Tuesday, April 29, 2008

George Rears - 1977

sg George Rears - By the summer of 1977 (How come almost all childhood comic book memories take place in summer?) I was a full fledged comic book junkie. Now that I had a regular allowance, I had enough income to support my habit. I bought just about every DC super hero title, and was just about ready to start venturing over to the Marvel side--but I heard all their stories were continued...

Living in Germany meant the only source of comics was the Post Exchange complex--there were no comic shops. But there was one other place I could find Superman adventures: the newsstand. Except there was one problem--all the comics were in German!

Out of curiosity, I picked one or two German Superman comics up, and noticed they were direct translations of stories DC had published a year or two earlier (ancient stories in a ten year old's eyes). The paper was a bright and flimsy, and the lettering was mixed case type set.

Thumbing through the books the other night it reminded me of some of the early Ultimate Spider-Man books in look and feel. Needless to say, the German comics just didn't feel right...instead I gravitated to the "Taschenbuchs" (German for "paperback") which look uncannily like the DC Digests that would debut a few years later. I bought a few of them, and enjoyed looking through the stories I had seen earlier in my English DC books.

However, Superman Taschenbuch #7 intrigued me. On the cover was a picture of Supergirl breaking into a Justice League meeting, obviously with something important to say. It looked like a great story. So I bought the digest, skimmed through the whole thing (I can't read German) recognizing every story in the book from my collection. But there was no Justice League story in the book. None. No Supergirl, either. So I went to my Justice League collection, and started researching.

Supergirl had some Justice League appearances in the mid 1970s, but none with this drawing. I remember the Justice League appeared in Superman Family where they were under Cleopatra's mind control, but this picture didn't seem to fit, either.

As time went on and we came back to the United States, this story was on the back of my mind, especially as I started to get serious about collecting the JLA. The hype built in my mind--the big guns of the JLA, and Supergirl, too! It didn't take long to figure out that this picture had to be post-1970, due to the hot pants and puffy shirt outfit Supergirl was sporting. I later checked out all the issues of Supergirl’s own magazine from 1972-1974, and none of them had this cool image.

I knew Supergirl had an early 70's run in Adventure Comics. That series started out as the old figure-skating outfit Supergirl, and later on it became a costume of the month club. One thing I did notice--the Adventure books were hard to find--I never could find anything from Adventure #420 until when the Spectre run started (Issue 431). Perhaps people stopped buying it when it became a fashion magazine? Since, I was more serious about my JLA and Flash collections this curious little story disappeared from my consciousness. Until last month.

While doing some investigating on eBay for another project I was doing, I came across a whole bunch of Adventure Comics--including a bunch I had never seen before...among them was Adventure 423..."Treachery".

After having wondered what this story was about for thirty years, it was inevitable that I would be disappointed, and needless to say it met my expectations. Three words: Mind Control Glasses. I give the Germans credit. They were smart enough to use the really cool cover image. They were also smart enough to use other stories on the inside. The cover is still cool, though.

No comments: