Wednesday, 29 March 2017
Justice League of America #37 (DC)
Gardner Fox (w) n/k (a)
Hailing from the Silver Age of comics is this two part story in which the Justice League only play a cameo role in their own title! Earth without a Justice League is exactly what it says on the cover. And it's all Johnny Thunders fault!
After having a row with his Banhnisian Thunderbolt on Earth Two, the pair go to Earth One where they meet Johnny's counterpart. Problem is this version of him is a crook and after knocking out "our" Johnny the villain gets control of Thunderbolt.
Using Thunderbolt to commit crime "Johnny" is thwarted by the Flash and decides to make history different by getting his new found servant to "unmake" the Justice League ensuring they never become heroes. So Thunderbolt stops Krypton exploding so Superman never comes to Earth, saves Abin Sur so Hal Jordan never inherits the ring, prevents Barry Allen's accident and humiliates the Batman on his first outing.
In a world without heroes "Johnny's" crime spree is unstoppable except for one small matter.
The Justice Society arrive from Earth Two to try and save the day but they face an uphill struggle as "Johnny" turns his gang into the Lawless League! From the Earth to the Moon a battle Royale takes place. Can the JSA win through?
It takes two issues to tell this tale and the ending whilst abrupt is fitting to a tale of magic and mayhem.
Tuesday, 28 March 2017
Pellucidar: At the Earths Core (Dark Horse)
Len Wein/Dennis O'Neill (w) Alan Weiss/Michael Kaluta/Dan Green (a)
Edgar Rice Burrough was one of the most creative minds in early fantasy and science fiction and his most famous creation Tarzan still thrills readers and audiences to this day. Others may recall John Carter Warlord of Mars, recently brought to life by Dynamite Entertainment with his "last" story" being published over the next few months.
However there are other Rice Burrough creations that have been semi-forgotten such as Carson of Venus and At the Earths Core which my generation will recall was turned into one of those Doug McClure adventure films we used to watch in the school holidays.
Dark Horse have reprinted the DC version of Pellucidar which appeared in Korak Son of Tarzan #1 (DC edition) and subsequently Weird Worlds #1-7 where it came to a wee bit of an abrupt halt.
This is quite a violent story, especially for the early seventies when it first appeared in print and relates the adventures of David Innes and Abner Perry as they find themselves trapped in the world beneath the earth where humans are seemingly oppressed by apes but the real enemy are evil reptiles known as Mahars.
The battle for freedom commences but ends prematurely as sales were obviously not high enough to continue this storyline and the editorial blurb simply tells us that legend says David Innes and the beautiful Dian bring peace to the world of Pellucidar.
An inexpensive tome well worth picking up. Hopefully if sales go well Dark Horse will print a companion volume featuring Carson of Venus.
Monday, 27 March 2017
When Creepy #145 appeared on the stands there wasn't a hint inside that this was to be the last issue. Far from it. The inhouse newspage even announced the return of the letters page which had been missing for some time much to the chagrin of readers.
There were features on Warren's other magazines and an advert for the next issue #146 which would "be on sale Jan 25th". Issue 146 was to appear a couple of years later as a one-off from Harris Publications who purchased the rights to Vampirella, Creepy and Eerie but these were later returned to Warren for a while.
Sadly the age of the adult black & white horror magazine was drawing to a close. Rivals Skywald had folded after Marvel flooded the market and even Stan Lee's characters failed to make enough profit in this format with the exception of Savage Sword of Conan which would be the longest running title of all.
A shame really.
Only Vampirella was to continue and then in the full colour format chosen by Harris for a lengthy run of different titles. they even kept the fan club going. Today of course Vampy is published by Dynamite.
Unusually this edition contained just three stories, the first of which Moral Blood took up half the pages. A western with vampires and a tragic ending. Well worth the price of entry on it's own.
All of Them Must Die and The Iceman Killeth which follow are the usual tales of gore and horror especially for the greedy that we all came to love.
Warren were truly one of the great comics publishers.
Sunday, 26 March 2017
Giant-Size Invaders #1 (Marvel)
Roy Thomas (w) Frank Robbins (a)
A one-off prequel to a 41 issue run of the main, normal sized Invaders comic which introduces readers to the team which Roy Thomas created as part of the Marvel canon in which not all stories from the forties were considered a part.
The story, which centres around the "super soldier" formula recounts the origin of Captain America, brings in The Human Torch plus the sidekicks Bucky & Toro and then adds the Sub-Mariner to the mix as they have a showdown with the Nazi's own "super soldier", Master Man.
Despite Master-Man's seeming physical and power superiority it seems that this is only temporary as is seen in the final showdown.
The team are stopped from squabbling and told to pull together by none other than Winston Churchill himself.
As a bonus there is a tale from Sub-Mariner #1 (1941) in which Hitler launches an attack on Atlantis. The resulting conflict sees Subby take the throne.
Saturday, 25 March 2017
Justice League of America #71 (DC Comics)
Dennis O'Neill (w) Dick Dillin (a)
Hailing from the late sixties this issue of Justice League of America tells the tale of the Martian Manhunter's origin. Well one of them anyway. I don't recall ever having seen this issue or heard of this tale before but worth a plunge as are most copies of JLA from that simpler era when kids reallly were children...
Featuring a guest appearance from the "new look" powerless Wonder Woman of the time the Justice League have to be called upon to stop a stranger wrecking a carnival. Managing to beat off each JLA member in turn, the "villain" is only beaten when Green Arrow uses a phosphorous arrow causing a fire which weakens and unmasks the Manhunter.
Distraught and confused he returns to the JLA satellite to tell the tale of his last days on Mars as a warlord fighting the Northern Martians for the sole source of heat on the planet. Losing the fight J'onzz is exiled when the transporter takes him to Earth.
The villain responsible for his plight has returned and is bringing genocide to Mars. The JLA must travel to the Red Planet to stop Blanx.
This tale has a tragic ending with the JLA stopping Blanx and his alien allies but failing to save all but a few Martians who manage to escape but not knowing where they have gone, J'onzz leaves the JLA to seek out the whereabouts of his people.
Friday, 24 March 2017
One of the shortest lived British comics was IPC/Fleetways Vulcan which was published as a tryout in Scotland between May and September 1975 before rebooting as a new number one and going for a full UK distribution. A truly odd and as far as I am aware unique experiment.
The Scottish issues are difficult to obtain and attract a premium price when available. The all UK editions are a wee bit cheaper only slightly easier to find. There is one-off Summer Special and of course the Annual pictured above.
Published in paperback this annual is a great addition to anyone's collection and contains a wonderful array of reprinted adventures from various boys comics over the years.
My all-time favourite British strip, The Trigan Empire is presented in glorious colour and features a tale of exploration loyalty and betrayal. Originally published in Ranger and continued in the long running educational magazine Look and Learn, these stories are classics.
The Spider is a villain turned hero who appeared in the traditional boys comic Lion. Actually the publishers referred to them as "papers", probably to make us feel a bit more grown up. But we always called them comics!
In the annuals featured story The Spider faces The Death Master.
It was Ironic that the bulk of Vulcan's features actually came from Valiant because that's the comic which Vulcan merged with as was the practice of British publishers.
Mytek the Mighty, Dollman and The Steel Claw all appear in this weighty tome.
Pick up a copy if you see one!
Monday, 20 March 2017
There's a summer of fun heading your way as DC decide to team up their superheroes with your favourite cartoon characters.
Batman meets Elmer Fudd, Jonah Hex comes across Yosemite Sam, Bugs Bunny joins the Legion of Superheroes, Lobo creates mayhem in RoadRunner, the Martian Manhunter faces the threat of Marvin the Martian and Wonder Woman tries to stop the force of nature known as the Tasmanian Devil.