I was reading a snarky review of an old issue of Unexpected (you can find it here, if you're curious: SNARK!) and noticed that it was subtitled "A Green Glob Adventure". And indeed, a green glob, excuse me THE green glob does play a role, manipulating events so that the story proper can take place. My question: were there more Green Glob Adventures? He/it seems to have appeared at least twice, but that's all I can dig up. Was this a "series" DC ran in Unexopected for a while? Or was it just a one off.
That aside, what were your favorite "series" that ran in the anthology mags? I'm a big fan of "I... Vampire" and was happy to see that a trade of just those stories is either planned or has already come out.
Cool - that's a great start! Thanks Dr. Hmmm!
Doctor Hmmm? said:
I recently had an opportunity to read through Tomorrow Stories, and I found most of it pretty enjoyable, particularly Jack B. Quick and Cobweb.
I don't know I ever read any of the horror-themed features from DC horror comics other than "I... Vampire". I'd like to read some of the "Mr E" and "Johnny Peril" stories from the early 80s some day. (I've read "Johnny Peril" stories from the 40s and 50s, but not any of the 60s or 80s ones.)
As a kid I liked the features that appeared in Mystery in Space and Strange Adventures under Julie Schwartz's editorship. I didn't see too much of any of the features, but I got to see "Captain Comet", "Adam Strange", "Atomic Knights", "Star Rovers", "Space Museum", "Space Cabby", "Star Hawkins".
When I first read "I was the Man with Animal Powers" from Strange Adventures #180, one of the Jack Schiff-edited issues, I thought it a very good story. This was the first adventure of A-Man, but he didn't adopt that name and a costumed identity until his third appearance. As a kid I got to read the second A-Man tale, but none of the costumed ones.
You should've posted your question down in the Silver Age section, I probably would've seen it there faster and it is a SA series. I did a column on The Green Glob back in CBG #1654 (Jun 09) with way, way more information you could possibly want to know. But I can vouch for its reliability:
Tales of the Unexpected shifted from sci-fi to fantasy stories with the help of…
The Green Glob!
Dear Mr. Silver Age,
I was a big fan of DC’s Silver Age “mystery” titles, but they never seemed to have any recurring characters (besides the opening narrators). Were there any series of tales in these titles?
Mr. Silver Age says: DC’s “mystery” stories (traditional horror stories that the Comics Code scrubbed clean of anything remotely scary) tended to be stand-alone tales, Creep, except for the little bit of business provided by the narrator. That required each to start from scratch in creating their characters and scenarios, but it also opened the door to anything happening to anyone, generating a little uneasiness in readers.
The science-fiction books, meanwhile, had scads of recurring characters and themes, leading one to create a recurring thread that had more fantasy if not completely “mystery” ambiance to it than the typical sci-fi trappings typically used by DC. Not surprisingly, I suppose, that title was Tales of the Unexpected. Despite its title, it began in 1956 as a straight-forward science-fiction title, ultimately serving as the home to Space Ranger, a traditional space-opera hero. Rick Starr was introduced in #40 (Aug 59) and departed with #82 (Apr 64) to move to Mystery in Space with #92 (Jun 64).
But the sci-fi trapping began to change as Space Ranger reached the end of his long run. TOTU #82’s first story took place in the current day, with our hero meeting an alien whose appearance on Earth was, dare I say it, unexpected. All three of the stories in #83 (Jun-Jul 64) took place in the present day, with the first two relying on fantasy elements alone: a series of evil spirits and a native temple guardian’s curse.
That left it to the third tale to retain TOTU’s previous sci-fi trappings, which it did by transporting a man to an alien jungle. That delivery (and ultimate rescue) came courtesy of TOTU’s new fantasy/“mystery” series in sci-fi dress, starring people who encountered The Green Glob. The stories, which of course had no credits, were drawn by George Roussos, according to the Grand Comic Book database (www.comics.org), with Jack Schiff serving as editor.
The first caption in “The King of Nightmare Jungle” explained that, “Somewhere in the unfathomed sea of the universe, aeons ago, this mass of energy was spawned.” It made its way across outer space to drift into Earth’s atmosphere and move from place to place, being absorbed into an item that came into contact with earthlings. Its invisible, pulsating energies were “destined to have weird, bizarre, and unexplainable effects on people of all walks of life.”
“What effects?” the captions intoned. “Will they be for good or evil? Who can say? For that is The Green Glob’s secret alone—shared by no one but you, the reader!”
The GG series of stories ran from #83 through #103 (Oct-Nov 67), missing only two issues along the way. It helped TOTU retain some sci-fi elements while otherwise grounding the title in current-day “mystery” type tales that would have left Space Ranger scratching his head. Even some of the tales that featured alien beings used them more as monsters similar to a creature-based “mystery” tale than the way most SF stories used aliens.
The stories always began with The Green Glob settling into a key prop as our scenario was set, after which it triggered a change to events. The stories fell into three main types: those in which the protagonist got his Just Desserts, Learned a Lesson that helped him be a better person (sometimes by giving him a Second Chance at a decision), or fulfilled the saying, “Be Careful What You Wish For.”
That first tale, a Lesson Learned story, created a Twilight-Zonish flavor as the first story caption (after six panels of bringing GG to Earth) introduced us to Alfred Meeks, giving us his age, occupation, and current location. I could definitely hear Rod Serling intoning those facts as Meeks arrived late at his girlfriend’s home, only to find that an old college buddy, a big-game hunter no less, was beating his time. As his name implied (broadly), Meeks lacked the courage to stand up to the guy. So the buddy took Bonnie to a party in his honor, thereby cancelling her date with Alf.
Dejected by his spinelessness, Alfred stopped on the way home to buy a clock to help him be on time—the clock into which the Green Glob had settled! Once home, Meeks was transported to an alien world where he used ingenious tricks to save some natives from two gigantic beasts and defeat their controlling wizard.
After transporting home and being emboldened by his take-charge approach on the alien world, Meeks went to the party. He told Bonnie they were going on their date, and left with her, stunning his buddy and thrilling his girl, who liked this new attitude. And The Green Glob moved on.
Ironically, The Green Glob’s second appearance, involving “The Phantom Knight” in TOTU #84 (Aug-Sep 64), was that issues most down-to-earth tale, featuring neither sea monsters nor aliens, as the other two stories did. The aliens in the third tale, in fact, made the cover, maintaining TOTU’s sci-fi theme in case readers were concerned by the stories’ plethora of suits and ties rather than jumpsuits and ascots. It was one of the few times that Globby didn’t use science-fiction themes, however, serving as the anchor for that element as the other tales ran more to “mystery” or fantasy elements.
This time, in a Second Chance tale, GG landed in a medieval portrait, whose owner impressed visitors because experts didn’t think the artist ever painted the lord featured. He’d bought the painting for a pittance, he said—just before the two were transported back to the painting’s time. There, they met The Phantom Knight, a rogue who was plundering the kingdom. To make an eight-page story short, the two learned that the artist would not have painted the lord in the portrait.
Returning home, the owner confessed that he’d forged the painting to fund his art career and gain fame. His friend said he should be grateful his confession saved him from committing fraud—and he was so impressed with the painter’s talent that he agreed to sponsor his career. Score another for the Green Glob.
A Lesson Learned tale was presented in #84 (in which all of the stories took place in the present, but one involved future earthlings). In “The Tall Tale That Came to Life,” an American explorer began regaling members of a London explorers’ club with another of his extraordinarily tall tales (usually based on an artifact he bought in a curio shop). As he began, The Glob (which had inhabited his curio) whisked him away to an alien planet, where he helped natives defeat volcano vultures with a curio similar to his own.
Upon reappearing at the club, he realized the explorers would never believe this tale (although they believed none of the others, either), even though this one was true. Admitting that his past whoppers made him incredible, in the literal sense, he declined to tell them of his adventure, donated the statue to the club, and resolved never to tell tall tales again.
A bank robber got his Just Desserts in #86 (Dec 64-Jan 65). This tale appeared in the opening slot and sported an actual GG logo on its splash page, announcing “A Green Glob Adventure” with an introductory globular caption that set up the scene. The first three story panels, as usual, showed the Glob settling into the robber’s car as he vowed about the cops chasing him that “They’ll Never Take Me Alive!”
He purposely wrecked his car to throw off his pursuers and stumbled into a strange design etched into the valley floor. It turned him into a blue and purple ape-like creature and landed him on another planet, where he found himself chased as a criminal. Escaping, he changed into another weird form on another planet, where he resembled the king—until the king returned and chased him off. Dazed and scared, he stumbled back into the valley and encountered the cops, who led him away, mumbling that they’d never take him alive, presumably in any form.
The same logo and story positioning was used for “The Manhunt through Two Worlds!” in #87 (Feb-Mar 65), in one of the most unexpected Glob stories. It used classical sci-fi trappings to tell a straight-forward contemporary detective tale—and the Glob was not especially necessary. It opened with a pearl thief being tracked to his lair by a detective, who was puzzled when the crook disappeared into thin air.
The Glob transported the cop to the crook’s location on an alien world, where the thief was trading the pearls for an artifact. The story had some interesting twists, but ultimately the detective captured the thief as they ran back through the dimensions, with the Glob only helping the detective follow the thief, not knowing how he transported. If he’d figured that out on the opening page, the Glob would’ve been a fifth wheel this time out.
Whether that lack of twist had anything to do with it, the next issue included a note on its text page, which always featured strange-but-true stories. A boldfaced announcement said, “Contest Notice: Any suggestions for Green Glob adventures? We will award original art of any story that is developed from the ideas submitted. Keep letters brief, and address them to” the editor. Whether any were submitted, much less chosen to be used, isn’t known, but no stories ever were noted they were developed from the contest.
The Glob story in that issue, which was cover-featured (although the logo was reduced to a small type box on the splash), was the first of the “Be Careful” stories. “The Curse of the Mystic Mask” featured an egotistical actor (is that redundant?) blowing off his girlfriend for a publicity stunt with a starlet, in which he attended a masquerade party in a sea-creature’s costume. But when he unmasked at the event, his own face had taken on the creature’s features (because the Glob had settled in the mask).
He also gained mystic powers that allowed him to save people from various disasters, after which they were scared by his face. His girlfriend tracked him down and professed that she loved him anyway, making him realize he’d been a fool to chase fame instead of being satisfied with true love. With that epiphany, he regained his original appearance and vowed to give up acting to return to medical school.
The story in #89 (Jun-Jul 65) returned the sci-fi trappings while creating a Just Desserts moral in which the desserts were actually tasty. The Glob landed in a model spaceship beside the deathbed of a rocket designer, who regretted never having a great adventure, especially going to Mars on the ship he’d designed that was soon to depart. The Glob, of course, made that happen, de-aging the scientist and landing him on a Mars that was way more adventurous than ours has turned out to be (so far). Upon his return, he warned others of what he’d learned that would help them when they went, and then he died smiling.
“The Hero of 50,000,000 B.C.” was touted on the cover of #90 (Aug-Sep 65) in a globby balloon, an indication that readers were recognizing these stories. Although, without a letter column to encourage letters, it’s hard to know how the editors gauged reader reaction. The Glob story wasn’t mentioned on #91’s cover, but it was promoted on the next two, and was cover-featured on the two after that (although the stories weren’t indicated to be GG stories). After that, though, the promotion spotlight mostly turned off.
“Hero” offered a Lesson Learned tale, with a former college athlete turned big-game hunter mocking others’ exploits in those realms because their supporting casts provided so much assistance. He’d achieved all his accomplishments on his own, he boasted. But as he began reading a science-fiction story about an alien expedition, the Glob-infested lamp next to him transported him into that scene on another world.
He quickly saved the expedition from an alien animal, basking in their awe, but then nearly lost his life before the aliens saved him from another creature. Upon returning, he realized he hadn’t thanked them before being whisked away. But they’d taught him a valuable lesson about teamwork, and he quickly agreed to join a safari as a gun-bearer.
Just Desserts were served to a man who saw “The Prophetic Mirages” in #91 (Oct-Nov 65), when a stock manipulator benefited handsomely from legal but sneaky moves that nearly bankrupted another businessman. The Glob caused the manipulator to see visions of future events, including a horse race, at which he won 100 grand. He spent the money buying the other man’s company, because his final vision showed it discovering immortality. That vision never came true, swindling the swindler and setting things right.
TOTU #92 featured another Lesson Learned tale with a twist for “The Man Who Dared to Die!” He regretted having chickened out of a chance at riches once before, which could have been obtained with a medallion found on a dangerous, alien world. The Glob gave him another chance to travel to the alien landscape, and he jumped at it.
But as the riches flowed in once he returned to his world, he discovered they brought misery to others. Ashamed, he wished he’d never had a second chance to get the medallion, and the Glob granted it. “I’ll make a happy life for myself without having a guilty conscience all my days,” he vowed.
A combination of the Lesson Learned and Just Desserts morals hit two life-long “friendly” competitors when they became “Prisoners of Hate Island” in #93 (Feb-Mar 66). When their competitions got out of hand, driving away the girl they were competing for, the Green Glob transported them to an alien world. They went their separate ways, only to learn that teamwork pays off. Once home, they discovered their girl had learned her lesson, too, and revealed she was marrying someone else. So the boys went into business together, sadder but wiser.
A Second Chance Glob story was cover-featured (but not tagged as such) in #94, after the well-respected Joel Belmont refused to run for mayor against a well-known but not-as-respected candidate. GG gave him a chance to visit an alternative universe (or possibly the future), where his town was run by “The Monster Mayor-USA” and his monsterish cronies. After the crook gained office, he and his minions gained their hideous appearances, reflecting what they were like inside, and corrupted the town. Failing to stop them, Joel was chased through town, returning him to reality. Shaken by what he’d seen, he agreed to run for mayor.
A Be Careful story, “I was a Prisoner of Death,” was cover-featured with no tag line in #95 (Jun-Jul 66). The man who said those words sought out an immortality potion and was not dissuaded by a magic curse allegedly laid on the potion. The Glob took over the potion as he drank it, after which he began saving people without care for his own safety, since he couldn’t die. But a strange man, who we learned was Death, began following, angry that he was being denied his victims.
Death chained Mr. Immortality to him and led him through town, with his very presence causing others to die. Needless to say, he soon wished he’d never drunk the magic potion, and The Glob granted his wish. Everyone revived, and our hero vowed to live a normal life.
A Just Desserts tale followed in #96. Hiding out from pursuers after stealing a rare artifact (into which the Glob settled), Nick Bragan was transported to “The Supernatural Supermarket” on an alien world. There he was chased by an alien-steed-riding huntsman set on killing him. During the chase, Nick spied a solid-gold statue that he swiped. But the guards captured him and imprisoned him in a cell in which he was going to die. His cries for help were heard by his pursuers on Earth, who captured him, mystifying them and gratifying Nick.
A twist on a Lesson Learned story took place when our hero was given “One Month to Die!” in #97 (Oct-Nov 66) due to an incurable virus. The news depressed Roger Boyd, especially since he’d gotten an interested look from the nurse/receptionist. He decided to spend his final days on a vacation in Switzerland, not realizing the Glob had infested his passport.
It transported him to an alien world where a woman was being attacked by Ice Men. He weighed helping her against risking his last month alive and decided to help. Mayhem ensued, and the rescued woman turned out to be a princess. The Ice Men turned out to be able to transform into Fire Men, too, but Boyd risked his life to save the kingdom. Upon returning to reality, his doctor discovered the virus was gone, and Roger surmised it was due to the intense cold and heat he’d faced. He also noticed, on his way out, that the nurse/receptionist looked exactly like the princess and even had her initials.
A Second Chance tale in #98 presented “The Weird Passenger in Cabin #13,” better known as embezzler Mark Regan. He tried to convince his girlfriend to run off with him to spend the ill-gotten gain, but she didn’t see that as a good life and gave him the brush-off. To elude investigators, he booked passage on a South American ship and was given stateroom #13. Shortly after, he inadvertently saved several people’s lives while looking out for his own best interests, making him a hero on the ship.
But then the ship began to sink (it hit an iceberg—it happens), and Regan grabbed the lifeboat’s last seat. But when a mother with babe in arms suddenly appeared, Regan gave up his seat and dove into the ocean to take his chances. He was rescued by a life raft, helmed by—himself. “I’m your conscience,” the figure said. The trip had shown Regan how to live a decent life, he noted. “Don’t throw it away—you’ve got the stuff good men are made of—hang onto it!” Lesson learned, Regan returned the money, and the bank dropped the charges. Even his girl took him back, thanks to the Green Glob.
Sadly, no Glob story appeared in #99 (Feb-Mar 67). Its place was taken by a reprint, which had begun appearing as one of the three tales since #96. Why it replaced the Glob tale is hard to say. The Glob likewise gave up its spot to a reprint in #101.
A Be Careful tale split these two non-Glob issues in the glorious 100th issue, which celebrated this comics “anniversary” by, um, doing nothing special. But it featured one of my favorite tales, “Judy Blonde, Secret-Agent!” Judy Brown was a shy girl who won a “Most Efficient Secretary of the Year” contest, with the grand prize of $1,000 and the chance to work for a day for a millionaire freighter magnate. Gee, what an honor.
After the photogs snapped their publicity photos, Miss Brown decided to do the work she’d been “honored” with, and she noticed that the figures on shipments didn’t add up. If she were a glamorous secret agent, she thought, she’d check into it—and that’s exactly what the Glob allowed, transforming her into a tall, curvy blonde in a low cut scarlet evening gown and white cape. So much for the “secret” part. Mayhem ensued as she used various secret-agent gimmicks—jet high heels, handkerchief hypnotizer, and lipstick blow torch (I’m sure Batwoman was jealous)—to catch the thieves.
The millionaire (who wasn’t involved) offered Ms. Blonde a job as his private secretary—they’re killing me here—but she rejected it, because he’d had a great secretary for a day and paid her no attention because she wasn’t glamorous. She walked off in a huff but was miserable at the thought of now being Judy Blonde instead of her old self. The Glob reverted her and she quickly ran home to marry her boyfriend.
A Lesson Learned tale followed, after the #101 gap, in “The World’s Weirdest—Death Race!” in #102 (Aug-Sep 67). In this tale, a talented jockey refused to ride for a down-and-out owner, because he didn’t want to risk his rep riding a nag. He also disappointed his girlfriend by blowing off dates to attend swanky parties where he could network. But soon, he faced a dilemma, as the owner of a horse he was riding in a high-stakes race ordered him to throw the race or be killed.
As the jockey dressed, the Glob transported him to (wait for it) an alien world, where he was arrested as a wartime spy. When he claimed innocence, a war-judge allowed him to prove it by winning a contest of his choosing, and he chose racing their weird animals (which he’d used while being chased upon arrival). The judge proclaimed that if he lost, he’d die—but if he won, the aliens would destroy Earth. His thinking was that if the jockey valued his life more than his planet, it wasn’t a civilization worth saving. I see.
After some deliberation, the jockey intentionally lost the race, after which he was teleported back to his own world, where he won the stakes race. Security guards caught the gunmen sent to kill him, he agreed to ride for the down-and-out owner, and he cancelled his meetings to spend time with his girl. The Green Glob won again, by a nose.
The Glob only moved on once more, however. “The Unlucky Mr. Lucky!” had the luck (good or bad, you decide) to Learn a Lesson in the Glob’s final appearance in #103. The cosmic reality-shifter allowed an unlucky freelance photographer to change his fortune: checks rolled in, assignments appeared, a blowout prevented a nearby car from killing a kid, a freak updraft kept his small plane from crashing.
He photographed the opening of a jewelry exhibition and decided he’d test his luck by stealing some gems. But twice he was foiled. Then his girl became engaged to another man, and he discovered that in his desire to steal the gems he’d forgotten to photograph them, enraging his editor. Demoralized, he realized that his luck had turned the instant he’d tried to use it for evil. Having taught its lesson, the Glob “floats away to see others!” the final caption said.
If it did, we never saw it. The next issue featured three stories by other artists, and then the title folded.
I hear you out there thinking, “That was a pretty unexpected and lengthy series of tales, Mr. Silver Age! But I guess that’s one character you’ve never worried would be revived after its title died!” At least, I hear those of you thinking that who don’t know much about comics creators’ love of all things (and I mean all things) Silver Age. Who can blame them?
The Green Glob was indeed revived, playing a key role in Phil Foglio’s 1991 four-part Angel & The Ape mini-series. The series revealed that Supergorilla Grodd was the grandfather of Sam Simeon, the Ape partner to Angel. Grodd learned of The Green Glob and its almost limitless energy. In the final issue, Sam discovered that The Glob was actually a teaching machine created by the Guardians of Oa (hence its green color). “You temporarily warp reality in order to teach a lesson!” Sam exclaimed, summarizing the Glob’s role pretty neatly.
The Glob helped A&A (and the Inferior Five) defeat Grodd, and then Sam made it warp reality permanently to straighten things out (long story). But it could only warp reality until the lesson was learned, you see, so being made to do it permanently transcended its programming and caused it to destruct.
But was it really destroyed? Or did it merely enter one of the many realities it used to teach lessons, hand out justice, or show people the error of their ways? It’s a question we may never be able to answer—at least until once again into our realm of reality drifts The Green Glob!
Wow! Thanks for reprinting that here, Mr. Silver Age!
I encountered many of DC's anthology characters via the wonders of the 100 page Spectacular. I don't recall reading any Green Glob stories, but I do remember Star Hawkins, who I found somewhat interesting. Same with the Atomic Knights.
I've wanted to know more about the "Green Glob" series for a while too - it's one of the few Silver Age DC features I don't recall ever reading. Thanks, Mr SA.
There were really two "Star Hawkins" series. The feature appeared in Strange Adventures under Julie Schwartz's editorship and Jack Schiff's. Toonopedia tells me the Schwartz stories were by John Broome and Mike Sekowsky, and the Schiff ones by Dave Wood and Gil Kane. I've only seen one of the Schwartz ones.
Mister Kitty's "Stupid Comics" has returned to "The Green Glob" this week with a review of another episode here
Focusing on The Green Glob is like shooting fish in a barrel. Those stories (and the dialogue) are so strange. We'll never see their like again, and I don't know if that's a bad thing or not.