Seven Soldiers of Victory, part 6: the conclusion of the Lost Story!

Adventure Comics #443, February 1976

The back-up feature is an unpublished saga of the Seven Soldiers of Victory – written in the Golden Age but never rendered and completed until 1975.Adventure 443 splash

Part Seven: The Seven Soldiers of Victory

“Confrontation”

Writer: Joseph Samachson

Penciler/Inker: Dick Dillin, Inker: Tex Blaisdell

Editor: Joe Orlando

Returning from their separate adventures in the Land of Magic, the Seven Soldiers of Victory confront Willie Wisher and fight off all his attempts to stop them: a steel wall, vicious gorillas and a gang of human thugs!

Instead of fighting, the SSOV convince Wisher that, although his intentions are good, he can cause evil. Wisher feels so guilty he wishes he had never been born …

Poof!

Jon Shoman concludes his film (remember?) of the battle to boos and accusations of fraud. It seems only he remembers Wisher. Vigilante remembers Wisher’s words in the movie – “Willie said he’d make sure we’d never forget him…” Perhaps this film was his way of ensuring that, they reason.

Crimson Avenger asks what if Wisher only disappeared and this was all another trick – how will Law’s Legionnaires stop him next time?

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Pure pure fun! I loved it! Were there other stories tucked away in DC’s files, unpublished? Were they as bad as this? 😉

Thanks for joining me! To read the other Chapters, you can search for “Seven Soldiers”  in the browser on my webpage. Join me again for more Back Pages.

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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!

 

 

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Seven Soldiers of Victory, part 5: The Vigilante!

Adventure Comics #442, December 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The back-up feature is an unpublished saga of the Seven Soldiers of Victory – written in the Golden Age but never rendered and completed until 1975.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 442 splashPart Six: Vigilante

“Gnome Man’s Land”

Writer: Joseph Samachson

Penciler: José Luis García-López, Inker: Mike Royer

Editor: Joe Orlando

Vigilante finds himself literally in the center of a battlefield of … very tiny people. They stop when they see Vigilante in their midst. They explain: one group believes a straight line is the shortest distance between two points; the other that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line! Vigilante says that sounds “plum loco” and the battle resumes!

Vigilante tries to rope and shoot the warriors, but they shrink and stretch out of the way! The attackers boo and hiss each other, then turn on Vigilante – who has the nerve to use actual weapons!

While imprisoned, Vigilante discovers HE can stretch, too!  He quickly escapes. Returning to the battlefield, Vigilante turns himself into a giant housefly and scares the combatants into surrendering.Adventure 442 weirdness

Through singing a rondo, Vigilante helps the combatants realize they actually agree and stops the war. He stretches through a crack in the ground to return to earth.Adventure 442 singing

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Just when this series can’t get any weirder, Vigilante turns into Mitch Miller and choir-directs the gnome armies to a lasting peace. Plus, he can stretch like Plastic Man…

I love every panel…

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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 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.

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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!

 

 

One last try at the Adventure anthology…

Behold, the Bronze Age!

bronze-age

Adventure Comics #427. May 1973.

Joe Orlando: editor.  Luis Dominguez: cover artist.

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The Adventurer’s Club: “Voodoo Lizards”

Writer: John Albano; Penciler/Inker/Letterer: Jim Aparo

Co-edited by Joe Orlando and E. Nelson Bridwell

Carter desires to be the world’s greatest action photographer and convinces his native guides to herd antelopes into a crocodile nest and pays one native to try to high dive into a river. Unsuccessfully.

But to join the Adventurer’s Club, he tells Nathan Strong about his most nightmarish episode:

After taunting lions into severely injuring his boss and native guide, Carter bribes another native into taking him to a secret ceremony … a woman staked to the ground to be fed to a lizard raised by the witch doctors. If the lizard does NOT attack the girl – she will be married to the native prince!

Carter and his guide were discovered! The guide was killed, but Carter ran and ran … thinking he got away; but, exhausted, he discovered he was right back at the ceremony and attacked by the lizards!

But wait, if he was attacked by the lizards, how could he survive to tell the story to Nathan strong. The last panel reveals the lizard bites caused a strange metamorphosis…

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Vigilante: “The Slaying Town!”

Writer: Cary Bates;  Penciler: Mike Sekowsky, Inker: Dick Giordano, Letterer: Ben Oda

Co-edited by Joe Orlando and E. Nelson Bridwell

The Vigilante tracks smugglers to a set of a western movie. Vig watches from the distance as a scene turns into disaster – a stunt man is shot with real bullets instead of blanks and is killed by the star of the movie Wade Preston. Vig overhears the director admitting to wanting the stunt man dead because he wanted a “bigger cut” and framed Preston. The Vigilante breaks the star out of the jailhouse. The fugitives run through a gauntlet of grips and gaffers until finally escaping with the diamonds the director was smuggling in his gas tank.

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Captain Fear: “His Daughter’s Keeper”

Writer: Steve Skeates; Penciler/Inker: Alex Nino; Letterer: Marcus Pelayo

Co-edited by Joe Orlando and E. Nelson Bridwell

Captain Fear quickly turns the tables on the plantation owner’s daughter and takes her below just as her father attacks Fear’s ship! The father overpowers Fear and his crew and shackles the Captain. Later, the daughter, Denise, rescues Fear.

Before Fear escapes. He confronts the father and kills him. Fear is captured again by the crew and Denise reveals herself not only as the new captain but that she was NOT the man’s daughter, but a purchased slave. She asks Fear to serve as her second-in-command. He kisses her and leaps off the ship – rejecting her offer. Denise vows vengeance!

***

The letter column now has missives about the change in format (#425) and is typically mixed – some love the change, some did not, some loved one feature and disliked the others, another gave an opposing view. Joe gives a brief overview of the characters requested to appear. The Legion of Super-Heroes seems to be frequently requested and Orlando hypes their appearance and full-length stories in Superboy.

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The Adventure anthology-style lasted only three issues, this being the last. Sales were likely very low for these issues and the anthology was not given much time to take hold, as it had in DC’s horror titles. Too bad. The comic made a nice repository for stories that did not quite fit into their horror vein. Even their dip into superheroics (the Vigilante) seemed appropriate – a western strip set in modern times.

And over the last three issues we were given a who’s who of comic book writers and artists. This would be the last time DC tried for a non-horror or science fiction anthology comic book.

It was a noble, if failed, experiment. The Captain Fear strip would continue for some issues, but hereafter the comic would resume in the superhero mold (even, arguably, the Spectre series), but that didn’t mean it wouldn’t take chances on something different … Black Orchid debuts with the next issue!

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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!

J’onn J’onzz Martian Manhunter; Mission: Catch a Killer (part one)

The Back Pages: back-up features of the Bronze Age of comic books:

J’onn J’onzz The Martian Manhunter; Mission: Catch a Killer atory arc (part one)

Adventure 449 cover

Adventure Comics #449, February 1977

“Mission: Catch a Killer”

Writer: Denny O’Neil

Penciler: Michael Nasser, Inker: Terry Austin

Colorist: Carl Gafford

Editor: Paul Levitz

From DC Wikia:

Just as J’onn J’onzz is awarded leadership of Mars II for a second term as popular vote, his friend R’es Eda is cut down and apparently killed by a sniper. Eda’s last words were “was from…was…sol…”, which J’onzz interprets as meaning the killer was from Earth, a world circling Sol (Earth’s sun). Since no one there except the members of the Justice League knew where Mars II was located, J’onzz suspects that, like it or not, one of them may be involved in the murder. Though N’or Cott and other Martians try to stop him from leaving Mars, J’onzz steals one of Mars’s two spacecraft and heads for Earth, with N’or Cott in pursuit.

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This is the first Martian Manhunter solo story since House of Mystery #173 (April 1968) and his first solo story of the Bronze Age.

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Adventure 450 cover

Adventure Comics #450, April 1977

“Return to Destiny”

Writer: Denny O’Neil

Penciler/Colorist: Michael Nasser, Inker: Terry Austin

Editor: Paul Levitz

From DC Wikia:

Just after J’onn J’onzz breaches Earth’s atmosphere, his ship is blasted by N’or Cott, destroying it, dazing him, and drawing the attention of Supergirl. The Girl of Steel is mistakenly drawn into battle against the Martian Manhunter until she brings him back to his senses. When N’or Cott releases two more torpedoes, Supergirl intercepts and destroys them. J’onn stops her from pursuing Cott, saying that their attacker “is merely doing his duty.” But he tells her that somewhere on Earth is R’es Eda’s murderer, and he is bound to bring him to justice.

***

The 450th issue of Adventure comes and goes with no mention – anniversary issues such as this are celebrated and hyped throughout the Bronze (and later) age.

Also with no cover blurb or any hype, this is the first appearance of Supergirl in Adventure since her own series in #424, 4-1/2 years earlier. At the least that could have been hyped as an anniversary “gift” to the readers.

Adventure 450 splash

To be continued!

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Nowadays, J’onn J’onnz is an integral part of Supergirl’s life in the current television series on the CW…

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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!