Super-Team Family #2: January 1976

Behold, the Bronze Age!

bronze-age

Creeper and Wildcat: “Showdown in San Lorenzo!”

Writer: Denny O’Neil, Artists: Ric Estrada & Bill Draut, Editor: Gerry Conway

Wildcat agrees to fight contender Japhy Shim for charity but also to drum up publicity for Shim and the resort paradise San Lorenzo. Jack Ryder of WHAM is there doing the play-by-play.

A gas grenade interrupts Wildcat’s interview. In the chaos, thugs grab Shim and Jack Ryder changes into the Creeper! Creeper’s old enemy Proteus is standing in the ring and Creeper attacks!

Creeper eventually realizes he is fighting Wildcat and not Proteus; deducing that Proteus used hypnotic gas to fool Creeper to get him and Wildcat out of the way. Creeper and Wildcat decide to rescue Shim together.

Their hunt leads them to San Lorenzo. General Pedro Lobo (who lost the recent national elections), demands to be put back into power or Shim will not fight the champion! The financial loss to San Lorenzo will bankrupt it! The readers discover Lobo is really Proteus using his power of disguise.

Wildcat agrees to take Shim’s place during the big fight.

Jack Ryder/Creeper spots one of the thug from the charity match and follows him. He discovers Proteus intends to off Shim by dropping him to the ring from the ceiling of the arena!

Creeper captures Proteus and his thugs, but not before Proteus hurls Shim from the rafters to the boxing ring. Wildcat, knocked flat by the champ, sees Shim and breaks his fall. Through the thugs’ confession, Creeper confronts the President of San Lorenzo – who orchestrated the entire kidnapping plan to consolidate his power and ensure his reelection!

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The text feature gives brief origins for Wildcat and Creeper.

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“Track of the Hook” (Batman and Deadman) from Brave and Bold #79 (September 1968)

Even in 1976 the Deadman saga from Strange Adventure was considered a comic book classic. Part of the saga was told in the pages of Brave & Bold. In fact, the two Batman/Deadman tales (of which this was the first) book-ended B&B’s greatest run: #s 79-86. Unabashed plug: for more check out my free ebook, Brave & Bold: from Silent Knight to Dark Knight).

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Green Arrow: “Mystery of the Vanishing Arrows” from Adventure Comics #266 (November 1959).

Superman appears to help solve the mystery.

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The Batman/Deadman story was not an odd choice to reprint in this issue, but it certainly overshadowed the “new” tale that fronted the magazine. This story got top billing on the cover.

So why “debut” the team-up format with (to be kind) C-grade heroes? Did they think a comic starring Wildcat and the Creeper would fly off the shelves? It even got second billing on the cover!

Why not team more popular heroes that did not have their own magazines – like Green Arrow or (at that time) Green Lantern? GA could have been deftly inserted over Wildcat (whose only appearances in the past twenty years were in the pages of Brave & Bold).

The story and art were good, but not great. The exercise was fun, but forgettable.

For a new team-up book, this is Strike Two (Strike One being the debut issue promising but not delivering no new material)…

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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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Legendary Comic Book Artist Russ Heath Dies At 91

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https://comicbook.com/comics/2018/08/25/comic-book-artist-russ-heath-dies/

By ADAM BARNHARDT

Thank you Adam and the website Comicbook for allowing me to share your wonderful article.

Legendary comic book artist and illustrator Russ Heath has passed away, as confirmed from by family on social media. He was 91.

Lee Kosa, Heath’s grandson, took to Twitter to share the sad news earlier this week.

Lee Kosa

@leekosa

My grandfather and legendary comic artist Russ Heath passed away last night. His mastery of the craft of illustration encouraged me to pursue the arts and it is a joy to see my son now filling his own sketchbooks. Thank you for passing along the joys of drawing and storytelling.

Heath, one of the industry’s longest-tenured artists, got his first professional gig for Timely Comics — the predecessor to Marvel — in 1947. While at Timely, Heath primarily drew for the company’s Western series under titles like Two-Gun Kid and Wild Western. Some of his work, in fact, was a Two-Gun Kid story released in Wild Western #4 in 1948.

“His mastery of the craft of illustration encouraged me to pursue the arts and it is a joy to see my son now filling his own sketchbooks,” Kosa wrote of his grandfather. “Thank you for passing along the joys of drawing and storytelling.”

Heath’s first superhero gig came as he drew a seven-page story in Captain America Comics #71 (1949), a story titled “Fate Fixed a Fight.”

As Timely then turned into Atlas Comics then Marvel, Heath worked on various horror titles such as Marvel Tales, Strange Tales, and Journey Into Mystery.

After his work at Timely was complete, Heath went on to work for both EC Comics and DC Comics, primarily focusing on horror and war titles.

Heath’s last professional comic book work was a four-page penciling and inking job in The Immortal Iron Fist #20 (2009). “The Mortal Iron Fist, Conclusion,” story Heath drew and inked was a flashback sequence in the fan-favorite Iron Fist run.

Heath received an Inkpot Award in 1997 before being inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2009. The legendary artist also received the Comic Art Professional Society’s Sergio Award in 2010 as well as the National Cartoonists Society’s Milton Caniff Award in 2014.

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DC/National comics fans know Mr. Heath’s work in the war comics. Our Army At War, Star Spangled War Stories as well as Sea Devils and stories in DC’s horror anthologies.

Oh, and the Brave & the Bold.

Russ Heath drew a few of the Silent Knight stories and all of the Golden Gladiator tales.

From the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight:

“(His) style was different (from the other features). The lines were darker, the motion less fluid and the colors more muted. The characters were also beefier and more muscular than any other feature.”

His work was always a perfect match to the story.

He was a legendary artist and one of the last of the great ones still around. I am glad he lived to see the honors he so deserved.

As for the compensation he also deserved, that was a different story. See the link below:

http://comicsalliance.com/russ-heaths-comic-about-being-ripped-off-by-roy-lichtenstein-will-give-you-a-new-appreciation-for-the-hero-initiative/

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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!

 

A Bronze Age Christmas: Brave & Bold 148

Behold!

Bronze age Christmas

Special Christmas Edition

Brave & Bold #148, March 1979

Cover: Jim Aparo and Tajana Wood

Batman & Plastic Man, “The Night the Mob Stole Christmas”,

Writer: Bob Haney, Artists: Jim Aparo and Joe Staton)

Colorist: Jerry Serpe, Editor: Paul Levitz

A Florida mobster smuggles in illegal (untaxed) cigarettes into Gotham City and smuggles out the city’s Main Street Christmas decorations to lure his competitors into a Christmas party trap.  Too bad they also kidnapped Santa – it was Plastic Man in disguise trying to make a buck!

DC Wikia has more details: When Gotham City is plagued by an cigarette smuggling ring, Batman goes investigating, but he is sidetracked when one of the city’s main Christmas decorations is stolen. Doing detective work, Batman finds out that his friend, Plastic Man has also been kidnapped along with the ornaments and he follows the clues that Plas left behind.

Batman manages to save Plastic Man, but the criminals get away with the Christmas decorations. After doing some background research on the crooks, Batman learns that they are the same gang responsible for the smuggling ring and thanks to Plastic Man’s own information, they learn that their base of operations is located in Florida.

Batman and Plastic Man go to Florida, where the criminals have placed the Christmas decoration on the mansion of their leader. The heroes take the criminals by surprise and after a long struggle, they overcome the odds of being outnumbered and capture the crooks including their leader.

Batman and Plas return to Gotham with the Christmas decorations and the city has a very nice and white holiday.

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            Bob Haney was the regular writer for Brave & Bold, writing all but seven issues between #50 and #157! Issue #147 (w/Supergirl), was one of those rare breaks.  To quote from the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight: With #148, “Haney returns and takes his frustrations out on his favorite whipping boy, Plastic Man , the last of Plas’ four appearances in B&B. Plas is (as was usual in B&B) still shown as a lonely loser.

The combination of Aparo and Staton works here despite their divergent styles – Staton’s heroes are drawn thickly and muscular, Aparo’s are wiry and thin.”

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1225-hom266

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This issue has some sentimental value to me. It was the last issue of Brave & Bold I purchased that completed my 200-issue run. An odd last issue considering some of the key issues involved in the series!

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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!