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  #61  
Old 10-18-2018, 11:02 AM
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House of Secrets #58

Written by UNKNOWN! Drawn by Lee Elias


Now I know last time this was going to be a trip to the House of Mystery and here we are with a House of Secrets story, but I have a reason for this: my copy of Showcase presents House of Mystery Vol. 1 decides that they start with House of Mystery #174. There's a reason for this: this is the issue where House of Mystery stopped publishing superhero stories. Previous to this issue, it was the book that featured the adventures of Robby Reed and his H-Dial ("Dial H for Hero!") and the Martian Manhunter.

I am a little bummed that they don't reprint the REALLY early issues in this volume but this new era is probably more important. First, the covers are really good. Check out some of these.




And here's something I haven't noticed before: each cover features a scene from the story in the
issue (except that first one) but injects some kids into them, who are the reader surrogates. That's a nice touch that I like.

Anyway, the problem is that the first issue of the new era is all reprints from various "House of Secrets" and "House of Mystery" issues. (BTW, if you are wondering if I am going to bring up Cain and Abel, I will eventually but it doesn't come up this issue). The only original material is that, from here on in, there's a wacky/spooky page 13, usually drawn by Sergio Aragones! And I will reprint those because they are delightful, as you might imagine.

But none of those are the cover for House of Secrets #58. No, the cover to that is not nearly as good but also very, very Octo-Good.

It's much weaker and less evocative than the previous covers but... I also love it? First of all, I don't know a damned thing about Mark Merlin. I've seen the name in the Wizard Magazine price guide back in the day, but had no idea who he was. Based on this cover, he's a sad sack preppy who solves supernatural crimes. Also, he hangs out with Dr. Zarkov from Flash Gordon.

Also "You are charged with crimes against the unknown" is a great line. I mean, I couldn't begin to imagine what that would entail. How do you try that? And Mark reacts to it not with defiance but with... a hang dog expression. He's this close to saying "I'm sowwy."

I'll be honest, the big two are usually good at recycling characters, even if for just a cameo, that I'm shocked I haven't seen Mark Merlin appear in another comic before. This character fascinates me, but I also fear that seeing any more of him will break the spell. I just prefer to imagine him as a spiritual detective who looks bummed while animal men yell at him.

Also, sadly, I will not be talking about the cover story. Sorry Octo.

No, this one is about a magic pot! It's a tale called "The Wondrous Witch's Cauldron". And it is the least Halloweeny story about a witch's cauldron I can imagine. We begin at the bottom of the sea.


Man, we were SO close to seeing the world's most successful trout. I'd buy that comic. Just flopping around, cursed with immortality so he's air drowning forever while surrounded by money and sexy women and/or men.

Anyway, based on the word balloon, this is a talking cauldron. And he just wants someone to listen. The cauldron then begins to tell us his back story.


But the old woman was actually a witch and her "lock the door" line is her having fun because that night she uses magic to break in and steal her own pot because I guess witches are cheapskates.


They aren't floaters either, because she doesn't pass the witch test that, let's face it, has no good outcome for the taker of said test. So the pot travels from owner to owner.



I kind of love this. Is the implication that the pot made itself steam up to give him the idea? Because for so many reasons, that's a leap. That would have happened with pretty much ANY pot, right? It seems the magic of the pot requires a lot of luck. I feel like the pot is sentient but will never be able to accomplish anything so he takes credit when someone else has the same idea so he can brag to... no one. This is... sad.

But a fun sort of sad.

Cut to... ITALY! WORLD WAR II! The pot is being used by the allies in a small village they are occupying. The Nazis try to sneak into town to get the drop on them when...


The magic seems to be that of slightly interesting coincidence. Man, that pot is really upset (literally, on that first panel.) I love how ticked off it is. It really feels that it needs to be thanked for... just being there? Hey, guess what stupid pot? People don't thank pots.

It's just a weird premise for a comic about a pot who wants kudos but the only magic he has is thinking and not being able to act on it, then expects thanks when things happen to him.

In his last adventure, a thief tries to hide stolen money in the pot, who is being used as a charity collector pot for a street Santa. This is, of course, after the pot thinks at the thief SO HARD!


And so after his many... accomplishments?, the pot is thrown away, nobody understanding it's true power to think about helping you and taking credit for it. BTW, being underwater is a bad time to finally learn to mouth talk, which he does in the very first page.

The lesson of this story? Don't be a pot.

Next time: "The Man Who Hated Good Luck"!

Until next time...

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  #62  
Old 10-19-2018, 10:35 AM
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House of Secrets #17

Written by UNKNOWN! Drawn by Doug Wildey


So this is continuing my coverage of House of Mystery #174 which is almost all reprints, save for a Sergio Aragones piece I'll share later.

Next up we have "The Man Who Hated Good Luck." I really have nothing to add so without further ado... that thing I said!


Wow, you couldn't get any more Silver Age than this set up. BTW, this never happens. The character is never chased and there's no "curse of good luck" he must avoid. It's a kind of cute story, though, all things considered, even if it feels like we've seen this kind of thing before.

Our story begins with "girl reporter" Jane visiting her hometown and her crush from her younger years Don Baker, who we first see smoking a pipe and looking like the Church of the Subgenius guy. They sit down in front of the TV because Don is watching to see if he has the winning ticket in a raffle, with the prize being $25,000! And Don wins. But his reaction is not what Jane expects.


He 100% did NOT tell her that, by the way, unless that first panel is considered in continuity and taking place before this scene, in which case... WHAT?

Anyway, DON, you did not say that at all. Don doesn't admit this mistake, but he does begin telling the tale of why he ripped up the lottery ticket.

Don reveals that he was walking through Lincoln Park when a runaway horse nearly ran over a mysterious stranger (I've never been to Chicago. Is this a common concern?) The stranger is thankful but also maybe a leprechaun or something because he promises to give him a reward... but only if he passes a strange test.


So this is really less of a horror story than a fairy tale. Which I'm cool with. But House of Mystery #174 begins with a corpse hand beckoning us into a creepy old castle, so this is a little misleading, I think.

Anyway, the man disappears. As he finishes his story, he asks Jane if he is foolish for ripping up the ticket. Jane can't come up with an answer and we soon see some people who were digging on his property who tell him they found a treasure chest. Don surmises it must have been buried by a pirate named Salazar, which is a great pirate name, and contains valuable pearls.

But Don decides to reject the second of the rewards the stranger warned him about.


Um... the stranger didn't say shit about selling your property. That seems like a weird move. You could have just been nice and gave him the chest. Or maybe the two caretakers who found it. I bet they'd appreciate it. Come to think of it, you could have just GIVEN someone your lottery ticket. Guess what, just because you reject something doesn't mean someone else can't have it. There are probably people who could have really used it. But selling his house at cost is his solution and he's got to live with it.

In the next panel, Don learns that he's inherited a castle in England and he begins to wonder if he's been stupid.

Yes. Like, I don't mind so much your blind faith in the mysterious stranger. That's the fairy tale rules. But again, selling your house because it shared space with treasure seems really stupid.

Anyway, Don decides "fuck it, Imma gonna take the castle. Wanna come with?" Jane's response it "You know I'd go anywhere with you." Which is more than I do as their relationship really hasn't build much since page one. But whatever, this is a six page story, so we don't have a lot of room for character development.

Anyway, Don is a former war pilot so he decides to rent a plane to fly over the Atlantic because he is, as he wonder allowed earlier, "a fool".

Sure enough, they get caught in a storm and crash. Thankfully, the two survive and manage to make it to land, where Don has an epiphany that isn't about the stupidity of selling his land.


What, the crash?

Oh, true love. Eh, I think you could have achieved that without pointlessly endangering your lives but sure, let's go with that. They are stupid, but it's still pretty sweet.

Back at home, Don wonders if he was foolish (YES!) to reject those gifts (eh, that part doesn't concern me so much) Jane reveals they all were bad prizes anyway: the ticket was a fake, the pearls would have rotted away due to the ravages of time (I bet the chest was still worth something, though, even if just as a historical relic) and the castle crumbled into the sea.


Aww. That's sort of sweet. Frankly, I was hoping he'd just give stuff away and learn a lesson about the beauty of charity, but love being better and less fleeting than worldly goods is pretty nice too. Also, should we assume he's just been sleeping on Jane's couch until they decided they are in love? I mean, maybe he bought his own place, but I'm not sure he got a good deal on the property where he said "NAME YOUR PRICE!"

Next time: "Museum of Worthless Inventions!"

Until next time...

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  #63  
Old 10-19-2018, 11:07 AM
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Look, the stranger may not have said to sell his house, but he also didn’t say not to, and when you’re dealing with rumplestiltzkins and the like, you hedge your bets.
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  #64  
Old 10-19-2018, 03:21 PM
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Doug Wildey also did the main character designs and illustrations for Jonny Quest. Fun fact, maybe, if you're into that kind of thing
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  #65  
Old 10-19-2018, 04:15 PM
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Actually, yes, I appreciate it. I didn't do any research, so I was asking myself "Who is this guy." So now I know. Frankly, if you asked me, I just would have assumed Johnny Quest was more Alex Toth stuff (BTW, Toth does some work in House of Mystery and it is the bomb!)
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  #66  
Old 10-19-2018, 10:10 PM
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Toth seems to be associated with every HB cartoon of that time EXCEPT Jonny Quest!

I think Wildey drew some adaptations of classic Jonny Quest stories for Eclipse or Comico in the 80s, too. He's a great illustrator but he's certainly no Toth.
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  #67  
Old 10-21-2018, 05:14 PM
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Is that the one that William Messner-Loebs wrote for?
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  #68  
Old 10-23-2018, 07:31 AM
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House of Secrets #13

Written by UNKNOWN! Drawn by Bernard Bailey


Before we start, page 13 of House of Mystery #174 is...


I should point out that while Aragones did the art, the "writing" was by Joe Orlando. Now Orlando is a legend and I helped edit the series but it seems so strange to call this page written, even though it is probably true? It's one line of dialogue and "draw a bunch of monster". Although, I wonder if he did a very rough draft/composition example that Aragones went to town on. Anyway, it's the only original piece this issue and Aragones makes a meal of it.

Moving onto the next story...


Our tale begins with a tour of the Museum of Worthless Inventions by a curator (who notices a strange shaft of light he assumes is from the sun).

The first exhibit is a machine that turns old junk metal into gold coins. And the invention, to everyone's amazement, actually seems to work. But the museum curator reveals that it was just a cheeky prank.


One visitor why anyone would waste their lives on this junk but the curator retorts that the inventors sincerely wanted to help people, even if it is junk.

The curator then shows a pill that was supposed to become a potent fuel source when combined with water. When he demonstrates it's inability to function (do you really need to demonstrate something NOT happening? Especially if it's a pill that might dissolve. I mean, if you got a HUGE surplus and just need to get rid of some of them, I guess it's happening). Anyway, if drops a match into it and... it begins to burn. Everyone else understandably thinks it's another prank, but the curator knows it is not.

That night, the curator decides to take some pills home to test them, but sure enough he isn't even that far when someone needs some fueling up. He decides to try the pills which, even if you were positive it wouldn't work, seems like a bad idea. Do you even know what is in those pills or what they might do to an engine. To make it work as instructed, you need to add water, which would be a bitch for this guy to get out. Anyway, the pills work, but the curator isn't 100 percent sure it isn't a couple of coincidences.


He goes from doubting to making the leap (a very large and spurious one) to "maybe that shaft of light made all the inventions work!" He decides to try them out.


He starts testing them out and sure enough, the things work. In most comics, this guy would become a super-villain but instead, he decides to help the nearby hospital when he discovers that their power has gone out. If the power doesn't return soon, several patience could die.

The curator brings over a perpetual motion machine and though the doctors initially want nothing to do with his nonsense, a surgeon lets him do it, as he is the same man who the curator helped earlier with his car trouble.


The curator is a hero. But one panel later and things change: it turns out the fake gold coin that the curator produced earlier was real and a man who took it home figured it out and decided to steal it for all that money. The curator is upset, fearing that these men could single-handedly ruin the economy with gold. I know that is supposed to be possible but does anyone know how much gold you'd need to make to do that? I'm just wondering if it something a couple of thugs with one machine could accomplish this. I'm not saying the curator is wrong, I just sincerely don't know the math on this.

But the curator has a plan...

One that probably should have ended in his car mangled death. But instead, it ends with the baddies being arrested and the curator discovering that all of the inventions have returned to normal because the story is over. The story ends with the curator waxing how the brief working of the inventions is like some kind of posthumous reward for the inventors tireless but, until just then, fruitless work.

This was a cute story, kind of. Like one of the lamer Twilight Zones. Its a cute idea and I like the idea that it is about the well-intentioned failures. But it's not particularly strong. Bernard Bailey isn't bad. Also worth noting that the constant lack of credits in this era are pretty damning about how creators were treated. It's info that is lost to time (though I suspect in a lot of cases it was editor penned stories, since a lot of them were rip-offs of other stories).

Next time: Hey, there is a Mark Merlin story in here. I completely forgot.

Until next time...

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  #69  
Old 10-23-2018, 07:40 AM
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I get that this comic was written before Nintendo’s were invented, but would anyone really go to a museum full of things that do not function for fun?
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  #70  
Old 10-23-2018, 10:06 AM
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I'm going to be a bit kinder and say that I get the appeal of a museum of half-baked inventions with good intentions. What I don't get is the demonstration of something that isn't even going to work. That energy pill wasn't even supposed to fail spectacularly. It's one thing if it's the "oh, you thought it worked for a second. Wasn't that fun? That moment of joy is what the original creator sought out." but you could have put a tic tac in water and gotten the same dramatic effect.

BTW, not EXACTLY the same thing, but pretty close...

https://failuremuseum.com/
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  #71  
Old 10-23-2018, 03:56 PM
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My understanding is that Aragones' English was pretty shaky into the 1970s. Orlando probably just wrote out the final copy a'la Stan the Man
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  #72  
Old 10-23-2018, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ghosttaster View Post
My understanding is that Aragones' English was pretty shaky into the 1970s. Orlando probably just wrote out the final copy a'la Stan the Man
I thought that might be the case, but I didn't want to make any assumptions.
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  #73  
Old 10-26-2018, 11:29 AM
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House of Secrets #43

Written by Jack Miller Drawn by Carmine Infantino (FULL CREDITS!)


So... I don't know much about Mark Merlin (apart that his awesome name belies his bland exterior) but apparently the two covers he's in involve monsters who want to take him to court. It's sort of like how weird it is that in every Scooby-Doo episode, everyone has the same "dress as a monster" plan (which is nuts, right? No one in the show ever commented on it, despite that being the ONLY plan people had).

Also, how great would it be if every supernatural legal battle was a small claims case.

"You broke our sacred stone! You owe us $700!"
"Never!"

In my scenario, Mark Merlin is always totally responsible but also really cheap.

I also wonder if that was the lesser known cover gimmicks. I mean, back in the day, DC threw gorillas at everything because they were convinced readers were *really* into gorillas. Maybe there was a brief period where they felt "You know what kids want to see? Strange creatures prosecuting humans."

I mean, I'm sold.

So, yeah, let's get into Mark Merlin's adventure "The Court of Creatures".


Mark seems like he's trying too hard to act "cool".

But it's a good set up for some monster adventures! Our story begins in a small principality of Cottswald...


Mark and his sidekick Elsa meet with the awesomely named Governor Tarsus, who warns them that Cottswald is currently besieged by the Cottswald creatures. Sure enough, they appear and we see a gang of winged furry monsters flying about.

It seems that centuries ago, the nation was attacked by invading vikings. To defend themselves, the court wizard summon a bunch of monsters to beat them up.


I like how they just become monster missiles, smashing themselves headfirst into these things. Hey, whatever works for you monsters. Anyway, the wizard de-summons them with a branch, stating they would return to defend the kingdom should they be needed again.

Mark asks why the monsters would show up and the professor explains that Merlin entered a sacred shrine, summoning to monsters to oust outsiders once more. Mark thinks it's hokum but Elsa points two of them out, seemingly passing freely through some walls into a nearby building.

Mark decides to try to hunt for that branch in the hopes that it could de-summon them and he and Elsa start moving through the streets to get to the museum. But when they try to get through a narrow alley.


As monsters swoop at them, Mark tries to shoot them, because apparently this tiny nation is open carry.


The bullets don't work! They run to what they think is safety but what turns out to be a... COURT OF CREATURES!




Man, that was a fast trial. Like, two panels, basically. Basically they tell them to get lost and they won't be killed. But Mark Merlin says "Nuts to that." (not literally, but essentially) and he and Elsa make a quick get away. The monsters are all like "Get them." as is there monsterly way and the two are chased upstairs. But this is all part of Mark's plan, as he finds some "costume feathers" (... I think he means wings, because that's what he's looking at) and begins his escape to reveal the truth of the monsters by escaping to a vomiting lion (which I assume is a statue. It's hard to tell in black and white. If not, that lion's been sick since panel one).




Mark reveals the entire countries been Scooby-Dooed (WHOA, FULL CIRCLE!) and the whole thing was done with special effect and hanging from wires despite the fact that in NO OTHER PANELS THAN THE LAST COUPLE are they raising their arms as if hanging from something and there's no talk of harnesses or anything. Seriously, I feel like Carmine was drawing the comic as he read the script and then got to the part where they revealed the wires and he was like "I'm a comic artist in the 50's. I've got to pencil 10 more comics this week and I got no time to redraw those pages." Frankly, I don't blame him.

Also, this is the second "horror" comic this month where the monster is a dude in a costume using pulleys (or in the case of this Mark Merlin adventure, "dudes") who get shot at and the reasons bullets won't work is because fuck you. Seriously, last time, the explanation was "you missed". This time, they don't even bother. Nothing. I would love for them to pan back to the alley and there's a corpse in a flying gorilla suit.

Anyway, the plan was keeping Governor Tarsus in power, which I didn't even know was on the table. Like, Tarsus appeared for three panels and all we know about him are his name and his job and some exposition about the creatures. I always hate mysteries that don't tell give us any explanation until after the fact. You are supposed to give clues, so we can feel like we can try to solve the mystery too. There's no cleverness into giving no indication of anything and also cheating with the whole flying thing. Ugh.

Anyway, Merlin enjoys the irony now that the bad guys are on trial... the very thing they did to them (I mean, I assume. He doesn't actually say or think anything)!


And that's it for my take on Halloween comics for this year. Whew, I was able to get through quite a few, actually. I'm proud of myself. And some of these were better than I thought they would be. But not Mark Merlin. Mark Merlin was not good.

Next time: Just in time for the upcoming American elections... What if Superman was President?!

Until next time...

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  #74  
Old 11-30-2018, 11:18 AM
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Superman #122

Written by Otto Binder Drawn by Al Plastino


Back to this one issue of Superman again, this time tackling the second story of three. And no, it isn't the cover story. This one is a slight bit of fun. First of all, there isn't a tangled web of lies and emotional manipulation. This is extremely rare for a Silver Age Superman story. Octo believes these only exist in myth and legend.

But it is real. Of course, the argument could be made it's a dream sequence and aren't dreams just lies we tell ourselves when we are unconscious? But this is a dream story. See, back in the day there were four kinds of stories in the DC Universe:

1. Dream: The story is just someone dreaming because someone wanted to do a story that goes against continuity for the sake of seeming like a big change is happening.

2. Hoax: Sort of the same but it is in continuity and is all predicated on characters lying to each other and the publisher lying to the audience.

3. Imaginary Story: In the words of Alan Moore "Aren't they all?" These usually come out and say "this is a fun out-of-continuity lark". They feel much less like a rip-off than a hoax.

4. None of the Above: At a certain point, people got sick of stuff technically happening in their comics. So much so, that if the comic wasn't part of the above, they would use it as a selling point.


I feel like if DC Comics revealed that Superman was real, that would be a Hell of a marketing campaign.

But yeah, DC had to resort to this when too many eye-catching covers were Lois Lane blows up Krypton or Superman marries Lex Luthor and then are revealed to "not count". Even Marvel got in on the action.


And for the record, it was "for real." Until 2 years later it was revealed to be an impostor shapeshifter named Changling, an X-Men enemy-turned-ally who was impersonating him while he secretly prepares for an alien invasion.

So yeah, you can see why after years of bombastic covers breaking promises in their very issues, that doesn't seem so bad.

But that doesn't mean they can't be fun ways to explore characters in different lights. Or at least joyfully dumb ways.


Man, Superman's would be assassin is having a great time! You got to love what you do, I guess.

But yes, we have a Superman as president story. This is just the writers having some "let's imagine" style fun.

The story begins with Perry White telling his staff to write stories about famous US Presidents for Presidents day. Because apparently it's WAY too slow a day at the Daily Planet, he's telling his two top reporters, Lois Lane and Clark Kent, to run it. Perry even let's Jimmy chose whatever president he wants to write about because he clearly doesn't care and will clearly just throw it in the garbage in front of Jimmy while he weeps.

Anyway, Jimmy decides that instead of write about an existing president, he wants to write about what his hero, Superman, would be like as President. And instead of us getting to read Jimmy's article, he suffers from serious head trauma.


Wow, Superman has picked a vice president who, in the eyes of Jimmy and Lois, is running away at a moments notice and whose main feature is being some reporter. But even though Jimmy is in probably his late teens, he seems to have a real child's view of everything. This smacks of "My daddy would make a good president!"

President Superman then makes Jimmy his press secretary, despite Clark's misgivings. As Jimmy drives up to the White House in his official car (as shown by the personalized plate that says "official car"), he wonders "I wonder if they miss me at the Daily Planet." Move on with your new dream life, Olsen. You don't want to know the truth.

There, he sees Superman already fast at work, getting vague shit done!


Then Superman decides to go for a stroll, only to be attacked by assassins.


So... does no one know who this guy is. He was probably the most famous person in the world BEFORE he ran for and became elected president. Now he's doubly famous. And what is he famous for? Being, in so many ways, the most powerful man on Earth and pretty much invincible. How have NONE of these people gotten the message? Even in Jimmy Olsen's imagination? ESPECIALLY in Jimmy Olsen's imagination where EVERYTHING revolves around Superman.

However, it turns out there's a tragic side effect to his invulnerability: Clark Kent will never become president! Which is weird. That's a weird reason to not be vice president. I mean, you, in theory, have the ear of the president and even though the vice presidency doesn't wield a lot of technical power, that position comes with a lot of opportunity to make change. But dream Kent is like "wait, I was under the impression that I'd win the president jackpot once someone offed Superman. I'm out." (Wait, did Kent hire those assassins?)

The secret service is also looking to retire, feeling themselves redundant (do none of you have dream families? I'm sure they would love you to cash a chest without actually having to worry about jumping in front of a building). But Jimmy Olsen saves the day by telling them "Kryptonite can hurt Superman" and dedicate themselves to frisking people for kryptonite.

Again, Jimmy has a very childish vision of how these jobs work and why people take them. And we get to what I think is a real sign of that when a new crisis emerges... a lot of people want to talk to Superman, because he's so great. It's time for some Super Gladhanding!


Which makes me realize that Superman... doesn't really seem to have much in the way of policies, does he? Keep in mind, in his first appearances, Superman was beating up lobbyists and war profiteers. Here, Superman's big role as President seems to be as a powerful engine for business as usual. I mean this Superman doesn't seem like a great president, just very efficient at letting America happen. He's really not going out of his way to help people, even in innocuous, apolitical ways. Jimmy still sees the president as "boss of the country" (which is disturbingly prescient) like a kid would and has no real vision for "how" Superman would help outside of being Superman and nepotism.

To continue this trend, Superman throws the first ball of a baseball game, which you don't have to be president to do. He's probably done it already in the comics and this chunk of comic might just be a reprint.



The ball lands at the feet of a Japanese stereotype that I won't subject you to and Jimmy claims Superman helped foreign relations. Ironically, the comic did just the opposite.

Next Superman actually does something to help by fixing the deficit. With America in the hole $387,000,000, Superman fixes it the only way he knows how: sunken pirate treasure!


How much treasure was in that one box? Enough to balance the ENTIRE NATIONAL BUDGET according to a newspaper. Superman then christens a ship, the U.S.S. Superman, and pushes it out of some mud (seems like this maiden voyage was poorly planned). Then Superman starts appearing on money cause he's SOOOO great.


Jimmy is finally roused by Clark Kent and when he gathers his senses, he's psyched to write up his President Superman fanfic. But Clark tells Jimmy that it is simply an impossibility.


SUPERMAN! HEROICALLY POSITING THE POSSIBILITY OF COMMITTING ELECTORAL FRAUD!

OK, it was dumb as all get out but casual racism aside, it's a cute story with a cute ending. I just wish there were some better stuff for President Superman to do. But it is telling how milquetoast these Superman adventures were that Superman is our first superhero and alien president and a god-like being who could change the world and the writers have him stick to paperwork and public relations. He's somehow a president who has boring policies that he enacts in powerful ways.

Next time: I skip ahead in my Wonder Woman coverage to celebrate a Wonder Woman Christmas!

Until next time...

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  #75  
Old 12-01-2018, 03:09 PM
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My favorite "not a hoax!" cover is probably this one:



Because if I'm to believe that there is no kind of cop-out, this must be an issue than ends with Superman popping Batman's goddamn head off like a champagne cork. And the next issue would be Batman's funeral.
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  #76  
Old 12-01-2018, 07:38 PM
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It's just shy of "NO! WAIT! COME BACK!"
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  #77  
Old 12-02-2018, 04:12 PM
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Make fun all you want, but failing to give the entire American population a high-five is what caused the National Malaise that plagued Jimmy Carter.
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  #78  
Old 12-24-2018, 08:28 PM
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Sensation Comics #14

Written by Charles Moulton Drawn by Harry G. Peter


Merry Christmas everybody! In honor of the season, I'm skipping ahead in my Wonder Woman reading to bring you a holiday treat. Action! Excitement! Some bondage! I hope you enjoy it!


This yuletide adventure is brought to us by a tree, who is telling his side of the story (and secret member of the Parliament of Trees, perhaps?). Strangely, I've seen this before.



But that didn't have a superhero in it, so check and mate Wonder Woman. We start with Steve Trevor and Diana Prince watching a town called Greenville, right next to the Canadian border, where Nazi prisoners are apparently being smuggled from the neighboring Canadian town of Mill Junction into the U.S. As Steve questions how it is being done, Diana makes a suggestion but Steve ain't listenin' to what Diana has to say because, let's face it, Steve is kind of a jerk to non-Wonder Women. If only he knew that Diana Prince is IN FACT, Wonder Woman!

Anyway, at least Steve trusts Diana enough to get her to investigate Mill Junction, though she still suspects the truth lie with a seemingly random tree. After Steve leaves, Diana changes into Wonder Woman and notes that the tree wants to give her a hug.


She also finds something strange in a hollow of the tree: a coded message. After cracking the code, which directs her to a cave. Wonder Woman then skis off (oh yeah, turns out she has skis) and jets off to investigate her lead.

Meanwhile, a couple of lost children wander onto the site of Fir Balsam and rest in her hollow (no comment) in an effort to avoid freezing. the older brother even starts pinching her sisters cheeks which... is that actually useful or is this just an old-timey thing that never worked?


Fir Balsam, seeing the kids in trouble, knocks Diana's civvies (which she had hidden in the tree for safekeeping) out so that the kids can use them to keep themselves warm. It is then the kids reminsice about why they were out there in the first place. Seems that a year ago, the kids were living on a farm with their folks, Nan (name unknown) and Jeb Carter. Recently, a new assistant is hired with a really thick German accent who tries to get really handsy with Nan. That's when Jeb shows up and starts beating the crap out of him.

Then, thinking his wife is unfaithful and kicks her out. And I understand getting your heart broken but he adds a Grinchy level of dickishness by destroying the family Christmas tree (over his knee, no less) because Mommy decorated it. Then basically refuses to let the kids even mention their own mother's name under threat of violence because he is a huge asshole who doesn't even stop to question for a second "Hey, maybe my wife didn't reciprocate the German's profession of love."


The kids decide to sneak out to see Nan (and hopefully live with her forever) and give her gifts.


By the way, we never get a reveal that this kid was sold a fake diamond. These are not Chekov's gifts. It never comes up again. So apparently, this kid was able to get a diamond ring for 10 cents. Also, even in the early 40's, it seems like if you have been saving up for a couple of seasons that you can earn, like, a little more. That's less then a cent a week. Even back then you can probably find a little more in gutters and stuff.

Also, I don't care how fancy that handkerchief is, Little Girl has to feel a little discouraged by this turn in events. I would be like "Um... maybe we can put them together and we can say they are both from us." Smooth, right?

Anyway, the kids are discovered by Nazi's with outrageous accents looking for their secret message. Finding the kids they capture them and try to get the girl to bring them some food from her house. The girl does so but is caught by Dad, who gives what I assume must be a daily threat of violence.


Fuck this guy. Anyway, the Nazi shows up and takes Jeb hostage, too. He then says he is going to kill them and throw them in a ravine which is half a truly evil act (meanwhile, I hope this happens to shitty woodsman Bluto). Anyway, Wonder Woman skis into the rescue but can't stop him from throwing the two off a mountain by kicking Jeb in the butt (yay!) and throwing a pistol at the little girl (boo). Wonder Woman then rescues them with a daring ski plunge.


Meanwhile, it turns out that the creep farmhand from earlier in the story has tricked Nan into the mountains so the Nazi jerk can kidnap her. Turns out they are also within eyeshot of Wonder Woman and co. and Jeb sees them together and assumes the worse and threatens to kill them both, because he is awful.


And stupid because he tries to jump a ravine to do it. Luckily for him, Wonder Woman is feeling charitable and saves his sorry ass from himself. Wonder Woman is able to get the two over the ravine but not before the Nazi gets away with Nan. Wonder Woman needs a new plan to find the boy who is still with the Nazi escapees and it involves bondage, obviously.


"TIGHTER JEB! LET ME FEEL THE ROPE BURN OR YOUR SON IS LOST FOREVER!"

Anyway, Jeb and little girl head off in order to find Nan while Wonder Woman's plan of being used as a human table and being paraded around the villains is REALLY successful.


Soon, a Nazi arrives with news that Steve Trevor and "those fighting girls" (this hasn't come up yet but Wonder Woman has a fighting ladies entourage. Can't wait to introduce you to Etta Candy) is closing in on them. The Nazis decide to head out and in order to keep their prisoners in place, uses Wonder Woman to bar the door where the prisoners are kept. Soon after they leave, there's some banging on the other end and, once again, Charles Moultan makes it kinky.


Wonder Woman breaks free from her bonds and frees Teddy and Nan from captivity. Wonder Woman and then Teddy push a boulder blocking the cave and escape. Well, let's face it, Wonder Woman did the work and made the little boy feel better about himself. It's just then the story remembers that this is supposed to be from the point of view of a tree (how was she privy to Wonder Woman's action in the cave? Did she relate it to the tree later, as people stared on?) because a blast released the tree from it's Earthly bonds.


Them Nazi's blew up the mountain in order to kill Steve and the girls in an avalanche. But Wonder Woman grabs Fir Balsam and uses her to block the deluge of snow and Earth. Then the girls stick it to the Nazis while on skis.


That Nazi's comment is sexist, but I also kind of like the "extensions" comment. No reason you can't fight fascism with long nails. Out tale ends with Jeb realizing he was wrong and Nan forgiving him (why?) while Wonder Woman comes in as Santa for funsies. And best of all, the now dying Fir Balsam spends her final days as a Christmas tree.


Wondy might also tell the tree "Now you won't tell anyone my secret!" But that's just conjecture on my part. The end.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

Next time: Let's ring in the new year with more Wonder Woman! Wonder Woman's first supervillain! And Etta Candy! Really, this is all about Etta Candy!

Until next time...

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  #79  
Old 12-25-2018, 07:50 AM
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That tree takes a lot more credit for this adventure than it really has any rights to.

Also, Wonder Woman doesn't seem interested in the fact that a tree wanted to hug her, but she also leads an interesting life.
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  #80  
Old 01-11-2019, 11:00 AM
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Sensation Comics #2

Written by Charles Moulton Drawn by Harry G. Peter


Hey, we are doing yet another Wonder Woman. This time we are going to introduce two big characters, one a recurring Wonder Woman villain that she still faces from time to time and another being the other major supporting character of the Golden Age era. So let's begin the next Wonder Woman adventure as she faces... "Dr. Poison"


Our story begins with Steve Trevor complaining to Diana Prince about being carted around after the injuries he sustained in the previous issue. Trevor is anxious to get back out into the field, as he suspects that some evil plot is underway. Sure enough, Trevor is kidnapped by Nazi spies disguised as army brass. Diana suspects something is wrong and both decide to get caught in order to figure out what is really going on.


Trevor recognizes his captor rather quickly: Doctor Poison, the Chief of the Nazi's Poison Division. Which is apparently a thing. I mean, if you have a guy named Doctor Poison on hand, then you make a poison division. Also, Doctor Poison looks fucking out there and I love it.


It looks like he's put in false teeth in a mouth full of healthy teeth. It's pretty wild. And the dude's face is only a weird toothy grimace, which is a striking look, but also goofy but also kind of great. Like did he have a poison accident that left his face paralyzed or something? Is it purely an aesthetic choice by Harry Peter? We'll sort of get an answer by the issue's end, but let's keep going.

Dr. Poison plans on giving Trevor a truth serum and Diana nearly knocks out her captors trying to get Poison not to use it, as it is dangerous. But Poison isn't taking "don't inject my friend with dangerous drugs" for an answer.


Like I said, Poison kind of has a weird look but it does look genuinely unsettling to see him look up like that while threatening to slit a throat. So Diana is forced to be the assistant, a situation she uses to her and Steve's advantage by switching out the truth serum for some a saline solution. She tells Steve and he begins giving some fake info.

After Poison thinks he's got all the info he needs, he imprisons Steve and Diana and Diana is told if she tries to escape, Steve will be shot. So the first thing she does is escape and turn into Wonder Woman... and not rescue treasure. Risky move, Diana.


I do like that she didn't even punch the door, she just ran the fuck through it. Hardcore. Anyway, to be fair, she is planning to get Steve later but, again, if they find out she left, Trevor will be shot. AND she busted down the door. Here's hoping the base has lax security. Anyway, Wonder Woman escapes via car and two guards have very different approaches to this.


OK, neither are the craziest reactions but I feel like if your friend starts shooting at someone just outside of your secret base, you better start following suit. Also, yeah, at this point Wonder Woman is known to the public more as a novelty act, but she was clearly just driving out of your base. And if your friend starts shooting at her, well, the cat's at least half out of the bad and you need to silence her. I mean, I don't want these guys to win, but is seems like "Ah, don't worry about it." seems unwise in this scenario.

Also, as publicity stunts go, escaping from a secret Nazi stronghold is pretty great.

Meanwhile, Doctor Poison reveals he has created a strange new poison. It is also the goofiest poison ever created: Reverso, the poison that makes you do the opposite of whatever you are told. Poison is going to unleash his creation into the water supply of an army base and watch the confusion.

Sure enough, it works very well and the water "tastes better than beer." (This isn't much of a sale for me, as I've never liked the taste. I'm a teetotaler.) Then the soldiers soon begin doing the opposite of all of their orders and even slight suggestions and requests from peers. Some guy asks to borrow a match and the other guy says he wouldn't give him a match for a hundred bucks. One guy tries to pay back another $5 and the man runs in fear from the money. A superior tells a friend to "keep his feet on the ground" and he does a handstand.

And all this time, I think "this is fun and all, but maybe make a murder poison."

Anyway, the Reverso soon leads to confusion among the troops.


It doesn't take too long for the top brass too figure out that something has made the men go opposite day and are forced to put them in internment camps because American writers were ignorant of the depth of America's sins around this time and didn't realize that it was a term that would be synonymous with an awful act of cruelty. And playfully so. (Oh, and Canada did that shit too. Just a reminder, we have our share of awful sins, too).

Whew, shit got real while reading this comic about soldiers getting wacky after drinking goofy water.

Anyway, we move back to Poison, who is mocking Trevor with a newspaper covering the story. Wait, has NO ONE checked on Diana yet? Even if this is a late edition paper on the same day, seems like someone should have taken a quick peak in the hours between.

Anyway, it is about this time that someone does figure it out.


Looks like killing Trevor was an empty threat, mostly because Poison seems to want someone to sneer at. He also wants a hostage since Poison thinks Diana will come back with reinforcements.

Which is exactly what Wonder Woman has in mind, but not in the way they expect. Diana, realizing that an army rescue will endanger Steve's life, needs help from some civilians and decides to visit an old friend of the original Diana's, named Etta Candy.


As you have guess, Etta Candy's thing is that she is fat and eats candy all the time, making her a sassier version of me. She's great. Sure, she was basically created as a one joke character but she has basically done a 180 and is kind of more woke than Wonder Woman. Like in this moment (which will appear in an upcoming issue)


Damn, Etta just "fishes and bicycles"ed Wonder Woman! I mean, Etta, even in the Golden Age, was completely happy with who she was and how she looked, doesn't give a shit when people talk about her, is constantly fighting alongside Wonder Woman punching baddies in the face and leading a whole team of women to aid the fight against evil. Etta Candy is great.

Also she says "Woo! Woo!" All the time. It's her thing.

She even showed up in a still lovable but less flamboyant form in the Wonder Woman movie.

Anyway, at the college, Wonder Woman and Etta recruit a 100-strong all-woman rescue team to save Trevor and stop Dr. Poison.

Wonder Woman has the girl's enter the forest near Poison's camp and where marching band uniforms and hide some manacles on their person. Wonder Woman warns the women the danger of the mission but they don't care because they want to fight the good fight!


See, as problematic as some of these stories can be (one of my favourite Diana moments is extremely marred by racist caricature), it still makes my heart swell to see Wonder Woman lead normal women into danger to save the world without guns or killing weapons. They are going to stop the bad guys with gumption and wit and... the power of kink. Trust me, they mostly downplay it in this one but soon it's going to be overflowing with the healing power of kink.

Anyway, Etta says they should turn back, because they are out of candy. Oh, Etta, you're incorrigadorable.

Anyway, the gang approaches the base as a man-hungry marching band looking to party and the Nazi's just can't resist.


Wonder Woman manages to find Steve while the guards are distracted and the girls turn the tables on the "Nazi Party".


Man, I know it's obvious to say "don't fuck with Wonder Woman" but especially don't do that if you treasure your wrist, because that's what she seems to go for. Ouch.

Anyway, Wonder Woman then reveals Dr. Poison's secret!


Man, Diana, why are you being meat hook normative? Also, regarding Dr. Poison's secret: Why? And who? These questions are never answered as she is quickly defeated and then given to Etta for spankings!


And keep in mind, this is the "kink lite" version of the Golden Age Wonder Woman. The issue ends with Diana staring into the middle distant while talking to Trevor, back in a hospital bed (and FAR from Diana's eye level) and saying "I don't think Wonder Woman is that pretty". It would be your basic secret identity wink moment but Diana staring in the area above the person she is talking to makes her... scary to me.

Anyway that's it. Dr. Poison would appear a couple more times in the Golden Age and more or less disappear until the post-Crisis era but she's still one of Wonder Woman's most dangerous foes (and like Etta, she appears in the movie).

But let's face it, this is all about Etta. She's going to be a major part of the series from here on in during the Golden Age so enjoy!

Next time: Two people dress as snakes and beat people up with big rubber snakes. Beware... Black Cobra.

Until next time...

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  #81  
Old 01-11-2019, 11:28 AM
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Wonder Woman is definitely a cut above most Golden Age comic books in terms of art and storytelling.

And also in terms of Bonkers, but that’s far less obvious in this one
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  #82  
Old 01-18-2019, 06:41 AM
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Captain Flight Comics #11

Drawn by Leo Morey A writer, if any, is unknown.


We return to Super Weird Heroes, a comic book that is just delightful. This time, we focus on the adventures of that most dynamic of duos Black Cobra and Cobra Kid.


OK, let's begin with this first page. "Kill-riddle" is a new compound word I will try to use as often as possible from now on, replacing my previous favourite Murdernigma and my second favourite homicide-quandary!

I also need to include the entire phrase "smash heads on a kill-riddle" whenever me and JBear are trying to decide what to put on JBear's pizza (if you are thinking "can't he decide for himself", you've never seen that guy paralyzed in the face of topping choices.)

I did have to look up Yataghan. It's a kind of sword used in Muslim countries. So I'm learning things.

And you fucking spoiled the ENTIRE MYSTERY BY TELLING US THAT THE SOLUTION IS A TEA CADDY! You think I'm joking, but nope, the solution is a tea caddy and it's one of the big reveals and the author just gave it away because who even cares, right?

Our adventure begins with the district attorney investigating a crime which... I sincerely don't know what I district attorney does but do they actually investigate crime scenes? Looking up, it seems like sometimes, sort of but generally no. That said, I can't imagine the DA investigates what he is called in for today... MUMMY VANDALISM! Someone is vandalizing mummies in a museum.

The DA IMMEDIATELY turns towards his sons to brow beat them for not immediately being able to help solve the crime. Seriously, these guys haven't even opened their mouth yet and the DA says "If you two were any sort of sons you'd be able to help me in a baffling spot like this." OK, no comma aside, you are immediately an awful dad. You've JUST ARRIVED and are immediately shit talking your sons due to your impotent rage about not being able to immediately solve the mystery. As far as we know, zero time has elapsed. "I'm sure the Black Cobra would wade right in." says the DA, who hates his children for not being superheroes (except obviously they are).

Also, I didn't think to scan it, but the younger son looks REALLY crestfallen. This is a bummer.

Meanwhile...


Again? How often does this happen, character we've just met? Like, if this happened once already today, we didn't see it, so it's a very odd moment for a collection of characters we haven't met until now (SPLASH PAGES DON'T COUNT).

Back with the Great Santini, "Bafflement Reigns" according to the caption. Man, this author likes the word "baffle". Anyway, the curator says he hasn't seen needless mummy vandalism like this in 20 years. That comment never leads to anything but I am curious about the first case of mummy mutilations. Anyway, the villains show up and hold the group at gunpoint.


Shit, even the criminals are feeling bad for these kids. The masked crooks who bonked someone over the head and desecrated ancient corpses of historical importance are way more likable than this asshole. And, hey, I don't see you doing shit, fuckface. God, Black Cobra's dad is the goddamned worst.

The crooks check the sarcophagus and find a message that simply reads "reptiles", leaving the crooks confused and frustrated. Mr. D.A. tries to fight the crooks when whining at his sons like a whiny baby doesn't work. He soon gets pistol whipped for his trouble and makes a weird sound! Hooray!


I don't know how "Awruk" would sound in the literal sense but to me, it sounds like satisfaction. Black Cobra, stifling his laughter like a true hero, pretends he's upset about watching his shitheel dad maybe getting brain damage.

Anyway, Black Cobra and Cobra Kid wander off to change into their secret identities: themselves (the comic doesn't give anyone real names. OK, from context, their last name is "Hornsby" but otherwise the comic gives us nothing. But it doesn't look like they are in a hurry. Anyway, they arrive in front of the curator to help solve the crime in big snake costumes.

Black Cobra notes that one mummy was a mother to another ("the mummy's mummy" quips Cobra Kid, who may have recently been introduced to the concept of humour) but that might have just been introduced for a weak joke. They decide instead to follow up on the card that simply said "reptiles" and decide to check out the museum's reptile room. Sure enough, they run afoul the villains.


"Ah, fun and games in the offing." Black Cobra might be fighting crime mid-stroke. This is a VERY weird line. If it was simply "oh, boy, we are about to fight", I kind of get it, but it is such a weird reaction to what Cobra Kid said.

Is this a regular thing with these two?
"Wow, you solved the clue, Black Cobra."
"Today seems like a mighty fine day for a picnic."
"Sure is, Blac-- waitwut?"

Also, I love the idea of kid sidekicks having to say "Don't forget about me" to criminals. It's... sad. It makes you look needy, Cobra Kid. Let your butt-kicking speak for yourself, this "look at me!" shtick is worrying.

Anyway, the fight begins and quickly gets weird.


I... what? First of all, my mid-stroke theory might be accurate at this point. It's like a The Tick quote by someone who half-understands how language works.

That said, I will also try to include this in my daily conversation.

As for the snake... Black Cobra and Cobra Kid are just beating people up with purple snakes. It is unclear where they came from. I tried to do some research and I'm not 100 per cent sure if they picked up some snakes from the reptile room or if they fight crimes with big snakes. I mean, they look too large to carry on their person, so I guess it is the former but this comic is also a load of nonsense, so maybe the latter. Anyway, the two heroes start beating the villains with snakes until they run away.

Black Cobra and Cobra Kid find cards with a bunch of snake names on them and a yataghan sword. Our heroes are BAFFLED! Except for Cobra Kid...


They decide that the first letter of each word spells out CADD with the sword representing a missing Y because whoever made this stupid code couldn't think of a snake that begins with Y. It really isn't a good code. Like, I wouldn't feel proud of myself for solving that. I'd be like "Huh. Really? Whatever."

While musing about what it means and making a golf joke, a police officer comes in with horrible news.


Truly "not again." "Never Again."

RIP guy who apparently has had a past experience with on the job head trauma.

Also, wow, this adventure got a bit darker than I expected. Though I appreciate with so many movies deciding that all cracks to the head do is knock people out, Black Cobra gets REAL about it.

Black Cobra decides the clue might allude to tea caddies and decide to check them out. The officer nearby isn't sure about letting a man and a boy in snake costumes get involved in an ongoing investigation, to which the D.A. says "Let them alone! They are the Black Cobra and the Cobra Kid!" This is not just a reverse-J Jonah Jameson scenario but I love that it goes beyond that and this guy deifies the two heroes and just DETESTS his own children for not being his favourite superheroes. Mr. D.A. is the worst!

The serpentine set then finds a tea caddy filled with uncut gems. That's when a criminal gets the jump on them and holds them at gun point. Then the curator arrives to reveal his part in this plan.


"As a curator, you should have known where all the museums tea caddies were at all times." is probably Black Cobra's thinking. Man, things are looking bad for our heroes. Time for them to use their wits and turn the tables on---


Oh.

That's it? The climax ends with our superheroes rescued by the cops? No pitched battle or clever reveal? That was disappointing. Like... this is it. This is the second to last panel in the comic. I mean, I don't need my superheroes even to win every battle. There's drama in tragedy. Or even finding out that another hero, a more realistic one, was a step ahead of the more dynamic one. But this feels more like "Oh, we're out of panels! See you next month where we right a story until we run out of room."

Well, what do they do in the last panel?


"We're into this! Don't kink shame dad!"

Seriously, what is this? This is an utterly pointless and weird excuse. Maybe the D.A. loves Black Cobra and Cobra Kid because he assumes they are constantly bullying them and shoving them into closets. "Haha, that'll show my kids. Fucking nerds."

Also... how did they tie themselves up? That seems like it was a tight job.

But also also... They couldn't have said "oh, let's just go somewhere and say 'oh, we were just hiding in ______'". This is a really weird capper to a very dumb superhero comic.

The book "Super Weird Heroes" says that the characters had no powers but had bullet proof costumes and could climb up walls with suction cups. You know, like a snake does."

Also, the characters are supposed to be "Steve and Bob Drake" and the writers constantly just used different names for the characters... sometimes in the SAME STORY! Also, he's an FBI agent (though that is also inconsistent) so... JEEZ, BACK OFF, DAD!

Next time: The Flash has a bad Cold!

Until next time...

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  #83  
Old 01-20-2019, 05:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Unusual View Post
Man, this author likes the word "baffle".
It's a good word, Johnny.
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  #84  
Old 01-20-2019, 06:04 AM
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Look, no one is debating this. It's fun to say and fun to do. But kill-riddle is right there and it's only been used once!
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  #85  
Old 01-20-2019, 08:00 AM
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I’m willing to accept that one of the Brothers is younger than the other, but calling him “Kid Cobra” just sounds kind of reductive. There’s more than one kind of snake!

That being said, I’m down with a guy that bad at quips who beats criminals unconscious by using a snake like a bull-whip.
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  #86  
Old 01-20-2019, 12:15 PM
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I’m willing to accept that one of the Brothers is younger than the other, but calling him “Kid Cobra” just sounds kind of reductive. There’s more than one kind of snake!
Please, please, he's the Cobra Kid. DIDN'T HE JUST TELL YOU NOT TO FORGET HIM!?!
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  #87  
Old 01-23-2019, 10:51 AM
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Showcase #8

Written by John Broome, Drawn by Carmine Infantino


Back in a Flash! Yep, it's another classic Flash adventure, this time facing probably his most famous foe, Captain Cold. I don't read a lot of Flash or watched the Flash show (yet) but via cultural osmosis, I always got the feeling that despite being the Flash's primary enemy (or co-primary enemy), he's never been the "opposite number" type who threatens to ruin the Flash's world with every appearance like a lot of arch-enemies like the Green Goblin, Lex Luthor or the Joker.

Now, the Flash DOES have a villain like that, the Reverse-Flash, who is basically evil Flash from the future. But in my mind, Cold is THE Flash villain.

And in that respect... he's not THAT evil, as big villains go. He's certainly not above murdering people but he's a practical dude. I always got the impression that he learned not to antagonize superheroes TOO MUCH and though he has had some revenge missions, he doesn't really go kill crazy on heroes. Of course, someone who reads the Flash more than I can correct me/clarify if I be wrong.

Anyway, this is his first appearance, with origin and everything. So let's introduce you to...


Before we get into the story itself... there's something I like aesthetically about this page. The obvious choice would be to make the frozen word "coldest" in white and blue but the use of black and white is more ominous and works well with the shadowy look to Cold. That said, the Flash himself doesn't look particularly impressive in his own splash page.

Anyway, our story begins with our new villain sauntering down the street.


That takes some balls. He's not emerging from the shadows when his plan goes into effect, he just walks around in a crazy parka in the dead of Summer right up to the building he's going to attack. BTW, a snow-themed villain in a parka is obvious, but I do like the touch of giving him Inuit sunglasses to complete the look.


Stylish.

Anyway, Cold walks into the bank and everything inside is completely frozen, including the people who are stuck in the positions they were in when frozen. Given no time to react, they are simply stuck in the middle of going about their day, like a chilled diorama. Cold muses that he'll be gone by the time everyone has thawed (meaning he didn't just murder a bank full of people) and smashes a four inch steel save to get the sweet, sweet money within.


This is his first day and he's always neck deep in the wordplay. The Flash hear's the story on his police scanner and rushes down town to deal with the villain. Cold shoot Flash and is shocked to see it ineffective. The Flash has an explanation for that.


As explanation goes for shit the Flash can do, this one is actually pretty good. Better than "can shimmy his molecules through solid manner". Granted, isn't the point of the gun to slow down those molecules. Whatever, I'm not a physicist. Anyway, Captain Cold is still able to flummox the Flash and gets away with the loot.

As Flash considers what just occurred, we get a peak at Cold's origin, thanks to this transition of heads.


"Get your words offa my mouth!"

Anyway, Cold's origin starts with Len Snart, a criminal convinced that if it wasn't for the Flash, nothing could stop him (based on what?). Snart decides if he could be the one who figures out how to beat the Flash, he'd have it made. Reading up on the Flash, Snart does some breaking and entering research and learns that a cyclotron might be able to mess with the Flash's speed power.

So Captain Cold invents a gun (until this point, Snart has shown no sign of scientific expertise, so I've guessing it's just a toy gun that he put some decals on) to suck up radiation that he can shoot at the Flash. Then he visits his local cyclotron (so... lucky for him that the town had a cyclotron). But instead of making a radiation shooting Nintendo Light Gun, something else happens).


Thinking he's failed, he decides to take his gun and call it a night when he runs afoul a watchman. He tries to scare him with his gun and is shocked to find that it freezes him solid. Now Snart has a cold gun. He immediately designs his own uniform (good job), has a chilly secret lair (where it came from is completely uncommented on so I guess it just came with the magic gun) and, finally, his most important priority: what's his supervillain name?


The Human Icicle is not a good name. I mean, they can hurt you if they fall on you and they are big and sharp enough but it's not at impressive as the concept of cold. I do like Mr. Arctic, though. I mean, it's more of a mascot name, but it gets the point across.

Anyway, despite his recent victory, Cold feels he needs a better way to defeat the Flash since he can't use the gun directly on the Flash. After experimenting with his cold gun, he is shocked to see a polar bear in his the polar bear attacks and...


I'm pretty sure that's not how mirage's work. I also love that the writers are already done with Captain Cold's cold powers and are all "hey, let's give him illusion powers too." Basically, that's the rest of the issue: The Flash vs. Captain Cold's illusions. That said, Carmine Infantino makes a meal of it, using the bottom page for two pages in a role to show off strange illusionary scenarios.

First, Cold lures him into the park and begins by making the Flash see... STAIRS! LOOK OUT, THE FLASH!


A very strange solution to a very strange threat. I mean, centrifical force is basically the Flash's beat all move, but why stairs. Was someone like "Man, if I was good at running, stairs would be terrifying to me. I think." and didn't bother to think any further that it isn't so much scary as ambulating adjacent?

Anyway, next the Flash faces a spooky merry-go-round.


OK this one makes sense. Everyone is scared of monsters and would expect them to attack you. Next, Flash sees the merry-go-round replaced by deadly saw.


The Flash soon realizes that these must be mirages made by Cold, then creates his own illusions with super-speed.


Cold's new power is defeated and he's taken to jail. The issue ends with Barry Allen complaining about his cold hands because I think they couldn't come up with a solid capper to this one.

We will definitely see Cold again, but instead, let's move onto Superboy.

Next time: Superboy meets another Kryptonian teen hero... or does he?

Until next time...

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  #88  
Old 01-23-2019, 01:03 PM
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With god as my witness, I can’t help but read all of his dialogue in Wentworth Millers voice.
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  #89  
Old 02-05-2019, 10:37 AM
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Johnny Unusual Johnny Unusual is offline
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Superboy#86

Written by Jerry Seigel, Drawn by Al Plastino


It's Superboy! The adventures of Superman when he was a boy! That was the logline for the series. I feel like the original Superboy comics were just a one off but it became so popular it ended up retconning Superman's entire backstory. Before, Clark Kent became Superman as an adult after his parents died and when he appears in Metropolis, people are understandably dubious about his ability to leap tall buildings and running faster than a locomotive. As at time went on Superman became more powerful, pushing around planets (as internet humourist and vulgarian Seanbaby pointed out, anyone who sees him doing this must just see Superman doing a handstand) and flying through time.

But with Superboy, it rewrites a lot of the Superboy mythos. He becomes a worldwide celebrity but only hangs around the farming town of Smallville. Then it turned out that Superboy got a flying dog and became an honorary member of a superhero team filled with teenyboppers and got his own teen Lois, Lana Lang. And it also turns out that that not only did Superboy meet his archnemesis Lex Luthor as a teen and it turn out that Lex was a Superboy-fanboy who tried to use his genius to make Superboy impervious to kryptonite. However, the experiment went bad, left him bald, Lex mistakenly things it is Superboy's fight and suddenly dedicates his life to evil and destroying Superboy.

That's a leap, Luthor. So Superboy vs. teen Luthor stories have been going on much longer than the Smallville TV series. This is the latest one that also has a rare ending that hints at a big new threat in a story where Superboy is punched by rock men.


Is smashing the Superboy statue necessary to whatever your plot is or is that just a bit of cathartic fun for him? Let's find out together, won't we?

We begin in the fledgling trophy room for the young Clark Kent.


Hope, that's not in the living room because that it makes you look like a weirdo for just collecting other people's scraps. Also, did Lana Lang label her own valentine "Lana Lang's Valentine?" Like, I feel like the little heart in the middle should be the valentine itself, but also the space below it is signed. I know I shouldn't be bothered by this and it haunts me.

Saving Luthor's hair is worrying. He's not your baby, Superboy.

But when Pa Kent says "Strange, son...", he actually means.


I mean, is it? It will be when there's also Lois Lane and Lori Lemaris but for now it's more of a "Huh. Neat." thing at best.

Clark also points out that he knows another LL... Lightning Lad! But before Superboy can fall down a horrific "The Number 23" rabbithole, Pa changes the subject and the two lament Luthor's fall from gtrace.

Meanwhile, Lex himself has another evil plan with a crazy invention.


I don't know what makes them seem "intelligent" but OK, let's go with it. So Luthor's latest plan is to defeat Superboy with rocks... but this kid doesn't think small. Superboy, while out on patrol, catches site of an asteroid with a giant stone hand sticking out of it.

And when Supes goes to investigate...


Looks like Luthor can control from even that far away and can now use the entire asteroid and even surrounding asteroids to destroy him. Like, I don't know how Luthor knew Supes was going to investigate the giant space arm instead of saying "Oh, a mountain that looks like a hand. Neat." and then flying away. But it worked and the rest of the evil plan is solid and, for a Silver Age Superman comic, surprisingly not circuitous. Put Superboy on asteroid. Beat him up with asteroid. Celebrate at malt shop.

Even worse, one of the nearby asteroids has kryptonite, which Luthor uses to torment the Boy of Steel.


I don't know if the rock men are necessary (you can just pelt him with rocks) but maybe Luthor is just having fun. And more evil power to him, then. Anyway, the rock men who are... alive? ish? according to Luthor, just start waiting on Superboy with clubs.

Meanwhile, Lana Lang sneaks into Luthor's house... just because. She says she wants to spy on whatever crazy experiment Luthor is up to next. After wandering into the story, Lana happens to come across the "D-Lever", which the audience learns is an emergency kill switch for Luthor's evil device. Lana stares at it, not knowing what it does and wondering what to do about it.


"Eh, would that change your mind, Lana? I bet it would! Too bad you can't hear me, the narrator! Hahahahahahaha!"

Anyway, instead she runs off and the comic is given a narrative cul-de-sac.

Back at the ranch, Krypto the Super-Dog also tries to save Superboy but is trapped by a giant kryptonite man. Which Luthor summons with way too big an action figure.


Again, I question how necessary this is. Why do you need that? Does your geokinesis need to be mo-capped? It seems like there's got to be a less awkward way to kill Superboy. But it works. Superboy and Krypto are buried under kryptonite and seemingly die. Which means that Luthor has two more things to do; look in a mirror and gloat.


Even as a child, I can only hear him talking to himself in a middle aged man voice. Calling himself "my boy" doesn't help either. Just then, Superboy and smashes through Luthor's wall (is that necessary?) and show's he's alive? How? He was rescued by Lightning Lad "Someone else with the initials L.L." That seems like a pointless thing to point out Superboy. Also, Lightning Lad politely uses the door.

Superboy tells Luthor of the miraculous details of his escape.


So the Legion don't really give a shit about changing the timeline. I mean, it raises some questions about whether the Legion had always saved Superboy's ass in his timeline. Nonetheless, I feel like the Legion, with their all-powerful time viewing and travelling technology, they seem myopic with it. Like that time when they arrested Superboy for crimes and they only needed to wait a little bit or do a modicum of research to realize where all legal. They are pretty reckless with it.

Anyway, the defeated Luthor is scowling but, upon learning about the existence of the Legion of Super-Heroes theorizes... there must be a Legion of Super-Villains, too! Quite a leap, but it's a leap in the Silver Age, so it's correct! But that's a tale for another day ("Don't Miss the Terrific Story of the Legion of Super-Villains, Coming Soon!" says the final caption).

It's an issue that feels pretty half baked. It never felt like a "living" rock army despite Luthor describing them as being alive once or twice. They just seemed like big rock puppets to me. I feel like the pointless Lana Lang fake out and the two LL references was for some sort of tease like "Only L.L. can save Superboy! But which one?" but that never actually happened. It feels like filler to tease the Legion of Super-Villains, at best.

Next time: Superman saves a dam. Are you excited, yet?

Until next time...

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  #90  
Old 02-05-2019, 11:07 AM
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Octopus Prime Octopus Prime is offline
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Default Or maybe, right before that, he said "I have a..."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Unusual View Post
"You keeping hair from your former best friend from before he went bald, I mean.

That's a strange thing for you to do.

Do you need to talk about it?"
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