Thursday, March 29, 2018

Superman Meets Captain Comet

Perhaps it was destiny that made young Kal-El of Krypton become Superman, also known as the Man of Tomorrow.   Tomorrow is where Adam Blake of Earth got his powers, being a mutant with mental powers born 100,000 years before his time under the light of a comet, so he became the Man of Destiny, Captain Comet.

What adventures these two would have together.....

DC Comics Presents #22

The first of their two solo team-ups happened in DC Comics Presents #22 (June, 1980) by Mike W. Barr, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin, under a cover by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, as Superman found himself drawn into "The Plight Of the Human Comet".

A mysterious man showed up at the Daily Planet looking for Clark Kent, but was unable to find him, as Clark was out in the field covering a story (and changing into Superman to stop the looming environmental menace that a leaking oil tanker would cause).   That's where the mystery man found him, as he turned into a comet, and had to be stopped by Superman.  The mystery man was Captain Comet, who had been having "comet attacks" and losing his powers, coming to Superman for help to track down the meteor that gave him his powers.  Meanwhile, Starstriker, a new villain, who was born at the same time as Captain Comet, was looking for that meteor as well, to trigger his own latent mutant powers.  Superman found where the comet would next appear with data from his Fortress of Solitude....and the two headed there. with Starstriker in attendance as well, getting Captain Comet like powers, as Superman had to deal with Captain Comet having his last, potentially fatal "comet attack", which Superman saved him from.  Comet went to hunt down Starstriker, while Superman went to file a story....but, at the Daily Planet, found he couldn't use his powers.  Going to the JLA Satellite, Superman tracked down Starstriker, and faced off with him (as the villain had captured Captain Comet and drained his powers).  Superman freed Captain Comet, who faced off against Starstriker, while Superman stopped the villain's plan to end all life on Earth with 7 comet strikes.  The heroes both won, and had their problems negated. 

DC Comics Presents #91

The second of their two team-ups was in DC Comics Presents #91 (March, 1986) by Craig Boldman, Curt Swan and Dave Hunt, under a cover by Eduardo Barreto, with a similarly themed story called "The Brains That Stormed Metropolis".

This time around, the action started with Superman fighting Brain Storm (a JLA foe, who used a helmet to increase his intelligence, and fought from a floating chair).  Brain Storm was looking for a way to increase his own powers, when he saw Captain Comet stop a theft at the Metropolis Science Expo (coming for the exhibit on future man, and unsure why he has the powers of a man from the future, yet the appearance of a modern man).  Brain Storm lures the Captain to him, and starts to steal his power, but while Brain Storm gets powers, he also sees Captain Comet evolve into more of a future man!  As Brain Storm fights the evolved Captain Comet for a time with his new powers, he also loses his helmet, which gets picked up by Clark Kent's paranoid neighbor, who accidentally uses it to instill fear and paranoia in the citizens of Metropolis as Halley's Comet flies by.  Superman catches up with the battling duo, with Brain Storm telling Superman that along with the powers he got, he accidentally took away the restrictions Captain Comet had subconsciously placed on himself to live in the present...and that it would take his helmet to stop the problem.  Superman retrieves the helmet, and puts it on Captain Comet, who is restored to normal, undoing the damage caused, including removing Brain Storm's powers.

Strange Adventures

Captain Comet premiered in Strange Adventures #9 (June, 1951) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Bernard Sachs in "The Origin Of Captain Comet".  Captain Comet would fight alien menaces with the help of Professor Emery Zackro and, the pair were joined by Lucy Torrence in Strange Adventures #11 (August, 1951), where usually at least one of them was there to help Captain Comet in his outer space adventures (usually with art by Murphy Anderson, except his last few stories, with art by Gil Kane or Sy Barry) until his original adventures ended in Strange Adventures #49 (October, 1954).  A complete collection of these stories was promised by DC Comics early in the 21st century, but sadly, these reprints did not happen....yet.

Still, Captain Comet returned, being the main hero battling the Secret Society of Super-Villains (starting with their second issue, during this time is when Captain Comet first met Superman, as well as a few side appearance with Tommy Tomorrow and the Atom), or working with the L.E.G.I.O.N., starting with issue #16, (June, 1990), and eventually finding his own way again, this time in the second volume of Mystery In Space, meeting the Weird, then becoming involved in the Rann/Thanagar Holy War along with Hawkman, Starfire, Adam Strange and more, and finally being in a run of issues 1 to 8 of Strange Adventures (also with the outer space Starman and Bizarro as well), and joining Adam Strange in L.E.G.I.O.N.  with the second R.E.B.E.L.S. title. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Superman Of The Future

Superman might be considered the Man of Tomorrow, but what about the day after tomorrow?

Well, with Action Comics #256 (September, 1959) by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Stan Kaye (the latter two also drew the cover), he became "The Superman Of The Future!".

Superman was helping a Professor Wright test a device to travel to the future, but it wasn't our Superman who came back, but instead an  Ultra-Superman from the future!  This Superman seemed to possess additional powers like mental projections, and showed three of four disasters he had to prevent to change the future.  The fourth was horrible, he dare not show it.

So, this Ultra-Superman was not able to stop the first three disasters, but revealed the fourth was an attempt on the life of the President.  This happened, and the President's limo was destroyed in a bomb blast, but it was Superman inside instead!  Superman came up with the ruse to find an international spy ring, that Dirk Folgar (also known as Agent X-3), was working with, so Superman and Professor Wright came up with the ruse of becoming the Ultra-Superman to expose this plot!

An awful lot of work to find the bad guys, but anything to save the future....and this tale has been reprinted, along with a few other transformations in Superman Annual #3 of 1961!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Green Lantern Helps Jose Luis Garcia Lopez Celebrate

Well, okay, the picture is of Green Lantern defeating Sinestro, while saving Carol Ferris and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but this March drawing from the 1977 Super DC Calendar is by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez...

...whose birthday it is today!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Superman Meets Adam Strange

Superman was a baby when he was rocketed from Krypton to Earth, while Adam Strange was an adult when he was struck by a Zeta-Beam and transported to the distant planet in the Alpha Centauri system, Rann.

But, both of these men were able to find love on their new homes, as well as plenty of menaces to face as well, Superman with his powers and morality, Adam Strange with a few weapons he picked up on the planet and his scientific knowledge.

Though they originally met via the Justice League of America, they did have two adventures together....

DC Comics Presents 3

Superman thought he was returning home to Earth from a space mission in DC Comics Presents #3 (November, 1978) by David Michelinie, Jack C. Harris and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, but it was really Rann he was headed home to in "The Riddle Of Little Earth Lost", while Adam Strange was dealing with menaces on Earth.  Superman found Rann in the position of Earth in the Sol System, and, found Adam's wife, Alanna, and her father, scientist Sardath, in the capital city of Ranagar, and dealt with a few menaces by using his brains (like Adam Strange usually does).

It was found out that the planets switched when an experiment of Sardath's on the currently Rann-locked Adam Strange that somehow switched the planets positions (with Adam remaining where he was).  On Earth, Adam Strange stopped a few threats of his own, meeting Lois Lane, and getting information at the Daily Planet, which led him to the source of the transformation, and the man behind it, Kaskor, who had once tried to rule Rann, but now wants to destroy it.  Kaskor stabilized the Zeta-Bean energy on Earth, so it wouldn't move, while Rann's charge would wear off, causing both planets to occupy the same space and explode.  Superman traveled the distance between Earth and Rann, arriving in time to free Adam, and the two came up with a plan to move a space warp just in front of Earth, to allow it to move to its original position if Superman gave it a little nudge, when Adam Strange detonated a ship to move the warp to that point in space as his Zeta-Beam charge wore off (so he would be back on Rann as the ship exploded).  The plan worked, with Clark Kent on air giving thanks to Earth's "newest" hero, while Adam got to enjoy time with Alanna as he was finally home again with her.

DC Comics Presents 82

Adam Strange and Superman had a second solo team-up in DC Comics Presents #82 (June, 1985) by Cary Bates and Klaus Janson, where they dealt with "The Ghost Of Krypton Past!".

Adam's wife, Alanna, had been having dreams about Rann exploding and speaking in Kryptonian, so, Adam called on Superman for help.  When Superman arrived, he confirmed that Alanna was speaking his people's dead language, and that Rann was now occupying the same relative space as Krypton did when it exploded.  Alanna was also being possessed by a Kryptonian demon, Zazura, who planned on exploding Rann like Krypton.  Superman and Adam had to work together to free her, but found her dreams weren't being caused by Zazura, but by the spirits of the Kryptonians who had perished, who helped Superman against Zazura, allowing Adam to have his wife back, free of catastrophic dreams.

Who Is Adam Strange?

Adam Strange is an archeologist, who, while on a dig in Peru, ended up being struck by a Zeta-Beam and transported 4.3 Light Years to the planet Rann in the Alpha Centauri, where he met the lady Alanna, saving her from a menace, being taught their language and  going home to meet her father, Sardath, all in Showcase #17 (November-December, 1958) by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Frank Giacoia, under a cover by Gil Kane.    Adam's basic scientific know-how would allow him to defeat fantastic threats, with the help of a spacesuit, ray gun and jet pack given to him.  When the Zeta-Beam charge wore off, Adam would be teleported back to Earth, but he was given a schedule of when the Zeta-Beams should strike next, and made plans to return to Rann.

This series continued through the next two issues of Showcase, then became a regular feature in Mystery In Space, starting with the August 1959 53rd issue, with stories still by Fox, art now by Carmine Infantino, and usually inked by Murphy Anderson, though the first was by Joe Giella.

Usually Adam defeated his menaces like disasters and alien invasions with help from Alanna, or just with his knowledge alone, but he had help from the Justice League of America in Mystery In Space #75 (May, 1962) fighting their foe, Kanjar Ro, and then help from the Thanagarian Hawkman and Hawkgirl in Mystery In Space #90 (March, 1964).

Adam's regular series ended with Mystery In Space #102 (September, 1965), but thankfully, his friends helped him out, with Adam and Alanna appearing in Hawkman #18 and #19 of 1967, and after a few solo appearances, and sorting out some of Adam's problems,  the Justice League was able to attend Adam and Alanna's wedding in Justice League of America #121 (August, 1975).

Adam Strange's Showcase appearances, as well as all of his Mystery In Space stories, Hawkman #18, and Strange Adventures #222 and #226 are in the Adam Strange: The Silver Age Omnibus, with a few of his Batman team-ups in Brave and the Bold collections, and his Justice League of America stories in their collections, as well as his part in the Invasion!, and check back for more on Adam Strange, including future ties to the L.E.G.I.O.N., R.E.B.E.L.S., the Rann-Thanagar War and the Justice Leagues.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Giant Superman's Krypton

Superman's homeworld of Krypton took the focus of one of the last of the 64 page DC Giants to run in Superman's title (with only one after, then a few 100 Page Super Spectaculars just to keep readers happy with collections of older tales), with Superman #232 (December-January, 1970/1971) also known as Giant #G-78, with a cover by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

These reprints had a bit of a purpose, and this incredible cover was just the beginning of new happenings in the Superman titles.

But, first, the stories contained within the Giant....

Superman #141

The main tale of the issue was "Superman's Return To Krypton", a full length tale from Superman #141 (November, 1960) by Jerry Siegel, Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye, with an original cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye.  This tale took into account many of the additions to Superman's Kryptonian history, and presented them as Superman had accidentally time traveled to Krypton before it exploded, where he was trapped, due to not having powers on Krypton.

Superman had to find his way around, being mistaken for an extra on a Kryptonian movie set for "The Space Explorers", meeting his parents, Jor-El and Lara, on the day they were married and attending the ceremony, then going to work for Jor-El as he attempts to save the inhabitants of Krypton from the upcoming explosion with a fleet of space arks. 

Superman, going by Kal-El, even falls for Lyla Lerrol, a famous actress, as well as meeting Krypto's parents, helping out Jonathan Kent and Martha Clark on Earth via long range telescope, but, for all he did, Superman was unable to change anything, as the equipment to build the space arks was in Kandor, which Brainiac came to shrink and capture, insuring the doom of Krypton.  Superman then got caught in a launch of a prop ship for the movie company, which took him out of Krypton's area, allowing him to time travel home.

Adventure Comics #313

This time around, it is "Father's Day On Planet Krypton", though the Superboy story from Adventure Comics #313 (October, 1963) by Leo Dorfman and George Papp don't quite get to celebrate in style (not making the cover, as the Legion of Super-Heroes tale did).

Still, it was quite an adventure for the Boy of Steel, after making a gift for Pa Kent, young Clark Kent went to the Mind-Prober Ray to learn of how Father's Day was celebrated on Krypton....and that each Kryptonian house had a fortress with statues of their ancestors, which Kryptonians were suppose to honor at a certain age.

Superboy had ended up on Earth before this happened, so he had a little extra mystery to solve, as well as being tormented by Jax-Ur, a Kryptonian criminal from the Phantom Zone, and, the fact that, while he found the statues in space, they had been turned to Kryptonite!  Still, Superboy did beat these obstacles, and discovered more on Val-El, Sul-El, Tala-El, Hatu-El and Gam-El. 

Superman #164

Next up is "The Fugitive From The Phantom Zone", a back up tale from Superman #164 (October, 1963) by Edmond Hamilton, Curt Swan and George Klein, with a new threat to Superman's life (though he had his hands full in the front of this issue as well).

Kryptonian criminal Ras-Krom escaped from the Phantom Zone after the detonation of a nuclear bomb.  Disguising himself as "The Old Man from the Cosmos", he tried to steal nuclear weapons to open a rift to allow the rest of the Phantom Zone villains out, but, while fighting Superman, revealed his fear of ancient Kryptonian superstitions, which allowed Superman to herd him Ras-Krom to where he needed him to be, to nullify a device the criminal created to prevent Superman from sending back into the Phantom Zone.

Adventure Comics #216

Adventure Comics #216 (September, 1955) has "The Wizard City" by Bill Finger, Curt Swan and George Klein (under a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye), which appears to be a story of Superboy teaming up with Superman?

Well, there is a team-up in the story, but it was Superboy getting help from a professor that had been lost in the African jungle, looking for a meteor that had crashed there.  That meteor was the remnants of a Kryptonian city, so Superboy couldn't go into the area, as it had been turned into Kryptonite, so he dressed his new pal as Superman, to confuse Vedders, the guide who abandoned the explorer to another city, that of ancient knights, who had gotten lost in Africa.  Superboy helped the new "Superman" to defeat Vedders, bury the city to keep others away from it, and take the lost knights to civilization.  Then, Superboy was able to reunite the explorer with his son, Jimmy, who proclaimed Superboy would forever be his pal for finding his dad, Professor Mark Olsen.  Shame Jimmy was too young to get a picture of the occasion....

This Giant set up for the next issue of Superman, which signaled a turning point for Superman, marking the start of the Bronze Age, along with the destruction of all Kryptonite on Earth (for a time), as well as a new back-up feature for the Superman title, the World of Krypton, of which many tales were based on the tales presented here (and collected in the recent tradepaperback of Superman: The Many Worlds Of Krypton, along with more modern interpretations of Superman's home from two World of Krypton mini-series), all to showcase the planet that is home to Syfy's newest series, Krypton, which showcases Superman's grandfather....and more.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy St. Patrick's Day From Blue Devil

A hero with the alter ego of Daniel Patrick Cassidy, Blue Devil, would be a natural choice to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, and he did in Blue Devil #25 (June, 1986) by Gary Cohn, Dan Mishkin, Alan Kupperberg and Bill Collins, under a cover by Paris Cullins and Gary Martin.

In the "Happy St. Patty's Day" story, the weirdness magnet that is the magical and scientific mix that is Blue Devil, finds himself facing the Faerie Liberation Front (a band of terrorist leprechauns), who plan on taking a device from S.T.A.R. Labs that will turn Ireland back into a forest.

More of the inspired madness that is part of the 31 issue run of Blue Devil!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Superman Meets The Martian Manhunter

Superman and Martian Manhunter were charter members of the Justice League of America, but the pair of aliens had a few solo adventures together over the years.

Here are two of the more famous team-ups of the Man of Steel and the Manhunter from Mars, where it seemed to more of battle than a social!

World's Finest Comics #212

First up is World's Finest Comics #212 (June, 1972) by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin and Joe Giella under a feisty Nick Cardy cover, with the pair at each other's throats in a museum that teleported to Earth, as Martian Manhunter has a problem, "....And So My World Begins!".

That problem was on the planet Vonn, where J'onn's Martians had settled after leaving Earth (and where the Martian Manhunter had followed them to).  The Martians were captured by the Thythen, who were using their lifeforce to charge their Robo-Chargers.  The Martian Manhunter ended up in an ancient alien stronghold, that teleported to Earth.  All this stress unhinged J'onn, so he attacked Superman, but the two transported back to Vonn with the structure, a planet under a red sun, so Superman was powerless.  The pair went off to fight the invading aliens, meeting J'onn's female friend and fellow Martian, Bel Juz.  Superman worked to get her alone, suspecting her of being a traitor, while the Martian Manhunter faced the Thythen, with the help of the Robo-Chargers (the Martian lifeforce powering the robots allowed the Martians to control the robots, which would also help them rebuild this world).

Superman fought one Thythen, transporting back with the museum to Earth, and damaging the transporter so he couldn't go back, leaving J'onn with Bel Juz, the traitor (though that story would not be followed up on until the Martian Manhunter's solo series in Adventure Comics, which ended in an issue of World's Finest Comics with Superman and Batman aiding, and in the run of the Justice League of America that heralded J'onn's return to the JLA and the team's move to the Motor City!).

DC Comics Presents #27

Before J'onn J'onzz returned to the JLA, was DC Comics Presents #27 (November, 1980) by Len Wein, Jim Starlin, Dick Giordano and Frank McLaughlin, with Superman and the Martian Manhunter dealing with "The Key That Unlocked Chaos!".

Superman was enlisted by interplanetary thief, Mongul (by kidnapping Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Steve Lombard), to retrieve the Crystal Key that controlled Warworld, which was being protected by the Martian Manhunter (who had gotten the key from the Largas, who were an ultra-peaceful race that came upon the inactive Warworld).  A super battle between Superman and the Martian Manhunter ensued, with Superman getting the Key, but having to give it to Mongul to free his friends, and even with Martian Manhunter's help, Mongul escaped with the Crystal Key, proving Superman fallible, much to the anger of the Martian Manhunter.

Superman's battle with Mongul continued on after this alien's first appearance, with Superman getting assistance from others as well, like his cousin Supergirl and an alien Starman.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Action Comics Centennial 600 and 700

Continuing on, and starting to rack up the numbers for the Man of Steel, a look back at a few very special issues of Action Comics....

...this time, Action Comics #600 and #700, where Superman's Anniversary got to be a much bigger event and involve many more people!

Action Comics 600

After the success of the last larger than life Action Comics (#500), Action Comics #600 (May, 1988) had to be something special....and it was!

Celebrating Superman's 50th Anniversary as well as being issue 600, it also hearken back to the days of the 80-Page Giants/Superman Annuals, with John Byrne doing the main figure, and four panels from the stories on the inside.

Now, fair warning, this wasn't the Superman who celebrated the previous anniversaries, as this was the post-Crisis (on Infinite Earths) Superman, or, at the time, also referred to as the "Modern Age" Superman (as opposed to the Earth-2/Earth-1 or Golden Age/Silver Age Superman who had been in the previous tales....

....this is important. 

As, in the first tale of this issue, Superman meets Wonder Woman for the first time (just go with it, as Superman's history had a lot of the Silver Age stuff erased for a time, and Wonder Woman had all of her history taken away, leaving Paradise Island for the first time after the Crisis On Infinite Earths...which meant she wasn't there to be a charter member of the JLA, or directly inspire Wonder Girl from the Teen Titans....).   Anyway....

In "Different Worlds" by John Byrne and George Perez, Superman starts the issue with a bang (or at least a kiss).  A little forward, but the Wonder Woman and Superman titles of this month were leading up to this moment, as many people feel Diana would be a better match for Clark than Lois Lane.  Still, they backed off a bit, and were occupied by Darkseid and his Apokolipian forces, as they tried to invade Olympus.  A truly mighty story, with Clark and Diana parting as friends.

Next up is a story with Lois Lane, reacting to the headlines of a Superman/Wonder Woman romance, with a plot by John Byrne, script by Roger Stern and art by Kurt Schaffenberger (who worked on the classic Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane series, as well as Superman Family and more).

Lois was not all that happy that Superman seemed to found himself an Amazonian Princess, but Clark Kent showed up at her door to try to make her feel better (at this point, Lois didn't know that Clark was Superman).  Clark really was there to comfort least until he got an alarm from Jimmy Olsen's signal watch and left to handle the emergency as Superman (upsetting Lois to no end....again).

The next story in this issue featured Lex Luthor (and was written by John Byrne, drawn by Dick Giordano and John Beatty), with "Games People Play".

Evil businessman Lex Luthor (one of those post-Crisis changes to Luthor, now a businessman, not mad scientist) was attempting to blackmail police Captain Maggie Sawyer with knowledge of a secret in her life, but was unable to complete his process, as he suddenly had to leave the meeting due to intense pain in his hand.

Checking with his doctor, Gretchen Kelley, Luthor found out that he had advanced cancer in his hand, due to Kryptonite poisoning from the Kryptonite Ring he wore (Kryptonite is not normally harmful to humans, except, it appears, when one has prolonged exposure to it, as Luthor had had).  This would eventually lead to Luthor's hand being amputated, as well his death....but, those are stories for later days (and issues and articles). 

Meanwhile, Sawyer gets some comfort from her police partner, Inspector Dan Turpin (whom Maggie will soon tell her secret to....).

Superman does finally arrive to help Jimmy Olsen, who is a "Friend In Need" (plot by John Byrne, script by Roger Stern, art by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson, who worked on Superman/Action Comics a lot before the Crisis, as well as on classic Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen).

Superman did respond to Jimmy's emergency (a near oil tanker truck explosion in a small town), but as Superman stopped the problem, he fell weak, and it was up to Jimmy Olsen to rescue his pal!  Jimmy thought fast, putting a plan in action, getting a forklift and a mattress to lift Superman, then taking him out of town to the local caverns, which seemed to provide Superman some relief when he was taken there, with Jimmy going to get some help from "the whole darned Justice League" if need be.

With that, Superman was left alone in the cavern, in "The Dark Where Madness Lies" (by John Byrne and Mike Mignola).

While trapped in the caves, Superman encounters Batman foe, Man-Bat (a little more feral than he was pre-Crisis), and with Superman not exactly in his right mind (and may or may not have met Man-Bat in this version of history), the two battle a bit until Man-Bat leaves.  Shame he didn't stay, as he might have worked well with the high-flying Hawkman, who showed up at the end of the issue (and into Superman #18, where Hawkman and his wife Hawkwoman, would end up helping Superman "Return to Krypton"!

The issue had many pin-ups as well, by artists Medley and Art Adams, Jon Bogdanove, Kevin Maquire and Dave Gibbons, Mike Zeck and Walt Simonson.


Action Comics 700
With all the last special Action Comics had, Action Comics #700 (June, 1994) had to be even bigger (even though it was only 64 pages), and it did end with quite a bang with the Fall of Metropolis (including the Daily Planet globe as shown on the cover by Jackson Guice), and a "Swan Song" for a member of the team, in a story by Roger Stern, Jackson Guice with Denis Rodier, and special sections drawn by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.

This, the culmination of quite a few storylines well over the last 100 issues (not only of Action Comics, but Superman, Adventures of Superman and Superman: the Man of Steel, as S-triangle #24, as the four Superman titles a month were linked now).  

Reporter Lois Lane uncovered the truth about Lex Luthor's son, that he was a clone of the original (supposedly deceased from Kryptonite poisoning Lex Luthor) with the original's memories.   Superman and Superboy (a younger clone of Superman, created by Cadmus Labs, now a smoking crater in the ground), along with help from Supergirl (Matrix, a clone of an alternate Earth's Lana Lang, with super powers) had to try to save Metropolis from the destructive tendencies of Luthor (with only some success), as well as soon leading to a trial for Lex Luthor as he had finally been convicted of murder as well.

Meanwhile, in the special sections drawn by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson, back in Smallville, Lana Lang and Pete Ross got married, under the watchful eyes of Ma and Pa Kent (in the post-Crisis continuity, they hadn't died and Clark was never Superboy).

This issue also marked the last Superman tale for a time, as writer Roger Stern left the super-team, having written about 10 issues of Superman, the Action Comics Weekly Superman feature for #601-642, and most of the issues up to #700...

...bringing a major chapter in Superman (and Lex Luthor's) life to a close (and setting up for another 100 issues.....).  

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Superman Meets Doctor Fate

To be fair, Superman and Doctor Fate met before, when it was a big Crisis between Earths, in team-ups of the Justice League and Justice Society of America.....

....but, there were a couple of times where Superman needed help with a mystical menace, and when he did, it was time for him to put in a call for the Doctor (Fate, of course!).

World's Finest Comics #208

The first time was in World's Finest Comics #208 (December, 1971) by Len Wein and Dick Dillin (under a stunning Neal Adams cover), where the duo faced the "Peril Of The Planet-Smashers!".

Superman, feeling a little vulnerable after an encounter with magic in the previous issue goes for help....from Zatanna, who is unable to provide it.  So, the Man of Steel crosses the dimensional boundaries from Earth-1 to Earth-2, to meet with Doctor Fate, who is having his own problems with an alien patient of Ghan Uu.  Ghan and two of his fellow Buudak sorcerers planned to mash together Earth's continents to release the magical energy to get them to their version of Nirvana....destroying Earth-2.  Superman and Doctor Fate fight them at Stonehenge and a Mayan Temple, but combine forces at the Lost Valley of Ur to keep them from succeeding in their plan, finding that Superman's vulnerability to magic was an asset (so that, after this battle is over, he does not get Doctor Fate's help in removing his magic vulnerability).

DC Comics Presents #23

The second of the two solo meetings of the Man of Steel and the Mystic Mage happened in DC Comics Presents #23 (July, 1980) by Denny O'Neil, Joe Staton and Vince Colletta, with a cover by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano, with the pair dealing with "The Curse Out Of Time!"

This time around, the action starts with Doctor Fate in his mystic fortress in Salem, trying to find a cure for a curse his wife, Inza Nelson, is suffering from, that manifested from one of her pirate ancestors.  Using magic to track down Captain Ezra Hawkins and his ship, which fades out of view as they find it.  Meanwhile, on Earth-1's Metropolis, Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane are at S.T.A.R. Labs, where an experiment...materializes that pirate ship!  Superman shows up to deal with the danger, but, after the pirates capture Lois Lane with magical aid, is forced to take them to plunder his city,  While headed to where the ship ended up, Doctor Fate battles El Muchacho, the imp who put the curse on Hawkins and imbued them with magic and captures him.  Doctor Fate arrives in Metropolis, saves Superman and Lois, and returns the ship to its own time.  All of which was enough to remove the curse from Inza!  

All of which shows that a superhero can benefit from magic, as much as magic can benefit a superhero (as Doctor Fate's previous partner, Hourman, can also attest to!).

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Gray Morrow's Zatanna

Sometimes an artist comes onto a feature and makes magic, and none was more evident than when Gray Morrow did the art for Zatanna, herself a magician.

For three issues of Adventure Comics (mostly reprinted in DC Super-Stars #11) and one Zatanna Special, readers were treated to Zatanna's solo adventures, with Gray Morrow art.

Let's take a look back at these!

Zatanna The Magician

First up is Zatanna's first solo story from Adventure Comics #413 (December, 1971) by Len Wein and Gray Morrow, which starts with magical foul play for her dad, Zatara, and introduces their home of Shadowcrest, as well as Zatanna's stage manager, Jeffrey Sloane, as Zatara is menaced by mystic forces, then sends his daughter and Jeff to another dimension, where they encounter barbarians.

The Tower Of The Dead

With Adventure Comics #414 (January, 1972) by Len Wein and Gray Morrow, Zatanna and Jeff are taken to King Varnu of this land, who plans on ending the pair, but has them taken to The Tower of the Dead, whom no one is suppose to come out of alive.  There, the duo find the Dimension Juncture home, face zombies (the Army of the Damned), and Gorgonus, who turns Jeff into stone.

Kill Or Be Killed

To finish this story in Adventure Comics #415 (February, 1972) by Len Wein and Gray Morrow, Zatanna uses her backwards magic to take Jeff through the dimensional portal to Earth (which restores him to normal), then the pair fight small demons, taking a toll on the duo's clothes, getting a hint of where Zatara is.  They go there, which is Times Square, where Zatara is conjuring monsters, who take Jeff.  Zatanna kills her dad, and Allura, an old foe of Zatanna and Zatara's comes out of him (it was Allura who started this, possessing Zatara to have him perform evil), whom Zatanna captures in a bottle.  Then, Zatara recovers (Zatanna didn't kill him, only knocked him out with sleight of, stage magic instead of the real, backwards stuff), Zatara repairs his damage, and the three head home.

Zatanna had a few more adventures in Adventure Comics (#419 and #421), as well as more solo tales in Supergirl (#1-4), Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane (#132) and World's Finest Comics (#274-277), along with joining the Justice League of America, and getting a new costume or two.

Gray Morrow returned to draw Zatanna on her own one more time....


Zatanna Special #1 (1987) by Gerry Conway and Gray Morrow deals with many of the events that happened in Zatanna's life up to this point...

...losing her mother (Sindella of the Homo Magi), as well as her father (that more recently, due to the aftermath of the Crisis On Infinite Earths), and trying to get back into stage magic with Jeff Slone's help.  A magical manifestation of her mother (which interrupts her stage act) starts a mystery which takes her from Shadowcrest (her magical mansion), leading her (with Jeff in tow again, as Jeff will tend to follow Zatanna anywhere) into her mother's mystical land of the Homo Magi, where she meets the High Lord again (the man who was responsible for her mother's death which got Zatanna her first costume change).... well as Allura, a foe of her father's (yet again, but more joyous this time as Zatanna's mother and father are gone)....

....finding out the real foe she had been fighting all these years...and defeats that as well....

Gray Morrow draws Zatanna a little more, during early issues of the Spectre (facing Wotan and the aftermath of Millennium with the Manhunters).  Zatanna's original adventures were collected in JLA: Zatanna's Search (now out of print), and recent adventures of her solo series were collected in Zatanna by Paul Dini.  Would that DC perhaps put Zatanna's Quest back in print, including her Adventure Comics, four Supergirl solo appearances, one Lois Lane and few World's Finest Comics solo stories as well as the special,  as extra enticement to buy the new book...and see all of this Gray Morrow art in full again, plus more magic!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Happy World Tennis Day

Today is World Tennis Day, celebrating the sport of tennis and all it does.  

Of course, Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge would play tennis (against Archie Andrews and Reggie Mantle), with Betty having a unique way of congratulating the winner, as this cover of Archie's Girls, Betty and Veronica #139  from June, 1967 by Dan DeCarlo and Rudy Lapick shows!