Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Silver Age JLA - The Cosmic Fun-house!


The lucky issue number seven of Justice League of America is a wild adventure with some kooky visual tricks by artists Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs. Gardner Fox creates another space adventure which this time has some very fun twists. The cover is by Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson.


"The Cosmic Fun-House" begins in Happy Harbor when Snapper Carr and his girlfriend Midge visit a plastic dome which has appeared outside of town and advertises itself as a "Fun-House". They find all sorts of weird images inside and eventually find a room with a swiveling wall which when they enter it transports them to a distant planet. Snapper alerts the Justice League who spring into action. Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern go to the planet in the Formalhaut system and save the pair from alien beasts. Back on Earth the team decides to send four of its members (Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Arrow and Green Lantern) to the Fun-House in their civilian duds to investigate while others (Superman, Batman, and Martian Manhunter) return to the distant planet to search for other Happy Harbor residents.


Flash soon discovers the room and sent Snapper into space and pushes the wall and sees his doppleganger emerge, a duplicate who quickly defeats the Speedster. Likewise Green Lantern finds himself in a trap of yellow and later both Green Arrow and Wonder Woman are defeated by aliens who finally reveal themselves to the captured Leaguers. Their complicated scheme began hundreds of thousands of years before when they sent a probe to discover the secrets of weapons across the universe to use against their enemies while they slept in suspended animation. But the probe ended up on Earth and the aliens had to use teleportation devices to intercept it and ended up using their devices to trade places with Earthmen while they waited. They send duplicate Flash and Green Lantern to send the other Leaguers off on a wild goose chase into the future. Eventually the four captured League members work together to escape the alien trap but when they come back to Earth travel through what looks like a fun-house mirror and are changed into weird versions of themselves.


Despite their transformations, they are encouraged by Aquaman who has come to help to use their powers to capture the aliens. Green Lantern sends them back to their planet and the League puts the dangerous probe into their souvenir room. The story ends with the Leaguers in their secret disguises visiting the now benign Fun-House with their dates.


This a downright weird and fun story, with a good mix of heroes and a sufficiently puzzling mystery. Aliens again show up to supply the menace, the whole League being deemed necessary to handle these off-world threats, but they show up in a novel way. The scheme these aliens have cobbled together to conquer the universe is pretty hair-brained but it does set up a story in which we get the Leaguers in some spectacularly interesting visual situations. Fat Wonder Woman and Midget Green Arrow are not very PC and would never pass muster in a modern comic (save in some hipster ironic way) but it's these kinds of old-fashioned tropes that make the Silver Age comics so much wacko fun.  It's not reasonable and it's not polite but it's pure unadulterated comics.


(I loved it when little Green Arrow was forced to use his feet to fire an arrow because his little arms were too short.)


One final Silver Age JLA adventure is coming tomorrow.

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7 comments:

  1. It's funny that GL's inability to remember anything has nothing to do with how his body was distorted. Must've been all the times he was hit on the head that caused it.

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    1. I guess they intended his memory problems to result from his head's great distance from his torso (decreased blood flow maybe) but it doesn't make sense.

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  2. Yeah exactly not PC. Remember a world that was not PC? Big old guy sigh. In fact they (DC) had some wonderful public service anti-discrimination public ads in the comics I can still picture.
    As for me, Vote Trump. No, no irony.

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    1. There's PC and there's just plain vile. The two should never be confused and disdain for the former doesn't justify the latter. Being rude is okay in my book, sometimes rudeness can break the spell and showcase a problem that needs fixing, but bigotry is not rudeness and Trump has crossed that line repeatedly.

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    1. No tears; just truth.

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    2. ...that isn't how you use the "reply" button :)

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