Posts tagged ‘Robert Kanigher’

Detective 385 – a Batman impostor, and Batgirl gets jealous

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Batman dies to open this story, but it’s not Bruce Wayne. Robert Kanigher, Bob Brown and Joe Giella give the starring role in this story to Herbert Small, a man diagnosed with a terminal disease.

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Knowing that he has only a short time to live, and overhearing a plan to murder Batman, Small sets out to save the hero on his own.

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Disguising himself, he convinces the bad guys that he knows the Batman’s secret identity, and that it is Herbert Small.  He gets into the costume, and allows himself to be killed.

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Only at the end of the story does Batman learn what has transpired.  I really like this tale, all the way up to the “he died big” line, which just makes me groan.

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Concluding the Friedrich/Kane/Anderson story from last issue, Batgirl brings the collapsed Mark to a hospital, where it turns out he was just diabetic, not attacked.

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Mark turns out to be a private detective, gathering evidence on a gangster who has kidnapped a woman special to him.  Batgirl helps out, but is jealous of this woman she does not know, and her relationship with a man she barely knows.

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Once the woman is rescued, Batgirl realizes that she is Mark’s sister, and is much relieved.

Mark and Barbara Gordon plan to go on a date as the story ends, but as we never see Mark again, it’s clear things didn’t work out.

Detective 350 – The Monarch of Menace debuts, and Elongated Man helps Green Lantern

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Another Joe Kubert cover for Detective 350 (April 1966).  He makes the Monarch of Menace look like a far more interesting and dangerous foe than the story by Robert Kanigher, Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Giella has him be.

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Batman tells Robin about a foe from his past, from his days before taking on a sidekick.  The Monarch of Menace was a mob boss Batman was never able to capture.  His costume included a cape that gave off a choking gas, an electrified sceptre, and a crown with hypnotic gems.

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The story jumps to the present, and to the emotionally abused son of the Monarch, forced by his father to dress as a jester.  He steals a spare Monarch outfit from his father, to go on a crime spree himself and show what he can do.

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It’s Robin who spots him, and captures the boy, who doesn’t know how to work the costume devices well enough.  I do like the way the story parallels the generations.

With some time to study the costume, Batman preps defenses against the weapons, and plays on the Monarch’s ego, broadcasting the capture of the son as if it were the real Monarch.  When the father comes out to face Batman, he is quickly defeated once his weapons are neutralized.

The Monarch of Menace returns in a Batman story in the early 80s.

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The Elongated Man comes to the aid of Green Lantern in this Gardner Fox story, with art by Carmine Infantino and Sid Greene.

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Realizing the Hal has lost his memory of being Green Lantern, Tom Kalmaku turns to the only publicly known hero, Ralph Dibny, for his help.

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Ralph stops a robbery at Ferris Aircraft, but that’s incidental to the story.  Ralph helps Hal regain his memory, and the loss is explained as the result of exposure to a nebula.

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I don’t buy that for a second.  See, this is Ralph’s birthday, and though Sue presents him with a new costume as a present, I believe this whole tale was a birthday mystery that she arranged.  All it required was for Hal to pretend to lose his memory, and Hal is best buddies with Barry Allen.  Sue could easily have contacted Iris, and got her to get Barry to enlist Hal in the deception.

No one will ever convince me otherwise when it comes to this story.  Not even if Gardner Fox crawled out his grave to deny it.

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.

Adventure 399 – an unpublished Black Canary story from the Golden Age

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Adventure 399 (Nov 70) features as a 6-page back-up story a Black Canary tale that was written and drawn (by Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino, respectively), but never published. It was likely intended for Flash Comics 105.

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It’s a simple little tale, which uses that newfangled invention the television.  Dinah Drake sees a live broadcast of a show about a jewelry display, but notices that the camerawork is odd, focusing on the entrances and exits, rather than the jewels.  She figures out that a robbery is going to take place, with the cameraman as the inside man, and rushes down there, getting into her Black Canary garb and having a fight with the crooks on a motorboat.

Nothing super special, an average tale compared to the rest of her 1940s run, but still nice to see it published rather than sitting in a drawer.

Adventure 393 – Supergirl and the crime predictor

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The story in Adventure 393 (May 1970) is not great.  In fact, considering it was written by Robert Kanigher, it’s not even good.  But there are a couple of things that make me include it in this blog.

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First of all, Dick Malverne makes his only appearance during Supergirl’s run in Adventure Comics in this story.  That’s the back of his head there. Had it not been for the text, there would be no way to know it was him.  He next appears in Supergirl’s first, short-lived series a couple years later.

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Professor Miles Morrison comes to Stanhope College to show off his crime predictor.  It accurately foretells an assassination, and a scandal ruining an actress’ career.

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Supergirl does her best to prevent both incidents, but the victims turn on her, and she is prevented from helping them.  Superman shows up to dump on her, and all of Stanhope is against her by the end of the story.

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She figures out the professor is really Mr Mxyzptlk, using a huge guess, really.  And then tricks him into saying his name backwards.  Somehow this makes everything not have happened, even the assassination, which really doesn’t make much sense.

But it has Dick Malverne and Mr Mxyzptlk, so despite its crappiness, it’s in the blog.

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