A Tribute to the of

Happy New Year and welcome to 2017! Time to kick off a new year’s worth of silver mining and what better place to go than the venerable Showcase Presents series that brought us so many great characters and many eventual titles during its long and fruitful run?

It’s been a very long while since we looked at a Rip Hunter adventure and of course he’s been playing a rather prominent role in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and on the television series of the same name, so how about we check out his second Showcase appearance which occurred in issue #21 from July/August of 1959 where Rip and company take on the “Secret of the Lost Continent!” Cover art is by Mike Sekowsky and Joe Giella, who also do interiors on a script by Jack Miller. Editing is courtesy of Jack Schiff.

Rip, along with Jeff, the young Corky and Bonnie are on their way to meet up with Alexander the Great because a stone tablet has recently been discovered that suggests he’d learned where the city of Atlantis was located, but unfortunately the key sentence has been worn off the tablet. Off to the Time Sphere and the ancient past.

They arrive just prior to a great battle between Alexander and King Darius. While Jeff and Corky guard the Time Sphere, Rip and Bonnie go in search of Alexander, but wouldn’t you know that they find themselves captured by Darius’ forces and accused of spying for Alexander. The penalty is execution, but Corky had decided to follow Rip and Bonnie and when he discovers what is happening he double-times it back to the sphere and Jeff pilots it to their location, using the “magic” of the flying sphere to spook the troops.

Soon, Alexander himself appears and agrees to allow Rip to look at the tablet that is in his tent. Just then, however, a scout arrives with the bad news that the Persian forces under Darius have them badly outmanned. Alexander calls for retreat, but Rip objects, saying he knows that his army will win. He suggests using the Time Sphere to even the odds, but Jeff discovers a malfunction that won’t allow the sphere to fly.

Using a last ditch effort, Rip collects a scarf from Bonnie, some twine and gasoline and borrows the chariot of Alexander to charge into the Persian army, led by elephants. Using the gasoline-soaked scarf on the end of the twine, Rip successfully frightens the elephants into retreat, allowing the army of Alexander to triumph.

Alexander leads them back to his tent so they can look at the tablet, but they are foiled when they discover the missing line merely states they can find Atlantis using the map below, which, of course, isn’t there, ending Part I. Part II, “The Forbidden Island,” find our frustrated time travelers pondering things. Rip says according to archaeologists, the tablet was carved some 900 years before Alexander’s time. Alexander says that it originated on the island of Aeaea. Armed with this information, the intrepid time travelers head further into the past.

Arriving at the proper place and time, they get directions from a local to the mysterious island. Leaving Corky and Bonnie with the ship, Jeff and Rip go to explore, but fall into a trap in the earth. The quick-witted Rip uses his pistol to dislodge a boulder toward the top of the pit which opens up a heavy stream of water, which the duo float on to the surface.

Once they emerge, they meet up with Circe, the sorceress, who threatens to turn them into Centaurs like the two by her. Just then the time sphere arrives, despite Rip’s instructions for them to simply circle the area. Bonnie and Corky emerge and Corky promptly reveals that the Centaurs are merely disguised. Circe explains that she was merely trying to scare them off. Apparently her island is coveted by the nearby isle of Crete. Soon, the Cretans (Ha!) are on their way, but Rip and company find a way to scare them off by using the time sphere and an acetylene torch to bring life to one of Circe’s phony dragons.

Let's pause to check out these exciting house ads!

Now it’s time to find the tablet, which is actually carved into a stone. The time travelers now have a location and a year, so it’s back to the vessel for another trip, ending Part II. Part III is titled, “The Doomed Continent” and our intrepid explorers are arriving in 14,000 B.C. When they land on Atlantis they are surprised to find a futuristic city, including a device that looks like a massive satellite dish that is converting sunlight into power for the city. Early solar panel predictions!

In a twinkling, however, they find themselves fired upon after exiting the time sphere. Just when things look blackest, a force field is placed around their craft and someone appears to give them aid.

Soon Rip and company meet the very alien appearing R’del, chief scientist from the planet Jexjera. He and his people left their world before it was destroyed by their unstable sun. The population of the planet broke into various groups to find a place to shelter until a new planet could be discovered and inhabited, but this colonial leader, D’zar, is on a power trip and doesn’t want to leave the island of Atlantis where they’ve taken up residence. Rip explains the future fate of the continent and R’del checks his own instruments and discovers they’re in for the sinking experience even sooner than Rip estimated. He petitions D’zar, but the leader doesn’t believe the scientist.

Rip decides to intervene and draws his pistol and uses it to shoot down a massive globe, blocking D’zars goons and allowing R’del and Jeff to alert the other citizens. Soon, the quakes begin and D’zar sees the light. With all due speed the inhabitants board their vessels to head to new Jexjera. Meanwhile, R’del releases the time sphere from the force field and our time travelers make their own escape, marveling that they are witnessing the sinking of Atlantis. And that wraps up our tale. [This text page discusses Atlantis and other fabled lands; also included is a page of science facts.]

Mike Sekowsky, or “The Speed Merchant” as Joe Giella has described him to me, was a very, very fast man with a pencil and while I appreciate all he did in the early days of his assignment on the Justice League of America, for one, his style always seemed a bit primitive and less polished to me. Serviceable, to be sure, but not my favorite.

Rip Hunter had some pretty interesting adventures back in the day, but similarly, his stories will probably never be favorites either, so with no prejudice I give this one a 5 on the 10-point scale. Not a bad story at all, but nothing I’d necessarily recommend.

Do come back on the 15th when we’ll tackle another classic tale. Don’t forget the option to make your voice heard. Just dash off a few lines to: professor_the@hotmail.com.

Until next time…

Long live the Silver Age!

© 2000-2017 by B.D.S.

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