Comic Books · Dc Comics · Golden Age

1954 March

Detective Comics 205

Batman “The Origin of the Bat-Cave”

The Bat-Cave has received an upgrade and it requires them to add some wires so they don’t blow something. So Robin goes to get some shovels to bury the wires. While the two work they find bits of old pottery which Batman says is around three hundred ears old, and so the Bat-cave must be that old as well. Thinking about this Dick wonders how Bruce found the Bat-cave and so he begins the tale.

Bruce bought his manor as an adult when he already knew he would be Batman. He was working on setting up an old barn on the property to be his base when he fell through the floor. Of course this lead to the Bat-cave and once he saw it was full of the flying mammals he took them as a sign that his was meant to be his real base. He explored the place and blocked off many tunnels while making the one behind the grandfather clock. Apparently he didn’t set up the cave until Robin joined him however, as he asks Dick to remember when they did so.

They show a diagram of the cave, and begin to talk about the snafus they had to fix, such as the Batsignal not being visible from the cave. They have it rigged now that a lightblub in the cave turns on when the signal is activated. Also the process of getting television in the cave. Still the recollections don’t last all issue and they bring the pieces of pottery to the museum curator, who translates the writing on it to mean “Death to the man of two identities”. Both are disturbed by the fact it could apply to Bruce. And so they decide to go back in time via Prof. Nichols (sigh).

Once they arrive in the past they change into their fighting duds as they hear hoofbeats approaching them. Two native men are chasing a frontier’s man, who’s horse stumbles, and so the two crusaders dash to his recuse. But Robin missteps and nearly tumbles off a cliff. Batman tosses his ward a bat-line and he climbs up while Bruce continues to fight. They tie the defeated natives to their steeds and chase them off and then check on the fallen man.

He is surprised by their clothing but brings them into his secret base, which is in a cave. He calls it the Bat-cave because of it’s furry inhabitants. In this place he disguises himself as a native, spying on the tribe that regularly attacks his home town. He was not noticed as the group of attackers are not a true tribe but a collection of outcasts.  When most attacks were being repulsed however they deduce there is a spy among them. Before he could be caught the man ran for home, only to be ambushed by some who suspected him.

The man laments that now he is unable to help his home while the not-tribe plans their largest attack yet. Batman offers to take his place, after they secure the area and hide the man’s horse. They make it so the floor of a nearby cabin can be moved up and down, and make a tube of bark with mirrors as a periscope. Then he sets up a frontier lab of sorts, from the plants in the area. He also starts the Hall of Trophies. Then he changes and goes under cover. Sadly he doesn’t get to do his shit as it begins to rain and washes away his dye. In desperation he hides and changes into his Bat suit.

He tries to make it seem like he is an outlandish medicine man and shows off his batarang. He uses his smoke pellets and his cape to make bat shaped clouds to bring Robin to his side. Dick takes the horse and sweeps up his father figure as he rides by. They bring the spy to his home and begin to fade back to their time. So they change back to Bruce and Dick and they go home. As always it is left as a could have been a dream, but one thing says it might not be: in this case the spy’s arrow heads are found in the cave.

Roy Raymond the TV Detective “The Puzzle of the Blind Artist”

Interviews! The last one of the day is of a man who says he will paint a portrait fro Roy, who doesn’t get what’s so special. But the man explains he is blind and by feeling a person’s face he could still paint a perfect picture of them. He demonstrates his talent by painting Karen, and does excellently. Roy doubts he is truly blind, so he takes him to an eye doctor, who confirms this guy is blind. Roy says he will think about letting him on the show.

To truly convince Roy, he would need to make the man paint something he had never seen before in total darkness. So he brings the blind man to a recently discovered cave that is filled with ancient carvings. Roy searches him for a flashlight and sends him in. Once the painting is done Roy checks the carvings himself and find they match. As Roy announces to Karen he has figured out how the man had done his amazing feat the rope they took to the cave is cut by the ‘blind’ man, trapping them both. Roy sends up smoke signals and is rescued, arriving back at his studio as the man confesses, apparently having called the cops himself as he tells them to go save Roy and Karen.

As the man stands and still acts blind Roy explains that he has a special blindness, where he can see in the dark but not the light. (Like Doctor Mid-nite) Being an artist is hard, and he thought he would get the proper attention if he was a blind painter. But Roy has this all figured out too- as a man has seen the guys art and wants to ‘handle him’ (like a manager?). He figured it out from the most obvious thing that had been bothering me as well- how would he tell colors?

Comic Books · Dc Comics · Golden Age

1954 March

Action Comics 189

Superman “Clark Kent’s New Mother and Father”

Superman is out flying around and he sees a cruise-liner that is on fire. Before he swoops down to help he notes that Lois Lane somehow found out before him and was on a small boat next to the liner. He dunks the liner, and decides to do something about Lois’s scoop crazy stunts. So he goes to Perry and requests that she be given less dangerous assignments.

So her next task is to interview the Vanderviers about their missing son. Their son was a pilot who happened to be the spitting image of Clark (another one, what are the odds.) Due to the fact Clark is an orphan, the elderly couple wish to adopt him. At first Clark was going to refuse but once hearing that any great disappointment or shock would finish Mrs Vandervier Clark agrees. He then reminds us that this is his third set of parents, which makes him seem rather unlucky to me.

Clark then moves in with the Vanderviers which strikes me as odd. I know a bunch of people live with their parents for a multitude of reasons (working to get out of debt, or to look after them to name a few) but Clark doesn’t even question it. The Vanderviers then find out about Clark’s timid facade and tell him their son is brave, and they are sure he’s just like him. Lois doesn’t want them to be disappointed so she tells them that Clark takes great risks as a newspaper man (god does Lois look pretty in this panel. Actually I really like the art in this story.) He asks Lois why she did that and she just tells him to chill, that she would ask Superman to watch over him.

So he changes clothes and lets her ask him to guard himself. And so Clark begins to ask for the most dangerous jobs. He begins to act a bit cocky, and Lois is not pleased. Clark records a confession of his identity to his parents, and when hearing about a robbery on the radio he plans to face them as Clark to help Lois’s story. He walks in to their midst and becomes a hostage. Clark ‘passes out’ and he switches places with a dummy when the robber’s backs are turned.

He shakes the building to make the robbers flee, and Lois sends the pictures to Clark’s new home (instead of destroying them like she had all the the others. Even if she was mad and wanted to expose him, Superman saves people, the picture wouldn’t prove anything). Thinking the envelope was for them, Clark’s new parents open it and are shocked and hurt he has lied to them. He resolves to just tell them he’s Superman. He overhears them talking though, and Mr. Vandervier says their own son was too brave, and will stand by Clark. He also mentions how the son went missing, and so Clark went to look for him.

Through a method that really wouldn’t work Clark finds the real son. He retrieves the tape he made and then gets unadopted I guess? Is that even possible?

Congo Bill “The Mail Order Hunter”

Congo Bill is asked to a camp run by a friend of his because he wants Bill to go along on a safari that his son is going on. The father wants him to go into business with him, but the son (Dick) has taken a mail course on big game hunting and is too stubborn (and stupid) to realize he is not an expert. The man asks Bill to please protect his son.

Things go well at first, with Dick listening as Bill explains how he can tell elephants had been in the area. But the boy refuses to move when a killer elephant appears, and he tries to take it out with an entirely too small gun. But to everyone’s wonder Dick actually takes out the beast with a single shot. Even cockier now Bill refuses to let Dick take a shot at an approaching lion, as he knows how dangerous it’ll be is he misses. Like Bill does five seconds later. Dick makes the feline flee by hitting it with a rock though, and like that the dynamic of the group changes.

Next the come across a river full of crocs and a rhino. Bill steps into the spotlight here as the weapons the team has could not breach the protection of the rhino’s skull, and he is able to teach the others to zigzag to avoid the powerful horns. Dick falls though, but as he yells at it the rhino runs away. Now thinking big game hunting dull Dick decides to return to business, and Bill explains how he made the truly dangerous sport seem harmless. He shot the elephant at the same time as Dick, and another member of the party had brought a zebra close enough that the lion went for it instead. The rhino left because it was scared by the flashlight shone in it’s eyes.

Tommy Tomorrow “The Forbidden World”

A scientist has created a few powerful devices he says will help rid the universe of crime much faster. The leader of the planeteers plans to test them in the hands of the accomplished Tommy Tomorrow. Because the devices are secret Tommy heads to the forbidden world to test them safely in that area. On their way (shit I forgot Tommy’s friend’s name again… oh well) they come across a small ship in the restricted area and warn them off. The ship claims they are space prospectors who lost their way and will leave at once.

On the “prospectors” ship one of the others is warning the pilot that the warning systems on the forbidden planet will alert anyone of their approach. But the pilot has a plan. He sends out radio signals to the Forbidden planet, telling them they have been shipwrecked (space shipwrecked). In the smaller ‘life boat’ they are allowed to land on the planet. They say that they are going to get the powerful weapon that is on the planet and as soon as they land the shoot the planeteers who are there. One of the planeteers gets a warning off before he is shot down, and the leader shows his gang to the asteroid destroying machine that they came here for.

Meanwhile Tommy has hear the warning, and he and a bunch of other planeteers race to stop the murderers. But when the ships arrive the criminals already have full control of the machine, and Tommy orders a retreat so they aren’t blown to bits. Leaving the rest of the planeteers behind Tommy and Captain Wood, take the Space Ace in alone. They turn on the camouflage device they had been sent to test (it makes them look like a comet on the radar). Once they get closer they switch to looking like a ringed asteroid. Then they are able to turn invisible for just enough time to land.

The radar still picked them up though, and they had to land quite a distance from the lab to aviod the bolt shot at them. Still Tommy doesn’t give up and he attaches another one of the new devices and the two drill into the world. Now close enough they activate a giant magnet and pull the whole tower where the asteroid destroying machine is into the air. Then they skip forward to Tommy talking to his commander, telling him everything is now safe, and the new devices have been put in a safe place to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.

Vigilante “The One-Armed Bandit”

Vig and Stuff ride into town, having tracked the villainous One-Armed Bandit there. But we only see that for a single panel before we jump over to the man in question. He has been cornered by the sheriff, who tells him to raise his hand, but when the Bandit does so I’m sure the sheriff regrets it a tad as he is shot down. We should note he has two arms, one is just tucked against his body like it is hurt. Vig appears then and while he would like to go after him, he has to stop, or run over the sheriff and the other injured with his motorcycle.

While helping one of the men to his feet he mentions that he should have shot the Bandit when he had a chance a year before. It turns out he was the one to teach the Bandit his current skills. His real name is Sam, and he had been a horse riding accident which caused the injury to his arm. He was too stubborn to go to the hospital even though his arm may not be a lost cause, and the old man helped him adjust to it’s loss. Hearing the story Vig and Stuff head out to find him, but there are no tracks and Sam is smart enough to not start a fire. While searching they talk about the guys low tactics where he goes after folks who haven’t heard of him and so think him harmless. When they hesitate to strike a handicapped person he kills them.

Since they couldn’t find Sam Greg writes a song making fun of of the Bandit, and telling saying that Vigilante will take him down. Having heard of this song Sam goes to one of Greg’s concerts and tries to shoot him. Neatly ducking backstage (though being grazed on one arm) he changes clothes and  jumps on his bike to follow the gunman. He jumps off the vehicle to attack, and while Sam’s companion gets Vig at gun point Stuff has him in the same situation. So to break the standoff a one armed Vig must fight the On-Armed Bandit. The fist fight begins and Vig has him on the ropes til Sam brings his other arm into play. But our boy is able to bring him down, and Sam goes to prison.

Comic Books · Dc Comics · Golden Age

1954 Feb

Adventure Comics 197

Superboy “Clark Kent Toughie”

We open with a teacher entering his classroom to find a rude picture of himself on the blackboard, and when he asks who had done it Clark confesses. His odd behavior continues, as he tosses an eraser at a classmate (misses and hits a teacher), gives someone a hot-foot, and throws spitballs. That day as he heads home he is approached by a boy who wants him to join the gang the skull and crossbones. Clark says that he might want to join the red dragons. To convince him the boy tells Clark what the skulls are planning for that afternoon.

Superboy had plans for the afternoon, which was demonstrating at a circus, and the skulls disrupted the event and could have harmed someone, had Clark not been alert. Clark thinks about how dangerous the gangs have gotten and explains to the reader that the Principle had asked Clark to infiltrate on of the gangs to undermine them.

The next day Clark goes through initiation. Though the tasks are nothing to the boy of steel, a normal kid may have been hurt. They hear about the rival gang graffiti-ing city hall, and though Clark suggests they help clean it, the chief has them try to deface the statue of Smallville’s founder. Superboy, moving faster than could bee seen blocked all the rocks and used ventriloquism to make the statue talk, scaring off the gang. Next they try to make a shop that looks like a shoe reek, but Clark knows it would scare off her business, and ruin her so he fills her store with the scent of flowers,and she thanks the gang for helping her.

Some of the boys are touched by her thanks, and think Clark’s idea about cleaning  city hall was good, but aren’t quite ready to turn tide. Their chief sets up a battle between the two gangs, but Superboy tells them there is a fire in town, and guilt trips them into helping put it out. In the end the two gangs are still rivals, but they decide to be rivals on who can get the most awards and acknowledgment.

Aquaman “Aquaman Walks the Plank”

The U.N. declares the camel-backed Whale as endangered and they send out an order to not kill the mighty beast anymore. But there is at least one man on the ocean who does not head this; Captain Samson. Of course this is mentioned to Aquaman, as Samson makes no effort to hide his deeds from the U.N. As there is not an official law, there is nothing anyone can really do, but Aquaman has a plan for the pirate wanna-be.

He shucks the bright costume and goes undercover as a sailor. (I find it funny when the captain asks if he’s had much experience at sea) He causally mentions Aquaman, and the captain gets angry, saying that if that fish-man knows what is good for him he’ll stay out of his way. While Aquaman is on board the man comes across a school of Camel-backed Whales, and sends out boats to kill them. Unnoticed our boy jumps overboard and helps the whales with the help of his finny friends. It is noticed at this point that Aquaman is not on the ship and when he returns he is forced to walk the plank. (head being pounded against wall)

On the bottom of the sea Aquaman had his friends gnaw off the ropes, and returns to the ship. They toss him over again, this time with a ball and chain. He slips them off with grease from a sunken ship, and carefully hangs the chain over some drift wood. Thinking that Aquaman didn’t go down the Captain climbs down a ladder to make sure he sinks. An eel sends a small amount of electricity into the chain, paralyzing the man so Aquaman can make him promise to leave the whales alone.

Johnny Quick “The Second Fastest Man”

There is a club, cleverly called “the fastest men’s club” which contains various racers and other speedy dudes. Johnny Quick however won’t join, as his achievements would dwarf the others’. Johnny Chambers and Tubby Watts are at a meeting of the club, to record it for posterity. One of the men claim that they have a helicopter which can go 1000mph, and he puts himself down for consideration for the club. one of the other men worries that the man and his ‘copter will be able to take his place as the fastest man in the club and vows to do something about it.

Most of the club’s meeting seems to involve racing and showing off their speed. Johnny is able to use his skills as a camera man to get most of the footage, but when the ‘copter starts to rise he needs to use his formula. While looking for a good place to change Johnny sees the jealous man focus the cannon he is usually shot out of with a torpedo/missile like object, set to hit the rising machine. Johnny rushes into the air and saves both man and machine. Knowing that Johnny Quick knew what he had tried to do the man attempts to flee, and the speedster films both the rocket car the attempted murderer uses and the helicopter have a brief race mid air, which the ‘coper won. Johnny picks up the villian, and the new fastest man of the club gets his congratulations.

Green Arrow “Crime’s TV Station”

Quick note before we begin Green Arrow’s hat is reddish orange in this issue, but I don’t think it’s something the character has, just a coloring mistake. Maybe since Speedy’s hat is yellow they thought GA’s was also a different color than the rest of his suit?

When we start Green Arrow and Speedy are getting changed to follow a tip on the ‘Zig Brady Gang’ who they were told would be at the pier at eight to divide loot. They sneak to a hole in the warehouse where the gang is meeting, but they weren’t busy with ill-gotten gains, instead they were watching a show on the television, drawn in as well as young children before a particularly interesting cartoon. As the two heroes go for the loot in the corner the man on the screen announces that what had just been shown was a reenactment of a city bank hold up,and they give an award to the man who killed a bank guard. Distracted by this odd station GA is nearly shot and only Speedy’s warning saved him, but the shot hit the tv, protecting it’s secrets.

We cut to the station, where they are making their next show, featuring the archers. They plan to make them seem like cowards, mock them for increased moral. The captured men refuse to talk. To get to the bottom of this Green Arrow and Speedy head out to see Willie “Wireless” Weems, a crook who specializes in radio and Tv. As they arrive Willie is tuning in, and they hear that the special for next week would feature the ‘cowardly Green Arrow’. It then shows a brief preview, and Speedy yells at the Tv in anger, letting Willie know they are there. So they have to capture Willie, who is certain that the program will go one forever.

Having some of their next show they head to one of the sites, hoping they aren’t done filming there. Luckily for them, the gang does show, and they keep quiet this time, and follow them back to their base. While making their plans for breaking in neither of them see the gang member who has spotted them. We switch to inside the building where the film is being processed. Hours pass, and no brightly colored males enter the building. They wait until the video is being shown and then take the camera and film their real exploits in the place of that night’s show. (not sure how filming and broadcasting work,  especially in the mid fifties, but I don’t think it’s like this) Across the city crooks blanch at the show of their prowess. Oh and they do mention the guy who saw them outside. Apparently they attacked him back and that’s how they knew the right time.

Comic Books · Dc Comics · Golden Age

1954 Feb

Batman 81

“Two-Face Strikes Again” (earth-one)

This is an Earth-one tale, though at the time of writing Dc (or what would become DC) didn’t yet know they would be making two distinct universes, so it is still written as if it were Earth-two. Earth-two Harvey Dent never returns to crime.

Getting to the actual thing you are here to read, Harvey Dent, face whole from his plastic surgery, passes by a store and sees that it is being robbed. Feeling moraly obligated to stop them he rushes forward, and the explosive charge for the safe goes off right in Harvey’s face! (We are all super stunned by this) Taking this as a sign, and knowing the surgery couldn’t be done again (his doctor told him so) he once again becomes Two-Face. He flips his coin to make sure though.

The very next night he robs a circus, which I don’t think is a good idea because he needs time to both heal and plan. He doesn’t steal from the box office, but from one of the clowns, who has a collection of diamond stickpins. An hour after that crime (boy he’s moving fast!) he robs a collection of jewels from a deep sea diver.

The next day Batman and Robin are told of yet another crime by Two-Face, this time he stole from a man who specialized it portraying Abe Lincoln and he had taken papers that had belonged to the real Abe. The Duo are as confused as I am about why the double themed villain such objects, until Bruce gets an idea. He points out that all of the victiems have had ‘two faces’ themselves. The actor who sometimes looks like Lincoln, the deep sea diver and his breathing mask/helmet, and a clown.

Our heroes begin a search for possible victims and we have a funny scene where Two-Face is hiring people to his gang based on flips of his coin. He also tells the reader that since Batman has two faces he will be he climax of his crimewave. Two-Face and his men are spotted as they head for Gotham Point, where only four men live. We know that they are going for the gambler, but Bruce doesn’t yet. See, his  second face is his poker face. Batman figures it out on the drive over.

Now this guy has one weird house. I’ll put a pic on the Tumblr version of this blog. Basically the place is filled with giant versions of gambling stuff, light a humongous billiard’s table. While atop this table Batman and Robin slide into on of the holes to escape the pool balls being rolled at them, and inside the slide Robin gets his foot caught. Batman makes a net for the incoming ball and saves his ward. Though Two-Face escaped once more, this time it was without the loot.

At home, alert for anything that may be able to be seen as someone having two faces Bruce sees in the paper that a Japanese man had ‘lost face’ and he and Dick conclude that must mean he must have had two- making him a viable target. They rush to the embassy where there is a gargantuan statue which a battle is soon waged on. Also it is not Japanese by any stretch, but I couldn’t tell you what Asian country the outfit the statue is wearing is form. Once again Robin is more a hindrance than a help (which we know him to be most of the time. Everyone has bad days!) and must be saved by his father figure. Unfortunately this lets Two-Face escape again.

Returning home Bruce remembers that he has an appointment with some nearby Sioux, to be made an honorary chief which would make him have two faces, well three, Paleface, Sioux, and Batman. (about that being made a chief thing. I did a tiny bit of  research and found this: For the Sioux, the title of Chief was viewed as a medal earned for outstanding performance during times of war or peace. To be Chief was considered an honorary title. It did not mean, however, that the Chief was solely “in charge” of his people. Rather than a linear chain of command, the Indians traditionally ruled by unanimous vote of a council of Chiefs of “Headmen” from a variety of bands. Decisions made by the council served to guide rather than command the people. But I have no clue how he’d have earned this)

Looking around the site as Batman before he must appear as Bruce, Robin spots a plane with two engines landing, and they know their trap is ready to spring. Before they can though they are blinded by the sand that the landing plane kicked up and are captured. Awww, Harvey ties them to a giant coin, making me relive fond memories, and then has them flipped by a truck with a sort of launcher on the back. Using their belts to form a magnetic field Batman and Robin do not land on the bed of spikes prepared for them, and manage to free themselves from the ropes and then handily take out the gang in two panels and take them to jail.

“The Boy Wonder Confesses” 

Dick Grayson is late for school one day, and a classmate jokes he isn’t there because he is heartsick over Maria, another kid in class. Maria it seems likes Robin you see, so Dick would have no chance. But Dick does turn up, and he tells the class he was late because he was chasing a crook, as he was Robin.

After the intial shock the students think it’s a joke, so he whips off his over clothing and tells them to go outside where he will preform Robin-level stunts. He does, and then, as the class watches there is a car accident and Robin truly shows his skill by jumping off a building and using a flag pole to catch himself so he can land safely and save the people trapped in the cars. One of the kids called the papers, and with Dick being Robin, Bruce Wayne must be Batman! When asked the billionaire replies ‘no comment’.

There is a panel where it says Dick has a good reason for confessing, and we go to a flashback from nearly a year before. They had dealt with a criminal known as Mr. Camera, and he had given the quite the runaround, until they met up with him in a theater. Changing clothes in the nearby alley they rushed back in. Seeing where they came from Mr. Camera laughed with glee. He fled, and took film from a camera in the alley with him.

They were able to catch up with Mr. Camera and his men not too much longer, but the film showing their identities had been hidden. Mr. Camera mocked them with the knowledge would be revealed once he was released from prison and there was nothing they could do about it. Skip forward nine months, and a friend of Mr. Camera’s is coming into town, and he knows where the film is. It would be shown next month.

They figure they can make an excuse for Bruce and Dick being in the alley, as long as they can prove they are different people. They planned on having Alfred dress and Batman, and the two meet, but Alfred would be gone next month. So they decide to up the time table.

We see Bruce with some reporters and, getting annoyed, he says he’ll get in touch with Batman, and they will prove the story silly. But Alfred fractures his leg on the way back from shopping because of the snow and can’t play Batman. Bruce comes up with an idea on the fly, and has Dick change to Robin and get the batplane ready. He is told to set the plane’s auto pilot and take a car or something to the Newell building then he use the remote for the plane to send it to the gray building across the street at 8:50. Bruce says Batman will be there, and he must fly the plane away at 9:05.

Next we see Robin on a roof, with the remote as he lands the plane. Soon both Bruce and Batman are there. Well Batman’s on the roof, Bruce is on the street with a mega phone. They chat briefly, laughing that some people think they are the same person. The plane takes off and people investigate. Robin was across the street, he couldn’t have flown the plane. There was one set of foot sets from where Batman had stood to the plane, and it all looks legit. Alfred’s in the hospital, and Batman wouldn’t hire an actor or else they would know. The only question was, why did Dick start the fuss? A girl.

So the explanation was it was a snow-batman, which was melted with a thermite pill. The uniform was designed to dissolve as well. Batman had made the footprints when he made the figure and erased any extras he had made. Oh and they told the papers Dick had asked Robin for a favor, and it really was he who did the stunts outside the school.

“The Phantom Bandit of Gotham City”

There has been a robbery at a bank in Gotham, though there had been no sign of disturbance until the vault was opened in the morning and it was almost empty, with writing on the wall that said “Thanks! The Phantom Bandit!” We see two other victims of the Phantom, valuables having vanished with only a written thanks as a trace. Vicki Vale gets assigned to the case, and Batman and Robin are called in.

A suspicious masked figure  was seen near the dragon vault, a place where all the Tong members keep their savings. (who are the Tongs? is it a family? an organization?) As Batman and Robin arrive they see the figure leaving the vault with a large bag. They attack, causing the Bandit to drop his takings but in doing so they activate a mechanism in the vault which shoots fire at them, letting the thief escape.

At another site of robbery (the Gotham Racetrack) Vicki finds a model polar bear with ice skates, which Bruce knows is a souvenir for the Polar Bear Club, which means they are going in. Dick complains about the suits, but Bruce knows they may recognize the Bandit.

By the way Vicki is also at the club, and the main attraction is a ‘swami’ who can read minds. Bruce notes that the assistant’s corsage is wilting wrong, and ruins the act by destroying the mic hidden in it (it transmits the sound to the swami). Later Batman tells Robin he’s checked into it and all the victims had been to the club, and all had their minds ‘read’. So they begin to follow all the people who had participated the previous night. They have a run in with the Bandit again, but he gets away. Once more it is shown that he can get into any vault, no lock can stop him.

While Dick is home reading one night Vicki asks him to help her set up a trap for the Bandit. Dick masquerades as a young, rich South American man (he looks ridiculous!). They go to the club, and have his mind read. Then they return to the hotel to wait. We then see two people come up to the door, the swami and his helper. The Bandit puts something in the air conditioner to knock out the people in the room.

They open the door once Dick and Vicki are unconscious, saying they have the key. The assistant came along to help search for the riches, as they don’t have a set place like a vault to grab from this time. Seeing that Dick was down for the count via his binoculars Batman rushes into action. He smashes through the window and beats both the crooks. The girl would pickpocket the people she talked to and make a wax form of the keys, before returning them.

Comic Books · Dc Comics · Golden Age

1954 Feb

Tomahawk 22

“Admiral Tomahawk”

As you know the revolutionary war was rough, lack of funds, proper equipment and the like. While little can be done about that, Tom is asked to delay supplies to the British, to help even the footing. So he is given a ship with a small crew, even though I’m sure that there is probably someone better for the job than a frontier’s man. As is normal for this man Tomahawk gathers more men from allied tribes with whom he is friendly.

Their first battle doesn’t start off so hot, as their enemies have better range. But Tom’s Native friends are able to save the day, by shooting flaming arrows into the powder kegs on the British ship, and blasting them to bits. Tom leads his men to victory after victory, and he is finally given a more specific target; a ship bringing rifles that HQ wants him to recover for the American forces. After winning that battle the British send their most powerful ship against Tom’s tub. I should probably mention that people keep telling Tom he needs to have better discipline.

But as has been proven, unorthodox methods work wonders. Tom and his native friends build a fleet of canoes, and loaded them with oil. The bring in the canoes, unseen from the massive warship. Then they dump the oil, and light it. Having put quite a dent into the enemy forces Tom is given a salute and taken off the sea.

“The Frontier Protection Racket”

Sam Dalton is having a nice meal with his family when flaming arrows are sent into his home. Fortunately it is not a full blown attack, but a warning. Sam thinks a man called Hank Slater is behind the attack, as Sam had refused to pay him protection money. Sam is pissed, and rightfully so, but maybe it wasn’t so smart of him to go up to the man and accuse him, without proof. For his trouble Sam gets walloped across the jaw, but he vows he’ll stop the raids none the less. Hank says Sam’s gonna end up with a Tomahawk in his head, which I thought would make him think of Tomahawk, but I guess he’s not that well known?

But he goes to the nearby tribe, and discovers the arrows do not come from them. To get to the bottom of all this the chief calls his friend- Tom. We see a brave set out to find him, bring him back and finally the meeting Tomahawk has with the tribe. One of the brave actually was in on it (I thought Slater and his men may just be dressing up) as he thinks that he has to report to him. Even though his men warn him of Tomahawk’s mighty feats, Slater is unconcerned and sets up a raid for the next day.

After Tom and Dan chase off the raiders and return the cattle to their field Hank comes up and is all “shame that had to happen I could have protected you if you payed” and Tom pretends to fall for it. Sadly this causes the rest of the settlers, barring Sam, to pay up. Still, they should get their money back in the end. Tom starts his investigation with no eyes on him. He follows Slater’s tracks and finds the horde of loot he had gathered while convincing people to pay him, but it turns out Slater and his men weren’t fooled and they ambushed Tom inside the cave.

Not wanting to have any chance of his death being put upon him Slater takes Tom’s clothes and one of his men wear hem on the next raid, hoping the townsfolk will lynch him. Sure shooting they see the figure dressed as him and are beyond angry. Dan of course stands by his friend. Slater’s men tell everyone they captured Tom and they come with torches. But when the boulder blocking the cave is rolled away Slater is there, still dressed like Tom. On top of that Tom has the rest of the tribe pointing bows at Slater’s men.

He explains how he was able to push one stone down the incline, and have it smash into the barrier and make him an opening to slip through. He gets his friends and they capture Slater. The chief is left to deal with his  turncoats, the loot is recovered, and Slater’s men go to trial.

“The Battle of the Puppets”

While on their way to yet another adventure Dan and Tom pass a puppet show, which is highly pro the revolution. When two redcoats come to arrest the puppeteer Dan and Tom take them down. Then the three flee, using the escape Tom already had planned. When the frontier’s men aim to leave him behind before they head into danger the man insists on going with them.

Soon they come across the settlers who are engaging in battle with the native tribe nearby. They make a break for the inn, and hole up inside with the rest. After chasing off the band for a while they take stock of their situation. Having been fighting for a while only six fighters remain in the settlers, and Tom informs them the continental troops can’t be there til the next day. To cheer up the settlers the Puppeteer puts on his show, which gives Tom an idea. And they get to making puppets.

Tom, Dan, and the puppeteer head to where the tribe is, their leader making a speech of victory. Tom leaps from the trees and says that won’t happen and using magic he would show them the real outcome. The puppet stage glows for some reason, making the figures of Tomahawk and the tribe’s chief clear. The puppet Tomahawk beats the figure of the chief and then the puppet troops arrive to capture the rest of the tribe. Some believe the show, and others do not. To prove it Tom will fight the leader by himself.

In a way very similar to what happened in the puppet show Tom beats the chief. the tribe prepare to flee the coming troops, but a scout comes and tells his people how far the troops are. Dan drops his powder horn into the fire to give Tom time to escape, and the two are chased by the tribe, away from the inn. As the ran the troops showed up, and the tribe fled- but it was really the remaining settlers from the inn, dressed as the military. When the troops arrived for real, they were able to see a puppet version of the whole ordeal.

Comic Books · Dc Comics · Golden Age

1954 Feb

Superman 87

1 (this first tale is Earth-one) “The Thing from 40,000 A.D.”

One night a strange being lands near Metropolis, seeming to have come from outer space. It has no form, looking like a weird eyed ditto more than anything. Like a ditto it seems to be able to change form, as it does so- shifting into a tree shortly after landing. It is sentient, as it takes in the life forms around it, and thinks that they must be extinct in 40,000 A.D, which is when it is from.

Though it is not know what has landed the people in the city known that something has. Clark is sent to report upon it. As Clark changes clothing so he can make better time he notes that this is especially  important as the area was to be used for bombing test soon, which had made the army cordon off the area. The thing takes on the appearance of one of the men that pass it, thinking that the fact humans are the predominant life form will make things easier for it. As it will have no trouble from the primitive species.

Superman arrives and is told that the fallen object seemed to have vanished. But, seeing the thing pass by shortly before the man it had copied, lets Superman and the captain into the thing’s secret. The thing escaped, and Superman began to search for clues, finding that there was a trail of slime from a place that looked like a tree had been recently and where he had seen the thing looking like the private.

We then see the being robbing the town of radioactive isotopes, using it’s shifting abilities. But Superman cannot follow up on this right away, as Clark has another assignment, reporting on the world’s largest synthetic diamond. As Clark leaves he is seen by the thing, who thinks he would be a valuable identity to use. That night it used Clark’s form to steal the diamond. Superman finds the large diamond using his x-ray vision, and then loudly proclaims no human could lift the stone, so he must be the fake.

Having followed it to it’s headquarters he finds the thing is making an atomic time machine. His foe creates a landslide that Superman has to stop, but first Superman gets the thing to reveal it’s plan to take over his time, with it’s great abilities and explain that it had been driven to the past as those from the future had feared it. When he next finds the thing it has taken the form of Superman. The two begin a ferocious duel, the thing having Superman’s powers along with his shape. Superman lead the thing back to where it landed, and as he had hoped it was unable to adapt to the explosion in time, and so only one blue clad figure survived.

“Superman’s Super-Boners”

One day Clark is asked to report on a showing of gems, but as he already knows all about the show as he is the one who has been asked to transport and protect them, he decides to check on an atomic engine. He sees it is about to explode, so he wraps it in his cape and lets it explode there. Soon afterward Superman makes the wrong move in dealing with a small fire, and accidentally causes more damage than he would have prevented. He is able to fix it up with little to no problem, but he wonders if his thinking may have been impaired by the explosion. (dude you made one mistake- lighten up)

He goes on patrol later and finds a yacht in danger of crashing due to a dead motor and the tides. He smashes the rocks they are about smash into, without realizing one of the bridge supports is in them. He holds up the bridge while he waits for the repair crew. A rival paper spoke with the mayor and the city planned to test Superman to see if he will be allowed to use his powers. He agrees and the test begins. He is first asked to make a cruel man love his dog, and does so by staging a rescue by the hound. Next he is told to stop a rock slide, but he is not allowed to melt the rocks with his heat vision, nor blow the boulders back uphill also he must do it from a distance. He forms a giant container from a boulder,melts iron inside it and pours the mixture on the rocks. Then he makes a large magnet and lifts them out of the way. Finally he is made to count all the grains of sand in a patch. As there was a time limit he compresses it into a brick and has it weighed. Using that information, plus a small sample he was able to measure and count in time allows him to calculate the rest.

Superman wonders about the ‘mistakes’ he had made, and wonders if things may have been set up. So he goes to look and finds that the rocks where the bridge support was were covered with lead, and that there was tampering at the scene of the fire as well. He figures that the reason he had been made to seem incompetent was so he would be taken off guarding the gems. He rushes back to the show and recovers the gems.

“The Prankster’s Greatest Role”

Clark Kent is walking down the street when he hears a cry for help, saying the Prankster is back. Barely thinking he strips his outer wear, not even bothering to conceal himself first. Nearly gave me a heart attack that did. But we see in the next panel that Clark has been asked to play Superman in an upcoming play. We continue with the flashback seeing Clark-dressed as Superman- being hoisted by a wire, and capturing the ‘Prankster’ as practice for the big night.

The real Prankster is furious at being put in the play, and vows to make the role of Superman trouble for Clark. At the next rehearsal Superman sees that some of the people who have come to watch have rotten eggs, tomatoes, and other prime throwing material along with cards saying they are from the Prankster. Clark rushes backstage and spins the backdrop, hurling the rotten food back at the Prankster’s men.

Angry at their failure he Prankster says he’ll handle it himself, and his anger rises again as some fellow crooks mock him. He shows the hoodlums who’s boss and sees on the paper that the first showing of the play will be in a swampy town outside of Metropolis. Oswald cut out a section of the bridge, and disguised it so when Clark and the rest of the play’s crew passed over it they fell to the murky water below. Superman manages to make it seem as though a rope in the car had tangled around his leg, and he fell over a support beam, the momentum snapping them over again- so saving the car and his identity.

Finally the opening night. Police guard the entrances, as now they are expecting trouble from the Prankster. Of course though the real Prankster has taken the place of his double and sticks up the crowd while Clark dangles from a wire. The wire ‘breaks’ and Clark lands on the floor, sending a barrel flying onto the prankster. He takes out the lights with a chunk of lead and tears off the fake costume for his own. He then paints a picture of himself? and makes a cage. When the lights come back on he swoops down and gathers up the crooks. Superman got accused of being Clark in reality, but the wax figure of Clark (there was one for each cast member) and ventriloquism allied suspicions.

Comic Books · Dc Comics · Golden Age

1954 Feb

Detective Comics 204

Batman “The Man Who Could Live Forever”

We open upon a man holding up a jewelry store, only for him to be interrupted, not by the Bat, but a fancy man in a hat and a cape. He says that he will be taking the loot. The original robber shoots the interloper, who loudly proclaims he is immortal and nothing can harm him. We cut to Bruce Wayne and his ward playing Ping pong, until Bruce spots the Batsignal on the sky.

The shop clerk talks to our heroes, telling them the man (who he somehow knows is named Odo Neval) had bared his chest, and there was no bullet proof vest. About to leave the radio in the Batmobile alerts them to Odo’s location and so the costumed crusader head over to the subway where he had been spotted. Finding the man is not catching him however, and he drops a live wire onto the metal steps they would have to take to follow him. Batman slides down a Batrope, using a wooden cane to lift the wire to allow others down the stairs but by then the man had vanished.

The next day there was an article in a paper about the fact there was a criminal named Odo Neval centuries ago. Curious Batman and Robin head over to see the man who claimed this. He pulled out a manuscript, which clearly has a picture of Odo on it, and says, in modern English mind you, that he was he criminal who lived forever. The man then explains that Odo was a scientist of Atlantis, and he had made the formula for immortality back then. Batman states he doesn’t care and he’s going down either way.

We cut to the man who had been stealing the jewels Odo had taken, and other criminals. They want the formula for themselves and track down Odo to buy it. After proving his abilities all of Gotham’s criminals begin to pull big jobs to get the cash for the expensive formula. By capturing one of these men Batman gets the whole story, and then goes undercover as Big Luke. While buying the formula Batman notes a mark on Odo’s arm that proves him a fake (I’m guessing its the mark from the smallpox vaccine) Some men come in and knock him out, and they discover he’s Batman by opening his shirt and there is a large Bat there. Either they forgot to color the suit besides the bat, or this version of Bruce has a very revealing tattoo.

Robin, who is Bruce’s backup bursts in to save him. He drinks the vial of formula, and though it is a fake Odo can’t let the other men in the room know that. He is captured none the less and Batman and Robin are brought to a car and they plan to dump Batman over a cliff. Thinking the formula to be real Robin acts recklessly and crashes the car, Shielding Batman with his own ‘invulnerable’ body. Cops come to the scene and Robin heads after Odo, after explaining the situation to them.

When Batman wakes he rushes to help Robin, worried that he will be harmed by his overconfidence. Batman arrives in time and, by throwing a small rock at him was able  to show the boy the truth and they team up. By breaking a giant light bulb (there for effect) they cut Odo’s face, proving him a fake. They capture all the crooks there and then explain that Odo was using a flesh colored bulletproof vest, and rubber gloves that look like bare hands, and he was really the historian that had the document from before. Also I was right, the mark was from a vaccine, though it doesn’t say smallpox specifically.

Roy Raymond Tv Detective “The Stars Spell Doom”

A window washer falls, but rather than dying in a large splat he is caught by an awning and gets barely a scratch. He tells the onlookers that it wasn’t the only impossible thing to happen to him. He had been warned to avoid heights by his astrologer (his boss didn’t see that as a good excuse though). We skip to another man who looks to the stars. He is standing in a downpour, unwilling to go inside his home as it has been deemed unlucky for this day. As he explains this to his neighbor his house explodes. Faulty oil burner.

We cut to Roy, and Karen is marveling over the two predictions, which had both made the paper, and were foretold by the same man. Roy scoffs, but at that moment the astrologer and another of his grateful clients come in. His story is not so spectacular, he was warned not to travel, and when he did he lost control of his car. Not wanting to dismiss him off hand he asks the man to give Karen a reading. He says she has gotten a large sum of money, and then a messenger boy comes in with a check for a thousand dollars from a raffle.

Roy then asks for his own fortune. He says Roy will be involved in an accident on May 27th with a bunch of people under one roof. Karen reminds him he has plans to watch a boxing match that day. She begs him to ask the people to call off the event, as many could be killed. He says it is a fake and says he can prove it. Karen’s check was sent on the 30th but only arrived on the 1st. Since the star chart he made was for this month the money should not have shown up on the reading. Then he rips of the astrologer’s fake beard, revealing the head of a gambling syndicate that had heavily backed the likely loser of the upcoming fight.

He then explains all the people had been paid off, and the check was sent by the astrologer as well. Angry and wanting the truth kept quiet he calls in his men, who attack Roy, only for him to push a bull statue in their faces. He then smacks the leader with a set of scales and the cops come. Roy reminds us astrology isn’t real.

Comic Books · Dc Comics · Golden Age

1954 Feb

World’s Finest 68

Superman “The Menace from the Stars”

A large asteroid is slowly (or maybe it just seems to be slow due to the size and distance) falling toward Metropolis. Superman heads to an observatory to get the down-low before he stops this danger, and is informed that there is something similar to kryptonite upon the falling stone. Naturally Superman still goes to stop the asteroid, but he now knows it may be dangerous to him. He knocks the thing away, saving America, but he falls as soon as this is done, crashing into a tree and splitting it down the middle. He sees others dressing in costume, having been at a ball, and thinks he must have been out with them. He has no memory.

He finds his Clark clothes in his cape and changes, and continues to walk aimlessly around town. He goes by the Planet and thinks he should go inside, as papers typically cover the artist’s ball and someone may have seen him there. Of course, his co-workers know him, to his surprise. He tells them he has no memory, and they are like ‘dude did you hear the news Superman has vanished!’ Great friends there. Of course, Clark doesn’t know who Superman is.

Lois pulls out a picture and Clark realizes he was dressed as Superman the night before, but thinks it was as a gag as Superman was his friend. We hear a news blurb from the radio, warning the people about tidal waves, caused by the asteroid being so close. Not realizing he can do something about those he heads out to see a doctor. On the way he comes across a bank robbery. Thinking only to scare the men he puts on the Superman costume he has, and they shoot him. Realizing who they had shot at the criminals give up, and Clark thinks it is just the costume that protected him. He thinks Superman must have given it to him.

He accidentally breaks a fire hydrant, and comes to the conclusion that Superman had given him the suit- which gave him powers- because he wasn’t sure he’d come back. He thinks he probably got amnesia by over doing his new abilities, and begins to try things out, like flying. When he feels he has a handle on it he heads out to combat the mighty waves. That done he begins to deal with the other effects of the asteroid,such as a cyclone, and other weather disasters.

However the asteroid was still causing damage from it’s new orbit around the planet, and Clark knows he must get rid of it for good, even if he must die like his friend Superman. He heads out and smashes the foul thing, and returns home where he plans to tell the world Superman perished, and left him a magical suit. But as he heads to the office, wrapped in his thoughts he gets hit by a car. Finally the man figures out who he is, and when he turns in the typed up story of events he realizes that his memory is returning.

Tomahawk “Nine Men Against Fort Mohawk”

In the middle of the night, mid summer 1776, Tom and Dan have hurried to a coach in the middle of the night in response to a missive marked ‘very urgent’. The man in the coach had a mission for the two from General Washington. He shows them a map, where a fort holds the entire valley, and it can’t be straight up sieged, as the British have civilian hostages. It is up to Tom to remove the hostages, after which the battle can begin.

Tom requests seven men from a allied tribe join him and his friend on their mission. In order to keep the British from seeing him as an American scout he and Dan stain their skin and dress like their friends before they begin. On the way to the fort they see many people heading the same way, supply wagons and new troops. Once they arrive Tom scouts ahead, and finds out that a different tribe is working with the British, guarding the area.

Tom and his men drive a herd of cattle from the nearby farms into the woods that surround the fort, and hiding amongst them the nine men (well eight and Dan) sneak up to the fort. Then Dan and Tom wipe away their dye, because they don’t want the hostages to be scared of them. (rolls eyes seriously that wasn’t even necessary. they hid from everyone they passed.) Then Tom hurls his tomahawk over the wall, where it buries itself in the wood and the men began to climb over in the shadows.

Once inside the fort they begin to pick off any guards with silence and precision. They lead they hostages away, and light a fuse to a keg, rolling it toward the fort entrance just as an alarm sounds. The keg blows, and Tom drives the supply train full of rescued civilians out of the fort. Quickly he troops follow, leaving a skeleton crew behind. We then find that the wagons hadn’t been filled with our people, it was merely a distraction. Tom and the rest come out of hiding and handily take care of the remaining men. (How is the wagon supposed to keep going? Are they counting on the horses being scared of the troops following them?) Anyway, They rebuild the door, and when the British return, the Fort is American held. A few hours later more American troops arrive, and Tom and Dan head back to the woods.

Green Arrow “The Mystery of Vanishing Villains”

The Arrowcar is chasing another vehicle (which isn’t cool enough to have a name) through town, and despite their close proximity they don’t see what happens to their prey as they literally vanish from the car. Something similar occurs the next night, as bank robbers crossing a rope over a road also vanish. GA and Speedy talk over these occurrences with the police, though they have no new information to offer. Heading home Oliver suggests to speedy that the disappearances are due to illusions of darkness and light. In order to keep a better eye on the criminals GA  is going to record the next time they head out on film, in the hope it might see something they missed.

Naturally they once again find criminals, who vanish before the heroes can capture them, and they head home to watch the film. I shows us nothing new. This leads to them having another brainstorming session, when Ollie reminds us that all the vanishings have all occurred at night.  Oliver figures that maybe it’s necessary for the trick that it be dark, and if he makes it bright they may not be able to vanish. So when they head out this time they pack flash bulb arrows, but even with it as bright as day, they see nothing. One moment they are there, and then, gone.

Searching for clues Oliver notes the gearshift of the car is in neutral. Maybe they had never been in the car? Simply pushed it  down a sloped road. Roy points out they had seen the people, but Ollie seems to have figured it out. He pointed out that the crooks crossing the rope, hadn’t effected the rope with their weight, as they would have had if real people had been on it. On the night they recorded the escape they see that their foes didn’t leave footprints in the sand. The next day they are called to another robbery, they shoot thread arrows at the figures and it is revealed they are balloons. The balloons lift them in the air, and they release the air and drift down to the real crooks. Quickly they whip them and then they explain to the police, but it is still unclear as to how they can make the balloons vanish. It they drift off, that would be seen. If they were rigged to pop, there would be rubber left behind.

Batman and Robin “The Secret Weapons of the Crimesmith”

Batman and Robin swing down from their batlines and capture a robber, who we see being sentenced in the next panel. He of course swear revenge on the duo. While in prison the man, Garrow, is shown to be a genius with machines and is eventually paroled. Soon afterward whispers being about the crimesmith, a man who can furnish any weapon, and we see a man named Whitey Willerson being taken to the ‘crimecave’. Once there Garrow tells Whitey he’ll help him pull a job in the platinum store house, for half the loot. Whitey readily agrees, astonished by the wonder of the man’s hideout. Garrow also mentions he’s gonna make a machine to rob all of Gotham.

We cut to the platinum robbery which is pulled off by using a machine to drill into the warehouse from below. Before they make their escape Batman and Robin arrive. They chase they machine as it returns to the earth. Unfortunately the tunnel begins to collapse, and Robin is struck on the head, and Bruce has to carry him from the tunnel. Then they go over the records of people who could possibly be the crimesmith- as they guessed he must be behind the drilling machine. They find Garrow’s records, and see that it fits.

Meanwhile the crimesmith is planning another job. The plan was simple, a helicopter was flow above which had a magnet attached to it which lifted the armored car delivering the funds from one bank, to the newly opened one. When they land and open the truck two figures, one dark and one brightly attired, launch themselves at the fiends. The fight is quick, and they question their captives about the crimesmith, but they can’t tell us much, just that people are brought to the crimecave blindfolded, by a circuitous path, and with earplugs. Also about the weapon he’s planning for Gotham. They also mention some of the things they saw in the cave, such as a giant sun lamp.

Batman asks the cops to keep an eye out for the lamp, and they soon get a call. They head out to a movie set, where they are using real gems for the treasure. The light from the lamp bursts out and blinds the cast and the criminal heads to reap what he has sown. This is when Batman arrives to find the set lighting on fire from the heat, and knows he must protect the people. The light also helps protect the criminals as they flee, blinding and pursuers. Batman puts out the fires, but the crooks have gotten away with the jewels and some old film. Thinking that last bit odd, Batman asks to know what was on the film. Apparently they were scenes from sci-fi films, scenes of destruction. Knowing the caves around the area very well, so as to be sure none connected to the batcave, Batman knew there was no cave nearby a car could enter (barring their own).

Bruce and Dick step inside the manor to relax briefly, but once seeing the television, Bruce has an idea and runs back to the cave. He explains to Dick as they change, but not to us. They begin to search for… something. Soon on screens across the city scenes of robots destroying the city appear, and it is set to seem as though they are real. Like that radio show about the martian invasion, it sparks terror into the heart of Gotham. Robin uses the batplane to write in the sky and reassure the people, while Batman is looking for the crimecave. Batman finds the place, in an old warehouse which is disguised on the inside. Garrow turns the sunlamp on Batman and he pulls out a mirror and blinds the criminal. He then turns the cameras to himself, and tells the people everything is okay.