Wednesday, July 20, 2016


The science fiction adventure began as a mysterious planet appeared on a collision course with the Earth. Star athlete Flash Gordon joined with female sidekick Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov to investigate. They launched themselves toward the planet on Zarko’s rocket ship. 

When they arrived, they were on a fantastic world called Mongo, ruled by the tyrant Ming the Merciless. Although they soon stopped Ming’s plans to conquer the Earth, Flash, Dale, and Zarkov still had countless adventures in Mongo’s many locales.

Flash Gordon #22   A secret radio signal lures Flash into Ming's electronic snare!
"The Prince and the Traitor Part 1"
A communications channel is discovered that cannot be accounted for. Flash, Dale, Zarkov and Barin pursue where they are being sent from.
Written by John Warner with art by Frank Bolle.
"The Prince and the Traitor Part 2"
The traitor is revealed. Meanwhile, Ming springs his trap to ensnare Flash and Barin.
Written by John Warner (Bloodstone, Dark Shadows) with art by Frank Bolle (Undersea Agent, Girl from U.N.C.L.E..)
Published under Gold Key & variant Whitman logos.
John Warner's story in Dark Shadows #20, is an unofficial crossover with Doctor Strange #5. Who knew? There's also a minor crossover with Doctor Strange in Dark Shadows #34 with references to the eye (and orb) of Agamotto, Agamotto himself in his caterpillar guise, and the appearance of an unnamed woman, implied to be Doctor Strange's apprentice Clea, who calls out to an off-panel "Stephen."

Here's the Portugal and Netherlands Junior Press (using a George Wilson paperback cover painting) reprint editions of Flash Gordon #22. Another foreign edition was published with a line drawn cover.

Flash Gordon #22 was reprinted in Dark Horse's magnificent Flash Gordon Comic Book Archives Volume 4 hardcover, covering Gold Key Comics' Flash Gordon #19-#27.

Cute Spider-Man Hostess ad from Flash Gordon #22.

Flash Gordon has long been one of the best-loved science-fiction heroes, appearing in novels, film serials, newspaper strips and in comic books published by half a dozen publishers. Strangely, Flash never seems to last long at any given publisher. This title is no exception, beginning its run under the King Features Syndicate label, moving on to Charlton, then to Western Publishing, who published Gordon under their Gold Key and Whitman imprints.

Marvel Presents: Bloodstone #1 & 2 were my favorite John Warner comics. Loved what the character was meant to be. Warner also wrote both Gold Key Comics Dark Shadows #20 & #34, containing unofficial references to Marvel Comics Doctor Strange
Marvel Comics Doctor Strange #5 was an unofficial crossover with Gold Key Comics Dark Shadows #20.
Live Large My Friends!

Thank You!

Sampling of various comic books containing legendary Frank Bolle's artwork. Very busy man back in the day.

My favorite Gil Kane Flash Gordon cover. Interior art by Frank Bolle.

Monday, July 18, 2016


How can you deny our favorite Captain Atom's villain was - The Ghost? In Captain Atom #82 we were treated to the first appearance of the super-villain with invisibility and teleportation powers. Originally a brilliant physicist, who designed experimental weapons, he suffered a mental collapse and ultimately turned to a life of crime. The Ghost was created by Steve Ditko.

Later in the Captain Atom series, Nightshade got her own back up series, illustrated by the legendary Jim Aparo!
We are also treated to the first appearance of Nightshade. Her real name is Eve Eden and her father is a U.S. senator. She is blonde, wearing a black wig as part of her disguise as Nightshade. She was romantically involved with Captain Atom for a brief time. Both her and The Ghost appeared in the unpublished Captain Atom #90. Her character was created by Dave Kaler & Steve Ditko. Nightshade also served as the inspiration for the Silk Spectre in Alan Moore's Watchmen

Love this splash page, which certainly could have also served as a great poster!

Captain Atom #82   How Do You Catch A Ghost?
"Captain Atom vs. The Ghost"
The Ghost (Alec Nois) is planning to rob Fort Knox. The Government teams up our atomic fireball, Captain Atom (Captain Allan Adam) with that Darling of Darkness, Nightshade (Eve Eden) to stop him. 
Written by Dave Kaler (Charlton Bullseye magazine) with art by Steve Ditko (Liberty Belle) & Rocco "Rocke" Mastroserio (Creepy, Eerie.)
One page text article. 
"Judomaster's Favorite Throws"
Script & art by Frank McLaughlin (Judomaster.)

The second volume brought us more fabulous Action Heroes to enjoy, Blue Beetle and the Question. More Ditko goodness!

The Captain Atom story was the last story reprinted in DC Comics' Action Hero Archives Volume 1. Fortunately we were treated with a second volume reprinting the rest of the comic book run. 

For your viewing pleasure, here's one of the vibrant UK editions reprinting this issue's Captain Atom story.

Alter Ego #106 looks at the career of Dick Giordano, a true legend in our time, through the sixties, from his early years as a freelance artist & editor through the "Action-Hero" era at Charlton Comics and the first time around at DC Comics!

The Charlton Portfolio & pages from the previously unpublished Captain Atom #90, ultimately published in the Action Heroes Archives Volume 2.

John Byrne finished the Ditko artwork for what was to have been Captain Atom #90.
Live Large My Friends! 

Thank You!
The Charlton Action Heroes stopped off at AC Comics before landing at DC Comics.
Amazing Spider-Man #38, my very first comic book purchase, unfortunately the last Steve Ditko issue, the springboard of my fascination for his work at Marvel, Warren & Charlton along with many, many other fine publishers.
Ad for the upcoming letters page, from Captain Atom #82, from editor Dick Giordano.
The "Sumo" text feature, also from Captain Atom #82.