Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fun With Older Comics – Justice League #133 (1976)

Every once in a while I’ll pick up random older comics for fun because I like paging through and seeing how much things have changed since it’s initial printing. Today’s issue is Justice League of America #133, released way back when I was a boy of just over one year old :-) Click below to continue :

Title : Justice League of America #133
Release Year : 1976
Cover Price : $0.30
Story : Gerry Conway
Art : Dick Dillin & Frank McLaughlin

Cover : The cover features the Justice League, then consisting of Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Supergirl, Aquaman, Black Canary and Flash fighting Despero. The first thing that I notice is the 30-cent cover price. Those were the days. Next, there are speech bubbles on the cover as Despero taunts the league. This is something that you really don’t see much of anymore, and I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I saw it on a few older comics. This is also approved by the Comics Code Authority, in case you were wondering.

Interiors : The main story focuses on Superman being kidnapped by an alien race utilizing some sort of “Transport Beam”. Since the aliens can only transport one individual through the beam, and Superman may be sad that his friends aren’t with him, the aliens create some fake Justice Leaguers to fight alongside him against Despero. The fake League members are essentially actors playing the part but they look just like the other members of the JL.

The story is the reason that I love older comics. Replacing the Justice League with robots and actors from an alien world??? How ridiculously awesome is that? If you've been mired in modern comics for a while and pick up an older book, you almost have to switch modes completely. The comics that I grew up with were over the top and sometimes didn't make sense...but they didn't really have to. They were just comic books. It feels good to go back and read these, shutting off my concerns of where this fits into continuity or where they're leading with this. It's just plain fun to read. That's it.

Advertisements : Not a bad run of ads in this issue. I was disappointed in the lack of ads for firearms that were oh so popular in the days of my youth. I’d like to see them try to advertise rifles in modern comics.

1. 3 free baseball cards on specially marked boxes of Hostess Snack Cakes!
2. Special magic set offer from Charms! A $6.00 value for only $3.00!
3. One of my favorites. It depicts Batman holding a 45 album (think back to what one of those looks like) saying “Hey kids! Bob Kane, creator of Batman, has written a new song called “Have Faith in Me” recorded by Hank Leids and the “Bat-Group” Courage. Smash hit, yours directly from Batman for only $1.30!” Good stuff here people. I’m not sure what constitutes a Bat-Group or what connection they have to Batman. More than likely it was just Bob Kane trying to break into the music industry by exploiting his ready-made fanbase of comic readers. You also get a 4x5” autographed photo of Bob Kane himself in the Batmobile.
4. The old school Write-in Advertisements. This one has such great products as : Learn to Fly Model Rockets (with a sweet Space : 1999 ship…hey it’s 2009 and I don’t see those around anywhere. What a rip-off), Weight Lifting Equipment, 55 Red China Stamps, Learn Karate, 25 Live Seahorses for $2.99 and last but not least…Free Muscle Secrets!
5. Be A Locksmith! I wasn’t aware that locksmithery was such an in demand field back in the 70s that they recruited in comic books. Then again, I wasn’t yet 2 when this book was published so what did I know? You get a key machine, lock picks and tools to use while you train…or start a life of crime.
6. Make Extra Cash! Selling much wanted personalized metal Social Security Plates. I can’t seem to remember why people would need these but, according to the ad, they were much needed.

Back Cover : The back cover is an advertisement for Browning Bicycles in the form of the True Adventures of John Rakowski : Around the World Bicyclist. The ad is in comic form chronicling the travels of the aforementioned Mr. Rakowski and his super-cool Browning Bike. Also included at the bottom is a cut-out that you can mail in for their free catalog. Cutting things out of a comic???? This one is still intact so I may have to cut it out and send it in for my catalog…if this company even exists anymore. And a quick Google search suggests that it does not, so there it is.

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