Thursday, May 31, 2018

A Little Summer Fun With Superman, Batman And Robin

Not to be outdone, Superman, Batman and Robin had symbolic covers for the first 70 issues of World's Finest Comics as well before they started regular team-ups, like this playful cover of World's Finest Comics #60 (September-October, 1952) by Win Mortimer, with Batman and Robin, along with a few female friends, enjoying time on the lake waterskiing, using poor Superman as a source of locomotion.

Batman and Robin, as well as Superman, Green Arrow, the Manhunters Around The World and the western hero, the Wyoming Kid had separate tales inside the issue, not related to the fun on the cover as the Golden Age got closer to a close.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A Little Summer Fun With Green Lantern, Wonder Woman And Flash

Taking it easy with the heat as we get closer to summer, and showing this representative cover from Comic Cavalcade #3 (Summer, 1943) by Frank Harry, showing the Golden Age Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Flash having fun...while they, as well as Hop Harrigan and Sargon the Sorcerer have individual tales inside the title.

Oh, the innocent fun of the Golden Age!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Saluting Our Veterans On Memorial Day

Saluting our soldiers, and those who gave their lives in service of our country with this cover from Our Army At War #197 (September, 1968) by Joe Kubert.

Our soldiers fought to keep civilians safe, but occasionally, the civilians died as well, and Sgt. Rock salutes them as well.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Superman Vs. Shazam The Teasers

When DC had acquired the original Captain Marvel, one would have immediately thought that a battle between the Big Red Cheese and the Man of Steel would be a no-brainer, but the powers that be at DC didn't feel that way.

So, they spent years setting up near battles between Billy Batson and Clark Kent's alter egos, and told quite a few interesting stories along the way.

Make Way For Captain Thunder!

Wait a minute.  This was suppose to be a build up to the Superman/Captain Marvel battle and here Superman #276 (June, 1974) by Elliot S! Maggin, Curt Swan and Bob Oksner seems to give it away already...or does it?  Look closely at that Nick Cardy cover to see if you can spot the difference.....

Yes, that wasn't Captain Marvel, but Captain Thunder, little Willie Fawcett, who accidentally ended up on Superman's Earth and having a little battle with Superman.  Captain Thunder was the prototype for the original Captain Marvel, and DC was shoring up its copyright on this, as well as giving a little taste of what's to come, as well as giving a little taste of other things, like this Cap's own version of Sivana and a Monster League of Evil which looked more like the Universal Monsters than the Monster Society of Evil he usually faced.  There was a battle, but the two parted as friends, with Willie headed to his home dimension...

Captain Marvel Meets....Lex Luthor!?!

Yes, that seems rather unlikely, but it was the next teaser, in Shazam! #15 (November-December, 1974) by Denny O'Neil, Bob Oksner and Tex Blaisdell, with Superman's foe teaming up with Mr. Mind to cause trouble, all under a Bob Oksner cover.

Luthor figured out a new way to fight Superman with a magic accumulator, but finding a Shazam! comic and being repulsed by it, tried to blast it out of existence, and instead ended up on Captain Marvel's world.  Working with Mr. Mind, the World's Wickedest Worm, the two plotted to use the accumulator against Captain Marvel, and nearly succeeded, if not for Billy's quick wits.  Luthor headed home with his accumulator drained, to face a Man of Steel.   Oddly, this must have had some affect on Luthor, as after this, he kept to his purple and green costume, ditching the grey prison garb he usually wore.

Crisis In Tomorrow!

After all this teasing, Justice League of America #137 (December, 1976) by E. Nelson Bridwell, Martin Pasko, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin finally looked like a payoff, but this cover by Ernie Chan was the ultimate tease!

The previous two issues dealt with a team-up of the Justice League of America (from Earth-1), Justice Society of America (from Earth-2) and the Squadron of Justice (from the now named Earth-S), which included other Earth-S heroes of Bulletman, Bulletgirl, Ibis, Spy Smasher, Mr. Scarlet and Pinky, but NOT the Marvel Family.  King Kull, the main villain of the story had incapacitated the old wizard Shazam, so Billy, Mary and Freddy couldn't call down the magic lightning.  Say, you thought they got a little help from this guy and his magical friend, and faster than you can say Shazam!, the Marvel Family was back, though Billy used his wisdom of Solomon to prevent the fight with Superman outside the Rock of Eternity instead.  Holy Moley, was that close!

Captain Marvel Fights The Man Of Steel

Okay, with the Kurt Schaffenberger cover of Shazam! #30 (July-August, 1977) for the story by E. Nelson Bridwell, Kurt Schafenberger and Vince Coletta, this time it is the real battle, right?

Well, look at Dr. Sivana in the background, as well as the fact that it is a steel mill.  This was at the time Captain Marvel was traveling the country with Uncle Dudley, finding themselves in the steel mills of Pittsburgh, and Sivana found a way to create robots out of the molten steel, including one of Superman, though in the comic, the duplicates were all a grey color (conveniently miscolored on the cover to lure in unsuspecting readers).  Still, it was a battle of Captain Marvel and "the Man of Steel"....just not a real, Kryptonian Man of Steel.

Well, the battle finally happened in All-New Collectors' Edition #C-58 (April, 1978) with "When Earth's Collide", but, in the traditions of the teases that had happened, this will be a story for another day, as they finally fulfilled the promise that the cover of Shazam! #1 (February, 1973) started (or was started nearly a decade before, as artist Kurt Schafenberger snuck the Big Red Cheese into Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #42 (July, 1963) but the colorist hid it by coloring him green, though the reprint of that story in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #104 (September-October, 1970)...all teases for tales to be told another time!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Arrow Shots: The Goatee

Thanks to Arrow actor, Stephen Amell, a little bit of Season 7 news leaked out at the Motor City Comic Con...that, for the first time in the TV series, Oliver Queen will be sporting the goatee!

The Origin

Green Arrow first appeared with the goatee as part of his new look for Brave and the Bold #85 (August-September, 1969) in a story by Bob Haney and Neal Adams, and the look continued as Green Arrow first met the new Black Canary as she joined the JLA in Justice League of America #75 (November, 1969).

With Green Lantern and the Longbow Hunters

Green Arrow continued that look while teaming up with Green Lantern (more on that here) for the 1970s, and even for quite a time after, in Action Comics, World's Finest Comics and Detective Comics, before ditching it for his urban hunter outfit, which started with Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters #1 (August, 1987).

New 52

Green Arrow kept that look or variations of it, or returned to Neal Adams style costume, but it wasn't until the advent of the New 52 that the goatee disappeared, sporting a new look much closer to that of the Arrow TV show.....but, was this the earliest time Ollie ditched the goatee?


Green Lantern #94 and #95 of 1977 by Denny O'Neil and Mike Grell feature Green Arrow losing his goatee to hide his identity to get into a secret base...but, not unlike the current Green Arrow in comics, it grows back.

Now, how about that hat?  (Stephen Amell says no....).

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Giant Superboy Menace

Back to the happier days of Smallville, at a time when Superboy (Superman as a boy) patrolled the city, keeping it safe from those who might wish it harm.

Here, in 80 Page Giant #10 (May, 1965), is a collection of some of Superboy's greatest foes....the worst of the worst menaces the young Boy of Steel had to face as he grew into Superman-hood, all under a cover by Curt Swan and George Klein.

Adventure Comics #205

The adventure starts off with "The Journey Of The Second Superboy" from Adventure Comics #205 (October, 1954) by Bill Finger, Curt Swan and Sy Barry, with Curt and Sy also providing the cover.

This story has Superboy meeting up with Kral, a young lad from Titan, Saturn's moon, who lands at the Kent homestead.  The lad, like Superboy, is an orphan, but Kral is also an advance scout for an invasion fleet from Titan.  Kral works with Superboy, learning of Earth's defenses and Superboy's weaknesses, and takes the Boy of Steel to Titan, planning to expose him to Kryptonite.  While on Titan, Superboy shows the moon's leaders his powers, claiming all Earthmen have them.  Kral, who was touched by his time on Earth, doesn't expose Superboy's lie to prevent a war neither want, and the two super-powered lads part as friends.

Adventure Comics #250

Next up is another invasion of Smallville, but on a smaller scale.  It is "The Imposter From The Year 2958" from Adventure Comics #250 (July, 1958) by Bill Finger and John Sikela, with a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye.

This time around, the invader is from the future, a criminal called Lorac-7, who has come to the past to steal cobalt.  Superboy is ready, protecting the cobalt of Smallville, but can't help but suspect those around him, including his principal, Professor Lang, and even the mayor....until he realizes Lorac-7 is disguised as Lana Lang, whom he catches, and sends back to the future, but without her getting any cobalt for her evil plans.

Oddly, this villain had no connection to the Legion of Super-Heroes, but, to be fair, they had only appeared once before this, three issues prior.

Superboy #83

"The Dreams Of Doom" is the next reprint, from Superboy #83 (September, 1960) by Jerry Siegel and George Papp, under a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye, introducing Superboy to his greatest menace of the time!

Superboy and Krypto are both having dreams of a menace, that of the Kryptonite Kid and his dog, but this nightmare proves to be real, as the Kryptonite Kid and his dog show up to chase the Boy and Dog of Steel out of Smallville.  Clark and his pet won't go, but a villain with the power to turn things into Kryptonite almost proves too much of Kal-El, at least until Mxyzptlk shows up, banishing the villain and his mutt, as Mxyzptlk wants the honor of finishing off Superboy one day (which he can't do if this new villain does).

Along with Kryptonite Kid's dog, Krypto faced other canine menaces, which they detail in a one page feature here, including Luthor's dog, Destructo.

Adventure Comics #271

From Adventure Comics #271 (April, 1960) with a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye, and story by Jerry Siegel and Al Plastino, is a story of an event that would change all of Smallville..."How Luthor Met Superboy".

It's an origin as old as time.  Boy saves superhero from Kryptonite meteor, superhero creates boy (who is a fan) a super scientific lab, boy makes big breakthrough, but is careless and starts a fire, superhero breaks into lab to stop the blaze, causing the boy's hair to fall out, creating his greatest foe!

Luthor, of course, is the biggest threat to Superboy, and later, to Superman, and even rated his own Giant (though, it was battles with Superman), and this tale was also reprinted larger than life in a Limited Collectors' Edition (as well as other places).

Adventure Comics #264

Next up is the reprint from Adventure Comics #264 (September, 1959) by Otto Binder and George Papp, all under a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye, with Superboy encountering an alien menace that would make him into "The Hapless Hero".

Superboy faces off against Space-Boy, the alien Zall-Dix, who has come to Earth, looking to exchange minds, with this new alien taking the place of Superboy.  Superboy obviously objects to this, so Space-Boy causes Superboy's powers to malfunction, making the Boy of Steel a menace to his town.  Superboy finally does agree to the mind-swap, but, Clark's dad, Jonathan Kent, interferes, which impresses Space-Boy, who heads out into space towards home.

Adventure Comics #255

Last but not least, readers get to see "The Splitting Of Superboy" from Adventure Comics #255 (December, 1958) by Otto Binder and George Papp, with a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye.

Kozz, an alien from Mars, uses Red Kryptonite to split the Boy of Steel into two...Superboy and Clark Kent!  Superboy has powers (and morals) while Clark Kent has neither.   This causes problems, with Clark leaving the Kent household (with Kryptonite).  Superboy takes on a new identity, as Flying Spirit, a native American.  Clark uses the Kryptonite and even Lana Lang to search for Superboy, and eventually the two battle, using Superboy robots.  Clark wins by cheating, but damages his robot control device, which explodes, killing him, allowing Superboy to go back to being Clark Kent.

This wasn't the first time Clark Kent would face off against his heroic alter ego, and wouldn't be the last, as Superman and Clark Kent had many fights over the years!

This isn't the only collection of Superboy tales, the Boy of Steel had an Annual, a few 100 Page DC Super Spectaculars, and many oversized issues of his own title as well, committed to his adventures, as well as those of other young heroes.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Remembering Margot Kidder Superman The Movie's Lois Lane

Remembering the late Margot Kidder (October 17, 1948 - May 13, 2018), who played Lois Lane in the 4 Christopher Reeve Superman movies.

Margot Kidder played a fiercely independent Lois, sassy, self-confident, who really didn't need a Superman, and that is what Lois Lane felt for a couple of issues of Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane.

Get Out Of My Life, Superman

By the time of Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #80 (January, 1968 with a cover by Curt Swan and Neal Adams, and story by Leo Dorfman and Kurt Schaffenberger), Lois had had it with Superman.

Superman missed Lois' birthday party, and that was too much for her.  Lois moved to Coral City, changed her name to Lois Lorne, taking a job as a nurse (which she had the skills to do).  As a nurse, Lois saved the life of astronaut Rand Kirby, and thus a new romance began.  Clark Kent, assigned to a story in Coral City, finds Lois, but Lois tells Clark not to tell Superman she is here (a little hard, as Clark is Superman).  Still, things go bad, and Lois admits she needs Superman's help, getting it...but, Lois (feigning being under truth serum), tells Superman she doesn't love him anymore.

No Witnesses In Outer Space

Following up on that bombshell was Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #81 (February, 1968, with cover by Neal Adams, and story by Leo Dorfman and Kurt Schaffenberger).  Lois and Superman were a couple no more.  They both went to extremes in this story to change that!

Superman decided he would travel back in time to make it to Lois' party, but, even then, couldn't make it, so, resigned himself to be without Lois.  Lois, still working as a nurse in Coral City, helps Dr. Culver with an experiment, testing a gas on death row prison convicts.  Some of the prisoners break free, taking Lois hostage, until Superman saves her.  Lois, exposed to the gas, gains temporary ESP, allowing her to read Superman's mind, finding out he still loves her, but is scared to commit to her due to it making her a target for his enemies.  Lois also abandons plans to marry Rand Kirby, but her new temporary powers also give her a flash to the future, where she sees Superman dying from Kryptonite in space, with Rand saving him, but dying in the process.  Lois stows away in Kirby's rocket, saving Superman, but, he breaks her lifeline to the ship, and she passes out.

This was a bit of a misdirect, as Lois wakes up on Earth, as Superman had to snap the line as it had become tangled, so he saved her.  The two patched things up, and Lois returned to Metropolis and Superman. 

Superman The Movie

Margot Kidder portrayed a very different Lois Lane in Superman The Movie.  Her Lois Lane was independent, self-confident and self-reliant.  A drastic change from the days of the Adventures Of Superman TV show, or the earlier comic books.  Her Lois Lane was very focused on her career and getting the story....though that did get her into quite a bit of trouble, and, thankfully, Superman was there to rescue her, even from the most horrible of fates.

Superman II

By the time of the second Superman movie, Lois begun to suspect Clark was Superman....and she was right.  The two grew much closer, and the great chemistry between Margot Kidder and Christopher Reeve was  a joy to watch.  Margot's Lois got into even bigger trouble in this movie, but always had her Superman there to pull her out, even if the ending undid the majority of their best interactions during this movie.

Superman 3, 4 and Smallville

Still, Margot Kidder was a trouper, not unlike Lois Lane, and returned for Superman III and IV.  Neither of those movies inspired as the first two did, nor did they do much for Lois Lane (or Margot Kidder), with Lois being in little more than a cameo in III, with Annette O'Toole really filling in with Superman, as Lana Lang.  Still, at least Margot and Annette became friends, as Margot did get to play a role as Dr. Swann's assistant (Dr. Swann being Christopher Reeve's role) on Smallville.

While her life wasn't always super, Margot Kidder will be remembered by Superman fans for her time as Lois Lane.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mothers Day Batman

Happy Mother's Day, Batman, as tough as it may be for you.

Here's the cover of Batman: The Long Halloween #8 (July, 1997), of a 13 issue mini-series by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, with Bruce Wayne paying homage to his deceased mother, Martha Wayne, as we pay homage to those who have lost a mom.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Green Lantern Green Arrow By Neal Adams For May

For May, a quick look back at Green Lantern and Green Arrow, as this image from the 1976 Super DC Calendar gives us these hard traveling heroes by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano.

Neal Adams and Dick Giordano were no strangers to Green Lantern and Green Arrow...

...Neal Adams had drawn the two on a few Justice League of America covers in the 1960s, as well as designing Green Arrow's new look for Brave and the Bold #85 (August-September, 1969) in a meeting with Batman

The two also worked on the art for the 1970s Denny O'Neill written run from Green Lantern #76 to #89, as well as Flash #217 to #219, wherein Green Lantern teamed with Green Arrow, and comics gained a conscious. 

Green Arrow was there to shame Green Lantern into working for his fellow inhabitants of Earth....and, along the way, the recently impoverished Oliver Queen gained Black Canary as a supporting character, lost Speedy while learning about his ward, and even ran for Mayor of Star City for the first time.

A little underdeveloped, Green Lantern did follow Green Arrow's lead, which resulted in the Guardians of the Universe depowering Hal's Power Ring, and Hal and Ollie traveling the country for a time looking for truth (along with Guardian of the Universe Appa Ali Apsa, himself revealing the humanity of the Guardians, with their problems as well, including overpopulation), and finding some, as well as villains Black Hand and Sinestro (as well as Hal's girlfriend, Carol Ferris), introducing John Stewart as Hal's back-up Green Lantern.

These stories have been reprinted regularly in almost every format since the 1980s....doesn't that one cover look a little familiar?

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Giant Batman And His Fantastic Foes

Another look back at an 80 Page Giant, this time around, it is G-17, the issue that was the first of Batman's 80 Page Giant's in his own title, Batman #176 (December, 1965).

This time around, the focus was on Batman's villains, and at the time, one could almost hear the biffs and the pows coming off the page, as, while this issue, reprinting tales from the 1950s, was in the early days of the "New Look" Batman of the time, as well as coming out soon before the Batman TV series of the 1960s hit the airwaves!

Take a look at the villains involved in the issue, and you can see how these stories influenced those who made the TV show...

Batman 70

First up is "The Parasols Of Plunder", that originally appeared in Batman #70 (April-May, 1952) by Bill Woolfolk, Bob Kane, Lew Schwartz and Charles Paris, featuring the Penguin, even if the fowl menace wasn't important enough to make the Win Mortimer cover!

Penguin is released from the penitentiary by the parole board, provided he gives up his pursuit of birds.  Penguin does, instead focusing his energy on the manufacture of umbrellas, and trying to get Batman to endorse his business.  Batman, rightfully, thinks the Penguin is up to no good, proven by how he used the manufactured umbrellas in crimes, first on a rainy street in Gotham, then on the sandy beaches....but, the felonious fowl was brought down by the Dynamic Duo, and returned to work on the umbrella line back at Gotham Penitentiary.

Detective Comics 253

Next up is "The Fox, The Shark And The Vulture", otherwise known as the Terrible Trio, from Detective Comics #253 (March, 1958) by Dave Wood, Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris, all originally under a cover by Sheldon Moldoff.

The Terrible Trio used a Burrow Machine, an Underseas Eel submarine and a Pilot Fish jumper to rob banks and museums in Gotham for their booty, controlling land, sea and air, all from the relative safety of their lighthouse base, at least until Batman and Robin got their act together, and found a way to foil the masked criminals with thinking, instead of just trying to follow the false trails they would lead the heroes on.

These three would return again, in Detective Comics #321 (November, 1963), but seemed to be villains based on a gimmick, which would serve the producers of the Batman TV show well (even if these three never appeared there).

Batman 121

"The Ice Crimes Of Mr. Zero" came from Batman #121 (February, 1959) by Dave Wood, Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris, covered by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye, but, the cold criminal who premiered here would only go by this name once, he would later return as Mr. Freeze.

Mr. Zero used a cold-producing gun to commit crimes in Gotham with his henchmen, wearing a special suit and living in a climate controlled headquarters in the mountains, due to having been exposed to a freezing solution which enables him to survive only in sub-arctic temperatures.  After a few attempts at catching the ice gun welding villain, Batman and Robin did catch him after he took them to his headquarters, exposing him to a steam bath, which, for the moment, had appeared to cure Mr. Zero (but, his return as Mr. Freeze froze any hopes of his recovery....).

Batman Sunday Newspaper

Now, for something completely different, a run from the Batman Sunday Newspaper (April 4, 1946 to June 16, 1946) by Alvin Schwartz, Jack Burnley, Fred Ray and Win Mortimer, featuring the Catwoman as a villain.

Catwoman recruited a new gang, to challenge Batman to a cross-country race, going by planes, trains and automobiles....and even by boat!  This was a game of showmanship, with Batman and Catwoman competing in games of disguise as well, matching wits and occasional confrontations, at least until Batman netted the Catwoman and her crew, ending this particular round of their ongoing game of cat...and bat! 

Batman 102

Regressing a bit, Batman and Robin had to deal with "The Caveman At Large" from Batman #102 (September, 1956) by Bill Finger, Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris.

Goth was really an actor, Carlin, who really threw himself into his least until a konk on the head had him thinking he really was a caveman!  Goth was a menace as much to himself as he was to Gotham, so Batman and Robin had to find him for his own good.  Goth found a secret entrance to the Bat-Cave, and, while able to capture Batman and Robin, was stunned by the trophies Batman had their (specifically the T. Rex), at least long enough for Batman and Robin to capture him, where he received another blow to the head, rendering him unconscious, so that the Dynamic Duo could take him up to Wayne Manor, where he revived, with no memory that he had even been in the Bat-Cave (or any other of his time as a caveman).

Detective Comics 259

Next up is "The Challenge Of The Calendar Man" from Detective Comics #259 (September, 1958) by David Vern, Dick Sprang and Charles Paris, under a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye.

The Calendar Man challenged him to catch him as the villain would commit crimes based on the five seasons...Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter...and, wait...five?  While the Calendar Man was successful using his gimmicks in the four crimes set to the known seasons, it was his conceit in advertising that brought him down, as Batman figured out what the fifth season was, and was able to capture the crook before he was able to act, as the Calendar Man was using a cover identity as the Maharajah the Magician (who was only in town for five days), thus putting prison time into the seasons for Calendar Man.

Calendar Man would return, on his own, and working with other time related villains, such as the Time Foes, including Chronos and Clock King. 

Batman 73

Last, but certainly not least, is the reprint of Batman #73 (October-November, 1952) by David Vern, Dick Sprang and Charles Paris, entitled "The Joker's Utility Belt" (a concept they also used on the 1966 Batman TV Show!).

The Joker, tired of being shown up by Batman with his utility belt, came up with one of his own.  True, his choices of weapons were odd (hand buzzers, snake pellets, sneezing and itching powder capsules, Mexican jumping beans, playing cards, and a cork), the sheer oddity of items allowed Joker to capture Batman and Robin, and, then, using Joker's belt's items, Batman was able to save Robin from rolling into the flames of death on a conveyor belt, capturing the Joker and his gang.

This being the first of many 80 Page Giants within Batman's own book, but it had been preceded by 7 Batman Annuals (starting with the first) and 2 80 Page Giants (#5 and #12) as well, all usually built around some theme!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Celebrate National Nurses Day With Lois Lane

"Lois Lane -- Volunteer Nurse" was the title of one of the stories of Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #43 (August, 1963), this one by Leo Dorfman and Kurt Schaffenberger.  Taking a look back at this story to celebrate National Nurses Day today!

Lois uses her training to become a nurse to help a wounded Perry White, and, while in the hospital, meets Lt. Paul Hunt, Perry's roommate, falling in love with him.  She arranges for Superman to fly the pair to Mexico, supposedly for treatment, but, once there, she finds out he is a member of the criminal 14-Karat Gang, using her to smuggle items out of the country, so calls Superman to bust the gang, ending her new romance.

Just another thing for a nurse to handle in the course of her busy day!

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Kanjar Ro JLA And Adam Strange Foe

Kanjar Ro was an interstellar threat, not only to the Earth and the Justice League of America, but to the planet Rann, its inhabitants and their adopted hero, Adam Strange as well.

His beginnings seem simple enough, but Kanjar Ro quickly evolved into a much bigger threat over time.

Let's go back to the beginning, and follow this criminal through his career....

Slave Ship Of Space

Kanjar Ro paralyzed everyone on the planet Earth with his Gamma Metal Gong, to introduce himself to the JLA in Justice League Of America #3 (February-March, 1961) by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs.

Kanjar Ro, the dictator of Dhar, wanted to recruit the JLA to fight for him against three rival rulers: Queen Hyathis of Alstair, King Kromm of Mosteel and Emporer Sayyar of Llarr; when the JLA captures these reprehensible rulers, Kanjar Ro would free the citizens of Earth after taking them around on his slave ship he controlled with his Energi-rod.  The Martian Manhunter makes Kromm his prisoner, Wonder Woman and Aquaman capture Hyathis and Flash and Green Lantern defeat Sayyar....and thankfully, the JLA members recorded the voices of each of them, as them all saying Kanjar's name was what was needed to free the citizens of Earth, which Ro tried not to do.  After Superman, Batman and the rest of Earth was freed, the four rulers were imprisoned on a plant created by Superman and shielded by Green Lantern to keep the rest of the universe safe, all in the last mission of the charter members of the JLA in their own title.

The Planet That Came To A Standstill

As Green Arrow joined the JLA, Flash had proposed Adam Strange for membership in the team, requiring the story of Mystery In Space #75 (May, 1962) by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson to come into existence, as the team had yet to meet Adam Strange.

This tale has Kanjar Ro escaping the planet Superman created with his Energi-rod of Dhorite, and heading to Rann to power up to face the JLA. 

While there, he captures Adam Strange and Alanna, but Adam escapes, and uses Kanjar's slave ship to go to Earth, catching a Zeta Beam on Earth to go back to Rann. 

The JLA find the slave ship on Earth, and half of them (Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and Batman) go to Rann to fight Kanjar Ro. 

Adam uses the Gamma Gong to paralyze everyone (including half the JLA with Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Snapper, Alanna and Kanjar Ro) on Rann, then the Zeta Beam wears off sending him to Earth, where he gets the rest of the JLA to capture the now more than 3 times powerful than Superman Kanjar Ro. 

Strange defeats Ro using his Energi-rod, made of the material of Ro's home planet, which Adam deduces would be a harmful to Kanjar Ro as Kryptonite is to Superman, but pays a price, being hit with part of a beam from the rod, resulting in his being unable to stay permanently of Rann, thus going back to traveling there temporarily by Zeta Beam.

Decoy Missions Of The Justice League

With Justice League Of America #24 (December, 1963) by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs (under a cover by Murphy Anderson), Kanjar Ro escapes his Dhorite prison on Rann, and causes trouble on Earth for the JLA.

Ro escaped by creating an aural duplicate of himself thanks to some newly gained mental abilities, then menaces the Earth with imperfect doubles of JLAers Aquaman, Atom, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Flash, stealing the entire Earth (and replacing it with its aural duplicate).  Adam Strange discovers Kanjar Ro's escape, and returns to Earth as his Zeta Beam wears off (with his aura drawn to aural Earth, and his body on regular Earth, he's able to find the JLA, find Earth and reunited everyone with their duplicate, defeating Kanjar Ro, as the brain stimulating radiation he had absorbed to allow him to do this wore off).

The Parallel Perils Of Adam Strange

It took until Justice League Of America #120 (July, 1975) by Cary Bates, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin (under a cover by Ernie Chan and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez) to return, but this was a doozy!

A contingent of JLA members (Superman, Flash, Green Lantern, Black Canary and Elongated Man) are in the South Pacific and find themselves accidentally transported to Rann by a Zeta Plus Beam, where they end up being the planet's champion for a bit, as Adam is depressed after having lost his fiancee, Alanna, to one such menace (the same enlarged magnifying glass that melted them all!).  Problem is, the same menace that took her life...and convinces her father, Sardath, to use the beam to send him and the League members empty uniforms back to Earth (as Kanjar Ro, who reconstituted these menaces, such as the robot Borg, giant bird Kallula and two giant items, continues his plans against the people of Rann, free of interference).

The story concluded in "The Hero Who Jinxed The Justice League" in Justice League Of America #121 (August, 1975) by Cary Bates, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin (under an Ernie Chan cover).

Adam, a master of tact, appears in the JLA Satellite, to tell the JLA members Batman, Aquaman, Green Arrow, Atom and Hawkman of the fate of their fellow heroes, but that does not go well.  Still, menaces wait for no man, and trouble comes in as a cloud creature forms on Earth attacking a city, prompting the JLA to go into action, leaving the dejected Adam Strange behind.

Good thing he did stay behind, as Kanjar Ro shows up to gloat, giving away parts of his plan of using past menaces of Rann...and, Adam is able to get his Energi-rod, just as his Zeta Plus Beam wears off, returning him to Rann.  On Rann, Adam figures out where Ro's hidden headquarters is, finds spheres which are really the remains of the JLA, and uses the Energi-rod to restore them, so they can go back to Earth to help the rest of the JLA....and Adam finds something else in the cave, one more sphere, which is...Alanna!  After the heroes defeat Kanjar Ro and the Cloud Creature on Earth, the whole JLA gathers to go to Rann....for Adam's wedding.

Adam Strange -- Puppet Of Time

Next up, an appearance of Adam Strange under a Neal Adams cover for Justice League Of America #138 (January, 1977) by Cary Bates, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin.

Alanna comes to inform the JLA that Adam Strange has been bouncing around in time thanks to being overcharged with Zeta Beam radiation, and is a menace to the 73rd Century.  Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Flash go to investigate, where they meet the Green Lantern of the 73rd Century to stop Adam and drain him of his access energy...

...but things get bad as the JLA members return home.

But wait, where's Kanjar Ro?
Kanjar Ro next appears in "The Cosmic Conspiracy Against Adam Strange" in Justice League Of America #139 (February, 1977) by Cary Bates, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin, wherein (yet again) Adam reports to the remaining JLA of their missing teammates, but this time, he seems to be talking to them?  (The team is there, just turned into phantoms only Adam can see and hear), which the League doesn't believe, until an overcharged panel on the Satellite explodes, nearly killing Black Canary, but the Flash materializes to save her.   The JLA, including its invisible members and Adam, go back to the 73rd Century to face their problems, figuring the other members will be restored as adrenaline kicks in...but that doesn't seem to work as well, and it takes Adam Strange to figure out how to save the day, that it was the energy which made Flash solid, not the emotional rush.

All well and good, but where was Kanjar Ro?

Hint, hidden in plain sight (as that Green Lantern of 73rd Century was a little too helpful...including using his Power Ring against yellow items....but, that wouldn't be a problem for a disguised Energi-rod, would it?). 

Mystery In Space

Time for a Joe Kubert cover, that of Showcase #101 (June, 1978),  by Jack C. Harris, Al Milgrom and Murphy Anderson, in a story featuring Hawkman and Hawkgirl, guest starring Adam Strange, Alanna and Sardath.

Hawkman and Hawkgirl were on their spaceship trying to contact their homeworld of Thanagar, when Adam Strange invaded their ship, asking them to go into hyperspace to get away.  The couple does, after escaping Adam's alien foes, then, he explains the situation.  Rann had been invaded by an army of past invaders allied together, including the Vantors, the Kirri, the Arverse and the Dust Devils.  Something had allied these forces and Adam was headed to Earth to get the help of the JLA.  Problem is, the Thanagarian ship was headed to Rann, with Hawkman thinking Adam had sabotaged it, until realizing they had been boarded by an old foe of his, the Shadow-Thief, which they quickly defeat, but still have to make an emergency landing on Rann...where they discover the main invaders are...Thanagarians!

Things get odder with "Strange Adventures" in Showcase #102 (July, 1978), with another Kubert cover, and interiors by Harris, Milgrom and Anderson.

The heroes are found by Sardath, who Zeta Beams them to safety, and he explains the person who has taken over Rann has captured Alanna in Ranagar.  Adam goes to free her, as Alanna meets her captor, Kanjar Ro, who had allied the alien races to take control of Rann.  Hawkman, Hawkgirl and Adam work with the resistance to free Alanna, but realize Kanjar Ro is already invade Thanagar!

"Adventures On Other Worlds" is the last of these trio of tales from Showcase #103 (August, 1978), covered by Joe Kubert, and interiors by Jack C. Harris, Al Milgrom and Murphy Anderson.

Here, the reason Kanjar Ro is attacking Thanagar is revealed, as it is Hyathis who now rules Thanagar, as she had freed them from their Equilizing Plague after escaping the planet Superman made, and the Thanagarians made her their leader.  Kanjar Ro attempts an assassination on Hyathis, as Hawkman fights former foes Shadow-Thief, shape-changer Byth and the Manhawks, eventually arriving with Hawkgirl and Adam Strange to stop Kanjar Ro.  In gratitude of the current end to the Rann-Thanagarian War, Hyathis does not kill the trio, but does banish Hawkman and Hawkgirl from Thanagar, while Adam Strange returns home to free the Rannians from the invading aliens still there.

Death At The Dawn Of Time

With the "War Zone" in Crisis On Infinite Earths #9 (December, 1985), and making the cover of Crisis On Infinite Earths #10 (January, 1986) by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, Kanjar Ro made the last of his pre-Crisis appearances with his classic look...

....this as the united villains of the remaining Earths first faced the rest of the heroes, then had to work with them to prevent the Anti-Monitor from destroying the Multiverse!

Still, that classic Kanjar Ro look would return as well, appearing in flashback tales like the Silver Age, DC Retroactive: JLA and DCU: Legacies.


When Kanjar Ro returned in the first regular issue of Hawkworld, he was as changed as Hawkman and Hawkwoman were (now being more insectlike, as well as a minor thrall in Thanagarian government).  Still, Kanjar Ro persevered, returning to face Superman in Action Comics, menacing the JLA, even impersonating Despero to battle the heroes in Trinity, being recruited to the Sinestro Corps in the Green Lantern Corps, and being recruited by Vril Dox along with Despero, Captain Comet and Adam Strange to join the L.E.G.I.O.N. to fight Starro in R.E.B.E.L.S.

If there is menace in the galaxy, likely Kanjar Ro will be around, plotting away...