Friday, August 14, 2009

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.

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