Tuesday, July 28, 2015

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.

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