The Brave & The Bold Index Part 13
Team-ups: Coasting Part 2
March 1972 – May 1979
#110: … & Wildcat, “A Very Special Spy”
Rozakis again is named in the letter column, as well as the first request for a Swamp Thing team-up and a Black Orchid team-up. One reader suggested Plop! Now thatwould be interesting!
Ted Grant (Wildcat) takes the job as a vice president of an energy corporation for the sake of publicity. Too bad the company is involved in corporate theft and murder!
#111: … & Joker, “Death has the Last Laugh”
This is the best selling issue of (and one of the most sought after) Brave & Bold in this period. Features letters by Rozakis (does he slip twenty dollar bills in with his letters?) and Bob Rodi.
Someone is framing the Joker for murder! To prevent an underworld massacre, Batman makes a deal with the Clown Prince of Crime to bring in the real killer – together!
#112: … & Mister Miracle, “The Impossible Escape”
Sixty cents! Sixty cents!! What am I, made outta money? Well, it is 100 pages of comics. Most of it reprints, but tripling the price for over triple the pages – well, okay for now! This issue also features reprints from issue #s 59 (Batman and Green Lantern), #52 (Aquaman and Hawkman) and the Silent Knight story from #15. A letter from Keith Griffin is published (who apologizes for his “nasty letters” to B&B). Uh-oh, where’s Rozakis? Is he sick? Twelve mentions in the letter column in a row – a DiMaggio-like run!
Another milestone: for the first time in 16 years the Silent Knight appears on the cover of a comic book!
Another Kirby creation debuts in B&B (the first being the Demon two issues ago)! And the only character from Kirby’s “Fourth World” series of comics to appear in B&B.
To investigate possible museum fraud, Batman searches for the tomb of Atun, first pharaoh of Egypt. Accepting the challenge of an archeologist, Mr. Miracle does the same. Will they find the secret of eternal life! Or be trapped forever in the tomb?
#113: … & Metal Men, “50 Story Killer”
The new mayor of Gotham fires Commissioner Gordon and forces Batman to retire. A new commissioner and the Metal Men will continue the fight against crime. Good thing – terrorists have just “hi-jacked” the Wayne Enterprises Building, with Bruce Wayne and hundreds of employees inside!
Also features reprints of a B&B Viking Prince story and Hawkman’s debut tale; a Green Arrow story from 1958’s World’s Finest, and a Challengers of the Unknown tale from #14 of their magazine.
Bob Rodi and regular contributor Joe Peluso are mentioned in the letter column that also features full page biographies of Bob Haney and Jim Aparo. Bob Rozakis created a puzzle page, now being on National’s payroll.
#114: … & Aquaman, “Last Jet to Gotham”
Batman and Gordon wait for a jet to land in Gotham holding a mafia boss. Unfortunately it also holds a nuclear bomb, set to go off when the plane lands! Batman and Aquaman try to rescue the passengers as mafia lieutenants try to rescue their chief.
This 100 page giant features a solo Aquaman story from 1961, a Teen Titans reprint, as well as the first team-up from B&B #50 – Green Arrow and the Martian Manhunter.
#115: … & Atom, “The Corpse that Wouldn’t Die”
Okay, I’ll explain it again if need be. Batman is electrocuted when searching for a kidnapped girl. The Atom microscopically enters Batman’s brain to stimulatehis neurons to simulate movement to again try to rescue the girl. Atom is pretty good at it! He makes Batman walk, punch and do a backflip! Oh yes, Batman comes back to life after so much cerebral excitement.
This issue also features reprints of the Challengers of the Unknown, a solo Atom story, one of the Viking Prince tales from B&B #23 and a reprint of Showcase #55 starring Dr. Fate, Hourman and the golden age Green Lantern fighting Solomon Grundy – the best tale of the issue!
Bob Rodi again appears in the letter column, how close is he to tying Rozakis’ number of entries (13)? #118’s letter column swore on a stack of DC’s that they received hundreds of positive letters on the recent Atom team-up and only two negative letters. Wow!
#116: … & Spectre, “Grasp of the Killer Cult”
Army veterans turn into strangling thugs. No, they really do, literally: they are possessed by the spirits of nineteenth-century Kali-worshipping Thugs from Burma!
Good issue: reprints of a Teen Titan adventure from #16 of their comic, a Silent Knight reprint from B&B #2(!) and the Batman-Wonder-Woman-Batgirl team-up from #78.
Letter column: another letter by Bob Rodi, and someone asks who designs the puzzles in B&B? Bob Rozakis! Sorry, Bob, a mention in the letter column doesn’t count if you work for the company! More seriously, the letter column shows some revealing things this time around: The editor laughs at a Krypto suggestion for a team-up. Actually, it might make for a fun story! He certainly would have fit better than Wildcat (again) in #118!
Why do they take such pains to laugh at some suggestions? And belittle the remarks of some letter-writers? One writer in #119 called Haney and Boltinoff smug. This kind of criticism was usually shrugged off with a smirk by saying if they were why’d they publish the letter? Well, from reading nearly thirty issues of editorial comments, they were smug and arrogant! Stop talking down to us!
Great example: in this issue when more golden age characters are suggested, the editor makes a point to say, “What is it that makes these tarnished heroes so popular?” Well, I don’t know, but they obviously are popular. Apparently, the only people who do not want golden age heroes to team up with Batman are the people in charge of selecting the team-ups. Every issue begs for Dr. Mid-Nite, the Crimson Avenger, or some other golden great. So why drag out Wildcat – again!? Considering how they treat Wildcat in every issue (“Pardon me, can you help a fellow superhero who’s down on his luck?”), do they really think it would satisfy a golden age fan?
Do they think reprinting the Dr. Fate-Hourman team-up from Showcasewill satisfy demands? Will running Challengers of the Unknown reprints instead of teaming them in a new adventure with Batman stop the flood of requests? No, it didn’t! Some readers took the editors to task for that question in the upcoming letter columns.
#117: … & Sgt. Rock, “Nightmare Without End”
The last of the 100 page giants, with reprints of a Viking Prince story from #24; the first issue of Secret Six, a Mission: Impossible-style group of “normal” people fighting international crime; a Blackhawk reprint from 1965 with Dick Dillin art and a Green Arrow Adventure Comics reprint from 1952.
Rock participated in the execution of a soldier for cowardice during WWII. And the soldier’s been haunting Rock ever since. Or is he really still alive and spying for the US all this time?
#118: … & Wildcat with Joker, “May the Best Man Die”
Twenty-Five cents! This is better! Twenty-five cents for a comic book. Beats sixty! Well, it’s not a hundred pages anymore, but I can accept that …wait a minute! It’s only 18 pages of comics! That’s three pages less than when it cost 20 cents!
Well, as of this issue it is going from bi-monthly to eight-issues-a-year! So I get less pages per issue, but two more issues per year! (Still, sounds like a rip-off!)
To hush up a stoolie, the Joker poisons the drinking water of a prison. All 600 inmates will die unless Batman and Wildcat can rush the antidote to the prison before the Joker gets to it first. The trouble is the “antidote” are antibodies inside a small dog named Spot. And Spot has run off and is hiding somewhere in Gotham…
Does this count as a second team-up for the Joker? He is given credit on the cover, obviously to boost sales in an otherwise silly story.
For your consideration: Batman’s B&B stories always seemed geared toward the guest (how many times did Batman fight evil robots when the Metal Men weren’tfeatured?). Since this story involved a dog, why would a Krypto team-up seem so far fetched?
#119: … & Man-Bat, “Bring Back Killer Krag”
A Mafioso widow puts a contract on the bounty hunter who killed her husband. The killer is living in a country ruled by a US-hating dictator. Three sets of hunters go after the killer: two ex-CIA agents, Man-Bat, who is desperate for money, and Batman!
#120: … & Kamandi, “This World is Mine”
Batman is magically brought into earth’s future after the Great Disaster to lead a group of humans hiding in Mt. Rushmoreto safety. Trouble is, Kamandi shows up – being pursued by gorilla slavers and bear rangers!
Two new team-ups in a row! This issue features a reprint from Secret Six#2. Letter pages features Bob Rodi and future comics scribe Jo Duffy and Justice League’s Dan Jurgens. The price of the comic hikes to 50 cents for 64 pages this issue only, ala Superman Family, Tarzan Family, etc.
#121: … & Metal Men, “The Doomsday Express”
B&B quickly converts back to 18 pages for twenty-five cents. Why so soon? Sales were very good for #120. Maybe the powers-that-be decided against a bigger format for B&B.
A train bearing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is hijacked by Native American terrorists! Twist: foreign terrorists have hidden a bomb on the train!
#122: … & Swamp Thing, “The Hour of the Beast”
A plane-load of experimental biochemicals crashes into Gotham’s reservoir, causing killer vines to spring throughout the city – crushing all in its path. Elsewhere in Gotham City, a P. T. Barnum-like huckster has captured Swamp Thing and is displaying him in his sideshow. Guess who the citizens blame for the plant attacks?
The letter column thanked a reader for a nice letter, explained a continuity flaw and asked if it helped improve the reader’s enjoyment and thanked readers for their team-up requests. Oh, yeah, and whole letters are printed, not printed “sound bites”. What gives? Ah, Jack C. Harris is now the assistant editor, taking over the letter column! I guess Boltinoff was too busy strangling puppies for profit and touring orphanages presenting his “Surprise, Brats, There Ain’t No Santa Claus” lecture to do B&B’s letter column anymore. He remains the editor though…
#123: … & Plastic Man & Metamorpho, “How to Make a Super-Hero”
A rare three-teamer, and a sequel to #95. Batman finds Plastic Man out of work and panhandling as a bum. He asks Plas to guard Gothamas Batman while he is away. However, Plastic Man is then put under the sway once again of Rudy Ryder – who 1) brainwashes Plas into thinking he is the real Batman and 2) frames Bruce Wayne for murder! Coincidentally, Bruce Wayne is in competition with Ryder over the purchase of an ancient African statue. Metamorpho springs Wayne and together they hunt down Ryder and Plas!
Long-lost letter writer Joe Peluso contributes to the letter column.
Bob Haney created Metamorpho, who has powers similar to Plastic Man (as they each admit during their battle). So guess which hero is called a freak (twice), a fool and an idiot? Plas gets a similar treatment in his last appearance in B&B #148. C’mon Bob, don’t be so petty! Cosmic justice: for a time, Plastic Man was one of the primary members of the JLAcomic, while Metamorpho was killed off in JLAcomic in its first story arc. See Bob? I told you not to be so petty…
#124: … & Sgt. Rock, “Small War of the Super-Rifles”
Joe Peluso contributes to the letter column again.
Top secret infantry rifles are stolen by terrorists. Rock, assigned to find them, ends up tracking the terrorists to Gotham. But the terrorists have managed to also steal the script to Brave and Bold #124, and hunt down Jim Aparo and Bob Haney to stop them from completing the comic and thus halting their defeat!
Jim Aparo “appears” in this story as an actual character. Jim Aparo from Comic Book Artist#9: “That was corny. I didn’t live near the water as they had me in the story. I climbed out of my studio in the basement and climbed into a boat and went to a lighthouse or something. It was just written that way. I guess the readers believed it. I was just a joke. They [Haney and Boltinoff] wanted to fool around.”
#125: … & Flash, “Streets of Poison”
Batman and Flash go to Rangoon to stop a poppy farm/heroin factory. While there they meet a female aviator missing for many months. Only later do they discover she has been in on the heroin trafficking the whole time!
#126: … & Aquaman, “What Lurks Beneath Bouy 13?”, Artist: John Calnan (Aparo inks). Joe Peluso is again in the letter column; the price hikes to thirty cents for eighteen pages.
Atlantis, America, the USSRand terrorists play keep-away with an Atlantean satellite that can track nuclear submarines.
#127: … & Wildcat, “Deadman’s Quadrangle”
Illegal aliens are smuggled to the USvia Ted Grant’s island resort. Is he somehow involved? No, but after five appearances with Batman in only 39 issues, fans have had enough. Wildcat appearing became something of a joke to letter-writers and future editors (including Mike W. Barr’s text in the “Best of Brave & Bold” mini-series); this is his last appearance. Wildcat does later become intertwined with the Batman mythos: he taught Batman how to box and had a fling (and a mini-series) with Catwoman.
#128: … & Mister Miracle, “Death by the Ounce”
This is B&B’s “DC Salutes the Bicentennial” issue. Joe Peluso again writes a letter.
In exchange for one ounce of a youth-restoring potion, Apokolypsian Granny Goodness kidnaps the world’s richest ruler – the Shah of Kirkan – to prevent him from signing a USpeace treaty.
#129: … & Green Arrow, Atom, “The Claws of the Emperor Eagle”
Only the third multi-guest issue, and the first multi-issue storyline since #25 and 26 with the Suicide Squad seventeen years before!
Okay, I’ll explain it again if need be: The people of Pathanistan created the Emperor Eagle to appease Alexander the Great. All who have since owned it are cursed and doomed. Oliver Queen, believing he can beat the curse, buys it. The plane carrying the Eagle is skyjacked by the Joker and Two-Face, who have been hired to return the Eagle to Pathanistan. Queen is put on trial in Pathanistan for “stealing” their national treasure, but Batman and the Atom rescue Queen before his execution.
Later, Joker and Two-Face steal the Eagle for themselves, and with Batman as a hostage, head for high ground, with Green Arrow and Atom and the whole Pathanistan army in pursuit!
#130: … & Green Arrow, Atom, Joker, Two-Face, “Death at Rainbow’s End”
The cover boasts “Four Famous Co-Stars” in the same manner as the 100th issue.
Our heroes find the ancient city of Pathan, where the Emperor Eagle was created. Green Arrow convinces the citizens to make a duplicate and switch it with the real Eagle being held by Joker and Two-Face. During this time, Batman supposedly is killed in a landslide, but he pops up in the nick of time at the end of the story. The ruler of Pathanistan recovers the Eagle but plummets with it (we discover that the Eagle is filled with gold, rubies and diamonds) down a chasm where it is lost forever.
Joker and Two-Face, meanwhile, now own a large, hollow iron statue of an Eagle!
#131: … & Wonder Woman, “Take Seven Steps to Wipe Out”
Bad: the African country of Sudaria smuggles drugs into the USvia diplomatic attaches. Worse: they are smuggling out the blueprints of the most top secret encoding devise ever created in the United States. Worst: they’re latest diplomat is … eek! … Catwoman!
Copyright (c) 2012 Michael G Curry