Saturday, October 31, 2020
A happy Halloween to one and all. Here, for the end of the month, is the last issue of Sugar and Spike (Sugar & Spike #98 from October-November, 1971) by Sheldon Meyer, with a redrawing of a tale from Sugar & Spike #55 (reprinted in the issue), with Sugar Plumm and Spike Wilson having fun trick or treating on Halloween, but as pre-verbal babies do, not quite getting the festivities.
Thursday, October 29, 2020
Things have gotten hairy for Jimmy Olsen before, but nothing beats the times Jimmy got REAL hairy....when he took a potion and turned into a....wolf-man!
Jimmy did this twice in his life, and here are the tales where it happened!
The Wolf-Man Of Metropolis
So, when Jimmy was headed to a movie set for an interview, Lois and Lucy arranged to drive him, and Jimmy changed just before he got onto set. Thankfully, it was a monster movie, so Jimmy fit right in (foiling Lois' plans of catching him this time). Next day, Jimmy took money out of the bank to pay a girl to kiss him (oh, the innocence of those days!!), but that didn't go well, resulting in Jimmy using his signal watch to call Superman (who promised to find a solution for Jimmy).
Next night, Jimmy was using the Daily Planet's Flying Newsroom but had to land in the city due to high winds and low fuel (as he transformed mid-air)....coincidentally at Lois and Lucy's apartment (but, an ad for play for The Boy Who Cried Wolf saved Jimmy, allowing him to claim to be taking an extra job in advertising).
Superman took Jimmy and his helicopter home, and had a solution for him, bringing a mysterious "Miss X" to kiss Jimmy (and cure him) in the dark. Jimmy wondered who the girl was (and she was Supergirl, who was still Superman's secret weapon at this time!).
Jimmy Olsen, Wolf-Man
So, Mxyzptlk casts a spell on Jimmy to get him to drink the Wolf-Man potion! Jimmy calls Superman, who promises to use the same solution (and goes to get Supergirl, who will meet Jimmy in a dark room as "Miss X")...except it doesn't work (as it is Mxy's magic that did it, not the potion!).
Jimmy and Lois finish an assignment, but Jimmy is turning to a wolf-man as Lois finishes the story, and sees Jimmy's predicament. Lois takes one for the team and kisses Jimmy (but it doesn't work!).
Jimmy is on a date with Lucy the next day, and, at the end, changes into the wolf-man....and this time, will kiss him (but, again, still doesn't work). Depressed, Jimmy goes alone to the beach (and, true to Olsen luck, falls in the water). He's rescued by Lori Lemaris (Superman's mermaid ex-girlfriend) who also kisses Jimmy (still....nothing).
In desperation (yeah, right), Jimmy tries Lana Lang (again, no luck with that kiss either). Yet a mystery woman shows up saying she has the cure....and her kiss does change Jimmy back! She is Miss Gzptlsnz (in her first appearance), who came to Earth to check on her boyfriend (and is mad at him). She tricks Mxyztplk into saying his name backwards and going home to the fifth dimension, and then soon joins him. This all wraps up with Jimmy on a date with Lucy (who won't kiss him because she feels he got enough kisses lately!a giant turtle man and that as a freak)....and they also foreshadow other of Jimmy's changes of the Silver Age as well (some of which we'll cover next month!).
Monday, October 26, 2020
It often seems monsters don't have a heart, but here on the cover for Archie's Mad House #24 (February, 1963 by Samm Schwartz), it is shown that Frankenstein's Monster does indeed have a heart....as a matter of fact, it appears at least five plus two as the doctor's x-ray shows!
Saturday, October 24, 2020
Well, not really, but Casper did face a giant ape in two of his issues, Casper #129 (May, 1969) where he had to rescue Wendy the Good Witch from the super-sized simian....and later, in Casper #218 (October, 1981), where he put the fright into the giant ape.
Sadly, no records of the artists of these Harvey comic covers is available.
Thursday, October 22, 2020
You're not sure you should go in, with all it's occult trappings.
It seems odd, but also inviting...dare you step through the doorway to nightmare and meet....Madame Xanadu?
Readers were faced with that choice in 1978, and here are her first two tales!
The two became close, having shared interests, but things went to the devil when Erika got involved (who happened to show up then at Xanadu's shop, to make an odd threat, but would not enter). Erika was Brad's set decorator, and she didn't approve of Cindy. Brad's health was starting to deteriorate, and he would wander off with Erika at times. Curious, Cindy followed them once, and saw them performing some odd ritual.
It is revealed that Erika was using sorcery to drain Brad's soul to save her from cancer, but Erika was Erikhatmen, daughter of Tutankhamen, and that she had been using sorcery to keep her cancer at bay since 4500 BC! Madame Xanadu said she couldn't interfere, yet Cindy could, and did, breaking the pyramid device Erika used to drain Brad, ending Erika's unnaturally extended life, but starting a blaze which seemed to consume Madame Xanadu as well. Passing by Xanadu's shop a few days later, Cindy and Brad were surprised to see Madame Xanadu there, polishing a new jar in her shop (which if you looked at closely, contained a lock of red hair, the same as Erika's!).
The letter's page, Tarot Readings, promised this title would be something a little different, and would cover ancient mystic history, as well as inviting readers to write in about the issue, or any odd supernatural occurrences in their lives.
Douglas Holt And Melissa Mann
Douglas explained to Madame Xanadu that Melissa was working on a project with Professor Hampton Hill at New York University, but that she was also falling in love with the professor (or what she thought was love, as she, like the professor, were both coldly devoted to science). Madame Xanadu suggested he should still watch the pair, and come to her if he needs help. Melissa and Hill continued work on Project Doorway, and succeeded in opening a dimensional rift, unleashing a small horde of demons, which froze the pair to inaction, but Douglas was there to smash the machine, with the demons fading away.
Douglas and Xanadu went to Bellevue, where Hill was waiting with Dr. Grant, who was saying he had little success treating Melissa, so they let Douglas and Xanadu set up. It seems Project Doorway did release a demon, who took up residence in Melissa, and Xanadu and Douglas had to cast it out, which they did, but while the battle freed Melissa, the experience was too much for Hill, who became a new resident of Bellevue (without supernatural assistance). As the happy couple left, Madame Xanadu did as well, with a new full jar for her collection.
Tarot Readings had no letters yet, but did feature a history of the Tarot by Bill Kunkel.
Monday, October 19, 2020
The Bride Of Frankenstein, Dracula's Wife and the mate of the Wolfman show who's really in charge in this cover of Mad House #105 (November, 1976) from Archie Comics.
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Here's where the original Kobra saga came to its end, with two final solo stories based around the Lord Naja-Naja's battles with Jason Burr.
The Lazarus Conspiracy
Jonny Double and Professor Ross Emerson were celebrating their supposed victory against Kobra, thinking they blew up his Ark (in the previous issue), as Jason Burr dashes their hopes by storming into Double's San Francisco office, fresh from his delay in Oregon.
Meanwhile, Kobra is dealing with his troubles, punishing the men who let Jonny Double get one of wrist weapons. Burr and his friends go to the hospital to check on Randu Singh, now blinded in the aftermath of last issue's battle with Kobra. Burr recounts his history with Kobra, his parents' death and how his now missing girlfriend, Melissa McNeil, comforted him and put flowers on their graves for the last six years. Double told Burr of his plans to go to New York with Emerson, and that they would take care of the flowers, as Burr now checked out the wrist weapon Double got.
The letters' page promises a nest issue, guest-starring Batman, that would deal with these issues....yet, in a rare time of not promising the title's end, the comic was cancelled with this issue!
The Dead On Arrival Conspiracy
The adventure begins in Gotham, as Batman prevents members of the Cobra Cult from stealing a letter from the post office...and Batman is startled by the technology and uniforms of these thieves, especially when they evade him by being beamed up into the air!issue one), and how Melissa ended up in Kobra's clutches (all with the letter being sent to Bruce because his family had slight ties to Burr's, with the letter being delivered by Burr's detective friend upon belief of his death, as Burr wanted Batman to continue his fight against Kobra, and Wayne was a known friend of Batman....unknowingly to Jason, Bruce was Batman!).
But, Jason was alive, and, under duress, was revealing what was in the letter to Kobra (as Kobra was protected by his Neural Neutralizer). Batman used clues he gathered as he discovered Kobra's Ark, and that it had been in the Swiss Alps, home of a secret base of Ra's Al Ghul, which Kobra had appropriated, having Alfred fly him there, so he could break into the base. In the base, Batman is eventually captured by the Cobra Cult, and bound with Jason Burr, Kobra reveals his plan to them, to kill them by dipping them in Ra's Lazarus Pit, which Kobra has treated to kill anyone immersed in it, and restore them to life under Kobra's control.
This causes Batman to vow to work with the Justice League to bring Kobra to justice.
Marty Pasko written Superman #326/#327 as well) to give Kobra his due!
Monday, October 12, 2020
Archie Comics usually is known for light humor, but for three issues in the 1970s, Mad House became a horror anthology under the Red Circle brand!
Artist Gray Morrow provided the covers for Mad House #95 (September, 1974), Mad House #96 (November, 1974) and Mad House #97 (January, 1975).
The stories featured monsters, zombies, vampires, demons, gypsies, and more to get you in a Halloween mood.
Stores were written by Don Glut, Marv Channing, Bruce Jones, John Jacobson, Frank Doyle, Stan Goldberg, and Ralph Alphonso and drawn by Vincente Alcazar, Doug Wildey, Carlos Pino, Jesse Santos, Sal Amendola, Bruce Jones, Al McWilliams, Gray Morrow and Frank Thorne, with Marv Channing and Frank Thorne introducing vampire hunter Henry Hobson as a potential reoccurring character....had this direction continued.
Saturday, October 10, 2020
Even the mighty Superman can be bugged by things once in a while....
...especially when those bugs are really giant, invading insects, as they were in Action Comics #326 (July, 1965) as shown in the story by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and George Klein (with Swan and Klein showing the danger on the cover!).
The Legion Of Super-Creatures
Later still, Superman tried, and failed to rip up a giant spider web near the Daily Planet, nearly ending up eaten by a giant spider as he was caught in its web. Why were these creatures so harmful to Superman? Were they from Krypton? The army tried green Kryptonite against them, to no avail. Superman, searching for clues at his Fortress of Solitude, found an alien ship, and went to check it out. Entering the ship, it closed the hatch behind him, and took him to the planet of Giantia, a giant world orbiting a red sun, where Superman found a cult of death worshiping aliens, who planned on using the super-insects to destroy 100 worlds after their own had ended.
A bit of luck saved Earth, and Superman, and, as any Silver Age fan who wants to read this tale of invading insect alien monsters, you can find it reprinted in DC Special #21 (April-May, 1976) or in Best of DC #42 (November, 1983)!
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Swamp Thing may have started his first appearance fully formed, but he had back story that developed as that appearance progressed...
...and, the swamp's protector even had it happen twice! Read on to see how DC fans were introduced to two Swamp Things in the early days of the Bronze Age....and how they would eventually meet!
That tale was so successful, that Wein and Wrightson were allowed to do it again with Swamp Thing #1 (October-November, 1972). This time around, it was a different Swamp Thing watching a barn on the edge of the swamp, a barn to which had previously come government agent Lt. Matt Cable, bringing scientists Alec and Linda Holland, a married couple that had been working on a bio-restorative formula that would accelerate and enhance plant grow, which would be very valuable to many people.
After Cable left them to their work, the couple were approached by Maxwell Ferrett and his thugs, who were looking to purchase the formula (which the Hollands were unwilling to sell).
Ferrett left making a threat to the couple, leaving them on edge (though they felt better after a wayward dog later came to the barn/laboratory.. ...though they shouldn't have, as the dog had a bug...which allowed agents of the Conclave to listen in to them, all the better to direct Ferrett, their agent). After Linda leaves for a bit, Ferrett comes back, trying again to get the formula from Holland, who again refuses. So, Ferrett rigs a bomb underneath the lab table, and leaves. Holland wakes up, sees the bomb, and as he goes to defuse it, watches it explode under the bio-restorative formula, burning Holland, and sending his flaming body running into the swamp to die.
As Cable and Linda bury a coffin representing the presumed dead Alec Holland, and have the government restore the barn/laboratory, the swamp gathers together, creating the Swamp Thing with the memories of Alec Holland, who vows to protect Linda from returning evil. Cable, Linda and the dog return to the lab, where the dog wanders off (listening to instructions on his secret transceiver) with Matt Cable chasing after the dog. Ferrett and his men return, killing Linda. Swamp Thing finds Linda's body, and, enraged, goes after and kills Ferrett and his men, with Matt Cable returning to witness the end of this story, promising to get answers, as Swamp Thing wanders off to his new home, the swamp.....unaware that he is being watched by something evil and Arcane.....
Swamp Thing's original run would last 24 issues, with Bernie Wrightson leaving art duties with issue #10, and Len Wein's last written issue being #13).
Swamp Thing would have few appearances over the next few years, working with the Challengers of the Unknown and Deadman to fight Multi-Man and to find Rip Hunter in Challengers of the Unknown #83 to #87 in the 1970s, then helping Superman fight versions of Solomon Grundy in DC Comics Presents #8 (April, 1979), and meeting working with Batman in Brave and the Bold #176 (July, 1981), leading into a new Saga Of The Swamp Thing series.
Swamp Thing would come into conflict with the Sunderland Corporation during the course of the Saga Of The Swamp Thing, as well as grow closer to Abby, and battle Anton Arcane again.John Constantine and his efforts to protect Earth from a coming battle of good and evil (as well as the Crisis On Infinite Earths), all the while, proving love is eternal, and sometimes, have two beginnings.
Sunday, October 4, 2020
Jughead Jones is usually a hungry fellow, but here, in Archie's Madhouse #16 (December, 1961 in a cover by Samm Schwartz) , his appetite might work against him, as he wandered into a castle with the Wolfman and Dracula!