Sunday, September 6, 2015

All-Star Comics - Untold Origin!

Neal Adams
The original super group just appeared in the third issue of All-Star Comics, already assembled around that iconic table, ready to disperse and face the threats which required more than one hero or at least tell one another stories of that ilk. It would take many decades, long after most fans had forgotten the Justice Society of America when we'd finally learn how they team first came together.

British reprint of the story.
In DC Special #29 we at long last get an actual origin for the Justice Society of America. This extra-length story by the then regular team  appears exactly on the off month of All-Star Comics bi-monthly schedule making it feel like a neat extra for the series.

Joe Staton and Bob Layton
We learn of an unknown mission to stop Hitler's invasion of Great Britain which is stopped when FDR gathers together Flash, Green Lantern and Batman. They are soon joined by Hawkman, Atom, Sandman, and Hourman brought to the battle by Dr. Fate who gets mystical warning of the threat. These mighty heroes struggle against the mystic might Hitler has gathered as result of his possession of the Spear of Destiny.

(The Spear of Destiny introduced by Steve Englehart in this issue.)
Then some mighty Valkyries descend and fight for the Fuhrer but are seemingly defeated by the assembled heroes, and the invasion is stymied when a gigantic Spectre appears in the English Channel. Hitler then sends an experimental bomber to attack Washington DC, and that ship defended by Valkyries results in wild battle across the Atlantic which climaxes when Superman appears over the skies of Washington to demolish the plane. The enemy is soon defeated with the Atom protecting the president, and FDR asks that the assembled heroes remain together, less as a battalion to wage war but more as a society of heroes to defend the homeland. They agree.


Secret Origins #31 from 1988 in a story by Roy Thomas and artist Mike Bair (who did the cover too) revises the epic origin through the unwieldy lens of Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths continuity which forbid the use of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and other key DC characters from WWII activity. We see a different team battle Hitler and save the day, though in some remarkably different ways which result weirdly in FDR dying and getting revived. The hi-jinks which had to be played to "simplify" the long DCU history really makes of a shambles of that original goal.


More on Roy Thomas and his contributions to his favorite team in a later post.

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4 comments:

  1. DC Special #29 is another mag on my short list of Best Comics Ever! Thrilling, stunning, and enthralling story and art!

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    1. There's something palpably exciting about this story. Told today it would last many issues, maybe even a year and lack much if not all of the verve which gives it such a jolt in the vintage form. Thrill ride!

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    2. Certainly agree with what you say there, Rip. Nowadays, they milk things dry of most of the enjoyment factor. The only comic I enjoy reading at the moment is Mighty World Of Marvel for the Daredevil reprints.

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  2. I've never read the Thomas/Bair version. Is it worth it? I'm about to try America vs. the Justice Society for the second time in about 30 years.

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