I've started this thread for issue reviews of comics from the Silver and Bronze Ages that were by published companies other than Marvel and DC. Comics I currently have in mind to write about include issues of Charlton's Blue Beetle (pre-Ditko) and Son of Vulcan, Dell's Brain Boy, Kona and Space Man, Lightning Comics's Fatman the Human Flying Saucer, M.F. Enterprises's Captain Marvel, and Tower Comics's Undersea Agent. Please feel free to contribute your own reviews.
This post displaced The Grant Morrison Thread from the home page.
Stoney Burke #1 (Dell, 1963)
This is another licensed issue pencilled by Mike Sekowsky. But it's from after Dell's break with Western, so presumably Dell did it itself.
The show was about a rodeo competitor played by Jack Lord. Warren Oates played his untrustworthy friend Ves Painter.
"Stoney Burke": "Big Man, Big Hate"
Burke performs well in a rodeo. One of the spectators is a movie star called Cara D'Vine, and she asks to meet him. That evening she returns with other movie people and tells Burke she wants him to appear in her upcoming rodeo movie. Burke also meets her co-star Slate Hawkins, who is overbearing. Hawkins pays Painter to betray Burke and beats Burke up with the help of his toadies. D'Vine tells Burke he can take revenge by accepting her offer, but she has an ulterior motive...
The GCD, following Martin O'Hearn, ascribes the story's script to Carl Memling. He does a very good job here. It's a book-length story - 32 pages - and not an adventure plot, although there are a couple of fights. But it maintains its interest. It reads a lot like a DC story, partly because of the art, but also because the story is kept moving, the plot is driven by scheming characters, Burke and Painter frustrate D'Vine's schemes by trickery, and the climax involves a fistfight.
The art looks like Sekowsky's contemporary DC work. The GCD isn't certain of the inker. Sekowsky's Burke sometimes looks like Lord, but mostly doesn't. Perhaps Dell didn't have the rights to his likeness. His Painter does look like Oates, and Memling writes the character well.
Another of the show's supporting characters, Cody Bristol, appears in a minor way. A chute boss called Buck Ames is introduced as if he's a regular character, but isn't from the show.
The inside front cover has a one pager about the history of rodeos, and the inside back cover another about the different tricks of rodeo horses. These were also pencilled by Sekowsky.
Stoney Burke #2 (Dell, 1963)
"Target for a Sniper"
Burke and another rider called Breeze Ralston are running close in points. Ralston is a stirrer. He also competes at bulldogging, and challenges Burke to show he can do it. Burke brings his bull down, but gets an injury doing it. His boss insists he stay behind and see a doctor while the rodeo moves on. Painter talks him into leaving his car and paying him to chauffeur so Burke can catch up quickly.
When the rodeo reaches El Diablo a man named Walt Webster comes looking for Burke. His kid brother Rod used to be a rodeo rider but was crippled when a horse rolled on him. Rod greatly admires Burke - they were friends in his rodeo days - and wants to see him.
Painter drives Burke to El Diablo. The doctor has advised Burke to rest his back for a few days, but he's not willing to as his points race with Ralston is so close. Painter notices a speeding car coming up behind them. Burke tells him to keep right, but the car veers closer, as if trying to force them off the road...
This time the pencils are by Jack Sparling. The GCD leaves the inker open, but the art has Sparling's messy look. Once again Burke mostly doesn't look like Lord, and Painter does look like Oates.
As in #1 the story is book-length and maintains its interest despite not really being an adventure. This time the story has a mystery plot. It's less DC-ish than the first issue's: instead of scheming villains, we get a disturbed one; there's no win through trickery; the hero stuff at the climax is done by characters other than Burke.
Cody Bristol reappears, and the story also uses Red, another character from the show. They don't have much to do, but they're more truly supporting characters here than Cody was in the first issue.
The GCD again ascribes the script to Carl Memling following Martin O'Hearn's assessment.
On p.2 panel 2 the dialogue is Painter's, but Sparling seems to have drawn Burke.
The inside front cover has a one pager about North American horses.
Gunmaster #1 (Charlton, 1964)
Gunmaster is a costumed Western hero with a boy sidekick, Bullet. In their other identities they're Clay Boone, a peaceable travelling gunsmith, and Bob Tellub, his junior employee or apprentice.
The hero appeared in Six-Gun Heroes from #58 in 1960. His feature also appeared a couple of times in Outlaws of the West. After Gunmaster #4 Six-Gun Heroes ended and the Gunmaster series continued using Six-Gun Heroes's numbering.
Dick Giordano drew debut instalment. He also drew or inked many of the feature's covers, but after the first instalment the interior art was handled by others. The series was written by Joe Gill.
"Gunmaster": "Gunmaster vs. the Barker"
A travelling salesman is a master of hypnotism, and Ringmaster-like thief.
A tenderfoot is drugged and his clothes stolen. His money was sown into the lining. A year later he returns to the town, toughened and experienced.
"Gunmaster": "Gunmaster in Canyon of Death"
A Russian prince reared among Cossacks takes his Cossack band to California to establish an empire.
Gunmaster and Bullet remind of Captain America and Bucky, and I like the heroes' designs. Their two stories this issue both have a cartoony look I didn't expect from the covers, but was prepared to like. And both stories have a good premise, although we've all seen hypnotic villains before. But neither story is pulled off well enough. The GCD attributes the art of the first story to Bill Fraccio and Ernie Bache, and the art of the Cossack one to Bill Montes or Fraccio, and Bache. The best bit is the Barker's sales pitch in the first story.
"The Frontiersman" is Charlton filler. The GCD attributes the art to Bill Molno.
The issue also had a text story called "Miss Fire", but it's missing from Comic Book Plus's version.
Magic Agent #1 (ACG, 1962)
“John Force, Magic Agent” was a spy feature with the twist that its hero had a medallion that gave him magic powers. It first appeared in three issues of its own title in 1961-62. In 1964 the feature was revived, and it appeared intermittently in various ACG titles, principally Unknown Worlds, until 1967. The hilarious cover of Unknown Worlds #50 was for a John Force story, but I would guess the cover was created first and the story written to fit it.
Force wears an eyepatch and an orange coat (brown on the covers). His medallion gives him powers of telepathy, illusion, hypnosis and extra-sensory perception. He works for an agency called the American Security Group, which is staffed by elite agents. Like the other agents he has an invisible radioactive tattoo on the back of his right hand which flashes when his superiors broadcast “special beamed impulses” to contact him. His superiors, including the President, do not know of his magical abilities.
The stories were all written by Richard Hughes. The artist most associated with the series was Paul Reinman, but he didn’t pencil or ink all the instalments. Other pencillers who contributed instalments include Joe Sinnott, Chic Stone and Edvard Mortiz. The three Magic Agent covers were all drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger. So was Unknown Worlds #50's, but it doesn’t show Force.
It’s possible Marvel took the idea of a spy hero with an eyepatch from Force. Fury's debuted when the SHIELD series in Strange Tales commenced, in 1965. That was after “Magic Agent” had resumed appearing, but only one “Magic Agent” instalment appeared that year. Earlier characters with eyepatches include Basil St John from Brenda Starr, and private eye Johnny Dynamite, who appeared in comics from Comic Media and Charlton. The reporter hero of the newspaper strip Jeff Cobb lost an eye at some point in the 60s.
According to DC Indexes Magic Agent #1 went on sale in Oct. 1961. Fantastic Four #2 had come out the month before. The James Bond film series started with Dr. No a year later.
“John Force, Magic Agent!”
A high-tech device called AGMIML is stolen from the Ace Electronic Laboratories. Force is assigned to the case.
This story has appearances by President Kennedy and J. Edgar Hoover. The likenesses of Kennedy are OK, and the one of Hoover is spot on. I assume the credit for them is Costanza’s. Both men are depicted as familiar with Force. Force calls Hoover "J. Edgar".
Force’s methods have a procedural character, though of course he makes use of his medallion. When he tracks down the thieves he bungles the arrest, he’s only on hand at the climax because the spies kidnap him, and he requires assistance to escape their deathtrap.
Force's method of stopping the spies from getting away with AGMIML kills them. It's notable that got past the Code.
“John Force, Magic Agent”: “D-Day, H-Hour!”
This is Force’s origin story, set during WWII.
Synopsis (complete): The Germans have a tank force in Transylvania. Allied Intelligence wants it kept there so it won’t be sent to Normandy ahead of the D-Day landings. So Force is sent to orchestrate an upsurge in resistance activity by the local underground. He uses the Castle of Cagliostro as his base of operations.
Force is very successful, and the local underground leader, Smertana, becomes jealous. With the intention of outdoing Force he calls all the partisans to the castle. This betrays the underground’s use of it to the Germans. They seize the partisans, and learn Force’s identity and whereabouts through torture. He is captured, brought to the castle, and sentenced to death by firing squad.
The ghosts of Cagliostro, Nostradamus, Merlin and Houdini manifest. They regret that the partisans will die for their patriotism. They can’t interfere directly, so they decide to grant their powers to a man of courage and strength, and choose Force.
The ghosts waken Force. Nostradamus grants him the power of telepathy; Merlin illusion; Cagliostro hypnosis; and Houdini extra-sensory perception. They give him the golden medallion.
The Germans waken Force for his execution. He thinks his experience was a dream until he finds the medallion. He hypnotises a Nazi intelligence officer into replacing the firing squad’s bullets with blanks. When they fire, he plays dead.
From the mind of the division commander he learns the tank force is leaving for Normandy. His ESP tells him the castle has been mined. He finds the members of the underground imprisoned and releases and guides them to the bombs, which they defuse. Then he creates an illusion of the castle’s destruction so the Nazis will think they’ve gone off.
At Force’s direction the underground destroys the bridges and trains the Germans are using to leave the country. The D-Day landings are successful, and Force awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by FDR.
Force already has an eyepatch during this story. He wears a brown jacket instead of his usual orange coat.
The opening depicts Rommel as having intelligence that the landing will take place at Normandy in June, and Hitler as disbelieving it. The division commander is depicted as knowing the invasion will be in Normandy. Actually, the Germans knew an invasion was coming, but not where it would land.
I assume Force used his medallion to project an illusion of blood, or his pretending to be dead wouldn't have fooled anyone. Also, he's lucky no-one delivered a coup de grâce.
“John Force, Magic Agent”: “The Cougar Strikes!”
When a bank moves premises spies machine gun the guards and make off with a hundred million dollars. The money is to be used to support a Communist takeover in Baronia. Force recognises the job as the work of a WWII war criminal called Kueger. Finding him becomes the urgent mission of the ASG…
Force initially works alone in this story, but calls for assistance when he’s captured. The agents who assist him are Ernie Hawkins, a strongman, and Mark Greener, a disguise expert. The director of the ASG is Myles Thompson, who looks a lot like H. G. Wells.
Kuegar's robbery is supposed to be cleverly-planned, but we don't see enough of it. (How did the spies get away with the loot?) The idea might be the last truck was an addition the guards assumed was part of the convoy, but that's not spelt out. The massacre of the guards happens off-panel.
The stories from this first issue were pencilled by Reinman and inked by Pete Costanza. Reinman’s work from this period was underdrawn and dull. Costanza’s inks impose his classier, cartoony look on the art. They don’t completely overcome Reinman’s dullness, but they mostly do.
The issue suffers from tepid writing. The opening and closing stories are both underplotted. They need more cleverness in the villains' scheming, more cleverness in Force's counters. AGMIML turns out to be ridiculously powerful, but its power is too arbitrary to be awesome.
The opening caption represents the ASG as a secret organisation, but in the stories everyone seems to know about it. In the first tale the guard Force questions accepts his authority, he has no trouble getting cooperation from the school and the police, and the spies know Force's reputation. In the third story Kuegar recognises him from his study of America's security forces.
One wonders how often undercover ASG men get blown by someone trying to contact them through their tattoos.
The issue also has two one page text stories starring Force.
My acknowledgements to Toonopedia for information about Jeff Cobb. I owe the link to Joe Sinnott's website and my information about who worked on the series to the GCD.
This post displaced the thread Books about Comic Books from the homepage.
Go-Go #3 (Charlton, 1966)
This was a humour comic with four regular features and a comics-form pseudo-column. Most of the items are drawn in a semi-Archie style. The exception is "Blooperman!", which I can best describe as Mort Walker-ish. "Miss Bikini Luv" is Archie-er than the others.
"The Rotting Stumps"
This was a feature about a Beatles-ish British pop group. In this instalment they have trouble evading four determined groupies.
This was the pseudo-answers to letters/advice column. This instalment has the first winners of a send-in-goofy-questions contest. Miss Park provides joke answers.
Blooperman is a parody superhero, modelled after Superman. In this instalment an old lady beats him up, the police arrest him, and he knocks himself out. The interesting part comes the last page when the station is invaded by Badman and Robber, the Boy Plunder. The episode ends on a cliffhanger.
"The Wild Life and Adventures of Miss Bikini Luv": "Secret Agent, Man!"
Miss Bikini Luv is a teen star of beach party movies. Her co-star is the well-muscled but cowardly Ajax. Their director is Sam Catsman. In this instalment a government agent called Double Seven O is assigned to prevent the theft by Spectrum of the script of the movie they're making. When it's stolen anyway his boss makes Bikini and Ajax secret agents.
"Return to Peculiar Place"
Pseudo-soap opera.(1) Peculiar Place is a town with a strong class divide. Walter Warlock, who is a ghoul, is being persecuted by the town elder P.S. Peculiar. At his girlfriend Barbara's suggestion they consult Salome the swamp girl, and the three of them plot to lure Peculiar into the swamp to be killed by Capt. Hook, the swamp crocagator.
The cover and the "Blooperman!" and "Miss Bikini Luv" stories are signed by Jon D'Agostino. The GCD tentatively attributes the other stories to him as well. It doesn't have any writer speculations.
All told the writing is amiable and zanier than Archie's. It's not super-funny, but it's not anti-funny either. I'll read another issue. "Return to Peculiar Place" has the most interesting storyline.
The issue also has pop group photos on the inside front and back pages.
(1) Peyton Place was a hit novel and about the secrets of people in a New England town by Grace Metalious. There was a hit film based on it, a sequel novel called Return to Peyton Place, and a successful film based on it. A TV soap Peyton Place followed. Another with the other title followed it, but that's after the comic's time.
Go-Go #4 (Charlton, 1966)
“The Rotting Stumps”
The Stumps get thrown in jail, escape by singing, and sign with a manager called Barry Ecchstein.
This instalment is zanier than the last, with references to pop songs in the dialogue. (“Help, we need somebody! Help, just anybody!”) Ecchstein doesn’t look at all like Brian Epstein. He’s a Clifton Webb/Raymond Huntley type. I inferred from the dialogue last time that the Stumps are British. This time the opening caption says they’re from Brooklyn. The GCD tentatively attributes the art to Jon D’Agostino.
This is another instalment of answers to readers’ questions. The GCD tentatively attributes the art to Jon D’Agostino.
“Blooperman”: “Bound in the Badcave!!”
Badman mixes a gas that puts Blooperman in his power. But Blooperman has whistled for the help of the Bestest League of America.
This instalment imitates the parody approach of the early MAD, but isn’t as well-drawn, or funny. The target of the parody is Batman. The Bestest League is made up of parodies of Green Lantern, the Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, the Martian Manhunter, Aquaman and the Atom, but they’re only seen in the last panel and we don’t learn their names or abilities.
The story has a credit box with Marvel-style (but unfunny) joke descriptions. The creative team was Dick Giordano, editor; Gary Friedrich, writer; Bill DuBay, artist. DuBay was later an editor and writer at Warren. Apparently this was his first credited professional work.
Badman gets a crime-tip from Commissioner Lays. Given the writer my guess is the Lays name is a pop music joke, but it’s beyond me.
“The Wild Life and Adventures of Miss Bikini Luv”: “Bikini Beach Nuts”
Bikini and Ajax attend the premiere of their new movie.
Most of the instalment is taken up by the parody beach movie. The parody is visually pleasing and particularly Archie-ish, and the plot is a nice parody of a teen movie’s, but the sequence suffers from a lack of witty jokes. The GCD tentatively attributes the art to Jon D’Agostino.
“Return to Peculiar Place”
P. S. Peculiar enters the swamp and is eaten by the crocagator. Rodney Furrington comes after Peculiar to save him but is too late. The police find Rodney with Peculiar's hat and arrest him for murder. Walter asks Barbara to marry him and she agrees. The instalment has TV-style teasers and fake ads.
This instalment is drawn in a style that imitates aspects of Jack Davis’s/Mort Drucker’s work from MAD: the figures have long, gangly limbs and stand or sit in contorted positions, the caricatures imitate their style of caricature. The art is signed “Marcus + Rocke”. This GCD identifies the artists as Mo Marcus and Rocco Mastroserio.
The issue again has band photos on the inside covers. It also has a text page with an interview/profile of the band the Cyrkle (featured on the inside front cover).
Now this was a surprise. The Bestest League of America was a parody version of the JLA created by Roy Thomas, who wrote and drew stories about them for Jerry Bails's fanzine Alter-Ego. The Charlton characters were Thomas's, with the same names and designs.
Michael Eury asked Roy Thomas about this for the item on "Blooperman" in his book Hero-A-Go-Go: Campy Comic Books, Crimefighters, and Culture of the Swinging Sixties. Thomas told him he gave Friedrich permission to use the characters in "Blooperman" and wasn't otherwise involved.
Thomas was also the source of the Badman and Robber names. Apparently, Thomas's mother read him Batman comics when he was a little kid and he initially mistook them for crooks because they wore masks, and he told this story to Friedrich.
The article is also clear that Friedrich wrote the "Blooperman" series from its first instalment, which was #3's.
Eury's book currently has a preview at Google Books in which this section can be read. The issues of Alter-Ego with Bestest League of America instalments are available at Comic Book Plus.
Go-Go #6 (Charlton, 1967)
We get five features this time.
“Return to Peculiar Place”
Walter has been jailed for the murder of P. S. Peculiar. Capt. Hook can no longer stomach the old man and spits him out. Peculiar and Barbara separately visit Walter in prison. The episode is interrupted by a newsflash.
Walter and Barbara get married, but the newsflash replaces the latter part of the episode so the audience misses it. The art is again by Marcus and Mastroserio, in the style they used last time, and it’s really quite good.
“Farthest Out Fairy Tales”: “The Swingin’ Saga of Superella!”
Synopsis (complete): This is a modern day version of “Cinderella”. Ella’s stepmom refuses to let her go with her daughters to the mayor’s son’s hop on the grounds she’s too un-cool. Her Super-Godmother transforms her into the hip Superella, gives her glass go-go boots, and warns her she only has until midnight. She also tells Superella she has powers, but leaves without saying what they are. To be continued.
This is another story with a credits box. The creative team was Gary Friedrich and Grass Green, with Dick Giordano editing. The jokes are obvious I suppose, but I like the zany fairy tales concept and the story idea, and Green’s Superella looks just right.
The “Blooperman” story also has a credits box and the other stories don’t, which might be an indication that Friedrich didn’t write them.
“Introducing the *”
This is a new band series, replacing “The Rotting Stumps”. In this instalment the gang lose their current gig and force Alfie, who is small and not over-brave, to become a wrestler. The opening caption invites readers to send in names for the band.
The feature's band is a struggling band rather than a successful one. The band members are very distinctly drawn. I think they were visually modelled after the Monkees, but they look older and are apparently British. ‘Enry is the leader, Alfie is put-upon, Gabby gets inspirations. Otto seems to be an ordinary bloke.
The GCD tentatively attributes the art to Marcus and Mastroserio. It’s in the same style as the “Peculiar Place” story, and the art is even better. The instalment has zany humour touches which are supposed to be Monkees-ish.
(“Blooperman”): “The BLA vs the Marvelous Super-Heroes”
In the previous instalment the BLAers went on strike. In this instalment they try to form a united front with the Marvelous super-heroes, who are also on strike, and end up in a fight with them.
This instalment was written by Gary Friedrich, pencilled by Grass Green, and inked by Frank McLaughlin. There’s more background here. Green had drawn parodies for the fan press, starting with “Da Frantic Four” in The Comicollector #8. He and Thomas had also teamed-up on a Bestest League of America/Frantic Four crossover in Alter-Ego #6 in which the teams fought. Several of the characters here were recycled from these parodies (Fumin’ Scorch, the Thang), and a couple of them renamed (Lt America became Captain Americuss, Mr Frantic Mr Fantabulous). I don’t know if all the characters came from fan parodies.
The Marvelous heroes include versions of Spider-Man, Mr Fantastic, Giant-Man, the Human Torch, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, the Thing and the Wasp. (So there’s no Daredevil or X-Men.) The DC group that attacks them includes parodies additional to the Bestest ones. Let me know if you can identify the guy right of “Aquaman” and the guy right of “Robotman” in the panel below. (The latter guy could be the Tarantula, but he didn't have a collar like that.) DC’s stretching heroes are represented by Plastic Man, whose Silver Age series had started the previous year.
In his article in Hero-A-Go-Go Michael Eury takes Thore, the Thor parody, to be effeminate. I don't believe this was intended. My guess is Mr Eury misunderstood Thore’s headpiece in the first panel as a stylish fur hat. It’s actually a Davy Crockett racoon cap.
Charlton’s colourist coloured Green Trashcan mostly yellow and the Thang green, although the dialogue indicates he’s supposed to be orange.
The fight is stopped by an unnamed Julie Schwartz and Stan Lee. “Lee” says “You know our ribs at Brand Yicch are all in fun!” I don’t buy Marvel’s jabs were all in fun. They promoted the idea that DC’s product was inferior.
The main thing the story has to offer is seeing it done, although there are some good touches, like Thore’s hammer and the Hunk’s and Thang’s fighting each other. Capt. Americuss fights the Cash, evidently because they both have winged cowls. The last panel says the feature will return the next issue and the “Charlstone” heroes will appear, but this was the last instalment.
“The Wild Life and Adventures of Miss Bikini Luv”: “Bikini Hawaiian Style”
Bikini is appearing in a movie with Elvin Prisly. Prisly is dominated by his manager the Colonel, and the Colonel orders them to go on a date for publicity purposes.
This instalment was drawn by Jim Aparo. His work here is in a bigfoot style and boisterous and fun, and the writing has amusing touches. The best gag is a side gag on the splash page.
The “Dear Park…” column also appears, but this time it only has photos of the remaining contest winners, no questions and answers. The inside covers have pop photos.
The information about Grass's fan work above is drawn from Bill Shelley's article "Da Frantic Four!" from Alter Ego (volume 3) #1, collected in The Alter Ego Collection, volume 1. The "Frantic Four" name was first used on a cover Ronn Foss drew for The Comicollector #7. The article includes the cover and Green's first "Frantic Four" story, which was co-plotted by Foss.
Go-Go #7 (Charlton, 1967)
This is another issue with five features. Two of them are far-out fairytales (with art by Grass Green), but the Superella conclusion isn't badged as one. The "Snow What" story apologises for the non-appearance of a Blooperman/Bestest League story at its end.
"Return to Peculiar Place"
Hank Rope informs Barbara her marriage to Walter wasn't legal. She leaves him and takes up with Rope, her old beau. Mickey Peculiar sees a swamp monster at the Warlock factory and the townspeople head into the swamp to confront it.
This instalment breaks with the continuity of previous episodes in what it says about Walter's and Barbara's history. I think this is deliberate, not a mistake: there's a joke caption about how confused things are getting at the start. There are no fake ads this time. The swamp monster is called the "swamp thing". Mo Marcus and Rocco Mastroserio continue to draw the series well.
"The Swingin' Saga of Superella"
Synopsis (complete): Superella finds she can fly and has super-strength, and flies to the hop. The mayor's son falls in love with her, but she has to leave at midnight. Both her glass boots get broken but the mayor's son recognises Ella by her crushing embrace.
The instalment is credited to Dick Giordano, editor, "Sergius O'Shaugnessy", writer, Grass Green, artist, and "the Brothers Grimm", plotters. Sergius O'Shaugnessy was Denny O'Neil. He drops the hip/unhip theme and adds the idea that Superella is dumb, which I could've done without. I liked the first instalment more, but the last panel is the best part of either.
The characters hanging around outside the hop include Herbie, Andy Capp (!), Dick Tracy, and Little Orphan Annie and Sandy. The guy looking for directions to the comics con might be Phil Fumble from Fritzi Ritz.
The band get jobs at a dude ranch.
The two instalments so far have been plotted like episodes of a sitcom. This one is zanier than the first but not better. I can't pretend the feature makes me laugh, but it's lively, not a little due to its strong art. The GCD again credits the art to Marcus and Mastroserio.
Gabby never speaks. I didn't realise that last instalment.
"The Wild Life and Adventures of Miss Bikini Luv"
Bikini heads for mainland America on a surfboard. Her manager means to use this for publicity but the press won't believe him, so he pulls a different stunt instead.
This is a good instalment that adds the character of Maxie, Bikini's manager/publicist. The writing and art are lively and the plot idea is amusing. The writing is credited to Norm DiPluhm, who the GCD says was D. J. Arneson, and the art is by Jim Aparo, who makes the feature his own.
Something must be wrong with me, because I wanted to know why Bikini broke up with Elvin.
"A Far-Out Fairytale": "Snow What"
Synopsis (complete): An evil former teen queen's jealousy boils over when a paper declares singer Snow What the fabbest of them all, and hires a hit-man to kill her. But Snow mistakes him for her date and takes to him, so he can't go through with it and strands her instead. She gets a job singing with the 7 Dipthongs. To be continued.
There are no credits. The GCD credits the art to Grass Green and says Steve Skeates has confirmed he was the writer. The instalment has some good gags and this is the best art I've seen from Green so far.
The teen queen's paper is the Daily Blab. It should be the Daily Mirror. Perhaps Skeates wrote that and the editor took it out.
The issue also has two gag one pagers. The GCD tentatively attributes their art to Jon D'Agostino. There's also a text story in which an aunt offers her niece marital advice. The inside covers again have band photos.
By this point the stories were getting more manic, and in this issue there's more genuine wit in them. All the established features have witty moments and lines. Unfortunately, this was the last issue.
#8, like #7, concluded one far-out fairy tale and started another. This issue there's only one, the second part of "Rapunzelstiltskin" (and it's not badged as such). The fifth slot is taken by "Maury DeCay--Disc Jockey".
"Return to Peculiar Place"
P. S. Peculiar is missing, and if he doesn't turn up Peculiar Place will revert to the Indians. The town is already falling apart. Dr Risso performs an important operation. Warren Furrington sets a trap to murder Mickey Peculiar. The Indians invade the town early. P. S. sneaks into the Warlock's factory to learn its secret.
This instalment is quite MAD-ish. The final caption envisions a next episode but the instalment wraps up most of the plotlines. I didn't like the portrayal of the Indians but one of their scenes has the best line in the issue. Mo Marcus and Rocco Mastroserio once again do a fine job on the art.
This is the second part of a "Rapunzel"/"Rumpelstiltskin" mash-up. A young woman is kept in a tower by her stepmother. Seymour the traveling minstrel must guess her first name to marry her.
The episode ends too abruptly, but it's amusing before that, with fun characters and lines. The GCD credits the writing to Steve Skeates on his information. To my surprise it leaves the penciller open. I think it was probably Grass Green. It's different from his earlier work in this title, but similar to his work on the "Maury DeCay" story, where he's credited. Compare this story p.2 panel 4 and "Maury DeCay" p.3 panel 5. I think that settles it.
"The Wild Life and Adventures of Miss Bikini Luv"
It's been a running joke in this series that Bikini's image is she's a typical teenager and everyone sees her that way, including herself. In this instalment she has an extreme I'm-so-ugly episode, decides she's in a rut, and resolves to become atypical. Meanwhile, Maxie agrees to find an actress to star in a movie about atypical teenagers.
This is a fun final instalment for this series. Bikini has somehow acquired an entourage of penguins. The story is once again by the team of "Norm DiPluhm" (D. J. Arneson) and Jim Aparo.
"Maury DeCay--Disc Jockey"
This is a satiric depiction of a loud disc jockey at work. I liked it less than the other contents this issue but it has a couple of good jokes. The story was written and pencilled by Denny O'Neil and Grass Green. Green also did the letters. There's a space in the credit box for the inker but it hasn't been filled in. Dick Giordano is credited as "supervisor".
"The Modkees": "Kooky Kola Case"
The Modkees answer a newspaper ad for "4 musicians to do government work". The job is to work undercover as organ grinders to smash a plot to discredit Kooky Kola.
This is a zany spy story. The GCD again credits the art to Marcus and Mastroserio.
In this final issue the band gets a name. The issue has a page announcing the contest-winners which lists five winners, but it doesn't reveal what the runner-up suggestions were.
I believe the figure in the last panel is a parody version of the Little Old Winemaker, who appeared in ads for Italian Swiss Colony wine. My hat-tip to Wikipedia for listing this character.
As before the issue has pop photos on the inside covers.
Grass Green was a big star in the fan publications back in the day. Here's a Wiki write-up on him.
The GCD tells me further Far Out Fairy Tales appeared in Charlton's Abbott & Costello #1-#2, #5-#8, and it credits Green with the art of most of the instalments. (The one in #2 it doesn't have an art credit for. Green didn't always ink.) He also drew and scripted "The Shape" in Charlton Premiere #1 from an uncredited Roy Thomas plot, and did a gag activity item called "Hey, Gang! Let's Play College!!" with Skeates for Abbott & Costello #4. Martin O'Hearn credits the "Sinistro, Boy Fiend" story from Charlton Premiere #3 to him too.