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From the letters page of House of Mystery #266 (March 1979) comes an missive from a fan to the House of Mystery’s horror host Cain, inquiring about the decades-later existence of Sandman, The Dreaming, Justice League Dark, select issues of Swamp Thing, etc.:
Well, okay, maybe those books aren’t exactly
what he was asking for…but hey, close enough.
No, not this “Dr. Supernatural” chump:
I’m talking EXECUTION BUZZARD:
Well, that certainly seems entirely practical.
On a different note, an important question is asked and answered on this issue’s letters page:
Mr. Editor, I believe Mr. Brando-El begs to differ:
images from Action Comics #330 (November 1965) – cover by Curt Swan & George Klein
A letter from DC Comics’ World’s Finest
#192 published in March 1970, a few years before Marvel Comics put out What If?
#1, cover-dated February 1977.
I’m trying to picture this issue of What If? with those other titles. “Conan…walking the Earth of today? IMAGINE THAT!” Or “What’s NOT Happening? Any more Conan comics from Marvel!” Or, you know, something like that.
I also like the implication in the editor’s reply that the only thing keeping them from publishing an ongoing Imaginary Stories series is the inability to decide on a title. “Gee, we’d like to, James C., but we here at 909 Third Avenue can’t settle on a name. Imagine That? No, no…. Wait, how ’bout…Just Imagine? …Nah, who’d buy that?”
…The writer goes on to say that, since the Phantom Zone villains can see everything that goes on in the material world and therefore they should know Superman is Clark Kent, why wouldn’t they pass that info on, somehow, to another Earth-bound villain who could wreak some havoc on the Man of Steel.
Which of course brings up the fact that the Phantom Zone villains, while trapped unseen in that other dimension, could see into the real world, and why they wouldn’t, say, hang around Lois Lane’s boudoir and later taunt Superman with that knowledge. “HA HA we saw your girlfriend naked!” “Why, you…SHUT UP, YOU VILLAINS!” “HA HA look he’s all mad!”
I figure Superman probably walked around with some low level of paranoia dogging his every action, wondering if, while he’s using the restroom, or digging for some super-boogers, there’s Jax-Ur, hovering invisibly in a ghostly world, staring directly at him, observing everything and smirking all the while.
letter from Superman #211 (November 1968)…also, the editorial response was that the PZ villains did try, but “the crook just went to a psychiatrist and complained of hearing voices in his head, saying the most ridiculous things!”
So a couple of weeks ago I was talking about a Sugar and Spike story dedicated to “Nugget Pete,” a 90-something year old gent who’d been writing in and requesting an S&S story featuring Native Americans.
Well, longtime Ruinite C. Elam popped into the comments on that post to drop in a couple of message board links giving us a little more detail on Mr. N. Pete. Those message board entries were made only days after my own initial posting, so clearly the Nugget Pete zeitgeist was making its way across the comics nerdinet.
The first features a Sugar and Spike letter column containing what seems to be Nugget Pete’s first letter to the series, written back when Pete was but a strapping young lad of 87. And, sure enough, he’s asking for stories with Native Americans. “I suggest you put in something about cowboys and Indians – That never hurt a magazine yet.” …Words to live by!
The second link has another S&S letter column, this time from another fan (this one only 75 years old!) referring back to Nugget Pete’s letter and wondering if that was any inspiration for the grandpa/cowboy character Shelly Mayer introduced into the S&S strip. Mayer’s response, paraphrased: “yeah, probably.”
Anyway, that was a nice follow-up to what was (to me, anyway) an interesting tidbit of funnybook history. Thanks, C. Elam, for pointing that out to me!
From the letter column for Star Spangled War Stories #126 (April-May 1966):
“RK” being “Robert Kanigher,” natch. (Fake letter run to help dissuade similar letters from pouring in, or real reader comment pulled out and used as a lesson in what editors don’t
want to see? No idea.)
From the same issue, an in-house ad that, I can only assume, resulted in the highest sales ever for any issue of Metal Men:
I vote “hotcha.” I mean, who doesn’t
While the “me am Superbaby!” talk is a little annoying, granted:
…that seems like something of an…extreme response.
BONUS: by using this particular standard:
…count the number of civilized men at the San Diego Comic Con. I suspect there will be an equal number of headbands and neckties.
And now, from Swamp Thing #8 (Jan-Feb 1974), my favorite letter of comment from a Swamp Thing letters page:
From the letters column in Challengers of the Unknown #86 (April-May 1978):
The editorial reply:
Well, I don’t know about you, but I’d totally be in favor of an “Adventures of Alec Holland” series. In fact, in a way it looks like we might be getting a little bit of that in next week’s final issue of that one series I don’t want to spoil by mentioning that Swamp Thing may or may not have made an appearance in the previous issue.
We’ve had the occasional Alec Holland adventure in the various Swamp Thing titles, usually when he reverts (or imagines he reverts) to human form, like in the last issue of his original series and the couple of Challengers of the Unknown issues which followed up on those plot threads.
And then there was this, Alec Holland’s one and (I think) only appearance in the DC Animated Universe comics, from Batman Adventures Vol. 2 #16 by Ty Templeton, Rick Burchett and Terry Beatty:
Alas, at no time was there an animated universe Swamp Thing to go with our animated universe Alec Holland, aside from some sneaky cameos in the Justice League
As an aside…there sure were a lot of typos in that Challengers letters column. In the scans you can see “there” used in place of “their,” and “permanently” spelled “perminately.” Not shown: “November” spelled “Nobember.” By the way, I was going back through some of my older posts as I was writing this and quickly spotted several typos of my own, so I’m not taking the high road, here.
And if I may quibble a bit with the original letter writer’s point…Holland didn’t spend “his whole life looking like that.” Even in real world time, as opposed to however much time allegedly passed in the comics, Holland had only been Swamp Thing for about six years at that point. So let’s not exaggerate, Guy Who Wrote in to Challengers of the Unknown 30-Plus Years Ago!
It always amused me that, in the old Answer Man columns Bob Rozakis used to do in DC Comics a decade or three back, there would be a non-stop parade of folks asking what their comics were worth, and it seemed like most of the time they were worth about thirty cents to a buck:
Of course, this was a while back, before the comics the readers were most likely to have were given labels like “Bronze Age” and “Copper Age” and priced upward accordingly. But enough questions like this appeared to be submitted that, if memory serves, a separate column was created just to handle the pricing inquiries. I think maybe I once saw a reader ask about a comic that turned about to be, like, five bucks or something.
I like the matter-of-factness response to this next question:
And I like the very specific
nature of this next inquiry:
In the, oh, 30+ years since this was asked, has
Black Lightning made it to the Fortress? I haven’t the foggiest.
I’m also picturing that this was just one of a series of questions the reader sent in. “Has Firestorm been to the Fortress?” “No.” “How about Animal Man?” “Um, not yet.” “Metamorpho?” “Not sure, really.” “Okay, has Johnny Thunder?” “Oh, from the Justice Society? Lemme check….” “No, I mean Johnny Thunder, the cowboy hero.” “…Don’t you have anyone else you can bother?”
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