Challengers of the Unknown 39, 1964 “Rocky, the Genius Challenger”

In 1957, we have the brilliant Jack “King” Kirby, creating more heroes from his pantheon of work. The Challengers of the Unknown, although not nearly as popular as let’s say the Fantastic Four, predate them by four years. The Challengers were a group of guys that all survived a plane crash and vowed to help humanity because they’re on “borrowed time,” so Ace, Red, Rocky and Prof, ban together for the benefit of all mankind…or something like that.

In this issue, we see two stories that are both equally ludicrous, but fun! In the lead off, we have “The Phantom of the Fair!” In this adventure, the Challengers get Madame Zaddum (a medium) to look into her crystal ball at the future, to see what their kids are up to. They see how a crook named “Stokie Johnson” is being let out of prison, and is plotting a revenge scheme on the Challengers. This one is part mad scientist, part revenge plot. Art by Bob Brown (cover as well) and possible scripting by Ed Herron.

The next story is (from the cover), “Rocky, the Genius Challenger.” In this one, Wizard Welles builds a machine that can transfer information from a computer into the mid of a human being. Before he can do it to himself, though, Rocky knocks him out of the way, and takes the brain boost himself. His cranium then grows to twice the normal size, and his brain power is now beyond any person on earth. Shenanigans with the team and the Wizard ensue. The awesome art is again by Bob Brown (an unsung hero of comics to be sure). The writing credits are possibly by Arnold Drake (Deadman, Doom Patrol).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomahawk 103, 1966 “The Frontier Frankenstein!”

I’ll be very honest here. Until a few months ago, I’d never even heard of this title. I didn’t have a clue about it. Then I saw an auction where I was educated a bit on them. When the opportunity arose to purchase some issues, especially with the covers I saw, I had to give Tomahawk a try!

This story is nothing short of wacky, which is probably why I love it. Anytime you have a Frankenstein Monster in a book, I’m there, especially when it’s a giant sized monster. Throw in the fact that these adventures take place during the Revolutionary War, and you have a recipe for some absolute craziness. There’s also a back up story in the book called “The Super-Ranger with Nine Lives!” But, “The Frontier Frankenstein” is certainly the gem of the book!

The script (for Frontier Frankenstein) is by Ed Herron, a writer I’m not too familiar with to be perfectly honest. The artwork is by one of my favorite lesser-known artists, Bob Brown. The first time I saw his work was in Daredevil from the Bronze Age. The second story has art by Fred Ray. No credits on GCD for writer, but at DC at this time that’s not very uncommon. The cover is also by Bob Brown, who died way too young (61 yrs old, from Leukemia). Definitely give his work a look if you haven’t so far!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghost Rider 16, 1976 “Blood in the Waters”

The Bronze Age was an age of growing up for some preexisting characters, and the introduction of some new ones that were not only part of the zeitgeist  of the times, but ones that would last a very long time afterward. One of these characters is the Ghost Rider! Opinions vary on who created what exactly, but we know that Mike Ploog, Gary Friedrich, and Roy Thomas were involved. Over the decades, there have been a few different people to carry the mantle of the Ghost Rider, but honestly, none are better than the original, Johnny Blaze.

In this issue, we see Blaze and his alter-ego battle dolphin killers…and a great white shark! Yes, shortly after the frenzy that was Jaws (summer of 1975), Bill Mantlo (writer), George Tuska (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Janice Cohen (colors), and Karen Mantlo (letters), gave us the awesomeness of Ghost Rider fighting Jaws (edited by Marv Wolfman, cover by Bob Brown and Dave Cockrum)!

 

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Daredevil 129, 1975 “Man-Bull in a China-Town!”

Has there ever been a better title for a story than this one? Exactly. Lame villains are what make the world go ’round, as we all know. Daredevil has seen his fill of these wacky characters, and it’s why I love this title during the Bronze Age! The book got way too serious for me once Frank Miller took over (even though, I still enjoy some of those stories). But wacky stories involving characters  like the “Man-Bull,” are just too awesome to not spotlight. The man without fear versus a guy that’s part man, part bull…what’s not to like?

Seeing the name Marv Wolfman (writer/editor), at the helm always puts me at ease. Whether it was Tomb of Dracula, Batman, or Crisis on Infinite Earths, the guy gets it done. Not the most well known tandem in comics, but Bob Brown (pencils) and Klaus Janson (inks), do hold their own and give us some nice visuals. Michele Wolfman (colors) and Joe Rosen (letters), round out the interior creative team! As usual, we get a cool cover, and the team of Rich Buckler (pencils) and Klaus Janson (inks) are responsible!

 

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Daredevil #143, 1976 “”Hyde and Go Seek”, Sayeth the Cobra!

Unlike most comic book readers, I’m not a huge fan of the gritty era that eventually engulfed the 1980’s. Yeah, I like Watchmen, Swamp Thing, and V for Vendetta (especially this last one), but that’s about it. I like my comics to have more of a lighthearted tone or just not as hardcore as say the works of Frank Miller. The importance and place in history of his work aren’t lost to me, but those stories just don’t get me excited to read comics. Miller is a guy that I like the early work of on titles like The Punisher, and his Spider-Man work. One character that everyone raves about though, as far as Miller is concerned, is Daredevil. Now that is the one character that I can really get into when it’s Miller for some odd reason. I just feel he’s a character that Miller was born to write/draw. Honestly though, I love the material that came out in the years earlier to his legendary run even more.

One issue in particular that I absolutely love is #143. It’s part two of a story that features DD up against his old enemies, Mr. Hyde and the Cobra! These two villains have plagued DD on several occasions, and always give him a run for his money! We get to see a lot of action in this one but also some intrigue as well with Heather Glenn’s father and his “business” ventures. Some jungle action, a man-eating lion, and the usual DD butt-kicking fight scenes are all packed in this comic book!

Marv Wolfman (writer), had a decent run on this title as writer and editor (about 2 years). We all know his ability to write a good story, whether it be a one and done, or a lengthy story over a few issues, he can get it done! Artists Bob Brown (pencils) and Keith Pollard (inks) are two guys that don’t get a lot of airplay, but when you look at their bodies of work, you’ll be impressed nonetheless. The cover art was done by none other than Dave Cockrum, and his exploits on the X-Men, and Legion of Superheroes is well documented, as it should be!  John Costanza provided the letters, and Janice Cohen the colors, to round out this solid creative team!

 

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Daredevil #132, 1976 “No Matter What Happens—BULLSEYE Rules Supreme!”

This issue is one of the oldest issues of Daredevil that I own. It’s also the second appearance of Bullseye! The first appearance showed Bullseye giving old horn-head a butt whoopin’! But, in this issue, we see Matt get some revenge, and put this crazy villain in his place! At a circus, no less! Back then, Bullseye wasn’t quite as homicidal as he’s portrayed later on by Frank Miller, and other writers, but he certainly wanted to kill Daredevil! In this issue we see everything, from Bullseye riding an elephant (yes, seriously!), and then him shooting another man out of a canon at DD! Created by Marv Wolfman (writer) and Bob Brown (pencils), Bullseye brought something new to the table, and obviously he’s been a mainstay in the Marvel Universe ever since! Inks by Klaus Janson, colors by Michele Wolfman, and letters by Joe Rosen! Great cover as well, and we have Rich Buckler and Dan Adkins for that one! On Friday the 13th, is there anything more frightening than Bullseye riding an elephant? I think not! Enjoy!   Image (30) Image (33) Image (37) Image (34) Image (35) Image (36)