Charlie’s Geekcast Episode 48 — Geeking on Superman in the Bronze Age 7

It’s the worst day in Steve Lombard’s life. And to make matters worse, someone from his past is out to get him for years of his practical joking. Can Superman save Steve, or will he be “Down, Out, and Dead?”

Feedback for this show can be sent to: charliesgeekcast@gmail.com

You can subscribe to Charlie’s Geekcast through iTunesGoogle Play, the RSS FeedStitcherTuneIn RadioSpotify, or you can also download the episode directly here. You can also visit the show’s Facebook group page.

Download

Charlie’s Geekcast Episode 47 — Geeking on Superman in the Bronze Age 6

Troubles continue for the Man of Steel when Neutron, the Nuclear Nightmare, is granted parole. Also, Lois learns that her big assignment in the middle east may not be as simple as she thought.

Apologies for the audio quality. I hope to have it corrected for next episode.

Feedback for this show can be sent to: charliesgeekcast@gmail.com

You can subscribe to Charlie’s Geekcast through iTunesGoogle Play, the RSS FeedStitcherTuneIn RadioSpotify, or you can also download the episode directly here. You can also visit the show’s Facebook group page.

Download

Charlie’s Geekcast Episode 46 — Geeking on Superman in the Bronze Age 5

An ancient being is unearthed, but it’s intentions are not what they seem…

Feedback for this show can be sent to: charliesgeekcast@gmail.com

You can subscribe to Charlie’s Geekcast through iTunesGoogle Play, the RSS FeedStitcherTuneIn RadioSpotify, or you can also download the episode directly here. You can also visit the show’s Facebook group page.

Download

Charlie’s Geekcast Episode 45 — Geeking on Superman in the Bronze Age 4

Beginning an exciting new era in the life of Superman! Lois and Superman end their relationship! Clark and Lana begin dating! What is going on with Perry? Vandal Savage Returns!

Feedback for this show can be sent to: charliesgeekcast@gmail.com

You can subscribe to Charlie’s Geekcast through iTunes, Google Play, the RSS Feed, Stitcher, TuneIn Radio, Spotify, or you can also download the episode directly here. You can also visit the show’s Facebook group page.

Download

Charlie’s Geekcast Episode 43 — Geeking on Superman in the Bronze Age 3

Lex Luthor is back, and once again, he’s out to get Superman. But this time, he’s got a groovy new costume of his own!

Feedback for this show can be sent to: charliesgeekcast@gmail.com

You can subscribe to Charlie’s Geekcast through iTunesGoogle Play, the RSS FeedStitcherTuneIn RadioSpotify, or you can also download the episode directly here. You can also visit the show’s Facebook group page.

Download

Charlie’s Geekcast Episode 41 — Geeking on Superman in the Bronze Age 2

Can Superman save the Earth from being sucked into space, or has he finally found something more powerful that even him?

Feedback for this show can be sent to: charliesgeekcast@gmail.com

You can subscribe to Charlie’s Geekcast through iTunesGoogle Play, the RSS FeedStitcherTuneIn RadioSpotify, or you can also download the episode directly here. You can also visit the show’s Facebook group page.

Download

Charlie’s Geekcast Episode 40 — Geeking on Superman in the Bronze Age 1

What happens when a one-time villain from his childhood returns to take down the Man of Steel? A visit to the dentist, and having to save the Earth from…himself?!?

Feedback for this show can be sent to: charliesgeekcast@gmail.com

You can subscribe to Charlie’s Geekcast through iTunesGoogle Play, the RSS FeedStitcherTuneIn RadioSpotify, or you can also download the episode directly here. You can also visit the show’s Facebook group page.

Download

DC Comics Bronze Age Read-through Project: January 1972

Superman questions his existence, Superboy meets Jules Verne, and Batman solves a murder. All this, and more, in the comics cover-dated January 1972.

Superman 247: A giant cluster of yellow seed pods are hurtling through space, threatening disaster to any planet it makes contact with. Since Green Lantern rings are powerless against yellow, the Guardians of the Universe declare that this is a job for Superman. To solve this problem, Superman basically creates a planet for the pods make contact with, but due to red solar energy in the area, this really wears down Superman to the point that he blacks out. While recovering in the Power Battery on Oa, the Guardians implant in his mind that he may be holding humanity back by always saving them. Fully recovered, he heads back to Earth, where he spots a child about to be beaten. Turns out the kid refuses to work because of the poor working and living conditions provided by his employer, and the employer was about to make an example of him. Superman, angered that the rest of the workers are suddenly also really to stand up to their boss now that he is there, begins to explain that they need to take care of themselves and not rely on others to do it for them, but since it has been several pages since Superman did something super, an earthquake hits. After working to limit the earthquake, he is then kind of forced to rebuild their homes, but finishes his speech anyway. And in the backup, the first “Private Life of Clark Kent,” Clark manages to talk some gang members out of killing a police officer.

This issue reprints a Superman 2966 story from Action Comics 338 (Jun 1966).

Superboy 181: While tearing down a building in Metropolis, a large metal box is found that no one can open, so Superboy is called in to lend a hand. Inside is Jules Verne, in a time machine of his creation. Since his writings have inspired so much of more modern technology, Superboy takes him on a tour of various top secret military installations to see the latest developments. Glad to see that he has made such a contribution to the future, Verne decides its time to head home and his time machine disappears in a cloud of smoke. It is later revealed that Verne was actually a secret agent in disguise, and the US was testing Superboy due to him having such a high level clearance. They think he’s failed since he showed “Jules” all those secrets and allowed him to take pics, but various clues, such as clothing that was too modern, allowed Superboy to figure things out for himself, and he used his x-ray vision to fog the film before “Jules” tried to head home. In the backup, Lana dreams about being married to Superboy once he’s a Superman, and how she’d make him get a real job, such as a salesman. But his morals wouldn’t allow him to be a very good salesman, so she decides it might not be a good idea to marry the Teen of Steel.

This issue reprints a Legion if Superheroes story from Adventure Comics 355 (April 1967).

 

Action Comics 408: The Argo project is a series a space flights to send 1 man to the moon, rather than a team like in the Apollo missions. The current mission was returning to Earth but has just mysteriously stopped in space for no apparent reason. With only 8 hours of oxygen left, Superman is called in to save the astronaut. However, a strange mental compulsion prevents him from going out to the space capsule, or even check on it with telescopic vision. After ridicule from the public, and a second failed attempt, Superman decides to build a ship to take him to the scene. This succeeds and he learns the astronaut is caught in some sort of energy warp that is causing him to evolve rapidly, and it was his new mental powers that kept Superman from rescuing him. After the astronaut uses his new powers to clear Superman’s name, Superman makes his rescue. In the backup, taking place back in Clark’s college days, the younger Superman is exposed to some artificially created bacteria. To keep others from becoming infected, he has to wear a special suit for 24 hours, including using a rubber mask and rubber gloves to mimic his face and hands when he’s Clark.

This issue reprints an Atom story from The Atom 9 (Oct/Nov 1963).

Adventure Comics 414: A new villain calling himself Vortex uses a tornado to steal a building. Supergirl investigates and learns that he is doing this for revenge against the owner of the building. Supergirl steps in and takes down Vortex. In the 2nd Supergirl story, little Judy, the little alien girl from a few issues ago, is kidnapped, and the kidnappers also discover that Linda is Supergirl. They use Judy to blackmail Supergirl into committing crimes for them, but eventually Supergirl finds the kidnappers. But before she can confront them, they are basically killed by Judy’s grandparents who have come to retrieve their granddaughter. After a heartfelt goodbye, things go back to normal. In the backup, Zatanna and Jeff, her manager, escape from the warriors and find the dimensional portal they can use to get home. But the ensuing battle ends with Jeff being turned to stone, and the story ends with Zatanna crying in front of the portal.

This issue reprints an Animal Man story from Strange Adventures 184 (Jan 1966).

Detective Comics 419: A man is found drowned in the river, held underwater by several gold Batman statues. While the police investigate, Batman checks out the nearby Irish festival, and discovers that the murder was set up to keep Batman and the cops too busy to deal with a drug smuggling operation. In the backup, Batgirl has realized that the stepson is innocent of the stepfather’s murder due to the fact that the shooter’s glasses did not have lenses in them (therefore, they also didn’t reflect the muzzle flash that allowed Batgirl to see his face in the first place.) Batgirl helps the cops take down the real culprit, the stepfather’s bodyguard.

This issue reprints a Roy Raymond story from Detective Comics 213 (Nov 1945), and a story from Gangbusters 61 (Dec/Jan 1947).

I’m going to probably upset some people when I say that “Must There Be a Superman?” is not what I would consider a great story. It doesn’t really have any affect on future stories, and the main point of this story is rendered moot by an Earthquake (which even Superman points out). It is a good, well told story with great art, but I don’t see it as one of the best. The backup was not great either. For one thing, the ending a rushed, and rather unrealistic. Also, it wastes story space with Superman giving smoking a try (editorial mandate maybe?).

Man, the government went to a lot of work to test Superboy. Maybe it is due to my age and being jaded by knowledge of behind-the-scene politics (remember, this is pre-Watergate), but I just do not see government agents going to this much effort in real life. The Lana story was pretty pointless, although it was nice to see that the creators remember that she exists. But, like John Byrne’s take on Lois Lane, her characterization here makes me wonder why Superboy likes her.

The Action story was very frustrating. I don’t understand why Superman didn’t even attempt to tell people that he was mentally being stopped from making the rescue. I also don’t understand why it took him so long to make a second attempt. The backup was frustrating too, since Superman could have gone into the sun to burn off the bacteria, like he has done in the past and will do in the future.

The main Supergirl story was forgettable, and the backup story felt more like a “tying up of loose ends” type a story. And the kidnappers getting killed seemed a little extreme, especially since Supergirl just lets Judy’s grandparents get away with it. The Zatanna story was rather decent, and the ending was pretty shocking. Really enjoying Gray Morrow’s artwork too!

The Batman story in Detective was well crafted. Denny introduced several seemingly unrelated characters or events, and tied them all together beautifully. And while I am proud to say I figured out who the killer was as soon as he was introduced, the mystery of how and why played out really well. The Batgirl story was also good. They really had to play up Batgirl’s photographic memory for it, but it worked.

And thus ends another trip in the time bubble. Next month, thanks to issues cover dated February usually being released in December, there looks to be at least 1 Christmas story. Should be fun!

DC Comics Presents Show Episode 79: Superman and Clark Kent

This episode features me as the guest host. Regular host Russell Bragg asked for volunteers to do an episode of his show, and I jumped at the chance to dip my toe back in the podcast pool. In this episode, I go through all of the regular DC Comics Presents Show’s segments. First, I have a Comic Brag to talk about. Then you will hear a Spotlight on Superman‘s Guest, Clark Kent. Next, I cover the subject of the episode, DC Comic Presents #79. Finally, I close out the show with a trip to the Comic Spinner Rack.

I would just like to thank Russell for allowing me to do this episode. It really allowed me to flex my podcast muscles, and I enjoyed doing it. You can check out his other episode at braggaboutcomics.com

DC Comics Bronze Age Read-through Project: December 1971

Algae cleans up Metropolis, Batman and Robin fight Nazis and the Reaper, we get a new Green Lantern, Ollie considers politics, the JLA take on the youth of America, someone discovers Superman’s Fortress, Supergirl really doesn’t do much, Batman gets beat up by the Creeper, and Superboy leads a pack of wolves. These are the comics cover-dated December 1971.

Superman 246: After Superman picks up some algae from the bottom of the Marianas Trench for an anti-pollution experiment at STAR Labs, Clark returns home in time for a meeting of everyone in his building in which most of them want to get guns in response to the rise in crime. Clark voices his opposition to this idea, but it does no good. Meanwhile, the algae experiment literally goes down the drain and eventually causes trouble for the city as it considers everything to be a form of pollution. While Superman takes care of things, one of Clark’s neighbors is mistaken for a prowler and is shot, bringing an end to the gun issue. In the backup, we learn of the computer that Kryptonians used to determine if a couple could marry.

This issue reprints a story from Superman 40 (May/Jun 1946).

Batman 237: Dick Grayson and his buddies go up to Vermont for a super-hero parade and party, and see a kid dressed as Robin getting beat up. This leads Dick on the trail of the attackers, but is taken out by a man dressed as the Grim Reaper. He ends up landing face down in water, but Batman shows up in time to save his ward. He gets him to a nearby doctor, and we learn that Batman was in town because the doctor, a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, recently saw a former Nazi general who has been on the run since the end of the war. Batman manages to stop the Nazi soldiers who are after him, but fails to prevent his death. Meanwhile, Batman realizes that his doctor friend was the Reaper all along.

This issue reprints a story from Detective Comics 37 (Mar 1940) that is actually the last Solo Batman story before the introduction of Robin.

Green Lantern 87: This time out, Green Lantern and Green Arrow split off into separate features. In the GL story, Guy Gardner is seriously injured while trying to save a little girl, so the Guardians have to chose a new backup for Hal. Enter John Stewart, who, despite being an angry young man, also proves that he can handle being a Green Lantern. In the GA story, Elliot S! Maggin’s first ever story, the mayor of Star City is ready to retire, and wants Ollie Queen to be his party’s candidate for the job. After talking it over with his fellow Justice Leaguers, and watching an innocent kids killed during a riot, he decides to accept the offer and run for mayor.

This issue reprints a story from Green Lantern 16 (Oct 1962).

The Flash 211: After watching Iris getting taken out at a roller derby, Flash is called into action when Central City experiences a major earthquake. That is supposed to be geologically impossible, so Flash investigates, and discovers that the source is the roller derby. It turns out that the giant, Amazonian woman in the roller derby is actually an alien, and the roller rink actually sends energy down to earth’s core, causing quakes that will cleanse the surface of the planet so her people can invade and take over. Flash saves the day and has her arrested. In the backup, we learn about a chicken farmer who has been pumping his chickens full of chemicals to make them bigger. Unfortunately, this chemical can make the people who eat the chicken sick. When one person dies, Kid Flash helps to expose the farmer and have him arrested.

This issue reprints Jay Garrick’s final solo Golden Age appearance from Flash Comics 104 (Feb 1949).

Justice League of America 95: The transporter problem from the end of last issue appears to be related to a Zeta Beam from Rann. Superman flies off to investigate. Meanwhile, we learn of a Vietnam vet who gained a mutant power to control people with his voice. He uses that power to control the angry younger people, but he has a hard time controlling them, causing more harm than good. He realizes that the only way to stop them is for them to take him out, so he orders them to attack. He barely survives, but loses his mutant power. Next issue, Starbreaker!

This issue reprints the Doctor Mid-Nite’s first appearance in All-American Comics 25 (Apr 1941), and Doctor Fate’s first appearance in More Fun Comics 67 (May 1941).

Action Comics 407: A pilot crash lands in the arctic, just outside Superman’s Fortress. He is knocked out, but not before memorizing the coordinates. After recovering, he hires an electronics expert to help break into the fortress, and has his son kidnap a hostage to keep Superman away. The kid chooses Clark Kent, who has to figure out how to protect his Fortress, while also handling disaster alerts that come up while he’s a prisoner. The electronics experts turns out to be Luthor in disguise. He kills the pilot, but Superman stops him before he can cause any more damage. This whole situation causes the pilot’s son to decide to reform. In the backup, Superman, on his way home from a mission in another galaxy, is attacked by a small planet that wants to eat him. Fortunately, it can’t process humanoid life forms, so the locals help him escape.

This issue reprints the second half of the Flash/Atom team-up in Brave and the Bold 53 (Apr/May 1964).

Adventure Comics 412: After going a little crazy on a shopping spree, Linda has to go to the back to move some money from her savings account to he spending account, but there is a robbery in progress. She changes to Supergirl, but is unable to stop the robot from escaping. She follows it to a island compound, and meets the man in charge, who has a vendetta against humanity, and bankers in specific. There’s flashback to his son being injured and needing an expensive surgery to save his sight. He went to the bank president, but was denied a loan, so he robbed the bank, and although he had to spend 10 years in prison, his son’s vision was saved. So now he’s taking out his anger in the bankers, specifically the one who declined the loan, but after he sends explosive robots to 2 banks, he learns that his son works at one of them. Supergirl goes after one while he saves his son, but the explosives are so powerful, he is unable to get the robot far enough away without being caught in the explosion. Supergirl stops the other one off panel, and later, her news crew investigate the wreckage and find the body of the criminal. In the backup, Zatara is attacked by some demons in his study while Zatanna practices some tricks with her manager. They go up to see Zatara, and he quickly sends them to a different dimensional world. And since Zatanna isn’t as powerful as her father, she can’t get them back to Earth. As they make their way to a dimensional rift, their only way home, they are attacked by a band of barbarians and knocked out.

This issue reprints a Hawkman story from The Brave and the Bold 44 (Oct/Nov 1962), Detective Comics 178 (Dec 1951).

Detective Comics 417: The Creeper is robbing drug firms of monofragilic acid in the hopes that a scientist can cure him. In reality, the scientist plans to duplicate the serum that created the Creeper, and then kill the original. This plan backfires, and with Batman’s help, the Creeper wins. Also, the scientist manages to poison the Creeper, but it appears that rather than killing him, it turns the Creeper back into Jack Ryder. In the backup, the subject of a movie called “The Stepfather” is killed at the opening of the movie. Barbara Gordon, already in attendance, rushes off to investigate as Batgirl. A muzzle flash from the gun that killed the mobster illuminated the face of his step-son. But when Batgirl investigates, she determines that it couldn’t have been him. Meanwhile, the step-son and his “associates” are aware that she is hiding in his garage.

This issue reprints a Casebook Mystery from Gangbusters 40 (Jun/Jul 1954), and a Sierra Smith story from Dale Evans Comics 1 (Sep/Oct 1948).

Superboy 180: An alien probe lands on the moon, somehow turning Superboy into a werewolf. Meanwhile, a Warlock is in town with plans to corrupt the town’s most moral citizen, Jonathan Kent. Hjinks ensue, Superboy inadvertently works with a pack of wolves to drive out the Warlock, and they all live happily ever after, until the backup. In the backup, Clark realizes that someone is trying to kill his rich uncle. Rather than explain this to is parents, he acts completely out of character, and asks for a trial adoption with his uncle. Then he is forced to act reckless to save his uncle from various assassination attempts without revealing his secret identity, until he his sent back to Smallville, at which point Superboy is able to solve the case.

This issue reprints a Legion story from Adventure Comics 301 (Oct 1962).

This month started out strong, then went downhill pretty quickly. Superman was a great read. Len Wein was very good at writing Superman stories, and this was just part of his first stint on the title. He’s got a few more issues, and then he’ll come back in 78 or 79. This was also the introduction of STAR Labs, and the first time since I started this project that we actually got Clark’s address (not the first time ever, as is pointed out in the letters page). Batman was not only a good story, but was also part of an unofficial DC/Marvel crossover, where a few stories from both companies take place during this festival. Even the Golden Age reprint was enjoyable, which I only read because I really haven’t read any pre-Robin stories before. The GL/GA book was also pretty great. I didn’t like John Stewart much in the GL story, which means Denny did something right, and it was interesting to see Guy Gardner before he became an a—hole. Elliott S! Maggin gets his first story in the GA feature, and also appears to be possibly making a status quo change. Then again, that’s hard to tell, since there is only one more issue of new stuff before GL/GA becomes a backup feature in Flash.
Speaking of the Scarlet Speedster, this is where things started going downhill for me. While the Kid Flash story was good, the Flash taking on alien who is using a roller derby to destroy earth? Well, at least it was original, if not well executed. On the plus side, this was my first opportunity to read a Jay Garrick story from the Golden Age, so I took the opportunity, and found it to be my favorite story of the issue. And it is the introduction of Rival, who comes back in JSA, so that was a nice little bonus.
The Justice League story was super boring. Took me forever to get through it, mostly because I didn’t feel engaged. And I don’t know if it is because I’m reading it 40+ years later, but I’m really getting tired of Mike Fredrich using the book to preach about social issues rather than creating stories as a means of escape from those same social issues. It really stands out here because he focuses so much on the social issue, that the rest of the story suffers.
The stories in Action were pretty good, but the first story spends several pages changing the main point of the story from “protecting the Fortress” to “performing super rescues while protecting his secret identity.” Supergirl really didn’t do much of anything in her story, but the Zatanna story was enjoyable, with great Gray Morrow art and Len Wein scripting.
The Batman/Creeper story wasn’t bad, and was dedicated to Steve Ditko (Creeper creator), but relied on back issue notes rather than flashback for the character history. This wouldn’t have been bad except that the issues noted were from several years earlier, and may not have been easy to obtain in 1971. The Batgirl story didn’t really have much happen, and ends in a weird spot, but does manage to set up the mystery, and gives a slightly humorous nod to “The Godfather.” The Superboy stories were even more boring than the Justice League issue. Bob Haney wrote the first story, which was just weird. And the backup used a Silver Age trope that has always annoyed me. There is no reason why Clark couldn’t tell Jonathan and Martha about his plans. This would have saved them a lot of heartache thinking that their son wanted to leave them.

And that brings 1971 to a close. A very up-and-down year full of up-and-down months. I’m hoping for less “social issue” stories in 1972, and more entertaining stories. Here is what I do know is coming: Superman gets a new 2 new super-villains, one of which will return several times throughout the rest of the Bronze Age; Supergirl gets her own title, causing a temporary format change in Adventure Comics; and issues will drop down to 20¢, but that means we lose the reprints.