Thursday, June 22, 2017

Giant Superboy 100 Page Super Spectacular

Technically, it is the 100 Page Super-Spectacular #DC-21 of October, 1973, with a cover by Nick Cardy, featuring Superboy as the larger than life lead, with friends like the Teen Titans, Kid Eternity, Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes as features of the issue.
Here's a look at the special stories contained within the pages of this volume....

Superboy #94

First up is the story of "The Superboy Revenge Squad" from Superboy #94 (January, 1962), which originally had a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye, and original story by Robert Bernstein and George Papp.

Aliens planned on finding Superboy's home planet, so they can destroy it.  So, to protect Ma and Pa Kent (and all of Earth), Superboy hypnotized himself to forget his Superboy identity for 24 hours, living as just Clark Kent (so the aliens couldn't home in on him).  But, what of all the problems Superboy usually dealt with?  Well, Clark's friend, Pete Ross (who had secretly found out Clark's Kryptonian identity, but Clark doesn't know Pete knows), takes action, tricking Clark to accidentally use his powers to save people (but Clark then thinks Pete is Superboy while under the influence!).  The ploy worked, the aliens left, and Superboy's memories returned, none the wiser that of the help Pete performed!

Action Comics #313

Next up is the Supergirl back up story from Action Comics #313 (June, 1964), with "Lena Thorul, Jungle Princess", by Leo Dorfman and Jim Mooney (though the cover is for the lead story of the issue, which is by Curt Swan and George Klein).

Lena Thorul was trying to join the FBI, with the government agency sending her to interview Lex Luthor (unknown to them and her, her brother).  With her ESP powers, she finally finds out the truth, which sends the girl into amnesia-like state, eventually wandering to Africa, where she uses her mental powers to work with animals, then returns to the USA when her memories start to come back.  Lex breaks out of jail to invent a formula to remove bad memories, exposes Lena to it so she can forget he is her brother, then is returned to jail by Supergirl.

Adventure Comics #117

Time for an early tale of the young Superman, Superboy, from Adventure Comics #117 (June, 1947) called "The Miracle Plane" by Bill Finger, John Sikela and George Roussos, under a cover by Jack Burnley and George Roussos.

Superboy helps an inventor, who is also the father of Clark Kent's classmate, Gene Dekker, who has invented a VTOL aircraft (which Gene makes a model of and enters in a class contest).  Superboy stops thieves who try to steal the model, with Gene then winning the contest, and Superboy builds a full-size model of the plan, that also works, delighting both the boy and his dad!

Kid Eternity #9

Next up is a lively story from Kid Eternity #9 (Spring, 1948) by William Woolfolk and Al Bryant, featuring Kid Eternity, hero called to heaven too soon and his pal, Mr. Keeper (who originally made the mistake, and now oversees him to help his heroic efforts).

Kid Eternity uses his powers to temporarily revive the dead to help a dying newspaper reporter make a story against local criminal, the Beagle, so that Joe Hodges has a chance to have his name remembered for cleaning up crime in his hometown.  The Kid calls on Mercury (how odd, as the god shouldn't be dead), reporter Richard Harding Davis, and even Cyrano de Bergerac to stop the Beagle (though the Beagle kills Hodges to stop the story, but the Kid revives him, allowing him to finish his last story).

Adventure Comics #332

It's an epic adventure from Adventure Comics #332 (May, 1965) from Edmond Hamilton, John Forte and George Klein, all under a cover by Curt Swan and George Klein, where Superboy and his 30th Century friends, the Legion of Super-Heroes, face off against "The Super-Moby Dick Of Space".

Lightning Lad answers an emergency call from a freighter being attacked by a space creature, and response to save lives as a Legionnaire would, but the beast is able to reflect the boy's lightning powers back at him (poisoning the lighting before it goes  back to Lightning Lad, infecting his arm).  Lightning Lad awakes to find Dr. Lanphier saved his live, but had to amputate his arm.  This causes Lightning Lad to want to hunt down the monster to kill it.  Superboy, Ultra Boy (who got his powers being swallowed by a space creature), Colossal Boy, Saturn Girl, Sun Boy and Brainiac 5 all try to capture the creature, but fail, until Lightning Lad hits it with beams from the robotic arm the doctor gave him.  The creature reduces in size, and Lightning Lad explains Lanphier had enlarged the creature, and gave Lightning Lad the way to defeat him (and the madness Lightning Lad had passed, though the boy hoped to have a real arm again some day....). 

Brave and the Bold #54

Technically called the first appearance of the Teen Titans, Brave and the Bold #54 (June-July, 1964) features Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad in their first meeting, facing off against "The Thousand-and-one Dooms Of Mr. Twister" in a story by Bob Haney, Bruno Premiani and Sheldon Moldoff (with a cover by Bruno Premiani).

The sidekicks of Batman, Flash and Aquaman gathered together to help the kids of Hatton Corners, who are at odds with their parents, as Mr. Twister has kidnapped all the kids, and uses his mystic stick to control the weather, but the super-kids work together to stop the menacing man, with Robin delivering the villain's end, and the children are freed to reunite with their parents.

Superboy #50

Last but not least is "The Super Giant Of Smallville" from Superboy #50 (July, 1956) by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Stan Kaye, which was originally under a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye.

Superboy saves Professor Tinker, an odd scientist living near Smallville, who wants to test his Titanic Tonic formula on the Boy of Steel.  It doesn't work, but Superboy uses optical illusions and a giant puppet to fool the professor into thinking it did.  The supposed giant-sized Superboy still tries to rescue people as the professor tries to make a cure, but ends up causing more damage due to his "enlarged size".  Eventually, the professor comes up with an "antidote", and Superboy hides his giant tools, but was really using his giant self to show the professor that some of his inventions could be dangerous, and to concentrate on safer endeavors (would that other professors Superboy knows would follow his example!).

The back cover of the issue features a cover gallery of four of the stories above (the Adventure Comics, Kid Eternity and the Brave and the Bold), as well as a letters' page, which featured letters on a previous Superboy Super Spectacular (and, of course, Superboy also had an 80-Page Giant in the past, both of which will be looked at in the future!).

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Swing Into Summer With Green Lantern, Wonder Woman And Flash

Today is the first day of Summer, and, using Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Flash as a guide, you should be outside, enjoying the they did on the cover of Comic Cavalcade #3 (Summer, 1943) by Frank Harry.

No scene like this exists in the comic....instead we are treated to separate stories of the heroes:

"The Invisible Invader" featuring Wonder Woman by William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter, "The Guy Who Liked Bananas" with The King by Gardner Fox and Jon Chester Kozlak, "Master Sgt. Meyer Levin, Bombardier And Hero" featuring real life hero Sgt. Meyer Levin by Jon L. Blummer, "A Little Savage Revenge" featuring fictional pilot Hop Harrigan, also by Jon L. Blummer, "The Man Most Likely To Succeed" with Sargon The Sorceror by John B. Wentworth and Sheldon Moldoff, "The Bushmster" featuring Green Lantern by Bill Finger and Stan Aschmeier,  and "The Laws Of Pumpkin Center" with the Flash by Gardner Fox and Lou Ferstadt (along with Mutt & Jeff one-pagers inside).

Best of all, this issue, along with Comic Cavalcade #1 and #2, were reprinted in the Comic Cavalcade Archive #1 (and only) in April, 2005.

Now, stop reading and go outside!!!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Batman Movie Anniversary

On June 19, 1989, Batman the movie arrived in theaters, with Michael Keaton as Batman, Jack Nicholson as the Joker, Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale, Pat Hingle as Com. James Gordon and Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth directed by Tim Burton.

DC produced two adaptations of the movie, one deluxe Baxter paper additions, both with covers by artist Jerry Ordway!

Inside the books were the story of Batman as told in this movie, adapted by writer Denny O'Neil and drawn by Jerry Ordway.

Always odd to see a story from comics, made into a movie, then turned back into a comic!  Still, a very interesting look at what movies can well as what works well in a comic book!

Notable as well, for launching a Batman craze in the comics, with Batman taking a major position at DC (yet also remaining a little distant from the rest of the company's characters), and drawing from the very serious treatment of Batman from Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's The Killing Joke, as well as Frank Miller's work on The Dark Knight Returns with a larger than life Batman/Joker battle and a focus on the psychological ramifications of who created whom, as well as setting up a line of sequels, and ushering in a run of comic book based movies.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Fathers Day Batman

Happy Father's Day, Batman, as tough as it may be for you.

Here's the cover of Batman: The Long Halloween #9 (August, 1997), of a 13 issue mini-series by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, with Batman paying homage to his deceased father, Thomas Wayne, as we pay homage to those who have lost a dad.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Marvel Family Versus The Mad Mummy

With Billy Batson getting his amazing powers as Captain Marvel after he said "Shazam" (the name of an ancient Egyptian wizard, and Billy's mentor), you'd figure that the Marvel Family would face a mummy at some point!

They did, in Marvel Family #79 (January, 1953) when "The Marvel Family Battles The Dynasty Of Horror" by Otto Bender, C.C. Beck and Pete Costanza, including the Mad Mummy (who, after his pyramid was found on the bottom of the ocean, and brought to the surface by Cap, Mary and Junior, who then had to face the monster, freed from his prison of a thousand years, and his gathering of monsters as well....).

The family even got advice from Shazam, as the old Wizard had faced him as well 5000 years ago (or so Shazam said....).

This attempt at cashing in on the horror craze didn't save Shazam or the Marvel Family, as their issues at Fawcett ended 10 later with Marvel Family #89 (January, 1954)...

....but the Marvel Family survived, ending up at DC years later!

Holy Moley!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wonder Woman Versus The Mummy

Think Wonder Woman would have trouble with a mummy?

Think again, as Wonder Woman #161 (April, 1966) by Robert Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito has Wonder Woman fighting "The Curse Of Cleopatra"!

Studio executive Magnum Magnus wanted Wonder Woman's help with his mummy movie, as his stars fell under the curse of the tomb, so Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman headed out to play Antony and Cleopatra!

While at the pyramid, it is found out that Countess Draska Nishki is really the mummy, and is defeated by Wonder Woman.

So, in a battle between Wonder Woman and a mummy, we'd know who would win!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Remembering Adam West

What to say about Adam West....the man who was linked with Batman since 1966 and the man behind the mask?

Who inspired generations of fans with his Batman TV Show?

Who was able to work seriously with a camp style Batman?

Whose series introduced non-comic reading America to not only Batman, but also to Robin and, later, Batgirl...

....and a host of Bat-Villains, like the Joker, Catwoman, Riddler, Penguin, Mr. Freeze and the Mad Hatter?

Who got a chance to drive every type of vehicle as the hero...

...from Batmobile to Batcopter to Batcycle to Batboat, proving that there was nowhere for criminals to run?

Who got to introduce fans to other DC heroes live in the Legends of the Superheroes over a decade after his show was off the air.....though it was two of the most forgettable hours of television aired, coming in second to last in both episodes of the specials that aired in the late 1970s?

Who got to come back to the world of Batman, being "Simpsonized" for the Simpsons, playing Batman's mentor (Gray Ghost) in the Batman: the Animated Series, and even back to the Batcave for himself, with a new animated Batman movie in the 1960s style?

Well, we can look back at all that he's done, and say, thanks, old chum.....while the 1960s light-hearted TV Show might not have shown Batman in his best light, it did inspire others, putting Batman in the forefront of DC's heroes for a time, and that was due in no small part to the talents of Adam West.