Birthday book: Zatanna’s Search

The Comics Reporter notes that today is the 83rd birthday of Murphy Anderson, one of the great Silver Age illustrators and inkers whose work I associate most closely with DC. My favorite comics drawn by Anderson, or at least the ones that jump immediately to mind, are The Brave and the Bold 61 and 62, which featured a team-up between Earth 2 stalwarts Starman and Black Canary (or “Black Canary I,” I guess). I remember reading them at a friend’s house; he was much more of a DC guy than I was, but I vaguely knew and liked Black Canary and had enjoyed the JLA-JSA team-ups that I’d read.

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find any indication that these comics have ever been collected anywhere. I do remember a reference to them in James Robinson’s Starman comic, where the author revealed that the heroes were teaming up in the chicka-bamp sense as well as in the crime-fighting sense. Anyway, they Brave and Bold issues were wonderfully drawn and featured an unlikely but successful pairing of B-list heroes, so I was naturally inclined to like them.

zatannaqNever fear, though. DC has collected at least one example of Anderson drawing a second-tier, fishnet-wearing heroine in its JLA: Zatanna’s Search trade paperback. (For bonus points, the collection also includes comics drawn by Gil Kane, Carmine Infantino and other luminaries.) The story is fairly simple: Zatanna’s father, Zatara, is missing. In the process of looking for him, she guest-stars in a bunch of other heroes’ comics, and they help her.

I should note that my first encounter with Zatanna was during the ponytail-and-elf-shoes period when she joined the Justice League, and it was many years before I actually encountered the fishnet-wearing version of the character. Maybe it was the elf boots, but I really didn’t care for Zatanna during her early JLA days. Had I been reading DC comics when these stories originally appeared, I might have been more enthusiastic about her admission to the League, if only to hope that she’d return to her original costume.

Anderson’s work has also been collected in a number of those too-rich-for-my-blood DC Archives books and probably in some of the cheaper, black-and-white Showcase Presents… paperbacks.

One Response to Birthday book: Zatanna’s Search

  1. Julia L. says:

    The Starman/Black Canary teamups in Brave & the Bold have been collected in the Black Canary Archives.

    Murphy Anderson’s artwork is also on display in the Hawkman Showcase volumes.

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