Posts tagged ‘Ruben Moreira’

Detective 230 – the Mad Hatter debuts, Roy Raymond deals with a crackpot inventor, and a catalogue of Martian powers

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The Mad Hatter is introduced in a story by Bill Finger, with art by Sheldon Moldoff, in Detective 230 (April 1956).

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There had been an earlier Mad Hatter, who appeared in one issue of Batman in the late 40s, and resembled the Tenniel illustration of the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland.  This new version, Jervis Tetch, is an obsessive collector of hats.

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He decides he must have the Batman’s cowl, no matter what he has to do to get it.

This story was adapted for the second appearance of the Mad Hatter on the tv series, and some of the scenes that follow are very close.

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Tetch disguises himself as an artist, and tries to get the Batman’s cowl that way, and later sees that it gets irradiated, so Batman is forced to remove it.

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Defeated by Batman at the end, he vows revenge.  The Mad Hatter returns in a Batman issue in 1964, which was also adapted for the tv show, as the Hatter first appearance.

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A noted scientist keeps approaching Roy Raymond to be on his show in this Ruben Moreira story, but keeps bringing obviously fake inventions.

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Roy is mystified at why such a serious and noted inventor would be approaching him with such obvious fakes.

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In the end he realizes that the person visiting him was an imposter, attempting to discredit the professor before he approached Raymond with his real new invention.tec_230_jj

The Martian Manhunter has his abilities clearly catalogued in this story for the first time.  His shape-changing, telepathy, invisibility,intangibility, x-ray vision, super-hearing and strength are all listed and shown.  His weakness, fire, is not mentioned in this piece, but has been referred to in earlier tales.  I only just now realized that he does not seem to have the ability to fly at this point.

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After the catalogue of powers ends, John discovers he is powerless, the effect of a rare (never seen again) passing comet.

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So John proves his mettle by solving a case as a human, without any powers, though they return at story’s end anyway.

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Detective 227 – Batman’s make-up tips, Roy Raymond and a man with super-powers, and the Martian Manhunter plays ghost

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Detective 227 (Jan. 56) has another of the stories that explores an element of Batman’s arsenal.  In this case, his make-up and disguises.  Batman winds up teaching a class at a beauty school in his techniques, and one of the students is using the opportunity to study Batman’s face, to attempt to reconstruct it without the mask.

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Aging actor Barret Kean is introduced as the man who taught Batman his cosmetic skills, and he is the one opening the school.

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We get a few different short tales of how Batman and Robin used make-up to capture crooks, and then it’s time for the big finale with the guy scoping Batman’s face.

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Barret Kean takes Batman’s place for the last class, revealing his ears, but causing the bad guy to create an impossible composite.  I’m not sure who wrote this, but the art is Sheldon Moldoff.

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Jack Miller and Ruben Moreira provide a change of pace in Roy Raymond’s series.  He meets an odd little man, who demonstrates amazing abilities.

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He flies around in a car, makes the fourth floor of a building disappear, controls the roulette wheel at a casino, and other things that Roy simply cannot explain.

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At the end, Roy convinces the man that the whole country is paying tribute to him, and he leaves, back to the 4th Dimension.  He really was an extra-terrestrial being with astounding powers.  But Roy had fooled him with American Fourth of July celebrations.  Karen seems to have been under the influence of something, as she needs the holiday explained to her.

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Jack Miller also scripts the Martian Manhunter tale in this one. J’onn is put on the case of a killer,and uses his mind reading abilities to “view” the murder, and then pretend to have some eye witness details.

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The man thinks nothing of having John Jones run down by a car, which of course J’onn survives.

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He spends the rest of the story tailing the man, using his intangibility to “haunt” him and survive further murder attempts, until the killer finally turns himself in.  Quite a dark story.

Detective 222 – The Great Batman Swindle, and Roy Raymond meets a man who slept for 200 years

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A striking cover, and a great story, in Detective 222 (Aug. 55), by Bill Finger and Dick Sprang.

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Wealthy and athletic Ned Judson receives an invitation to join the secret Brotherhood of the Batman.  They explain to him that Batman is really a group of people, with a variety of specialized skills, working together.  Judson has been chosen as the newest member, and is thrilled with the prospect.

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It’s a clever scam, and they go all out with it, setting up phony crimes and having him stop them in Batman uniform.  Meanwhile they charge him for the various accessories, and soak him for all he’s worth.  Batman gets wind of this, when they see a fake crime, and he introduces himself to Judson as Batman number one, the one who gets to work with Robin, and they begin super-secret training.

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So unwittingly Judson helps Batman bring down the mob that had conned him, and Batman makes Judson not feel like a complete ass for falling for it.  Kudos all around.

This story was retold as a Black Orchid tale in the mid-70s.

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Roy Raymond meets a modern day Rip Van Winkle in this story by Jack Miller, with Ruben Moreira art.

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The man tells a story of meeting little men and then falling asleep, waking up in the present.  It’s a decent story, but the main reason I included it is Roy’s method of catching the con artist.

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Roy offers the man a ballpoint pen, and he takes it and writes with it.  But no one pre-20th century would guess there was ink inside a pen already.

Roy used this exact same trick on a man claiming to be Benjamin Franklin in an issue a year or so earlier, and I know he uses it at least once more.  It’s his go-to test.

Detective 202 – Batman goes to a resort, Roy Raymond gets his own series, and Robotman and Pow-Wow Smith end

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I skipped over many of the issues from 1952, and almost all the issues from 1953, but Detective 202 (Dec. 53) marks the end of two series, and a name change for another, so the tales in this issue get covered in my blog, even though, on their own, they likely wouldn’t.

The early 1950s were a bleak time in comic books.  They were viewed as a corrupting influence on children, and wound up neutering themselves to the point of tedium.

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The Batman and Robin story in this issue has art by Sheldon Moldoff, and a story that has Batman and Robin hunting a pirate that preys on wealthy people, staying at an island resort.

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There’s s bit of fun action, but it’s all been seen before.

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Roy Raymond, TV Detective begins, seamlessly evolving from Impossible But True, with Ruben Moreira still on the art.  Overall, this has been the best series in Detective in the last couple of years, with stories that were always interesting, even if the explanations did not always hold water.  This one has to do with a ventriloquist who claims his dummy is able to speak for itself.

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Although he is not able to take the dummy apart, Roy cannot find anything to prove the dummy is not speaking on its own.

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In the end it’s all a piece of classic misdirection, an attempt to smuggles a midget felon out of the country, in the body of the dummy.

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Robotman makes his final appearance in a story that pits him against stolen US military equipment.

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Not a bad story.  Short and action-packed, as Robotman tales were.

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Robotman did not appear again until an issue of Justice League of America in the mid-70s, and has rarely appeared since then.  In the mid-60s, a different version of Robotman, Cliff Steele, was introduced as a member of the Doom Patrol, and has “owned” the name ever since.  Curiously, for DC, the two Robotmen have never met in any story.

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Pow-Wow Smith is off to Hollywood for his final tale in Detective, which is, in fact, his second Hollywood story, though the last one was tv based.

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In this tale he is working as a stunt man, while at the same time investigating murder attempts on the actors during the shooting.

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It was the producer, doing it for the insurance.  A run of the mill plot, for a series that lost its exploration of a man of two cultures for straightforward crime stopping.

Pow-Wow Smith gets promoted, taking the cover and the lead spot in Western Comics.

 

 

 

Detective 193 – The Joker’s Journal, and Roy Raymond faces competition

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The Joker sets up his own newspaper in Detective 193 (March 1953).

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Put to work on the newspaper in the prison, the Joker gained inspiration for his plans after escape.  He begins a newspaper, with an entertaining collection of articles designed to appeal to criminals.  He also advertises robbery plans for sale.

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Batman goes undercover and joins the Joker’s mob, taking down the various members during the crimes they had paid for.  The story culminates in a fight in a paper plant.  Were the art better, this could have been a top drawer story.

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Roy Raymond’s show faces competition on the airwaves, to the dismay of his sponsor, in this Ruben Moreira story.

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Roy brings people onto Impossible But True, after being unable to disprove their tales, but the same people show up on a rival network’s show, “Fabulous Phonies,” where they are exposed as frauds.  Not only is Roy personally upset at being made a fool, his ratings suffer, and his sponsor comes down on him.

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The story has a good resolution, as Roy goes on “Fabulous Phonies” himself to expose the fraud that was pulled on him.

Detective 184 – The Firefly debuts, and an earthquake machine

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Garfield Lynns debuts in Detective 184 (June 1952), a decent villain with a weak name and a terrible costume, as the Firefly.

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The story introduces us to Lynns, a special effects expert with a taste for the destructive and an overweening arrogance.  He causes a huge fire in a theatre, and winds up on the run.

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His rationale for choosing the name Firefly is pretty lame.  Lame enough to make you wish for almost anything else, and the costume, designed by Dick Sprang, is no big plus.

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That’s a shame as his “powers” are fairly impressive, with an extensive control of light effects.  Aside from the explosion at the beginning, there is no element of Lynns being an arsonist.

It takes a long time for this character to return against Batman, and his next outing, against the Creeper, took until the mid-70s to happen.

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A man with a machine that can create meteorological events is the focus of this instalment of Impossible But True, with art by Ruben Moreira.  He seeks vengeance on a town for not believing in him, and is more than happy to demonstrate the machine’s abilities to Roy Raymond.

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Raymond keeps giving simple scientific explanations for the machine’s effects, until finally the man declares he will cause an earthquake.

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The earthquake turns out to be an underground explosion, from associates of the man blowing a bank vault.  It was all an elaborate piece of misdirection.  But Roy Raymond was too smart for them!

Detective 153 – Batman flies, Robotman fights his double, Impossible But True begins, and vengeance comes for Ohiyesa

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Great cover for this Dick Sprang story in Detective 153 (Nov. 49).  Batman and Robin are searching for an escaped felon, but take time out to attend a lecture on bats.  Just as the professor shows off some bat-wings he has created, the bad guy shows up.  Batman attempts to get to him, but she shoots his rope, and Batman falls, allowing the guy to escape.

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The professor gives him the bat-wings, and off Batman flies.

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Robin gets captured, but the professor has also provided a bat-radar system, which Batman uses to navigate a trapped room.

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And then, just as you are wondering how they are going to justify not keeping this cool stuff, Batman wakes up.  It was all a dream.  Lame.

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Robotman is pitted against a double of himself, when a scientist friend constructs a similar body, and implants the brain of a recently deceased man.

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The man inside the new body turns out to be a criminal, and a pretty fanatical one.  He takes no time to try to conceal his evil plans, announcing them to everyone.  Good thing he did, because Robotman knows to attack him right away.

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In attempting to electrocute Robotman, the new robot-man kills himself instead.

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Impossible But True begins in this issue, with art by Ruben Moreira.  The series stars Roy Raymond, and would come to be called that.  Roy has a hit tv show (Impossible But True) on which he shows off amazing things, and disproves hoaxes, along with his assistant, Karen Duncan.

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Looking for something good for next week’s show, Roy comes across a letter claiming there is a valley which ages people while they are in it.

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Roy sets out to investigate, entering the valley and experiencing the effect himself.

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The story closes with the broadcast of the episode, and the complex (and almost as unbelievable) explanation of what was really going on.

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Trouble comes looking for Pow-Wow Smith in this Carmine Infantino story, as a man he had captured escapes on his way to the gallows, and comes seeking revenge.

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The man disguises himself as a native.  He disguises himself, and is lucky enough to come at the time of a festival.

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He lures Ohiyesa out of the camp, and cuts a rope, so he will fall to his death.  He returns to the camp and announces that Ohiyesa has died.

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Which of course, he hasn’t, and shows up just in time.  They fight, the disguise comes off, and the Mexican is revealed.  At Ohiyesa’s insistence, they return him to the whites for justice, and he finally gets hung.

Aside from the very start and end, this story takes place entirely with the Sioux.

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