Friday, August 28, 2009

Detective Comics #392

Detective Comics #392 (On Sale: August 28, 1969) has a cover by Neal Adams.

Inside we have Batman in "I Died... a Thousand Deaths" by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Joe Giella. I have this book around here some where and will read it soon and give a detailed description.

The back-up Batgirl story is "A Clue... Seven-Foot Tall" by Frank Robbins, Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson. and introduces Jason Bard. This story was reprinted in Showcase Presents: Batgirl Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Adventure Comics #385

Adventure Comics #385 (On Sale: August 28, 1969) has a cover by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson.

Inside we have two Supergirl stories. The first is "Supergirl's Big Sister" by Cary Bates and Kurt Schaffenberger. The second is "The Jilting of Supergirl" by Cary Bates, Winslow Mortimer and Jack Abel.

Edited by Mort Weisinger

Action Comics #381

Action Comics #381 (On Sale: August 28, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

We begin with Superman in "The Dictator of Earth" by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and George Roussos. The back-up story is the Legion of Super-Heroes in "The Hapless Hero" by Jim Shooter, Winslow Mortimer and Jack Abel.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Green Lantern #72

Green Lantern #72 (On Sale: August 25, 1969) has a cover by Gil Kane.

Inside we have "Phantom of the Space-Opera" by Denny O'Neil, Gil Kane and Joe Giella. I have this book around here some where and will read it soon and give a detailed description. This story was reprinted in Showcase Presents: Green Lantern Vol. 4 TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Girls' Romances #144

Girls' Romances #144 (On Sale: August 25, 1969) has another great sexy-girl cover by Nick Cardy.

Inside we have "How Can He Love Anyone Who Looks Like Me?"which is penciled by Jay Scott Pike. Next is "Summer Time Romance" penciled by Jack Sparling. The book ends with "I Couldn't Be Faithful" drawn by Ric Estrada and Vinny Colletta which was later reprinted in Young Love #112.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Bat Lash #7

Bat Lash #7 (On Sale: August 25, 1969) has another great cover by Nick Cardy.

Inside we have "(Brothers)" which is plotted by Sergio Aragones, scripted by Denny O'Neil and drawn by Nick Cardy. One night Bat Lash runs into Don Pasqual, his father's best friend, who relates to Bat the night his family was killed and how Pasqual was able to pull Bat's brother, Billy, away from the
"evil ones" who burned his family's farm to the ground and killed his father and mother.

Pasqual related how he took Billy and fled to Mexico, to the house an an aunt, but how Billy would not speak and would not take notice when spoken to. A doctor examined Billy and said his problems were of the soul and he offered to adopt Billy. On the way back to the Lash ranch Don Pasqual was shot by bandits and "struggled with death" for a year. When he finally returned to the farm he learned how Bat had dealt with those who murdered his family and how since that time Don Pasqual has been searching for Bat.

Meanwhile in El Paso, a blond-haired bounty hunter is pulling a Bat Lash wanted poster off the wall and heads off in search of the man he does not know is his brother, while at the same time Bat and Don Pasqual set off in search of Billy. As the bounty hunter searches he recalls his lack of a childhood and how he does remember Dr. Jimeniz taking him to a camp of revolutionaries where he was trained like a man in the ways of shooting. As a revolutionary the young boy fought against the tyrannical Mexican government before traitors in their midst were their undoing. He sought out and hunted down the traitors, killing them one-by-one, and when he was through, he felt as if a part of him had died with each man. All that he was good for was killing, so he took up the life of a bounty hunter.

Billy hit the small town of Encinitas just after Bat and Pasqual, who are in the cantina trying to enjoy a meal wile being eyeballed by a group of brothers who think Bat looks a whole lot like the bounty hunter that nailed their pa, though, the bounty hunter looked younger than Bat. Bat overhears the brothers, knocks them around and then he and Don Pasqual convince them it is better for them to leave the cantina vertical rather than horizontal. As they are chased into the street they meet Billy coming into town and can't believe that there at two of them.

Unable to figure out which one nailed their pa, they run for cover and decide to take them both out. As bat and Don Pasqual leave the cantina, they are confronted by Billy. Bat tries to talk Billy down to no avail and as they prepare to stand off against each other, a shocked Don Pasqual attempts to break up the fight, telling them "You are bro--!" before he is shot in the back by the ambushing brothers. Fighting side-by-side, Bat and Billy neatly handle the four brothers. A dying Don Pasqual tries in vain to tell them who they each are, to no avail.

Billy lets bat go, for Don Pasqual's sake as he seemed like he "was a brave old' he seemed to think yo're worth savin'!" As they go their separate ways, both brothers are haunted by the familiarity of the other. Billy is drawn to watch as Bat buries Don Pasqual while Bat laments how everything he touches dies. A sad ending.

What is unfortunate is that this is the end, the last issue of Bat Lash; a book killed way too soon. I think DC ran the ads touting the book's near arrival longer than they published the book itself.

This story was reprinted in All-Star Western #11, Weird Western Tales #12 and Showcase Presents: Bat Lash TPB.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #124

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #124 (On Sale: August 21, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

We begin with "Jimmy Olsen’s Girl Trouble" by E. Nelson Bridwell and Pete Costanza. This story was reprinted in Superman: Daily Planet TPB.

We end with the cover-story, "The Secret of Jimmy Olsen’s Lost Father" by Leo Dorfman and Pete Costanza.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Heart Throbs #122

Heart Throbs #122 (On Sale: August 21, 1969) has a cover some attribute to Jay Scott Pike but is obviously the work of Nick Cardy.

Inside we have "3 Girls--Their Lives...Their Loves Episode 21" which is penciled by Jay Scott Pike. The book ends with "Deception" also penciled by Jay Scott Pike and later reprinted in Young Romance #204.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

From Beyond the Unknown #1

From Beyond the Unknown #1 (On Sale: August 21, 1969) has a Joe Kubert cover.

The first issue of this new science-fiction reprint book begins with "The Turtle-Men of Space" by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Joe Giella and reprinted from Strange Adventures #118. Next is "The Unknown Spaceman" by Gardner Fox, Bob Oksner and Bernard Sachs and reprinted from Mystery In Space #11. We conclude with "Star-Actor of the Starways" by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Bernard Sachs from Strange Adventures #122.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Brave and the Bold #86

Brave and the Bold #86 (On Sale: August 21, 1969) has another great cover by Neal Adams. Nothing like Deadman to bring out the best in Neal.

Batman and Deadman star in "You Can't Hide from a Deadman" which is written by Bob Haney and drawn by Neal Adams. Well, that's the story anyway, but I don't buy it for one minute because the Neal Adams Checklist on Neal's own site and my gut say this is Neal's work through and though. Now it is not that this checklist is all that accurate, as it only lists Neal as the writer and penciler of this story when he is obviously the inker as well, but my gut is pretty good on this stuff and this story so nicely wraps up the writing that Neal was doing on the Deadman strip in Strange Adventures, that I guess it is possible that Bob Haney did some of the dialog, but the plot has got to be Neal's.

This is Neal's eighth Brave and the Bold and his last of this run. Neal would draw one more full issue in a little over a year and finish up a Jim Aparo story a year or so later, but for all intents and purposes, this was the end of Neal's run as the regular penciler and it seems appropriate that he both began and ended his B&B run with Deadman.

However, this end-of-the-run may not have been Neal's idea. According to the DC Timeline "Neal Adams fired by Murray Boltinoff for rewriting Bob Haney’s script for Brave and Bold 86." I can't find any verification of this actually being the case. I know that Neal says that about this time Julius Schwartz came to him with "a handful of letters and he stops me in the hallway and he says, “How come all these fans say the only Batman at DC Comics is in Brave and Bold?” I said, “Well, Julie, in Brave and Bold he’s really Batman. He is not walking around in the daytime in his underwear, he is skulking around at night.” He said, “What makes you think you know how to do Batman?” I said, “Julie, it’s not me who knows how to do Batman, it’s me and every kid in America who knows what Batman ought to be. The problem at DC Comics is that no one knows what Batman is.” He said, “Get back here. Now you are going to be drawing Batman.” So it may have been a more gentle parting of ways than the DC Timeline says, but who knows.

It is rather telling though that in the same Comics Bulletin interview, Neal says of his talk with Boltinoff when getting the book, "I said, “Only one thing, I don’t want to change anything in the writing, I just want to every once in a while change locations and time of day.” I wanted to change the time to night because it just seems silly to have Batman walking around in his underwear in the daytime. Murray said, “That’s fine, no problem.” So, I took the script and I started drawing Brave and the Bold." If this is true and what I suspect as to the identity of the real plotter of #86, Boltinoff may have given Neal the boot.

It's just another night in Gotham as Batman and Robin break up an extortion racket, except that after mopping up the bad guys, Robin picks up a gun and tries to shoot Batman. Blinding the boy wonder with a smoke pellet saves Batman's hide and Robin strangely snaps out of it. When Commissioner Gordon and his men reach the scene Gordon uses an officer's service revolver to try and shoot Batman as well. Everyone is clueless, except Batman who has surmised that his "old friend Deadman is trying to kill me!"

Out on the street Batman runs a gauntlet of people suddenly possessed by Boston Brand's ghost and out to kill Batman. After almost being run over by a truck, Batman heads for the rooftops where Deadman will have a much harder time finding a host to possess. However Deadman finds a pigeon fancier and comes after Batman with a club. Batman tries to talk sense into Deadman, saying they are friends, but Deadman says he is trying to kill Batman. Batman's response is that Deadman is a liar and that he can prove it. "If you really want to kill me, do it the simple way...jump into my body and make me jump off the roof...clean and simple!" The logic of this causes Deadman to freak out and quickly exit the man's body.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong at the secret headquarters of the Society of Assassins, the Sensei is listening to a report from Willie Smith. Smith recounts how Deadman found his killer, the Hook and after confirming that he was dead, returned to Nanda Parbat seeking out Rama Kushna and the end of his unnatural existence. Deadman interfered with Smith's plan to destroy Nanda Parbat and thinking Smith dead, Deadman met with Rama Kushna. Afterward, Deadman chose to leave Nanda Parbat and return to being a ghost (a pretty good recap of Strange Adventurers #215 and #216). As Deadman was leaving, Smith shot him with a poison dart, but because he was only partially corporeal at the time it did not kill him but left him dazed and susceptible to suggestion. Smith used the opportunity to turn Deadman's hatred of the Sensei into a hatred for Batman. With Deadman busy trying to kill Batman the Sensei sees this as the perfect time to once and for all destroy Nanda Parbat.

Back in Gotham Batman visits the Hills Bros. Circus where Boston's brother, Cleveland, has taken over the role of the trapeze artist Deadman. Boston enters his brother's body and once again takes to the high platform, where he attempts his famous quadruple somersault, only to find that his brother's muscles are not as supple as his once were and he is saved only by the intervention of Batman. Boston is more confused than ever now that Batman has saved his brother's life. Just then circus mystic Vashnu arrives to say that Rama Kushna wants Deadman to return to Nanda Parbat.

Batman and Deadman in his brother's body are shot at as they parachute over the Himalayas down to Nanda Parbat. Deadman leaves his brother's body and leaps into the body of his attackers, turning one against the other. Returning to Cleveland's body Deadman leads Batman to Nanda Parbat where upon entrance he leaves Cleve's body and becomes corporeal once again. But as he does so the poison from Willie Smith's dart takes affect and he collapses to the ground.

Rama Kushna appears and explains that Boston has been poisoned but that one of the men coming to attack Nanda Parbat carries an antidote. Batman and Cleve head out to stop the assault on Nanda Parbat and to find the antidote. Using a now arrived blinding snowstorm for cover they take out the Sensei's men one by one, till they finally get to Smith and retrieve the antidote. The Sensei challenges them both, but they ignore him and hurry back to Boston.

Once back in Nanda Parbat Batman uses the antidote to save the life of a Deadman. Boston realizes the absurdity of it all and that Nanda Parbat is the only place where he can be harmed and therefore decides to leave and become a ghost once more. The Sensei is seen trudging down the mountain plotting his revenge on Batman and Deadman.

This classic story has been reprinted in Best of DC #26, Deadman #7, Deadman Collection HC, Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol. 2 HC and Showcase Presents the Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Witching Hour #5

Witching Hour #5 (On Sale: August 19, 1969) has a cover by Nick Cardy.

We began with "The Witching Hour Has Arrived - And I Have A Chilling Tale To Tell!" which is the story wrapper penciled by Alex Toth wherein the witches test the backbone of Cynthia's college boyfriend with their eerie tales.

The first of those is "The Sole Survivor" introduced by Mildred and drawn by Bernie Wrightson. That is followed by "The Non-Believer!" which is a one-page horror story. Next is "A Guy Can Die Laughing" which is introduced by Mordred. "The Computer Game" is Cynthia's tale and it is followed by "My! How small You've Grown!" a one-page tale drawn by Sid Greene.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Superboy #160

Superboy #160 (On Sale: August 19, 1969) has just an astounding cover by Neal Adams. Every once in a while Neal just knocks one out of the park and this is one of those!

Superboy stars in "I Chose External Exile" by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Wally Wood. I find it hard to believe that these stories have never been reprinted. I remember Frank Robbins doing a good job on the scripts and hell, this is Wally Wood inks we are talking about.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Sugar and Spike #86

Sugar and Spike #86 (On Sale: August 19, 1969) has a cover by Sheldon Mayer.

Inside we have Sugar and Spike and Bernie the Brain in "Tale That Can Never Be Told" written and drawn by Sheldon Mayer.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Star Spangled War Stories #147

Star Spangled War Stories #147 (On Sale: August 19, 1969) has an Enemy Ace cover by Joe Kubert.

"A Grave in the Sky" is by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert and, my god, is Kubert on fire this issue. The story surrounds a British pilot who as a child was obsessed with the story of St. George and the Dragon. Years later he is still obsessed and sees the RAF as a way of attaining knighthood and flying a steed and using machine guns as his lance.

The delusional pilot wears the top half of a suit of armor when he flies and believes himself to be the reincarnation of St. George. As with all Enemy Ace stories, the real story is about the killer skies and the terrible strain leading men into battle is for Hans Von Hammer. It has some amazing Kubert artwork, bringing the aerial dogfights of Fokkers vs. Sopwith Camels to glorious life. Kubert in his early 40s at this time was a master of the brush for sure, but it is his amazing story-telling abilities that make these books come to life.

Suffice to say that in the end St. George is defeated by his own personal dragon, Hans von Hammer, the Enemy Ace. This story was reprinted in Enemy Ace Archives Vol. 2 HC and Showcase Presents: Enemy Ace Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Secret Hearts #139

Secret Hearts #139 (On Sale: August 19, 1969) has a cover at least inked by Dick Giordano and another great example of a through-the-legs shot, which I gotta say, I find sexy.

We began with "Not That Kind of Girl" inked by Vince Colletta. That is followed by "How Can I Tell Him the Truth?" penciled by Winslow Mortimer. We end with "Hide from Love" penciled by John Rosenberger.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Metal Men #40

Metal Men #40 (On Sale: August 19, 1969) has a cover by Mike Sekowsky and George Roussos.

As the Metal Men franchise is sputtering to a close next issue we have "Madman and Traitor," written and drawn by Mike Sekowsky and inked by George Roussos.

Edited by Mike Sekowsky.

Debbi's Dates #4

Debbi's Dates #4 (On Sale: August 19, 1969) has a cover by Samm Schwartz..

We began with three Debbi's Dates' stories, "Better Date Than Never," where Buddy and Debbi sign up for a computer dating service, "Double Date, Mate," where Bernard wins a new car and clothes enabling him to easily get dates, and "A Date with Him... is Quite a Charge," wherein Debbi goes out with Harold but ends up paying for everything. This last one was drawn by Doug Crane.

We end with the Ding-a-Lings in "Swing n' Slay" where Bingo, Jinks,Denny, and Yo-Yo decide to form a band called The Ding-A-Lings.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Young Romance #162

Young Romance #162 (On Sale: August 14, 1969) has a cover by Ric Estrada and Vince Colletta..

We began with "What Kind of a Girl Are You?" penciled by Jay Scott Pike. Next is "Tears for a Dream" reprinted from Secret Hearts #45 and inked by Murphy Anderson. Lastly is our cover story, "Wheels of Passion" written and drawn by Ric Estrada.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

G.I. Combat #138

G.I. Combat #138 (On Sale: August 14, 1969) has a cover by Joe Kubert.

We began with The Haunted Tank in "The Losers" by Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath. This is the first story of the Losers, the cover calls them the Born Losers, who would eventually take over Our Fighting Forces. The team consisted of Captain Storm, Johnny Cloud, Gunner and Sarge. This Losers origin story was reprinted in Showcase Presents: Haunted Tank Vol. 2 TPB.

The back-up story "Bright Banner" was drawn by George Evans.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

DC Special #5

DC Special #5 (On Sale: August 14, 1969) has a cover by and about Joe Kubert. This is the second of the DC Special issues honoring a specific artist and it is too bad they did not continue with these. In a way it is sort of a cross between a reprint book and a fanzine, though it is mainly a reprint book.

We begin with "The Cartoonist -- at Home" a four-page introduction by Joe Kubert of Joe Kubert and which I thought was very well done. It has lots of humor, introduced us to his family (including later to be artists Adam and Andy Kubert). the script is funny and has a wonderful cameo by Russ Heath, who calls to say he won't be able to finish his story on time, but he is working hard and hasn't slept for days. Russ is pictured at the Playboy Club with a blond on his arm.

I loved the style Kubert utilized for this one, great stuff indeed.

We begin the reprints with Sgt. Rock in "Eyes of a Blind Gunner" by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert and reprinted from Our Army At War #113. Easy Company is attacked while crossing a river. Wild Man takes out a plane with his bazooka, then gets dumped in the river with Sgt. Rock and Jackie. Together the trio take out a tank. Jackie and Wild Man then form a team.

When Easy awaits a supply drop, they are ambushed. The only weapon they have to rely on is a machine gun. Jackie and Wild Man are set on guard duty with the gun, when another attack occurs. Jackie is blinded by an explosion, and Wild Man's hand are injured. Wild Man uses his eyes to guide Jackie in firing the machine gun. Together the two soldier successfully hold off their attackers.

Next is "Rider of the Winds" also by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert and reprinted from Showcase #2. This short tale is of an Indian boy, Eagle feather, who was given his name when Rider of the Winds, a giant eagle caught a feather during the boy's naming ceremony. As the boy turns 14 he is told to guard over the tribes flock of sheep. One day one of the lambs gets stuck in quicksand and Eagle Feather wades in and tosses the lamb to safety, but is himself stuck. Rider of the Winds appears and Eagle Feather grabs one of his wings and is pulled to safety himself.

But while this was happening Black Lightning, a mountain lion, slaughters five of the sheep. Eagle Feather is disgraced and the whole village holds him in shame. He seeks the council of a wise man who tells him that he must defeat the bearer-of-that-disgrace, Black Lightning in order to remove his shame. Eagle Feather tracks Black Lightning down ans with the help once again of Rider of the Winds is able to kill the big black cat and regain his standing in the tribe.

That is followed by Hawkman in "Menace of the Matter Master" by Gardner Fox and Joe Kubert and reprinted from Brave and the Bold #35. While attempting to turn base metals to gold, chemist Mark Mandrill discovers the secret of Mentachem, a chemical which gives him control of any material in its natural state. He creates a directing wand, and uses the material to steal a half-million dollars from an armored car, then creates an army of meteor men to loot the Midway City Art Center. Tipped off by Commissioner Emmett, Hawkman and Hawkgirl battle the rockmen, but Matter Master intercedes, and escapes with the treasures by directing helicopter blades at them.

The criminal trips up, however, when directing flowers to steal a parchment from the museum, as Hawkman’s acute sense of smell comes to the force in time to track these flowers to Matter Master’s underground lair, where he and Hawkgirl capture him.

Next is a two-page spread by Joe Kubert of a number of characters he has drawn over the years, each done in the style he used "back in the day." This spread features Doctor Fate, Johnny Quick, Hawkman, The Flash, Wildcat, The Vigilante, Sargon the Sorcerer, Zatara and Firehair.

We end with Viking Prince in "Threat of the Ice King" by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert and reprinted from Brave and the Bold #18. Kubert's work on this strip is just beautiful. Jon, the Viking Prince, continues his quest to complete the twelve tasks of Thor in order to regain his throne. His travels bring him to the domain of the Ice King on a mission to awaken a rose. Jon fights his way past the Ice King's two-headed bear and other dangers until he reaches the castle. Inside he finds a sleeping maiden which he awakens with a kiss.

The woman is the rose princess who was placed in a trance by the Ice King. Jon's kiss broke the spell. He then faces the Ice King himself who has the power to freeze men. Jon prevails in the duel, then escapes the castle with the rose princess. With the rescue, he completes the fourth task of Thor.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #96

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #96 (On Sale: August 12, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson. This one has an interesting gimmick on the cover, with the empty word balloons and the question to the reader.

We began with "The Girl Who Died for Superman" by Cary Bates, Irv Novick and Mike Esposito. The back-up is "Weep for Lois Lane's Baby" by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and George Roussos.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Leave It To Binky #69

Leave It To Binky #69 (On Sale: August 12, 1969) has a cover by Henry Scarpelli.

We began with Binky in "The Miss-Understanding" and then in "Don't Be Mod, Pop." Next is Dopey in "The Preparation," followed by Binky again in "Careful Living," which is reprinted from Leave It To Binky #56. We end with Binky in "'Li'l Allergy's Pet Project."

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Girls' Love Stories #146

Girls' Love Stories #146 (On Sale: August 12, 1969) has a cover by George Tuska and Vinny Colletta.

We began with "Abandoned" penciled by Tony Abruzzo. That is followed by "Secret Love" inked by Bernard Sachs. We finish with "Which Love is Mine?" pencilled by John Rosenberger.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Friday, August 7, 2009

World's Finest Comics #188

World's Finest Comics #188 (On Sale: August 7, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

We begin with Superman and Batman in "The Super-Rivals" by Ed Hamilton, Dick Sprang and Stan Kaye and reprinted from World's Finest Comics #85. Princess Varina visits the United States and meets her heroes Superman and Batman. The heroes begin competing for Varina’s affection because if she elopes with Stefan, her royal guard, a commoner, she must abdicate. Abdication would lead to civil war in Balkania.

The heroes continue their pursuit of Varina, but when Pete Kaney’s gang try to steal the royal jewels, the heroes make Stefan appear to be a hero. Stefan’s notoriety allows him to safely marry the princess without risk of war pleasing not only the princess but Lois Lane and Vicki Vale as well.

Next is Superman and Batman in "The Super-Newspaper of Gotham City" also by Ed Hamilton, Dick Sprang and Stan Kaye and reprinted from World's Finest Comics #80. Lois Lane and Clark Kent are asked to work for the Gotham Gazette temporarily to save it from ruin. Bruce Wayne also joins the staff as a reporter to help track down a large crime ring. Bruce and Clark compete for stories, while working on breaking up the crime ring as Batman and Superman. They eventually track down the ring with Robin’s help and deliver the story to the Gazette. The newspaper increases in circulation due to the story and is saved from bankruptcy.

That is followed by Superman and Batman in "The Negative Superman" by France Herron, Jim Mooney and Sheldon Moldoff and reprinted from World's Finest Comics #126. Luthor uses a new device to cause Superman to split in a positive and negative half. The Negative Superman begins helping Luthor and other criminals. The real Superman is unable to stop his duplicate because of an energy field.

Batman and Robin assist the Man of Steel in combating the super-powered menace. Batman uses Kryptonite, but the mineral causes the Negative Superman to grow more powerful. When Superman collides with his negative half, the increased power of the Negative Superman breaks the energy field and allows them to merge back into one being.

Next is Green Arrow in "The World's Worst Archer" by Robert Bernstein and Lee Elias and reprinted from Adventure Comics #262. Roy Harper, a promising athlete and archer, wants to become Green Arrow’s partner. His guardian is Brave Bow, an Indian chief whose life was saved by Roy’s late father. Brave Bow has trained Roy to master the bow and arrow, but is now too old to care for Roy.

Green Arrow gives the boy a chance to prove himself at the Greenville Fair. Roy’s arrow misses the target horribly. Roy doesn’t give up and follows Green Arrow after some crooks. Roy uses Brave Bow’s lucky flint arrow to catch the criminals. Green Arrow misses the action and believes the crooks were caught by a lucky accident.

G.A. gives Roy another chance after Roy wins a track meet. Again the boy’s arrow goes wide of the target. Roy is disappointed, but again trails Green Arrow after some crooks. His flint arrow punctures the tire of the getaway car, but the shaft breaks off leaving no evidence that Roy was responsible. Roy finally gives up, but Green Arrow returns later to explain to Roy that his arrowhead was in the tire. The shots he missed were metal arrows which had become magnetized at the fair, causing them to go wide of the targets. Green Arrow gives Roy the nickname Speedy and takes him as a partner.

We end with Superman and Batman in "The Batman Nobody Remembered" by Bill Finger and Jim Mooney and reprinted from World's Finest Comics #136. Batman is forced to crash land the Batplane during a lightning storm. When he returns to Gotham City no one remembers him. He also discovers that certain things are different. Bruce Wayne is really Superman and lives with Robin and Alfred; Vicki Vale looks like Lois Lane; and the Joker is a TV comic.

Batman’s behavior causes Superman and Commissioner Gordon to think he is a criminal, so he is hunted. He eventually proves himself by helping Superman rescue Robin. After relating his story to Superman, the Man of Steel reasons that Batman has been on a parallel Earth. Then he sends Batman to his own dimension, where he belongs.

Edited by E. Nelson Bridwell.

Unexpected #115

Unexpected #115 (On Sale: August 7, 1969) has a cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with "Diary of a Madman" by Carl Wessler and Ed Robbins. Some sources indicate that this was the last story Ed Robbins drew for DC, others say he drew some war stories in 1970 and 1971, but I haven't tracked those down yet. Robbins' last comic book work appears to be for Western in Grimm's Ghost Stories in 1975-76. Born in 1919 Ed Robbins died in 1982.

He was one of those guys who worked everywhere, but rarely made a name for himself. He worked at the Beck and Costanza Studio between 1942 and 1953, the Iger Studio in 53-54 and the Simon and Kirby Studio in 1955.

For Archie he drew Roy, the Super Boy, the Scarlet Avenger, The Shield, Steel Sterling and Zamboni, the Miracle Man. At Centaur he drew Craig Carter and the Masked Marvel. At Charlton he crime and war stories. At DC he drew Gang Busters in the 50s and horror, romance and war stories in the 1960s. At Dell he drew horror stories in the early 60s and at Feature Comics he drew romance stories during the late 50s. At Fawcett he drew romance comics for years along with Captain Marvel, the Marvel Family and Mary Marvel. In the 40s and 50s he work for Atlas/Marvel on the Black Avenger, the Human Torch, the Thunderer and assorted horror and war stories. He did one story for Warren in 1970.

If Ed Robbins ever made a name for himself though, it was during his two-years stint on the Mike Hammer newspaper strip in the 1950s, where his hard-boiled gutsy graphic style was years ahead of the British strips of the 60s, such as Jim Holdaway on Modesty Blaise and Yaroslav Horak on James Bond (I used to follow both of these strips in the wonderful Menomonee Falls Gazette in the 1970s).

Next we have "Abracadabra -- You're Dead" by Dave Wood, Curt Swan and Jack Abel. We end with "The Day Nobody Died" by Dave Wood, Werner Roth and Frank Giacoia. This story was reprinted in Unexpected #161.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Swing With Scooter #22

Swing With Scooter #22 (On Sale: August 5, 1969) has a cover by Henry Scarpelli.

We have Scooter and Sylvester in "He Who Learns Karate... Gets Sore Back," "Hat a Girl," Malibu in "The Expert," "The Poet" and "Room for Rent," and we end with Scooter in "Mod Addict." I have no information on credits for the interior of this book.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Superman #220

Superman #220 (On Sale: August 5, 1969) has a nice cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

"Who Stole My Super-Powers?" is by Jim Shooter, Curt Swan and George Roussos and guest-stars the Flash. This story was reprinted in Best of DC #8.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Our Army at War #211

Our Army at War #211 (On Sale: August 5, 1969) has a Sgt. Rock cover by Joe Kubert.

We begin with Sgt. Rock in "The Treasure of St. Daniel" by Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath. The back-up story is "Dragon with Wings" by Ken Barr.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

House of Secrets #82

House of Secrets #82 (On Sale: August 5, 1969) has a cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with "Realler Than Real" drawn by Werner Roth and Vince Colletta. Most sources list this as Werner Roth's first work for DC since his first pencil job in Secret Hearts #42 in 1957, but Jerry Bails' Who's Who of American Comic Books contains a long list of Roth work for DC romance books covering most of the 60s. This includes long runs on Falling In Love, Girls' Romances, Secret Hearts, Young Love and Young Romance.

Roth spent most of his early career at Atlas/Marvel, beginning in 1951 when he started drawing the Apache Kid. Roth was so good at drawing women that Atlas publisher Martin Goodman had a comic created just for him: Lorna, the Jungle Girl. His last work at Atlas was in Strange Tales in 1958 and he didn't return till 1965 when now Marvel needed an artist to replace Jack Kirby on the Uncanny X-Men. At Marvel, Roth sometimes used the pseudonym Jay Gavin. He would remain the X-Men penciler till 1969, when he would return to DC starting with this story. However, in the later half of the 60s and the early 70s Roth also worked on a number of Marvel's other book, including The Avengers, Sub-Mariner, GunHawk, Kid Colt, The Rawhide Kid and Werewolf By Night.

Werner Roth also worked at Dell Comics and drew Mandrake the Magician for King Comics and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. for Western Publishing. He also worked for a time as an assistant on the On Stage newspaper strip.

In 1970 Roth became the penciler of Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane, a book he would work on til his death in 1973 at the age of 52.

Next is "The Little Old Winemaker" drawn by Jack Sparling. We end with "The One and Only, Fully Guaranteed Super-Permanent, 100%?" by Marv Wolfman, Dick Dillin and Neal Adams. This last story was reprinted in House of Mystery #224 and Showcase Presents: The House of Mystery Vol. 3 TPB, The entire book was reprinted in Showcase Presents: The House of Secrets Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Falling In Love #110

Falling In Love #110 (On Sale: August 5, 1969) has a cover inked by Vince Colletta and not a bad job for once.

We begin with "Always a Bridesmaid... ...Never a Bride" drawn by Artie Saaf and Vince Colletta. Next is "Afraid to Fall in Love" inked by Vince Colletta and we end with "They Called Me a Boy Chaser..." drawn by Artie Saaf and Vince Colletta. This last story was reprinted in Young Romance #197.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Challengers of the Unknown #70

Challengers of the Unknown #70 (On Sale: August 5, 1969) has a cover by Neal Adams. This is the first cover with their new costumes and with new Challenger Corinna Stark.

"A Scream of Yesterdays" is by Denny O'Neil and Jack Sparling.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Atom & Hawkman #45

Atom & Hawkman #45 (On Sale: August 5, 1969) has a nice cover by Joe Kubert for this the last issue of the book. I never thought this book was a good idea in the first place as these two characters had little in common.

The book ends with a feature-length Atom/Hawkman story, "Queen Jean, Why Must We Die?" by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin and Sid Greene. It was reprinted in Showcase Presents: Hawkman Vol. 2 TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.