Saturday, August 18, 2018

100-Page FAKES! presents: THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN # 1

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

In the early to mid 1970s, there were not a lot of options for superhero action on TV or at the movies. There were a few Saturday morning programs, including the animated Super Friends and live-action Shazam! There were reruns of the '60s Batman and '50s The Adventures Of Superman shows, if you wanna count those, and a badly-edited patchwork of three episodes of the '60s TV series The Green Hornet as a theatrical release to exploit the popularity of the late actor Bruce Lee. There was a Wonder Woman TV movie and a late-night TV adaptation of the musical It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Superman; a bit later, there was another ongoing televised attempt at Wonder Woman, plus The Incredible Hulk and The Amazing Spider-Man. Until actor Christopher Reeve suggested we would believe a man could fly in 1978, the only new feature film released within this broad category was 1975's Doc Savage, Man Of Bronze. It was a far, far cry from the bounty of superhero TV and movie entertainment available to us now, in this fantastic future world of the 21st century.

There was, however, The Six Million Dollar Man.

The series was based on Martin Caidin's 1972 novel Cyborg, and the subsequent TV show's intro laid out the premise each week:

Steve Austin: A man barely alive!
"We can re-build him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was.

So surgery following a horrific accident transformed Colonel Steve Austin (played by Lee Majors) into a de facto superhero, his new bionic legs, right arm, and left eye giving him powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. The Six Million Dollar Man was introduced in three TV movies in 1973, which led to a weekly series which ran from 1974 to 1978, and also inspired the spin-off series The Bionic Woman.

Charlton Comics licensed The Six Million Dollar Man as a comics series, commencing with a first issue cover-dated June 1976. There was also a black-and-white Six Million Dollar Man magazine series from Charlton, in a format similar to Warren Publishing's Vampirella, Creepy, and Eerie, and a Bionic Woman comic book series, too. But it's the comic book Six Million Dollar Man # 1 that draws our attention today, in an imaginary 100-Page Super Spectacular from DC Comics.

In the real world, there is just no way that DC would have published a 100-page Six Million Dollar Man. For one thing, the 100-Page Super Spectacular format was not just merely dead, but really most sincerely dead by 1976. DC's publisher Carmine Infantino was let go 'roundabout February of '76, and his successor Jenette Kahn had roughly zero interest in exploiting reprints as Infantino had done. The idea of DC licensing The Six Million Dollar Man might not be all that far-fetched, considering the fact that DC did license properties ranging from Tarzan and Isis (the latter another Saturday morning live-action TV hero) to the sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter. One might have thought it more likely for DC to license The Six Million Dollar Man and Charlton to adapt Welcome Back, Kotter, but that ain't what happened.

Nonetheless. Today's 100-Page FAKES! fantasy has DC taking over Charlton's Six Million Dollar Man # 1 by writer Joe Gill and artist Joe Staton and making into an out-of-time Super Spec. For reprints, we've assembled some classic DC action material starring The Doom Patrol, Midnight, and the '50s spy hero King Faraday (previously reprinted in 1964 under the catchy title I--Spy!). Past 100-Page FAKES! editions of The Phantom and E-Man have established that DC acquired Charlton's Action Heroes earlier in our Boppinverse than in real life, freeing us to complete this faux 100-pager with a previously-unpublished 1960s adventure starring The Peacemaker.

The Six Million Dollar Man in "The Beginning Of The Six Million Dollar Man" and "The Secret Web," The Six Million Dollar Man # 1 (May-June 1976)
The Doom Patrol in "The Nightmare Maker," My Greatest Adventure # 81 (August 1963)
The Peacemaker in "The Golden Pharoah," originally unpublished
The Six Million Dollar Man in "No Way Out," The Six Million Dollar Man # 1 (May-June 1976)
Midnight (untitled), Smash Comics # 31 (February 1942)
I--Spy! [King Faraday] framing sequence, Showcase # 50 (May-June 1964)
King Faraday in "Spy Train," reprinted in Showcase # 50, originally published in World's Finest Comics # 64 (April-May 1953)

The Six Million Dollar Man is (I think) copyright NBC Universal. Everything else is copyright DC Comics Inc. The Midnight story is now public domain, but the rest can only be shown here in representative pages. I share the whole thing with my paid subscribers. can't hold it! She's breaking up, she's breaking....



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