Happy New Year’s, oh purveyors of the printed page, and welcome to another viewing of a vintage visual vignette! I’ve long loved old (read as: before I was born) comic books, and I’ve decided to dedicate a couple of articles to these truly timeless tales. Come on, everybody, let’s load up into a time sphere and travel all the way back to 1965! Cast your eyes on the ever trite and perpetually fun Rip Hunter…Time Master as we dissect issue 28!
Complete Arc: Rip Hunter…Time Monster
Year Released: 1965
Creative Team: George Kashdan (Writer), Will Ely (Artist)
Heroes: Time Masters (Rip Hunter, Bonnie Baxter, Corky Baxter, Jeff Smith)
Notable Quotable: Bonnie Baxter: “I’ll say one thing for you, Rip Hunter—even as a creature, you were tops!”
Our jaunty journey opens at midnight in an unnamed city. A humongous red humanoid appears out of nowhere and crushes a poor milkman’s truck as it dutifully completes its rounds. The police arrive to confront the beast, firing on it to no avail. As the monster wades in to crush the boys in blue, Jeff Smith and Bonnie Baxter make the scene. Jeff quickly throws a mysterious dust into the monster’s face and it changes into the very human form of Rip Hunter…Time Master. A hasty explanation reveals that weeks before archeologist Professor Dawkins uncovered some old devices belonging to the 18th century polish sorcerer, Kraklaw. Rip and his crew decided to use their time sphere to travel back in time to meet with the wizard and are immediately attacked by incredible creatures under Kraklaw’s control. The sorcerer quickly calls off the attack and invites the Time Masters into his cave sanctuary. After exchanging pleasantries, Rip asks Kraklaw about the monsters that attacked them. Kraklaw proudly shows off his magical clay which can control people then be formed into a statue of any type of monster. This, in turn, changes the controlled person into said monster. He then shows them the powder he uses to change people back to normal by flinging it into the face of one of his creatures. The beast transforms into a poor peasant who pleads to be released from his servitude to the obviously mad magic man. Kraklaw refuses, claiming he will use these pitiable countrymen and his magic clay to conquer Poland and seize power from King Stanislaus. Rip and Co. fly into action, destroying the clay statues and releasing the men Kraklaw had in his power. Thinking they’d demolished all of the wizards magical mud and stealing the curative powder, they quickly load into the time sphere and flee the scene, but not before seeing Kraklaw waving a fist and yelling something about revenge! All of which leads us to Rip becoming a monster in modern times. The group quickly surmises that the treacherous thaumaturge has more clay and is using it to change and control Rip from the past! They rally and travel back again to face Kraklaw, but the sorcerer has a few tricks up his sleeve. Can the Time Masters stop Kraklaw’s plans for domination and free Rip from his clay curse forever? You’ve got to read this comic to find out!!!!!
George Kashdan (House of Mystery, Aquaman) started his long career at DC comics in 1947 as an editor. In 1962, he launched the first ongoing Aquaman series and quickly moved on to writing other DC books. His run on Rip Hunter lasted only six issues and, as this story shows, they were arguably the best of the series. While corny in its sixties style of storytelling, this particular issue is entertaining and exciting. The story elements are solid and you really want to see how everything turns out in the end!
Will Ely (House of Mystery, Tales of the Unexpected) began at National Periodicals/DC comics in the late 1930’s! His art is beautiful, with solid, eye-catching lines! While primitive compared to some of DC’s later artists, his work wasn’t as stiff as some of his DC contemporaries. The flowing motion of his figures in Rip Hunter…Time Master #28 along with his Infantinoesqe panel layouts are outstanding for a book from this time period!
FUN, FUN, FUN!!!! That’s all I can say about this book! Yes, it does suffer a bit from “the corny”, but, while aimed primarily at children, at no time does this book talk down to the reader. Is this a must read for all comic book readers? No. Is this something you should pick up for sheer enjoyment? Heck yes!!!
That’s it for this month, folks!!! I hope you all have a wonderful new year and that 2019 is AMAZING!!!! Next time we’ll try to look at an ever older book from my collection! PEACE!!
Chris Swartzlander is the author of the Tripping Over Reality Sci-Fi series.