By Gary Carlson
The only involvement I had with this particular issue of Big Bang Comics was as editor-in-chief, and acting as a sounding board to the three talented writer/artists who created the stories.
Big Bang #20 features a front cover by one of my all-time favorite BB artists – – David Zimmermann. It features the Knight Watchman and the Blitz, and is an extension of the main story, “D Is For Daughter, Deceit And Death.” It is an homage to the Bob Haney/Jim Aparo Brave & the Bold stories of the 1970s which co-starred the Batman with other DC Comics heroes.
Our team-up, called the Free & the Brave, was written and drawn by Chris Khalaf, making (I think) his only appearance in the pages of Big Bang Comics. I have always felt that it was one of the most successful approximations that we ever produced.
In the story, the Knight Watchman goes undercover in search of Linda Taylor, the daughter of a friend of his alter-ego Reid Randall. Linda has been kidnapped, with a one million dollar ransom request for her safe return. The Watchman’s disappearance is noted by local villains in Midway City, and crime is on the rise until the Blitz turns up to fill in for the missing Twilight Paladin.
Meanwhile, the Knight Watchman has tracked down the missing Linda Taylor, who is the brains behind her own kidnapping and planning to use the million dollars to finance a terrorist crime wave to rebel against her capitalist father. Shades of Patty Hearst! The Blitz turns up in the nick of time to help the Watchman arrest the angry heiress and put an end to her reign of terror.
Jeff Weigel’s Sphinx returns to the pages of Big Bang Comics in “On The Trail Of The Doomsayer.” In this mini classic, the Sphinx’s search for the missing Professor Demios has taken him to Jefferson University, where the eccentric, unstable genius used to teach. Demios disappeared after an explosion in his robotics lab on the college campus a few years earlier, only to have resurfaced in Big Bang Comics #9 as the evil Doomsayer, who had transferred the brains of condemned killers into robots.The Sphinx thwarted Demios then, and is looking to stop him again.
At the university, prodigy graduate student Allison Kane is assigned to guide Peter (the Sphinx) Chefren around the campus. She takes him to the school’s ugly new mechanical engineering building, which turns out to be a giant robot controlled by the Doomsayer.
As the Avian Ace battles and distracts Professor Demios, Allison uses one of the Sphinx’s spare helmets to damage the robot’s gears, immobilizing it. Then the Sphinx takes control of the robot, defeating it and humiliating Demios at the same time. Finally, Peter Chefren offers Allison a job after she graduates from the university.
Jeff Weigel is an amazing storyteller, writer and artist. Everything he does is fantastic, including the Sunday Phantom comic strip from King Features Syndicate, which Jeff is currently drawing.
The complete collection of Sphinx stories, part of The Big Bang Comics Collection published by Pulp 2.0, is available at Amazon.com. I highly recommend them to anyone who loves comics. Check it out at:
The third and final story in the issue introduced a brand new hero to the Big Bang Comics universe – – the dynamic Dimensioneer! This brand new hero is just learning to use his powers, which include creating dimensional portals that allow him to warp himself or anything else to another location.
Created, written and drawn by Dan Reed, the Dimensioneer is not an homage to, or based on any existing heroes from comics’ Gold or Silver Ages. Yet, like the Sphinx, both have the look, feel and heart of classic, timeless comic books.
In this tale, the Dimensioneer faces a villain known as The Outrageous Animator who has the ability to bring inanimate objects to life to do his bidding. He starts by animating the safe of a bank he is robbing, ordering it to walk away with his ill-gotten gains. At this point the Dimensioneer shows up and foils that robbery by creating a portal in the ground and trapping the safe in a hole. Angry, the Animator causes a building to come to life and attack our hero. During that battle, the villain escapes with the safe, leaving the Dimensioneer disappointed in himself.
Dan Reed has been my good friend for over 35 years, dating back to Megaton #1 in the early 1980s. He’s been tweaking names and making a few edits in his Dimensioneer canon in recent years, including coloring the stories. Check out his website at www.dimensioneer.com, or click here to view this story featuring The Outrageous Animator in beautiful full color:
You can also buy print editions or digital downloads of Dan’s Dimensioneer books at IndyPlanet. Check them out here at http://www.indyplanet.us/dimensioneer-1/
The fun continues on the inside and outside back covers, featuring the photos of the cast of Phil Cable’s “Knights of Justice” film, featuring Ultiman, Knight Watchman, Thunder Girl and the new character Masker. An unsold pilot, it’s fun to see our characters come to life. You can view a clip of it on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwI5sr0F-ZI
or order the film from Dichiera Productions through the Big Bang website: http://bigbangcomics.com/knights-of-justice-the-big-bang-movie/
See you next time.
Big Bang Comics, Knight Watchman, the Blitz and all related characters are © and TM Gary S. Carlson and Chris Ecker. The Sphinx and all related characters are © and TM Jeff Weigel. The Dimensioneer and all related characters are © and TM Dan Reed.
Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store: