Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Detective Comics #402

Detective Comics #402 (On Sale: June 30, 1970) has a great cover by Neal Adams.

The Man-Bat returns in "Man or Bat?" by Frank Robbins, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano. The story opens with some thugs pulling a heist at a biochemical lab. what they don't know is that hanging in the rafters above them lurks the tormented Kirk Langstrom, now even more bat than the last time we saw him in the classic Detective #400. He waits in an agitated state for them to crack the safe below so that he can get what he so desperately needs. But just when it seems the hour of his saving is at hand Batman appears to break up the heist. When the Man-Bat appears to join him in thwarting the crime, Batman calls him a friend, but when Man-Bat reveals that he needs something from the safe, something he has brought money to pay for, Batman tries to stop him.

When Batman tries to unmask Kirk he realizes that he is not wearing a mask, but is truly a transformed human. Still he tries to stop the Man-Bat, but is knocked unconscious in the scuffle and Kirk departs with the drug he came looking for.

When he awakens, Batman heads off for the museum when he first met the Man-Bat hoping there to find a clue to his identity. When he gets there he finds Francine Lee, Kirk's fiancée trying to gain entrance. Kirk was supposed to be at an exhibit in Chicago, but he never arrived there and Francine is worried that something may be wrong. Upstairs Kirk has concocted a formula he hopes will reverse his bizarre transformation, but when he is startled by Batman and Francine at his door he drops the serum and flees out the window.

Batman tells Francine that the strange creature who has just fled is her fiancée, Kirk Langstrom, and that when they barged in Batman saw him mouth her name. batman thinks he can recreate the dropped serum in the Batcave and heads off to find Kirk and hopefully a cure for this transformation.

He finds Kirk up on a cliff and when he comes for him Kirk leaps from the cliff in fear, but rather than dying in the fall, huge batwings appear from under his coat and his transformation complete he flies off into the night following the flight of a "brother" bat. He follows the bat to his home, which happens to be, the Batcave. Kirk reaches the inner recesses of the cave just as Batman returns. He is momentarily blinded by the lights as they come one but uses his bat sonar to find an exit. Only, Langstrom's exit is the Batmobile;s entrance and Batman leaps from the car to divert Kirk from hitting it head-on.

He latches on to the Man-Bat, telling him that he is there to help him, to create an antidote, but Kirk takes Batman on a ride to the heights of the Batcave only to drop him from there. Some light fixtures break his fall, but from the floor he sees Langstrom about to fly out the open Batcave entrance. Clicking a remote on his belt Batman closes the door and Kirk is knocked unconscious by the door. Batman then ponders what to do, should he attempt to cure Langstrom, even though his brain may have been permanently damaged by his transformation, or should he leave him alone in his cursed condition? "Merciful heaven--What an impossible decision to make! There can be only one answer...if he must die...let it be as the man he once was!"

Batman gets to work in a tale continued in Detective #407. "Man or Bat?" was reprinted in Batman from the 30s to the 70s HC, Man-Bat #1 and Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams Vol. 2 HC.

The back-up story is Robin in "My Place in the Sun" by Mike Friedrich, Gil Kane and Vince Colletta. The story begins with Robin flying in on the Arrow Jet with Speedy all the way from Teen Titans #28. Dick shows Roy (Speedy) Harper around Hudson University. In the cafeteria a fight breaks out between some "punks" and a group called Project 70 who work with kids from a nearby juvenile detention farm. Dick changes into Robin to stop the fight. Robin goes after the big punk only to find out that it was the little kid Robin was trying to protect who started the fight.

Back in his room Dick is pissed at himself for jumping to conclusions without any evidence. That day Dick hears it all over campus, as Robin becomes the main topic of discussion. Some of the kids are for him, but many think he is just a vigilante and shouldn't be there. When he returns from shopping he finds Roy in his Speedy threads, heading off for a date with Wonder Girl.

After Roy leaves, Dick begins to question his role as Robin, but in the end he decides to keep the name and the costume. "...if I made a mistake once, I'm not gonna make it again! When I go out into that adult world, I want everyone to know that Robin is no longer a boy, but still a wonder!" Not a great story and certainly not great artwork.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Adventure Comics #396

Adventure Comics #396 (On Sale: June 30, 1970) has a Supergirl cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

We begin with "I am a Witch" by Robert Kanigher and Kurt Schaffenberger.

We end with our cover-story "The Mystery of the Super-Orphan" by Leo Dorfman, Winslow Mortimer and Jack Abel.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Action Comics #391

Action Comics #391 (On Sale: June 30, 1970) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

We begin with our cover-story, the imaginary tale "The Punishment of Superman's Son" by Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.

The back-up is the Legion of Super-Heroes in "The Ordeal of Element Lad" by E. Nelson Bridwell, Winslow Mortimer and Jack Abel. This story was reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 9 HC.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #103

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #103 (On Sale: June 25, 1970) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

We begin with our cover-story "The Devil's Bride" by Robert Kanigher, Irv Novick and Mike Esposito. The back-up story is "The Fantastic Wigs of Mr. Dupre" drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger and reprinted from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #35. Lois Lane attends a performance of Booth Barry, an old actor. Barry invites Lois backstage and relates a story about magical wigs that cause a person wearing them to die in the same manor as the model for the wigs did. Barry then is accidentally shot with a pistol in a manor similar to Alexander Hamilton, whose wig he was wearing.

Lois investigates the story and is led to the shop of Anton Dupre. Lois tests two wigs herself and is nearly killed. The third attempt nearly succeeds as Lois wears a Supergirl wig, however the real Supergirl has replaced Lois. Together they expose Dupre’s plot to eliminate Lois from discovering his underworld activities. The dangerous wigs were merely a hoax, and Dupre turns out to be Booth Barry in disguise.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Heart Throbs #127

Heart Throbs #127 (On Sale: June 25, 1970) has a cover penciled by Jay Scott Pike and inked by Vinny Colletta.

We begin with "Choose Between Us" and move on to our cover-story "Heartbreak for Two" penciled by Jay Scott Pike. We end with "Am I Too Young for Love?" inked by Bernard Sachs.

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Girls' Love Stories #153

Girls' Love Stories #153 (On Sale: June 25, 1970) has a cover inked by Dick Giordano.

We begin with "For Love or Money," which according to Wikipedia, contains the first American comic work of Tony DeZuniga. In this case it is Tony's inking that is introduced over the pencils of Ric Estrada. We move on to "The Engagement Ring" pencilled by Don Heck. Next is "The Cheat" inked by Vinny Colletta and we end with "The 3 Faces of Love."

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Brave and the Bold #91

Brave and the Bold #91 (On Sale: June 23, 1970) has a cover by Nick Cardy.

"A Cold Corpse for the Collector" featuring Batman and the Black Canary is by Bob Haney and Nick Cardy and I remember this being some really great artwork. I wish I could remember the story and I know I have this around here somewhere, but everything got rearranged when I moved my new table into my studio. Damn! I'll find it soon and put a real entry in here. This was reprinted in Showcase Presents: The Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups Vol. 2 TPB.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

From Beyond the Unknown #6

From Beyond the Unknown #6 (On Sale: June 23, 1970) has a cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with our cover-story "The Amazing Human Race" by John Broome, Sid Greene and Bernard Sachs and reprinted from Strange Adventures #85. Next is "The Runaway Space-Train" by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Bernard Sachs and reprinted from Mystery In Space #50. We end with "The Magic Lamp from Space" by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson and reprinted from Mystery In Space #62.

Edited by Julius Schwartz.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

House of Secrets #87 (On Sale: June 2, 1970) has a nice, creepy cover by Neal Adams.

We begin with "Death Has Marble Lips," an eight-page tale by Robert Kanigher, Dick Dillin and Dick Giordano.  A sculptor offers to barter his soul to Satan if his latest beautiful creation can take the form of a living woman, and it happens, but she doesn't know that her kiss is cursed and it turns the artist to stone.

Next is "The Man," a seven pager by Marv Wolfman, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.  A woman falls in love with a man who turns out to be a robot.

We end with "The Coming of Ghaglan," a six-page story by Raymond Marais and Michael William Kaluta. A tomb explorer finds a missing chapter from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and when he reads part of the incantation, he finds his astral self sent to a dimension where the spirits of an undead army call out to their leader Ghaglan to finish the incantation so that they can return to their mummified bodies and commit acts of evil in his name.

The explorer feels himself drawn back to his body and his fellows tell him that a man named Ghaglan removed the scroll from his hands to revive him. He turns with apprehension to face Ghaglan, who tells him with a smile that he has been looking for this scroll for a very long time.

The entire issue was reprinted in Showcase Presents: The House of Secrets Vol. 1 TPB.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Challengers of the Unknown #75

Challengers of the Unknown #75 (On Sale: June 2, 1970) has a Jack Kirby reprint cover with a George Tuska frame around it.

"Ultivac is Loose" s  a reprint of the Challengers of the Unknown's second appearance from Showcase #7. The story is written and drawn by Jack Kirby. Hmm, why is DC reprinting so much Kirby lately?

Felix Hesse, a war criminal, and Floyd Barker have created a living computer named Ultivac. Hesse asks the Challengers of the Unknown for help when the robot resists control. The Challengers agree to help, but Hesse is abucted away from them. Ultivac creates Hesse doubles to act as agents in retrieving materials for him.

The Challengers enlist the aid of robotics specialist, Dr. June Robbins. Red and June trail one of the Hesse doubles back to Ultivac’s headquarters. June befriends Ultivac which allows Red, Hesse, and Barker to overcome him (it?). Rather than turn Ultivac over to the government, Hesse and Barker try to use Ultivac for their personal gain. Ultivac breaks loose and take June with him.

He creates a double of himself which is destroyed by the Challengers, but June convinces him to meet humanity half way and work with them. At a public hearing, an angry Hesse blasts Ultivac and kills Rocky in the process. Rocky is revived from the dead and Ultivac is converted into a immobile computer.

June has earned the right to become a Challenger and joins the team.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.