Continuing our journey through the pages of CANCELLED COMICS CAVALCADE #1…
THE DESERTER #1, a western series created and scripted by Gerry Conway and illustrated by Dick Ayers and the prolific Romeo Tanghal. This series was originally slated to appear in SHOWCASE (as confirmed by the fact that all the pages are labeled with that book’s title), but instead got the go-ahead for its own book. Ultimately, of course, it never appeared anywhere but in CCC.
The story opens in 1874 with a stranger riding into the town of Cooper’s Canyon, Arizona. Within moments of his arrival, he stops a potential shoot-out between the town’s sheriff and a gunman. When the stagecoach to Dry Water arrives with its drivers shot to death, we find out that Jase Carson, “biggest landowner this side of St. Louis,” is behind it. Seems Carson wants to buy part of Dry Water, a part owned by newspaperman Will Olsen and threatened to burnt he town down if the people in it didn’t force Olsen to sell. A coded letter to Olsen from Washington DC is on the stage, so the stranger volunteers to deliver it.
Not long after the stranger leaves on his mission, a former Union soldier arrives in Cooper’s Canyon. Ex-Sergeant Willie Dredge tells the sheriff the story of Aaron Hope, who deserted the Union Army during a Civil War battle. Dredge, who’d been maimed during the battle, vowed to bring in Hope and ten years later, was still in pursuit. The sheriff, though he recognizes a picture of Hope, does not help Dredge.
Meanwhile, Hope avoids an ambush by Jase Carson and his men and, after a confrontation in Dry Water, the villainous landowner is arrested for murder.
Back in Cooper’s Canyon, the sheriff confronts Hope about whether he deserted the army. The issue ends with Hope telling him that perhaps the sheriff should first hear his side of the story. Alas, no one by Gerry Conway and editor Paul Levitz know Hope’s side. The second issue was not completed.
Next up in the volume is “Tapestry of Dreams” by Cary Burkett, Juan Ortiz and Vince Colletta. This 25-page story, sporting a Michael Kaluta cover, was originally scheduled for DOORWAY TO NIGHTMARE #6, but eventually saw print in an issue of UNEXPECTED.
Gerry Conway, Al Milgrom and Bob McLeod provide “The Typhoon is a Storm of the Soul,” originally scheduled for FIRESTORM #6. Most of the first half of the issue focuses on the Nuclear Man testing his powers of transmutation. At the same time, a private detective named Liam McGarrin, hired by Professor Stein because he’s concerned about his “blackouts,” is trying to figure out why Professor Stein keeps disappearing. Firestorm fans already know it is because Stein and Ronnie Raymond are “fused” into the hero and the professor is only cognizant of his role when Firestorm is in action.
Elsewhere, aboard a research vessel in the South Pacific, we’re introduced to Jonathan Shine, who, it turns out, is the son of New York mob boss “Shoe” Shine. Shine, however, is trying to escape his family background and has established himself as the world’s foremost authority on deep sea diving. Determined to prove himself, Shine goes on a dive. He is exposed to tremendous deep-sea pressure and radioactive water and becomes a living storm.
Back in New York, McGarrin spots Ronnie Raymond leaving Stein’s lab and decides to follow him. (Uh-oh, is Ronnie’s double identity in jeopardy?)
Meanwhile, back in the South Pacific, one of the ship’s crewmen spot a swirling column of water headed towards them and calls it a tornado. “Not in the South Pacific,” corrects another sailor. “It’s a typhoon!” (Actually, a typhoon is the Pacific version of a hurricane. What they’re seeing is a waterspout, the oceanic version of a tornado. Obviously, Gerry Conway did not think Waterspout was as effective a name for a villain as Typhoon.) Typhoon makes short order of the ship and heads away.
Back in the Big Apple, Ronnie Raymond has an argument with his father, gets into a shoving match with classmate/ pain-in-the-butt Cliff Carmichael, and spots the school’s principal being kidnapped by “Spit” Shine, brother to guess who.
When Firestorm arrives to rescue the principal, his mission is interrupted by the arrival of Typhoon, who has made his way across the Pacific and the United States to Brooklyn. The mandatory battle ensues, ending when the Firestorm, using his newly-tested transmutation powers, is able to change Shine back to normal.
Closing out CCC #1 are a pair of 20-page GREEN TEAM stories by Joe Simon, Jerry Grandenetti and Creig Flessel. Unlike most of the other material in this volume, there were no plans to actually publish “The High Price of Food” and “The Deadly Paper Hanger” as part of the DC Explosion; both had been written off in 1977.
The Green Team, something of a cross between Richie Rich and the Boy Commandos, made their only official appearance in FIRST ISSUE SPECIAL #2. Between the giant lobster attack in the first story and the wallpaper designs that come to life in the second, it’s not hard to see why they never got an encore.
Join me again next week as we begin our journey through the contents of CANCELLED COMICS CAVALCADE #2.
BOBRO’S TRIVIA QUIZ
1. Back in 1971, WEIRD MYSTERY TALES and LOVE STORIES were the first two issues of what series?
2. Anywhere he went, John Byrne claimed a number of fans would follow his work; what did he call them?
3. Not much of a hit, what series ended the first incarnation of SHOWCASE?
4. Killed in the Crisis, Phil Reardon’s optic nerves were connected to his fingers; what name did he go by?
5. An old-time comic strip, the main character’s name was the same as a knockout drug slipped into a drink.
6. Crimes were committed by George Blake when he used make-up to disguise himself as what villain?
7. Captain America ended up frozen in a block of ice; who died in the infamous rocket-ride?
8. Okay, in the classic Silver Age story, how much of a Green Lantern is better than none?
9. Unless you know who Mr. Manplastic is, you won’t know to what group he belonged.
10. No one but BobRo fans may know who Diana Theotocopolous is; do you?
11. The first appearance of Bulletman was in what magazine?
12. So DC is reprinting LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN #5 because of an offensive ad. Alan Moore referred to the cost of this making the book the most expensive WHAT ever?
A BOBRO MINI-REVIEW:
One thing about reading through a large pile of comic books in one sitting is that you notice similarities among them. But it isn’t too hard for even a casual reader to note that LEGENDS OF THE DC UNIVERSE #29, JLA #42, and the duo of SUPERMAN #158 and ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #580 all feature The Atom and various shrunken heroes. In the first, the Tiny Titan and Green Lantern deal with a shrunken Earth. (Some classic-looking Gil Kane art in that one; his last work before his death.) JLA has The Atom leading a team of reduced JLAers into the brain of a boy suffering from a brain tumor. And over in the latter books, he’s coordinating Superboy, Supergirl, et al on a “fantastic voyage” through Superman’s body as they try to cure the Man of Steel of kryptonite poisoning.
You have to wonder if any of the editors talk to one another about what’s coming up, don’t you?
That’ll do it till next week, except to point out to T. Jan Miller that the Knicks and Heat are tied at two games apiece as I write this, so it’s still anybody’s series.
Meantime, I’m waiting to answer your questions about comic book production, history, and the industry in general.
Send your query to BobRo@silverbulletcomicbooks.com and if I use it here, you’ll earn yourself a discount on anything you order from SBC. (Plus, you get to see your name in my column!)
TRIVIA QUIZ ANSWERS:
1. DC 100-PAGE SUPER-SPECTAUCULAR
2. The Faithful Fifty
3. MANHUNTER 2070
4. The Ten-Eyed Man
5. Mickey Finn
7. Bucky Barnes
9. Kookie Quartet
11. NICKEL COMICS
12. Penny Dreadful
This week’s theme is denominations of American money.
[For more of BobRo’s trivia, check out the daily Anything Goes Trivia]
Copyright ? 2000 to 2003 by Bob Rozakis. All Rights Reserved.