Thursday, September 30, 2021

Supergirl Revealed

Once, Supergirl (Kara Zor-El), after arriving on Earth from Argo City, was kept secret from the world by her cousin, Superman.  

Superman put her in an orphanage as Linda Lee, and she later adopted by the Danvers, becoming Linda Danvers.

But, that all changed this day, according to the old DC calendar, today was the day Superman revealed her existence to the world in Action Comics #285 (February, 1962, under a cover by Curt Swan and George Klein), with a story by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney.

Supergirl first appeared back in Action Comics #252 (May, 1959), reprinted in Secret Origins #2 (April-May, 1973), and this issue, plus a few that led up to it were collected in a giant Action Comics #360 (March-April, 1968) (and follow the links to read more on them!).

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Warlord Two By Two: The Third

Air Force Pilot, Travis Morgan, known as the Warlord, was on a quest to find Tara, the first woman he met in the eternal sun of Skartaris, to save her from the evil sorceror,  Deimos.

Here....the results of his long quest finally come to fruition. 

Duel Of The Titans

Mike Grell gives a great summary cover for Warlord #4 (December-January, 1976/1977), as it shows what awaits you inside the issue he wrote and drew, as the continuing adventures of modern man Morgan in the ancient land of Skartaris are unfolding.

Deimos has plans for the captive Tara, just as the Warlord and his army arrive.  Using his advanced knowledge, Travis Morgan has equipped his army with weapons to allow them to breach the walls of Deimos' castle, but, unbeknownst to Travis, Deimos has weapons of his own he can bring to the conflict.  Deimos uses one of his Scrolls of Blood to appear to summon a demon.  Travis takes out the altar of the device that brought up the demon, then uses a satchel of high explosives to take down a door of the castle, allowing his army in.  

As Deimos prepares to flee out a secret exit with Tara, Travis finds them.  Morgan's savage side comes out, as he defeats and kills Deimos.  Happy to reunite with Tara, he doesn't look at the book Deimos had had, as the Scrolls of Blood were an operating manual for a solid light hologram projector.

Thus, the mystery of Skartaris deepens....

The Secret Of Skartaris

Warlord #5 (February-March, 1977) by Mike Grell, sees Machiste part ways with Travis and Tara, as he heads back to his home of Kiro, while they head to hers, Shamballah.  

Of course, in Skartaris, one should always expect the unexpected....

Unfortunately, Travis' party encounters a feasting dinosaur, with Travis and Tara uncovering an ancient doorway as they dispatch the dinosaur.  Inside that doorway, they find an ancient computer, that Travis activates, finding out that Skartaris had been found by ancient Atlantians who came here after their island sank.  The Atlanteans set up a great computer core in Skartaris, but factions fought each other, unleashing radiation, which left their cities in ruins, with some men devolving backwards into lizard men and ape men.  

The computer even showed a recent activation, with Deimos using it to conjure a solid holographic demon.  Travis thinks Deimos could have used technology to rule Skartaris, while Tara reminds him sorcery is real.  The pair are about to check out another door, as they are set upon by hungry hyenas.  In the act of dispatching them, Travis goes through the door he was interested in, finding a monorail car.  Tara is apprehensive as Travis wants to check it out.  Turns out she was right, as Travis accidentally seals himself in it, separating himself from Tara, knocking himself out, and launching the car.  When Travis awakes, the car has stopped at its a jungle on the topside of Earth!

These issues show a reoccurring them of the much as Travis does love and search for Tara, his questioning nature, natural curiosity and savage tendencies can keep them separate as well!  It was this way when they first met, and drives him when he searches for her (though the leaves her when he finds her!).  

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Remembering Artist Paul Ryan

Remembering artist Paul Ryan (September 23, 1949 - March 7, 2016) on his birthday. Paul was likely better known for his work on D.P. 7, the Avengers, The Flash, the Fantastic Four, Superman: The Man of Tomorrow and the Amazing Spider-Man and the Phantom newspaper strips, some of his great early work, on the early issues of Quasar with writer Mark Gruenwald gets overlooked.

So, here are the rest of the covers to that as well!

Quasar #2 and #3 (November and Mid-November, 1989)

Quasar #4 and #5 (December and Mid-December, 1989)


Saturday, September 18, 2021

Batman's Strangest Cases

What better way to celebrate Batman Day than by looking at some of Batman's Strangest Cases, which happens to be the title of the Limited Collectors' Edition #C-59 of July, 1978....with this stunning cover by Neal Adams and Bernie Wrightson!

The stories reprinted inside this oversized issue from the past, feature art by both those gentlemen, and a few more!

Red Water Crimson Death

First up, Brave and the Bold #93 (December-January, 1970/1971) by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams, a team-up (of sorts), as House of Mystery horror host, Cain, narrates this tale.

Here, an overtired Batman nearly is shot by a criminal, but the gun misfires.  Commissioner Gordon suggests Batman take a vacation.  Bruce Wayne heads out to Ireland via ship.  During the voyage, Bruce saves a young boy who fell overboard.  In Ireland, the boy's uncle gives him a place to stay.  Bruce learns the boys parents were killed during a red tide which also killed the fish in the area.  Investigating as Batman, he finds the culprit behind the poisoned water to be Aloysius Cabot, a local fishery owner, using a haunted castle to scare away locals.  Cabot is able to poison Batman, but is aided by the spirit of King Hugh, who also prevents Cabot from getting away with it by causing King Hugh's portrait to fall off the wall, killing Cabot.

Night of the Bat

Next up, a rate appearance (at the time) of Batman outside his titles, with the first meeting of Batman and Swamp Thing from Swamp Thing #7 (November-December, 1973) by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson.  

Swamp Thing (Alec Holland) follows Abigail Arcane and Matt Cable to Gotham, where he is spotted by the police,  Gordon calls on Batman, who goes searching for Swamp Thing.  Abby and Matt are found by Swamp Thing, who is then found by Batman.  Batman starts a fight, but, Swamp Thing flees, as he is unable to communicate to Batman his good intentions.  Swamp Thing is able to track down Nathan Ellery, the head of the Conclave (who murdered Alec's wife, Linda), but stops short of killing him.  Ellery falls, with Batman arriving too late to save him, with Swamp Thing taking the time to get away.

The Batman Nobody Knows!

Batman #250 (July, 1973) gives an odd little tale around the campfire by Frank Robbins and Dick Giordano.

Bruce Wayne takes a group of kids out camping, who regale each other with fantastic (if incredible and untrue) tales of the Batman.  Bruce decides to give the kids a thrill, showing up as Batman, but the kids are unimpressed, as they don't think Batman can just be a guy in a suit, proving that while Batman might strike fear in the hearts of criminals...

...the innocent have nothing to fear from the Darknight Detective.

The Demon Of Gothos Mansion!

Neal Adams is echoing a cover from Batman's golden age, Batman #227 (December, 1970) by Denny O'Neil, Irv Novick and Dick Giordano.

Here, Alfred's niece, Daphne, writes to Alfred about two children she has the job of teaching. Trouble is a foot, so Batman goes to investigate, finding Daphne's boss, Clifton Heathrow, is a warlock, planning to sacrifice her to raise a demon.  In trying to rescue, Batman is captured, but he is rescued by the ghost of a girl who was previously sacrificed.  This allows Batman to save Daphne, foiling the resurrection ritual.

A Vow From The Grave!

Last but not least, a little tale from Detective Comics #410 (April, 1971) by Denny O'Neil, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano.

Here, Batman chases Kano Wiggins, an escaped convict.  Along the way, Batman encounters four ex-sideshow workers, one of whom is later killed.  The remaining members think Wiggins did it, but Batman investigates and finds it was Goliath, the strongman who did it, because he wanted to eliminate Charley Bones (the thin man) because Maud, the fat lady, loved Bones and not Goliath.  

Just an incredible collection!

Friday, September 17, 2021

Happy Birthday Elvira


Technically, it may or may or may not be Elvira's birthday, but it is the birthday of Cassandra Peterson, who plays Elvira...

...and what better way to celebrate than by learning something, like when Elvira was teaching school kids for this cover of the 10th issue of the 11 issue series of Elvira's House of Mystery (that was cover dated December, 1986, and drawn by Joe Orlando and Dick Giordano!).

Monday, September 13, 2021

Warlord Two By Two: The Second

Time works strangely in the savage world of Skartaris, with its eternal sunshine, but that does not hide the dangers that are there.

Travis Morgan, the Warlord, is beginning his travels in this land, and is finding danger aplenty, but, along with the peril, he is also gaining skills and finding allies!

Arena Of Death

Warlord #2 (March-April, 1976) by Mike Grell begins where the first issue left off, with Travis waiting to die...

...and now, about to be dinner for two sabretooth tigers, eager for what they think is easy prey.

But, this modern man proves to not be such easy prey, killing one of the big cats, and being rescued by a wandering party from its mate.  Drogar the Terrible, leader of this army, offers Morgan passage to the city of Shamballah in his ship, which Morgan accepts.  At the ship, Morgan finds himself struck into unconsciousness, waking up in the hold of the ship, chained to the oars which power it with many others.  There, Morgan meets Machiste, another slave, with whom he starts an unsuccessful revolt.  As Drogar prepares to put the pair to death, a pirate ship interrupts his plans, where the duo help defend the ship.  Dorgar then decides to sell them as gladiators to Shebel, who trains gladiators.

There, after much training, Prince Eris and his consorts bid the two to battle to the death, which they must do....with Travis about to kill Machiste....until Travis sees that the Prince is wearing a watch....the watch he gave to Tara!  Emboldened and enraged, Morgan instead frees the other gladiators.  The gladiators war on their captors, with Travis cornering the prince, finding out Tara was captured and sold to Deimos, who is now king of Thera.  Morgan then enlists the now freed slaves, asking them to become his army, promising to aid them by building advanced weapons, allowing to take the treasures of the conquerors they face, and the chance to die as free men!

Thus ends the saga of the Warlord....wait, what??

War Gods Of Skartaris

After a considerable wait (as sales proved to be better than expected, resurrecting the title from what seemed to be a cancellation), Warlord #3 (October-November, 1976) by Mike Grell comes to the comic racks, continuing the saga of modern man Travis Morgan, as he hunts for Tara, the woman he loves, in the savage land of Skartaris.

Travis and his army defeat a group of Theran soldiers, promising they come as liberators, not conquerors, still enlist more people into his army, the army of the Warlord (as he is beginning to be known as).  Travis confesses to Machiste that he enjoys the battles. Heading out on a scouting mission, Travis is excited to see a unicorn, and follows it, only to be set upon by lizard men.  They take him back and bind him as a sacrifice to their new god, which Travis his SR-71 Blackbird! 

His plane crashed over the temple to their old god, yet, just as they are about to do him in, their old god, a giant snake, returns, making a meal of the lizard men.  Travis just avoids being eaten as Machiste arrives, with Travis finding his .44 Magnum in his plane, then using the plane's ejector seat as a weapon to kill the creature.  Afterward, Travis and Machiste ponder the advanced ruins around the lizardmen's temple, knowing the lizards couldn't have created this.  Morgan doesn't see the advanced technology inside, but does promise to return after they finish off Deimos.

Over the lengthy time highlighted in these two issues, Morgan and Machiste had become friends united by their training and warring together, and these bonds will be tested over the years in the harsh climates of the unending sun of Skartaris!

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Star Trek 55th Anniversary

Celebrating 55 years of Star Trek, as its first episode aired on September 8, 1966.

Here, with a painted cover (and a sLight error), Spock and Scotty faced off in the Gold Key Star Trek 55th issue from September, 1978, while an older Spock was the feature for the IDW Star Trek 55th issue from March, 2016.

DC had 2 Star Trek series, the first with Kirk, Spock and McCoy beaming down from the Enterprise-A in the 55th issue from October, 1988, the second, with Sulu and Kirk fighting Klingons disguised as Klingons from December, 1993.

More info on Spock here, some special Star Trek issues here, Next Generation and Deep Space Nine here, and on all the Star Trek comics from a 50th Anniversary article here!

Friday, September 3, 2021

Deadly Hands Of Nick Cardy

Nick Cardy was an artist known mostly for his work on Teen Titans, Aquaman, and Bat Lash, as well as all over DC Comics covers of the 1970s.

But, did you know he did a few covers for Marvel back in those days?

Here are the two painted covers he did featuring Shang-Chi for Marvel's Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu magazine!

Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu 15

As a "Super Annual Issue", this Summer of 1975 magazine issue featured reprints of Shang-Chi's second and fifth appearances (from Special Marvel Edition #16 and Master Of Kung Fu #19), Iron Fist's second appearance (Marvel Premiere #16), and a feature on Bruce Lee's life...

...but no team up of the characters as the cover suggests.

Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu 18

This November 1975 issue had two stories, with the first featuring Shang-Chi fighting the Shadow-Thief (no relation to the DC character), and ending his Golden Dragon Saga by Doug Moench and Rudy Nebres...

...while the second story, by Bill Mantlo, Pat Broderick and Terry Austin, featured a team up of Iron Fist and the Sons of the Tiger, fighting a villain called Snake-Eyes (no relation to the G.I. Joe character....), as well as a little feature on the Yakusa.

Makes you wish DC had jumped into the magazine market to get some painted covers of DC characters from Nick Cardy!

He also did a few other covers for Marvel, one for Marvel Movie Premiere #1 (September, 1975) featuring an adaptation of The Land That Time Forgot, and Marvel Premiere #28 (February, 1976), featuring Marvel's horror based characters, including the Man-Thing, Ghost Rider, Morbius and the Werewolf by Night!