Showcase Presents Hawkman Vol. 2

Showcase Presents Hawkman Vol. 2

First Published: August 2008

Contents: Hawkman #12 (February-March 1966) to #27 (August-September 1968); The Brave and the Bold #70 (February-March 1967); The Atom #31 (June-July 1967); and The Atom and Hawkman #39 (October-November 1968) to #45 (October-November 1969)

Key Creator Credits: Gardner Fox, Murphy Anderson, Dick Dillin, Bob Haney, Joe Kubert, Robert Kanigher, and others

Key First Appearances: Lion-Mane

Story Continues From: Showcase Presents Hawkman Vol. 1 and Showcase Presents The Atom Vol. 2

Overview: Welcome back to the ongoing adventures of Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Police officers Katar and Shayera Hol have travelled from Thanagar to make Earth their adoptive home. Posing as Carter and Shiera Hall, archeologists and curators at the Midway City Museum, our feathered heroes work to catch criminals and solve mysteries using a mix of extraterrestrial science and ancient Earth weapons.

Hawkman remains an interesting nexus point within the DC universe. As a Thanagarian, he is the ideal character to interact with Adam Strange, a man of two worlds (Earth and Rann). As a character written by Gardner Fox, it was natural for Hawkman to team up with the Atom, another Fox creation. As a member of the Justice League, there was no question that Hawkman would be crossing paths with Batman in the pages of The Brave and the Bold.

The foes of Hawkman remain somewhat weak in this collection. Seriously, how many people have even heard of Lion-Mane before? A highlight of this collection is Hawkman coming face-to-face with the Gentleman Ghost, a one-time foe of the Earth-2 Hawkman. Robert Kanigher, with Joe Kubert, created the Gentlemen Ghost for the Hawkman story in Flash Comics #88 (October 1947). Twenty-two years later, Kanigher once again found himself writing a Hawkman story and brought back the Ghost.

In 1968, the Hawkman title came to an end with issue #27, but his stories were not done yet. Hawkman took his adventures to the Atom’s book the following issue, as The Atom was renamed The Atom and Hawkman with issue #39. This combined title ran for seven issues (on a bi-monthly publishing schedule). Three of the issues featured the two characters teaming up together in one story, while four of the issues featured each character in his own solo story.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: Well, on the plus side, I believe this is a better read than Volume 1. With that said, I still found this volume disappointing. The highlights of this collection are the issues where he teams up with other heroes, such as Batman, Atom, and Adam Strange. The problem is this is still a book featuring a solo character (no disrespect meant to Hawkgirl). If the solo stories are not entertaining, it’s hard to get through some of these issues. A lot of these tales feel very repetitive, such as an alien on the run from law enforcement and hiding on Earth, or an archeological dig uncovering a dormant creature. I want this to be so much better than it is! Read this is you are a Hawkman fan, or if you like Murphy Anderson’s art.

Footnotes: The Brave and the Bold #70 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents The Brave and the Bold Batman Team-Ups Vol. 1.

The Atom #31 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents The Atom Vol. 2.

If you like this volume, try: the Geoff Johns Hawkman omnibus, which collects the writer’s two-year run with the character from 2002-2004. In 2001, Johns brought back Hawkman from character limbo in the pages of JSA, doing his best to untangle the complicated history of the character over the last 20 years. That immediately prompted DC to green-light a new ongoing book. In this new series, Hawkman and Hawkgirl are reincarnated spirits dating back to ancient Egypt. The new Hawkman returns, and immediately proclaims his undying love for Hawkgirl. However, this Hawkgirl is Kendra Saunders, a great niece to Sheira Hall, the original Hawkgirl. Kendra has the memories from Sheira, but she does not have the feelings for Carter Hall. Hawkman and Hawkgirl develop a working partnership, which presents a different dynamic than what we have seen previously between these characters. The omnibus contains all of the Geoff Johns’ stories, which ran through issue #25. This volume of the Hawkman series ran for 49 issues, then changed direction and was renamed Hawkgirl with issue #50. The Hawkgirl title ran for another year, before ending with issue #66.

Showcase Presents The Atom Vol. 2

Showcase Presents The Atom Vol. 2

First Published: August 2008

Contents: The Atom #18 (April-May 1965) to #38 (August-September 1968)

Key Creator Credits: Gardner Fox, Gil Kane, and Murphy Anderson

Key First Appearances: Bug-Eyed Bandit

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents The Atom Vol. 1

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Hawkman Vol. 2

Overview: The Mighty Mite of Ivy Town returns in the second volume of Showcase Presents The Atom. Scientist Ray Palmer discovered a way to miniaturize himself using a white dwarf star and ultra-violet rays. Donning a costume, Ray Palmer adopts the identity of the Atom, who can shrink and enlarge himself, as well as adjusting his weight for emphasis when needed. In addition to fighting the various costumed foes that threaten Ivy Town, the Atom also takes a dive into the time pool, when he is able to travel to events in the past.

The stories follow the same formula from the previous volume, where we either get one full-length story or two shorter stories per issue. The highlights of this volume is Ray Palmer meeting his Golden Age counterpart in Al Pratt, the Earth-2 Atom. The two Atoms actually had their first meetings in the first and second meetings of the Justice League and the Justice Society. But this volume features two issues, #29 and #36, that brings the two pint-size heroes together.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: As we move further and further away from the Golden Age and Silver Age of comics, we start to overlook some of the great people that worked on those books. Case in point, I would like to speak about editor Julie Schwartz. He came of age in the 1930s as a science fiction editor, helping writers to place stories in magazines. In 1944, he joined All-American Comics (one of the companies that would become DC Comics) as an editor. During his tenure, he brought in numerous science fiction authors to write comics. Schwartz oversaw the “Silver Age” debut of new versions of the Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, and the Atom. In the mid-1960s, he took over the editor reigns for the Batman books, overseeing that revitalization of that franchise. In the early 1970s, he did that again with the Superman family of books. What makes the Schwartz books stand out, particularly on titles like The Flash or The Atom, is that the stories were based in science, not just in fiction. The characters were scientists in their civilian lives. I know as a kid, I learned actual knowledge reading some of these comics. So yes, all Julie Schwartz edited books should be showcased, and The Atom is a great place to start!

Footnotes: The Atom #31 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Hawkman Vol. 2.

The Atom #38 was the final issue with Ray Palmer as the solo feature of the title. Beginning with issue #39, the title was renamed The Atom and Hawkman, as Hawkman’s title had just been canceled. The Atom and Hawkman ran for seven issues before it was canceled as well. Parts of those seven issues can be found in Showcase Presents Hawkman Vol. 2. Excuse me for a moment while I get very angry with DC Comics. See, for The Atom and Hawkman #40, #41, #43, and #44, the two title characters have separate stories. However, Showcase Presents Hawkman Vol. 2 only reprints the Hawkman stories from those issues. That means that the Atom stories from issues #40, #41, #43, and #44 have not been reprinted! These were 10-12 page stories, so that would have meant 40-50 to include those four Atom stories, either in the Hawkman Showcase or this Atom Showcase.

If you like this volume, try: the All-New Atom series that debuted in 2006 from Gail Simone and John Byrne. In this series, we meet Ryan Choi, an Asian-American protege of Ray Palmer. Choi has recently moved to Ivy Town in hopes of taking Ray Palmer’s position at the university. Discovering some of Palmer’s notes, Choi tracks down one of the old size-changing belts used by the Atom. Developing a new costume, Choi takes on the name of the Atom, to further fill the void of Ray Palmer’s absence from Ivy Town. This series ran for 25 issues, and almost all of the series has been collected into four trade paperbacks. Choi was a fresh character that truly paid homage to the Atom of the 1960s, where the science was just as important as the fiction. Sadly, Choi was not brought into the “New 52” universe, so tracking down this series is your best bet to discover the character.

Showcase Presents Batman Vol. 3

Showcase Presents Batman Vol. 3

First Published: June 2008

Contents: Batman #189 (February 1967) to #201 (May 1968); Batman stories from Detective Comics #359 (January 1967) to #358 (May 1968)

Key Creator Credits: John Broome, Mike Friedrich, Carmine Infantino, Gardner Fox, Sheldon Moldoff, Gil Kane, Chic Stone, and others

Key First Appearances: Barbara Gordon/Batgirl

Story Continues From: Showcase Presents Batman Vol. 2

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Batman Vol. 4 and Showcase Presents Batgirl Vol. 1

Overview: “Atomic batteries to power. Turbines to speed.” Strap in, old chum, as we travel the 14 miles into Gotham City. Wait, that’s the wrong Batman series from the 1960s. I was referencing the Batman TV series. Surely the TV series had no impact on the comic books, right? Wrong! Sit back and enjoy the ride with the third volume in the Showcase Presents Batman series. There’s not a moment to lose!

Now, according to lore, the TV series producers went to DC Comics looking for help. The show needed a new female character to help attract female viewership. Based on a suggestion by William Dozier, DC artist Carmine Infantino whipped up a design for Batgirl, a.k.a. Barbara Gordon, Gotham City librarian, and daughter of Police Commissioner Gordon. Making her debut in Detective Comics #359, Batgirl quickly became a fan favorite and a core member of the Batman Family.

Reflecting the success of the TV show, the comics in this volume started featuring many of the colorful characters to challenge the Dynamic Duo. Lots of Penguin and Joker and Catwoman stories here! And even though they never made it to TV, Blockbuster and Scarecrow get some page time in this collection.

While we start to see some signs of an over-arching storyline starting to develop under the guidance of editor Julie Schwartz, these stories remain primarily one-and-done and could be read in any order once you read Batgirl’s first appearance at the start of this collection.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: This is the volume everyone wants when you think of Batman in the mid-1960s. You get the million dollar debut of Batgirl. You get the second appearance (and the first in Showcase Presents) of Mr. Freeze. Batman’s rogues’ gallery of colorful characters (pun intended) is all here: Joker, Penguin, Catwoman, Riddler, Mad Hatter, Blockbuster, Scarecrow, Killer Moth, and more. As a fan, I would be hard-pressed to find something missing from the Batman mythology that is not contained somewhere in this volume. This may be volume three in the series, but I would rank this #1 on my must-own list.

Footnotes: The stories from Detective Comics #359, #363, #369, & #371, and Batman #197 were also reprinted in Showcase Presents Batgirl Vol. 1.

The Robin story from Batman #192 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Robin the Boy Wonder Vol. 1.

If you like this volume, try: Batman ’66. This series is based completely on the 1960s Batman television show. The characters in this comic bear a passing resemblance to the characters from the show – such as Adam West as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Cesar Romero as the Joker. Others may look slightly askew, such as Commissioner Gordon or Chief O’Hara. The writers and artists vary from story to story. This series is available first as a digital comic, and then two stories are collected later as a print comic. The print comics have been collected into multiple trades and hardcovers, so this should be very easy to find in any format. If you are a fan of the TV show, which was finally released on DVD in 2014, or if you are a fan of the Batman stories collected in this Showcase Presents, then Batman ’66 should be on your pull list.

Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 3

Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 3

First Published: May 2008

Contents: Green Lantern #39 (September 1965) to #59 (March 1968)

Key Creator Credits: John Broome, Gil Kane, Sid Greene, Gardner Fox, Murphy Anderson, and others

Key First Appearances: Krona, Major Disaster, Princess Ramia, Zborra, Charlie Vicker, Guy Gardner

Story Continues From: Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 2

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 4

Overview: In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, beware my power, Green Lantern’s light! With that, let’s dive into Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol. 3.

Green Lantern is an interesting title of the era, as any type of story seems reasonable with this character. From traveling to the future or to parallel universes; or roaming the vast reaches of space to battling criminals in Coast City — it all works with the Hal Jordan character. In many ways, Green Lantern is the definitive science-fiction character of the 1960s.

Having worked with him in the Justice League-Justice Society meetings, Green Lantern has a series of solo team-ups with Green Lantern of Earth-2 in this collection. Alan Scout’s ring is powered by magic, and is vulnerable to anything made of wood, which is in complete contrast to Hal Jordan’s will-powered ring that is vulnerable to anything yellow. Let’s just hope that these two do not have to face crooks armed with yellow baseball bats.

Gil Kane’s art is the true star of the show in this volume. Although Kane’s career spans 50+ years, it is his work on Green Lantern that remains among the most-memorable of his career. This volume is an excellent example of his artistic brilliance.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: To date, each volume in this line is better than the previous. At this point, the creators (John, Gil, and Gardner) have fully established the character and his world. Now, we see Green Lantern’s universe expand, with team-ups with the Flash and Zatanna, and with the introductions of Alan Scott and Guy Gardner. (John Stewart fans, be patient – his time is coming!) As with the prior volumes, Green Lantern remains one of the titles most-impacted by the lack of color in the Showcase Presents line. Thankfully, the Silver Age comics were very diligent in explaining the Green Lantern ring’s weakness to anything yellow each and every time it occurs. Anyway, I think this would be a good spot to pick up Green Lantern if you haven’t so far. In particular, this should be a must own volume for Gil Kane fans!

Footnotes: After making appearances in The Flash and in Justice League of America, the Earth-2 Green Lantern, Alan Scott, finally makes an appearance in Green Lantern #40. Alan Scott, along with his pal Doiby Dickles, would make frequent appearances in Green Lantern going forward.

If you like this volume, try: the Green Lantern: Sector 2814 series of trade paperbacks from the last few years. These books collect the Green Lantern title from the 1980s – before, during, and following the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Hal Jordan finds that he needs to walk away from his role as defender of Sector 2814. But two men – John Stewart and Guy Gardner – step forward to take on the mantle as Green Lantern of Earth. Three volumes have been released so far, collecting the work from Len Wein, Dave Gibbons, Steve Englehart, Paul Kupperberg, Joe Staton, and others. These books are an easy way to explore some great Green Lantern Corps stories that often get overlooked.

Showcase Presents Robin Vol. 1

First Published: January 2008

Contents: Robin stories from Batman #184 (September 1966), #192 (June 1967), #202 (June 1968), #213 (July-August 1969), #217 (December 1969), #227 (December 1970), #229 (February 1971) to #231 (May 1971), #234 (August 1971) to #236 (November 1971), #239 (February 1972) to #242 (June 1972), #244 (September 1972) to #246 (December 1972), #248 (April 1973) to #250 (July 1973), #252 (October 1973), and #254 (January-February 1974); World’s Finest Comics #141 (May 1964) #147 (February 1965), #195 (August 1970), and #200 (February 1971); Robin stories from 
Detective Comics #342 (August 1965), #386 (April 1969), #390 (August 1969), #391 (September 1969), #394 (December 1969), #395 (January 1970), #398 (April 1970) to #403 (September 1970), #445 (February-March 1975), #447 (May 1975), #450 (August 1975) and #451 (September 1975); Robin stories from Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #91 (March 1966), #111 (June 1968), and #130 (July 1970); and 
Justice League of America #91 (August 1971) and #92 (September 1971)

Key Creator Credits: Gardner Fox, Frank Robbins, Gil Kane, Mike Friedrich, Irv Novick, Dick Dillin, Elliot S. Maggin, Bob Rozakis, and others

Key First Appearances: Frank McDonald, Lori Elton

Overview: For being a teenage sidekick, Robin the Boy Wonder is looking pretty good for 74 years old. Sit back and enjoy the solo tales of the most recognizable sidekick of all time.

The early stories have the sweet innocence of the 1960s. We get a retelling of Robin’s origin: A young Dick Grayson is the youngest member of the Flying Graysons, the star attraction of Haley’s Circus. When the circus refuses to pay off mobsters, the Graysons suffer a fatal accident, leaving Dick Grayson as a mourning orphan. Attending the circus that night is millionaire Bruce Wayne, who knows first hand the pain that Grayson is feeling. He brings the young lad into his home as a ward and makes him a partner in his war on crime as Robin.

As we enter the 1970s, Dick Grayson finally completes high school and is ready to head to college. Once he leaves Wayne Manor to attend college at Hudson University, Robin starts to shine as an independent character. He finds a steady girlfriend in Lori Elton and gets to know the Hudson Security Chief Frank McDonald both in and out of the Robin outfit. Robin’s maturation becomes a decade-long process, but we finally get to see Robin completely break free of Batman’s shadow much later in the pages of New Teen Titans.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: As one of DC’s oldest characters, Robin definitely needs to have his solo stories collected like this. The stories collected here generally fall into two categories – either a filler story to complete an issue of Batman or Detective Comics, or a genuine attempt to tell a stand-alone story and advance the character of Dick Grayson. However, Dick Grayson’s story is not complete here. It’s been 7+ years since DC released this volume and Showcase Presents Batgirl Vol. 1. My hope is that some day, DC will continue to collect Dick Grayson’s (and Barbara Gordon’s) adventures in a Showcase Presents Batman Family Vol. 1, which would ideally collect the original stories of Robin, Batgirl, Man-Bat and others from Batman Family #1 to #20.

Footnotes: The Robin story from Detective Comics #342  was also reprinted in Showcase Presents Batman Vol. 1.

The Robin story from Batman #184 was also reprinted in Showcase Presents Batman Vol. 2.

The Robin story from Batman #192 was also reprinted in Showcase Presents Batman Vol. 3.

The Robin stories from Batman #202 and #213 were also reprinted in Showcase Presents Batman Vol. 4.

The Robin story from Batman #217 was also reprinted in Showcase Presents Batman Vol. 5.

Detective Comics #400 & #401 were also reprinted in Showcase Presents Batgirl Vol. 1.

World’s Finest Comics #141 was also reprinted in Showcase Presents World’s Finest Vol. 2.

World’s Finest Comics #147 was also reprinted in Showcase Presents World’s Finest Vol. 3.

World’s Finest Comics #195 and #200 were also reprinted in Showcase Presents World’s Finest Vol. 4.

Justice League of America #91 and #92 were also reprinted in Showcase Presents Justice League of America Vol. 5.

If you like this volume, try: The New Teen Titans: Judas Contract. This was one of the best Teen Titans stories ever and definitely was among the greatest stories done by Marv Wolfman and George Perez. The main story here deals with the betrayal of the Titans by their newest member, Terra. Inserted into the team a year prior, we find out that she had been working as a mole for Deathstroke, the Terminator. Over the course of the story, we see Dick Grayson undergo his transformation into adulthood, which had it’s beginnings in this volume when Robin struck out on his own at Hudson University. By the end of the story, Dick Grayson has adopted a new identity (and costume) as Nightwing. This has been collected multiple times, as both a trade paperback and as part of The New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 2. I can’t recommend this story enough – this is one of the essential stories for Dick Grayson, for the Teen Titans, and for DC Comics.

Showcase Presents Justice League of America Vol. 3

Showcase Presents Justice League of America Vol. 3

First Published: December 2007

Contents: Justice League of America #37 (August 1965) to #60 (February 1968)

Key Creator Credits: Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky

Key First Appearances: The Key, Royal Flush Gang (10, Jack, Queen, King, and Ace of Clubs), Amos Fortune, Shaggy Man

Story Continues From: Showcase Presents Justice League of America Vol. 2

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Justice League of America Vol. 4

Overview: From their secret headquarters in Happy Harbor, we rejoin the Justice League of America in their third Showcase Presents volume. When the volume starts, the league stands strong at 10 members – the original seven plus Green Arrow, Atom, and Hawkman. Surprisingly, when this volume ends, the membership will still remain those 10 members. But more on that later, let’s get into the stories.

At the point, Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky had developed a set pattern for the title. There would be eight new issues each year, plus one reprint issue. And for two issues each year, the Justice League would team up with their friends in the Justice Society, which usually resulted in some crisis that involves the two teams working together. This volume gives us three JLA-JSA team-ups, so it’s well worth reading.

What makes this volume interesting to me is the new villains introduced here. The Key would become a long-time foe of the League in all of its incarnations, and his power and story gets updated over the years. My personal favorite foes, the Royal Flush Gang, show up led by Amos Fortune. Various iterations (or should I say, suits) will return from time to time to challenge the League, with or without Fortune.  Finally, Shaggy Man stumbles into the picture, and would make occasional appearances later on.

Now, going back to the membership. Surely being asked to join the Justice League would be highlight of any hero’s career. However, the League receives their first “No”, when an offer is extended, but rejected, by Metamorpho in issue #42. Metamorpho agrees to be an honorary member. In issue #51, Zatanna makes her first appearance in the pages of Justice League, as she finally tracks down her missing father (see Showcase Presents Hawkman Vol. 1). However, it would take the JLA another 110 issues before Zatanna is made a member.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: I really think this is a good starting point if you want to dive into the history of the Justice League. The storytelling and the artwork have leveled out, and you know what you will get from month to month. The lineup remains constant, but it does vary from issue to issue as not all 10 members show up for each case. And we see other characters make cameo appearances, which finally gives the reader a feeling that DC is developing a large shared universe of characters.

Footnotes: Justice League of America #39, #48, and #58 are 80-Page Giant reprint issues. collecting three previously published stories. The covers for these three issues are in this volume.

Justice League of America #42 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Metamorpho Vol. 1.

Justice League of America #60 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Batgirl Vol. 1.

If you like this volume, try: DC: The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke. This is an incredible story set in the days of DC’s Silver Age. One of the biggest issues I have with the comics from this era is that the characters very rarely crossed over with each other. We never saw Aquaman or the Sea Devils when Superman went to Atlantis to visit Lori Lemaris, The Green Lanterns were seemingly unaware of Hawkman and the other Thanagarians. The Blackhawks fought a lot of the same types of foes as the Challengers of the Unknown. Sure, we had some minor crossovers, such as the Batman & Superman pairing in World’s Finest or the creation of the Justice League. With the New Frontier project, Darwyn Cooke brought everything and everyone together into one large story arc set in the 1950s. Following the end of World War II, many of the world’s Golden Age heroes went into seclusion due to the paranoia brought on by the Cold War. But the challenges of the 1950s brought out a new generation of super-heroes ready to face the world. Cooke’s artwork showcases the optimism of the 1950s super-hero, while his writing gives us a modern day take on times past. This story has been collected in multiple formats – I would suggest getting the Absolute edition, just to see the artwork on a larger page. However you read this story, do it! You won’t be disappointed.

Showcase Presents Adam Strange Vol. 1

Showcase Presents Adam Strange Vol. 1

First Published: August 2007

Contents: Showcase #17 (November-December 1958) to #19 (March-April 1959), Adam Strange stories from Mystery in Space #53 (August 1959) to #84 (June 1963)

Key Creator Credits: Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky, Carmine Infantino

Key First Appearances: Adam Strange, Rann, Alanna, Sardath, Tornado Tyrant, Dust Devil

Overview: Deep in the heart of the Peruvian jungle, archaeologist Adam Strange is struck by a Zeta-Beam, and transported 25 trillion miles across space to the planet Rann. There he meets the lovely Alanna and her father Sardath, and is immediately thrown into a crisis that threatens the planet. Adam Strange steps up to save the day, becoming the hero of the planet. But before he can collect any kind of reward, Adam Strange is teleported back to Earth as the Zeta-Beam wears off, and now must wait three weeks before he can intercept the next Zeta-Beam in order to return to Rann.

Each story follows a basic formula — Adam Strange rushes to a point in the southern hemisphere to intercept the Zeta-Beam, often having to avoid a last second obstacle; once on Rann, he immediately encounters a new danger that threatens his adopted planet, which he valiantly triumphs over; and then finds himself returning to Earth before he has a chance to spend time with Alanna.

As predictable as the story formula may be, these are fun adventures each month. Pure science-fiction from its peak of popularity in the 1950s. Borrowing equal parts of Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, Adam Strange becomes a hero using his knowledge of science to overcome a wide variety of alien races.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: There are numerous reasons why I should not like this book. I am not a huge fan of Carmine Infantino’s art style. I find the formulaic stories from this era too predictable. This is more a science-fiction book than a super-hero book. With all of that said, I really loved this Showcase. Adam Strange felt alive and full of energy. Gardner Fox builds a new universe of characters, and creates an ongoing continuity with the storyline, with past stories and characters coming back in later stories.

Footnotes: Adam Strange was the main feature in the Mystery in Space during this era, getting the cover and the lead story position each issue.

The character likeness of Sardath was modeled after DC editor Julie Schwartz, who took great pride in being used as a character in one of his books. Later on in life, Schwartz would issue an autobiography titled “Man of Two Worlds”, which is the tagline used with Adam Strange.

Showcase #17, #18, and #19 are also reprinted in Showcase Presents Showcase Vol. 1.

Mystery in Space #75 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Justice League of America Vol. 1.

If you like this volume, try: the first space-travelling hero from Earth, with the John Carter, Warlord of Mars comic series from Marvel Comics published in the late 1970s. For those unfamiliar with John Carter, he was created in 1912 by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Set in the years following the Civil War, Virginian John Carter found himself transported from Earth to Mars, where he attracts the hand of the princess Dejah Thoris while fighting the various warring tribes on Mars. Burroughs’ series of John Carter novels has been adapted in various media, from Big Little Books to motion pictures. My personal favorite adaption is the Marvel series, written primarily by Marv Wolfman and Chris Claremont, and with art by Gil Kane, Dave Cockrum, and Ernie Colon, among others. The entire series takes place between two paragraphs of Burroughs’ first novel A Princess of Mars. This series has been collected twice in recent years — Marvel released an Omnibus volume in 2012, and Dark Horse Comics released their black and white version of an Omnibus in 2011.