Friday, December 31, 2021

Holy New Year, Batman

On New Year's, usually it is a glowing ball of light dropping from the sky onto Times Square...

...but, for the 1978 DC Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters, it was Batman getting the drop on JLA foe, Dr. Light, (as drawn by Dick Giordano) to start off the New Year!

Happy New Year!

Celebrate New Year's With Archie And Jughead

Jughead should be warning Archie to be careful, lest Betty and Veronica find out what he's doing on New Year's Eve, as shown on this Dan DeCarlo/Rudy Lapick cover to Jughead With Archie #97 (March, 1990).

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Remembering Stan Lee

Remembering Stan Lee (December 28, 1922 - November 12, 2018), co-creator (with Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby) of the building blocks of the Marvel Universe including Spider-Man, Dr. Strange, the Fantastic Four, Ant-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, the Avengers, the X-Men, Black Panther and so much more....

...with this cover of FOOM #17 (March, 1977).


Sunday, December 26, 2021

Remembering Artist John Severin

Remembering artist John Severin on his birthday (December 26, 1921 - February 12, 2012), with a look at the covers he drew for the last issues of Captain Savage And His Leatherneck Raiders.

Captain Savage 15 and 17 (1969)


Captain Savage 18 and 19 (1970)



It would be great if one day, Marvel would give us a complete collection of the 19 issues of Captain Savage and his Battlefield Raiders!

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Sgt. Rock Christmas

Nothing's Easy in Easy Company, not even Christmas, just ask Sgt. Rock.

But, though war is hell, every once in a while there is a break in the hell that is war, shown in this issue of Sgt. Rock, with a cover by Joe Kubert.

The Shining Star

In this issue, Sgt. Rock #414 (February, 1987) by Robert Kanigher and Andy Kubert, Sgt. Rock shares a little of his youth, when he was just young Frank, with his mother sharing a letter from Frank's father, who was fighting World War I.  But, even in No Man's Land, the Germans and Americans stopped fighting for one magical day called Christmas.

Back to the present, where Rock and Easy Company were still hunting Nazis in a snowy Europe, where Sgt. Rock found a young couple, Guiseppe and Maria, fleeing the fighting so Maria could have her baby.  

Sgt. Rock led the Nazis away, and was taking them towards a village, but soon the poor weather was taking its toll, and Rock and the couple had to seek shelter in a cave as soon the baby would be here.  Little Sure Shot showed up, looking for Rock, and was put in charge of delivering the baby.  The Nazis approached the cave, with Rock on guard, who, instead of fighting, told them of the miracle to happen.  They stopped, and instead of fighting, gave the Americans, and the new family a moment of peace for Christmas.  As the Nazis went off, Rock saw a star, shining bright in the north....

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 24, 2021

Getting Ready For Santa Claus With Sabrina

Aunt Hilda (and artist Dan DeCarlo) are keeping watch for Santa Claus this Christmas Eve with all the latest technology, getting Sabrina the Teenage Witch ready for Christmas on this cover to Archie Giant Series Magazine #515 (January, 1982). 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Perez Covers Christmas

When is a cover not a cover?

When it is the back cover (though still a cover, it isn't the first thing you see).

This one is worth seeing, as it is not only a Christmas cover, but a cover by George Perez, with Superman, Batman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Captain Marvel Jr. and, likely the only time Perez drew the 1970s Jack Kirby Sandman!

The front cover to this, from Best of DC #22 (March, 1982) is by Rich Buckler and Dick Giordano (and certainly a cover designed to get you into the Christmas mood....).

This tiny tome has reprints of many classic Christmas stories from the DC archives, including....

...Teen Titans #13 (January-February, 1968), Batman #247 (February, 1973), and Justice League Of America #110 (March-April, 1974), which have been covered before.... well as Captain Marvel Jr. #46 (February, 1947), Batman #27 (February, 1945) and Batman Family #4 (March-April, 1976) which will be covered in future Christmases.... well as a "new" Jack Kirby Sandman story, originally planned for Sandman #7  in the 1970s, then for Kamandi (but, he too was cancelled, though the story ended up in the Cancelled Comic Cavalcade, and much later in the DC Universe: The Bronze Age Omnibus By Jack Kirby), making this digest a true Christmas present!

Monday, December 20, 2021

Richie Rich And Casper Enjoy Christmas

There are things even Richie Rich can't do, as the world's richest boy...but, thankfully, with friends like Casper, the Friendly Ghost, reaching the top of a Christmas tree isn't one of them, as shown on the cover of Richie Rich and Casper #22 (February, 1978) by Warren Kremer.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Spider-Man Meets The Watcher For Christmas

Peter Parker is your friendly neighborhood super-hero, going about his business before the holiday, while Uatu is a being living on the Blue Area of the moon, doing his usual business (watching). 

What Earthshaking cosmic events bring these two together (under a cover by Ed Hannigan and Al Milgrom)?

Small Miracles

In Marvel Team-Up #127 (March, 1983) by J. M. DeMatteis, Kerry Gammill and Mike Esposito, Peter is getting his gifts ready for Aunt May and the old folks that live with her at the home.  Everyone seems to be in the Christmas mood except for Arthur Chekov, who was waiting for his granddaughter, Bette to show up.  Peter is now concerned, but gets a big blast to his Spider-Sense, heading outside.  

There, a sudden snowstorm isolates him from the home, and he finds himself in his Spider-Man outfit, confronted by a large, bald, silent alien (Uatu), who hands him a gem, with an image of Bette.  Now, motivated to find Bette, Spider-Man begins a search for the young lady, while the Watcher watches from the Blue Area of the moon.  

Finding her address, Spider-Man arrives to a crime scene, which worries him.  This demoralizes Peter, who then meets with Captain America (who had many team-ups with Spidey before....and after), who inspires Peter to keep at it.  Peter does find Bette, who, thanks to a dishonest boyfriend, is in trouble with drug dealers, and she is shot.  Peter, thinking he will be unable to save her, yells his displeasure to the world, and is answered with a silent appearance of the Watcher.  

Still hearing nothing from him, Peter hurls the gem the Watcher gave him at the silent alien, which breaks, healing the girl enough for Peter to get Bette to a hospital.  There, she reunites with her grandfather, and Peter can say a silent thanks to the alien who helped save her.  

On the moon, Uatu reflects on this event, hoping it is insignificant enough not to be noticed by his brethren, who have a strict policy of non-interference....and how sad that they couldn't even be bothered to help someone on Christmas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Perez Marvel Holiday Special

George Perez has contributed a lot of art to Marvel over the decades, but he hasn't done too many Christmas based least until the Marvel Holiday Special of 1994.

Made that much more special, as it also has a rare drawing of Spider-Man, and even X-Men Iceman and Wolverine (though George did draw a lot of the Beast when he was an Avenger).

Sad that he didn't doing anything inside, but the stories are: Beast/Iceman by Kurt Busiek, James Fry and Neil Vokes; Captain America by John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake; the Thing by Gregory Wright and Mike Manley; Silver Surfer by J. M. DeMatteis, Mindy Newell, Rick Leonardi and Al Williamson; Spider-Man by Karl Bollers and Gray Morrow and the X-Men featuring Wolverine by Karl Bollers and Sal Buscema as the Marvel heroes get ready for Christmas.


Sunday, December 12, 2021

Remembering artist Dan DeCarlo

Remembering artist Dan DeCarlo (December 12, 1919 - December 18, 2002) on his birthday, with a mini tribute to two characters he co-created for Archie Comics...Sabrina The Teenage Witch and Cheryl Blossom!

Here, the cover to Sabrina The Teenage Witch #77 (January, 1983) and Cheryl Blossom #11 (April, 1998), as we get ready for the snowy weather by dealing with snowmen.

Of course, can't forget another of Dan's creations, Josie and the Pussycats....and read more on them here (but they didn't have people made of snow on any cover I could find!).


Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Remember Pearl Harbor

Remember Pearl Harbor...with this cover to Sgt. Rock #20 (January, 1992) by Joe Kubert, featuring Sgt. Rock and the soldiers of Easy Company.

The issue is towards the end of the run of 1980s/1990s special Sgt. Rock reprints, and features 3 U.S.S. Stevens reprints (from Our Army At War #247, #244 and #235) along with two reprints of Sgt. Rock tales from Our Army At War #196 and #168, Kubert covers below.


The super heroes (then called mystery men), where occupied elsewhere and elsewhen....


Saturday, December 4, 2021

Shazam! It's December

Holy Moley!  

It can't already be December, can it?  

It sneaks up on you and attacks, just like Dr. Sivana did to Captain Marvel at the Acropolis in Greece, with his toys, in his entry from the 1977 Super DC Calendar for December, by Kurt Schaffenberger.

But how did Uncle Dudley and Shazam Winnebago get across the ocean to Greece?  (Rhetoric...likely a feat by young Billy Batson's alter ego!).

December is doubly important for Captain Marvel, as he first said Shazam! in the first Whiz Comics #2 (February, 1940) on which came out on December 1st, 1939, and he and his family moved over to DC with Shazam! #1 (February, 1973) on sale on December 14th, 1972, where the Big Red Cheese was ready to take on Superman (eventually)!

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Sgt. Rock Meets The Viking Prince?

Two great warriors, drawn by one great artist, but both historical figures very much defined by their times.

Still, the fates aligned, and these two heroes once met....

...and here is that story, told by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert!

The Prince And The Sergeant

The story begins in Our Army At War #162 (January, 1966), with Little Sure Shot of Easy Company telling the group of the stories of the Viking legends, with their great prince, as mortar fire rang out, ending the tale.  Aboard a British ship, Sgt. Rock would have to lead Easy Company to the shore, and to find the hidden drone base of the Nazis on the beach, as the British ship would continue to provide cover.

As the British ship was found by enemy fire, Easy Company came ashore.  There, they were nearly found by a Nazi patrol, but, Sgt. Rock took to heart the sacrifice of the British commander, planning to lure the Nazis away from his troops so they could complete the mission.

Wounded, Rock continued to fight, leading the troops into a frozen ice cave, where Rock thought he saw a man in the ice.  Things suddenly warmed up as a grenade was tossed into the cave, trying to kill the Sergeant.  Failing, it also freed the Viking Prince from his icy slumber, and Jon quickly dispatched the Nazi troops.  In shock, Rock asked Jon why he through himself into battle wanting to die....and Jon told him.  

Back in the day, the Viking Prince was a mighty warrior, and was taken to Valhalla by a beautiful Valkyrior maiden.  Smitten, Jon wanted her for his own, but she was committed to bringing the dead to Odin.  In the afterlife, Jon faced Haggor, Clefter of Heads, beating him.  At the celebratory feast after, Jon challenged Odin for his Valkyrior, angering Odin, who also realized she brought Jon to Valhalla too soon, thus sent him back to Earth to live, but now cursed to never die by metal, wood, fire or water, entombed in ice until freed by Rock's battle with the Nazis.  The pair were then set upon by a Nazi warplane, which Jon dispatched.  Rock then decided to bring Jon along on his suicide mission, hoping that will end Jon's suffering, allowing him to die (and to complete the mission). 

Kill Me -- Kill Me!

The tale of Jon and Rock continued in Our Army At War #163 (February, 1966), with Jon having renewed happiness to go on a final mission with Sgt. Rock, much to the concern of the sergeant, when the two were beset by Nazi troops, with Jon wading into battle against them.  

As it seemed the troops were to overwhelm the Viking Prince, Sgt. Rock saw spirits of Odin and the Valkyrior above, with Odin promising Jon will never have the maiden.  Jon fought on, with Rock joining the battle, The pair then met Helga, after Jon took out the Nazi tank following her.  Helga claimed to be in the underground, to lead them to the Nazi drone base.  The trio found Easy Company, and headed to the caverns below the base, but Jon's Valkyrior stopped her... Helga was a traitor, leading them to the forces in control of the base.  Jon went into battle to keep the enemy busy, as Rock and Easy Company got their explosives ready, and set them off, destroying the drone base, Nazi troops, and Jon, who would be happy, dying in battle, and ending up with the maiden he loved.

This pair of stories has been reprinted many times, most notably in the Sgt. Rock Special #1 of October, 1988, The Viking Prince collection of September, 2010 and in Showcase Presents: Sgt. Rock #3 of September, 2010, because while nothing is ever easy in Easy, finding stories should be!

Read a little of Rock's end of the war adventures here, as well as a time when the Viking Prince was in another time here!


Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving With Alf

Well, we're thankful it is not a cat, though likely that's what Alf would prefer.  

Alf is thankful for something to eat, as his TV show was cancelled, around the time of this cover by Dave Manak for Alf #40 (April, 1991).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Gorilla Warfare

World War II.  A time of epic battles, where the world took sides, with countries all across the world being a part of the Allies or the Axis.

This even extended to the animal kingdom, as gorillas joined in with the U.S soldiers, and the Nazi forces as well.

Here are their stories.

You Can't Pin A Medal On A Gorilla

First up, the Allies, with Star Spangled War Stories #126 (April-May, 1966) by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert, under a Kubert cover, where Charlie, the simian friend of Sgt. Pinky Donovan, gets unintentionally enlisted in war in the Pacific Theater.  

How did this unlikely scenario happen?

Donovan was an entertainer, working with his gorilla, Charlie, to entertain the troops in the Pacific, when he got called back into duty.  Unfortunately, that meant Charlie had to be locked up in the ship's hold as he headed to his assignment.  But, an attack beached the ship, and set Charlie free.  The enemy attacked the soldiers, with Charlie going into action to save the day.  It worked, much to the surprise of Donovan's C.O....who kept demoting Donovan, even with Charlie's successes!  Charlie even helped them take on their original mission, and lead to them flying the American flag in victory, but ending with the tagline that was the title of the story!

This lighter war story was also felt very real thanks to the stylings of artist Joe Kibert, who usually did more realistic war stories with Sgt. Rock (but still great to see him flex his abilities here!).

Primate Patrol

Hearing from the Axis side, is Weird War Tales #89 (July, 1980) by George Kashdan, Ken Landgraf and Dave Simons, under a cover by Jim Starlin, with a whole group of intelligent gorillas working on behalf of the Nazi forces in Africa.

Here's how that happened!

Willy, Jake and the rest of their troop of American soldiers were taken captive by the Nazis, and given to their new jailers...gorillas dressed in Nazi uniforms.  The gorillas were intelligent, and could speak!  They were found by the Germans, and trained to do simple tasks (as they were natural imitators), with those who resisted punished.  But, they didn't take into account animal nature, as they still imitated, and learned from their American prisoners to fight the Nazis, then going to hide better in the jungle after freeing the American soldiers.

Now, whether or not these gorillas were a part of Grodd's Gorilla City, we'll never know.

The results speak for themselves, as to which sides the simians worked with, but one still has to wonder what would have happened had these apes crossed paths on the battlefield?

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Superman Meets The Unknown Soldier


Two men from different worlds, both trying to keep Earth safe, who didn't usually even run in the same circles...

...yet, here is Superman and the Unknown Soldier in DC Comics Presents #42 (February, 1982), under a cover by Rich Buckler and Frank Giacoia, working together to stop a menace that threatens the planet!

Here's how that meeting happened....

The Specter Of War!

This story by Paul Levitz, Irv Novick and Frank McLaughlin, starts with Superman worrying about nuclear missile testing, as he funnels the fallout from a test into orbit.  As Clark Kent, he goes to his editor, Perry White, telling him he wants to write a story about the dangers of nuclear war, and why countries are racing towards nuclear war (with Perry letting him know that isn't journalism, but opinion), when a soldier comes in with a seal envelope for Clark.  

As the soldier leaves, Clark quickly checks it out with his X-Ray vision, seeing it is a request for help from Superman.  Clark looks for him, but the soldier had disappeared.  Reading the note, Superman goes to stop the "accidental" explosion of a nuclear missile in the United States reserves.  

Narrowly avoiding disaster, Major Amos and Doctor Klest (the architects behind the near explosion) plan their next moving, now taking into account the interference of Superman.  Clark Kent goes to investigate at the Pentagon, but is taken under arrest.  But, as he is being taken off, he is freed by a general (who, like the soldier who handed him the envelope) is scratching his neck.  The "general" knows Clark's meekness is an act, and gives him directions to help guide Superman. 

Superman, worried that this soldier who is a master of disguise and is following him around with knowledge of his identity, goes to the JLA Satellite to research history with the Red Tornado, finding the files of the World War II secret agent, the Unknown Soldier, who was a master of disguise (who occasionally gave himself away itching at his disguises around his neck).  

Red Tornado locates a military base that could both start a world ending nuclear war and survive it, which are around the North and South Poles, which sends Superman on a hunt to find the right one.  At the secret military base, Amos and Klest are interrogating a man who claims to be a new transfer (who has an itchy neck).  Superman busts in, finding the device they were using to trigger nuclear weapons early, as Amos has set the microwave beamer to set off hundreds of missiles.  Superman goes to stop them, as the Unknown Soldier apprehends the rouge military men.  

After stopping a nuclear war, Superman returns to the base, finding the army had been called in, and they took these villains into custody under the direction of a mysterious soldier who disappeared.  Clark Kent goes to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, to thank him, wondering if he was the original from World War II, as a janitor (with an itchy neck) accepts the thanks.

Now, this story proves there must have been both an Earth-1 and Earth-2 Unknown Soldier with similar careers (as the Earth-2 Batman had worked with the Unknown Soldier as well, but something you didn't have to worry about in the Unknown Soldier's own adventures).  

But, at least Superman succeeded in stopping a nuclear war (which Superman later had to deal with when he met the Atomic Knights, who lived in a world after the Great Disaster!).

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Star Spangled War Stories Unknown Soldier

A name switch.

Something useful if you are working as a spy for your government, which the Unknown Solider was use to doing, but it was the title of the book that changed, going from the Star Spangled War Stories to Unknown Soldier with #205, with covers still by Joe Kubert, and stories written by Bob Haney.

The Unknown Soldier wasn't there from the beginning (or was he?), in Star Spangled War Stories #3 (November, 1952), this coming from 3 issues of Star Spangled War Stories which spun off of Star Spangled Comics....the Unknown Soldier moved in with Star Spangled War Stories #151 (June-July, 1970) from Enemy Ace, slowly taking over the title through Star Spangled War Stories #204 (February-March, 1977), with Unknown Solider #205 (April-May, 1977), continuing his war, hiding his identity to fight his foes through the end, with Unknown Soldier #268 (October, 1982).

Even though it might have seemed aggressive to take over the title, the Unknown Soldier shared his good fortune, and many friends of his would visit, including Sgt. Rock, the crew of the Haunted Tank, Mlle. Marie and the Losers