The Brave & The Bold Index Part 8
Team-ups: The World’s Greatest Super Heroes Part 1
November 1963 – November 1967
Why did National decide to turn Brave and Boldinto a team-up comic? It had never been done before and there was no indication it would be a success. Sure, World’s Finest had featured Superman and Batman teaming up together for years (but by this time they were more team-matesthan a team-up). Flash and Green Lantern would pop up in each other’s magazines, but could continuous (seemingly) random encounters between superheroes sustain a series?
The Justice League of America was hardly a team-up magazine. Ditto All-Star Comics before it. Still, Marvel has had wonderful success having characters crossing-over every few months, as the characters featured would get some publicity they wouldn’t otherwise get. And besides, who knows? National might strike gold with a team as popular as Superman-Batman. B&B’s days as a magazine of swashbuckling adventure had gone, and it did not want (or sales could not sustain) another Showcase-like anthology, maybe it can become another World’s Finest.
As with a change in format in Brave & Bold #50 (November 1963), so there will be a change in format for this index. Each issue shall be listed numerically, with issue number, guest stars, writer and artist, plot synopsis and other information (trivia, other features, letter page content, editorial comment, etc.).
#50: Green Arrow & Martian Manhunter, “Wanted – The Capsule Master”,
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: George Roussos. Murray Boltinoff and George Kashdan take over as editors.
Martians land on earth and try to recover three pieces of a doomsday weapon, unless Green Arrow, Speedy and the Martian Manhunter stop them. An editorial confirms the “World’s Finest”-style format and requests readers to write in and request characters to appear in the comic.
#51: Aquaman & Hawkman, “Fury of the Exiled Creature”,
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: Howard Purcell. Fish and Fowl! This is Hawkman’s 8th appearance (the month before (11/1963) he started a solo stint in Mystery on Space). He would get his own magazine in March of 1964 and join the Justice League in November 1964.
Tyros, an Atlantean exile, finds a ruby that turns him into a winged reptile with the ability to control birds and sea creatures. Hawkgirl and Aqualad have as much action as the two stars, but do not appear on the cover at all! The letter column states the next issue will feature the Flash and the Atom.
#52: Sgt. Rock, Johnny Cloud, & The Haunted Tank (labeled as Three Battle Stars), “Suicide Mission”,
Writer: Robert Kanigher, Artist: Joe Kubert (his last credited work for B&B). Editor: Robert Kanigher.
Three of DC’s World War Two stars team up to rescue a leader of the French underground. The leader is locked in a suit of armor. When released, the leader is revealed to be Mlle. Marie! A fourth Battle Star! Joe Kubert fans have been spoiled with B&B: now we can watch his mastery of the war genre. And we weren’t disappointed. Superb art as usual.
Where’s Flash and Atom? Might have been deadline trouble. Plus this story may have fit better in B&B than in a war comic. Each chapter featured one of the battle stars, which would have been awkward in a supposed Sgt. Rock “solo” story. Kanigher is once again in the editorial seat and the text feature is Rock’s “Combat Corner”, which implies this was meant for one of National’s war comics rather than B&B. But who’s complaining? Good story, good art!
#53: Atom & Flash, “Challenge of the Expanding World”,
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: Alex Toth. A golden age great for an artist! Boltinoff and Kashdan are back as editors (giving more credence to the theory that #52 was a fill-in).
A microscopic world begins to expand, threatening to destroy the earth. Unfortunately, the microworld’s inhabitants don’t see a problem with this!
The folks at National can learn! Brave & Bold has never touted the magazines of its guests – other than stating the JLA will get its own magazine. This issue, however, has house ads for both Flash and Atom’s magazines.
#54: Robin, Kid Flash, & Aqualad, “1,001 Dooms of Mr. Twister”,
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: Bruno Premanini (His first art in B&B since Cave Carson). Fans have been clamoring for a Junior Justice League ever since there has been a Justice League. One such request was published in the letter column of Brave & Bold #30. The fans finally get their wish. This is touted as the first appearance of the Teen Titans, although they were never called by that name in this issue.
Teenagers of Hatton Corners are kidnapped by Mr. Twister, fulfilling a curse from colonial times! Ironically, Robin stars in B&B before Batman! (Batman makes his fourth cameo appearance in B&B here, after the three-issue Justice League try-out).
#55: Metal Men & Atom, “Revenge of the Robot Renegade”,
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: Ramona Fradon.
Dr. Magnus’ first robot creation, Uranium, turned evil and was destroyed. In this story he re-forms, creates a female sidekick – Agentha (silver) – and destroys the Metal Men. Ray Palmer intercepts Magnus’ laser SOS, re-forms the Metal Men, and all tackle Uranium!
#56: Flash & Martian Manhunter, “Raid of the Mutant Marauders”,
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: Bernard Bailey (another golden age great – the original artist for Hourman and the Spectre), George Kashdan is listed as the solo editor.
Scientists from the planet Argon create a mutant with all the Justice League’s powers (I know, I know, that sort of technology is Amazo-ing) that raises havoc at the New York World’s Fair. This issue should have been billed as featuring three DC stars, as Hawkgirl plays a crucial unbilled role. Well, she is just a girl after all…
A fair display of the Justice League members does not include Hawkman, although the mutant does sprout Hawkman’s wings. Plus Flash and MM contact Hawkgirl through Hawkman’s JLA communicator. This issue was published in November of 1964 – the month Hawkman joined the JLA.
#57: Metamorpho, “The Origin of Metamorpho”, February 1965
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: Ramona Fradon. B&B reverts back to its try-out days. Why? Who knows, but it’s another success! The Element Man won his own series that summer and has popped up everywhere in the DC Universe since. He even appeared in the 2002 Justice League cartoon on Cartoon Network. He became a founding member of another B&B spin-off – the Outsiders.
Okay, keep up with me now. Rex Mason loves Sapphire Stagg. Her father, millionaire industrialist Simon Stagg hates Mason. Simon Stagg will allow Mason to marry Sapphire if he will obtain the Orb of Ra. Mason, accompanied by Stagg’s toady Java, finds the Orb. Java takes the Orb and traps Mason in the pyramid. Mason is bombarded by radiation from a meteorite inside the pyramid. Nearing death, he takes a pill that Stagg gave him years ago in the event of imminent death. The radiation and the pill combine to turn Mason into Metamorpho the Element Man – who can transform into any element!
Despite being “no whiz at chemistry” Mason becomes magnesium, sodium carbonate and fire foam (carbon, sodium and water) in this issue. Just think what he could do if he was a whiz at chemistry!
#58: Metamorpho, “The Junkyard of Doom”,
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: Ramona Fradon.
Metamorpho is kidnapped by ex-Nazi Maxwell Tremaine and battles his junkyard of doom – a repository of the world’s dud weaponry that Tremaine has repaired or improved. This includes a robotic praying mantis and daddy long-legs, a missile with insect wings and a giant tank with a spiked drill.
#59: Batman & Green Lantern, “Tick-Tock Traps of the Time Commander”,
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: Ramona Fradon. Batman’s first starring appearance in Brave & Bold, and fifth overall.
The Time Commander uses Batman as bait to trap Green Lantern and absorb his powers. Then he sends parts of Gotham City into different time periods for ever until his alter ego, John Starr, is pardoned of all crimes.
In DC’s revival of Brave & Bold in 2007, Batman and Green Lantern were the first issue’s stars as an obvious honorara. One issue featured Superman and the Silent Knight.
#60: The Teen Titans, “The Astounding Separated Man”,
Writer: Bob Haney, Artist: Bruno Premanini. Team-up or try-out? You decide! Regardless, this was another B&B try-out triumph! Fully one year after their unofficial “first appearance” in issue #54, now the youthful sidekicks of our favorite heroes are officially a group. Other than a lull in the late 1970s, there has been an incarnation of the Titans ever since they first appeared here. This issue debuts Wonder Girl – the last new character introduced in Brave & Bold until Nemesis some fifteen years later.
After the events of #54, Robin and gang decide to form a group to help kids in trouble. The teens of Midville (as well as everyone else) are menaced when a criminal steals a serum from the father of Midville’s Teen-Mayor-for-a-Day, turning him into the Separating Man: whose giant individual body parts attack the town!
#61: Starman & Black Canary, “Mastermind of Menaces”,
Writer: GardnerFox, Artist: Murphy Anderson, Julius Schwartz takes over as editor. For the first time in over 15 years Black Canary stars on the cover of a National Comic (as opposed to being one of many in a JLA-JSA meeting), almost twenty for Starman! Black Canary’s logo has never appeared on a cover before!
National was likely testing the waters to see if any of the old JSA stalwarts could handle a solo series, as four months earlier Dr. Fate and Hourman teamed up in two issues of Showcase. Interesting role reversal: Showcase copying Brave & Bold!
Murphy Anderson’s art is spectacular as our JSA team mates fight the Mist who is using Dinah Drake’s hypnotic flowers to force rich socialites to steal from themselves!
#62: Starman & Black Canary (with Wildcat), “The Big Super-Hero Hunt”,
Writer: GardnerFox, Artist: Murphy Anderson.
For the first time in B&B a team-up returns! This time to fight Mr. & Mrs. Menace – the Sportsmaster and the Huntress. Here is it revealed that the two villains have married (the first marriage of super villains?). Wildcat makes his silver age debut, and his first of many in Brave & Bold.
Copyright (c) 2012 Michael G. Curry