Behold, the 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!
The text feature gives brief origins for Wildcat and Creeper.
“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).
Green Arrow: “Mystery of the Vanishing Arrows” from Adventure Comics #266 (November 1959).
Superman appears to help solve the mystery.
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)…
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!