skjam: Man in blue suit and fedora, wearing an eyeless mask emblazoned with the scales of justice (Default)
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Do you miss Eclipse Comics? I certainly do. Let's lookl at the first issue of Eclipse Monthly, their first color anthology comic.



Three pages each of four ten-page stories, and two pages of a six-page story. WARNING: "Dope" is an adaptation of an early Sax Rohmer story, and has period racism.



We open with "Cap'n Quick and a Foozle" by Marshall Rogers. The Foozle's name is Klonsbon. The story begins with a young boy in his father's basement workshop, working on something so important that he passes up a trip to the mall arcade. He's tired of wasting all his quarters playing video games, he wants to actually get insde them, ala Tron (which had come out the year before.) And he's inventing a pair of shoes to allow him to do that.

A ghostly figure, its identity obscured by a hooded cloak and gauntlets, enters the basement through the wall. It's invisible to the boy, but not unable to affect him. When it touches the boy, he hiccups and solders seemingly random points on his experiment. Soon, he's ready to test his invention.



Much to the boy's surprise, the room suddenly fills with color and he's tumbling through...something. The boy lands on a bunch of people and knocks them over. His wrist is grabbed by a fat, bearded man in a red suit who claims the boy saved his life, and runs off with him. The fat man is accompanied by a black bird-thing with a blue beak (the Foozle.) The Foozle advises the man to activate the propulsion units in his boots as they leave Goldberger'sBar & Grill.



After a bunch more running, the boy is finally able to catch the man's attention and inform him that a restroom break is in order. The boy's a bit shy, so insists on using a booth. The man and Foozle squabble over who's responsible for their current plight.



The Foozle explains that the man is "Big Bill" and is known for his luck. The pursuers are nowhere in sight, so the Foozle and boy head back to the bar. It seems deserted, but in fact there are a couple of people lying in wait. They mug the Foozle and take the boy. Cliffhanger!

Off to "The Masked Man" courtesy of B.C. Boyer. We open in what looks like the 1930s, under the El. Reporter Barney McAllister provides the narration, mentioning that he's the friend of the Masked Man, a well-regarded vigilante. But he comes into the story a little later. Right now, a boy named Delbert is trying to join in a game of baseball. Delbert's kind of a loser, and the other kids don't want to play with him. Delbert then informs them that he recently helped the Masked Man thwart a bank robbery.

The other kids mock this assertion, but agree to listen to his story. Delbert's widowed mother took him to the bank to cash her paycheck when some robbers burst in. He claims that his first thought was to protect his mother.




The purple-masked robber asks his buddy Fred to take care of the matter, pointing out that he'd murdered Fred's "old lady" last week so Fred owes him one. Fred refuses on account of he's wearing new shoes and knows little boys...miss...every so often. While they're in deep discussion, the Masked Man frees himself and the hostages. Said hostages then join him in clobbering the robbers. Delbert's mother was nicked by a stray bullet, so the Masked Man pickes her up. Delbert noticed she was smiling kind of funny when that happened. He then led the way to the exit and medical attention.

The other boys don't believe a word of this wild tale. Suddenly, the Masked Man appears, and greets Delbert familiarly. Seems the boy left something behind.



Now a real treat, Doug Wildey with "Rio: The Hide Butchers." We're not too far from the Rockies, and a small herd of buffalo (bison) graze near a railway, ignoring the rotting corpses of their brethern. A lone rder passes by in the snow, a tall Westerner.

A half hour later, the rider approaches a prairie dwelling, and is greeted with a rifle. Behind the rifle is King Taggert, a former gunslinger. He addresses the rider as "Rio." King's changed a lot since the last time they met, missing an arm, an eye and most of the mobility in one leg. He's permanently retired from the gunfighting game.




The Prairie Flyer train stops at a water tank, already late, so the engineer and fireman are preoccupied as they alight. Rio is able to surprise them and force them to stand away from the train as he boards it.

Turns out this is a private train carrying Mr. Dorsey, the president of the railroad. Mr. Dorsey is unimpressed by Rio's credentials, remembering him from his outlaw days. He's equally dismissive of the concern over overhunting of buffalo, seemingly deluded that there's an infinite supply. Dorsey's bodyguard takes exception to Rio's tone of voice.



Mr. Dorsey points out that those buffalo would be unavailable to Native Americans in any case, as they're not allowed within half a mile of the tracks on penalty of cavalry attack. Rio hints that the Army isn't going to be quite as obliging in the future. The discussion at an end, Rio leaves. The bodyguard, now named as Brazos, expresses a with to kill Rio, but Mr. Dorsey wants to visit Endsville first.

Next up is the Trina Robbins adaptation of Sax Rohmer's "Dope." The first seven chapters had appeared in the black-and-white Eclipse Magazine. Again, I warn about the period racism.



Inspector Kerry searches the house, but finds no trace of women, opium or secret door. He searches the neighborhood while Constable Bryce watches Sin Sin Wa. Naturally, the wily Sin easily elips past the policeman and to the Sam Tuk barbershop. In the basement, he meets his wife, and the missing girl. The plan is to dump the girl in the river (with no signs of violence) and the not so happy couple to embark to China.

Meanwhile, Inspector Kerry notices he's being followed and ambushes his pursuer. Oops, turns out it's Seton Pasha, agent of the Home Office.



And finally, "Static" by Steve Ditko. We open in the Quest Research Lab, where Ed Serch and his assistant Mac Rey are about to test a new experimental space environmental suit. It's supposed to be resistant to extreme teperature variations, while being so lightweight and flexible that it doesn't restrict movement.

While Mac is being sealed in the testing chamber, two thugs, Abe and Lou, enter the lab. They knock Serch out, then overload the heat and cold generating units in the testing chamber. The units soon explode, dousing the suit in chemicals and electrical shocks. The thugs abscond with a device.

Serch's daughter Fera arrives in the lab just as he revives. They shut down the chamber, but now Mac's suit is glowing eerily .



Mac jumps to the conclusion that Ems is behind the theft. Serch points out that correllation does not prove causation. Fera wants to call the police, but Mac mocks this notion; the cops wouldn't believe that a crime had even taken place. He wants to investigate personally.

Macx realizes that the shipment of special rods will be the next target and comes up with a plan to see if theft will occur.. Fera fails to realize she's in a superhero story, but eventually agrees to drive Mac to intercept the delivery truck. Sure enough, the truck is being robbed even as they pass it, but Fera won't turn or slow down, so Mac jumps out. The delivery truck is rulling away, but Mac discovers he has magnetic grappling line abilities.



Mac easily deals with Abe and Lou, but then is attacked by Dr. Rale, who has donned "power arms" that he stole from another inventor. Mac is momentarily taken off guard by it not being Ems after all.



Amping his energy field with the electricity from the socket allows Mac to overcome Rale, who dies from the shock. As the police arrive, Mac hightails it out the back with the Enego. He meets up with Fera, who insists the police could have handled this whole affair just fine if she'd been allowed to contact them the first time. She wants Mac to promise he'll never again use the suit for a foolish adventure. Mac doesn't answer.

Incidentally, we never see Mac's face during this story.



Your thoughts and comments?
SKJAM!
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