Friday, December 11, 2009

Showcase #88

Showcase #88 (On Sale: December 11, 1969) has a Jason's Quest cover by Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano.

We begin with "The Beginning" of Jason's Quest, written and drawn by Mike Sekowsky and inked by Frank Giacoia. Every resource I can find says this story was inked by Dick Giordano, but I am looking at the pages and it just ain't so, no way, no how.

Before we get to the recap of this book, I must say a few words about Mike Sekowsky at this point in his career. Mike had been in comics since 1941 when he started at Timely and had drawn just about every genre there was: super-hero, western, war, funny animal, romance, TV , jungle action and science-fiction, and though he was known as a super-hero artist, he obviously was more attracted to action stories with more humanistic characters.

While everyone else at DC was chasing Marvel super-heroes or attempting to relive their time at EC, Mike Sekowsky was following a different path. He made the Metal Men look human and turned them into thriller characters on the run. He participated big-time in the biggest deflowering of super-powers in comic history by separating Wonder Woman from her powers and costume. He took chances on new types of books and I for one appreciated the effort. I may be the only one, but I particularly appreciated Jason's Quest.

We begin at "The Beginning" as Jason Davis' father has been mortally wounded in a shooting. Summoned by the doctors to his deathbed, the blonde young man listens to a stunning series of revelations. His real name is Jason Grant, Jr. and when he was just a child his real father had been murdered by a mobster named Tuborg, who sought the elder Grant's latest invention. As Tuborg's killers combed the house for witnesses, Grant's servant, Davis, rushed to the nursery, commanding the nanny to take Jason's twin sister, someone Jason never knew existed, into hiding while he did the same with young Jason. The nanny headed for London while Davis brought Jason to America. Over the next nineteen years, Davis moved himself and Jason constantly, always trying to stay one step ahead of Tuborg's searching thugs.

In preparation for the day Jason would take over the fight, Davis drilled commando training into the boy's head. With his final breath, he gasped, "Your sister ... somehow your father secreted on her person evidence that will end Tuborg and his evil empire. In the fireplace at home ... the box your father gave me -- it has your papers ... money ... and -- and ... I'm ... I'm ... sor --"

In five and a half short pages, including one splash, Sekowsky has neatly set up the entire series and there is not a spandex outfit or alien super-power in sight.

Unknown to Jason, Tuborg had planted a bug in the hospital room and heard every word. Finding Jason's sister was now their number one priority. Jason flies to London, buys a motorcycle and begins his search for his sister. From an ex-neighbor he gets a picture of her and a direction; she is heading for the continent.

Tuborg's men ambush Jason on the road and though they don't get the picture, they get enough clues to track her to a ferry soon to go across the channel. On the ferry Jason saves a woman named Gee Gee from two thugs. Gee Gee asks if Jason would like to travel with her, but he declines, wanting instead to head out looking for his sister. As he drives away Gee Gee removes her black wig and is revealed as Jason's sister.

The three-page back-up "Ghost Rider" is written and drawn by Mike Sekowsky and really is inked by Dick Giordano. It is the tale of teenagers, bikers and ghostly riders.

Edited by Mike Sekowsky.

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