Deck Log Entry # 234 The Silver-Age Challenge---DC Edition IIII . . . Answers!

Three . . . two . . . one . . . time's up!


Every time I put one of these quizzes together, I try to determine which question will cause you guys the most trouble.  Believe it or not, most of the time, I'm wrong.  The one I think will be the stumper you fellows nail right away, and everybody stumbles over a question I thought wouldn't be that tough.  This time, though, my prediction was correct.  I figured the question about "the Batman" would give all of you fits.  However, I didn't expect it to stump everyone.  That's a rare animal with a group as sharp as you.


While some of you named one of the Silver-Age occasions that "the Batman" was used in a story, nobody came up with the required three instances.  The task was a bit daunting; as I mentioned to Fraser Sherman, while some logic can be employed in finding them, it's still grunt work to even come up with three.


As a group, you mowed through the other nine questions.  I always like it when all of the players can pat themselves on the back for getting one thing or another right.  Or coming up with an answer I hadn't figured on, like one of you did this time.  So, let's go over those nine posers, and save the one that eluded you for last.




1.  Name the alternate-universe world which has no indigenous super-heroes, and here, committing evil acts is considered normal behaviour.


As Mr. Sherman noted, I phrased this question to suggest Earth-Three, by stating that the world in question had no indigenous super-heroes.  Earth-Three had only super-villains, the Crime Syndicate of America.  But, in the only decent look we get at the Silver-Age Earth-Three, in JLA # 29 (Aug., 1964), we see the police attempt to thwart the villains' crimes and/or capture them---as the Baron noted.  Thus, Earth-Three has a lawful, decent society.

The world in which evil conduct is the accepted moral code is Qward.  We were introduced to Qward and its anti-matter universe in "The Secret of the Golden Thunderbolts", from Green Lantern # 2 (Sep.-Oct., 1960).  The villainous Weaponers of Qward featured prominently in the early years of the Emerald Crusader's title. 


Philip Portelli was the first one to come up with the right answer.  Mr. Sherman and Peter Wrexham also nailed it.


Interestingly, after 1985-6's Crisis on Infinite Earths eliminated Earth-Three and all of the other parallel Earths, the subsequent revival of the Crime Syndicate required a revision of its home world.  The super-criminals of the CSA were then shown to hail from Qward.



2.   Who is the majority stockholder of the Daily Planet?


For a while, I thought this one might not get answered, either.  But then Mr. Sherman came up with the proper response when he identified Mark Vine as the chief stockholder of the Daily Planet.  We learnt this in "The Super-Scoops of Morna Vine", from Superman # 181 (Nov., 1965).


Percy Bratten's father, suggested by Prince Hal, is an invalid answer for a couple of reasons.  First, the elder Bratten is "one of Galaxy's leading stockholders", not the majority stockholder.  There is also the reference to Galaxy Broadcasting, which wasn't introduced into the Superman mythos until 1971, well after the Silver Age.  The same time cut-off applies to Percy Bratten himself, who débuted in Jimmy Olsen # 151 (Jul., 1972).



3.  In the thirtieth century, the Planetary Federation stores forbidden weapons is what location?


As I expected, this one sent some of you poring through back issues of Adventure Comics or anything else featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes.  Mr. Sherman was sharp enough to realise that the Planetary Federation came from a different thirtieth-century source---the Superman of 2965/6/7 series.  He also correctly identified the issue from which I took the question:  Action Comics # 338 (Jun., 1966).  The lead story within, "Muto—Monarch of Menace", shows that, in the thirtieth century, the Planetary Federation, the governing body of the worlds in our solar system, safeguards forbidden weapons of war on the Weapons World.


Prince Hal also got this one right.



4.  What team operated, for a time, out of an underwater headquarters left to it by Scientist X?


This one wasn't as tough as I thought it would be.  I figured sure that some of you would suggest the Sea Devils.  Doc photo nailed the right group, the Challengers of the Unknown, first, but Mr. Sherman and Mr. Wrexham and Prince Hal also knew it.  As doc mentioned, the Challengers' mountain headquarters is blown up, due to the machinations of the evil Villo and his sentient computer, Brainex, in Challengers of the Unknown # 50 (Jun.-Jul., 1966). 

Then, in Challs # 53 (Dec., 1966-Jan., 1967), the issue cited by Mr. Wrexham, an alien genius, Scientist X, before returning to his home planet, leaves his underwater retreat, with its storehouse of futuristic weapons, to the Death-Cheaters.  They decide to use it as their new base of operations, at least until issue # 61 (Apr.-May, 1968), after which, it's never mentioned, again.



5.  The creation of rutherfordium caused what Silver-Age villain to change his name when he returned post-Crisis?


This was a fun question to ask.  It reminded me of an idle thought that ran through my head as a boy:  to wit, if they ever located another Mohican, would they have to change the title of James Fenimore Cooper's book to The Next-to-the-Last of the Mohicans?  It looks like it was fun for you guys too, seeing as it had the largest number of responders---the Baron, Rob Staeger, Mr. Sherman, Mr. Wrexham, and Prince Hal---with the right answer. 

Mr. 103, a villain who could transform the composition of his body into any element on the Periodic Table, débuted in The Doom Patrol # 98 (Sep., 1965).  The existence of rutherfordium was confirmed in 1969 when scientists in both California and the Soviet Union independently synthesised the element.  Upon his next appearance, the post-Crisis Teen Titans Spotlight # 9 (Apr., 1987), the villain had accordingly changed his nom de guerre to Mr. 104.



7.  In one Gunner and Sarge story from Our Fighting Forces, the two Marines are joined by a recruit named Billy.  Like many of DC's wartime supporting characters, Billy was given a nickname and went on to make regular appearances.  By what nickname was Billy better known to DC's World War II fans?


This one made the list because of its "Hey, I didn't know that!" quality which I like to insert into my quizzes. However, for the Baron and Mr. Sherman and Prince Hal, it was "Hey, I know that!"  Mentioning the Gunner and Sarge series was probably the tip-off.  But, yes, Billy was the actual given name of the K-9 Corps dog assigned to the two Marines, who affectionately called him "Pooch".


Pooch joined Gunner and Sarge in the tale "Blind Gunner", from Our Fighting Forces # 49 (Sep., 1959) and hung around for another couple of issues.  The intrepid hound returned in issue # 58 (Nov.-Dec., 1960) and became the two leathernecks' partner until the end of the series in 1965.  Pooch's final Silver-Age appearance occurs when he and Gunner and Sarge show up in Capt. Storm # 13 (May-Jun., 1966).



8.  Outside of, naturally, John (the Martian Manhunter) Jones, who is the strongest officer on the Middletown Police Department?


In order to find the answer to this question, one had to 1) go through every Manhunter from Mars story from Detective Comics # 235 (Sep., 1956) to House of Mystery # 173 (Apr., 1968), or 2) try to find it over at Frank Lee Delano's Manhunter-comprehensive "The Idol-Head of Diabolu" site, or 3) be a master-level expert on J'onn J'onzz.  By whichever of those means, Dave Palmer was the first to respond with the correct answer:  Patrolman Mike Hanson


In "The Super-Sleuth's Bodyguard", from Detective Comics # 272 (Oct., 1959), a gang of crooks seeks vengeance against Detective John Jones for catching its boss, who was sent to prison for a ten-year stretch.  Aware of the threat, Jones' supervisor, Captain Harding, assigns "the strongest man on the force", Patrolman Mike Hanson, to bodyguard the ace detective.  Hanson is extraordinarily dedicated to his assignment, which fouls Jones' intentions to capture the gang with his secret Martian powers.  Nevertheless, thanks to Hanson's courage and Jones' invisible assistance, the gangsters are taken down.


Fraser Sherman and Prince Hal also knew about Patrolman Hanson's muscles.



9.  In military parlance, a "mustang" officer is one who enters the service as an enlisted man and later becomes a commissioned officer (as opposed to being directly commissioned into the armed force, as most officers are).  Name two of DC's war magazine headliners who were mustang officers.


Boy, you fellows were all over war-mag map with this one.  I asked for two mustang officers from DC's war series; ClarkKent and Prince Hal gave me one of the names, and Rob Staeger, the other.  But the only player to provide me with two correct subjects was Fraser Sherman, who also provided the same source of information that I used to prepare the question.

In the tale "Suicide Mission", from The Brave and the Bold # 52 (Feb.-Mar., 1964), Lieutenant Johnny Cloud, the Haunted Tank, and Sergeant Rock perform the top-secret mission of rescuing an Allied agent with critical information from behind enemy lines.  The agent, sealed inside an iron suit, turns out to be Mademoiselle Marie, a member of the French Resistance.  The mission is a success, and Cloud is promoted to captain, while Sgt. Rock and tank commander Sgt. Jeb Stuart receive battlefield commissions as second lieutenants.  Thus, Rock and Stewart are the two mustang officers.


As both Mr. Sherman and Mr. Staeger indicated, Rock preferred to remain a senior non-com with Easy company and did not want to be an officer.  In a then-infrequent, for DC, instance of cross-title continuity, Rock's promotion to second lieutenant carried over into his parent title, Our Army at War.  In issue # 140 (Mar., 1964), Rock petitions his company commander to bust him back to enlisted status, but the captain refuses, citing the need for a junior officer to fill out the company's table of organisation.  By the end of the tale, though, Rock saves the life of a general, who grants his demotion back to top sergeant.


Incidentally, I checked the stories containing the military histories of the others suggested, Captain Storm and Captain Phil Hunter.  Nothing I found indicated that they had ever served as enlisted men.



10.  In the Silver Age, the Justice League of America responded to requests for help sent to them through the mail.  People who wanted to contact the JLA this way sent their letters to what location?


I thought this would be one of the questions most of you would get, as often as I've discussed the Justice League of America on the message board here.  Of the four of you who took a stab at it, Philip Portelli's answer of a special JLA post office box was too general.  Mr. Wrexham and Prince Hal figured that it was a post office box in Snapper Carr's hometown of Happy Harbor.  Logical, but wrong.


Once again, it was Fraser Sherman who not only had the right answer, but the source of the information.  As stated in the first regular panel of "The Super-Struggle Against Shaggy Man", from JLA # 45 (Jun., 1966), the special post office box reserved for mail to the Justice League is located in Washington, D.C.




And now for the puzzler which stumped everybody . . .


6.  In the Golden Age, he was "the Batman".  That definite article "the" gradually lapsed into disuse and the Masked Manhunter was largely called plain, old "Batman".  However, contrary to popular belief, even in the Silver Age, there were times when he was still referred to as the Batman.  I know of at least four Silver-Age occasions when a character referred to him as "the Batman".  I'll settle for you naming three of them.  (For clarity, I'm not talking about sobriquets like "the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh" or "the Batman of 2967", and they don't count.  I mean instances when someone referred to our Caped Crusader as "the Batman".)


To get this one, you pretty much just had to know---really know---your comics.  However, I wasn't blowing smoke at Fraser Sherman when I told him that some logic could be applied to the problem.  That logic attached when Philip Portelli submitted World's Finest Comics # 141 (May, 1964).


I was sure Philip's response would open the door.  Most of you know that # 141 was the first issue of World's Finest published under Mort Weisinger's editorship.  Mort turned it into another title in the Superman family of magazines by assigning Curt Swan and George Klein to the art and turning the writing chores over to one of his regular scribes, Edmond Hamilton.  Hamilton would write nineteen out of the first twenty issues edited by Weisinger, ending with issue # 158 (Jun., 1966).


So, it would follow that, if Edmond Hamilton had referred to the Masked Manhunter as "the Batman" in World's Finest Comics # 141, he could very well have made the same reference in the subsequent World's Finest tales he had scripted.  That would mean checking only nineteen specific comics, instead of having to go through God-knows-how many issues of various DC titles.  Still some grunt work, but a whole lot less of it.


And, in fact, if any of you had done that, you wouldn't have had to go past the first five World's Finest issues under Weisinger to get the required three instances.


. . . Starting with the one Mr. Portelli indicated---page fourteen, panel three of "The Olsen-Robin Team Versus the Superman-Batman Team", World's Finest Comics # 141


Followed by page twelve, panel two of "The Feud Between Batman and Superman", World's Finest Comics # 143 (Aug., 1964).


And then, the one Peter Wrexham remembered, page eight, panel four of "Prison for Heroes", "World's Finest Comics # 145 (Nov., 1964).


Now, the last one I had in mind, yeah, you had to have been a die-hard Superman fan during the Silver-Age, because you probably wouldn't have found it, otherwise---page nine, panel four of "The Sleeping Beauty from Krypton", Superman # 128 (Apr., 1959).


Those are the four instances of "the Batman" in the Silver Age that I knew of.  There are probably other ones, and that brings us to Prince Hal's two offerings, Batman # 109 (Aug., 1957) and Detective Comics # 225 (Nov., 1955).


In trying to keep Question № 6 less than a half-page long, I failed to make clear that I would also accept any reference to "the Batman" that was made in a caption, such as "At police headquarters, Commissioner Gordon confers with the Batman and Robin."  Had any of you submitted something of that nature, I would have accepted it.  Prince Hal, however, presented two story titles.


Let's deal with Detective Comics # 225 first.  I can't accept it.  First, because Prince Hal made a mistake in the title of the story.  Both on the cover and on the splash page, the listed title is "If I Were Batman"---no "the".  The more obvious reason for rejection is the cover-date of Detective Comics # 225 is November, 1955, almost two years before I demark the beginning of the Silver Age, as I state in the rules.


As for Batman # 109, there Prince Hal got me.  The title is, indeed, "Follow the Batman".  Now, nowhere else in the story is there a reference to "the Batman", but on the splash page, the title is contained within a caption, and that's good enough for me to consider it a correct example.  If I were proving the case to someone that there were Silver-Age instances of "the Batman", I'd use it.  And, yes, the cover-date of Batman # 109, April, 1957, is within the parameters of the Silver Age.


So kudos to Prince Hal for finding an instance that I didn't know about.


There is one other example that I'm kind of surprised that no-one mentioned.  Now, I don't accept answers that come from television shows or cartoons about DC or Marvel characters, because the information presented in them isn't necessarily canon.  I'm talking about things like Superman dividing into two selves, from the "Divide and Conquer" episode of Adventures of Supeman.


But, in the case of Question № 6, there is a television example so profound that I would have congratulated anyone who came up with it.  I'm talking about the Batman TV series.  In the episode "Fine Feathered Finks", first aired on 19 January 1966, the characters talk about the Batman right and left.


See what I mean?  And that wasn't even all of them.




The final tally?  Well, Fraser Sherman was this year's hard-charger.  He correctly answered every question except the elusive № 6.  So, BZ to him!  Yet, all of you who played can cover yourselves in some of the glory; everyone got at least one poser right.


Most important, I hope you had fun.  That's my aim.  I try to make the questions entertaining and, occasionally, intriguing.  If you fellows enjoyed it, then I did my job.  And now I have to come with something entertaining and intriguing for next year.

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Wow. I feel extremely chuffed. I'm also happy to realize I'd never have gotten the Bat-question right — saves me kicking myself.

For future reference, "The Superman Encyclopedia" by Michael Fleisher is really exhaustive on things like "largest Daily Planet stockholder."

The funny thing about the JLA mail question is that even after all these years I could recall all the JLA stories that involved their mail, which saved a lot of time. Why yes, I was a HUGE fan as a kid.

Great job, commander, as always.

Fraser Sherman said:

For future reference, "The Superman Encyclopedia" by Michael Fleisher is really exhaustive on things like "largest Daily Planet stockholder."

Oh, yes, I have a copy of Fleisher's The Superman Encyclopedia right here in my desk drawer.  In fact, I consulted it to confirm that there weren't any conflicting Silver-Age entries on the Daily Planet's majority stockholder.  And I know that some of you guys are going to have the same reference.  That's the devil in the details.  I can do only so much to ensure a question isn't easily Googled or ferreted out through a desk reference.

That doesn't take away from your impressive showing, sir.  Well done!

Thank you! In a group this knowledgeable, it feels very cool.

And you do an amazing job, every time.

Commander Benson said:

Fraser Sherman said:

For future reference, "The Superman Encyclopedia" by Michael Fleisher is really exhaustive on things like "largest Daily Planet stockholder."

Oh, yes, I have a copy of Fleisher's The Superman Encyclopedia right here in my desk drawer.  In fact, I consulted it to confirm that there weren't any conflicting Silver-Age entries on the Daily Planet's majority stockholder.  And I know that some of you guys are going to have the same reference.  That's the devil in the details.  I can do only so much to ensure a question isn't easily Googled or ferreted out through a desk reference.

That doesn't take away from your impressive showing, sir.  Well done!

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