This massive 1,100 page trade paperback collects stories featuring Tim Drake as Robin, see the image above for a complete list. I lettered several of the BATMAN issues, the majority of the lettering is by Tim Harkins. I can’t say I remember much about the stories I worked on, but the Batman books were fun at the time. Retail price is $59.99. Due out July 23, check with your comics retailer, or the Amazon link below if interested.

Robin Tim Drake Compendium One

Rereading: BENEATH THE HILL by Jane Louise Curry

The Arthur and Griffith cousins are having fun together at the Arthur’s farm for summer vacation, but that fun is threatened by the coal strip-mine operation just over the hill, where the huge steam shovels are working night and day, disrupting the area with noise and destruction. Miggle, one of the children, has planned a treasure hunt for the cousins, but that soon gives way to explorations of unknown caverns inside the hills when they meet Kaolin, a boy who lives there with his ancient family, descendents of people who were pushed out of Wales centuries ago. The mining has awakened an evil power that wants to destroy everyone, and the children are caught up in its delusions and tricks, but their dog Willy is able to see through the illusions and get them out of danger, though Kit is nearly drowned. Inside the mountain, amazing things and wondrous stories are revealed, and Miggle has found a key that can help Kaolin’s family and also defeat the Bane, as they call the evil spirit in the quarry, but can they get the key to the right place beneath the hill in time?

This is the first of many fantasy novels by Curry, and the first of eight books in the Abaloc series. It’s ambitious and full of ideas, but perhaps a bit too full, with too many characters, and by the end seems rushed, though the story is creative and appealing. Recommended.

Beneath the Hill by Jane Louise Curry


Images © DC Comics

I first met Kurt Busiek in the early 1980s when we were both trying to sell “Tales of the Green Lantern Corps” stories to editor Ernie Colón at DC. I was on staff, he was a frequent visitor. Little did I suspect I would one day hold a massive book like this of his fine writing about DC’s primary character. I lettered his excellent miniseries with Stuart Immonen SUPERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY, one of my favorite Superman stories and included here along with lots of other fine work, 664 pages of it! Release date is set for July 16, 2024. To order, check with your comics retailer or use the Amazon link below. Congrats, Kurt!

Superman by Kurt Busiek Book One

Rereading: THE PINTO DEER by Keith Robertson

In this 1956 novel, Robertson returns to the characters and setting of his Outlaws of the Sourland. This time teenager John Michelson is stalking a rare pinto deer in the Sourland Mountain area, trying to capture it for a private zoo. He’s also helping a new neighbors Mrs. Atkinson and her daughter Billy explore the woods and area. Mrs. Atkinson is drawing and painting ferns for a book about them, and Billy enjoys the outdoors. They also have another reason for being there which is gradually revealed.

John is also troubled by deer poachers who are active in the area, but very hard to catch, and he helps the local game warden with that when he can. One subject of his scrutiny is a reclusive man known as One-Ear Pete who he sees also stalking the pinto deer, and tracking it becomes something of a competition between them. But is Pete going to kill the deer, or is he involved with the poachers? The answers to these and many other mysteries gradually unfold in this engaging story. John gets help from Billy, who is one of Robertson’s innocent females masking a devious intelligence, and also his dog Wolf, the puppy he rescued as the only survivor of the wild dog pack in the previous book.

Recommended if you can find it.

The Pinto Deer by Keith Robertson

Rereading: FREDDY AND THE MEN FROM MARS by Walter R. Brooks

The twenty-second in the Freddy series continues some of the space-travel themes of the twentieth book, Freddy and the Space Ship, playing on a popular interest of kids and adults when it was published in 1954. Herbert Garble, a long-time Freddy villain, has “discovered” a group of “Martians” who supposedly landed in their flying saucer, as pictured above on the book’s cover. Freddy readers will soon recognize these creatures disguised as Martians, also long-time villains in the series, but Garble convinces the Boomschmidt circus to put them on display in his side show, allowing Garble to collect barrels-full of change in payment to see them, and the attraction draws huge crowds. Freddy and his friends on the Bean Farm and in the circus know there’s trickery involved, but can’t do much to stop it without ruining the reputation of the circus.

Meanwhile, as can be seen on the endpaper design by the ever-creative Kurt Wiese, another saucer arrives with real Martians, who have come to investigate the sideshow attraction, and Freddy and his friends soon become their allies. Plans are hatched to replace Garble’s fakes with the real thing, and cutting him out of the deal, but of course Garble has other ideas.

Great fun, even as the series gets sillier, and recommended.

Freddy and the Men from Mars by Walter R Brooks