Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Fifth Super-Team Family

It's time for another look back at the classic title of Super-Team Family, this time, being Super-Team Family #5 (June-July, 1976), with stories featuring Superman, Superboy, Batman and Eclipso....


...all under a cover by Ernie Chan!


Brave and the Bold #64

First up is the story from Brave and the Bold #64 (February-March, 1966) by Bob Haney and Win Mortimer, featuring "Batman versus Eclipso", under a stunning cover by Gil Kane.

Eclipso comes to Gotham after splitting from Bruce Gordon during an eclipse in Solar City, thanks to the Queen Bee (Marcia Monroe, who also got Batman thrown in jail, as part of a master plan to join the super-secret criminal organization, C.Y.C.L.O.P.S.), with Bruce Gordon, Mona Bennet and her father consulting with Com. James Gordon to help take down Eclipso, resulting in a battle between Eclipso and Batman on the HIVE (the building which housed the criminal organization....).

After the cancellation of Eclipso's House of Secrets series (which this original Brave & the Bold tale took place during), he next showed up in Justice League of America #109, where Batman was aware of his activities....  

Superboy #47

The second story reprinted in this issue is Superboy #47 (March, 1956) by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and John Giunta, where "Superboy Meets Superman", with a original cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye.

Superboy had the idea of going back in time to find out when Metropolis was founded, but was sleepy and failed to take into account an eclipse, so he instead ended up in the future...and met himself!  Problem was, neither Superman nor Superboy could travel in time now, so they seemed to be trapped (and Lois Lane had proof that Superman was Clark Kent, so the Kryptonians were doubly doomed).  Thankfully, Superboy was there to save Superman's secret....and then the two super-heroes put their head together (in a style suggested by the cover, as an irresistible force and an immovable object couldn't exist at the same time (and it worked, hurling Superboy back to his own time in Smallville, where he fell asleep after the effort, then awoke to wonder if it was all a dream....

....or an imaginary story, but hey, aren't they all?).

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Eclipso After House Of Secrets

Eclipso was the main villain of House of Secrets for a time, running from House of Secrets #61 (July-August, 1963 by Bob Haney and Lee Elias) to House of Secrets #80 (September-October, 1966) as one of its main features.  Eclipso was the evil half of Solar City scientist Bruce Gordon, released when medicine man, Morphir, scratched Bruce during an eclipse with a black diamond, causing Bruce to change into Eclipso whenever there was an eclipse, first destroying Solar City and fighting with its co-creator, Prof. Simon Bennet, and his daughter, Mona (who was the love of Bruce's life).

Later, any eclipse of a light source would bring on Eclipso, and Eclipso would manifest separate from Bruce Gordon, but any strong source of light would put him back into Gordon's body.

This initial run ended, with Eclipso only having faced Prince Ra-Man (his co-star hero in House of Secrets) and Batman (in an issue of Brave and the Bold).  Still, can't keep a good villain down, and Eclipso returned again....

Justice League of America

Bruce Gordon returned first in Justice League of America #109 (January-February, 1974) by Len Wein, Dick Dillin and Dick Giordano, with "The Doom Of The Divided Man" under a Nick Cardy cover (without Eclipso on it).


Bruce Gordon returned, trying to cure himself, but instead created two extra Eclipsos (drawing power from the Earth, nearly dooming our planet), with the three Eclipsos being quite the menace for a nearly full contingent of the JLA (except Green Lantern, but including Batman, who had faced Eclipso before), with the League eventually defeating the villain, but no luck for Bruce Gordon.



 

Metal Men

"Who Is Bruce Gordon And Why Is He Doing Those Terrible Things To Himself?" was the title of Metal Men #48 (October-November, 1976) by Gerry Conway, Martin Pasko and Walter Simonson (with Walter Simonson providing the cover...).

Mona Bennet knew, and told Nurse Isobel Sullivan and her friend, Johanna Rome, who brought her to Doctor Will Magnus (the creator of the Metal Men), who help stop Eclipso.

Eclipso faced Tin, Platinum, Iron, Gold, Lead and Mercury, heading to the Peruvian cave of Morphir and his cult on Diablo Island, using an ancient tablet and his black diamond to summon Umbra, the dark god...


...then, "The Dark God Cometh!" in Metal Men #49 (December-January, 1976/1977) by Martin Pasko and Walter Simonson (who also did this cover).


Umbra empowered Eclipso, and it was revealed that Morphir was trying to release Umbra when Bruce Gordon first interrupted him during the eclipse where Morphir scratched Gordon (and Morphir died).  Umbra planned on sacrificing the humans there to release the rest of the dark gods and destroy the Earth, but were stopped by Dr. Magnus and his Metal Men, with Mona and Bruce hoping that Eclipso was gone for good as Umbra's tablet was destroyed.



Adventure Comics

Bruce Gordon, Mona and Professor Simon Bennet quietly returned as a back up feature in Adventure Comics #457 (May-June, 1978) and Adventure Comics #458 (July-August, 1978) by Len Wein and Joe Orlando (with Frank Giacoia inking #457's "The Symbiont Syndrome", and Bob Layton inking #458's "He Who Survives!"). 

Simon and Mona were again trying to split Bruce and Eclipso, with Bruce fading away due to their split (and Eclipso escaping), trying to get more power, but ending up re-merged with Bruce Gordon again (and all this had nothing to do with Superboy, who was fading out on his own in the front story of each of these books).

This wasn't the end for Eclipso, or for Bruce Gordon, who got a job at Ferris Air for a time...



Green Lantern

Then, Eclipso returned in Green Lantern #136 (January, 1981) with "The Space Ranger Strikes Back" by Marv Wolfman and Joe Staton, at a particularly Crisis filled time for Green Lantern Hal Jordan (under a cover by Rich Buckler, Frank McLaughlin, Joe Staton, Dave Cockrum and Dick Giordano!).

Dealing with a missing Carol Ferris, a menace in 5708 (where Chairman Dasor of the Solar Delegates would bring Hal to from his current time, wiping Hal's memory and reprogramming him as Pol Manning, to be aided by Iola Vane), but Eclipso's appearance messed that up, instead with Hal ending up in Space Ranger's time (where he would be occupied for this and the next issue, fighting the Gordanians in both time periods)...all while having to deal with only having one 24 hour charge of his Power Ring!

Hal returned home to "Total Eclipso" in Green Lantern #138 of March, 1981 by Marv Wolfman, Roy Thomas and Joe Staton (and a cover by Dick Giordano), saving Thomas Kalmaku of Ferris Air and turning Eclipso back into Bruce Gordon....


....Hal then went on to deal with other trouble (as well as getting Bruce Gordon to recap Eclipso's origin to him), with Hal feeling the world was safe from Eclipso...


...but Eclipso came out again with his real plan, which is visible on the cover, bringing out Hal Jordan's evil side under an eclipse....


 ...and played out in Green Lantern #139 (April, 1981) by Marv Wolfman, Roy Thomas and Joe Staton (and another cover by Dick Giordano), under the title of "Slay On, Silvery Moon!".

Eclipso used a satellite he built (and called the Murder Moon) which he planned to use to eclipse the Earth, and bring out everyone's evil.  Hal, injured fighting his evil side, ended up back at Ferris Air (where Carol had returned, but threatening to blow up the airfield).  Green Lantern had to leave that behind and stop Eclipso's Murder Moon (manned by Nega-Men Eclipso had summoned up with the increased power his moon gave him).  Green Lantern used that extra power to split Eclipso from Bruce, casting Eclipso and his black diamond into space, stopping his plan for a while...

...but Eclipso returned (as Bruce Gordon got a job at the rebuilt Ferris Air), in Green Lantern #185 (February, 1985, by Len Wein and Dave Gibbons) to cameo in...



..."In Blackest Day" (the first of two stories in this issue) to prepare to face new Green Lantern John Stewart (with facts about how John became Green Lantern to replace Hal Jordan for a time, setting up for a battle royale...


...."In Brightest Night...!" in Green Lantern #186 (March, 1985, by Len Wein and Dave Gibbons), explaining how Eclipso got back to his Murder Moon, which he was now using to kidnap crew members (including Bruce Gordon) of Ferris Air...

...who had to be rescued by new "hero" Predator, with Green Lantern stopping Eclipso (maybe for good?) as Eclipso lost control of his Murder Moon's tractor beam, and it turned into a death ray.

Bruce Gordon showed up in the next issue of Green Lantern, but Eclipso didn't return until Swamp Thing #46 (March, 1986, as a cameo on the Monitor's satellite) and Crisis On Infinite Earths #9 (December, 1985), working with other villains (and no explanation of where he had come from).

Seems time to bring down the sun on Eclipso for now, but Eclipso did return, menacing the Outsiders, the Phantom Stranger and Starman (Will Payton), Lobo and Power Girl, before revealing that he was an even bigger menace than readers knew in Eclipso: The Darkness Within #1 (July, 1992), which kicked off a series of crossovers in Annuals across the DC Universe.



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Jack Kirby's Guardian And The Newsboy Legion

Back in the 1940s, kids were regularly put in danger...even by super-heroes (though, back then they were called mystery men....except for the ladies that fought crime, of course).  One of the more interesting of the lot was the Guardian, a beat cop in Suicide Slum (a part of Metropolis), who worked with a group of kids, the Newsboy Legion, stopping crime and other trouble in tales mostly by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon.

The Early Days

The first tale of the Guardian and the Newsboy Legion appeared in Star-Spangled Comics #7 (April, 1942) by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, where readers were introduced to Officer Jim Harper, who has criminals hand him his head....so, to get back at them, he designs a costume, learns to fight, finds those criminals and turns them over to the police, taking the name of the Guardian, which proves to be apt for Harper's alter ego, as Harper finds four hooligans on the streets, but instead of having them thrown in jail, agrees to become their guardian.  The boys, who then peddle papers as the Newsboy Legion, are talkative Gabby, feisty fighter Scrapper, tall and intelligent Big Words and the handsome leader of the group, Tommy (Tommy Tompkins), suspecting officer Jim Harper to be the Guardian, and helping the sometimes over his head hero out on his cases.

The Newsboy Legion (who were the stars of the feature) and their adult sidekick continued their adventures in Star-Spangled Comics, and even worked with the Golden Age Sandman and the Boy Commandos in Boy Commandos #1 (Winter, 1942) and Detective Comics #76 (June, 1943) being a part of very few series crossovers at the time.  Sadly, Jack Kirby and Joe Simon did not cover all of the Newsboy Legion's adventures, and after they were gone (having to be in the war for a time, then coming back, with their last issue appearing in Star-Spangled Comics #59 of August, 1946), the series didn't last long, ending with Star-Spangled Comics #64 (December, 1946, with art by Curt Swan and Steve Brodie), with the Guardian last appearing in the prior issue.

Jack's Back

Jack Kirby came back to DC Comics in the 1970s, and brought the Newsboy Legion back with him.  Jack Kirby worked on Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen from issues #133 (October, 1970) to #148 (April, 1972), bringing the Newsboy Legion back as the sons of the original Newsboy Legion (with the same nicknames), with the adults now being scientists at the DNA Project, creating odd genetic menaces for Jimmy Olsen (who now had five sidekicks to help him, as Flippa Dipper, who was the son of another scientist at the facility and the Whiz Wagon for transport).

In Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #135 (January, 1971), readers met the Golden Guardian, a clone of the original Guardian created by the original Newsboy Legion from DNA from Jim Harper, who had been killed by members of Inter-Gang, a group of organized criminals who received superior weapons from Darkseid of the Apokoliptian New Gods as a part of Kirby's Fourth World work, along with New Gods, Forever People and Mr. Miracle.  The Newsboy Legion and Golden Guardian pretty much faded from Superman's mythos at the time, other than one quick exit in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #150, and a few issues of Superman Family in the #190s.... 

Jack's Legacy

Still, the Newsboy Legion and the Guardian were now a part of Superman's back story, and, after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, were reintroduced to Superman in Superman Annual #2 (1988), with a few changes (the boys now being clones of the original Newsboy Legion who were given full real names: Gabby/John Gabrielli, Big Words/Anthony Rodriguez and Scrapper/Patrick MacGuire, and the Guardian being a cloned body of Jim Harper with Jim Harper's memories), all stemming out of Project: Cadmus.

This was the location Superman went to when he needed biochemical scientific assistance (and he wasn't working with S.T.A.R. Labs).  Later, when Superman was thought dead after a battle with Doomsday, Cadmus created the clone of Superman, who escaped and later became Superboy (who worked with Project: Cadmus, the Guardian and the Newsboy Legion, as well as Young Justice and the Teen Titans for a time as well), and Guardian returned later to deal with Mon-El replacing Superman for a time, and the possible death of the original Newsboy Legion members.

Best of all, all of the Golden Age Newsboy Legion/Guardian stories have been reprinted, as have the Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen's, with the Newsboy Legion By Joe Simon & Jack Kirby Volume 1 (February, 2010) containing reprints of Star-Spangled Comics #7 to #32 and a forward by co-creator Joe Simon, and  the Newsboy Legion By Joe Simon & Jack Kirby Volume 2 (August, 2017) containing reprints of Star-Spangled Comics #33 to #64 and a forward by John Morrow, editor of the Jack Kirby Collector and founder of Two Morrows Publishing...

... and Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen by Jack Kirby #1 (July, 2003) containing Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #133 to #139 and #141, and Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen by Jack Kirby #2 (October, 2004) containing Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #142 to #148, and the Newsboy Legion story from Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #150, so you can read all about it yourselves!


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Jack Kirby's My Greatest Adventure

Before the title was taken over by the Doom Patrol, My Greatest Adventure featured stories of high adventure and human oddities....but only one with a cover and story by Jack Kirby...My Greatest Adventure #18 (November-December, 1957), where big game hunter and scientist, Addington Johns was able to state "I Tracked The Nuclear Creature".  Johns followed it from an island where atomic tests were performed, as it headed into India, killing with its radioactivity...and found that the only thing worse than one nuclear beast...was two!

This tale was reprinted in the Jack Kirby Omnibus #1 of 2011 (along with the King's work on Green Arrow and more), as well as in DC Comics Presents: Jack Kirby Omnibus Sampler #1 of December, 2011.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Superboy Super Spectacular With Friends

Superboy was a star of more than one DC Super Spectacular...here's a look at his first, 100 Page Super-Spectacular #DC-15 (March, 1973), edited by E. Nelson Bridwell, with a cover by Nick Cardy, featuring Superboy and a few of the friends he would make along the way.


Here's a look at the stories contained in this issue.. 


Adventure Comics #273

First up, Superboy has to deal with "The Boy Who Was Stronger Than Superboy" from Adventure Comics #273 (June, 1960) by Jerry Siegel and George Papp, with a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye.



This story has Superboy facing off against Ted Grahame, a boy from Smallville that Superboy rescued from a climbing accident, who develops super powers stronger than Superboy's, but whose parents are taken hostage by criminals....resulting in Superboy having to help save them, and take away the risk for Ted (his super powers) for the lad's own good.



Detective Comics #65

The second story reprinted is the second story of the Boy Commandos from Detective Comics #65 (July, 1942) with "Nostradamus Predicts" by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, who also got to draw the cover (with Jerry Robinson) of the first of the Boy Commandos cover appearances (and this time, with Detective stars, Batman and Robin).

The Boy Commandos were a group of orphans (Andre Chavard, Alfy Twidgett, Jan Haasen and Brooklyn) who worked with Rip Carter (a member of the U.S. Army stationed in Great Britain) who worked together to fight the Nazi menace.  In this story, the boys were sent to school to continue their education, but found a Nazi hidden there, working as a gardner named Bathingham.

Superboy #57

Back to a Superboy story, with "The Boy Of The Year Contest" from Superboy #57 (June, 1957) (which you'd think Superboy would win, as the cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye evidences being a one man baseball team) by Otto Binder and John Sikela.

The story reprinted here has Superboy being disqualified from being in the Boy of the Year contest (because the Boy of Steel cannot supply a home address, without giving away his secret identity).  So, four other boys are up for the award, but are beset by accidents, which people feel Superboy is causing.  Clark Kent defends his alter ego, ends up being nominated, and while Superboy finds the real culprit, Clark Kent wins the award!


Adventure Comics #270

Time for another second appearance, this time that of Aqualad in the Aquaman feature from Adventure Comics #270 (March, 1960) by Robert Bernstein and Ramona Fradon, with "The Menace Of Aqualad".

Wait a minute?  Aqualad a menace?  That's what a fortune teller told Aquaman, and over the next few days, Aqualad acts odd, imperiling Aquaman.  Aquaman finally confronts his young friend about his odd behavior, which Aqualad explains as he was preparing a cave for the two of them to live in, and wanted it to be a surprise for Aquaman's birthday.

Hawk and Dove #3

It's a pair of brotherly super-heroes as Hawk and Dove (brothers Hank and Don Hall, teenagers who got super powers from a supernatural source) feature in one of the stories from Hawk and Dove #3 (December-January, 1968/1969) with "Twice Burned" by Steve Skeates, Gil Kane and Sal Trapani.


Hawk and Dove have to hunt down criminals who beat John Kieves (Don Hall/Dove's friend Linda's father), with Hawk taking the more aggressive approach, and Dove trying to reason with Linda's brother, Mark, to stop him from taking vengeance in his own hands.  Dove does stop him, but only by resorting to violence (which he claims to abhor).



Superboy #63

Back to Superboy and his legal troubles, with "The Trial Of Superboy" from Superboy #63 (March, 1958) by Jerry Coleman and Creig Fessel, under a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye (where Lana Lang tortures poor Clark Kent).

Superboy is being sued by a man who claims his house was destroyed by a piece of the rocket the brought Superboy to Earth from Krypton hitting his dwelling and wrecking it.  They get Superboy to reenact the original flight of his rocket, and pieces do fall off, hitting a glass factory where the house had been.  But, an astronomer comes out with proof that a comet effected the trajectory, getting Superboy freed from charges (and, later, it was discovered the glass factory was really producing secret government weapons).

Adventure Comics #81

Next up, a look at "A Drama In Dreams", which is a Sandman and Sandy tale from Adventure Comics #81 (December, 1942) by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby (showcasing those yellow outfits, with it being Sandman's newer costume, as he had abandoned the gas mask a while ago....).


Sandy the Golden Boy finds his mentor, Sandman, has been replaced by an imposter, and has to go on a hunt for Wes Dodds, finding him by following the fake.  But, Sandy gets captured as well, and he and Wes work together to get free, with Wes taking over being Sandman from the phony, allowing him to defeat the criminals.
 

House of Mystery #164

Dial up the excitement with this adventure of Robby Reed and his H-Dial from House of Mystery #164 (January, 1967) by Dave Wood and Jim Mooney, as the hero of multiple identities takes on "Dr. Cyclops - The Villain With The Doomsday Stare".


Robby ends up fighting new villain, Dr. Cyclops, and his super-spectacles, as the villain runs amuck in Zenith City.  Dialing an identity, Robby becomes Zip Tide to face his foe, but has to save innocent bystanders instead.  Finding the villain a second time, Robby becomes Super Nova, but fails, and re-dials to become Robby Robot, where he is finally able to end his battle with Dr. Cyclops.



Superboy #130

Last but not least is a tale of Superbaby (Superboy as a baby) from Superboy #130 (June, 1966) by Otto Binder and George Papp (under a Curt Swan and George Klein cover).


Superbaby, missing his canine, Krypto (that Jor-El had sent into space), goes looking for another pet in Smallville, causing chaos at the farm, a zoo and then heading out to space, where a shape-changing creature attacks the lad, who luckily defeats it, and returns to Earth, puppyless.


(Don't worry, Clark Kent eventually finds Krypto when he's Superboy!).



A hundred pages of fun, excitement, danger and thrills...

...just one of many (Superboy would later get another Super Spectacular full of reprints, and would have an issue of his own title feature many other stories as well....that much more to look forward to!





....as well as looking back, at this beautiful back cover for this issue, by Nick Cardy.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Guide To Golden Age Sandman Reprints Part 1

"There is no land beyond the law, where tyrants rule with unshakeable power!  It's but a dream from which the evil wake to face their fate...their terrifying hour!"....a message left for criminals by the crimefighter, the Sandman, putting criminals to sleep with his gas gun (which, was why he wore a gas mask along with his suit, to hide his identity as Wesley Dodds).  This Golden Age hero started in Adventure Comics, capturing a few of its covers, and worked with the Justice Society of America as well, but we start with his first published tale...and follow along with a little more after.

New York World's Fair Comics

New York World's Fair Comics #1 (April, 1939) had the first published story of the Sandman by Gardner Fox and Bert Christman, with "Sandman At The World's Fair" (though his Adventure Comics #40 story took place first, and coming out only 2 weeks after Batman's first appearance as well, so Batman isn't in this issue) where Sandman stops hoods who steal his new ray gun invention.  New York World's Fair Comics #2 (July, 1940) has the adventure of "Sandman Goes To The World's Fair" by Gardner Fox and Chad Grothkopf, with Sandman rescuing his kidnapped girlfriend, Dian Belmont. 


Both of these stories are reprinted in the DC Comics Rarities Archives #1 (December, 2004)


Adventure Comics

The first adventure of Sandman Wesley Dodds is from Adventure Comics #40 (July, 1939) by Gardner Fox and Bert Christman, with the hero dealing with when "The Tarantula Strikes", this a villain, not the later hero of the Golden Age, the Tarantula (John Law), though Sandman and the second Tarantula do have a bond, detailed later in All-Star Squadron.  This story involves Sandman rescuing kidnapped actress, Vivian Dale, and freeing her from the Tarantula's clutches.  Sandman's fashion was a little off in this issue, as in his earliest appearances, his suit was orange (before settling on green).  This tale does not feature Sandman's origin, which did not come to light until Secret Origins #7 (October, 1986), at the New York World's Fair (and involving the Crimson Avenger, another pulp styled mystery man).

This tale was reprinted in  Justice League of America #94 (November, 1971), which had this stunning cover featuring Deadman and the Justice League by Neal Adams, in an incredible story featuring the League of Assassins, as well as Starman's first appearance in Adventure Comics.

Next up is the reprint of Adventure Comics #51 (June, 1940) with the tale of "The Pawn Broker" by Gardner Fox and Creig Flessel, with Sandman tracking down escaped felon, Mad Maddon, and his murderous friend, Flip Benson.

This story was reprinted in Justice League of America #99 (June, 1972) along with a Golden Age Atom story (and a cover by Nick Cardy) and in Greatest Golden Age Stories Ever Told (1990) with a cover by Jerry Ordway.

Adventure Comics #61 (April, 1941) has Sandman facing "The Menace Of The Metal Gun" by  Gardner Fox and Creig Flessel, with Wes and Dian facing off against Ivan Borloff and his new invention, the Cylindecraft, a ray gun that destroys metal (though, ironically, has no effect on sand, which is key in allowing the Sandman to defeat the villain).

This reprint came about in Millennium Edition Adventure Comics #61 (December, 2000) which was a reprint that came from a vote by the fans...

...proving how popular Starman was (with Sandman and his fans also being one of the lucky recipients of that popularity, as this was the only place this story has been reprinted so far!).

The last of Wes' gas masked adventures reprinted is Adventure Comics #65 (August, 1941), with "The "Sandman At Sea" by artist Paul Norris.  While relaxing on a yacht with girlfriend, Dian Belmont, the Sandman gets involved in an attempted kidnapping of scientist Elbert Hudson, getting help in dealing with foreign agents from the U.S. military!


This story was reprinted in 100-Page Super Spectacular DC-17 (1973) under a cover by Nick Cardy, with three other stories...

...two featuring the Justice League and one with the Justice Society, with more facts on all of them here!



All-Star Comics

A few earlier Sandman tales, All-Star Comics #1 (Summer, 1940) with "The Twin Thieves" by Gardner Fox, Creig Flessel and Chad Grothkopf, with Sandman facing twins who are thieves while dealing with a bullet wound, and All-Star Comics #2 (Fall, 1940) with "The Glowing Globes" by Gardner Fox, Creig Flessel and Chad Grothkopf, and a scientist brother who uses the scientist's invention for evil after killing him, both reprinted  in All-Star Comics Archives #0 (2006).


Then, Sandman was a charter member of the Justice Society of America starting with All-Star Comics #3 (Winter, 1940-1941), with more of career there detailed here.


World's Finest Comics 

World's Finest Comics #3 (Fall, 1941) to #5 (Spring, 1942), have the very last of Sandman's original look, but these tales have not been reprinted at this time.

Golden Age Sandman Archives

The Golden Age Sandman Archives features a good portion of Sandman's earliest adventures with Dian Belmont, dispensing justice and helping those in need while being quite the fashionable hero, reprinting his stories from New York World's Fair Comics #1 (1939), New York World's Fair Comics #2 (1940) and Adventure Comics #40 to #59, giving readers a good taste of Sandman's career...

.....but not quite all, as it still misses the last of his suited adventures, that lasted until Adventure Comics #68, and World's Finest Comics #5


But, these issues did NOT signal the end of Sandman's Golden Age career!


Still, Sandman had some major changes, ditching the suit and gas mask for a purple and yellow costume, and getting a sidekick in Sandy the Golden Boy with Adventure Comics #69 (December, 1941), and Joe Simon and Jack Kirby as the creative force behind the comics, starting in Adventure Comics #72 (March, 1942)....but, those are tales to be told on a later date...

....with Sandman returning to his classic look with the JLA/JSA team-ups (and even later, with retroactive tales of Wes in the 1940s, with Sandman Mystery Theatre), with these tales to be looked into sometime in the future.



Thursday, July 27, 2017

DC Special Plastic Man

Stretching things a bit, with a look back at Plastic Man...



...with the important reprints of DC Special #15 (November-December, 1971) under the editorial watch of E. Nelson Bridwell, and a cover by Dick Giordano, recapping a few important events in Plastic Man's life up to that time, featuring the stellar work of Plastic Man creator, Jack Cole.


Police Comics #1

First up is the origin of Plastic Man from Police Comics #1 (August, 1941) by writer and artist Jack Cole (though as you can see, Plastic Man was NOT the main feature of this comic at the time; instead, Quality Comics seemed to think Firebrand would be the break out character).

But, Plastic Man started as small time hood Eel O'Brian having a job go wrong on him, Skizzle Shanks and the rest of his mob, will the boys leaving the Eel behind at the Crawford Chemical Factory after he got dosed with acid.  Eel escaped the police pursuit, and ended up in a monastery, where the monk nursed him back to health.  Eel also found he now had elastic skin, and make himself a rubber costume to go after the gang who abandoned him, and turn them over to the police. 

Police Comics #13

Plastic Man was officially working for the law by the time of Police Comics #13 (November, 1942), also by Jack Cole, when he met up with Woozy Winks for his first appearance, in "The Man Who Can't Be Harmed".

Woozy saved the life of drowning Zambi the Soothsayer, who used his mystical powers to make Woozy invincible to harm.  Woozy flipped a coin to decide what he would do with this life (though he didn't tell the readers the result, he did start a life of crime, kidnapping sculptor Homer Twitchel, and breaking his work, all to make the pieces of Mr. Mire worth more.  To stop Woozy, Plastic Man had to join him as Eel O'Brian, and commit a crime spree just to get Woozy to trust Eel (so Plastic Man could stop Mire).  It did work, but police Captain Murphey wanted the now reformed Woozy (whom Plas guilted into doing good) to help Plastic Man catch the Eel (not knowing they were one in the same!).

Plastic Man #17

Next up is the "Plastic Man Products" story from Plastic Man #17 (May, 1949), where writer Joe Millard and artist Jack Cole had Plastic Man deal with the criminal who wanted to sell items....made of Plastic Man!

Enterprising Willie blackjacked a man to steal from him, and Plastic Man pursued (not sure if it was Willie).  Willie got upset, but found a factory that was making substandard plastic, and decided to make products out of this cheap material....and use Plastic Man as the promotional hook of the items.   The various items broke soon after use, with citizens (including Woozy) coming after Plas for the faulty items.  Plastic Man had to get Willie arrested for his original crime to stop him (and get his name cleared as well).

Plastic Man #26

With Plastic Man #26 (November, 1950), there was a Woozy Winks solo story by Joe Millard and Jack Cole, with Woozy facing off against "Bladdo The Hypnotist".

Woozy Winks was upset about not being able to work with Plastic Man or the FBI all the time (as Woozy had no training), so....Woozy set out to make a detective agency for himself, being found by a client who owned a radio station who was being ripped off by Bladdo (who was using his talents to steal from his radio show listeners), so Woozy was hired.  Bladdo then hypnotized Woozy to confess to his crimes, but as Bladdo went to check up on Woozy, Bladdo got arrested (as Woozy was just too dumb to get convicted, even confessing to the crimes!).


Plastic Man #25

Last but not least, was the Golden Age story from Plastic Man #25 (September, 1950) called "The Magic Cup" by Bill Woolfolk and Jack Cole.

This time, Woozy stopped escaped mental patient King Oberon from committing suicide, so the king rewarded Woozy with "a magic cup" that would give Woozy 3 wishes.   Woozy, who was not working with Plas or the FBI on a case, wistfully wished to be involved on the case, with Plastic Man showing up soon after to have Woozy be a substitute driver on a heist (to allow Plastic Man and the police to catch the rest of the gang who was trying to rob Dearmont Chemical Co.).  They almost caught the thieves, but the criminals took Woozy as a hostage to escape.  At their hideout, Woozy wished Plastic Man would find him, and Plas did, defeating the crooks.  Woozy then told him of the "magic cup" and that he must have used two of his wishes.  Plastic Man berated his chum for believing in this wish nonsense, and left to take the crooks in.  Woozy, feeling depressed, wished he could at least get credit for helping Plastic Man catch the crooks (which then was heard over the radio in an interview with Plastic Man, with Plas giving Woozy credit for his assistance).  This depressed Woozy more, realizing he now used up all three of his wishes!  

This great collection of Jack Cole Plastic Man stories happened between DC's first two 10 issue Plastic Man series (the first in the 1960s when DC got the rights to Plastic Man and his cast of characters, the second in the mid-1970s, when Plastic Man was also an animated cartoon star!)...and Plastic Man has a current DC Rebirth, working with Metamorpho, Phantom Girl and the second Mr. Terrific in the upcoming title, the Terrifics!