Deck Log Entry # 192 The Silver-Age Challenge---Secret Identities

It’s summer again, and time for the annual tradition here.  No, I don’t team up with my parallel-world counterpart to tackle a crisis.  I mean, it’s time for my annual Silver-Age trivia quiz.

 

These things are getting tougher to write.  I’ve always had to keep the Internet at bay, but now the information on line is getting more expansive and more detailed.  Case in point:  in my first Silver-Age Challenge, some eight years ago, I asked for the space sector assigned to Tomar Re, the Green Lantern from Xudar.  That is, as the Silver Age had it.  As a precaution, I had run “Tomar Re” through the search engines, and every hit that listed his space sector had it down as “Sector 2813”, which was a Bronze-Age development.  Tomar Re’s first Silver-Age appearance established that his space sector was “9”.  That didn’t appear in any hit I referenced, so I was able to use the question.

 

But a few months ago, I ran the same search and discovered that every biographical site on Tomar Re included the detail that he originally patrolled space sector 9.  I would have to toss out that question, now.  I’ve got my fingers crossed that I was able to stay ahead of the Internet for this round of posers.

 

The rules.  It gets old putting them down every year---you veteran Legionnaires know them by heart---but I feel I have to, just in case somebody new wants to play.  But, I’ll list them as briefly as I can:

 

1.  This is a Silver-Age quiz.  That means that all questions, and all of the answers, come from comics and related materials published with a cover-date of September, 1956 (Showcase # 4) to December, 1968---the time frame I consider to be the Silver Age.

 

2.  Information introduced post-Silver Age doesn’t count.  Subsequent retcons and revisions have muddied the Silver-Age waters, so be careful.

 

3.  Can I miss stuff?  Sure.  In fact, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened more often.  So it’s possible that you'll come up with an answer that wasn’t the one I had in mind.  Be sure to cite your source, so I can check it to ensure your information satisfies my question---“But I always thought . . . .” arguments won’t cut it---and if it does, I’ll be glad to credit you with a correct response.

 

4.  No prizes here.  No no-prizes, either.  You’re playing strictly for bragging rights.

 

As you’ve probably guessed, the topic of this year’s quiz is secret identities.  Every question will relate in some fashion to costumed characters and their civilian identities.  This year is a little different in the fact that it’s not strictly a DC or Marvel quiz.  I came up with some good questions from both companies (in fact, I think the toughie of the bunch, and there always is one, came from the Marvel side) but not enough from either to devote the whole quiz to one side or the other.  To avoid confusion, each question is prefaced with the company involved.

 

And, as always, I’ll start off with a lob.  All set?  O.K., here we go!

 

 

1.  (DC)  What reward did Pete Ross receive after Ultra Boy discovered how Pete loyally protected Superboy’s secret identity of Clark Kent?

 

2.  (DC)  Conversely, what reward did Lana Lang receive from Superboy for turning down a perfect opportunity to learn his secret identity?

 

3.  (DC)  Commissioner Gordon briefly appeared as which costumed hero?

 

4.  (DC)  After Superman and Batman, and Green Lantern and the Flash, who was the third pair of Justice Leaguers to exchange knowledge of their secret identities?  (For keeps; in other words, JLA # 19 doesn’t count.)

5.  (Marvel)  During his sojourn on Earth as a guest of the Avengers, Hercules briefly used an ordinary mortal alias.  What was it?

 

6.  (DC/Marvel)  Both DC and Marvel had a masked, costumed character named "Ant-Man".  Who were their civilian identities?

7.  (Marvel)  Name two masked heroes in the Marvel Universe who were practising lawyers in their civilian identities.

 

8.  (DC)  Colonel Steve Trevor gave Wonder Woman a taste of her own secret-identity medicine when he briefly assumed the rôle of which costumed super-hero?

 

 

9.  (DC)  Yeah, yeah, we all know about the awful period in which the Blackhawks adopted super-hero identities.  But one of the famed Black Knights operated as a costumed mystery-man before he became a Blackhawk.  Name the man and his costumed identity.

10.  (Marvel)  After Captain America was revived by the Avengers, what was the first job he had in his civilian identity as Steve Rogers?

 

 

Good luck!

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I was thinking of WW when I posted--I suppose it's possible Superman and Batman didn't have Earth-One comics but I can't quite buy it.

In my head canon, some fan asked Barry about "Are you Jay Garrick?" and he explained his inspiration. I don't know anyone would ask Ray Palmer's Atom as he's the most different from his prototype (good thing too). And yes, I hadn't thought about Black Canary but you're quite right. For that matter any of the JSA adventures where they show up on Earth-One should have provoked a reaction (the same kind super-heroes showing up on Earth-Prime did).



Fraser Sherman said:

I was thinking of WW when I posted--I suppose it's possible Superman and Batman didn't have Earth-One comics but I can't quite buy it.

In my head canon, some fan asked Barry about "Are you Jay Garrick?" and he explained his inspiration. I don't know anyone would ask Ray Palmer's Atom as he's the most different from his prototype (good thing too). And yes, I hadn't thought about Black Canary but you're quite right. For that matter any of the JSA adventures where they show up on Earth-One should have provoked a reaction (the same kind super-heroes showing up on Earth-Prime did).

Perhaps comics were much more limited on Earth-One than on our Earth. After all, if it had a real Superman and Batman, why would there be super-hero comics about them? I doubt Fox was anticipating reviving the original Flash when he had Barry Allen musing about him shortly before he gained his powers.

OTOH, there was a Superman story around the time of the Fleischer cartoons where Clark took Lois to a movie where they were showing a Superman cartoon and he kept distracting her to keep her from seeing when the cartoon Clark changed into Superman and vice versa. So, his secret identity was safe from Lois, but everyone else in Metropolis knew it!

Eric L. Sofer said:

I've been waiting all summer for this, Commander! Always a delight to work on your quizzes!

.



Fogey, my friend, glad to see you weigh in! (In fact, the morning you posted, I was looking to see if I had a way of letting you know I had posted my quiz.) As a matter of fact, you had quite a few correct answers. Not a perfect score, but enough for respectable bragging rights.
 
Always glad to see you post, sir!

Commando Cody said:

Perhaps comics were much more limited on Earth-One than on our Earth. After all, if it had a real Superman and Batman, why would there be super-hero comics about them?

The unstated reason for no superhero comics in Watchmen was that they had real costumed heroes. So instead they had pirate comics, horror comics, and horror-pirate comics.

Speaking of pirates, the Official Talk Like A Pirate Day is coming up September 19.

Commando, I was going to mention the "Superman, Action Hero" story but somehow forgot. It's hysterical, and possibly the first "imaginary story" (it's actually labeled as such in my reprint).

But we know for a fact that in the DCU and MU real super-heroes didn't get rid of comic-book mystery-men. Ted Grant was inspired to become Wildcat from a Green Lantern comic book; Little Boy Blue was inspired by Wildcat. An article in Mark Gruenwald's short-lived fanzine Omniverse suggests that real-life super-heroes would adapt very well to comics: most of their adventures wouldn't be captured on camera, or in detail, even assuming the media believed them ("Maybe this Superman beat up some mobsters but nobody can lift a car over his head!") so comics could fill that gap. Although presumably not showing their identity, a la Black Orchid or Quality's Quicksilver.

And Marvel, of course, was phenomenally successful in the MU by doing authorized comic versions of real-life heroes (so successful we see people lining up around the block to buy FANTASTIC FOUR in one story).

"Perhaps comics were much more limited on Earth-One than on our Earth. After all, if it had a real Superman and Batman, why would there be super-hero comics about them?" But Earth-One's Earth-Two inspired comics came out in the 1940s, long before Superman and Batman showed up on Earth-One. It's certainly possible they didn't have Superman and Batman, but it seems awfully odd to have a comics industry almost identical to our Golden Age except for the two big ones.

Makes you think on how limited the comics on Earth-Two must have been!

Wild Bill Hickok and Buffalo Bill Cody starred in fiction printed in their lifetimes, and movie star comics were a phenomenon of the 40s and 50s. All kinds of companies did them, including DC. There was a whole avalanche of comics starring Western stars. The Adventures of Bob Hope lasted to the late 60s, and The Adventures of Jerry Lewis to the early 70s.

Silver Age Marvel Comics in the MU seem to have been a mix of true-crime and fiction. In one story Stan and Jack are trying to come up with a story with a made-up villain, but they're also unwilling to use Dr. Doom because he's supposedly lost in the depths of space. By the Bronze Age, things seem to have changed—someone suggests just making up a story for an issue of FF ("Roy will create a villain, George will design him—") and the rest of the creative team stares at him like he's crazy.

Philip, Earth-Two did have some fictional comics (the Geezer is one that comes to mind) so they weren't totally restricted by the JSA, Seven Soldiers etc. being real. I wonder if one restriction on "true life" comics wasn't just worrying about what villains might do if they didn't like how they were written ("So I'm a wicked monster, am I? Let me show you just how wicked!").

Luke Blanchard said:

Wild Bill Hickok and Buffalo Bill Cody starred in fiction printed in their lifetimes, and movie star comics were a phenomenon of the 40s and 50s. All kinds of companies did them, including DC. There was a whole avalanche of comics starring Western stars. The Adventures of Bob Hope lasted to the late 60s, and The Adventures of Jerry Lewis to the early 70s.

Oh, I KNEW it wasn't perfect... I'm relying just on my memory (not the least because you make your questions wonderfully non-Googleable.

I thought my email address was available through my profile, but I would be glad to give it to you. Or I'm available on Facebook, although I don't know if you dabble in such frivolities.

Idea: perhaps your next quiz might be teamups, crossovers, and cameos. For example, "What was the X-Men's first animated appearance?" (Not legit because it's not in the comics, but something that you might know.)

Thanks for the kind words! Can't wait for the answers and hope I only missed two or three.

Commander Benson said:

Eric L. Sofer said:

I've been waiting all summer for this, Commander! Always a delight to work on your quizzes!

.



Fogey, my friend, glad to see you weigh in! (In fact, the morning you posted, I was looking to see if I had a way of letting you know I had posted my quiz.) As a matter of fact, you had quite a few correct answers. Not a perfect score, but enough for respectable bragging rights.
 
Always glad to see you post, sir!

Not necessarily, since we already know that in Earth-Two continuity, Red Tornado & Wildcat were both inspired to become costumed heroes by Green Lantern comic books (actually, the Tornado doesn't specify it was the comics and not the news stories that inspired her, but since she shared her series with a "boy cartoonist", it only makes sense there was a comic book involved), and Little Boy Blue was inspired by Wildcat being inspired by GL (ironically, in Sensation #1, Boy Blue's origin story ran before Wildcat's, so "spoilers"!).  If we agree that the Quality characters were also on Earth-Two, then Hercules was inspired by Doll Man's comic book adventures, so we can safely assume that it's likely a decent assortment of AA & Quality titles were published on Earth-Two, probably mixing stories of "true life" costumed heroes with fully fictional ones.  There doesn't seem to be any sign of any DC titles or characters being published there, tho.  In All-Star Squadron, we found out that the Marvel Family titles were on the newsstand, and probably the biggest sellers, even tho Kal-L griped about Captain Marvel seeming like a cheap rip-off of himself.  So Earth-Two also most likely had a more or less complete set of Fawcett comics to choose from.  Further, since Kal-L was unable or unwilling to take legal action against Captain Marvel the fictional character, he probably didn't do anything about the earlier Wonder Man, either, so that feature may have actually had a longer life on Earth-Two than it did anywhere else, and the Fox comics were also available., along with most of the other Golden Age publishers.  Sure, there is the case to be made that real life super-heroes would kill interest in fictional ones, but in those days, other than blurry newsreel footage and blurry newspaper photos (mostly in black & white at that!), I can see the appeal of glorious four-color stories about those inspirational figures.  Then there's the whole matter of there being so many running around, it would be hard to keep track of which were real and which were fiction, and the advantage the creators of fictional heroes would have in fleshing out their characters: No one knows where Flash goes when he's not fighting crime, but you can see Brian Butler lose his job as DA because he let Mr. Scarlet do too much of his work for him.

Philip Portelli said:

Makes you think on how limited the comics on Earth-Two must have been!

Fraser Sherman said:

Silver Age Marvel Comics in the MU seem to have been a mix of true-crime and fiction... By the Bronze Age, things seem to have changed—someone suggests just making up a story for an issue of FF ("Roy will create a villain, George will design him—") and the rest of the creative team stares at him like he's crazy.

In 2000 Marvel did the Marvels Comic Group fifth week event where the comics were supposed to be the versions of its comics available in the Marvel Universe.

Earlier John Byrne drew a pseudo-WWII-era Sub-Mariner page for Namor #19. The issue opens with Spitfire reading it, and the cover is the same as that of the issue the Torch reads in Fantastic Four #4.

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