Monday, July 30, 2018

Star Spangled DC War Stories Issue 135: February 1973

The DC War Comics
by Corporals Enfantino and Seabrook

G.I. Combat 158

"What Price War?"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Sam Glanzman

"Mud and Sky!"
Story by Archie Goodwin
Art by George Evans

Peter: The crew of the Jeb Stuart are granted a rare bit of R’n’R and head for a nice little village in France. Unfortunately, Rick’s temper gets the best of him when a sweet French maiden takes advantage of his giving nature and he ends up wrecking half the town. The boys pay for the mess and hustle him back to the Haunted Tank before the M.P.s have their way. Shortly thereafter, the Jeb trades firepower with a Messerschmitt playing bodyguard to a Nazi tank. Once our heroes dispatch the plane, they tail the Panzer into a nearby village, where they win a nasty battle and discover why the Panzer had a big brother. On one of the dead soldiers, Rick discovers a fortune in diamonds, stolen by the Ratzis from their multitude of victims. Fantasizing a life better than the one he’s always led, he turns his guns on his comrades and exits stage left, diamonds in tow. Later, looking for a place to stash his booty, Rick encounters the Ghostly General that Jeb is always talking to and receives a stern warning: Rick can run, but there’s nowhere to hide! Sure enough, inside the farmhouse, he finds his comrades, bundled up and mid-interrogation by some angry Germans, attempting to reclaim their ill-gotten fortune. Using a bit of trickery, Rick manages to mow down the soldiers and free his friends, who have evidently forgotten Rick’s recent villainy.

“What Price War?” is a good opportunity lost, a chance to present a stellar, future-building installment in a series that has become stale. It certainly doesn’t start out that way, with its typically vague warning from the haunt, the rote tank battle, and the awful Glanzman art (which, I swear, was getting better), but Rick’s about-face and grand larceny seem to set some interesting and novel occurrences in motion. Sure, Rick is a bit battle-weary (as evidenced by the wreckage he leaves in his wake in the intro), but turning an M.G. on the guys who have literally pulled his fat from the fire? Seems way out of character for a Kanigher-scripted regular cast member, doesn’t it? And, more importantly, Rick’s dialogue with Jeb, the ghost, opens a door only hinted at last issue; could we really see that spirit world opened to the rest of the crew? Not if the climax of this half-effective yarn is any indication. Not only is Rick’s theft seemingly forgotten, so is the conversation with what he considered his C.O.’s mirage. All of it swept under the rug as if it never happened and, ostensibly, that’s how we’ll continue next issue. That’s what’s always rankled me about these strips: the lack of continuity. The good news is that new editor Archie Goodwin addresses the lack of continuing story lines and promises that, now the title is monthly, that will all change.

American Frank Winslow has been fighting in the trenches with the French in World War I, but the feisty adventurer would rather be in a dog fight far above. Frank gets his wish but discovers there’s a lot more than glory and adventure when you’re actually in the clouds. A very downbeat eight-pager, very much in the vein of Kanigher’s “Gallery of War” feature, “Mud and Sky!” is a well-written nail-biter that climaxes with Winslow, his cockpit engulfing him in flames, jumping from his Nieuport hundreds of feet above the ground. Jack was right; these stories are getting much more violent and gritty. That could be down to the Vietnam War or it could be down to the ascension of Goodwin to editor. It was Archie who oversaw the classic Blazing Combat title Warren published in the 1960s. And a shout out to George Evans, who continues the amazing war art he began in the EC adventure titles.

Jack: Glanzman's art on the Haunted Tank is an embarrassment, especially in light of all of the great artists who were available at DC in 1973. Bringing Archie Goodwin on as editor is a good sign, as is the change from bi-monthly to monthly, but if this issue is any indication of what's to come I would have preferred it to be quarterly. I've said before that I'd like to know more about the other guys in the tank but this story is just terrible, an early contender for worst of 1973. I was disappointed by the sketchy art of George Evans in "Mud and Sky!" and it's probably not good that we're reading his air battle stories done for EC in 1955 at the same time that we're reading his return to DC in 1973. Eighteen years did not help the drawing, though some of the layouts are not bad.

Our Army at War 254

"The Town"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Russ Heath

"The Tally"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by Alex Toth

Jack: Sgt. Rock is a little bit jittery, so when he sustains a serious leg injury saving Jackie from an exploding mine, the rest of Easy Co. drops him off in a quiet German town to recuperate, with Jackie left behind to keep an eye on him. Rock sacks out on a pile of hay in a barn while Jackie walks around "The Town," looking for aid, but the Germans are most unwelcoming. One lad even sends a message by carrier pigeon to the German Army, asking them to come and wipe out the enemy soldiers!

"The Town"
A trio of particularly nasty Nazis arrive and overpower Jackie. The townsfolk quickly learn that their homeland heroes are nogoodniks when they salivate at the sight of the tasty carrier pigeons and the even tastier barmaid! An old man calls them what they are--deserters--and is shot for his impudence. Jackie manages to escape and kill the Nazi swine; the townsfolk realize who the good guys really are and help Jackie and Rock get out of town before the real Nazi patrol arrives.

After a fine cover by editor Joe Kubert, Kanigher and Heath combine to give us a top-notch tale of Easy Co. Rock is out of commission early on, leaving Jackie to take center stage. The German villagers embrace the Nazis at first but when they realize that the trio that has arrived are not "good" Nazis, they turn on them and help the "enemy." This is a clever bit of psychological switcheroo, and it's great to see another member of Easy Co. get the featured role for a change.

It's 1917, and WWI flying ace Alex Torrent patrols the skies over the Western Front looking for his next kill. Boom! One German plane down, and that makes 99! Boom! Another one gone, and "The Tally" for Alex is at a round 100--or is it? Back at HQ, the boss only tallies 68! Alex is enraged and, the next day, ventures far behind German lines, where he entices three enemy planes to chase him back to his home base. He shoots two down but the third crashes into him and both planes plummet to Earth. Alex survives the fall but is blinded; he will never again see the sun or fly above the ground.

"The Tally"
Wow! This issue more than makes up for the dud that was this month's G.I. Combat! Alex Toth's art is so creative and his layouts so interesting that this ends up being one of the best WWI air battle stories we've seen yet. Kanigher once again shows a more adult side to his writing in the Gallery of War series. Bravo!

Peter: “The Tally” is another strong entry in Bob Kanigher’s “Gallery of War” series, made all the more enjoyable by the appearance of Alex Toth’s dynamic visuals. Russ Heath contributes his usual stellar job on the Rock story this issue but I can’t help but feel we’ve gone around the block a few times already with this plot. Just how many little villages did Easy win over in WWII? It is nice to see Jackie take front-and-center again; I’ve always thought him a powerful and interesting character who never gets much ink.

Our Fighting Forces 141

"The Bad Penny"
Story by Robert Kanigher
Art by John Severin

"Buck Taylor"
Story and Art by Sam Glanzman

Jack: The commanding officer of the Losers sets fire to the last remaining possessions of Captain Storm, but Ona can't bring herself to get rid of his dog tag. The next day, she hitches a ride on a plane to Norway and the Losers follow her, hiding out in the back of the aircraft. Arriving in her home country, Ona makes her way back to her village, where she observes a Nazi machine gun execute guerrilla fighters who have been identified by the town's turncoat of a mayor.

Johnny Cloud stops Ona from killing the mayor, whom she reveals is her uncle, but quickly the mayor recognizes the Losers and the Nazi troops quickly overpower them. The mayor accuses them of coming to the town to grab all of the gold and silver he's accumulated but, when he sets the Losers before a firing squad, they are rescued at the last moment by the pirate and his band of buccaneers, who also heard about the gold and silver and have arrived to take it for themselves. A big fight breaks out, Ona shoots her uncle, and the rest of the Nazis taste hot lead courtesy of our heroes. When the smoke clears, the pirate says he'll take everything and even grabs Captain Storm's dog tag from Ona's grip.

"The Bad Penny"
Surprise! The sight of the dog tag restores the pirate's memory instantly and he realizes he is none other than Captain Storm! He explains that he lost an eye and his memory in the explosion and was saved by looters, who made him their leader. The Losers gladly welcome back their long-lost companion.

"The Bad Penny" must refer to the pirate, who keeps turning up, but it's fun to see him regain his memory. At least Kanigher didn't resort to a bonk on the head to bring it all flooding back! This 14-page lead tale has plenty of plot and ends well; I hope the return of Storm doesn't mean Ona is on her way out.

"Buck Taylor" is a sailor on the U.S.S. Stevens who has lost his marbles and thinks he's witnessing the famous Civil War battle of the ironclads between the Monitor and the Merrimac. News flash: he isn't. As we're learning, Sam Glanzman is best in limited doses and this story is not very interesting save for the historical tidbit found in a note at the end: Glanzman discovered that the Stevens was named after the commander of the Monitor. That's kinda neat.

"Buck Taylor"
Peter: I’ve enjoyed the heck out of the “Who is the Pirate” thread running through the last bunch of issues but, unfortunately, this intriguing sub-plot was not resolved satisfactorily. In fact, it was downright dopey. Sure, the fact that the guy seemed to be everywhere his former comrades would show up was a bit of a stretch but it’s a funny book and I allow for some stretches. Storm’s sudden curtain-lifting in “The Bad Penny” is anti-climactic in the extreme; I can only assume editor Kubert decided it was time to end the delicious suspense and get on with traditional Losers adventures (to be fair, it’s noted on the letters page that the editors had been receiving letters “condemning” them for killing off Storm). I hope I’m wrong.

Mike Kaluta
Star Spangled War Stories 167

"Three Targets for the Viper!"
Story by Archie Goodwin
Art by Jack Sparling

"To Stand, To Die!"
Story by Archie Goodwin
Art by Howard Chaykin

"The Islands Were Meant for Love"
Story and Art by Sam Glanzman

Peter: A shot rings out and the American President hits the tarmac, whipping out his weapon and firing at the fleeing would-be assassins. Just another day at work for the Unknown Soldier, who’s acting as Roosevelt to provide the Prez some much-needed camouflage. But the US discovers the plot is just beginning, hatched by an operative known as “The Viper,” and traces it back to a nightclub in Casablanca called “The Black Parrot,” a dive where you can get anything you want, all while being entertained by the mysterious and beautiful singer/guitarist/dancer/stripper/Cleopatra-look-alike Shandra, who may be the key to the assassin. With his usual trickery, US gets to the bottom of the nefarious plan and saves the day just in the nick of time.

Archie does the best he can with a series that started out great but has sputtered, becoming just another quasi-superhero war title. “Three Targets for the Viper!,” in the end, is a far-fetched tale, a chore to read and look at. Jack Sparling’s art is definitely one of the keys to why I consider this the worst of all the titles, but there’s also the unbelievable nature of the plot lines. US seemingly whips up his elaborate plans and masquerades out of thin air. It’s going to take a bit of time to fabricate a realistic mask of a man you’ve just met, a facade that will decide life or death. In this installment, for instance, US must manufacture a full-head mask of a man he’s only seen in a picture and then he must fool the man’s sister by reproducing his voice! That’s going to take a bit of wizardry based on a mere photo.

Star Spangled 167 wraps with two short-shorts, neither a particularly rousing tale but neither a waste of time. “To Stand, To Die!” is a tale of the Revolutionary War with some pretty sketchy early work from Howard Chaykin (who would grow into one of the most dynamic artists in funny books within a year or so) and “The Islands … ” is less a story than a series of proclamations on Sam’s part. You know, “War is Hell,” “Even in war, one can find love,” “There is no paradise in a war zone,” that kind of thing. It’s one of Glanzman’s most scattershot installments of USS Stevens and it features some of Sam’s worst art and yet you can’t help but want to like it for its upbeat message. At least, I think it was upbeat.

Jack: Goodwin writes on the letters page that this and G.I. Combat are now monthly, so we'll have more comics to read and write about for the near future! "Three Targets for the Viper!" is a pretty good story with average art by Sparling. At least he's better than Sam Glanzman, whose vignette "The Islands Were Meant for Love" really goes nowhere. The middle story, with art by Chaykin and Green, shows promise and has an unexpected ending. I wish Frank Thorne had drawn the Unknown Soldier story--he would have known how to draw Shandra. In the letters column again, Goodwin mentions the "consistently high-level contributions" of Jack Sparling and Sam Glanzman. I can't say I agree with him.

Nick Cardy
Weird War Tales 11

"October 30, 1918 The German Trenches World War I"
"October 30, 1918 The American Trenches World War One"
"October 30, 1943 A German Prison Camp World War Two"
"October 30, 1944, 0100 Hours Italy - World War II"
Story by Sheldon Mayer
Art by Tony DeZuniga and Alfredo Alcala

"October 30, 1944 1300 Hours A Mountain Road, Italy"
Story by Sheldon Mayer
Art by Gerry Talaoc

"October 30, 1947 Nurenberg Prison, Germany"
"December 25, 2047"
Story by Sheldon Mayer
Art by Alex Nino

Peter: During World War I, German Colonel Von Krauss wishes only one thing: advancement and riches for himself. The Colonel obtains those precious treasures thanks to thievery and murder and a formula for eternal life; he’s also appeared on Death’s radar, eliciting many conversations with the Reaper. Meanwhile, the dimensions between World War I and World War II somehow open and a son travels back in time to help his father win a key battle. Von Krauss, captured, tried, and convicted as a Nazi war criminal awaits his hanging when he discovers his formula actually works but has a few negative side effects. The major one is that his body will disappear for an undisclosed amount of time before reappearing. A full century later, all-out war has left the Earth uninhabitable and man has fled to other planets. Von Krauss’s body picks this time to reappear and he discovers that he is ruler of an empty world.


That synopsis is almost as confusing as this huge story. The visuals are gorgeously rendered by all concerned but the script is tantamount to a badly-conceived concept album; the whole is not as effective as some of the parts. It’s not bad, it’s just not cohesive. Two sub-plots involving ghostly saviors have only a trace connection to the skeleton of the story, that of the dastardly colonel and his conversations with Death. Perhaps the strongest aspect of the “epic” is its climax, which is nicely ironic. Though I’m not satisfied with the entirety of this unnamed chapter-story, I applaud Joe Orlando for trying something new and testing the boundaries of what this new title allows.

Jack: I'm surprised you didn't like this one more, Peter--I thought it was great! First of all, Nick Cardy is one of my favorite cover artists. Then we get DeZuniga, Alcala, Talaoc, and Nino handling the art, and what I thought was a very good story by Sheldon Mayer, who we never see in the horror or war books. The twist ending to the third vignette took me by surprise (the ghost from WWI turns out to be the father of the soldier from WWII) and I liked the way the stories linked back and forth and the artists matched in the linked stories. The only part that didn't really fit for me was the Talaoc story, though it was not bad on its own. I especially liked the way Nino handled the conclusion.

This month is a big surprise to me. We now have Kubert editing two books, Goodwin editing two more, and Orlando editing the fifth, which seems to be taking a direction more in line with DC Horror than DC War. And four of the five books are now monthly! We will have our work cut out for us, but I'm looking forward to it!

Next Week . . .
Jack and Peter search for EC Sanity
where there is none to be found!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Hitchcock Project-List of all Episodes Reviewed to Date (annual update)

by Jack Seabrook

An introduction to The Hitchcock Project may be found here. The episodes that have been reviewed so far are listed below. Click on any episode name to jump to the post.


"The Orderly World of Mr. Appleby"

2.39-The Dangerous People

"Crack of Doom"

3.35-Dip in the Pool
3.38-The Impromptu Murder

"Lamb to the Slaughter"

5.32-One Grave Too Many
5.33-Party Line
5.34-Cell 227
5.35-The Schartz-Metterklume Method

"Forty Detectives Later"

"The Changing Heart"

7.1-The Hatbox
7.9-I Spy
7.14-Bad Actor
7.20-The Test
7.37-The Big Kick

"The Big Kick"

S.1-The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (shown only in syndication)

"The Sorcerer's Apprentice"



"The Cadaver"

10.29-Off Season

"Off Season"

Monday, July 23, 2018

EC Comics! It's An Entertaining Comic! Issue 62

The EC Reign Month by Month 1950-1956
62: June 1955 Part I

Weird Science-Fantasy 29

"The Chosen One" 
Story by Al Feldstein
Art by Wally Wood

"Vicious Circle" 
Story by Carl Wessler
Art by Al Williamson

"Genesis" ★1/2
Story by Al Feldstein
Art by Reed Crandall

"Adam Link in Business" 
Story by Eando Binder and Al Feldstein
Art by Joe Orlando

Professor Henry Fuller believes his young son is a mutant, a super-intelligent being created by Fuller's job as a professor, working on an atomic pile at Alamagordo (sic). His son, Bobby, walks at six months, speaks at a year, and seems to be able to read the newspaper at age two. Bobby can even read the mind of the puppy Henry brings him to try to warm up the little cold fish. But nothing seems to help the kid become a normal kid. Then, one night, a spaceship lands in Henry's yard and two aliens emerge to explain to Fuller they've come for the little freak. Henry explains that he loves his son and refuses to give him up but the aliens pass right by him and head upstairs. Henry gets his handgun but does nothing as the space travelers walk past him, bearing "The Chosen One." The next morning, Bobby wakes up and asks his dad what's become of Spot and dad just smiles, happy that it was the puppy, and not his boy, who's the super-freak. I gotta admit that, even though nine times out ten (especially with these later SF tales), I can spot the O. Henry a mile away, I never saw this one coming. Al does a great job hiding the twist until the last possible second without cheating at all (Henry's suspicions all come down to being a worry-wart, just like his wife said).

David mourns his dead friend, John, in a far future where man has become savage again and lives in caves. When David seeks the truth about John's execution by tribal leaders, he is told by a wise old man that John defied tribal laws that exist to prevent another Armageddon. After the old man narrates a long story of World War III and what destroyed mankind, David begins to understand; his pal was put to death for creating a machine and machines led to the end of life. The young man asks his mentor if he can see this machine and, soon, David sees his first wheel, a "Vicious Circle"! What seemed awfully fresh and clever five years before seems a tad more preachy and cliched by 1955. At least Carl reveals fairly quickly that we're looking at a future race of man rather than Neanderthals and Williamson's art is always perfect for this sub-genre.

Uh oh . . . does that mean these two
will . . . um . . .
Mankind has become sterile and its only hope is to immigrate to the radiation-free planet, Mars. One man travels to the red planet with other scouts and immediately falls in love with it, returning soon after with the first batch of immigrants. Unfortunately, after Mars is colonized, scientists discover that man is also sterile on other worlds and that life on Mars exists only because life forms split in two like amoebae. Faced with extinction, the vast majority of citizens head back to Earth to die off, leaving only one resident, our initial protagonist, who discovers, to his glee, that eventually even man would be affected by Mars's atmosphere and procreate. "Genesis" is a very literate and well-told story, one with a very bold finale and probably one of the last really good science fiction tales to come out of the EC factory. I can just imagine Wertham spitting out his gin and tonic after reading such an overtly homosexual climax.

Wonder-robot Adam Link is finally exonerated for the murder of his creator and allowed to live the carefree life of a genius. Bored and looking for something to do, the tin man opens a business consulting on scientific matters. All the money the business generates is donated to charity and life seems rosy until . . . gorgeous Kay Temple professes love for the man of nuts and bolts. Ordinarily, Adam would be popping his gyroscope in happiness but, it turns out, another man has eyes for the babelicious Ms. Temple and that man is none other than his best friend (and the man who got Adam off Death Row), reporter Jack Hall. Heart-broken but knowing it's for the best, Link lets Kay down easy and then exits stage left, off to a hidden sanctuary where no one can find him. The final issue of Weird Science-Fantasy brings the third and final Adam Link story, "Adam Link in Business," the best of the EC adaptations. Why is this one better than the previous two? Probably because its plot line is a bit outré and the script is more engaging. Why the adaptations stopped at the third one is anyone's guess but Joe and Otto will re-adapt the first three and contribute a further five to Warren's Creepy in the following decade. I'm not holding my breath that those versions will be any more captivating than these but we'll find out soon. As for Weird Science-Fantasy, the title was killed off after only seven issues, but EC SF continued with Incredible Science Fiction two months later. Not a bad issue to close the run. -Peter

Jack: You did not mention that fantastic Frazetta cover! It's good to see that Al Feldstein could still write such an effective story as "The Chosen One," in light of his crash and burn experience with Panic. Wally Wood's art in the science fiction books was always stunning and this story is no exception. Like you, Peter, I did not see the end coming. Williamson and Krenkel contribute more great art to "Vicious Circle," but Wessler's story seems like an attempt to imitate a Feldstein script and the twist did not excite me. The bar was set so high for art in the first two stories that Crandall's work in "Genesis" seems a tad rough and it's hard to imagine the fear of atomic energy and its consequences that seems to have gripped the American public in the 1950s. "Adam Link in Business" seems to come from a simpler time, a pre-atomic age of science fiction where stories like this were more common. Link reminds me of Superman (whose first appearance pre-dated that of Adam Link in the pulps) and the love story is far-fetched. Joe Orlando's art doesn't help and in some places, resembles his terrible work for Panic.

Impact 2

"Mother Knows Best" 1/2★
Story by Al Feldstein (?)
Art by Reed Crandall

"Divorce" 0 (yes, zero!)
Story by Carl Wessler
Art by Jack Davis

"The Suit"
Story by Carl Wessler
Art by Graham Ingels

"Paid in Full" 
Story by Al Feldstein (?)
Art by Joe Orlando

Laura Hart has never been able to get along with her domineering, disapproving mother. Ever since she was little, her mother has chided her for her choices, be they hair styles or, later in life, men. Now, after hitting rock bottom and considering suicide, Laura has decided to see a shrink and, by the time the session has ended, Laura is cured and discovers her mother has always loved her and wants the best for her. Of course, it helps that Laura's head shrinker (off panel to us dimwits for the entire story until the last panel) is, suprize suprize suprize!, her mother! Save Reed Crandall's usual vital visuals, "Mother Knows Best" is a really dumb waste of time. Never mind that it's entirely unethical for a mother to see her kid as a patient, why would Laura agree to be dissected by the very person who has provided her with her suicidal vibes? Did Al (or whoever wrote this soap opera trash) think that hiding Dr. Mom off-panel would fool the reader? It's evident by the third panel what's going on here and the smell-o-vision rises from the page. It's not bad enough we're subjected to an entire title filled with psychoanalysis but we have to have overflow as well? Yecccch!

Poor little Jackie gets to go to Miami but where's his dad? Mom's acting all funny and stuff and then drags Jackie to a big building with a guy sitting behind a big desk wearing a big robe and . . . hey, there's Dad! But Mom pulls him away and then Mom and Dad go stand up in front of this guy known as "the judge" and say all kinds of nasty stuff to each other. Then Jackie goes with his Mom and Dad and the judge and a couple of stuffy old farts in suits to a back room where the judge tells Jackie that Mom and Dad don't love each other any more and they're getting a "Divorce"! It's all too much for a little boy like Jackie, so he runs away and hops a freight train to Jacksonville (well, he doesn't know he's going to Jax, silly, but that's where it takes him) until the train police save him from the pervy bum on board the boxcar. Then Jackie gets chased by a wild dog, has to drink water from a polluted creek, gets scared by lots of eyes in the forest, and gets run over by a truck. All's well, though, when Jackie wakes up and Mom and Dad are there to tell him they've made a big mistake and gotten back together for their little boy. Mom flashes her new diamond ring and Dad shows Jackie the new agreement that Mom signed to keep her away from Dad's pension. There are happy endings in the EC Universe! Psychoanalysis proved that EC could scrape the bottom of the barrel just as well as the other septic tank publishers and "Divorce" carries on that New Direction. Seriously, what could have been going through the minds of EC fans in 1955, after the previous half-decade of stunningly high quality, when they picked up Impact #2 and read the first two tales of nonsense after experiencing "Master Race" in the first issue?

Tailor Alfred Durley is a conscientious craftsman who takes pride in his work but, problem is, work is scarce these days. So, when Ralph and Karen Curtis come into Durley's shop with Karen's father, Julius, to have a suit fitted, Alfred sees this as a chance to spread the word that a Durley suit is one to be proud to own. The tailor sets about to make his finest achievement and when it's done, he has a neighborhood boy deliver it. At the last second, Durley realizes he hasn't sewn his label into the suit and rushes to the Curtis residence, only to find that "The Suit" was designed to be worn on Julius's corpse. The couple knew the old man's days were numbered and wanted him to look good in his final outfit. Though there's not a big surprise in the finale, it's refreshing to get a story with no villains, no hidden agenda, just a decently-told tale with some nice "Graham" graphics. Durley is a nice old man who only wants to craft his masterpiece in hopes that the job will open new doors for his business.

Martha Wilson has lost her husband, Walter, to pneumonia, but she has to listen to her shrewish sister, Helen, drone on about how the man ruined Martha's life by becoming a doctor and administering help to the poor. Martha continually pooh-poohs Helen's admonishment and explains that love was all that was needed for a wonderful life. They didn't need a car, they didn't need a nice house, they didn't need jewels or expensive clothes. In the end, all they needed was . . . the antibiotics that might have saved Walter's life, I guess. When Martha takes Helen out to Walter's pauper's grave, the snooty sis learns just how much the "trash" of the neighborhood loved Dr. Wilson when she sees his headstone. Another Elia Kazan-influenced six-pager filled with soap opera melodrama and corny dialogue that is saved a bit by its genuinely touching final panel. Yes, even a stodgy old grump like me can be touched now and then. Don't try giving me a whole issue of this stuff, though. -Peter

Jack: A terrible comic book! Even Reed Crandall can't be expected to bring "Mother Knows Best" to life--how many panels can the guy draw where a woman lies on an analyst's couch? "Divorce" is even worse and has no suspense at all. It was a relief to see Ghastly's art in the third story, though I guessed the finale by page three and I didn't buy for a second that skinny old Julius had a 38 1/2 inch waist, as Durley measures it. Finally, "Paid in Full" has no surprises and I found the ending hopelessly corny. I just don't enjoy Joe Orlando's art at this point in his career.

Psychoanalysis 2

"Case 101 - Freddy Carter (Session 2)"
"Case 102 - Ellen Lyman (Session 2)"★1/2
Story by Dan Keyes
Art by Jack Kamen

"Case 103 - Mark Stone (Session 2)★1/2
Story by Robert Bernstein
Art by Jack Kamen

"Freddy Carter" stole a watch from his pal Billy and then made sure he was caught. Why? To get back at his parents, of course! Freddy was sent to the psychiatrist, who saw through his psychosomatic asthma attack and told him that he would help him. The shrink helps Freddy realize that his behavior was a ploy for sympathy and he just needs to grow up.

The psychiatrist gets physical with Freddy
The second issue of Psychoanalysis is not off to a good start, with overly wordy panels and a nearly complete lack of conflict, action, plot--you name it. The shrink, who is not given a name, is a bit unorthodox (if you ask me) and grabs and yells at Freddy to straighten him out. Oddly enough, it seems that Freddy's father was right and Freddy is a big baby whose asthma attacks are fake, even if Freddy doesn't realize it. Maybe he just needed more tough love.

"Ellen Lyman" is the next patient. She recalls an episode from childhood when her father yelled at her for spilling ink on his desk at work. Then there was the time she overheard her parents arguing about money. And how about the time she fell in the lake? It seems that Ellen has always reacted to emotionally upsetting situations by unconsciously causing accidents that brought her attention. Oh, and she was also unwittingly sensing that her parents were not getting along, so she had accidents to draw them together in their concern for her.

No she hasn't!
This shrink is a real know-it-all. It's almost as if he knows the hidden reasons for everything before his patients do and can't wait to tell them! This story gets an extra half-star because Ellen is kind of cute with those glasses.

Why is "Mark Stone" sixty pounds overweight and dealing with stomach ulcers? The psychiatrist says that there must be some hidden reason. Mark recalls that his mother encouraged him to eat when he was a boy. Now, when things get tough, Mark eats to recall his happy childhood. But was it all that happy? Mark admits he was ashamed of his immigrant parents and his mother's foreign accent. Mark eats to atone for being embarrassed by his parents, hoping to please his mother now in the way she enjoyed when he was a boy.

Mark also has nightmares that stem back to a hunting accident in which he thinks he may have killed a stranger in the woods and then run away. The psychiatrist explains that Mark was really trying to kill his father (who had died two years before) in an Oedipal fit.

Got all that? Unlike the first two stories by Dan Keyes, Robert Bernstein's tale of tubby Mark Stone has more twists and turns than an amusement park ride. That doesn't make it interesting or entertaining, it's just hard to keep up!-Jack

Mark Stone's problem? He's fat!
Peter: Just in case you thought the first issue was all a bad dream, #2 proves otherwise. What's particularly amusing about this title is that "the psychiatrist" rips each of his patients a new one but, by each story's end, the poor fools love the guy and are seemingly cured. But the fact that the three stooges return for more sessions next issue indicates that either "the psychiatrist" is a quack or our hapless protagonists have lots of toys in their attics. The only upside to Psychoanalysis is that it draws Jack Kamen away from the other titles. In the end, #2 is number two. Oh, and by the way, you're not seeing things. That's a comics code seal on this and Impact #2; this was the first month that the CCA invaded EC Land. The invasion would not last very long before the rebels fought back.

So . . . it was my mother who ruined me with
her constant loving?

Next Week!
Will we finally learn the true identity of . . .
The Pirate?!

Time to get excited!