Seven Soldiers of Victory, part 4: the Star-Spangled Kid & Stripesy!

Adventure Comics #441, October 1975

The back-up feature is an unpublished saga of the Seven Soldiers of Victory – written in the Golden Age but never rendered and completed until 1975.

Adventure 441 splashPart Five: The Star Spangled Kid and Stripesy

“Dead End Animals!”

Writer: Joseph Samachson, Penciler/Inker: Ernie Chua (Chan), Colorist: Carl Gafford

Editor: Joe Orland

The Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy drop (literally) into the Land of Magic. Hearing a fight in a nearby club, they see animals in human clothing walking, talking and fighting! The animals – dressed and speaking as a juvenile gang, attack and subdue SSK & Stripesy.

They awake tied to a chair, and trick their rat guard in leaving so their friend, a lion, can untie them. The chair walks away – even the furniture act human!

Star Spangled Kid plants a torch and matches in the pouch of a kangaroo and then sets fire to the club. The furniture evacuate the building and spot the planted evidence. The furniture and the animal gangs fight it out.

The furniture win the battle and make the animals vow to be good or else. To thank our heroes for helping reform the Dead-End Animals, the lion asks his friend the whale to give SSK and Stripesy a lift back to earth.

***

This stuff is just getting weirder and weirder …

The “Dead End Animals” are based on the Dead-End Kids, later morphing into the “Bowery Boys”, stars of dozens of comedies. Ironically, the Bowery Boys were never made into a comic book (at least not in my searching!); odd – Huntz Hall and Leo Gorcey would have fit in perfectly in a 1950’s DC/TV humor comic (ala Sgt Bilko, Jackie Gleason, etc.)

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The letter column contains two positive reviews of the then-debuting SSOV storyline. I got this issue off the stands, being a big Aquaman fan even then.  I had not heard of the Seven Soldiers at the time and this weird back story picqued my interest. It took me many decades to gather up all these issues!

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About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

Seven Soldiers of Victory, part 3: the Crimson Avenger

Adventure Comics #440, August 1975

The back-up feature is an unpublished saga of the Seven Soldiers of Victory – written in the Golden Age but never rendered and completed until 1975.

Adventure 440 splashPart Four: The Crimson Avenger

“Kings Make a Full House!”

Writer: Joseph Samachson, Penciler/Inker: Mike Grell, Inker: Ben Oda, Editor: Joe Orlando & Paul Levitz

Crimson Avenger and Wing discover streams of water that makes them grow to giant size or shrink to the size of blades of grass. They experiment to get themselves back to normal.

They spot a collapsing castle. Growing to giant size, they prop up the castle to prevent any damage.

The castle’s owner, King Mistybrain objects to their saving his castle. He has visitors – other kings – who refuse to leave and collapsing the castle is the only way to get them to leave! The Crimson Avenger and Wing offer to help. One of the guests, King Adelbert, overhears and vows to stop our heroes!

He spikes our heroes’ drinks with the shrinking potion and tries to smash them on the dinner table. CA and Wing escape by tossing the salad and other food at the king until they can get to their growing potion.

Growing to giants, Crimson Avenger and Wing vow to find work for the lazy guests. At the mention of work, the kings run off. To thank them for their help, Mistybrain shows Crimson Avenger and Wing the direction out of the Land of Magic.

***

I’ve gotten rid of semi-permanent guests by demanding they chip in for the electric bill and rent. I therefore have first-hand knowledge that Crimson’s plan would have worked…

***

A house ad announces this is the last issue starring the Spectre, ending the classic Fleisher-Aparo run. The run is reprinted in the series Wrath of the Spectre, with stories written but not completed (much like this Seven Soldiers of Victory tale) in Wrath… #4.

***

Why was Wing never considered a member? He was in every adventure – they counted Speedy (and Stripesy, but he and SSK were more a team than a hero-sidekick). Was it a racist thing?

About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

 

 

Seven Soldiers of Victory, part 2: Green Arrow and Speedy!

Adventure Comics #439, June 1975

The back-up feature is an unpublished saga of the Seven Soldiers of Victory – written in the Golden Age but never rendered and completed until 1975.

Adventure 439 splash

Part Three: Green Arrow and Speedy

“Father Time’s Inn!”

Writer: Joseph Samachson, Penciler/Inker: Lee Elias, Editor: Joe Orlando & Paul Levitz

Green Arrow and Speedy enter the Land of Magic in front of Father Time’s Inn. They enter hoping to find a way home. They meet Father Time and his Boarders – heavenly bodies such as stars, moons, planets, etc. All of the Boarders are arguing.

Green Arrow and Speedy stop the erupting brawl, but are themselves knocked out my Mars and Mercury. They escape by turning Father Time’s hourglass upside down, thus reversing time and making the ropes untie themselves. Time goes all the way back to the beginning of Father Time and the heavenly bodies’ argument.

Father Time turns his hourglass back to normal and commands the constellations to attack Green Arrow and Speedy. After GA beats back Sagittarius and Cancer, he offers to help mediate the argument (the sun intentionally hid behind the earth to eclipse the new, shiny crescent moon).

Father Time rewards Green Arrow and Speedy by lending them a comet to return home.

***

You know, reading through this plot synopsis had me thinking there may be a REASON this story sat in a drawer for thirty years…

The Statement of Ownership says the average number of issues sold were 144,055.

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What a coup to have Lee Elias draw this Green Arrow strip! He was GA’s regular artist during his 1959-1964 runs in Adventure Comics and World’s Finest! He is the co-creator of Eclipso … an eclipse was the reason for the argument in the story. Coincidence?

***

About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

 

 

RIP Geoff Emerick 12/05/1945 – 10/02/2018

If George Martin was a wizard (and he was), Geoff Emerick was his familiar.

From Wikipedia:

Geoffrey E. Emerick was an English audio engineer who worked with the Beatles on their albums Revolver (1966), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) and Abbey Road (1969). Producer George Martin credited him with bringing “a new kind of mind to the recordings, always suggesting sonic ideas, different kinds of reverb, what we could do with the voices”.

Emerick also engineered the Zombies’ Odessey and Oracle (1968), Paul McCartney and Wings’ Band on the Run (1973), and Elvis Costello’s Imperial Bedroom (1982). He won four Grammy Awards for his work in the music recording field. His 2006 memoir Here, There, and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Beatles caused controversy for its factual errors.

Early career at EMI

Geoff Emerick was brought up in Crouch End, London, and educated at Crouch End secondary modern school, where one of his teachers heard about a job at EMI and suggested he apply. At age 15, he was employed as assistant engineer. The fifth of June 1962 was his first day at work, and on the following day the Beatles came to Studio 2 at Abbey Road for their first recording session for EMI. To familiarise Emerick with his work, he was placed under the supervision of another assistant engineer, Richard Langham, assistant engineer to Norman Smith, who would be doing the first recording session of the Beatles in the evening. As a new recruit, Emerick was not entitled to get over-time pay, but was lucky enough to witness this first-ever EMI recording session by the finalised line-up of the Beatles in 1962, during which the group recorded for the first time with new drummer Ringo Starr on what would eventually become their debut hit single, “Love Me Do”.

 

Working with the Beatles and others

beatles-studio

As assistant engineer, Emerick worked on several early recordings by the Beatles, including “She Loves You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand”. From early in 1964, his involvement with the band was limited due to his training program at EMI, as he progressed to lacquer cutter, mastering engineer and then balance (or recording) engineer. During that time, he helped record other artists for the label, including Judy Garland, and assisted at the EMI artist test of the Hollies. After working his way up to the recording engineer’s position, Emerick engineered the 1966 Manfred Mann single “Pretty Flamingo”, which became a number 1 hit in the UK.

In April 1966 at the age of 20, Emerick took over as the Beatles’ recording engineer, at the request of producer George Martin, when Smith became a producer. Emerick’s first album in this new role was Revolver, starting with the sessions for “Tomorrow Never Knows”. It was Emerick’s suggestion to record John Lennon’s vocal through a Leslie speaker on the song, to capture the ethereal sound Lennon wanted, and to close-mic Starr’s drums, formerly a prohibited practice at EMI Studios. In 1967, Emerick engineered “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”, one of the most musically complex songs on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Lennon told Martin he wanted to re-create the “carnival atmosphere” of the Pablo Fanque circus poster that inspired the song. For the middle eight bars, Emerick spliced together multiple recordings of fairground organs and calliope in an attempt to create the effect; after a great deal of unsuccessful experimentation, Martin instructed Emerick to chop the tape into pieces with scissors, throw them up in the air, and re-assemble them at random. Later in 1967, he engineered the Zombies’ Odessey and Oracle and Tomorrow’s self-titled debut album.

Emerick abandoned work on The Beatles (also known as the “White Album”) on 16 July 1968, fed up with the intra-band tensions and arguments that hampered the sessions. Emerick also objected to Chris Thomas, Martin’s inexperienced assistant, being elevated to the role of producer in Martin’s absence, with the band’s acceptance. He returned to work with the Beatles on Abbey Road. Emerick received Grammy Awards for the engineering of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road.

Despite his departure from the White Album sessions, Emerick remained on good terms with the Beatles, particularly Paul McCartney, who invited Emerick to quit EMI and come and work for their company Apple Corps in 1969. In addition to engineering duties, Emerick oversaw the building of the Beatles’ Apple Studio in the Apple Corps building.

After the Beatles

Following the Beatles’ break-up in 1970, Emerick continued to work with McCartney. He served as recording engineer on McCartney albums such as Band on the Run (1973), which netted Emerick another Grammy, London Town (1978), Tug of War (1982) and Flaming Pie (1997). Emerick later said that he had always been perceived by the other ex-Beatles as “Paul’s guy”. As a result, for their solo recordings, Lennon and George Harrison chose to work instead with Phil McDonald, another former EMI engineer.

Emerick was the sound engineer on Robin Trower’s 1974 album Bridge of Sighs, and was credited by both Trower and producer Matthew Fisher for that album’s sound. He also recorded some of the backing tracks for the debut album by Stealers Wheel, The Psychomodo, but resigned early on in the process, handing over to Apple recording engineer John Mills to continue working with producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The Stealers Wheel album featured “Stuck in the Middle with You” and went on to receive the Dutch Edison Award.

Following the success of EMI’s The Beatles at Abbey Road presentation in 1983, Emerick prepared an album of the Beatles’ studio outtakes, to be titled Sessions, for release. The former Beatles initiated legal proceedings to prevent EMI from issuing the album, saying that the work was substandard; when made available on bootleg compilations, his mixes and editing of some of the tracks were widely criticised by collectors. In the mid 1990s, these recordings were used for the Beatles Anthology CD releases.

Emerick also worked on albums by Elvis Costello (for whom he produced Imperial Bedroom and All This Useless Beauty), Badfinger, Art Garfunkel, America, Jeff Beck, Gino Vannelli, Supertramp, Cheap Trick, Nazareth, Chris Bell, Split Enz, Trevor Rabin, Nick Heyward, Big Country, Gentle Giant, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Ultravox. His other recording projects included Matthew Fisher’s first solo album, Journey’s End; Kate Bush’s demo tape to EMI, which landed her a record deal; and Nellie McKay’s critically acclaimed 2004 debut CD Get Away from Me. In 2003, he received his fourth Grammy, a Special Merit/Technical Grammy Award.

In 2007, Emerick produced a re-recording of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in honor of the album’s 40th anniversary. It included performances by contemporary artists such as Oasis, the Killers, Travis and Razorlight. Emerick used the original equipment to record the new versions of the songs, and the results were broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on 2 June that year.

From 1984, Emerick resided in Los Angeles.

Here, There, and Everywhere

In 2006, Emerick released his memoir, Here, There, and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles, co-authored by music journalist Howard Massey. The book caused controversy for its factual errors, and for its allegedly unfavorable portrayal of Harrison, bias towards McCartney and belittling and dismissal of Harrison and Starr’s contributions. According to Beatles biographer Robert Rodriguez, Emerick’s recurring theme that Harrison lacked prowess as a guitar player until the late 1960s is more reflective of Emerick’s personality, and is countered by several other sources, and some of his descriptions of the Beatles’ recordings are negated by the availability of bootleg compilations of the band’s multitrack masters.

Beatles historian Erin Torkelson Weber said that, apart from Lennon’s account in Lennon Remembers, the book also presents arguably the most negative depiction of Martin as a record producer. The publication led to an Internet flame war, as former Beatles engineer Ken Scott challenged the accuracy of Emerick’s recollections and stated that, before writing the book, Emerick had contacted him and other EMI technical staff saying he had limited memory of the events. Scott’s 2012 autobiography, From Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust, sought to correct Emerick’s statements in Here, There, and Everywhere, especially with regard to Harrison’s musicianship and character.

Death

Emerick died from a heart attack on 2 October 2018, aged 72. He had been hospitalized two weeks beforehand after experiencing trouble walking, but was ruled to have been dehydrated. His manager, William Zabaleta, recalled talking to Emerick for the last time: “While on the phone, he had complications and dropped the phone. I called 911, but by the time they got there, it was too late. Geoff suffered from heart problems for a long time and had a pacemaker. When it’s your time it’s your time. We lost a legend and a best friend to me and a mentor.”

Paul McCartney commented on social media: “He was smart, fun-loving, and the genius behind many of the great sounds on our records. I’m shocked and saddened to have lost such a special friend.”

***

geoff_emerick

As buried in the article, he produced my beloved Badfinger (the No More album). The list of McCartney albums is not complete (Run Devil Run), but you get the idea.

Rest in peace, sir, and thank you.

For everything.

Literally, everything.

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About the blogger:

Michael Curry is a life-long Beatles fan and has written the short story “The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles”, available here on Amazon Kindle.

 

 

 

The Seven Soldiers of Victory: the lost story!

A Bronze Age/Golden-Age hidden gem!

The Seven Soldiers of Victory (or Law’s Legionnaires) is DC Comics’ second super-hero team, following the Justice Society of America. Like the Justice Society, the membership of the Seven Soldiers is drawn from DC’s anthology comics: The Vigilante (Action Comics); the Crimson Avenger (Detective Comics); the Green Arrow and Speedy (More Fun Comics); the Shining Knight (Adventure Comics); and the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy (Star-Spangled Comics).

The Seven Soldiers of Victory appear in the first fourteen issues of Leading Comics.

A script by Joseph Samachson (co-creator of Martian Manhunter and Tomahawk) from the 1940s, in which the elflike Willie Wisher banishes the Soldiers to the “Land of Magic,” where they encounter various supernatural characters, was later serialized in 1975 in Adventure Comics #438–443, with each chapter illustrated by a different artist (Dick Dillin, Howard Chaykin, Lee Elias, Mike Grell, Ernie Chan, and José Luis García-López).

The first few issues of this story were overshadowed by the now-classic Fleisher/Aparo Spectre run as the main feature. Compared to those stories, nearly anything else would pale in comparison. But we fans of the back pages got a nice Golden Age gift!

Around this time, DC Comics had redrawn some Golden Age stories in their reprint books, but this was an unusual move for DC – taking a discovered script of third-tier characters (and except for Green Arrow, calling them third-tier is kind) and putting some of their best artists on it. It was a treat for Bronze Age readers. This story has not been reprinted that I know of – not even in the Seven Soldiers of Victory Archives (which in three volumes reprinted all the Leading Comics issues).

A truly hidden Bronze Age gem.

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Adventure 438 splashAdventure Comics #438, April 1975

The Seven Soldiers of Victory

“Land of Magic!”

Writer: Joseph Samachson, Penciler: Dick Dillin, Inker: Tex Blaisdell, Editors: Joe Orlando & Paul Levitz

John Shoman, philanthropist, introduces the first film he has produced – the Seven Soldiers of Victory gather and ask each other who called the meeting. It was Willie Wisher. The elfin Wisher can make anything happen simply by wishing it. He brings in John Shoman and a film crew and decides to send the 7 to the Land of Magic for their new adventure.

Dick Dillin, at that time rendering the adventures of the Justice League of America, was a canny choice for the opening salvo in this team adventure, and his workman-like style did not disappoint!

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Shining Knight 438The Shining Knight

“Knight After Knight!”

Writer: Joseph Samachson, Penciler/Inker: Howard Chaykin, Editors: Joe Orlando & Paul Levitz

The Shining Knight lands Winged Victory near a castle reminiscent of Camelot. He overhears that the magician living in the castle is keeping a fair maiden captive – the Princess of Twin Oaks. The Shining Knight vows to rescue her!

He fights his way into the castle before seeing his own image in a mystic mirror. His reflection steps out of the mirror and does battle with the Shining Knight.  They are too evenly matched and wear each other out. When the evil magician tries to capture the Knight, he pretends to be the reflection. Not knowing which is the real Knight, the magician locks them both into the dungeon.

The Shining Knight escapes his bonds and confronts the magician. The wizard explains that the Princess of Twin Oaks is a prize sow promised to him before the farmer reneged. The magician vows to do no further harm and Shining Knight’s doppelganger tells Knight that the mystic mirror can return the Knight to any location he wishes.

The Shining Knight and Winged Victory use the mirror to go back to Willie Wisher and to find his fellow Soldiers.

Legendary artist Howard Chaykin lent his pencils to this segment – superb art reminscent of the Shining Knight’s former pen man Frank Frazetta!

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About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!