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Friday, February 09, 2007

DC Special Series #1 - 1977

sgIt's Comic Friday again! Today we examine a comic book I sought solely for its cover--DC Special Series #1, by Neal Adams, of course. All superhero covers should look this exciting!

Inside the book consists of five separate stories: "How to Prevent A Flash" by Cary Bates and Irv Novick; Green Lantern in "He Who Slaughters" by Denny O'Neil and Joe Staton; Aquaman in "A King Without A Sea" by Gerry Conway and Dick Dillin; The Atom in "The Telephone Tangle" by our pal Paul Kupperberg and Steve Stiles(?), and Batman in "The Dead-On-Arrival Conspiracy" by Martin Pasko and Mike Nasser. The uncredited editorial mentions that the Batman tale was originally scheduled for Kobra #8 before the book was cancelled; so I'm betting the rest of these stories were inventory, as well.

The Aquaman story is unusual in that its drawn by Dick Dillin, who of course drew Arthur for years in his astonishingly-long run on Justice League of America, but to my knowledge this is the first and only time he drew a solo Aquaman tale. It was inked by Jack Abel, someone you didn't see paired up with Dillin much, as well. The story takes place during Aquaman's solo title revival, and the only mention of recent events are on the first page via word balloons and in one caption later on. I have a hunch this indeed was an inventory tale, re-lettered on the splash page to help tie it into current events.

He takes on an abruptly-conceived villain named Sunburst and gets really, really mad at him when he fries some fish. I always liked that about Aquaman--he cares about all living things!


Anonymous said...

Ooh, TOTALLY gorgeous cover! Unfortunately, I didn't really care that much for the story inside. Although it did show that Aquaman wasn't just confined to ocean stories; Sunburst was an Arabian villain based in the dessert. I always hoped he'd come back with a vendetta against him but he never did.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my! The Atom goes back to the 1876 Philadelphia Exhibition to determine who really invented the telephone: Bell or a man named Joshua Gray, an historic figure who actually arrived at the patent office with plans for his telephone mere hours after Bell. In reality, I believe it might have led to legal action; in my story I totally defame Gray by turning him into a revenge seeking madman who tries to kill Bell!

Now THAT'S comics!

If memory serves, while the book did run off the unpublished KOBRA #8 and an inventory Aquaman story--hence the unusal use of Dick Dillin on a character he didn't normally draw--I believe the three other stories for the 5-STAR SUPER-HERO SPECTACULAR were done specifically for the one-shot--I do remember the Atom story being slated for the book when I got the assignment. This was the early days of the $1 comic--and just prior to the DC Implosion--so I believe they were bolstering the line with whatever titles they could.

And Steve Stiles was an artist who broke into comics around the same time I did and worked for DC--I believe he may have also drawn a romance story I wrote for the last issue or so of YOUNG LOVE around the same time--Marvel, Fantagraphics, Heavy Metal, and others, until I guess the mid-90s.


rob! said...

Thanks for the clarification, Paul!

and yes, Atom story was pretty wacky...

Plaidstallions said...

I haven't thought of this book in years, the Aquaman story was kind of forgettable IMO.

Rick L. Phillips said...

I didn't read this book but I wish I had. I just wanted to say I think you have a great site. You don't find too many dedicated to Aquaman. So 3 cheers for you on a great site. Also like you I love Neal Adams art. If it were up to me every superhero book would be illistrate by either him, John Romit Sr. or Alex Ross.

Anonymous said...


Hey, I actually liked the story! Was it brilliant? No, but Dick Dillin drew a real nice Sea King and I thought Sunburst had potential. Just another Aqua-villain ingored by later writers (Flame-Haired Karla, anyone?) No wonder Aquaman's Rogues Gallery is so meager.


rob! said...


i dont think anywhere in my review i said it was a bad story, simply that it was probably an inventory one, something Paul Kupperberg confirmed above.

and when i said "abruptly conceived" i meant it more in the context of the story--the guy gets blasted, turns into a villain, and heads off on his mission of vengeance all in 3 panels, an extraordinarily quick turn of events!

Anonymous said...

Do you have any comments on the Green Lantern story? I really want to know if any alien lanterns have more than a cameo so I know if I should buy it.