Phantom Stranger #17 (Jan.-Feb., 1972)

About a year ago I wrote my first blog post about an issue of Phantom Stranger; if you happened to read that one, you may recall that PS #11 was the first issue of the title I’d ever bought, and that I ended up liking it enough to become a regular reader henceforth.  Beyond the basic appeal of the series’ supernatural subject matter, my younger self was highly intrigued by the mysterious but noble-seeming title character; I was also a fan of the look given the comic by artist Jim Aparo, who not only pencilled and inked but also lettered each installment.  Meanwhile, Neal Adams continued to turn out one classic cover after another for the title, which, even if it wasn’t enough to make me buy the book just by itself, certainly didn’t hurt its appeal.  About the only thing in Phantom Stranger I wasn’t all that crazy about was the backup strip, which featured Dr. Thirteen, the Ghost-Breaker; but even that had the appealing artwork of Tony DeZuniga going for it, and anyway, it didn’t appear in every single issue. 

Six bi-monthly issues later, all of those factors were still in play.  But there had been one significant change during the year: the arrival of a new regular writer for the Phantom Stranger, Len Wein.  In a way, Wein could be considered the series’ first regular writer, at least in terms of hanging around long enough to build up a head of steam.  For while a number of scripters had cycled through the Fifties-born feature since its revival in Showcase #80 (Feb., 1969) — Mike Friedrich, Robert Kanigher, Mike Sekowsky, Denny O’Neil, Gerry Conway — none had produced more than a handful of installments in succession.  But with the advent of Wein in issue #14, the Phantom Stranger had been granted a chronicler who’d stay the course not just for three issues, or five, or even ten — but for a full thirteen sequential episodes before moving on to other things.  (In retrospect, of course, “thirteen” seems an awfully apt number.)

At the beginning of his tenure, Wein’s approach to the Stranger was very similar to his predecessors’.  The Stranger himself remained thoroughly enigmatic; though he continued to introduce his stories (much as would the hosts in editor Joe Orlando’s other “mystery’ titles, e.g. Cain in House of Mystery), as well as take an active (and usually decisive) role in them, these tales weren’t actually about him; rather, they centered on one or more of the individual human beings the Stranger encountered on his seemingly random passage through the world — characters who played their parts in “done-in-one” chillers, and then went on their way, never to be seen again.

But with issue #17’s “Like a Ghost from the Ashes”, Wein effected a subtle change in direction.  Perhaps inspired by having more room to work with than before (his three previous Phantom Stranger adventures had all had to share space with those of Doctor 13), the writer took advantage of the 26 pages allotted him by DC’s 25-cent “bigger & better” format to explore his protagonist — to flesh out this alleged “phantom”, if you will — in a way readers hadn’t seen before.

The last panel on page 1 echoes Adams’ cover — though, as we’re about to see, the cover image’s suggestion that the subway train is possessed by some sort of monstrous entity isn’t followed up on within our story…

At this point, Jim Aparo had been the artist on the Phantom Stranger for eleven issues — almost two years — and while he hadn’t made any radical changes to the redesign Neal Adams had given the character way back in issue #4 (Nov.-Dec., 1969), he’d made a few subtle adjustments.  For one, the Stranger’s hair color, which had flipped between white and black earlier in the run, had finally stabilized at white; for another, Aparo had for the most part dispensed with the established convention that showed the Stranger’s eyes as white slits, giving the effect of his wearing a mask (though the eye slits remained a regular graphic element in Adams’ cover compositions).  Meanwhile, in the area of dress, his groovy gold medallion had gone missing (though this would prove to be temporary).  All that said, this scene probably featured Aparo’s boldest innovation to date, as it is, to the best of my knowledge, the first time the Phantom Stranger had ever been depicted not wearing any of his customary outerwear — no hat, no cloak, not even his jacket.  (Though at least he’s managed to hang on to those white gloves.)

As readers, we’re likely to be so distracted by this dramatic change in the Stranger’s look — and by its subtly humanizing effect on him — that it may not even occur to us to wonder how his benefactor, the young woman identifying herself as Cassandra Craft, got him out of the subway station and back to her apartment all by herself.  Maybe she had help from some kind strangers (the non-phantom kind, that is); or maybe PS became semi-conscious long enough to walk there himself with some assistance, and simply doesn’t remember that now.  (Though I’m not sure it matters much, in the long run.)

The narrative mechanism by which the Stranger (as well as we readers) discover Cassandra’s condition is pretty awkward — surely if there’s one place in which a blind person doesn’t stumble over objects, it’s their own apartment — but, whatever…

The Stranger tries to dissuade Cassandra from coming with him, telling her, “Your place is here — among the things you know!”  To which she replies, “Ridiculous!  What do any of us really ‘know’?”  In the end, he gives in — and before long, the two are on a flight to Egypt:

I’m not sure what Batman movie they’d be showing in-flight on Earth-One in late 1971, but just going by the Caped Crusader’s visual styling, I don’t think it’s the one we saw in theaters on Earth Prime in 1966.

Some of you faithful readers of this blog might be feeling a bit of déjà vu right about now, as the plot of this story thus far has unmistakable echoes of the last Phantom Stranger story we discussed around these parts, issue #11’s “Walk Not in the Desert’s Sun…”.   While I don’t want to give away the game too soon, suffice it to say for now that the parallels will be even more striking before we reach the end of our present narrative.  (Though I will note here that I find it interesting that Len Wein’s Middle East-centered story declines to deal with the real-life Arab-Israeli conflict that provided narrative context, and thematic subtext, for Gerry Conway’s earlier tale.)

I’m going to try to ignore the reflexive, casual sexism of the Phantom Stranger’s “guided by a woman” remark, and ponder instead why it seems kind of weird to see him driving a Jeep.  I mean, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t have learned to operate a motor vehicle in all the time he’s spent “wandering the earth” — but, even so…

The archaeologist, Orleander Boggs, explains that the expedition is searching for “the lost tomb of the pharaoh Anka-Tut“, and shows the Stranger and Cassandra several artifacts his team has already uncovered.  In return, the Stranger tells their host that they’re looking for a man named Murtz; Boggs professes not to recognize the name, but he encourages his guests to spend the night in his camp before they move on, and they accept his invitation…

Certain of the struggle’s outcome, the mysterious observer ambles away, musing about how he’s “almost going to miss” the Phantom Stranger.  So he’s not around when a voice suddenly calls out in the night, spooking the Stranger’s assailants and sending them scattering…

Once the Stranger has recovered enough to stand, Cassandra helps him back to Professor Boggs’ tent…

What was that we were saying about parallels to Phantom Stranger #11?

If Len Wein took advantage of this story’s extra-length format to stretch himself a bit, no less did Jim Aparo, who only rarely indulged in full-page splash panels beyond a story’s opening or title/credits pages.

Also worth noting here is the fact that, in 1971, comic book phoenixes weren’t nearly as thick on the ground as they’d be in another five years or so, which made this spectacular image all the more startling.

Meanwhile, back in “Boggs”‘s tent, the Stranger realizes that he has a chance for escape, if he can only “siphon off the latent occult forces” he’s sure must be contained in the artifacts Tannarak has left on a nearby table…

Yeah, sure, why not?  I mean, maybe third time’s the charm.  Still, I wouldn’t take any bets on it if I were you, PS.

I indicated near the beginning of this post that, with this story, Len Wein gave more substance to the enigmatic protagonist of his series than had been there before.  Yet, if you scour his script for previously unknown details regarding the origin and nature of the Phantom Stranger — for new “facts” — you’re likely to come up short.  That’s because Wein doesn’t actually tell us readers anything in this story that lessens the central mystery at the core of the Stranger’s persona at all; rather, he has the character make oblique references to his past, and to his destiny (or should that be curse?), in a way that lets us know that there is a story there — and likely a very intriguing one — even though we may never be privileged to know the details.  And in his very brief but poignant romantic encounter with Cassandra Craft, we have a sense of an actual man behind the mystery — a complete person, with a full range of human emotions and vulnerabilities.  A man whom we can relate to, even if we never really get to “know” him.

Interestingly, Wein did little at first to build on what he’d begun here; indeed, his next couple of Phantom Stranger stories could have been published prior to “Like a Ghost from the Ashes” as easily as after it.  Soon, however, he’d begin to seed further references to the Dark Circle, a mysterious organization first mentioned in issue #14, into what otherwise appeared to be independent narratives; such references suggested that a larger storyline was in the works, the sort of storyline that would give the author the opportunity to develop his more substantial version of the Phantom Stranger even further.  That indeed proved to be the case; and when Wein and collaborator Aparo finally did bring the Dark Circle fully into the foreground, Cassandra Craft would return to again be part of the Stranger’s life — as would also a certain Satan-resembling nemesis (c’mon, you didn’t really think that the third time was the charm, did you?).  But, as you can probably guess, more about all that must remain for now the stuff of future posts…


As we mentioned earlier, the Phantom Stranger got to have the full allotment of issue #17’s “new content” pages to himself, which meant there was no room for a Doctor Thirteen backup.  Well,,, not a new backup, anyway…

While editor Joe Orlando had reprinted several of the original “Ghost-Breaker” strips in early issues of Phantom Stranger (in the days when it was largely a reprint vehicle), he’d hardly exhausted the supply.  The 8-page “Suicide Tower!” bears no credits, but the Grand Comic Database tells us that it originally ran in Star Spangled Comics #124 (Jan., 1952) and was scripted by Francis Edward Herron, with art by Leonard Starr.  (My fourteen-year-old self would likely have been impressed, or maybe just amused, to learn that the strip had been drawn by Starr, whose Mary Perkins, On Stage newspaper strip I wasn’t a reader of, exactly, but almost always at least looked at, just because the artwork was so good.)

More so than most other DC features that got reprinted during the publisher’s 25-cent/48-page era, there wasn’t all that much difference between a vintage Dr. 13 tale and a contemporary one, at least on the writing side (the “look” of the strip was obviously a different matter).  The formula remained the same, from the ’50s to the ’70s:  accompanied by his wife, Marie, Dr. Terrence Thirteen would investigate an alleged haunting, or some other supposedly supernatural situation, and discover that the uncanny goings-on had a rational (if sometimes highly improbable) cause.  (Just in case you’re interested, the solution to the mustery of the “Suicide Tower” involved a trance-inducing view and a tilting floor.)


Even after running the reprinted Dr. 13 strip, Orlando still had 4 pages of Phantom Stranger #17 left to fill; he did so with a story from House of Mystery #3 (Apr.-May, 1952).  The scripter of “I Was a Victim of Black Magic!” is unknown; the GCD credits the art to Jon Small and George Roussos:

I’m afraid that this one is so unmemorable that not only had I completely forgotten it before re-reading it a few days ago in preparation for this blog post — but I’ve forgotten what happens in it again since that very re-reading.  Sorry, folks, but you’re on your own with this one.


We’ll close this post with a quick look at an excerpt from Phantom Stranger #17’s letters page.  A reader from Kitchener, Ontario had written in to compliment the editor on (among other things) the complete lack of romantic content in the title:

I think it’s fair to conclude that this reader preferred for his comic books to be free of icky old “girl stuff”.  It was thus of course ironic that his letter appeared in an issue which did, in fact, include a romantic element — something that was pointed out in the editorial response:

Fifty years later, what’s perhaps even more ironic (as well as more than a little sad) is that this letter was written by Dave Sim, who less than a decade after its publication would create the landmark independent comic book Cerebus — but who also, alas, would ultimately come to be known as much for his poisonous misogyny as for his formidable talent.

I’m guessing Sim probably wasn’t crazy about “Like a Ghost from the Ashes”.  I could be wrong, though…

13 comments

  1. Steve McBeezlebub · 19 Days Ago

    It’s still a couple of years away from me reading comics fifty years ago! I only read this era of Phantom Stranger as dollar bin goodies and reprints. Your review made me realize something tho’: I am completely neutral about Len Wein. I didn’t love any of his comics nor did I dislike them. They were just there for me and for the life of me I can’t recall any specific comic of his besides Giant Sized X-Men and that has very little to do with him but what Claremont did with Wein’s creations.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Rick B · 19 Days Ago

    Excellent blog post; I’ve been a fan of the character since I accidentally bought issue 11, thinking it was the new Swamp Thing I had missed (back then, unsold comics could sit on racks for ages). I also think Len Wein’s work was terrific. He was a new writer at the time, and was apparently given free rein to do as he pleased. The result was to essentially re-create one of the most unique, yet underutilized or appreciated heroes in comics. PS deserves a new series, perhaps a movie, geared more towards the adult thinking minds who would appreciate him—with Cassandra.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. frednotfaith2 · 19 Days Ago

    Only ever read a few Phantom Stranger stories, and that was in the 1980s! Amusing about that letter from Dave Sim! I also started reading Cerebus in the early ’80s, starting from issue 40, but also picking up the 4 Swords of Cerebus collections and getting most of the back issues from 17-39. Great series until Sim went, in my estimation, bonkers. But here we see that “no girls allowed” mentality early on. Seems almost apt it would appear in a title featuring a man of mystery & intrigue who remains distant from others.
    As to the story itself, I’d probably have liked it enough if I’d gotten it 50 years ago, but reading it now, Tannarek just comes off as horribly generic, like many of the baddies introduced in the pages of Marvel Team-Up or Marvel Two-in-One and rarely, if ever, seen again. My feelings about Wein’s overall writing echo Steve’s. Wein was a good writer, but few of his stories really stood out as great and I never had strong feelings about his stories, good or bad. I enjoyed his runs on the Hulk, Spider-Man and the FF, as well as Swamp Thing, of which I got back issues or reprints in the ’80s. Of course, the main draw of the initial run of Swamp Thing was Wrightson’s magnificently moody art. And as editor of the revised Swampy in the ’80s, Wein brought in some British guy to take over the writing who wound up shining ever more brightly in that endeavor as did his very talented artistic collaborators. That worked out very well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. DontheArtistformerlyknownasfrodo628 · 19 Days Ago

    Along with Denny O’Neil (and, of course Stan Lee and Roy Thomas), Len Wein was one of the first comics writers I was really aware of. His early work at DC, including of course, his work on Swamp Thing and other books gave us some truly memorable stories and some respectability to the art of comics writing. I was truly sad when he passed away a while back.

    As for the Phantom Stranger, he’s always felt like an unfinished character to me. The “mystery” that was always meant to define him, always had the opposite effect on me and made him feel like a cipher. How could I identify with and relate to a hero so wrapped up in unanswered questions? How could I root for the guy when I didn’t even know his damn name? This habit of refusing to give the Stranger a name (not even Phantom Stranger for the most part), was one part of the book that really didn’t work for me. Look at this issue in particular. The Stranger meets the lovely Cassandra Craft, a person who seems drawn to him and to care for him, and the frustration she experiences just trying to figure out what to call the guy seems indicative of the general frustration I felt with the character myself. In all the years I’ve read the character; liked his look, the outfit, the stories, I’ve never really felt like we knew who the character was and why he did what he did. That’s why I really appreciated what Wein tried to do in this issue by introducing Cassandra and trying to build a bigger world around the character. Of course, the Stranger, not really being a people person, winds up leaving Cassandra, blind, alone, and inappropriately dressed for the desert, out in the middle of freaking nowhere to find her way back to the states on her own even after almost giving up her life to save him. Part of me really hopes that when PS was walking off so manly and alone into the dark that he was going to get the jeep to drive her back to the airport, but I suppose we’ll never know. At least, since Cassandra shows up in later books, we know she got home somehow.

    FInal item on the subject of Cassandra and the humanization of the Stranger. The kiss at the end was nice, but the way he called her “Cass” as though he had just bestowed upon her some huge and benevolent gift is really jarring, looking back from fifty years worth of story-telling, though my fourteen year old self probably thought it was cool. Looking at it now, I almost get what young Dave Sim was talking about. If you can’t do heartfelt moments of genuine emotion any better than that, guys, maybe you should leave the romance stuff to someone else.

    Speaking of Dave, that letter is woefully prophetic, isn’t it? I began reading Cerebus at number 6 and thoroughly enjoyed the series even as it got more dense in the High Society and Church and State runs. And, of course Cerebus had his own romantic entanglements as well (remember Jaka?), so maybe Dave didn’t completely hate the romantic storylines. Back in the early days of my artistic career, Dave was a huge hero of mine and a model for my attempts at self-publishing. My very first published comics artwork was a Unique Story in Cerebus #53 (I’ll wait while you all go find it), and while Dave and I only spoke through letters (and a great original sketch he sent me), I had a nice business relationship with his then-wife Deni Loubert and I also met future Image impressario Jim Valentino through my Cerebus association, with whom I formed a mutual admiration/support society that lasted for several years. Anyway, I dropped out of reading Cerebus for a bit and was truly crushed when I returned a couple of years later, to see how bitter and mysoginistic Dave had become. There was some truly toxic stuff in the second half of Cerebus’ 300-issue run and my heart broke to see it. Should we all survive long enough to get there, I look forward to discussing the early run of Cerebus books in this blog, some ten or so years from now.

    Back to Phantom Stranger, what the hell was up with Tannarak’s costume? I don’t know what someone was smoking to think blue, lime green, orange and yellow would look good together, but oh my god, that costume was terrible! Did it always look like that? I don’t remember (probably blocked it out). Otherwise, Aparo’s art looks really good here. I was always an Aparo fan. He was never an Adams or a Kirby, or even a Buscema or Romita, but he did really good work and I enjoyed it when he pushed himself as he did on that big splash page of the Phoenix toward the end of the story.

    Thanks for a pleasant trip down memory lane, Alan. I enjoyed this book and had largely forgotten this one and how much I liked Cassandra Craft as a character. Great job.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Alan Stewart · 19 Days Ago

      Thanks, Don. Re: PS’s abandoning Cassandra in the middle of the desert, I think that his line, “The authorities will arrive soon to care for you all,” was Wein’s way of assuring us she (as well as Tannarak’s other victims) would be OK. But yeah, I agree — he should have seen the lady home.

      Liked by 1 person

    • frednotfaith2 · 18 Days Ago

      Hi, Don, I actually did go and find that issue of Cerebus with your tale, “Quoth the Reagan, Nevermore….” Nice bit of poetical/political parody! Just from her own publisher notes, Deni struck me as a very nice, astute person and I felt bad on the breakup of their personal and, later, professional relationship. Dave Sim is very talented as an artist & writer, but something went very askew with him to have developed such extreme outlooks that IMO are divorced from reality. I have most of Cerebus up to through Rick’s Story (ending with issue 231). So far I haven’t felt inclined to obtain the last 4 volumes, although maybe at some point in the future I might do so just for the sake of having the full story. Sim’s story makes for one of the odder chapters in comicbook lore, both for what he achieved and how he went off the rails.
      As to Aparo, I enjoy his work too, albeit very similar to Adams if not nearly as daring in execution, at least as based on what I’ve seen of it.

      Liked by 2 people

      • DontheArtistformerlyknownasfrodo628 · 18 Days Ago

        Thanks Fred. I didn’t really think anyone would go to the trouble, but I appreciate it and am glad you enjoyed my story. You’re right, Deni was a very nice person who was under a great deal of stress and I think what she wanted from Aardvark-Vanaheim and what Dave wanted became two different things, beyond whatever was going on with their marriage. I was in touch with her for a while, desperately trying to put together my own book that she was interested in publishing, but then things fell apart and she started Renegade Press and for reasons I no longer remember, our working relationship didn’t survive the move, though I was on the RP freebie list and she did write me a still unused introduction to the first issue for my own planned-but-never-realized self-published comic, Lazarus Lash. As to Dave…I dunno what was up with him. I own Cerebus up until around #200, came back around #230 or so, and just couldn’t deal with the new tone of the book. One of these days, I’ll buy the omnibus, just for the sake of completion. One of these days…

        Liked by 2 people

        • Alan Stewart · 18 Days Ago

          I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but I continued buying the monthly issues straight on through 300, long after I’d lost interest in actually reading the series. Had to finish the marathon, I suppose. In that same spirit, I decided a few years ago that I was at least going to skim all those comics I’d bought, and I that’s what I did. Even so, the last couple of years worth were all but impenetrable — so much so, that I’d be highly skeptical of anyone, outside of Sim and Gehard, who would claim to have read every single word of the complete Cerebus. (No, wait — on second thought, I’d be skeptical of Gerhard as well.)

          Liked by 1 person

          • frednotfaith2 · 18 Days Ago

            In several issues of the latter half of Cerebus, Sim’s texts dominated with very little graphics. Now I didn’t mind texts taking over a few pages, as in some of Gerber’s works and as supplements to the main story as in Alan Moore’s Watchmen and From Hell, which significantly added to the overall stories. But Sim went seriously overboard with it, much to the strain of my eyes and sensibilities as much of what he wrote had little or nothing to do with the story but everything to do with his worldview on sex, politics and religion. Well, it was entirely his comics and he certainly had every right to use it to express himself and voice his opinions, just as we readers had every right to feel befuddled and disagree and some of us opt to not continue on purchasing or reading those particular “Reads”.
            I can definitely understand your continuing on with the collecting, Alan, and kudos for your effort to read them! I actually did read the concluding chapter online, wherein an aged Cerebus, alone and unloved, dies after struggling to get out of bed. At least a touch of ye olde Sim humor. One of the things of any form of artistry, whether comics, painting, music, acting, directing, writing, etc, when someone whose work we admire expresses opinions that aren’t so admirable, more so when those odious opinions thoroughly permeate their later work to such a degree that they can’t be readily ignored. I still enjoy the first 150 issues or so of Cerebus and some of the later material, but much of the rest would be a mostly unpleasant chore to slog through and further ruin my eyesight. But then, perhaps still more memorable a reading experience than “I Was a Victim of Black Magic!” proved to be for you! : )

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Very beautiful and stunning artwork by Jim Aparo in this issue. As someone who first discovered Aparo via his work on Batman in the late 1980s, it’s been enjoyable to subsequently get to see his earlier wonderful art from The Phantom, Aquaman, and The Phantom Stranger.

    Liked by 3 people

    • mkelligrew · 18 Days Ago

      This is the Aparo era I like the best. Influenced by Adams and full of movement with a kinetic line. He stiffened up to me through the years and when DC stopped letting him ink his work, things were never the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. bluesislove · 18 Days Ago

    I never read any of the Suspense (in my words at the time, “scary”) comics. I was still pretty young. I didn’t really get to know much about the Phantom Stranger until Wein started using him in Justice League of America. Thanks for sharing this, since I missed it the first time.

    Jim Aparo was one of my favorite artists, and I actually didn’t discover him until he started drawing the Spectre’s series in Adventure, so obviously I overcame my reluctance to those types of comics. Then I found out he was drawing Batman in Detective Comics and Brave and the Bold….he’s one of my favorite Batman artists (with Adams, Rogers, and Newton).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Stu Fischer · 14 Days Ago

    DontheArtistformerlyknownasfrodo628 said most of what I was going to say about the Phantom Stranger. I began reading comic books at the beginning of 1968 so I guess I was there when the Phantom Stranger began. I even kind of liked the character as there were times when I tried to dress/imitate him in my pre-teen years in “pretend” (now called cosplay I guess). However that was when the combination of mystery and lack of actual horror was perfect for me. However, re-reading this issue through Alan’s blog post I recalled that he really was a stranger to readers if (particularly in this issue) not much of a phantom. I never “got” him nor did I ever (when I was reading comic books) find out who he was, what his deal was and where he came from.

    I do think that this issue really muddied the waters in an annoying way though. Chief among these is the whole cause of the Phantom Stranger’s weakness. How did Tannarek cause this? On page 19, Tannarek claims that it’s the Phoenix that is doing this and that soon the Phantom Stranger would only be dust. This makes no sense and is not further explained. On the same page, Tannarek says that the secret to the Phoenix’s rise is the belief and worship of people. It would seem that one or the other would be a fitting explanation, but the two together? Why did the weakening only manifest itself at critical times instead of constantly? Also, I guess that the Phoenix couldn’t distinguish between actual belief and false feelings created by hypnosis. In any event, when you have a main character that you know practically nothing about, schemes about what is supposed to happen to him are a complete headscratcher because you don’t know who the person is, his weaknesses, his composition etc. Also, how does Tannarek know to call our hero the Phanton Stranger? I guess there was some reason mentioned in his first appearance.

    I echo everyones’ comments on Jim Aparo’s art. While I was aware of him back when I was reading comic books 50 years ago, I always considered him just there because he wasn’t an Adams or Kirby. However, I always enjoyed the stories he did art for even if they never really struck me as super-memorable (the splash page of the phoenix was a rare exception). I don’t remember many of Len Wein’s individual stories although when I bought his book containing an anthology of his Batman work (it came out about a year or so before he died), I did find out that he wrote the story where “Robin” turned to dust before Batman’s eyes which always stuck with me before I knew that it was Wein who wrote it.

    I guess since Don etc. was writing about his brushes with greatness in the comic world (no art pun intended), I should repeat here that I almost got to play Len Wein in a national online trivia league I was in and got really geeked out about it. Unfortunately, he had to forfeit his two scheduled matches with me as they occurred during his final illness, shortly before he died. His widow (second wife) Christine Valada was a multiple day Jeopardy champion and currently leads her group in the A League of that internet trivia league (it’s called Learned League).

    RIP Len

    Liked by 2 people

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