Friday, July 9, 2010

Young Love #82

Young Love #82 (On Sale: July 9, 1970) has a cover inked by Dick Giordano.

We begin with a table of contents page entitled, "You're Young and You're In Love" drawn by Gray Morrow. The first story is "He's the One I Want" drawn in a completely forgettable manner by Winslow Mortimer and Vinny Colletta.

That is followed by "Happy Ending" with art by Jay Scott Pike and Vinny Colletta. Art-wise, this story is miles ahead of the previous one, as Pike does some nice pencils that Vinny was unable to completely destroy

We end with "Please, Please... Make Him Forget Her" drawn by the great Gray Morrow. this is the class act of the book and should have been highlighted rather than forced to sit in the back of the book. Gray Morrow, sexy women, what more do you possibly need?

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Our Fighting Forces #127

Our Fighting Forces #127 (On Sale: July 9, 1970) has a Losers cover by Joe Kubert.

We begin with the Losers in "Angels Over Hell's Corner" by Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.

The back-up story is the U.S.S. Stevens in "Dragonfly" written and drawn by Sam Glanzman.

Edited by Joe Kubert.

House of Mystery #188

House of Mystery #188 (On Sale: July 9, 1970) has a cover by Neal Adams.

This issue introduced American comic fans to the amazing pencil and ink artwork of Tony DeZuniga in its first story, "Dark City of Doom" written by Gerry Conway.

Next is a Cain's Gargoyles one-pager written and drawn by Sergio Aragones, a Page 13 one-pager by Joe Orlando and Sergio Aragones and a Cain's Game Room one-pager by John Albano. In a few years John Albano and Tony DeZuniga would team up to create western anti-hero Jonah Hex.

This issue ends with "House of Madness" drawn by Bernie Wrightson.

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

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Binky's Buddies #11

Binky's Buddies #11 (On Sale: July 9, 1970) has a cover by Henry Scarpelli.

We begin with Binky in "The Unbelievers" by Henry Boltinoff, Winslow Mortimer and Henry Scarpelli. This one was reprinted in Best of DC #70. Next is Binky in "Tennis the Menace" which was reprinted in Best of DC #28. We end with Binky's Buddies in "The Fashion Show."

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wonder Woman #190

Wonder Woman #190 (On Sale: July 7, 1970) has a cover Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano.

Mike Sekowsky wrote and drew and Dick Giordano inked "Detour" our book-length Wonder Woman story. Back from China and a little bit down, I-Ching suggests that Diana visit her mother on Paradise Island, but when Amazon messenger Leda attempts to bring Diana through the dimensional stream they take and unexpected detour and end up int he dark fending off unseen creatures. When a green moon appears the creatures scamper and Diana and Leda find themselves in an alien landscape.

When finally the sun rises a strange flying ship appears and armed men attempt to capture Diana and Leda. Diana holds them at bay while Leda escapes through the dimensions to Paradise Island to bring reinforcements. Eventually the men overpower Diana and she and a barbarian man are taken to the city of Calendar where they are brought before the queen.

They learn that they were captured to fight in the arena for sport, but the queen dismisses Diana as "just a girl." Diana says she sees no reason to wait for the arena to fight and using her shackles as a weapon sets upon her captors, the barbarian man at her side. Diana makes it to the queen but is overpowered and knocked unconscious.

She awakes in a cell with Rancor the barbarian and they manage to escape. They are chased through the castle but end up in the arena, realizing they were allowed to escape and were pointed toward their death. In the arena they face a giant monster called a gnarth, but Diana has a plan for killing it. The plan works and then they leap out of the arena and once again are upon the queen and her men. As reinforcements arrive they are chased once again through the castle and up to the top of a tower. From there they see an army amassed at the gates of Calendar.

Rancor says it is the army of his father, King Zangor and that he was captured when he was scouting ahead of the army. They are there to end the rule of the evil queen. As the queen's men approach, Diana and Rancor leap from the tower into the moat. This one is continued.

Reprinted in Diana Prince:Wonder Woman Vol. 3 TPB.

Edited by Mike Sekowsky.

Superboy #168

Superboy #168 (On Sale: July 7, 1970) has another of my favorite Neal Adams' covers. Just beautiful.

We begin with "Leave Us... or We Perish" by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Murphy Anderson.

The back-up Superboy story must have been in inventory for a few years. "The Negative Boy of Steel" is by Arnold Drake who was fired in 1968, Al Plastino who was also fired in 1968 and Mike Esposito. Except for a Superman's Wedding Album pin-up in 1996, this is Al Plastino's last work for DC.

Al Plastino's earliest comic work was as an assitant to Bill Everett working on Sub-Mariner for Timely Comics and his first credited work was the cover of Novelty Press' Blue Bolt Comics #9 in 1943.

In 1948 Plastino showed samples of his work to editors at DC and began a 20-year stint on the Superman family of books. At first he was required to mimic Wayne Boring's style but as time went on he was allowed to draw like Al Plastino. The worked on Superman, Superboy, and Lois Lane. With Otto Binder he co-created Supergirl and The Legion of Super-Heroes.

Plastino also drew the Superman newspaper strip in the late 60s and the Batman strip from 1966-1972. When DC ousted him from their books in 1968 Al Plastino also took over the Ferd'nand newspaper strip which he drew until he retired in 1989. In 1983 he drew the Sunday episodes of Nancy after Ernie Bushmiller died and he also drew a year's worth of Peanuts strips in the early 1980s to be used if Charles Schulz became ill. I don't think those will ever see the light of day, but it does make for an interesting trivia question, "Who besides Charles Schulz drew an entire year's worth of Peanuts strips?"

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Super DC Giant S-14

Super DC Giant S-14 (On Sale: July 7, 1970) has a cover by Joe Kubert and features "Top Guns of the West."

We begin the reprint-fest with Johnny Thunder in "Target -- Johnny Thunder" by Robert Kanigher and Gil Kane and reprinted from All-Star Western #107.

Next is Nighthawk in "Black Sar Gang" by Gardner Fox and Ruben Moreira and reprinted from Western Comics #43.

That is followed by Matt Savage Trail Boss in "The Gun-Trap on Signal Hill" by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Joe Giella and reprinted from Western Comics #84.

Next we have the Wyoming Kid in "The Million Dollar Coin" by Gardner Fox and Bruno Premiani and reprinted from World's Finest Comics #62.

We have another Johnny Thunder tale, "Trap of the Sheriff's Hat" by Bob Haney and Gil Kane and reprinted from All-Star Western #99.

We end with the Trigger Twins in "The Surprise Sheriff of Rocky City" by Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino and reprinted from All-Star Western #104.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Secret Hearts #146

Secret Hearts #146 (On Sale: July 7, 1970) has a cover inked by Dick Giordano.

This issue has two longer than normal stories. We begin with "A Kiss to Light the Darkness" inked by Vinny Colletta and we end with our cover-story, "Wasting My Love on You." Not much else to say about this one.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tomahawk #130

Tomahawk #130 (On Sale: July 2, 1970) has a cover by Neal Adams.

Well, the great run on Neal Adams' covers and the superior artwork by Frank Thorne could not quite save Tomahawk. This is the last issue to go by that name, at least on the cover, as next issue is known as Hawk, Son of Tomahawk as Joe Kubert takes over the editorial reigns from Murray Boltinoff. We begin this last true Tomahawk issue with "Deathwatch at Desolation Valley" by Robert Kanigher and Frank Thorne.

The back-up Tomahawk story is "A Bullet for My Brother" by George Kashdan and Frank Thorne.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #104

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #104 (On Sale: July 2, 1970) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson featuring Lois Lane's Greatest Scoops.

We begin with "The Super-Prisoner of Amazon Island" by Otto Binder, Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye and reprinted from Action Comics #235. Lois and other members of her Super Sorority are shipwrecked on a small island. Superman comes to rescue them, but he has violated the laws of the native Amazons living there. He is declared a slave and his services are bid upon.

The queen, Elsha, wishes to make Superman her husband. When she loses in the auction, she abolishes the law and creates a new one. Superman must now perform a task for each woman, if he cannot he must marry them.

Superman agrees to the procedure in hopes of finding a cure for Kryptonite which he believes is on the island. Each woman takes her turn, but Superman completes each task. The final task is the queen’s. He destroys her crown to make her a commoner which was what she asked him to do. The Man of Steel is set free, but he realizes too late that the crown was the cure he sought. He and the sorority return home, leaving the Amazons behind.

Next is "The Monkey's Paw" drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger and reprinted from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #42. Lois receives a box of strange curios from a recently deceased explorer. Inside is a monkey’s paw which legend claims will grant three wishes. Lois imagines possible wishes for herself, but she uses one to save an airplane and another to save Superman from Kryptonite. When she tells Lucy Lane and Jimmy Olsen about her wishes, they reveal that the wishes were not responsible for the rescues. Lois uses her final wish to give Clark Kent super powers. He fakes an illness, so Lois believes the wishes didn’t work. As a result, she throws the monkey’s paw away.

That is followed by "The Town of Supermen" by Edmond Hamilton, Curt Swan and George Klein and reprinted from Superman #153. Eight prisoners of the Phantom Zone escape and move to a ghost town, Drywood Gulch. They bring Lois to town and tell her that they are Kryptonian astronauts. Later, Lois returns with Jimmy and Perry to show them the town of Supermen, but the men pretend to be normal men. Finally, Lois convinces Jimmy of the truth and he summons Superman. The Man of Steel out duels the criminals and returns them to the Phantom Zone.

Next is "Lois Lane's Great Houdini Trick" by Otto Binder and Kurt Schaffenberger and reprinted from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #58. Lois receives a request to expose a phony spirit medium. When she visits the swamis parlor, she discovers that the medium is Voodoo Vickers, a notorious gangster wanted for murder. Lois attends a séance in disguise and uses the swami's own tricks to force Vickers into revealing the location of the murder victim. Superman then apprehends the swami.

That brings us to "The Reversed Super-Powers" by Jerry Siegel and Kurt Schaffenberger and reprinted from Action Comics #274. During an experiment to find an antidote for Kryptonite, Superman’s powers are transferred to Lois Lane. Without powers, Superman proposes to Lois, but she decides to think about it first. When she discovers that she has gained powers, she decides not to marry Superman for fear that her enemies would harm him. Superman then passes out. Another Superman arrives through the window and explains that it was only a Superman robot. The robot wanted to see if Lois loved Superman only because of his powers. The real Superman apologizes for his robot’s interference and returns it to the Fortress. Lois’s powers wear off restoring her to normal.

We end with "The Girl Who Destroyed Atlantis" drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger and reprinted from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #42. While touring Atlantis with Lori Lemaris, Lois Lane is transported into the past by a time-travel belt. She arrives in ancient Atlantis and soon meets Roh-Tul, a dictator who resembles Luthor. Roh-Tul convinces Lois that he is benevolent and that his for Klar-Kan is evil. However, Lois soon learns that Roh-Tul is the tyrant and spurns his affections. Roh-Tul then detonates a bomb. Lois is sent back to the present believing she was responsible for the sinking of Atlantis. Lori explains that the bomb was not the cause of Atlantis’ demise, but another later explosion caused the city to sink

Edited by E. Nelson Bridwell.

Super DC Giant S-13

Super DC Giant S-13 (On Sale: July 2, 1970) has a Binky cover by Henry Scarpelli.

We have a flurry of uncredited Binky tales in this one. They are: "A Person Could Starve," (It's a good thing you can work...) , (Thanks for taking my books...), Benny in (Hello, Amy! This is Benny...), Binky in (Oh, Binky, would you do me a favor...), Buzzy in "A Good Listener," and then Binky in (I like these scales...) and (I've got to go now, Binky...) .

Edited by Joe Orlando.

Our Army at War #223

Our Army at War #223 (On Sale: July 2, 1970) has a Sgt. Rock cover by Joe Kubert.

In "On Time" Russ Heath illustrates an 11-page Sgt Rock story written by Joe Kubert. In it Sgt. Rock and Easy Company capture a small town in France which was occupied by the Nazis. They find a warehouse full of food provisions stored by the enemy. When the Germans return, Rock and his men defend the warehouse. The fact that the enemy wants the warehouse intact serves to protect Easy Company from assault.

A new recruit named Turtle joins Easy Company in the midst of battle. He informs Rock that reinforcements will arrive soon, but the sergeant doesn't count on them making it in time. During one enemy attack, Turtle disables an German tank. The crew is taken prisoner. The captured soldiers then inform Sgt. Rock that a hidden weapons cache is under the warehouse. Rock and Easy Company then use the weapons to turn back the enemy attack and defend themselves until the reinforcements arrive.

Next is "Pvt. Buck's Army" and we end with a U.S.S. Stevens tale, "The Kunko Warrior" by Sam Glanzman

Edited by Joe Kubert.

Aquaman #53

Aquaman #53 (On Sale: July 2, 1970) has another classic cover by Nick Cardy. Good lord they don't get much better than this!

It is 1970 and there is a rumor going around that California is going to have a major earthquake and sink into the Pacific. Kinda hard to believe these days, but this rumor got so much traction that then governor, Ronald Reagan found some flimsy excuse to be out of the state the day it was supposed to happen. Just a funny last minute schedule change his people said, but we all knew. "Is California Sinking?" by the SAG team (Steve Skeates, Jim Aparo and Dick Giordano) taps beautifully into this 1970 paranoia as only Steve Skeates could.

It opens on a mundane scene of a secretary typing away in an office, obvious until the last moment to what is happening around her. From that startling scene we flip the page to one of Jim Aparo's great splash (no pun intended) pages, showing the power of his triple-threat penciling, inking and lettering. IS CALIFORNIA SINKING?

Well, is it? Californian millionaire Elliot Harlanson (gotta love that name!) has just been told that it will and what that means to him is his beautiful home will sink with it. And Elliot is having none of that. But he is being told that he can save his home, and California in the bargain, if he just buys an atomic bomb and blows up Atlantis. Because, you see, it is the rising of Atlantis that will cause the sinking of California and if Atlantis does not rise, well then, California does not sink! Or at least that is the story being peddled by Elliot's visitor, a mysterious "scientist" who we shortly learn is actually an agent of O.G.R.E. (Organization for General Revenge and Enslavement), who can't afford to buy an a-bomb of their own. They plan on seeing that Aquaman is in Atlantis when Elliot's bomb goes off.

It is now two weeks later and on the east coast Elliot and is his ever-present girl-friend meet the "scientists" from O.G.R.E. on a dock, where Elliot's submarine, atomic bomb inside, await. We find out that O.G.R.E. has enlisted the help of Black Manta to keep Aquaman by Atlantis and preoccupied. They have given Manta a gun that scrambles brain waves and Manta uses it to thwart an attack of sea creatures on him orchestrated by Aquaman. As Aquaman leaves Atlantis to confront Manta, the sub leaves the Florida coast heading for Atlantis.

When Manta uses the gun on Aquaman, the Sea King is able to counteract the gun's affects by concentrating on getting Manta. While Aquaman takes care of Black Manta, Aqualad and some Atlantian police take care of Manta's men. When Manta mumbles something about "They said I'd have nothing to worry about," Aquaman wants to know who "they" are and sort of, well, beats the information out of Manta. When Manta confesses that he got the gun from O.G.R.E., Aquaman knows something bigger than Manta and a gun is going on and he begins scouring the area around Atlantis looking for danger.

Meanwhile on the shore the O.G.R.E. "scientists" have a run in with the feds. who take them down only to be told that they are too late to save Atlantis or Aquaman.

Back at Atlantis, Aquaman sees the sub coming in close and sends a giant squid to capture it. Caught in the squid's grasp, Elliot freaks out, "You act like you don't care what happens to my beautiful, spacious home!" and accidentally whacks a lever. The lever that releases the bomb! Learning what he has done a distraught Elliot proclaims, "I'm too rich to die! Do something!" But there is nothing they can do while caught in the squid's grasp.

Aquaman sees the bomb however and races toward it at speeds only the King of the Sea could muster. Alas, he is still to slow and the bomb hit the sea floor!

And bounces harmlessly away. It is a dud! Inside the sub, Elliot is furious! "Wait till I get my hands on the rat who sold me that bomb!" His girl-friend tells him to, "Just cool it!"

In the epilogue a few days later the feds tell Aquaman the O.G.R.E. are being taken care of by them and not to worry. They also tell him that they have let Harlanson go, as he was duped; he actually thought he was saving California from destruction and had no idea that Atlantis was populated. When Aquaman talks about the act a fate that resulted in a dud atomic bomb the feds reveal that they actually took care of that, or rather their agent on the inside did. That is when Elliot's girl-friend, in reality Agent 03, Honey James, shows up.

Aquaman says that he let Manta go, as the revelation that Manta was being duped by O.G.R.E. was more than enough punishment. After they leave the feds and head back for Atlantis, Aqualad wonders what will happen to Atlantis's people should it rise from the ocean depths. Aquaman says not to worry as that would not happen till well past the year 2000, so they have plenty of time to figure it out.

"And so our story ends. Yet, once question remains unanswered..." Shots of the secretary going under water... "Is California Sinking?" Shamefully, shamefully never reprinted.

Edited by Dick Giordano.