Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Action Comics Centennial 500

Looking at a very special issue of Action Comics and the life and times of Superman, halfway to 1000, here is Action Comics #500, which "is something very special.  It is the first comic book ever to reach its 500th issue!  And the reason it has lasted so long can be summed up in one word: Superman!".

Action Comics 500

The main part of the cover of Action Comics #500 (October, 1979) was by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano, featuring key covers of Action Comics behind Superman, Lois Lane and Supergirl.

This issue features "The Life Story Of Superman" by Martin Pasko, Curt Swan and Frank Chiaramonte, and had originally been prepared for an All-New Collector's Edition, but instead found its 64 pages in this special issue instead.

This is the most complete telling of the story of the Earth-1 Superman, covering his life from Krypton, to landing in Smallville, then arriving in Metropolis.  So, time to leap into the contents of the issue, as Superman did, by arriving at the Metropolis State Fair for the Superman Pavilion opening with owner J. Robert Arngrim, unaware of the danger that lurked there....

Krypton - Kal-El

The planet Krypton was doomed.  The core of the planet was unstable, and set to explode.

Only one scientist, Jor-El, saw this, and had given up his space research to try to save the planet.  Jor-El was unable to convince the Science Council of Krypton's trouble (or even his own brother, Zor-El), so, instead, Jor-El put his efforts into saving his family....his wife, Lara, and two year old son, Kal-El.

An early test with Kal's dog failed, as a meteor hit the ship, sending it out of Krypton's orbit, getting the dog lost in space.

Still, Jor-El soldiered on, building a small ship, that had also been planned for a test, but had to be used as the end came sooner than Jor-El thought it would.

Jor-El was unsure it could safely get to its destination with Lara and Kal, so Lara volunteered to stay with her husband to die on Krypton to give their son the best chance at life.  Kal-El rocketed to Earth as Krypton exploded... event so scarring it took Superman out of the Mind-Prober Ray he had been using to relive the events, and what of the young boy in a secret lab, being fed these memories by a mysterious scientist?

Smallville - Superboy

The next exhibit Superman and his friends were guided into was a representation of his time as Superboy in Smallville, but, to be fair, Superman recollected on his own starting with his rocket landing in a field and being found by Jonathan and Martha Kent.

The Kents took the boy to an orphanage in secret and hid his rocketship, but came back a few days later to adopt the lad, whom they suspected had extraterrestrial origins, naming the boy Clark Kent.  As a young lad, this Superbaby was hard on his clothes, but the Kents used the blankets he was wrapped in to make him an invulnerable suit he could play in, all while instilling their values on the boy, including a sense of duty, that he could use his powers to help others. 

When he felt old enough, they modified the playsuit, using the belt from the ship as a belt, the upholstery to make boots and even adding emblem of the stylized "S", for Clark to go in action as....Superboy!  Clark added a slouch, changing his hair style and voice and glasses (with glass made from the window of the rocket) to make Clark Kent appear different from Superboy, and set about to help the people of Earth from many dangers, including those of Kryptonite artifacts that hit the Earth (like the Phantom Zone Projector, which Jor-El had used to exile Krypton's most dangerous criminals).

Superboy also dealt with Kryptonite, and Superman theorized all these Kryptonian items ended up on Earth due to the untested nature of the ship that brought him to Earth, which left open a rift from Krypton to Earth for a time after the rocket landed.

This may have eventually dragged the rocket that Kal-El's dog into space to Earth, so Superboy had a super dog, Krypto, who had the same powers as the lad did.  Superboy protected Smallville, including friends like Lana Lang, but, was unable to save those he loved the most, as his parents contracted a Caribbean virus after a vacation there and fell ill.  Even with his powers, young Clark was unable to save his adopted mother and father, and truly doubted his ability to become a Superman, as Clark and Superboy moved on from Smallville....(meanwhile, the mysterious scientist directed a young teenager in a Superboy suit through a mock town, mirroring Superman's journey from Superboy to Superman).

Metropolis - Superman

Then, after a time, the grown-up Superboy, Superman, was seen protecting Metropolis (as Clark Kent attended Metropolis University for four years, getting a degree in Journalism, and perfecting his act as a bit of a klutz to direct attention away from Clark Kent ever being Superman).  Though mild-mannered, Clark Kent showed enough aggression to impress Perry White, getting a scoop on Superman (beating out current Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane) to get a job with her at the paper, where he would work with her, and his pal, Jimmy Olsen, one of the Daily Planet's photographers, later, Lana Lang would follow from Smallville, and the paper would be bought by WGBS, taken over by a conglomerate run by Morgan Edge, who would make Clark Kent an anchorman, with sportscaster, Steve Lombard and cameraman Josh Coyle.

Superman settled into an apartment that a reporter could afford (storing a few non-Super costumes, as well as a Superman and Clark Kent robot there), but stored most of his items that he had been gathering in his secret lair under the Kent farm house in a new place, his arctic Fortress of Solitude.  Superman had many items their, including the shrunken Kryptonian city of Kandor (which Brainiac had taken from Krypton before it exploded), Kryptonite samples, a super computer and a memorial to Krypton, Jor-El and Lara.

Superman even added a little extra space for his cousin, Supergirl (Kara Zor-El, the daughter of Zor-El), who ended up on Earth later in Superman's career, that trained in secret for a time, before establishing her own heroic career.  Superman also reflected on his loves (such as Lana Lang, Lori Lemaris and Lois Lane), and foes (like Toyman, Parasite, Brainiac), but then, was secretly exposed to Green Kryptonite and replaced by another Superman, and fell to the mysterious scientist had been behind the scenes before....Lex Luthor.

Luthor, being Superman's most dedicated foe, planned on using the introduction of the Superman Pavilion to kill Superman, and replace him with an exact clone, putting Superman's memories into the growing clone as Superman recalled them.  The Pavilion would explode as Superman's friends left, killing all the people who might have suspected the clone wasn't Superman.  Luthor could only interrupt the memory transfer change what the clone thought of Luthor by changing Luthor's origin (with the clone telling the story to the crowd, of how Superboy ruined Luthor's life out of jealously in Smallville, upsetting Lana and Lois, getting Lois to head to the exit and trigger the bomb).

Superman had to think fast, and used his Kryptonian belt along with Clark Kent's tie (which Luthor was unaware Superman had, as Luthor wasn't able to monitor the memories) to escape Luthor's cell, stopping Luthor, saving Lois and his friends, then having a quick battle with the clone (which ended with the clone being exposed Gold Kryptonite, removing his powers forever), making this just another average adventure of Superman!

The issue also had a back cover, which featured the covers of issues 100, 200, 300 and 400 with Kal-El's rocket bursting through the center, and a inside front and back cover history of Action Comics by E. Nelson Bridwell, which started with the quote used at the beginning of this article, and ended with "What's coming up for Action Comics?  Will we one day celebrate our 1,000th issue?  If we do (and right now, we don't see why not), one thing is certain -- it will still be starring Superman!".

A month and a half from now, we will see that issue!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Two Stories Of Two-Face

What better way to celebrate today, than with two stories of Two-Face?

Here's an early pair, with Harvey Dent's return...and first appearance?

Two-Face Strikes Again!

Even with that title, Batman #81 (February, 1954) by David V. Reed, Dick Sprang and Charles Paris (under a cover by Win Mortimer), was the first appearance of the Earth-1/Silver Age Two-Face (as, on Earth-2/Golden Age, not only was Two-Face originally District Attorney Harvey KENT, but, had been cured after a trilogy of tales with plastic surgery, never to return to his split alter ego).

Here, Harvey was trying to put his criminal past behind him, but a chance robbery, with Dent going in to stop the criminals exposed him to a small explosion, undoing the surgery, condemning him to a life as Two-Face (which he permanently decided with a flip of his coin, which landed scarred side up). 

After gathering a gang, Two-Face went after others with two faces (clowns, actors) keep ahead of Batman and Robin, until Batman offered up his own identity as Bruce Wayne (receiving an award for aiding a native American charity) to lure Two-Face out, getting Batman and Robin a chance to capture him, but getting caught in Two-Face's coin trap....which they defeated, then captured the criminal.

Half An Evil

It appears returning Harvey Dent to a life of crime didn't sit well, as he didn't return to menace the caped crusader until Batman #234 (August, 1971) in a tale by Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano.

This time around, it was only Batman available to face Two-Face, who used a pair of clowns to steal a parade balloon and a book from a nautical museum.  After recounting Two-Face's origin to Alfred (how Harvey was half-scarred in court by a criminal throwing acid, cured and then redamaged in an explosion), Batman went after Two-Face and his real target, a boat at a marina, which Two-Face sinks!  Batman figured out Two-Face's real use the parade float to raise the boat later, to plunder it at his leisure.  But, by showing up, Batman forces Two-Face to speed his timetable, tying Batman to the boat and deflating the giant balloon. 

Batman convinces Harvey to flip his coin to decide if he should save Batman, and the coin comes up good, so Two-Face heads back to the sinking boat (which Batman  has already escaped, capturing Two-Face on his return).

These two tales set the stage for later interpretations of Two-Face, though for a while, mostly as a second-stringer with a fetish for coins and the number 2, later, after the Crisis On Infinite Earths, and Frank Miller's Batman: Year One, Harvey Dent was added as a friend of Bruce Wayne, James Gordon and Batman, and additional origin details elsewhere by writers such as Jeph Loeb, Marv Wolfman, Chuck Dixon and others, took Two-Face out of the realm of second stringer, and into being a tragic look at the other side of Batman's coin, a good man who could do evil when counting on chance, and not drive and determination.
These two stories above, as well as his original three, along with others, are reprinted in Two-Face: A Celebration of 75 Years, which came out in 2017.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Secret Origins Of Super Villains 2

Coming back with a little more Secret Origins for DC's super-villains.

Here's even more from Limited Collectors' Edition C-45 of June-July, 1976, under another wonderfully evil cover by Dick Giordano.

This time around, its the foes of Batman, Flash, Superboy/Superman and Wonder Woman that get covered....specifically Catwoman, Mirror Master, Mr. Mxyzptlk and the Cheetah!


Readers get to see "The Secret Life Of The Catwoman" from Batman #62 (December-January, 1950/1951) by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, Lew Schwartz and Charles Paris.

Catwoman is broken out of jail by the mysterious Mr. X to help in his planned crime spree.  Along the way, Catwoman encounters Batman, but saves him from a collapsing wall, with her receiving a knock on the head.  Catwoman claims the 1950 calendar is ahead of time...and wonders why she is in costume, after all she is just stewardess Selina Kyle.  Batman deduces she had amnesia, and works with her as she recalls a planned meeting with Mr. X.  Catwoman works with the dynamic duo to capture Mr. X, and after doing so, Catwoman vows to retire from the costumed life.

Thankfully she did not....

Mirror Master

Reflecting on his past, its time for the origin of the Mirror Master from Flash #105 (February-March, 1959) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella with "The Master Of Mirrors!".

Ex-con Sam Scudder goes into a bank, to capture an image of one of the tellers.  Appears while serving time, Scudder made a mistake making a mirror, learning how to keep a reflection in one.  He continued experimenting with mirrors, making images that he could command, making himself a Mirror Master.  Scudder used this ability to rob banks in Central City, coming into conflict with the Flash, who followed one of his images home, and, after a battle with some of Mirror Master's illusions, the Flash took Mirror Master to jail (so Barry Allen could make his lunch date with Iris West).

Mirror Master would return again and again to face the Flash.

Mr. Mxyzptlk
Next up, a foe of Superman's, the 5th Dimensional imp, Mr. Mxyzptlk, but a tale from his (and the Man of Steel's) boyhood, with a young Mxyzptlk facing Superboy for the first time in Superboy #78 (January, 1960) in "The Ghost of Jor-El!" by Jerry Siegel and George Papp.

Mxyzptlk started as a mischievous little boy that vexed his 5th Dimensional parents of Fuzastl and Tlndsa, so, he ran away to Earth-1, encountering Superboy in Smallville, thinking it would be fun to turn the town against the Boy of Steel.  The boy prankster even enrolls in Smallville High, meeting Clark Kent, and accidentally revealing to Clark his color blindness.  After a few attempts to sabotage Superboy (which Clark turns to his advantage), Superboy finally uses what he has learned to get the imp to say his name backwards and go home.

Mr. Mxyzptlk never forgave Superboy for this, and would return again and again to torment the Man of Steel.


Last, but not least of the featured origins, was the first battle of "Wonder Woman And The Cheetah" from Wonder Woman #6 (Fall, 1943) by William Moulton Marston and H. G. Peter.

Debutante Priscilla Rich is outshone by Wonder Woman a few times, and decides to plot revenge against the amazing amazon.  Priscilla manifests an alter ego, the Cheetah, and garbs herself to look like one. stealing charity money with the intent to frame Wonder Woman for its theft.  Cheetah fails in this, ending up trying to kill Wonder Woman in quicksand, then a fire, with Wonder Woman nearly figuring out her identity as it appears the flames take the Cheetah.

But, the Cheetah would return.

Added features in the treasury include a feature on 18 super villains (including Captain Boomerang, Vandal Savage, Scarecrow, Matter Master, the Shark, Bizarro No. 1, Penguin, Solomon Grundy, Giganta, Grodd, Brainiac, Two-Face, Felix Faust, Queen Bee, the Top, Pied Piper, Sonar and Kanjar Ro), another feature on the many costumes of the Catwoman, and, on the last page, "Every Hero's Enemy"...that of Dr. Light, making this and the other DC villains' treasury an indispensable guide for every villain fan of from the 1970s!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Holy Mount Rushmore, Batman

Batman and Robin have to stop Joker's nefarious scheme this President's add his own face to the four Presidents (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt) of Mount Rushmore!

This art first greeted viewers in the 1977 Super DC Calendar for February, and is by Ernie Chua and Frank Giacoia.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

In Action With King Krypton

Gorillas seem to always make a monkey out of Superman.  That was true in Action Comics #238 (March, 1958) when Superman met King Krypton, "The Super-Gorilla From Krypton" by Otto Binder, Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye, with a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye (who take liberties on the cover....King Krypton never wears the Superman costume).

Cub reporter Jimmy Olsen was on a safari in Africa, when his party was attacked by a, Jimmy used his signal watch to summon Superman, who caged the gorilla. 

But, the gorilla breaks the bars, and flies away! 

Superman finds a test rocket from Krypton, figuring that animal must be from his home world.  Jimmy names him King Krypton, the Gorilla of Steel, with Superman going to pursue him.  Superman stops King Krypton from attacking an airplane, then tries to wrap him in his cape, which the gorilla likes and takes. 

Meanwhile, Jimmy searches for Kryptonite to stop the beast and finds a tribe of ancient Romans, who have devolved into near barbarism...but, they have Kryptonite spearheads.  Superman comes to try to save Jimmy, but is also taken captive, as is King Krypton, who follows the Man of Steel.  The Romans bid Superman and King Krypton to fight, but Superman is too weakened by Kryptonite.  King Krypton comes to save him, turning into a man as he dies being exposed to the Kryptonite.  He was a scientist on Krypton trying to evolve himself forward, but instead turned himself into a gorilla, and his assistant launched him into space.  He dies, finally being a man again.

This story has been reprinted twice over the years, once in Superman Annual #7 (Summer, 1963) as part of a 25th Anniversary celebration...

....then again in Winter, 1976, as part of a collection of super gorilla stories, entitled Super-Heroes Battle Super-Gorillas, along with stories of Flash and Batman.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Love Giant Lois Lane

True, it was still the title of Superman's Girl Friend, but even though Superman and Lois Lane loved each other, it was shown on a few occasions that Lois might love someone else, or that Superman might have someone else in his life...

....or that Lois would have to move on from Superman, as you can see on the cover of Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #113 (September-October, 1971) by Dick Giordano (which was also Giant #G-87, but not quite the 80-Page Giants of the past, as this one only had 68 pages.....).

Still, it brought back quite a few tales of love...

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #49

First up was "The Unknown Superman" from Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #49 (May, 1964) by an unknown writer and artist Kurt Schaffenberger.

Lois tests out a device by a Dr. Drolc, which allows her to trace talents, which she proves works.  So, she finds Strong Bear, an Indian man with super powers, and the two fall in love, then plan to marry.  Looking at the ring his tribe gives her, she realizes that Strong Bear really was Dr. Drolc, and others whom she had found during her testing.  Lois breaks the ring, and Strong Bear becomes a small blue alien man, the last survivor of the nuclear war which devastated his planet, who had been using the ring to take human form, allowing him to survive on Earth.  He did love Lois, but, without the ring, he was unable to survive on Earth and dies....

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #54

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #54 (January, 1965) is the next tale up, with "The Monster Who Loved Lois Lane" by Edmond Hamilton and Kurt Schaffenberger.

This time around, it was the inter-dimensional alien of Herko that falls for Lois, having been brought to Lois' dimension by Dr. Elder, and the super-strong and invulnerable alien immediately falls in love with Lois.  Lois leads Herko away from populated areas, giving Dr. Elder time to repair his machine.  Herko even proves a match for Superman for a bit, and, after the doctor finishes his repairs, Lois leads the love struck alien back to a portal to his own dimension, where he is heartbroken, having to live there without Lois Lane.

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #57

Next up is "The Return Of Lois' Monster Sweetheart" from Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #57 (May, 1965, by Edmond Hamilton and Kurt Schaffenberger, though that feature didn't make the cover...).

Feeling a little guilty about what she did to Herko, Lois goes to check up on him with help from Jimmy Olsen, but the two accidentally get trapped in Herko's dimension.  While there, Herko tries to renew his relationship with Lois, but Lois finds Zagga (a female member of Herko's race, who happens to love Herko).  Lois convinces Jimmy to try to woo Zagga, hoping to make Herko jealous and pursue Zagga, but this plan backfires, nearly resulting in a double wedding of Earthers and aliens.  Thankfully, Lois' makeup makes Herko sick, and he falls for Zagga as she helps him recover, while Dr. Elder fixes his machine to bring Lois and Jimmy home.

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #43

With Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #43 (August, 1963), Lois became "The Girl Who Mourned For Superman", in a story by Leo Dorfman and Kurt Schaffenberger (with another story not featured on the original cover of the issue).

This time around, an electrical experiment with the Jimmy Olsen Fan Club transports Lois to an alternate Earth (but this one was so similar, she wasn't aware she was on an alternate planet).   Here, Lex Luthor traps her, and is able to kill Superman (but dies in the process).  Lois lives there long enough to see a robot replace Superman, then a Kandorian....before she meets an ambassador from Atlantis (which had not sunk in this world).  Lois visits her doppleganger without revealing herself, and ends up back home after getting another unintentional electric shock.

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #41

The last Lois Lane story of this giant was from Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #41 (May, 1963), with "Superman's Romance With Lana Lane" by Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan and George Klein.

Wait a minute...Lana Lane?  Yes, a few years before this story, Lana and Lois were merged into one girl by an alien pendant, and Superman, realizing he is getting the best of both worlds, proposes to the merged woman (believing this change would be permanent).  Unfortunately, it was not, and Superman realized they would both die.  Superman came up with a way to save one with a magic statue, but thankfully radiation from a strange meteor safely separated the two, and Superman, confronted by the pair, refuses to admit which of them he would have saved.

Unpublished Flash/Rose And Thorn Story

There is part of one more story in this issue, an unpublished Flash Comics Rose And Thorn Story from the tail end of the Golden Age by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert.

At least, it is two pages of this story, with the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick, saving Joan Williams from the evil Thorn, who turns back to her good side of Rose, with Flash giving Rose to Green Lantern to take to Wonder Woman's island, to make sure she is reformed. 

More on this Rose and Thorn, and her more modern version who was a heroic back-up in Lois Lane, is available here, and, if you loved this, more Giant Lois Lane fun can be found here, with the eventual results of that union of Green Lantern and Thorn pop up here, as Roy Thomas used this untold tale during his run on Infinity, Inc.  

Monday, February 12, 2018

Mad About Lincoln

Remembering President Abraham Lincoln on Lincoln's Day, with the 85th issue of Mad Magazine's cover by Norman Mingo from March, 1964!

Way to go, Alfred E!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

When Did Action Comics Overtake Detective Comics

Detective Comics was one of the first comics for what would become DC Comics (with a cover date of March, 1937), with Action Comics #1 (June, 1938) premiering Superman (with Detective Comics #16 coming out that month as well).

So, how is it that Action Comics is reaching 1000 before Detective Comics?

Well, that takes time to tell...

May, 1939

Superman shared the cover of Action Comics #12 with Zatara, the Magician, at the same time that Batman premiered in Detective Comics #27, with the difference in the issues being 15.

April, 1940

Superman fought his first battle with Luthor, who had a mane of red hair in Action Comics #23, while over in Detective Comics #38, Bruce Wayne attended the circus, where mobster Boss Zucco had the Flying Graysons killed, resulting in Dick Grayson becoming an orphan, eventually ending up as the junior partner of Batman, as Robin, the Boy Wonder.

September, 1942

Superman was dealing with an expanding DC Universe in Action Comics #52 (though, to be honest, Superman only met Mr. America, the Vigilante, Zatara and Congo Bill on the cover), while Batman and Robin were facing the fowl of crime, the Penguin in Detective Comics #67.

October, 1949

Superman spent his off hours with girl reporter, Lois Lane, as represented on the cover of Action Comics #137...

....while at the same time, on the cover of Detective Comics #152, Batman's girlfriend, Vicki Vale appeared, who was also a photographer at the time. 

Neither of them can see Action Comics gaining on Detective of yet.

November, 1955

Superman was advertising an amusement park in Action Comics #210, while Bruce Wayne had to pretend to be Batman in Detective Comics #225 (which was also the issue that premiered J'onn J'onzz, the Manhunter from Mars, who had many powers, but at times, was also police detective John Jones, making him a combination of Superman and Batman, as well as being a character that helped usher in the Silver Age).

July, 1958

Superman foe, the alien Brainiac, premiered in Action Comics #242, taking Superman's adventures out of this world at this time, while, over in Detective Comics #257, Batman and Robin dealt with time traveling Karko, as even Batman had to deal with fantastic menaces at this time.

May, 1959

Both Superman and Batman met characters that would change their lives this month.  In Action Comics #252, it was the premiere of Supergirl, Kara Zor-El, who would take the name of Linda Lee and live as Superman's secret weapon for a time (then be adopted by the Danvers, taking their surname, and become a heroine on her own as Superman revealed her to the world after her training), while over in Detective Comics #267, Batman and Robin met Batman's biggest extra-dimensional fan, Bat-Mite, who would continue to pop up and throw a monkey wrench into cases of Batman's.

May, 1964

Superman was facing really odd changes at this time, with Red Kryptonite putting him in odd situations like shown on the cover of Action Comics #312, with Supergirl as the sole back-up feature of the comic, while over in Detective Comics #327, Batman got his "new look", and added Flash's friend, the Elongated Man, as a back-up feature.  Still not sniffing out the mystery of any gains of Action Comics on Detective Comics.

March, 1968

It was because of Superman that Action started to gain on Detective.  Action Comics #360 was an extra issue that came out at the same time as Action Comics #361 (#360 was a Supergirl Giant, and #361 a normal issue of the month, with Superman fighting the Parasite for the second time), while Batman was frozen with only one issue this month, fighting Mr. Freeze in Detective Comics #373

There would be more of these extra issues with Supergirl in action!

March, 1969

The last of Supergirl's Action giants would be in this month, with Action Comics #373, while at the same time Superman was facing an identity crisis in Action Comics #374, while Batman, Robin and the relatively new Batgirl were working together in  Detective Comics #385 (at least on the cover, she helped the Dynamic Duo as Barbara Gordon inside the issue), as well as Batgirl having the back-up feature in the issue (and Batgirl would even work with Supergirl a few times on occasion....). 

So, now there are only 11 issues between the two series.

December, 1972

Superman was going strong at this time, as shown on this strong cover for Action Comics #419, while Batman, reeling from hits from the loss of his TV show years ago, was suffering as shown in this cover for Detective Comics #430.  Batman was getting a little tired at this time, with readership of Detective being down, and that would cause trouble for the Caped Crusader soon....

August, 1973

While Superman was still able to leap tall buildings in a single bound in Action Comics #426, with his title remaining monthly, Batman was suffering, as his title started to go bimonthly with Detective Comics #436, leaving Batman scared for his future, and allowing Superman and his title to start to catch up.

February, 1975

This was a special month for many a reason.  Green Lantern was a guest star with Superman in his monthly in Action Comics #444, while Batman was accused of being a murderer in Detective Comics #445, in the start of a manhunt for the detective, which was also the last time that the issue number of Detective Comics was larger that that of Action Comics.

April, 1975

Starting this month, Action and Detective were both monthly books again, and just in time.  Superman still had to deal with a nosy Lois Lane in Action Comics #446, while Batman was still being pursued as a "Bat-Murderer" in  Detective Comics #446, and this was the beginning of a run where Action and Detective had the same issue number, and this would go on for a while.

January, 1977

This is the last month that Action and Detective were at the same number.  Superman was feeling his control grow, being a little bit of a menace himself in Action Comics #467, while Batman was dealing with an imposter in Detective Comics #467, as well as meeting up with back-up feature star, Hawkman, setting the stage for the finale of a tale that had been going through the back-up features of Detective Comics at this time.

March, 1977

This was the month that Action overtook Detective.  Superman was in the middle of a monthly trilogy fighting Terra-Man in Action Comics #469, while Batman has his friends, the Atom, Black Canary, Elongated Man, Green Arrow and Hawkman help him deal with his demotion to bimonthly status (as well as the Calculator) in Detective Comics #468 (while Bruce Wayne dealt with WGBS's Morgan Edge, having a little bit of a Superman crossover within this issue, though Superman was not in the issue). 

Superman's Action would continue to gain as Batman's Detective remained bimonthly for a time, but there were more reasons for the larger gap....which we can go into at a later time.