Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Batman and Superman meet King Arthur

World's Finest #162 (November 1966)
Pencils: Curt Swan, inks: George Klein

I first encountered this story in a DC Annual from the early seventies, may have been Superadventure or DC Comics Bumper Book.  If anyone remembers please  let me know.  Anyway the story has stuck with me for over 40 years so it must be good, right?  You bet it is!
Superman and Batman travel back to the age of Camelot via some sort of time mist devised by some purple aliens.  I found out they were purple when I tracked the original comic down about 5 years ago, my annual was mostly black and white with some strange colouring thrown in on various pages for no apparent reason.  The aliens convince Supes and Bats to overthrow Camelot but they end up fighting the real King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table not the aliens posing as the King and his Knights.  Keep up, it is DC Silver Age after all!  Superman is shocked to feel the force of King Arthur's Excalibur and Batman is wounded (gasp!) by an enchanted spear used by Sir Galahad.

Eventually the real King Arthur and his Knights, all with enhanced powers courtesy of Merlin: Sir Lancelot (invulnerable armour and super strength), Sir Kay (invisibility and growth), Sir Galahad (magic spear), Sir Bohart (super speed) and Sir Bors (ring of fire, I am not making this up!) join up with the World's Finest team and defeat the aliens.  King Arthur ends up knighting Superman and Batman and our heroes return home.

King Arthur knights Superman and Batman
Script: Jim Shooter, pencils: Curt Swan, inks: George Klein
This tale was written by 14 year old comics wunderkind Jim Shooter, who later became Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics, drawn by the legendary Curt Swan and George Klein and edited by the great dictator himself, Mort Weisinger.  Shooter wrote some great stories in the sixties for Superman and especially Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes.  I will be blogging at some point about the Death of Ferro Lad as it is one of my very favourite stories of all time!

1 comment:

  1. I had the above in my collection and it was always a favourite. Although I am a lover of the pure arthurian legend, it was fun to see them portrayed in DC and especially with them having their own powers, also such as Kay being able to grow and shrink, one of the knights having super speed and another a ring of fire. Interesting because The Mabinogian has a story (The pig sty prince) in which Arthur's knights also exhibit some powers that are not dissimilar. I'm trying to find the issue when Superman and Batgirl fight Supergirl and Batman (the two men knowing it is a put up job) to satsify a dying actor who plays two aliens believing he has truly set the heroes at one another's throats. Superman later reveals that he had detected the ruse with his x-ray vision and tipped off batman but they decided to play along anyway.