A Page for Non-D.C. Material
I've demonstrated my fondness for DC's heroines and gave Marvel's their own page but I've got a few items from other companies like Dark Horse, Image and other independent companies (several of which are no longer publishing) that it seems a shame not in include. There's also a few from DC and Marvel that don't quite fit into the heroine themed pages but are too good to simply ignore. So this page is for everything that doesn't quite fit anywhere else.
Betty Cooper & Veronica Lodge
Bubblegum CrisisA Made in America Manga based on one of the few anime series that wasn't based on an original japanese comic. The series is set in a near future, post quake Tokyo dominated by the sinister GENOM corporation and their biomechanical creations known as "Boomers". Like the series title fans have scrambled to find rational explanations for the name but the truth is the series creator just thought it sounded cool. Anyway the series follows the efforts of a four woman team of power armoured vigilantes, The Knight Sabers to keep GENOM under control. Think cyberpunk mixed with Iron Man style superheroics. The anime is over ten years old now and while not too successful in Japan created a fanatical North American following, first through fansubs then the Animeigo commercial release. Check out alt.fan.bgcrisis for more details. In October '98 it was revived as in Japan a TV series with new character designs and a revised storyline (which AD Vision released in English on VHS in 1999-2000 and on DVD in 2002). Like Adam Warren's comic interpretation it got mixed reviews from hardcore fans of the original series.
Creatures On The LooseAfter Conan the Barbarian became a hit Marvel went looking for other pulp heroes who could become superstars. Tarzan and John Carter were natural choices as Edgar Rice Burroughs creations were always hits with kids but why they picked, "Thongor and the Wizard of Lemuria" by Lin Carter as the source of their next great barbarian hero I'll never know but Thongor never caught on and has long since returned to obscurity. Anyway adapted by golden age great Gardner Fox it's a fun pulpish read with Thongor's quest to find the world saving starstone getting him thrown in a dungeon where he quickly meets and befriends the true heir to the throne before they're both sent into the arena to stop the giant reptile with the weird name from devouring the girl tied to the stake. Incidentally the girl was only a redhead on the cover, she's blonde on the inside pages.
Death HawkI think this one lasted about three issues. Death Hawk was an SF gun for hire with a giant, intelligent amoeba for a pattern. The lady you're looking at is a business rival who wound up merged with an alien artifact they were both sent to steal. Death Hawk turned her over to his employers and they examined her trying figure out exactly what happened to the first artifact while Death Hawk was sent after the second one. This is a bit exaggerated as while she is naked for the examination well placed shadows and equipment mean the scene is at best PG rated. Also she's not restrained as she is sedated and unconscious. Later on she wakes up chained to a wall but in the meantime some spoilsport has dressed her in an all concealing robe.
A striking cover but sadly the art inside is nowhere near as good. But it draws the purchaser's eye and I imagine this sold the most copies of any issue of Death Hawk, however many there were.
Defenders of the Earth
This scan of Dale Gordon (nee Arden) menaced by Ming the Merciless was contributed by De Ville Fo. It doesn't have a happy ending as Ming follows the Joker's dictum that "I've always felt a hero's life needs some defining element of tragedy"
Ghost RiderThis is Johnny Blaze, the original Ghost Rider. A man cursed to carry the spirit of vengeance and with a knack for encountering villians who use motorcycles. In this issue he tangles with a cult of death worshippers who get off on immolating one another in flamethrower weilding motorcycle duels. The girl is the daughter of a senator who wants the cult exposed and crushed. So the cult leader decides to send a personal message about their constitutional right to freedom of worship.
The Last of the Viking HeroesGreat cover but as you've probably guessed it has nothing to do with the story inside. I don't think any women appear in this issue, let alone one dressed like this and the only person chained to a tree is an ugly male viking. Still I picked it up for 50 cents in a bargain bin so I can't complain I didn't get my money's worth.
Lost in Space
Ms. TreePerhaps best known for their work on the "Dick Tracy" comic strip Max Allen Collins and Terry Beatty teamed up again to create a female private eye. Published with minimal interior colour the book chronicled the adventures of Ms. Tree who had been widowed on her wedding night when her PI husband was gunned down. Following in his footsteps (having been apprenticing at the detective agency) she took over his position and set about conducting every case with hard nosed zeal, taking every opportunity it afforded to cut down on the criminal population. In this issue her investigation of a pornstar's suicide is derailed by the girl's employer who add a seasonal touch to this Christmas tie-up.
Monster of FrankensteinOne of Marvel's seventies horror books this incarnation of the Frankenstein Monster was a misunderstood soul made an outcast by his appearance. Much like the Hulk he kept running into normal people who were real monsters but on this occasion the peasants weren't the superstitious fools they usually were. After rescuing a girl tied to the mast of a burning boat (who once again was blonde on the interior pages) he vowed to protect her from the "man in black" who had driven the villagers to try and kill her. He discovered that the girl was a murderous werewolf and the "man in black" was the local priest who had been been forced to extreme measures by her murderous rampage. Forced to kill her the monster strode off musing that misunderstanding was a two edged sword and vowed to be more tolerant in future. Of course all the peasants he ran into after that wanted to destroy him because he looked like a monster. So it goes.
O.M.A.C. - One Man Army CorpsOne of Jack Kirby's seventies DC books OMAC might have been bad science fiction but it was a fun Kirby series. The hapless Buddy Blank is turned into a superhero to protect a utopian future which might look nothing like "The world that's coming" of the series tagline but it was classic Kirby action from the King. John Byrne actually did a decent job when he revived OMAC as a mini series a few years back and didn't throw out Kirby's retro future but set up a scenario so it could plausibly come about. Anyway back to this issue, OMAC has to rescue an unnamed victim during his mission to bust a ring of organleggers protected by their mutant subterranean gangs.
The Original Black CatThis series was reprints but with an interesting story behind them. Recollections was founded by Alfred Harvey, the founder of Harvey Comics (Casper, Wendy, Richie Rich, ... etc) in 1988 having just turned 75. According to the blurb in the first issue he had been forced to retire from Harvey Comics at age 70 and was doing this to show he wasn't ready for the old age home just yet. The series reprinted the fifties adventures of the Black Cat. Linda Turner was a judo expert and Hollywood star who had turned crimefighter out of boredom and found she enjoyed the adventure. The series was attacked by old Fredric Wertham in his "Seduction of the Innocent" for including "how to" judo throw panels as everyone knew little girls weren't supposed to fight but just take it if they got bullied. This lead the original series becoming another victim of the Comics Code despite lacking anything really objectionable. But I digress back to the in question, the Black Cat. Later on she acquired the obligatory annoying kid sidekick (Kitten) but she worked solo for the first few years. The cover to the first issue was by one of her original artists and has no relevance to the contents. As to why the title includes "Original" the rather humourless Marvel Comics Corporation had their own Black Cat and lawyers eager to litigate so "Original" was added to the title. Marvel had already forced Marvelman, another revived fifties comic character predating Marvel's creation, to change its title to Miracleman and DC's Captain Marvel to be published under the title Shazam. The title change seems to have worked and Marvel didn't sue.
The series wasn't around long but got out at least seven issues and made it past the comic stores to the drug store comic racks which in the days before Image Comics was a remarkable feat for a title not published by the big two. In this issue the cover is a bit more relevant as a lynch mob does grab the Black Cat after a case of mistaken identity gets her accused of a bank robbery in a western town that wasn't ready to give up its wild west heritage just yet. But Linda was rescued before they got her on horseback, let alone a noose around her neck. Spoilsports! Anyway she caught the real crook and saw to it he lived to stand trial
OutlandersA translated manga sci-fi title with the obligatory stacked superwoman who for no adequately explained reason falls for the geeky japanese guy. In this issue Princess Kahm has a bit of a problem after her spaceship crashes in Germany. As her people have just blown up Japan and laid waste to Europe it's not too surprising that one of the locals is looking for some payback. I suppose it was inevitable that she would also fall for the geek and start one of those love triangles so popular in manga/anime with two girls fighting over the same boy. I suppose it just goes to show that fanboys are a worldwide phenomena. Anyway this was a multivolume series that was compressed into an hour long anime by cutting out about 90% of the story and characters.
Pacific PresentsThe first issue of this anthology title from the long defunct Pacific Comics is probably responsible for sparking the modern revival of Betty Page fandom. Dave Stevens, The Rocketeer made its debut in this issue and as you can see from the cover so did Betty the peril-prone lookalike girlfriend of the comic's hero. While Dave Stevens drew a great Betty throughout the issue I've always suspected this picture was the one that really hooked the readers. Anyway Stevens made no secret about who his Betty was based on which lead to a revival of interest in the original and things built from there. If you're interested in pictures of the real Betty Page and seeing more comics featuring her you might want to check out the Irving Klaw Mailing List on The Links Page.
Plastic ManWhile it's a serious looking cover the 1976 Plastic Man series had the same goofiness as its fourties predecessor, Plas's eighties run in Adventure Comics and the ninties miniseries. I gather he's now in JLA but hopefully they haven't turned him into a straight man. Anyway the lady on the cover is Sundae Supplement, ditzy secretary and agent wannabe at the National Bureau of Investigation. For both his seventies and eighties series Plastic Man was the top field agent of the N.B.I. though he kept turning up in Brave and Bold for his teamups with Batman as a hobo hero living on the streets. Go figure. Anyway in this episode Sundae stumbles across a mad scientist but rather than threatening her he falls madly in love with her. I suppose DC decided a more threatening cover would sell better than him getting romantic with her. Makes sense, in less politically correct times a cover with a woman in peril was regarded as a valid marketing tool.
Police ActionNot much to say, it's a police comic and nothing like this scene can be found inside. Very average.
Atlas comics are remembered for publishing some early Howard Chaykin (The Scorpion) but didn't produce much else worth reading.
Red FoxAnother one from the discount bin. Mediocre sword and sorcery whose art leaves a lot to be desire. In this issue the heroine learns the unadvisability of tackling a gang of slavers when your magic sword is on the fritz. Not one of her better days, and winding up a captive turns out to be one of the high points as she gets possessed by a demon queen. I think they stretched that out storyline until the publishing company collapsed
Sea DragonAnother one from the discount bin, since I preferred the interior art to the cover I'll include a link to the story climax. This shortlived book concerned the adventures of a naval officer mutated into an aquatic creature after stumbling onto a conspiracy. Naturally there were those interested in aquiring his unique capabilities and a shadowy organization kidnapped his girlfriend Crystal in order to control him. Naturally Sea Dragon played along with them but a underwater explosion convinced the organization that he was dead. Which meant that Crystal became expendable. So when Sea Dragon returned to the base it was just in time for that issue to end on a cliffhanger. If the next issue was ever published I have no idea. If anyone knows one way or the other then let drop me a line.
Star Wars : Prelude to Rebellion
Werewolf by NightOne of Marvel's seventies horror titles along with Tomb of Dracula and Frankenstein this one concerned a once average teenager named Jack Russel who had a bit of a problem. His werewolf self wasn't really evil but it was a hungry predator. If that wasn't enough there was a secret organization looking to study lycanthropy for military use that was hunting him.
Jack's only ally was his sister Lisa, luckily for both of them this issue proved that while Jack's wolf-self didn't think it could recogise familiar and friendly scents. Jack and his sister have since gone their seperate ways but for quite a while she had to chain him up every full moon. As she occasionally seems to mention this in public they must have got a strange reputation, even in LA.
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