Thursday, March 31, 2016

Superman The Night Of March 31st

Back in the Silver Age, it was not uncommon to have multiple stories in any one issue, and Superman #145 (May, 1961) was one of those!

In the first story, Superman faces off against the anti-Superman gang with "The Secret Identity of Superman", story by Jerry Siegel and art by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye, and the second (featured on the cover) dealt with the time "The Interplanetary Circus" came to Metropolis and tried to recruit Superman (cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye, and this story by Robert Bernstein and Al Plastino).

The third story was "The Night of March 31st!" by Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan and Sheldon Moldoff....oh, and what a story it was!

Lori Lemaris the mermaid has legs? 

Clark keeps a diary? 

Clark has telepathic powers he uses on a telephone when he awakens the next day? 

Clark changes to Superman with an audience as Mr. Mxyzptlk woos Lois? 

Lana Lang attacks Superman, with Luthor, Brainiac and Bizarro coming to his rescue?

What is going on here? 

What, what day is after March 31st?

This story has been reprinted a few times, in Adventure Comics #339 (December, 1965), The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told from 1987, and in glorious black and white in Showcase Presents Superman Volume #2 in 2006. 

Here's the explanation, and winners of "The Great Superman Boo-Boo Contest" from Superman #149 (November, 1961)...

....but I'll leave it to you to find the story and list the errors!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Flash Facts: Flash Meets Batman

Brave and the Bold eventually became Batman's hang out, but Flash started in regular team-ups there before the dark night detective.

Still, it was exciting when the scarlet speedster met the Gotham guardian...

...and they did so six times over the course of Brave and the Bold's history.

Let's take a quick look to shed some light at those team-ups!

Brave and the Bold #67

First up is Brave and the Bold #67 (August-September, 1966), where Batman has to deal with "The Death Of The Flash", written by Bob Haney, pencilled by Carmine Infantino and inked by Charles Paris.  Batman is dealing with a gang in Gotham called the Speed Boys, who are using radioactive sneakers to rob at super speed....and calls on help from his fellow JLA member, the Flash.  Problem is, the Flash is dying (and dying faster the more he uses his super speed!).  Batman eventually figures out the problem, though the Speed Boys kill the Flash first by outrunning him (making him burn himself out faster).  Still, Batman solves that too....and the Flash hunts down the last of the Speed Boys.

This tale has been reprinted a few times, once in Super DC Giant S-16 (September-October, 1970) which also features the origin of Metamorpho, again in the Brave and the Bold Annual #1 of 2001 which also features the Green Arrow/Martian Manhunter team-up and a cover by Dick Giordano, and in the Showcase Presents the Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups volume 1 tradepaperback of 2007 (though the last is only in black and white).

Brave and the Bold #81

Next up is Brave and the Bold #81 (December-January, 1968/1969, by writer Bob Haney, pencilled by Neal Adams and inked by Vince Coletta) with "But Bork Can Hurt You" with Batman and Flash facing off against newly powered Carl Bork, who is raising a criminal army to take over Gotham.  Flash finds the source of Bork's power, a mystical statue, and has a problem breaking it, as the statue is as invulnerable as the recipient of its power.  Still, Flash finds a way to destroy the statue, and Bork loses his power, and, as an ordinary man, is beaten by Batman.

This tale has been reprinted a few times, in the Best of Brave and the Bold #2 in November, 1988 with a cover by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, in the Batman Illustrated by Neal Adams hardcover of 2003 and tradepaperback of 2012 and in black and white in the Showcase Presents the Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups volume 1 tradepaperback of 2007, and Bork even returned (mutated further, but stronger and "more invulnerable" in the much missed Power Company series of 2002-2003.

Brave and the Bold #99

Batman and Flash get together for Brave and the Bold #99 (December-January, 1971/1972), under a cover by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano, but for the story of "The Man Who Murdered The Past" by writer Bob Haney, penciller Bob Brown and inker Nick Cardy.  This time, the heroes deal with Batman being possessed by the ghost of a sailor, but Batman believes that there is a way for him to communicate with his dead parents, and that his father, Thomas Wayne, had been working on a way to return from the dead before he died.

This story has only been reprinted in black and white in the Showcase Presents the Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups volume 2 tradepaperback of 2008.

Brave and the Bold #125

It took a little time for Batman and Flash to work together in B&B, but it did happen in Brave and the Bold #125 (March, 1976) as they fought the "Streets of Poison" (by writer Bob Haney and artist Jim Aparo).  In this story, Batman and Flash deal with corrupt General Lin "Tiger" Chan, and find long lost pilot, Amy Stimson, as well as stopping the flow of drugs to the United States from Asia, much to the relief of Commissioner Gordon.

This story found itself  reprinted in the Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo (Volume 2) hardcover of 2013, as well as in black and white in the Showcase Presents the Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups volume 3 tradepaperback of 2009.

Brave and the Bold #151

The last of Bob Haney and Jim Aparo's Batman/Flash team-ups happened in Brave and the Bold #151 (June, 1979), and you'd think the heroes might have had a fun night out, but instead faced the "Disco Of Death".  Batman and Flash faced off against crooks inside of a haunted dance hall, as well as the Phantom of the Stardust Ballroom in this story, which might almost have been called "Dancing With The Super-Heroes"...if it wasn't serious (as the Phantom was killing dancers...and Iris Allen was even involved in this case, before Flash's life got much more serious in his own title!).

This story found itself reprinted in the Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo (Volume 2) hardcover of 2013.

Brave and the Bold #194

Last but not least is Brave and the Bold #194 (January, 1983), which is a special tale, as it involved past Batman and Flash foes teaming up against the heroes in "Trade Heroes -- And Win!" by writer Mike W. Barr, penciller Carmine Infantino and inker Sal Trapani under a Jim Aparo cover  Motivational therapist Dr. Andrea Wye helps the lower end of criminals (Flash Rogue Rainbow Raider and Batman foe, Dr. Double X) get confidence (and hey, these villains weren't quite in the range of Joker or Reverse-Flash), and the villains switch heroes under advisement....but, thankfully, the heroes win out anyway!

This tale found itself in the Tales of The Batman: Carmine Infantino hardcover of 2014, along with many Batman  Detective Comics tales from the 1960s (of the "new look Batman", which was also the time when Batman was "powing" it up on TV), and this story was a nice throwback to that era of the Adam West 1966 Batman TV show (as well as to the earlier days of the Flash, when Carmine Infantino was co-creating the classic Flash's Rogue's Gallery), with modern self-help thrown in (and Mike W. Barr would use Andrea Wye to menace the Outsiders, like he also picked up Metamorpho, as well as artist Jim Aparo....).  All this goes to show how much fun it can be to use the past in the future!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

An Unexpected Easter Bunny

Here's hoping you have a happy Easter...

...and that you don't find this bunny hopping down your Easter trail!

(Cover by Luis Dominguez for Unexpected #202 in September, 1980 for the story "Hopping Down The Bunny Trail" by Michael Uslan and Tenny Henson!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Wonder Woman Vs. Superman

Not to be outdone by his friend (and occasional rival) Batman, Superman also had a couple of team-up books back in the day, when comic titles only rarely interacted with each other.

Superman temporarily kicked Batman out of World's Finest Comics, and teamed up with a few of his fellow Justice League members (like Flash and Green Arrow, among others) from World's Finest Comics #198 to World's Finest Comics #214.  Superman was also important enough to have over-sized tabloid edition team-ups in the Limited Collector's Edition books, which led to Superman having his own book DC Comics Presents, where he regularly teamed up with DC heroes, including Wonder Woman!

Let's take a look back at the meetings of the Man of Steel and the Amazing Amazon!

World's Finest Comics #204

First up (though not their first meeting) is World's Finest Comics #204 (August, 1971) under a cover by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano, with a story by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin and Joe Giella entitled "Journey To The Edge of Hope".  This was the de-powered, Wonder Woman, Diana Prince, and she and Clark Kent ended up at a computerized dating service, then ended up in a future desolate Earth, brought there by a rogue computer, hoping to stop this horrible future!

This has been reprinted in the Diana Prince: Wonder Woman tradepaperback #3 of 2008. 

All-New Collector's Edition C-54

The next pairing of Superman and Wonder Woman in All-New Collector's Edition C-54 (1978) was a little different than the it was the Earth-2 versions of the characters, and so much bigger, as it was in an over-sized tabloid edition, under a cover by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Dan Adkins!  The story by Gerry Conway, with pencils by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and inks by Dan Adkins was "Superman vs. Wonder Woman", with the two heroes facing off in June, 1942, dealing with Baron Blitzkrieg and Sumo the Samurai (who both had later appearances in All-Star Squadron, but, thanks to this and those being historical comics, those appearances take place before the ones here!) as well meeting with FDR and dealing with the potential of an atomic bomb and the Manhattan Project!

This story has been reprinted in the Adventures of Superman: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez hardcover of 2013 (though only in normal size....).

DC Comics Presents #9

Superman's large team-ups and work with Batman led to him getting his own team up title, and the first adventure with Wonder Woman (back in her regular costume and with all her Amazonian powers) was DC Comics Presents #9 (May, 1979) with the "Invasion of the Ice People" by Marty Pasko, Joe Staton and Jack Abel, under a cover by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano.  This time, Superman and Wonder Woman heat things up facing off against aliens invading Earth by possessing ice sculptures.

This tale found itself reprinted in one of the longest titled books, Showcase Presents: DC Comics Presents: The Superman Team-Ups volume 1 in 2010 in glorious black and white!

DC Comics Presents #32

Next pairing of Wonder Woman and Superman was in DC Comics Presents #32 (April, 1981) with a cover by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano, and interior work by Gerry Conway, Kurt Schaffenberger and Vince Colletta, with "The Super-Prisoners Of Love", wherein Wonder Woman spurns Eros, so he shoots his love arrows into Superman and Wonder Woman, much to the frustration of Steve Trevor and Lois Lane! 

This odd love pentagon worked itself out in the end, returning to normal, but sure got hearts beating!

This hot and steamy story was reprinted in black and white in Showcase Presents: DC Comics Presents: The Superman Team-Ups volume 2 in 2013!

It's also worth noting that Wonder Woman did assist Superman and Batman (and Zatanna and Flash) with Dr. Zodiac sometime after this appearance.).

DC Comics Presents #76

Last, but not least in the solo Superman/Wonder Woman pairings was DC Comics Presents #76 (December, 1984) with Superman and Wonder Woman facing "Living Clay...Killing Clay" under a cover and with art by Eduardo Barreto and story by Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn.  The heroes faced off against Dr. Christine Cade, a former Amazon who was using living clay (the same material Wonder Woman was made of) to create creatures that would do her bidding....and Christine also used it on herself (making herself into a monster, which didn't turn out good for her....).  This issue also featured a cameo by Lyla and the Monitor, like many comics in the DC line in 1984 and 1985, setting up for the Crisis On Infinite Earths, which ended the Silver Age Wonder Woman and changed Superman.

This tale has yet to be reprinted.

Soon after this issue, Wonder Woman, Batman and the new Jason Todd Robin surprised Superman on his birthday (but not as good as Mongul did with a Black Mercy!) in Superman Annual #11 of 1985 (and more on that here).

So, Superman and Wonder Woman have made quite the couple over the decades!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Luthor vs. Batman and Superman Part 4

The last of my articles on Luthor fighting Batman and Superman starts now!

Their battles in World's Finest Comics were legendary, but the battles continued on after...

...and continue on to this day, both in the comics, and now on the big screen with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice!

DC Super Stars #10

With the start of baseball season, why wouldn't Superman, and Batman face off against Luthor (and Joker, and a few more) in a baseball game?

DC Super Stars #10 (December, 1976) answers that question, with the Sportsmaster and the Huntress having a bit of trouble with their marriage, so they enlist heroes and villains to battle in "The Great Super-Star Game" (by writer Bob Rozakis, penciller Dick Dillin and inker Frank McLaughlin), with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Robin, Kid Flash, Green Arrow, Black Canary and Plastic Man on Huntress' team, and Sportsmaster getting Luthor, Joker, Weather Wizard, Felix Faust, Chronos, Tattooed Man, Dr. Polaris and Matter Master, all umpired by the Freedom Fighters' Uncle Sam and Justice League villain and power-copier Amazo!

This issue is just too joyful to be covered as a part of one article, but gets a mention here as it does have Superman and Batman facing Luthor...

...under an Ernie Chan cover.

Best of all, this was reprinted back in the day of the DC Digests, in DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #13 (September, 1981), under a cover by Rich Buckler and Dick Giordano, so you feel like you are almost at the ball park with these two covers!

Both issues also have other strange sports stories...and we've talked about baseball at this site before as well.

Batman #293

In light of full disclosure, Luthor was in Batman #291 and #292, but they were both only as set-up for Batman #293 (November, 1977), as Luthor was on trial for killing Batman in "The Testimony Of Luthor" by David V. Reed, John Calnan and Tex Blaisdell.

As a part of his testimony in front of a collection of Batman villains acting as a court, Luthor claimed to have killed Batman, after switching Batman's and Superman's minds, thus in effect killing both Superman and Batman.  Two-Face brought out a witness that happened to put that claim of Luthor's in doubt (setting the stage for the final part of this four part story in Batman #294, with the Joker giving his testimony, after Catwoman's, Riddler's and Luthor's....).

Sadly, this was as close as we ever got to a Batman/Luthor issue of Brave and the Bold with this cover by Jim Aparo (hey, if Batman's foe of the Joker can make a few appearances in Superman's team-up title of DC Comics Presents, so why NOT Batman/Luthor in B&B....and wouldn't we all have loved to see more of Jim Aparo drawing Luthor in his snazzy super-suit...and who doesn't love seeing Luthor working with a bunch of villains?).

But, at least you can read this whole saga (and a few extra tales too!) in the Batman: Strange Deaths Of Batman tradepaperback of 2009, under the modified cover by Jim Aparo (that originally appeared on Batman #291).

Superman Annual #9

Next up for issues with Superman, Batman and Luthor is an inventory tale that got published in Superman Annual #9 (1983), with "Villain, Villain, Who's Got The Villain?" by Elliot S. Maggin, Alex Toth and Terry Austin, as Luthor had just gotten his new Lexor armor in Action Comics #544, and Superman and Batman were not all that friendly as of events of Batman and the Outsiders #1 and reflected in World's Finest Comics.  True, there were no major revelations here, but that Alex Toth art was just too beautiful to not be seen!

In the story, Luthor hatched a plan, to have Superman be blamed for all his crimes, while Luthor goes free (all involving turning Superman into a duplicate of Luthor via Red Kryptonite).  Then, Luthor would be free to use his great scientific mind for the benefit of mankind.  Worked for a while too, if it weren't for that blasted Batman and Superman.

This story has not been reprinted as of yet, and the annual contained a wonderful story of the relationship between Superman and his artist, Curt Swan.

Crisis on Infinite Earths #9

It would be terrible not to let artist extraordinare George Perez not have a chance at drawing Superman, Batman and Luthor....and he got to draw all three (with Luthor in his new Lexor armor, designed by George Perez) during the course of the Crisis On Infinite Earths.  

In Crisis on Infinite Earths #9 (December, 1985 by Marv Wolfman, George Perez and Jerry Ordway) the remaining 5 Earths became a "War Zone", with the Earth-1, Lexor armor wearing Lex Luthor leading an army of villains (proving what a great leader he was, even though Luthor and Brainiac were some of the only Superman foes there), gathered by the new, advanced Brainiac against the remaining heroes in an attempt to take over Earth-4, Earth-X and Earth-S.  Of course, the heroes, led by Superman and Batman were there to stop this plan, which had to be put aside as the threat to the multiverse posed by the Anti-Monitor increased.

The Crisis also changed Luthor...making him into a brilliant scientist (and later, as expanded upon in the Man of Steel limited series), and a businessman, who used his mind to fill his pockets at the expense of others....with the relationship between Batman and Superman changing as well.

Heroes Against Hunger

But, the old battlesuited Luthor still had a few new appearances, including, the issue of Heroes Against Hunger (1986) facing a Superman and Batman who were still friends, which presents an odd problem with writer/ it's more of a case of who DIDN'T work on this book, all under a front cover by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano, and plot by Jim Starlin,  assisted by Bernie Wrightson, and pages scripted by Cary Bates, Elliot S. Maggin, Paul Levitz, Mike W. Barr, Mike Fleisher, Bob Rozakis, Roy Thomas, J.M. DeMatteis, Robert Bloch, Robert Loren Fleming, Marv Wolfman, Tony Isabella, Gerry Conway, Barbara Kesel, Andrew Hefler, Dan Mishkin, Len Wein, Ed Hannigan, Mindy Newell, Steve Englehart, Joey Cavalieri, Paul Kupperberg and Doug Moench, with art by George Perez, Paris Cullins, Denys Cowan, Jan Duursema, Keith Giffen, Ross Andru, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Carmine Infantino, Marshall Rogers, Bernie Wrightson, J. J. Brozowski, Sal Amendola, Curt Swan, Barry Windsor Smith, Ernie Colon, Walt Simonson, Eduardo Barreto, Jack Kirby, Tony Salmons, Dan Jurgens, Joe Kubert, David Ross and James Sherman (and that doesn't include the many inkers, letterers and colorists!).

This story involved Superman, Batman and Luthor working together to end world hunger, facing the alien Master.  Sadly, even Earth's mightiest heroes and most sinister scientist were unable to totally defeat this problem.

The battles still rages on, as seen in the World's Finest 3 issue mini-series of 1990 by Dave Gibbons, Steve Rude and Karl Kesel, and in the Superman/Batman (and Batman/Superman) titles of the 21st Century.

So long as Lex Luthor causes evil, Superman and Batman will be there to stop him!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Batman Vs. Wonder Woman

Back in the day, DC Comics didn't cross over with every issue, and team-ups were something special, with comic magazines devoted especially to pairing your favorite heroes.

Batman headlined one of these titles, the Brave and the Bold, and teamed up with Wonder Woman multiple times over B&B's history.

Here's the meetings of the Darknight Detective and the Amazing Amazon!

Brave and the Bold #78

First up is their first pairing outside of the Justice League of America in Brave and the Bold #78 (June-July, 1968), which also included Batgirl, as they faced off "In The Coils Of The Copperhead" by writer Bob Haney and artist Bob Brown.  This tale introduces the readers to the new villain, the Copperhead, and Batman has to try to catch the thief, and deal with Wonder Woman and Batgirl, who are now competing for his affections (oh, the problems Batman used to have back in the day....).

This tale was reprinted in color in Brave and the Bold #116 (December-January, 1974/1975) and in black and white in Showcase Presents: The Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups #1 of 2007 and in the one and only Showcase Presents: Batgirl in 2007, and Copperhead would eventually return as a member of the Secret Society of Super-Villains.

Brave and the Bold #87

Wonder Woman had lost her powers in her own title, and took action as super-powerless action hero Diana Prince (armed with exceptional Amazonian fighting skills), and she worked with Batman in Brave and the Bold #87 (December-January, 1969/1970) facing off against racer Willi Van Dort in "The Widow-Maker" by writer/penciller Mike Sekowsky and inker Dick Giordano.  The two skilled human heroes worked well together....and won the race!

This story found itself reprinted in a collection of Diana Prince stories, the Diana Prince: Wonder Woman tradepaperback #2 of 2008 in color, as well as making it in black and white in Showcase Presents: The Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups #1 of 2007.

Brave and the Bold #105

Batman and Diana worked together so well they did it again in Brave and the Bold #105 (January-February, 1973) with "Play Now...Die Later" by writer Bob Haney, and artist Jim Aparo, giving Jim a crack at drawing the beautiful Wonder Woman in her civilian guise.  The fight starts with a gang war in Gotham, with Batman asking for Diana's help with the Latin gangs, and leads to a battle in the country of San Sebastian, freeing the country from a brutal dictatorship with the help of revolutionaries.

This team up has been reprinted in the Diana Prince: Wonder Woman tradepaperback #4 of 2009 in color (as Diana soon got her powers and original costume back in her own title), and in the Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo hard cover book of well as making it in black and white in Showcase Presents: The Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups #2 of 2008.

Brave and the Bold #131

Fans who wanted to see Jim Aparo draw the classic Wonder Woman got their wish with Brave and the Bold #131 (December, 1976)...kind of.  The story "Take 7 Steps To....Wipe Out" (written by Bob Haney) even had Catwoman as the villain, but by this time, she had gone back to her purple outfit, and this story portrayed Selina as a killer (which she hadn't been in her previous Earth-1 tales), so this story was regulated to "Earth-B" (Bascially, DC editorial and fans found the story inconsistent with the character's as usually presented in the regular titles of the time).

You can read it yourself and see how much you like it, as it has been reprinted in the second volume of Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo hard cover book of 2013, as well as making it in black and white in Showcase Presents: The Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups #3 of 2009.

Brave and the Bold #140

Bob Haney and Jim Aparo brought Wonder Woman back (and the "real", that is, Earth-1 version) in Brave and the Bold #140 (March-April, 1978) with the story "Dastardly Events Aboard the Hellship" with a wild tale!  This time, Batman and Wonder Woman took on wealthy industrial spy, Dimitrios, and his trained apes (which he used to steal a solar cell).

All these hijinks led to the crazy cover you see....hey, gorillas on covers use to sell comics, and both Batman and Wonder Woman had faced simians on their own, back in the day.

This tale was reprinted second Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo hard cover book of 2013.

Brave and the Bold #158

Last, but not least, of the Batman/Wonder Woman pairings is Brave and the Bold #158 (January, 1980) in "Yesterday Never Dies" by writer Gerry Conway and artist Jim Aparo.  This time, Batman and Wonder Woman faced off against old memories, and the French villain known as Flashback (also known as Deja Vu), who used a potion similar to that of the Scarecrow, which induces fearful memories in its victims, with Bruce Wayne dealing with the death of his parents, and Diana Prince dealing with the deceased at the time Steve Trevor, giving the heroes a chance to deal with some of their grief.

Flashback never returned, but this story should live again if we get a third volume of the  Legends of the Dark Knight: Jim Aparo hard cover book...

....but I hope you enjoyed this flashback to Batman/Wonder Woman tales, and look forward to looking back at the times Superman worked with Wonder Woman, and maybe even the 12 trials of Wonder Woman, where she was moderated by Superman, Batman and the rest of the JLA.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Luthor vs. Batman and Superman Part 3

Luthor is Superman's greatest foe....

....but Lex Luthor also faced the World's Finest team of Superman and Batman many times over the years as well!

Here's the last of their World's Finest battles....and a few extra!

World's Finest Comics #177

Luthor hadn't been fairing well in battles with Superman and Batman, so, why not take on the Joker instead?

World's Finest Comics #177 (August, 1968) sees "The Duel Of The Crime Kings" by Jim Shooter, Curt Swan and Mike Esposito, with Luthor and Joker using a time machine to recruit famous minds like Benedict Arnold, Baron Von Munchhausen and Leonardo da Vinci to plan crimes, with the double crossing Benedict Arnold setting Luthor and Joker against each other, leaving the World's Finest heroes to clean up the mess!

This tale has only been reprinted in black and white, in Showcase Presents: World's Finest Volume 4 of 2013.

World's Finest Comics #183

Under this odd cover by Neal Adams is the story of "Superman's Crime Of The Ages" from World's Finest Comics #183 (March, 1969) by Leo Dorfman, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.

This story has Superman being accused by the Time Patrol from 4069, coming back from a time where Superman (under Red Kryptonite influence) had sent a bomb to their time and devolved them into ape men.  Batman went back with them to check it out and found proof...but we find out it was proof of Superman's innocence, and a plot by Luthor and Brainiac, using the Planet of the Apes, no less!  Holy remake, Batman!

This tale has only been reprinted in black and white, in Showcase Presents: World's Finest Volume 4 of 2013.


World's Finest Comics #189 & 190

Next up is a two-part story from World's Finest Comics #189 & #190 (November and December, 1969) by Cary Bates, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito (with covers by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson), with "The Man With Superman's Heart" and "The Final Revenge Of Luthor"...

...all dealing with the death of Superman!!!

Luthor shows up after Superman is seen falling dead from the skies.  Batman, Robin, Supergirl and the rest of the Justice League mourn Superman, yet harvest his organs (with Batman keeping Superman's heart), and Luthor steals all the other organs for his own dastardly purposes.  Luthor puts the organs into members of the Big Four Syndicate, who go on a super powered rampage, but Luthor also figures out they weren't Superman's organs, realizing that Superman must still be alive.  Superman, Batman and Robin then stop the four, as well as Luthor.

Both of these tales have only been reprinted in black and white, in Showcase Presents: World's Finest Volume 4 of 2013, and is the last of Luthor's appearances in the original run of World's Finest Comics (other than in a Super-Sons saga, with Luthor's daugher).

Action Comics #465 & 466

Last, but not least is Action Comics #465 & #466 (November and December, 1976), but the story actually starts in Action Comics #464 (October, 1976) with Superman facing Pile-Driver in "Superman, I'm Going To Re-Run Your Life" by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and Tex Blaisdell (and a cover by Bob Oksner).

Superman faces the new foe of Pile-Driver, and after quickly beating him comes across a kid Flash and a young Batman....but, they seem to be his friends, now younger!

(The issue also features a Clark Kent back-up story).

The story picks Action Comics #465 (November, 1976) with "Think Young And Die" also by Bates, Swan and Blaisdell, with Superman testing the kid Flash and young Batman, and thinking they are his friends (and getting the warning Luthor plans to do this to Superman soon).  Superman does revert to a younger version of himself (while at a party as Clark Kent), so, after covering his identity, takes off to find Luthor, and face him with the help of his friends.

This issue also has a back-up story on "The Sporting Life of Steve Lombard.".

The main action finally finishes in Action Comics #466 (December, 1976, also by Bates, Swan and Blaisdell, under a Neal Adams cover), with the lengthy title of "You Can Take The Man Out Of Super, But You Can't Take The Super Out Of The Boy" (and this tale takes the whole issue....mostly to fit that title!).  The suddenly SuperBOY, kid Flash and young Batman face Luthor, with it going badly and Luthor killing Flash and Batman....or did he?  Superman figures it out, and goes back to the JLA Satellite to talk about the case with Flash and Batman, ending this lengthy story (which has yet to be collected).

But there's still more Luthor beyond World's Finest Comics, like DC Super Stars #10, Batman #293 and Superman Annual #9, and even more to hunger for!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Flash Facts: Tradepaperbacks We Need Fast

While DC Comics is getting better about collecting old stories, Flash has been running behind in that race (at least as far as his later Silver Age and Bronze Age well as the earlier stories of the time when Wally West was the Flash).

So, to help out, a few ideas for collections that would get the hearts of fans of the CW's Flash show racing!

Flash Vs. Reverse-Flash

One of the biggest battles of the Flash's first season was his fight against the Reverse-Flash.  While his origin tale from Flash #139 (September, 1963 by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella) has been reprinted, only a few of his later appearances have been collected in color (most notably, his participation in Superman-Flash races in Flash #175 and DC Comics Presents #1 and #2, and his appearances as a member of the Secret Society of Super-Villains in Secret Society of Super Villains #12-15 and Justice League of America #166-168 facing the Justice League of America, though only available in hardcover, so a softcover companion like Secret Society of Super Villains Volume 1 had would be nice).

If you collected Flash #139, Flash #147, Flash #153, Flash #165, Flash #186, Flash #225, Flash #233, Flash #237, Flash #281-283, Flash #323 and Flash #324, you'd collect the beginning to end of Eobard Thawne in 275 pages including covers,  (well, more or less, missing a few one page appearances, and the results of his end in Flash #325), and have a book Flash TV show fans would like, as they could see Thawne's Silver Age life unfold!

Flash Team-Ups

Before Batman had a lock on Brave and the Bold, Flash teamed up with a few heroes in that title, with the Atom in Brave and the Bold #53, Martian Manhunter in Brave and the Bold #56, the Doom Patrol in Brave and the Bold #65, and Spectre in Brave and the Bold #72.  Flash also worked with Hawkman in Super-Team Family #3, and the New Gods in Super-Team Family #15.

While that's only 157 pages, additional pages could be found from Flash #198 (a back-up story meeting Zatanna), Brave and the Bold #99 (the only Batman/Flash team-up not reprinted in color), Action Comics #437 (with Superman, Green Arrow and Green Lantern as well, following up on a Superman/Green Arrow team-up from World's Finest Comics #210, and maybe Superman/Green Arrow team-ups could be collected), and Showcase #100 (which has Flash working with, well, everyone who premiered in Showcase, a title which introduced Barry Allen to the world as well!), which would get you over 240 pages with covers!

Atom's Wedding

Regular readers might realize that we left out Super-Team Family #11, with Flash, Supergirl and the Atom vs. T.O. Morrow....and as all of those characters have appeared in live action TV shows, it would be a shame not to see this collected....but, that could be collected with Super-Team Family #12-14, which is a mini-Atom saga, looking for his missing wife, Jean Loring....

....and add Secret Society of Super-Villains #10, and Justice League of America #154-157, to see the saga completely through, ending in the Atom's wedding (which Supergirl and Captain Comet also guest star in!

You even get a lot of action with Superman, Batman, Green Arrow Black Canary, and even Grodd and Captain Cold) all right round 300 pages.

Wally Settles As Flash

When Barry Allen disappeared for a while, Wally West took over as Flash (previously being Kid Flash, the Flash's sidekick). 

It took a while for Wally to get use to being the Flash, and he even wore the same outfit as Barry Allen did for a time.

But, in a story running from Flash #42 to Flash #50 (all by William Messner-Loebs, Greg LaRocque and Jose Marzan Jr., Wally comes to terms with Barry's legacy, gets closer to girlfriend, Linda Park, faces his own foe of Kilg%re, fights Grodd alongside Vixen and Rex the Wonder Dog, and then deals with Vandal Savage, all the while protecting his friends including Elongated Man, Tina McGee and Chunk.  Throw in the epilogue of Flash #51 (with Flash helping the new Lady Flash and the Kapitalist Kouriers, written and drawn by the same team, but inked by Roy Richardson), and you'd have about 250 pages of super-speed fun!

Flash Vs. Demonic Rogues

Last, but not least, a little dive into Mark Waid's run of writing the Flash, also with Wally West as the Flash.  By this point, Jay Garrick had returned, Wally also worked with new heroes like Argus, and also was growing quite close to Linda Park....but, he was also having problems living in Keystone City....

...but, starting with Flash #120, written by Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn, pencilled by Paul Ryan and inked by John Nyberg all the way through Flash #129, Wally dealt with a rogue in the Presidential race, becoming a bi-coastal super-hero, new foe Mr. Frost, old upgraded foe Major well as the return of the Rogues' Gallery, whom had been assumed dead from their dealings with the demon, Neron, in Underworld Unleashed (and Argus, Jay Garrick and the Justice League of America guest-star to help with this!)...all in 230 pages, including covers (and, throw in Flash Annual #10 from 1997, to get the collection up to 283 pages...and see Wally fight Rainbow Raider, as well as a Pied Piper solo story...).

By no means is this a complete coverage of the Flash, but if we could see these collections, and maybe a few others (like Flash/Green Lantern team-ups, or a third Crisis on Multiple Earths: The Team-Ups collection, both of which will likely be covered later....and both have been teased at here), Flash's history wouldn't be left in the dust.....