Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hot Wheels #2

Hot Wheels #2 (On Sale: March 17, 1970) has a cover by Neal Adams.
This issue begins with "Dragstrip Disaster!!!" by Joe Gill, Alex Toth and Dick Giordano. an exceedingly well done piece of work from all involved. It is the dragstrip finals and Jack Wheeler is on the line for the Top Eliminator, but watching is Dexter Carter and his Demons and they let on that they have spiked Jack's fuel with nitro. As Jack barrels down the track his throttle is stuck wide open and he jumps into the lead when suddenly his engine erupts in flames. Jack jumps from the smoking railer as it explodes! Guessing that Dexter spiked his fuel, Jack has to hold Tank back from taking it out of Dexter's hide and Dexter challenges Jack to a no-rules race in one month at the same track.

How minimally can you draw an effective
dragster explosion? How about a sound
effect only?
During the next month Jack and the gang build a sweet railster, but Dexter and his goons, seeing the threat it poses, steal it and leave in it's place, an old clunker railer. With the threat of police intervention Dexter lets them check out his mansion, but Jack rod is not to be found. On the way back to their shop Jack thinks he has a way of beating Dexter at his own game.

The next day is the big race and Jack talks Dexter into betting their railers on the outcome of the race. During the prelims, Mickey Barnes and Ardeth both smoke their competition (Ardeth's being the nasty-looking woody from the cover). Before the big race a gloating Dexter reminds Jack that there are no rules in this race, only a winner.

The race begins and Dexter's railer jumps into the lead of Jack beater till Jack pushes a newly installed dashboard button and ignites the J.A.T.O. (Jet-Assisted-Take-Off) rocket packs he installed on the car the night before. With the rocket boost Jack easily beats Dexter, A dejected Dexter offers Jack his railer but Jack declines saying all he wants back is his railer that Dexter stole.

In the middle of this story was a two-page "Racing Album" on the 1953 Grand Prix of France by Jack Keller who did his only work for DC in this book.

Next is "The Mint 400, A Membership Drive!!" by I am guessing Joe Gill and drawn by Ric Estrada and Dick Giordano. Gill isn't credited, but he seems to be the only writer of record for the first three issues. The Mint 400 is a 400-mile race that takes place every year in the desert outside of Las Vegas. During a trail run, Mikey Barnes and Tank Mallory barely escape an avalanche of boulders during part of their run and when they find find Dexter and his goons in the pits they throw down. Mickey busts his knuckles on the jaw of one of the demons and the rest dog-pile on Tank. In to the fray jumps Kip Clarke, an African student who happens to be an expert on karate, and just about everything else it appears.

Kip takes the place of the injured Mickey in the race and they note that Dexter's Demons took off a bit before them so are out ahead of them on the course. Up ahead Dexter and his thugs put up some fake signs to send Kip and tank off course. It works and Kip and Tank are soon careening down a steep cliff, rumbling boulders at their back. But, Kip's skilled driving handles the problem completely and they finish the race anyway as the 4WD winner. Afterward Kip is introduced to Jack and he finds out that Kip will be staying in California, Jack offers Kip membership in the Hot Wheels, which he gladly accepts.

This is followed by a text piece (something Dick Giordano included often in the DC books) and another "Racing Album" by Jack Keller, this one on the Novi race car.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

1 comment:

Dale said...

Another from my collection! We must have been comic fans during the same period. Anything with Alex Toth I had to get (Withing Hour #1 comes to mind)No real insights here,just enjoying the memories on your site.