The 400th issue of … everything! My 400th blog!

This is my 400th blog. Not a big deal to people who blog everyday – they would hit 400 by the second month of their second year. My 300th blog was two years ago.

The 400th issue (or any anniversary issue) was a big deal in comic books, too. It’s a chance to celebrate an anniversary with a special issue (and increased sales) featuring the end of an epic story arc – or the beginning of one. It could be the final issue and/or debut – or a new creative team or character.

Note I say “was”. The last #400 was seven years ago; and in this age of reboots and renumberings we may not see another #400 for decades!

Getting to #400 takes time. If published monthly, a comic book would reach its 400th issue in 33 years.

I honestly believed I found all of them – American comics only of course … let me know if I missed any. Enjoy!

***

As with my 300th blog, the only golden age comic to reach #400 was 4 Color Comics, from 1952.

4 Color printed several comics per month, sometimes weekly and at times even six per month! #300 was published in 1950, #400 in 1952. One hundred issues in two years…

2592772-fourcolor400

***

The Silver Age (roughly 1955 – 1970) had NO 400th issue of any comic!

***

The Bronze Age (1970 – 1986) had its share of 400th issues. By this time the most popular comics were reaching their 30+ years of existence … starting with two of the longest-running comics at the time …

Adventure Comics from 1970 – the Legion of Super-Heroes long gone and the comic dedicated to solo Supergirl stories.

Detective Comics also from 1970 with superb art by Neal Adams and this issue featuring the debut of Man-Bat!

The Man of Steel book-ended the Bronze Age with two of his starring comics …

Action Comics was from 1971 and Superman was published in 1984.

The other 400s from DC in the late-Bronze Age were …

Batman (nor surprisingly) from 1986 and Sgt. Rock (not surprisingly to Silver or Bronze Age fans – DC’s war comics were very popular) in 1985.

WDC&SThe only other Bronze Age #400 was not from the Big Two nor was it a superhero comic: It was from 1974 …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

The rest of the 400s belong to the Modern Age (or whatever one wishes to call the period(s) after 1986.

Speaking of DUncle scroogeisney, other than WDC&S, only Uncle Scrooge reached #400, not Mickey Mouse, not Donald Duck… Most Disney comics were published by multiple companies over the years, but only Uncle Scrooge kept its numbering intact.

From 2011:

 

 

 

 

 

Only two other publishers (other than DC or Marvel) had comics reaching #400, including one of the longest running series of all time … from 1990.

Big boy

The other was Archie Comics …

Pep from 1985, Laugh from 1987 and Archie from 1992

This was Laugh’s last issue … he who Laugh’s last … and Pep Comics would only have 11 more issues to go before cancellation.

The rest of the 400s belong to Marvel.

Uncanny X-Men – 2001, Thor – 1989, Amazing Spider-Man – 1995, Incredible Hulk – 1992,  Fantastic Four – 1995, Captain America – 1992, Avengers – 1996

***

See you at 500!

Special thanks to Lone Star Comics for searching their data base and using their photos!

Michael Curry

 

 

Advertisements

SUPERGIRL, Season 4

Read the original story here: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/black-lightning-arrow-flash-supergirl-legends-tomorrow-castings-news-comic-con-2018-1127968

— Written by Sydney Bucksbaum (@SydneyBucksbaum), thanks for allowing me to share your story!

***

(Season four returns Sunday, Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. on The CW)

Supergirl is introducing TV’s first transgender superhero.

The CW superhero series announced at Comic-Con that transgender activist Nicole Maines is joining season four as TV’s first transgender superhero. Maines (Royal Pains, The Trans List) will be playing the series regular role of Nia Nal, aka Dreamer, and she joined the cast onstage halfway through the panel. The newest addition to the CatCo reporting team who worked under Cat Grant (Calista Flockhart) in Washington, D.C., Nia is described as a soulful young transgender woman with a fierce drive to protect others. Her journey over the course of this season means fulfilling her destiny as the superhero Dreamer, as Kara takes her under her wing. Not only is this a huge step for inclusion onscreen, it’s also a win for the trans community as Supergirl is going the extra mile stepping up its representation by casting a trans actress to play the trans role, avoiding the controversy surrounding other projects that cast cis actors as trans characters. “It seems only fitting that we have a trans superhero for trans kids to look up to,” Maines says.

Two other cast additions were announced during the panel. April Parker Jones (Jericho, The Last Ship) is joining the show in the series regular role of Colonel Haley, a hardline career military woman. Colonel Haley lives and dies by the orders of her commanding officers. Dedicated to her country, she always acts in its best interest — even if it’s not her own.

David Ajala (Dr. Who, Nightflyers, The Dark Knight) will also join the cast in season four as the recurring role of Manchester Black, based on the iconic DC Comics character. Described as the type of guy who brings a knife to a gunfight and still walks away the winner, Manchester Black has a dark past but easily deflects the brutality of his mission with his charm and sense of humor. Maines, Jones and Ajala join the previously announced new series regulars Jesse Rath who plays the Legion of Superheroes’ Brainiac-5 and Smallville alum Sam Witwer who will play Agent Liberty.

Fans got their first glimpse of Witwer’s villain as he voiced an ominous voiceover in a sneak peek at season two. Agent Liberty is going to spearhead an anti-alien movement that goes directly against Kara’s (Melissa Benoist) symbol of hope. And was that a new suit for Supergirl? A flash of a woman wearing a light-up “S” on her chest with a futuristic helmet covering her face looked epic and heroic, but since her face was hidden there’s no telling if this was really Kara or someone else, like her evil doppelganger seen in the very last scene of the finale.

***

About the blogger: 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 CW Fall 2018-19 Schedule

Changes are coming to our DC-CW shows. Well, at least on the days they are airing.

Originally the DC-CW shows spanned the week, now they are lumped into the first few days.

***

All times are Eastern…

SUNDAY
8-9 PM — Supergirl

MONDAY
8-9 PM — DC’S Legends of Tomorrow
9-10 PM — Arrow

TUESDAY
8-9 PM  — The Flash
9-10 PM — Black LIghtning

***

My internet trolling has not help me learn why. The ratings for the DC-CW shows are still stellar (for the CW) and all the shows ended up in their top ten.

***

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!

Jonn Jonzz Martian Manhunter; Mission: Catch a Killer story arc (part two)

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 (read part one here)

***

 

Adventure Comics #451, June 1977

Adventure 451

“Return to Destiny”

Writer: Denny O’Neil

Penciler: Michael Nasser, Inker: Terry Austin

Colorist: Liz Berube, Editor: Paul Levitz

From DC Wikia:

J’onn J’onzz, having eliminated Superman and Green Lantern from his list of suspects, confronts and attacks Hawkman and Hawkgirl in their Thanagarian spaceship and accuses them of R’es Eda’s murder. Hawkgirl rescues her husband and J’onzz from dying in airless space, and they prove their innocence to J’onzz, who apologizes. But N’or Cott has equipped a Superman robot with a bomb and sent it towards Hawkman’s ship, and it is admitted inside.

***

The reader discovers this story line concludes in the pages of World’s Finest Comic #245.

Frankly, even after all these years, this has to be the strangest dialogue to ever create a cliffhanger in comics…

Adventure 451 final panel

Very strange …

Very …

***

 

 

World’s Finest #245

July, 1977

Writer: Bob Haney

Penciler: Curt Swan, Inker: Murphy Anderson

Colorist: Jerry Serpe, Letterer: Debra Schulman

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

From DC Wikia:

After a mysterious Superman Robot attempts to murder J’onn J’onnz, Superman and Batman lend a hand on the investigation and return to Mars II with J’onn J’onzz after they learned that some Martians are trying to conquer a city, unaware that its atmosphere will prove deadly to them.

J’onn and Superman are unable to convince the Martians to stop their efforts, as they all believe J’onn is a traitor and they shouldn’t heed his words. Meanwhile, Batman finds a Martian who has been affected by the city’s deadly atmosphere and takes him to the rest of the Martians, who are finally convinced of the truth and decide to follow J’onn’s leadership.

***

Going from Nasser/Austin’s uber-gritty and realistic art to the legendary work of Swanderson is a jolt. A pleasant jolt, true, but still a jolt. The Nasser/Austin team was present in the Green Arrow/Black Canary tales in this same comic!

Also, O’Neil edited the story but handed the writing chore to WF regular Bob Haney.

***

Jonn Jonzz was, unfortunately, a third-tier (if that) character in the Bronze Age, appearing in a few issues of Justice League of America and in this back-up feature. His fortunes would change in the modern age with his stint in Keith Giffen’s Justice League and his own long-lasting series in the 80s and 90s. He is now also a regular character in the CW/TV series Supergirl.

***

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 DC-CW line-up: Our story so far…

Our Story So Far

We are at the mid-season cliffhangers of the four DC-CW Television shows. Here are some thoughts:

SUPERGIRL

Supergirl is DC-CW’s touchy-feely show. I don’t mean this in a bad way – but the show deals with the emotional health of the characters much more so than the other shows.

But that doesn’t mean it lacks fun and plenty of comic-booky action.

This season we meet Samantha Arias, a co-worker of Kara (Supergirl) and who slowly discovers she has super powers. She IS from Krypton and turned into Reign by Krypton’s version of the devil. Now Reign is killing off National City gang members and other bad guys to the delight of Morgan Edge, who is blaming Supergirl.

Also, Mon-El is back. He was thrust into the future and formed the Legion (of Superheroes). Now some of them are in the present, although we’ve only met Saturn Girl so far…

The mid-season ends with Reign defeating Supergirl in a brutal battle over National City. Supergirl is in critical condition and Reign/Arias confronts her young daughter …

FLASH

The Flash is halfway through its best season since its first. We’ve slogged through almost every evil speedster in the DC Universe as the season-long Big Bad and fortunately Flash is NOT repeating itself, again. The joy that imbued the first season is back in this one. Mostly thanks to two events: the upcoming marriage of Barry and Iris and the introduction of Ralph Dibny. The joy from the former is obvious (we’ve been rooting for these two since the premier episode) and the latter reminds us of what fun this show can be. Ralph can be likeable and unlikeable, and he is played to perfection by Hartley Sawyer – he even LOOKS like the Elongated Man from the comics!

It all makes a refreshing change from the previous season: the constant losing to the Big Bad, the plans made that were thwarted forty minutes later episode after episode … add to that the characters’ gnashing teeth and rending garments over the unstoppable foretold death of Iris … episode after episode. By the time it was done, we sighed in relief. Not because of the “happy” ending, but just because it was over.

I see signs of the “episode after episode” problem with this year’s Big Bad – the Thinker. The cliffhanger ends with Flash framed for the Thinker’s murder. I hope they can continue the upbeat tone until the end of the season.

LEGENDS OF TOMORROW

The unloved step-child of the DC-CW is still going at season three. This season is probably its best season so far. But compared to the prior two, that is not saying much.

Now the Legends are fixing anachronisms in time. Somehow this led to the resurrection of Damian Darkh. Darkh’s Big Bad villainy was the low point of Arrow and was misused in last season’s Legends. I rolled my eyes when I saw this overused and overpowered character revealed as the Big Bad this season (there is a Bigger Bad lurking but we don’t really know much at this point). I roll my eyes in every episode in which Darkh thwarts the Legend’s plans. Episode after episode …

Still, I like the show. It’s fun, pure and simple. Everyone seems to be having a great time and you can feel that through the screen. I wish they had more to work with as far as decent stories and effective bad guys instead of the same old same old.

The cliffhanger ends with John Constantine recruiting the Legends … I applauded. I knew the character was coming to the show for at least one episode, but it was still a pleasure.

Rumors abound that a character from Arrow will join Legends, replacing Firestorm. It could be anybody – I’m hoping for Ragman!

ARROW

Arrow is also coming off an awful season, which itself followed a bad season (with the aforementioned Darkh). Both suffered from the problem that plagued Flash last season: constant losing to the Big Bad … episode after episode. Big Bad gets captured at one point but only to escape. No progress, no satisfaction for the viewers.

This season is better, although the same problems remain – repeated failure against this season’s Big Bad (which the cliffhanger shows us to be a TEAM of Big Bads). Also, Team Arrow has broken up …  again. Oh, and Oliver Queen is on trial accused of being the Green Arrow … again.

This season is better, but I wish it were better still.

***

DKW0swAU8AAGNb1

Oh, and the line-wide crossover Crisis on Earth X? Superb (although not without its flaws, but they are minor)! And it did something the comics rarely did during cross-over Crises – make permanent changes that will affect the second halves of this season. By why drag out Eobard Thawn again? How many villains has DC created in its 82 years of publishing? Use different ones. Please?

BLACK LIGHTNING is coming in January!

Copyright 2017 Michael Curry

Adoption Month Spotlight: Calista Flockhart!

It’s National Adoption Awareness Month! This year my theme will be famous celebrities who have adopted!

Calista Flockhart!

From Wikipedia:

Calista Kay Flockhart (born November 11, 1964) is an American actress. She is best known for starring as the title character in the legal comedy-drama series Ally McBeal (1997–2002) and Kitty Walker in the drama series Brothers & Sisters (2006–2011). She has also been featured in a number of films, including the comedy film The Birdcage (1996), the romantic comedy film A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999), and the drama film Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her (2000).

Flockhart has won a Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award, and garnered three Emmy Award nominations.

Flockhart

From: https://mom.me/entertainment/4004-celeb-moms-who-have-adopted/item/calista-flockhart/

In 2001, 36 and single, Calista Flockhart decided to become a mom, adopting son Liam, now 10. Naturally, a few months later, she met the love of her life, Harrison Ford, while spilling a drink on him at a party. Already a father of four, Ford embraced Flockhart and her son with open arms. “She’s brought a child back into my home,” Ford told Reader’s Digest in 2009. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to be a part of a child’s growing up, which is always an endless springtime. You see the blossoming and the growing and the nurturing and the payoff.”

(Interesting that an article about Calista Flockhart spends most of its time on Harrison Ford …)

Ironically, Calista has recently been known as playing Cat Grant on the CW’s Supergirl, whose eponymous character was also adopted by Jeremiah and Eliza Danvers (named Fred and Edna Danvers in the comics), an echo of Jonathan and Martha Kent’s adopting of Superman…

See? I can’t get away from comic books no matter how hard I try …

***

frontcover

“Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and how Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped” leads a couple through their days of infertility treatments and adoption. It is told with gentle (and sometimes not-so-gentle) humor from the perspective of a nerdy father and his loving and understanding wife.

Join Mike and Esther as they go through IUIs and IFVs, as they search for an adoption agency, are selected by a birth mother, prepare their house, prepare their family, prepare themselves and wait for their daughter to be born a thousand miles from home.

WINNER: 2015 Reader’s Favorite Book Award Finalist, Non-Fiction Humor

WINNER: Honorable Mention, 2015 New York Book Festival!

WINNER: Honorable Mention, 2014 Great Midwest Book Festival

 

Abby’s Road is available at AmazonBarnes and Noble, and at Smashwords.

 

Copyright 2017 Michael Curry

 

The CW’s Supergirl, a review (part two)

A DC-TV Primer: the CW Network’s superhero lineup

Monday: Supergirl

Part Two

My review of Supergirl begins here.

 

I love the show, I do, but it is not without its problems …

Cat Grant (a character from the Modern Age (post-1986) of Superman) is one of the few characters that tend to plod down the story. She’s not a villain, in fact she is key in getting the world to love Supergirl and not fear her, but is still cold and self-centered CEO.  She is shallow almost to the point of being flighty. The staff of Catco (including Kara) sycophantically acquiesce to her every whim for fear of being fired and black-balled from the industry. It is good in small doses, but like Spider-Man’s J Jonah Jameson, the character wears thin pretty quickly.

Of course, a woman who works her way to the top in her field HAS to be tough and cold, I suppose. That seems to be their message. Maybe I don’t agree with that; maybe that’s why I role my eyes when the character stomps out of the elevator onto her first scene of every episode. She has the power of an Oprah without the humanity. Cat Grant would never give away a fleet of cars.

Attempts to humanize her are forgotten or fall flat. Her interest in Kara being a foster child, for example. The one line (“that is not uninteresting.” – I paraphrase), brings the hope of a non-two-dimensional moment. Her adult son comes to National City and mother and child try to make amends. We get to see how she became the way she is through the visit of her unloving and shrewish mother.

It is quickly forgotten by the next episode.

When kidnapped by a supervillain, she begs for her life for the sake of her children. By this point I do not know if she is sincere or just buying time…

This is no slight on Calista Flockhart – she does a wonderful job with what she has. She looks like Holly Go Lightly but talks and acts like Maude.

But with Cat Grant, a little goes a long way.

Calista Flockhart will only have a few cameos in Season Two, which may or may not be a good thing – if they keep the character as is, small doses is best.

 

I think they really missed the boat on the relationship with fellow nerd Winn (played by Jeremy Jordan). He was in love with Kara before she became Supergirl.  He revealed his feelings but it was glossed over in a few episodes. Now they are back to being good friends. Too bad. That could have been explored more – he loved Kara before she donned the cape and big red S. Has his affection changed now that she is Supergirl? Does he still love Supergirl, or are his affections aimed at Kara only? He never said, “I wish we could go back to where we were. I wish I could talk to Kara when she’s not Supergirl.” I think they missed a good thing there.

Kara’s maybe-romance with Jimmy Olsen (played excellently by Mehcad Brooks) continues to slowly bloom.

Speaking of Jimmy: knowing Supergirl’s identity and being Superman’s Pal gives the character a worldliness that Brooks plays quite well. He half-smiles at Cat Grant’s – er – cattiness. If he could he would turn his back and wink at the camera; just like Superman did in the 1960s cartoons. Once you’ve faced down Brainiac, not much unnerves you…

 

So now that the show is under the CW umbrella, what can we expect?

It was established on the wonderfully fun Flash-Supergirl meeting in the episode “World’s Finest” that Supergirl and her show take place in another dimension. Whether that is thrown out to make all DC-CW shows one world remains to be seen. With Flash and Legends of Tomorrow constantly tinkering with alternate realities, it can easily be done.

The first season was on CBS which meant it tried to be all things to all people. Now it can focus on a narrower audience. The three other Berlanti Production shows have a total of seven seasons between them all. And the most common denominator is the epic season-long fight with a specific super-villain, culminating in a senses-shattering free-for-all at season’s end/sweeps. It has almost become a joke. From Quenton Lance in Arrow (I paraphrase): “Someone’s threatening to destroy Starling City? It must be May!”

Supergirl had an epic villain (Non), but it was not the main focus of the season. In fact in a few shows he seemed forgotten. But the season-long story arc will likely happen with Season Two. Because of the nature of the heroes and villains, it might be earth-shattering and not as vanilla as it seemed on CBS.

That may not be fair. We take Arrow’s villains seriously because the characters are human. Flash is the same, only a little less due to the character’s powers. There is no way to forget that Supergirl is fantasy and that creates a disconnect that doesn’t exist in the other shows. Ra’s al Ghul is thus a scarier villain than a White Martian (being a more well-rounded character played by a superb actor aside…).

That being said Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow did it correctly. Other things happened during the season, too. There was story progression; not one long episode with no progression and no enjoyment – where you could skips months of programs and not lose any of the plot (kaff-agentsofshield-kaff).

Season Two will introduce a character names Maggie Sawyer from the National City police department.  Will she be an ally or an antagonist like Joe West on Flash or Quenton Lance on Arrow?

The press is all over TV’s Wonder Woman Lynda Carter appearing as the US President. Will she have a regular role or just appear occasionally?

Another item the press is gaga over is Superman’s larger role in the next Season. In Season One he is shown only in vague visions. Good move. This is Kara’s show. He would only have up-staged her at this point. He does contact Kara by texting her (“Need help?” “Are you all right?”), which was another good move: the show didn’t ignore him, but he wasn’t a deux ex machina saving the day every other episode, either. Hopefully he won’t steal Season Two.

 

Also in Season Two we will meet Mon-El, a member of the Legion of Super Heroes who started off as another youngster sent to earth from another planet. Unfortunately, he had amnesia and could not remember where he came from. Having the same powers as Superboy, he assumed, using comic book logic, that this stranger was his brother! We will see how Supergirl treats the story.

Because of what they did with “For the Man Who Has Everything” though, I’m not worried.

supergirl-cast-2

Up Next: the Flash

Original Material Copyright 2016 Michael Curry

 

Characters mentioned and their images are copyright their respective holders.  Thanks to DC Comics, the CW Network and Berlanti Productions and the actors portrayed for the use of their images.

I also thank the original creators of all characters mentioned, whether or not they have been properly compensated (gratmens during the credits aside).