New Reviews of Old Comics
Ever heard of Nukla? Me either until I found it in a dollar box not long ago and couldn’t resist the goofy looking cover. Hard to believe someone else passed on this little treasure before I got to it. I’m not even sure how to pronounce “Nukla”; is it nuck-la or nuke-la or something else I can’t even imagine?
The environmentally unfriendly cover touts that Nukla will meet Captain Whale, the menace of the south pole, while the art has someone (Captain Whale?) shooting from inside a mechanical killer whale as Nukla zaps a real killer whale with a lightning bolt from his finger. I guess hunting killer whales was still OK in 1966. The splash page has a little box with “Giordano & Trapani”, so we can assume they are the authors/artists. Any bets Giordano is long time DC artist Dick Giordano? Besides that, this story is untitled and without specific credits. Captain Whale is harassing scientists in Antarctica because he believes he is the true ruler of the frozen continent, along with his killer whale buddies. To combat this menace the CIA calls on agent Matthew Gibbs to investigate. When he’s not making out with the boss’ secretary, at the boss’ suggestion no less, Gibbs is also Nukla, a hero with awesome, yet undefined powers (at least in this issue). After swapping some more spit with the secretary Gibbs jumps in his red convertible and flies to an airbase where his U2 spy plane is being prepared. Oh, how clichéd.
Captain Whale wastes no time getting into it with Nukla once our hero arrives in Antarctica, where we get fight scenes that involve Nukla discharging explosives around whales (self-defense) and Nukla crying over how the cold saps his power (where does his power come from? Not sure). Because it’s early, Nukla is captured, but Captain Whale wants to flaunt his victory in Nukla’s face rather than just kill him. After an escape attempt Captain Whale locks Nukla in the kitchen, which is just warm enough to bring back his powers. After another fight scene Nukla stops two bombs by catching them and unleashes a nuclear explosion to stop Captain Whale’s evil plans. Also, there is a lengthy explanation that Nukla has “pure atomic energy” so there is no fallout and very little radiation from explosions he creates. In 1966 with the Cold War in full swing I would imagine this was actually a big concern among many kids at the time, and this is a fairly interesting reflection of society at the time. Anyway, the issue ends with Agent Gibbs filing his report with his boss and then making out with the bosses secretary while he looks on grinning. Weird.
I’d have to say I’m pretty happy with my purchase here. The story was entertaining enough for a 1960s comic book, the art was all right and you can’t beat cover to cover comic pages; there were no interior ads in this issue, which leads me to another point…
Best Ad: So why doesn’t Dell still publish comics anymore? Could it be because they didn’t sell many ads and it takes an awfully high sales volume to support a 12 cents per issue price tag? I don’t know for sure, that’s just my guess. So I have three ads to choose from:
Columbia Record Club does indeed offer 58 different records to choose from (yeah, I counted ‘em, what of it?), but I’m hard pressed to find seven I would really want, not to mention being on the hook for buying six more in the next 12 months at regular club prices. My Fair Lady, Barbra Streisand, West Side Story, The Brothers Four, Andy Williams, Peter, Paul & Mary; blech, makes me wish my turntable was busted. With no other choices I’d have to pick The Kinks, The Yardbirds, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan and 20 Original Winners of 1964 with “Under the Boardwalk by The Drifters and a Marvin Gaye song. They have one called 20 Top Pop Song Hits but only mention song titles, not artists so that could be other people butchering an original artist version and having been suckered into one or two of those in the past, I can tell you records like that are horribly disappointing.