First Published: August 2009
Contents: Eclipso stories from House of Secrets #61 (July-August 1963) to #80 (September-October 1966)
Key Creator Credits: Bob Haney, Lee Elias, Alex Toth, Jack Sparling, and others
Key First Appearances: Dr. Bruce Gordon/Eclipso, Professor Simon Bennett, Mona Bennett,
Overview: Dr. Bruce Gordon is examining a black diamond when a solar eclipse occurs. The filtered light from the eclipse hits the black diamond, and Gordon is changed into Eclipso. Eclipso is a typical 1960s DC villain, who wants to take over the world without the overly malicious violence. Eclipso can fire energy rays from his eyes via the black diamond, and seems to always have henchmen available for this latest plot. After some period of time following the eclipse, Eclipso reverts back to Gordon, and he is left trying to clean up the mess that Eclipso made.
Trying to help Gordon is his girlfriend, Mona Bennett, and her father, Professor Simon Bennett. They are aware of Gordon’s condition, and do their best to help him control the transformations, trying to protect him from the all-too-numerous eclipses that occur in the DC universe.
Towards the end of the run of these stories, Gordon/Eclipso teamed up with Mark Merlin/Prince Ra-Man, the co-tenant of House of Secrets with Eclipso.
Why should these stories be Showcased?: While this volume gives us the usual assortment of quirky Bob Haney stories, plus art from Alex Toth, I don’t know that this is a necessary volume. When this run ended, it was eight years before Eclipso surfaced again. He was used sporadically for 15 years as the villain of the month, until he became a major threat in the early 1990s. What we think of the character today has very little to do with the stories collected in this Showcase. If DC had collected more of Eclipso’s appearances beyond the House of Secrets run, this might have been a more interesting collection.
Footnotes: House of Secrets came to an end with issue #80 in 1966. Three years later, DC brought back the title, but now used as a horror anthology, picking up the numbering with issue #81.
If you like this volume, try: digging in the back issue bins to find the DC Annuals from 1992 to read Eclipso: The Darkness Within storyline. This has never been reprinted in a collection, so you will need to search for the individual issues. The series featured a beginning and ending bookend books, and then travelled across various DC titles of the time. Eclipso: The Darkness Within #1 was unique, as the books shipped to comic book stores featured a plastic black diamond attached to the front cover. Of course, this led to damaged comics, the awkwardness of storing the comic, and the cheap glue that led to the diamond coming off of the cover. If you are looking to find the story, these are the annuals to track down: Action Comics Annual #4; Adventures of Superman Annual #4; Batman Annual #16; Deathstroke the Terminator Annual #1; The Demon Annual #1; Detective Comics Annual #5; The Flash Annual #5; Green Arrow Annual #5; Green Lantern Annual #1; Hawkworld Annual #3; Justice League America Annual #6; Justice League Europe Annual #3; L.E.G.I.O.N. Annual #3; The New Titans Annual #8; Robin Annual #1; Superman Annual #4; Superman: The Man of Steel Annual #1; Valor #1; and Wonder Woman Annual #3.