Isis #6. September 1977.

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“The Ominous Ooze”

Cover Artists: Rich Buckler & Vince Colletta

Writer: Jack C Harris; Penciler: Mike Vosburg

Inker: Vince Colletta; Letterer: Ben Oda

Editor: Dennis O’Neil; Executive Editor: Joe Orlando

From DC Wikia:

A unit of the Egyptian Army is on the march. From the air, the Mighty Isis magically stops their tanks and lands before their commander. She tells him that she will not allow them to take human lives. Suddenly, a purple, malodorous Ooze moves over the desert sands. Isis uses the sand to lift her into the sky as she tries to think of a way to destroy the Ooze. She watches in horror as the Ooze digests a camel. Then, the Ooze disappears, leaving a puzzled Isis to ponder that, since this defies the laws of science, what would Andrea Thomas do in a situation like this.

Back in the United States, Rick begins his search for Andrea and drives to the home of Andrea’s mother in Missouri. The target of Rick’s search is flying over the trail of destruction left by the Ooze, which ends in an abandoned oil field. She lands and confronts Mister Emal, the creator of the Ooze. He orders his henchmen to release it, but the Ooze machine runs out of its plutonium fuel. They pull out their guns to kill Isis, but the local military General, Abdel, orders them not to. Isis warns that she will keep a close watch on them, then flies away.

Rick arrives in Fairfax, Missouri and meets Viola Thomas, Andrea’s mother. He tells her that Andrea is missing and asks where she might be. At the same time, Dr. David Munch, who works for General Abdel, drives to a top secret government research lab to sneak out the fuel for a large scale version of the Ooze machine. Isis locates Abdel and Emal and hitches a ride on their airplane to the USA. In overhearing their plans for their Ooze Machine, she learns that their destination is Fairfax, Missouri, where Andrea’s mother lives. Isis leaves the plane and flies to Fairfax.

After landing, Isis changes back into Andrea to explain to her mother that she wants to remain as Isis forever. She spots Rick there and waits for him to go away. In a nearby clearing, Abdel, Emal and Munch start up the full-size Ooze Machine. As it begins to digest the trees and grass in the clearing, the Ooze engulfs the machine and flows out of control. Rick is about to leave when Andrea’s mother spots the approaching Ooze.

Andrea becomes The Mighty Isis and takes to the air. She tries to destroy the Ooze by removing the ground moisture and by using solar heat, but to no avail. The Ooze now catches up with its creators. Isis tries to rescue them but arrives too late. Now it goes after Rick and Mrs. Thomas. As Isis rescues them, she realizes that the Ooze feeds on organic matter. Remove it and the Ooze should die. As Isis separates the ground, the Ooze digests the remaining matter on it and dies. After Isis replaces the ground, Rick asks her why she just happens to be in Missouri. When she replies that she is where she is needed, Rick demands that she explain the connection between her and Andrea. Andrea’s mother asks Isis if she knows where her daughter is. She replies, “I cannot tell you the location of your child”. As she takes to the air, Rick begins to wonder if Isis has kidnapped Andrea.

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The letter column still has positive letters and Cary Burkett hints at a visit in the book by Captain Marvel! They also promise they will pin down Isis’ powers and origin, as promised in the final panel blurb – next issue, the Origin of Isis!

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Mike Vosburg’s art is a mixed bag here – honestly as much as I love his work he is an acquired taste. But look at this beautiful full-page spread …Isis 6 page

Other pages, however, appear rushed and sketchy.

So Andrea is not gone for good, but the comic certainly goes into a direction far from the television series, which by now is in its final months of summer reruns. Perhaps the sales reflected this and the editors allowed Mr. Harris to do what he wished with the characters – add romance, make Isis a little more arrogant, etc. I wish they would have had more time to develop these ideas.

But the end is coming…

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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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Shazam #30. August, 1977

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“Captain Marvel Fights the Man of Steel”

Cover Artist: Kurt Shaffenberger

Writer: E. Nelson Bridwell, Penciler: Kurt Schaffenberger

Inker: Vince Colletta; Colorist: Jerry Serpe, Letterer: Ben Oda

Editor: Joe Orlando

From DC Wikia:

Billy Batson and Uncle Dudley travel to Ft. Pitt in Pittsburgh, where they discover that Doctor Sivana broke into the facility and stole a copy of a DC Comics comic book. In his hidden lair, Sivana reads about the adventures of Superman and decides to create his own Man of Steel. He produces a robotic brain and then dumps it into a smelting vat at a local steel factory. The molten metal forms around the robotic brain, taking the form of an old folk hero, Joe Magarac.

As Joe Magarac begins sabotaging the steelworks, Billy Batson changes into a Captain Marvel and confronts him. He punches him through the ceiling, but Magarac comes back and later captures the hero while he is in his human guise of Billy Batson. Sivana has Magarac place a metal gag across Billy’s mouth, but Billy manages to trick Joe Magarac into removing it, thereby allowing him to transform back into Captain Marvel (Actually he wrote a note calling Magarac a big ape, Magarac nearly breaks Billy’s jaw punching him and knocking off the gag).

Cap defeats Magarac, but Sivana creates steel animals to destroy ever steel mill in the area!

Captain Marvel uses the eterni-phone to consult with the elders. The spirit of Atlas informs Marvel that he will need the aid of the entire Marvel Family to stop Sivana’s scheme. Captain Marvel flies across the country and rounds up Captain Marvel, Jr., Mary Marvel and the Lieutenant Marvels. They all return to Pittsburgh and shatter the steels animals. Captain Marvel has one final showdown with a steel Superman, defeats him and apprehends Sivana.  Seems the Superman of Steel was made of a special formula created by Sivana. This super-steel will help him rule the world! Fortunately for the world, Captain Marvel snatches the formula from Sivana’s hands to be used for good …

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The letter columns were all positive – still praising the new format and the return of Black Adam – who has over the past forty years been the most durable of Captain Marvel’s villains!

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I still have my original copy of this comic – I was enthralled with it! Superman appears – kind of … and I learned about Joe Magarac, a folk hero I had never heard of! In these days of the internet, Magarac research is made easy – Google it!

Shazam 30 magarac

Per my research, and I might be wrong, this is the first appearance of the Lieutenant Marvels since the Golden Age (flashbacks and cameo panels aside). Of course, they were retconned out with the Crisis…). It took me well into the 1990s to get “Hill Billy”.Shazam 30 page

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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!

 

Hercules Unbound #9, March 1977

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“Finale”

Cover: Walt Simonson, Editor: Joe Orlando

Writer: David Michelinie; Pencilers: Walt Simonson & Bob Layton, Inker: Bob Layton

Story Editor: Denny O’Neil

Dave Rigg and his plastic robots fight Hercules, Kevin, Jennifer and their female-android army. Rigg dispatches Jennifer and the robots but Herc and Kevin (and faithful dog Basil) go deeper into the compound. Jennifer awakes among the android rubble and escapes a seemingly comatose Rigg.

Miss Agatha Simms senses their defeat and brings forward a simulacrum of the Enola Gay and its payload – the first atomic bomb – to defeat her enemy!

Working their way back to the control room – Hercules and Kevin see Riggs confronting the real enemy. I’ll use his words: He is the “representation of the Simms Analogue Data Energizer – the most advanced computer defense system ever devised and I have been under unprovoked and ever-escalating attack for the last several weeks.” Nuclear retaliation is inevitable, it says, but because of a fail-safe in its programming, only a human can launch his nuclear weapons. It destroys the Enola Gay and forces Rigg to launch its nuclear missiles. Hercules is too late to stop them!

Jennifer, lost in the compound, decides to smash some equipment. Unknowingly, she overloads Rigg’s system and releases him from SADE’s clutches! She finds an auto-destruct button and activates it before running out of the Command Center where she finds Hercules, Kevin and Dave.  They escape on Simm’s fleet before the auto-destruct hits the nuclear stockpile.

Simms, meanwhile, diverts the nuclear missile fired upon her back in time. Not far, just to October 1986, somewhere in Greece. Now on to curing Kevin’s eye sight.

Kevin refuses to let the witch touch him! He reminds Hercules of how World War III started – with a nuclear attack in Greece in October of 1986!

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The letters page announces that Cary Bates will assume scripting duties next issue.

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Simonson takes command of the art here, although it is not his usual beefy style. This is because he did only the layout and Bob Layton did most of the details and inks. Great job regardless. Jennifer is as beautiful as she was under Wally Wood’s inks (and that is saying something).  Plus, dig this full-page explosion of SADE’s island. WOW!Hercules Unbound 9 illo

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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 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!

 

 

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!

 

 

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!

 

 

Metal Men #53; September, 1977

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Cove: Jim Aparo

“The Hand that Shocks the Cradle Rules the World”

Writer: Martin Pasko; Penciler/Inker: Joe Staton

Colorist: Liz Berube

Story editor: Paul Levitz; Managing editor: Joe Orlando

MM53

The Brain Children trick Doc into thinking the Metal Men are greeting him at the entrance of Happyland, but Platinum warns him of the trap! The children affect with Doc’s mind and drives him insane! Tina and Iron dispatch the babies incurring the wrath of Strangeglove.

One of the babies rebels at being nothing but a slave and sabotages the Helix Ray.

In the meantime, we learn the origin of Strangeglove: the nuclear explosion fused a typewriter to his hand giving him strange typewriter-based powers (remember this is the “tongue-in-cheek” style of the MM).

To punish the rebellious baby Albert, Strangeglove points the Helix Ray at him, turning the infant into a huge angry baby! Doc convinces the other Brain Children to also rebel. They release the General and Johanna from their cages and restore their minds and turn Strangeglove into a slobbering, gibbering baby.

In the end Tina wants to adopt the genius babies to help Doc Magnus. Doc says no – Platinum is only a robot and will be unable to mother the babies. Platinum, in a fit of pique, quits the Metal Men!

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The letter column printed only two letter this time, again debating the recent “tongue-in-cheek” approach to the comic.

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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!