Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Masters of Adventure Week! Tuesday Two-fer: A Groovy Guest Post by Michael Mead: "Circle of Doom! Parts 1 and 2" by O'Neil and Toth

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! Today is extra-special as we present a Groovy Guest-Post by one of our very own denizens of Groove City, Michael Mead! Michael posted of his great admiration for the Denny O'Neil/Alex Toth Black Canary two-parter in Adventure Comics issues 418-419 over on our far-out Facebook page, and it was soooo good Ol' Groove just had to share it with all of Groove-dom assembled! Way to go, Michael! Take a bow!! And take it awayyyyy...

I really like Alex Toth, particularly this two part Black Canary story in Adventure # 418 and # 419 (February and March 1972). The way Toth uses blacks, his staging, the way he gives Black Canary movie star looks :)... The way he draws her she looks strong, sultry, and like she means business, blonde or brunette! Denny O'Neil wrote the story and the scripting is a cut above the usual DC fare at the time. It's funny, sassy and drives home the independence, character, humor and likeability of Black Canary. It's as if O'Neil has more freedom with what is a second or even third tier DC character and so he is able to deliver a story written with an adult sensibility. His Black Canary feels real, he makes her sing in ways other writers of the time can't match. Green Arrow's only appearance is in flashback when Canary draws inspiration from one of his comments when they were in a tight spot (the panel reminded me of Trevor Von Eeden's art in the Green Arrow mini series in 1983). In these two stories, unlike so many other mainstream female superhero characters of the time and since, you always get the impression that the Black Canary/Green Arrow relationship is an equal one. As one commentator I read recently said (from one of those text pages in the deluxe GL/GA 1985 or so reprint editions), "....Black Canary and Green Arrow were the first comics couple I imagined could actually have a sex life....". Well (ahem!), yes.

And now, here are "Circle of Doom!" parts one and two...



  1. Great post, Michael! I totally agree with you about this story, and I love the art by Toth. This came out a little before my time, but I later recall quite enjoying the Black Canary stories that appeared in World's Finest when it was a dollar comic.

    1. Thanks Edo:), yes I too read those World's Finest stories, I think they were done by Mike Nasser.

  2. Beautiful drawing, great storytelling, page layouts and design---HORRIBLE INKING with a felt tip marker---UGH!! Toth, you knew better! Clunky, chunky line. Hamfisted and ugly. His inks with crowquills and sable brushes in prior years was SO much better.

    Chris A.

  3. Thanks, Groove. I had these two issues of Adventure Comics, but had forgotten the B.C. backup strip. Reading the stories, the memories came flooding back, but I didn't remember the Catwoman ending.



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Special thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and Grand Comics Database for being such fantastic resources for covers, dates, creator info, etc. Thou art treasures true!

Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

All other commentary and insanity copyright GroovyAge, Ltd.

As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1970s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!