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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Adventure Comics # 437, February, 1975

Ernie Chan (as Ernie Chua) helps out on the art this issue but it's still pretty good except for the ugly splash.

Aquaman's last appearance...for now. But he'll be back soon enough.

Words can't begin to describe how exciting the ad below was to a teenage comic book geek back in the day.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Adventure Comics # 436, December, 1974

My favorite of the Spectre covers, with its image repeated in more detail but not really as well on the inside splash.

More clean Aquaman art but this issue's letters page already alerts us that he'll be leaving after the following issue in order to accommodate the new SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY retro-story.

The cartoon slections were actually pretty bland by this point but Captain Marvel. recently revived by DC, made his TV debut ina  memorable--if not very good--live action series and The Hudson Brothers livened things up with music and humor. One of those guys went on to be Kate Hudson's Dad. Rod Hull and his Emu stole the proceedings. Rod went on to become amazingly popular in Europe and Australia.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Adventure Comics # 435, October, 1974

Immediately making the "Weird" part of the cover title unnecessary is Aquaman, returning to ADVENTURE for the first time in well over a decade!

Marshall Brodien ("a professional magician"), was also known for more than 25 years to Chicago-area TV watchers as "Wizzo" on WGN's long-running (and later nationally seen) version of BOZO THE CLOWN. I actually bought not one but two of his sets of magic tricks!

This issue's letters include one from Arlen Schumer, later the author and designer of the book, THE SILVER AGE OF COMICS and currently one of my Facebook friends. Hmm...I'm also FB friends with a comics fan named Raymond Johnson but he would have been 1 year old at the time.

Steve Skeates picks up scripting AQUAMAN where he left off a few years earlier when that book was canceled, although his stories here are much less stylish and involved. Art is from then-newcomer Mike Grell in a much cleaner style than his later trademark scratchiness. Grell is probably best known today for his creations, WARLORD and JON SABLE, FREELANCE.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Adventure Comics # 434, August, 1974

If you noticed, starting with the previous issue, the cover now reads "WEIRD" ADVENTURE COMICS. DC didn't go so far as to change the title officially, though. This issue has the first booklength story in some time, ably illustrated by the unusual art combination of Frank Thorne and Jim Aparo. Thorne, later associated with sexy females, was best known at the time for war comics. Even the letters page calls attention to their unlikely teamup. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Adventure Comics # 433, June, 1974

Nifty-creepy SPECTRE stories continue but CAPTAIN FEAR seems almost an afterthought in spite of his great logo panel. Paul Kupperberg, current writer of the LIFE WITH ARHIE magazine, is back in the letters page and his letter prompts info about the upcoming Seven Soldiers of Victory series. Other news that comes out in the column is that the oft-mentioned Deadman series has been shelved but that Aquaman was swimming toward ADVENTURE.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Adventure Comics # 432, April, 1974

Both outside and inside, Jim Aparo continues to redefine himself as the definitive artist of THE SPECTRE. Fleischer's stories get increasingly creepy, pushing the boundaries of the by-then weakened but still required Comics Code. 

 The new format gets a double page push. That ACTION COMICS was an exact facsimile reprint, paper and all, except for the cardboard cover. It has been reported over the years that unscrupulous folks have removed that outer cover and passed off the insides as an original copy, convincing pigeons that comics were much bigger in 1938.

In this letters page, we get the announcement that Black orchid was SO popular that she will be turning up as a back-up in PHANTOM STRANGER, which she briefly did. Cries for her to join the JLA went unheeded, however.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Adventure Comics # 431, February, 1974

Here, ADVENTURE at last comes up with a new identity for itself as the home for the revived SPECTRE comic. The forties version, created by Jerry Siegel, was dark and violent but morphed into a comedy series starring Percival Popp the Super-Cop with The Spectre basically an invisible guardian angel to his antics. The sixties revival had been an early attempt at cosmic characters. Here we had the beginning of a memorably weird and violent avenging hero series, as written by Mike Fleischer and drawn by Jim Aparo...with "art continuity" by one Russell Carley. A few years later, in THE COMICS JOURNAL, Fleischer explained the latter---when I first began to write comics regularly, I really had no experience in coming up with the plots for example, or in breaking down the stories.  Those were both intimidating things for me to do.  So Russell and I would get together and we would work out a plot together.  We'd sit together on a Saturday afternoon and we would throw ideas back and forth and we would produce a plot.  And when I'd gotten the plot okayed, Russell would take the plot and he would make a breakdown of it -- that is, he would take sheets of paper and divide them into panels, and he would describe in each panel, very briefly, what was to take place, and then he would give me these pieces of paper and I would write the script.  When we started out we wanted to say, ‘Story by Michael Fleisher and Russell Carley,’ but Joe Orlando felt that we should distinguish between what he did and what I did...there was no standard title in comics for what Russell was doing, so we made up a term.” 

Shelly Mayer sticks around with this oddball sic-fi story with typically nifty Toth art.

This issue's celebrity letter is from my FB friend Mike Tiefenbacher, already then the co-publisher of the wonderful MENOMONEE FALLS GAZETTE as well as the indispensable COMIC READER.