Friday, January 11, 2013


Why We Love Detective Comics

#500: Edgar Allan Poe

I just got this a week ago, the 500th issue of Detective Comics, cover-dated March 1981.

Everybody is in this! Not just Batman and Robin, but also The Phantom Stranger, The Elongated Man (and Sue!), Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Deadman, Slam Bradley, Roy Raymond, TV Detective, Pow-Wow Smith, Jason Bard, Captain Compass, The Human Target and Mysto the Magician Detective. (I did not make any of those up! I didn't have to!)

Not to mention the writers and artists! Aparo, Giordano, Infantino, Kubert, Levitz, Garcia Lopez, Simonson and Wein are among the names of the creative talent that contributed to this book.

Not to mention Walter Gibson. Hell, yeah! Walter Goddamn Gibson, the creator of The Shadow, wrote a text story for this comic book!

I haven't read the Walter Gibson story yet. That's the thing. There is just too much going on in this book. It makes my head spin. I think I mentioned in an earlier post how AWESOME anniversary issues are. And this one may be the MOST AWESOME ANNIVERSARY ISSUE EVER! (I don't know for sure yet because I haven't read it all.)

So we'll be taking this one slowly, one story at a time.

First up, well, I left out one of the guest stars when I listed them above. I left out Edgar Allan Poe. In the Elongated Man story, Ralph - through an unbelievable set of circumstances - solves the mystery of the death of Edgar Allan Poe! (Well, it says he does. I can't figure it out. Maybe there's a page missing? It must be the page where Sue says or does something really stupid or just plain freaky. You could barely tell that Ralph and Sue are a couple of freaks from this story.)

It's called "The Final Mystery of Edgar Allan Poe," written by Mike W. Barr, with art by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez. Ralph and Sue are lost, trying to find a restaurant in Greenwich Village when suddenly they are attacked by a raven. They follow the raven to the home of a Poe afficianado named Pohe, who is unconscious on the floor, muttering, "Reynolds, Reynolds," the same as the last words of Edgar Allan Poe! So then they muddle around for a few pages and they find the plates for the first issue of the magazine that Poe was trying to publish when he died and the culprit turns out to be the most obvious suspect and - supposedly - they solve the mystery of the death of Edgar Allan Poe. (I guess I need to concentrate on this story a little bit.) The culprit is pointing a gun at Ralph and he grabs her surreptitiously with his stretchy toes while she's not looking.


she says. Wouldn't you?

Mr. Pohe recovers, but we never do find out if Ralph and Sue ever found the restaurant. (They never even say what kind of restaurant it is. In Greenwich Village, it could be anything! My money's on Tibetan cuisine.)

Next time: Slam Bradley, Pow-Wow Smith, Mysto, The Human Target, Jason Bard, Captain Compass and Roy Raymond put their heads together to solve a murder in a story called - what else? - "The 'Too Many Cooks ...' Caper."


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