Adventure Comics #1

I like the whole idea of Wild Man and I can’t tell if he is a copy of something else or just a riff of the things I was into. I’m sure he must appear in some other comics of mine. The idea is to take a jungle hero like Tarzan or a barbarian hero like Conan and turn that into a conscious choice in an urban environment. Like, imagine if Tarzan was secretly an insurance salesman who just took off his clothes and ran around in rags in order to fight crime in the big city - is there a real superhero like that? Also not the brief appearance of Plastic Man at the end, who is in quite a few comics I made as a kid. Because he was from the 1940s, and despite the DC versions, I figured he was in the public domain - though I dunno if I actually knew that term, probably not - so I was as free to use him as DC was. I was slightly more naive back then than I am now … made more obvious by the fact that I thought Adventure Comics was a generic enough term to borrow as well (you’ll remember I had previously fingered Action Comics as usable).

Solid Gold Heroes #2

Having two people be Steel Man doesn’t help. Not knowing Steel Man’s secret identity doesn’t help. The sudden appearance of The It from the Funtastic/Fantastic/Fabulous/Super whatever number they’re at when this story was written doesn’t help. Who takes Steel Man’s place? I dunno. That doesn’t help! We only come out of this with one sure bit of knowledge - that’s the REAL Athlete!

Steelman #2

I’m going to spell out the plot for you, here. Some guy is hit by a “flare bomb,” which makes him feel like steel and immediately decide to become a superhero and join the Avengers. He is approached by a superhero named the Guardian, who turns out to be a dead superhero that is now a member of the Legion of Unliving. We flashback briefly to his death at the hands of a villain named Amazo - looks like he got shocked to death - and then back to the present, where Steelman, now allowed to be in the Avengers at the assurance of a dead superhero who isn’t even a member anymore, kills the the dead superhero with a bolt exactly similar to the one that killed him. Are we all clear? Did we all read the same comic? Good.

Steelman #1

I don’t believe Steelman has appeared before, but he comes on like we all know who he is, guffawing at his costume mix-ups like, “Not this again!!!” You’ve got to give him credit for bravery, though - no super suit of armor? Put on a ski mask and jump into action! That’s a real hero!!! Story-wise, this issue is mostly notable for the curing of the Mulk - or something. Being the Mulk is like a curse that gets passed on. I have no idea how well I have done in presenting these in strict chronological order, so there may be some old school Mulk still waiting in the wings.

The Bat #3

The inter-family pathos continues with the realization on the part of The Bat the horror of what he has done by defeating his attacker. I honestly think that, fleshed out with, you know, adult scripting capabilities, this is the first passable comic book story I wrote. I could easily see it as a back-up in Adventure Comics circa 1976.

The Bat #2

The Bat’s brother tries to replicate his the formula in order to help his brother in crime-fighting, only to find out the formula has had a different effect on him - it’s made him crazy and evil! He’s so crazy, in fact, he recognizes it at once and reflects it in his super villain name. My favorite part is the exposition on the subtle differences in appearance between the two bat creatures so the reader can actually tell the difference between them. One thing I’ve learned about the E.L. universe is that potions almost always do EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE of what the person drinking them thinks they will do and SHOULD BE APPROACHED WITH CAUTION!!! I’m actually excited to read the conclusion of this story.

The Bat #1

Little known secret that is now a cat that’s gotten out of the bag - when I was a kid, I always thought Man Bat was so much cooler than Bat Man. I still think that’s probably true. This debut has so many golden moments, including yet another person in the E.L. universe deciding to drink some mysterious liquid and see what it does and a villain who not only uses the word “shan’t” but also would rather kill himself than face the fury of the beast stalking him. A bloody cautionary tale about … something or other.

Wonderman #1

Well, that was quite a melodrama! A casual encounter with criminals reveals a dark secret for Wonderboy, who appears in a flashback referring to Wonderman by the nickname “Wonde.” I am unclear if the explosion killed Wonderboy as well as rendering the villain entirely hairless, but at least the reminiscing gave Wonderman an in to knock the guy’s block off.

Harvey and Friends In Outer Space #3

Well, isn’t this a satisfying conclusion filled with suspense? Can you believe it’s over? Did you see that one coming?

Harvey and Friends in Outer Space #2

It’s very simple. First the crew starts aging due to some strange space thing that happens, and then they return to their real ages, due to some strange space thing that happens. Like a warpy, spacey, boomy, crashy thing. And then they get in a new spaceship, along with their comic book collections, and take off, leaving EL Man or Captain EL or whatever his name is stranded. Simple.

Harvey and His Friends In Outer Space #1 

I’m confused, so I can imagine how anyone else feels. It appears to be about a fellow named Rick who wears a bow tie and is accidentally launched into space with a baby elephant in diapers and a superhero meant to represent E.L. Comics, as well as a human-sized bunny. They land on the Planet of the Apes - rather casually, I think - and then somehow get separated or lost or something. Do I have that straight? Good. Because I want to make sure I start out ahead of the game with the second issue and just sort of dive right in there, plot-wise, and really savor it. All that said, who’s Harvey?

History of E.L. Comics #2

Another one of my meticulous, hand-drawn “reprints” of previous comics I had done that I considered worthy of the designation “classic.” This is a “reprint” of Super Six #32 and which should provide any liner notes you could possibly need to understanding the intricacies of what really goes on here.

Houdini #2

I think this may be the best thing I’ve ever written, between the Mulk’s proclamation that he doesn’t need a shirt to his next one about beating up people to the naming a mystical wizard hero after a skeptic to that mystical wizard hero’s sudden concern for his apartment at the end of the battle. Comics don’t get much better than this, and neither does my writing. Time for me to retire.

Lance Larrow #1

When I was a kid, I used to love Western comics, which was odd since I wasn’t really partial to Westerns in any other format (the occasional TV show, really). And while I loved the DC ones like Jonah Hex, etc, for some reason, I was really entranced by the Marvel reprint titles like Kid Colt and Rawhide Kid, Two Gun Kid, all those. So this is influenced by those, but transported into the present day a la The Vigilante, a superhero that fascinated me without actually having been read much by me. In fact, I think once I did have the opportunity to read comics of The Vigilante, I didn’t much like them. So perhaps Lance Larrow is my answer to all that. His name is a variation of the old Western hero Lash LaRue. Meanwhile, the Bare Hand Kid is my answer to the Two Gun Kid. The Bare Hand Kid is not the worst idea - the name differentiating him from gunslingers, obviously. Gorilla Grogan … well, what else would a criminal be called? It’s a pretty simple story, and I think the main point of it is the two cowboy heroes becoming aware of each other’s existence and having to tolerate each other, as well as setting up some future drama with Gorilla Grogan that no doubt never came to fruition.

Marvel Comics #2

How action packed! I used to stare at the Jim Steranko History of Comics books when I was a kid - I was more interested in looking at all those old covers than actually reading any of the comics they were attached to. Part me saw them as part of a catalog of unused superheroes waiting for a home, and I was only too happy to plunder and provide. At the same time, I was increasingly fascinated by the WW2 comics of the time - The Invaders comes to mine, but more importantly, a dream comic in Marvel Presents called the Liberty Legion that used the exact kind of heroes that fascinated me. This is my answer to all that, I suppose, right down to the anthology title, which I lifted from the Steranko book. I love that even in this war era, when there is plenty to do in regard to fighting Nazis, still a Nazi has to come threaten the Red Falcon. Imagine the adventures between the origin and the encounter with Masterman that lead to the Red Falcon becoming such a scourge to the Nazis that they would come attack him.