Justice League of America 154, 1978 “I’ll Kill You in Your Dreams!”

My first encounter with the JLA, was in the form of television and the Superfriends. The stories weren’t anything heavy, but they were fun to watch and kept me entertained. I didn’t buy my first JLA comic though until just a few years ago. This wasn’t the first issue I bought, but it’s a good one! A story is only as good as its villain (just my two cents). Back to animation for a minute…The Justice League television show from the early 2000s was  a fantastic show, and the episode with Doctor Destiny was incredible (they haven’t yet reached that specific episode, but the JLUcast is a great podcast about that show)!

Back to this book. Like the TV show, we see Dr. Destiny control the dreams of the League, in an attempt to kill them (it’s obvious the show lifted its premise from here), but of course, good guys beat bad guy. Not that it’s boring mind you, the villain really makes the heroes look pretty pathetic for a while. We also get to see the heroes as their civilian alter egos, and normal everyday stuff. It was quit refreshing.

As expected, the names in the credits are absolute staples of the Bronze Age. Writer Gerry Conway does a fine job with the script/story, and does insert some of his personal beliefs/social commentary in the issue as well. He, along with a lot of the other writers of the time were very good at sending messages without being overt or preachy about it (kudos).  The artistic chores fell on the shoulders of another pair of names synonymous with the age. Dick Dillin (pencils) and Frank McLaughlin (inks) were both on point here and did a fine job with a lot going on in this issue. Two more names in Jerry Serpe (colors) and Ben Oda (letters) round out the interior art team. The cover is by Mike Kaluta and Al Milgrom, and although it is pretty good, it’s also not quite what you’d expect. Not sure if it’s the team up of these two guys or just not the greatest layout or composition.

 

 

The House of Secrets (Millennium Edition – 2000) #92, 1971 “Swamp Thing”

As a long time Marvel zombie, I thought it would be prudent to broaden my horizons, so about a year ago (I think), I bought something from DC comics. Now, keep in mind, I’ve read some DC in recent years, and didn’t think very much of it, also the word on the street isn’t anything to get excited about either, as far as everything else they’re offering. So, what did I do? I grabbed some Alan Moore “Swamp Thing,” that’s what! I’ll admit, I had some preconceived notions about the book (negative), but they were dashed away in mere minutes. Moore took this character to new heights (from what I’ve read), and the book really opened my eyes to another comic book legend. My next thought was…”OK, but what about the beginnings of this character?” So, not long after reading the Moore run, I found a reprint copy of House of Secrets #92, Swamp Things first appearance. I knew it would be good, just from the creative team, and I wasn’t disappointed. It was a short story, and the issue had some good stories in it as well, featuring creators like Dick Dillin, Alan Weiss, and Tony DeZuniga, just to name a few!

I know the original is pretty high-priced, so grab a copy of the reprint or a trade, this issue is required reading! Story by Len Wein, art (and cover) by Bernie Wrightson, colors by Tatjana Wood, and edited by Joe Orlando! With creators like that involved, you know it’ll be a slam-dunk! One last note, and I’ll get out of here. There is a foreword by Robert Greenberger, and he explains the details of how the idea came about for this specific story. It describes the behind the scenes for this one, and really is a super cool story involving Wein, Wrightson, Louise Simonson, Mike Kaluta, and others. This story is worth the price of admission alone!

 

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