Cave and pals versus a typical menace. Artist: Lee Elias.


Medium: Comic Books
Published by: DC Comics
First Appeared: 1960
Creators: France Herron (writer) and Bruno Premiani (artist)
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During the late 1950s and most of the '60s, DC Comics gave a majority of its new series concepts test runs before putting them on the regular schedule. This resulted in a few …

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… spectacular successes (e.g., The Flash, Green Lantern, The Justice League of America), many reasonably decent successes (Hawkman, Challengers of the Unknown, Space Ranger) and the occasional failure (Suicide Squad, G.I. Joe, The Maniaks). Of the failures, the one they tried hardest with was Cave Carson.

"Cave Carson: Inside Earth" was introduced in The Brave & the Bold #31 (September, 1960). This title had started out in swashbuckling adventure (The Viking Prince was an early star), but by that time had been converted to try-outs for new series. (It spent most of its later existence as a vehicle for teaming Batman with practically everybody else.) In that initial outing, the writer was France Herron (Captain Marvel Jr.) and the artist was Bruno Premiani (Doom Patrol).

Calvin "Cave" Carson was a spelunker who built what he called The Mighty Mole, a vehicle that looked like a sports car with a screw a couple of feet across mounted in front, by which it could drill through miles of solid rock. His passengers in the Mole were Bulldozer Smith, Johnny Blake and Christie Madison — the usual leader, tough guy sidekick, young guy, and woman, just like Rip Hunter's outfit, The Sea Devils, and other contemporary comic book adventuring teams. This one had a variation — Bulldozer brought along his pet lemur, Lena.

They were back in the next two issues of Brave & Bold, and Herron was back to write the stories. But the second was drawn by Bernard Baily (The Spectre), and the third by Mort Meskin (Vigilante). No conclusive go-ahead signals were discerned from this run, so DC gave him a couple more issues, this set written by Bob Haney (Metamorpho). Joe Kubert (Sgt. Rock) drew #40 and, in the only instance of a repeat artist in those five Brave & Bold issues, Meskin in #41. Despite the exotic setting, they tended to clash with the same sort of adversaries as most other DC characters of the time, i.e., dinosaurs and aliens (tho they did eschew talking gorillas). Again, they didn't move out into a regular series.

Cave Carson seemed like a dead issue for the next couple of years, but he was brought back in DC's other try-out title, Showcase, which had just had a long string of successes, including Aquaman, The Atom and Metal Men. Cave and crew appeared in #s 48, 49 and 52, ranging from February through October, 1964. Despite the relative advantage of a consistent creative team (Haney with artist Lee Elias of Firehair), after three trial runs in two different titles, spread out over more than four years, he never did qualify for a series of his own.

And then he was forgotten for 20 years. In 1984, DC brought him (but not his team-mates) back, along with Congorilla, The Immortal Man and a few others who had suffered the same fate, and called the group The Forgotten Heroes. They had a couple of adventures, including, inevitably, fighting a group called The Forgotten Villains, and then fulfilled their obvious destiny by being forgotten.


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Text ©2005-07 Donald D. Markstein. Art © DC Comics.