Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s the United States experienced a number of student protests on campuses across the country–primarily related to the Vietnam War. These student protests were touched on in “Journey to the End of Hope” in World’s Finest Comics #204 (August, 1971). It’s never stated in the story why the campus students are clashing with school guards, but the particular confrontation in this story could lead to the eventual destruction of all life on Earth unless Superman and Wonder Woman can protect the life of one single individual at the protest.
This tale of a dying computer from Earth’s future nobly attempting to change the past appears very much of its time if you go strictly by the intriguing Neal Adams cover–what with the “Right On!” poster, Superman noting the year 1971 in his speech balloon, and Diana Prince (sans Amazonian powers) sporting her hip-and-happening white jumpsuit. The story, however, is essentially rooted in science fiction and has one unexpected poignant moment–the sudden and fleeting attraction between Superman and Wonder Woman.
DC Nostalgia: The Great Basil Wolverton While this story is certainly not writer Denny O’Neil’s best from comics’ relevancy era (see his stories in Batman, Detective Comics, and Green Lantern for that), I found “Journey to the End of Hope” a pleasantly compelling read (probably more so now than when I first read it in the mid-1970s). Great story title, by the way–perfectly capturing the bleakness of a future I hope mankind never achieves. Additionally, the artistic teaming of Dick Dillin and Joe Giella is solid.
It’s a shame that three of artist Basil Wolverton’s bizarre, disturbing PLOP! illustrations never made the cover of the comic book series towards the tail end of its run. Still, to DC’s credit at least they published them inside the comic book!
Reproduced here is Wolverton’s depiction of Snapper Snodgrass (did Wolverton also write the clever character caption, I wonder), originally presented in PLOP! #24 (November-December, 1976), the final issue of the magazine of weird humor.
At the bottom of this column is a reproduction of the actual cover for that issue, which spotlighted a strip gag that simply doesn’t compare to Wolverton’s demented genius.
On page 22, panel one of Vertigo’s Northlanders #12 (January, 2009), there is a huge clue to the startling twist that “The Cross + The Hammer” will take in its final installments, and it involves nothing more than the positioning of a spoon on a table.
When I first read this story in the monthly comic, I didn’t realize there were clues to look for. However, having gone back to re-read the “The Cross + The Hammer” in its entirety, it’s obvious that this panel meant more than simply indicating that a burly, avenging Irishman and his daughter had completed their meal and gone on their way.
This six-part story is set near Dublin, Ireland during the Battle of Clontarf (A.D. 1014), and it follows a high-ranking Viking soldier as he pursues said Irishman, who brutally attacks occupying Viking forces.
Brigid, the daughter, accompanies the Irishman. As the Viking closes in on his prey the reader realizes that the Irishman’s relationship with his daughter is not at all what it seems. “The Cross + The Hammer,” written by Brian Wood and illustrated by Ryan Kelly, reads quickly, but it’s worth reading several times.