Chet Atkins Will Teach You How To Play Guitar For $3.00. It’s true! I read it in Showcase Comics # 37 in 1962. In fact, this add is a double classic. You can also sell Grit Weekly Newspaper door to door to pay for your guitar lessons. I remember kids coming around and selling Grit to my grandmother. I liked it because you got the Sunday Steve Canyon comic a few days early before the regular Sunday Newspaper edition.
Tell ya what, I’d pay $3.00 to learn how to play guitar like that.
Metamorpho had to be the weirdest looking mainstream comics characters of the 1960s. Ya know, he kinda looked like a pile of well, nothing you’d want to step in. I had always avoided Metamorpho, but just read the first issue and fond it innovative and very entertaining. He was co-created and drawn by one of the few female comic book artists in the business, Ramona Fradon. The book was written by Bob Haney, one of DC Comics more offbeat writers. Anyway, here’s his bio from Wikipedia.
Rex Mason was an adventurer who was hired by Stagg Enterprises CEO, Simon Stagg to retrieve a rare Egyptian artifact, the Orb of Ra. Mason also started dating Stagg’s daughter, Sapphire Stagg. This was just one of the incidents that antagonized Simon Stagg.
In an Egyptian pyramid, Rex Mason was knocked out by Simon’s brutish bodyguard, Java, and eventually exposed to a radioactive meteorite from which the Orb of Ra was fashioned. A tremendous flare-up of its radiation transformed Rex Mason into Metamorpho, the Element Man. He gained the ability to shapeshift and change himself into any element found in the human body, or any combinations thereof. It was also established in his origin story (see: The Brave & The Bold #57) that he was virtually invulnerable in his inert (untransformed) state, when Stagg, afraid that Rex was going to kill him, shot him point-blank without effect. The Orb of Ra, however, had the same effect on Rex that kryptonite has on Superman. Thus Stagg continued to control Metamorpho. Later, it was revealed that Mason was but one of many metamorphae, created by the sun god Ra – by this meteor – to serve as warriors in his battle against the god Apep, “the serpent who never dies.”
Metamorpho, unlike other super-humanoids described in DC Comics, could not assume a fully human, normal appearance, being no longer composed of flesh, blood and bone. As such, he regarded his metamorphic powers as a disease and sought a cure for his condition. (This was then, and has remained, a common theme in science fiction and comic books.) He considered himself a non-human freak because of his abilities and wanted to be restored to normal. For that reason, he rejected an offer of membership that the Justice League of America extended to him. He did have Green Lantern attempt to change him back to normal. Due to a “yellow” component of the meteor radiation that had given him his powers, the ring was unable to make him normal again.
Metamorpho briefly had a crimefighting partner: a woman named Urania “Rainie” Blackwell who deliberately exposed herself to the Orb and gained its powers, calling herself Element Girl. She worked with him on a number of cases.
Issues #16-17 were intended to show a new direction for the series, with Sapphire marrying a man named Wally Bannister and Metamorpho going off with a mysterious Mr. Shadow to deal with an immortal queen who looked just like Sapphire. Bent on world conquest, the queen married Metamorpho, stepped outside her mystic city and instantly aged 2000 years.
Wally Bannister, however, was murdered off-stage by Algon, a Metamorpho who had lived for centuries in a depowered state. Mr. Shadow turned out to be attempting to enslave Metamorpho. He did not show up to defend Metamorpho when he is framed, tried, convicted by a jury of rabble, condemned and executed. Element Girl revived Metamorpho. Algon, the real murderer, was killed by molten lava minerals in an attempt to regain his burned-out powers. The murder of Mr. Bannister was engineered by the villainous Prosecutor, who was apparently killed by an insectoid villain in a cocoon. At this point, issue #17 ended and the story was never continued.
So I was ten years old and had just started collecting comics when I came across Detective Comics # 387 in the spring of 1969. I remember it so well. My Dad bought it for me at the local gas station/convenience mart in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Batman’s 30th Anniversary. What a blast I got from reading the original Bob Kane-Bill Finger story. I was always a history nerd, so I immediately fell in love with the concept of comic books having a history. So here’s the cover of Detective # 387 and the original from 1939 Detective # 27.