Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Old Comics Wednesday

In the comic book industry, the new comics are on the shelves every Wednesday.  I'm going to twist the idea of New Comic Book Day around and read vintage comics from the seventies every Wednesday.  (Because the tv viewing and the novels aren't obsession enough.

Action Comics #429, Nov. 73 The Man Who Wrote Superman's Obituary Elliot Maggin, Curt Swan

Much like many genre TV shows, Action Comics of the time had a tendancy to to stories that were fantastic in scope, with minimum impact on the overall picture.  This is one of those stories.  Going to the newspaper morgue (file room) for a story as Clark Kent, Superman scans his own file on record and amazingly, it's in Kryptonian, and it contains his secret identity.  Amazingly, his diary in his Fortress of Solitude, transcribed onto sheets of metal by a telepathically controlled stylus, has... become connected to the teletype machine at the Daily Planet and the man in charge of the room has learned Kryptonian from it and discovered Superman's secret.  Really.  "If I can't trust a fellow journalist, who can I trust?" Today, that guy'd be toast within five issues and there'd be angst over his passing.
The Human Target short piece by Len Wein and Dick Giordano is much more satisfying, actually.  Detective Christopher Chance, the Human Target, has taken the place of a rodeo rider who has had several suspicious incidents happen to him.  Yes, someone was trying to kill him.  It's resolved in seven pages.  Economical storytelling at it's best.

Detective Comics #438, Dec-Jan 73/74 A Monster Walks Wayne Manor  - Archie Goodwin, Jim Aparo
Unlike the story in action comics, the lead story in this issue of Detective Comics picks up threads left over from a previous story, specifically one of Ra's Al Ghul's henchmen being left for dead.  He wasn't.  Because Ra's knew Batman's secret identity, so did his henchman Ubu.  Ubu returns to Gotham to kill Batman, but as he's been driven insane, he focuses his vengance on Wayne Manor, closed while Bruce Wayne had re-located to the Wayne Foundation Building in the city.

The issue also features reprints of Green Lantern, the Atom (with guest star Zatanna), Hawkman, and a vintage Batman and Robin adventure.

The real treat is The Manhunter, also by Archie Goodwin and up and coming star Walt Simonson.  Paul Kirk was a forties masked hero who'd been in suspended animation while his body recovered from a hunting accident.  The people healing him weren't good guys though- they'd used his body as a template for a clone army.
Kirk wasn't happy with this and was on a globe trotting quest to stop their plans and destroy his clones.

Put like that, I have to wonder, why hasn't *anyone* picked up this property?  Goodwin and Simonson actually wrote it like a novel, so there's an eventual resolution and everything.

This will be fun- next week- Marvel Comics!