TreasuryCast #54 – The Best of DC

TREASURYCAST #54 – THE BEST OF DC

To kick off 2021, Rob welcomes pal Paul Kien to discuss the awesomeness that is LIMITED COLLECTORS’ EDITION #C52 – THE BEST OF DC, featuring stories by Neal Adams, Jim Aparo, Joe Kubert, Alex Toth, and more!

Check out images from this comic by clicking here!

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23 responses to “TreasuryCast #54 – The Best of DC

  1. This was the first Treasury comic I ever got (which was only five or six years ago now). Strange, I would’ve sworn in court that you had already covered this issue, Rob, but I guess was confused by my own memory of our discussion of “The Demon Within” on the premiere episode of MIDNIGHT…THE PODCASTING HOUR. Still an all-time great story.

    Chris and I had planned to cover “Night of the Reaper” on KNIGHTCAST this past October, but the schedule didn’t work so hopefully we’ll get to it later this year.

    That Toth story… Wow.

    Point of clarification/correction on THE TICK: On the second episode, Chairface Chippendale begins to carve his name on the moon using a super laser canon, but his scheme is thwarted mid-stream by The Tick, Arthur, and American Maid. So throughout the first season, every shot of the moon shows the letters C and H and part of A. In the second season opener, The Tick is sent to the moon by NASA to plant explosives in the cratered letters to fix the blemish, but tick only succeeds in destroying the C before he’s pulled into an adventure with a Galactus riff called Omnipotous. At the end of the episode, Omnipotous is convinced not to devour the Earth, but he’s still feeling a bit puckish on his way out of the solar system, so he takes a bite out of the moon. Thereafter, every shot of the moon shows the letters H and A (like “HA”) and a massive bite mark chomping out a fifth of the moon’s surface.

    Great episode, as always! Paul is a wonderful guest.

  2. I’m with Ryan, it’s great to hear Paul again. I don’t have this issue, but was looking forward to pointing out the similarity between the Flash story title and the Challs logo. Darn that Paul!

    I’m a terrible grump, I got thoroughly sick of Tom Fagan and Rutland, it seemed like comic creators were just making comics for their pals. Night of the Reaper is fun, though, dig those fashions!

    That Superman story is terrific, a total classic. The other entries this issue sound good too, I’ve only read the demon kid one. I must seek out that Toth war story.

    So what would I have put in volume 2? I’d like a JLA story but my faves are two and three-parters, such as the debut of Felix Faust. How about what must have been one of DC’s first Relevance tales Man, Thy Name is Brother from JLA #57 by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Sid Greene.

    Maybe a good imaginary story, like Lois Lane’s Outlaw Son from Lois Lane #46 by Jerry Siegel and Kurt Schaffenberger.

    A good, undervalued villain, the Shark scared me to death when he debuted in The Shark Who Hunted Human Prey from Green Lantern #24 by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella.

    A Name is Born from Superman #238 by Cary Bates and Gray Morrow is a Fabulous World of Krypton tales that comes with a lesson – Best of DC Joe Orlando seemed to like them so it’s in with a shot!

    Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath’s Nobody Cares from Our Army at War #237 is a typically gorgeous, though-provoking four-star battle tale that would look extra-stunning at tabloid size.

    The first mystery story that ever spooked me was Three-Day Home Trial by Sergio Arigones and Nick Cardy from The Witching Hour #8, and it’s still freaky.

    We need some Supergirl. Have The Face at the Window, by Mike Sekowsky and Henry Scarpelli, another spooky tale, from Adventure Comics #408.

    I think I’ve nearly hit my page count. If there are pages left, fill with any Sugar & Spike strip by Sheldon Mayer that fits. They’re all DC’s Best.

    1. Love your suggestions, Martin. I also would be partial to the Supergirl reveal story. Better overall than her debut, and the cover where they are flying through a ticker tape parade is proudly displayed in my comic room!

      1. Sorry Martin – the Supergirl reveal story was Anj’s suggestion below, put my response in the wrong spot, But that Adventure story is a good one too! Been a while since I read those, I am going to have to do so!

        1. No problem, Paul. The Supergirl reveal is revisited in a fascinating way in the just-out second issue of The Other History of the DC Universe. It’s worth a read, but if you don’t get to it, keep an eye on Anj’s blog, Supergirl Comic Box Commentary.

          1. Thanks, Martin. You just inspired me to look up The Other History of the DC Universe and read a John Ridley interview on it. I plan to post again when I own it.

          2. Just picked up issues 1 and 2 at my LCS. Haven’t read them yet, but I’m loving the near-treasury size!

  3. Excellent show and excellent stories.
    I had read the Superman and Batman one. I have seen the HoMystery one.
    But that Toth one sounds incredible and the one page shared is amazing.

    As for the Superman story, it is bonkers. As a Supergirl fan, I love how proactive Kara is in the story. And be assured, Virus X comes back in a multipart story in the early 70s (just google image to see the leperous Superman on multiple covers). It has, perhaps, one of the more preposterous endings ever.

    As for another edition, Superman #247 is the famous Maggin story ‘Must there be a Superman’, reprinted a billion places including the Superman From 30s to 70s hardcover.

    For me, given the time the second one I would recommend-

    Action Comics #285 – the reveal of Supergirl to the public. Iconic cover/splash. As nutty as the included Superman one here. Historic.

    First Issue Special #9 – that Dr. Fate story needs Treasury format coverage.

    But I’d also include some of the other corners – maybe Stalker #1? Or Weird Worlds #8 (Ironwolf’s first appearance?)

    1. Anj – See above for Action 285 – agree! and I love the idea of Stalker but I would probably go with Rima 1 or Starfire 1 to add a little female appeal!

  4. Grant Morrison also definitely read that Superman story; it’s at least half of the DNA of All-Star Superman. (I thought that the ‘would be twelve issues’ comment was headed toward that discussion…)

  5. I had a lot of Treasury comics but this one was far and away my favorite. Although as a kid, the overall tone of the book seemed pretty spooky. The Batman story has a Reaper on Halloween, the Flash story has a ghost, then there’s a House of Mystery story, a story featuring the crucifixtion and then Superman dies. Firehair was the only story that didn’t scare or disturb 8 year old me.

  6. I don’t know how many lawyers it would take, but I’m thinking a great Treasury would be a collection of all of the Rutland, Vermont stories. It might not work for the Martin Gray market (hi, Martin! 😉 ) but I’d buy it, especially if there was a nice text piece by any of the surviving creators explaining the situation. By the way, Nicholas Prom did a great pod cast series on the Rutland phenom on his Comic Reflections show.

    I also was interested that Capatin Marvel (Shazam! for the kids) was so prominent on the float, in this 1971 comic. The Shazam! revival didn’t appear until very late in 1972, and I never saw the character until the house ad for Shazam! #1 in November ’72. How many saw this and had no clue what he was, and did DC have the ink dry on the lease agreement with Fawcett? Pushing the envelope as always, Denny and Neal!

  7. Another fun episode! I remember reading this collection when I was a kid, mainly because so many of the stories were so scary (though I admit a lot of it went over my young head, such as the significance of the Star of David necklace in “Night of the Reaper”)…but I didn’t remember that it was a Treasury edition! I guess at that age, to me, a comic was a comic and the size didn’t make any difference to me.

    Choices for a “Best of DC” #2? Here are some of my ideas:

    “Night of the Stalker” from Detective Comics #439.

    New Gods #6, “The Glory Boat.”

    Another vote for “Must There Be a Superman” from Superman #247.

    Sword of Sorcery #3 (to get a bit of genre variety). I enjoyed all of the issues of this series, so it was hard to pick a favorite, but I think I’d go with this one.

    I remember a disturbing story from either House of Mystery or House of Secrets that ended with a group of kids suddenly growing to old age; I think the title was “The House of Long Years” or “The House of Long Hours,” but I can’t recall for sure and I don’t remember which issue it was…but those final panels have certainly stayed with me!

    On another note, I’d like to suggest a book for a future TreasuryCast…Scott McCloud’s “DESTROY!!” from Eclipse Comics…one of the very few books of the 1980s to be published at treasury size (possibly the only treasury of the ’80s?).

    1. And to answer my own question, I checked and saw that Marvel and DC were still publishing treasuries into the early 1980s, though they had both stopped a few years before Eclipse published DESTROY!!

  8. Definitely a great book to open the new year, and it was nice to hear Paul again.
    This one does sound, and look, like a real winner. Otherwise, before listening to the show, I glanced over your gallery page and I realized that I have one of the stories in this book, “The Demon Within,” in my copy of Special Blue Ribbon Digest #24. So I re-read it – and quickly remembered that it is definitely the most chilling story in that digest. And yes, maybe an odd choice for this treasury book, but I can’t deny that it’s a top-notch story.

    As for my own suggestions for stories to include in a volume 2, I don’t think I can come up with a complete list, but I think some good entries would be one of the Fleischer/Aparo Spectre stories from Adventure Comics and maybe the Captain Fear back-up stories from Unknown Soldier (just because I think Walt Simonson’s art would look awesome in treasury format),

  9. Great discussion fellas! I’ve always wanted this comic. I remember seeing it in house ads in some of my earliest comics my Mom bought for me.

    As Ryan pointed out , we were going to cover “Night of the Reaper”, and I can’t wait to get to it. Just a fun little note: Dick’s friends are modeled after Bernie Wrightson (with glasses), Gerry Conway and Alan Weiss. I believe Cain was modeled after Len Wein, so that may be him at the party. And that’s definitely Denny in the shades with the hat.

    I have heard of “Dirty Job” but I haven’t had a chance to read it. I desperately want to now.

    I have also heard of the “Virus X” story for decades, and the splash page haunted me from the house ad for this treasury, but I have never had a chance to read it until i got the 2004 version of Superman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told. It lived up to the hype. It definitely felt like an imaginary story that swerved into continuity at the very end. Hamilton is vastly underrated. As is Curt Swan, but I’m glad to hear Rob come around a bit in this episode.

    What would I put in Volume 2? GL/GA’s first O’Neil/Adams story is a no brainer, as was mentioned in the projected sequel. The first Swamp Thing story from House of Secrets would be a good one. I don’t know if they would want to go this far back, but “The Origin of Batman” from Batman #47 is a stone-cold classic, and a great coda to Batman’s beginnings. Also “Ghost of the Killer Skies” by O’Neil/Adams/Giordano from Detective #404 is definitely deserving, and pre-1973. “Flash of Two-Worlds” or the first Crisis crossover with the JLA/JSA would be great, as would the lone JSA story from All-Star #36 where Superman and Batman guest-star.

    Again, great episode ! Paul has a future in podcasting! Go make one!

    Chris

    1. Some great choices for a second volume… I was trying to come up with ones that hadn’t been reprinted over and over again, but I suppose if we’re after the Best, of course these should be there. And back in the Seventies, the likes of GL/GA hadn’t been seen much!

  10. Rob & Paul, this episode was worthy of the material, and that says a lot.

    “Night of the Reaper” – I was convinced the network had covered this story somewhere, but now I’m starting to realize I read the actual comic! Or at least, the digital version on DC Universe. Great message about vengeance versus justice, and amazing art! Adams really showed off his range with people of all ages, shapes, and sizes in all manner of dress. I look forward to hearing it covered again on Knightcast. While I’m on Adams’ art, the covers are excellent, too, and as you pointed out, the back cover is especially powerful.

    “The Demon Within” – Wow. I can’t say I “enjoyed” hearing about this story, but it’s certainly an effective allegory about the pressure to conform and the evil we will do to gain the approval of others. The splash page art you show us on the gallery is stunning – Aparo at his best. He was a master, of course, but the colorist and the inker (presumably also Aparo?) were on their game here, as well. I’ve probably said it before, but it was Aparo who made me realize how important the artist was to my enjoyment of a comic story, because one day I realized that regardless of writer, I’d never read a story Jim Aparo drew that I didn’t like. This treasury of stories by all-star artists (labeled “The Best of DC”) makes the same point.

    “The Doorway to the Unknown” – All I can say with this limited exposure is that I love the ending. Barry Allen, an investigator and a man of science, is confronted with a mystery he can’t explain and can only accept. It’s a testament to the character and the broadminded way his creators portrayed him that I can imagine him doing so.

    “Dirty Job” – Oh, stop your cringing. You knew this was coming. You can’t put bait like this in front of the most vocal Christian on the network and not expect me to bite! Seriously, what an amazing story. Now I have to buy this treasury comic. (You really need to be selling these on eBay, Rob. A great salesman creates the demand!) Toth’s art is gorgeous, and it says something that after discussing Adams and Aparo, praise for Toth is the statement that feels so obvious it should be unnecessary to say. Before anyone gets angry, I mean this as a compliment: The rendering reminds me of Miller’s art in 300, and the layout reminds me of Eisner’s in The Spirit.

    Rob and Paul, I agree with you on how well Toth and Haney threaded the needle on this one. As in Life of Brian (a weird comparison, I know), the creators use Jesus as a trigger for their story. They never contradict the Gospels and yet never endorse them, creating a side tale that could have happened – a first century issue of Marvels with Antonius in the role of Phil Sheldon.

    You probably already know that centurions commanded a hundred Roman soldiers (hence the name), so these three in the tavern are the ancient equivalent of company commanders – captains in our system, on a stabilization assignment. There are obviously important differences, and I’m certainly not claiming moral equivalency, but the analog is not without merit.

    I especially appreciate that in the story, it’s the miracle of Christ’s character that affects Antonius, not healing the sick, calming the storm, or raising the dead. I believe all those things happened, and I believe miracles still occur, but it’s the way Christ works in people’s hearts that I find most striking.
    For anyone who wants to know why Christians believe the unjust, torturous execution of a righteous man was an essential element of God’s plan to save us, write me at captainentropy@hotmail.com or click these links:
    https://www.gotquestions.org/why-Jesus-die.html

    https://www.gotquestions.org/Jesus-saves.html

    (and from a source you may consider less biased) https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/beliefs/whydidjesusdie_1.shtml#:~:text=But%20why%20did%20Jesus%20die%3F&text=For%20them%20the%20death%20of,relationship%20with%20God%20is%20restored

    “The Stallion” – More masterpiece level art (yawn) by the Yoda of this Jedi Council of artists. It’s amazing how an abundance of riches can make you take things for granted. I would hold up this story as an example of how comics can be used to tell thoughtful, engaging stories with no need for garish villains or slugfests.

    “The Last Days of Superman” – No garish villains or slugfests in this one, either, but it’s still at the other end of the comic spectrum. And it’s awesome! After years of decompression, I like a story that makes Rob worn out from writing and reading the synopsis. I also appreciate that in 1962, the two most important things to Superman are his service to others and the people he knows and loves, proving that even then, the “man” was more important than the “super.” Curt Swan’s art is stylistically very different, but just as accomplished – even classically elegant.

    Well, I’m out of words and out of stories to comment on, and it’s time to go pay attention to the people I know and love. See you next time!

  11. Rob, thanks for another entertaining program. I don’t have this treasury but I do have most of the stories in other forms. It is indeed a great and varied collection of DC material. One question, Rob; what is it about Curt Swan’s pencils that you don’t care for? Mr. Swan’s realistic art style makes him one of my favourites. As a youngster in the 60s I was always disappointed when the interior pages of a Superman issue were done by Al Plastino or Wayne Boring after drooling over the beautiful Swan cover. Thanks and keep up the great work.

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