Thursday, July 30, 2015

Detective Comics #403

Detective Comics #403 (On Sale: July 30, 1970) has a nice cover by Neal Adams.

This month is ending with the holy trinity of DC books, Action, Adventure and the companies' namesake, Detective Comics and in some ways these three books are indicative of DC as a whole.

There is the old guard, Mort Weisinger in Action Comics, still pushing "imaginary" stories because, lets face it, he hasn't had a new idea for Superman in a decade. I think Mort was tired, god knows the fans were tired of his old shit. In Green Lantern Speedy is a junkie, in Action Superman's imaginary son is a klutz. Which one sounds like the more compelling story?

Then there is Adventure Comics, Carmine's dalliance with the artist as "auteur." In this case the book is owned lock, stock and barrel by Mike Sekowsky and for a first issue he has given us a truly original vision of the super-heroine as a young woman on her own, trying to find her way in the real world. In a couple of months CBS will unveil the same basic idea in The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I think Sekowsky was on to something, but it will never take off the way the MTM Show did. It is important to remember that last month this book was in Mort Weisinger's hands.

Then there is the tried and true, Julie Schwartz has been at the helm of Detective since the "New Look" took place in 1964 and has steered the book through a long, slow transformation from day-glo villains, insectoid aliens and outrageous plots, to Infantino-land absurdities, to Batgirl and the TV show influence, to a more somber and realistic Batman ushered in by the likes of Irv Novick, to the emerging Dark Knight of Neal Adams' design.

Action Comics equals no change and embracing the past. Adventure Comics equals dramatic change, breaking free of the past. Detective Comics equals evolutionary change, remembering the past but building for the future.

In 1970 you could not go wrong with a Neal Adams cover, particularly on a Batman book. It sold your book. This however, is not a great cover, but a nice one. It has great technique and mood, but is in the service of not much. That "not much" being  "You Die by Mourning," a 15-page Batman tale from Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Frank Giacoia. Bruce Wayne’s V.I.P. office is visited by a mysterious woman who claims before running out that her husband will be murdered by morning, and Batman investigates. I never cared for any of Robbins' VIP stories and thought it took the character in the wrong direction.

This was reprinted in Showcase Presents: Batman Vol. 5.

The back-up is Robin in "Break-Out." It is eight pages that prove once again that nothing dulls an artist's pencils like Vinnie Colletta inks. In this case Gil Kane is the man who has his work smothered in a bunch of weightless lines placed on the page in a haphazard manner. Writer Mike Friedrich probably wondered what the hell happened to his story. Robin investigates the escape of two juvenile delinquents from a corrective home.
    
This was reprinted in Showcase Presents: Robin the Boy Wonder Vol. 1.

Edited by Julius Schwartz

Adventure Comics #397

Adventure Comics #397  (On Sale: July 30, 1970) has a cover by Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano featuring Supergirl.

I gotta tell ya, I admired Mike Sekowsky a lot. He was an idea man that for a while, during these few years of the Silver Age, at least got a chance to put forth his ideas and let the public decide. With this issue Sekowsky is given the reigns of Supergirl, to do with what he will. He definitely had a few ideas regarding this character.

Right off this cover says he is trying to appeal to female readers, with its paper doll convention of possible new costumes. This cover is not aimed at males. I have to tell you though that I was fascinated by all this. Not the new costume, but Sekowsky transforming Supergirl.  I had seen his Wonder Woman, his Jason's Quest and his Manhunter 2070, so I knew I was in for action and adventure (sounds like good names for two comic books!).

I thought of Mike Sekowsky books like a good ride. I get in, I hang on tight and I see where he takes me. I may not be thrilled in the end, but I will have a good time along the way as he takes me someplace no one else would have. So for me, Mike Sekowsky being handed the reigns of Supergirl was a treat.

We begin the Mike Sekowsky era of Supergirl with "Now... Comes Zond." This 14-pager was written and penciled by Mike Sekowsky and inked by Jack Abel and from the very first page you can tell that this is not Mort Weisinger's Supergirl.  When a girl is found in a zombie-like state on the Stanhope campus, Supergirl goes into a trance and probes her memories. She learns that she was terrified into catatonia by a being named Zond whom she met at a witches' coven.

Supergirl tracks down the coven and confronts Zond, but his magic powers defeat her and shred her costume somewhat. Supergirl consults with Diana Prince, the former Wonder Woman, and has her ask her old foe Morgana the Witch for help. Since Zond is a common enemy, and her mother's former stable-boy, Morgana agrees.

Supergirl gets a new uniform from Wonder Woman's boutique before she goes with the other women to the next coven meeting. Morganna takes care of Zond's magic, and Supergirl kicks him around the block. Morganna leaves with Zond, but not before releasing his victim from her fear-trance.

Our back-up story is "Supergirl Meets Nasty" is also written and penciled by Mike Sekowsky and inked by Jack Abel and is the first appearance of Lex Luthor's niece, Nasthalthia, or Nasty for short. Lex wants his niece to terrorize Stanhope with her motorcycle gang, Nasty's Nasties. Their objective: flush out Supergirl and discover her secret identity.

It backfires, as Supergirl tracks down Luthor and imprisons him again. Then she takes Nasty and her gang on a harrowing series of carnival rides, hyped by her super-powers. She warns the gang sternly not to try their terror tactics again, but Nasty later promises to strike again in the future.

Edited by Mike Sekowsky.

Action Comics #392

Action Comics #392  (On Sale: July 30, 1970) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson featuring the Superman/Batman team. This is an great example of the due personality of DC at this time. The company that was brining you the Dark Knight and Deadman and Bat Lash and Green Lantern/Green Arrow was still being brought down month after month by the likes of Mort Weisinger and his ever silly "imaginary stories." Poor Superman, his sun is a klutzy loser! Yikes!

The lead off "imaginary" tale, "The Shame of the Super-Son" is the work of Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. I think the less said about it the better. Thankfully it has never been reprinted.

The back-up feature is the Legion of Super-Heroes in "The Legionnaires Who Never Were," 12 pages by Cary Bates, Winslow Mortimer and Jack Abel. Saturn Girl and Princess Projectra are sent after the space renegade Pozr-Du. After spotting his parked ship, they approach only to be blasted by the villain's ray gun. When they awake hours later, they find that Pozr and his ship are gone. They return to Legion headquarters to find their cruiser suddenly surrounded by the H.Q.'s energy-grappler. The girls are ordered to identify themselves. Confused, they comply and ask permission to land. Their request is refused, and their ship is brought to a landing dock by the energy-grappler. The heroines leave the ship only to find themselves at gunpoint, surrounded by Legionnaires.

Karate Kid says that the two of them must be crazy spies to try to infiltrate Legion Headquarters by pretending to be two Legionnaires who don't even exist. Projectra demands that they get a chance to prove that they really are Legionnaires. She takes them to the clubhouse's archive computer, which has pictures and data on all members, but discovers that Saturn Girl and Princess Projectra are not included. There are two blank slots on the board, but Karate Kid explains that they have just admitted two new members - two male members - and their data is not yet in the computer.

Next, Projectra takes the others to the Legion's Hall of Trophies, but she and Saturn Girl are upset to discover that none of their own awards are present. The two girls try to demonstrate their powers but find they no longer have them. Karate Kid presents to them the new Legionnaires, who turn out to be male versions of the heroines: Prince Projectur and Saturn Lad. The boys demonstrate the super-powers of illusion-casting and telepathy before the girls are imprisoned in the team's detention sphere.

Projectra wonders if Pozr's weapon might have caused them to have a weird but realistic dream. Saturn Girl theorizes that they have been hurled into a parallel dimension in which they don't exist. When Projectra notices that Karate Kid has left them their flightrings, she comes up with an escape plan. She and Saturn Girl use their rings to propel them in opposite directions, putting pressure on the elastic detention sphere. Finally, it snaps and the girls are free to discover what has happened to them.

Projectra asks Saturn Girl to stay in hiding while she tries something. The Princess makes her way to Karate Kid's quarters and asks him to tell her if the whole thing is a hoax. When the Kid acts distressed that an enemy spy knows his real name, she begs him to remember that he once confessed his love for her. She then kisses him. When the two part, Karate Kid turns away and tells her it was a nice try, but he doesn't know her. Before he can try to re-capture her, however, he blacks out.

Projectra had stopped by the equipment lab earlier and concocted a knockout serum that only works on Earth people and had coated her lips with it. She had also slipped a miniature device on his neck when she kissed him, which she then checks. Projectra tries to return to Saturn Girl but finds her missing; instead, she comes upon Prince Projectur.

The Princess finds that she has regained her power and creates an illusion of an alien gas-creature threatening her. When her boy double tells "Jeckie" not to panic and then races to her rescue, she drops the illusion and snatches a mask off of "Projectur" revealing Brainiac 5's face beneath. He admits that he had used a device to simulate her power. When she asks why, he tells her that the new archive computer predicted that she would break down in a time of crisis and jeopardize other members. They had to check the accuracy of the computer by putting her through a test, which she has now passed. Saturn Girl arrives, saying that she had previously only made Projectra think she had lost her power.

Sun Boy had been disguised as "Saturn Lad" and Chameleon Boy had been Pozr. They ask how she figured out she had been hoaxed and she tells them how she put a truth disc on Karate Kid's neck which indicated that he was lying. Also, Brainiac 5 had called her "Jeckie" when he thought she was in danger, a nickname only her friends would know.

Karate Kid comes up to embrace Jeckie and says that tomorrow he is going to order the new computer dismantled and repaired. Mon-El breaks in and says that he will issue the order, since it is past midnight on Karate Kid's last day in office. At a ceremony the next morning, Mon-El is sworn in as the new leader, with Element Lad as his deputy. Projectra asks Val if he is sorry he's no longer leader and he wishes he had left office a week ago so he wouldn't have had to put her
through that ordeal.

Reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 9 HC and Showcase Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 4 TPB.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Super DC Giant S-17

Super DC Giant S-17  (On Sale: July 28, 1970) has a cover featuring "Love 1970" by Nick Cardy that is so good, I actually bought the book off the stands and it is the only romance book I ever did that with. Even now, 45 years later, I can stare at this thing forever. That brushy shadow-to-highlight delimiter is just amazing and the brushwork on the feet of both characters is simply awesome. Nick Cardy at his peak.

This is just another reprint book with a really pretty bow around it. Most all of these old romance stories had their artwork altered to modernize the clothes and the hairstyles, so although they are reprints, they are in some ways originals as well.

We start with "Unlucky Bridesmaid" drawn by Irv Novick, an 8-pager reprinted from Secret Hearts #38.

Next is "The Love I Lost -- Twice, " another 8-page tale, this time drawn by Gil Kane and reprinted from Girls' Romances #107.

That is followed by an April O'Day story, "Storm in My Heart" drawn by Jay Scott Pike, This reprint from Girls' Love Stories #106 weighs in at 15 pages. April O’Day was a Hollywood starlet who seemed to have had more romances than she had parts in films. It is suspected that she is the older sister of Angel O’Day of Angel and the Ape fame. Though this has never been confirmed it is true that both characters were created by Bob Oksner. April O’Day was DC's first try at a continuing character in a Romance Comic.  

Next we have "Hello, Heartbreak," a 7-pager drawn by Sy Barry and reprinted from Secret Hearts #40.

"Sweetheart's Wish" is next with seven pages inked by Bernard Sachs. This one is reprinted from Secret Hearts #39.

That is followed by "Heart Full of Love" featuring seven pages of John Forte artwork and reprinted from Secret Hearts #45.

"Love Finds a Way" brings up the read. It is seven pages reprinted from Secret Hearts #41.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Justice League of America #83

Justice League of America #83 (On Sale: July 28, 1970) has cover by Murphy Anderson and featuring some of the spookier Justice Society of America characters, the Spectre and Dr. Fate. in the second half of the yearly JLA/JSA crossover.

Continuing from last issue, "Where Valor Fails... Will Magic Triumph?" is a 23-page yarn by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin and Joe Giella. An alien being known as Creator2 is attempting to merge Earth-One and Earth-Two into a single universe using the Red Tornado as a pawn to do so. As the Justice Society of Earth-Two tries to figure out what happened to their comrades, the Justice League of Earth-One have learned of the crisis prompting their teammate Black Canary to believe that she is the cause since she crossed over from Earth-Two.
The alien attackers seeking to incapacitate the entire Justice Society send more devices to trip up the heroes. While on Earth-One, the JLA decide to investigate things further sending Green Lantern back out into the void between universes to learn the truth. Back on Earth-One, Hawkman is dispatched to maintain order when suddenly everyone's Earth-Two counterparts begin materializing on Earth-One once more. After saving an old lady, Hawkman is also struck down because his Earth-Two counterpart is incapacitated by the alien devices.

Just as Green Lantern of Earth-One finds the source of the disruption, the Red Tornado, he is also immobilized because his Earth-Two counterpart is trapped in a wooden cage by his attackers. Back on Earth-One, the Atom, Green Arrow and Black Canary await to hear back from Green Lantern.

The Black Canary continues to believe that she is the cause and contemplates committing suicide by the JLA Satellite's teleporter, hoping that would save the universe. While on Earth-Two, Johnny Thunder, the Thunderbolt, and Dr. Fate manage to fight off the alien devices. Fate decides it's time to call in the Spectre for assistance and the trio teleport to the graveyard where the Spectre dwells. The apparition agrees to help the remaining JSA members and the foursome travel to the dimensional void to see what the source of the problem is. There they find Earth-One's Green Lantern and the Red Tornado.

While the Spectre stretches his body and acts as a barrier between the two realities, Dr. Fate, Johnny Thunder and the Thunderbolt are teleported to Creator2's ship where they fight the insane alien. During the fight, the Thunderbolt destroys Creator2's devices, stopping the process and freeing the Red Tornado. With Creator2's ship also destroyed, the two Earth's return to their original position however the Spectre is seemingly slain in the process.

Back on Earth-One the JLA realize the crisis is over which brings both Green Arrow and the Black Canary great joy. With the danger passed they also find that Batman, Superman, Flash and Hawkman have revived. When Green Lantern returns to Earth-One to brief the heroes on what happened, they all mourn the passing of the Spectre, however Green Arrow doesn't think it is the last they've seen of him.

This story was reprinted in Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 2 TPB, Showcase Presents: Justice League of America Vol. 4 TPB and Justice League of America Archives Vol. 10 HC.   

Showcase #93

Showcase #93 (On Sale: July 28, 1970) has a Manhunter 2070 cover by Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano. I think this is the most effective of the three Manhunter 2070 covers, mainly due to the coloring.

"Never Trust a Red-Haired Greenie" is a 22-page Starker, Manhunter 2070 story written and penciled by Mike Sekowsky and inked by Frank Giacoia.  I really admired DC for letting Sekowsky try out all of these ideas he had running through his head for alternate types of books. Starker is not nearly as out of the norm as Jason's Quest was, but at the time, science-fiction was not selling at all, so that a book about a space bounty hunter was green lighted for even three tryouts is an achievement in itself.

On his way back to base, Starker get a communiqué from his robotic assistant Arky on a new case. Milton Wallen, former employee of Trans-Planet Mining Co. left the company, taking two million credits with him. A price is out for his return and for the return of the money. Arky discovers that Wallen was last seen on the planet Zodan, a planet full of green-skinned thieves. Arky warns that the red-haired greenies are the worst.

Starker goes to Zodan, and immediately is attacked by thieves trying to steal his luggage and his wallet, and is forced to secure his belongings at gunpoint. Starker searches Zodan, and finds out that Wallen fled to a neighboring planet Zoldar. Starker goes to Zoldar, unaware that two beautiful female Zodanian red-haired greenies have stowed away on his ship.

Starker finds Wallen on a saloon on Zoldan, where Wallen lost all of the money in a card game. Starker brings Wallen with him as he pursues the men that fleeced Wallen to a neighboring city. After being attacked twice, Starker retrieves the two million in credits. However, on the way back to the spaceport, Starker and Wallen are suckered by the two red-haired greenies.

The greenies leave Starker and Wallen for dead, after hitting them both with Starker’s blaster. Left for dead, the two are discovered by local Neanderthals.

And that is where Starker stayed as the series was not picked up by DC.  With the exception of a cameo in the pages of Showcase #100Manhunter 2070 would never reappear. As a cross between Star Trek and James Bond, Manhunter 2070 was not a bad idea and if proposed after the release of Star Wars it might have met a different fate..

This is the last issue of Showcase for seven years, which should have been a bigger deal at the time. Showcase was the book that began the Silver Age of Comics and its passing should have been mourned by more.

This book was edited by Mike Sekowsky.

Date With Debbi #11

Date With Debbi #11 (On Sale: July 28, 1970) has a cover by Henry Scarpelli.

We have four Debbi stories this issue, "Ain't I the Greatest," "The Lazy Lover," "Everybody's Talking" and "The Short-Stop" No creator information is available on this book.

Edited by Dick Giordano.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

World's Finest Comics #196

World's Finest Comics #196   (On Sale: July 23, 1970) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson featuring the Superman/Batman team.

The issue features Superman and Batman in "The Kryptonite Express," a 21-page story by Bob Haney, Curt Swan and George Roussos. A hail of Kryptonite meteors in America is picked up, gathered, and transported in a train dubbed “The Kryptonite Express,” which is guarded by Superman, Batman, and Robin, and coveted by wealthy train collector K. C. Jones.     

This story was reprinted in Showcase Presents: World's Finest Vol. 4 TPB.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Three Mouseketeers #3

Three Mouseketeers #3  (On Sale: July 23, 1970) has a cover by Rube Grossman.

An odd book of reprints of a series loosely parodying the classic Alexander Dumas novel The Three Musketeers. In this case, the lead swordsmice were named Aramouse, Amouse, and Porterhouse (with young accomplice D'Artagmouse), and had various adventures while serving King Looey XIV.

We begin with "Letter from Petey" drawn by Sheldon Mayer and reprinted from Three Mouseketeers #6.

Next is "House Cleaning Day" also by Sheldon Mayer and reprinted from Three Mouseketeers #7.

Sheldon Mayer also drew "The Buzzin' Cousin" reprinted from Three Mouseketeers #2.

"Never Call Names" is next by Si Reit and Rube Grossman and reprinted from Three Mouseketeers #6.

The team of by Si Reit and Rube Grossman are also responsible for "Happy Daze" reprinted from Three Mouseketeers #8.

We end with "Griping Over Grapes" drawn by Sheldon Mayer and reprinted from Three Mouseketeers #2.

The book was edited by Dick Giordano.

Super DC Giant S-16

Super DC Giant S-16  (On Sale: July 23, 1970) has a disappointing cover by Carmine Infantino, Ramona Fradon, Murphy Anderson, Joe Giella and Charles Paris featuring "The best of the Brave and the Bold." It is a real mishmash of old covers and figures that does not much in endearing anyone to buy this thing off the rack. I looks more like an ad for a book than an actual book.

We begin with "The Death of the Flash," a 25-pager by Bob Haney, Carmine Infantino and Charles Paris reprinted from Brave and the Bold #67 and featuring Batman and the Flash.
Gotham City is plagued by a series of robberies committed by thieves in sneakers that run at super speed. Though batman tried to keep up with them, time after time they are able to elude the Batman.

While the speed thieves run rampant in Gotham, in Central City  the Flash is having problems of his own. While in the midst of taking down a gang of robbers, the Flash suffers a bout of vertigo, followed up by even more severe physical symptoms. Consulting a physician, the Flash discovers that the wear and tear his body endures, moving at extreme velocity, is killing him. He's literally running himself to death. The doctor advises the Flash against ever running at superhuman speed again, lest the exertion kill him.

Unaware of the Flash's medical issues, Batman asks for his help in apprehending the speedsters. The Flash agrees reluctantly and makes his way to Gotham by train. It doesn't take long for the Flash and the Speed Boys to cross paths, the Flash quickly chasing after the thieves, who appear to be just as fast as the Flash himself. With a final burst of speed, the Flash tackles the thief. The thief's sneakers begin to smoke, then quickly disintegrate. Batman arrives to take the man into custody, and learns that the thieves call themselves "The Speed Boys". Later that night, the masked members of the Speed Boys discuss their future plans, as well as how best to deal with Batman and The Flash.

The Queen of Buldavia will be traveling along a parade route in Gotham City with the world's most valuable emerald necklace around her throat. Batman is certain the Speed Boys will make a grab for it. Sure enough, a member of the gang snags the necklace, with the Flash in hot pursuit. The Flash herds the Speed Boy into a deserted side alley, where Batman is able to knock the man out with a well thrown batarang. The necklace, however, turns out to be a fake. Batman has no time to investigate the matter further, as the Flash suddenly collapses.

The leader of the Speed Boys takes possession of the real emerald necklace. It had been switched with a fake necklace, when the Speed Boy who grabbed it, passed it off to his girlfriend, in the crowd, faster than the eye could see. Meanwhile, Batman gets the Flash to a hospital, where the Caped Crusader learns the truth about the Scarlet Speedster's dire condition. Unbeknownst to the two heroes, the Speed Boys also learn of the Flash's plight, through the clever use of a simple child's kite and a radio transmitter. The Speed Boys plan to take the Flash out of the game permanently.

The next day, while Batman and the Flash patrol the streets of Gotham City in the Batmobile, a Speed Boy robs a bank. The Flash takes off in pursuit only to run across another Speed Boy, in the midst of robbing a jewelry store. The Flash breaks off the first pursuit, to chase after the second Speed Boy. This pursuit of the second man is interrupted by a third Speed Boy, stealing antique vases. The three Speed Boys begin a fantastic relay race with the Flash switching targets, depending on which man is carrying the group's ill-gotten gains.

The Speed Boys' leader, from a high vantage point, watches as the Flash first stumbles, then collapses. Soon thereafter, the Speed Boys' leader contacts police headquarters, to inform Batman and Commissioner Gordon of the Flash's demise. Batman is, at first, devastated by the news. Despite the grief, the world's greatest detective intensifies his investigation into the Speed Boys.

Batman discovers that the Speed Boys' ability to run at high speed is due to a radioactive isotope embedded in their sneakers. Studying a recording made of the Speed Boys' broadcast to police headquarters, Batman determines that their hideout is in an old brownstone, one he is able to find using a geiger counter set to track the emissions of their radioactive sneakers.

Entering through the chimney, Batman gets the drop on the Speed Boys, and quickly coats the floor in oil. As the Speed Boys slip, slide and fall, Batman gets the bat-rope around their ankles and trusses them up like rodeo steers. Only the leader is able to make his escape, putting a bullet in Batman, as he leaps through the window.

On the street below, the Speed Boys' leader finds himself being pursued by... the Flash. The Scarlet Speedster easily outpaces his adversary, and kicks the man into a nearby fountain. Batman and Commissioner Gordon are round up all the other Speed Boys. As it turns out, the radioactive isotopes in the Speed Boys' sneakers had a curative effect on the Flash, and thus, that which gave the Speed Boys their power is, ultimately, what lead to their downfall.

The second story, can't really call it a back-up, is "The Origin of Metamorpho" by Bob Haney, Ramona Fradon and Charles Paris and reprinted from Brave and the Bold #57.  Soldier of Fortune Rex Mason heads an expedition to the lost pyramid of Ahk-Ton, where he attempts to retrieve the Orb of Ra for his employer, millionaire Simon Stagg. Stagg's neanderthal henchman, Java, joins Mason with secret orders to maroon Mason inside the pyramid. Mason recovers the Orb, but Java surprises him and takes it. Mason is left behind where he is exposed to radiations from an ancient meteor, from which the Orb was created.

Mason awakens finding himself transformed into an elemental state by the meteor. He now possesses the ability to alter his form and substance. Using his powers, he escapes the pyramid and returns to confront Stagg.  Mason infiltrates Stagg's mansion and defeats Java with his powers. However, Stagg now possesses the Orb which can weaken Mason. The two men come to an agreement, whereupon, Stagg will attempt to cure Mason. Until a cure can be found, Mason is convinced by his finacee, Stagg's daughter Sapphire, to become a force for good as Metamorpho the Element Man.

I have a personal love/hate relationship with the original Brave and Bold issue this came from. As a kid I remember reading my brother's copy and then cutting it up to make little Batman figures. Years later I had to pay a premium to buy a book I had destroyed as a kid.

This reprint issue is edited by Murray Boltinoff.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Super DC Giant S-15

Super DC Giant S-15  (On Sale: July 21, 1970) has a nice cover by Joe Kubert and features "Western Comics."  One of the things I always liked about this period at DC was that they were not about to give up on the western. They were reprinting a lot of stuff at the time in these giants, Kubert had done Firehair in Showcase, they were still publishing new Tomahawk books, and soon we would see the rebirth of All-Star Western and some of the best western comics ever.

And I liked that DCs westerns were westerns, not super-hero books in the old west like some of Marvel's books seemed to be. At DC the genre was kept in tact, even when it was merged with another genre such as in the El Diablo series in All-Star Western.

We start this giant with Pow-Wow Smith in "Attack of the Silent Avenger," by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino and reprinted from Western Comics #76.

Next is "Stand Proud the Warrior Breed," a 12-page new story written and drawn by Gil Kane. I'm not sure why this was buried inside rather than leading off the book. It just seems like an odd choice.

The new work is followed by Foley of the Fighting Fifth in  "Terror on the Telegraph Trail." This reprint from All-American Western #124 is by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella.

Next we have Buffalo Bill in "The Robbery of the Iron Horse" by Dave Wood and Joe Kubert. This story is a reprint from Frontier Fighters #7.

That is followed by the Vigilante in "The Capture of the Four Aces." This reprint from Action Comics #160 is by Dick Wood and Bob Brown. Not a lot is known about Dick Wood. He started working for Hillman in 1942 where he began with the "Origin of Airboy" in Air Fighters Comics #2 and stayed there less than a year. Around this time he also appeared to write for Crime Does Not Pay, Daredevil and Boy Comics. There is also some indication that in the 1941-42 period Dick tried his hand at both penciling and inking in Daredevil and Boy Comics.

The next time his credit reappears is in 1948 at DC where he wrote one Superman story and a half dozen Vigilante yarns. The story reprinted here is his first. In 1952 he started working regularly on Blackhawk for Quality. Around this time he also wrote the final issue of Dollman and a few issue of Plastic Man, GI Combat, Web of Evil and T-Man, all for Quality. His last Blackhawk was #106 in 1956 and he did not reappear till 1965 when he started a run on Gold Key's Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom, which he wrote till 1969. He also scripted the first three Gold Key issues of Star Trek. There are also indications that he worked on a few issue of Gold Key's The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Grimm's Ghost Stories and Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery.

We round out the issue with Pow-Wow Smith in "The Law's Outlaw" by France Herron and Carmine Infantino and reprinted from Western Comics #44.

The book was edited by Dick Giordano.

Hot Wheels #4

Hot Wheels #4 (On Sale: July 21, 1970) has a nice cover by Alex Toth.  After the last couple of covers by Neal Adams it is nice to see Toth back representing, what is basically his book. Everyone attributes this cover to Toth alone, but it looks like Dick Giordano's inks to me, particularly when compared to the interior art that is 100% Alex Toth.

Hot Wheels was an interesting book. It is based on a Saturday morning cartoon, based on a children's toy (maybe the first ever), and it has no right to be anything but pure marketing bullshit. Yet, this book was far from bullshit and the reason for that was Alex Toth.

Toth had designed the characters for the cartoon, so was a natural for the comic book. He really put some extra effort into these books, elevating them to something probably no one expected. This book was as doomed as the TV show it was based on, which was yanked off the air by the Federal Trade Commission who deemed it not an actual cartoon, but a half-hour ad for Hot Wheels toys.

The elevation from toy ad to work of art is easy to see in this issue as Toth just lets it all hang out. "Eye of the Storm!" is by Len Wein and Alex Toth and, if their was a god, would be reprinted multiple times by now. A book about kids who like to race cars should be anything but moody and gritty, yet that is what much of Hot Wheels was like, at least these few issue where Toth was allowed to ink Toth. The guys are out at a dune buggy race at Cove Beach unaware that a huge storm has dramatically changed course and is bearing down on them.

Toth uses his neat clean style to juxtapose the seemingly calm, yet increasingly worried, weather bureau with the hectic, frantic action of the gritty race, splitting the two with a ticking clock and bringing the storm and the kids closer and closer together. When the race is halted all of the drivers stop except Hank Jeffries who wants to win so badly that he refuses to give up; the results are disastrous.

Toth manages to give us a grand two page spread of automotive excitement and carnage, accentuated by his mastery of sound effects, the final results in dark silhouette. The clean bold lines he is employing are contrasted with a gritty grease pencil.

The kids and Jack's dad, Mike Wheeler, head off to the hospital to see how Hank is doing. Later when Hank is out of the woods Commissioner Martin asks Mike if the Hot Wheels can help him. It seems Professor Ben Moss, the old meteorologist who lives at the weather station atop Oak Mountain had been delivered some meds the day before that ended up being the wrong meds. The druggist discovered his error but they only have five hours to get Professor Moss the antidote or he will die. With the weather front coming in, getting there in time seems impossible, except for maybe by dune buggy.

They quickly refit one of their buggies for the rough, muddy terrain and Jack is ready to leave when Tank informs him that he will be going as well. Once on the road, Tank confesses that he had to come with Jack because Ben Moss is his grandfather. It ends up they have not talked in years, since Tank decided not to follow his grandfather's career and instead started working for Jack's father on cars.  Tank wants one last chance to make his grandfather understand the choices he has made for himself.

This is a silly book about kids who race cars, but Toth doesn't treat it that way. From the grainy washed-out panel of the rain pouring down on the car in town to the somber emotion inside the car, to the power of the buggy churning mud on the way up the hill this work just reeks of moody humanity. Toth is putting on an exhibition of how the art can elevate the story way beyond what it deserves.

Toth takes the ride up Oak Mountain and turns it into a thing of harsh, stark reality. A landslide almost gets them blocking their return route and sending them into the dark depths of a tunnel. On the other side, the world can only be seen in the lights of their buggy as they bounce off the rain-soaked landscape. Toth pulls no punches here, he gives us a work of wet dripping wonder, harshly illuminated.

Suddenly a tree blocks their way and the boys work together in the pouring rain to wench the tree from their path. That leads them to an old bridge that they barely make it across, but in doing so the bridge collapses, trapping them on the mountain for sure.

Mile after mile rolls by and finally they make it to the weather station and Hank's grandfather. They are just in time to give him the antidote. When his grandfather recovers Hank explains that they got up the mountain in a car that he built with his own hands, that that is where his love lies and he was sorry he let his grandfather down.

Ben says that he was the one who was wrong and should have let Tank follow his heart, just as he had done. Jack announces that the storm is breaking and a medevac helicopter should be coming up for Professor Moss.

The back-up story is "The Powderpuff Run" by Len Wein and Ric Estrada. I have always had a fondness for Ric's work, but he really suffers here in comparison to the master's course given by Toth.

Due to, I am sure, licensing issues none of the Hot Wheels books have ever been reprinted, nor are they likely to be reprinted in the future. If you want to see this amazing work, you need to find original copies.

The entire thing is edited by Dick Giordano.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Teen Titans #29

Teen Titans #29   (On Sale: July 16, 1970) has a nice cover by Nick Cardy. First off, I am a sucker for the half above water/half underwater covers, usually drawn on the war books by Joe Kubert. It works really well here to accentuate the underwater action scene featuring the Hawk and the Dove with the defeated stars of the book on the dock above water. A really well-designed cover by Cardy (or more probably, Carmine Infantino).

The book-length "Captives" is by Steve Skeates and Nick Cardy. Skeates was a much better choice than Robert Kanigher to write the Titans as he was actually a young buck at the time and didn't show any of the phony teen hipness that plagued many Kanigher characters (think of those annoying hipsters in the Phantom Stranger). Also, by including the Hawk and the Dove, which Skeates co-created with Steve Ditko and centering the action this issue on Aqualad and Aquaman's nemeses Ocean Master, they have brought Skeates' first two DC books together in one story. This was a neat trick orchestrated by editor Dick Giordano.

After storming out on his teammates, Aqualad was defeated in a fight against the Ocean Master, tied to a tree and left to die. Aqualad is discovered and released by Kid Flash, Speedy and Wonder Girl. Despite taking a vow of non-violence (Teen Titans #25-26), Aqualad's fellow Teen Titans are willing to assist against the Ocean Master. A mutual friend, named Sharon, had witnessed ordinary citizens transforming into horrific creatures. Aqualad's investigation into the matter had turned up the connection to the Ocean Master.
 
Despite being overwhelmed by the Ocean Master's forces, Aqualad managed to plant a tracking device on one of the Ocean Master's minions. Meanwhile, Hank and Don Hall mount their own investigation. The Halls enter Sharon's apartment, and await the arrival of the Ocean Master's henchmen. As the thugs near the Halls become the Hawk and the Dove. A battle ensues, with the Hawk being overwhelmed. The Dove escapes the apartment to find aid. The Hawk is carried to the waterfront as the Dove, leading the Teen Titans, races to the Hawk's rescue.
 
While the Teen Titan's subdue Ocean Master's men, the Ocean Master, himself, drags the Hawk beneath the waves. The Dove pursues, only to also be overwhelmed by the Ocean Master. The Hawk recovers, to finds himself tied to the Dove, around a featureless cylinder. While the Hawk was unconscious, the Dove was interrogated by The Ocean Master. The Dove learned that the Ocean Master had formed an alliance, with an alien race intent on taking over the Earth. The aliens have employed a second alien race, with more warlike tendencies to act as their agents upon the Earth. These aliens were from the classic Aquaman #51-53 Skeates/Jim Aparo Aquaman, Neal Adams Deadman crossover.
 
The warrior aliens have the ability to temporarily appear human, allowing them to surreptitiously move among humanity, stealing mankind's scientific secrets. It was one such alien, that Sharon witnessed, shedding his human form. The Hawk and The Dove manage to raise their arms up high enough to clear the cylinder. After subduing the guards, the Hawk and The Dove begin searching for the Ocean Master. The Teen Titans work on locating the Ocean Master, via the tracking device planted by Aqualad.
 
After subduing another of the Ocean Master's minions, the Hawk and the Dove finally confront the Ocean Master. Standing with him is one of the alien warriors, still in it's human form. The Hawk immediately attacks the alien. Holding to his pacifist code, the Dove attempts to assist the Hawk, in as non-violent a fashion as possible. The Ocean Master fires a ray that dissolves the alien's human disguise. Realizing that allowing the Hawk to put their opponents down, violently, places the Dove in a moral quandary. When the fight with the alien begins to go badly for the Hawk, the Dove puts aside his pacifistic nature, to aid the Hawk.
 
The Hawk and the Dove have just about gained the upper hand, when another group of aliens enter the room, and join the fight. Just as the Hawk and the Dove are about to be overwhelmed, the Teen Titans arrive. In short order, the battle is won, and the crisis is over.

Afterwards, Aqualad points out how foolish the Teen Titans' vow of non-violence is, in the face of alien invasion threats and the prevalence of super-villains. The Teen Titans agree to act in times of extreme crisis. For the most part, though, the Teen Titans will continue to find ways to use their powers in service to humanity, without resorting to violence.

This story was reprinted in Showcase Presents:Teen Titans Vol. 2 TPB.

This issue was edited by Dick Giordano.

Strange Adventures #226

Strange Adventures #226   (On Sale: July 16, 1970) has a really nice cover by Joe Kubert. The big news this issue is screaming from the cover. The cover name of the book has been adjusted to Gigantic Strange Adventures, the price has increased to 25 cents and the page count has skyrocketed to 64.

 We begin with and Adam Strange tale, "The Mechanical Masters of Rann" by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson and reprinted from Mystery in Space #65.
Rann is visited by the Mechanimen, a group of robots from another planet designed to protect the human race from all weapons. The robots destroy all the weapons on Rann in an attempt to end all warfare.

When Adam Strange arrives, he suspects something is not quite what it seems and hides his own ray-gun from the Mechanimen. Adam then convinces the Ranagarans that the Mechanimen are treating humans as children, and he believes they should stand up and fight. Adam retrieves his gun and a secret cache of weapons, but the Mechanimen destroy them as well.

When an alien attack force arrives, the Mechanimen defend Rann and force the aliens to surrender. However, the robots run out of power at the last moment. Adam was able to gain control of some alien weapons and chase off the remaining invaders, before his return trip to Earth via the Zeta Beam.

Next we have  "Glory Ride to Pluto," a little eight-pager by John Broome and Sid Greene reprinted from Mystery In Space #59.

That is followed by "The Counterfeit Earth," a six-page yearn by Otto Binder and Joe Kubert  reprinted from Mystery In Space #35

Next is "A Letter from the Future," a six-pager by Sid Gerson and Frank Giacoia reprinted from Strange Adventures #30.

We next have  "Earth's Unlucky Day," a six-page yearn by John Broome and Sy Barry reprinted from Strange Adventures #40.

Next is s real treat, the first new Adam Strange story since Strange Adventure #222"The Magic-Maker of Rann" is an eight-page ditty by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson. this is the last Adam Strange story Gardner Fox will ever write and it is not a standard comic book story, but what DC called a "Picture Story," more of a text story with illustrations. Maybe its strange format was the reason the only new material in the book was buried near the back.

Adam Strange catches the Zeta Beam from Australia to find that everyone in Ranagar is acting a little crazy. Alanna is for some reason furious with him and Sardath tells him, "There is nothing wrong Adam. Go away!" 

Adam begins investigating and discovers that a well-meaning scientist, Thortan, had found a way to affect everyone’s mind so that they can control all matter by bombarding them with psi radiation. Thortan created a rainbow that emitted the special radiation that caused this.  Everyone on Rann loved their new ‘magic’ powers until a meteor containing some kind of entity landed on Rann. The entity released from the meteor caused the ‘magic’ radiation to mutate, giving it the side effect of making everyone act in a way ‘contrary’ to their own wishes the more they used their psi powers. Soon friends were fighting duels and mothers were chastising their children.

Adam fights the amorphous entity that escaped from the meteor and eventually he is able to box it up in a coffin made of the black lead that the meteor had degraded into. This somehow negated the creature's effect on the radiation. Flying back to Ranagar Adam is met by Alanna who makes yup for their last meeting. Though he knows the Zeta Beam will soon take him back to Earth, for now Adam is content in the arms of his love.

This eight pager was reprinted in 52:The Companion TPB.

Lastly we have our cover story, the Atomic Knights in  "When the Earth Blacked Out." this 15-pager reprinted from Strange Adventures #144 is by John Broome and Murphy Anderson, who is well-represented this issue. 

Bryndon returns to Durvale injured in an encounter with strange mole men. The other Atomic Knights ride out to meet the mole men and discover the invaders from underground are using plants called Ki-Moli, to envelop the Earth in darkness.

The Knights are turned back in their initial encounter with the mole men, but they take a prisoner with them. By questioning the prisoner, the Knights learn the mole men are weakened by light, so they gather fireflies to use as weapons. The Knights then place the fireflies inside pumpkins and use them as light bombs against the mole men, chasing them back underground.  After destroying the Ki-Moli, the dark cloud above the Earth dissipates. The Knights also learn that it was the mole men who triggered World War III. thus answering the question posed by this month's Kubert cover.

Edited by Julie Schwartz.

Flash #200

Flash #200 (On Sale: July 16, 1970) has a wonderful cover by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson that clearly illustrates one more time what a wonderful team they made. It's the kind of cover that make you yearn for a new Adam Strange series laid lovingly in the artistic hands of these two gentlemen.

I never much cared for Robert Kanigher as a person, but he occasionally wrote some really brilliant comic books. This special 200th issue of the Flash is not one of them. All of the worst, trite aspects of Kanigher's writing show up here. The big news with "Count 200 -- and Die"  is not the silly story but the debut of Irv Novick as the Flash's new artist. Novick would prove nothing if not consistent, as he would draw the Flash for the next nine years. Beginning this issue as well, and remaining for a good year or so, the sometimes rough edges of Novick's characters would be smoothed over by the beautiful inks of Murphy Anderson.

As for the story, Robert Kanigher thought it would be clever to scatter the number 200 throughout the book. So much for something actually special. Foreign spy, the beautiful Dr. Lu, brainwashes the Flash into believing that Dr. Lu is his wife, Iris, and that he needs to pick up a can of hairspray for her. In reality, the Flash is unknowingly attempting to assassinate the president of the Unite States with a laser gun. All is going according to plan when he kisses Dr. Lu and realizes that her lipstick is not the same brand as Iris wears. Wow, that is special. Realizing he has been duped, the Flash runs to Lu's island hideout and rescues his real wife who has been held captive. He then races around the island 200 times, forcing Lu's explosive missiles to alter their course and obliterate the location.

Never reprinted and really, why would you want to?

Edited by Julie Schwartz.

Batman #225

Batman #225 (On Sale: July 16, 1970) has cover by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano.

This issue begins with our cover-story "Wanted for Murder-One, the Batman"  by Denny O'Neil, Irv Novick and Dick Giordano.
TV talk-show host Jonah Jory hates Batman and verbally attacks him while Commissioner Gordon is a guest on his show. Later that night, Jory is shot to death at the Gotham Athletic Club. A witness sees Batman outside the window and our hero is charged with murder.

The evidence is entirely circumstantial, but that never stopped Gotham's finest from pointing guns Batman's way. Of course, Commissioner Gordon is egged into doing it by Arthur Reeves of Gotham's Public Works Department. This was a weasel of a character created by Denny to be the voice of no reason whatsoever in Gotham. He was always too over the top for my tastes.

Anyway, Batman goes undercover to find the real killer and eventually deduces that Jory arranged his own death and had Batman blamed. Why he did this is never clearly established, but it did make for a nice Adams cover. Reprinted in Best of DC #30 and Showcase Presents: Batman Vol. 5 TPB.

The back-up story is "Shutdown on York Street!" by Mike Friedrich, Irv Novick and Mike Esposito. In it Alex Saddows, son of Mystery Analyst Art Saddows, accidentally kills a drag-racing rival in what looks like a revenge strike. Batman gets on the case to find Alex and determines that a jealous young man had tinkered with Alex's brakes. Reprinted in Showcase Presents:Batman Vol. 5 TPB.

Edited by Julie Schwartz.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #132

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #132  (On Sale: July 14, 1970) has a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

This issue begins with our cover-story "When Olsen Sold Out Superman"  by Leo Dorfman and Murphy Anderson. It clocks in at a short nine pages. Jimmy Olsen is kidnapped by gangsters who try to make him reveal Superman’s secret identity. Knowing that Perry White is not Superman, he tells them that Superman is “really” his editor at the Daily Planet--but Clark Kent has been named editor for a day, and the crooks capture him with Kryptonite.

This is the kind of story that Mort Weisinger loved, where a misunderstanding or unexpected coincidence leads to a completely bogus, yet somehow representative cover. If only someone like Jack Kirby could take over this book and make it actually interesting.

The back-up is "The Winner's Prize... the Loser's Grave" by Bob Haney and Pete Costanza. An island forms in the tropics and, due to its strategic importance to both the U.S. and Russia, is contended for by both superpowers. It is decided that the claim to the island will be decided by a battle between two champions from each nation...the Russian, Bors, against the American, Jimmy Olsen. 

This sounds suspiciously like the February, 1970 TV movie, "The Challenge" starring Darren McGavin and Mako, wherein an all-out war between the United States and an Asian country is averted when the two sides agree to settle their differences by each choosing a single soldier as champion and having the two men fight to the death on an isolated island. I'm not judging, just saying.    

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

Phantom Stranger #9

Phantom Stranger #9 (On Sale: July 14, 1970) has a decently spooky cover by Neal Adams. I do love the way Neal uses the Stranger's shadow but with eyes on this cover. The cover also lets you know that this is a story of voodoo.

This issue features "Obeah Man!" by Mike Sekowsky and Jim Aparo. This was a strange writing assignment for Sekowsky, who normally didn't write books he did not edit and draw. Sekowsky keeps the standard sub-cast around, Dr. Thirteen, the loopy teenagers and Tala.

While on vacation in a Haitian country, Dr. Thirteen is called by the president who believes that local practitioners of voodoo are targeting him to scare people into worshiping their religion. Thirteen relates to a similar case he was involved with that had to do with Voodoo, and how he debunked it as a hoax.

Along the way to confront the Papaloi of the Voodoo worshipers, Dr. Thirteen spots the four teenagers who have been haunting this book for almost a year now: Mr. Square, Wild Rose, Spartacus and Attila. Thirteen suspects that the Phantom Stranger is going to interfere because of their presence and questions them about the whereabouts of the Stranger. However when he returns to the President's car, they find that the Stranger is in the vehicle and has convinced the President to allow him to accompany them.

Arriving at the Papaloi's castle, they find that Tala is once more involved, Phantom Stranger battles both the Papaloi and Tala. Smashing the Papaloi, and capturing it's true form (a spider) in jar containing the Seal of Solomon and throwing it into the ocean. When he tries to apprehend Tala, she disappears. Phantom Stranger leaves as well, with Dr. Thirteen cursing him once more for his interference and vowing that he will one day reveal the Stranger as a hoax.

This story was reprinted in Showcase Presents Phantom Stranger Vol. 1 TPB.

The back-up story is a two-pager reprinted from House of Mystery #24, "The Walking Stick" drawn by John William Ely.

John Ely, who signed his work Will Ely or Bill Ely, started with DC in 1937 as an artist/writer with More Fun #21. In that first issue Ely wrote and drew three features:  Sandra of the Secret Service: (The International Munitions Ring Part 3), Jack Woods: (The Secret Mine Part 4)  and  Johnnie Law: (The Firebug Part 1). In the 1960s Ely would draw numerous issues of Rip Hunter, Time Master. His last story, "Winner Take All", was for Young Love #62  in 1967. John William Ely died in Milford, CT, on November 12, 1993 at the age of eighty.

Green Lantern #79

Green Lantern #79 (On Sale: July 14, 1970) has a cover by Neal Adams.

The "Search for America" continues in one of the more forgettable issue of the Green Lantern/Green Arrow in "Ulysses Star is Still Alive!" by Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams and Dan Adkins. Some of lackluster feelings this issue brings forth has to be Adkins' fault. Though Dan was a fine, and sometimes exceptional, inker, he seemed pretty lost in what to do with Neal's dynamic pencils. This might be the reason this is, I think, the only time Adkins inked Adams.

This is also Dan Adkins' first artwork for DC, which makes me think Neal maybe got him the gig, as he was always trying to get new blood established at DC. Dan would only ink a few stories at DC at this time, he was very busy at Marvel, where around the time this story came out Dan was inking a little thing called Conan the Barbarian #1 over Barry Smith's pencils. It would be seven years before Dan would really start to work at DC in earnest when he would come back to ink his good friend Don Newton's DC premiere on an Aquaman story in DC Special #28.

We begin with Green Lantern, Green Arrow and the Guardian resting by their campfire when they hear a noise. Rushing to investigate they discover two men ready to execute a native American. The two heroes disarm the men and asses the situation. They learn that the two would be assassins, Theodore Pudd and Pierre O'Rourke, claim to own the local land and trees. However, the native American states that his tribe's ancient chief brokered a deal with the government for exclusive rights to the lumber a hundred years prior. But, the government and local records all conveniently disappeared.

Feeling that there is not much case with out the contract, the two heroes learn that one more copy is reputed to exist and it resides with a man no one has seen for twenty years, Abraham Star. Green Arrow decides that they must stay and fight. Green Lantern disagrees and decides to help by trying to find Abraham Star. Hal heads to Evergreen City, where he used to work as an insurance investigator, and searches records until he finds a lead to Abraham's location. Hal arrives on the scene to find the building burning. He rushes in to save Abe and the two escape just in time.

Abe, a victim of smoke-inhalation, is taken off to the hospital, but not before he reveals to Green Lantern that all the legal records he had were just destroyed by the fire. Hal won't give up and flies off, trying to think of another way to help the tribe and deciding to go to Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, Green Arrow has headed back to the nearby native American town where he finds Black Canary trying to help the local townspeople. Black Canary tells Ollie that she has noticed the townspeople are very dejected. A few hours later, a couple of white-men try to steal some food from the reservation. They are scared off by the spirit of Ulysses Star! The two men rush to a nearby lumberjack bar and report their story. No one belives it until the spirit shows up in person, with arrows flying! Theodore Pudd convinces the lumberjacks that it is just a hoax though, and the men agree to continue cutting down trees.

Ulysses then appears to the tribes-people and convinces them that they must fight to protect what is theirs. A few hours later, dawn breaks and the lumberjacks arrive. The tribes-men stand ready to fight though, alongside Black Canary.

A fight breaks out, and the spirit of Ulysses joins in as well, but it is quickly ended when Green Lantern arrives with U.S. Representative Sullivan. Sullivan has promised to look into the matter, so Lantern suggests that everyone goes home until then. The spirit of Ulysses takes offense to this suggestion of inaction and calls-out Green Lantern.

Ulysses, now clearly Green Arrow in costume (with a facemask straight out of Deadman), points out that his costume is yellow and that they should duke it out without ring or bow. The two duke it out until an errant log hits them and knocks them both out cold.

Later, at the reservation cafe, they discuss their opposing tactics, as do the locals, who have lost hope. Luckily, Sullivan arrives just in time to break the news that a man has confessed to the arson in Evergreen City and has implicated Pudd and O'Rourke.

Later, at a campfire, the two reflect on their dispute and its lack of a resolution. The Guardian points out that although it was not resolved, they at least learned that hitting and killing leads to bloodshed and humanity must stop doing this before it is too late.

I don't know if it is the lack of a resolution, or the over-the-top heavy-handedness of this issue that makes it so forgettable. Or, like I first suggested, maybe it is Adkin's inks. Still, 15 cents for 22 pages of Neal Adams is worth the money every time.

This story was reprinted in Green Lantern/Green Arrow #2, Green Lantern/Green Arrow Collection Vol. 1 TPB, Green Lantern/Green Arrow Collection HC, Green Lantern/Green Arrow Vol. 1 TPB, Showcase Presents:Green Lantern Vol. 5 TPB and Green Lantern/Green Arrow TPB (2012).

Edited by Julius Swartz.

Girl's Romances #151

Girl's Romances #151 (On Sale: July 14, 1970) has a cover inked by the dreaded Vinnie Colletta.

We begin with "Busybody -- Empty Arms," also inked by Vinnie Colletta. That is followed by "Tame a Wild Heart," penciled by John Rosenberger. We end with "Unloved and Unwanted" drawn by Murphy Anderson.

Murphy Anderson was not a regular on the romance comics, so this was a treat.

Murphy Anderson  was born July 9, 1926 and worked for companies such as DC Comics for over fifty years, entering the comic book industry in 1944 drawing the "Suicide Smith", "Sky Rangers", and "Star Pirate" features for Fiction House. From 1947 to 1949, Anderson was the artist on the Buck Rogers comic book series. During the 1950s, Anderson worked for several publishers including Pines Comics, Marvel Comics, St. John Publications, Ziff Davis, and DC Comics, where he found a home.

In Strange Adventures  Anderson became the artist of the "Captain Comet" with the story "The Girl from the Diamond Planet" story in issue #12, Sept. 1951). Another Strange Adventures feature drawn by Anderson was the Atomic Knights which debuted in issue #117, June 1960 and which Anderson later described as his favorite assignment. Anderson and writer Gardner Fox launched the Silver Age Hawkman series in May 1964 and introduced the Zatanna in issue #4.The Spectre was revived by Fox and Anderson in Showcase #60 in Feb. 1966) and was given his own series in December 1967.

Most fans remember Anderson as an inker. His work over Carmine Infantino's pencils on Adam Strange were top notch, but Murphy is maybe best remembered as the inker for Curt Swan in Superman and Action Comics. in the 1970s. The fans dubbed them Swanderson. In 1973, he established Murphy Anderson Visual Concepts, which provided color separations and lettering for comic books.

Edited by Murray Boltinoff.