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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Adventure Comics # 251, August, 1958

By this point, the publishers had latched onto the concept that many retailers were returning the quarter cover for credit as was standard but then reselling the book itself which, ostensibly had no value after that portion of the cover had been stripped and returned. It was a win/win for retailers who often bundled them up in three packs and sold them for a quarter. All profit. Thus, DC added the note seen at the top of the SUPERBOY splash in an effort to make the consumer aware of the situation. In those days, though, the average consumer was less likely to expect dealers to be ripping them off. The practice continued pretty much unabated at least up into the eighties. Maybe still in some quarters!

Didn't take Kirby long to bring the sci-fi element into GREEN ARROW.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Adventure Comics # 250, July, 1958

A few issues back, we noted Jack Kirby's return to DC in a CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN ad. Here he returns to the pages of ADVENTURE COMICS for a brief but bizarre run on GREEN ARROW. This first one is still very Batman-esque but things get weirder. Come to think of it, things were getting weirder in BATMAN by this point in the late fifties, also.

SPACE RANGER!!! Well, not all the SHOWCASE heroes were JLA material. Still, this guy lasted  a few years in a couple of different titles. He just wasn't very memorable.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Adventure Comics # 249, June, 1958

They can't bring on Bizarro fast enough to suit me from this point. There is literally nothing wrong with these storie. Any of them. They're just, for the most part, not the least bit memorable during this period.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Adventure Comics # 248, May, 1958

Now we're getting into covers that actually look like what we think of as Silver Age covers. 

DC just didn't seem to have much luck with its TV-based line. CHARLIE CHAN had already been in newspaper strips and even had his own title from a couple of different companies. Here they had licensed the then-current syndicated TV version with J. Carroll Naish (the villain from the first BATMAN serial) but the show and the comic were both short-lived.

Hey, an odd cameo by what appears (from the cigar) to be Crawford T. Crow of FOX & CROW fame. FOX & CROW was based on a brief Columbia cartoon series but the comic in this case lasted--in several titles--more than two decades.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Adventure Comics # 247, April, 1958

 Okay, here we go. This issue introduces THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES, inadvertently opening a giant-size can of continuity worms that still plagues DC to this day. The Legion quickly became popular, then a cult favorite and remains too entrenched with the DCU to go away in spite of the fact that the series has had so many reboots that one's head hurts just thinking about them.

In this first story, credited to Otto Binder and Al Plastino, it's fairly clear this was meant to be a one-off twist--something from Superboy's future for a change rather than his past. The Legionaries we meet aren't quite our familiar friends of later years. In fact, Saturn Girl dresses more like the evil Saturn Queen and Lightning Boy (not yet "Lad") dresses like the future character, Sun Boy. This story has been reprinted often but sometimes edited to reflect the way the characters came to be later on. This is the original, unedited version.

The Silver Age progresses as we see SHOWCASE grads, the Challengers, getting their own mag, drawn by Jack Kirby who was now back at DC where he had previously drawn SANDMAN and MANHUNTER right here in ADVENTURE. He would soon make a bad business deal with his DC editor to do his own comic strip, SKY MASTERS OF THE SPACE FORCE, along with sometime CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN inker Wally Wood. The outcome of that deal would see Jack heading back to the barely subsisting Marvel where he and Stan Lee would utilize the Challengers template, consciously or coincidentally, to create the Marvel Universe.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Adventure Comics # 246, March, 1958

Call it the calm before the coming storm but here we have yet another just average issue, tasty enough but forgotten like candy. Check back tomorrow for a Superboy story that would end up having a much more lasting impact.