More great comic books of the sixties
.Here are some comic books I remember reading when I was growing up. For some reason, the covers of DC comic books of that time (65-69) reached out to me, they made me want to buy as many of them as I could, and lunch money went less for lunch and more and more for comic books at the nearest drug store after school. When I discovered that the new comic books for the week arrived on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I haunted the small drugstore until the poor hapless lady that worked there unbundled the magazines and comic books and counted them off on her list. Sometimes I had to do it for her, but it was worth it to get to see the latest editions of the comics I had become so addicted to.
The books shown here are examples of excellent comic books that are still entertaining to read today. A study of some of the best Marvel comic books of the sixties is coming, but someone else will have to do it, because I preferred the simple and less serious approach to storytelling that DC took to the angst ridden Marvel heroes of the time.
| Metamorpho no.1 ©
DC Comics aug 1965
Only the first four issues of this short run of comic books contain the great art of Ramona Fradon. From that point on, it was a good imitation of Fradon's fluid marshmallow-y style, but the freshness and spontaneity that Fradon brought to those stories, and to the 'Brave and Bold' tryouts, was gone. There is still a bouncy liveliness to the storytelling in some of the later issues in this run, with some issues drawn by Joe Orlando. The stories by Bob Haney are pure fun that race frantically from one exotic locale to another.
Captain Action no. 5 © DC Comics may. 1968
Based on the Ideal brand toy of the same name, this book only ran five issues, but what a run. Possibly Gil Kane's most effective work in mainstream comics at that time, he wrote and drew issues 3-5, with superb inking by Wally Wood. (Jim Shooter wrote the first two issues and Wally Wood penciled and inked the first issue). Two of DC's best short run series were based on toys. . . 'Hot Wheels' and 'Captain Action'. Both had great art and story teams, but neither books were successful for some reason. I had to wonder at the time if this was supposed to be the same Captain Action that was portrayed in the toy commercials, after all he could turn into Spiderman and Captain America, and those characters were published by Marvel. It is to Gil Kane and editor Julie Schwartz' credit that they turned this comic into something special.
Lois Lane no. 71 copy DC Comics jan 1968
Kurt Shaffenberger was one of the slickest artist in DC's stable, and the 'Lois Lane' comics of the sixties were a lot of fun to read mostly because of his unique renderings of the DC stable of characters. Sheer silliness here, as each issue Lois Lane tries to rope Superman into marriage by making him jealous, or by taking some potion that turns her into a monster or super-herione. These comic books are ice cream for the brain, and much of the reason they are so much fun has to do with Shaffenberger's pristine style and the light-hearted, nonsensical stories.
Superman Annual no. 1
© DC Comics Summer 1961Maybe the most famous and parodied comic book cover ever. This is the first reprint annual for a super-hero comic book ever, and it presented many of the classic Superman stories of the fifties. It's the cover by the late Curt Swan, the main Superman artist throughout the sixties and seventies, that makes this comic book a classic. Good crisp modern design that must have looked very handsome on the newstands of the day. The stories include those old saws like the giant ape with the Kryptonite vision and the story of Lex Luthor losing his hair and the origin of the chunky Superman of the fifties.
Our Army at War no. 196
© DC Comics aug 1968DC's war books all had great covers by Joe Kubert, every one telling a multi-layered story, usually with the Nazi's hiding just beyond the soldier's view. This issue has one of those familiar, formulaic stories written by Robert Kanigher and illustrated by Joe Kubert that made this comic book series so popular in it's heyday. Almost every Sgt. Rock story had a theme it seems, and Kanigher would repeat and repeat the theme throughout the story. This issue deals with war through the ages, and introduces The Unknown Soldier. There are some real gems hidden in 'Our Army at War's long run, with stories in the back of the books by the best illustrators working in comics, people like Wally Wood, Reed Crandall, Russ Heath and Alex Toth. In the mid seventies, editor Kubert ended each Sgt. Rock story with the slogan "Make War No More", now they make Sgt. Rock no more.
Showcase no 56
© DC Comics june 1965Another great 'Showcase' comic, and there were a lot of them. If you have a collection of 'Showcase' and 'Brave and the Bold' comics, you have some of the best examples of DC comic books in the sixties. Murphy Anderson and Gardner Fox revive two of the golden age's most popular comic characters here with excellent results. While the characters didn't catch on a second time, the art and story rank with the best.
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