Saturday, July 21, 2018

100-Page FAKES! presents: METAL MEN # 45

100-Page FAKES! imagines mid-1970s DC 100-Page Super Spectaculars that never were...but should have been!

Metal Men # 16 was among the first comic books I read, or at least one of the first comics I can remember reading. It was published in 1965, though it's possible I didn't see it until '66, after the Batman TV show had heightened my awareness and appreciation of all things superheroic. An 80-Page Giant with Superman's girlfriend Lois Lane is the earliest comic-book experience I can recall, and an issue of Our Army At War featuring the unlikely meeting of Sgt. Rock and the Viking Prince likewise sticks in the ol' memory box, but Metal Men # 16 was certainly in the mix. I was five or six, and my sister Denise read me this wacky, colorful adventure starring seven idiosyncratic super-robots--Mercury, Gold, Iron, Tin, Lead, the lovely Tina (short for Platinum), and Tin's soulmate Nameless--and their long-suffering creator, Dr. Will Magnus. I was particularly tickled by the scene of our metallic heroes fighting off an invasion of robot termites from outer space, as Mercury quipped, "You're not going to throw ME into an antipasto!" Thereafter, I was literally tickled by my sister, as she said she was going to throw me into an antipasto. I can still hear my own laughter, and it's one of the most cherished memories of my childhood.

That was the beginning of my affection for The Metal Men. I followed their exploits as often as I could throughout the remainder of the '60s, and I followed their occasional guest spots with The Batman in the pages of The Brave And The Bold. And I was primed when DC revived the title at the end of 1975 (cover-dated April-May '76), continuing the original series' numbering with Metal Men # 45.

This is the point where I'm supposed to say that the revival didn't match the original. Au contraire, mein amigos! I immediately loved what new writer Steve Gerber was doing with my beloved Metal Men, and I also loved Walt Simonson's artwork. Their combined efforts resulted in what I thought was an engaging attempt to update the characters without tarnishing them, and the debut story ended with an acknowledgment of original writer Robert Kanigher (who created The Metal Men) and original artists Ross Andru and Mike Esposito.

Though this revival of Metal Men appeared after the demise of the 100-page Super Spectacular, the elastic rules of the Boppinverse allow us to ignore chronology and expand away. For this faux Super Spec, I've added reprints of DC's golden age hero Robotman, a 1964 The Brave And The Bold Metal Men team-up with that mighty mite The Atom, Captain Marvel Jr.'s 1951 encounter with a metal man of his own, and--of course!--"Robots For Sale!" from Metal Men # 16. You're not going to throw ME into an antipasto! Roll credits:

The Metal Men in "Evil Is In The Eye Of The Beholder," Metal Men # 45 (April-May 1976)
The Metal Men and The Atom in "Revenge Of The Robot Reject," The Brave And The Bold # 55 (August-September 1964)
Robotman in "Tops In Crime," Star-Spangled Comics # 78 (March 1948)
Captain Marvel Jr. in "Sivana Jr.'s Friendly Robot," Captain Marvel, Junior # 93 (January 1951)
The Metal Men in "Robots For Sale!," Metal Men # 16 (October-November 1965)

It's all copyright DC Comics Inc., and can only be revealed here in a few representative pages. My $2 a month patrons get to see the whole thing. Hey, check out the house ads! A couple of cool adverts appeared in Metal Men # 45, including one for that fab 1976 DC superheroes calendar I would later pick up at the Super DC Con in February, and one for the first meeting between DC's Superman and Marvel's friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. Your responsometers are not faulty. It's time for adventure with The Metal Men.


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  1. Wasn't this Simonson Metal Men originally lined up for First Issue Special?

  2. I don't recall ever hearing that, but it's certainly possible.