Magic Words

Tonight’s post continues our look at DC’s Super-Spectaculars. I bought this Special All-Magic issue of Superman off the spinner rack in Strathaven,  possibly in the winter of 1973/74. If you’ve read my Wanted posts on  Some Fantastic Place, you’ll know it would be thrown out only a few months later.  The copy I bought on ebay has a Thorpe and Porter price stamp of 15p. Great value!

You don’t see many comics in this shade of green…

Mr. Mxyztplk Returns: this was the first time I saw the E-2 version of the Silly Sprite. This isn’t the 5th-dimensional prankster whose descendant joined the Adult LSH (DC, you know what would make your humdrum New 52 Legion title more entertaining!). That imp in orange is Mr. MxyzPTLK. Astonishingly, Mark Millar wrote this version very well in the Superman Adventures in the late 90s.

This whimsical Golden Age tale demonstrates again that, despite what Batman’s fans believe, Superman’s best foes are cleverly positioned to present an intellectual challenge, not a physical one.

The Demons from Pandora’s Box: A beautiful but completely daffy Silver Age Schaffenberger story. Jimmy Olsen thinks he’s been possessed by demons and- “choke!” -destroys Kandor and Atlantis! But-whew!- it was all an hallucination!

The Magicians’ Convention: Hocus and Pocus, rather confusingly, are also private detectives Doc and Flannelhead. Superman’s feats help to maintain their self-esteem. They actually reappeared a couple of years ago in the revived Super Friends title for younger readers. This story predates The Prestige by about sixty years; it’s amusing but inessential.

The Other Side of the World: the third episode in Zatanna’s quest for Zatara, her father. Another dynamic story by Gil Kane, it reads a little like one of Gardner Fox’s Kothar or Kyrik paperbacks. There’s a tiresome, campy duel with a giant pirate which slows things down until we get to the sword and sorcery element  of the story. Fox draws upon Breton myth (and possibly Debussy) and mixes it with Steady State Theory! Kane’s Zatanna is very pretty, too.

The Enchanted Mountain: Another Golden Age tale, in a fairy tale vein, set amusingly in a place called Morabia- I live five minutes from a housing development called Moravia.

Beauty and the Super-Beast: again, a bizarre Silver Age story, in which an adult Imra Ardeen poses as Circe to help Supes fool the Superman Revenge Squad (who look human now, instead of blue, as in the yellow Superboy Super-Spec.) Oh, and Lois becomes a lady astronaut. For reals!

LSH fans:  Saturn Woman says Proty II is her pet, which might imply Chameleon Boy is not an Adult Legionnaire. But four years later, the lettercol in Adventure 358 namechecks Chameleon Man, so who knows. Maybe Reep was allergic.

The Graffiti Game: an interactive two-page feature where DC artists produced humorous identikit pics of the Man of Steel. Cockrum draws Supes as Shazam and Clark as Billy Batson; Kubert draws his Tarzan and Chaykin’s version looks a lot like Ironwolf (or del Amitri’s Justin Currie circa 1992)

Most of this issue’s playful stories would work with the Big Red Cheese himself; I wonder if this selection was intended to appeal to the Shazam audience?

One of the correspondents on the letters page complains, like I did, about the inking on the GA reprints. ENB claims they are only touched up.

Coming Soon: Santa’s dead. Deal with it.

All images are presumed to be copyright of their respective owners.


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