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!

 

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Shazam #29. June, 1977

“Ibac Meets Aunt Minerva”

Cover Artist: Kurt Shaffenberger

Writer: E. Nelson Bridwell, Penciler: Kurt Schaffenberger

Inker: Vince Colletta; Managing Editor: Joe Orlando

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Sivana kidnaps Stanley Printwhistle to convince him to help defeat Captain Marvel. Prince Lucifer appears (the one who gave Printwhistle his powers) and vows to make him stronger. Stanley says his magic word: “Ibac” (Ivan the Terrible, Borgia, Attila, Caligula) and turns into Ibac the Cursed! Sivana also brings in arch-criminal Aunt Minerva and instructs her and Ibac to distract Captain Marvel while he is busy blowing up Niagara Falls.

But Cap is busy doing charity work! So, when Ibac starts crushing cars and destroying lampposts, it is up to Uncle (Dudley) Marvel to stop him! Ibac runs from Uncle Marvel – well, it was actually from Minerva who rounded a corner and also gave chase…

… all the way to Niagara Falls! Ibac hides from Minerva in a barrel – which Sivana was to used for his bomb. Ibac begs Dudley for help and they both seek advice from Solomon.

Captain Marvel finds Dudley and Ibac. Thinking Dudley needs rescuing, he fights Ibac. Minerva finds them all, and Ibac reverts back to Printwhistle to stop Minerva’s advances (she’s not THAT desperate for a husband!). Cap catches Minerva and Sivana (who vows to escape and battle Marvel in Pittsburgh) and Printwhistle vows never to turn into Ibac again – to avoid Minerva’s romantic advances!

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So far so good – the letters are positive for Cap’s new direction! The return of great Captain Marvel villains continues: This is Aunt Minerva’s first Bronze Age appearance (Shazam #12 was a reprint) and Ibac’s fourth!

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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!

 

 

Shazam #28, April, 1977

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Cover Artist: Kurt Shaffenberger

“The Return of Black Adam”

Writer: E. Nelson Bridwell, Penciler & Inker: Kurt Schaffenberger

Managing Editor: Joe Orlando

I still have my original copy I bought from the stands. I love this issue so much I can write the synopsis without re-reading the issue:

Sivana again uses his Reincarnation Machine, this time to bring back Teth Adam. Adam says the magic word and becomes Black Adam. Before Billy Batson, Shazam picked Teth Adam to wield the power of Shazam 5,000 year before. But Black Adam used his powers for evil. He was banished but returned to fight the Marvel Family. Tricked into saying “Shazam” Black Adam reverted to his mortal self and crumbled to dust.

Black Adam confronts Cap in Boston. Their battle nearly destroys the USS Constitution and the statue of Paul Revere before Cap loses track of Black Adam.

Billy Batson seeks the advice of Shazam, who recaps Black Adam’s origins and his first meeting with Captain Marvel.

Meanwhile, Sivana convinces Adam to get revenge on the old wizard – hoping that if Black Adam destroys Shazam, he will also destroy himself AND the Big Red Cheese!

Captain Marvel spots Black Adam and gives chase into eternity. Cap pitches Adam in the wrong direction and they end up in America’s past during the Boston Tea Party! The battle resumes and Black Adam collides with Captain Marvel, shouts “Shazam” and moves away at super-speed. The lightning bolt hits Cap instead and turns him back into Billy Batson.

Black Adam ties up Batson and tosses him into Boston Harbor. Billy swims to the surface and is rescued by Paul Revere disguised as a Native (on their way to dump crates of tea).

Black Adam, realizing Sivana’s trickery, abandons his plan to seek revenge against Shazam and returns to 1976 to confront Uncle Dudley/Mentor, who tricked Adam originally to revert to Teth Adam. Magic lightning strikes twice – Dudley again tricks Black Adam into saying the magic word and revert to Teth. Captain Marvel uses an amnesia punch to make Teth forget about his dual identity!

Billy receives a note from Sivana – his next target is Niagara Falls! The final panel says he will be helped by Ibac and Aunt Minerva!

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This was only the second appearance of Black Adam; the first was Marvel Family #1 (Dec. 1945)

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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!

 

 

Shazam #27. January, 1977

 

“Fear in Philadelphia”

Cover Artist: Ernie Chua (Chan)

Writer: E. Nelson Bridwell, Penciler: Kurt Schaffenberger, Inker: Vince Colletta

Managing Editor: Joe Orlando

Sivana uses his Reincarnation Machine to bring Blackbeard, Benedict Arnold and a bevvy of other baddies from 18th-century America back to life! They rob, steal and plunder to distract the Big Red Cheese from Sivana’s real purpose.

Billy Batson asks the Elder Mercury for help and the Messenger of the Gods send Kid Eternity to help.

Kid Eternity goes after the historical bad guys while Captain Marvel tracks down Sivana.

Billy is caught by Sivana after discovering his plot: Sivana has turned the Liberty Bell into an atomic bomb – when Captain Marvel rings it at a special ceremony tomorrow, it will destroy him and the city!

Kid Eternity captures most of the historical bad guys with the help of his conjured heroes – including Ethan Allen, Ben Franklin, Daniel Boone, and others. Kid Eternity chases Benedict Arnold to Sivana where he is also captured! Sivana will detonate the bomb by remote control and destroy them both!

Benedict Arnold, seeking redemption, frees Billy who turns into Captain Marvel and stops Sivana.  Unfortunately, the World’s Wickedest Scientist gets away!

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The letter column praised the new DC/TV format, with only one letter saying he preferred Golden Age reprints.

The final panel teaser and the letter column tells us the next issue will feature Black Adam as the villain!

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If Sivana wanted to stir up trouble with cutthroats and murderers why did he go to the trouble of using the Reincarnation Machine? He could have just used the line-up of the 1976 Flyers…

This was Kid Eternity’s (and Mr. Keeper’s) first appearance in new material since the Golden Age and his first DC appearance.

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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!

 

 

DC-TV: Shazam #26!

Shazam #26.  November, 1976

Cover Artist: Ernie Chua (Chan)

“The Case of the Kidnapped Congress”

Writer: E. Nelson Bridwell, Penciler/Inker: Kurt Schaffenberger

Managing Editor: Joe Orlando

Captain Marvel discovers that Sivana has stolen the Brooklyn Bridge! He is summoned to meet the old wizard Shazam and meets Mary Batson, Freddy Freeman and “Uncle” Dudley in the ancient cave.

Shazam warns Billy that Sivana threatens to destroy America city by city – Captain Marvel must stop him! Fortunately, Billy’s boss at TV station WHIZ arranged for Billy to travel the country to do specials reports on young people. He is given a TV van and a driver – Uncle Dudley! Rather than needing to return to Shazam’s cave, the six gods who give him his powers will be available to Billy in his TV van via the Eterni-stone! (Thus, the comic is now morphed more closely to the TV show)

Off to Washington to assess Sivana’s threat! While discussing where to turn next, Bllly, Mentor and new friend Rod Porter watch as the Capital Building disappears. Captain Marvel is baffled to discover most of the population don’t care. Much the same thing would happen today, in fact.

Sivana televises his threat – make him Supreme Ruler of the Universe or we will never see our senators and representatives again!

With a clue from the Elder Hercules, Cap deduces the Brooklyn Bridge and the Capital were whisked back in time 100 million years. Cap restores the Bridge and fights off a dinosaur intent on having politicians for dinner! He guesses Sivana is hiding in the Capital and (as Billy) is captured by Sivana’s caveman guard. Billy turns in to Captain Marvel and forces Sivana to restore the Capital Building to its rightful time. Sivana escapes into the time stream and warns Cap his next caper will be in Philadelphia.

More thrills in the City of Brotherly Love on sale in the third week of October!

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Missives in the letter column discuss issue #24, the last reprint issue before its brief hiatus and its reinvention into the first DC-TV comic.

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Kurt Shaffenberger is called the “World’s Greatest Artist” in the letter column. I agree! No one short of CC Beck fits better with the style and mood of Shazam! The story is aimed at younger readers, so some of the internal logic may cause us older and more cynical readers to squint and look askew. But I take these comics for what they are – fun adventures!

There’s nothing wrong with that!

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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!

Shazam #25: Saturday Mornings on CBS

 

Shazam #25. October 1976.

Cover: Kurt Shaffenberger

Isis: “Isis … as in Crisis”

Writer: Denny O’Neil, Art: Dick Giordano, Editor: Julie Schwartz

An old school building is being demolished. Student Cindy Lee is trapped in the rubble as a huge chunk of wall is about to crush her! Andrea Thomas changes to Isis and magically saves her. Captain Marvel swoops down to introduce himself – he was going to save Cindy until Isis intervened. Cindy was tracking two suspicious characters when she became trapped.

We get a brief origin of Isis: while on an Egyptian expedition, Andrea finds a scroll and amulet once owned by Queen Hatshepsut –  the only female pharaoh. She is compelled to put on the amulet and read the scroll. “With this, you shall have the power of the goddess Isis…”. Andrea calls out the name “Isis” and transforms for the first time.

Cindy spots the crooks again – they were retrieving stolen gold coins they had buried on the demolition site. The crooks catch Cindy after a car chase. They put Cindy back in her car and send it careening down a cliff!

Isis rescues Cindy and captures the gold coin thieves.

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Captain Marvel: “The Bicentennial Villain”

Story: E. Nelsen Bridwell, Art: Kurt Shaffenberger, Editor: Joe Orlando

Through a riddle, the old wizard Shazam warns Captain Marvel about great danger to the country: Listen for a laugh that can bring tears to millions!

Someone is sabotaging Billy’s documentary of young people’s contributions to history. He hears a sinister laugh aboard a sailing ship and runs afoul of Dr. Sivana! Sivana gags Billy and scuttles the ship. Billy works off the gag and says the magic word to turn into Captain Marvel. Marvel saves the ship from sinking, but Sivana gets away.

Sivana leaves a note saying he is going to destroy America city by city! How can Cap stop him when he (Billy Batson) has to work in New York? To be continued!

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 Letters comment on Shazam #23 (by then a quarterly reprint) and explains the new direction of the comic including a change in editors.

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Thus began the DC-TV line of comics. It was published June 29, 1976, with a cover date October 1976. By June the show had been on for 22 months and was about to start its third season as the Shazam/Isis Hour with only six new Shazam episodes (in addition to repeating Season One’s 15 shows and Season Two’s 7 episodes).

The Captain Marvel tale is a lead-in to eventually change its format to more closely reflect the show. So far there is no big camper or mentor, but it is implied they are coming in the next issue.

The Isis story fits snugly into the television show style. She even gives us a “lesson” at the end of the story as per the TV show – seeking danger to impress someone is just as dangerous: “We should each do what we can as well as we can.”

Plus the art on both stories are wonderful. Shaffenberger has always been a favorite – clean, solid art and very accessible to the young reader.

Giordano’s art on Isis is beautiful – he really brings the characters to life.

The DC-TV imprint is off to a good start!

Shazam Isis Hour

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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!

DC-TV: Saturday Morning comics…

DC-TV

When most people think of DC television … well … nothing pops into mind.

When most fans of DC comics think of DC television, their minds go to the live-action shows such as Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow, Gotham, or the upcoming Black Lightning.

Some comics fans may think of excellent animated series like Batman: TAS, Batman Beyond and Justice League Unlimited.

house ad (October 1976)

But for some of us the phrase “DC-TV” takes us back to 1976 and 1977 and four comic books published by DC but put under a different banner (now we would call it an “imprint”): the DC-TV Series of comics!

Logo Superfriends

Superfriends originally aired in 1973 and 1974, lasting only one season. It was revived as a mid-season replacement in 1976 and one version or the other continue to air into the mid-1980s. The comic Superfriends (TV shows are italicized, comics underlined) was published starting November 1976 until August of 1981, lasting 47 issues. The Saturday morning cartoon still being popular, the comic used the DC-TV logo through its entire run.

Logo Shazam

Shazam (Captain Marvel) debuted in September 1974 for two seasons with a third as part of the Shazam/Isis Hour in late 1976 – coinciding with the DC/TV comic books debut. The comic book published its first DC issue in 1973 and was suspended in early 1976 – despite the still-popular TV show. It was revived as a DC-TV comic and lasted for 11 more issues (until June 1978), the last two issues without the DC-TV logo. The comic book lasted longer than the TV show, but to be fair it started before the show as well …

Logo Isis

Isis debuted in September 1975 and lasted for 2 years and 22 episodes. She was never actually given her own program, but linked with Captain Marvel in the Shazam/Isis Hour. Her comic lasted 8 issues until January 1978, lasting longer than the television show – athough the character appeared in animated form in other Filmation shows (such as Freedom Force in 1980).

Logo Kotter

Welcome Back Kotter also debuted in September 1975 and lasted until May of 1979. Its comic lasted ten issues until May 1978. An unpublished story and other features were printed in a tabloid-size special edition.

Rumors abound of negotiations of a MASH comic book. If true, it did not go far.

Shazam #25, with an October 1976 cover date, introduced us not only to Isis, but the DC-TV series. The other three comic books debuted in November 1976, but available on the newsstands (as per the house ad) June, July and August of 1976.

For only the second time in its history, National/DC changed its logo to accommodate this special series of comics. The first issues had a simple DC-TV logo attached to a console television showing us the star of the magazine. This was during their “cigar-band” logo period. When the publisher went back to the logo in the upper-left corner, it added a square-shaped “TV” to its circular starred “DC”.

I’ll review most of the DC-TV line-up in this blog. I’ll stop with Super Friends #13 (July 1978) when it became the last title of the line.

I hope you enjoy the blog series and I look forward to your comments.

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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!