Tag Archives: Eclipse Comics

MASKED MAN: STORY TWELVE

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of B.C. Boyer’s neglected 1980s superhero the Masked Man. For Part One click HERE 

Eclipse Monthly 10ECLIPSE MONTHLY Vol 1 #10 (July 1984)

Title: Frank Capra Memorial Hospital

Villains: Six armed and masked assassins

Synopsis: This was the final issue of Eclipse Monthly, which got canceled. The Masked Man was the most popular character in the anthology magazine and he graduated to his own solo title after this. Doug Wildey’s iconic old west gunslinger Rio was also featured in this issue along with Jetta Sixx, Wayne Truman’s heroic female pilot.

Masked Man downTrue to his word, the Masked Man (Dick Carstairs) has been at the side of Maggie Brown (his emerging love interest) each step of the way for her therapy. She is still at Frank Capra Memorial Hospital learning to cope with her new blindness following her injuries during our hero’s battle with the Joe Manfredi Gang last time around. Continue reading

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MASKED MAN: STORY ELEVEN

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of B.C. Boyer’s neglected 1980s superhero the Masked Man. For Part One click HERE

Eclipse 9ECLIPSE MONTHLY Vol 1 #9 (June 1984)

Title: Goodbye

Villains: The Joe Manfredi Gang 

Synopsis: The Masked Man shared this issue of Eclipse Monthly with the sword & sorcery trio Steel, Stealth and Magic (cover art) and the old west gunslinger Rio.

The story opens at the offices of The Daily Horn newspaper a day or two after the attack by the Architectural Terrorists. The staff is still grinding out their daily paper while repairs are done to all the damage inflicted during last issue’s battle.

Masked Man faceThe Masked Man (Dick Carstairs) is on-hand as Editor-In-Chief J Judah Johnson (a pastiche of J Jonah Jameson) assigns our hero’s reporter friend Barney McAllister to scour the city to see if any more members of the Architectural Terrorists are still at large. Continue reading

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MASKED MAN: STORY TEN

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of B.C. Boyer’s neglected 1980s superhero the Masked Man. For Part One click HERE 

Eclipse Monthly 8ECLIPSE MONTHLY Vol 1 #8 (May 1984)

Title: Phantom Man

Villains: The Architectural Terrorists

Synopsis:  With Barney McAllister having withdrawn himself from his partnership with the Masked Man, our hero is instead out on patrol with reporter Dan Drekston as they search for the Architectural Terrorists who are plaguing the city.

Barney is back at the offices of the Daily Horn newspaper, where his boss J Judah Johnson (a pastiche of J Jonah Jameson) orders him to do an interview with Lenny Winchester (Denny Colt) aka the Phantom Man (The Spirit).

We’re told that Phantom Man was a famous superhero in the 1940s who fought crime in Middle City (Central City). Unlike the Spirit, who does not age thanks to Dr Cobra’s chemicals, Boyer’s homage figure Phantom Man is old and grey-haired now. His selfish son and daughter plan to send him to an old folks home if his interview with Barney doesn’t generate enough interest for a lucrative biographical book deal.

Masked Man face againAs if the Masked Man himself wasn’t already enough of a Will Eisner/ Spirit shoutout, B.C. Boyer lays on the pastiches with a trowel in this issue. Phantom Man’s late wife was Helen Doyle (Ellen Dolan), the daughter of Festus Doyle (Commissioner Dolan). His former sidekick was Blackie (Ebony). 

As the story continues we learn that this hat, suit and tie wearing masked hero’s archenemy was the Cephalopod (The Octopus) and two other members of his Rogues Gallery were called Mr Maggoty (Mr Carrion) and Swyn’ll (P’Gell). Continue reading

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MASKED MAN: STORY NINE

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of B.C. Boyer’s neglected 1980s superhero the Masked Man. For Part One click HERE

Eclipse Monthly 7ECLIPSE MONTHLY Vol 1 #7 (April 1984)

Title: Confessions

Synopsis: The Masked Man (Dick Carstairs) shared this issue of Eclipse Monthly with the new superheroine the Nightingale and the early 1800s western hero the Californio.

The relationship between our hero and his reporter friend Barney McAllister got stretched to the breaking point in this tale as the Masked Man found himself tempted by the offers from Dan Drekston. Those offers: to cash in on Masked Man merchandising, Masked Man action figures and books adapted from his adventures. 

Eclipse Monthly 6Once again, years before the overrated and overpraised Alan Moore’s work The Watchmen we see other comic book writers covering material that Moore was praised for as if he was the originator of such meta concepts. Drekston is planning a merchandising empire similar to that of Moore’s superhero Ozymandias.  Continue reading

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THE MASKED MAN: STORIES SEVEN AND EIGHT

For this superhero-crazed world Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of B.C. Boyer’s neglected 1980s superhero the Masked Man. For Part One click HERE 

Eclipse Monthly 6ECLIPSE MONTHLY Vol 1 #5 and 6

Number 5 (February 1984)

Title: The Incredible Seven

Villains: The alien Wezzarian race

Synopsis: Writer and artist B.C. Boyer used this Masked Man story to wrap up the tale from his canceled Incredible Seven series.

Masked Man faceThe Masked Man learns how the Wezzarians and their ally Rileth – really a cyborg Adolf Hitler kept alive through Wezzarian technology – were thwarted by the Incredible Seven in their attempt to conquer the Earth.

Number 6 (March 1984)

Title: The Trial

Villains: A gang of ski-masked armed robbers Continue reading

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THE MASKED MAN: STORY SIX

For this superhero-crazed world Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of B.C. Boyer’s neglected 1980s superhero the Masked Man. For Part One click HERE

Eclipse Monthly 4ECLIPSE MONTHLY Vol 1 #4 (January 1984)

Title: The Amazing Aphidman

Villain: The Organ Grinder

Masked Man full faceSynopsis: Writer and artist B.C. Boyer was wearing his Will Eisner hat more flamboyantly than ever this time around in a tale that piles on the comic relief with a shovel.

Big-time reporter Dan Drekston is still hanging around with the Masked Man (Dick Carstairs) and his friend Barney McAlister and is still threatening to blow our hero’s secret identity or to try proving he doesn’t turn over all the money or goods he recovers from robbers.   Continue reading

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THE MASKED MAN: STORY FIVE – THE BIRTH

For this superhero-crazed world Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of B.C. Boyer’s neglected 1980s superhero the Masked Man. For Part One click HERE 

Eclipse Monthly 3ECLIPSE MONTHLY Vol 1 #3 (October 1983)

Title: The Birth

Villain: The Gypsy King

Synopsis: We open on the Masked Man leaving police headquarters after just having defeated and brought in the Jackson Gang. He is being swamped by reporters asking how he subdued the entire gang, the source of his abilities, the dangers of his vigilante career, etc.

Masked Man faceAt last our hero manages to get away from the mob and heads home to the apartment of his alter ego, private detective Dick Carstairs. With him as he arrives home is his newspaper reporter friend Barney McAlister, who publicizes the Masked Man’s deeds while keeping his secret identity confidential.

Dick wants to catch some sleep, anticipating another drab day at the routine tasks of a P.I. the next day. Unfortunately, African American reporter Dan Drekston has dug up the Masked Man’s secret identity and tracked him to his apartment. Continue reading

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THE MASKED MAN: STORY FOUR – RETURN OF HIS ARCHENEMY

For this superhero-crazed world Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of B.C. Boyer’s neglected 1980s superhero the Masked Man. For Part One click HERE 

Masked Man signing autographsECLIPSE MONTHLY Vol 1 #2 (September 1983)

Title: Herbie

Villain: The enigmatic crimelord known only as “Frankie.”

Synopsis: A mentally challenged street informant named Herbie gets caught in the middle of the feud between our favorite masked vigilante and his archenemy, who is part Professor Moriarty, part Kingpin and part Octopus from The Spirit.

This fourth Masked Man story, written AND drawn by B.C. Boyer, featured the return of the hero’s mysterious crimelord nemesis known only as “Frankie” on the streets. The former boxer worked and killed his way to the top of one of the Five Families and he’s determined to stop the Masked Man’s interference with his criminal empire.

(I’d be obliged if anyone could tell me if Boyer named the crimelord “Frankie” as a shoutout to Frank Miller, who by 1983 was two years into his legendary run on Daredevil. The Masked Man’s adventures have a certain air of urban danger that often reminds me of Miller’s work. And Miller DID do some free-lance artwork for Eclipse Comics in the early 80s.)

Masked Man 2 panelsIn this issue of Eclipse Monthly, the Masked Man (Dick Carstairs) once again shared the large book with stories featuring Steve Ditko’s superhero Static and other Eclipse characters. Our hero’s friend, newspaper reporter Barney McAlister relates another of the superhero’s adventures, like Watson did with Sherlock Holmes.

Running low on leads regarding the next big cocaine shipment rumored to be hitting town soon, the Masked Man sought information from 28 year old Herbie Wilcox, a big, blonde, mentally challenged inner-city figure with a Rain Man ability to pick up on the criminal meaning of conversations taking place around him on the street. After all, why watch your mouth around such an obvious non-threat, the criminal element apparently feels.   Continue reading

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THE MASKED MAN: STORY THREE – THE BANK ROBBERY

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of B.C. Boyer’s neglected 1980s superhero the Masked Man. For Part One click HERE  

Eclipse Monthly 1ECLIPSE MONTHLY Vol 1 #1 (August 1983)

Title: The Bank Robbery

Villains: The Incognito Gang

Note: With so many other sites covering the way the BBC has decided that the Doctor “was born a poor black child” as Steve Martin once said, I am instead proceeding with this series of reviews.  

Synopsis: This 3rd Masked Man adventure was one of 5 features in the debut issue of Eclipse Monthly. B.C. Boyer’s massively underrated hero shared the gigantic magazine with the legendary Steve Ditko’s superhero called Static, Doug Wildey’s iconic gunslinger Rio and others.

The Masked Man (Dick Carstairs) wound up being the most popular character in the monthly publication and eventually graduated to his own solo series. As always, Boyer wrote AND drew the story.  

Masked Man faceThe Bank Robbery opens with a little boy named Delbert being scorned and bullied by a bunch of other boys his age. They look down their noses at Delbert until, in a desperate bid for acceptance, he tells them he “helped” the Masked Man stop a bank robbery the previous week.

We learn that the boy’s father is dead and his financially struggling mother picked him up after school the previous Friday and then took him to the bank to cash her paycheck. While she was at the counter doing just that, the six-man Incognito Gang entered, guns drawn, to rob the bank.

Each of the gang members wore colorful masks fitting for supervillains in a comic book, except for one, who wore a Groucho Marx mask. Boyer’s fun ability to blend action, dark urban danger and occasional laughs makes me wish he had written the script for the 2008 movie about Will Eisner’s hero The Spirit.      Continue reading

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THE MASKED MAN: STORY TWO – HIS CRIMELORD ARCHENEMY

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of B.C. Boyer’s neglected 1980s superhero the Masked Man. For Part One click HERE 

Eclipse 8ECLIPSE MAGAZINE Vol 1 #8 (January 1983)

Title: Frankie

Villain: Frankie the crimelord.

Synopsis: Once again the underrated B.C. Boyer writes and illustrates a tale that toys with narrative structure and with superhero themes in a way that puts the reader in mind of Will Eisner’s iconic creation The Spirit. Or in mind of the brilliant and innovative work of Ethan Van Sciver, Richard C Meyer and Jon Malin today. 

In this second story featuring the Masked Man (Dick Carstairs), his newspaper reporter friend Barney McAlister is still serving as the hero’s Doctor Watson – publicizing the figure’s adventures like Watson did with Sherlock Holmes. The masked crimefighter has been adding to his reputation by clobbering and corraling many of the city’s most violent criminals.

Masked Man pic 2Like an old west gunfighter, the Masked Man’s fame has motivated plenty of would-be tough guys in the criminal ranks to try making a name for themselves by killing him. Even a few random wackos try their hand at bumping off our hero, convinced that it will bring them notoriety and a fortune when they sell the book and movie rights to their story.   Continue reading

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