Thursday, April 30, 2009

Iron Man Run

As I have mentioned in the past, I had a friend in high school who collected the Marvels, while I focused mostly on the DCs (except for Spiderman). However, we also did "temporary" swaps where he'd pick out twenty of my comics to read and I'd borrow a score of his.

So I did read a lot of the Iron Man and Tales of Suspense issues back then, and greatly enjoyed the character. But with incomplete runs I never really got a chance to read through a whole bunch of these. So today I thought I'd rectify that. Rather than do single issue reviews for these (at least for now), I just want to talk about general impressions.

Tales of Suspense #39-44. After an excellent start with the debut story, Iron Man wandered around in a daze for the next five issues. No continuing supporting characters were introduced, nor were any continuing villains. Iron Man battles a neanderthal robot from outer space. Iron Man battles a mad scientist named Dr Strange. Wrong Dr Strange. Iron Man battles the commies. Iron Man battles the Kala, Queen of the Netherworld (who never returned as far as I know in the Silver Age, although she did come back in the 1970s). Iron Man goes back in time and meets Cleopatra. Pretty humdrum stuff.

Tales of Suspense #45-49. Things pick up quite a bit here. We meet the major backup characters in #45; the alliteratively-named Happy Hogan and Pepper Potts. Hogan, a washed-up fighter, saves Tony Stark's life when he crashes his racecar. Happy, so-named because he never smiles, is immediately smitten with the boss' new secretary, but she's got her own dreams:

Now that's actually pretty different; making the love interest cute as a button but not drop-dead gorgeous makes Pepper more interesting, especially since we've seen the glamor dolls that playboy Tony has been dating. And Happy and Pepper settled in as the constantly squabbling backup duo, almost like the comic relief characters found in so many Golden Age series:

In #46, Stan finally found the right style of villain for Iron Man in the Crimson Dynamo. The following issue introduced the Melter, another important Silver Age villain. Stark began to hear complaints from the government due to constant sabotage by the communists; this creates the "guilty even if he's innocent" peril that Spiderman endured at the hands of J. Jonah Jameson and the Hulk due to General Ross. If there was one thing that Stan could do, it was to create long-term headaches for his major characters.

In Tales of Suspense #48, Steve Ditko redesigned the Iron Man uniform from a bulky, golden-colored armor to the reasonably tight-fitting red and gold outfit that we all know and love (although there were some changes yet to come). The actual manufacturing job is the usual gorgeous Ditko of the 1960s:

Here's the revised product:

The radio antenna didn't last long but aside from that Iron Man's costume is not far from finished.

In #49 we get more Ditko plus an X-Men crossover featuring the Angel:

The story is just okay. The Angel, while flying over one of Stark's plants, is turned evil by an explosive missile that was being tested. He and Iron Man battle it out but in the end the Angel's good nature overcomes his bad side. But the art is really a treat.

Overall comments: Stan struggled at first with most of his characters and Iron Man was no exception. One of the major differences between DC and Marvel at this point was that DC's characters were well-thought out and planned while Marvel's were more seat of the pants. But Stan was more willing to tinker with his heroes to improve them slightly. This is similar to the way the DC heroes of the Golden Age had developed and it results in more dynamic characters.

The five issues from 45-49 are really where the series starts to gather steam.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Five Things to Understand about Silver Age Comics

I want to go into each of these points in more detail at some time, but I did want to mention what I consider to be the five most important things to keep in mind when reading Silver Age Comics (both the blog and the actual books):

1. These comics were designed to be largely throwaway entertainment for youngsters, an impulse purchase. Due to the Comics Code Authority, comic books had to be both entertaining to kids and unlikely to raise the hackles of any mother. The result was a product that while hugely entertaining to young readers would generally be (and was) seen as childish by a large majority of adults and teens.

2. Quality entertainment did make it through despite (or as a result of?) the "G" rated nature of the product. But still it must be judged on that level and for its time. Things that I look for today in the comics of the past are things like positive characterization of the hero, and inspiring stories. Remember, when I praise something that I'm not comparing it to how things would be done today; I'm comparing it to Saturday morning cartoons of the 1960s and the Hardy Boys, because that's what the Silver Age comics were competing against.

3. Many of the developments of the Silver Age were fan-based. This is something that I have not talked about sufficiently, but Mort Weisinger started the practice of publishing letters to the editor in some of his Superman family of magazines, which reinforced the continuity that Weisinger was already imposing on the Superman legend. Although letters columns had appeared in other comics before then (notably the American Comics Group line), this was a first at DC as far as I can determine. At the same time, fans like Dr Jerry Bails and Roy Thomas were petitioning Julius Schwartz for a renewal of the old Justice Society of America. I have a longish post coming up on Bails and Thomas.

4. The successful superhero revivals almost all had one thing in common; they were new versions of the old hero, with different names and occupations and origins (Flash, Green Lantern, Atom, Hawkman, Human Torch). Where the returns fizzled (mostly) were where they involved simple returns of the old characters. DC tried returning several of the Golden Age heroes as they were, including Dr Fate, Hourman, Black Canary and Starman, and all failed (although BC came back a few years later). Even at Marvel, the new Human Torch sizzled while the Sub-Mariner fizzled for years. Captain America? The exception that proves the rule; it was really when they stopped talking about him being around in WWII that he started making sense as a modern character.

5. Changing demographics at least partially caused by the ready availability of the birth control pill resulted in the dramatic changes that occurred in comic books in the early 1970s, as the publishers chased after the baby boomers.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

World's Finest Silver Age Comics: Amazing Spiderman #33

This will be a continuing series where I look at the greatest comics of the Silver Age. The story starts with Amazing Spiderman #30, where a criminal called the Cat shows excellent planning ability until his gang is broken up by Spiderman. In ASM #31, the Cat's name is changed to the Master Planner. In #32, we finally learn the real identity of the Master Planner: Doctor Octopus. We've also discovered that Aunt May is seriously ill; it turns out that she's got a radioactive particle in her blood. Of course this is a reference to Peter's donating blood to Aunt May way back in ASM #10. The only thing that can save her is a rare serum called ISO-36, which is ordered specially from the West Coast.

But when Doc Ock's gang steals the ISO-36, Spiderman goes into action. He locates the entrance to the Master Planner's underwater hideout and battles it out with the goons and the Doc, largely destroying the facility in the process, which leads to a catastrophe:

And thus the stage is set for The Final Chapter, and what I consider to be the World's Finest bit of sequential art in the entire Silver Age of Comics:

Finally freed of the machine, Spidey discovers that the roof has collapsed. He gets swept along by the rushing water, but manages to hold onto the serum. But his troubles are far from over:

In an oddball moment, Spidey decides to let the gang beat on him for awhile so that he can concentrate on regaining his strength. Then he fights back:

As I have mentioned in the past, there's not much doubt in my mind that Steve Ditko wrote those words; it's pure Ayn Rand. He brings the serum to the doctors and in the end:

Comments: There were probably somewhere around 20,000 comics published in the Silver Age. There are certainly not ten better comics; there may not even be one. For the most part, good characterization in this era was fairly rare; superb characterization like this was non-existent. In my opinion, this is one of the pinnacles, one of the Silver Age's:

Update: Meekrat had a look a couple months ago at a pair of animated homages to older comics, including a revised version of the opening sequence to ASM #33. Thanks to Mike in the comments for pointing this out!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Single Issue Review: Detective #374

(Cover by Novick)

The Batman series was nearing the end of its run on TV, and DC had bought out Bob Kane, so Julius Schwartz was free to hire new artists for Batman. And one of the first he brought in was Gil Kane. Kane had done one earlier issue of Tec (#371), and this was his only other appearance as Batman's penciller to my knowledge.

The story starts out with Robin taking a brutal beating:

We learn that Batman and Robin had been tackling a gang at their hideout. Batman went in through the front door, while Robin guarded the rear. But at the last minute Batman remembers that this gang had the rear exit sealed up. So there was really no need to send Robin away, and when Batman defeats the gang he's stunned to discover that someone has savagely attacked the Boy Wonder.

Batman leaves the youngster at a hospital, while he goes out raging in pursuit of the attacker:

Okay, now at this point I am pretty sure I have the inspiration for this particular story figured out. Remember the conversation from Batman #200 between Biljo White and Mike Friedrich? Well, that issue had come out one month before this one, and Friedrich reminisced about one of his favorite moments from Batman #5:

During the course of the sotry, the mob beat Robin nearly to death and left him lying alone in a dark tenement house. When Batman found him he took him for dead and went on a wild rampage. You should have seen the scene he left behind him! Smashed doors, broken furniture....

I'd say it's pretty obvious that this is meant by writer Gardner Fox as an homage to that story. Batman does the necessary detective work:

He locates a suspect fitting that description down to the smashed knuckles and after beating him senseless, he drags the villain to Commissioner Gordon. But Gordon has an alibi for the man; he had seen him in a boxing match that evening while Robin was being beaten. Gordon even got the man (Jim Condors) to autograph his program. Condors demonstrates that it was indeed his signature on the boxing program and Commissioner Gordon is forced to release him. Condors leaves with a threat to sue Batman.

But Batman figures out eventually that Condors has a twin brother who actually boxed for him that night. The program was pre-signed (apparently Condors knew Gordon was a fight fan and might ask for an autograph). So while Condors' twin was fighting in the ring, Jim himself was attacking Robin, who had put Condors' twin in jail.

We close with one of Kane's patented punches:

Comments: A satisfying and entertaining story. Kane mostly gets the art right, although he does overdo the expressiveness of Batman's mask:

I would really love to have seen Gil Kane do more Batman, but as far as I know, the two stories in Detective #374 and #371 are all there is (see update below). This story marks the beginning of the real Batman turnaround in the Silver Age.

There's one nice and interesting twist. Batman notes that he has trusted the doctor with Robin's real identity, but the doc simply observes that he doesn't recognize the boy; after all in a city of eight million people....

The Elongated Man story is about the Amazing Crook-Gatcher. A young man has invented a gun that will fire a tranquilizer bullet that seeks out a fleeing criminal by the speeded-up heartbeat and nervous sweat of a man when he commits a crime.

Charles Bryant wants to become a police officer, but he's too short for the position. So he became an inventor, hoping to impress the local chief into letting him join the force. As it happens Ralph Dibny is present when the young man explains his invention. They discuss the implications of the gun when they come upon a bank robbery in progress. Charley aims his gun at the crooks even though there's a girl in between:

And sure enough the bullet avoids the girl and hits the crook. Ralph subdues the others and the newspapers report about the spectacular success of the new invention. But when Ralph visits his wife, Sue points out that Charley is now in great danger since the local hoods will probably stop at nothing to prevent the cops from getting his Crook Gatcher (I guess the idea is a combination of "catcher" and "gat").

When Ralph visits the young man's apartment, he discovers the young gal who had been in the middle of the shootup. She turns out to be Charles' girlfriend and reveals that crooks have kidnapped her boyfriend and that the Crook Gatcher doesn't really work. Fortunately some of the gang members return for some of Charles' equipment, and Ralph is able to track them to their hideout. The crooks have kept him alive because he has promised to create a Cop Gatcher.

Ralph, knowing that the Crook Gatcher was fake, bursts in and fights the gang, but Charles is dismayed that the Elongated Man is ruining his plan. It turns out that in the equipment that the crooks brought to Charley were tear gas and a cattle prod that he could have used to subdue the gang. As for the Crook Gatcher, it was a magic trick:

The cops agree to hire Charley for their crime lab, where ironically one of his first assigments is to create a Crook Gatcher for real.

Comments: An entertaining story. Sid Greene does a great job of inking Mike Sekowsky's pencils.

Update: There is at least one more Batman story drawn by Gil Kane; Batman #208 was a giant-sized comic with a continuing story of an elderly mystery woman who introduces herself and the rest of the women in Batman's life, and reveals that she herself is the most important woman. At the end it is explained that she's a Mrs. Chilton and that she raised Bruce after his parents were killed. Even more shocking is that her son had changed his name slightly, to Joe Chill, the murderer of Thomas and Martha Wayne.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Single Issue Review: Flash #144

I was looking through some of Mark Engblom's older posts and discovered that he had dubbed this one of the best covers ever. I like the concept, while recognizing (as Mark does) that it's a swipe of an earlier (Flash #122) cover, but I do have to wonder at the "puzzle" being posed by the cover. If the Flash can run fast enough to generate sufficient updraft to prevent the bomb from falling, can't he run a little faster and push it back up into the air?

Now as it happens, I had never read this issue; it's one of the few that I was missing from around then, so I thought it would be a perfect candidate for a review, since I'd be coming to the story fresh.

The story begins with a convict on the run. Luke Elrod's car has run out of gas and he escapes into a desert cave. Unknown to him, he's near an underground nuclear test, and:

Wait a minute! Chemicals drip down on him in a cave? I know who wrote this story, because he recycled that some origin a year later in Detective #337: Gardner Fox. GCD confirms that this is indeed Fox's work.

Luke discovers he has superpowers when roots grow out of his feet to seek water. No, I am not kidding:

Realizing that he can do virtually anything he wants, he changes himself into a human drill and escapes the cave. And then he turns himself into an airplane... uh, no. He waits for a train to come along and take him to Central City. See the problem with Luke? He's got no imagination! He gets to the city, but worries that his prison outfit will give him away. So he decides to steal some clothes from the next person who comes along close to his size.

Can you guess who that might be?

Not only that, but with his powers, he changes his face to look like Barry as well. Well, you can probably guess what has to happen next, as I did before even turning the page:

But this seems to be mostly setting up a humorous sideplot to the story as Elrod begs off Barry's date with Iris, claiming a cold. Meanwhile, Barry has recovered and discovered himself next to the convict's uniform, which he dons and races off too fast to be seen. He gets a new change of clothes from his apartment and a tracking device to locate his signal ring. For once we see the value of him being a police scientist, as he simply calls his precinct and asks them about an escaped convict's prison number, getting the information about Elrod's name.

He dashes over to Iris' place, but she gives him a frosty reception, still thinking that Elrod was Barry. So now Barry has extra incentive to locate the escaped convict. Elrod has turned himself into water and seeped into a jewelry store, then changed back into Barry. When the Flash comes along, Elrod changes into a jewel and hides in the loot he was in the process of stealing, with a mental command not to change back until the Flash has left the store. Amusingly, the Flash grabs up the loot to take it to police headquarters as evidence, but the minute he exits the store Elrod turns back into human form again. The Flash kayoes him, but he recovers before they reach the station and turns himself into a piece of paper that flutters away from the Flash.

Realizing that his powers are waning, Elrod resolves to do one big job and retire. He hits Central City Savings, and gets away from the Flash by changing into a high-speed plane. But as he changes into a parachute to land safely, the Flash appears below him.

This is taking place near the desert cave where Elrod got his powers in the first place. Faced with an atomic missile on his tail, what does Barry do? He runs back to Central City with the missile in hot pursuit. Then we get the cover scene and Barry realizes the mistake of coming into the city, so he goes back out of the city again.

Having overheard Elrod's instructions to himself, the Flash realizes that his only chance is to change back into Barry Allen. Since the missile has no intelligence, it does not recognize that they are the same man. And it explodes harmlessly in the desert. Elrod changes back to his normal appearance (including, inexplicably, his convict uniform) with no memory of what happened after being in the cave, and the Flash takes him in.

Comments: Ghastly. As I mentioned earlier, Fox dusted off the plot a year later to use in an even worse Batman story. A villain who can will anything to happen is not that interesting actually. The story has the definite aroma of being written after the cover, which in a swipe situation like this seems especially likely. About the only redeeming feature is the sideplot involving Iris. Fox later reused the concept of the superhero switching to his secret identity to confuse a menace in the Blockbuster stories in Detective and Batman.

The second story is a Kid Flash story, which definitely perked me up. The early Kid Flash stories tended to be "moral" stories, like the one where the three handicapped kids figured out Wally West was secretly the Boy Speedster.

In Lesson for a Star Athlete, Wally teaches the local football hero that knowledge can be as important as sports. His buddy Pete is convinced that he'll go to college on an athletic scholarship, and so he doesn't need to study hard.

When a flash flood threatens some people having a picnic, Kid Flash manages to divert the water away from them, but he twists his ankle and seems about to get pounded by the water himself when Pete rescues him. They seek shelter in a nearby abandoned lumber mill, but crooks are using it as a hideout and lock them in a room with a strong door. How will they escape? Kid Flash shows off his book learning:

As far as I can determine by Googling, cellophane is not explosive; that seems a bit of literary license. They escape and capture the crooks, Kid Flash's ankle having healed enough to start running again, and in the end Pete resolves to start cracking the books.

Comments: A good story with a good message, but it does lack the punch of some of the other Kid Flash stories of the era.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bring On the Giant Green Boxing Gloves, Part I

I've always envied the Comics Treadmill guy H for his posts on Prop Stars, the gigantic background props that appeared in hundreds of Batman stories from the 1930s-1960s. The idea of such a series of posts is absolutely brilliant, because composing them isn't terribly difficult if you have access to the source material, and yet they're quite entertaining to put together and read.

But he's pretty much got that market cornered, and I couldn't think of a comparable series of posts until this afternoon, when I surfed over to the Fortress Keeper's place and saw his post about the Golden Age Green Lantern (as drawn by Alex Toth). This part jumped out at me:

At the time, the pre-teen Fortress Keeper was struck by Alan Scott’s garish costume (He seemed more like a Rainbow Lantern, we thought. Remember, this was loooonnng before Geoff John’s Crayola take on the Green Lantern Corps) and apparent preference for deductive reasoning and two-fisted grit over flashy power-ring theatrics.

(No giant boxing gloves!)

This caused an mmediate inspiration to catalog the giant green things that Green Lantern created in the Silver Age. So without further ado:

Green Ring Thing #1 is a net that GL puts underneath a missile that he is unable to grab because it is colored yellow. It succeeds because the tip of the missile is red. Now here's the tricky part; is it "giant"? Obviously large nets are common in commercial fishing, although I'd guess that they don't have the gaps that this net is shown having. I'm going to say it qualifies as a giant object. Now, how does it rate as a GL giant object? I'm going to give it five star sapphires out of a possible five, as it solves the problem shown on the cover of Showcase #22, GL's very first appearance in the Silver Age.

Green Ring Thing #2 is a giant hawk that GL creates with his power ring:

Obviously this is a giant bird; it is intended to scare away a yellow pterodactyl that GL cannot defend himself against otherwise. Four star sapphires out of a possible five; interesting as the first animal GL creates but not otherwise historic.

Green Ring Thing #3 is a pair of springs. GL saves a yellow roller coaster car when he quickly realizes that its underside is painted black. Obviously this qualifies as giant and seems worthy of three star sapphires.

Green Ring Thing #4 is a set of several microphones. As you can see they are not giant and therefore do not qualify.

Green Ring Thing #5 is a jail cell. These appeared with amazing frequency in the Silver Age, but do not qualify as "giant"

Green Ring Thing #6 is a firemen's net.

Not giant.

Ditto for Green Ring Thing #7:

Green Ring Thing #8 gets us back on track:

A giant green test tube to capture the monster shown on the cover of Showcase #24? Five star sapphires out of five.

Running Tally:
Giant Green Net: 1
Giant Green Bird: 1
Giant Green Springs: 1
Giant Green Test Tube: 1

This takes us through the end of Green Lantern's Showcase appearances; I'll start in with his solo title next and try to pick up the guest appearances and JLA stories afterwards. One thing I do note is that three of the legitimate Giant Green Ring Things were created to handle something yellow (only the test tube broke this pattern).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Single Issue Review: Bob Hope #85

The Adventures of Bob Hope is in many ways the oddest comic in DC's lineup during the Silver Age. In the middle of this basically sexless universe, you have the most hormone-drenched guy who ever lived trying his darnedest to get next to a lot of lovely young women.

Now of course some will point out that at the time this comic was published (February-March 1964), Hope was 60 years old, and those gals he's bartering for don't seem north of 25. But this ignores the character that Hope had built up during the 1940s in the "Road" pictures, which was a funny, entertaining ne'er-do-well charmer.

The cover itself is tentatively credited to Mort Drucker at GCD; sure looks like his work to me. The concept is mildly disturbing; is Hope really buying his weight in young women as it appears? But we know it's harmless and the gag is that he's going to try to eat a bunch of bananas to get a third gal. Aside from that problem, it's a terrific cover.

The story starts, as many Bob Hope stories do, with Bob trying to dodge his landlady, Mrs Peabody, who's knocking at the door. However, he learns that she's not trying to collect the rent but to drag him along on a tour of Egypt that she won for a prize recipe. One of the things I particularly like about the Hope books is that they throw in a gag almost every panel; it's simple but effective:

Pop cultural aside: When Bob notes that Cleopatra is coming to his local theater; he is referring to the 1963 Liz Taylor epic.

So Bob and his landlady land in Egypt, where they travel by camel (this is a kid's comic, remember) to some tents in the desert (ditto). Of course, there is the love interest (definitely Drucker here):

But the male guest stars seem a trifle edgy:

It turns out that Sha's uncle is trying to use Mrs Peabody's cooking to unite the tribes to start a war for oil, but she's not interested in a polygamous household:

Drucker used that type of gag frequently in his brilliant Mad Magazine movie parodies around the same time.

Mrs Peabody does initially agree to prepare dinner for the heads of all the tribes, until Bob explains the situation to her. When they decline, the other heads are amused:

But Sha's uncle decides to go ahead with the invasion anyway, until Hope gets the idea of using Mrs Peabody's recipe as a weapon. It explodes and scares away the invaders.

Comments: Beautiful art by Drucker and an entertaining story, although the ending is a bit predictable.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Single Issue Review: Two-Gun Kid #70

Looks like Stan decided to give Two-Gun Kid the supervillain treatment here.

Although it is commonly forgotten, the 1950s were when Westerns reigned supreme, both on TV with Gunsmoke, Bonanza and Davy Crockett, and in the movies with major stars like John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart. The comics quickly followed suit, and the 1950s featured an abundance of comics dedicated to Western themes. DC, for example, published almost 300 such comics with titles such as Tomahawk (yes, arguably more of a revolutionary war comic, but with many Western features), Western Comics, All-American Western and Hopalong Cassidy.

But the bloom was definitely off the yellow rose of Texas by the time the 1960s came along. DC slashed their Western titles in favor of the rapidly growing WWII segment, publishing fewer than a third of the total they had in the 1950s.

Marvel (publishing then as Atlas Comics) also put out an enormous quantity of Westerns and other 1950s fad titles. I don't have a complete list of the 1950s Atlas westerns but it would not surprise me terribly if they didn't put out as many or more as DC did in that decade. Two-Gun Kid was one of the rare series that lasted from the Atlas era to the Marvel era.

Although these multi-panel covers are somewhat rare, I would guess that a lot of them have the same idea: Introducing a character with a unique power. For example, consider Amazing Spiderman #4:

So the idea is not new but the execution is above average and pretty interesting. Two-Gun Kid breaks up a train robbery. When Harry Cane, the leader of the gang tries to escape, TGK chases after him. They get caught in a twister but the leader survives and happens on a shaman:

Lightning. Hits a bunch of chemicals. And gives the nearby person super speed. Where does Stan come up with these ideas? ;)

That aside, this actually turns out to be an interesting story. Stan illustrates that the kid has no chance against the villain he's facing:

And indeed the Hurricane shoots him down before the Kid can even draw. But the wound is not fatal and the Kid decides to track him down over time:

Despite Hurricane's rapid speed he's unable to pull away from the Kid and so the stage is set for a showdown:

Hurricane tries to get away again, but this time he twists his ankle in a gopher hole and must call for help from Two-Gun Kid or die out in the desert of starvation.

The story ends on a very odd note. The Two-Gun Kid, in his real identity of Matt Hawk, defends Hurricane in court (just as another lawyer named Matt would often defend the criminals he brought to justice as Daredevil). And the frontier justice turns out to be pretty forgiving:

Say what? The guy pulls off numerous robberies, attempts to kill Two-Gun Kid and an unfortunate clerk, and he only gets probation?

Comments: Entertaining story; according to Wikipedia Hurricane returned to face the TGK again. The art by Dick Ayers is above average.

An aside: I am sure that a lot of young men reading Marvel in the 1960s remember this advertisement:

Quinn certainly does not look like anybody was going to accuse her of being skinny. Now here's the rather odd bit; Quinn O'Hara did indeed have a long career in Hollywood, appearing on many TV shows and in several movies. But oddly, she does not appear anywhere in the credits for The Caretakers. It's possible her part was so minor that it was uncredited, but then it seems hardly worth mentioning in this ad, right? According to O'Hara's own home page, she was a nurse in the film.

The backup story is interesting as well. Jeb Walker is an honest merchant who has accumulated a fair amount of money with his store. Three crooks decide to rob him. He battles them but they get away with the dough by virtue of a trick:

He has one bullet left and he resolves to chase the robbers and kill one of them for stealing his money. But then he sees one of them doubling back to his store. Is the crook going to kill him to make sure that Walker cannot describe the men who robbed him? He has the opportunity to shoot, but won't kill the man in cold blood. And it turns out that the crook has had a change of heart:

An interesting, if somewhat unlikely twist. Art by Larry Lieber (Stan's brother).

Update: See also Booksteve's excellent post on the Two-Gun Kid's supervillains, including Hurricane and a couple others I have not seen before.