Thursday, May 10, 2018

Superman and Mandrake the Magician



Given Superman's vulnerability to magic, I am surprised that he wasn't paired up with DC's mystical characters more often.  He didn't have much interaction with Doctor Fate or The Spectre, despite their Justice Society of America connection.  Zatara was also introduced in Action Comics #1, and yet I don't recall if they ever shared an adventure together... which would have been cool to see.

21 comments:

AirDave said...

Cool cover.
My impression is that outside of a "team"; Marvel was the one to really develop the idea of partners or crossovers. Not sure if that was Stan's marketing idea = sell more books by having characters appear in other books. I could be wrong, but DC never really did that until The Brave and the Bold and DC Comics Presents...But what do I know, I'm just an observer...

Simreeve said...

Basically, you're right... although there was one fairly early story in which Batman & Robin -- driving in pursuit of the Joker -- briefly encountered the Star-Spangled Kid & Stripesy in pursuit of one of their villains.

Oh, and over at Quality there was a two-part crossover between Phantom Lady and the Spider-Widow (who happened to share the same writer...).

Cary Comic said...

Interesting! I've never heard of the Cycloids before (except for the robotic ones on SPACE GHOST: TOS).

Makes me wonder if they learned their sufficiently advanced wizardry from Yandroth?

Ross said...

Well, I just made up the name Cycloids - it seemed like it fit!

Anonymous said...

Indeed, it does. Thanks1 :-)

Snapper Carr said...

Where's Lothar?

Jay Johnson said...

Simreeve et al: During most of the Golden Age each creator basically had his own studio and the publishing companies just bought and packaged the strips -- there was no "editorial direction" as such, just which type of stories to put in which book. In the early Silver Age each editor's shop was effectively its own little company and whatever cross-over / team-ups there were happened within the shop. I still remember a two-part backup (in Adventure, IIRC) where Aquaman and Green Arrow traded villains because it was so unusual for those backup strips. Then Stan started the Marvel Age where his "shop" was the whole friggin company, and the rest is history...

Wolfhammer said...

Nice one Ross! How about The AVENGER (The gray skinned vigilante of Justice Inc. fame) meets The AVENGERS. Maybe there is some sort of bounty on one or more of the members.

TJW said...

While I agree with Jay Johnson and his excellent explanation, as a DC guy I would like to point out that Superman and Batman were regularly teaming up together in World's Finest Comics years before Marvel comics were even called Marvel comics.

However, AirDave is right that it was Stan Lee at Marvel that first realized the potential of a fully realized shared universe. And I'm glad that he did.

On a whole other note, these aliens remind me of the aliens that invaded Earth in the mini comic that they gave away with the old Captain Action action figures. Does anyone else remember that comic?

Anonymous said...

@Snapper Carr: Ross was probably afraid everyone would confuse him with Luthor.

"Ah, you seen one bald baddie, you've seen them all!"

Cary Comic said...

@Anonymous: baldness does not automatically make one a super-villain.

In fact, here are some little known slogans once used by the Hairless Clubs of America.

1960's: "Bald is beautiful."
1970's: "Baldness! The love-child of Mother Nature and Father Time."
1980's: "Just say 'no' to rugs!"
Present-day: "Once hair you lack, you never grow back."

mindful webworker said...

Given Superman's vulnerability to magic, I am surprised that he wasn't paired up with DC's mystical characters more often.

That was exactly my thought when I saw the title for this one! Not only a clever pairing on that score, but excellent choice of classic styles to blend.

Bob Greenwade said...

Interestingly, this is a cover that would have worked great with Zatara in Mandrake's place -- and I think that those two magicians would be great on a cover together. But you're right; I think a team-up between Superman and Doctor Fate would have been (and probably still would be) epic.

Re: baldness... It took until Patrick Stewart appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation before people started to recognize that bald men are sexier and more verile. I think they've forgotten it now, though.

Bob Buethe said...

@Wolfhammer: Or how about the Avenger meets the Avengers and the Avengers (John Steed and Emma Peel)? Maybe the Crimson Avenger and Birdman's pet falcon could join the party.

Wait... the Crimson's partner was named Wing, right? What if the Crimson Avenger and Wing crossed over with Birdman and Avenger? It all fits together. ;)

Cary Comic said...

How about Spidey and Supergirl up against...The Scarlet Spinner?*


*A Kryptonian arachnid once simulated by Velvet "The Evil Insect Queen" O'Mara.


Cary Comic said...

P.S. @ BG: Superman and Dr. Fate already teamed up, in "Peril of the Planet-Smashers" (WF v.1/#208).

Bob Greenwade said...

Cary: Thanks for the tip. I'll look for that, and hopefully it's not too "early Silver Age" in its outlandishness. I probably should have said "frequent team-ups."

Related subject - I wish more could be done with Doctor Fate in live action in any event. Brent Stait's portrayal on a single episode of Smallville showed that many of the elements of the character that caused concern for the producers at the time actually worked in the character's favor (and it helped a lot that Brent was masterful at marking the difference between Kent Nelson and Nabu).

Other Bob: I've already suggested a team made up of Captain Avenger, the Crimson Avenger, the Toxic Avenger, et al. I don't know if anything will ever come of it, though.

Anonymous said...

Ross, I remember a story in the 1980s when Zatara shared an adventure with Superman when he was still Superbaby, and ended up predicting a big future for the small child. But I don't remember seeing any follow-up.

Thomas said...

Ah, the Earth-2 Superman! Or, simply, Superman. =) Always love seeing him in any rendition, but what of the reasons I loved the All-Star Squadron so much was seeing him in action in his prime, rendered by modern artists. Cheers Ross.

Anonymous said...

Remembering too the long running search for Zatara starring Zatanna and the JLA.

Ross, what chances of the Warlock of Ys vs. The Wizards of Oz and Id?

Jay Johnson said...

To TJW's point, during the early Silver Age Batman (and Robin to a lesser extent) were more or less members of the "Superman Family". They could and would pop up in any of the Family books, including Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, et. al. Superman got top billing in World's Finest and IIRC most of those stories felt like Superman stories rather than Batman stories. At this point Batman was down to just his own book, half of Detective, plus World's Finest and occasional appearances in Justice League. Of course, then came the 'New Look' and a TV show and Bats was back on top and the Superman Family books became old-fashioned and got cancelled.

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