Posts tagged ‘Alex Nino’

Adventure 433 – The Spectre vs the Swami, and Captain Fear ends

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Adventure Comics becomes, on the cover only, Weird Adventure Comics, for issue 443 (June 1974) and the following four issues.  “Weird” was clearly a popular word in the early 70s, as DC also had at this time Weird Western Tales, Weird War Tales, Weird Mystery Tales and Weird Worlds.

The Spectre story by Mike Fleisher and Jim Aparo in this issue is highly reminiscent of a story from the character’s 1940s run in More Fun Comics, both of which feature a phony swami taking advantage of bereaved women, and in both cases the Spectre’s romantic interest winds up getting involved in the scam.

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The Spectre’s attempts to make Gwen forget that she saw him transform into Jim Corrigan clearly failed, as Gwen seeks out the Swami in this story to help her deal with the situation.  Coincidentally, Jim is investigating Swami Seelal after the murder of the husband of one of his followers, when he decided to stop contributing to him.

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The Swami uses Gwen to try to set up Corrigan to be killed, but his plan backfires terribly.  The Swami never believed Gwen about the Spectre, and so seriously underestimated Corrigan.

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Captain Fear gets a really great logo for the final instalment of his serial, by Steve Skeates and Alex Nino.

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Fero is rescued from the pit by escaped African slaves, and reunited with his friend Mupo.  Together, they plot revenge against the plantation owners, but Fero has seen too many revolts fail to want to stay on the island afterwards.

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They attack the plantation, and force Senora Hernandez to accompany them to the docks, where they commandeer a ship.

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The story ends with a great shot of Captain Fear as a pirate king.  Essentially, this entire serial has dealt with the events that lead Fero to become Captain Fear.

The character would return 7 years down the road, in a back-up feature in Unknown Soldier.  But in my eyes, none of the later Captain Fear stories can really hold a candle, art wise, to Nino’s work on this run.

 

 

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Adventure 432 – The Spectre meets Gwen Sterling, and Captain Fear becomes a plantation slave

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The Spectre hunts down hired killers, and gets a romantic interest in the Mike Felisher/Jim Aparo tale in Adventure 432.

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Gwen Sterling’s millionaire partner is killed, and Jim Corrigan is put on the case.  Gwen mourns for almost an entire page before she starts flirting with Jim. But being dead and all, Jim has no interest in love.

He takes on the ghostly form of her dead father to confront his business partner, who promptly phones the hired killers.  When not murdering for money, the duo work as a hairstylist and model, as I’m sure many professional hitmen do.

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The Spectre gives the pair hideous demises, snipping the stylist in half with huge scissors, and aging the model to death.  Gwen sees Jim transform into the Spectre, but he makes her forget what she has seen.

 

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Back on his home island of Haiti, Captain Fear is sold into slavery on a plantation in this story by Steve Skeates and Alex Nino.  The plantation is run by a woman, Senora Hernandez, who faces her own troubles trying to maintain her freedom in a male-dominated society.

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She tries to make Fero her personal bodyguard, and perhaps more, but he refuses to accept anything from the whites who massacred his people.

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He fights his way to freedom, but in escaping falls into a pit.  Poor guy just can’t catch a break.

Adventure 429 – Black Orchid takes on pirates, and Captain Fear returns home

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Black Orchid’s story in Adventure 429 (Oct 73) opens with her dropping a warning note to modern day pirate Barry La Motte, but even knowing she is on his trail, he continues his evil plans.  Well, I mean, of course he does, or this wouldn’t be much of a story.

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We then get some of the backstory, how La Motte takes over a ship, loots it and sinks it, leaving the captain and crew to blame.  Black Orchid usually seems to be helping someone in distress, though how she knows of these people is part of her mystery.

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Knowing Black Orchid is after him, La Motte invites all the women he knows, who he suspects might be her, about a cruise.  He decides that his assistant Mala must be Orchid, and she confirms this.  She demands he prove his worth to her by taking over a freighter single-handed.

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Could this guy be any dumber?  He walks right into her trap.  And Black Orchid was not really Mala, just impersonating her.

I don’t feel I really did this story by Sheldon Mayer and Tony de Zuniga justice.  It’s an entertaining read, with lovely art.

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Seems like everyone wants to enslave Captain Fear in this chapter of his saga, by Steve Skeates and Alex Nino.

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Denise pursues and captures Fero, selling him to a slave ship.  He leads a  revolt aboard the ship, but fails to beat the armed crew.  Nature seems to be on his side, as the ship gets wrecked in a storm, and he washes up back in Haiti, his island home.

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It’s not much of a homecoming though, as he discovers his people have been completely wiped out by white invaders, who promptly enslave him as well.

Good thing the art on this strip is so beautiful, because the story is dark and ugly.

Adventure 427 – Voodoo Lizards, Vigilante ends and Denise toys with Captain Fear

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Nelson Strong hears the tale of a callous and arrogant photographer who goes to Africa in search of a secret tribal ceremony, in this Adventurer’s Club story by John Albano and Jim Aparo.

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His trespass first costs the life of his guide, and the story has a dark ending.  Again, this would fit completely into House of Mystery, or any of the rest of the DC horror line.

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Vigilante deals with a murder on a western film set in his final outing in Adventure Comics, a story by Cary Bates with art by Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano.

An actor’s gun is loaded with real bullets, and though he claims innocence no one except Vigilante believes him.

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The brief tale winds up being about mob vengeance and a phony production company that is a front for diamond smuggling, but is actually pretty good for all that.

Vigilante’s next series comes about four years down the road, in World’s Finest Comics, though the Earth-3 version of the character gets a story in Adventure in another year or so.

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The woman Captain Fear rescued in the previous issue, Denise, turns on him when their ship is attacked by another.  The enemy ship is captained by her father – or so she claims at first, and Fero is put into chains in this Robert Kanigher/Alex Nino story.

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She tells Fero that does not want to see him imprisoned and killed by her father, and frees him, but this is merely a set-up.

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He defeats the pirate, and Denise reveals that he was not her father, rather, she was his unwilling mistress.  She takes command of the ship, and offers to make Fero her second in command, but he spurns her once again.

Adventure 426 – Adventurer`s Club begins, Vigilante hunts cocaine dealers and Captain Fear sets sail

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The Adventurer`s Club begins in Adventure 426 (March 1973), which is basically just a framing sequence for unconnected stories.

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Nelson Strong is the host of the strip, and though he is meant to look manly and authoritative, his introduction of the concept makes him look sort of crazy to me.

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This first tale, written by John Albano and drawn by Jim Aparo, would not have been out of place in any of DC`s horror books from the era.  It tells the story of gangsters haunted by the vision of a woman accidentally killed in a drive-by shooting, whose father was a hypnotist.  The story makes is clear there is nothing actually supernatural happening, beyond the hypnotic powers of the vengeful father.

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Vigilante comes to the aid of a young woman who kicked a cocaine addiction, and is now being hunted by her former dealer and ex-boyfriend, who fear (correctly) that she will turn them in to the police.

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A decent tale, written by Cary Bates, with art by Mike Sekowsky and Dick Giordano, that makes the most of its ski resort setting, not the normal locale for a motorcyle-riding hero.

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The Captain Fear story in this issue must take place quite a while after the last one, though no time frame is given, but he is now in Indochina, where he rescues a white girl from some nasty people who want to sacrifice her.

She begs him to return her to her wealthy father, a plantation owner, and also tries to make some moves on Fero, who rebuffs her coldly.

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He does manage to get her aboard his ship, fighting off a rival crew, but she turns the tables on him, pulling out a gun.  There is more to her than it seems, but what…?

Robert Kanigher and Alex Nino were at the helm of this tale.

 

 

Adventure 425 – Captain Fear begins

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With issue 425 (Jan 73) Adventure Comics changed its format radically, dropping all super-heroes, and becoming much more like the anthology book it started out as.

The issue contained three stand-alone stories, the best of which was also the cover feature, “The Wings of Jealous Gods,”, with excellent art by Alex Toth. A very dark story based on the legend of Pegasus, but set in the present day.

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The one new series to begin in this issue was Captain Fear, a serial adventure of a Carib from Haiti, whose father is killed by Spanish invaders.

Fero is enslaved by the Spanish, sent to work in the mines. Het leads a slave revolt, and escapes from Haiti.

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He winds up on a Chinese junk, gets enslaved and rebels again, taking command of the ship.

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By the conclusion of the first chapter of this story, Fero commands his own pirate ship and crew, and has adopted the name Captain Fear.

The strip was written by Robert Kanigher, with superb art by Alex Nino.

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