Monday, January 17, 2011

The All-Winners Squad - Part 1 "Menace From The Future World!"

The All-Winners Squad was the Timely Comics answer to the Justice Society of America. Timely threw together Captain America, Sub-Mariner, Human Torch, Whizzer, and Miss America to form a superhero team in the exact mode that the JSA existed.

The team existed for exactly two adventures, the first throwing them against the nuclear threat of the villain "ISBISA" whose very name was the clue to defeating him. Their next threat was Future Man and his partner Madame Death in the world-spanning adventure titled "The Riddle of the Demented Dwarf".

This is my favorite Golden Age comics story. I got hold of the second half of this adventure in the partial reprint comic Marvel Super-Heroes. The title began as Fantasy Masterpieces and reprinted old Atlas monster adventures like those of Fin Fang Foom and the lot. But then Marvel (and specifically Roy Thomas) started to mine the Golden Age material they had at their fingertips and reprinted the adventures of Sub-Mariner, Human Torch, and Captain America, as well as lesser-known heroes of decades gone by.

These individual reprints eventually resulted in the reprinting of All-Winners #19 which debuted "the All-Winners Squad". The comic was reprinted in one shebang in the tenth issue. Soon thereafter Fantasy Masterpieces was renamed Marvel Super-Heroes and became something of a hybrid comic in the flavor of DC's Showcase and new characters like Captain Marvel got a solo tryout in the book alongside other newbies like the Guardians of the Galaxy and Phantom Eagle, as well as established heroes like Medusa, Ka-Zar, and the Black Knight. They kept reprinting vintage Golden Age stories in the back too, to flesh out the twenty-five cent packages.

The book didn't last long in this format before reverting completely to reprints, this time vintage Marvel era material. But before that happened the second All-Winners adventure from All-Winners #21 was reprinted in two issues, specially issues #17 and #18.

The story has never been reprinted again since.

I was hopeful that when the first All-Winners Squad story got the reprint nod a decade ago, that they'd at last get the second one reprinted under one cover, but alas it was not to be. So this landmark and rather exciting Golden Age classic has only to this point been available in the original and in its broken two-part reprint form. Eventually they'll get around to it in the Masterpiece format I guess, but they haven't gotten to it yet.

But here's a treat. Over the next week, I plan to serialize this great adventure here. The saga will be presented one lush chapter at a time in a form that really suits it given its vintage serial feel.

So enjoy the "Menace from the Future World", written by Otto Binder and drawn by Al Avison and Charles Nicholas.

Return next time for a Captain America and Bucky adventure as they confront "The Green Plague".

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  1. A cruel whim of fate separated me from my copies of Marvel Super-Heroes #17 and 18 many decades ago (and I never managed to replace them) so this is very much like getting reacquainted with an old friend. Many thanks for that!

  2. Those were magnificent comics. MSH was a masterpiece for a young reader, new sizzling stuff in the front and vintage greatness in the back. For a quarter it was a trove of fun. I'm trading off some of my comics right now, but I don't think I'll ever trade my MSH issues. Too many glorious memories!

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