Hawkman And The Atom #43: "Come To My Hanging!"

Hawkman And The Atom #43
"Come To My Hanging!"
June - July, 1969

Script: Gardner Fox
Art: Murphy Anderson
Letterer: Ben Oda

Hawkman is chasing a raven through the thick fog over London -- where the
bird begins to laugh at him near Big Ben.  Upon closer inspection, it
turns out that the bird is -- stuffed, but the laughter continues
unabated.  Perched on the little hand of Big Ben, the Gentleman Ghost is
amused by his own jest, and Hawkman is determined to prove that his foe
is far from being supernatural --

BAM  BLAM  The Gentleman Ghost's highwayman-pistols are used to make
certain that the Thanagarian policeman no longer has a ghost of a chance.
If there is no such thing as a ghost, then why is Hawkman resting so
still as if in death?  Do ghosts exist?  In this day and age, can such a
strange being appear, where others are governed by natural laws?  The
ghostly secrets seen therein will not be proved or disapproved.  Listen
-- as the Gentleman Ghost will cry out -- "Come To My Hanging!"

As the ghost without a face continues to mock his fallen foe -- the scene
shifts to the England of one hundred and fifty years ago -- when
Gentleman Jim Craddock terrorized the back roads...  BLAM  BLAM  Once he
has completed a robbery, the gentleman always tipped his hat at his
victims.  The seemingly invincible highwayman has but one weakness...
After finishing a meal, Gentleman Jim sought to partake of the maid's
sweet lips for dessert, but Kate had betrayed him to the law.

The highwayman was to be executed at Margate Square... where he vowed to
those watching that he would return, and steal their valuables.
Gentleman Jim Craddock felt the trap door release beneath his feet -- the
noose around his neck tightened -- and the highwayman was hurled down
towards a blinding burst of light.  After emerging through the rift, he
finds himself as a faceless spirit in the present-day.  The Gentleman
Ghost soon fades into the fog... biding his time before resuming his
highwayman career.

The authorities of Paris, Rome, and Madrid are perplexed by this
mysterious thief, who announces his intended targets, and who manages to
elude them each time.  In the museum of Midway City, Curator Carter Hall
listens as his wife, Shiera reminds him that they have come from Thanagar
to learn about the Earth police methods of operation.  With such a
strange criminal confounding law-enforcement -- Hawkman is determined to
prove that the Gentleman Ghost is neither ghost nor a gentleman.  As the
duo take to the sky, Hawkman is confident that there must be an
explanation for the seeming supernatural, and Hawkgirl believes that the
supernatural may be the explanation.  Since the Gentleman Ghost enjoys in
perplexing the authorities, they are aware that his next target will be
the Bristol Bank at Trafalgar Square.  When Hawkgirl suggests that this
may be a ruse, Hawkman is confident that the Ghost will be there, and so
will they.

The Gentleman Ghost and his hired hoods are keeping the Bobbies at bay --
beneath the monument of Nelson.  Two figures detach themselves from the
monument, and hurl themselves at the criminals.  The crooks open fire,
but are unable to wing them.

The Thanagarian policeman delivers punch after punch with tornado-like
precision... and finds that the hoods are solid enough to fall beneath
his fists.

HA  HA  HA  HA  When he turns, Hawkman sees that Hawkgirl has been taken
prisoner by the Gentleman Ghost.  She wants him to stop the Ghost, but is
covered by a spectral pistol.  Not willing to take the chance of her
being harmed, he can only watch as the hoods take Hawkgirl away.
Although they have gone, their leader has chosen to remain behind.
Hawkman clenches his fist and prepares to deliver a punch to the Ghost's
unseen face.  HA HA HA HA HA  The Gentleman Ghost has once again
disappeared into thin air, but he has left a tape record inside of his
cane.  His seeming trickery has been uncovered by the
scientifically-minded lawman.

Hawkman removes the lustrometer from his belt, and uses the Thanagarian
device to find the tire marks left by their getaway car -- which soon
glow beneath the instrument's emanations.  The trail leads the
Thanagarian policeman to the Gentleman Ghost -- and Hawkgirl.  Within the
Tower of London, the ghostly highwayman proves to be no gentleman, as he
tries to steal a kiss from the struggling heroine.  A window opens... and
Hawkman has caught up with the gang.

He thinks that the Tower of London would be a fitting place for the gang
to be imprisoned.  The Gentleman Ghost has fled through the window,
leaving Hawkgirl without her wings -- and Hawkman anxious to prove that
he is far from being a ghost.  Outside, the only thing in view is a black
raven.  CROAAAAK... CROAAAAK... Believing it to be a challenge from the
Ghost, Hawkman follows it -- and at 4:10 AM... the trail ends at Big Ben.
HA HA HA HA HA!  Hawkman is resting atop the big hand, while the
Gentleman Ghost stands on the little hand.

Even a ghost can be amazed when the Thanagarian policeman shifts his
weight and causes the minute hand to fall towards him.  He has ducked
before the shot was fired.  Hawkman has proven to be a worthy adversary
for the Gentleman Ghost.  HA HA HA  The laughter continues as the ghost
of Gentleman Jim Craddock falls from the clock.  Before Hawkman can catch
up to the falling figure, he learns from Hawkgirl that it was only a
projected image, and the real Ghost has already made his escape.

Hawkgirl demands to know why her husband and partner would leave her in
danger.  The Thanagarian lawman knew that he could have saved her at any
time, but he had wanted to find where the Ghost had stashed his loot.
After finding the tape recorder and movie projector, he is convinced that
Gentleman Jim is flesh and blood as they are.  All Katar Hol wants now is
a kiss from his wife, but we know that the secrets of the Gentleman Ghost
are far from being over.

On the cover of The Atom And Hawkman #43 by Joe Kubert, the Gentleman
Ghost has gotten a horse, and has hoofed it over Hawkman.

Edgar Allan Poe had written that "quoth the raven: nevermore," but this
particular bird continued to croak.

Both Hawkman and the Gentleman Ghost found themselves on the clock when
it came to this particular meeting in the Silver Age.

The Thangarian policeman gets to rest for a minute, while Gentleman Jim
Craddock gets to relive his origin, and Katar soon uses his weight later
in the story.

Even after a hearty meal, the highwayman wanted to check out the dish for

Not one to leave them hanging, the Gentleman Ghost soon found himself in
a different place and time.

Katar Hol and Shayera Thal were the Mulder and Scully of the Silver Age.

The Ghost was sharp with his pistols when he and his gang did the Bristol

Even armed hoods would have difficulty in winging the Hawks.

On page 7, Hawkman uses his fist, his feet, and his mace to test the
gang's solidarity.

Hawkgirl is taken prisoner rather easily by the Gentleman Ghost.
Hopefully she would fare as well as Barmaid Kate had.

The lustrometer enables Hawkman to find the getaway car's trail, but by
the way that the Gentleman Ghost was acting with Hawkgirl, Katar should
have used the "lustometer" instead.

Gentleman Jim Craddock has got a weakness for redheads, but he has no
fear of losing face.

Although he failed to kiss her, the Ghost succeeded in "winging" her.

As with Adam Strange and Alanna, Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson made
certain that their characters would be able to share an off-panel kiss.

Steve Chung
"Come To My Reviewing!"