Timba! Ungowa! Tarzan read Bicentennial blog! Blog good!

DC SALUTES THE BICENTENNIAL

#32

Tarzan #251

 tarzan 251

Published monthly, thirty cents, August

Cover artist: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

Editor: Joe Orlando

            Do I really need to tell you about Tarzan? You know all about the King of the Jungle … Lord Greystoke, parents marooned, raised by apes, you Jane …

            I will say he debuted in the 1912 novel (the first of 24) “Tarzan of the Apes” by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

            There have been Tarzan comic books as long as there have been comic books – even during the so-called “Platinum Age” when companies would reprint his strips into comic book format. From February 1948 until August 1962 Dell Comics published the adventures of the Ape Man for 131 issues. Gold Key took over the comic from #132 (November 1962) until #206 (February 1972).

            DC Comics published the character from #207 (April 1972) through #258 (February 1977), when Marvel Comics bought out the rights and published their own comic beginning with new numbering.

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            Another missed opportunity – with a scheduling version of three card monte, the 250th anniversary issue of Tarzan could also have been a Bicentennial Banner comic…

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“Jungle War (part two)”, adapted from the novel Tarzan the Untamed, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Gerry Conway ( w ), Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (a). This serial will conclude in issue #256.

 untamed

            It is 1914 in British East Africa. Tarzan carries Major Schneider of the Kaiser’s army to the top of a ravine and, after a struggle, kicks him into the waiting paws of a hungry lion (hungry, Hun, get it?), thus avenging Jane’s (supposed) death. Still, mourning, he kills an antelope for food and viciously fights off a pack of jackals intent on stealing his meal.

            Later, he attacks a German machine gun nest, turns their guns on the German army and escapes unseen.  He informs the general in command he will not rest until every German in Africa is driven out or dead. Tomorrow he vows to empty out the German trench without firing a shot.

            Tarzan shoos off a pack of hyenas eating a boar to skin it. He returns to the ravine where the lion is sleeping off his Germanic meal from two days before. Tarzan uses the skin to cover the lion’s head and paws – rendering it helpless. He unleashes the lion into the German trench. The Boche flee into No Man’s Land and and thus shot down by the English. The lion finally ends by killing Lieutenant Von Goss – who was at the moment bragging about burning the Greystoke plantation to the ground.

            Tarzan chases the other commanders into No Man’s Land. They beg for mercy, please do not kill us as you did Schneider’s brother, they say.

            Brother? Yes, Tarzan killed the brother of Captain Fritz Schneider. Not Schneider himself.

            “Jane’s killer still lives?!” Tarzan bellows in rage.

            To be continued…

 

Ape Mail: letters commenting on issues #247 and 248 by Mark Schmeider, Concord, Mass (mostly positive, but wants more details as to the artists involved – it is explained that the Redondo Studio does some of the art and it is hard to track – whoever came in that morning did the art!) and Don Vaughn of Lake Worth, FL (positive and requests they continue the Fantastic Creatures of Edgar Rice Burroughs feature – the editor says the feature will resume in Tarzan Family and hypes that companion title, telling us all new stories are on the way (for two more issues …).  The column also contained a list of the first ten Tarzan novels, their dates of release and the issues of Tarzan that adapted the stories so far! The editor also asks for more of your letters!

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Join me next time for the last DC’s Bicentennial issue #33: DC Super-Stars #5

 

Original Material copyright 2015 Michael Curry

Images used are copyright their respective holders and reproduced here under the “Fair Use” doctrine of 17 USC 106 & 106a for the purposes of criticism and comment.

 

 

Adventure Comics #446: Aquaman and the Creeper!

DC SALUTES THE BICENTENNIAL

#31

Adventure Comics #446

Adventure_Comics_Vol_1_446

Published bi-monthly, thirty cents, August

Cover artist: Jim Aparo

Editor: Joe Orlando

            Until its first cancellation in 1982, Adventure Comics was the oldest continually running comic book on the stands (back when there were stands…). Its first issue was called New Comics dated December 1935 by someone calling themselves National Allied Publications. It changed its title with issue #12 (January 1937) to New Adventure Comics. The New was removed in November 1938 and remained that way until its cancellation (although during the Spectre’s run in the early 1970s it was called Weird Adventure Comics, as part of the Weird line: Weird Mystery, Weird War, Weird Western, etc. Weird). Some New Adventure Comics are available for viewing at the online library Comic Books Plus.

            It went from a comic of humorous stories to action/adventure tales during this time – some stories were written and drawn by eventual-Superman creators Joe Shuster and Jerry Seigel.

            At the dawn of the superhero age Adventure dove right in with the debut of the Sandman with issue #40, Hourman (#48, March 1940), Starman (61, April, 1941) and Simon & Kirby’s Manhunter (#73, April 1942).  When More Fun Comics changed formats to humor stories, its characters moved to Adventure, including Superboy, as of issue #103 (April 1946).  In issue #247 (April 1958) the Legion of Superheroes debuted. They eventually shared billing with Superboy during their classic run. They were replaced by a solo Supergirl lead as of issue #381 (June 1969). She starred in the comic until #424 (October 1972)

            The comic switched back to its adventure roots for the next few issues (Captain Fear debuted) before Black Orchid debuted in #428 (August 1973).

            With issue #431 (February 1974), the Spectre began his iconic run of stories by Michael Fleisher/Jim Aparo that were more in the supernatural setting than the superhero one.

            Aquaman (a back-up feature for a time – with Mike Grell’s first DC work – although published after he took over the Legion’s art from Dave Cockrum) took over as the main feature as of issue #441 (October 1975).  This is where our Bicentennial issue comes in…

            During this run the readers were treated to some fantastic back-up features; including the aforementioned return of Aquaman and a “lost” story of the Seven Soldiers of Victory.

            Superboy returned home as of issue #453 (October 1977) until the comic reverted to its anthology roots by becoming a Dollar Comic as of issue #459 (October 1978) and featuring, in various issues, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Deadman, Elongated Man and Aquaman. This lasted for seven issues. As a Dollar Comic, Adventure became a bit of a repository to wrap up story arcs from cancelled comics: the New Gods and the Justice Society of America completed their storylines (most notably the JSA tale featured the death of the Earth-2 Batman, a critical moment in the creation of the Huntress).

            With the new decade Adventure returned to standard size as of issue #457 (January 1980) with a new version of Starman debuting, sharing the bill with Plastic Man (and eventually a three-way bill with the returning Aquaman) through issue #478. Issue #479 (March 1981) featured a rebooted Dial H for Hero, where two normal people turned into fan-created superheroes, until #490 (February 1982).

            The title was revived in September 1982 as a digest-sized comic featuring new tales of Shazam and Challengers of the Unknown. It was mainly a reprint series for the Legion of Superheroes. Those reprints eventually took over the book until its final cancellation as of issue 503 (September 1983).

            Adventure Comics was revived a few more times and in September 2010 was brought back with new numbering through twelve issues, but then resuming the older numbering with #516 (503 + twelve new issues, you see) again as a Legion vehicle until finally put to rest as of issue #529 (October 2011).

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            This is the only comic of the Bicentennial line that recognizes the Bicentennial on the cover other than the top header. Aquaman, king of a foreign state, is happily waving the Stars and Stripes on the left side of the cover. Atlantis honoring our birthday! Of course, he IS half-American on his father’s side. Was he the first comic book anchor baby? 😉

The Manta-Ray Means Murder”, Paul Levitz/Marty Pasko ( w ), Jim Aparo (a)

 Adventure 466-2

            The splash page shows Topo the octopus strangling Arthur Jr., but the dumb brute was only rescuing the baby – who was crawling to the exit. Robin calls the Sea King to report he has not been able to find Aqualad. Aquaman tells Robin of recent events – his being deposed and banished from Atlantis – and tells Robin to warn Aqualad when found to avoid the undersea kingdom lest he be shot on sight!

 adventure 466-3

            Meanwhile, Aqualad and Tula (Aquagirl) are on a gambling boat in Louisiana to stop a diamond-smuggling ring. Aqualad fights off the smugglers but if finally knocked out. He is revived to discover the ringleader is Black Manta! Manta catches Tula eavesdropping and, not knowing who she is, ties her up and throws her into the sea to her supposed death!

 adventure 466-1

            Interlude: while Aquaman is away, his successor Karshon, plots an assault on Mera and Arthur Jr.

            Aquaman finds Tula and unties her. They raid the gambling boat, rescue Aqualad and beat Manta to a pulp. Black Manta ducks out and escapes, even fighting off a giant squid holding his manta-ship. On board, Aquaman discovers a cache of underwater laser rifles – the kind used by his successor Karshon. Manta was not only smuggling diamonds, but running guns to Atlantis!

            This story was reprinted in the trade paperback Death of a Prince, 2011.

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Mind Over Murder”, Martin Pasko ( w ), Ric Estrada and Joe Staton (a). Part two of three.

 creeper

            A solo Creeper tale. He first appeared in 1968 in Showcase #73 and in his own comic for a time. He was a creation of Steve Ditko and the art here is reminiscent of his style.

            At the Humbolt Institute for the physically handicapped, the Creeper saved Dr. Joanne Russell from a brutal assault from a giant plastic monster that had already killed one therapist. The four policemen charge into the room and train their guns on our hero – thinking him responsible! The Creeper fights off the police.

            Creeper remembers the plastic killer – he saw it during an interview with Dr. Vernon Maddox in his secret identity as TV reporter Jack Ryder. Maddox could control a mannequin with his telekinetic power.

            As Ryder visits Russell, a sleeping Maddox subconsciously activates the killer mannequin. Russell tells the Creeper that she and Maddox are rivals competing for the same grant money, but is that reason enough to kill her? While they talk, the mannequin attacks!  Russell, on the Creeper’s instructions, calls Maddox and wakes him. Maddoz uses his telekinetic power to force Russell to walk out the window of her high-storied hospital room! To be continued!

 

 

Dateline Adventure: letters for Adventure Comics #444. All positive letters praising the Aquaman series (and rightly so, it was a great run) by Kevin L. Callahan, Brea, CA, Scott Gibson, Evergreen, CO and Scott R. Taylor, Portland, TX.

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Join me next time for DC’s Bicentennial issue #32: Tarzan #251

 

Original Material copyright 2015 Michael Curry

Images used are copyright their respective holders and reproduced here under the “Fair Use” doctrine of 17 USC 106 & 106a for the purposes of criticism and comment.

House of Mystery #243 – DC’s Bicentennial issue #10

Do You Dare Read …

hom iconic 

DC SALUTES THE BICENTENNIAL

#10

House of Mystery #243

 HOM 243

Published monthly, thirty cents, August

Cover artist: Ricardo Villagran

Editor: Joe Orlando

            House of Mystery was the most successful of the many excellent horror anthologies DC released in its catalogue. The first issue was published in December 1951 and lasted 321 issues until (appropriately) October 1983.  There have been various revivals of the title since with mixed success.

            Because of the Comics Code, HoM changed formats in the mid-1950s to more science fiction/suspense stories.  It soon became a home to superheroes – Martian Manhunter and Dial H for Hero mainly. By July 1968, the Code weakened its grip allowing DC to hire Joe Orlando to bring the magazine back to horror stories with issue 174 (a reprint issue – new stories resumed with #175). #175 introduced the House’s caretaker, Cain, whose own “adventures” occasionally book-ended the issues. He would introduce most stories and provide a comment in the final panel.

 

 cain

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            “Brother Bear”, Bob Haney ( w ), Franc C Reyes (a); Zebulon Hunt heads to the electric chair, having been found guilty and convicted for murder.

            In his resort in the far north, he used his airplane to hunt down and chase polar bears. He would land after the bears were tired out to shoot them for trophies. His manservant, the Inuit named Umiak, protested. This got him a smack from Hunt for his trouble…

            Hunt later killed a bear Umiak was himself hunting … although it looked more like the manservant and the beast were communicating with each other … somehow…

            Hunt finally found the huge bear rumored to be in the area – the biggest on record! He chased, it, shot it, decapitated it and took the head to be stuffed as a trophy. When the taxidermists opened the crate they found the head … of Umiak!

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            “Things Like That Don’t Happen”, Sheldon Meyer     ( w ), Jess Jodloman (a)

            Sid and Millie Barnes were found dead on the beach.

            Flashback to Sid finding Millie on the boardwalk after hours in front of her favorite attraction – the fortune-telling machine containing the wooden mannequin of a Gypsy King. Sid begs her for $2000.00 – the last of her inheritance for yet another “investment” scheme.  After an argument she relents and gives him the money.

            The Gypsy King dummy falls over and Millie sets it upright again. A fortune card pops out of the machine: “24 Black Gets It All Back”.

            Millie discovers Sid’s “investment” was a roulette table! Sid is already down to the last $50.00 of the $2,000.00 as Millie swoops the money away and puts it on 24. A winner! She lets it ride. Another winner! She wins back her $2,000.00 and leaves. Sid follows.

            They argue on the beach. Sid knocks Millie down, killing her accidentally. Since no one would believe it was an accident, he buries her on the beach. A third party sneaks behind Sid and kills him! The police find tracks in the sand leading to and from the boardwalk and the fortune telling machine. The Gypsy King’s shoes are filled with sand…

 

 

Cain’s Mailroom. Managing Editor Paul Levitz answers letters as Cain on issue #239.  Linas Sabalys of Laval, PQ, Canada had both positive and negative comments, Arthur Grance of Staten Island, NY (positive), Sam MCHendley of Berkeley, CA requested Cain no longer host Plop as it is beneath him…

 

Next: DC’s Bicentennial Banner #11 – Batman #277!

 

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Original Material copyright 2015 Michael Curry

 

Images used are copyright their respective holders and reproduced here under the “Fair Use” doctrine of 17 USC 106 & 106a for the purposes of criticism and comment.