80 PIC. GIANT

MY FAVOURITE FUNNIES No. 20
presents . . .

80 pic. Giant G20

i’m gonna make your life so sweet


On New Years Day, 1970, I sat in the back seat of our car as we drove to our aunt and uncle’s house for New Year’s dinner. On the radio we were listening to the annual count down of the top singles from the previous year. What would be the No. 1 song for 1969?

To all our amazement the top single was Sugar Sugar by the Archies!

cbsarchie68Now don’t get me wrong. I loved this song, which was featured on the Saturday morning cartoon series, THE ARCHIE SHOW–so I was at once happy that it could break through to become the top single of the year and yet not happy because this seemed to portend that the ’60s were truly over. We had transcended into another time where fictional cartoon singing groups could beat the Beatles on the record charts.

l8TP5Sswh1QQMLSugar Sugar had topped the RPM 100 national singles chart in Canada on the 13th of September ’69 and sat there for three weeks running.

It then spent four weeks at the top of the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 from the 20th of September and eight weeks at the top of the UK singles chart in that same year. All together, the song spent 22 weeks in the Billboard Hot 100. Sugar Sugar is listed at No. 73 on Billboard’s Greatest Songs of All Time.

The song was co-written by American Jeff Barry and Canadian Andy Kim. Born Andrew Youakim, Andy grew up in Montreal. As Andy Kim, he wrote and recorded several chart topping hits in the ’60s and early ’70s. Later in his career he took the name Baron Longfellow.  On the 5th of February, 2006, Sugar Sugar was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

It was not Archie Andrews, Reggie Mantle, Jughead Jones, Veronica Lodge and Betty Cooper on the record, but rather a group of session singers and studio musicians filling in for the fictional Archies, thanks to manager Don Kirshner. Ron Dante sang the lead vocal accompanied by Andy Kim and Toni Wine.


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MY FAVOURITE FUNNIES No. 20

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80 pic. GIANT
20th Anniversary Issue

Table of Contents

80 pg supesbatsrock adfirst thoughts

in the time of giants
children of the ’60s
wow!

second thoughts

’tis the season
giant numbers
second world war vets

third thoughts

around the world
the good shepherd
let justice be done

fourth thoughts

into mystery
tell it to the greeks
more pics

Special Features

Ad Infinitum

My Checklist: 80 Pg. Giant DC Classics

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first thoughts

in the time of giants

WFC 188 G-64 cover tocOne of the oddest Finger and Mooney yarns is in WORLD’S FINEST COMICS No. 136 (September ’63)–The Batman Nobody Remembered! It is one weird mind trip for the Caped Crusader. I first read this story in the giant-size (64 pages) WORLD’S FINEST COMICS No. 188 [G-64] (October-November ’69)-where it made me immediately think of a TWILIGHT ZONE episode.

[First published in The Final Days of the Gotham Gangbusters, MY FAVOURITE FUNNIES No. 3 (June 2013)]

By 1969, my interest in comics had dwindled. I bought comics on occasion, largely out of nostalgia–nostalgia for a year or two years prior. Hey, I was a kid–the good old days were not that far removed and yet as a kid when summers and holidays seem like monumental periods of time, last summer or last Christmas can be an impossibly long way away.

SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN No. 113/G-50 (August-September ’68) On sale 11th of June ’68. Shock-Filled Anti-Superman Issue!

SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN No. 113/G-50 (August-September ’68)
On sale 11th of June ’68.
Shock-Filled Anti-Superman Issue!

The comics I favoured were those that reminded me of those childhood days that had slipped through my fingers. I mainly liked Giants, because those usually reprinted old stories. The Archie Giants were essentially the same as they always had been–only the covers altered.

As of 1969, DC’s 80 PAGE GIANTS gave up being 80 pages and now were 64 pages like every other Giant from Archie or Harvey. But I preferred those DC Giants to the regular comics which had changed with the times. I wasn’t ready yet for change. I wanted to hold onto the ’60s and the stuff of childhood memories.

Archie and Richie Rich did not change so much, but Superman and Batman changed–I didn’t want to know about it.

The Giants continued to reprint stories from five, ten, fifteen, twenty years ago. You could live inside a Giant and never have to worry about the passing of time.

children of the ’60s

stumbo the giant by warren kremerIt was common custom, whenever I went to the doctor or the dentist, that I would get a reward if I had been a good boy. In a store near the doctor’s office, after I had shown stoic courage, I sought out my prize. After considering all the available options, I chose a giant-sized STUMBO TINYTOWN comic book.

[First published in Here There Be Giants, MY FAVOURITE FUNNIES No. 1 (May 2013)]

DC 80 PAGE GIANTS were children of the ‘60s. They began, as with most things in comics, with Superman. The Man of Tomorrow decided that he needed an Annual to remind himself of his greatness–as if he could forget being the World’s Greatest Super-Hero. Thus was SUPERMAN ANNUAL No. 1 born into the world in 1960, just as summer had begun.

Superman Annual 1 coverI was too small to remember that time. But I imagine children getting out of school, looking forward to the broad expanse of summer. That time when a kid has nothing but time. Time to sleep in. Time to wake up early if you want to get to the park before the other kids. Time to sit on a lazy afternoon, when the clouds are threatening, and thumb through a comic. And what better comic to have than SUPERMAN ANNUAL No. 1–a full 80 pages, no ads, packed full of Superman’s mythology.

Since only a couple of years before this Superman’s editor, Mort Weisinger, had decided to really get to work on establishing the size and weight of Superman’s universe–which was considerable–this ANNUAL, and those to come, helped to fix in the reader’s thoughts what was most important–those people and places to remember that must remain, even as other stories might fall away.

wow!

harvey giantsEverybody I knew had worked it out that giants were a smart deal (even those that weren’t good at textbook math). I expected that every house I visited would have a stack of funny books and in every stack there’d be giant-size comics–often without a cover. [Giants lost their covers much more easily than the regular size.]

[First published in Here There Be Giants, MY FAVOURITE FUNNIES No. 1 (May 2013)]

SUPERMAN ANNUAL No. 1 (1960), may have been DC’s first Annual as such, but National Periodicals (aka DC) was not the first to try out Annuals. There had been many many before.

SUPERMAN ANNUAL (1954 - 1955), published by K.G. Murray.

SUPERMAN ANNUAL (1954 – 1955), published by K.G. Murray.

In fact, overseas, in places like Britain and Australia, it was quite common for comics to have Annuals–and the Superman family were well represented in those foreign editions (which usually reprinted stories from the American publisher in black and white)–these U.K. Annuals came from K.G. Murray of Australia.
[See the Magic Robot’s interesting blog on  Superman UK Annuals

Roy Rogers Annual 1948In Canada, Wilson Publishing, one of the many Canadian publishers immediately after WW II, put out a one-shot ROY ROGERS ANNUAL (1948) with 132 pages for 50 cents.

This Canadian edition was made up of material published in Dell’s ROY ROGERS COMICS and the photo cover is from issue No. 2 of that title. Yet, since this was a one-time only affair, as an Annual it barely qualifies.

Archie Annual 1In the U.S. and Canada, Archie had published ongoing Annuals much earlier than DC. The first, ARCHIE ANNUAL No. 1 (1950), came out on the stands on the 27th of October ’49 and was a whopping 112 pages for 25 cents. The page count would go down over the ‘50s and, by 1960, the Archie Annuals were the same 80 pages that the DC Annuals would emulate.

Harvey also published Giant issues (they didn’t call them Annuals) starting in late 1958, but their Giants were 64 pages for 25 cents.

It should also be remembered that early comics in the ’30s often had a higher page count, which settled down to 64 pages for a regular 10 cent issue by the time Superman and Batman first appeared.

Yet even higher page counts were a regular thing–for example, in the early run of WORLD’S FINEST COMCS, which featured both DC super-stars, there were 96 pages (plus the cover) for 15 cents.

THE BIG ALL-AMERICAN COMIC BOOK (1944)

THE BIG ALL-AMERICAN COMIC BOOK (1944)

Brad Spencer--Wonderman, COMPLETE BOOK OF COMICS AND FUNNIES [first page]; art: Bob Oksner.

Brad Spencer–Wonderman, COMPLETE BOOK OF COMICS AND FUNNIES [first page]; art: Bob Oksner.

1944 saw the publication of the oddball COMPLETE BOOK OF COMICS AND FUNNIES ([August] ’44) featuring the debut of Bob Oksner’s Wonder Man (who would go on to star in WONDER COMICS, funnily enough) plus other characters from the Ned Pines’ publishing group.

However, the credited publisher was Wm. H. Wise & Co., Inc. Publishers. The whole affair was [not counting the cover] 128 pages for 25 cents.

Not to be outdone, later that same year, also from Wm. H. Wise & Co., Inc. Publishers, now acting for the All-American half of Natonal Comics with their own big one-shot, THE BIG ALL-AMERICAN COMIC BOOK (1944) went on sale the 18th of October ’44, again with 128 pages for 25 cents–wow!

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second thoughts

’tis the season

Rudy61.coverIn the ’50s (and into the early ’60s), National Periodical Publications (DC) published an annual RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER funny book–which featured one long story, plus games and other merriment for little kids–from cover to cover, as there were no ads. The editor for these comics was Larry Nadle, with Rube Grossman providing most of the art.

[First published in Weihnachtsmarkt, MY FAVOURITE FUNNIES No. 14 (24th of December, 2013)]

DC’s ANNUAL titles were annual by convention, but not always annual. Throughout the ‘50s, DC had published RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER on an annual schedule–but the only time Rudolph got an actual annual edition that was called ANNUAL was when the red-beaked caribou saw the end of his comic book, with a final all-reprint 80 page Giant ANNUAL (on sale the 30th of October ’62).

WW135.rudyad

XMAS COMICS No.1 (1941); cover art: Mac Raboy

XMAS COMICS No.1 (1941); cover art: Mac Raboy

This is usually counted as the unlucky 13th issue of the reindeer’s run, but it wasn’t numbered–so technically it’s a one-shot.

And before that there were other comics that came out on a more or less annual basis, such as Fawcett’s XMAS COMICS. The first issue was 324 pages for 50 cents at newsstands the 26th of November ’41, with a further issue for the holidays in ’42, in the same page and price format.

XMAS COMICS then sat out the remainder of the war (during paper shortages) but came back in ’47 [132 pages, 25 cents] then in ’49, ’50, ’51 and ’52 [all 196 pages, plus cover, 50 cents].

giant numbers

BATMAN No. 193/G-37 (July-August ’67) On sale 9th of May ’67. Another Star Collection of Batman and Robin’s Bizarre Action Roles!

BATMAN No. 193/G-37 (July-August ’67)
On sale 9th of May ’67.
Another Star Collection of Batman and Robin’s Bizarre Action Roles!

The first 80 PAGE GIANT that I got from DC (aka National Periodical Publications) was the June-July ’67 issue of SUPERMAN–No. 197 [G-36] Realizing what a great deal this was, I managed to finagle my father into buying me another 80 PAGE GIANT, when we were both in Ryan’s Drugstore. This was the July-August ’67 issue of BATMAN–No. 193 [G-37].Not long after that I got WORLD’S FINEST COMICS No. 170 [G-40] (featuring Superman and Batman together) and–from the second-hand bookstore–an old coverless 80 PAGE GIANT (starring Batman). Some sleuthing revealed this to be  No. 5 in the GIANT series, a Silver Anniversary issue dated December ’64.

[First published in The Last Days of the Dynamic Duo, MY FAVOURITE FUNNIES No. 2 (May 2013)]

Superman, followed by Batman, would not be satisfied with a yearbook only once a year and the frequency was bumped to two times per year. Soon there were six ANNUALs a year (in the 1962 and 1963 cover-dated years).

80pg Giant No. 1And 1964 was promising a bumper crop of ten on the schedule, when DC decided to retire the ANNUAL name and dedicated a series to their 80 PAGE GIANT MAGAZINE comics (the MAGAZINE part of the title sometimes appeared in the indicia but never on the cover).

Perhaps they realized that with so many Giants coming out almost every month, the ANNUAL name was getting confusing.

What would have been SUPERMAN ANNUAL No. 9 (Summer ’64)–coming out the 4th of June ’64–was hastily relabelled as 80 PAGE GIANT No. 1 (August ’64), with the cover still showing signs of its cancelled destiny.

This began a cycle of 80 PAGE GIANT issues throughout the year.

You could almost predict when each would come out as they more or less stuck to a schedule–albeit with continuing changes in the order. I imagine many readers, like me, looked forward with anticipation to the month when their favourite Giants should come out.

After the first 15 issues, the publisher decided to fold the 80 PAGE GIANT series into the regular runs of the titles reprinted, beginning with JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA No. 39/G-16 (November ’65), on sale the 2nd of September ’65–the first Giant to exclusively feature the JLA–although, their origin had already been presented in 80 PAGE GIANT No. 8 (March ’65) which featured More Secret Origins.
80 pg 16 JLA ad

This effectively means that each Giant issue was numbered twice. Numbered as part of the series it reprints (eg. THE FLASH No. 160) and numbered as an 80 PAGE GIANT with a G ahead of the number (eg. 80 PAGE GIANT G-21 which is THE FLASH No. 160).

When the books went down to 64 pages, the “80 Pg. GIANT” designation was dropped from the covers, but the dual numbering system remained–although you have to look for those G numbers.

second world war vets

Batman Giant 01 cover

Also, even after Julie Schwartz became the editor on DETECTIVE and BATMAN (with Weisinger on WORLD’S FINEST), [Jack] Schiff still edited all the BATMAN ANNUALs/80 PAGE GIANTs–with one notable exception*–until his retirement. At which point E. Nelson Bridwell took over. While Bridwell was a great reprint editor, I feel that the collections that Schiff edited have a unique identity in being edited by the very guy who edited those stories in the first place. And often the letter columns in those GIANTs make for interesting reading.

80 pg G17 BM covertoc*The notable exception, by the by, was BATMAN 176 (aka 80 PAGE GIANT G-17) which is credited to Schwartz. Released in late ’65, the line-up of stories always struck me as being some kind of set-up for the upcoming TV show (featuring characters and stories that the producers might have consulted–including the Joker’s Utillity Belt, Mr. Zero (aka Mr. Freeze), Catwoman, and a caveman plot that might have inspired King Tut).

[First published in x – Jack Schiff’s Shift, MY FAVOURITE FUNNIES extra page]

For Batman, Superman and the Superman family–the Giants could dip back very far in time. In fact, some BATMAN Giants reprinted the Sundays from the mid-‘40s. Publishing stories from that early was unusual for two reasons, one being that the originals and photostats for these had been mostly destroyed and the other being that these comic pages were not considered to meet the standard of quality for the ‘60s.

THE FLASH No. 160/G-21 (April ’66)

THE FLASH No. 160/G-21 (April ’66)

THE FLASH reprinted a few “Golden Age” yarns of the original Flash (Jay Garrick), as well as that other super-speedster, Johnny Quick.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA mainly republished stories that were only about five years old at that time; however, it was believed that the readership turned over every five years, so these adventures were new to their audience.

Sgt. Rock hosted his own Giant collection–which was integrated into the OUR ARMY AT WAR anthology that co-starred those combat happy joes in Easy Co.–and invited other veterans to swap their battle tales, as well.

House ad for OUR ARMY AT WAR No. 177/G-32 (February-March ’67); art by Joe Kubert. On sale 13th of December ’66.

House ad for OUR ARMY AT WAR No. 177/G-32 (February-March ’67); art by Joe Kubert.
On sale 13th of December ’66.

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third thoughts

around the world

Flash Giant

Carmine Infantino is my favourite comic book artist, but I take with a grain of salt his feature on How I Draw the Flash, which appeared fifty years ago in THE FLASH ANNUAL (’63) [issue No. 1 ostensibly, but since the Annual program ended after this, it’s really the only issue].

[First published in x – Can You Draw, Too? MY FAVOURITE FUNNIES extra page]

How to Draw the Flash by Carmine Infantino

How I Draw the Flash, by Carmine Infantino, THE FLASH ANNUAL No. 1 (’63)

BATMAN No. 203/G-49 (July-August ’68) On sale 9th of May ’68. Spectacular–The Secrets of the Batcave! - 1968 -Includes interior feature pagss with art by Frank Springer (signed); cover art: Neal Adams with Frank Springer (inset art).

BATMAN No. 203/G-49 (July-August ’68)
On sale 9th of May ’68.
Spectacular–The Secrets of the Batcave! – 1968 – Includes interior feature pagss with art by Frank Springer (signed); cover art: Neal Adams with Frank Springer (inset art).

It was not just the stories, although that was more than worth the two bits for an 80 PAGE GIANT; there were extras to be found in these comics, special features that proved just as entertaining. Maps, diagrams, background information.

One such feature that fascinated me appeared in SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN No. 113/G-50 (August-September ’68). I remember exactly when I got this comic. I was coming home with my parents and siblings after a day spent at the P.N.E. August was at end and school threatened to begin again.

We walked up Hastings to the Kootney Loop to wait for our bus home, but we stopped in the little Mom and Pop store, crowded with fair-goers, just next to the Loop. And I managed to get this choice Giant. Doubtless one of my parents spared the quarter so I could snag this gem, which I still savour long after the cotton candy and the Playland rides are forgot.

To be sure all the stories were golden and I read them over and over for the next month. But I studied these feature pages on Supeman and his friends From Around the World with keen interest. The strange tongues, the odd visuals. Even my siblings found this an eye-opener. Who woulda thought they had comics like that over there . . . ?

Superman and his friends From Around the World, SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN No. 113/G-50 (August-September ’68)

Superman and his friends From Around the World, SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN No. 113/G-50 (August-September ’68). Click to enlarge.

I absorbed all these factoids and tossed them into the conversation whenever I could. Did you know that Batman is called Lederlappen in Swedish and that means leather patch? And how about the Elongated Man? He’s El Hombre Elastico in Mexico. Just thought you’d like to know.

LOIS LANE ANNUAL No. 2 (Summer ’63); cover art: Kurt Schaffenberger. Feature page: Meet TV's Lois Lane.

LOIS LANE ANNUAL No. 2 (Summer ’63); cover art: Kurt Schaffenberger. Feature page: Meet TV’s Lois Lane.

the good shepherd

Original cover art by Swan and Anderson for SUPERMAN 239/G-84 (June-July '71).

Original cover art by Swan and Anderson for SUPERMAN 239/G-84 (June-July ’71).

The editor of this giant [SUPERMAN No. 239/G-84 (June-July ’71)] and almost all of DC’s other giants was E. Nelson Bridwell–an expert on just about everything! He must’ve given a great deal of thought to the selection of the reprints and how they worked into DC’s ongoing continuity. In addition to the stories in this giant, Bridwell provides a two-page Map of Krypton (illustrated by Sal Amendola), which furher extrapolates ENB’s ideas about Superman’s lost world.

[First published in My Superman Summer, MY FAVOURITE FUNNIES No. 10 (August 2013)]

Map of Krypton, SUPERMAN 239/G-84 (June-July '71) by E. Nelson Bridwell and Sal Amendola

Map of Krypton, SUPERMAN 239/G-84 (June-July ’71) by E. Nelson Bridwell and Sal Amendola

In the late ’60s and early ’70s, E. Nelson Bridwell was the good shepherd watching over his flock of Giants. His ready knowledge of comic book history and world history in general served him well in editing these books. He was doubtless the fellow who had prepared and written Supeman and his friends From Around the World in SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN No. 113/G-50.

SUPERBOY No. 147/G-47 (May-June ’68); cover art: Neal Adams & Curt Swan. Starring the Legion of Super-Heroes.

SUPERBOY No. 147/G-47 (May-June ’68); cover art: Neal Adams & Curt Swan.
Starring the Legion of Super-Heroes.

But ENB didn’t just oversee the reprints, the extra features and the letter columns. Bridwell also contributed new stories for some of the Giants.

A retelling of Batman's origin, from E. Nelson Bridwell, Gil Kane and Jack Abel in BATMAN No. 208/G-55 (January-February ’69).

A retelling of Batman’s origin, from E. Nelson Bridwell, Gil Kane and Jack Abel in BATMAN No. 208/G-55 (January-February ’69).

For example, he provided the secret origin of the Legion of Super-Heroes (with art by Pete Costanza) for the All-Legion Giant issue of SUPERBOY No. 147/G-47 (May-June ’68). Up to that point, the Legion of Super-Heroes didn’t have an origin story. ENB’s Origin of the Legion (with embellishements and augmentations) has become the standard origin for the LSH.

BATMAN No. 208/G-55 (January-February ’69) showed the editor doing some creative cutting and pasting.

The basic theme of this Giant–the women in Batman’s life–had Bridwell using odd scraps from stories, as well as full stories, and inserting captions to hold it all together. The framing device of the entire book is Mrs. Chilton, Bruce’s housekeeper. Her story appears in original pages from our man Nelson and artists Gil Kane and Jack Abel.

The housekeeper’s fate is tied in with Bruce Wayne’s own in more ways than he realizes.

let justice be done

SUPERMAN'S PAL JIMMY OLSEN 140/G-86 (August-September '71). Cover by Swan and Anderson.

SUPERMAN’S PAL JIMMY OLSEN 140/G-86 (August-September ’71). Cover by Swan and Anderson.

But if the 48 page comics were 25 cents, where did that leave the 64 page giant-size comics? This was a bit of a problem for DC as they had to adjust their prices. The giant-size comics ended up being momentarily pushed to 35 cents. Although in reality, there were only four such issues–three of which I bought.

The first was SUPERMAN’S PAL JIMMY OLSEN 140/ G-86 (August-September ’71) . . . Issue 139 had been continued, so it was a surprise when the next issue was a 35 cent giant instead (but not so much of a surprise, because DC pulled this trick often). However, I was happy to get the comic, as I liked the reprints in this one much better than the new story in 139.

Two of these were Hamilton, Swan and Klein masterpieces–the first two Nightwing and Flamebird adventures [from SUPERMAN 158 (January ’63) and SUPERMAN’S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN 69 (June ’63)].

[First published in My Superman Summer, MY FAVOURITE FUNNIES No. 10 (August 2013)]

The very last of the Giants, that had once been 80 pages, that had once been 25 cents, was JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA No. 93/G-89 (October-November ’71)–now 64 pages, now 35 cents.

Giant Justice League of America

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA No. 93/G-89 (October-November ’71). Cover by Dick Giordano.

With the reduced number of pages and the addition of more out of house advertising copy, there was only room enough for two Justice League adventures in this issue. But these were good yarns, both by the original team of Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs. I had just gotten the bug for the Justice League and was keen to know their past. Previous attempts to get into the team hadn’t worked for me, but now I was ready and these were the first stories I read of such vintage.

Both adventures take the League into fantastic worlds. In The Riddle of the Robot Justice League [first published in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA No. 13 (August ’62)], the team are taken outside of our universe completely and into another universe. In Journey into the Micro World [first published in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA No. 18 (March ’63)]. they are shrunk down to a microscopic world.

The team is at full strength in both tales–eight members at the time in the first adventure and nine, with the Atom added to the roster, in the second. Only Snapper Carr doesn’t play an active role on these team missions. With such a large cast of characters, the writer and artists demonstrate how nimbly they can move all their players. They make it look easy.

Justice League of America 58, 80 page Giant G-41

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA No. 58/G-41 (November-December ’67); cover art: Carmine Infantino & Sid Greene; plus the three covers that inspired the cover.

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fourth thoughts

into mystery

SUPER HEROES VERSUS SUPER VILLAINS (1966) cover by Paul Reinman

SUPER HEROES VERSUS SUPER VILLAINS (1966) cover by Paul Reinman

There are three great things about the Homeric epics–THE ILIAD and THE ODYSSEY. One is that they’re really long with lots of stories in them. Another is that they begin in the middle of all the action. And the third is that they point toward a whole lot of other amazing stories (most of which we can only guess at because those didn’t survive in written form).

My favourite giant-sized funny book was like that.

It was long with many stories. It began in the middle of things. And it suggested a world of other stories that I could only guess about. This was the giant that I mentioned back in issue No. 1. As I said there, this comic had no cover and it was many years before I found out the real title (and a few years more before I could get an intact copy, including cover) . . . , the title of the comic was not something I could have guessed from the content–not in a million years.

[First published in Super-Heroes By Any . . . , MY FAVOURITE FUNNIES No. 4 (June 2013)]

SUPER HEROES VERSUS SUPER VILLAINS was my favourite giant funny book, even though I didn’t know where it came from, even though I didn’t know who published it, even though I didn’t know any of the heroes in its pages. Perhaps its mystery enhanced its attraction. It was somewhat less than an 80 PAGE GIANT, yet it seemed just as bursting with ideas. But all the Giants back then took me by surprise. I never knew what mysteries I would find or where these comics would take me. They were epic, but unpretentious.

ACTION COMICS No. 360/G-45 (March-April ’68) Presents Supergirl. A Comic First! A Complete Book-Length Novel!

ACTION COMICS No. 360/G-45 (March-April ’68)
Presents Supergirl. A Comic First! A Complete Book-Length Novel!

They certainly would never be so ridiculous as to call themselves Graphic Novels. But these collected editions could be just as novelistic as any of today’s extended narrative comic books. In fact, the whole story of Supergirl was put together (with some abridgement) to fit into one of these 80 page epics, ACTION COMICS No. 360/G-45 (March-April ’68). Other than the Swan and Klein cover art, the entire collected story arc is illustrated by Jim Mooney. I have always thought the story was written by Otto Binder, but the GCD credits this arc to Jerry Siegel (as identified by Bob Hughes).

IT RHYMES WITH LUST (1950)–published by St. John, black and white, digest sized, 132 pages for 25 cents–reissued by Dark Horse (2007).

IT RHYMES WITH LUST (1950)–published by St. John, black and white, digest sized, 132 pages for 25 cents–reissued by Dark Horse (2007).

That whole desire to label certain stories as GNs has never set well with me. Aren’t they all comic books?

Not to take anything away from Arnold Drake and Matt Baker for their IT RHYMES WITH LUST (1950)–which some claim to be the first true graphic–there were already many single issue funny books with high page counts that published extended adventures.

I even remember a thick, digest-sized black and white comic book we had, when I was a kid, that was all about the Flinstones. I have no idea where it came from or where it got to and it’s one book I’ve never been able to track down since, but it read like a novel to me.

tell it to the greeks

Adam and Eve, the Garden of Eden, Genesis, Nestor Redondo

LIMITED COLLECTORS’ EDITION C-36 (June-July ’75)

Around the same time [as RIMA], Kubert and Redondo were collaborating in the same fashion (Kubert editor, layouts, covers and Redondo finished art) on THE BIBLE [the tabloid-sized LIMITED COLLECTORS’ EDITION C-36]–scripted by the venerable Sheldon Mayer. This came out two months after RIMA had ended her run and restored my hope for more of the same.

[First published in More R ’n’ R in Eden, MY FAVOURITE FUNNIES No. 8 (July 2013)]

Although the great enterprise that was the 80 PAGE GIANT ended, DC filled that void with the DC 100-PAGE SUPER SPECTACULAR . . . 

Neal Adams cover

DC 100-PAGE SUPER SPECTACULAR No. 6 (’71). Wraparound cover by Neal Adams.

LIMITED COLLECTORS' EDITION [C-20] (Christmas '72); cover art: Rube Grossman.

LIMITED COLLECTORS’ EDITION [C-20] (Christmas ’72); cover art: Rube Grossman.

. . . followed by the tabloid-sized LIMITED COLLECTORS’ EDITION, originally as 80 pages for a dollar. A dollar for 80 pages was steep, but they were big pages and the card-stock covers were an added bonus.

And in more recent years there have been revivals of 80 PAGE GIANTS–both the reprint and the all-new variety.

But let’s not kid ourselves, for as that old Greek dude, Hercaclitus is reported to have said–

δὶς ἐς τὸν αὐτὸν ποταμὸν οὐκ ἂν ἐμβαίης

You can never step twice in the same river.

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SUPERMAN'S GIRL FRIEND, LOIS LANE 113 / G-87 (September-October '71). Cover by Dick Giordano.

SUPERMAN’S GIRL FRIEND, LOIS LANE 113 / G-87 (September-October ’71). Cover by Dick Giordano.

The giant comic I didn’t dare buy! Which is really too bad, because it turns out to have a lot of great Lois Lane stories inside it. But how could I ever buy it? The cover was too shocking for the drugstore! What the heck is with all the weird smooching? What’s Lois doing with that dead, green Superman? Was this a Superman comic a romance comic or some weird horror mag?

[First published in My Superman Summer, MY FAVOURITE FUNNIES No. 10 (August 2013)]

We promised 80 pics and we deliver!
Superman Annual 2 coverBatman Giant 03 coverSuperman Annual 5 coverBatman Giant 07coverAction 334 (reprints)Flash 169 (reprints)80 pg 5 adWorld's Finest 170 (reprints)LoisLane77.houseSuperman Annual 8cover80 pg G19 sgt rock ad

My Checklist: 80 Pg. Giant DC Classics
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Ad Infinitum

ad extra feature

COME SATURDAY MORNING

Here’s the full two page spread advertising the CBS Saturday Morning line-up for the fall of ’68, including THE ARCHIE SHOW, as the ad appeared in most DC titles–this is taken from LEAVE IT TO BINKY No. 63 (October-November ’68), on sale the 13th of August ’68.

cbssat68

Ads like this appeared for the American networks and their offerings in the comic books, pumping up interest in the latest cartoon shows to hit the airwaves each fall. Whether that be the Beatles, Space Ghost, Jonny Quest, Casper the Friendly Ghost, the Amazing Spider-Man or Scooby-Doo. Or some of the lesser known cartoons characters like Frankenstein, Jr., Shazzan (not Shazam) and the Impossibles.

My Checklist: 80 Pg. Giant DC Classics
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KNOCK ON WOOD

All on sale dates might be approximate, as provided by Mike’s Amazing World of Comics (The Newsstand) and by other sources.
All characters, logos, and images are owned and © 2015 by current copyright holders. They are used here for educational and review purposes.
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