Super-Blog Team-Up The Immortal Dr. Fate


When I was first invited to participate in the Super-Blog Team-Up the subject was Redemption. My initial thought was to write about the “Daredevil: Redemption” mini-series, but then I stopped for a second and decided that is a little on the nose, maybe use your imagination and think of something with a little more pizzazz. I ended up writing about Elfquest and how I thought that the chief of the tribe redeemed himself through the course of the first story. This time around I did not stop and think.

When the subject for this round of the SBTU was announced that it was going to be “Immortal” I instantly thought of the Immortal Dr. Fate and knew I wanted to write about him. Sure the concept of being immortal is right there in the name but I did not care. This was a chance to write about a character that I’ve enjoyed since I was a kid and all through my collecting years. I mean what’s not to like? The character design alone is amazing. The blue and yellow color scheme of his costume just leaps off the page. The gold helmet is one of the most iconic items in all of the DC universe. He lives in a tower that is reminiscent of a lighthouse and exists between dimensions. I could go on but let’s get to the comics. 

All-Star Squadron #47


Writer & Editor –  Roy Thomas
Guest Penciller –  Todd McFarlane (pgs 2-23)
Guest Penciller –  Mike Clark (pgs 1, 24)
Inker – Vince Colleta
Colorist – Gene D’Angelo
Letter – Cody (no last name listed)

My introduction to the character Dr. Fate was in the pages of All-Star Squadron. While he was technically a member of the Justice Society of America he had plenty of appearances with the Squadron (35 according to comic vine). In this particular issue we are treated to the fantastic origin of Dr. Fate. I’d like to note a couple of items about this comic before getting into the synopsis. There is an editorial note on the letters page from Roy Thomas that states that this story was supposed to appear in the forthcoming, unnamed “secret origins” comic that he was working on but because of an upcoming Dr. Fate monthly series the story was moved up. What is odd about that statement is Dr. Fate did not get his own mini series until 1987, and a regular monthly series until 1989. I have to wonder what series Thomas was referring to at this time (July 1985 cover date), was it the mini-series, the 89 monthly or a book that never saw the light of day. 

Thomas also mentions that this comic is actually guest penciller Todd McFarlane’s first work for DC, despite being the new regular artist on Infinity Inc., of which several issues had already been published by the time this issue came out. That is one reason that this book can be more difficult to come by. It was the last issue I needed to complete my set of All-Star Squadron and I paid two dollars for it. I’ve seen it as high as fifteen dollars recently, and it is always noted prominently by the dealer that it is McFarlane’s first DC comic. I guess that qualifies it as a “key” book. 


Several issues of All-Star Squadron are used entirely to tell the origin of one golden age superhero or another and I believe they all do it using the same gimmick. The hero decides he or she wants to tell their story to John Law (a.k.a. The Tarantula) who is writing a book about masked heroes that he intends to publish when he retires from the crime fighting business. Fun Fact: John Law’s book is  called “Alter Egos”, or “Altered Egos” depending on where you look. The book shows up in Alex Ross and Mark Waid’s “Kingdom Come” as “Alternate Egos” by John Law and as “Behind the Mask” in James Robinson’s “The Golden Age”. Anyway, it is an easy way for Thomas to devote an entire issue to tell one characters story. 

Kent Nelson, wearing his half helmet, starts off the story saying that he is not really the same Dr. Fate as when his journey began. It does not come up until the end of the story but the half helmet that he is currently wearing is not a different version of the Helmet of Fate, it is just a helmet fashioned to look like Fate’s Helmet. It does not have the magical powers or contain the spirit of Nabu that the full version does. Kent wears this particular helmet to avoid being controlled by Nabu. Kent goes on to tell his story about how his father, an archaeologist, took him to Egypt after World War One had ended in order to excavate a pyramid. This particular pyramid should not exist in this part of Egypt it being so close the Tigris-Euphrates river and so far from where all the other pyramids were. 


Kent, just a young boy, and his father, Sven, venture into the pyramid in order to unlock its secrets. Kent eventually comes across a chamber that when he opens it he finds a giant that looks very life like. The giant’s eyes turn red and a white gas cloud fills the room. Kent tries to escape but when he gets back to his father he finds him collapsed on the ground, dead. It is not stated as such in this story, but in Flash #306, the gas is supposed to preserve the giant, kill anyone who disturbs him, and finally spare the person who would replace him. The giant is Nabu, the wise. He is a Lord of Order and a sorcerer. His desire is to train Kent to carry on his work. 

While Kent is still grieving Nabu looks deep into his mind and makes all the pain go away. The young boy accepts this and Nabu becomes his mentor and guardian. This is just the first time Nabu will manipulate Kent. The years pass and Kent grows up with Nabu teaching him how to use magic to do almost anything. As the final lesson Nabu commands Kent to use all his power to destroy him. Kent refuses so Nabu reminds him of his father dying, making him feel all the anger and sorrow all over again. This works and Kent unleashes all his fury towards Nabu. The physical form of Kent’s teacher is destroyed but Nabu is far from gone. 


In Kent’s minds eye he learns the truth about Nabu. Nabu is an exiled Lord of Order who became a guardian of mankind. He took a human form and was worshiped. Nabu tells him of the eternal struggle between Order and Chaos. He explains that the form he had taken on Earth can no longer house him, he needs a new host which Kent is to become. The energy that was Nabu transforms into the gold and blue costume that we are familiar with, the cape, the amulet and the Helmet. Kent Nelson wearing this outfit becomes Dr. Fate! It is important to understand that Dr. Fate at this point is not just Kent Nelson wearing a snazzy outfit and has a helmet that talks to him. The being known as Dr. Fate is a physical manifestation of the exiled Lord of Order using the body of Kent Nelson to exist in our world.

Dr. Fate’s first action is to find the Egyptian City of Alexandria in order to find the “single secret worth having for a lifetime unending”, whatever that means. Along the way Dr. Fate feels what he calls “an aura of incredible ageless evil”. He comes across a dead tour guide and an overturned car. Using his magic he learns that a beautiful woman is being held prisoner by a man that is familiar but he does not remember. Running on instinct Dr. Fate eventually finds a door-less tower and know he is in the right place to rescue the woman he saw. Using his powers to enter the tower he is greeted by the green faced man from his vision. The person knows Dr. Fate and refers to him by name, but Fate remembers nothing of his adversary. The green man chastises Dr. Fate and tells him that he knows Wotan and that he won’t play the same games, telling him that he knows all about him and Nabu the Wise. What he doesn’t know is what the girl means to Fate. 

After a little banter between the two sorcerers Wotan decides to give Dr. Fate the old razzle dazzle and expels him from the tower with a mighty Throoom! Wotan returns to his questioning of the young woman trying to figure out what she and Dr. Fate mean to each other. She’s giving him nothing (because she doesn’t really have anything to give). Frustrated Wotan decides to leave his tower with his hostage before Dr. Fate regains his wits and remembers who they are to each other. When Dr. Fate starts to come around, he decides to give Wotan what for and since he’s still new at these he can’t put Wotan down for the final count. Wotan gives it back as good as he received and then some, seemingly putting an end to his old foe. 


Just before he is going to finish Dr. Fate off, the young woman frees herself, I assume because Wotan is devoting all his energy to destroying Nabu. She runs to Dr. Fate, cradles him in her lap and removes the helmet. She feels awful for the hurt, handsome, young man who was mortally wounded trying to rescue her and she starts to cry. Now, in what I can only describe as a Disney magic moment, one tear lands on Kent Nelson’s face and our hero is back in the game. 

Dr. Fate starts to rise. He dons the helmet, and with all the pep and vigor he can muster, he attacks Wotan and disintegrates him, scattering his atoms throughout the universe. This revived Dr. Fate, now more confident in his abilities, tells the young woman he should wipe her mind so that she forgets everything she’s seen. The woman convinces him not to do that and tells him that he needs her humanity and that the world needs Dr. Fate. He mulls this over and decides that she is the secret which he was searching for in the first place, the one worth having for a lifetime. She says that they should be friends and Dr. Fate agrees, picks her up and they fly off together. 


Kent wraps up his story to John telling him the woman’s name was Inza Cramer and that they eventually fell in love. He also explains why he stopped wearing the helmet, that he can still fly, and is pretty strong but does not have much other magical power. He then poses the question, is he still Dr. Fate without all that? The comic ends with Hourman, Starman, and Firebrand bursting into the room saying the president called and Winston Churchill (who Hourman refers to as Winnie) has requested the assistance of the All-Stars, specifically the Spectre or Dr. Fate!. Personally if were the Prime Minister of the united Kingdom, I know who I’d want to come help. 

Roy Thomas is a master when it comes to golden age characters, continuity, and origin stories. In this comic he writes a complex story about a young boy who is raised by a cosmic deity who basically kills his father and then teaches him how to fly, move things with his mind, and defeat his enemies all in the name of immortality and order. This story is not as dense as Thomas usually writes. It is a good mix of storytelling, captivating dialog, and superhero action. Being a fan of Todd McFarlane I also really enjoyed the art. 

Having listened to interviews with Jerry Ordway where he talks about working with Roy on All-Star Squadron and it seems that Roy worked very closely with his creative partners to guide them how he wanted his comics to look. I’m sure this was the case with Todd on this book and as we’ll see in the next story that was originally published in DC Special Series #10 – Secret Origin of Super Heroes.  

The Immortal Dr. Fate #1


The Immortal Destiny (The Secret Origin of Dr. Fate)
Excerpted From the Diary of Inza Nelson
Writer –  Paul Levitiz
Artists – Joe Staton & Mike Nasser
Letterer – Shelly Leferman
Colorist – Adrienne Roy 

This story is presented as being from the journal of Inza where she is struggling with the challenges of being married to Kent Nelson. It seems that Kent Nelson and Dr. Fate are two very different people and the immortal doctor has too much influence over the man she loves. Inza argues with herself about wanting to be with Kent and the problems that come with him being Dr Fate, combating the agents of chaos, all the while recounting how the twelve year old boy traveling with his archaeologist father became the man she is married too. 

Except for some minor details this origin story and the one Roy Thomas wrote in All-Star Squadron are nearly identical. Father and son enter a tomb alone. When the young Kent Nelson finds the giant Nabu a mysterious gas is released killing his father. Nabu soothes the child by making him forget his grief and begins teaching the boy magic. As a young man the final step to his training is to destroy Nabu’s human form. When he does this he learns Nabu’s origin and about the lords of order and chaos. This story ends with Kent Nelson receiving the Helmet and amulet from Nabu and becoming Dr. Fate. 


Golden Age Classic
Reprinted from More Fun Comics #56 (Dr. Fate’s 2nd appearance)
Writer – Gardner Fox
Artist –  Hal Sherman

Gardner Fox and Hal Sherman created Dr. Fate in 1940 in More Fun Comics #55. The story in issue 56 recaps issue 55 where Dr. Fate battled Wotan. In this issue Dr. Fate and Inza have to journey to the realm of the dead to make sure that the defeated Wotan is actually dead. The story is fun, and a little hokey, but the interesting thing is that Wotan is a scientist and not a mage like Dr. Fate. He is attempting to manipulate Earth’s magnetic flow between the poles in order to destroy the planet.


I bring up both of these stories to show how Roy Thomas used the stories that his predecessors wrote and drew to share the origin of Dr. Fate with new readers. He makes minor changes and embellishes here and there but he remains extremely faithful to the source material that he loved when he was reading these comics growing up. He honors the past and DC’s rich history. You can see this in the art as well. The character designs for Wotan and Dr. Fate are identical in All-Star  Squadron and More Fun Comics. Also take a look at the following panels from the DC Special Series story and the ones from All-Star Squadron. Thomas had to have guided McFarlane in order to tell the story as he wanted to. 

Example 1 – From The Immortal Destiny:IMG_20190825_161414

And All-Star Squadron:


Example 2 – Immortal Destiny


And All-Star Squadron


Now that I’ve established where Dr. Fate comes from let’s take a look at some of his adventures. How does Kent Nelson deal with the controlling mage Nabu? Does his relationship with Inza withstand the strain of immortality and order? Let’s find out as we examine the “The Mummy that Time Forgot”!

The Mummy that Time Forgot
Reprinted from 1st Issue Special #9
Writer – Martin Pasko
Artist – Walt Simonson
Editor –  Gerry Conway

The thing that I want to talk about, before we get to this story, is how I came across this book. I was at the Baltimore Comic Con and was attending a panel where Walt Simonson was being interviewed. Along with the interview there was a power-point presentation that was being used to show examples of his work that there were going to be discussed. At one point in the interview they got to talking about the artist edition that was soon to be released “Manhunter and other Stories”. As they were showing a preview of the book there was a slide that contained the art for the cover of “The Immortal Dr. Fate”, seen above. I was blown away. I did not know that the great Walt Simonson had drawn a Dr. Fate comic. I did a quick google search for “Walt Simonson Dr. Fate” and quickly found that “The Immortal Dr. Fate” was a three issue series. From there I knew what my mission was and add the comic to my list of things to search the bins for. 

It was not too difficult to find the first two issues, but the third did take some time. Since I had only done a cursory search I didn’t really know much about the comic, and at the time I still had not yet discovered the joys of 1st issue special. I mention all this because I did not realize that “The Immortal Dr. Fate” was a reprint series. The first issue collects  wthe  three stories I am discussing here and the second and third issues collect the Dr. Fate back up stories that appeared in The Flash, vol. 1, issues 306-313. I love reprint comics, they provide a great way to read old stories, very often ones that have never been collected or that the average collector cannot afford. And because they are just reprints they are typically inexpensive. When I finally was able to read the comic I was slightly disappointed that it was not a three issue Dr. Fate mini-series drawn by Walt Simonson. I got over that feeling pretty quickly though because all the stories were so good. Now let’s check out Walter Pasko and Walt Simonson’s Dr. Fate. 


The story begins with Dr. Fate leaving his Tower in Salem Massachusetts on a mission. He’s off to the Boston Museum of Egyptology because the crystal orb of Nabu has directed him there. It’s late and two wealthy men have decided to peruse the collection without having to be bothered by other museum patrons. They are greeted by a mummy coming out of his sarcophagus. 


The mummy dispatches both men quickly and as they lay broken on the ground Dr. Fate arrives. The mummy recognizes Dr. Fate as the student of Nabu and Dr. Fate recalls the mummy as Nabu’s foe, Khalis. Catching Dr. Fate off guard Khalis attacks and stuns him giving him the opportunity to steal the medallion he wears around his neck. Khalis leaves the fallen Dr. Fate and the museum in order to complete his goal of enslaving mankind and worshiping the Egyptian deity, Anubis. When Dr. Fate comes too he is hurt and disoriented. He heads back to his tower and Inza. As Fate collapses on the floor he tells Inza that he has returned her husband to her. This brief dialog between Inza and Dr. Fate really reinforces the idea the Kent Nelson and Dr. Fate are different people. 

When Inza helps Kent recover from his battle with Khalis she lays into him about how she’s tired of healing his body just to have Nabu retake control of him and do it all over again as he battles his foes. Kent, obviously worn out, does not want to have this argument again and passes out, frustrating Inza even more. She decides to leave the tower and let Kent sleep it off. 


When Kent comes to, he heads up to the library to do some research to try and find out what Khalis’s deal is. He eventually finds some ancient text that details the rise to power of a mad priest, Khalis, who worships Anubis. Anubis bestows Khalis with a magical amulet who then uses it to control the slaves. One day someone new shows up who cannot be controlled by Khalis, or the amulet. Three guesses on who that might be and the first two don’t count. If you have made it this far and guessed it was Nabu, congratulations (and thank you). Nabu thinks the priest has overstepped and that pharaoh should be the only one to command such power. Nabu separates Khalis from the amulet. Khalis loses control of his slaves and they quickly revolt turning Khalis into a mummy while he is still alive. Ouch. Anubis observes this and tells Khalis he will live on even in death until he can recover the amulet. 

Kent Nelson knows what he must do and puts on the Helmet. As Dr. Fate  leaves his tower a second time, this time to face one of his strongest foes, we turn to Inza who has rented a room for the evening. She’s starting to have second thoughts about blowing off her husband just because of Dr. Fate. She decides that helping him might be the better thing to do and heads off to the museums where she might be able to do some good. Dr. Fate catches up Khalis and they fight. One of the things I like about Dr. Fate is that he’s more like a paladin than a wizard. He’ll throw a punch or two and then whip out some eldritch magic. 



Khalis manages to get away and just then Inza pulls up with the final piece of the puzzle. She’s found a piece of Khalis’s tomb that has his “magical name” in hieroglyphics on it. She figures it had to be used to help imprison the mummy.  Dr. Fate thanks her and splits. He’s got to stop Khalis before he can go through with his plan. 

By now Khalis has summoned Anubis who says he’ll only help him if he can destroy Dr. Fate. Deities can be tricky folks, especially the gods of Death. Dr. Fate eventually finds Khalis and decides playtime is over, he’s going for broke here. He reads the name on the tomb fragment and then summons Amon-Ra, the god of the sun (Anubis’s spiritual opposite) and together they turn Khalis to dust. Dr. Fate recovers the amulet and then passes out having used so much power. Inza pulls up in her car and helps Dr. Fate to his feet. In a cool touch, while still wearing the helmet, Dr. Fate says that “we did it”. When Inza questions this Kent Nelson takes off the helmet and says “Yeah, we. You and me”. 


This is easily one of my favorite Dr. Fate stories. Sure it wraps up the conflict between Kent, Inza, and Nabu in a nice, neat little package but it at least addresses the challenges that they face when dealing with Nabu’s control of their lives. It also shows that Dr. Fate can be an action hero instead of just some aloof magical being that can get out of any jam by just uttering a magic word and waving his arms around. Finally we see that Kent Nelson is not the Immortal being, Dr. Fate is. After the first fight with Khalis, Kent has taken a beating and is pretty out of it. It is his physical body takes the punishment while Nabu is just a metaphysical entity using Kent as a host. With that in mind we get to our next story, the four issue Dr. Fate mini-series from 1987 by J.M DeMatteis and Keith Giffen. 

Dr. Fate (#1-4)


Writer – J.M. DeMatteis
Illustrator – Keith Giffen
Inker –  Dave Hunt
Letterer – Agustin Mas
Colorist –  Anthony Tollin
Editor – Denny O’Neil

All I remember about reading this series when it came out in 1987 is that I did not like it. I did not like the art and the store was too cerebral for me. At the time I was not into “heady” comics. I liked my action packed stories. By 1987 I was heavily into Daredevil, The Punisher, Batman, and Spiderman. All-Star Squadron was coming to an end. Infinity Inc. and the Young All-Stars were something my brother was reading. I just wasn’t in a place to appreciate this comic. Reading it now as an adult is a whole other story. 

This story deals with chaos, madness, death, and immortality in a way that I can really get behind. By this time DeMatteis and Giffen were quite comfortable with Dr. Fate. Giffen had drawn that backup story from the Flash that I mentioned and they had co written the Justice League series that followed the Legends event, the team that Dr. Fate was on. In this story though they tear the character down only to bring him back in a new form. 


The story begins with Dr. Fate fighting chaos demons. As strong as he is though, his opponents are belligerent and numerous. Eventually all the little demons combine to form one big demon named Typhon, a heavy among the Lords of Chaos. Just as Dr. Fate seems like he is about to defeat his foe he is pulled away. He’s as surprised as the reader is. At first it is hard to tell what is going on but as the conversation progresses we can infer that Dr. Fate has been brought to another dimension by the Lords of Order and it is not Dr. Fate that is being addressed but Nabu, the Lord of Order who has spent a millenia on Earth. The conversation here sets up the whole story but the basic premise is that time is divided up into cycles, or yugas, as they are referred to on Earth. The Lords of Order tell Nabu that the current cycle is coming to an end and that the Lords of Chaos have won, or are at least winning. Nabu is instructed to give up, let them win, so the next cycle can start and in that cycle Order will reign. 

Nabu has different ideas though and cares more for humans than maybe a Lord of Order should. The Lords of Order don’t particularly care for his tone and separate Nabu from Dr. Fate by removing the helmet and revealing a tired and broken down Kent Nelson. They question Nelson, asking him if he’s ready to accept the end, accept death and based on the crying, old man’s look, he is. 


Back on Earth we meet Linda, a pretty, young woman in a fur coat and a young boy named Eric. Linda has brought Eric to the park to play with kids his age, but he does not seem to want to. He’s awkward and afraid. While Linda sits on a park bench we find out who these characters are. Linda is a young woman who married a rich old man for his money. It turns out becoming an heiress isn’t easy, but she is one, nonetheless. Eric is her step son, the child of her dead husband’s first wife, who killed herself rather than be with Eric’s father. Neither Linda or Eric are happy about their predicament but they also have a special relationship (yes, it is almost that kind of special). Linda thinks Eric is a very old soul trapped in a boys body and and Eric is really only comfortable around Linda. 

As Linda returns from her internal monologue we see that Eric is being lead away quietly by a man in a trench coat. The man says they are going to Salem and Eric replies that he thinks they should let Linda know where they are going but also that he thinks he’s been waiting for the man for a long time. 


Next we meet the final actor in our story, Doctor Stoner, who works are Arkham Asylum. This doctor happens to be in his office communicating with the Lords of Chaos that we met at the beginning of the story. Since this is Arkham Asylum and there are demons talking to the doctor, we can assume he’s up to no good. We then cut back to Kent Nelson, Eric, and Nabu in Dr. Fate’s tower in Salem. This version of Kent and Nabu is slightly different than previous versions in that Nabu is a talking mouth where Kent’s belly should be. It’s pretty disturbing. Kent Nelson is a visibly tired and weary old man. We learn that Inza has passed away  and Kent is only being kept alive by the Lord of Order that he plays host for. Eric has been chosen to become the new host for Nabu. Eric actually seems pretty comfortable with this. Energy is expelled from Nabu’s mouth / Kent’s belly and Eric is transformed into a strapping young man. 


A distraught Linda is back in her apartment fretting over the loss of Eric when there is an explosion outside. Dr. Fate appears outside her window and tells her that Eric Strauss will be back. He then flies off to fight the giant chaos demon, Typhon. Eric and Nabu don’t really know how to work well together yet. Eric did not receive all the training Kent did. Nabu took a shortcut and it does not pay off. Eric is fighting Nabu in his mind and Typhon takes advantage of that. He’s able to separate the two finally defeating Dr. Fate. Nabu’s energy returns to Kent and Eric Strauss ends up naked and babbling about only being a ten year old boy. Conveniently Doctor Stoner is called by the police to take this obviously deranged person to the asylum. 

In the next issue we see Kent and Nabu back at the Salem Tower debating whether or not the Lords of order are right and the current Yuga is coming to and end, that chaos has won. Linda decides that she needs to go and search for Eric, feeling somehow drawn to Massachusetts. Doctor Stoner torments the addled Eric who does not understand how to deal with the changes he has gone though. Stoner is also working with Typhon and getting stronger and stronger. What works really well in this story is the fact that Stoner works in the asylum. With the inmates Joker, Two Face and the rest of loonies the place is a natural breeding ground for chaos. It thrives there. The damaged minds of the patients make it a place where the negative energy can flourish in this plane. 

Kent and Nabu reach out to Eric. Nabu forces Eric further down in his own psyche so he can take full control. They transform into Dr. Fate with Nabu almost completely in control. Fate goes to challenge Stoner and Typhon. It does not go well, Typhon is too strong with all the chaotic energy of the asylum to power him. Typhon is able to expel Nabu from Dr. Fate. He has Stoner put the mantle and amulet on becoming the Chaotic Dr. Fate. Nabu returns to Kent. The Lords of Order then make a grand entrance and and question Nabu again, about giving up and letting chaos win this age. Nabu says no dice and he and Kent Nelson are alone again. Finally now that Stoner and Typhon have become Dr. Fate they leave Eric all alone. This will end up being a mistake. 


The third issue begins with Dr. Fate sowing the seeds of chaos across the globe. He is looking to see the world burn. In a neat twist we see the Justice League meeting. Mister Miracle, Guy Gardner, the Martian Manhunter, and Batman get together because the world seems to be worse off than usual. The Phantom Stranger shows up, making one of the greatest entrances I have ever read in Comics. 


Linda has found the tower in Salem. She and Kent are arguing about Dr. Fate, Nabu, and what they should be doing. Kent is ready to give in. Linda cannot believe it and Nabu is just pissed. Just as Kent is beginning to stand up to Nabu, Eric shows up saying they cannot  let chaos win. He’s still naked but now more confident than ever. While Eric gives Kent the ultimate pep talk the Justice League decides to tussle with demon Dr. Fate. They don’t accomplish much but they do slow him down a bit. 

In the climatic issue demon Dr. Fate decides that in order to spread chaos more quickly and speed up his victory he heads to Egypt where everything began. He’s not alone though. The newly invigorated Eric Strauss is there, now calling himself Fate, along with Kent, Nabu and Linda. Nabu is pissed that Linda is there. He thinks she’s a distraction for Eric. Eric and Kent know better in this case. Eric goes to challenge demon Dr. Fate and starts to take a pretty good beating. Kent tells Linda to go and help Eric, that he needs her. Nabu tries to prevent it but Kent is able to stop him. As demon Dr. Fate is about to finish Eric, Linda is transformed into a being of energy (it doesn’t sound like much, but trust me, in the comic is works really well). 

As Eric and Linda merge into one being Kent explains what is happening. That may be at one time Nabu had good intentions but over the years his desire for full control over his host, Kent, he made him miss out on what really mattered in life. Too much of it was spent away and apart from Inza. Dr Fate could have been so much more if there was more love, than order in his life. Kent is not going to allow that to happen to Eric and Linda. Eric / Linda resume control of the helmet and amulet becoming the new Dr. Fate. Typhon and Stoner are defeated and Order reigns. 

The story ends with Eric, Linda and Kent back in Salem. Nabu has left Kent so that he can finally be at peace and returns to the realm of order. Eric and Linda bury Kent and are ready to begin their own journey. Nabu is arguing with the Lords of Order. He’s finally comes to understand that order and chaos are not everything there is to existence. He does not come out and say it but he’s referring to love. There is also love. The Lords of Order expel Nabu for the final time, he’s never to return. He goes back to earth and decides to use Kent’s body to help teach and learn from Eric and Linda. 


This Dr. Fate mini-series launches the monthly series with Eric and Linda Strauss taking the mantle up. It was written by J.M. Dematteis and drawn by Shawn McManus. As I mentioned I did not like this story as a kid and therefore did not read the on going title that came after it. This series really is an excellent story, maybe not for a fourteen year kid who was really into Spiderman, but it was definitely worth my time to revisit as an adult. The themes of madness feeding chaos and order struggling to survive and have meaning it today’s world were worthy explorations. Keith Giffen’s art really fits the tone of the book. The coloring and heavy inks also lend to the overall oppressive mood. Everything is heavy and drab except Dr. Fate’s awesome yellow and blue costume. It stands out against everything and brings something better to the world in this story. 

What really brings it all home is that in the end it is that love wins and that is how Dr. Fate is able to defeat chaos. It’s a good message. It is not justice or right that overcomes chaos and destruction, but simply love. And after all the stories I’ve discussed here where all Nabu wants is total control for him to come around in the end really just caps it off nicely. Finally I want to discuss briefly one more incarnation of Dr. Fate. 

Doctor Fate #1


Storytellers – Paul Levitz & Sonny Liew
Colorist –  Lee Loughridge
Letterer – Nick J. Napolitano

This Doctor Fate comic was the DC – You story launched in 2015. DC had finally dropped the New 52 moniker and launched a couple of new titles aimed at younger readers and still ignored pretty much everything that happened prior to the launch of the New 52. Now while that may sound pretty negative, and it was mostly poorly received, I did enjoy some of the things they tried. Case in point this new Doctor Fate. 

The premise here was that Anbuis, god of the dead, is seeking to wash the world away in a great flood. He is opposed by Bastet, the Egyptian cat goddess. Bastet gives the Helmet of Dr Fate to a young Egyptian boy named Nassour, who is descended from pharaohs. Nassour rejects it all at first but eventually gives in. Nassour, not fully understanding what is happening to him, struggles in his role as the mystery mage. Eventually he and Bastet will defeat Anubis and Kent Nelson will show up too in order to help.


The series was very similar to Marvel’s Ms. Marvel where they story revolved around a Muslim family instead of a Caucasian family. It also felt a little bit little the Greatest American Hero TV show in that Nassour is given a lot of great power but has no idea what to do with it. I enjoyed the changes and it did not feel heavy handed or forced. I thought it was a well told story about a family in the city struggling to put their brightest and smartest child through college in a time when most people struggle to get by. It also just so happens that the same young man has access to magical powers that he’ll have to use to save the world. For as long as it lasted, I thought it was fine storytelling.

Wrapping it all up

Through the years there have been quite a few different creators writing Dr. Fate stories and yet his origin remained pretty much the same, not a lot of retconing happening is this case. Of course he fights crime and evil doers wherever they may be but there is also a great personal conflict that comes with the character. It is interesting to see how different writers deal with the strife between Kent, or whomever is wearing the helmet, and Nabu. I particularly enjoyed the moment in the DeMatteis / Giffen mini-series when Nabu realizes there is more to existence than order and chaos. Inza is also a complex character who is a good foil for Nabu. 

There are plenty of other instances of Dr. Fate out there to enjoy. One of these days I’ll get around to the Dematteis series that followed the mini-series. Not to mention the Earth 2 Fate from the New 52 series. He’s also featured in the new Justice League Dark series which I am looking forward to reading once I get caught up on that series. Dr. Fate has been around a long time and gone through a lot of changes (aren’t you glad that since you made it this far I didn’t discuss the Fate series). He faced all sorts of enemies, been on lots of different superhero teams, has lived and died but through it all, one thing has been constant, one thing does not change, he’s always got that SWEET ASS Helmet!  

Of course one of the great things about comic book characters is that essentially they are all Immortal as long as we are there to buy and read their stories. I’ve enjoyed the character most of my life which is why when I chose to write about him for this Super-Blog Team-Up event it felt really good. I had a ton of fun writing this and revisiting the character in all these different stories. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much I did writing it. I encourage you to now read and listen to some more really AWESOME tales of various Immortal characters please check out the rest of the what the Super-Blog Team-Up gang has to offer. You’ll be glad you did.


Super-Blog Team Up Links:

Comic Reviews By Walt: TMNT and Highlander

The Superhero Satellite: Super-Blog Team-Up Presents IMMORTAL: Peter Loves Mary Jane

Between The Pages Blog: Big Finish: Doctor Who’s Finest Regeneration

The Unspoken Decade: Archer and Armstrong:  Opposites Attract:  Archer and Armstrong

DC In the 80s: Young Animals Bug

Black, White and Bronze: What Price Immortality? A Review of Red Nails

The Daily Rios: Arion The Immortal (1992 Six Issue Mini Series)

Chris Is On Infinite Earths: Podcast Episode 26 – Resurrection Man 1997 & 2011

In My Not So Humble Opinion : It Came from the 1990s: Ivar the Timewalker

Vic Sage “…of the upcoming Pop Culture Retrorama site.”: I am Legend
Pop Culture Retrorama Podcast Ep. 08 – I Am Legend

The Source Material Comics Podcast: Vampirella “Roses For The Dead”

Dave’s Comic Heroes Blog: Multi-Man  LINK GOES LIVE 8/28/2019 1:00 am PST

Magazines and Monsters:
Podcast episode – Kang/Immortus: Avengers-Kang: Time and Time Again TPB (Avengers 69-71)
Blog post:

Radulich Broadcasting Network: TV PARTY TONIGHT – Jupiter Ascending commentary


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Chicago 2019: LCS Graham Crackers Comic Loop


When my brother and I were young our mother took us on two cross-country trips. The first trip we drove through the northern half of the lower 48 States to California and came back through the southwest and the midwest. The second trip we drove to Alaska and came back through British Columbia and again the midwest. Both journeys were made in our family minivan and we camped the entire way. These were amazing vacations and we were blessed to be able to see some of the most wonderful things in the United States and Canada. One of the highlights of both of these trips was visiting local comic shops in the towns and cities we drove through.

Each vacation was meticulously arranged months in advance with many visits to AAA for maps and trip-tics. During those planning stages, we would use the Overstreet Price Guide and the list of comic retailers in the front of the book to see if there were comic shops in the places we were going. If there were, we’d mark them on the maps. My mother knew that if she was going to stay sane driving 500 to 700 miles a day with two young boys in the back seat that she was going to have to find ways to keep us quiet and not play “he’s touching me” for the entire time. We were both avid readers so plenty of books were packed but comics were really going to do the trick. It was these family trips that instilled in me the desire to look for a comic shop whenever I travel. 


This past July, I was asked to be part of the team traveling to Chicago for the National Conference our company hosts for the US and Canadian consultants that sell our products. We arrived on a Monday morning, a day before the truck would deliver all the items needed for the show, so I had time in the afternoon to explore a little bit on my own. Thanks to Google Maps and Uber I was able to visit Graham Crackers Comics Loop right off Millenium Park.

The first thing I noticed when I walked into the shop was the huge wall of recent comics. This wall went the entire length of the store and turned the corner in the back. They obviously do quite well based on the inventory they seemed to move. It was not like the piles on the racks contained months worth of back issues, each stack seemed to go no more than one issue prior to the current month if that. The opposite wall was filled with Manga, trade paperbacks, and hardcover collections (we don’t call ‘em graphic novels on this blog unless they contain an original story and not reprinted material). The back of the store contained a nice amount of back issue bins, the dollar, and fifty-cent bins, and some “wall” books.  The most amazing thing about the place was that it had very few toys and even fewer Funko Pops. Sure they were there but they did not occupy much more than a couple of shelves. All in all, it was a wicked nice shop, now let’s get to the stuff I picked up. 

The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #11 and #13


Writer – Gerry Conway
Artist – Pat Broderick
Artist Embellisher – Rodin Rodriquez
Letters – Adam Kubert
Colors – Gene D’Angelo

If I come across the late seventies, early eighties era DC comics in the cheapo bins there is an almost one hundred percent chance that I will buy them. There are several series I am currently working on collecting, DC Comics Presents, Arak: Son of Thunder, and Infinity Inc. The discount bins are great places to work on those lines. On this trip, I was just looking for some fun stuff to read back in the hotel when I got off work at night and I came across these early issues of Firestorm. 

Due to the way modern comics are written where the reader almost always has to have all the issues in the story arc in order to understand what’s happening, I am usually hesitant to pick up non-consecutive issues for a series. Reading comics out of order, or not starting with issue #1 can make me a little twitchy. With older comics though, if the story does span multiple issues there is almost always enough exposition and narration to get the reader caught up. This is because back then any given comic really could have been someone’s first issue and the publishers and editors livelihoods depended on that. I was comfortable buying these two comics knowing that #11 was not the first part of the story. I’m was sure whatever was going on would be explained and that issue #13 would provide plenty of recap from whatever I was going to miss from not reading issue #12. 


The story actually starts in issue #10 but it is clear from the get-go what’s happening. Firestorm has been attacked by a were-hyena and is now cursed, slowly turning into a monster himself. The story concludes in issue #13 and it was a fun ride. Ronnie and Professor Stein have to overcome the curse and not being able to separate the Firestorm matrix and return to their normal selves. The story was very enjoyable and the conflict between Ronnie and the Professor, while they were trapped, was intriguing. There was plenty of great action and Pat Broderick’s art was outstanding. I’d buy more early Firestorm comics if I came across them in a heartbeat. 

Dark Shadows – #13


Writer – Mike Raight
Illustrator –  Nacho Tenorio
Colors – Carlos Lopez
Letterer – Troy Peteri
Cover artist – Francesco Francavilla

Honestly, I’ll buy any comic in a discount bin with a Francavilla cover. This caught my eye because not too long ago I started watching the original Dark Shadows series and am loving it. This comic had two things going for it, a subject I’d love to read a comic about and a great cover artist. For fifty cents this was a no brainer pick up. 

Blue Beetle #14 and Crossfire #15



Blue Beetle
Writer – Len Wein
Penciller – Paris Cullins
Inker – Dell Barras
Letterer – John Costanza
Colorist – Gene D’Angelo
Spanking New Editor – Denny O’Neil

By – Mark Evanier & Dan Spiegle
Lettering – Carrie Spiegle
Coloring – Jo Meugniot
Created by – Mark Evanier and Will Meugniot

I picked both of these up because they are series that I am collecting. I got into this Blue Beetle recently while reading BackIssue #79, the issue that is all about Charlton’s Action Heroes line. Of all the Charlton characters that DC purchased the rights to Blue Beetle was one of the most successful. I love Paris Cullen’s art and you cannot go wrong with Len Wein writing.

I discovered Crossfire recently at a show in New Hampshire. I pulled a good-sized stack of issues from one dealer’s bins simply because Mark Evanier’s name is on the cover. I love his writing and had never heard of the comic. I’ve liked what I’ve read so far and have decided to try and find the complete series. 

This is WildDog #1


Writer – Max Collins
Penciller –  Terry Beatty
Inker – Dick Giordano
Letterer – John Workman
Colorist –  Michele Wolfman
Editor – Mike Gold

I grabbed this one because of Chris Sheenan and his exploration of the complete run of Action Comics Weekly. There are two arcs with WildDog and I liked both. Finding the first issue of the first mini-series featuring the character and for fifty cents, I could not say no. One of the most interesting things about this story is that they do not reveal who WildDog actually is until the last issue. There is also a great editorial from Mike Gold detailing how WildDog came to be. 

It’s funny how I enjoyed reading this comic now.  This was something my brother read when it came out. I was reading Punisher at the time and was at a stage in my life where if my brother liked something I would say I didn’t like it. I probably made fun of him for reading a comic about a Punisher rip off with a stupid hockey mask. Looking back though WildDog might be the more interesting comic. It was a short mini-series and the character did not get tired and overblown. 

wilddog panel

Marvel Superspecial Magazine  #20


Script – Dennis O’Neil
Pencils & Colors – Marie Severin
Inks – John Tartaglione
Editor – Jim Shooter

I love Marvel movie adaptations and the Super Special line. I think I have three sets of the two-issue limited series for Dragonslayer because if I see it I feel like I have to rescue it. It is just one of those things with me. This was the first time I had seen the magazine edition and had to pick it up. I was only six dollars and in my experience, that is a decent price for a Super Special magazine. 

The story is a very faithful adaptation of the movie. Fun fact, the movie was released as a joint venture between Paramount and Disney. At the time it was the first Disney movie that contained a nude scene. This magazine contains the complete story as well as a great behind the scenes article about the making of the movie and some wicked production shots. I was very pleased to be able to add this to my collection.

Wrap Up

For the better part of my life, I have been able to travel both across this country and around the world. I am quite fortunate for having been able to do that. I’ve seen lots of amazing things and had wonderful adventures. All those journeys have been special, but some more than others if I was able to find a local comic shop. 

I want to close with a picture of a collection of polyhedral dice. In the last few years, whenever I visit a new comic shop I buy a twenty-sided die to mark the occasion. This picture is just some of the dice I’ve purchased. The one in the front came from Graham Crackers Comic Loop. 



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Kwik-y-Comics All Star Comics 61


It has been quite some time since I have written anything for this blog. I find that between reading the comics I buy, managing and cataloging my collection, and enjoying my other hobbies I find it difficult to devote time to writing. This time out I thought I would do something a little different and do a short piece, just to get back into the groove of things. This time I’ll be looking at All-Star Comics #61 from July 1976.


Writer / Editor – Gerry Conway
Illustrations – Keith Giffen & Wally Wood
Colorist – Carl Gafford
Cover Artist – Ernie Chan

When I came across this in the cheapo bins I was super excited. I’m a huge fan of the Justice Society having grown up with the All-Star Squadron. For me, they are one of the greatest teams in all of comics. There is a great diversity of characters on the team that can really lead to some interesting interactions. In good writer’s hands, characters like the brash and strong-willed Wildcat and the Mystical Dr. Fate can have some wild adventures. Throw in a blind scientist like Dr. Midnight or Superman’s cousin Powergirl and well then, you’ve really got something.

Ever since Mark Waid’s “A Midsummer’s Nightmare” and Grant Morrison’s JLA brought DCs heavy hitters back together on one team I have felt as if we are living in the era of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Waid’s, Morrison’s, and many others take on the Justice League have given us great stories over the last 22 years but I often find myself looking for more from DC and those yearnings usually take the form of the characters from the JSA. Give me Dr. Fate, The Star-Spangled Kid, and Starman and I’m a happy guy.

Hellfire and Holocaust


The story in this issue picks up from the previous issue with Green Lantern and Dr. Fate fighting the villain Vulcan. We get a nice recap on the opening splash where we are told that Vulcan was formerly NASA astronaut Christopher Pike who was turned into Vulcan during a recent mission where he was orbiting the sun. (Christopher Pike? Vulcan? I guess Gerry Conway is a big Star Trek fan). There is quite a bit of destruction as Green Lantern and Fate engage with Vulcan. Green Lantern tries to protect the city while Fate takes on the villain directly. The building that they are fighting on collapses and Fate is buried in the rubble while Vulcan blasts away to safety.

Elsewhere the other members of the JSA are standing around bickering while their headquarters burns. The damage is a result of their battle with Vulcan from the previous issue. The Flash’s wife, Joan, shows up and tells him that she worries about him going back into action since he’s retired and asks him to come home. He does. Power Girl, Wildcat, and the Star-Spangled Kid argue about Kid’s use of the cosmic rod. At this point, I have no idea where Starman is.


Eventually, Green Lantern summons the JSA’ers to have them rejoin the fight against Vulcan. As the firemen douse the flames that have engulfed their former HQ the team is getting ready to leave when Powergirl flies off on her own without telling everyone else what’s up. Come to find out she heard over the police scanners about a UFO crashing in another part of the city. When she arrives at the site she is greeted by an alien that looks like a large frog in green battle armor.

When Wildcat and Doctor Midnight finally meet up with Green Lantern they find him trying to remove the rubble of the destroyed building that Dr. Fate is buried under. The problem is that there is so much wood in the debris that GL is having trouble completing the rescue due to his rings weakness with wood. With the help of Doctor Midnight’s goggles, the heroes are able to locate Dr. Fate and quickly dig him out.


Power Girl and the frog alien continue to trade blows when the alien starts to send her psychic messages. He’s trying to tell her that he is there for Vulcan. Speaking of Vulcan, we rejoin him while he is fighting with the Star-Spangled Kid and Hawkman. Power Girl shows up with her alien buddy and tries to explain to Hawkman and the Star-Spangled Kid that the alien is there is help Vulcan. It turns out the frog-like alien is the one who rescued Christopher Pike and transformed him into Vulcan in order to save him from crashing in the sun while he was orbiting the star.

There was a problem with how the alien saved Pike and he accidentally left this doll set to evil. He has come to Earth to correct that mistake. Vulcan reacts poorly to this news and kills the alien. Just as he is about to turn on the members of the JSA Powergirl tells the Star-Spangled kid that the problem with Vulcan is that he is super sensitive to sunlight. The same exact type of energy that powers the cosmic rod flag boy is carrying. Star-Spangled Kid fires a blast from the cosmic rod at Vulcan destroying him.


I enjoyed the heck out of this comic and it really pushed a lot of buttons for me. First of all, I really dig anything that is related to the United States Bicentennial and right there on the cover, DC is saluting the country’s 200 birthday. According to Mike’s Amazing World of Comics, this issue was released in April of 1976 with a cover date of August. This is also the 17th issue in the series of July and August comics to be featured with the Bicentennial banner. At the time DC was running a promotion where readers could send in 25 different cover headings and they would receive a Superman belt buckle. At this time comics were still widely thought of disposable instead of as collectibles so getting kids to cut up their comics was not quite as crazy as it sounds.

Mike’s Amazing Comics also credits Keith Giffin as the artist and Wally Wood as the inker on this issue. I always think of it as being a bonus prize when I pull a comic out of the dollar bins that Wally Wood worked on. According to Keith Giffin’s Wikipedia page, his first published work was released in January of 1976, so this comic was most likely one of the earliest things he worked on. Wood’s inking really makes the art tight and clean and I’d be very surprised if he didn’t help out the young artist with some of the rough parts.  

Another aspect of this issue that I really enjoyed was the dynamic between the members of the JSA. The younger members, Power Girl and the Star-Spangled Kid, seem to want to exercise their abilities more while the older guard, Wildcat and the Doctor Midnight, are trying to keep them in check. This conflict made me want to read more issues to see how they get along going forward.

Finally, the story is not just the typical heroes beating up on the villain. Green Lantern and the rest of the team are genuinely concerned about the city and the people around them. When they are fighting Vulcan at the beginning of the story Green Lantern is shown several times saving the crowds around them from debris from the buildings getting destroyed. Heck, the team’s headquarters is burning down due to the fight with Vulcan in issue 60. It was really great to see the heroes dealing with the consequences of their actions.

Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved these characters. This is the first issue from the 1970s era of All-Star comics that I’ve ever read and it did not disappoint. I’ll close this piece out with the ad for the Superman belt buckle promo. If you’ve got 25 issues from this list maybe you could send the covers to Dan Didio and see if he’s got any of those belt buckles laying around.



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NorthEast Comic-Con Spring 2019


It’s not the Emerald City Comic Con, also taking place this weekend in Seattle, but the NorthEast Comic-Con is a fun medium sized show and a good place to find some deals and get some decent comics. I’ve been several times over the last few years both when it was in Hanover and the last few times when it has been in Boxboro. The show can be hit or miss for me depending on how many comic dealers attend. This weekend was a hit, there was a large crowd, a good mix of dealers, and people selling toys & collectibles. I picked up some neat stuff from the dollar bins and got a couple of issues to cross off my want list.

There were people selling high-end stuff, expensive graded, non-graded, highly collectible comics like Marvel Premiere #15, Conan #1, and DC Comics Present #26 (a comic I aspire to own one day). There were also plenty of tables selling nice selections of silver and bronze age books as well as my favorite, the dollar bins.


Generally, there are two types of cheap bins. There are the ones where the dealer is trying to unload an overstock of recent comics and then there are the ones where they are trying to sell older comics that are typically not worth much and the condition can vary greatly. It is the latter type I am most interested in. I’m mostly looking for something fun to read, and on the off chance pick up something that I cross off from my want list.


Speaking of my want list,  I track my collection using the excellent software from Collectorz but I manage the specific things I am looking for using old fashioned pen and paper. I carry the small notebook pictured above with me to every comic shop and show that I attend. I’ve had it for years, it is compact and well made. The notebook and the messenger bag I carry are all part of the ritual that is one of the most enjoyable aspects of collecting comics, the search. For this piece, I want to recap what I purchased at the show but to make it more interesting I will also discuss why I made the purchase.

Gold Key & Whitman


The Black Hole #2
Turok Son of Stone #85 & #86
Uncle Scrooge #107 & #113

None of these comics are in any kind of condition to make them considered valuable to a collector, but they are all readable. The covers are worn and have creases but they are attached and in certainly in acceptable condition. I’ve been a Disney Duck fan since I was a kid and when I find a decent Whitman Scrooge comic for a buck I will almost always pick it up. These two issues happen to have Carl Barks stories in them which is a huge bonus.


I got into Turok with the 2010 Dark Horse series that Jim Shooter wrote. Since then I’ve been getting the different series that Dynamite has put out. Turok is a great character who ends up on wild adventures, usually involving dinosaurs. Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? Lately, I’ve been reading the old Valiant series by David Michelinie and Bart Sears. These Gold Key issues are the first two I’ve seen in such nice condition and I was very pleased to pick them up at such a great price.

Finally, there is the Black Hole comic. I love movie tie ins and picking this up was a no brainer. It has a great photo cover and will fit nicely with the rest of the movie adaptations in my collection. I’ll have to keep an eye out for the first part.

More Movie Tie-ins and Licensed Marvel Properties 


Sheena #1 & 2
Battlestar Galactica #15
Fraggle Rock #1
Bladerunner #2
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade #1
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Comic Book #1

This bonanza of comics featuring licensed properties all came from the same booth. The Sheena and Bladerunner books are both movie tie ins that I do not already have. The Indiana Jones book is the third movie adaption and the only one I don’t have yet. It might have been a mistake buying just the one issue as these mini-series are typically sold in combined sets so there is a good chance that I’ll end up with another #1 in the future if I find the whole set at a decent price.

The original Battlestar Galactica is one of my all-time favorite TV shows. It only lasted for the one season and while the comic book series lived on after the show it was also short-lived. There were only 23 issues and this one is one of the last three that I need in order to complete the run.

I’m a big fan of the Bill and Ted movies. They are outlandish and silly but nothing beats their message to “Be Excellent to Each Other”. Evan Dorkin wrote and drew this issue so that was a neat surprise.


Fraggle Rock is also a special series from when I was a kid. We did not have cable in our house until I was in high school. This is not a complaint, just a fact. My exposure to HBO usually came when we were with my dad on the weekends and we would visit his friends and colleagues. There was one family that we visited often enough that when their children were not around for us to hang out with we got to watch their TV for a couple of hours and this was when my brother and I were introduced to the wonderful world of Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock. I’ve been reading a lot of the Jim Henson comics that Boom Studios has been publishing the last couple of years so I was pretty excited to find this issue from the Marvel comic Star line of kids comics.


I find that the Jim Henson properties like the Muppets and Dark Crystal lend themselves well to the comics medium and this issue of Fraggle comics was no exception. The story was fun and the Marie Severin art was really excellent. It was very detailed and the coloring really evoked the Fraggles bright look. It reminded me of Mercer Mayer’s monster books.

Early Bronze Age DC comics


Shade the Changing Man #2
Time Warp #5
First Issue Special #1, #6 and #11

Last year at Terrific-Con in Connecticut I bought a copy of Shade the Changing Man #1. It was a series I had never read before and knew very little about. I read the issue that night in the hotel while chowing down on pizza and RC Cola. I was a great supper and a great comic. Ever since then I’ve been searching for the second issue. This weekend I finally found it. I paid five dollars for it and that was honestly more than I wanted to spend, but it was the end of my time at the show and I was still under my strict spending limit so I pulled the trigger. It was the most I paid for any comic on the day and I am very glad to be able to read it.


Chris Sheenan over at Chris is on Infinite Earths turned me on to 1st Issue Special. The whole series is filled with fun and wacky introductions to different concepts and heroes. Try out stories can be really interesting artifacts. With hindsight, we can see what worked and what didn’t. The best thing about the issues I picked up was that two of them, Atlas and the Dingbats, are Jack Kirby creations. I really enjoy Kirby’s DC work. Many believe that he was not at his best when he was writing, drawing, and editing himself, and there is probably some truth to that but I still enjoy it.

Time Warp is a science fiction anthology series that I honestly know very little about. I bought one other issue previously and dug it so I thought I’d try and collect the rest of the series. The comic has a dollar cover price and is oversized. It combines my love of anthology comics and science fiction and I was able to get these two issues at a great price.

The Indies


Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #3-4, #6-7, #11
Breed #1
Local #1-4
Sword of the Swashbucklers #1-9

I picked up the Sword of the Swashbucklers for several reasons. The first two are because they were cheap and it was an almost complete run. The third reason is the most important though. This is a comic my brother has told me he enjoyed very much as a kid so I thought I’d give it a whirl. And, yes, I know Marvel Epic comics are not an independent comic, but it’s close so I put it in this group.

Jim Starlin’s Breed is a series I’ve been piecing together and I was very happy to find #1. I’m a big fan of Starlin’s work and am always looking for new stuff of his.

I was first introduced to Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers on Professor Alan’s Quarter Bin podcast. Since then I’ve picked up a couple of issues and it is a wicked fun series. The comic has some historical significance as it was one of the first comics published by Pacific Comics. Kirby helped put Pacific on the map as a publisher, where they previously only in the distribution business. This is a series that I’ve seen sell for quite a bit so I was glad to find issues in very nice shape in the dollar bins.


Local is a comic I have never heard of, published by Oni Press, which I have read next to nothing from. What grabbed me though was that is was written by Brian Wood, a favorite of mine. I loved The Massive and Rebels that he put out over at Dark Horse. I also really enjoyed Briggs Land so I am willing to try something written by him without any previous information. This particular dealer was really trying to move the stuff he had brought to the show, offering the comics at a dollar a piece or ten for five dollars. I pulled out twenty books including these four issues of Local. I plowed through them when I got home and am sorry that I did not find the other eight issues. The premise of the series is pretty cool, stand-alone stories that take place in different cities and towns, and the only connective thread is that the character Megan McKeenan will appear in each story in some fashion. This is a series I’ll certainly seek out in the future.

Stuff from the Want list


Arak Son of Thunder #3, #46-47
Merc #12
Atari Force #14
Madballs #4-5, #8

Not too long ago I put together a complete run of All-Star Squadron. Now I’m working on Infinity Inc. and Young All-Stars. I’m a big fan of Roy Thomas’s work. Last summer I heard him talk about how much he enjoyed writing Arak and that really got me interested in it. I’ve already mentioned I’m a fan of adventure comics, see Turok above, so picking up Arak seemed like a win-win situation.

Marvel’s New Universe was a valiant effort that was doomed just as it was getting ready to launch. (I’m pretty proud of the joke in that previous sentence and I hope that if someone reads this they get it). I’m very, very slowly working on a complete set of the original New Universe line. When I had originally decided to start that endeavor I had found a long run of Mark Hazzard: Merc that had issues one through eleven and the annual. Now I finally have the last issue and it should be interesting to read the series straight through.


Atari Force is an under-rated space saga created by Gerry Conway, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, and Ricardo Villagran. I’ve been piecing together the twenty issue set and am one step closer with this pickup.  At this point in the series, Conway and Garcia Lopez had moved on, with the latter only working on the covers.

Madballs is simply a guilty pleasure. In recent years I’ve become quite obsessed with the gross line of toys from my childhood. The comics are absurd and dumb but fascinating nonetheless. I mean how did a comic about gross bouncing balls get published in the first place, and last for ten issues for that matter? What could the stories even be about? I’ve just got to know and that’s why I picked up these issues.


Final Thoughts

One of the things I enjoy most about comics fandom and collecting comics is seeing what other people are buying.  I like to see what they picked up and learn why. Was it an investment? Was it the last issue they needed to complete the run? Was it something they always wanted to read? A lot of the people I follow on twitter regularly post pictures of what they have acquired and it really is fun to see what they share. One of the great things about collecting comics is that there is something for everyone and there is always a story behind why someone bought the comic they did.

I’m going to close out a pic of DC Special Series #2 that reprints Swamp Thing #1 and 2. It features a fantastic Bernie Wrightson wraparound cover. The comic is pretty worn and feels well loved. It will fit nicely into my collection.



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Every day we are asked to pick a side, Liberal or Conservative, Instagram or Twitter, Coke or Pepsi. You get the idea. Back in the mid-eighties, we had to pick our favorite transforming robots, Transformers or Go-Bots. Transformers were big, flashy, and had lots of moving parts. Gobots, on the other hand, were smaller, less articulated, and nowhere near as popular as their larger competitors. Despite all that I really liked the tiny robots.

Go-Bots were marketed in the US by Tonka, who partnered with Bandai which had created the toy line in Japan. There they were known as Machine Robo. Go-Bots were about the size of a Matchbox car, maybe a little bigger, when they were in their vehicle form. When they were transformed into their robot form they were about three inches tall, with moveable arms and legs. They were so small they didn’t have knee joints so there was not much to be done when posing the figures other than to put them in a kind of Frankenstein stance with straight legs and outstretched arms.


In the last few years, IDW publishing has really tried to capitalize on the ’70s and 80’s toy nostalgia trend producing titles like ROM, Micronauts, Transformer’s, G.I. Joe, and My Little Pony to name a few. I’ve read several of these series and enjoyed them, so when the Go-Bots comic was solicited I was pretty excited. The series is written, drawn and lettered all by Tom Scioli. I am personally not very familiar with his work but his bio notes that he was co-creator of the “Godland” comic at Image, and he drew and co-scripted the “Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe” at IDW. The later series is described “as an insane adventure that the A.V. Club called #%$^&ing awesome”. After reading the first two issues of this series I would have to say the same thing.

The first thing that is notable about the comic is the cover. It is a portrait of one of the “good-guy” Go-Bots, Leader 1. What is so striking about the image is that it looks like something that a talented artist might draw in a notebook using colored pencils in high school. You can see the line work in the shading. It is not a highly polished, heavy inked, digitally enhanced, picture that you would find on any other mainstream comic.


When you open the comic right away you can tell you are in for something different. There is no opening splash page, instead, there are seven panels laid out unlike anything else you would see in traditional comics. The word balloons are large and plentiful, yet they don’t get in the way of anything. The lettering itself has the same hand done look that the art does and it has an almost childlike quality to it. That is not to say that it is messy, it looks like the same talented high school artist who drew the cover trying to write neatly and clearly and succeeding. The words that require emphasis are simply done with a heavier pencil line, instead of selecting the bold font on the computer. The coloring is soft and almost has the washed out look of watercolors. The ink work has a very light touch and does not take away from what I think might be colored pencils.


Every page of the story has a different panel layout with no page having less than seven panels. There is a lot of dialog. For me, this is reminiscent of older comics where the creative teams would fit whole stories into single issues.  The entire package is unlike else being done today and I really liked it.

The story is a wild adventure. In this world, Go-Bots are the robot companions of humans. They provide transportation, protection, and entertainment. We are first introduced to Leader 1 and his pilot Condor. They are on a rescue mission to free some prisoners from an enemy jail. After that, we meet A.J and her Go-Bot companion Scooter. He’s dropping her off at school. In A.J.’s class, we get a little bit of exposition about the history of Go-Bots who were created to solve a parking problem.


From there we meet Matt Hunter, race car driver, and his car/pal the aptly named Turbo. After that, we really get into the story. Matt and Turbo are approached after a race by a mysterious bald man in a limo who has a business proposal for the two of them. The bald man takes them to a private arena where Go-Bots are battling each other to the death for the human crowd’s amusement. As the people in the arena chant “Kill-Kill-Kill” as Go-Bot with two wheels on his shoulders beheads his opponent. This fearsome Go-Bot, named Cy-Kill, wants more challengers and eventually decides he wants to fight Turbo. Matt and Turbo are disgusted and try to leave.

The crowd is not having that and they through Matt to the arena floor to face Cy-Kill. Matt mentions that Cy-Kill’s G chip will prevent him from harming a human. Cy-kill questions that theory and Matt trys to get away. Turbo saves Matt and they escape, returning later with the police. The arena is empty except for the bodies of dead Go-Bots and now humans.


These events kick off the whole series. From this point on there is a wave of Go-Bots “going bad” and revolting against the humans. The evil Go-Bots are led by Cy-Kill. It is an all-out revolution. Go-bots that once aided humans, like police cars, turn against them. The Go-Bots that still want to work with humans are brought together to by Leader-1. There is plenty of action and surprises throughout the next couple of issues. Eventually the Go-Bots head to outer space and to the homeworld Gobotron

The series has not been fully released but many of the memorable toys do make appearances in the comic. Screwhead, Scorp, Cop-Tur, Spacy, Zod, and the Command Center all show up. The series is dramatic and the art style provides an excellent juxtaposition for it. Because every page features a different panel layout this does not feel like any other mainstream comic. It is simply a ton of fun.


My brother and I had a couple of Gobots that I remember; Dive-dive, the submarine, Leader-1, the F-14, and Scorp, the scorpion were a few of them. Due to their smaller size, they fit in well with Kenner’s Star Wars figures and Hasbro’s G.I. Joe line. They were also less expensive than their larger cousins, the Transformers, which helped when asking for a new toy. Of course, there was a cartoon but I don’t have any real memory of watching it. Reading about it on the interwebs these days it is not well regarded.


This comic brought back a lot of fond memories and led me down a couple of fun rabbit holes while I researched the history of Go-Bots. As I write there is one more issue due out and I cannot wait to see what happens. Tom Sciloi does not have a huge body of work, probably due to the fact that he has an unusual style, as he writes, draws, colors and hand letters all his work. He did the backup Super Powers stories in Cave Carson has Cybernetic Eye. I have to admit I did not know what the deal was with that story and didn’t know it was Sicoli when I read Cave Carson and did not pay much attention to it. After reading Go-Bots though I’ll have to go back and check it out.

I want to close with something one of my friends said when we were talking about this comic, that I think really sum it all up very well. “He’s [Sicoli] put into comic book form what it used to be like to play with actions figures as a kid”. I could not have said it better.


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