Thursday, October 15, 2015

Guide to Golden Age Dr. Fate Reprints

Dr. Fate premiered in More Fun Comics #55 (May, 1940) by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman fighting Wotan to save Inza Cramer using his mystic might...and Kent Nelson kept up the battle for years in More Fun Comics, both with and without his stylish helmet of Nabu.

Let's take a look at where you can read those tales more recently!

More Fun with Dr. Fate

First up, is the tale from More Fun Comics #56 (June, 1940) by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman, with Dr. Fate continuing "The Search For Wotan" (started in the previous issue) and his lady, Inza Cramer, where Kent Nelson's mystical alter ego has to search the underworld to find Inza, to free her from the clutches of the evil sorcerer/scientist.

This story found itself reprinted in the Immortal Doctor Fate #1 (January, 1985), with a cover by Walt Simonson, along with a retold Dr. Fate origin from DC Special Series #10 (April, 1978) by Paul Levitz and Joe Staton and the solo Dr. Fate story from First Issue Special #9 (December, 1975) by Martin Pasko and Walt Simonson (where the ankh symbol was more fully incorporated into the Doctor Fate mythos).

Next up is the next issue, More Fun Comics #57 (July, 1940) by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman, with Dr. Fate dealing with "The Fire Murders", bodies horribly burned to death.  Dr. Fate and Inza deal with Mango the Mighty, the sorcerer who has been burning these people, and his undead legions.

This story was reprinted in Superman #252 (June, 1972) under a high-flying cover by Neal Adams, and this issue also features Golden Age Stories of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, the Spectre, Starman, Superman and more!

Dr. Fate and Inza's next single reprint was from More Fun Comics #65 (March, 1941) by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman find the duo dealing with Nyarl-Amen and "The Fish-Men of Nyarl-Amen" to keep the U.S. Navy safe in Hawaii from these undersea invaders (all unaware of the real tragedy due to hit Pearl Harbor months later).

This tale was reprinted in Wanted, the World's Most Dangerous Villains #3 (November, 1972) under a Nick Cardy cover, and also had Golden Age Hawkman and Vigilante reprints, continuing the ties between Hawkman and Dr. Fate, as well as airing out great Golden Age stories!

Inza starts the next story, dealing with Helen, "The Leopard Girl" in More Fun Comics #66 (April, 1941) by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman, where Helen is having troubles dealing with her leopard-like spots, and her cousin, Sarkiss, who wants her inheritance.  Inza calls in Dr. Fate for help, and along the way, Dr. Fate reveals his human side to Inza.

This story was reprinted in Detective Comics #439 (February-March, 1974) under a cover by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano, with a Golden Age Hawkman reprint as well...and quite a few good Silver Age stories reprinted, as well as a new tale of Batman, and one of Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson's Manhunter tales.

With More Fun Comics #67 (May, 1941), readers finally get to see "The Origin Of Doctor Fate" by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman, where we find out how young Kent Nelson was exploring an Egyptian pyramid with his archeologist father, Sven, and Kent stumbled upon the tomb of Nabu, who Kent released (as the Lord of Order, Nabu, wasn't dead, but in a gas that kept him in suspended animation).  This gas killed Kent's dad, but Nabu raised the boy and taught him magic, also giving him the helmet of Dr. Fate.  This tale happened in flashback, and also detailed the current battle of Dr. Fate and Inza against the demon, Negal.

This tale has been reprinted a few Justice League of America #95 (December, 1971) under a Neal Adams cover (along with a tale of Dr. Mid-Nite), in the DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #9 (May, 1981) under a cover by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano (and reprints of origins for the Silver Age Atom, Swamp Thing, Batgirl, Krypto and the Silver Age Green Arrow and Speedy), in the Weird Secret Origins #1 (2004) with a cover by Jerry Ordway, and also containing the origins of the Spectre, Congorilla, Animal Man, El Diablo and the Enchantress in this superbly edited throwback collection by Robert Greenberger, which itself was reprinted along with other origin collections in the DC Universe: Secret Origins hardcover of 2012, and DC Universe: Secret Origins softcover of 2013.

Dr. Fate and Inza next deal with a mad scientist and his assistant Nasha in More Fun Comics #68 (June, 1941) by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman, with Dr. Fate wrecking the scientist's lab, showing off his mystical strength and invulnerability (and maybe a little on how less human Dr. Fate is, as opposed to Kent Nelson!).

This tale is reprinted in Detective Comics #442 (August-September, 1974) with a Jim Aparo cover, and features Golden Ages tales of Black Canary, the Newsboy Legion and Batman, as well as Silver Age Hawkman and Elongated Man tales, and a new Batman story, and the next to last original chapter of Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson's Manhunter.

More Fun Comics #73 (November, 1941) by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman was the next to be reprinted, and it had a lot happening in it.  It was the second appearance of Dr. Fate with his new half-helmet (reflecting Kent giving up some of his mystical power, but also not being controlled by Nabu any more, living with only his strength, invulnerability and flight powers), and the introduction of "Mr. Who", a criminal mastermind that would continue to vex the doctor with his Solution Z (which gave Mister Who superhuman powers).

This tale was reprinted twice on its own, once in Wanted, the World's Most Dangerous Villains #8 (June-July, 1973) with a Nick Cardy cover, and a Flash/Captain Cold battle, and reprinted again along with the rest of the contents of More Fun Comics #73 in the Millennium Edition: More Fun Comics #73 of January, 2001 along with the first appearances of Golden Age Green Arrow and Aquaman.

This was the end of the Doctor Fate reprints, though the Doctor Fate series continued on until More Fun Comics #98 (July-August, 1944), with Doctor Fate in his half-helmet, fighting more like a super-hero than a master of the mystic arts. 

Still, Dr. Fate had his time, also serving with the Justice Society as one of their charter members, and best of all, ALL of Dr. Fate's solo Golden Age adventures, with battles against Wotan, Ian Karkull, Mister Who, the Octopus, the Red Sage, the Clock and more from More Fun Comics #55 to #98 are available in the Golden Age Doctor Fate Archives #1 from 2007 (and his JSA tales in the All-Star Comics Archives).  So, at least the early tales of Dr. Fate aren't that tough to dig up, but be careful picking it up, you might not be able to put it down!  It would be magical if all DC's Golden Age was reprinted like this! 


No comments:

Post a Comment