A Tribute to the of

June 27th was the wonderful Joe Giella’s 88th birthday, so naturally it seemed fitting to devote this edition of the Sage to that Silver Age stalwart. Joe’s inking has graced a number of Silver Age milestones from “The Flash of Two Worlds!” to the Justice League beginnings to many a job over Gil Kane pencils on Green Lantern in Showcase. In fact, don’t miss Joe’s terrific original art piece on the homepage of The Silver Lantern.

Speaking of Showcase, how about we take a peek at Showcase #18 [January-February, 1959] and “The Dozen Dooms of Adam Strange!” The story was written by the great Gardner Fox with pencils by Mike Sekowsky, inks by Joe Giella, and editing by Julie Schwartz, all enclosed in a Gil Kane/Joe Giella cover.

As is typically the case, our hero, Adam Strange, is awaiting the Zeta Beam to strike in its random place on Earth to transport him back to Alpha Centauri and the world of Rann where his lady love, Alanna lives. Waiting on a rooftop in Sydney, Australia, he catches the beam and abruptly finds himself facing…himself. Actually, it’s six full-sized Adam Strange figures that are walking toward him.

In a moment, Alanna calls to him and explains that these Adam Strange dolls are all the rage with the children of Ranagar, who imagine their favorite other-worldly hero is saving them from various perils. Alanna then describes a real peril that seems to be facing Ranagar from the city-state Dys, which has isolated itself from the rest of Rann. It is believed that their leading scientist, Tak Vall is planning an invasion, so, in true Trojan Horse fashion, she proposes sending a dozen Adam Strange dolls to Dys, only one of those dozen will be the genuine article. Adam quickly accepts.

Alanna herself pilots the craft delivering the dolls to Dys under the ruse that she’s having to make an emergency landing to the location. Dys, you see, does not accept any visitors under any circumstances. Tak Vall gives permission with the caveat that she will be their prisoner.

After the payload is discharged, Tak Vall is fascinated with the dolls and naturally picks out the genuine Adam Strange to put through his paces. Pleased, Tak Vall has all the dolls taken to a warehouse. Adam realizes he can escape at any time since no one is on security duty. Soon Tak Vall himself arrives and describes his plans to use these very dolls to allow him to strike at Ranagar by loading them each with a Kly bomb.

After the evil scientist departs, Adam makes his way to the ship to retrieve the rocket fliers they’ve brought. Planning to rescue Alanna, he swiftly follows the ring she’s wearing, which emits small electrical vibrations that he can pick up on a filament wired to his teeth. Yeah, I know. Usually Gardner Fox has better gimmicks, but anyway… Once Adam locates Alanna, he finds it’s not her after all, but the wife of Tak Vall. Once Vall sees Strange is in Dys, he confronts the hero, and gets a right cross for his trouble.

Adam makes his escape and Vall notes that there are now 11 dolls, so he lays plans to send the ship back to Ranagar with its deadly payload.

Soon a disguised Adam Strange sees the ship. He flies up to it and notices Alanna is on board, but she then leaps out of the ship, right toward the Flaming Sea. As she breaks the surface, a handy auto-inflate raft does its job and she is on board. Elsewhere, Tak Vall is monitoring the action and Alanna is with him. “He doesn’t know it’s an Alanna doll I made—fitted out with a deadly Kly bomb! When he touches the doll, it’ll explode!” Sure enough a shattering explosion takes place and a distraught Alanna is escorted to the tower room while Tak Vall waits for his other explosive gift to arrive at Ranagar.

At the appointed time, Alanna is escorted back and Vall is about to hit the button when Adam Strange lunges into the room and hits Tak Vall with a haymaker. Adam explains that at the last minute he noticed the bogus Alanna wasn’t perspiring, despite being in the Flaming Sea. He threw an empty rocket fuel container at it causing the explosion, but he was out of the arc and remained unharmed. As he comforts his love, Vall revives enough to hit the button to detonate the Kly bombs.

Adam calmly walks up to Tak Vall and says he’s taking him in to Ranagar to answer for his crimes. The incredulous scientist states that he has just destroyed Ranagar. Strange then lets the other shoe drop when he informs the miscreant that he may have blown up the dolls, but due to Adam’s removal of most of the ship’s fuel supply, it could only get as far as the Sea of Mormeen, so the detonation happened in that body of water and not on Ranagar.

The final panel shows Alanna and Adam on a dais about to be honored when he pops out of sight. Alanna explains to the master of ceremonies that he’s just returned to Earth and they’ll need to postpone the celebration until his next visit.

Such is the life of the guy who rides the Zeta Beam. This issue marked the second appearance of Adam Strange in Showcase and of course readers were queried at the end if they’d like to continue to see this series. His debut happened in the pages of Showcase #17 [Sage #17] and he showed up again in issue #19 and of course later headlined the Mystery in Space title. An Adam Strange tale is always a nice romp with good science fiction angles. I’ll grant this one an 8 on the rating scale. Meanwhile, Happy birthday, Joe Giella and happy “retirement.” The last time I spoke with him he told me he was hanging it up on the Mary Worth strip last month. I place “retirement” in quotation marks because, after all, artists never really retire and we can be thankful for that, along with Joe’s massive output through the years.

Thanks for joining us, readers. We adore and report on DC’s Silver Age and if you would like to see something that fits, just fire off an e-mail to: professor_the@hotmail.com.

We’ll be back with something new on the 15th of July and maybe it will be your request.

Until next time…

Long live the Silver Age!

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