Sunday, August 17, 2008


As usual, on Friday evening, Tom Spurgeon put out the call for new Five for Friday submissions, and as usual, I saw the call too late to think of anything to send in. The theme: "Name Five Weapons From Comics You Wouldn't Mind Using In An Emergency, Or Just Otherwise Think Are Cool". However, after seeing the entries of those who did, and thinking a little bit afterwards, I thought of a few several comic-book devices and weapons that no one mentioned, and thought I'd put 'em up here for all to see. Since it's not Friday anymore, I'll cite seven just because. And here they are!

"MIKE" and "IKE", the lightweight pistol and knife that Richard Benson, aka The Avenger, employed in his fight against crime in addition to his disguise abilities. Now, Benson doesn't have quite the renown or cachet of many of his contemporaries like Doc Savage, The Spider or the Shadow, but I read a great many of his paperback exploits as a teen, and enjoyed them each and every one- even the ones which weren't pulp reprints, but modern continuations by Ron Goulart. DC put out two short-lived comics versions, first the above, which lasted five issues and was drawn mostly by Jack Kirby in 1975, and about 12 years later, as Andy Helfer and Kyle Baker sought to spin him off their blackly comedic Shadow in a 2-issue squareback series that didn't seem to go over.

WEATHER WIZARD'S WAND: I started to go with Captain Cold's cold gun, but out of all the Flash's gallery of super-gimmick villains, I've always had the biggest soft spot for the rakish Weather Wizard and his elements-controlling stick. Well, the Infantino version was rakish looking; these days he just looks like a generic supervillain. I never could do anything with my wand but get in trouble.

CAPTAIN ACTION'S MAGIC COINS: When I was a kid, about 8 or so, I was just nuts about my Captain Action doll. I had several of the superhero costumes that you could disguise him in, had the regrettably named Action Boy and Dr. Evil, and all the stuff that came with them. Strangely enough, though, I didn't own very many issues of the DC comic adaptation of the character; maybe it was because out of necessity, they had to change the basic schtick because there was no way Marvel was gonna let DC disguise their hero as Spider-Man or Sarge Fury. What they came up with was having Cap's alter ego Clive Arno be a archaeologist/museum curator, and one of his finds was a clutch of magic coins that gave him SHAZAM-like abilities. Got to believe that would be pretty cool to have. The cover at left was the only issue of Cap that I bought (or actually my folks bought for me) off the spinner rack; I got the others several years later through a mail order back issue dealer.

DR. SPECTRUM'S POWER PRISM: Doc Spectrum was the Green Lantern in Marvel's imitation Justice League, the Squadron Sinister Supreme. Looking at his Wikipedia entry, it seems that the big hunk o'crystal he used to carry around and fire blasts out of is gone, replaced by a kewler-looking glove attachment or something. Bah. Anyway, when I was a kid I was fascinated by prisms, and naturally I gravitated to this character a little bit. Doc's favorite album? Dark Side of the Moon.

DAIMON HELLSTROM'S TRIDENT: Hey- it emits soulfire, which probably is accompanied by Isaac Hayes and James Brown music, and fucks people up seven ways to Sunday. Why wouldn't you want that?

THE MAD THINKER'S BOUNCING BALL OF DOOM!Gotta have the exclamation point, just because. When I was a young boy, I played the silver ball really liked the old Torch and the Thing feature in Strange Tales for some reason, and this was my favorite of all of them, I think. The Thinker set it loose and it just beat the hell out of everything at random, almost destroyed the Brooklyn Bridge and a dam, before the T and T Team finally put it out of commission by using that Saurday Morning cartoon staple, teamwork. It was a fun, action packed story, and I wish I still had a copy of this comic. I know, I know, it's in an Essential collection. I also really liked the Doc Strange feature in this one as well; it's the one in which Doc is on the run from DormamMordo, and does battle with a bunch of wraiths in his astral form outside a jet plane. Cool beans. I think this is something like the fourth time I've posted this cover...

DR. MID-NITE's CYROTUBER: I tried my best to find a picture of this device, which was introduced (and subsequently forgotten about) in Justice League of America #'s 46 and 47. I thought I had found one here, but none of the images loaded. Anyways, it was a gun with a group of tubes at the end, and it fired either lasers or intense cold. Could come in handy if you're driving and need to get frost off your windshield or cool off the engine...or for heating up his soup, even cooling it off if he gets it too hot. I think Gardner Fox thought this would be a good compliment to the Doc's blackout bombs, but that remains dubious.

And that concludes SEVEN FOR SUNDAY! Enjoy the rest of your day, week, month, year, decade, and/or life.

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