find Tim lying face down in the dirt, but he's OK. A bullet had punctured his helmet, but missed his head. They leave his helmet as a signpost reading, "I walked away from this one! Tiny Tim" Rock remarks how none of them know when he is going to meet the bullet with his name on it and it is best just not to worry about it.

Next is a two-page Battle Album spread by Ken Barr on the Dive-Bombers of Midway.

Our back-up story is "Fill a Dead Man's Boots" by Howard Liss and Fred Ray. Fred Ray is not one of my favorite artists, but he has some fairly nice figures and composition in this story of the Civil War. The Confederates are getting blasted in battle and Sgt. Mal Walker carries his wounded Captain to safety only to realize that the Captain has died. Walker's boot are a mess, so he takes the boots off of his dead Captain, before crawling back behind his own lines.. There he is ordered to take charge of the company and head off whit his men, taking Cedar Mountain from the Union. All the while Walker is just trying to "fill a dead man's boots."

Walker gets order from Stonewall Jackson to destroy the supply depot at Manassas. Using his men as back-up and cover Walker sneaks into the depot and sets fire to the power dump, blowing the depot sky high. When Jackson congratulates Walker he just offers that he is trying to "fill the boots of a good man." Walker's boots are now as tattered and worn as his old pair and Stonewall remarks that "Boots don't lead do."

Edited by Joe Kubert.

House of Secrets #81

House of Secrets #81 (On Sale: June 3, 1969) has a cover by Neal Adams as it rejoins the DC ranks after being AWOL for the past three years.

We begin with "Don't Move It!" by Mike Friedrich, Jerry Grandenetti and George Roussos which is the origin story for the House of Secrets. That is followed by "House of Secrets" drawn by Bill Draut and containing the first appearance of Abel in the House of Secrets (remember he premiered in last month's DC Special #4).

Next is a text story, "Burn This House!" by persons unknown. That is followed by "Aaron Philips' Photo Finish!" by Gerry Conway and Jack Sparling. The issue ends with an Epilogue to the "House of Secrets" drawn by Bill Draut. The entire issue was reprinted in Showcase Presents: The House of Secrets Vol. 1 TPB.

This was Gerry Conway's first story for DC. Between now and 1990 Gerry would write 630 tales for DC. He began selling such anthological stories here and for Marvel's Chamber of Darkness and Tower of Shadows through the end of 1970. He published his first continuing-character story in The Phantom Stranger #10.

Conway broke into Marvel Comics through Marvel editor Roy Thomas as he explained in Back Issue #26:

"I'd been writing for DC Comics for two or three years . . . but to paraphrase the joke about the actor's ambitions to be a director, what I really wanted to do was write superheroes — specifically Marvel heroes. Through friends I'd become acquainted with Roy Thomas, who was Stan Lee's right-hand man at the time, and Roy offered me a shot at the Marvel 'writing test'. Stan wasn't impressed, but Roy liked what I did, and began throwing some short assignments my way, including scripting over his plot on an early Ka-Zar [story]...”
Following his first continuing-character story for Marvel, with his script for Ka-Zar in Astonishing Tales #3, Conway's began writing superhero stories with Daredevil #72. He quickly went on to assignments on Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and both "The Inhumans" and "The Black Widow" features in Amazing Adventures. Conway would eventually script virtually every major Marvel title, as well as co-create (with writers Roy & Dann Thomas and artist Mike Ploog) "Werewolf by Night", in Marvel Spotlight #2; and write the premiere issue of Marvel's The Tomb of Dracula, introducing the longstanding literary vampire into the Marvel universe. He scripted the first Man-Thing story, in 1971, sharing co-creation credit with Stan Lee and Roy Thomas.

At 19, Conway began scripting The Amazing Spider-Man, one of Marvel's flagship titles. His run, from issues #111–149, included the landmark death of Gwen Stacy story in #121. Eight issues later, Conway and Ross Andru introduced the Punisher as a conflicted antagonist for Spider-Man. The character went on to become a popular star of numerous comic books and has been adapted into three movies. Conway additionally scripted Marvel's other flagship, Fantastic Four, from #133–152.

Gerry Conway succeeded Marv Wolfman as editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics in mid-1976, but held the job only briefly, relinquishing the post before the year was out and succeeded in turn by Archie Goodwin.

Conway returned to DC Comics in mid-1975, beginning with three books cover-dated Nov. 1975: Hercules Unbound #1, Kong the Untamed #3, and Swamp Thing #19. Shortly afterward, he was chosen by Marvel and DC editors to script the historic inter-company crossover Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man #1, a 96-page, tabloid-sized, $2 one-shot, at a time when comic books sold for 25 cents.

He continued writing for DC, on titles including Superman, Detective Comics (starring Batman), Metal Men, Justice League of America, 1st Issue Special #11 starring Codename: Assassin, and that of the licensed character Tarzan, yet briefly returned to Marvel as editor in mid-1976. For a time, a confluence of publishing schedules resulted in Conway stories appearing in both Marvel and DC comics in the same month.

After leaving Marvel's editorship, he again wrote exclusively for DC, writing both major and lesser titles — from those featuring Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Justice League of America, and the Legion of Super-Heroes to such books as Weird Western Tales, Atari Force and Sun Devils — through mid-1986. His co-creation Firestorm, "the Nuclear Man", debuted in the eponymous Firestorm #1, which lasted five issues before being canceled during a 1978 DC retrenchment. The character then starred in a backup feature in The Flash before again receiving his own series, The Fury of Firestorm (later Firestorm the Nuclear Man), from June 1982 – August 1990; Conway wrote most of the first half of the run, plus four of its five annuals.

Conway returned to Marvel in the 1980s and served as the regular writer of both The Spectacular Spider-Man and Web of Spider-Man from 1988 until 1990. He relinquished writing duties on both titles when he became the script-editor of TV's Father Dowling Mysteries.

Conway's last recorded comics credit is Topps Comics' "Kirbyverse" one-shot NightGlider #1 , scripting from a Roy Thomas plot.

In addition to comics, Conway published two science-fiction novels: The Midnight Dancers and Mindship. He also wrote the February 14 - December 3, 1983 dailies of the syndicated newspaper comic strip Star Trek.

Conway as well moved into screenwriting in the 1980s, starting with the animated feature Fire and Ice in 1983, co-written with Roy Thomas, based on characters created by Ralph Bakshi and Frank Frazetta. Conway and Thomas wrote the story basis for Stanley Mann's screenplay for the film Conan the Destroyer.

Conway went on to write, and eventually produce, for such TV series as Diagnosis Murder, Matlock, Jake and the Fatman, Father Dowling Mysteries, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Baywatch Nights, Pacific Blue, Silk Stalkings, Perry Mason telefilms, Law & Order, The Huntress, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and an episode of Batman: The Animated Series.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Challengers of the Unknown #69

Challengers of the Unknown #69 (On Sale: June 3, 1969) has a cover by Joe Kubert; Neal Adams is taking a break from the Challs for a month.

The feature-length Challengers story "The Secret of Skull Mountain" is by Denny O'Neil and Jack Sparling. This puppy features the death of Prof Haley and his replacement in the Challengers by Corinna Stark who is introduced in this issue.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Atom & Hawkman #44

Atom & Hawkman #45 (On Sale: June 3, 1969) has a wonderful Hawkman cover by Joe Kubert.

Hawkman stars in "The Ghost Laughs Last" by Robert Kanigher and Murphy Anderson. This one features the Gentleman ghost and Hawkgirl and was reprinted in Showcase Presents: Hawkman Vol. 2 TPB.

The Atom stars in "Hate is Where You Find It" by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin and Sid Greene.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.