BHOC: ALL-STAR COMICS #67

Now, this was an important comic book in my own personal development that had noting to do with its contents. But this issue of ALL-STAR COMICS was the first comic that I bought for myself at our neighborhood 7-11 after finally being given permission to cross the multi-lane thoroughfare Horseblock Road in order to get there. In all honesty, I had occasionally crossed that street in the past, egged on by local friends who had less respect (or fear) for the guidelines laid down by their parents. But I wasn’t so daring, at least not on my own.

A few times earlier in life I had set out on my own into town, without informing my folks. I can recall one day in first grade deciding to visit my friend Karl who lived in that area. And so, despite the fact that I was only 6 or 7 years old, I made my way down into town, stopping by the little candy store were we’d go after Church (When I was questioned by the proprietor, I told her that “I was allowed now.”) before being run off of Karl’s block by some older kids who wouldn’t let me through. On my way back home, my Mom’s car roared to a halt–she had realized that I was missing and had headed out in search of me. This whole episode chills me as an adult when I think about my own kids having done such a thing at that age.

So as I said, having been made aware of the dire consequences should I ever cross the invisible boundary of territory laid out for me, I would only violate it when driven by peer pressure to do so–and even then, I never bought any comics on those trips, afraid that my parents would wonder where they had come from, and the jig would be up. (I of course assumed that they were as conversant with my growing collection as I was, an idea that could not be any further from the truth.)

So on this particular day–I’m guessing that it was a Thursday since that was the day that new comics were delivered–I had once more ventured across Horseblock Road to the 7-11, prodded to do so by my more rebellious neighbor, Charles Grella. And there on the spinner rack, I saw ALL-STAR COMICS #67. Now, there wasn’t much that I loved more at this point in my life than the Justice Society of America, so I had to have that book. But I still didn’t dare to buy it for fear that my illicit visit would be discovered. So instead, Charles and I worked out an elaborate charade (or what passed for one at ten-years-old.)

Returning to our block, I went home alone. Then, after a wait of a few minutes, Charles knocked on the door. There, in front of my mother, we played out our charade, as Charles told me that he had seen the comic book I was so desirous of on sale at the 7-11. I was enough of an idiot at this age that, in trying to make things seem genuine, I started trying to answer questions that nobody was asking: I inquired as to how he knew what comic book I was looking for. A much better liar than I was, Charles improvised that I had shown him the cover previewed in some other comic I already had–which satisfied my mother’s non-curiosity,

Then, I turned the screws on my Mom, asking her for permission to go to the 7-11 and get the book. I told her that Charles had been given such permission (he hadn’t–he just did it regardless) and that I’d be especially careful. And my mother gave in to my request, granting me her permission (”But no further!”) And I was off like a shot, back down to the 7-11, back down to this issue of ALL-STAR COMICS.

And the truth is, after all that, it was a mediocre issue, It picked up with Power Girl, Wildcat and the Star-Spangled Kid descending into the Earth, where they find the subterranean Aryn, the Underlord, who plots, as you do, to destroy the dwellers on the surface. With the aid of Hawkman and the Flash, they kick his ass. Meanwhile, Doctor Fate goes to confront Police Commissioner Bruce Wayne, who is disturbed by the Justice Society’s recent actions, particularly those of Green Lantern (who is under the control of the Psycho-Pirate.) Fate’s visit does nothing to deter him, so Wayne puts out an A.P.B. for the Justice Society. Joe Staton’s artwork, typically attractive, seemed especially cartoony to my eyes in this issue.

In addition to the letters page and Jenette Kahn’s publishorial for the month, which I had read previously, the issue also included a DC profile on Paul Levitz, who wrote this issue of ALL-STAR. This would have been right at the start of Kahn and Levitz’s working relationship–one that would continue for in excess of 30 years.

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