I consider myself fortunate that when I began reading comics, DC converted several titles to 100 pages. These were goldmines for classic Golden and Silver Age gems and classics. The new lead story, not so much. World's Finest #223 (My-Ju'74) introduced the most unexpected character. In fact there was even a Warning, and I quote: "Throughout comics history, there have been shocks and sensations galore! But we guarantee that the following amazing story is so startling, we never dared revealed it before!"


We, being writer Bob Haney (you see where this is going) and editor Murray Boltinoff, and dragging artist Dick Dillin into it. It starts with a serial murderer in Gotham City, dubbed the Boomerang Killer, as he uses two-pound metal boomerangs to slay his victims. Batman, without any clues is stymied, passes by Boston Brand's grave and gets Deadman's help to track down the BK. Before this can turn into a Brave & Bold story, Morgan Edge sends Clark Kent to cover the BK news to get ratings. So Superman arrives in Gotham and saves several people from the BK who always escapes.


Batman and Deadman track down a clue that leads to a mental institution where Batman is shocked to find out that the man he's pursuing is....... (SPOILER ALERT).....Thomas Wayne......Junior! He is the older brother of Bruce who suffered a head trauma as an infant that left him brain-damaged and a danger to society.


Superman becomes suspicious that Batman is protecting the BK by destroying evidence. He confronts Bats, unaware of Deadman's prescence and learns the truth. Superman decides to nab this guy but Batman has Deadman possess the Man of Steel. Batman then tries to reason with his unstable sibling, only to get clobbered by a boomerang. Somewhere Digger Harkness is smiling!


Deadman as Superman tries to smash in, only to find out his ghostly being has negated Supes' powers. Just then someone tries to destroy the building Batman is in. Deadman leaves Superman who saves the day. Batman reveals the true villain and motive, as is his wont, and proclaims his psychotic brother a victim and pawn. That should make the families of the four people he killed feel much better.


Anyhoo, Thomas Jr escapes but under the control of Deadman who justifies it to keep him from harming others and giving him a new life!


Wow! I wonder if Denny O'Neil or Julius Schwartz knew about this! My first WF featured the Super-Sons, my second...this. Is it any wonder why I like a little continuity?


Oh, and wait, there IS a sequel!! 

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Philip Portelli said:

Now for the sequel! It took place in World's Finest #227 (F'75), another 100 page Spectacular. Bob Haney wrote this one, too, so here we go again! The convoluted plot revolved around "illegal" gold being smuggled into the country, which could cause an economic panic!

Private ownership of significant amounts of gold was in fact illegal in the U.S. between 1933 and August of 1974, so when this story was conceived smuggling in a lot of gold was in fact illegal! It didn't have to be stolen gold.

Thanks, Richard. That's sort of like the situation in Smokey and the Bandit and Coors Beer.

As for Mon-El, forget that Superman doesn't remember that Mon joins the Legion in 1000 years. Mon-El in the Phantom Zone could have pieced his future together and realize that he had a millennium to wait for freedom!

They're lucky that he doesn't go ape-sh*t on them the minute he's released!

Too bad I can't time travel back to the '70s and get a job writing for DC. Although how I would get a job I don't know--I never broke into comics, but that was the period when I wanted to break into comics. Not in the '60s, because I think those stories are just fine--but in the '70s there were all those young writers telling stories that referenced the '60s stories and making up their explanations. I think it's the explanations that make the '60s stories more difficult than they need to be.

If I was writing I would give more of a non-explanation. Superman has a higher knowledge about space-time from all his experience with it, so he knows there's a kind of quantum logic where everything is both possible and impossible at the same time. So Mon-El is both in the Phantom Zone for a thousand years and not in the Phantom Zone for a thousand years. And until that moment arrives, we don't really know for sure which is the true reality in this universe. And in the larger quantum universe, all eventualities are true.

But if I was really going to travel through time, I would probably travel to the '30s. Because, I didn't have the skills to break into comics in the '70s, but I'm sure I could have got into comics in the '30s and by the '70s I would be this venerable artist-writer who started out in comics at the beginning.

Philip Portelli said:

As for Mon-El, forget that Superman doesn't remember that Mon joins the Legion in 1000 years. Mon-El in the Phantom Zone could have pieced his future together and realize that he had a millennium to wait for freedom!

They're lucky that he doesn't go ape-sh*t on them the minute he's released!

As I've said before, anyone spending that long (or any significant time) cut off from humanity and impotently watching events couldn't possibly stay sane.

My new theory is that there are two levels of the Phantom Zone: the First or Window Area is where you can see what's going on in the real world in real time and the Second or Deep Area where you are engulfed by the gray mists and time literally has no meaning. Also there one can become totally closed off and feel nothing for long periods, basically a dreamless sleep that could last years, decades or centuries.

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