Posts tagged ‘Kurt Schaffenberger’

Action 640 – Speedy ends, Glenda and Randu go to hell, a singer shows her gratitude, Phantom Lady gets the picture, and Wild Dog makes threats

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Wild Dog gets the cover for Action 630.

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Verheiden, Springer and McLaughlin bring the Speedy story to a close in this issue.

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The actor has kept a tail on Speedy, but when he finally sees her dying brother, he realizes that no one is trying to embarrass him.  That he has just been a jerk.  The two brothers reconcile.

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Speedy’s series comes to an end, teasing another case to come.  Roy returns in the next Green Arrow annual, but we don’t see him working for this agency again.

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Morgan le Fay gets the better of Etrigan in this chapter of Grant, Pacella and Wray’s Demon series.

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Things are not looking good for Glenda and Randu either.  They have followed a false trail, lead by the Philosopher’s Stone, and wind up entering Hell.  Etrigan winds up imprisoned by Morgan le Fay, but she does not pay attention to Jason Blood.  At this point, the Demon and Jason exist separately, and Jason sneaks up behind Morgan.

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A dog sealed in unbreakable plastic and a man holding up the subway with a water pistol full of gasoline are the main problems that Hero Hotline have to deal with in this chapter, by Rozakis, DeStefano and Wray.

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But the best moment is when the country singer, rescued in the previous issue, shows her appreciation, avoiding the muscly guy and going for the geek who actually saved her.

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Phantom Lady breaks into Guerreheart’s estate in this chapter, by Strazewski, Austen and Martin.

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She fights off dogs and guards, and hits the bad guy right in the face with her wrist laser.  She gets the picture that is being used to blackmail her father.  We do not see it, but Dee does, and is shocked.

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Wild Dog continues his spree of vengeance in this chapter, by Collins, Beatty and Nyberg.

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He heads after the big dealers, after getting their names from the gangster boy.  Two headbangers have come to buy drugs, but get held as hostages by the dealers when Wild Dog breaks in.  Wild Dog kills all but one of the drug lords, and the headbangers run for their lives.

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Action 639 – Speedy at the hospice, Glenda and Randu at Wookey Hole, Hero Hotline helps out, Superman starts a new story, Phantom Lady blends in, and Wild Dog gets mad

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Phantom Lady looks pretty proud of herself on the cover of Action 639.

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Speedy shows that actors are not as impressive fighters in person in this chapter by Verheiden, Williams and McLaughlin.

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Speedy tracks the actors brother to an AIDS hospice, which is being picketed by right-wingers.

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The Demon is not the main character in this installment of Grant, Pacella and Wray’s story.  Glenda and Randu are in focus, as they follow the Philosopher’s Stone to Wookey Hole.

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There, as Merlin suffers, Morgan le Fay is restored to life, without her hand. But Etrigan is not completely absent, watching over her return.

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A few different storylines are being followed through the Hero Hotline series, by Rozakis, DeStefano and Wray.  A country music star has been kidnapped, and there is still that cat plotline.

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But the story in focus this issue is a hostage taking at a liquor store.

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Superman begins another, very brief, storyline before Action Comics Weekly ends.  As before, Stern, Swan and Anderson are the creative team.  The hero deals with racism against Quraci immigrants in the US.

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Dee Tyler gets a good idea of what is bothering her father, the Attorney General, in this Phantom Lady installment, by Strazewski, Austen and Martin.

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Her father is hosting a costume ball that night, and Phantom Lady proves to be a popular choice, making things easy for Dee, who follows some men to her father’s office, and learns that he is bring blackmailed.

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Collins, Beatty and Nyberg continue with Wild Dog’s anti-crack campaign, hunting down the gangster boy who enticed the young kid into delivering drugs.

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Wild Dog catches up to him right after the guy has had sex, which leaves him in a very vulnerable position.  A few shots to the crotch is all it takes for him to give up the name of the man above him.

 

Action 638 – Speedy confronts intolerance, the Demon takes the bait, a new hero gets a name, Superman addresses his flock, Phantom Lady in combat, and Wild Dog loses his cool

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Yes, that really is a Kirby Demon cover on Action 638.

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Speedy continues his search for a missing man in this Verheiden. Williams and McLaughlin story.

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Roy goes to question the man’s brother, and action movie star.  When Speedy tells the man his brother has AIDS, the man accuses Speedy of lying to create a scandal.

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Grant, Pacella and Wray continue the Demon story, as Jason Blood calls on Etrigan to fight the monster that emerges from Sillbury Hill.

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Glenda Mark and Randu Singh also head to England, concerned about Jason.  None of the three realize that they are doing exactly what Morgan le Fay intended, but we learn this, as does Merlin, as he is being tortured.

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Rozakis, DeStefano and Schaffenberger give the new guy a hero name in this Hero Hotline chapter, as he heads out on his first mission, to get a cat out of a tree.

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Nancy and Sluggo appear to cameo as Hot Shot (as he comes to be known) shoots fire at the poor cat. It works.  But geez.

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Darkseid heads back to Apokolips, to have fun torturing and tormenting the Consortium.  Superman is left to address his followers, insisting that they should not treat him as a god.

It doesn’t really work.  We see this religious cult again following the Death of Superman.

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Phantom Lady continues her hunt for Guerreheart, the man causing problems for her father, in this chapter, by Strazewski, Austen and Martin.

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Phantom Lady’s holographic images prove quite useful as she stands up against armed men.  She even manages to capture one.

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Wild Dog is in a bad mood in this story, by Collins, Beatty and Nyberg, after the shooting of the child.  While his friends console him, and debate the situation, Wild Dog decides the time is right for drastic action.

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Wild Dog bursts into a crack house, and sets it on fire.

Action 637 – Speedy on the case, the Demon heads to England, Hero Hotline debuts, Darkseid’s reward, Phantom Lady goes clubbing, and Wild Dog gets bloody

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Speedy gets the cover and the lead story in Action 637.

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Verheiden, Williams and McLaughlin have Speedy searching the unwelcoming parts of Los Angeles for his missing man.

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He encounters a fair bit of hostility at the man’s former address, and learns that the guy he is searching for has AIDS.

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Etrigan shows his stuff in this chapter, by Grant, Pacella and Wray.  He is scary enough to get rid of the rival demon in the boy’s body.  But that was all just a warm-up for the real story.

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Glenda Mark sees the image of Morgan le Fay in the Philosopher’s Stone, and Jason follows Glenda’s vision to England.

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Silbury Hill, the ancient artificial mound, erupts, revealing a mythic looking rider.

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Bob Rozakis, Stephen DeStefano and Kurt Schaffenberger introduce a light-hearted new series, Hero Hotline, in this issue.

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It’s a breezy and bouncy tale, as young Billy Lefferts, who has the power to emit fire, starts a new job at Hero Hotline. The name of the company is pretty self-explanatory. Call for a hero when you need one.

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Stern, Swan and Anderson have Superman helpless against Darkseid.  Having empowered both the Superman worhsippers, and the Consortium, out to destroy them, Darkseid is not pleased that the Consortium fared so poorly against Superman.  So he sends them off to be tortured on Apokolips.

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Strazewski, Austen and Martin have Phantom Lady hit the clubs in her second chapter.  Her costume pretty much assures her entry anywhere.

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But the club owner she questions proves to be of little help in finding out what is troubling her father.  We do get to see some of her gear in this story, wrist lasers, and holographic images of herself.

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Collins, Beatty and Nyberg helm this chapter of the Wild Dog story, as the young boy Jack offered a job to gets lured by the bigger money in the drug trade.

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As a result, the boy is in a crack house when it gets raided by the police, and is shot during the siege.

 

 

Action 600 – Superman and Wonder Woman kiss, Lois Lane is sad, Lex Luthor hurts his hand, Jimmy Olsen helps out, and Superman vs Man-Bat

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John Byrne scripts all of the stories in Action 600 (May 1988), an oversize anniversary issue, which is also the last issue before the book undergoes a dramatic change of format.

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George Perez joins for the first story, which continues the Superman/Wonder Woman embrace that concluded the last issue of Adventures of Superman.  After the kiss, Superman realizes he may have jumped the gun a bit, and the two cool down a bit, and get to know each other.

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Diana gets an emergency message from Hermes, and the couple head to Olympus, which has been invaded by Darkseid.  He makes the most of the situation, as Superman and Wonder Woman arrived in different places, and dispatches Kalibak and Amazing Grace to toy with them.

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The scheme is pretty simple.  Superman is shown that the Wonder Woman he is fighting is really Grace, and Diana gets a similar reveal with Kalibak.  Then the two heroes confront each other, both believing the other is really an enemy.

Simple, but also not too hard for the heroes themselves to figure out.

Darkseid abandons the unconquerable Olympus, and the heroes decide to just be friends…for now.

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Roger Stern, Kurt Schaffenberger and Jerry Ordway join Byrne for the Lois Lane story, her first solo story since the reboot of Superman.  She infiltrates and busts up a crime ring, but her story is relegated to the back pages of the Planet.  The Superman/Wonder Woman romance gets the front page.

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Lois mopes about a bit, and thinks about her relationship with Superman.  Clark shows up, wanting to lend a shoulder to cry on, and the tension between them seems to be ending.  Until an emergency calls him away, and Lois fumes even more.

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Dick Giordano and John Beatty do the art on the Lex Luthor story, which sees him attempt to blackmail Maggie Sawyer about her sexuality.

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Maggie neither bows to his pressure, nor steals the evidence when she has the opportunity. As she explains to Dan Turpin, she is willing to stand up and fight for who she is, and what she has achieved.

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It’s not a very good day for Lex, who also is told by Gretchen Kelly that his kryptonite ring has poisoned his hand, which will have to be amputated.

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Swan and Anderson re-unite for the art on the Jimmy Olsen story.  Sadly, it’s the least involving story in the issue.  Superman gets knocked for a loop when the radiation from Krypton’s explosion reaches the Earth, collapsing.

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Jimmy carries the hero down into a mine shaft, getting him as far away from the radiation as possible.

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The issue ends with another team-up story, with Mike Mignola handling the art as Man-Bat makes his post-Crisis debut.

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Man-Bat is surprised to find Superman down in a cave, and even more surprised when the ailing and hallucinating hero attacks him.  Man-Bat basically spends the story defending himself.

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Hawkman shows up on the final page, informed by Jimmy Olsen of Superman’s situation.  This leads into the story in Superman the following month.

As for Action Comics, it goes on hiatus for a while, returning as Action Comics Weekly.  Happy anniversary, Superman!  As a present, we are reducing you to two pages in the comic that started your career!

 

Action 583 – “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” concludes

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Action 583 (Sept. 86) brings to a close the era of the Pre-Crisis Superman, with the concluding half of an Imaginary Story by Alan Moore, Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger.

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The entire story is one of dark foreboding, and is related by Lois Lane, now married and with a son, to a reporter, writing a story about the last days of Superman.  Many of Superman’s friends and enemies appeared in the first half of the story, and most of the villains have died.  Superman has brought Lois, Lana, Jimmy, Perry White and his wife to the Fortress of Solitude.  Cosmic King, Lightning Lord and Saturn Queen have come from the future, knowing that this was the end of Superman, to join in the fun.  They find the Kryptonite Man, as well as a disturbing union of Luthor and Brainiac.

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Many of Superman’s friends are shown throughout the issue, trying to get through the force-field surrounding the Fortress.  Batman and Robin, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Captain Marvel and the Martian Manhunter are shown, along with Vartox, and pre-Crisis Superwoman.

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The story is filled with heart-wrenching sequences.  Jimmy takes his Elastic Lad serum, and Lana bathes in the pool that gives her super-powers, so they can join the fight against the assembling villains.  Her super-hearing allows Lana to hear Superman explain to Perry White that it is Lois that he truly loves, but he cared too much for Lana to ever let her know.

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Lana and Jimmy both fall to the Legion of Super-Villains, while Krypto sacrifices himself to take out the Kryptonite Man.

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This is all turning far too bloody and dangerous for the villains from the future, and they flee in their time bubble.  Luthor and Brainiac are the last, but perish in the snow.

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Who was the villain that brought this all about?  Mr. Mxyzptlk, the most powerful adversary Superman has, who chose to be a pest, but has now chosen to be a destroyer.

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Superman winds up using the Phantom Zone projector to rip the 5th dimensional being in half, but he has knowingly, and willingly killed.

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Though Lois gives him all manner of justifications, Superman has violated his own code.  He enters a chamber of gold kryptonite, which permanently removes his powers, and is never seen again.

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The reporter leaves.  I was teary eyed and emotionally drained by this point when I read this the first time, but so thrilled at the end, as the baby turns a lump of coal into a diamond.  And then I really looked at the face of Lois’ husband.

I believe Alan Moore has now dismissed this story as garbage, as he is wont to do.

I don’t care what he thinks.  This is the crowning gem of the first 50 years of the character.

 

Action 582 – Superman brings Jor-El and Lara back to life

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Boldman, Saviuk and Schaffenberger share the last in-continuity pre-Crisis Superman story in Action 582 (Aug. 86).

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After having a number of vivid dreams about Jor-El and Lara, Superman discovers that there are two other, distinct, brain-waves in his head.  He believes these two be the minds of his parents, somehow preserved within him.

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He creates clone bodies for them, and is thrilled when the brain-waves transfer from his mind into the bodies, animating them and bringing his parents back to life.  He provides them with human identities, and shows them around Metropolis, and Earth, while helping them adjust to their new powers.

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Superman brings them to his Fortress of Solitude, but when he shows them the Phantom Zone viewer, he is surprised that the villains, General Zod, Jax-Ur, Professor Vakox and Faora, are cursing him, and not his father, the man who invented the Zone and sent many of them there.

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And, indeed, his parents are not his real parents.  How the Phantom Zone villains could tell is not clear, but once Superman suspects them, they drop the act and try to kill him.  They put him in a rocket and fire him into space.

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Superman escapes from the rocket, but spots a familiar ship orbiting Earth.  It belongs to Rokk and Sorban, the compulsive gamblers from Ventura.  Frequent guests in Superman’s own comic, and World’s Finest, back in the 60s, this is their first, and only, appearance in Action.  They used some “free-floating” consciousnesses for Jor-El and Lara, but the bet at the core was whether Superman would be angry enough to kill the phonies, or not.

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The story ends as Superman takes Rokk and Sorban to the “prison planet,” (Takron-Galtos?)  Superman shows little concern about what the phony Jor-El and Lara are up to, loose on Earth, with all their powers. But the gamblers assure Superman that they will return to their non-corporeal state.

 

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