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Eclipso Pt. 9: House of Secrets #77-80

Updated: Nov 2


Title: House of Secrets

Issue #: 77

Cover Date: March/April 1966

On Sale Date: Jan. 4, 1966

Writer: Bob Haney

Artist: Jack Sparling

Editor: Jack Schiff

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The Moon Creatures

Born of the awesome forces unleashed during an eclipse, Eclipso has proved a villain of darkest hue! But now the notorious split man compounds his menace by conjuring up allies who possess powers even more startling than those of Eclipso himself! And only one man, Dr. Bruce Gordon, stands between humanity and the evil threatened by his own other identity—

Bruce Gordon voices his bitterness to Mona about the heavenly bodies that conspire against him…

The next morning, Bruce is missing. While searching for him, Mona and Dr. Bennet hear a report on the radio about an Eclipso sighting.

Eclipso loose already! But it’s not possible! The eclipse isn’t due for hours yet!

At Lunar Park, an amusement park closed for the season…

These moon creatures have only temporarily brought Eclipso to life. They must restrain Bruce in front of the real eclipse for the villain to return.

Eclipso masquerades as Bruce to lure Mona and her father into a trap…

The only three people who can possibly defeat me – who know my one weakness – are now safely out of the way! And it was so easy!

The joke’s on Eclipso, though. When “Bruce” kissed Mona, she realized his true identity and grabbed a knife. She then uses the knife to cut their ropes.

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The moon creatures interfere with the heroic trio’s attempts to stop Eclipso until Bruce orchestrates another trick…

Eclipso’s gone… gone until the next time the heavens call him forth to fulfill his dark destiny!

Title: House of Secrets

Issue #: 78

Cover Date: May/June 1966

On Sale Date: March 1, 1966

Writer: Bob Haney

Artist: Jack Sparling

Editor: Jack Schiff

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Monster Eclipso

Born of nature’s most mysterious and awesome event – the solar eclipse – Eclipso has blazed a trail of evil through a score of fantastic adventures! But now fate takes a bizarre twist – even for the most bizarre villain of our time –

As people all over the world question the identity of Eclipso, Dr. Bruce Gordon enters a titanium steel cubicle because an eclipse is coming and…

It’s “freak” time again!

Afterwards, Dr. Bennet and Mona expect Bruce to exit the “hot box.” Instead, it’s Eclipso and he explains how he did it:

Days pass and there’s no news of Eclipso. Then, our heroes deduce he might be in England where another eclipse is approaching.

Arriving in London, Bruce and company deduce that Eclipso might make his appearance at the Tower of London. They are correct. However, when the eclipse happens…

Bruce, Mona, and Dr. Bennet track Eclipso to Stonehenge where tossing a light grenade has no effect on the monster.

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It seems Eclipso-beast is re-arranging the stones to find the legendary treasure of Stonehenge. However, the underground glow transforms him back to Eclipso so a light grenade can return him to Bruce’s body. Don’t understand what happened? Neither does Mona:

Title: House of Secrets

Issue #: 79

Cover Date: July/Aug 1966

On Sale Date: May 3, 1966

Writer: Bob Haney, Bernard Baily

Artist: Jack Sparling

Editor: Jack Schiff

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The Master of Yesterday & Tomorrow

You readers demanded it, and all the dimensions of the unknown commanded it – the return match between Prince Ra-Man and Eclipso! The two titans of the occult continue their knock-down drag-out epic battle, with the fate of the world at stake, when time itself is challenged…

Eclipso tricks Whitey Hargrave into revealing where the Circlet of Circe is hidden, while Dr. Bruce Gordon, Mona, and her father, Dr. Bennet are searching for him. They happen to find him, but…

Soon after, Prince Ra-Man also has an encounter with Eclipso in which he escapes, leaving the hero to wonder what the villain plans to do with both the circlet and the Gorgas Ring (which he already had… I don’t know where he got it.)

If my hunch is correct, Hargrave, it means the circlet and ring have given Eclipso much more than just the power to predict the future…

…but he can’t reveal what the rest of his new power is until he’s certain.

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Eclipso appears on televisions “all over” to announce that unless certain conditions are met by 9:00 AM tomorrow, there will be an attack of pterodactyls in the city.

When Prince Ra-Man defeats the pterodactyls by combining balloon fish with magic, Eclipso activates a solar robot from the Hall of Science.

Even by concentrating with the energy of the six-sided sun that is the source of his strength, Prince Ra-Man has difficulty stopping a robot that is growing. Therefore, he takes a different tactic…

Knowing that the robot’s destruction could kill Bruce Gordon, which means killing himself, Eclipso is forced into cooperating with Prince Ra-Man. They destroy the robot by harnessing a meteor, but…

Title: House of Secrets

Issue #: 80

Cover Date: Sept/Oct 1966

On Sale Date: July 5, 1966

Writer: Bob Haney

Artist: Jack Sparling

Editor: Jack Schiff

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The Giant Eclipso

The world has often trembled before the menaces unleashed by that unique man of evil, Eclipso – and always his other self, Dr. Bruce Gordon, had defeated him! But now the master of darkness raises the stakes and, in a fantastic brain-curdling adventure, lets loose the staggering, awesome attack of three massive mutants from the past…

At a small airfield, Bruce Gordon and Professor Bennet witness Eclipso steal a plane.

Bruce is prepared to play a trump card…

When they unleash “Big Boy” on Eclipso, though, the villain is able to take control of him. They unleash three other giants from another time…

Ultimately, Bruce uses the powdered form of the rock that imprisoned the three giants to turn them against “Big Boy,” giving Bruce the opportunity to pull Eclipso back into his body. Professor Bennet says…

It was brilliant thinking, Bruce boy! Too bad you couldn’t have rid yourself forever of Eclipso, too!

Notes

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Hot off his appearance in The Brave & the Bold #64, Eclipso returns to House of Secrets #77. The Moon Creatures is another fun story with tricks, twists, and turns. I don’t have much specific to say about it other than it’s a lot of fun.

...

The letters page return sin House of Secrets #78, and so does the praise for Eclipso. Leonard Tirado from Saratoga Springs, N.T. writes:

This character is as good as ever, perhaps more so, and still is novel and different in its idea, characterization, and presentation. The addition of a “good” Eclipso is a fine one, and I hope to see more of this Eclipso in contrast to his evil self.

G.A. Fuller from Indianapolis, IN writes, and the editor responds:

I would like to see more stories in which Prince Ra-Man meets Eclipso.
Many, many more letters like the one above came in, and we hope to have another full-length adventure in our next issue.

According to the cover of House of Secrets #79, we asked for it, so the issue gives us “another double-barreled book-length novel!"

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I love the checkerboard banner at the top of the DC comics of this era! Therefore, how could I not love this panel that occupies the bottom of one of the House of Secrets #79 pages:

On the letters page, Bernard Falls from San Francisco, CA writes, and the editor responds:

The only thing I really can complain about is that you don’t have Eclipso on the cover any more, except for the two-parter, Helio the Sun Demon. How about having more Eclipso covers?
It’s true we featured Prince Ra-Man for several issues in a row – that was because we were launching a “new” character, in a sense. But we did start again with an Eclipso cover in our last issue and we’ll try to alternate them. How about it fans? What do you think?

This group of issues also features the return of Direct Currents, which provides highlights for some of DC's upcoming comics. In House of Secrets #79, Direct Currents plugs Teen Titans #5, Showcase #64, Metamorpho #8, Green Lantern #47, and Jimmy Olsen #96, among others.

Because of how much I like the "transformation" scenes in comics, I want to share Eclipso's final return to Bruce Gordon's body in the pages of House of Secrets #80:

The end of the story includes no witty tease for future adventures; instead, simply reads “The End.”

There was no more House of Secrets until it returned nearly three years later on June 3, 1969. House of Secrets #81 (Aug./Sept. 1969) introduced the format with which I was familiar as a young comic reader:

But this isn't the end of Eclipso. He'll return over seven years after his last House of Secrets appearance in Justice League of America #109. So will we... next week!

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