Retro Comics are Awesome

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andersonh1
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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Finishing up Superman #13:

Baby on the Doorstep
Writer: Jerry Siegel Art: Leo Nowak

For all his talents, Superman is a terrible babysitter. A desperate and anonymous mother leaves her child with Clark Kent, who enlists the help of Lois in caring for the kid. While he's off buying supplies, a "salesman" tries to muscle his way into the apartment. Superman follows and eavesdrops on the man and learns that there is a definite plan to kidnap the baby. There are some stereotypical "how do I make this kid stop crying?" antics for Superman to deal with, and the kid about falls to his death from an open upper-story window while Superman is intimidating the crooks who came to kidnap him. Long story short: the woman who left the baby with Clark is the widow of an inventor who was tortured to death by enemy agents, who are now convinced that she has her husband's notes, and want to use the child to force her to give them up. It's pretty ruthless stuff. So is Clark out and out killing a car full of thugs. They hang him by the wrists from a tree and intend to hit him with their car, but he kicks the car a mile away, declaring "that finished them!" Superman rounds up the spies and both mom and baby are safe. Like some other stories from this era, this still doesn't entirely feel like a comic aimed at children, who probably wouldn't be all that interested in enemy spies or extorting secrets from a widow by threatening her baby.

The City Beneath the Earth
Writer: Jerry Siegel Art: John Sikela

A dozen to one! That's the way I like my odds!

In this post September 11, 2001 age that we live in, it's sad that having actually seen skyscrapers fall, the first thing I think of while watching them crack open and tip sideways in the opening panels of this story is "it wouldn't look like that." But we can't blame John Sikela for drawing fully intact buildings lying on their sides as Superman struggles to keep one upright and fails, only to spot a ray coming from under the earth, which he follows down into the ground to discover an underground civilization attacking Metropolis. Superman stops the ray and meets the tall, dark-skinned human Kyack, who explains that his people once ruled the Earth until the Ice Age came. They retreated underground to wait it out, only for humanity to cover the surface while they were hiding. But now they want it back. Shades of "Doctor Who and the Silurians" here, decades before that story was written. Superman rescues the young Tulan, true leader of the underground civilization, and stops the invasion by Kyack and his faction.

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Shockwave
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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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I seem to recall the RID/Car Robots had rumored to been edited for US TV because of 9/11. I was recording it at the time and I still saw the scene where Megatron plowed through a building so I have no idea what if anything was actually edited. Also, the Twin Towers were specifically designed in such a way that if they were ever destroyed they would collapse straight down rather than on their sides. Who knows what a differently designed building would look like?

I get what you mean though, it's hard not to remember that day whenever I see buildings destroyed in tv, movies or comics.

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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Shockwave wrote:
Tue Oct 06, 2020 12:30 pm
I seem to recall the RID/Car Robots had rumored to been edited for US TV because of 9/11. I was recording it at the time and I still saw the scene where Megatron plowed through a building so I have no idea what if anything was actually edited.
Some episodes never aired in the US, being "Attack from Outer Space", "Landfill", "Sky-byte Saves the Day". "Battle Protocol!" also was never re-aired after 9/11. And I've seen notes that "Secret of the Ruins" had its opening scene changed, and "Spy Changers To The Rescue" got redubbed and had some scenes altered (the pre-9/11 version was apparently uploaded to Youtube in 2013).
Also, the Twin Towers were specifically designed in such a way that if they were ever destroyed they would collapse straight down rather than on their sides.
Out of curiosity, where'd you hear that from? From everything I've seen on the subject, even the engineers who worked on the buildings were shocked they collapsed like that.
andersonh1 wrote:
Tue Oct 06, 2020 5:22 am
In this post September 11, 2001 age that we live in, it's sad that having actually seen skyscrapers fall, the first thing I think of while watching them crack open and tip sideways in the opening panels of this story is "it wouldn't look like that."
Like Shockwave said, I'd have to imagine different building designs, materials, along with any numbers of other factors would make a difference...

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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Sparky Prime wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:58 am
Shockwave wrote:
Tue Oct 06, 2020 12:30 pm
Also, the Twin Towers were specifically designed in such a way that if they were ever destroyed they would collapse straight down rather than on their sides.
Out of curiosity, where'd you hear that from? From everything I've seen on the subject, even the engineers who worked on the buildings were shocked they collapsed like that.
It was something that was mentioned numerous times in various documentaries and analysis I had seen at the time. I remember it because it stuck out because I thought it was interesting that the designers would have considered that when designing the buildings. I also recall that was one of the questions that the media had at the time: If the buildings were so hot on one side and not the other then why did the collapse vertically instead of falling over on the side that was damaged? And I seem to recall that this was the answer.

Granted, all of this was upwards of 19 years ago, so I could be remembering it wrong, but for some reason that detail really stuck out to me. Unfortunately, I don't remember exactly which documentary or news report stated it.

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Shockwave
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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Sparky Prime wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:58 am
Shockwave wrote:
Tue Oct 06, 2020 12:30 pm
I seem to recall the RID/Car Robots had rumored to been edited for US TV because of 9/11. I was recording it at the time and I still saw the scene where Megatron plowed through a building so I have no idea what if anything was actually edited.
Some episodes never aired in the US, being "Attack from Outer Space", "Landfill", "Sky-byte Saves the Day". "Battle Protocol!" also was never re-aired after 9/11. And I've seen notes that "Secret of the Ruins" had its opening scene changed, and "Spy Changers To The Rescue" got redubbed and had some scenes altered (the pre-9/11 version was apparently uploaded to Youtube in 2013).
Wow, that's interesting. I wonder if these changes are part of the reason why it's been so hard to get a dvd/blu-ray release of this series.

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andersonh1
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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Shockwave wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 2:52 pm
Sparky Prime wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:58 am
Shockwave wrote:
Tue Oct 06, 2020 12:30 pm
I seem to recall the RID/Car Robots had rumored to been edited for US TV because of 9/11. I was recording it at the time and I still saw the scene where Megatron plowed through a building so I have no idea what if anything was actually edited.
Some episodes never aired in the US, being "Attack from Outer Space", "Landfill", "Sky-byte Saves the Day". "Battle Protocol!" also was never re-aired after 9/11. And I've seen notes that "Secret of the Ruins" had its opening scene changed, and "Spy Changers To The Rescue" got redubbed and had some scenes altered (the pre-9/11 version was apparently uploaded to Youtube in 2013).
Wow, that's interesting. I wonder if these changes are part of the reason why it's been so hard to get a dvd/blu-ray release of this series.
I would hope we're far enough past 9/11 that it's no longer an issue. I think there were some problems with who actually owned RID the last time I read about DVD releases, which has been some time admittedly.

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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Detective Comics #175
September 1951

The Underworld Bank!
Script: ? Pencils : Dick Sprang Inker: Stan Kaye

The story opens in media res with Batman and Robin breaking into a bank and cracking open the vault, but of course the title of the story has already clued the reader into the fact that it's a bank for the underworld in Gotham. We're shown that a number of crooks deny or "don't recall" what happened to their stolen loot, and the police can't find it. But keys found on these men prove to be for safe deposit boxes, but not any known box in Gotham banks, but Batman is able to track down the manufacturer, which ultimately leads them to an underground bank run by criminals for criminals. Bruce disguises himself as one of the tellers and tries to locate the bank records, while Robin gets trapped in the vault with the man Bruce has disguised himself as, and has to escape before the air runs out. Batman is discovered and has to stay alive while waiting for Robin to bring the police, while Robin has to figure out his escape, meaning both characters have good roles in the story. Add some great Dick Sprang art and a solid concept for a story, and this is another good one, as well as an improvement over the boxing storyline.

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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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World's Finest Comics #4
Winter 1941

The Case of the Crime Crusade
Writer: Jerry Siegel Art: Leo Nowak

We return to the early days of social justice Superman as he fights to improve the safety of street cars in Metropolis. After the car that Lois and Clark are riding to work in overturns (which Clark saves in a fun and discreet way), Clark goes into crusading reporter mode and writes an expose on the railway company, which threatens suit for libel. As he and other reporters, including Lois, gather evidence, it turns out that the problem is not just old, outdated equipment, but sabotage as well. Superman convinces the head of Metropolis Rail to upgrade his street car fleet, only to have civil reformer Bransom gum up the works. Bransom turns out to be the culprit behind the sabotage, hoping to make a ton of money by selling buses to replace the street cars. I enjoyed this story, which I keep wanting to refer to as a "throwback" even though it really isn't, only three years into Superman's history. It's good to see Clark using both his reporting skills and his Superman persona and powers to solve the problem.

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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Back to GA Batman vol. 8.

World's Finest Comics #54
October-November 1951

The Carbon Copy Batman
Writer: David Vern Pencils: Bob Kane, Lew Sayre Schwarz Inks: Stan Kaye

Peter Dodson spends all his time watching newsreels of Batman and Robin, because after a nervous breakdown he thinks he is Batman. Dodson recently lost all his money, but prior to that he had often donated large sums to the police and was behind many public tributes to Batman, so this guy is a major fan. Dodson's psychiatrist, Stoll, enlists Batman's help in helping him live out his fantasy for a few weeks, believing that this will cure him, and Batman agrees to help. It turns out to be quite the task, as Dodson causes as much trouble for Batman as the crooks do, being loud and distracting when stealth is needed to capture some crooks. However there's a twist: the whole thing is a scam, with Dodson's psychiatrist being an actual criminal who substituted a fake Dodson for the real one, and is using him to keep Batman busy while his gang pulls off crimes. Batman figures it out and tries to impersonate the impersonator, only to be captured. But in another twist, the fake Dodson really does think he's Batman, so he is unwilling to kill Bruce and Dick even after unmasking them (because Batman does not kill), giving the real Batman and Robin the chance to get free and round up Stoll and his gang. The fake Dodson has enough mental issues that he does not remember Bruce and Dick, so their secret is safe.

Even in this more innocent era of comic book storytelling, I can't quite buy Bruce allowing a man to risk his life every night as Dodson would be doing if he was genuinely living out his fantasy of being Batman. That aside, at least the story does not taken long to reveal the truth, nor does it take long for Batman to figure out what's going on and take steps to stop it. The story is written well enough that I bought the premise and only got suspicious that something was up when Dodson as Batman keeps making mistakes that allow the crooks he's after to get away. So it's a decent story with a few nice plot twists along the way.

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Re: Retro Comics are Awesome

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Batman #67
October-November 1951

The Mystery Rope!
Writer: David Vern Pencils: Lew Sayre Schwartz, Bob Kane Inker: Charles Paris

It's another exploration of Batman's crime-fighting equipment, this time the silken rope that he's been using since his second story in Detective Comics #28. As the opening teaser tells the reader, he actually has multiple versions for different situations, and the local historical society wants to borrow one for a display on the subject. That plotline runs alongside an attempt to find escaped convict and jewel thief Jinx Boley. The story describes the standard silk cord for everyday use, the elastic version, the one that disintegrates five minutes after contact with air, the hollow version that can double as an air tube... there are many varieties, giving the writer a chance to dream up a series of short vignettes where each one comes in useful to stop the crooks.

When Batman donates what looks like ordinary telephone wire to the Historical Society's exhibit, everyone is disappointed. But Batman and Robin noted early in the story that Jinx always wore a metal bulletproof vest, meaning the wire is set up as an electromagnet, trapping Jinx when he comes to rob the exhibit. Batman, as usual, is one step ahead of everyone, and not even Robin worked out what he was up to.

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