Thursday, April 27, 2023

Journey Into Strange Tales Issue 85: Atlas/ Marvel Horror


The Marvel/Atlas 
Horror Comics
Part 70
August 1954 
by Peter Enfantino

Astonishing 34

“Knockout” (a: Paul Reinman) ★★

“The Tomb!” (a: Myron Fass) ★★

“The Slave-Driver” (a: Al Carreno)

“Transformation!” (a: Ed Moline) ★★

“Heads Will Roll” (a: George Oleson) 1/2

Ruthless boxing promoter Big Leon couldn’t care less if the poor saps he’s training are killed in the ring, as long as he makes his green. But then he crosses paths with Sailor, a part-time seaman who wants to give pugilism a shot. Sailor ends up concussed and dead during a fight, but his ghost isn’t KO’d and comes back later to step in the ring with Big Leon. It’s not a “Knockout,” unfortunately; there are way too many beats here that have simply been warmed up. Paul Reinman, though, goes the distance with his solid visuals.

Laura Keel loves archaeologist Howard Carter but Howard is madly in love with his wife, Florence. So what’s a girl to do besides attempted-murder in an ancient underground temple? Laura pushes a huge pillar down on Florence but, instead of killing her rival, she elevates her status when the pillar misses and gouges a hole in the floor, revealing the inner tomb of King Oedipus! Laura makes her feelings known to Howard but he seems more interested in the dusty mummies. 

Finally, after exhausting her patience, Laura sets off a stick of dynamite, killing Florence but blinding herself in the process. Believing she’s also killed Howard, the distraught loony blows herself up. Howard pulls himself from the rubble, musing how sad it is that Laura is dead since he’d always loved her more than Flo and he was about to ask for a divorce!

“The Tomb!” is garbage time but there’s no denying it could easily be slipped into the “so bad it’s good” category. Laura’s obsession with Clark Gable lookalike, Howard, is understandable but her dabbling in TNT within shaky confines makes one wonder just how much training the girl had in archaeology. The final panels, where Howard emerges (with shirt torn, Doc Savage-style) from two explosions in mighty fine shape, are hilarious. This has to be Myron Fass’s finest hour.

A vicious captain treats his crew like slaves until they mutiny, tossing him overboard into a small boat. He drifts to an uncharted island where he’s forced into slavery. Just desserts is the more-than-obvious message of “The Slave-Driver!,” utilizing another of the top ten Atlas cliches: the heartless skipper. In “Transformation!,” a career criminal has had his face scarred by acid and rues the fact that he can’t spend all his hard-earned dough in a nice joint with a nice gal. He goes to a plastic surgeon (whose family he’s holding hostage) and tells the doc to give him a face that won’t stand out in a crowd. The hood gets more than he bargained for. There’s not much in the way of originality here but the pay-off is a doozy!

When business begins to slow down, the executioner of “Heads Will Roll!” commits random murders and pins the crimes on innocents. Predictably, the practice bites him on the ass when his wife is convicted of a murder he was responsible for. 

Journey into Mystery 17

“He Took It With Him” (a: Paul Hodge) ★★1/2

“Machine Age!” (a: Sid Check) ★★1/2

(r: Weird Wonder Tales #1)

“The Thing That Walked!” (a: Robert Q. Sale) ★★

“The Death of Danny!” (a: Harry Anderson) ★★

(a: Crypt of Shadows #2)

“Midnight on Black Mountain” (a: Mort Lawrence) ★★★

(r: Crypt of Shadows #1)

Millionaire Jeremiah Stone is so obsessed with his money that when he receives bad news from his doctor, he promises to “take it with him.” Jeremiah then puts into motion an elaborate scheme: he converts all his assets to cash, boxes it up, and buries it in a deep hole under his grave site (which he pays for in installments to save money). He then buys a coffin with an escape hatch (again, on payment installments) and whips up a serum that, when injected, will place him in a death-like coma. He’ll be able to wake up in his coffin, drop into his ventilated hole, and enjoy his cash for the remainder of his short life. 

Problem is, Jeremiah “leaves life” owing money to several creditors and the mortician has the old man buried in a potter’s field. “He Took It With Him” has a cute finale and some sharp Paul Hodge graphics, but the lengths to which Stone goes in order to just “spend time with his cash,” stretch believability to its snapping point. It does, however, contain a rarity in the AHU: in this case it’s the dying man, and not the vulture-like heirs, who is the “villain.”

After atomic war renders the surface world uninhabitable, mankind burrows deep underground and becomes dependent on the machine. Generations later, when the population ascend to a radiation-free surface, they abandon the machines and return to a simpler life. But it’s not long before a band of villagers ventures down to see what’s going on with the derelict machines. What they find is that the circuits and wiring have evolved into thinking beings; those creatures head for the surface to begin the “Machine Age.” Competent sci-fi but, as the story notes in its final panel, the takeover is the “logical conclusion” we’ve been anticipating since the beginning of the story.

“Midget” Jerry (actually a ludicrously small man) strikes a deal with his pal, con-man Blackie, to become “The Thing That Walked!” Blackie is not only a thief but he’s also a genius; he creates a robot suit for Jerry to climb into, becoming a near-unstoppable force who can rob banks and all kinds of cool stuff. Alas, Blackie didn’t account for Jerry’s greed and the little man strikes out on his own after a couple of hold-ups. Not a good plan since Blackie rigged the suit with a lock only he knows the combination for. Silly build-up (the idea that Blackie is smart enough to invent this suit and then use it for small time robberies shows that he’s really not that smart) but the final twist is a good one. The panel of Blackie witnessing the reveal at the climax, hair standing on end and eyes popping, is worthy of Tex Avery.

Danny Denton buys a great new TV set but has a few problems while setting it up (one of those problems might have occurred because Danny was working on the electrical bits while the set was plugged in) and now anything on the screen comes to life in his front room in “positive physical actuality!” Danny takes advantage of his good luck, stacking up cash, a new fridge, and a brand new car (which he keeps in his living room!) but that set will be “The Death of Danny!” when he inadvertently switches on a Frankenstein movie.

Paula Harper receives the news that she has only one year to live. One thing has eluded her all these years and that’s the love of a good man. If she has to, she’ll spend every penny to “buy” Walter Mead and make him her own. But Walter spurns her advances, telling Paula he’s heard she’s, in reality, a witch. Paula tells Walter she’ll do anything to prove she’s not a broom-rider and Walter explains that the only way to disprove his theory is for the woman to climb to the top of Bald Mountain and approach the witch’s sabbath meeting (!). If Paula is rejected by the coven, Walter will know she’s clean. 

The lovestruck woman ascends the mountain and is accepted by the coven with open arms. As the revelation hits her, Paula is approached by Satan, who explains that she was a normal woman until she climbed the mountain. He then peels back his red skin and horns to reveal… Walter! As with the previous four stories this issue, the plot takes a back seat to the artwork, which is so evocative of the time. Mort Lawrence does some radical choreography during the witch’s convention, spilling out the dancing demons and hags from panel to panel. Of course, with artists like Will Eisner, this was commonplace but in the generally safe 6-8 panel per page Atlas Universe, this was almost groundbreaking. 

Journey into Unknown Worlds 30

“The Madman!” (a: Mort Lawrence) ★★

“Reincarnation!” (a: Mort Meskin & George Roussos) ★★1/2

“Android!” (a: Werner Roth) ★★★

“You Think Too Loud!” (a: Al Carreno)

“The Fear!” (a: Jay Scott Pike)

After he survives a sinking submarine, Commander George Vinson is never the same again. But luckily, he inherits a boatload of money from his dead father and can live the way he wants to live. That includes installing a periscope in the basement so he can be ready for when the enemy comes for him. The enemy is actually closer than George can imagine; his brother, Ed, wants George committed to an asylum so that the family money and estate will come his way. With a little greasing of the local palms, George’s brother gets his wish and the Commander is committed. But when Ed and his wife move into the house, it floods and they drown. Outside, Commander George bemoans that the enemy finally found his secret hiding place and bombed his sub. “The Madman” is a readable thriller with an inexplicable climactic twist and some see-saw artwork. Mort Lawrence’s work on the splash is gorgeous, very reminiscent of Russ Heath, but from there it’s very sketchy. The subplot of George’s greedy brother comes in very late, as if added as an afterthought.

George is a lousy gambler and now he’s deep in debt to a mobster who wants his dough yesterday. George has been waiting for his rich uncle to kick off so that he can inherit some green but, with the goons breathing down his neck, he needs to expedite matters. While he’s browsing in a bookstore, he discovers a book that pushes forth the notion that if a man commits suicide, he’ll be reincarnated. George convinces his uncle this is the way to go and the old man offs himself. But when George inquires about his inheritance, he’s told by the family lawyer that his uncle left the estate to himself for when he comes back. A cute little yarn, “Reincarnation” has a couple of intentional laughs that enables the tale to distance itself just a tad from the 10,000 other “greedy nephew” tales. The bookstore George just happens to be hanging out in has a section labeled “Voodoo!”

In the future, synthetic humans become so plentiful that Earth becomes overpopulated. Humans begin to hate the “Android!” when food levels drop to a dangerously low level. The government decides to send a handful of androids to Mars in order to create an Earth-2 and promises the synthetic astronauts that if they are successful, they will be lauded as heroes. But once the deed is done and Mars is populated by humans, the heroes become zeroes. At first glance just another of the “thoughtful” Atlas SF tales obviously inspired by Al Felder and the gang, “Android!” is actually a well-written cautionary tale about racism.

“You Think Too Loud!” is ugly junk about a man who survives being run over by a car and gets telepathy for his troubles. He makes his new power pay off and then meets his maker in the same old tired fashion. “The Fear!” is the first we’ve seen of Jay Scott Pike since May 1953 (Uncanny Tales #8), and the artist contributes a striking splash but not much more. It’s the dreadful tale of a man with a deep fear of lightning and black cats. Both come into play in the ludicrous finale. 

Harry Anderson

Marvel Tales

“It Came from Nowhere” (a: Doug Wildey) ★★★

(r: Journey Into Mystery #14)

“The Graves That Moved” (a: Jim Mooney) ★★1/2

(r: Uncanny Tales #2)

“The Death of Me!” (a: Sy Moskowitz)

(r: Dead of Night #4)

“The Lonely Man” (a: Al Eadah) ★★

(r: Beware #7)

“Murdock’s Brain!” (a: Joe Maneely) ★★

(r: Weird Wonder Tales #2)

A strange pond filled with black goo suddenly appears on the estate of Dr. Malt. When a sheriff dips his hand into the muck to investigate, his hand is eaten away. Malt bandages up the officer and then begins running tests on the black liquid, determining that the pool grows as it absorbs life. The Doc and his assistant drain the pond and dump the liquid in a concrete container, thus ending the menace. Meanwhile, we discover from an alien returning to his planet that the goo was actually a melted spaceship and crew that were sent to conquer Earth. Another ship has melted in the ocean and the black pool is getting bigger. “It Came From Nowhere” is a fun little SF tale that borrows elements of the famous Arch Oboler radio show, “Oxychloride X,” (Lights Out, January 26, 1938) and ends on a decidedly pessimistic note.

“Rent gouger and landlord” Pierre DuClos opens his door to discover the graves of all the tenants who died in his bathhouses are on his front stoop. The dead will be avenged! There’s a minimum of story here but the art is gorgeous, atmospheric and grim. The target of the corpses’ ire is not even introduced until the third page (in a four-page story), an odd choice. “The Graves That Moved” would be Jim Mooney’s 20th and final story for the Atlas horror titles; Mooney would go on to do more sf/fantasy work for the titles post-code and later work for both DC (Batman) and Marvel (The Amazing Spider-Man) for many years, concentrating more on inking than penciling.

There are flashes of imagination to be found in “The Death of Me” (about a man who discovers there are demons in his mirror waiting to replace him and his wife) but the amateurish Sy Moskowitz art makes this tale almost unreadable. 

Norton Dunlap can’t seem to make friends. The poor old guy wanders the streets “panhandling for friendship,” but when he does get someone to pay attention, the result is always calamitous. Turns out “The Lonely Man” is a cyclops and whenever he doffs his sunglasses, his gaze kills! A bit of a cheat in that this cyclops isn’t one-eyed in the traditional sense (Norton shows us a picture of his father in the climax and that guy definitely looks like a cyclops… with suit and tie!) but the story is still goofy fun.

Despising the human race and anticipating a global war that will wipe out mankind, super-genius Murdock devises a way for his brain to live on, though his body is dead. Unfortunately, “Murdock’s Brain!” didn’t anticipate that his lab assistant would stumble onto a formula for eternal life just days after Murdock is laid to rest.

Harry Anderson

Strange Tales

“The Man Who Played with Blocks!” (a: Sid Greene) 1/2

“The Bum!” (a: Bill Benulis) ★★★1/2

“The Money Tree!” (a: John Tartaglione)

“The First Man” (a: Bill Savage) ★★

“The Strange Ones!” (a: Art Peddy) ★★★

Herman Pringle has been working for the Happy Hours toy factory for seven years and he’s never gotten a raise. His boss, Mr. Browder, tells him he’s lazy and that if he doesn’t invent the most fabulous, fun-tastic building block set in one week, Herman will be out on his ass. Herman gets to work, buying a set of scraps from a wood worker, unaware the scraps are from a coffin. 

Herman builds a replica of the smokestack located across from his apartment and when he goes to dismantle the toy, the real thing across the way falls apart as well. Seeing dollar signs, Herman builds a replica of the Happy Hours factory and takes it in to his boss, explaining the magic at his fingertips. The boss takes one block out of the building but nothing happens to convince him of the magic. In a rage, Browder tosses Herman out of his office, telling the little man that he’s fired. 


    Down the street, Herman tosses the toy building in the street and heads home, not noticing that the factory behind him has crumbled to pieces. A final caption lets us know that only Herman can make the blocks do their thing but there’s no other explanations given for the power the blocks hold other than the coffin reference. If you’re going to provide silly exposition for one aspect, why not go the extra mile? With or without reasoning, “The Man Who Played With Blocks!” isn’t very intriguing.

Down on his luck, a vagrant asks a well-to-do man at the train station for two bits to buy a coffee. The man tells “The Bum!” to take a hike and find a job. When the police arrive at the station, the bum ducks under the train with an eye to riding to the next stop. But a terrible accident leaves the train wrecked and the arrogant upper class rider dying beside the carnage. When our title protagonist lifts the man’s coat and wallet, the police descend on him. But they don’t want him for petty theft. 

There’s a fabulous reveal at the climax of “The Bum!” that I won’t spoil; suffice to say, it’s a doozy. Bill Benulis’s artwork may be among the top ten surprises I’ve encountered on this journey through Atlas horror comics. I’d not known of Benulis (or Tony DiPreta for that matter) beforehand and the discovery has pinned my eyelids back. The artist’s choreography (in particular, the bus station scene) is so vivid and stylistic that it might just set the story unreeling within your mind as if it was on a screen. The script should not be overlooked either; it’s a mini-masterpiece of mood and tension, with a twist worthy of an Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode.

In the dim-witted “The Money Tree!,” an absent-minded professor invents the titular foliage but then makes the mistake of entering into a partnership with a vicious gangster. The only memorable aspect of this dud is that the mobster is an early prototype of J. Jonah Jameson. 

Equally short on logic is “The First Man,” which details the climbing of Mount Ka (second tallest peak in the world) by explorer Jackson Cole. Shunned and ridiculed by his fellow sportsman club members, Cole swears he’ll be the first man up Ka and live to tell about it. Cole hires a pair of guides to assist his climb but when they run into a bit of trouble halfway up, Cole cuts their line and the two men fall thousands of feet to their deaths. Finally reaching the top, Cole discovers a pile of empty food tins and garbage, leading to a cave opening. Within the cave, a man sits before a fire. Just as Cole is about to shoot the man dead (so that he can still claim to the world that he was first), the man rises and turns to reveal he’s… a werewolf! “The First Man” might just be the award winner for “Most Random Twist Climax!” So random that I let out a loud guffaw (as opposed to a laugh or chuckle) upon finishing the strip. Jackson Cole is the epitome of the heartless explorer, a cliche that has surely been used almost as much as the shrewish Atlas wife.

Years before Stan Lee would create The X-Men, scripter Paul S. Newman gave us “The Strange Ones,” a scattered batch of mutants that might be the last hope for the survival of mankind. But prejudicial intolerance of “something different than the norm” wipes out the last few mutants and man is doomed. A very intricate and intelligent, but overly complicated script that ultimately doesn’t make for a cohesive story. Art Peddy’s work is bland but “The Strange Ones” is a fascinating bit of pre-Marvel history. This issue’s cover is indicative of the move away from shocks, corpses, and graveyards, and towards drab images, courtesy of the incoming Comics Code.

Uncanny Tales 23

“The Lucky Stiff!” (a: Paul Hodge) ★★

(r: Crypt of Shadows #8)

“Smile, Blast Ya, Smile” (a: Bob McCarty)

(r: Crypt of Shadows #8)

“The Hidden Graveyard” (a: Bob Forgione) ★★

(r: Dead of Night #3)

“Ask Me No Questions” (a: Sheldon Moldoff)

(r: Crypt of Shadows #8)

“Look Homeward, Werewolf!” (a: Mort Lawrence) ★★1/2

(r: Crypt of Shadows #8)

Waldo the vagrant is so poor and hungry that he’ll do anything to earn a buck, including polishing coffins. The undertaker refuses to pay Waldo after the job is done but gives him the tattered and discarded overcoat that belonged to the millionaire in the casket. Waldo takes the ugly coat and tramps off into the snow. He’s about to throw the rag away until he discovers the pockets are loaded with greenbacks! Only problem is, every time he takes the coat off, the money disappears. That leads to complications when none of the hotels or restaurants will let him in because he looks like a bum. Alas, poor Waldo starves to death in the snow, pockets stuffed with money. “The Lucky Stiff!” is a sad, ironic tale featuring another one of those rarities: the innocent protagonist who meets a bad end.

In “Smile, Blast Ya, Smile,” the story editor at a science fiction magazine gets a rude shock when his publisher forces an associate editor on him. The new guy goes through the slush pile and picks out what he thinks are great SF stories, puts them in front of the publisher, and the sales skyrocket. Mr. Story Editor is fired and comes back the next night to kill his competition. Turns out the reason why he could spot a great sci-fi yarn is because he’s an alien in disguise. Sheesh.

A pair of jungle hunters discover “The Hidden Graveyard,” where elephants go to die, a treasure trove of ivory just waiting to be taken. But… there’s a giant gorilla-like monster named Kubba, who guards the graveyard and eats all trespassers. There aren’t a lot of surprises to be found here, most of the story being the typical “heartless treasure hunter” pablum, but there’s a very effective twist in the final panel that guarantees a smile to those readers who last.

“Ask Me No Questions” is an inane quickie about a father who never answers his son’s questions with anything but sarcasm and lies. That comes back to haunt the man in the silly finale. 

Karl the Boatsman finds his latest customer an odd one: a werewolf who will pay Karl five hundred dollars in gold if he can get the lycanthrope across the river without a single drop of water touching his fur (the water drives werewolves insane!). Karl has won the Hungarian rowing contest fifteen times, so getting the creature to the other side is child’s play. Problem is, when they get to the other side, it starts raining and the monster goes nuts! Tongue planted firmly in cheek (the werewolf speaks like a gentleman and complements Karl several times during the journey), “Look Homeward, Werewolf!” is an amiable page-turner with some nice Mort Lawrence art. Easily the best thing in yet another weak issue of Uncanny Tales.

In Two Weeks...
Myron Fass's Finest Hour?

Monday, April 24, 2023

Batman in the 1980s Issue 77: November 1988


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

Batman #425

Story by Jim Starlin
Art by M. D. Bright & Steve Mitchell

Batman receives a letter from Jose Garzonas, the father of Felipe, who fell to his death last issue. Jose is holding Commissioner Gordon hostage and demands that Batman bring Robin to an auto junk yard to free Gordon. Instead, Batman heads off on his own, but Robin realizes that something is up and follows him without revealing himself.

Batman arrives at the junk yard and dispatches most of Jose's goons before being forced to show himself. Robin suddenly reveals his presence. Batman frees Gordon, who is wounded by gunfire as he runs for cover. Garzonas tries to shoot Batman with a machine gun and Batman avoids death by climbing to the top of a pile of flattened cars; the pile collapses under him, crushing and killing Garzonas. Batman lectures Robin on the meaning of "Consequences" and goes so far as to say that Garzonas exhibited a "'father's righteous anger.'" Robin walks away quietly.

Peter: The art is iffy but the story's not bad. Hard to tell by that last panel exactly what's on Jason's mind. Is he ashamed or emboldened? Only time will tell. Hopefully, though Garzonas is dead, the repercussions from Robin's actions will continue to ripple. I think it's a fascinating hook.

Jack: Once again, I prefer this art to that of Breyfogle in Detective. There wasn't much to this tale and it was a quick read, but it works to advance the story arc questioning whether Robin bears fault for Felipe's death. Most of the pages are taken up with Batman knocking heads in the junk yard. The cover is a real cheat--it looks like Batman is about to be the one crushed by a collapsing pile of cars, while the story has the opposite happening!

Detective Comics #592

"The Fear" Part One
Story by Alan Grant
Art by Norm Breyfogle

While on his nightly rounds, the Batman hears a scream and answers the call to discover a corpse — sans its heart — in the trunk of a yellow cab. The only witness, a small boy, describes the man who left the body as… Jesus! When the cops come to claim the body, one of the officers notifies the Batman that the dead man is one Ed Hunt, who went missing several days before. Hunt was last seen in a bar with a man who was the “spittin’ image of Abe Lincoln!”

What the hell is going on in Gotham, you ask? Well, thanks to the magic of funny books, we learn before the Dark Knight that the psycho who’s stalking the city streets is a creepy cat calling himself “The Fear,” a recent release from Arkham Asylum who can somehow take on the visage of famous people while doing his evil deeds. With his kiss, the maniac sucks the fear from his victim and uses it as energy. Or something like that.

What an ugly mess this first chapter of “The Fear” is. I had a hard time following the meandering story and an even harder time making out what was drawn on the pages by Norm Breyfogle, who seems to have taken several steps back after he’d seemed to be taking forward steps in the last few months. Breyfogle’s art this issue looks like really bad Tom Sutton to these eyes. This is the first Grant story I didn’t like; maybe the conclusion next issue can bring the clarity this chapter was missing. I had to smile when Bats was looking at a list of the loonies released from Arkham in the last month and none of the Rogues’ names appear! 

Jack: This is such an exciting issue that it's hard to stay unhappy with Breyfogle's art. There are still aspects I don't like, especially characters' faces and some of the unusual portrayals of Batman, but the storytelling is dynamic and the page layouts creative. Grant's story is a thriller and I can't wait for part two. I especially liked the large panel where the skull face was revealed.

Batman: The Cult #3

Story by Jim Starlin
Art by Bernie Wrightson

Deacon Blackfire's followers murder Deputy Mayor Filbert on the street in broad daylight! In the sewers, Robin sets Batman free; at City Hall, Commissioner Gordon can't believe that fingerprint evidence links Blackfire to crimes dating back to the 1920s. The street people of Gotham City are lining up behind the new, self-appointed messiah, who tells his second in command that it took him years to learn that religion is the surest path to power.

As the Dynamic Duo make their way through the sewers, anarchy reigns in the streets above as the governor declares a state of emergency. Batman and Robin witness Blackfire bathing in a pool of blood and remarking that it holds the secret to eternal life. They are discovered and chased by Underworlders as Blackfire takes to the airwaves to tell the citizens that he will protect them. Batman and Robin barely survive a brutal fight with hordes of Blackfire's followers below ground, while in the streets above, things go from bad to worse and the governor orders an evacuation.

As people flee Gotham City, Blackfire declares victory and calls for a celebration. Batman and Robin finally make it back to the surface, where Alfred picks them up and Batman declares that they have lost and cannot help Gotham.

Peter: Except for a few pin-up-worthy panels (see left for one of them), I'm afraid "The Cult" is a waste of the talents of the best horror comic book illustrator of the 1970s. It's obvious (as I said last time out) that Bernie was under a tight deadline since his panels are more elementary than his usual insane detail. Starlin's script is a mess; it feels like Jim just wanted an excuse to pour on the graphic violence without earning it. I can't figure out the Deacon's master plan (maybe this won't be revealed until the concluding issue?); did he want to rule a ghost town? Starlin's Batman turns tail and runs like a scared little puppy? When have you ever seen that before? Alfred packing a heater? And who would ever believe a lunatic could win the devotion of millions and stir up riots and bad behavior?

Jack: You're right--Bernie Wrightson is not the artist to draw Batman and this is a bloated mess. DC has spoiled us in the past couple of years with big Bat-events, but this feels like a money grab. Especially annoying are the small panels depicting TV screens with either news commentators or regular folks commenting on the events. There is also a problem with the time frame in the story. Like so many bad Warren tales, there are parallel threads running simultaneously and the story jumps back and forth every few pages. In one thread, Batman and Robin make their way through the sewers, which can't take all that long. At the same time, above ground, Gotham City deteriorates into chaos in what seems like about 20 minutes. The Deputy Mayor is murdered and beheaded, the governor declares a state of emergency, he calls for evacuation, and people flee from the city. This is all taking place in the time it takes the Dynamic Duo to trudge a few blocks through the sewers. It doesn't line up.

The Best of the Brave and the Bold #2

"But Bork Can Hurt You!"
Story by Bob Haney
Art by Neal Adams, Vince Colletta & Dick Giordano
(Reprinted from The Brave and the Bold  #81, January 1969)

Jack: Another gorgeous early Neal Adams story is reprinted in this issue, along with two stories by Kubert and one by Heath, all three from 1956. The issue also features a partial bibliography of Adams's work for DC and a reprint of the original cover.

The story of Bork has some unexpected parallels with that of Deacon Blackfire in The Cult. Bork is a dock worker who suddenly discovers himself invincible when he survives being hit by a truck. Before you know it, lowlifes all over the city are following him and it's up to Batman and the Flash to learn the secret of his invulnerability and put a stop to his campaign.

Next Week...
After 109 Posts (and at least
that many headaches), the
boys nuke the Warren blog!