Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Amazing Story of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue

"The Amazing Story of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue" first appeared in Superman #162 (July, 1963), by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and George Klein (and cover by Kurt Schaffenberger)....and it was a doozy!  Superman decides he has too much to do, so makes a machine that will increase his intelligence (powered by the many colors of Kryptonite), and does increase his intelligence (but also permanently splits Superman into two equal beings, one Superman-Blue, the other, Superman-Red).  With two Supermen, he is able to cure all the world's ails, reform the villains, even marry Lois and Lana (and start a family and retire).

Pretty good for an imaginary story, right?


But, this wasn't the end of the story....

Reprints

It's worth noting that this story was indeed a very good story, as shown by the number of times it has been reprinted.  First in the 100-Page Super-Spectacular DC-18 (July, 1973, with a cover by Nick Cardy), in the Best of DC #19 (December, 1981, with a cover by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano)...



...in the Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told from 1987 (both hardcover and softcover versions), and in DC's Greatest Imaginary Stories #1 under a Brian Bolland cover from 2005 (and soon after, the "imaginary story" was classified to Earth-168, putting it as a part of DC Continuity, though removed a bit....with a brief appearance in the Kingdom #2 and in Infinite Crisis #5)

Return

Superman-Red and Superman-Blue returned as a part of the usual DC Universe in an unnumbered Superman Spectacular in 1982, with "The Startling Saga Of Superman-Red And Superman-Blue" by Bob Rozakis, Paul Kupperberg, Adrian Gonzales and Vince Colletta (with Gonzales providing the cover).  Superman foe, the space cowboy on the flying horse, Terra-Man, finds some Red Kryptonite, and working with Lex Luthor, expose Superman to it (causing the Man of Steel to split into Superman-Red and Superman-Blue), with the duo capturing Terra-Man, but not Luthor, who then learns magic to threaten Lois Lane, while the two Supermen re-merge, then beat Luthor and save Lois.

Electric

For a time, Superman's powers changed from the Kryptonian powerhouse that he was to a more electric based hero, starting with Superman #123 (May, 1997) by Dan Jurgens, Ron Frenz and Joe Rubenstein.  This lasted for a while (from "Superman Triangle Numbers" #19 of 1997 to #21 of 1998, including a Superman Red/Superman Blue special, with the dueling electrical Supermen in February of 1998, with triangle #6 of 1998, where the Superman Red premiered in), and the two had re-merged into a "classic" Superman in Superman Forever #1 (June, 1998) after defeating the Millennium Giants. 

Rebirth

With the death of the New 52 Superman, an earlier Superman returned to be the "new" Man of Steel, and very recently, Superman #18, Action Comics #975, Superman #19 (revealing the older Superman to have a "blue" energy, and the newer, deceased one to have released his "red" energy" and Action Comics #976 (all 2017, Superman #18 and #19 by Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason and Mick Grey, the Action Comics by Dan Jurgens, Doug Mahnke and Jaime Mendoza)...

...give the saga of Superman Red/Superman Blue new life for the new Millennium, seeing Superman Reborn!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Covering Star Trek's Captain Kirk

Captain James T. Kirk had a long history.....and quite a bit of it was covered in comic books!

Here's a look back at the various looks (and comic book incarnations) of James T. Kirk over the decades, celebrating the long life of William Shatner...


....one of the best covers is the cover for Star Trek Annual #2 (1991) by Jerome K. Moore, for an issue that focused on Kirk's time at Starfleet Academy (but also showed his evolution over the decades).


Let's cover a few more....


Gold Key

Gold Key had the license from the time of the original series, and it lasted for 61 issues, from October, 1967 to March, 1979, with a couple of Captain Kirk covers like #33 (September, 1975) by George Wilson, and #38 (July, 1976) also painted by George Wilson.



Marvel 1

Marvel was next to have the Star Trek series, based on Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and since it only lasted for 18 issues from April, 1980 to February, 1982, it didn't have as much time to cover then Admiral James T. Kirk, with covers here from #4 (July, 1980) by Dave Cockrum and Klaus Janson and #14 (June, 1981) by Ed Hannigan and James Sherman.

DC 1

DC Comics got the Enterprise crew next, with their first series running for 56 issues from February, 1984 to November, 1988; it had many covers with Admiral Kirk, including #6 (July, 1984) by Tom Sutton and Sal Amendola, and #54 (September, 1988) by Jerome K. Moore and Keith Wilson.



DC 2

DC ran a second series based on the original Star Trek characters, running from October, 1989 to February, 1996, with stories of Kirk from all over his career, including #10 (July, 1980) by Mark Bright and Keith Wilson, and #73 (July, 1995) by Jason Palmer, for what ended up being Star Trek's longest running series, lasting 80 issues from October, 1989 to February, 1996, by which time the original Star Trek cast had moved on from Star Trek, leaving the movies and television shows to new generations....


Marvel 2

That didn't stop addition adventures with the original crew from happening....Marvel had multiple Star Trek series during the 1990s under the Paramount Comics imprint, and Kirk was featured in more than a few of the issues, such as Star Trek: Early Voyages #14 (March, 1998) and Star Trek Unlimited #8 (March, 1998), but sadly, neither issue credits their cover artists. 


IDW

The Star Trek characters have ended up at IDW Publishing, with Captain Kirk being the feature of many covers and stories, including Star Trek: Year Four Enterprise Experiment #3 (June, 2008) cover by the Sharp Brothers...


....and even Star Trek #59 and #60 (covers by Tony Shasteen in 2016), where William Shatner's Kirk met Chris Pine's....


....proving Captain Kirk will indeed live long and prosper (more of Captain Kirk's individual history is in Who's Who In Star Trek #1 from 1987; and a story co-written by William Shatner in 1995 called Star Trek: the Ashes Of Eden with cover by Nicholas Jainschigg) and for more Star Trek covers, for one's featuring Spock, and more here for Star Trek's 50th Anniversary).

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day from Wonder Woman

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wonder Woman celebrated the holiday back in Wonder Woman #14 (Fall, 1945) by being "Captured By Leprechauns" in a story by William Moulton Marston and H. G. Peter, with this story being reprinted in the Wonder Woman Archives #6 of 2010.

Etta Candy finds leprechauns while chasing after a squirrel that stole her last piece of candy, which leads Wonder Woman into a battle with the leprechauns, which results in Wonder Woman losing her memory for a time, as well as confronting a killer who tries to steal the jewels of Princess Elaine of Shamrock Land...

...with leprechauns Shaggy, Hoppy and Woggle returning in Sensation Comics #75 (March, 1948), along with Queen Moonbeam and her fairies (whom Wonder Woman encounters along the way).

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Giant Jerry Lewis

Here we are with another collection of reprints, and a little extra...

 ...this time looking back at the lighter side of comics, with a couple of issues of The Adventures of Jerry Lewis in Super DC Giant S-19 (October-November, 1970)....


...all under a cover by Bob Oksner and Neal Adams!




Reprints

The stories in this issue come from Adventures of Jerry Lewis #83 (July-August, 1964) with "Scared Silly" by Arnold Drake and Bob Oksner, featuring Jerry dealing with an old age home of retired horror actors (Boris Killoff/Krankenstein, Bela Le Ghouli/Count Drinkula and Peter Leery/Dog-Boy,  and from Adventures of Jerry Lewis #95 (July-August, 1966 also by Drake/Oksner) with "The Killer Counselor Of Camp Wack-A-Boy", dealing with Jerry returning to summer camp (run by Uncle Hal), with separate camps for the boys and the girls (Jerry brings along his nephew, Renfrew, Witch Kraft and her niece, Zanyia).

Beginnings

The series originally began as the Adventures of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis (July-August, 1952), with work by Howie Post, and featured stories closer to what the duo did in movies, antics and misunderstandings with them and others around them, and this lasted until the Adventures of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis #40 (October, 1957), by which time Bob Oksner had signed on as artist....with the team of Martin and Lewis having split in real life....

On His Own

Jerry's comic counterpart soldiered on, as he took sole possession of the title with Adventures of Jerry Lewis #41 (November, 1957), with Jerry monkeying around, working his way through life, and through many adventures (including some that bordered on the supernatural), with the title ending with the Adventures Of Jerry Lewis #124 (May-June, 1971).

Super Friends

Of course, along the way Jerry did meet a few of DC's super heroes...
 
...including Batman and Robin (with the Joker) in Adventures of Jerry Lewis #97 (November-December, 1966), Superman (and Lex Luthor) in the Adventures of Jerry Lewis #105 (March-April, 1968)...


...Flash, Captain Cold and Abra Kadabra in the Adventures of Jerry Lewis #112 (May-June, 1969), Wonder Woman (in her non-powered guise as Diana Prince) and Queen Hippolyta in the Adventures of Jerry Lewis #117 (March-April, 1970)...



....and even tries his own hand at being a super-hero (the fearless Tarantula) in the Adventures of Jerry Lewis #84 (September-October, 1964), as well as Jerry being the first actor to greet Batman and Robin in the 1966 Batman TV show, as a citizen leaning out a window in the Batman episode "The Bookworm Turns" from April 20, 1966.

Holy "hey, lady", Batman!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Beware Great Caesar's Ghost

For all the times that Daily Planet editor invoked the saying, "Great Caesar's Ghost", you'd think the spirit would show up at some point.

Well, it did in Superman #91 (August, 1954) by William Woolfolk and Al Plastino (with Al also providing the cover), in a story entitled "Great Caesar's Ghost"!

It seems the publisher of the Daily Planet was feeling Perry was too old for his job, so Superman and Waldo Pippin (the Daily Planet's drama reporter) came up with the idea of Pippin pretending to be "Great Caesar's Ghost" to haunt Perry, and perform great deeds....after which he completed, the Daily Planet's publisher renewed the editor-in-chief's contract.  This saved Perry's job, and while Superman and Pippin revealed the ruse they pulled on Perry, they didn't tell him why to help Perry keep his pride....and favorite catch phrase!

Not to be outdone, "Great Caesar's Ghost" was also an episode (#5) of "The Adventures Of Superman" from Season 3, airing May 21st, 1955....with mobsters behind the spectral vision of Perry's, for John Hamilton and George Reeves to face!

Great Caesar's Ghost, indeed!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Giant Luthor Issue

Okay, it wasn't really Luthor's issue, but a collection of Superman-Luthor battles in 80 Page Giant #11 (June, 1965) with a cover by Curt Swan and George Klein.

Collected here are a few of the best of the fights between these eternal foes, as well as a more than a little bit of Kryptonite, and even just a few other foes as well. 

Let's dive right into the collection, and see what evil plans Luthor unleashed on the Man of Steel....

Action Comics #249

Superman faces "The Kryptonite Man" from the story originally presented in Action Comics #249 (February, 1959 by Otto Binder and Al Plastino).

Luthor returns with a new plan, having made a formula that allows the scientist to radiate Kryptonite from his body, which forces Superman to go on the run to stay away from Luthor, eventually making a lead suit to shield himself from the rays and approach Luthor.  Luthor ups the ante by turning all lead on Earth into glass using a satellite...which forces Superman to go to the moon to make another lead suit, with Luthor in pursuit...Superman destroys the satellite as Luthor destroys the new lead suit, and Superman appears to be unaffected by Luthor's Kryptonite radiation, so he takes an antidote to the formula (to allow the scientist to sneak up on the Man of Steel as he was glowing from the formula....Superman is now able to capture Luthor; having hidden how much the Kryptonite was weakening him).

Superboy #85

Back to Superman's youth, with a story of Superboy and "The Impossible Mission" from Superboy #85 (December, 1960) by Jerry Siegel and George Papp (though this story isn't reflected on the original cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye).

Superboy gets the bright idea of going back in time to save President Abraham Lincoln from assassination at Ford Theatre....but, an adult Lex Luthor arrives back in time (escaping Superman from other battles), with Luthor incapacitating Superboy with Red Kryptonite (thinking the Boy of Steel was there to capture him).  Only after Lincoln was assassinated did Luthor realize his error, heading back to his own time, as Superboy then did himself as the effects of the Red K wore off.

Superman #88

Technically, the story of "The Terrible Trio" from Superman #88 (March, 1954) by William Woolfolk, Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye was a tale of the original, Golden Age Superman instead of the Silver Age Superman....but it was still a heck of a read!

This story saw a team-up of Superman's most dastardly villains of the time...Luthor (who was Alexei Luthor, not Lex....who had kept his red hair, though not depicted as such in this story), the Prankster (Oswald Loomis), who used practical joke items (usually laced with Kryptonite or set to endanger others to occupy Superman), and the Toyman (Winslow Schott), who used toys (again, sometimes with Kryptonite) to menace Superman (and innocent victims around him) resulting in giving Superman the opportunity to capture three of his foes at once!


Action Comics #277

"The Conquest Of Superman" was the lead story of Action Comics #277 (June, 1961) by Bill Finger, Curt Swan and John Forte, and what a story it was (though it didn't make the original cover, which was quite a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye).

While Superman was on a space mission, Luthor escapes and heads to one of his "Luthor's Lairs" in Metropolis (his version of Superman's Fortress of Solitude, but Luthor's version has statues of his "heroes"...Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Captain Kidd and Al Capone).  While relaxing there, Luthor comes up with a plan to rob Fort Knox of its gold, which Luthor was successful, turning Superman away with artificial Kryptonite.  Problem is, Luthor finds out it wasn't Superman, but one of the Man of Steel's robots, that the scientist defeated.  Dejected he didn't defeat Superman, Luthor returns the gold he grabbed, as he didn't want reminders of his failure to defeat Superman!

Superboy #86

Back to the days when Superman (and Luthor) were boys, with "The Army Of Living Kryptonite Men" from Superboy #86 (January, 1961) by Jerry Siegel and George Papp (under a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye).

Luthor comes up with one of his most dastardly plans, inventing a helmet that allows him to animate stone, and he uses it to animate Kryptonite to attack Superboy, luring the Boy of Steel to an asteroid in a plan to kill his nemesis.  Luthor's plan seemed to be fool-proof, as it took help from the future, specifically Lightning Lad of the Legion of Super-Heroes, to help defeat Luthor (to enable Superboy to grow up, and the future of the Legion to exist).  But, Luthor wonders, if the future has a Legion of Super-Heroes...might it not also have a Legion of Super-Villains?

Action Comics #210

Our next adventure has plenty of action, as it has "Superman In Superman Land", which was originally presented in Action Comics #210 (November, 1955) by Bill Finger, Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye.


Reporters Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen were at the opening of a new amusement park, Superman Land....which has a motif reflecting the Man of Steel.  While touring the area, Clark performs a few low key rescues, then finally appears as Superman to sign autographs.  Not likely the fact that Superman is getting so much love, Luthor arrives to try to kill Superman with synthetic Kryptonite, planning to launch the Man of Steel into space, until Superman foils Luthor's plans.

Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #23

The last (but not least) of the reprints of this giant was from Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #23 (February, 1961) by Jerry Siegel and Kurt Schaffenberger, dealing with "The Curse Of Lena Thorul" (though an imaginary story makes the cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye).

This story introduces Luthor's sister, Lena Thorul, in the town of Cardiff.  Lois meets her first, with the young woman thinking she is being beset by strange occurrences (as she does resemble Louella Thompson, whom had been sentenced as a witch in the area, and Lena might have been her reincarnation).  Instead, Superman and Lois found out it was a recently escaped Luthor that was vexing the girl, but he didn't want her identity revealed to the girl, whose parents told her that her brother died in a fire and changed their name, moving to this area away from their original home, to allow Lena not to grow up with the burden of being Luthor's sister.



Now, this 80 Page Giant also had a few special features on Superman's vision powers and Superman's family from Superman Annuals, and quite a few of these stories found themselves reprinted in other collections featuring Superman's most deadly foe....Lex Luthor!



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Clocking In With The Time Foes

Time, time, see what's become of me....and it was time for villains such as Chronos, Clock King, Time Commander and the Calendar Man, who used time as motif in their villainous plans to gather together, with their most ambitious plot of the seasons.

But, before going into that, a little of the history of these villains, while we tick down the seconds to their big plans!

Chronos

David Clinton started off as a thief with a fascination for time pieces in the Atom #3 (October-November, 1962) by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson, but then joined the Crime Champions, the Injustice Gang of the World, the Secret Society of Super-Villains and the Suicide Squad, as well as fighting dinosaurs and playing baseball as he perfected his time travel devices.


While Ray Palmer took a little time off in the jungle, Chronos faced the Blue Beetle, ending up trapped in the time of the dinosaurs, returning home the long way (via suspended animation), making a ton of money via the stock market (having awakened a little before he had planned), facing off against the Atom again (during the Invasion!), then losing an arm during a battle with the Atom in the Atom Special #1 of 1993 by Tom Peyer and Steve Dillon.

Clock King

William Tockman faced Green Arrow in World's Finest Comics #111 (August, 1960) by Ed Herron and Lee Elias, robbing banks using a clock costume. Clock King was broken out of jail to face the Justice League (along with other foes of theirs like Flash's Captain Cold, Green Lantern's Puppet Master and Wonder Woman's Professor Menace) in Justice League of America #5 (June-July, 1961), before going back to jail again, finding out in World's Finest Comics #257 (June-July, 1979 by Paul Kupperberg, Jose Delbo and Frank McLaughlin) that the lab had made a mistake in his diagnosis (as he was robbing banks to get money for his invalid sister, as a doctor told him he had only six months to live, and his sister was dead while he was in jail, so he revealed to Green Arrow for the first time here, promising revenge again the Emerald Archer and the doctor).  Tockman faced Green Arrow again in World's Finest Comics #284 (October, 1982 by Mike W. Barr and Dan Spiegle) before the Crisis On Infinite Earths.

Then, Clock King joined with other villains Major Disaster, Cluemaster, Multi-Man and Big Sir to form the Injustice League, and tried to get aliens weapons during the Invasion! in Justice League International #23 (January, 1989).  Failing at that, the Injustice League returned a few times (even giving up being villains for a time, working as a Justice League satellite branch, the Justice League Antarctica as of Justice League America Annual #4 of 1990, being involved in the Justice League Breakdowns crossover, then going back to the villainous side for Justice League Europe #49 and #50 of 1993.

Calendar Man

Julian Day started off his time as a villain in Detective Comics #259 (September, 1958) by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris, facing off against Batman and Robin using the seasons as a motif, facing Batman five times (with the Darknight Detective having to figure out that fifth season).  It took some time for the Calendar Man to return, taking the week as inspiration for his crimes in Batman #312 (June, 1979 by Len Wein, Walter Simonson and Dick Giordano), then returning a little sooner, with the red costume most often seen in, with Batman #384 (June, 1985 by Doug Moench, Rick Hoberg and Rudy Nebres), with a superiority complex, having been recruited by the Monitor to face Batman as one of Batman's most dangerous foes (well, he's more dangerous than quite a few, but  really?), this continued into Detective Comics #551 (June, 1985), and a defeat in Batman #385 (July, 1985)...but he was able to escape and be involved in the Crisis On Infinite Earths with other villains, and escaped again in Batman #400 (October, 1986).

After a quick appearance with other lower tier villains at the Dark Side Bar in Justice League America #43 (October, 1990), Calendar Man worked with a bunch of "misfits" in Batman: Shadow Of The Bat #7 to #9 of the early 1990s by Alan Grant and Tim Sale, with Cat-Man, Killer Moth and a new villain, Chancer, who, combined, were able to prove that any villain can be deadly!



Time Commander

Last but not least is John Starr, who premiered in Brave and the Bold #59 (April-May, 1965) by Bob Haney and Ramona Fradon, facing Batman and Green Lantern as the Time Commander.  Starr at least did manipulate time a little with his hourglass, who was able to vex both heroes, by learning their secret identities and send them to other time periods as well.  The heroes teamed up to get home, and to defeat the Time Commander, who had disguised himself as Batman, by shattering his hourglass.  Time Commander returned quickly, facing Batman and Green Lantern again, in Brave and the Bold #69 (December-January, 1966/1967), this time trying to recreate Cosmo, a being of incredible power, that he also wanted to use to get revenge, but Cosmo's original creator, Dr. Carruthers, returned and Cosmo was dissolved.

Time Commander disappears for a while, with a promised battle with the Outsiders that didn't happen, but he did meet a few members of Justice League Europe (including Elongated Man, Rocket Red, Animal Man and Metamorpho) in Animal Man #16 (October, 1989 by Grant Morrison, Chas Truog and Doug Hazlewood), where Animal Man realized the Time Commander was trying to create a better world without suffering and death....at least until Metamorpho knocked Starr out, defeating "the villain".  Animal Man returned to Time Commander, hoping to use his abilities to travel in time to save his own family, but instead got involved in something weirder with the second Psycho-Pirate and help from Rip Hunter in Animal Man #22 (April, 1990).

Time Foes Gather

The time based villains began to gather in Team Titans #13 (October, 1993) by Jeff Jensen, Phil Jimenez and Will Blyberg, with Calendar Man freeing Clock King, Chronos, then Time Commander...but didn't face the time displaced teens until they cornered them in a mall trying to retrieve Time Commander's Hourglass in Team Titans #14 (November, 1993), being beaten by the kids (with the team of villains being used by the media against the heroes in Team Titans #15 of December, 1993, and the realization the foes were part of a bigger plan, being manipulated by Firestorm foes, the 2000 Committee, who were manipulated as well by others....as revealed in Team Titans #19 of April, 1994).

The Time Foes tried again to steal time travel tech, getting involved with JLA foe, the Lord of Time, in Showcase '94 #10 (September, 1994 by Mike McAvennie, Jason Armstrong and Stan Woch), but they messed up time, and the universe began to dissolve (which was a part of Zero Hour: Crisis In Time (which also wiped out the history of the Team Titans....)...

...and the Time Foes didn't make either of these covers, as their time together ran out.

Time Foes Apart

Each of the Time Foes did return later, with Chronos beginning by being recruited by Neron in Underworld Unleashed #1 (November, 1995 by Mark Waid, Howard Porter and Dan Green, and messing with the Legion of Super-Heroes while powered by Neron), Clock King forming his own team of Clockwatchers in Chase #4 (May, 1998 by D. Curtis Johnson, J.H. Williams III and Mick Gray), Calendar Man likely making his next date in Batman 80-Page Giant #3 (July, 2000 by Chuck Dixon and an army of artists including Joe Staton, Manuel Gutierrez, Mike Deodato, Graham Nolan, Louis Small Jr, Dale Eaglesham and Bill Sieinkiewicz) going weekly again and the supposedly dead Time Commander being behind the scenes in JLA #47 (November, 2000 by Mark Waid, Bryan Hitch and Paul Neary), and later in JLA #60 (January, 2002).....


...as well as being there for a death of Waverider in 52 #27 (January, 2007 by Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid, Keith Giffen, Shawn Moll, Mariah Benes, Ruy Jones, Nelson, Rodney Ramos and Prentis Rollins), and finally getting his hourglass in Justice League of America 80 Page Giant #1 (November, 2009 by Rex Ogle, Mahmud Asrar and Rob Hunter) from the Lord of Time (as the two have become foes over time....).