Holy Rankings! The Top 10 Villains from the 60’s Batman Series!

Atomic batteries to power.  Turbines to speed.

T.V. shows from the 60’s hold a special place in my heart, and none more than the ’66-’68 Batman series with its gloriously colorful, over-the-top villains. Apparently, doing a guest spot on the show was such a blast that producers had big name actors lining up for a shot to chew up the scenery.  Over the course of its three season run, the show featured roughly three dozen villains (and variations thereof including three version of Mr. Freeze, three Catwomans [if you count the movie], and two and a half Riddlera [I say a half because in addition to Frank Gorshin and John Astin’s portrayals, stage veteran Maurice Evans was brought in to play the role of the suspiciously similar Puzzler following Gorshin’s departure].

Anyway, this is one of those classic shows that you can still re-watch and enjoy, this time as an adult with a whole new level of appreciation.   There’s so much to love, from Adam West’s gloriously straight-laced Batman to that insanely convenient utility belt to those incredibly manic villains.

These were my Top 10 Favorites…

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#10 – Shame (Cliff Robertson)

I ain’t all bad.  Just mostly.

Unlike most of Batman’s villains, Shame was a bit of an imbecile and that, I suppose, is what made him somewhat sympathetic.  Decades later, Robertson would return to the world of comics, playing Peter Parker’s uncle Ben in one of the innumerable big screen features.

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#9 – Bookworm (Roddy McDowall)

“Now the fact is that our bats have flown the belfry, unaccountably still squeaking.”

Not only was he a literary-themed villain, but he was played by Roddy McDowall, star of my favorite film series at the time, The Planet of Apes.  You get the sense McDowall truly relished his delightfully low-key performance (Well, certainly restrained in comparison to many of the other big screen greats who graced the Bat set).

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#8 – Mr. Freeze (Otto Preminger)

“Batman, but–but you were supposed to be a famous frostie freezie by now!”

Sure, the series boasted a slew of outlandish casting coups, from Liberace to Tallulah Bankhead, but one of the wildest was famed director Otto Preminger who positively revels in the role of the villainous Mr. Freeze (changed from the originally conceived Mr. Zero).  Rumor has it, however, that his demanding nature made the behind-the-scenes interactions with co-stars a little…chilly.

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#7. Catwoman (Earth Kitt)

“Karate isn’t effective unless accompanied by yelling. Let him howl until he springs a vocal cord, then get him!”

While she wasn’t the first actress to play the feline-themed seductress, she certainly sunk her claws into the role and made it her own.  Some southern affiliates objected to the casting and threatened not to broadcast her episodes to which the producers responded: “We don’t care.”

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#6 – Egghead (Vincent Price)

“Please, please, Miss Bacon. All of you are approximately the right age, in your early thirties, but I have eliminated you, Mr. Tyler, because you are lefthanded. No, the Caped Crusader is not portsider, and you, Mr. Savage, are out because of your accent. So aside from a couple of aging rock-and-roll singers, you, Mr. Wayne, are the only Gotham city millionaire who is athletically inclined with eggsessive agility. Therefore, you must be Batman!”

As someone who grew up on Hammer horror films, seeing Vincent Price guest on my favorite t.v. show was a real treat.  Yet another actor who really makes the most of his onscreen presence, Price was said to have loved the series which he considered well ahead of its time.

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#5 – Penguin (Burgess Meredith)

“Politics is wonderful! I can use all my lowest, slurpiest tricks, but now they’re legal! I should have been a politician years ago!”

Meredith (who took on the role after both Mickey Rooney and Spencer Tracy turned it down) holds the record for most villainous appearances in the series at a whopping 20 episodes.  The actor freely admitted his bird imitation was decidedly more duck than penguin (due to the fact that the smoke from his “prop” cigarette irritated his throat), but that trademark Waugh! Waugh! Waugh! became as essential a part of his character as his umbrella.

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#4 – King Tut (Victor Buono)

“It isn’t that I love you any less, Batman, simply that I love me more.”

Buono delivers a tour de force performance as the Professor-turned-King-of-Egypt going from zero to one hundred and back multiple times over multiple scenes.  I imagine filming his episodes must have been a hell of a lot of fun.  According to Buono: “Batman allowed me to do what actors are taught never to do, overact”.

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#3 – Catwoman (Julie Newmar)

“If you pick the right door, I’m yours, Batman. If you pick the wrong door, you’re mine. So which is it, Batman? The lady or the tiger?”

My first true t.v. crush.  She always struck me as one of Batman’s most formidable villains.   The fact she could wield a whip certainly helped cement that impression. According to Newmar, she was going to turn down the role only to have her brother, and his friends from Harvard, convince her to take it because it was their favorite show.

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#2 – Joker (Cesar Romero)

“Uh, Susie, Sweetie.  A special extra bonus.  A half pint bottle of the most exquisite Canadian perfume.”

Yeah, yeah.  Many other actors have portrayed the clown prince of crime on the big and small screen, but nostalgia makes it hard for me to love anyone else in the role.  Apparently, Frank Sinatra loved the character so much that he threw his hat in the ring in the event Romero ever grew tired of playing the Joker.  Still, as much as I loved Romero, his decision NOT to shave his mustache for the role (requiring a heavy application of make-up that never really held up in close-ups) kept his character from taking top spot.

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#1 – Riddler (Frank Gorshin)

With money, who needs friends?

Gorshin left the show after its first season due to a contract dispute, but returned for its third, garnering an Emmy nomination for his memorable performance and turning a relatively (at the time) obscure comic book villain into a formidable Bat-foe.  He apparently developed his character’s high-pitched laugh at Hollywood parties – and that laugh was won him the role.

Agree?  Disagree?  Weigh in with your opinions, Bat-readers!

February 13, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

These were my favorites…

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Amazing Spider-Man #15 (cover art by Paolo Rivera)

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Criminal #2 (cover art by Sean Phillips, Jacob Phillips)

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Gideon Falls #11 (cover art by Moritat, Mico Suayan)

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House of Whispers #6 (cover art by Sean A. Murray, Maika Sozo)

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Immortal Hulk vol. 2: The Green Door (cover art by Alex Ross)

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Infinity Wars (cover art by Mike Deodato Jr.)

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Infinity Warps: Two-In-One (cover art by Humberto Ramos)

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Justice League Dark #8 (cover art by Brad Anderson, Raul Fernandez, Alvaro Martinez)

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Marvel Tales: Black Widow #1 (cover art by Jen Bartel)

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The Punisher #8 (cover art by Greg Smallwood)

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Titans #8 (cover art by Blond, Mico Suayan)

And you?

 

January 16, 2019: This Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

These were my favorites…

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Agent 47: Birth of the Hitman vol. 1 (cover art by Jonathan Lau)

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Fantastic Four #6 (cover art by Esad Ribic)

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Gideon Falls #6 (cover art by Andrea Sorrentino)

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Penny Dreadful: The Awaking: Artist’s Edition (cover art by Jesus Hervas)

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Transformers: Historia (cover art by Sara Pitre-Durocher)

So, which were your favorites?

January 9, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

These were my favorites…

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Blackbird #4 (cover art by Jen Bartel)

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Miles Morales: Spider-Man #2 (cover art by Marco D’Alfonso)

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Self/Made #2 (cover art by Marcelo Costa, Eduardo Ferigato)

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Star Wars: Age of the Republic – Jango Fett #1 (cover art by Paolo Rivera)

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Star Wars: Doctor Aphra, vol. 4 – The Catastrophe Con (cover art by Ashley Witter)

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The Dreaming #5 (cover art by June Chung, Jae Lee)

So, which were YOUR favorites?

Finally, check out the premiere of Robert C. Cooper’s Unspeakable (starring Michael Shanks) tonight at 9 p.m. on CBC –

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https://www.tv-eh.com/2019/01/08/unspeakable-cbc-miniseries-revisits-canadas-tainted-blood-scandal/

 

January 2, 2019: Best Comic Book Covers of the Week!

Returning to our regularly scheduling programming with this week’s best comic book covers!

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Michael Turners Fathom: Swimsuit 1999 (cover art by Michael Turner)

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Immortal Hulk #11 (cover art by Alex Ross)

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Iron Fist: Phantom Limb (cover art by Khoi Pham)

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Killmonger #3 (cover art by Juan E. Ferreyra)

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Project Superpowers vol. 2 #5 (cover art by Francesco Mattina)

So, which were your favorites?

Best Comic Books of 2018!

I read 88 graphic novels and countless comic books in 2018.  These were my favorites…

Mister Miracle by Tom King and Mitch Gerards

Scott Free is the greatest escape artist who ever lived. So great, he escaped Granny Goodness’ gruesome orphanage and the dangers of Apokolips to travel across galaxies and set up a new life on Earth with his wife, Big Barda. Using the stage alter ego of Mister Miracle, he has made quite a career for himself showing off his acrobatic escape techniques. He even caught the attention of the Justice League, who has counted him among its ranks.

You might say Scott Free has everything–so why isn’t it enough? Mister Miracle has mastered every illusion, achieved every stunt, pulled off every trick–except one. He has never escaped death. Is it even possible? Our hero is going to have to kill himself if he wants to find out.

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

The multiple Eisner Award-winning series returns with a spacefaring adventure about fake news and genuine terror. Get ready for the most shocking, most impactful SAGA storyline yet.

Friendo by Alex Paknadel and Martin Simmonds

Leo wasn’t allowed toys as a kid, but now that he’s all grown up he’s going to take yours. He used to play by the rules, but then governments and corporations set fire to the rules and still expected him to behave. He probably would have if it hadn’t been for his new friend Jerry. See, Jerry isn’t human; he’s a personalised marketing VR… and he’s malfunctioning.

Monstress by Marjorie M. Lai and Sana Takeda

Maika has spent most of her life learning how to fight, but how will she fare when the only way to save her life… is to make friends?

Spider-Men II by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli

The sequel five years in the making! The first time the Amazing Peter Parker and the Ultimate Miles Morales met, things ended with a question – who is the Miles Morales of the Marvel Universe?! Now that the Miles you know and love shares a world with Peter in the mainstream MU, you’re finally going to get that answer! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…because as the mystery deepens, the wall-crawling wonders will be targeted by Taskmaster! 

Cyanide & Happiness: A Guide To Parenting By Three Guys With No Kids by Kris Wilson, Rob Denbleyker, and Dave McElfatrick

Finally, a definitive and reliable manual that demystifies the complicated world of parenting while delivering crucial tips and sage advice—all from three guys who make comics instead of children. This informative guide for breeders tackles all the big parenting issues: Finding messages in your alphabet soup, drawing the perfect hand turkey, getting away with kidnapping, telling your kids you don’t love them anymore, and making out with your kid’s best friend’s dad.

The Fix by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber

Roy makes a big breakthrough in his murder investigation, while Mac is out for justice.

Wasted Space by Michael Moreci and Hayden Sherman

“Billy Bane is a prophet who got it all wrong, and the galaxy has been burning ever since. All he wants is to waste away in the darkest corner of space with his best pal Dust, a supercharged Fuq bot. But when a new prophet comes calling, Billy is summoned to save the galaxy he’s at least partially responsible for destroying. 

All the Answers by Michael Kupperman

In this moving graphic memoir, Eisner Award-winning writer and artist Michael Kupperman traces the life of his reclusive father—the once-world-famous Joel Kupperman, Quiz Kid. That his father is slipping into dementia—seems to embrace it, really—means that the past he would never talk about might be erased forever.

Joel Kupperman became one of the most famous children in America during World War II as one of the young geniuses on the series Quiz Kids. With the uncanny ability to perform complex math problems in his head, Joel endeared himself to audiences across the country and became a national obsession. Following a childhood spent in the public eye, only to then fall victim to the same public’s derision, Joel deliberately spent the remainder of his life removed from the world at large.

With wit and heart, Michael Kupperman presents a fascinating account of mid-century radio and early television history, the pro-Jewish propaganda entertainment used to counteract anti-Semitism, and the early age of modern celebrity culture.

Hot Lunch Special by Eliot Rahal, Jorge Fornes, and Mike Marts

A midwestern noir series set in the harsh landscape of the northern Minnesota Iron Range―Hot Lunch Special is all about family, food and the fight for survival. 

The Khourys are a classic immigrant success story: A fractious and quarrelsome Lebanese family who carved their slice of the American Dream by becoming the largest distributors of vending machine sandwiches in the upper northern Midwest.

Unfortunately, the Khourys gains have been ill-gotten and a branch of the Chicago Irish Mob has come back to collect a past debt. Fealty is demanded, shots are fired, and long-hidden family secrets are fully revealed. Now, Dorothy Khoury, the daughter of the family patriarch is forced to unite her splintered bloodline and fight back.

Only one question is worth asking…is blood thicker than sandwiches?

Infidel by Pornsak Pichetshote and Aaron Campbell

A haunted house story for the 21st century, INFIDEL follows an American Muslim woman and her multi-racial neighbors who move into a building haunted by entities that feed off xenophobia. 

My Boyfriend is a Bear by Pamela Ribon and Cat Farris

The delightful story of Nora who, after a succession of terrible boyfriends, finds a much happier relationship with a 500-pound American black bear. 

November 14, 2018: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

These were my favorites…

Cyber Force #7 (cover art by Atilio Rojo)

Dark Ark #11 (cover art by Juan Doe)

Darth Vader #23 (cover art by Giuseppe Camuncoli)

Domino #8 (cover art by Gang Hyuk Lim)

Elves vol. 21: Rebirth (cover art by Kyko Duarte, Olivier Heban)

Gideon Falls #8 (cover art by Andrea Sorrentino, Dave Stewart, Mico Suayan)

Marvels: The Remastered Edition (cover art by Alex Ross)

Ms. Marvel #36 (cover art by Valerio Schiti)

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #26 (cover art by Ashley Witter)

So, which were your faves?

 

October 31, 2018: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

These were my favorites…

Avengers Halloween Special #1 (cover art by Geoff Shaw)

Black Panther #5 (cover art by Daniel Acuna, Paolo Rivera)

Multiple Man #5 (cover art by Marcos Martin)

Tony Stark: Iron Man #5 (cover art by Alexander Lozano)

Weapon X Vol. 4: Russian Revolution (cover art by Rahzzah)

What If? Magik #1 (cover art by Jeff Dekal)

So, which were your favorites?

October 24, 2018: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

These were my favorite comic book covers of the week…

Batgirl #28 (cover art by Mattie Hollingsworth, Sean Murphy, Julian Totino Tedesco)

Books of Magic #1 (cover art by Kai Carpenter)

Incidentals #13 (cover art by Ryan Brown)

Isola, vol. 1 (cover art by MSASSYK, Karl Kerschl)

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #25 (cover art by Ashley Witter)

So, which was your favorite?

October 10, 2018: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

These were my favorite comic book covers of the week…

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Catwoman #4 (cover art by Laura Allred, Joelle Jones)

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Domino #7 (cover art by Gang Hyuk Lim)

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Elric: The White Wolf #2 (cover art by Gary Jamroz Palma)

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Immortal Hulk #7 (cover art by Alex Ross)

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My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies (cover art by Sean Phillips)

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Heart of Darkness (cover art by Catherine Anyango)

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Apollo (cover art by Mike Collins)

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Supergirl #23 (cover art by Rachel Dodson, Terry Dodson, Stanley “Artgerm” Lau)

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Beauty #24 (cover art by Nick Filardi, Jeremy Haun, Thomas Nachlik)

So, which were your favorites?

October 3, 2018: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

These are my favorite comic book covers of the week!

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Death of the Inhumans #4 (cover art by Kaare Kyle Andrews)

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Spawn #290 (cover art by Francesco Mattina, Todd McFarlane, Philip Tan)

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The Superior Octopus #1 (cover art by Chris Achilleos)

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Taarna #3 (cover art by Chris Achilleos)

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The Dead Hand, vol. 1 (cover art by Jordie Bellaire, Stephen Mooney)

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The Dreaming #2 (cover art by June Chung, Jae Lee)

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The Wicked + The Divine, vol. 7 (cover art by Jamie McKelvie, Matthew Wilson)

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Unknown 9: Archives Preview (cover art by June Chung, Jae Lee)

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Weapon X #24 (cover art by Rahzzah)

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What If?  X-Men #1 (cover art by Rahzzah)

So which were your favorites?

September 26, 2018: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

These were my favorite comic book covers of the week…

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Action Comics #1003 (cover art by Patrick Gleason, Alejandro Sanchez)

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Domino Annual #1 (cover art by Greg Land)

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Doomsday Clock #7 (cover art by Brad Anderson, Gary Frank)

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Friendo #1 (cover art by Martin Simmonds)

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Heroes in Crisis (cover art by Clay Mann, Tomeu Morey)

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Justice League Odyssey #1 (cover art by Stjepan Sejic)

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Wasted Space vol. 1 (cover art by Hayden Sherman)

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Wonder Woman #55 (cover art by David Yardin)

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You Are Deadpool (cover art by Rahzzah)

So, which were your favorites?

September 19, 2018: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

These were my favorites…

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Amazing Spider-Man: Red Goblin (cover art by Alex Ross)

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Aphrodite V #3 (cover art by Jeff Spokes)

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FutureQuake vol. 25 (cover art by Conor Boyle, Bruno Stahl)

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Mister Miracle #11 (cover art by Nick Derington)

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Multiple Man #4 (cover art by Marcos Martin)

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Nightwing #49 (cover art by Dave McCaig, Mike Perkins)

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September Mourning vol. 1 (cover art by Marc Silvestri)

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Seven To Eternity #11 (cover art by Bengal, Matt Hollingsworth, Jerome Opena)

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Star Wars: Lando – Double Or Nothing #5 (cover art by W. Scott Forbes)

So, which were YOUR favorites?