Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Trained Bird

Hawkman #17 (DC, December 1966, 12 cents)
"Ruse of the Robbing Raven!" Story: Gardner Fox, Art: Murphy Anderson.

The first of two stories in this issue, this 12-page piece riffs off of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven," featuring a Poe scholar named Eddie Powe and a silly villain called, well, the Raven. For 16 years, Joey Makk has nursed a grudge against Powe for showing "me up before my gang" and not letting him steal his family's rent money using a trained bird. Makk, now a costumed villain—"Now to put on this raven outfit I use to conceal my identify rom the gang I've gathered around me—so they can never betray me."—has given Powe a trained bird as a gift... and to eavesdrop on his activities.

Once Makk learns that Powe possesses a heretofore undiscovered Poe manuscript, he plans to steal it. Hawkman intervenes, and Makk embarrasses Powe on television, discrediting him as a scholar. Makk tries to sell the manuscript to a fence, but Hawkman—with the help of Makk's trained bird, oddly—intervenes again. The Poe theme is slightly off putting, but if it turned on at least one reader to check out Poe in 1966, more power to Fox. Anderson's artwork is able and workmanlike.

"Enigma of the Escape-Happy Jewel Thieves" Story: Gardner Fox, Art: Murphy Anderson.
Another 12 pager, this story features Hawkman and Hawkgirl's encounter with four thieves who seem particularly adept at eluding capture. In the end, it's as simple as hired decoys: "We're members of the City Cycle Club. Some man paid us ten bucks each to race to the Mumford Art Gallery—go in the doorway—then after a while race out and speed off in four different directions!"

The gang plans to kill Hawkman and Hawkgirl, but a jeweled pistol dropped by our heroes—and picked up by the villains—on p. 2 leads our crimefighters to the criminals. This series of crimes seems a little down market for a prince of Thanagar, but who can say. The issue also features a one-page letter column including four letters of comment.

Availability: Both stories were collected in Showcase Presents Hawkman TP Vol 02.

This issue comes from the Henry's Green Cape collection of comics. Thank you for your donation!

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