Thursday, August 13, 2020

Adventure Comics SUPERGIRL "Return of the Black Flame" Conclusion

...Kryptonian villainess Black Flame escapes from Kandor, recruits several other (non-Kryptonian) super villains, and traps Supergirl using (what else?) Green Kryptonite!
A villain from Supergirl's early days returns, but writer/artist/editor Mike Sekowsky gets a lot wrong, as we pointed out yesterday!
Let's add to the goofs...
The "solid kryptonite" bowling balls are not the usual bright green, nor do they glow.
Non-glowing dark green had been used to show fake or inert Green K in various pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths stories.
Plus, just hitting Supergirl's feet with them (but not keeping the balls in proximity to her) while painful, wouldn't kill her!
One thing Sekowsky did get right...though Kryptonian, Black Flame is unaffected by the Green K, because Gold Kryptonite took away her powers in the previous battle...which leads us to...
Gold K acts instantly, as shown in several stories, including Black Flame's intro in DC's Action Comics #304!
And, it doesn't weaken or knock out Kryptonians, as shown here, just de-powers them permanently!
In future Sekowsky stories, the DC editorial staff does keep him on-track about continuity, probably after fan complaints about this tale!
As to the cover-featured mention that this 400th issue of Adventure Comics was the 35th Anniversary of the title...DC fudged the numbers a bit!
While it was Adventure Comics #400, it wasn't the "35th Anniversary of Adventure Comics"!
The comic started out as New Comics in 1935 (35 years earlier than 1970), retitled New Adventure Comics as of #12 early in 1937, and finally became Adventure Comics in late 1938 with #38!
So the actual 35th Anniversary would've been #425 (1973)...ironically, the issue when Supergirl moved to her own title and Adventure once more became an anthology title!
Next Week:
A never-reprinted, multi-issue epic so big it had to be spread over two blogs: this one and "sister" RetroBlog True Love Comics Tales!
The excitement starts here on Monday!
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(which includes Supergirl's first battle with Black Flame!)

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Adventure Comics SUPERGIRL "Return of the Black Flame" Part 1

It was 1970, and Adventure Comics was celebrating a double anniversary...'s 400th issue and the 35th Anniversary of #1!
But more about that tomorrow.
Let's jump into the action...
As will you, dear reader...
One of the problems with being your own editor is that nobody double-checks your own work!
This never-reprinted tale by writer/penciler/editor Mike Sekowsky from DC's Adventure Comics #400 (1970) is a classic case in point!
1) Kandor is a Kryptonian city sealed in a bottle...inside Superman's Fortress of Solitude!
It's not an installation on a distant planet!
How did Black Flame enlarge herself and get out?
Why didn't the Fortress intruder alarms go off?
2) The Phantom Zone is another dimension.
There's no "dome" around it, nor are guards required!
How did she gain access without a Phantom Zone Projector?
3) Who are the villains?
Obviously they're not Kryptonians!
Yet, at the time, there were no non-Kryptonian prisoners in the Phantom Zone!
(Mon-El was there, but that was to keep him from dying from lead poisoning...and he wasn't a prisoner!)
4) Why would a Kryptonian like Black Flame create such a human...and American...death-trap?
I could think of numerous easily-adapted games from other countries which would be more effective in disposing of an enemy!
BTW, though she's handling Green Kryptonite bowling balls, Black Flame is immune to the radiation, since she lost her powers after being exposed to Gold Kryptonite in her previous appearance (DC's Action Comics #304 [1963})!
At least he got that right!
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(which includes Supergirl's first battle with Black Flame!)

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Adventure Comics SUPERGIRL "Meets Nasty!"

...the Silver-Age Kara had Lex Luthor's sister Lena Thorul (who didn't know she was related to Lex) as a close friend, and his niece, Nasthalthia, as an enemy!
After this introduction in the never-reprinted DC's Adventure Comics #397 (1970), "Nasty" became an ongoing character in the strip for several years, following Linda/Kara/Supergirl from Stanhope College to her first job in San Francisco as a TV cameraperson!
Writer/artist/editor Mike Sekowsky explained in the letters page of DC's Adventure Comics #401that Nastalthia is the daughter of Lex's never-previously (or since) mentioned older sister who eloped to Europe as a teenager!
Her fate is unknown.
Next Week:
A Battle Royale as one of Supergirl's few recurring enemies returns...and brings some lethal friends with her!
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(which covers the second half of her Action Comics run and ends just before her takeover of Adventure Comics)

Thursday, July 30, 2020

SUPERGIRL "Hold It--Stop!"

The CW's Favorite Heroine's habit of changing costumes began during the Silver Age...
...and these pages present the fan-submitted costumes which were then adapted (and sometimes combined) for use in comics!
These never-reprinted pages from DC's Adventure Comics #398 (1970), which was part-reprint (explaining her "This is how I used to look" comment), were the follow-up to the mention in the Zond story that the editors would show the designs in the next issue!
But wait!
There's more!
The reprint book Super DC Giant S-24 (1971)...

...featured even more designs...

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Adventure Comics SUPERGIRL "Now...Comes Zond" Conclusion

Discovering a coven of mystics on Stanhope's campus, Supergirl attempts to shut them down, but the leader, Zond, utilizes magic to defeat her...
Though writer/artist/editor Mike Sekowsky eschewed the use of footnotes, we'll point out that Morgana the Witch had appeared a few months earlier, in DC's Wonder Woman #186 (1970).
Supergirl again uses her previously-unknown telepathic powers, this time to probe the mind of Henry to learn the spell to summon Morgana!
A Special Presentation of Never-Reprinted Pages Showing Fan-Created Designs for Supergirl's Costume 
(some of which were eventually used)!
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(which includes this story)

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Adventure Comics SUPERGIRL "Now...Comes Zond!" Part 1

In 1970, writer/artist/editor Mike Sekowsky...
..., who had already made the most radical changes in Wonder Woman history by de-powering Diana Prince, took over the Supergirl strip in Adventure Comics. and immediately shook up the status quo...
Wow, Kara Zor-El just had her butt handed to her, eh?
How does the Girl of Steel make a comeback?
Be Here
for the Answer!
When did Supergirl previously-demonstrate telepathic abilities?
She didn't before or after Sekowsky's run, but did a couple more times during it!
We always knew Kryptonians were vulnerable to magic, but such "mysticism" was shown to be a rather sanitized version of the concept, more like Arthur C Clarke's "Any sufficiently-advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" than traditional sorcery.
Suddenly, the wizarding world in DC Comics had gone gothic with covens of hooded figures and other trappings of Satanic worship!
Much of this was due to modifications to the Comics Code Authority's rules, loosening restrictions about monsters, mysticism, and horror in general.
Comics creatives leaped at the opportunity to create new horror-oriented strips like Swamp Thing, Tomb of Dracula, and Monster of Frankenstein, or injecting spooky elements into existing series, with DC being the most radical with their revamping of Challengers of the Unknown from scientific adventurers into a version of GhostBusters!
Sekowsky had already done so in Wonder Woman, and, as part of his "updating" of Supergirl, introduced some of those aspects (which would be expanded on) here!
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(which includes this story)