Thursday, June 25, 2015

Charlton's Emergency Comics

Emergency was a TV series that focused on the new at the time profession of emergency medical response teams created by Jack Webb, Robert A. Cinader and Harold Jack Bloom as a spin off of Webb's Adam-12 police series.  The focus of the show was on Fire Station 51 personnel John Gage (played by Randolph Mantooth) and Roy DeSoto (played by Kevin Tighe), as they provided emergency on-location medical support for the emergency room of Rampart General Hospital, who's staff included Dr. Kelly Brackett (played by Robert Fuller), nurse Dixie McCall (played by Julie London) and neurosurgeon Dr. Joe Early (played by Bobby Troup).   

The show lasted for six seasons, starting on January 15, 1972 and going until March 26, 1977, with six made for TV movies in 1978 and 1979 focusing on the lives of those who saves lives in the Los Angeles area.

The Emergency Comic Book

Charlton made 4 issues of a color comic book based on the Emergency TV show, running from June, 1976 to December, 1976 following the adventures of John and Roy as they did their business of helping those in danger!

The stories were written by Joe Gill, and cover art was by Joe Staton for issue #1 and #2, and by Jack Sparling for issue #3 and #4, with interior art in issue #1 by a young John Byrne, and the later 3 issues by Demetrio Sanchez Gomez.


The Emergency Magazine

Charlton also put out 4 magazine editions of Emergency, being in black and white except for the cover, from July, 1976 to January, 1977.

These magazines featured multiple stories per issue, with Emergency #1 having stories by Joe Gill, Nicola Cuti and Mike Pellowski and art by Continuity Associates (a group organized by cover artist, Neal Adams).  Emergency #2 also had stories by Nicola Cuti, Mike Pellowski and Joe Gill, and art by Continuity Associates and cover by Neal Adams.

Emergency #3 had stories by Nicola Cuti, Mike Pellowski and Joe Gill, interior art by Continuity Associates, and a painted cover by Earl NoremEarl also painted the cover for Emergency #4, and interior stories were written by Nicola Cuti, Joe Gill and Mike Pellowski, and art by Win Mortimer for the first two, and by Jack Sparling for the third.

These books, along with the TV show, stand as a tribute to those whose job it is to run towards the danger....the real heroes!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

JSA Opposite: Injustice Society of the World Part 2

Just had too much villainy for one article, so, continuing with the charter members of the Injustice Society of the World...the most vile villains of the Justice Society of America that premiered in All-Star Comics #37 (October-November, 1947 by Robert Kanigher and Irwin Hasen).  Already covered are Vandal Savage, the Gambler and the are the rest!

Brain Wave

Henry King was just a kid when he discovered he could create images with just his mind...and kept working at developing his brain over the years, becoming a psychologist, setting up a practice in New York and deciding to influence others to commit crimes for him as Brain Wave.

Influencing the villain Professor Elba and setting up the illusions of war for All-Star Comics #8 and #11, Brain Wave first attacked the JSA as "The Man Who Created Images" in All-Star Comics #15 (February-March 1943, by Gardner Fox and a team of artists including Joe Gallagher, Sheldon Moldoff, Stan Aschmeier, Jack Kirby, Ed Dobrotka, Bernard Baily and Howard Sherman), wherein they are saved by their girlfriends and Wonder Woman!  Brain Wave returns in All-Star Comics #17 (June-July, 1943), with "Brain Wave Goes Berserk", using a device to shrink the JSA, and as they almost captured him, getting away in an explosion.  Henry King returned one last time alone in the Golden Age, with All-Star Comics #30 (August-September, 1948) by getting them to have their minds tested, and subjecting the team to "The Dreams of Madness"!

After working with the ISW, Brain Wave didn't return until Power Girl joined the JSA, with All-Star Comics #58 and #59 (in 1976, and showed off a new illusionary form), and was part of the group attack on the JSA in All-Star Comics #66 (May-June, 1977), and a plot against Flash and Green Lantern foiled by Power Girl in Showcase #97 to #99 (February to April, 1978).  Brain Wave joined up with Ultra-Humanite's Secret Society of Super-Villains for Justice League of America #195 to #197 (October to December, 1981), trying to wipe Earth-2's heroes out of existence (and failing), but Brain Wave, along with the Mist, Rag Doll, the Monocle and Psycho Pirate went back in time to the 1940s to work with an earlier Ultra-Humanite (and his crew which included Deathbolt and Cyclotron), which helped form Infinity Inc. (all in All-Star Squadron #26 and Annual #2 of 1983, as some of Brain Wave's earlier 1940s actions came to light in All-Star Squadron #17, #19 and #20 published in 1983).

Brain Wave met his end facing off against the Ultra-Humanite in Infinity Inc. #9 and #10 (December 1984 and January, 1985), but not before passing on more of his power to his son, Brainwave Jr., who was also instrumental in forming Infinity, Inc. and wanted to be a hero (though likely his increased power made Henry King Jr. a little crazy, as he formed a Legion of Doom to fight Captain Atom and his Justice League in Extreme Justice #14 to #18)!

Per Degaton

Per Degaton was just a lowly lab assistant, working with the Time Trust, cleaning test tubes, and had been doing menial tasks for years...until 1947, when Professor Malachi Zee invented a time machine and Degaton tried to use it to take over the world, until he was stopped by the JSA (all in All-Star Comics #35 (June-July, 1947, by John Broome and the art team of Irwin Hasen, Lee Elias, Paul Reinman, Joe Kubert and Frank Harry).  The trick here was that the JSA reversed time, so Degaton was back to washing test tubes in "The Day That Dropped Out Of Time!".  Inexplicably, Degaton was back to menace the JSA as a member of the ISW soon after, but there was more to his story....

Per Degaton had been working for the Time Trust since the days of All-Star Comics #10 (April-May, 1942), getting nowhere....but still having occasional flashes of ideas in 1947, where he tried time travel again, gathering then current (1947) JSA foes like Sky Pirate, Solomon Grundy, the Monster, Professor Zodiac and Wotan, to stop the Justice Society on December 7th, 1941 (which is what prevented these heroes from stopping the tragedy at Pearl Harbor).  Instead, Degaton unknowningly inspired President Franklin D. Roosevelt to have all United States heroes band together as the All-Star Squadron (all revealed in Justice League of America #193 of August, 1981 and All-Star Squadron #1 to #4 of September to December, 1981)..but again, at the end of this adventure, Degaton didn't remember the full details and went back to washing test tubes...

...and another adventure, involving the current Justice Society of America, the Justice League, and the 1940s All-Star Squadron as well as the Crime Syndicate of America...all in All-Star Squadron #14 and Justice League of America #207 of October, 1982, All-Star Squadron #15 and Justice League of America #208 of November, 1982 and Justice League of America #209 of December, 1982 (with the Crisis in these issues being undone, and Degaton back to the test tubes again!).

Eventually, Degaton grew tired of the test tubes, murdered Prof. Zee...but Zee ended up in taking the time machine with him!  Somehow, Degaton convinced the ISW to let him in, and then Degaton ended up destitute, being found by Brain Wave in All-Star Comics #59 (March-April, 1976), and mostly waiting in jail for his final attempt against the JSA in America vs. the Justice Society #1 to #4 in January to April, 1985...wherein the original Batman's diary was found, accusing the JSA of being Nazi collaborators!  This was not true, and the story ended with Per Degaton's death (but, this was around the time of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, and Degaton showed up their as well...and as history was being rewritten, Degaton's was as well....with Degaton being alive and well as of Infinity, Inc. Annual #2 of 1988, led up to from Young All-Stars #12 to #14 and Young All-Stars Annual #1 of 1988 and even another 1940s pre-time travel appearance in Young All-Stars #28 of August, 1989). 

JSA #59 revealed Per Degaton's "out of time" status, and his continued desire for revenge against the JSA....which he tried in JSA #65 to #72 (November, 2004 to June, 2005), with the early 1950s JSA teaming with the 2005 JSA!  Degaton has also been seen with the likes of the Ultra-Humanite, Black Beetle and Despero (who have odd timelines), with the "Time Stealers" who have appeared in Justice League of America #9 (July, 2007) and Booster Gold #5 and #7 to #10 of 2008.

The Wizard

The Wizard premiered in All-Star Comics #34 (April-May, 1947 by writer Gardner Fox and the art team of Irwin Hasen, Joe Kubert, Frank Harry, Lee Elias, Harry Lampert and Paul Reinman) in "The Wiles Of The Wizard", posing as Mr. W. I. Zard and offering the JSA money to capture villains (which they wouldn't accept as it would be too tempting to the new villain, the Wizard!), and the Wizard has cast quite a spell of villainy for decades on, returning as a founder of the Injustice Society of the World in All-Star Comics #37 (October-November, 1947) and being their only return member in All-Star Comics #41 (June-July, 1948)!

The Wizard even menaced the JSA members individually, casting a spell on Superman to remove his powers (which ended up allowing Clark Kent to marry Lois Lane), and kidnapping Larry Lance and Black Canary's daughter (who ended up becoming the second Black Canary).

The Wizard was also a founder of the Crime Champions to be involved in the first JLA/JSA Crisis of Justice League of America #21 and #22 (August and September of 1963), with the Fiddler and Icicle (and later additions to the ISW) of Earth-2, and Chronos, Dr. Alchemy and Felix Faust as JLA/Earth-1 villains.  Wizard returned to the ISW with Justice League of America #123 and #124 (October and November, 1975), and likely soon around that time, the Injustice Society of the World likely realized that they needed new villainous blood to help them defeat the JSA.

While the Injustice Society menaced the JSA in All-Star Comics #63 to #66 (1970s), the Wizard was on Earth-1, working with and then leading the Secret Society of Super-Villains (Secret Society of Super-Villains #1 through #15, except #2, from May-June, 1976 to June-July, 1978), with the Wizard getting extra power (as his magical might was waning on Earth-1) from the Sorcerer's Treasures (originally found in World's Finest Comics #103 of August, 1959), and along the way, Wizard worked with villains like Captain Cold, Gorilla Grodd, a new Star Sapphire, Matter Master, Felix Faust, Lex Luthor, Blockbuster, Reverse-Flash and the Floronic Man, and even running afoul of villains like Darkseid and the Crime Syndicate of America while fighting Captain Comet.

Sadly, it wasn't the heroes that brought this plot to an end, but the DC Implosion of 1978...though it was later revealed that the Secret Society had been thwarted by the JSA, and the Secret Society ended up in limbo (getting out involved body switching with the JLA...and was detailed in Justice League of America #166 to #168 of May to July, 1979, though the unfinished sixteenth and seventeen issues of Secret Society of Super-Villains were published in Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2 in Fall of 1978, reprinted in the second Secret Society of Super-Villains hardcover of 2012.

The Wizard dumped the Invisibility Cloak, Energy Prism and Power Gloves when he returned with the Crime Champions to work with the Earth-1 Johnny Thunder in Justice League of America #219 and #220 in October and November, 1983...

...then continued to work without them, testifying against the JSA in the third issue of America Vs. The Justice Society (March, 1985)..

...and he could have used them, as William Asmodeus Zard was easily defeated by Dr. Fate!  Wizard was also one of the sorcerer's recruited to help save the Earth in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 (March, 1986), but working with heroes was sort lived.

Wizard helped form Injustice, Unlimited (a next generation of the Injustice Society of the World), to face off against Infinity, Inc. (the inheritors of the JSA), starting with Infinity, Inc. #34 to #37 (January to April, 1987) as well as with the Lorelei in Infinity, Inc. #49 and #50 (April and May, 1988).

The Wizard then laid low for a time, as his magical power would flucuate...

...popping up in Books of Magic #2 (1990) and Day of Judgment Secret Files #1 (November, 1999), but not having much success, returning again with the Secret Society of Super-Villains in JLA #115 to #119 (August to November, 2005) dealing with fallout from Identity Crisis of 2004 and leading to the break up of the JLA right before the Infinite Crisis of 2006.

Wizard continues to reform villain teams, forming the Injustice Society of the World again in JSA: Classified #5 to #7 of January to March, 2006, working against the JSA in JSA: Classified #14 to #16 (September and October, 2006) and against another generation of JSAers in JSA: All-Stars #2 to #5 (March to June, 2010).

All of which shows there are more members of the Injustice Society of the World to be covered...and check back as we'll get around to them at some point!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

World's Finest Father's Day

Taking a moment to remember the fathers of the World's Finest super-heroes, Superman and Batman....Jor-El and Thomas Wayne.

Though no longer with them, their dads helped to make them into the heroes they became and continued to effect their lives after they were gone, as shown on these covers, with Jor-El on Superboy #121 (June, 1965 by Curt Swan), and Thomas Wayne on Detective Comics #235 (September, 1956 by Sheldon Moldoff).

Friday, June 19, 2015

Happy 100th Julie Schwartz!

Happy 100th Julie Schwartz!

If former DC editor Julie Schwartz were still with us, he would be 100 today.

The gang at DC interrupted a continuing story of Superman vs. Lex Luthor to give Julie this present of Superman #411 (September, 1985) back in the day....

Julie Schwartz gave us so much back in the day...coming up with the idea to have a "new" Flash with a scientific background, police scientist Barry Allen in Showcase #4 (September-October, 1956 with writer Robert Kanigher - who would have been 100 yesterday - and artist Carmine Infantino)...and that led to Showcase issue updates for Green Lantern and Atom, and Brave and the Bold issue updates for Hawkman and the Justice League of America!

Julie even stepped in to help his beloved comic characters one in a in Flash #179 (May, 1968 by Cary Bates and Ross Andru), wherein Barry Allen ended up at the DC offices on what would later be known as "Earth-Prime" where Barry was only thought of as a comic book character...and enlisted the help of Julie to get home in "The Flash - Fact or Fiction?".

There are so many more facts on Julius "Julie" Schwartz than what can fit here, so I leave you with a quote of his which inspires why I write...

"Take something you love, tell people about it, bring together people who share your love, and help make it better. Ultimately, you'll have more of whatever you love for yourself and the world."

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Superman Says Happy Birthday Clark Kent!

Odd that Superman could wish Clark Kent a happy birthday...especially since they are suppose to be the same person!

To help conceal his identity, Superman (who has a birthday on February 29th), doesn't share a birthday with Clark Kent (who was born on June 18th!)!

You can see, that DC has done a few tricks over the years to put Superman at odds with Clark Kent...

One of the biggest tricks they pulled was having Superman and Clark Kent team up, and they did that twice in Superman's team-up book of DC Comics Presents!

Superman meets Clark Kent

In DC Comics Presents #50 (October, 1982) in the story "When You Wish Upon A Planetoid" by writers Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn, and artists Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger, thanks to a chance encounter with the Miracle Machine (technically, its first appearance, as every other time Superman encountered this device of the Controllers, it was in the future, when Superboy, Superman's adventurous younger self, traveled to the 30th Century to work with the Legion of Super-Heroes) while saving a planet, Superman's subconscious wish of having a life separate from Clark Kent came true, and the two existed as individual beings for a time, working to thwart the Atomic Skull and his attack on S.T.A.R. Labs.

Eventually, Superman and Clark worked together and returned to being one man.

Clark Kent Meets Superman

At least until DC Comics Presents #79 (March, 1985) in the story "Superman -- Meet Clark Kent" by writer Paul Kupperberg and artists Curt Swan with Al Williamson, Superman and Clark were split by intergalactic gamblers Rokk and Sorban (and dealt with the villainous Erg-Master at this time), and the two alter egos had to work together...and become one being as well.

It might seem strange to devote time to Superman and Clark Kent working together, but they need to, and sometimes we all need to make parts of ourselves work together...the showy larger than life side full of action and heroics (one might say the Superman side) and the quieter, thoughtful, more emotional reporting side (the reporter, Clark Kent) to make us all be one functioning person!

But, you might ask, why June 18th as Clark Kent's birthday?  Well, that's the day that Kal-El arrived on Earth from Krypton and was found by the Kents...

...and, oddly enough, in 1908, it was when Bud Collyer was born (he who would voice Superman on radio and in the cartoons of the 1940s, shifting his voice an octave when he switched identities).

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

JSA Opposite: Injustice Society of the World Part 1

Every hero needs a villain....and even groups have their opposite number.

For the premiere super-team of the Justice Society of America, their evil counterpart came with All-Star Comics #37 (October-November, 1947, by Robert Kanigher and Irwin Hasen) with "The Injustice Society of the World"...a team made up of foes of the JSA!

This team was made of these members the first time around...

Vandal Savage

Starting with the oldest member of the team...the caveman, Vandar Adg was a caveman who killed his father to take over his tribe (and was exposed to the energy of a meteor, granting him an exceptionally long life, wherein he battled to control the world) and he first faced the original Green Lantern in Green Lantern Quarterly #10 (Winter, 1943 by Alfred Bester and Martin Nodell) with "The Man Who Wanted The World" (in his only Golden Age appearance besides the team adventure).

Vandal Savage was responsible for the return of the Justice Society, fighting the two Flashes in Flash #137 (June, 1963), and returned again and again, not only to face the JSA, but also the Flashes (Jay Garrick and Barry Allen in Flash #215 and #235 in the 1970s  and Wally West in Flash #1, #2, #13 to #16 and more in the 1980s and Flash #48 to #50 in the 1990s), Superman (Action Comics #515 #516, #542, #543 and #556 in the 1980s), Rip Hunter with the Forgotten Heroes (Action Comics #552 and #553 in February and March, 1984) and Time Masters (Time Masters 8 issue mini-series in 1990), the Martian Manhunter and his Justice League Task Force (including Gypsy in Justice League Task Force #17-#21, #25, #27, #28 and #37 and the Ray in Ray #14-#21 and #28), Hawkman (Hawkman #29 and #30 in February and March, 1996), Arsenal (in the four issue Arsenal mini-series of 1998) and the Titans (fronting their gathering of foes, Tartarus in Titans #5 to #12 in 1999), Resurrection Man (Resurrection Man #24 to #27 of 1999), and even his own daughter, Scandal Savage and her group, the Secret Six (Villains United #5 and #6 of November and December 2005, and Secret Six #3 to #6 of September to December, 2006), as well as being the driving force in getting the Justice Legion A to come back to the current time in DC One Million...

Someone worth more of a look in the future, especially as more tales from his past come to light as well, as it seems this villain has been fighting the JSA even before they became the JSA (in JSA #42 to #44 of January to March, 2003), and was instrumental in helping them end as well (mentioned in Justice Society of America #1 to #8 of 1991, and JLA: Year One #2 and #3 of February and March, 1998)...

...not bad for an old man around almost as long as the dinosaurs, eh?

The Gambler

Next up is another foe of the original Green Lantern, Steven Sharpe III premiered in Green Lantern Quarterly #12 (Summer, 1943 by Henry Kuttner and Martin Nodell) in "The Gambler".  Steven tried to marry his high school sweetheart right after graduation, but the girl, Helen, ran off with another local boy who won the lottery.  Then, Steven encountered an armored car that lost a bag of money, and he could see the writing on the was better to take a chance and hope for luck, and he became a Gambler, like his grandfather.

The Gambler picked up skills like mastering disguise, throwing knives and guns (his gimmicked to fire ammonia or blackout gas), and ran across Green Lantern (Alan Scott) next to his own wanted poster in Gotham City!  Gotham seemed to have a problem keeping criminals in jail, or maybe it was just luck...the Gambler returned again and again in the Golden Age, with Green Lantern #20 (June-July, 1946), Green Lantern #27 (August-September, 1947), joining the ISW, and coming back to face Green Lantern twice more, in Green Lantern #30 (February-March, 1948) and Green Lantern #35 (November-December, 1948), though as luck would have it, he didn't make it onto any of those covers.

The Gambler returned once more with the Injustice Society, facing off against the combined JLA and JSA in Justice League of America #123 and #124 (October and November, 1975) and surviving the Crisis on Infinite Earths #9 (December, 1985), before being cheated of his ill-gotten gains, and shooting himself in the head with his own derringer.  Still, his legacy continued with his granddaughter, Rebecca, who joined Injustice, Unlimited to face Infinity, Inc. with her own luck power (starting in Infinity, Inc. #34 of January, 1987), and his grandson, Steven Sharpe V, who became the new Gambler, to join with the Royal Flush Gang and face the New Teen Titans (in New Titans #68 and #69 of July and September, 1990).

The Thinker 

Clifford DeVoe first faced the original Flash in All-Flash #12 (Fall, 1943, by Gardner Fox and Everett Hibbard) in the "Tumble Inn to Trouble".  Clifford was a lawyer, who just couldn't make any money, failing in prosecuting mobster Hunk Norvock, and realized that criminals, who had the skills to make money, but not the smarts, just needed someone to lead them, to be their "Thinker", to find success.  The Thinker came to face the Flash, more than occasionally using the latest scientific devices, but failed again and again, in All-Flash #14 (Spring, 1944), All-Flash #27 (February-March, 1947), Comic Cavalcade #22 (August-September, 1947), Comic Cavalcade #23 (October-November, 1947), the team appearance, All-Flash #32 (December-January, 1947/1948) and one unpublished Golden Age adventure presented in Flash #214 (April, 1972).

The Thinker, along with the Fiddler and the Shade, kept Keystone City under their personal control, until defeated by the combined efforts of Flashes Barry Allen and Jay Garrick (Flash #123 of September, 1961), with Clifford now using the Thinking Cap of Dr. Hartford Jackson (from Flash Comics #65 of June, 1945), which gave the mob organizer amplified brain power, including projecting mental force.  Soon after being defeated by the two Flashes, the Thinker moved up to full super-villain mode, getting a costume and improving the helmet, facing off against the two Atoms in Atom #29 (February-March, 1967), then working with old Flash foe, the Rag Doll, in Flash #229 (September-October, 1974), rejoining the ISW in All-Star Comics #66 (May-June, 1977), and facing off against the Huntress and Power Girl in Wonder Woman #274 to #276 (December to February, 1980/1981)...all the while pretty much avoiding being on a comic cover!

The Thinker died when recruited for a mission for the Suicide Squad in Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad #1 (1988), but really thought his way out of this fighting mess, instead dying quietly from brain cancer in Flash #134 (February, 1998) even when Jay Garrick tried to revive him by finding his original thinking cap; Clifford still wanted to die as it was his time.

The Thinker continued, with Ronnie Raymond's high school nemesis, Cliff Carmichael, getting the Thinking Cap DeVoe left behind from Amanda Waller, and being the new Thinker for a time (starting in Firestorm #99, July, 1990)...and another version of the Thinker in an Artificial Intelligence that was part of a new Injustice Society of the World (starting in JSA #16, November, 2000) (that eventually went to work for Amanda Waller in Checkmate, no less).

Check back soon for the other 3 original members, Brain Wave, Per Degaton and The Wizard!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Batman vs Dinosaurs

Holy Jurassic World, Batman!

If you think having the Gotham guardian of Batman facing off against dinosaurs is an odd idea....

...think again!

First Fight

Back in the earliest days of Batman (Batman #35, June-July, 1946 by Bill Finger and Bob Kane), Batman and Robin went to "Dinosaur Island" at the request of Murray Wilson Hart to try out his new exhibit which included robot dinosaurs.  Batman and Robin volunteered to be the prey on a mock hunt, not knowing that criminal Stephen Chase took over the controls, and made it much more deadly!

This case proved to make a lasting impression on Batman, as one of the dinosaur robots ended up as trophy in the Batcave!  This story was also reprinted a few times, and can be read if you find a copy of Batman #256 (May-June, 1974) or in the Secrets of the Batcave tradepaperback, which came out in 2007.

The Kids Get In The Act

Not to be outdone, but Batgirl and Robin went to the "Isle of A Thousand Thrills" in Batman Family #3 (January-February, 1976, by Elliot S. Maggin and Jose-Luis Garcia Lopez), where the dynamite duo faced off against not only dinosaurs, but future soldiers and even the Spanish Inquisition while there!  Holy Monty Python, Batman (because no one expects the Spanish Inquisition)!  This story is also important, as this is when Batgirl and Robin learned each others' alter egos of Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson!

Twice Told Tale

In light of a few decades of publishing history, Batman's history changed a few times, so the story of how the robot dinosaur changed a little over the years.  Batman Chronicles #8 (Spring, 1997) gave us the updated (that is, post Frank Miller's Batman: Year One) version of how Batman got that dinosaur trophy (without Robin), still with Murray Hart (but dead this time) and Stephen Chase as the villain in this well told tale by writer and artist Graham Nolan (who gave thanks to Chuck Dixon, as well as Bill Finger and Dick Sprang) for the inspiration, and we can all thank Graham Nolan for doing this!

Bill Finger and Dick Sprang added so much to Bob Kane's Batman, that we all should be thankful for what they've done!  Take a look at this wonderful work by Dick Sprang lithograph done for DC in 1995....

...just be happy we've been invited along for the ride!  Graham Nolan had Alfred summed up the best reason for keeping the incredibly large dinosaur trophy (and this is one of the great secrets of the Batcave, one not even gotten in Batman #203)..."Master Bruce wondered if what he does make a difference.  It does.  And now he will be able to see it".

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A World of Topps' Jurassic Park Comics

Topps, usually known for baseball cards, expanded into the new world (at least to them) of comic books from 1993 to 1998.

One of its biggest properties besides X-Files, Mars Attacks, Dracula, Xena and Zorro was the licensed adaptations of Jurassic Park (and it's sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park) and a few original series based on this world of Michael Crichton's!

Jurassic Park

The first series of Jurassic Park comics with 4 issues that came out in June, 1993 to August, 1993, and was an adaptation of the movie written by Walt Simonson and drawn by Gil Kane and George Perez, and covers for the first two issues by Kane and Perez (and a variant on issue #2), and the last two covers were by Dave Cockrum.

Topps also provided "collector's editions"...

....that came polybagged, and had 3 collector's cards with them (hey, it was Topps after all, cards were how they made their living for decades)...

...and they even polybagged a tradepaperback collection of these 4 issues (with a zero issue, and more cards as well!).

Well, it was the 1990s, and bagging and selling comics as collectibles was the rage!

Jurassic Park: Raptor

First up in their original comics were two issues of Jurassic Park: Raptor as the "Official Continuation of the Hit Movie" by Steve Englehart and Armando Gil (with covers by Michael Golden) in November and December, 1993 (just the two issues)...

...and of course, bagged with 3 William Stout trading cards!

Jurassic Park: Raptors Attack

The next original series up was Jurassic Park: Raptors Attack from March to June, 1994 with stories by Steve Englehart, and art by Chaz Truog, and covers by Michael Golden for 4 issues as "the biggest Blockbuster ever continues!".

Still more adventures of Dr. Alan Grant and Dr. Ellie Sattler facing off against dinosaurs!

Really neat, and reprinted in Topps' Jurassic Park Adventures #3-6, while Jurassic Park Adventures #1 and #2 had Jurassic Park: Raptor #1 and #2.

Jurassic Park: Raptors Hijack

After the dinosaurs attacked, then they'd hijack, and that was the following mini-series of 4 issues by Steve Englehart and Neil Vokes...Jurassic Park: Raptors Hijack #1 to #4 from July to November, 1994. does seem like they are just cloning these books as they go along (but, go with it, as cloning dinosaurs was the theme of the movie....), and these tales were reprinted in Jurassic Park Adventures #6 to #10.

Jurassic Park Annual

Jurassic Park had it's one and only annual (with Jurassic Park Annual #1) in May of 1995, with 2 all-new stories and art by Bob Almond, Neil Garrett Jr., Michael Golden, Ed Murr, Andrew Pepoy, Claude St. Aubin and Renee Witterstaetter...

...and, at this time, the writing was beginning to show up on the cave walls....

...but, never count a Velociraptor or a Tyrannosaurus Rex out at any time, as they return more than Jason did in Friday the 13th (also a property used by Topps Comics!).

Return To Jurassic Park

A slightly new title was made to the new series of Return To Jurassic Park that started in April of 1995 and ran nine issues until February of 1996.

Issues #1 to #4 of Return to Jurassic Park were done by Steve Englehart and Joe Staton, Return to Jurassic Park #5 through #8 were by Tom & Mary Bierbaum and Armando Gil with the storyline of "Heirs To Thunder"...

...then Return to Jurassic Park #9, the final issue of this run of the series, which came out in February, 1996, was a "Jurassic Jam" issue, featuring work by writers Keith Giffen, Renee Witterstaetter and Dwight Zimmerman and a dinosaur-sized set of talented artists including Aaron Lopresti, Adam Hughes, Brian Stelfreeze, Cully Hammer, George Perez, Jason Pearson, Jeff Butler, John Byrne, June Brigman, Kelly Freas, Kerry Gammill, Kevin Maguire, Mike Docherty, Mike Zeck, Mitch O'Connell, Pat Broderick, Paul Chadwick, Paul Gulacy, Rafael Kayanan, Ron Lim, and Walter Simonson and a cover by John Bolton!

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park had a sequel in 1997 called The Lost World: Jurassic Park, set four years after the original movie, and it dealt with more dinosaurs (as well as the return of Ian Malcolm) to deal with the mistakes made when John Hammond unleashed these cloned dinosaurs on the world as the Bowman family dealt with new threats off the coast of Central America (and Peter Ludlow, the nephew of John Hammond), tried to take over InGen (the parent company that started this mess) and the dinosaurs.

This time around, for the comic series of The Lost World: Jurassic Park (May to August, 1997), Walt Simonson provided the covers, Don McGregor did the comic writing, and the art was provided by Jeff Butler for The Lost World: Jurassic Park #1 and #2, and by Claude St. Aubin for The Lost World: Jurassic Park #3 and #4.

Also added this time around were photo cover variants for the issues....but, soon after this, Topps Comics was as dead as the dinosaurs.

IDW To The Rescue

Still, IDW Publishing got the rights to Jurassic Park, and it made tradepaperback collecting these series...Classic Jurassic Park #1 has Jurassic Park #1 to #4Classic Jurassic Park #2: Raptors Revenge has Jurassic Park #0, Jurassic Park; Raptor #1 and #2, and Jurassic Park: Raptors Attack #1 to #4, Classic Jurassic Park #3: Amazon Adventure! has Jurassic Park Annual #1, and Jurassic Park: Raptors Hijack #1 to #4, Classic Jurassic Park #4: Return to Jurassic Park Part 1 has Return to Jurassic Park #1 to #4, and Classic Jurassic Park #5: Return to Jurassic Park Part 2 has Return to Jurassic Park #5 to #9.

IDW has even made its own adaptations as well, continuing on the work started by Topps, and continuing the hard work to resurrect dinosaurs, with its own 5 issue Jurassic Park series from June to October, 2010 (by Bob Schrek and Nate Van Dyke), 5 issues of Jurassic Park: Dangerous Games from September, 2011 to January, 2012 (by Erik Bear and Jorge Jimenez), and 4 issues of Jurassic Park: The Devils In The Desert from January to April, 2011 (by John Byrne) ....when will they ever learn not to clone things from left behind DNA?