The second issue of the original Big Bang Comics mini-series from Caliber Press was part two of our introduction to the Golden Age versions of our characters. Ultiman was featured on a cover penciled by Chris Ecker and I believe it was inked by Mike Matthew.
The leadoff story “Ultiman vs. the Sub-oteurs,” was a loving homage to the works of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. As such, it was credited to Jimmy Ziegler & Jon Schuler. It was actually written by Chris Ecker and myself, penciled by Chris and inked by Don Simpson.
The story establishes Ultiman sitting in his office atop the tallest building in Empire City (and the world) who leaps into action after hearing a story on the radio about some Nazi saboteurs who are terrorizing America in a tank that burrows underground. The Ultimate human being throws a car, fixes a dam, rides a bomb and says “Stop it – you’re tickling me” as bullets bounce off of his chest.
Next up was the Blitz, the Quickest Man On the Face of the Earth in a story written and penciled by Stan Timmons with inks by Gerald DeCaire and Chris Ecker. Set in 1942, newsreel reporter Mack Snelling is covering the Academy Awards when Nazi saboteur Zoltan seeks to demoralize America by unleashing a giant robot in the form of the Oscar to kill Hollywood’s elite.
Snelling had just returned home from Europe where he himself had been a prisoner of the Nazis, tortured for weeks by scientists as a human guinea pig in the quest for the übermensch… the German superman. Snelling gained super-speed, which he used to destroy the lab and escape. Now he was fighting crime (and terrorists) as the Blitz (the German word for lightning).
This story, “The Night of 1000 Stars and Stripes” featured cameo appearances by Fred McMurray, Lana Turner, Stan Laurel, Clark Gable, the Marx Bothers and others, my own favorite being Errol Flynn giving the Blitz a hand saying “Nobody can say I’m a Nazi sympathizer now!”
Last up in this issue is the amazing undersea hero the Human Sub. Aged scientist Noah Talbot had developed a synthetic universal blood from seawater called hydro-glycerine to help injured soldiers. It appeared to be a success when tested on the lab monkey Bubbles, but after a half hour the poor animal started sweating and couldn’t breathe. After 45 minutes he broke free and ran amok in the lab until he fell in the aquarium and immediately calmed down. It turned out that the hydro-glycerine could only derive oxygen from water – not the air.
Bubbles was safe, but Dr. Talbot wasn’t. The excitement brought on a massive heart attack and Talbot’s daughter Mora, a doctor was forced to transplant his brain into her father’s other great invention – – a robot body designed to provide mobility for paralyzed veterans. At that point, the lab was invaded by a Nazi landing party looking to steal Talbot’s secret invention. They kidnapped Mora and the water-breathing chimp and went back to their offshore submarine, but they were followed by Dr. Talbot in his robot body, which luckily was equipped with a jetpack.
Talbot discovered that his human brain in the robot body suffered the same weakness as Bubbles the chimp – – that it couldn’t last out of water for more than an hour. Diving into the water, he rescued Mora and disabled the sub, capturing the Nazis who he turned over to the Coast Guard.
He decided that while hydro-glycerine may be impractical, a one man Human Sub might be a welcome addition to the war effort. “Meet the Human Sub” was written by Chris Ecker, penciled by Mike Obre and inked by Dan O’Connor.
The rest of Big Bang #2 featured the same ads that were in issue #1, since both issues were printed at the same time, although there was an ad for the next issue featuring a cover by legendary Golden Age artist Shelly Moldoff. Things didn’t work out exactly that way, however.
Big Bang Vol. 1 no. 2 is available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store: