The Bear Necessities

Materioptikon Extra!  I started the two-week Tattie Holidays with an ebay purchase of another DC 100-page Super-Spectacular: Detective Comics 440,  May 1974. This issue was published at the same time as the Deadman/Thomas Wayne issue of World’s Finest. Iron Fist made his debut at marvel while Thongor was ending…

Ghost Mountain Midnight: Goodwin and Sal Amendola produce a moody tale of redneck cultists and a badly-burned bear.The villain, Scooby-Doo-style, turns out to be the local sheriff all along. And he would have gotten away with it, too, if not for that pesky Darknight Detective!

Cobras of the Deep : a rare 1942 adventure (from Adventure Comics) of the Simon and Kirby Manhunter. Presumably to cash in on the success of the Simonson/Goodwin version of Paul Kirk, here we find the crimson-clad battler on a Nazi U-boat. It looks so much like early Marvel: the wiry hero is certainly dynamic and the villains are typical Kirby grotesques. I haven’t enjoyed a Manhunter story as much since his first appearance.

The Fear that Haunted Hawkman: a stately but tame Fox/Anderson 1964 adventure for the Pinioned Pair as an ancient Egyptian statue instils feelings of, er, fear in Katar Hol. The Pogo -Jet Bandits are archetypal polite DC science-villains. Read this one previously in the DC Showcase Hawkman “phonebook”.

A Million Dollar Corpse: having read this 1948 story described as “morbid” and “bad taste” in a subsequent lettercol,  I had high hopes for Doll Man’s duel with the Undertaker. It’s a prettily-cartooned tale for the flamboyant Mighty Mite and the necrophile villain is delightfully creepy.

Too Many Suspects: a  gorgeous Kanigher/Toth 1949 Green Lantern story that I had previously read in the facsimile Giant GL Annual in 1998. Interestingly,  in this crime noir,  Big Gay Alan Scott demonstrates no  super-powers other than flight.

Inside Story of the Outsider: a Fox/Moldoff/ Giella outing from  Detective Comics in 1966, this primitive example of campy Batman reveals that a mutated Alfred is the mysterious Outsider. In the hands of Infantino, we might have had an atmospheric, stylish and morbid adventure. But this is feeble stuff and the magical sci-fi powers of the Outsider reach their ridiculous nadir with ” Robin–changing into a coffin?!” Again, read this one in the b/w DC Showcase Batman.

Rebellion: another stylish chapter in Paul Kirk’s conflict with the Council. There’s an impressive splash of the web-like Council Chamber; a chart of Manhunter’s armaments and a battle with five clones. This is truly a rival for Marvel’s Master of Kung Fu and is some of DC’s strongest material of the period.

Another collection of intriguing and pleasing art – aside from the stiff, childish Outsider tale.

Coming soon: the Thomas/Buscema Avengers

All images are presumed copyright of their respective owners.

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