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Eclipso Pt. 5: House of Secrets #68-70


Title: House of Secrets

Issue #: 68

Cover Date: Sept/Oct 1964

On Sale Date: 7-9-64

Writer: Bob Haney

Artist: Jack Sparling

Editor: Jack Schiff

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Eclipso's Deadly Doubles

At last, Bruce Gordon’s long, desperate battle to rid himself of Eclipso, his evil other self, is won! The young scientist banishes the master of darkness forever – only to open another “door” in the universe of wickedness through which pours a threat greater than Bruce has ever known…

At a scientific exposition…

Eclipso emerges, but Prof. Bennett is able to banish him with the flash of a camera.

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On the day of the real eclipse, when Eclipso splits from Bruce…

Some days later, as a strange humming fills the lab, Bruce exclaims,

Eclipso! No! It can’t be! He’s come back!

With Mona a hostage, Bruce and the professor are forced to begin work on mysterious set of plans. But they realize the real Eclipso, with Bruce’s knowledge, would need no plans. They deduce that he is still trapped in "Dimension Zero" and the plans are for a device that would allow him to return.

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Bruce enters Dimension Zero to force Eclipso to return to his body before he’s yanked back across the dimension barrier.

Later, after Bruce returns and the Eclipso duplicates have vanished…

Title: House of Secrets

Issue #: 69

Cover Date: Nov/Dec 1964

On Sale Date: 9-10-64

Writer: Bob Haney

Artist: Jack Sparling

Editor: Jack Schiff

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Wanted Eclipso Dead or Alive

Bruce Gordon is haunted by many nightmares concerning his evil other identity, Eclipso! Yet it is no bad dream – but all too real – when he is forced to join forces with an international sleuth in a fantastic manhunt after his own self.

As he’s working in the lab, a man crashes through the roof…

Bruce thinks...

It’s happened – like a nightmare coming true! A clever sleuth’s followed the trail of my evil secret identity right to me!

Cooper explains that the Octopus Gang plans to abduct and hold hostage the premier of a foreign nation, but they’ll need Eclipso’s powers to do the job… and they must stop him.

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While on board the airplane...

By the time Eclipso touches ground, he changes back into Bruce. However, he plans to split away from him “when the moon hides the sun tomorrow.”

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That’s exactly what happens, and the premiere is abducted. However, onboard the giant Eclipso float seen earlier during a local festival…

Bruce uses fireworks to force Eclipso to return to his body and the story concludes.

Title: House of Secrets

Issue #: 70

Cover Date: Jan/Feb 1965

On Sale Date: 11-12-64

Writer: Bob Haney

Artist: Jack Sparling

Editor: Jack Schiff


Bruce Gordon, Eclipso’s Ally

Dr. Bruce Gordon, in his titanic encounters with his other self, Eclipso, has always been only too aware of the difference between them – the vast gulf between good… and evil! But now a strange fate ambushes the young scientist in a South American jungle and results in a fantastic turnabout…

In the capital of a South American country, the president introduces Dr. Bruce Gordon, the American friend who will plan an atomic power plant for them. As he begins speaking, Bruce notices that a candle is actually a bomb and tosses it out the window.

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The next day, scouting locations for the power plant, Bruce is tossed from his raft and hits his head on a rock, thereby losing his memory.

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Lost in the forest, Bruce is indeed affected by the eclipse:

Bruce thanks his new friend for saving his life, causing Eclipso to think…

By keeping him under my thumb, he’ll have no chance to regain his memory and send me back into his body again! This time I’m free – really free! Marvelous!

During a skirmish in which the local army tries to stop Eclipso, a bullet grazes Bruce’s scalp, causing his memory to return. A moving battle between the two ensues on the train tracks until…

All ends well as Bruce promises to return to work on the atomic project (without Eclipso, he hopes.)

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Notes

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With House of Secrets #68, Jack Sparling takes over artist duties and offers a look that's distinctively different from Lee Elias and Alex Toth. The most striking characteristic is large panels, with fewer of them on each page. Also, the action regularly "bleeds" over into other panels or takes place outside any strict four-border panels.

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However, Eclipso also look different. He looks a little like Anthony Quinn to me:

With House of Secrets #68 and #69, Eclipso surrenders the cover to Mark Merlin and has a simple banner at the top. However, in #68 he has the lead story, not the back-up. With #70, though, Eclipso has the entire cover to himself; Mark Merlin doesn't even have a simple banner at the top.

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The stories in these issues cause me to ask some questions. For example, how many fake eclipses will Bruce Gordon accidentally stumble upon, thereby releasing Eclipso? For that matter, how many real eclipses happen each year?

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With my ongoing concerns about Eclipso hiding and finding his costume all the time, I was thrilled to see him emerge in House of Secrets #69, "costume and all." I'm a little confused, though, about the instances when Bruce transforms into Eclipso, and those when Eclipso splits from Bruce's body. I guess it depends on the requirements of the story.

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You gotta love the Eclipso float in House of Secrets #69! It's a very Batman/Joker type of thing:

Eclipso has become an international phenomenon! We've noticed that in previous issues, but in House of Secrets #70, Bruce spots a book in a shop in South America: Eclipso: Hombre Mysterioso!

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Often, the stories we read refer to shenanigans Eclipso has performed in the past when he emerged from Bruce. Imagine the things he must have done in stories that were never written!

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Finally, House of Secrets #70 is an action-packed adventure! It could take place in any DC adventure, Except for some finer details, it's not particularly tailored for Eclipso. I'm not complaining; it's exciting and fun to read.

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