Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Detective Comics #393 (On Sale: September 30, 1969) has just a really ineffective cover by Irv Novick. The Batman figure seems squeezed in under the massive logo and it is hard to tell exactly how old Novick thinks Robin is. Ugh, I just don't like this one.

"The Combo Caper" is by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Joe Giella and although the cover scene does sort of happen in this issue, it is basically the last panel, so in that way this cover is sort of a cheap "come on." as the captioned question, "Why?," is never addressed. We begin with Batman and Robin noticing while on patrol a light on at the Winslow mansion. They knew very well that the Winslows are vacationing at their beach front estate next to Bruce's in Ocean Point so they enter and surprise an thief in mid caper. Before the thief escapes in the Batmobile no less, Robin lands a right jab to his covered face. The thief didn't have enough time to crack the Winslow's safe, but left behind a clue, an aluminum pop-top with the two sets of safe combinations scratched into its surface, the Winslow's and one other.

The next morning, after retrieving the abandoned Batmobile, Bruce, Dick and Alfred head out for Ocean Point for a little R & R. On the way they pick up Skeet Callum, an under-privileged teen in crisis that Bruce is attempting to mentor for the Civic Conscience Council. Skeet has an attitude the rub Dick the wrong way, and he also has a shiner and an addiction to Kool-Up soda, in the aluminum pop-top cans.

Once at the beach, Dick and Skeet run into Deena Winslow, who is also sporting a shiner and a Kool-Up addiction. That night Bruce, Dick and Skeet attend a big bash at the Winslow estate where they are introduced to world-traveler and yacht-owner Aristide Naxos. The teens all head out for a party on the beach where Skeet and Deena have an argument and Skeet takes off alone.

As the night wears on, Aristide makes his exit to his yacht and Mrs. Winslow tries to hit on Bruce, resulting in Bruce going upstairs to fetch her wrap, only to discover that the Winslow's safe here has been robbed. Looking around Bruce finds another pop-top with this safe's combination. Bruce remembers that Skeet is always drinking Kool-Up and tells him that if he robbed the place he can still give the jewels back, no questions asked. Skeet runs off and later Bruce laments that he may have pushed Skeet towards crime by accusing him. This sends Dick out to find him, which he does lying unconscious on the beach. Skeet says that he found Deena digging in the sand and that she was being signaled from Naxos's yacht and when he tried to ask her what was going on she decked him with her surfboard.

Later Dick rides out on a surfboard toward the yacht, gathering the attention of the guards on board. What they don;t see is Batman tagging along with the board underwater. using a rebreather. While Dick catches a few waves at night, Batman sneaks on to the yacht where he confronts Naxos and Deena. When Naxos pulls a gun Deena disarms him. Inside her can of Kool-Up are the jewels, which she stole to punish her parents for only buying her things instead of loving her. Later Skeet finds out that Batman came to his aid and that if Batman thinks he is worth something, then maybe he should too.

The final panel is a close-up of Batman thinking, "The case is over...the team-up is finished! This is good-bye for Batman and Robin!"

The Batgirl back-up is "Downfall of a Goliath!" by Frank Robbins, Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson. Reprinted in Showcase Presents: Batgirl Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Adventure Comics #386

Adventure Comics #386 (On Sale: September 30, 1969) has a Supergirl cover by Murphy Anderson.

"The Beast That Loved Supergirl" is by Cary Bates, Winslow Mortimer and Jack Abel and features Mr. Mxyzptlk. The back-up is "The Godmother of Steel" by Robert Kanigher and Kurt Schaffenberger.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Action Comics #382

Action Comics #382 (On Sale: September 30, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

"Clark Kent, Magician" is by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and George Roussos. That is followed by the Legion of Super-Heroes in "Kill a Friend to Save a World" by Jim Shooter, Winslow Mortimer and Jack Abel. This story was reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 9 HC.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #97

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #97 (On Sale: September 25, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

We begin with our cover story "The Three Super-Sirens" drawn by Irv Novick.

The back-up is "The Mystery of Skull Island" a reprint from
Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #16 drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger. Clark Kent and Lois Lane go undercover as servants to Carlos Floyd, a rich actor, in order to get a story. Floyd has been faking the existence of his wife throughout the house, and no one has met her. Lois begins to suspect that Floyd has done away with his wife in order to gain her inheritance.

Lois finally discovers that Mrs. Floyd is just a mannequin. She sets a trap to force a confession from Carlos, but she ends up getting thrown from a balcony. Superman rescues her and catches the real killer, Sidney Willis, the Floyd lawyer. Carlos had been faking Mrs. Floyd’s existence in hopes of exposing her real killer.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Girls' Love Stories #147

Girls' Love Stories #147 (On Sale: September 25, 1969) has a poorly drawn and poorly colored cover by persons unknown.

They begin a new romance serial this issue with "Episode 1" of "Confessions" drawn by John Rosenberger. This is followed by "The Ugliest Girl in the World" penciled by Ric Estrada. We end with "Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up?" also penciled by Ric Estrada.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Date With Debbi #6

Date With Debbi #6 (On Sale: September 25, 1969) has a cover by, hmmm, beats me.

We start off with three Debbi stories: "The Stars That Faded," "The Green Ognoogie" and "You Get What You're Paid for" all by persons unknown. These are followed by an untitled Flowers story drawn by L. Stuchkus and Frank McLaughlin. We end with another Debbi story, "Here Comes De -- ?"

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Windy and Willy #4

Windy and Willy #4 (On Sale: September 18, 1969) has a cover by Bob Oksner.

This is the final issue of this Dobie Gillis retread. "Historical High Jinks" is drawn by Bob Oksner and is reprinted from Many Loves of Dobie Gillis #17.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Teen Titans #24

Teen Titans #24 (On Sale: September 18, 1969) has a cool cover by Nick Cardy.

"Skis of Death" is by Bob Haney, Gil Kane and Nick Cardy. I can't find my copy of this book for some reason. This story was reprinted in DC Super Stars #1, Best of DC #18 and Showcase Presents: Teen Titans Vol. 2 TPB.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Superman #221

Superman #221 (On Sale: September 18, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

We begin with "The Revolt of the Super-Slave" by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and George Roussos. The back-up is the cover-story "The Two-Ton Superman" by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and George Roussos.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Strange Adventures #221

Strange Adventures #221 (On Sale: September 18, 1969) has an Adam Strange cover by Murphy Anderson.

We begin with"The Duel of the Two Adam Stranges" by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Bernard Sachs from Mystery In Space #59. A giant Adam Strange appears outside Ranagar and proclaims himself dictator. Alanna can’t believe that Adam has become evil, but he claims to have been altered by the gravitational pull of a radioactive planet. As the giant Adam begins demolishing Ranagar, the former dictator or Rann, Avanar Bar, rises to stop him.

When the real Adam Strange arrives, he explains that the giant is a robot. He tries to stop the robot as well, but when he can’t he realizes that Avanar is controlling it and in doing so trying to reclaim his position as ruler. Adam exposes the plot and gains control of the robot using a device Avanar had hidden under a wig.

Next is "The Square Earth" by Otto Binder and Sy Barry and reprinted from Mystery In Space #22.

We end with the Atomic Knights in "World Out of Time" by John Broome and Murphy Anderson and reprinted from Strange Adventures #129. Bryndon develops a machine that can tap into satellites in Earth's orbit. He uses the satellite cameras to view the world ravaged by World War III. Unexpectedly, the cameras reveal an island in the Atlantic that still has green trees. The Knights speculate that it might be Atlantis, so they leave to investigate.

The island is indeed Atlantis returned as a result of the war. The island is inhabited by Atlantean people planning to conquer the rest of the world. However, they cannot leave the island due to a radiation field surrounding it.

When the Atomic Knights arrive, they can safely pass through the radiation field. The Atlanteans capture them to find out how they are immune to the radiation. The Knights escape before their enemies learn that the armor they wear protects them. As they leave the island, an earthquake causes it to sink into the ocean. Marene manages to gather some seed and food before it sinks. The Knights hope plant life on Earth can be restored with what they've recovered.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Justice League of America #76

Justice League of America #76 (On Sale: September 18, 1969) has a cover by Murphy Anderson.

We begin with "The Cosmic Fun-House" by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs from Justice League of America #7. Entering the fun-house of a new Happy Harbor amusement park, Snapper Carr and his girlfriend, Midge, are transported to an alien planet, from which the Justice League rescues them. Later, some of the members investigate the fun-house in their secret identities, with the result that Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and Green Arrow are captured by invading aliens from the planet Angellax – the builders of the fun-house. Two of the aliens become duplicates of Barry (Flash) Allen and Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan, and send Superman, Batman, and J’onn J’onzz into the future on a wild goose chase to capture Xotar, whom they blame for the fun-house incidents. Aquaman is then lured into a trap.

At the same time, the four captive members escape, only to be transformed into weirdly distorted shapes by a mirror device. Aquaman aids the four, and they defeat the aliens despite their altered bodies. After Green Lantern restores himself and the others to normal, and the other heroes return from the future, they again enjoy the no-longer-dangerous amusement park while they are in their civilian identities.

The second story in this issue is "The Last Case of the Justice League" by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs from Justice League of America #12. Snapper Carr arrives late at a Justice League meeting to find the members gone and Dr. Light in their place. The villain forces him to chronicle his victory over the League in the JLA Casebook.

Capturing Aquaman, he had summoned the other members with the Sea King’s signal device, then projected them into various sidereal worlds. Aquaman had been sent to a desert planet, J’onn J’onzz to a world of fir, Flash to a planet where his balance was disrupted and his speed of little use, Wonder Woman to a place where her body refused to obey her brain, Green Arrow to a planet where strange organic magnetism rendered his weapons useless, and Green Lantern to an entirely yellow world. Superman was trapped on a world with a red sun, and Batman in a place where the laws of science didn’t hold.

What Dr. Light doesn’t realize, however, is that Batman and Superman had exchanged identities in order to trick him. Thus, Superman, in full possession of his powers, is able to escape the prison planet intended for Batman, and he rescues his fellow members.

Returning to the Secret Sanctuary, the super-heroes rescue Snapper, who alerts them to Light’s planned theft of three mementos of light. Though Aquaman and Green Arrow halt the villain’s plan to steal the Colossus of Rhodes, Green Lantern is apparently destroyed during the battle. Simultaneously, Batman, Flash, and J’onn J’onzz encounter and subdue a second Dr. Light, who attempts to steal the diamond Heart of Light, while Superman and Wonder Woman capture a third, who is making off with the first electric light bulb. These three captives are revealed to be mere images, and the real Dr. Light is about to set off vibrating light-impulses that will overcome everyone on Earth.

He is beaten at his own game by Green Lantern, who had not been destroyed at all, but had allowed his image to be blasted, while he searched for Light’s hideout and captured the villain.

This issue also contains a two-page poster of the Justice Society of America and a one-page poster of the Seven Soldiers of Victory both by Murphy Anderson. These illustrations are accompanied by a Fact File on both teams.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Falling In Love #111

Falling In Love #111 (On Sale: September 18, 1969) has a cover by Ric Estrada and Vinny Colletta.

We begin with "The Girl Who Can't Say No" drawn by Artie Saaf and Vinny Colletta. Next is "A Tug-o-War with My Heart" drawn by Ric Estrada and Vinny Colletta. that is followed by Betty's Boutique drawn by Tony Abruzzo.We end with "Shy Girl" drawn by Ric Estrada and Vinny Colletta which was reprinted in Young Love #109.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Adventures of Jerry Lewis #115

Adventures of Jerry Lewis #115 (On Sale: September 18, 1969) has a cover by Bob Oksner.

This issue we have "The Kook with the Cuckoo Clock, " "Dog Tired," "Extra – Special Delivery" and "The Jerry Tree." All are by Arnold Drake and Bob Oksner.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Phantom Stranger #4

Phantom Stranger #4 (On Sale: September 16, 1969) has a cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with "There is Laughter in Hell This Day" by Robert Kanigher, Neal Adams and Bill Draut. In my mind I have always considered this to be the first real story of the modern Phantom Stranger. Before I get to the story though, I have to say that the strange combination of Neal Adams and Bill Draut came off pretty well, though it looks like Neal went back in and reinked quite a bit of this himself, so who knows what it actually looked like.

We begin in Haiti, where Dr. Terence Thirteen and his wife Maria are witness to a crazed tourist's dive from a waterfall into a pool during a native ceremony calling for Tala. Terry dives in to save the man but discovers an underwater vortex sucking everything into a tunnel. He barely makes it back to the surface and the next morning has the authorities use explosives to seal up the tunnel. No one notices the swirling smoke the explosion released that forms into the beautiful Tala.

As the Thirteen's jet back to New York to check on a supposedly sobbing brownstone building, their jet is engulfed by an enormous black cloud. From outside it is clear that the cloud is a manifestation of Tala's cape as sit stands astride the jetliner. A crackle of lightning from a vast white cloud signals the arrival of the Phantom Stranger. As they arrive in New York that evening the area is in the midst of a strange power blackout, when, low on fuel, the plane's lights and radio also die. Terry thinks he sees a beautiful woman standing on the plane's wing, but realizes it must be an illusion caused by strain.

A glowing Phantom Stranger guides the blinded plane in safely and Tala confronts the Stranger before flying off. Terry Thirteen also confronts the Stranger, calling him a phony stage magician, but the Stranger disappears in the smoggy darkness of night. the plane down and out of danger, the power suddenly returns to New York.

The next day a quartet of teenagers trade some junk with a Brooklyn junkman for some money and what he calls a "a book to raise the dead." The foursome then head for the supposedly haunted brownstone building where they plan on crashing for a bit and on of them mentions that the old how has been dead for years and that maybe the book could "wake it up again." Inside they find a huge old fireplace with massive gargoyles and above the mantle, a painting of a beautiful girl. In a mirror off to the side is the reflection of Tala.

Suddenly they hear the sobbing the house is infamous for and they drop the book on a dusty table where, unseen, Tala forces open the catch and flips the pages to a voodoo incantation for raising the dead. They read the incantation which asks Tala to bring them life. Unfortunately, the life is passed to the two gargoyles who attack the foursome. But the Phantom Stranger suddenly materializes as well and intercepts the gargoyles doing battle with them, turning them into a pile of broken plaster. Tala then emerges from the mirror and offers herself to the Stranger, but she is rebuffed and flies off in a fury.

Moments later the Thirteens arrive and Terry accuses the Stranger of playing upon the delusions of the youngsters. But they say they have heard the crying in the building. The wailing starts again and the Stranger cuts a hole in the wall with his finger and inside they find an old, skeletal woman. Thirteen tries to explain away her existence but the woman, barely alive tells of how she came to the building when she was 18, to visit her fiancé and how she told him of her love for another and how in a fit of rage he sealed her up in the wall and became a hermit, spending the entirety of his life in the house to be near her.

In his will he saw to it that the house could never be touched and so it and she remained. Suddenly the house begins to shake and tremble. As they run from the building Tala can be seen on top of the house laughing. Thirteen calls it an illusion. The woman says all she wants is to sleep forever and the Stranger promises her it will be. The next evening he places flowers on her grave. Thirteen is there, calling it all a hypnotic illusion staged by the Stranger. The Stranger tell him that there are "more things in heaven and Earth-- than one can imagine" and then disappears, leaving Thirteen still convinced that the Stranger has duped them all. This was Reprinted in Showcase Presents Phantom Stranger Vol. 1 TPB.

The back-up story "Out of This World" is by Robert Kanigher and Murphy Anderson and is presented as one of the "Strange Tales from the Phantom Stranger." This is the old story of a guy picking up a hitchhiker, taking her out dancing and falling in love with her. The next night he returns to the house he dropped her off at and discovers that she died one year ago yesterday. This is very close to the plot of the old Dickie Lee song, Laurie (Strange Things Happen In This World).

Last night at the dance I met Laurie,
So lovely and warm, an angel of a girl.
Last night I fell in love with Laurie -
Strange things happen in this world.

As I walked her home,
She said it was her birthday.
I pulled her close and said
"Will I see you anymore?"
Then suddenly she asked for my sweater
And said that she was very, very cold.

I kissed her goodnight
At her door and started home,
Then thought about my sweater
And went right back instead.
I knocked at her door and a man appeared.
I told why I'd come, then he said:

"You're wrong, son.
You weren't with my daughter.
How can you be so cruel
To come to me this way?
My Laurie left this world on her birthday -
She died a year ago today."

A strange force drew me to the graveyard.
I stood in the dark,
I saw the shadows wave,
And then I looked and saw my sweater
Lyin' there upon her grave.

Strange things happen in this world.

Reprinted in Showcase Presents Phantom Stranger Vol. 1 TPB.

The letters page features a letter by the late comic historian Richard Morrissey and one from letter column regular Gary Skinner.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Meet Angel #7

Meet Angel #7 (On Sale: September 16, 1969) has a cover inked by Bob Oksner and a totally meaningless name change from The Angel and the Ape, particularly since this is the last issue of the book.

We begin with "A Busy Little Aunt" and "Suits Me Fine," both penciled by Bob Oksner. Next is "The Case of the Inside Job" drawn by Bob Oksner and Wally Wood. We end the reign of The Angel and the Ape with"The Case of the Millionaire Cat" also drawn by Bob Oksner and Wally Wood

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Young Love #77

Young Love #77 (On Sale: September 11, 1969) has a cover inked by Dick Giordano.

We begin with "The Brush-Off." That is followed by "A Kiss in Monte Carlo." We end with an untitled Lisa St. Claire story.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

World's Finest Comics #189

World's Finest Comics #189 (On Sale: September 11, 1969) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

We begin with Superman and Batman in "The Man With Superman's Heart" by Cary Bates, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. The back-up is Roy Raymond in "The City That Time Forgot" by Jack Miller and Ruben Moreira and reprinted from Detective Comics #270.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Swing With Scooter #23

Swing With Scooter #23 (On Sale: September 11, 1969) has a cover by Henry Scarpelli.

We begin with Scooter in "The Cats Go to the Dogs" and Malibu in "The Scaredy-Cat Ghost." Next is Sylvester in"Too Many Cooks" drawn by Winslow Mortimer and Henry Scarpelli. We end with Scooter in "Date, Date --- Who's Got the Date?"

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Showcase #86

Showcase #86 (On Sale: September 11, 1969) has a Firehair cover by Joe Kubert.

Firehair in "River of Gold" is written and drawn by Joe Kubert. I can't tell you how much I am enjoying rereading these stories. In Firehair Kubert created the perfect tool for telling his tales of morality, human nature and the turbulent times on the late 1960s. An old prospector searching for gold stumbles into the land of the Crow and finds himself surrounded by warriors thirsty for revenge against the white men. Firehair comes across the confrontation and calls out the Crow for even contemplating "murdering defenseless of people."

Black Eagle, the son of the Crow Chief's issues a personal challenge to Firehair for interfering in their business. Years of having to fight for a place in his own tribe gives Firehair the advantage and he soon forces Black Eagle to concede. Firehair demands to be taken to Black Eagle's father, who as a great chief must be a just man.

The chief chastises his son for attempting to use his protection to right his loss in single combat to Firehair, but he also worries that the old prospector may not deserve the gift of life that Firehair has given him. He worries that the old man seeks the "yellow stones! The soft, worthless pebbles they value more than life or land" and that should he find any that their land would be "over-run by his kind!" Firehair explains to the old man that at tomorrow's sun dance ceremony he must fight Black Eagle again and that if he wins again that they will both be set free, but that the old man must not search for gold and must leave the land of the Crow.

The old man says he understands. but that night he attempts to sneak out of camp. However, he sees that he is being watched and returns to camp but not before spotting a trove of gold nuggets in the stream running through the village.

The next morning Firehair and Black Eagle once again square off in single combat and once again Firehair is victorious. The chief declares that they "will be as one -- in honor and trust!" and Black eagle and Firehair become blood brothers. The old man notes to himself that "they sure know how to settle their arguments!' but while the sun dance ceremony begins he sneaks off with his mule and a few sacks of gold from the stream.

Later when they discover he has gone, it is Firehair who must search for him as it is Firehair who has accepted responsibility for the old man. Firehair tracks him down and finds him just as a grizzly has also found him. Firehair intercedes and kills the bear. The old man however, pulls his gun on Firehair and says he will kill him rather than let Firehair take him back to the Crow.

Back at the village Black eagle wonders if Firehair will return when a moment later he and the old man are seen coming back. The old man turns over his gold saying that "I couldn't shoot someone who'd saved my life...twice! I guess...there's some things even more valuable than an whole river of gold!" The chief gives the old man his freedom and Firehair moves on in his search for a place he can belong.

"Saturday -- 1787" is written and drawn by Ric Estrada is a great little slice of frontier life and hardships of the early settlers. It does a terrific job of showing the hard choices the early settlers sometimes faced. A little gem from the late Ric Estrada.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Our Fighting Forces #122

Our Fighting Forces #122 (On Sale: September 11, 1969) has a cover by Joe Kubert. This is the last issue for Lt. Hunter and his Hellcats.

We begin with Lt. Hunter and his Hellcats in "24 Hours to Die" by Robert Kanigher and Artie Saff. We end with "Coward -- Take This Hill" by Robert Kanigher and Fred Ray.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Justice League of America #75

Justice League of America #75 (On Sale: September 11, 1969) has a cover by Murphy Anderson.

Inside we have "In Each Man There is a Demon" by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin and Joe Giella. The story is told by both Green Arrow and Black Canary and continues the changes started last issue and in Brave and the Bold #85. Green Arrow relates how his finances were ruined through the use of forged documents and while wondering the streets as Oliver Queen he finds a man in need and as Green Arrow saves the day. But as in the Brave and the Bold issue, he is plagued by indecision and wonders if Green Arrow is needed.

Black Canary then relates how after the death of her husband, Larry Lance, she accepted Superman's offer to move to Earth 1, where Superman wanted to immediately make her a member of the Justice League. Hawkman however, argued that given that she was just a judo expert, that that was not enough of a power to allow her in the JLA. Canary becomes upset at the JSA'ers for talking about her like she wasn't in the room and as she speaks up to voice her complaint she emits a sonic shock-wave that knocks the JLA members on their respective behinds!

Meanwhile, Green Arrow goes to see another psychiatrist (he and Batman both saw one in Brave and the Bold #85) for his identity issues, a Dr. Oyal, who has invented a machine called the ID-Actualizer which can dig down into a person's subconscious and reveal who they really wish to be. Ollie tries out the machine but once it is turned on a ghostly green version of Green Arrow emerges from his body, saying that he is "the Real Green Arrow-- the warrior who live within Oliver Queen's body," and attacks the Dr.

Back at JLA headquarters Superman and the Atom have determined that Black Canary is an "instant mutant," that one of Aquarius's spells altered the structure of Black Canary's nervous system giving her the ability to emit ultra-sonic waves. This will eventually become known as her "Canary Cry." Just then the ghostly green Green Arrow burst into the headquarters and as he touches the members of the JLA green ghostly versions of themselves erupt from their bodies, all except Superman, and calling themselves the "evil that lives within you" they begin to rip apart the JLA HQ. Superman tries to stop them, but as they are being of magical power (most likely created by another of Aquarius's spells), he is powerless against them.

The JLA become despondent over the thought of having to fight their evil selves when suddenly a ghostly green Superman appears and dares Superman to face his own evil self. Superman says he is up to the challenge and eventually defeats his evil doppelganger. The others take courage from Superman's action and head off the face their own evil twins. After they leave Superman reveals that his "evil ghost" was actually a Superman robot, that he was not affected by Aquarius's spell, but that he knew he needed to do something to snap the group out of their funk.

One by one the JLA track down their evil twins and defeat them. However, when Green Arrow finds his twin, the story is different. He catches his twin robbing a jewelery store. His twin says that he is not Queen's evil side, he is his true side, "...underneath, you were always Oliver Queen -- much, much more interested in wealth than heroism! Can you deny it?" Queen says he can't and throws down his bow and arrows and walks away, but the owner's of the jewelery store confront him and plead with him to help. "We're poor, plain fold...we don't count for much! Still, we always figured you were different! We figured you...cared! And heaven knows people like us need somebody to care!"

Oliver faces his twin, saying that there is a better part to him and that he cannot let that part die. They face off with arrows and Green Arrow is shot in the leg, while his twin shrinks back into Oliver's body just as the other twins return to their original hosts. The JLA is once again contaminated with evil, just like the rest of mankind. Green Arrow and Black Canary are left still at crossroads, their old lives are over and their new lives are on the horizon. This is the beginning of a couple that has stood the test of time.

Reprinted in Best of DC #31, Justice League of America Archives Vol. 9 HC, Justice League of America Hereby Elects… TPB, Green Arrow/Black Canary:For Better or For Worse TPB and Showcase Presents: Justice League of America Vol. 4 TPB.

One final note: In the letters page is a letter by Alan Brennert, who went on to be one of my favorite writers at DC though he only wrote nine stories. I still remember them to this day. Last year my wife read Brennert's novel Moloka'i in her book club.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

House of Mystery #183

House of Mystery #183 (On Sale: September 11, 1969) has a cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with an intro page featuring Cain by Joe Orlando, which leads into "The Haunting" by Jack Oleck and Jerry Grandenetti. This is followed by an one-page Odds and Ends from Cain's Cellar a reprint by an unknown writer and artist.

Next from Cain's True Files we have "The Dead Can Kill!" by Marv Wolfman and Bernie Wrightson. That is followed by a Page 13 by Joe Orlando and Sergio Aragones and a Cain's Game Room by Sergio Aragones.

We end with "The Secret of the Whale's Vengence" by Robert Kanigher, Jerry Grandenetti and Wally Wood. The entire book was reprinted in Showcase Presents: The House of Mystery Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Binky's Buddies #6

Binky's Buddies #6 (On Sale: September 9, 1969) has a cover by Henry Scarpelli.

We begin with Benny in "The Gallant One." Next is Buzzy in "The Great Outdoorsman" and Benny again in "Tow-Getherness." We end with two Binky stories: "Binky's Secret Admirer" (reprinted in Binky #81 and Best of DC #28) and "She Likes It."

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tomahawk #125

Tomahawk #125 (On Sale: September 4, 1969) has a cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with "A Chief's Feather for Little Bear" by Robert Kanigher and Frank Thorne. The back-up Tomahawk story is "Village of Death" by Howard Liss and Frank Thorne.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Flash #192

Flash #192 (On Sale: September 4, 1969) has a cover by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson.

"The Day the Flash Failed" is by Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. This is one of those rather convoluted Kanigher stories, but I found it compelling. The real interesting thing in this story is the reason Flash fails on the "Day the Flash Failed." I don't think this was ever done in a comic before or maybe since and for 1969 it is pretty progressive of ol' DC. The Flash fails because he is late getting to the launch of a Navy submarine because he was busy, uh, servicing his wife Iris. I kid you not. Check out the page below if you don't believe me. I will say as a horny teenager this subtle reference to Iris's carnal needs totally slipped by me.

So as we can see by page 2 here, the Flash is running late for a meeting with a Navy submarine that he was supposed to be aboard. We have to forget for a moment that the Flash can swim at super speed and can vibrate through walls and could easily "catch up" to the submarine because to remember that would just ruin the whole story.
Anyway, the sub disappears and Flash does do some super speed swimming and can't locate it and everyone blames him for the sub going missing and his life is hell, yada, yada, yada. Did I say I found this compelling?

Iris wants to get Barry out of the house and get his mind off of, you know, him being a failure and all, and so they go and visit a friend, Phil Anderson, at a lighthouse. There is a storm and the helicopter Barry is piloting is hit by lightning and Barry has to turn into the Flash to save them and Phil is a mess and his wife is missing and his heart is giving out and geeze, do the coincidences just keep a comin'!

It seems Phil and his wife went on a super-secret mission for the CIA, where they pretended to be a couple on their second honeymoon crossing the Atlantic in a small sailboat, but were actually looking for enemy nuclear subs lurking off the Greenland shelf, which just happens to be where Flash's sub went missing. Anyway Phil and his wife, Phyllis, get knocked overboard in a storm and picked up by a, you guessed it, enemy nuclear sub.

After being captured Phil and Phyllis escape through the sub but are trapped in the torpedo room, which is being filled with poisonous gas and Phyllis stays behind while Phil is ejected through the torpedo tube and eventually picked up by an American fishing boat. Phil is now waiting for Phyllis to come walking back across the water and into his arms because she promised she would.

OK, so the Flash goes looking for Phyllis and of course finds the underwater lair where the "enemy nuclear sub" is hiding with Phyllis and the missing sub that the Flash lost while he was busy "getting some" from the missus. Flash rescues everyone, but Phyllis was exposed to too much of the poison gas back in the torpedo room and is dying and the Flash super-speeds her to Phil, but she dies along the way and Flash sees her ghost walk across the water to meet Phil's ghost (his heart gave out at the same time). The end!

I have to give Robert Kanigher credit for the Flash gets laid and is late plot idea, proving that Barry is not "The Fastest Man Alive!" in all regards, but man, did this thing go south quickly.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Batman #216

Batman #216 (On Sale: August 28, 1969) has a cover by Irv Novick and Dick Giordano.

"Angel -- or Devil?" is by Frank Robbins, Irv Novick and Dick Giordano. Really gooRemove Formatting from selectiond art in this one and another winner from Frank Robbins. His work throughout the DC line a this time gave them a scripting boost that they needed to move past some of the excesses of the past.

The Old Avon Players are in town and Alfred is wondering when he will hear from his brother Wilfred, a veteran thespian and a long standing member of the troupe. Meanwhile batman has has a run in with some thugs threatening bodily hard to a beautiful young woman outside of the theater where the Avon troupe is staged. the woman takes off, but Batman tracks the thugs to the theater where he loses them in the throng of costumed players. On the way back the the Batcave he finds the young woman hitch-hiking to Wayne Manor. She is Alfred's niece, Daphne.

Batman takes her to Alfred then makes a hasty change into his civilian duds. Dick, who has been nursing a nasty cold, jumps up at the sight and sound of a pretty girl and shows Daphne around Wayne Manor and its collection of Shakespeare artifacts, including one of Bruce's prize possessions, the original manuscript of Romeo and Juliet. That night as everyone sleeps Daphne removes an candle from the candelabra and the next morning she has left early, but Alfred notices the shortened candle and some wax droppings on the floor.

At the theater Daphne gives one of the thugs a wax impression of a key. That night, Daphne takes Alfred, Bruce and Dick to the theater for the troupe's final performance of Romeo and Juliet, but during intermission Daphne sneaks off. Alfred suspects something is up and follows her to Wayne Manor where he catches her trying to steal the Shakespeare manuscript. She and Alfred tussle and the gun goes off and Alfred sinks to the floor. Meanwhile Bruce notices that Alfred has not gone back stage like he said he was and also finds out that Daphne left during intermission.

Back at Wayne Manor, Daphne faints seeing Alfred's prone form and Alfred sits us and picks up the gun, which is a prop using blanks. As they had fought over the gun Daphne had said something about not wanting to have to choose between Alfred's life or that of her father.

Bruce heads back to Wayne Manor and Alfred returns to his "death spit" as Daphne wakes up. Thinking Alfred is dead she grabs the manuscript and exits. Moments later Bruce finds the manuscript is missing and changes into his Batman duds.

Back at the theater we find that the "thugs" have been holding Daphne's father hostage in order to get Daphne to steal the manuscript. Daphne learns that the gun she "used" on Alfred was a prop and her father pushes her onto the stage before anyone can stop him. He thinks he has saved her, since no harm could come to her while on stage, but he finds out that the prop knife that Juliet is to kill herself with is not a prop.

Alfred shows up and attempts to break thinks up but is interrupted by Batman. eventually it is Dick who saves Daphne and after the bad guys have been taken away Alfred forgives Daphne for "killing" him and the whole thing seems so much like a Shakespearian play. Reprinted in Best of DC #9.

The two-page back-up is "You be the Detective" from Gangbuster's #51 and is only notable for the Ed Robbins artwork and the trick of printing the solution to the crime in the last set of panels which are printed upside down.

Edited by Julius Schwartz

Aquaman #48

Aquaman #48 (On Sale: September 4, 1969) has another wonderful cover by Nick Cardy.

We begin with "A Kingdom to Re-Build" by Steve Skeates and Jim Aparo. Continuing from last issue, Aquaman helps Aqualad defeat the Bugala. The men of Eldfur celebrate the victory over their nemesis and resolve to handle their own problems in the future.

Aquaman, Aqualad, and Mera then return to Atlantis where a revolution is already underway. While Mupo the rebel leader battles Narkran, Mera spots the thieves that kidnapped her. Aquaman defeats them, then returns to the throne room. Before he can finish Narkran, an earthquake rocks the city. Narkran is taken into custody, and Aquaman is left to rebuild the Atlantis. Reprinted in Adventure Comics #499.

The back-up story is "How Aquaman Got His Powers" by Robert Bernstein and Ramona Fradon and reprinted from Adventure Comics #260. Aquaman prevents an atomic test by disarming the warhead on several bombs. He meets with the commander of the submarine to explain why he interfered with the testing. In doing so he reveals his origin to the sub commander.

Aquaman’s father was lighthouse keeper Tom Curry. Tom found a woman caught in a hurricane and rescued her. The woman was Atlanna, an exile from the undersea world of Atlantis. The couple fell in love, married, and had a son, Arthur.

As Arthur grew older, he displayed the ability to breathe underwater and communicate with fish. Atlanna’s secret past was revealed to Tom and Arthur on her deathbed. Tom trained Arthur to use his abilities to help others. In doing so he became a renowned friend of all sea life. After his father passed away, Arthur became Aquaman, King of the Seas.

The commander of the sub is still uncertain as to why Aquaman halted the test. Aquaman reveals to the commander that the test site is the location of Atlantis, his mother’s home. The navy agrees to conduct tests elsewhere and keep the secret.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wonder Woman #185

Wonder Woman #185 (On Sale: September 2, 1969) has a cover by Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano.

Our feature-length Wonder Woman story is "Them" written and penciled by Mike Sekowsky and inked by Dick Giordano. Diana Prince returns to Earth from Paradise Island and finds a teenaged runaway named Cathy Perkins hiding in her boutique. Cathy was taken in by a street gang which treated her as a slave. The gang of girls, whom Cathy calls "Them," want her back.

Diana protects Cathy, but soon finds the gang attacking her too. The girls destroy Diana's clothes and burn down her shop. Cathy blames herself and turns herself over to the gang. Diana and her neighbor Tony Petrucci confront the gang and get Cathy back. Top Hat, the gang leader, is then arrested when Diana finds stolen goods concealed in her hat.

Diana then contacts Cathy's parents and reunites them with their daughter. She also asks that Cathy stay on and work part-time once her store is rebuilt. Reprinted in Diana Prince: Wonder Woman Vol. 2 TPB.

Edited by Mike Sekowsky.

Our Army at War #212

Our Army at War #212 (On Sale: Sept 2, 1969) has a cover by Joe Kubert.

Inside we begin with Sgt. Rock in "The Quiet War" drawn by Russ Heath and I would guess written by Robert Kanigher. While waiting for a squad of specially-trained British paratroopers, Easy Co. is hit by a barrage of Nazi shells, resulting in Rock losing his hearing. Not wanting to be a burden on his men and their mission Rock doesn't let on that he can't hear, telling his men "No more yakkin', you guys! We sit tight and wait!" Rock watches Easy, using them as his ears.

The British squad arrives and Easy learns that the job is to disrupt a meeting of the German High Command in a castle not too far away. Rock can't read lips and has no idea what the mission is and the British think he is rather a bore for not even seeming to listen to them. As they near the castle the British leader warns everyone of booby traps, but Rock can't hear and takes the lead, somehow managing to avoid all of the traps by shear luck.

When they reach the castle Rock leads the men into an ambush they all heard coming and after the men are pinned down in a crossfire Rock leads them through a hole blown in the floor, which leads them to a way out of the castle and up to its roof where they burst in on the meeting of the German High Command. On the Nazis throws a self-destruct switch and it is a mad race out of the castle as it explodes around them. the resulting explosions returns Rock's hearing.

Next is a one-page Warrior on Patton by Ken Barr and a two-page Battle Album on machine guns also by Ken Barr.

The back-up is a reprint from Star Spangled War Stories #78, "Medal for a Marine" by Robert Kanigher and Mort Drucker, who before Mad Magazine, was a hell of a good war artist. The work on this strip being just excellent; look at the page here at how well Drucker told the story with his choice of shots and angles. Some of the figures in this story look a lot like Frazetta. This is great stuff. The story concerns a Marine in the Pacific theater awaiting his Medal of Honor and another Marine whose job it was to deliver the medal to the ceremony.

Edited by Joe Kubert