Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Nelson Strong's Adventurers Club

Back in the day, comics would occasionally have hosts, people who were there to introduce a story, and then tell you the story (that you would read in that comic).  

Adventure Comics tried one out, with Colonel Nelson Strong of the Adventurers Club, for 3 issues....


...where Nelson Strong (created by John Albano and Jim Aparo), would lecture about how great the Adventurers' Club was, and what a privilege it was to be there, looking like a man who had experienced a few adventures of his own over the years ..


....and then get along with the story....


....which we shall do now!




Adventure Comics #426 (February-March, 1973)

First off, the introduction of the concept with Col. Strong, then, onto the story by Albano and Aparo (with a Dick Giordano cover including co-feature Vigilante), with the story of Scortch Jordon, a 1950s mobster taking out a small time hood in a drive by....and his girl, Ms. Finch.  The police caught Jordon, and her father, Harvey Finch, came to the detectives to confront Jordon.  

Then, as they didn't convict Jordon, he wandered free, but was pursued by images of the girl...so much that Jordon tried to shoot her, killing himself, confessing to the double murder and fingering the drive (the man handing the gun to Strong).  The driver, Cross, got 20 years, but, got a visit from Mr. Finch right before he was released.  Finch was a hypnotist, and implanted the image of his daughter in the crooks' brain (as he had to Jordon 20 years before), so that he would be haunted by her murder forever more...

Adventure Comics #427 (April-May, 1973)

Next up, in another tale by Albano and Aparo (with a feature cover by Luis Dominguez) , where assistant photographer Mr. Carter was telling his tale to Col. Strong, of how he was photographing a violent attack on an antelope by crocodiles in the African jungle (frowned upon by his assistant Coru and chief Jerry Lambert).  On the way back, Carter got his companions eaten by lions, and had to recruit a new assistant.  

Going out with an old man of the tribe, the pair stumbled upon a ritual with a girl tied to the ground, and a tribe of lizard worshipers waiting to see if the lizard would bite her.  It didn't, but the two fled...only to be pursued by the spear welding natives, who killed the assistant....and injured Carter, who fell to the ground, and was surrounded by lizards.  Three weeks later he was telling his story to Strong....and the bites had mutated Carter into a lizard man!  

Adventure Comics #430 (November-December, 1973)

Last, but not least, a hidden tale of the Adventurers' Club (hidden under a Bob Oksner Black Orchid cover), and told by Arnold Drake and Luis Dominguez.  Here, a somewhat younger looking Strong being told a story by Mr. Frisellla, about an ill fated trip down the Amazon River, where he encountered the tribe of the Ogura, a pendulum which was the heart of the world.  

Frisella, not believing the chief, Chimaga, grabs it, causing earthquakes, which allows Frisella to escape (and the tribe makes sure the pendulum starts to swing again, stopping the danger to Earth).  Strong asks Frisells where this pendulum was...which the man refuses to tell Col. Strong.


An interesting groups of adventures, and not quite the end of Colonel Strong, who later shows up as a villain in Swamp Thing, in issues #144 to #150 in the mid-1990s, setting an end to the adventures of Colonel Nelson Strong.





Saturday, June 25, 2022

Remembering Artist Alex Toth With A Question

Remembering artist Alex Toth (June 25, 1928-May 27, 2006) on his birthday, with a quick look at some work he did for a fanzine, in the Charlton Bullseye #5 (July-September, 1976), in a story plotted by Roger Stern and scripted by Michael Uslan featuring Steve Ditko's Question.


Here, intrepid reporter Vic Sage (secretly the faceless hero, the Question) battles with his foe, the Banshee (all in a glorious black and white adventure, the much better to appreciate the subtle stylings of the masterful artwork of Alex Toth!).


4 of the 8 pages of the story, and what a story it was with all the hard hitting crime action you could ask for!

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Friday, June 24, 2022

Big Bang Adventures 8 - Knights Of Justice

Taking a look back in the modern era!  Adventures of the Knights of Justice (heroes of the alternate Earth-B), a group of heroes modelled after the Justice Society of America (and a few extra), with an adventure set in 1947 (but done in recent years)....this one, from Big Bang Adventures #8 (June, 2021) by Pedro Angosto, Pablo Alcalde, Simon Loko and Adam Pruett.

Not familiar with the heroes of the Knights of Justice (or Big Bang Comics either)?


Well, don't worry, they provide pages that give a brief run down of the heroes and villains involved in the story (boy, they sure look familiar, don't they?).


Not to mention, a little of their history was detailed previously, here.  



The issue starts with a battle between the Knights of Justice and their foes, the Alliance Of Evil, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, but, there is something more sinister afoot, as Mephistopheles hands Venus the Golden Pomegranate....and she disappears.  The battle soon ends, as Dr. Weird appears, with a warning of dire times, as Venus is the embodiment of love, and without here on the Earthly plane, Earth will decline into chaos.


Venus was transported to the Underworld of Pluto, and the Knights have to go rescue her, while Venus deals with life in the land truly down under.


And, best of all, the solution was all found in one issue!

If these types of classic adventures thrill you, check out Big Bang Adventures on Indyplanet, and you can find this issue (and many more) available as downloads or print on demand here!




Sunday, June 19, 2022

Happy Father's Day Superman

One of the defining characteristics of the Silver Age/Earth-1 Superman, is that it was the death of his Earth father (Jonathan Kent) when he was Superboy, that was one of the biggest changes in Clark Kent's life, leading him to move from Smallville to Metropolis, and to change from Superboy to Superman (shown so well recently in Action Comics #500).

So, imagine Clark's surprise when his father showed up in his current life!  Not a result of a universe changing Crisis, but a helpful alien repaying a kindness the Kansas farmer showed him, Pa Kent was allowed a little time with his grown up son in Action Comics #507 and #508 (May and June, 1980) with covers by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano, and stories by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and Frank Chiaramonte.

A Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there, and for everyone who has lost a father and would like to talk to him one last time.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Forbidden Planet Adaptation Innovation

The 1956 classic MGM movie, Forbidden Planet, got a movie adaptation by the short lived comic book company, Innovation, in the early 1990s.

Based off of the original movie script by Cyril Hume, Irving Block and Allen Alder, writer David Campiti provided the comics, with art by Daerick Gross.


After the four issues were completed (with a bit of a pause between issues 3 and 4) they were gathering in a tradepaperback (common now, but much more of a rarity back then).

A unique way to experience the sci-fi tale of Commander John J. Adams as he and his crew of the United Planets starship C-57D met Dr. Edward Morbius, his daughter Altaria and Robby the Robot on Altair IV, uncovering the mystery that is there, finding out why only Morbius and his daughter survived, as well as uncovering the secret of the Krell. 


Forbidden Planet 1 and 2 (May and July, 1992)



Forbidden Planet 3 and 4 (September, 1992 and  Spring 1993)

 


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Remembering Artist Neal Adams

Remembering artist Neal Adams (June 15, 1941 - April 28, 2022)...

...with a look at some of his covers you might not have seen...from the Challengers of the Unknown, adventure heroes living on borrowed time, with pilot Ace Morgan, fighter Rocky Davis and acrobat Red Ryan taking a slight turn towards the supernatural, as science based member Prof  Haley was replaced with mystic Corinna Stark, and the team even met Deadman!


Challengers Of The Unknown #67 and #68 (April-May and June-July, 1969)

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Challengers Of The Unknown #70 and #72 (October-November 1969 and February-March, 1970)

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Challengers Of The Unknown #74 and #81 (June-July, 1970 and June-July, 1977)

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Sadly, Neal's art didn't end up in the interiors of the title, except for Deadman pages in #74 (and, read more about Neal's work on Deadman here), with Neal only inking #81 featuring Multi-Man over Michael Netzer's pencils.  The two missing covers were by Joe Kubert and Nick Cardy, in case you are curious.


A little more of Neal's work can be seen, such as with Superman/Batman in World's Finest here, a touch of his Green Lantern here, his Tomahawk covers here and a little recent article on his passing here.



Thursday, June 9, 2022

Remembering Artist George Perez

Remembering artist George Perez (June 9, 1954 to May 6, 2022) on his birthday with a special double page spread he did for DC Comics Presents #38 (October, 1981), featuring Superman and all his guest stars from DC Comics Presents (well, until that time....and, missing Aquaman and the Red Tornado).


Still, an impressive piece, early in Perez's DC career, and a great chance for George to draw a great deal of the DC Universe, including the Atom, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Captain Comet, Batgirl, Robin, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Adam Strange, Dr. Fate, Wonder Woman, Green ArrowMan-BatSgt. Rock and more!


George did draw the cover for that issue as well, and later, did the cover and interiors for DC Comics Presents #61 (September, 1983), featuring OMAC (as well as interior art NOT featuring Superman, as he and Marv Wolfman premiered the New Teen Titans).


George did many covers for DC as he started work there, including Green Lantern, Flash, Adventure Comics, as well as books he worked on interiors, like New Teen Titans and Justice League of America.


Still only a fraction of the work George Perez did, and, as the years progress, more will be covered here, but it is important to remember his work!










Monday, June 6, 2022

Remembering D-Day

Saluting the troops who stormed the beaches on D-Day (June 6, 1944), with this cover to Combat #11 (January-March, 1964) by Dell Comics.  

The cover was painted, and has a story on the the Normandy Invasion by Paul S. Newman and Sam Glanzman.  The issue also includes a biography page on General Omar Bradley's battles of World War II.



Thursday, June 2, 2022

Covering Perez Adventure Comics

Continuing coverage of covers that George Perez drew, a small group of odd ones from the 1980s...four issues from Adventure Comics (which, sadly, were covers only), that handled the heroes of Dial H For Hero....Vicki Grant and Chris King, who would become new heroes whenever they dialed on their "H"-Dials!

Characters submitted by readers. with the first three of these written by Marv Wolfman, with interior art alternating between Don Heck and Carmine Infantino (with Carmine drawing the interiors on the last, and E. Nelson Bridwell providing the script).

Adventure Comics 484 and 485 (August and September, 1981)

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Adventure Comics 486 and 490 (October, 1981 and February, 1982)

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Even if only for a cover, what a thrill it must have been to have a character YOU created, drawn by George PerezGeorge even snuck Vicki and Chris, along with original H Dialer, Robby Reed, in the last issue of Crisis On Infinite Earths, behind Green Lantern reporter, Tawny Young (with Vigilante and Owlwoman behind Lois Lane, and the Secret Six behind Roy Raymond!).




Monday, May 30, 2022

For Memorial Day

Remembering those who gave it all for our country this Memorial Day, with this Sgt. Rock cover to Our Army At War #297 (October, 1976) by Joe Kubert, where Sgt. Rock shows in no uncertain terms the sacrifice our soldiers have had to make for our freedoms.



Friday, May 27, 2022

Covering Perez X-Men

Of the many titles George Perez worked on for both Marvel and DC, sadly, X-Men was not one he did any work on regularly.

The only two covers George did during the regular run were of X-Men #112 (August, 1978), inked by Bob Layton, and X-Men #128 (December, 1979), inked by Terry Austin.

Still, two pretty good ones!

Of course, Marvel did adapt one of George's portfolio pieces for the cover of Age Of X-Man Alpha (March, 2019), as an incentive variant (the original sketch was based on Marvel Team-Up Annual #1....).


While it was Frank Miller and Terry Austin who did the cover of X-Men Annual #3 (August, 1979), there is some of the all too rare Perez X-Men interior art (covered by Between the Pages blog, here!).








Friday, May 20, 2022

Happy Birthday Zatanna And Gardner Fox

According to the DC Calendar, today is the birthday of that mistress of magic, Zatanna...as well as the birthday of her creator, author Gardner Fox.  

That little bit of magic says what better time to look back at the saga that introduced Zatanna...the search for Zatara, her father!



Hawkman and Detective Comics

It all started in Hawkman #4 (October-November, 1964) by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson, as Hawkman met Zatanna, and Hawkgirl met Zatanna....and the Hawks had to bring these two together (Zatanna had accidentally split herself in two using her magic to try to find her father).  Later, in Gotham City, Batman and Robin fought a witch in Detective Comics #336 (February, 1965) by Gardner Fox, Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella, who was manipulated into fighting the dynamic duo by the Outsider...but, what does this have to do with Zatanna?

Atom and Green Lantern

With her first cover appearance in Atom #19 (June-July, 1965) by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Sid Greene, Zatanna recruits the Atom for help in reaching the subatomic world of Catamoore, where she thinks she can find her father.  When the duo arrive there, they battle an old foe of Zatara's, the Druid, who claims to have stolen Zatara's magic and banish him.  They defeat the Druid, but, Zatanna must continue her quest.  Green Lantern helps out next, in Green Lantern #42 (January, 1966) by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Sid Greene, where Hal gets a magical power boost to his ring from Zatanna, ends up in another magical dimension (Ys), where Zatara had been sent by the Druid.  There, Green Lantern and Zatanna face the Warlock, but find Zatara had already left with the Warlock of Ys' crystal ball.

Detective Comics and Justice League Of America

Stretching things a bit, Zatanna gets help from the Elongated Man in Detective Comics #355 (September, 1966) by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino, where Ralph helps her find the book of I-Ching, which will help Zatanna find her father in the dark realms.  Zatanna finally finds her father in Justice League Of America #51 (February, 1967) by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Sid Greene, and defeats Allura (an evil elemental who caused the problem) with the help of magical duplicates of the heroes who helped her before (revealing she was the witch who bedeviled the Batman), but is nice enough to gather the real heroes to thank them for their help!

Zatanna's origins

After all that adventure, a look back at the origins of Zatanna and her father, Zatanna, including how John Zatara first learned his backward magic, and how Zatanna discovered her father was missing in a special tale originally from DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #5 (November-December, 1980) by Gerry Conway, Romeo Tanghal and Vince Colletta, rounds out the collection of JLA: Zatanna's Search (2004), which has a cover by Brian Bolland.


Now, if DC would just collect these stories again, perhaps adding Zatanna's back ups from Adventure Comics, Lois LaneSupergirl and the Zatanna Special....it would be magic!



Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Image's Big Bang Comics

When Image Comics hit the scene 30 years ago, it created a revolution in comics, with highly stylized art by big names and flamboyant characters...but, where would that leave the old style of comics from the Golden, Silver and Bronze Ages?

Well, enter...Big Bang Comics!

For 35 issues (and a few specials) from May, 1996 to January, 2001, Big Bang Comics brought back the old school comics, with characters that looked familiar (Ultiman, the Knight Watchman, Kid Gallahad, Thunder Girl, the Blitz, the Whiz Kids and more), giving people new stories in older styles, while including modern Image heroes like Savage Dragon and Mighty Man!

the 1940s

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the 1950s

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the 1960s

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the 1970s

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the 1980s

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Specials

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Big Bang Comics was a fun little exercise in "new nostalgia", giving readers old style comics with new characters...


...and survives now, as its own company, Big Bang Comics, with print on demand comics, which you can find here (highly recommended!).





Now, for more of what Image was usually known for, take a look at these columns by my fellow Super Blog Team-Up contributors:

Between The Pages Blog

Killer Walking Dead Cakes


Asterisk 51

Better Late Than Never: Spawn #1


Comics, Comics, Blog: 

Image Comics: Remembering my early days


Superhero Satellite Podcast Episode 3:

Image Comics Road To Revolution


In My Not So Humble Opinion:

Astro City: That Was Then…



Jesse Starcher - Source Material -

Darker Image!!! - 


Chris is on Infinite Earths

Cable Eats a Bagel: the de-imagification of Nathan Dayspring Askani’Son Summers


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