Hot Streak: Joe Kubert’s The Atom and Hawkman

« Calm down, Harris… this is no teleportational phenomenon we’re dealing with… » — Hawkman, “Yo-Yo Hangup in the Sky!”.

In 1968, though DC was still handily outselling Marvel, the industry leader was beginning to feel the heat. Now, to be fair, not nearly as much as revisionists would surmise: Marvel’s top-seller, The Amazing Spider-Man, was only in twelfth place. Of course, Marvel was hobbled by distribution issues, but that problem would come to an end that very year.

Anyway, as neither of DC’s solo titles The Atom (38 issues, June-July 1962 – Aug.-Sept. 1968) nor Hawkman (27 issues, Apr.-May 1964 – Aug.-Sept. 1968) were doing all that well (both of them missed the top sixty in 1968), it was decided to attempt to merge the books in order to perhaps save them. Well, it didn’t work, but some splendid covers were created, and that’s what brings us here.

The Atom and Hawkman no. 39 (numbering continued from Atom’s book, not Hawkman’s), November 1968. Insides by Robert Kanigher, Murphy Anderson and Joe Giella. Which one’s the Titan and which the Fury? They take turns. Check it out here.
The Atom and Hawkman no. 40 (Jan. 1969) holds a rare treat: a highly unusual pairing, one that was only repeated once to my knowledge (in the following issue): Joe Kubert on pencils and Murphy Anderson on inks. The tale is The Man With an Inbuilt Panic Button, scripted by Gardner Fox. Peruse it here while you can.
My candidate for the slightest cover of the Atom/Hawkman combo title, but only since the competition is so fierce, and well, it’s kind of busy. This is The Atom & Hawkman no. 41 (Feb.-Mar. 1969), edited by Julius Schwartz and featuring Return of the Seven-Year-Dead Man, written by Gardner Fox, pencilled by Dick Dillin and inked by Sid Greene, and Yo-Yo Hangup in the Sky!, written by Fox, illustrated by Kubert and Anderson. Feast your eyes here.
This is The Atom and Hawkman no. 42 (Apr.-May 1969). Read it here!
Robert Kanigher & Joe Kubert’s Gentleman Ghost, first appeared (so to speak) in Flash Comics no. 88 (Oct. 1947) had not been seen (hee hee) since the Golden Age, and he returned to pester Hawkgirl and Hawkman in Come to My Hanging, scripted by Kanigher and illustrated by Murphy Anderson. Meanwhile, The Atom stars in Buzzin’, Buzzin’ — Who’s Got the Buzzin’?, scripted by Dennis O’Neil, pencilled by Dick Dillin and inked by Sid Greene. This is The Atom and Hawkman no. 43 (June-July 1969). Read it here!
Kubert clearly relished delineating his Gentleman Ghost, and who could blame him? That sticky-fingered filcher is one snazzy-looking felon. This is The Atom and Hawkman no. 44 (Aug.-Sept. 1969). Read it here!
This is The Atom and Hawkman no. 45 (Oct.-Nov. 1969), featuring Queen Jean, Why Must We Die?, by Denny O’Neil, Dick Dillin and Sid Greene, whereas our heroes are enslaved by Ray “The Atom” Palmer’s girlfriend, Jean Loring. It was a common theme in DC Comics, just ask Superman and Green Lantern, for starters. Anyway, read the whacked-out tale here.

As a bonus, one could consider the final issue of Hawkman (no. 27, Aug.-Sept. 1968), the first entry in Kubert’s streak. Well, I do, and that’s that.

It is said that late each year, Thanagarians mark the winter solstice by taking to the snowy skies to join cuddly flying Yeti in frolic. Look at them cute lil’ buggers. When the Snow-Fiend Strikes! is scripted by Raymond Marais, pencilled by Dick Dillin and inked by Chuck Cuidera.


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