Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas All Week 2015! "No Man Escapes the Manhunter!" by Englehart, Dillin, and McLaughlin

Merry Christmas from Groove City, baby! Today's powerhouse post doesn't have a Yuletide theme, but its subject did hit the spinner racks on December 9, 1976, so it definitely ranks as a terrific Christmas treat! Justice League of America #140 is a very, very important comic for many reasons. It was Steve Englehart's first JLA script (the shorter tale that appeared in JLA #139 a month earlier was actually written after the Stainless One wrote #140), it was the first full-length, 34 page double-sized issue (again, the Stainless One's idea, done in order to give him room enough to "give the characters personalities - like The Avengers [which Steve had written for Marvel for nearly four years prior to his JLA debut] - after decades of being simply 'costumes.' "-quoted from Steve's own website), it brought Jack Kirby's newest version of the Manhunter (1st Issue Special #5) legitimately into DC continuity, and it (along with the conclusion in JLA #141) was later adapted for a two-part episode of the animated JLA TV-series. Whew! And what's really weird is that, compared to Steve's legendary run on Detective Comics featuring Batman, this nifty JLA run is all but forgotten! These issues have NEVER BEEN REPRINTED here in the U.S.! Is that nutso or what?  Well, Ol' Groove hasn't forgotten 'em (and, I'd bet, neither have you Groove-ophiles who were there when they happened)! Here are Steve Englehart, Dick Dillin, and Frank McLaughlin with..."No Man Escapes the Manhunter!" Ho, ho, ho!
Cover art by Rich Buckler and Frank McLaughlin

Oh, and if that isn't enough Christmas to hold you for today, head on over to Steve Englehart's website for his annual "Rustle's Christmas Adventure", illustrated by his Green Lantern Corps compadre (and E-Man co-creator and Dick Tracy illustrator) Joe Staton! 


  1. What a great run that was. It just didn't last long enough.....just like his stint with Detective Comics. Glad I was able to be on board for both of them.

  2. This period of the Justice League is not forgotten by me. It's among my all-time favorite eras of the team, as Englehart succeeded in freshening the team with vivid stories. After the tremendous Wein stories the material had been quite good but plot driven to the max and it was good to see some character development make its way back into the ranks. The Manhunters are a great device and Englehart, true to form doesn't make this a one-off. Dick Dillin as always was the master and with Frank McLaughlin rarely looked sharper.

    Thanks for the reminder about Rustle.

    Rip Off

  3. Great commentary, Groove! You covered EVERYTHING there is to know about this great, unheralded Englehart run, which, by all rights, should have been collected numerous times, long ago. I mean, DC thinks it wise to give us 2 volumes of Secret Society of super-Villains before they give us a collect of Englehart's brilliant JLA run? Nothing against SSOV, but come on! Maybe one day, in my lifetime, there will be a really nice, solid, complete book collecting the best JLA run ever: #s 139 (second half) through 146 and the 149 and 150.

  4. Thanks for posting this, Groove.
    You're so right about how unbelievable it is that these JLA stories have never been reprinted, not even in a black & white Showcase volume as far as I know. The only JLA stuff from this period I can think of that has been reprinted are the JSA crossovers in those "Crisis on Multiple Earths" volumes. The haphazard nature of DC's reprints of its material from the 1970s (and even 1980s) is virtually criminal.

  5. No Christmas comics this year?

  6. There were very few comics I bought just for the writer, but a lot of them were written by Steve Englehart. These stories are just as satisfying as those Detective Comics issues, and more innovative in many ways. He actually rewrote DC history without changing anything that had come before.



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