From time to time I’ll be publishing brief but informative glimpses of DC comics published during my early collecting days, focusing on a different month’s worth of books.
First up to bat: May, 1972 DC releases (July and July/August cover dates).
DC returned to the standard 36-page format after an almost year-long stint at 52-pages, with 24 pages of new material (and/or reprints), plus a one-page letters column.
Titles debuting this month were Weird Mystery Tales, edited by E. Nelson Bridwell and featuring a Jack Kirby tale originally slotted for Spirit World #2; (Larry Harmon’s) Laurel and Hardy, edited by John Albano and lasting all of one issue; and Wanted, The World’s Most Dangerous Villains, a superhero reprint book edited by E. Nelson Bridwell.
Murray Boltinoff edited Teen Titans #40, Action Comics #414 (with Metamorpho as backup feature), Superboy #188 (plus a Legion of Super-Heroes tale), and The Unexpected #137.
Joe Kubert edited Our Army at War (featuring Sgt. Rock) #247; Our Fighting Forces #138 (featuring The Losers); Weird War Tales #6 (with a robot theme and nice framing sequence by Bob Haney and Alex Toth); Korak, Son of Tarzan #47 (backed up by Len Wein and Michael Kaluta’s superb “Carson of Venus” adaptation); and Tarzan of the Apes #210.
Julius Schwartz edited Detective Comics #425 (which introduced a new series, “The Master Crime-File of Jason Bard”), Superman #254 (highlighted by a “Private Life of Clark Kent” feature illustrated by Neal Adams), and the all-reprint Strange Adventures #237.
Jack Kirby edited, wrote, and illustrated the classic tale of “Himon” in Mister Miracle #9.
Dorothy Woolfolk edited Forbidden Tales of Dark Mansion #6 and Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane #124 (with a Rose and the Thorn back-up feature).
Denny O’Neil edited (Diana Prince) Wonder Woman #201, which featured a rare appearance by Catwoman (at that time, any appearance by a Bat-villain was a rare treat).
Joe Orlando edited The Phantom Stranger #20; House of Mystery #204 (blessed with a fine Berni Wrightson cover); Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #151; and Adventure Comics #421 (starring Supergirl, and backed up by Zatanna the Magician).
DC’s romance titles at this time were Young Romance, Young Love, Falling In Love, Heart Throbs, and Girls’ Love Stories, none of which I have in my collection.
Books of the Month: Action Comics #414: Gregory Reed (think George Reeves), the actor who portrays Superman on film in the DC Universe, makes his first appearance. Superman #254: In a bizarre plot device, Superman cannot use his super-powers unless he imagines a young boy’s pet cat. This concept did not last very long, being ignored for months and then finally resolved (by discarding it) in Superman #259. Both Superman tales were illustrated by one of the ’70s art teams supreme: Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.