Thursday, 31 March 2011

Captain America and The Falcon, No. 186

Thought I'd sneak in a quick post before the month is out (just 10 mins to go looking at the time, I need to go to bed...) I think I'm going to have a little change of pace throughout April, still posting up old comics, but also some different stuff too, stay tuned! 

This issue from June 1975 again features another great cover by Gil Kane and Frank Giacoia. Earlier in the month I posted up issue 189, but again for the same reasons, I want to share this issue mainly down to Frank Robbins' pencil work; I really do like his stuff! This issue also marks the end of writer, Steve Englehart's, significant run on this issue from number 153.

Anyway, the basic plot behind this issue sees The Red Skull reveal to Captain America that Sam Wilson (The Falcon) was once a criminal called 'Snap Wilson' who The Red Skull created by using the 'Cosmic Cube'. Therefore The Falcon is under The Red Skull's command and is made to fight The Cap' to the finish. The Cap' is left with the decision on whether he should decapitate his friend using his shield.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Iron Man & Captain America, No. 72

Tales of Suspense number 72 is from 1965 and contains two stories featuring Iron Man and Captain America respectively; the cover art is by legend Jack Kirby (Nazi robots, nice...)

Hoorah For The Conquering Hero!

This is the first story in the comic and follows Iron Man as he returns to America from battle with Titanium Man. Tony Stark is kidnapped by the Awesome Android and taken to the Mad Thinker's lair who has in turn been hired by Countess Stephanie De La Spiroza as she seeks revenge for being spurned by Tony.

The Sleeper Shall Awake!

The second story features Captain America and appearances by Avengers; Hawkeye (a personal favourite), Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Cap thinks back to the 2nd World War and remembers when the Red Skull, on his death bed, had told Cap that 20 years after the wars end, three Nazi sleeper agents would awaken and restart the Third Reich all over again. That date is now almost upon him...

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Action Comics, No. 425

Action Comics, number 425, is from 1973 and contains three stories; the fantastic cover art was taken care of by Nick Cardy. All three stories in this issue are good but it is the last one I am more concerned with, so I shall start with that. Although the first one does feature Superman having a fight with an Ostrich...

The Short-Walk-to-Disaster Contract!

Written by - Len Wein
Pencils by - Neal Adams
Ink by - Dick Giordano

The reason my interest lies mainly with this story is because the art is by the legend that is 'Neal Adams'; famous for his many other contributions over the years to comics such as Batman, Superman, X-Men and Green Lantern. His layouts, use of perspective and the motion he is able to deliver on the page is astounding.

This isn't the first time Neal Adams' work has appeared within the Visual Exegesis, in fact it's the third; the first was for his cover on JLA no.79;

The second was for his cover on The Flash no.195;

This story is a two-parter but the second part isn't by Neal Adams so I'm not going to bother with that. The basic premise for this story features the Human Target who is hired by his servant Luigi to pose as his cousin, Antonio. He is a circus artist and his act has been sabotaged several times...

As an added bonus, here is a video I stumbled across on Youtube which shows how Neal Adams draws Batman!

The Last Moa on Earth!

Written by - Cary Bates
Pencils by - Curt Swan
Ink by - Frank Giacoia

This is the first story in the comic and features Superman being attacked by a giant bird called a Moa which is supposedly the last one of it's kind on the planet!

13 Old Men Who Run The World!

Written by - Elliot S Maggin
Pencils by - Dick Dillin
Ink by - Mike Esposito

The second story in the issue features The Atom who has to save Jean Loring from a ganglord who wants a man she is defending in court sent to prison for a crime the ganglord committed.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Marvel Team-Up: Spider-Man & Ghost Rider, No. 58

This Marvel Team-Up is from June 1977 and features a fantastic cover by Al Milgrom. In this issue Johnny Blaze (Ghost Rider) is currently filming a stunt for the Stuntmaster television series which also happens to be on the same street that Peter Parker lives. The villian in this issue is 'The Trapster' who interfere's in the stunt; Mary Jane is injured and Peter slips away to return as Spiderman and save Ghost Rider. Following this, The Trapster delivers the unsettling line "You ain't gonna think life's so funny pal... Once I've covered you in paste!" (hmm...) as he kidnaps Spider-Man. Ghost Rider follows in hot pursuit which leads to the inevitable final showdown.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Manhunter 2070, No. 93

Written by: Mike Sekowsky
Pencils by: Mike Sekowsky
Ink by: Frank Giacoia
Cover Art by: Dick Giordano & Mike Sekowsky

DC's Showcase series ran from March 1956 and finished in September 1970 with this issue, #93. The series was a way for DC to test out new characters to gauge reader interest before committing them to a bigger story. Manhunter 2070 was created by writer and artist Mike Sekowsky and first appeared in issues #91 - #93 of Showcase. It tells the story of Starker, who father in the year 2053 was murdered by space pirates and so the young Starker was taken as a galley slave. Starker took control of the pirate vessel and collected a bounty for the capture of the pirates. From this moment on he decided that he would become a bounty hunter, aided by a robot named Arky.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

The Avengers, No. 160

Written by - Jim Shooter
Pencils by - George Perez
Inks by - Pablo Marcos
Cover Art by - George Perez & Joe Sinnott

Issue 160 of The Avengers originally published in June 1977 features the story 'The Trial'. There is a line on the first page that reads ' is made from layers of madness...' which I thought was quite profound and applicable to almost all superhero comics to some degree, as the realities in which these characters exist are of pure chaos and aberration.

The team of Avengers in this part of the time-line are made up of Black Panther, Vision, Beast, Wonder Man and Scarlet Witch. There are also cameos from Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, Yellow Jacket, Wasp and Whizzer. Bad guy duties are taken care of mainly by The Grim Reaper (Eric Williams) who has returned to launch a 'self-righteous attack' on the Avengers in their mansion. The Grim Reaper's twisted logic and morality mixed with a perverse sense of justice places the heroes on trial for the purpose of determining whether the Vision or the newly revived Wonder Man is his true brother, Simon Williams. Unfortunately for the one found to be unrelated, they are to be sentenced to death.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

The Flash, No. 195

Written by - Robert Kanigher / Mike Friedrich
Pencils by - Gil Kane
Inks by - Murphy Anderson / Vince Colletta
Cover Art by - Neal Adams

Bizarre issue of 'The Flash' no.195 from March 1970 in which we see our hero in two stories of equally strange proportions... The first is entitled "Fugitive From Blind Justice" which see's the Flash being saved from a mobster's bullets by a dog(!), The Flash then has to prevent the dog from being executed for murder... And the second story is entitled; 'I Open My Mouth... But I Can't Scream!' in which the Flash must overcome his life-long fear of roller-coasters to save some punters from an accident due to a sprung track... So March 1970 must have been an 'interesting' month at the DC headquarters if these plots are anything to go by...

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Forbidden Worlds, No. 131

Forbidden Worlds #131 is a collection of different tales from October 1965 and is published by ACG (American Comics Group). The cover art is signed by Pete Costanza, however, Kurt Schaffenberger claimed in a letter in 1998 that many covers at ACG were both penciled and inked by him. They were signed by Costanza because DC editor Mort Weisinger (whom Scaffenberger was working for on the Superman Family series at the time) didn't want him drawing covers for other companies.

Pirate Peril!

Written by - Zev Zimmer (Richard E. Hughes)
Pencils & Inks - Pete Costanza

This is the first story and features Tom Cargill who is on holiday at a seaside town in New England. Whilst there he meets Dr. Oswald, a psychic researcher who summons the ghosts of a pirate crew that wreak havoc until they are stopped by Magicman.

Two Weeks With Pay

Written by - Richard E. Hughes
Pencils & Inks - Emil Gershwin

This is a re-print of a story originally titled 'Mr Hobbs' Vacation' from 1959 in 'Adventures Into The Unknown', also published by ACG. Hobbs always makes up wild stories about his holidays that nobody ever believes; this year he is captured by aliens but on returning to work he doesn't say a word about it.

The Four-Fingered Hand!

Written by - Richard E. Hughes
Pencils & Inks - Chic Stone

This is perhaps my favourite story in this issue as it features both Attila the Hun and Adolf Hitler that shows how throughout history a strange talisman is found on dead evildoers.

Master Of His Fate

Written by - Ace Aquila (Richard E. Hughes)
Pencils & Inks - Edd Ashe

The final story in the collection tells of how Cyrus Robroy insisted to everyone that he controls his own destiny, but the Gods, amused by his own arrogance, have other ideas.