Monday, February 28, 2011

Captain Marvel in Whiz Comics #2 (February, 1940)


Proudly Presents

On a rainy night in the city, a boy in a red shirt was selling newspapers outside a subway station. An ominous man in a green trenchcoat and tall hat approached, his face completely obscured. "Why aren't you in bed, son?" The boy answered, "I have no home, sir. I sleep in the subway station. It's warm there." The man, with only the whites of his eyes showing, ordered, "Follow me!"

The pair walked down stairs to a subway platform. "Suddenly a strange subway car, with headlights gleaming like a dragon's eyes, roars into the station and stops. No one is driving it!" The man guided the boy onto the empty train. "Have no fear. Everything has been arranged." Once aboard, the train carries the pair at tremendous speed to the end of the line. In the darkness ahead of the train, jade impressions resembling creatures from nightmare appeared to lurk. "The boy and his phantom companion step out onto a platform resembling the mouth of a weird, subterranean cavern. Mustering his courage the boy enters an ancient hall, carved out of solid rock, grotesquely lighted by flaring torches." Behind each flame was a statue representing one of the "Seven Deadly Enemies of Man," Pride, Envy, Greed, Hatred, Selfishness, Laziness, and Injustice. "An old man, sitting on a marble throne at the far end of the cavern, speaks as they approach."

The old man welcomed Billy Batson, and when the boy asked how he knew his name, "I know everything. I am --- SHAZAM!" With that, lightning struck out from a huge black cloud hanging over Shazam's head. "Simultaneously a curious inscription, explaining Shazam's name, appears magically on the wall."


"For 3,000 years I have used the wisdom, strength, stamina, power, courage and speed the gods have given me to battle the forces of evil which every day threaten to extinguish man from the face of the earth... During that time I have seen everything-- known everything- that happened throughout the world, from the highest to the lowest. The Historama!"

Shazam clapped, and like a movie projecting, "a super-television screen capable of depicting past, present and future events" showed Billy scenes from his life from the moment he was born. "On this screen I saw your wicked uncle drive you from his house to make your own way in the world after your parents died, leaving you in his care. I know that he got rid of you in order to get possession of the money and bonds your father willed to you."

Shazam pointed up above his head, where a multi-ton granite block was hanging by a frayed string. "All my life I have fought injustice and cruelty. But I am old now- my time is almost up. You shall be my successor. Merely by speaking my name you can become the strongest and mightiest man in the world-- CAPTAIN MARVEL! Speak my name!"

Billy shouted "SHAZAM!" Lightning cracked, and the magic word revealed a super-hero in the boy's place. "Captain Marvel, I salute you. Henceforth, it shall be your sacred duty to defend the poor and helpless, right wrongs and crush evil everywhere."
"Yes, sire."
"To become Billy Batson again, also speak my name. And now I must go, Captain Marvel. Speak my name!"
"Shazam" was called out, a blinding flash of lightning brought down, and the granite block crushed Shazam.

"A moment later Billy finds himself standing at his old post. Shazam, Captain Marvel and the weird underground cavern have vanished." Billy thought "it all seems like a dream." The next morning, Billy's attention turned toward the latest headline, "Maniac Scientist Threatens U.S. Radio System; Demands $50,000,000." A couple of well-dressed but thuggish men bought a paper from Billy, with one commenting that the other wanted to "read about the boss, eh?" Billy wondered if these men referred to the "phantom scientist" police had been searching in vain for. Billy trailed the pair to a the swanky Skytower Apartments, where a doorman ran Batson off.

Billy rushed to the offices of the president of the Amalgamated Broadcasting Company, Sterling Morris, to deliver the information he had gathered. A snobby suit blew the kid off. "You can't see him. Get out or I'll throw you out!" Billy rushed past the male receptionist, trailing papers in his wake, and made it into Morris' office. The suit, Hammond, collared the boy, but Morris decided to hear him out. Billy spilled on the Phantom Scientist, but Morris was incredulous. "The Skytower Apartments? Nonsense, boy. Why don't you tell me he lives at city hall? Or in the capitol at Washington? This is a serious matter, boy. I'm in no mood for joking about it. You'd better go before I lose my temper." Billy agreed to leave, but also got Morris to promise him a radio announcer job should he actually find the Phantom's library.

Billy took an elevator up to the observation tower of an office building adjacent to the Skytower Apartments, then decided, "This is a job for Captain Marvel! SHAZAM!" Having spoken the magic word, Billy miraculously became Captain Marvel, and leapt the "yawning chasm" between buildings. Peering through the penthouse window, Captain Marvel was pleased his luck led to the Phantom's laboratory. One of the men Billy had followed contacted "Master Sivana" through a television screen. "The fools! They wouldn't pay what I demanded! At midnight we will drive every radio station from the air- FOREVER!" Activation of the "fiendish radio-silencer" which would blackout every radio signal from the airlanes, was just seconds away!

Captain Marvel burst through the window, then tossed a thug into Sivana's "diabolical machine," smashing it to smithereens. The other goon made a break for the elevator, but Captain Marvel ripped of its door, pulled the elevator car up by its cables, and hauled the lackey back up to the penthouse for a punch to the back of the head. The hero tied up the pair, and when asked who he was, "-I am Captain Marvel, 'gentlemen'!" The hero then turned to the two-way television to tell Sivana the threat of his device had been ended. "But not the end of me! We will meet again- Captain Marvel!" The hero smashed the TV screen. "Yes, Sivana, we will meet again. And when we do you will be behind prison walls--- OR DEAD!"

Figuring he'd done all he could about Sivana for that night, Captain Marvel spoke a magic word, and "Resuming his normal shape Billy telephones the radio company president. A half hour later," Morris had arrived, and been told Billy had smashed the radio-silencer by himself. Billy made Morris promise to keep that part a secret, which was kind of a lie anyway, since all mention of Captain Marvel was omitted. "I've still got to capture Sivana and it will be easier if nobody knows who I am. Morris agreed, kept his word about giving Batson a radio reporter job, and called in the police. Billy was ecstatic about his and... somebody else's good fortune. "-Er- nobody sir. Just me and the microphone. That's all, sir- just me and 'Mike'!"

The untitled first story in Whiz Comics #2, sometimes referred to as "Introducing Captain Marvel," was actually the broadly circulated "reprint" of material from Fawcett's "Flash Comics" and "Thrill Comics" ashcans starring Captain Thunder. Since those titles ended up being taken, the series took its final name from another of their publications, Captain Billy's Whiz-Bang, a WWII-era precursor to the "lad mag." Among others, Ibis the Invincible, Golden Arrow, and Spy Smasher all debuted in the same issue, which either speaks to their quality or the dedication of Fawcett to using consistent characters. So many heroes were coming and going by 1940, picking four winners in one shot was impressive. This script was by Bill Parker, and art by C.C. Beck with Pete Costanza.

Is it just me, or did Hammond look an awful lot like Clark Kent. When did things begin to look like a job for Superman, exactly? The reporter would also do a lot of leaping and generally Man of Steelish stuff for the next few months, in these times before flight and the humor of Otto Binder.

Also Recommended:

Introducing Wonder Woman (December-January, 1941)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

2010 Captain Comet sketch by Gabriel Hardman

Click To Enlarge

I'm sorry it's been so long since we've had Captain Comet material around here, but my next stop would be Secret Society of Super Villains, and I don't want to commit to it until I get a bunch of my other unfinished business done. Maybe I should just ahead and do some L.E.G.I.O.N. instead?

Here's a really nice piece of a very early Captain Comet... so early in fact, that without being colored, I'd have assumed this was just a pulp sci-fi homage. No slight on the image-- it's just not a costume I ever liked, even if he has worn this get-up more times than any other!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Direct Currents: Thursday, February 24, 2011

Milestone Creator Dwayne McDuffie has Died

Dwayne McDuffie, the acclaimed writer behind Milestone superheroes including "Static Shock" has passed away suddenly, just a day after the premier of his latest project, DC's "All Star Superman" DVD.

Remembering Dwayne McDuffie

After the sudden passing of acclaimed comics and animation writer Dwayne McDuffie earlier today, his friends and colleagues share their thoughts about the man, his life and work with CBR News.

Rich on Dwayne McDuffie

Dwayne was charming, witty, engaging and tall. His plans involved feature films, he had fingers in many very interesting and profitable pies – but he felt attached to comics despite feeling badly treated over the years, a complete opposite to his experience with moving pictures.

Dwayne McDuffie And The Parakeet

In Hardware #1, Dwayne McDuffie wrote this scene, a metatextual commentary on his leaving Marvel Comics to set up Milestone Media at DC Comics, launching a brand new range of ethnically diverse superhero comics...

R.I.P. Joanne Siegel

The wife of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel and inspiration for Lois Lane passed away at 93, leaving a legacy of tenaciously fighting for her husband's rights to the Man of Steel as remembered by author Brad Meltzer.

Graphic Novel Friday: The Grant Morrison Interview: All Things Batman (and More)

This two-part interview was conducted in late November 2010, coinciding with the release of Batman and Robin Vol. 2. Looming in the distance was Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, an event that has been in the works since 2009's Batman: R.I.P., making the Caped Crusader an obvious focus for our conversation. Also, Wonder Woman, the Flash and Joe the Barbarian...

Tony Isabella on designing Black Lightning

"There were three people at the design meeting from its start to its finish: me, “story editor” Bob Rozakis and artist Trevor Von Eeden. Joe Orlando came in to approve the design we decided upon and added a few thoughts of his own."

First Shot Of Lois Lane…

From Cleveland, Ohio, the town in which students Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman, certain streets have been renamed to celebrate this.

The Least Desirable Characters in Comics

In the aftermath of Valentine’s Day, getting away from all those super-hot team-ups, who are the comic book characters you would not want as a significant other?

Comic Book Legends Revealed! #299

Bob Kane -- pop songwriter? Judd Winick -- Pulitzer Prize winner? Find out the truth in this week's COMIC BOOK LEGENDS REVEALED, along with an interesting hidden message from the last issue of a Marvel Comics title!

Comic Book Legends Revealed! #300, Part 1

CSBG's 300th extravaganza begins with the first of a three-part column, each one featuring legends of the greatest comic book writers and artists of all-time! We start with looks at Neal Adams, Stan Lee and Warren Ellis!

Comic Book Legends Revealed! #300, Part 2

In the second of our three-day celebration of the 300th CBLR, we examine the true story behind Neil Gaiman and his feelings on Death being used in the DC Universe. Plus, legends about George Perez, J.H. Williams III and Grant Morrison!

Comic Book Legends Revealed! #300, Part 3

In the conclusion to our three-day 300th CBLR celebration, we look at how Alan Moore inadvertently yet dramatically changed the world of the X-Men forever! Plus, legends about Frank Quitely and Jack "The King" Kirby!

Comic Book Legends Revealed #301

Learn the seemingly minor incident that dramatically changed Batman and Superman history forever! Plus, how was Grant Morrison's "JLA: Classified" storyline changed? And what connection does the Addams Family have with...lunacy?


The Absorbascon
Wonder Woman's persona-cycles
Man of Steel, Friends of Plastic

Amazon Princess
Wonder Girls by Tom Bancroft
Olivia Munn Wonder Woman Videos for G4

The Aquaman Shrine
Young Justice - "Infiltrator"
Super A - 1977
Young Justice - "Denial"

Armagideon Time
Nobody’s Favorites: Cinder and Ashe

Being Carter Hall
Happy Valentines Day!
Read: Brightest Day #18

Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool
Wonder Woman Wednesdays
I Loves Me Some Wonder Girl

Comics Make Me Happy!
Silver Age John Jones Week, Day 1
Silver Age John Jones Week, Day 2
Silver Age John Jones Week, Day 3
Silver Age John Jones Week, Day 4


Diana Prince: Wonder Woman
JLA #90 (January, 2004)
2009 Wonder Woman Gift Art by Tan Eng Huat
2011 M·A·C WONDER WOMAN Animated Commercial

Diversions of the Groovy Kind
"Walk with Me, O Brother...Death Has Taken My Hand!" from Hawk and Dove #5 (February 1969)
Jason Bard in "Case of the Dead-On Target!" from Detective Comics #435 (March 1973)
"A Dragon Fights Alone!" from Richard Dragon Kung Fu Fighter #2 (March 1975)
"Moonlight and Mayhem!" from Unexpected #193 (June 1979)
"Don't Make Me Do It!" from Young Love #81 (April 1970)
"Iron" Mike Grell's DC Debuts
"The Dead Don't Cry" from The Unexpected #191 (February 1979)

El Jacone's Comic Book Bunker
Everybody's Linking For The Weekend

Every Day Is Like Wednesday
A not-too-terribly-focused post about Bill Walko, Titans and some Super Friends sidekicks

Firestorm Fan
How Ronnie Beat Cancer and Got His Powers Back – 1995
Unhappy Valentine’s Day to Firehawk and Booster Gold
Firestorm Shield T-Shirt

Girls Gone Geek presents Heroic Hotness:
Mr. Terrific
Dick Grayson
Bigby Wolf
Christopher Reeve As Superman

Gone & Forgotten
Dare I Say It? Superboy ... GOES APE!

The Idol-Head of Diabolu
"1967 Manhunter from Mars Movie Poster"
"1967 Manhunter from Mars Diane Meade Promotional Still"
"1967 Woody Strode as John Jones"
"1967 Manhunter from Mars Movie: Flashback Sequence"

Justice League Detroit
2010 Zatanna Baltimore Con Commission by Jo Chen
2005 The Vixen "Morning Person?" art by Darren "Roadkill" Taylor

Kevin Nowlan

Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine
Plastic Man #11 (1948)
Ibis and Taia in Whiz Comics #99, 1948

Power of the Atom
2006 "LJA" by Rafael Albuquerque
The Atom Shield Logo Shirt (DCCOM298)

Silver Age Comics
The First Underground Comics?
Here Come the Fanboys
Flash #120

Subject : THE SUICIDE SQUAD (Task Force X)
Captain Boomerang II a.k.a. Owen Mercer: A kid with some serious daddy issues who got more then he bargained for
Found Manhunter #34 guest starring the Suicide Squad. But I'm kinda under whelmed however.
Killer actress look alike for the JLA cartoon Killer Frost

Supergirl Comic Box Commentary
Supergirl #7 (1973)
Review: Superman #708
Review: R.E.B.E.L.S. #25
Review: Supergirl #61
Review: Justice League Of America #54

Todd Klein's Blog

Weekend Review Section 12/31/10

The Buy Pile by Hannibal Tabu: FEBRUARY 16TH, 2011

Comic shop comics: Feb. 2-9 J. Caleb Mozzocco
Comic shop comics: Feb. 16 by J. Caleb Mozzocco
Comic shop comics: Bonus edition by J. Caleb Mozzocco

Comics Of The Weak: I Know Panties, And You Sir, Are Not Wearing Any Panties by Tucker Stone
Comics Of The Weak: Let's Compete To See Who Can Stunt Their Adolescence The Most by Tucker Stone

Wednesday Is Iconically Sparse For All I Care #96

Newsarama's Best Shots Comic Reviews:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dwayne McDuffie (1962-2011)

I had a number of early, odd, unmemorable exposures to the writing of Dwayne McDuffie. Thanks mostly to my brother's erratic buying habits, I read about an issue or two each of the first Damage Control mini-series, Double Dragon (nice art,) and Deathlok (ongoing series.) I still have my copy of Prince: Alter Ego, though. It wasn't until McDuffie co-founded Milestone Media that he began to show up on my radar. However, I was really turned off by that line's first issue polybagging gimmick and their coloring process (literally, not euphemistically,) so I didn't pick up many of their books until the company was on its last legs, mostly fished out of discount boxes. The universe still didn't click with me, but I enjoyed two of its McDuffie written titles, Icon and Hardware. The latter was my favorite by far, as it was everything the Steel series should have been, but wasn't... at least until Christopher Priest's run with McDuffie's co-conspirator, Denys Cowan. Point being, while I wouldn't say I was a fan exactly, I knew the man had done some damned good work, and I always meant to try more.

In 2000 or '01, I attended a Black Panther panel at the San Diego Comic Con, where I had something of a bad experience with a creator that left a foul taste in my mouth. Mr. McDuffie was also at the panel, in the crowd, but I recognized him when he asked a question of one of the panelists. For reasons I can't recall, I ended up chatting with McDuffie after the panel for a good piece, first in the room, and then out in the hall. We discussed his comic work (specifically the Milestone books,) as well as talking about favored super-heroes (many African-American.) I was amazed at how friendly and generous with his time McDuffie was, given that I was only a casual reader and a general nobody in the grand scheme of things. As I recall, this was around the time the Static Shock cartoon was getting started, so a guy like Dwayne McDuffie surely had more important places to be and people to see. You wouldn't know it from how he treated me, though, and after our conversation, I was a big fan of the man.

From there, I watched McDuffie make good as a shining star in animation, and he wrote some of the best Justice League stories in that medium. Editorially constraints kept him from making the same impact when he scripted the actual comics a few years later, but those issues were still surprisingly good, given the behind the scenes shenanigans. McDuffie joined the heap of writers abused and alienated by the modern DC, but he never quit his day job in animation, so no real harm done. What was a shame was how plans to integrate the Milestone characters into the DC Universe stalled out. As it happens, McDuffie had an excellent swan song, adapting All-Star Superman to film.

Dwayne McDuffie died Monday night at age 49 from complications related to a surgical procedure. He was a devastatingly intelligent, kind, and ambitious soul that shouldn't have had to fight so hard or long for the success and acclaim he finally received in his later (but tragically much too far from chronologically late) years. He was one of my favorite people in the industry, and he will be missed.

Flash & Green Lantern: The Brave and the Bold #1 (October, 1999)

A man who was hijacking a plane suddenly lost all his aggression, and then was killed by his own shadow.

Hal Jordan was at the airport, waiting for his buddy Barry Allen’s plane to come in. Barry was going to fly in for the weekend rather than run as the Flash to keep his “lives” separate, but had lost track of the time and missed it. Instead, Hal used his power ring to find Allen and carry him to Coast City. Of course, Hal immediately lost any points by being too broke to pay for parking, so Barry came to the rescue.

At a party thrown by Carol Ferris, the airplane’s pilot was attacked by his own shadow. Hal tried to use his power ring against it, but the emerald energy disappeared with the creature, so Jordan fearlessly dove in after it. Barry followed, and both heroes were captured by Science Minister Saraar of the Dorag.
The extraterrestrial Doragians were a placid people unprepared for war with the invading Khand. To compensate, the Doragians used an invention called an infektikon to transmit a psi-virus to leech Earth’s evil. An exception to the rule, Saraar was already pretty darned corrupt.

The Flash and Green Lantern broke free, and then returned to Earth to stop the shadow creatures, including their own evil shadows. Barry reminded Hal to “see reverse,” but my decade-plus old index card notes on this issue are a bit hard to follow, so I’m not sure about the relevancy of that. At some point someone dropped the old saw, “…In order for evil to triumph, it is only necessary that good men do nothing.” Green Lantern trapped somebody in the same “constrictor(?)” that the aliens (which aliens?) sent. Since the shadows were too evil to work together, they perished. Maybe the Khand (Khund?) had evil shadows too?

The important thing was that Green Lantern showed the will to stop the shadows, while Iris Allen and Tom “Pieface” Kalmaku wondered how such opposites as Hal and Barry became friends. The creative team was used to sell this mini-series as something of a “JLA: Year One 2,” but it was really more like the “Silver Age” event in that it was a lame, nostalgic wankfest. The details didn’t matter as much as reminding everyone how swell Hal was before the mass murder, and how solid a fella Barry was before he stayed dead until Wally couldn’t sell books anymore. I didn’t care then, and I’m clearly even less worried about it now, but I wanted credit for writing this crap down years ago in the form of a filler post.

"Those Who Worship Evil's Might" was written by Mark Waid & Tom Peyer, with art by Barry Kitson

Monday, February 21, 2011

Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil #2 (May, 2007)

Billy Batson dreamed of a brown haired young girl with a pink ribbon in her hair and a doll in her hand… his missing baby sister. Billy’s little TV was on, and the news announced the confirmation of attorney general Sivana. An ad for the circus attracted Billy’s attention, as he figured he could try to get a job cleaning up after the animals.

Outside, Billy saw the pretty reporter Helen Fidelity preparing to broadcast live. While the boy was smitten, Helen screamed at the brat to get off her microphone wire. A press conference with the diminutive Sivana was commencing, but he lacked a box to reach the podium, and so had to be helped on top of it. The doctor announced an investigation into whether the giant footprints were a terrorist hoax, and to give his “personal assurance that the Department of Technology and Heartland Security will go through the credit accounts of every citizen until we find something suspicious! And when we do, we’ll lock the evildoers up, and throw away the key!! Remember, the terrorists win if we change our lifestyles, so go immediately to your local mall and spend, spend, spend! Keep our economy strong!!”

Billy was surprised to find armies or ants marching off in the same direction, buy was distracted when a boot landed in their midst, connected to LaGreen. This time, the sleeze brought a buddy with a crowbar after ”his” money. Billy led the pair on a chase to the circus, where a ringmaster called the Great Carlini was announcing the unleashing of trained alligator people. Well, not so well trained that they didn’t eat Carlini. “Everyone stay calm! There’s no need for everyone to get hurt… All we want… is the children!” The first child-snack they grabbed was recognized by Billy as his sister, so he said his magic word, and Captain Marvel came to the rescue. However, LaGreen and his portly pal had witnessed the transformation.

As Captain Marvel prepared to rescue the other children, a talking tiger asked, “Excuse me… is this a private fight, or can anyone join? …Relax, Captain. I’m on your side.” The tiger attacked the alligators while Marvel helped the kids, and Billy’s little sister was instantly smitten. However, everyone was distracted by the giant stupid stupid rat creature that appeared from out of nowhere. The tiger and the girl disappeared in the confusion, so Captain Marvel flew up to confront this new threat. “I AM MR. MIND… I COME TO YOUR WORLD TO REMOVE ALL TRACE OF HUMAN CIVILIZATION… ALL THE OTHER CREATURES OF EARTH WILL JOIN WITH ME… AND REJOICE! …WE SHALL MAKE OF YOUR WORLD A GLORIOUS SOCIETY… A SOCIETY OF CREATURES YOU WOULD CALL MONSTERS…” Captain Marvel learned it was Billy’s curiosity that had summoned this Monster Society of Evil, and that large as the creature was, it was fast enough to snatch him out of the sky. Marvel managed to get loose of a mighty mechanical fist, but the pounding he gave the titan’s eyeball didn’t make a dent.

Captain Marvel gave up until Mr. Mind offered his next message, and instead surveyed the area for Billy’s lost sister. She was located hanging out by the riverfront, and began kissing the Captain’s face when he arrived. “You’re my hero, Mr. Marvel! I love you!” The Captain revealed he was her brother, which freaked the little girl out, so she called for her new talking tiger friend. “Not to worry, dear. Captain Marvel and I are old friends, isn’t that right, Billy? …Don’t you recognize your old neighbor? You used to run errands for me… Talky Tawny! I admit I look a little different, but the fur helps keep my old hips warm… I’m an ifrit, boy! A wandering spirit that changes from human to animal! …You see, I work for the wizard, too! And right now, my job is to make sure you are adjusting to your new life! …you are a force of nature-- a protector guardian. That means you have joined with a mortal whose name is Billy Batson. Speaking of which, when was the last time you let him out to breathe?”

The joke was to be taken literally, as Billy was huffing and puffing when the forgetful Marvel said his magic word. Tawny was pleased to learn Billy remembered everything from Captain Marvel’s time in his place. “Wonderful. That is a sign you and the captain are a good fit! Together you will make a powerful guardian!” The girl was grossed out she had kissed her brother, and wanted to know how he changed back and forth. Her name was Mary Bromfield, and she had run away from home because her hateful foster mother blamed her for Mr. Bromfield’s having left. Mary wanted to come live with Billy, but Batson thought it was too nasty a place for her to live. They bonded over their mutual love of the “cool idea” to join the circus.

A monolithic and near identical companion joined Mr. Mind’s standing harbinger of doom, so Billy called down the magic. Mary was struck by a stray bolt of lightning and thrown into a nearby car. The vehicle collapsed under her weight, as the child Mary reappeared wearing a gender- & age-appropriate variation of the Captain Marvel costume. Mary Marvel she can fly and move at great speeds, but her immaturity peeves Talky Tawny, who demands Captain Marvel get her back in line. Mary lacked super-strength and respect for the Captain’s authority, but perhaps she would display unique talents while investigating the newly arrived invader…

Chapter 2: “Nzib Gzpvh Gsv Xzpv!” was written & drawn by Jeff Smith

Sunday, February 20, 2011

2009 Black Lantern Nightblade design by Joe Prado

Click To Enlarge

Nightblade admittedly had a stupid, nonsensical '90s name, a less than inspired costume, and an m.o. very reminiscent of Longshot. This does not matter, because Nightblade was one of the most fun New Bloods in one of the best Bloodlines annuals, a viable Asian DC hero independent of a white super's legacy, and his powers were radically visual. Chop of his legs, and he'll hop at you until he can grow them back in a swift, ooey-gooey fashion. I refuse to believe Nightblade is dead, so I'm going to assume/delude that this was a soulless "duplicate" Nightblade that formed Maddrox the Multiple Man-like from a Superboy Prime bisection, with the real thing digging through your kitchen draws for some steak knives to throw at Geoff Johns.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bloodlines: 18 Page Samplers Online

PyroTwilight at Scans Daily left a comment yesterday mentioning his amusement about New Blood coverage on this blog and how "I'm also posting about the event issue by issue..." Since my own plans to synopsizes the event stalled out months ago, I thought folks might like to take a look at what P.T. has to offer:

Lobo Annual #1: Part 1
"Superman" The Man of STEEL Annual #2: Part 2
Batman Shadow of the Bat Annual #1: Part 3
Flash Annual #6: Part 4
New Titans Annual #9: Part 5
Superman Annual #5: Part 6
Green Lantern Annual #2: Part 7
Batman Annual #17: Part 8
Justice League International Annual #4: Part 9

Robin Annual #2: Part 1

PyroTwilight also served up an intriguing lead:

"One interesting tidbit for those who don't have/use Facebook is that Dan Didio is being somewhat mysterious and has began researching the Bloodlines annuals and the New Bloods spawned from them. Whether that means we may be seeing more of the New Bloods is a good question but it has me excited. Hopefully it won't be to round up the still living New Bloods to gun them down..."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Flash #2 (July, 1987)

Picking up from last issue, Wally West returned home to find he'd won the lottery and, received a "present"... the private investigator's heart. The giver, Vandal Savage, was in the room. The vicious immortal would like to kill this new Flash... drink his blood... take his force. Savage had asked his computer who this new Flash was, and where he lived.

Vandal Savaged used ancient sorcery to contain the Flash in his Brooklyn apartment, with every exit leading directly into Hell. The Scarlet Speedster and the immortal maniac clashed, until the Flash managed to kick Savage out the "door."

Wally West paid a visit to the doctor, and learned his sprain had gotten worse. West made his own use of a computer, to check out Savage's alias. That night, Francis Kane slept over, because that's the smart thing to do when a homicidal maniac has your number.

Governor Cuomo himself gave Wally his lottery check, and West went from tipping his cabbie a quarter to $20. Wally and Francis ate out at La Boheme, then danced at Club Neon. It was there Vandal Savage chose to attack, initially against fellow patrons. Wally had to run out of a building to save a girl, only to find himself locked out.

Francis Kane used her powers of magnetism to fend off Vandal Savage, going so far as to launch a fork into the immortal's fuzzy mug. The Flash managed to reenter Club Neon, but then Francis used a dessert cart to push Savage out a window. The villain vanished, and the couple decided to spend the night at the Ritz, with Francis in a nightee wally had bought her.

The Flash visited Titans Tower to check up on Savage through his former teammates' computer system. Wally figured Savage would keep a low profile, but then again, Vandal was pretty pissed at him. Cyborg offered Wally help, should he need it.

Wally bought himself a house in Southampton, and invited Francis to stay.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

1992 Alien Parasite Tongue Detail (Featuring Glonth) Design by Arthur Adams

Click To Enlarge

There's a fresh batch of Bloodlines Parasite scans taken from reference material sent out to creators on the annual event, and they're courtesy of "The Online Home of Chuck Dixon," THE DIXONVERSE!. Dixon wrote a few of those annuals, and probably co-created a number of the New Bloods. For years, I labored under under the assumption Dixon was behind Ballistic, but that was actually Doug Moench. I even had a nice second amendment joke lined up, but Dixon was actually responsible for introducing Geist and Razorsharp, which I'll try not to hold against him.

Most of the Art Adams work I've seen has been character model sheets, but this here is an intriguing exception. The basic premise of the Bloodlines parasites was that they were H.R. Giger style predatory aliens who would serve as the villains in a summer annual event. While the design debt is obvious, a twist was added in that the parasites had individual personalities and physical attributes based on the seven Cardinal Sins, and that they could assume a human form a piece.

Both Marvel and DC decided they would also use each of their summer events as a platform to debut a hot new character find of the '90s. Marvel didn't have an overarching motivation for the spontaneous avalanche of dozens of new heroes and villains beyond pulling money out of speculators' pockets by polybagging each annual with a "rookie" trading card. DC made the arbitrary effort a little more palatable by taking a page from Marvel's mutant books by declaring all of their "New Bloods" were the product of one source.

As a callback to Giger's "jackhammer jaws," the Bloodlines parasites had a prehensile oral probe that would attach itself to the back of a victimized human's neck. Like vampires, the parasites lived off a bodily liquid, but they preferred spinal fluid to blood. Also like vampires and Romero zombies, the creatures' bite would sometimes transform the human victim, making them super-powered. It's cool to see Adams set the standard for the disturbing visuals for these parasite attacks, and that he used one of my favorites, Glonth, as his demonstration model. I wonder who the androgynous victim was, though?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Superman On Sale Here!

Click To Enlarge

Jason Liebig has edited for Marvel's X-Titles and Desperado Publishing, as well as spending time at DC Comics in the early '90s. He's quite the aficionado for pop culture ephemera, with an emphasis on the 1970s (bumper stickers, concert tickets, etc.) The man also has a massive collection of product packaging like cereal boxes, candy wrappers and the like at his flicker account. After passing through a few hundred pages of material over a span of hours, I thought I'd offer a few spotlight posts of images Liebig has to offer DC fans.

For instance, Superman's name and likeness have been used to push countless products over the years, and just to give you an idea, check out these links:

Besides the 1989 Superman titles promotion poster pictured above that was used to announce George Pérez's arrival on the books, Liebig also has ginormous high resolution scans of the following:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Direct Currents: Sunday, February 13, 2011

DC Bullets

Exclusive: Superman's Undisclosed Character Revealed

1: Lois Lane WILL be in the film. 2: The character these lovely actresses have come out for is none other than a Kryptonian villainess who is going by the name of URSA.

First Ever DC Comics and Hero Initiative Collaboration: Justice League of America #50

The Hero Initiative, a charity dedicated to helping comic creators in medical or financial need, most proudly announces their new partnership in the Justice League Of America #50 project with DC Comics. This is the first collaboration with DC comics ever and Hero is chomping at the bit to pull the collection together. The call has gone out and dozens of artists are putting pen to paper. DC has generously donated 100 blank-covered cardstock copies of Justice League Of America #50 to Hero, and work is being created by well-known stars such as Jim Lee, Alex Ross, George Perez, Jason Bone, Jim Valentino, and many many more.

Superman, Wonder Woman And Captain Marvel Sell Safe Sex To India

Put It On, an art exhibition at the Nature Morte gallery in Delhi features Superman, Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel as part of a safe sex message to spread awareness of AIDS and sex education.

Deconstructing Lichtenstein: Source Comics Revealed and Credited

Needless to say, Roy Lichtenstein has few fans in the comic book industry. Art Spieglman, author of Maus, summarized the industry's feelings in an interview with Publishers Weekly. "Lichtenstein did no more or less for comics than Andy Warhol did for soup."

Batman: Plutocrat

By their nature as vigilantes, acting outside or above the law, most superheroes have a troubling undercurrent of aristocratic, undemocratic, authoritarian values. Only the hero, not the police, judges, lawmakers, and average citizen, can effectively protect and improve the city they patrol, and god help anyone who gets in their way. No one exemplifies these tendencies more than Batman, the ultimate aristocratic hero.

Detective Comics 27 – Printed And Production Art Side By Side

So anyway, Mark Seifert posted those Detective Comics #27 production pages earlier today, and I was taken aback by just how much more defined they were than the published art. So I found the comparative pages, pages 2 to 5 from the comic, to compare them all against…

English, American – supermen all look the same to the real superpowers

Read the small print and the invasion of the British superheroes starts to look less heroic...

Super Friends Valentines from 1980

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and for a lot of us, that means it's time once again to try to find the best way to express our feelings to that special someone through the medium of a brightly colored piece of paper with a pun on it.

Classic Teen Heroes Boogie Down in the Art of Bill Walko

If all superheroes lived out their lives in ways that mirrored the social activities of Archie Comics and Flintstones character spinoff series, the world would look a lot like the works of artist of Bill Walko. Walko has composed some lively sequences involving well-known faces from the Teen Titans, X-Men and Wonder Twins that would fit nicely into their own animated Hanna-Barbera teen bands.

Costume Weekend

Legion of Super-Pets

Green Lantern Corps

DC Comics Ame-Comi

Corsets Of The DC Universe

Superheroines In Aprons


The Absorbascon
Ten Things I Learned from the Attack of Jean Loring's Brain

Amazon Princess
Happy Wonder Woman by Steve Rude

The Aquaman Shrine
Superheroes Puzzle - 1981
Custom Mera Statue

Armagideon Time
Nobody’s Favorites: The Wanderers

Being Carter Hall
Custom Hawkman Plushie
Read: Brightest Day #17

Comics Make Me Happy!
If Ted Kord comes back to life and gets a solo series, I want this guy drawing him
The Question multi artist jam!

Diana Prince: Wonder Woman
2010 Super Powers Wonder Woman LithoPrint
2006 JBQ and friends commission by Kevin Nowlan

El Jacone's Comic Book Bunker
Everybody's Linking For The Weekend

Every Day Is Like Wednesday
(you celebrate Super Bowl Sunday your way, I'll celebrate it my way)

Firestorm Fan
Never-Produced Kenner Firestorm Action Figures – 1985
Firestorm en Español: La Guerra de los Elementales
Jim Lee Redesigned the Firestorm Costume

Girls Gone Geek
WTF? Wednesday: Neigh, I Say!
Friday Favorite: Ravager
WTF? Wednesday: Bottoms Up!

The Idol-Head of Diabolu
1998 Unused Martian Manhunter Cover Art by Christopher Moeller
1999 Unused Community Chest Card #2 Art by Mike Allred
2006 Martian Manhunter: From Bruce Wayne's private files in the Batcomputer

Justice League Detroit
The Lion of Hell
Vixen: Return of the Lion #2 (January, 2009)
2009 “Curry and Dibny” by Evan “Doc” Shaner

Power of the Atom
2009 Black Lantern Damage design by Joe Prado

Silver Age Comics
The Secret Origin of the Phantom Zone
Superboy #68
Clark Kent: Not An Atheist

Subject : THE SUICIDE SQUAD (Task Force X)
Casting call for the Suicide Squad cinematic release finalized
The Secret Six , just another brick in The Wall

Supergirl Comic Box Commentary
Bullet Review: Zatanna #9
DC Comics Year By Year
Review: Superman 80-Page Giant 2011
Supergirl In DK2

The Thought Experiment
The Dark Knight Rises fan poster art
Daily Batman: Sabado, Sabado, Sabado

Tommy Tejeda
Cold Love: Happy Valentine's Day from Killer Frost & Iceman

Weekend Review Section 12/31/10

The Buy Pile by Hannibal Tabu:

Comics Of The Weak: Hold, Sweet Hosanna, Lest Thy Bacon Trickle Down by Tucker Stone

Comic shop comics: Jan. 12-19 by J. Caleb Mozzocco

Brightest Day Is Any Day For All I Care #95 by Diabolu Frank

AICN Comic Reviews for Release Date: 1/26/11

AICN Comic Reviews for Release Date: 2/2/11

Saturday, February 12, 2011

2010 Super Powers Plastic Man LithoPrint

This eBay find is probably about as legit as Eel O'Brian, but it isn't like DC Direct is going to knock out a twenty buck poster featuring swell Plastic Man stock art anytime ever as long as we both shall live.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

2009 Black Lantern Geist design by Joe Prado

Click To Enlarge

I find it odd that Moon Knight co-creator Doug Moench came up with the gun-toting Ballistic, and longtime Punisher writer Chuck Dixon created the nighttime avenger Geist. Then again, Dixon also wrote most of the '90s Moon Knight series, and Geist was more of a poor man's Spider-Man anyway. Actually, I think that undersells the character's liability. Geist was the destitute, unwashed, toothless man's Friendly Neighborhood WTF? The thing about Geist is that most of his adventures weren't half-bad, and his personality (however derivative) was likable enough. He had a nice costume, designed by the artist of his very attractive looking debut story, Jim "Your Vagina is Haunted" Balent. No, what killed Geist was his powers, or rather lack thereof.

Geist could turn sort of invisible under very specific circumstances. You couldn't see him in direct light. He therefore became a nighttime avenger. Why would he do that, you ask? You see, Geist couldn't see himself in direct light, because he went blind when the power was in use. In low light, he had enhanced vision, but he didn't turn invisible in low light. That wouldn't be a major problem if he was a ninja or a grizzled ex-cop, but Geist was just a random unexceptional douche-bag who made quips and pranced around in a jazzercise outfit.

This colossal disability did not stop Geist from being one of the most (pun intended) visible New Bloods to come out of Bloodlines. He was part of a group that teamed-up with the Martian Manhunter, was drawn by Phil Jimenez a few times, and was in the "super-group" the Blood Pack from 1995 until his death alongside them a decade later in Infinite Crisis.

It takes an exceptional combination of elements to create a super-hero that can become world renowned and stand the test of time. It only takes the ridiculous handicapping of an already lame power to insure that you will someday be killed with little fanfare in an event book. Such is the song of Geist.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Super-Heroes on Gay Marriage

I originally posted this elsewhere in late 2008, and got a kick out of it when I stumbled upon it looking for something else. I thought about updating it, but I don't think it was worth rewriting a good bit to keep up with continuity.


"I've vowed to protect all the peoples of the Earth, which means I must avoid taking stances on political issues like this. It could compromise my access the world over."


"Oh man, I so don't want to talk about marriage anymore. Seriously. But look, whatever makes people happy, I say go for it."


"No. I've heard the whispers-- about what goes on between myself and my boy companion in the Batcave-- for years. Every time some 'artist' tries to appropriate our image for their agenda, I call my lawyers. Whenever I think of them, it reminds me of the times the Joker has touched me inappropriately. It makes me want to smash their faces with my gloved fist."


"I shaved my legs and wore short pants with pointed booties until I turned eighteen. Any hang-ups I had about sexuality, I worked out years ago."


"The precedent is pretty clear on this, which explains why judges are now regularly overturning gay marriage bans. The United States should not tolerate second-class status being bestowed upon any of its legal citizens, regardless of sexual preference."

Captain Marvel:

*blush* "I-- you mean-- and they-- ? Holy Moley, I've got to go!"

Ghost Rider:

"Only the guilty must fear my Penance Stare!"

Green Arrow:

"You fundamentalists and the rest of you sex police are no better than Darkseid!"

The Hulk:

"Hulk say people are people! Why can't people live in harmony?!? Why can't people leave Hulk alone!?! Hulk smash all people!!!"


"Filthy humans and your deviant practices! It's unclean, and spreads disease amongst your kind!"


"Ain't my business, one way or the other. Your's neither. Let 'em be, eh?"

Wonder Woman:

"My Amazon nation of Themyscira is often referred to as 'Paradise Island.' There is a reason for that. Also, when I first came to Man's World, I read all of your Judeo-Christan-Islamic Bibles. There were no derogative mentions of lesbianism, and far fewer condemnations of male homosexuality than of the still common practices of eating pork and committing adultery. Suffering Sappho, why can't people just respect one another in this modern age!"

Iron Man:

"If they want to be as miserable as the married couples I know, that's their problem, not mine. I've got real issues to deal with, like superhuman registration, directing S.H.I.E.L.D., the 50 State Initiative, and a Skrull invasion."

The Flash:

"I'm from the Midwest. We don't believe in all that liberal nonsense. I've worked alongside and fought against gays, so I don't deny the lifestyle, but Christian marriage is between a man and woman. It's a simple fact."

The Thing:

"Y'know, we all talked about that stuff at the H.Q., and we all figger it's no big deal. Reed yacked about all that anthropological yadda-yadda, an' Sue n' Johnny both get all their fashion tips from the light-in-the-loafer types. What's the harm?"

Green Lantern:

"I've visited more planets than I can count, and been exposed to about as many different cultures. It's hard to get bent out of shape over Proposition 8 when you're serving the laws of the Guardians of the Universe."

The Punisher:

"I saw my wife and children gunned down in front of me. I've spent decades since ridding the world of scum in their memory. I believe in the sanctity of marriage. I don't want to see some chic queer meth-heads turning it into a joke."


"I can name sixteen fish and four amphibians, including salmon, that practice homosexuality. It's natural. Your certificates mean nothing."

The Mighty Thor:

"Verily, thine gods in Asgard wish her people to make the womb fruitful. Thou shouldst not be as fuðflogi nor flannfluga, but produce offspring who wouldst till the soil. Still, should a man find needs unfulfilled whilst away from womenfolk in battle, he may satisfy the call of his loins with a lesser male. 'Tis preferable thou dost not become sansorðinn, as it dost not befit the warrior!"

John Constantine:

"What, did Thatcher drop a bastard child in the States and name her Coulter on the way back 'cross the pond? Why should anyone care if some bloke up another wants to make like husband and wife?"

Captain America:

"It's a common misperception that I'm some sort of nationalist, fighting for the interests of one political party or another. People also forget I'm a New Yorker who lived through Prohibition. I even grew up with a gay childhood friend, though I didn't find that out for years after. I've sworn to the Uniformed Services Oath, which means I'm willing to give my life to support and defend the ideals of the Constitution signed by our Founding Fathers in 1776. Based on it, the Bill of Rights, and the spirit behind their creation, I can't imagine their intention was ever to restrict the freedom of our nation's citizens. If consenting adults are willing to enter into the union of marriage, regardless of gender, I'm perfectly willing to defend their choice to do so."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Who's Dat: Hate

Alter Ego: Hate
Occupation: Crime Enthusiast
Marital Status: Unknown
Known Relatives: None
Group Affiliation: None
Base of Operations: Mobile
Eyes: Pure white
Hair: White
First Appearance: Plastic Man #5 (Autumn, 1946)

Within a book called Evil Knowledge there exists a spell involving the burning of phosphorus and sulphur [sic] while speaking the words “Abraxas--- sator arepo tenet---.“ The incantation would invoke the mysterious being called Hate, something of a genie who would grant malevolent wishes.

The book was once found by a nebbish named Mr. Giglamp in a used book store, who decided to perform the ritual in the belief that it was a recipe. Hate passed by Mr. Giglamp’s window, and asking what the fellow would like most in the world, Hate awarded him a fistful of money. “That and more, if you want it! You read the words and burned the materials… I’ve waited a long time to be called!” Mr. Giglamp was happy with how things turned out, and was open to doing Hate another favor whenever he needed it. Hate made it clear Giglamp had plenty more to do, whether he liked it or not. “I’m not satisfied with the way certain professions are being run! Crime, for instance… Bungling idiots practice it! You shall carry out my enthusiasms! I have plenty of connections! Do as I say and you’ll go far!”

The diminutive Giglamp showed up at the hideout of the Rickens gang, whose leader had just gotten out of jail after having been pinched by Plastic Man. Hate trailed behind, seemingly invisible, urging Giglamp on. Hate gave Giglamp a hypodermic shot in the arm that made him “invulnerable—powerful—merciless,” which was used to flatten a burly gang member. Hate then gave the rest of the gang a shot that had the opposite effect, “weakens and confuses!” It was no work at all to show Rickens the door, allowing Giglamp to take over the gang.

Giglamp led the burglars to rob the Jewel Museum of the priceless Crown of Cleopatra. This was accomplished by stealing one guard’s uniform, and then having swift crime tailors doctor up a replica set for the gang to wear. However, Plastic Man and Woozy Winks had been following Rickens since his release, and questioned the still dizzy thug after his ejection. Plas made his way to the museum, and threatened one phony guard with drowning to extract information, but the rest of the gang got away.

Hate left Giglamp to his own devices for a bit, as the nerd relished counting the loot with his gang. Rickens showed up, hoping for a cut from the heist that had been his idea, but he was turned away. However, Plastic Man was hidden behind Rickens, and acted as his discreet enforcer in collecting the ill-gotten gains. While Plastic Man ensnared the lot until a paddy wagon could arrive, Woozy Winks followed Giglamp back to his home.

As Giglamp tried to perform the incantation from memory, Woozy stole the book of evil knowledge and read the same incantation backwards. Giglamp choked on a red gas that emitted from his lamp, then wandered off into the street. Woozy gave the book to Plastic Man, who while not necessarily superstitious, still chose to chuck it into the harbor waters.

Without being called, Hate found Giglamp hiding in an alley. Hate had no use for failures, and with the book destroyed, believed this would probably be his last appearance. Before he went though, he caused Giglamp to die of fear. Police found no marks on the body, and Plastic Man chalked it up to suicide, “in a manner of speaking…”

Hate carried a stout hypodermic needle that could enhance or weaken people with a shot.

Created by: Jack Cole

Monday, February 7, 2011

Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil #1 (April, 2007)

A cockroach crawled out of the rain along an extension cord running through a window into an abandoned tenement through to the tiny portable television watched by young derelict Billy Batson. Billy shooed the vermin away from the apple he had been saving.

A banging came at the disheveled slum door, which Billy had already taken the precaution of barring with a chair and beam of wood. LaGreen was a hooded scumbag who stole money from homeless children for his own needs, and he figured Billy owed him “rent.” LaGreen managed to force his way into the hovel, and when Billy refused to give up the change his buddy Talky Tawny had let him keep, Lagreen decided to teach a lesson in fear at the sole of his boot.

Flashback: Billy sitting at a nighttime trash can fire with the friendly hobo Talky. Tawny was a thin older man with bronze skin who wore a thick goatee and a ratty red ballcap. Talky let Billy run errands for him, and paid him with the remaining change. Tawney was a wanderer by choice, but with winter setting in, he felt Billy needed to find a real shelter. Billy didn’t like the city shelter, as he was an independent lad who wished to keep company with folk like Talky.

Billy was distracted by a shadowy figure in a hat and trench coat he swore looked like his deceased father. Billy left Talky to pursue the figure into an abandoned subway station. A magnificently ornate train pulled into the station, and when the figure stepped aboard, Billy followed. The figure refused to speak until the first stop, when a voice that set Billy’s hair on end ordered him to get off. Billy complied, but was surprised when the figure remained seated as the train pulled away.

Billy found himself in an underground chamber held up by ancient columns. He walked toward torchlight coming from a series of statues representing the seven deadly enemies of man: pride, envy, greed, hatred, selfishness, laziness and injustice. At the end of the row, a wizened old man in robes with a flowing beard sat on a stone throne, a globe to one side, a massive book to the other, and a great stone block overhead held by a mere string. The man beckoned, and Billy came closer with great trepidation. Billy kneeled before the figure, and asked “Are you God?”

“Of course not. I am as mortal as you are. What I am is a wizard. Now get up. You don’t bow before wizards.” The wizard knew Billy Batson’s name, among a great many other things, and asked the boy to touch his fingertip. A white-blue snap of electricity confirmed that Billy would do nicely. “I wanted to see if you were filled with good electricity. You are.” The wizard had been a force of good for ages, but he was getting old, and needed a replacement. “I have chosen for you a magic word made from the names of heroes whose powers you will need… Solomon for wisdom. Hercules for strength. Atlas for stamina. Zeus for power. Achilles for courage! Mercury for speed!” Mystical electricity surrounded the pair as the wizard’s words grew more forceful, lifting Billy off his feet. “Say the magic word! BILLY BATSON!! SAY THE MAGIC WORD!!”

“SHAZAM!” With that, Billy disappeared in a bolt of lightning, and a red-garbed hero stood in his place. Static continued to pop around the champion as he solemnly approached the wizard. “Hello, Marvel.”
“Master, I feel strange.”

“You have a new host. A young boy named Billy Batson. He is a good boy. You’ll like him.” The wizard explained that his time was nearly done, but should Marvel need him, he could be contacted by lighting the brazier in the chamber. Marvel warned the wizard not to sit under the stone weight, but his plea was ignored, and the string soon gave out. As the wizard was crushed, Marvel called out, “SHAZAM.”

Flashforward: LaGreen was riffling through Billy’s things, trying to find where he had his money stashed. A voice from behind asked, “Are you still here?” LaGreen was surprised Billy was still conscious, and tried to stomp him again. LaGreen’s leg was caught, and he was forced to the ground. A large, menacing silhouette stood over LaGreen, with a shiny gold lightning bolt at the center. LaGreen freaked out and jumped through a window to escape. After watching LaGreen flee, Marvel turned back to observe of Billy’s room, “Hmmm. This is no way for a kid to live.”

Billy woke up the next morning, found his small stash of bills untouched, and headed downstairs. LaGreen spotted him immediately, and gave chase. Billy ran to a hot dog vender, and gave him all his money to buy breakfast for his friend, Captain Marvel. While the vender prepared the dog, Billy ran off, and LaGreen tried to claim the food as his own. The thug turned to bump into Captain Marvel, who took his hot dog back. “This is your last warning.” LaGreen again ran scared, as Marvel explained to the vendor “He’s a thief who preys on homeless children.” The vendor though Marvel protected them in exchange for hot dogs. “No, but I like hot dogs, and I do not have any of my own money. Could I have mustard and onions on this, please? Don’t you have the onions in the tomato sauce? No? That’s all right. Mmm… you know, I think of all the advancements in civilization I’ve seen so far, hot dogs from a cart might be the very best one!” Captain Marvel wasn’t originally from around here, “But I’m starting to like it.”

Captain Marvel took to the air, using the power of Zeus to fly fast enough to travel through time. In this magical current, Billy appeared to coexist with Captain Marvel, riding on his back toward a point of singularity representing the Big Bang. “As we get closer to the beginning, space and time will merge, forming a perfect field of eternity, the source of all magic!” The wizard lived in the Rock of Eternity, from the peak of which emanated light from the moment of creation. Billy couldn’t resolve the paradox of everything coming from nothing, and wondered about the universe that existed before our creation, but Marvel explained it was forbidden to look into the light at the rock’s peak.

At the entrance to a cave, Marvel led by example. “Take your shoes off. This is a sacred place.” The pair returned to the seven deadly enemies of man, whose eyes were now closed. Skeletal legs still hung from under the stone that crushed the wizard, their feet still resting in slippers set casually on the floor. The spirit of the wizard arose from this space, and asked how Billy was doing. Marvel complained about Billy’s living conditions, and lack of family or friends his own age. Billy protested that since his parents died, he didn’t want some bogus family. The wizard cast a spell, and found that Billy had a baby sister living with an adopted family.

Billy began to cry, and wanted to go home. Before that, Billy needed to learn the rules. For starters, he couldn’t say his magic word at the Rock of Eternity. Marvel explained, “Magic is unpredictable here… time and space are smashed together here-- like in a black hole! I’m your future self!” The wizard continued, “Calling upon the magic here could cause a terrible paradox!” Billy looked stressed and fell silent. “Perhaps you’d like to wait outside for Captain Marvel.”

Marvel had gaps in his memory that would return slowly, and worried about working with such a young boy. “And yet you and he are one. Together you will solve your problems. The seven enemies of man opened their eyes at once, signaling catastrophe. “Take the boy and hurry back to Earth.” Unfortunately, the boy had snuck up to the forbidden peak of the Rock of Eternity…

Billy awoke in his hovel from the sound of police sirens, thinking there might be a terrorist attack. From above, he saw a woman menaced in an alley by a gang. Billy ran down with a baseball bat, only to feel the smack of the tail of an anthropomorphic alligator. Billy called “Shazam,” and a croc shattered its teeth biting Captain Marvel’s head. “Mr. Mind told us all the mammals were soft!” Marvel asked about the gators’ boss.
“He is our beloved leader!”
“Do your worst! No monster would ever betray our savior!”
“Death to you, human!”

Captain Marvel prepared to fly the monsters to the authorities, but from above spied two enormous footprints. Mr. Mind was looking for the Captain as Marvel was looking for Mr. Mind…

Chapter 1: “Yroob Szh Z Hvxivg!” was written & drawn by Jeff Smith