Friday, July 17, 2009

Teen Titans #23

Teen Titans #23 (On Sale: July 17, 1969) has one of the most popular Nick Cardy covers of all time. I know the 13-year-old me drooled over this one for hours, eh weeks... OK, months... alright, years! This cover always reminds me of Kurt Busiek's afterword in The Art of Nick Cardy where he recalls, "...I'm at a Marvel Christmas party and Cardy's name comes up, and Miss Jo Duffy, sitting on a desk, bursts out with, "Oh, man! He was the best--he did the best jailbait ever!" Indeed, and Nick Cardy's Wonder Girl was the queen of my Silver Age jailbait.

"The Rock 'n' Roll Rogue" is by Bob Haney, Gil Kane and Nick Cardy and is another example of Cardy's wonderful inking style. The Teen Titans are enjoying a Sammy Soul concert from the front row when Sammy suddenly runs from the stage causing the kids to start a major riot in the theater. Robin and Wonder Girl, showing off her new and improved costume distract the kids with a show of acrobatics while Kid Flash gives everyone on hand an instant refund. the immediate crisis averted the Titans take the Titan whirlybird to Sammy Soul's estate, where below Sammy's cousin Irmgard and her husband Luther are arguing with Sammy's manager over who owns him till he reaches legal age.

The Titans land and listen to Sammy's tale of woe, an orphan who grew up in a foster family who never loved him but now fight over custody since he has become famous and rich, how the only person who ever loved him was his Uncle Matt who was lost in South America years ago whole looking for treasure. Wonder Girl tries to come on to Sammy, to console him and Robin tells her to "Cool it." Looking back on these stories I guess, for a while there, they played up Wonder Girl as a little slut, something I never minded as a kid.

Anyway, the Titans leave but the next day they return to find Sammy is missing, but they find a clue in a guitar given to Sammy by his Uncle Matt and decide that Sammy has headed off to South America to find his Uncle. Sammy has landed in Los Santos Venezuela and is mobbed by fans even there, but is rescued by Juan Sastre, who tells Sammy he remembers Sammy's uncle, Matt Murdock (strange how that name gets around comics), who vanished in the great plateau of the interior of the country. Juan signs on as Sammy's guide and off they go.

Meanwhile, the Titans have tracked Sammy and locate his helicopter on the plateau. When they land to inspect the site, they are attacked by native headhunters, who are beaten back by an onslaught of arrows from Speedy. Sammy and Juan have been taken by the natives to their village where they find Uncle Matt unharmed in one of the huts, However, he has lost his memory, which Juan says is the only thing keeping him alive as the natives will not shrink the head of an amnesiac.

The Titans discover the village and using all of their powers they manage to rescue Sammy, Juan and Uncle Matt and thanks once again to Speedy and his amazing array of arrows they manage to keep the natives from following them. But, a short time later Matt's memory returns and he leads them through a tunnel to a hidden indoor pool,, which he says is El Dorado, where the old Indian civilization tossed their fortune in gold and emeralds to keep them from the Spanish conquistadors. It was while diving deep for the treasure that Uncle Matt lost his memory and was captured by the headhunters.

Wonder Girl says that she can swim very deep and will dive for the treasure but all she finds are the bones of those who tried to find El Dorado in the past. Convinced that he has not found El Dorado Uncle Matt agrees to return home, but on the way back to the choppers the natives capture Juan. Using Sammy's amps and mics from his helicopter, Uncle Matt booms his voice out into the jungle pretending to be the thunder god, Pichu Pichu and using Wonder Girl to drop Sammy Soul dolls from the sky as thunder god tributes the natives are convinced to let Juan go free. This story was reprinted in Showcase Presents: Teen Titans Vol. 2 TPB.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

No comments: