Sunday, October 31, 2021

Happy Halloween 2021

A Happy Halloween to one and all with this cover from Elvira's House Of Mystery #11 (January, 1987), the last issue of the series, drawn by Dave Stevens.

The series began in 1986, featuring Cassandra Peterson as the host, replacing Cain, and even had a special after the regular series ended!

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Revolutionary Frankenstein

Tomahawk faced many threats trying to establish our nation during the Revolutionary War of the 1700s, but some of the odder threats he and his Rangers faced were in his later issues, when he faced an anachronism...

...that of the creature of Frankenstein (which Mary Shelley didn't create until the 1800s!).

How did this come about?  

Follow along....

The Frontier Frankenstein

In Tomahawk #103 (March-April, 1966), by Ed Herron and Bob Brown, Tomahawk and his Rangers were trying to rest one night, when they were set upon by a large green monster!  They were able to chase him off with grenades, but what was it, and where was the missing Ranger, Big Anvil?  

The night before, German scientist Von Skeller showed the British Army his newest experiment, where he took a captured rebel soldier and, exposing him to special chemicals, turned him into a large, obedient green monster (that would change back into a normal man every day, while the chemicals still worked in him).  After another battle with the creature in the night, the Rangers were victorious in chasing it away.  The next morning, Big Anvil catches up to Tomahawk and the Rangers, where the tired team get ready for another advance of the British Army.  

Tomahawk wants Big Anvil to use his great strength to send a big old mill wheel at the army to distract them, so Tomahawk and the rest of the Rangers can surprise the army.  Big Anvil agrees, and is ready to....until night falls, and Big Anvil changes into the big green creature!  That proves quite a distraction, as the creature throws the wheel at the Brits.  As they flee, the British fire at cannisters of oil, which Tomahawk then gets his men to do, soaking the ground in front of Big Anvil, so the night lights up as day, and he turns back into Big Anvil. 

Then, the next day, Tomahawk and the Rangers just have to wait for the chemicals to burn out of Big Anvil's system so he won't change again!

If you think that was wild, at some point, might take a look at these tales (or, maybe just check out these classic covers by Neal Adams instead)!

Friday, October 29, 2021

Jimmy Olsen Monster Mash

Jimmy Olsen sure has become some strange monsters in his day, but he was the menace. 

But, for a couple of issues, Jimmy's monstrous transformations became a menace to him.

Let's see how these events happened...which both happened under covers by Curt Swan and George Klein.

The World Of Doomed Olsens!

First up, in a story by Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan and George Klein from Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #72 (October, 1963), Jimmy appeared on a Meet the Celebrities show, showing off a few of his past transformations.

Then, suddenly, a man calling himself the Collector appeared in a travelling bubble, taking Jimmy to the far away planet of Gion-El, where the Collector manifested alternate versions of Jimmy, including the Wolf-Man, Giant Turtle Man, Human Porcupine, Fat Boy and Elastic Lad.  Except for the mute Wolf-Man, they all verbally taunted the real Jimmy (rooted to one spot), at least until Jimmy got them to turn against the Collector (at least until the Collector rooted all them too).  

In frustration, Jimmy threw his mini-microphone at the Collector, and, as he dodged it, Jimmy figured out what was going on.  The Collector and alternate Jimmys were all members of the Legion of Super-Heroes (Mon-El as the Collector, and Proty II, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Bouncing Boy and Chameleon Boy as the Jimmys).  The Legion did this to see if Jimmy could spot the hoax.  When he did, they were to make him an honorary Legionnaire.

The World Of 1,000 Olsens!

Jimmy's second battle with himself (times 1000), happened in Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #105 (September, 1967) by Otto Binder, E. Nelson Bridwell and Pete Costanza.

This time around, Jimmy takes the Flying Newsroom of the Daily Planet to an observatory of Professor Worthington, where the Professor is disintegrated as he tells Jimmy of his discovery of a new asteroid he has named after Jimmy.  Checking his notes, Jimmy sees the asteroid is populated by versions of him.  With Superman off planet, Jimmy thinks he has no way there, just a flying saucer arrives, willing to take him there.  Jimmy goes, but isn't given the warm greeting as he's attacked by the Jimmys of that planet.  

Saved by one Jimmy, he is menaced by the Giant Turtle Man, saved by Elastic Lad, then ends up in prison with the Human Octopus, Human Porcupine and Wolf-Man, escaped by donning a beard, then met by an Agent Double 5 Jimmy, who saves him, giving him a Fat Boy Jimmy disguise.  In disguise, Jimmy finds Tempus, a mad clockmaker who wants to destroy the Earth, and is using robot duplicates of Jimmy (both good and evil) to move the asteroid into Earth.  Jimmy, sends the good Jimmys against the evil ones, sending the Giant Turtle Man smashing into the machine which was sending the asteroid at Earth (and powering the robot Jimmys).  Superman arrives to investigate the asteroid, taking Tempus in custody, and Jimmy back to Earth. 

Follow these links to see Jimmy as the Wolf Man, Giant Turtle Man, Human Porcupine and Octopus, Fat Jimmy Olsen and more (though they forgot Jimmy as Superman or as a gorilla), and come back later, at some point, to see coverage of Jimmy as Elastic Lad, Flamebird and Agent Double 5!

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Remembering JoAnna Cameron

Remembering actress JoAnna Cameron (September 20, 1951 - October 15, 2021), with a quick look back at her career, including the series she is most remembered for, the Mighty Isis, a super hero created for the TV, but ended up as a part of the DC TV line, along with Shazam, Welcome Back Kotter and the Super Friends.

JoAnna portrayed the lead character of the Mighty Isis from September 6, 1975 to September 3, 1977 for 22 episodes (along with guest starring with Captain Marvel in 3 episodes of Shazam, as he guested in 3 of her episodes), as young schoolteacher Andrea Thomas, who found an ancient amulet on a dig in Egypt, giving her the powers of the Egyptian god, including strength, speed, connection to animals and elemental powers (mostly over the winds).  

Later, when the series went into syndication in 1978, it was retitled the Secrets Of Isis, as Andrea assisted fellow teacher Rick Mason (Brian Cutler) and student Cindy Lee (Joanna Pang).

DC capitalized on the success of the Saturday morning show, by introducing the character in Shazam #25 (September-October, 1976), by Denny O'Neil and Dick Giordano, then spinning the character off into her own series, which lasted 8 issues, with a first issue by Denny O'Neil, Ric Estrada and Wally Wood, and later issues by Steve Skeates, Jack C. Harris, Mike Vosberg, Jose Delbo and Mike Netzer.    

Issue #1 and #2 (1976)  Covers by Kurt Schaffenberger and Mike Vosburg/Jack Abel


Issue #3 and #4 (1977) Covers by Mike Vosburg with Vince Colletta and Dick Giordano


Issue #5 and #6 (1977) Covers by Mike Vosburg with Vince Colletta


Issue #7 and #8 (1977) Covers by Rich Buckler and Vince Colletta 


Due to the character being owned by Filmation, DC has come up with its own Egyptian goddess, with the alter ego of Adrianna Tomaz, tied to Black Adam more than Captain Marvel, appearing in series like 52, Titans and the Justice Society of America.


JoAnna got her first movie role with help from Linda Hope, daughter of Bob Hope, in How To Commit Marriage, with Bob Hope, Jane Wyman and Tim Matheson in 1969.  Later, she had roles in multiple TV shows, including Spider-Man (The Deadly Dust) and Columbo (Negative Reaction), with her last TV movie being Swan Song in 1980.

JoAnna's portrayal of a female hero predates Lynda Carter's Wonder Woman, Lindsay Wagner's Bionic Woman and Lucy Lawless' Xena, as well as reflected in Tala Ashe's Zari Tomaz/Tarazi on Legends of Tomorrow, paving the way for generations of female heroes to come. 

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Creature Commandos Tales Two By Two 1

What happens when you take a vampire, a werewolf and a reanimated man, force them to live and work together, and see what type of friendships develop as they get real?

Who knows?

This isn't a reality show, this is World War II, with a battle hardened Lieutenant gathering together 3 men, who have been scientifically altered into horror architypes, who will fight evil as....

....The Creature Commandos!

Here is a look at their first two adventures!

The Creature Commandos

The adventures begin in Weird War Tales #93 (November, 1980) by J. M. DeMatteis, Pat Broderick and John Celardo, all under a cover by veteran war artist, Joe Kubert.

Starting at a secret briefing, with Lt. Matthew Shrieve of U.S. Army Intelligence, as he addresses an audience of distinguished generals, admirals and senators...

...about the dark realm, and things which influence men on a basic level....monsters!  Using Project M (for Monster), scientists were able to take three military men...Warren Griffith, a 4F Oklahoma farmboy who thought he could turn into a wolf, which they induced a real transformation into a werewolf (though it is unstable in duration)....Sgt. Vincent Velcro who volunteered to avoid a thirty year prison sentence, being injected with the blood of a rare Mexican bat to get his vampiric powers, and marine Private "Lucky" Taylor, who was blown to bits in a battle on a Pacific island, only to be put back together as an enormous creature, reanimated to life, but without a voice to express his gentle soul.  These three then surprised the room, with a general declaring them the worst monsters he's ever seen, and to sent them to battle the Nazis immediately. 

The crew ended up in France, storming Castle Conquest, where the Nazis had been building robots to replace the world leaders.  Shrieve set explosives to destroy the base, which would have gone off if the Creature Commandos had gotten out or not, proving the Lieutenant to be the most heartless monster of them all.

The Faceless Enemy

The monster squad and their leader return in Weird War Tales #97 (March, 1981), under a cover by Ross Andru and Romeo Tanghal, with story by J. M DeMatteis and Fred Carrillo.

This time around, the team was sent to retrieve a Doctor Frederique from the Nazis in a storm covered area of occupied France.  

Velcro complained as he took the orders, while Taylor silently went into battle, following the changed Griffith.  The team freed the doctor from the Nazis, finding the doctor to be a she!  Shrieve got to know her, with Frederique worrying about seeing people as people, even the Nazi monsters, as the troop headed for what they thought was safety (facing a few menaces along the way), but as they arrived, the doctor revealed herself as a plant, with this whole mission being a trap to catch the Creature Commandos.  

The lady wasn't a doctor, but she died saving the Lieutenant as one of the faceless masses, as the other three decimated the Nazi forces.  When it was over, when asked if they should bury her, as Shrieve seemed to be growing close to her, he declined, as she was only the enemy.

The creatures survived these battles, but more were to be had....and, with luck, to be covered here soon!

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Writing In The Chamber Of Chills

Working hard on more Halloween scary stuff, just like the skeleton in this Lee Elias cover for Chamber of Chills #21 (January, 1954).

While working, take a look at a few horror covers from this title run which lasted 26 issues from June 1951 to December 1954 by Lee Elias, featuring tales of terror and suspense!


Chamber of Chills #5 and #6


Chamber of Chills #8 and #11


Chamber of Chills #14 and #15


Chamber of Chills #16 and #17


Chamber of Chills #24 and #25


Chamber of Chills #4 and #10


Saturday, October 16, 2021

Almost Frankenstein - The Patchwork Man

The Patchwork Man premiered early in the original Swamp Thing series, ended up with a special issue of House Of Secrets, then ended his life with an issue of Swamp Thing.

Let's see how this monster that resembled Frankenstein's was put together....

Early Swamp Things

The Patchwork Man first appeared in Swamp Thing #2 (December-January, 1972/1973) by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson.  He was one of the Un-Men, a group of genetic creations by scientist Anton Arcane.  In Swamp Thing #3 (February-March, 1973), it was revealed that he was Gregori Arcane, the brother of Anton and father of Abby, whom Anton rebuild after Gregori stepped on a landmine.  Gregori had limited memory of his previous life, but he recognized Abby, and worked with the Swamp Thing to save her....though he had a serious, nearly life ending fall.

Reprise: The Patchwork Man

The Patchwork Man returned in House Of Secrets #140 (February-March, 1976) by Gerry Conway and Nestor Redondo (with cover by Ernie Chan), having somehow gotten to New York, and attacking saleswomen and security in a department store.  He was shot in the head, and taken to police headquarters, where Doctor Elijah Chomes of the Mount Good Hope Institute took custody of him (after subduing the creature when it again tried to break loose).  

Discussing the mental state of the monster in front of lab assistants Andy Harty and Darleen Greer, the Patchwork Man flashbacks on how he was Gregori Arcane, doting on his daughter Abby, though the government was going to take her away due to his long sales trips.  

Anton vowed to help his brother, but the government came when Gregori was away.  Going through a section of European forest he usually didn't, Gregori stepped on an old German landmine.  Anton found his brother, and rebuild him into the Patchwork Man.  Gregori remembered, vaguely, his time fighting with Swamp Thing, his fall....but nothing after.  Chomes said one of his European allies found the monster wandering by a river, captured and shipped him to New York, where it got loose and ended up in the department store.  Chomes states how the creature is like a newborn babe, which makes Darleen dizzy, so he asked Harty to take her home.  

The Doctor continues to experiment on the Patchwork Man, trying to determine the depth of his regenerative abilities, but the creature breaks loose, ending up on the New York street, and befriended by a cabbie, who takes him away from the lab.  Andy and Dareen discuss her fainting incident, with Dr. Greer saying she's pregnant, but is debating having an abortion (a moral dilemma for her, as a doctor she wants to save life, but if she has a baby, she will lose her career).

This would have continued in House of Secrets #141, but the series took a hiatus, and when it came back, the next Patchwork Man story didn't appear.  It was finished, and was published in a European magazine, and only recently here in the states, in the House of Secrets Omnibus Volume 2.

End Of The Patchwork Man

The Patchwork Man didn't come back until Swamp Thing #59 (April, 1987) by Steve Bissette, Rick Veitch and Alfredo Alcala (with cover by John Tolteben and Bill Sienkiewicz), where Abby met back up with her father, who had been falling apart (with memories of how he read her her favorite story when she was young...Shelley's Frankenstein!).   While Abby found him in the swamp while looking for a missing Swamp Thing, Gregori didn't want her to see him, and was torn apart by the hail.  Abby found his body, but not his head....

...Gregori and Anton later appeared as the Swamp Thing travelled back in time to the World Wars, but the Patchwork Man was done.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Happy Hockey Horror Season

With the official start of hockey season, as well as being hip deep in the Halloween season, it seemed the perfect time to highlight this nice Nick Cardy cover to House of Secrets #114 (December, 1973)....with a little horror at the ice rink!

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Frankenstein Adaptation?

The Universal Monsters saw a bit of an upswing in the 1960s, and Dell was already to cash in on that, with a Frankenstein comic book.

But, Frankenstein #1 (March-May, 1963) wasn't exactly all that it was suppose to be, even though it did sport a painted cover by Vic Prezio, and interior story and art by Don Segall and Bob Jenney.

In this story, Dr. Frankenstein created the monster (with an abnormal brain supplied by Fritz, the hunchback), but he later got control of the monster, and fled Europe, taking the monster, whom the doctor had some hypnotic control of to New York, where the monster got loose and was blamed for a fire started by some careless dock workers....

Of course, this was Shakespeare (or at least Shelley) compared to the second through fourth issues of Frankenstein by Dell.

Issue 2 came out in September, 1966, by D. J. Arneson and Tony Tallarico, and now he wasn't a monster, but a super hero!

The monster was created in an old castle in America in the 19th century, and, after 100 years, a city grew around it.  The creature awoke during a lightning storm, and, finding a human mask (to hide his green skin) went out, taking the name "Frank Stone".  He promptly found a billionaire, who died and left him a fortune.  So, Frank then decided to put his great strength to use, becoming a super hero, with his true identity only known by his butler, William, but suspected by his girl friend, Ann Thorpe.

This continued in his third issue from December, 1966, where he fought an evil duplicate of himself, and the fourth from March, 1967, where he faced the return of a nemesis from the second issue, the diminutive Dr. Freek, who had an assistant of his own, the brutish gorilla Bruto.

Oh, what brave heroes this Dell world must have!

Of course, two other heroes in this were Dracula and the Werewolf, who had equally short comic runs, but more on them later (maybe...or not).