Monday, March 28, 2022

The Warren Report Issue 81: January 1977



The Critical Guide to
the Warren Illustrated Magazines
by Uncle Jack
& Cousin Peter

Eerie #80

"The Invisible One"
Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Jose Ortiz

Story & Art by Jim Starlin

"On Moonlight Bay"
Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Leopold Sanchez

"Pieces of Hate"★1/2
Story by Gerry Boudreau
Art by Gonzalo Mayo

"Third Person Singular Part II"
Story by Bruce Jones
Art by Luis Bermejo

"Queen of the Purple Range"
Story by Nicola Cuti
Art by Carmine Infantino & Al Milgrom

After Japan opened up to foreigners in 1854, attacks on foreign ships became commonplace as former samurai roamed the country without masters. When an Irish "Scallywag" appears on the docks, several ronin attack him, only to discover that he is handy with Ben Wa balls and can throw them with enough speed and accuracy to kill. One samurai, Konishi, remains calm and agrees to join the Irishman, Hues "Sully" Sullivan, on his Chinese junk, where beautiful girls await with trays laden with food. That night, as Konishi and Sully sleep, a ninja, "The Invisible One," steals aboard the vessel, butchers crew members, and steals a cursed statue and some jewels. Sully vows revenge.

The first entry in the "Scallywag" series is intriguing, with a good evocation of the place and time and the usual fine art by Ortiz. I'm interested in mid-nineteenth century Japan and I'd like to see where this goes.

Darklon's severed head is placed on an altar and he is shown all sorts of freaky stuff. He awakens, having been through black baptism and rebirth, only to learn that he is now owned by the Nameless One. Prince Darklon has been transformed into Darklon the Mystic and, as such, he heads to the capital city of Nebularia, where he gains "Retribution" by killing Blacklore's minions and then blowing Blacklore to pieces. Darklon frees his captive father and renounces any claim to his throne. In the present, he wonders if his father sent the assassins who have been bothering him.

The art is classic Starlin, but as I stifled a yawn while reading this entry in the Darklon saga. I had to wonder if my awe at Starlin's work back in the mid-1970s, when I was a teenager, was due more to my youth than to anything terribly exciting in the presentation. So far, Darklon seems kind of predictable.

Al Greene ("Owl") and Eric Plusenkat ("Pussycat") have survived nuclear war and now sail their vessel toward Greenland, uncertain if anyone else remains alive. They are fired on as they approach port and, after Al is shot in the leg, Eric returns fire. The duo go ashore and meet a group of people who fear a monster that comes every night and steals a sleeping child. That night, Owl and Pussycat discover a "monster" on a sailboat; the creature turns out to be a man who suffers the physical and mental effects of radiation poisoning. Eric volunteers to put the creature out of his misery and he and Al sail off for the next port.

This series is depressing. The world has been destroyed by nuclear war, so a couple of guys who survived sail around and find that things are as expected. The art is shaky, hardly Sanchez's best work, and the "monster" is almost more humorous than frightening. I suspect Budd Lewis will drag this out for a while longer and teach us lessons about violence and tolerance.

In 1992, nuclear war has wiped out much of Earth's population. What's left of the human race has returned to savagery and hunting game to survive. There is also a growing number of vampires, who orbit the Earth in a spaceship in between biting necks down below. The vampires discover a third group made up of members of an international cartel that controlled wealth and still has nuclear weapons; they destroyed the world out of boredom. For sport, the cartel members challenge the vampires to a game of hunting, to see who survives.

Gerry Boudreau's "Pieces of Hate" is a jumble of old ideas, cribbing from "Arena," The Most Dangerous Game, Planet of the Vampires, and who knows what else. The story takes time to get going and then just ends, presumably setting this up as another series called "Tombspawn." Mayo's art recalls that of Maroto; in some places, it looks great, while in others, it looks unfinished. He manages to shoehorn in a few panels of beautiful, scantily clad women for no particular reason.

Having discovered that the Snuffer who attacked him is a woman, Rick lets her escape and she promises to repay him someday. Rick and Lee visit the library and discover a subterranean room filled with rare books, including a sex manual written by a woman over 800 years ago. A Snuffer bursts in but, luckily for Rick, it's the gal who owes him a favor. Rick explains that he likes girls and, before you know it, he and the Snuffer are rolling on the floor, with no Kiss records in sight. The Snuffer, whose name is Laura, takes Rick to the hidden world of women, where Old Greida, the commune leader, explains how they reproduce, though the details were lost on this reader. Suddenly, Snuffers burst onto the scene and attack the women; Rick and Laura escape through a secret tunnel and survive, though Laura seems to have lost her clothes in the fracas.

We'll have to give Bruce Jones a pass on this silliness, which is the sequel to last issue's story. Bermejo's art isn't bad, though he seems to be imitating Jack Davis in the way he portrays Old Greida. The scene where Rick convinces Laura that she really does have the hots for him is unintentionally hilarious: "...but you've wanted to, haven't you? You've thought about it for years... dreamed about it at night... tossed and turned and awakened hot with restless sweat, the way I have..." Hoo boy, Rick, if that line works, I should have tried it long ago.

Cronk, the Satyrian Devilboar last seen in Eerie #77, has been hired to deliver six eggs to a Gagoian colony, but one of the eggs hatches early and out pops a sexy "Queen of the Purple Range." Cronk is more in need of a mechanic than a girlfriend, so he sticks her in the navigator's chair and hopes for the best. When Cronk has to venture outside the spaceship for a repair, another queen stalks the navigator, who makes short work of her. Cronk teaches the queen how to fix the ship and, when they land on Gagos, he has to forfeit his money, since she's now more grease monkey than royalty.

Al Milgrom's inks make this story look like classic 1960s' Infantino, and the Gagoian queen is depicted surprisingly well. Cuti's script has plenty of humor and, though the story is nothing special, at least it's a pleasant way to pass eight pages at the end of a half-decent issue of Eerie.-Jack

The Pussycat flexes his claws
Devoid of anything resembling fantasy or horror, "Scallywag" is definitely a stretch for the kind of series that should appear in Eerie. Thank goodness DuBay was out to lunch when this series was okayed (or else it would have been retitled "Scallywag and the Infinitesimal Junks of Samurai Swag," or something idiotic like that. I'm not sure how the remaining four chapters of "Scallywag" will turn out, but the opener is just what the doctor ordered: exciting and enthralling, with some great graphics.

Darklon still looks great but, more than ever, it reads like Stan Lee was moonlighting ("Your old body was too frail to house the awesome soul-searing might I have granted you!"). The panel designs Starlin throws at us are awesome and soul-searing! I will say that the series does feel more at home in this title than does Scallywag. The saga of Al and Plusenkat ("The Owl and the Pussycat"--oh my god, that kills me every time--what are the chances two guys with names like that would team up?) continues with a part two that doesn't measure up to the initial outing. Pretty tame, cliched stuff. Nuclear-mutated menace? Check. Frightened survivalists? Check. The scene where the optimist has enough and starts blowing away anyone in his sights? Oh yeah, that's definitely there.

"Tombspawn" is an unnecessarily complicated bore, stuffed full of lame cultural references that make it seem much more dated than it should be. When all is said and done, most of these post-apocalyptic extravaganzas follow the same dopey rules. "Tombspawn" just adds vampires. Neither "Third Person Singular Part II" nor "Cronk" did a thing for me. "Cronk," even more than "Darklon," reads like a bad Marvel try-out. Neither will see another chapter (which is weird, since "Third" seems to end in the middle of the story... but I won't complain).

Vampirella #57

"City of Ghosts"
Story by Roger McKenzie
Art by Jose Gonzalez

"Rusty Bucklers"★1/2
Story by Bruce Jones
Art by Esteban Maroto

Story by Bruce Jones
Art by Carmine Infantino & Dick Giordano

"Magnificent Ephemeral"
Story by Bruce Jones
Art by Ramon Torrents

"An Insult to Science"
Story by Fernando Fernandez
Art by Jose Mirales

As Adam van Helsing drives a jeep through the New Mexico desert, with Vampirella riding shotgun and Pendragon hiccupping in the back seat, a stagecoach suddenly crosses their path and they crash. Vampi wakes up alone and finds Tristan, her old lover from Drakulon, unexpectedly at her side and also the sheriff of an Old West town. Adam appears and loses a shootout with Tristan; Pendragon turns up as a talking skull, seated at a bar. Vampi realizes it's not real and turns into a bat to escape before waking up to find Adam and Pendragon alive and well.

"City of Ghosts" is as old (and dumb) as they come, with Vampi hitting her head and having a fantasy before returning to consciousness and reality. Fortunately, the art by Jose Gonzalez is terrific, some of the best we've seen in quite a while from him. He throws in a couple of panels that look like copies from photos (who was the model?), which more than make up for the unintentionally hilarious panel of Adam as a desperado/mid-'70s member of The Eagles.

An old man named Dete welcomes a young knight, who rides up and announces that he plans to free the maiden Charlot from the clutches of the sorcerer Nieche. Dete hops on his old nag and accompanies the knight on his quest. The knight defeats an ogre and reaches the home of the legendary fire lizard, but the lizard has died and is now a pile of bones. When they reach Charlot, they find her middle-aged and overweight, and her captor has been dead for years. Dete meets Charlot in the stable for a naked romp, but when the knight discovers them, he runs Dete through with his sword for compromising the lady's honor. She tells the knight to ride off and rescue someone else because she's too old and set in her ways to accompany him.

Yawn. Eight pages of pretty pictures from Maroto can't fix this tired script, and it's all been done before, over and over again. The modern take on the knight's quest is so old by now in the pages of a Warren mag that I kept looking for a new twist, but it was all in vain. The only surprise was the somewhat chunky heroine, an unusual approach for a woman in a Maroto story. Even then, she's still pretty attractive, which probably is not what Bruce Jones intended when he wrote "Rusty Bucklers." The title is probably the cleverest thing about this one.

In the future, one can predict exactly when and how someone is going to die in an accident, and McHenry, a representative of Surgo, Inc., can be hired as a surrogate for the person about to die. He replaces them just before the accident and does his best to survive. If he lives, he gets $10,000 and the other person is put to death. If he dies, the other person lives. He makes it through a terrible car crash and collects his money; a child will be put to death instead. A reporter named Ms. Reynolds is disgusted by the practice and by McHenry, who next survives a house fire that would have killed a little girl, who turns out to be the daughter of Ms. Reynolds. Romance blooms but is soon finished when McHenry takes Ms. Reynolds's place in an accident; he appears to die and leaves her his insurance money, which is enough for her to travel to Earth. But wait! McHenry is alive and well and meets back up with Ms. Reynolds once she has reached Earth, with the insurance company none the wiser.

The team of Infantino and Giordano produce smooth art, but it's not enough to iron out the wrinkles in this needlessly over-complicated story. "Stand-In" doesn't make a whole lot of sense. If McHenry survives, that means Miss Reynolds's daughter is put to death. After that, she's willing to get romantic with him? The business with him faking his own death is a bit confusing, as well.

The 1948 diary of reporter Scott Westly tells of his search for movie star Gloria Winsome, who seduced all of Hollywood with her beauty and then disappeared after making but a single film, "Magnificent Ephemeral." Scott goes from person to person and place to place, looking for the elusive star, and finally tracks her down, living alone in a mansion with a butler. When Gloria screens her famous nude scene for Scott, he discovers the truth--she's a man! She hands him a knife and asks him to put her out of her misery.

The first two pages of this story suggest that, after Scott killed Gloria, he hung himself. Who can blame him? The story goes on way too long and mixes together bits and pieces from various old Hollywood movie plots, but the main thing I thought of at the end was Austin Powers remarking, "It's a man, baby!" Ramon Torrents has become one of my least favorite of the regular Warren artists, mainly due to what seem like numerous photo swipes, and twelve pages of his work is more than I'd like to see in any one issue.

Ghost-breaker Dr. William Miller attends a seance, intending to expose it as nonsense, but receives an unexpected message telling him not to go to Boston or else he'll be part of a haunting. Undaunted, he heads for Boston, but on the way he meets a beautiful woman in the woods. She thinks he's her lover and tells him that she must hurry home to her husband, Edward. William subsequently gets lost and seeks shelter at a creepy old house, only to find the same woman there. She claims to be dying and to fear her jealous husband. William takes advantage of the situation and embraces her, but before they can consummate their passion, Edward strangles and kills his wife. William shoots Edward, who falls through a window to his death.

William goes to the police, only to learn that the woman's house is in ruins and he was part of an annual reenactment by spirits of events a quarter century before. He journeys on to Boston, where he addresses other scientists and admits that the spirit world does exist.

"An Insult to Science" is a competent version of a story told many times before, with stilted but nice-looking art by Mirales. As Peter points out below, he relies on stills quite a bit; in one panel, a character is a dead ringer for Peter Cushing.-Jack

It was all a dream! A really well-illustrated dream, but a dream, nonetheless. I think we can all agree at this point that the Vampirella feature each issue would be better represented by pin-ups rather than an attempted stab at cohesion. Leave it to Bruce Jones to take sword and sorcery, a genre literally impaled by Warren writers, and make something interesting of it. Though "Rusty Bucklers" doesn't end with a big surprise, it does go out with a smile. 

"Stand-In" is a bit confusing in its rulemaking (so McHenry can put on a crash suit when he climbs in the car but not flame-retardant gear for the fire?), and Glenda's recovery from her kid's death is quite speedy, but I thought it was clever enough for a few minutes' distraction. Carmine's really getting into a groove and it seems the editorial staff knows just what type of material to use his talents on. The third Jones vehicle this issue is the best one, a goofy homage to Sunset Boulevard and Laura, delivered with a wink that you'll either love or hate. I loved it, although I'll admit the running time is a bit long. As is the page count for "An Insult to Science," an okay Gothic ghost story that features the one and only appearance by artist Jose Mirales, whose work, like a lot of the Spanish artists in the Warren pubs, draws heavily on stills. One of the better issues of Vampirella in quite a while.

Creepy #85

"Like Icarus, Quickly Falling" ★1/2
Story by Roger McKenzie
Art by Leopold Sanchez

"Hide and Go Mad" ★1/2
Story by Budd Lewis
Art by Carmine Infantino & Walt Simonson

"The Thing in the Well" 
Story by Roger McKenzie
Art by Leopoldo Duranona

"Orem Ain't Got No Head Cheese!" 
Story by Bill DuBay
Art by Jose Ortiz

"The Terrible Turnip of Turpin County" ★1/2
Story by Roger McKenzie
Art by Martin Salvador

"A Way in the Woods" ★1/2
Story by Bruce Jones
Art by Luis Bermejo

An All-Monster Issue? Count me in! But how well will the Warren writers represent the monster kingdom? Let's see.

A vampire tracks the man who made him into a bloodsucker across the centuries, finally finding him in a post-apocalyptic future. He beheads the demon and then flies out to sea and is reduced to bones by the sun. A wordy, pretentious mess (And like Icarus, quickly falling, time rushes back upon itself... spinning and tumbling out of control.), "Like Icarus, Quickly Falling" makes little sense, jumping back and forth between its time frames. McKenzie makes it (abundantly!) clear that the opening is set in the future, but the Armageddon side of things is just quickly mentioned and not really explained. Everyone on Earth is dead except for these two vampires. Why wouldn't the multitude of blasts (described by McKenzie as "exploding suns") vaporize these bloodsuckers as well? The continual time-jumps are mind-frazzling and McKenzie's adjective-stuffed captions are a real chore to wade through. Icarus didn't fall fast enough for me.

Television actor Oliver Munday climbs the treacherous Mt. Kula Kangri in search of the elusive Yeti. Munday has made it his personal mission to come back to civilization with a snowman pelt to prove he's just as much a man as the stud he portrays on his TV show. The weather turns violent halfway up the mountain and Munday leaves his guides behind, only to come face-to-face with the giant monster shortly after. He takes a shot at the thing, but the rifle's roar sets off an avalanche and Munday is buried.

Digging himself out, Munday is lucky to be alive, but certain death stands looking down on him in the person of the great white Yeti. A bullet fells the creature and Munday steals its hide. As he's making his way down the mountain, he puts the skin on for warmth, but the blizzard is too much for him. Suddenly, the skinned monster appears from out of the snow. Munday tries to give the thing back its hide, but the pelt has frozen itself to his body. Later, the two guides come across the skinned Munday and agree that the actor went insane and tore himself to ribbons.

Nothing spectacular script-wise (I think I read at least three Harvey stories that followed much the same pattern), but "Hide and Go Mad" is an entertaining EC-esque horror story with some decent (though, at times, way too light) art by Carmine and Walt. I'm a sucker for stranded explorers atop giant glaciers; though I'm not the kind to ever get caught in that situation (hello, I live in Arizona!), the whole scenario gives me the creeps. I would question why this monster would lie still while Munday stole its skin.

Young Nancy has been lonely since her mother left the little shack she lives in with her stepfather. But now she has a friend she can talk to who lives in the well out in the woods. Nancy has vague recollections of the night her mother disappeared: a fight, the sound of something hitting the floor, and then her stepfather carrying something out into the woods. Her stepfather beats her and tells her to stay away from the well; it's not safe. But being lonely outweighs being afraid of the violent drunk her mother was married to, so Nancy steals away one night at the same time her step-pop decides to board up the old well. Seeing Nancy leaning into the well, the man hits her in the head with a hammer, but before she dies, the girl sees "The Thing in the Well" rise one more time to comfort her dying daughter.

Though it has DNA lifted from several sources (chief being Theodore Sturgeon's "It!"), "The Thing in the Well" goes where I least expected it to go. That's a pretty downbeat climax; step-pop doesn't even get disemboweled or turned into a human well or anything so final. He's driven insane by the sight of his wife's moss-laden body, and that's our final glimpse of the bad dude. While, conversely, the truly sympathetic Nancy has her head beaten in. How depressing is that? The final panel, of mom and daughter reunited in death, is a powerful one.

Orem P. Boozer the Third and his purty cousin, Honey Gal, hunt the woods near their shack for poachers. When they run across the varmints, they blow them away, skin them, and use 'em as vittles. But unfortunately, Orem's latest kill had brain cancer, and the disease fuses together the leftovers from Orem's past kills to become a huge, globby-brained monster. After the creature attacks Honey Gal, Orem chases it off and muses that once them "city slickers" see the monster crawling out of the hills, they won't be comin' back to poach.

With the new wave of violent horror films cashing in at the box office, Bill DuBay sees a quick and convenient way of capitalizing on the trend. Bill must have watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre and come away thinking cannibals were cool, rather than recognizing the reason the film worked: tension and terror. Neither asset can be found in "Orem Ain't Got No Head Cheese," a vile, disposable piece of garbage. No doubt the centerpiece, Orem and Honey Gal discussing changing times for rednecks while butchering a naked woman, is DuBay's idea of depth in character. I defy Louise Jones (Simonson) to find relevance, insight, terror, or tension in these nine sheets of used toilet paper; what justification could Louise have had in running this thing? "Orem" ain't sly enough to be social commentary, so don't go grasping for that straw. Easily, the worst thing Warren has run in its 13 years of funny book publishing. Alas, that milestone might still be surpassed in the next six years.

A comet falls from the sky and lands in Charlie Smithers's wheat field. The next day up pops a giant vegetable. Charlie insists the thing is a turnip, but the growth has a life of its own. Digging into the ground, the thing gets its rooty tendrils around the corpse of Nate Sweeney, buried in a nearby cemetery. Nate rises from the grave and attacks farmer Smithers and his wife, and the couple become animated corpses just like Charlie. Marcus and Sam, Charlie's friends from town, come to investigate the new vegetation, but when they get to the farm, they discover the land has been overrun with the giant green monsters. Sam is killed and revegetated but, luckily for Marcus, help arrives in the form of a swarm of locust. "The Terrible Turnip of Turpin County" is no more.

Unlike the previous story, I accept "Turnip" as, simultaneously, a loving homage to and a parody of such cinema classics as Night of the Living Dead, Little Shoppe of Horrors, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. There's a goofiness to its die-revive repetition and its naive climax, where this insanely robust locust swarm wipes out an entire farmland in three minutes flat. A pity it has to come wrapped in a lifeless Martin Salvador package.

Richard Connors crashes his small plane in the Canadian wilderness and attempts to survive with no food or water. He feels the presence of someone in the woods and follows the shape to a cave surrounded by a lake filled with clean drinking water. Later, the shape makes itself visible to Richard in the form of the beautiful Shara. The two quickly fall in love, but Shara has some dangerous secrets that threaten to tear the couple apart. One of those secrets is a bond with a wolf named Falla. The wolf injures Shara and Richard kills the beast, receiving a bite in the process. Shara explains the rest of her secret to her new lover and the two transform into wolves, loping off into the forest to hunt.

A very simple, predictable fable but a sweet one, nonetheless. "A Way in the Woods" is hampered a bit by some dopey dialogue ("I've been watching your eyes, Richard. I know you've thought of making love to me!") but it's blissfully free of expository and Bermejo's rough sketches have never been more gorgeous.-Peter 

Jack-Peter, you went pretty easy on this dreadful issue of Creepy. "Hide and Go Mad" is the best of the lot, with an engaging story, an unexpected ending, and above-average art. "A Way in the Woods" is next, with more decent art that reminded me in spots of the work of Berni Wrightson; I wasn't exactly sure what happened in the story, but I'll take your word for it. The muddy art made "The Thing in the Well" hard to decipher and, unfortunately, the panels that were most clear were ugly. Haven't we had enough muck monsters? Apparently not, since "Orem" and his head cheese presents us with another one right away. I agree that the story is disgusting, but I can't give it one star with art by Ortiz, and I don't think it's anywhere near the worst thing we've read at Warren.

As if this issue weren't bad enough, we have to endure a Martin Salvador story about a sentient turnip? At least the zombies were pretty well done. For me, "Like Icarus" was worse than "Orem" and received a rare, one-star rating. This terrible, pretentious, confused mess features mediocre art and an inscrutable story. I'm glad you were the one who had to figure it out to write a summary!

Comix International #5

(Reprinted from Vampirella #54, September 1976)

"The Succubus Stone"
(Reprinted from Vampirella #49, March 1976)

"The Corpse with the Missing Mind"
(Reprinted from Vampirella #55, October 1976)

"...And an End"
(Reprinted from Eerie #48, June 1973)

"Deja Vu"
(Reprinted from Creepy #51, March 1973)

"Demons of Father Pain"
(Reprinted from Eerie #77, September 1976)

"The Origin of the Spirit"
(Reprinted from The Spirit #10, October 1975)

"In Deep"
(Reprinted from Creepy #83, October 1976)

Jim Warren's overpriced experiment in overkill comes to an end after five full-color issues. "In Deep" is presented sans its black and white intro page and its outro gets a weird red and white finish on the inside back cover. That's class. To add insult to injury for the unwary buyer, the final Mummy story, "...And an End," had just been reprinted a few months before in the All-Mummy Reprint issue of Eerie. Albeit the new version is colorized (as is "The Corpse with the Missing Mind"), but that doesn't make the triple dip any better. Warren's pilferage of his own funny books would worsen as time went by. The only difference between Comix International and the titles that followed it is that CI looked classy.-Peter

Jack-How in the world did they decide which stories to put in these issues? "Bowser" is good and "In Deep" is great, but most of the others are nothing special, except for the Spirit story (of course) and "Demons of Father Pain," which I liked the first time around. The price of $2.99 was steep back in 1977 (at least for me, as a teen) and I would've wanted something more than what we get here to part with that kind of money.

Next Week...
Doug Moench puts another rogue
in his toybox!

Thursday, March 24, 2022

The Hitchcock Project-Sarett Rudley Part One: The Baby Sitter [1.32]

by Jack Seabrook

In the first four seasons of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Sarett Rudley (1917-1976) wrote nine teleplays; they were broadcast between May 1956 and February 1959.

Born Sarah Teichmann in Colorado Springs, she was graduated from the University of Southern California at age fifteen and married Bob Hirsch, who owned a chain of Los Angeles department stories, at age eighteen, in 1935. After divorcing Hirsch in 1938, she married a doctor named Milton Tobias in 1939. They were divorced in 1943, but she kept his name and, as Sarett Tobias, she became a contract writer at Columbia Pictures, where she was credited as one of the writers of She Wouldn't Say Yes (1945) and Tars and Spars (1946). In 1947, she met Joan Harrison, who would later produce Alfred Hitchcock Presents and, in 1948, she married an actor named Herbert Rudley, with whom she co-wrote a play called How Long Till Summer, which had a very short run on Broadway at the end of 1949.

Sarett Rudley in 1950
As Sarett Rudley, she wrote episodes of Janet Dean, Registered Nurse for producer Joan Harrison in 1954-1955 and, in addition to her work for Alfred Hitchcock Presents, she wrote teleplays for other shows up to 1960, then she returned in 1968 to write one more episode for another series produced by Joan Harrison, Journey to the Unknown. She had divorced Rudley by 1954, married New York City attorney Daniel Glass in 1955 and later divorced him, and married novelist Richard Mason in 1961, when they moved to Wales and raised sheep. She later divorced Mason and married Armando Russo, to whom she was married when she died in New York City in 1976.

*   *   *   *   *

"The Baby Sitter" was
first published here.
The first Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode with a teleplay by Sarett Rudley was "The Baby Sitter," which was based on the story of the same name by Emily Neff that was published in the May 1953 issue of Cosmopolitan. As the story opens, Lotte Slocum has a headache from answering questions all day on Sunday, so when her daughter Jane answers the doorbell and admits Mrs. Armstedder, Lotte is relieved not to see another policeman and tells her guest, "'I'll never baby-sit again.'" The night before, she had babysat for Clara Nash, watching her son and being driven home by Clara's date, Mr. de Mario.

This morning, the police arrived at nine a.m. to tell Lotte that Clara was dead, having been murdered in her bed. Lotte and Mrs. Armstedder discuss Clara, who had had several boyfriends since her husband left three months ago. Jane tells her mother that Mr. de Mario has been arrested and is unable to prove that he drove around for two hours after dropping Lotte at home at two a.m. Clara's estranged husband told the police that he had not seen her in a month. Lotte tells her guest that Mr. Nash was always good to her, driving her home and giving her tips. She confirms that Clara's eight-year-old son, Buddy, found her strangled in her bed this morning.

This Alex Ross illustration
accompanies the story.
Lotte recalls, but does not say out loud, that Mr. Nash had shown up at the house around one a.m. He had been drinking and he and Lotte were surprised to see each other at that hour. When Clara got home with de Mario around two a.m., Mr. Nash gave Lotte a tip and hid in the back of the house. As Lotte rode home with de Mario, she wondered what had happened when Clara discovered her estranged husband in the house.

Mrs. Armstedder's chatter snaps Lotte out of her reverie and the visitor leaves with Jane, whom Lotte has asked to buy the early editions of today's newspaper. Left alone, Lotte wonders why the police never asked her if anyone else was at Clara's house. Lotte has little sympathy for the late Clara, and sits down to write a letter to Mr. Nash, suggesting that he start paying her $100 a month to keep her mouth shut. Just as she is putting the letter in an envelope, the bedroom door opens, but it isn't Jane returning--it's Mr. Nash.

Thelma Ritter as Lotte Slocum
"The Baby Sitter" is an excellent mix of humor and suspense, featuring believable characters in a fascinating situation. Neff dies a great job of contrasting what Lotte says with what she thinks, demonstrating that the mature woman is motivated by money. Lotte thinks of her other daughter, Carol, who lives far away in California and who pays little attention to her mother; Lotte equates Clara with Carol and judges the dead woman harshly. Clara's sin is her habit of dating more than one man in the short time since she has been separated from her husband, and Lotte prefers Mr. Nash over his wife. That is why Lotte does not volunteer important information to the police, not realizing that her secret knowledge makes her a target for a man who has killed once and who will kill again in order to keep his secret. The dialogue between Lotte and Mrs. Armstedder is amusing, in contrast to the subject being discussed, and this light approach to the storytelling makes the ending more surprising.

Emily Neff (1922-1999), the story's author, worked as a newspaper reporter and wrote a handful of short stories that were published between 1948 and 1978. Three of her stories were adapted for Alfred Hitchcock Presents (including "One for the Road"), and one was adapted for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. "Mr. Blanchard's Secret" was also adapted for the 1980s Alfred Hitchcock Presents series. For more about Emily Neff, click here.

Sarett Rudley adapted the short story for television, and "The Baby Sitter," directed by Robert Stevens and starring Thelma Ritter as Lotte, was broadcast on CBS on Sunday, May 6, 1956.

Mary Wickes as Blanche Armstedder
Rudley adds an opening scene with a detective sergeant questioning Lotte about the murder; she is very emotional. She has received flowers from the women's club, along with an invitation to tell them her story in person--her involvement in the case has made her an instant celebrity in the neighborhood. As the sergeant leaves, Mrs. Armstedder arrives (she is given the name Blanche in the TV show), and Lotte makes the most of her situation by reveling in the attention she receives, especially when Blanche shows her today's newspaper, which has Lotte's name in it. Blanche has brought a bag full of milkshakes to share with Lotte, in a humorous attempt to bribe her friend into telling her all about the crime. The conversation between the two women is expanded from that of the short story.

After Lotte tells Blanche that the late Clara Nash was "'never any good,'" there is a flashback to a night before the Nashes separated, when Lotte observed them fighting. Their argument plays out in silence onscreen as Lotte narrates the events in voiceover from a perspective critical of Mrs. Nash. When Lotte tried to intervene, Mr. Nash stepped in between her and his wife and was solicitous with Lotte. Back in the present, Lotte is lost in reverie and demonstrates that she had a crush on Mr. Nash, something that is (at best) only hinted at in the short story but becomes the central focus of the TV show. Blanche mocks Lotte for suggesting that Nash might be attracted to her and Lotte is critical of her own weight, an aspect of the teleplay that does not fit the petite form of Thelma Ritter, the actress playing the lead.

Carole Mathews as Clara Nash
The show's first act ends on a forced note of suspense: after Lotte remarks that a woman would do anything for a man like that, Blanche asks her, "'Lotte, you didn't kill her?'" After the break, Blanche has left, and Lotte shares tea and cake with her daughter, Jane, as Lotte makes more comments critical of her own supposedly excessive weight. After she sends Jane to the drugstore to buy more newspapers, Lotte looks wistfully at another piece of cake before studying herself in the mirror. Mr. de Mario, who does not appear in the story, suddenly appears at the door and enters Lotte's apartment, towering over her in a threatening way and grabbing her as he tells her not to tell the police anything but the truth. In the short story, de Mario has already been arrested for the murder, but in the TV show, this brief scene is used to throw the viewer off the track of the real killer and to try to create some suspense.

The next scene occurs later, as Blanche has returned and is playing solitaire and probing for more details of the murder, while Jane sets the table for dinner and Lotte is out shopping. Lotte comes home, sporting a new hairdo and having bought a new dress in a smaller size for herself, along with a home exercise machine that she proceeds to demonstrate in a humorous moment. The sergeant returns while Lotte lies on the floor with the exercise machine, and he presses her for details that she might have overlooked the first time he spoke to her. She breaks down under the stress of being questioned and he leaves.

Theodore Newton as Charles Nash
Later, Lotte is lying down with a hot water bottle on her head. Jane leaves to cover for her mother on another baby-sitting job, leaving Lotte home alone once again. Lotte sits down to write the letter to Mr. Nash and we see another flashback, this time to the night of the murder--as before, Lotte narrates the events in voiceover. As the baby slept, Lotte passed the time alone in the Nashes' home by eating, reading, and snooping; she was trying on Clara's fur coat when Mr. Nash came in and found her. He hung the coat back in the closet and Lotte's narration demonstrates her crush: "'it was so cozy, just the two of us... and then she came back...'" The emphasis is different than in the short story, since Rudley's teleplay turns Lotte into a lovesick woman who is willing to overlook Mr. Nash's crime on the off chance that she might become his new girlfriend.

Reba Tassel as
Jane Slocum
In the TV show, Lotte's crush on Nash is a significant factor in her decision not to tell the police about his having been present on the night of the murder. As the flashback ends, Nash plants a paternal kiss on Lotte's forehead and leaves the room. Back in the present, Lotte finishes writing her letter and suggests that they get together for dinner--her interest is romantic, rather than financial, and there is no hint of blackmail. The TV Lotte is less mercenary and more romantic than the Lotte portrayed in the short story. She answers the doorbell and is surprised to see Nash. She talks a mile a minute, but he never speaks--in fact, he never speaks audibly in the entire show, since his dialogue in the flashbacks is muted.

Lotte goes to her bedroom to fix her hair and Nash follows her in and closes the door. She hands him the letter that she has just written and he opens his cigarette lighter and sets fire to the piece of paper. She asks what he is doing and he grabs her. As they struggle, the camera pans down to the burning letter and the show ends.

Michael Ansara as de Mario

The ending is more drawn out and obvious than the story's more effective conclusion, yet the needs of the visual medium probably made it necessary to spend more time spelling out what happens. Lotte's motivation in the story is money, while in the TV show, it is love--instead of blackmailing a murderer, she wants to be his girlfriend. Despite a talented director and a superb leading lady, the TV version of "The Baby Sitter" is a disappointment, especially in comparison to the short story.

The show is directed by Robert Stevens (1920-1989), and it recalls the static camera of his work on Suspense, with tight close ups and confined spaces. Stevens worked in television from 1948 to 1987 and directed 44 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and five episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. He won an Emmy for "The Glass Eye." He also directed 105 episodes of Suspense in the early 1950s.

Ray Teal as the detective sergeant

Thelma Ritter (1902-1969) was born in Brooklyn and began acting on stage while still a girl in school. She worked on radio in the 1940s and 1950s and she began appearing in films in 1947 and on TV in 1954. She was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award six times, including each year from 1950 to 1953. Perhaps her most famous role was in Hitchcock's Rear Window (1954); she was famous enough to co-host the Academy Awards with Bob Hope in 1955. "The Baby Sitter" was her only appearance on the Hitchcock TV show.

Mary Wickes (1910-1995) was born Mary Wickenhauser and had a long career on big and small screens from 1934 to 1995. She was also in many Broadway shows, mainly from 1936 to 1948. She was a regular on Father Dowling Mysteries (1989-1991) and she appeared on The Night Stalker. This was one of her two appearances on Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

In supporting roles:
  • Carole Mathews (1920-2014) as Clara Nash; born Jean Deifel, she was crowned "Miss Chicago" in 1938 and went on the be in movies from 1935 to 1962 and on TV from 1950 to 1978. This was one of her two appearances on Alfred Hitchcock Presents; the other was "The Percentage."
  • Theodore Newton (1904-1963) as Charles Nash; he was on Broadway from 1928-1951, in film from 1933-1963, and on TV from 1949-1963. He was in seven episodes of the Hitchcock show, including "O Youth and Beauty!" and "What Really Happened."
  • Reba Tassel (1928-2017) as Jane Slocum; in 1957, she began using the stage name of Rebecca Welles. She was married to director Don Weis, who directed five episodes of the Hitchcock half hour, including "Backward, Turn Backward." Tassel/Welles was in four episodes of the show and her career was mostly on TV from 1951 to 1964.
  • Michael Ansara (1922-2013) is effortlessly menacing as de Mario. Born in Lebanon, his long career on screen stretched from 1944 to 1999. He was on Alfred Hitchcock Presents three times, including "Shopping for Death," and his many other TV credits included starring in Broken Arrow (1956-1958), "Soldier" on The Outer Limits, and a memorable role on Star Trek. He was married to Barbara Eden from 1958 to 1974.
  • Ray Teal (1902-1976) as the police detective sergeant; he has hundreds of credits on IMDb and was on screen from 1937 to 1974, including a semi-regular role on Bonanza as Sheriff Roy Coffee. He made no less than eight appearances on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, including "Revenge."
Read the GenreSnaps review here.

Watch "The Baby Sitter" here or order the DVD here.


"The Baby Sitter." Alfred Hitchcock Presents, season 1, episode 32, CBS 6 May 1956.


Grams, Martin, and Patrik Wikstrom. The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion. OTR Pub., 2001. IBDB, IMDb,
Lane, Christina. Phantom Lady: Hollywood Producer Joan Harrison, the Forgotten Woman behind Hitchcock. Chicago Review Press, 2020. 
Little, Frank. Who Was Sarett Rudley?, Oct. 2018, 
Neff, Emily. "The Baby Sitter." Cosmopolitan, May 1953, 88-91.
Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation,

In two weeks: Our coverage of Sarett Rudley continues with "Mr. Blanchard's Secret," starring Robert Horton!

Listen to Al Sjoerdsma discuss "The Baby Sitter" here!

Listen to Annie and Kathryn discuss "The Indestructible Mr. Weems" here!

Monday, March 21, 2022

Batman in the 1980s Issue 49: June/July 1984

The Dark Knight in the 1980s
by Jack Seabrook &
Peter Enfantino


Batman #372

"What Price, the Prize?"
Story by Doug Moench & Don Newton
Art by Don Newton & Alfredo Alcala

Dr. Fang decides he wants to set up a boxing match between the champion, Michael Greene, and a washed-up fighter named Tommy Dunfey. Dunfey visits Greene and talks him into a fight, but it takes work to get the boxing commissioner to agree. When a mentally unbalanced fan named George Straite sees news of the upcoming fight, he vows to gun down the referee, Jake DeMansky, a former champion.

Batman learns of the death threat and Dr. Fang has his assistant make contact with the champ, intending to have him throw the match so that Dr. Fang can cash in on his bet. The fight begins, and Dunfey unexpectedly knocks down Greene while Straite waits in the audience with his gun at the ready. Greene gets up and he and Dunfey have a vicious battle, just as Batman intercepts Straite in the crowd. Straite's gun goes off and a bullet wounds Batman in the arm, but the Caped Crusader knocks out the lunatic before anyone else is hurt.

Dr. Fang is watching on TV and is furious at the result of the boxing match, so he sends his helper, Woad, to kill Greene, which he does. 

Peter: Doug pours on the "we're all the same despite the color of our skin" message even while assigning cliched dialogue to his Black characters ("If there's anything I got nicer than that belt you want so bad, it's them kids and they [sic] mother.") but despite some shortcomings, "What Price, the Prize?" is more a nicely-plotted ring saga than a Rocky rip-off. There's a lot going on here and not a whole lot of Batman. I'd have liked it much more, though, had some of the details been clearer. Psycho George Straite comes out of nowhere in order to further Doug's opinion that racism is alive and well and living in America circa 1984, but he's already pounded that message home, so the character is superfluous. Where's the sequence where Woad confronts the champ about throwing the fight? I'm assuming by Dunfey's comments in the final panel that it had to do with threats against Greene's kids, but that's just conjecture. Perhaps the conclusion will provide answers. Still in all, a very solid installment.

Jack: I found this story to be a little bit confusing and a little bit boring. I read it twice and I'm still not sure why Straite wanted to kill the referee. The art is not Newton and Alcala's best work. I don't really understand why Dr. Fang insists on wandering around with fake vampire fangs, either. His character seems to be unfocused.


Detective Comics #539

Story by Doug Moench
Art by Don Newton & Bob Smith

Plagued by guilt over the death of his opponent, the champ Michael Greene, in the ring, contender Tommy Dunfey scours the underbelly of Gotham, looking for the man responsible. Batman gets wind of the city's newest vigilante and confronts him, explaining that the real culprit is Dr. Fang. Dunfey swears he'll find and kill Fang, so the Dark Knight has no other choice but to team up with the prizefighter. Huh?

The new dynamic duo beat a path to Fang's door, which happens to be a boxing gym. While Fang's thugs hold Bats at bay with their irons, Fang challenges Dunfey to a bout. At first, Fang does a decent job of pummeling the pugilist with a right cross, three jabs to the midsection, a lead uppercut to the chin, and finishing with a camel spin right axle to the solar plexus. But then, Dunfey finds his footing, shakes off his triple vision, and puts Fang out with a vicious (and certainly illegal) rear hook. Fang is delivered to Gordon and Dunfey delivers the Champ belt to Greene's widow. 

What began as a very solid boxing epic ends in sheer ludicrosity. Just how many former professions does Dr. Fang have? Former actor. Former boxer. Now former vampire. And, like Jack, I still don't know why he uses the fangs. Does this nut think he's a vampire? Then maybe he should drink some blood now and then to further the illusion. The whole concept of Bats agreeing to team up with this fighter makes little to no sense. And he caves to the idea so quickly. Coming soon: Dr. Fang, former chef, becomes Arkham's new cafeteria cook. Oh, and Jason turns dick and is rude to the perfectly wonderful Julia, telling her that she should go find an apartment. No wonder the fans wanted him dead!

Jack: What a letdown! After several issues of seeing Dr. Fang off and on, he is done in by an over the hill boxer, not even by Batman. Newton's art is again shaky in spots as he replaces Colan to draw the end of the saga. The plot barely fills 16 pages and has to be padded out with an overly long interlude between Alfred and Julia. At least the finale was emotionally satisfying.

"The Devil You Don't Know"
Story by Joey Cavalieri
Art by Shawn McManus & Sal Trapani

An Aussie newspaper magnate is planning to buy the Daily Star, but before the deal can go down, an evil villain dressed like Satan and calling himself "The Printer's Devil" attacks the Star HQ. Luckily, Oliver Queen is on hand and dons his Uni for battle. A fire breaks out and threatens the gas station across the street from the Star building. Can Ollie fight his new adversary and extinguish the fire before the whole city goes blooey? Stay tuned!

Peter: What a load of crap, from the cliched Rupert Murdoch stand-in (Morris Burdick!) to the dopey and completely disadvantageous costume worn by the Devil. How is this guy supposed to fight when he can't even see? And how does that trident reload? Does he stop the action and pop more missiles on the end of his pitchfork? Sheesh. McManus's art continues to sway between passable and amateurish. Unlike Jack, I've been a fan of these Green Arrow back-ups but "The Devil You Don't Know" is just dumb.

Jack: I just can't warm up to this series. The corny jokes get old fast and the art style continues to look cheesy. Green Arrow's "disguise" is so ridiculous that I can't believe everyone doesn't see through it. The villain is goofy yet again. It's hard to believe this series will last as long as it does.


Batman #373

"The Frequency of Fear"
Story by Doug Moench
Art by Gene Colan & Alfredo Alcala

Jason Todd has a nightmare in which he finds Batman's corpse draped over the graves of his parents, but that's nothing compared to what's about to happen now that the Scarecrow has been judged sane and released from Arkham Asylum! After a brief interlude in which Julia is rebuffed by Vicki Vale when she asks for a job, we get back to the main story, in which the Scarecrow is after the Joker for humiliating him back in Detective #526.

The Scarecrow has a new gizmo in a hand-held skull that tunes in to "The Frequency of Fear" and causes anyone within range to have horrible visions. He makes his way to the Joker's jail cell, only to learn that the Clown Prince of Crime has been moved to solitary confinement, because his laughter was driving the other prisoners nuts. Batman appears in the nick of time and prevents the Scarecrow from getting to the Joker and, though Robin tries to help, the Scarecrow turns on his fear skull and escapes.

In a couple more meanwhiles, Jason Todd's schoolteacher is concerned that the boy is falling asleep in class, and Harvey Bullock reconciles with Commissioner Gordon over burgers, unaware that Mayor Hill has just ordered a hit on Harvey. Batman relates Jonathan Crane's history to Robin, while Crane sits in Norman Bates's his house, explaining to no one but the reader how his fear-inducing skull works. Realizing that Batman is preventing him from getting rid of the Joker, he sets off to do in the Caped Crusader, who heads to the Gotham Zoo to investigate a report of animals going crazy. The skull sends Batman into a paroxysm of fear at the zoo, while Robin, disobeying orders as usual, visits the Scarecrow's house and is attacked by the villain. Will Robin escape the Scarecrow's clutches? Will Batman fall into a pit of hungry crocs? Tune in below!

Jack: Whew! A great cover leads into a great issue, which is a relief after the duds featuring Dr. Fang. Colan and Alcala's art is perfect for this spooky tale, and the opening nightmare sequence with Robin is a winner, even though I knew it was not real. I have to wonder about the wisdom of thinking Dr. Crane is cured and releasing him from Arkham, but then how would the story progress otherwise? I love the panels with Crane's Psycho house and the scarecrow on a post outside; I also love involving the Joker and the continuation of one of the best stories of recent years from the 500th anniversary issue of Detective. The business with the skull is scientific gobbledygook, but it works and provides a way for this villain to get the best of our heroes, at least for a while. There's a hiccup on page 16 where Batman picks up a conversation in the middle and I looked back to see where it started... but it never did. The Scarecrow is a great villain when he's used properly, as he is here. Peter, what did you think?

I think it was quite dandy, Jack! Especially that opening nightmare in the rain you mention. Colan and Alcala have become a beautiful machine, working off of each other's strengths and producing something dazzling. Outside of the Dr. Fang arc (which, I think, we both agree started strong and then fizzled out), Doug Moench has been filling his scripts with a sense of dread we haven't seen from a regular scripter since the 1970s. That continues here with the Scarecrow, a character I feel was mostly mishandled in the funny books. It took Christopher Nolan to elevate the character from a nothing to (at least) a second-tier rogue. 

This would have to be a landmark issue, as it's finally revealed why the Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, Mad Hatter, and the rest of the gang are seemingly out on the streets mere months after being locked up for arson, diamond heists, and murder. They were "rehabilitated"! And, according to Gotham law, that means they go free. Do you think the warden hands them their costumes and dangerous gizmos as they're exiting the building? 


Detective Comics #540

"Something Scary"
Story by Doug Moench
Art by Gene Colan & Bob Smith

Robin is investigating the old Marston house, where Jonathan Crane, aka the Scarecrow, has been residing, and is attacked by what he thought was a harmless ragman on a stick in the yard. The Boy Wonder gets the better of Crane and the Scarecrow flees into the mansion. During the tussle, Robin is able to destroy Scarecrow's "fear frequency skull," which then frees Batman from his delirium.

Speaking of the Dark Knight, our hero finds himself in the zoo surrounded by crocodiles after his fever dream had led him into the pit to save Jason. Nightmare over, Bats swings out of the zoo and heads for the old Marston house.

Meanwhile, Jason has followed Crane into his house of horrors and there must make his way through corridors filled with scary stuff like rubber spiders and grinning skeletons. Clearly, this is a haunted house done on the cheap. Batman arrives just in time to help Robin put the kibosh on Scarecrow's spare fear frequency skull and land a right cross on Jonathan Crane's chin. The Scarecrow will head back to Arkham until he's rehabilitated. 😀

Peter: A satisfying if not spectacular finish to the two-part Scarecrow arc, "Something Scary" excels when Doug dumps us with Robin in the haunted house. Jason shows that he might be impetuous, but there is some brain activity when he notes that the Scarecrow is "a 12-year-old with a genius IQ. A clever kid who likes to scare birds." The elaborate haunted mansion (fittingly titled "the old Marston house," surely a nod to Stephen King's Salem's Lot) would be something a child would rig up to scare his buddies. I'm not sure I buy Batman's explanation of why the 'crow's fear frequency wouldn't work on him, but Doug had only a couple panels to wrap it up, so there it is. 

I can't get a bead on exactly how old Jason Todd is supposed to be. In some panels (and not just in this particular issue) the kid looks like a pre-teen, and in others he looks like he could go out on the town drinking with Dick Grayson. This issue's art accentuates the fact that Alfredo is a much better inker for Colan. Bats is supposed to be so frightening that he throws the 'crow off his game, but he doesn't look that imposing to me; he looks a tad overweight. There's a very brief step-out from the action to Harvey Bullock at police headquarters. Harvey's standing in front of a window and ducks down, just missing a bullet shot from across the office. Was the bullet meant for Harvey? If this is yet another yawner of a subplot, count me out.

Jack: After a quick (and unnecessary) recap, there is some nice parallel storytelling with Batman at the zoo and Robin at the Scarecrow's mansion, followed by an effective sequence with Robin inside the house. Even the botched assassination of Harvey Bullock is funny! A satisfying wrap-up makes this one of the better two-parters of 1984, at least so far.

"In Cold Type!"
Story by Joey Cavalieri
Art by Shawn McManus & Sal Trapani

Oliver Queen (in his brilliant disguise as the Green Arrow) manages to save the gas station from blowing the town to bits but has a rematch with the Printer's Devil after the low-tiered baddie solders shut the doors to the Star. The Arrow uses some really quick thinking to send some cloud-seeding arrows into the sky at the same time shooting "adhesive bandage arrows" (!!) at the Devil. The ensuing rain hardens the band-aids and Ollie unmasks the villain. Incredibly enough, the guy under the mask is sportswriter Tommy Doyle, who only concocted this elaborate ruse to scare off paper magnate Morris Burdick. The plot works, Burdick hops a plane without buying the paper, but Tommy Doyle will have to write his column from a prison cell.

This strip reminds me of the comic DC published in the 1980s, New Talent Showcase, a title that would feature amateur writers and artists in their first (and, for the most part, last) stab at glory. "In Cold Type!" is so dumb, corny, and vapid that it would have fit right into those pages. Below, Jack wonders why no one can tell Ollie from the Arrow, and this issue features surely the most egregious example of that. Ollie is talking to his newspaper comrades about opening the fused-together doors, says "hang on a minute," runs across the street with his suitcase, and comes back as Green Arrow. And not one character scratches their chin and mumbles "Hmmm..." But never mind that, let's ask how this dope Tommy Doyle would gain access to a super-baddie uniform and a trident that shoots explosive missiles, all to save his job and the city's main voice for truth, justice, and the American way. How much would a get-up like that cost? Man, I hope this series gets better.

Jack: It's hard to believe how many arrows GA has in his quiver and what they can do, such as make it rain. The guy must have back problems from lugging all of those things around. And how dumb is everyone not to notice that Oliver Queen is Green Arrow? The blond guy with the kooky beard slaps a tiny eye mask on and no one can tell it's the same person? Still, to give some faint praise, this story wasn't as bad as what we've grown used to.

Next Week...
Bill DuBay proudly adds another
disgusting feather to his cap!