I was watching a countdown on teh YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T2UJBpiOcg about the top DC superheroes. This particular list chooses Batman over Superman. Of the two, who would be your favorite?

Personally, I know Superman doesn't quite resonate so much with today's society as he did back in the 1930's, but there's a lot of value there. he's a character that inspires a great deal of hope, he's empowering to the downtrodden, he's just the best that there is in terms of the archetype of the superhero.

Batman, on the other hand, gets a lot of respect from the current generation. It's easy to understand his motivations, seemingly born out of anger and a sense of injustice. He also has a much better rogues gallery and supporting cast, IMO.

For me, I'm giving a slight edge to Batman here, but I'd love to hear people prove me wrong.

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To my eyes Joe Gallagher's work on Wildcat looks sensational. The stylised, cartoony look he used and big grin he gave him really work for the character.

One of the reasons "Batman" and the early "Wonder Woman" are so much more readable than many other Golden Age features is their worlds were developed much more richly. This is a form of being more imaginative. "Batman" had Commissioner Gordon and Robin and Alfred as supporting characters. From 1948 it had Vicki Vale. Early on it had Julie Madison and then Linda Page. (Linda's last appearance was just before Alfred's debut.) It had Wayne Manor, the Batcave, the exit barn, the Batmobile, the Batplane, the Bat-Signal. Batman had multiple strings to his bow: he was an acrobat, master of disguise, detective, scientist. He swung about and travelled by Batmobile, and carried Batarangs and had a utility belt and a belt radio. In so many other features the supporting cast consisted of a comedic sidekick and the episodes were close to interchangeable.

My suggestion (such as it was) of the Whip was based on the premise that the speculative Hawkman Quarterly (or whatever) would have been launched before the Whip's last appearance in 1944--All-Flash started with Summer 1941, and Green Lantern with Fall 1941, so it seems like the Hawkman solo title would have begun sometime in the first half of 1942.  That timeline would have the Whip joining the team around All-Star Comics #11 or 12.  Assuming that JSA membership didn't do anything to improve the characters odds of survival (does anyone think that the Atom would have run as long, been overhauled with a new costume & powers, and tried in Flash & Sensation if he wasn't in the JSA?), by the time his series has ended, shrinking page counts would probably  have led to his removal from the team by then anyway, especially if Hawkman had rejoined when Flash & GL did.  I just remembered that The King was also running around Flash Comics during the time I imagine that Hawkman Quarterly would have begun, but he had a much shorter shelf life than even the Whip.

Philip Portelli said:

The Whip was gone by Flash Comics #55. The more popular feature was THE GHOST PATROL though there was no chance of them joining the JSA.
 
Dave Elyea said:

If Hawkman had to be replaced by someone from Flash Comics, wouldn't the Whip be the last costumed hero/mystery man that title had left, at least until the Atom wound up there?  If not limited to picking someone else from the same title, I'd guess that Wildcat from Sensation Comics would have been the next in line, after all, he came within a whisker of replacing the Atom.

Ron M. said:

When Flash and Green Lantern got their own titles they left the JSA. Who would have made a good replacement for Hawkman, who seemed the best bet back then for solo stardom?

Seems like the fourth biggest Timely star was the Angel, who lasted from Marvel Comics#1 until Marvel Mystery Comics#79 in 1946 and got the boot because they decided to move Young Allies to their flagship title. Yet he never got his own series, although they did try Sun Girl, Namora, and Blonde Phantom, none of whom had been around long or would last much longer. Also interesting of the big three's new female sidekicks, only Golden Girl didn't get a short lived series. (Although I'm not surprised. Her costume always made her seem kind of creepy to me.)

The remaining AAC options - not from Flash Comics - would've been Mr Terrific, Sargon the Sorcerer, the Gay Ghost (up to the end of 1944), or Little Boy Blue. Or, in a comedic vein, the Red Tornado (to mid 1944).

I remember Mr. Terrific bragging about how smart and skilled he was, yet from his costume he appeared to be color blind.

Whatever happened to Sargon?

Perhaps someone saw her leaving in All-Star#3 after being invited to stay as a sign she'd rejected an offer of membership.

Using somebody called the Gay Ghost today might be problem.

I've read a 70s reprint of one of his stories (art by Howard Purcell) which renamed him the Grim Ghost (which was one of the Spectre's sobriquets, and used by Atlas/Seaboard in the 70s). But his original name actually describes him: he was a happy crime-fighter, at least at times.

My theory is he was inspired by The Ghost Goes West (1935).

Ron M. said:

I remember Mr. Terrific bragging about how smart and skilled he was, yet from his costume he appeared to be color blind.

That was his humanising weakness!

Actually, that's a good idea. His colour blindness could've tripped up his crime-fighting. E.g. in one story he mistakes green paint on a man's sleeve for blood.

From gay (happy) to grim (the exact opposite.) Big change in name there. This seems to be sort of a spoof on the Spectre. A few panels look similar to what Steve Ditko would do in the 60s with Dr. Strange's ectoplasmic form. Some of the art looks like it was copied from Batman.

Ghosts are a whole sub-type of superhero. Other examples are Mr. Justice (who was a straight Spectre steal without the grimness), Sgt. Spook, the Ghost Patrol, Fox's Wraith, the Duke of Darkness, and Deadman.

I don't think the preservation of Weisinger-created characters in Weisinger-edited books had anything to do with the DC/AA split, sales, or anything else. When page count went down due to increasing costs in the '50s, Weisinger (and everybody else) had fewer and fewer slots for back-up characters. In Superboy and World's Finest, which Weisinger edited, he didn't keep the most popular or best-selling characters going, he kept the ones that he created. That's all there is to it.

It's not that simple. Weisinger only edited More Fun Comics briefly as he was drafted. After the war he didn't take over Adventure Comics until 1953, according to DC Indexes.

So it was Jack Schiff who was editing when Dr Fate and the Spectre were dropped. The versions dropped were the post-makeover Dr Fate(1) and the Percival Popp Spectre. The ways their features had been changed implies DC was already dissatisfied with them.

The more arguable decision was the one to keep Johnny Quick and Aquaman instead of the Sandman and Starman when the More Fun Comics features were moved to Adventure Comics. I think Green Arrow's a better feature and the DC of the time apparently saw it that way: it kept his feature in World's Finest Comics. At that point "Johnny Quick" was artistically very good as it was being drawn by Mort Meskin. One might have expected DC to keep the Sandman going in the expectation that Kirby would return to it. But for all I know he didn't want to.

Weisinger superheroes were also appearing in Action Comics (the Vigilante) and Detective Comics (Air Wave). The remaining one I know of, TNT from Star Spangled Comics, was already gone. Air Wave was dropped in 1948.

In Adventure Comics the next back-up feature to be dropped was indeed the non-Weisinger one, "Shining Knight" in 1951. But Schiff was still the editor then. Weisinger was editor when Johnny Quick was dropped in 1954 for page reasons. But something had to go and the other supporting features were his creations too. Over in Action Comics at that time it was the Vigilante who was dropped while Congo Bill and Tommy Tomorrow were retained. That was while Congo Bill was being tried in his own title, and Weisinger regarded Tommy Tomorrow as one of his creations.(2)

Tommy Tomorrow was moved to World’s Finest Comics (a Schiff title) when he was dropped from Action Comics in favour of Supergirl in 1959. He was dropped from there in favour of Aquaman in 1962. DC tried a new version of the feature in Showcase in 1962/63, with Murray Boltinoff editing.

Congo Bill was not a Weisinger creation. But Congorilla was, and he was in his Congorilla phase when he displaced Green Arrow from Adventure Comics in 1960. At that point GA still had his berth in World’s Finest Comics.

At the very end of 1960 Adventure Comics switched to a two-feature format. Congorilla briefly alternated with Aquaman before both were dropped in favour of Bizarro. But that was the point where Aquaman was being tried out in Showcase and his feature continued in Detective Comics.

At the start of 1962 Detective Comics switched to a two-feature format. Aquaman’s feature moved over to World’s Finest Comics, where, as noted, it kicked out Tommy Tomorrow’s. At that point Aquaman had recently gotten his title. This reunited Green Arrow and Aquaman in a line-up.

In 1963 Worlds Finest Comics switched to a two-feature format and Green Arrow’s and Aquaman’s features starting alternating. But after seven months of this Weisinger took over the title and dropped them in favour of reprints. Aquaman continued in his own title, and that was the end for GA (apart from Justice League of America).

It might be a mistake to assume that the decisions of which features to run rested with the title editors. Whitney Ellsworth was the credited editor for a long time and other higher-ups may have had a say. Weisinger could have influenced what happened in the titles he wasn't editing: e.g. it could be Schiff asked him what he should drop in 1951 and Weisinger said "Shining Knight". And maybe some other editor would've become dissatisfied with the back-ups in Adventure Comics and Action Comics and replaced them.

The other thing to note is many of the AAC characters were usually drawn in cartoony styles, and DC moved away from the use of such styles coming into the 50s. DC did change the style of Wildcat to a more realistic one - Mort Meskin and Bernard Krigstein drew later episodes - but for whatever reason the editors didn't try that with the Flash and Green Lantern. And a lot of the late Flash and Green Lantern stories were mediocre.

There's a further complication that Weisinger may also have had a hand in the creation of non-superhero features, although except for "Tommy Tomorrow" (and "Fireman Farrell" from Showcase #1) I can't name any.

(1) Weisinger was the editor when his helmet was shrunk and he switched to fighting crooks. DC Indexes says Schiff had taken over by the time he became a medical doctor.

(2) In his first form Tommy appeared in Real Fact Comics, and I'm unclear whether Weisinger was involved at that point. But he included him among his creations in an interview in 1974 reproduced in The Legion Companion. When asked to list the features he created he named "Green Arrow, Vigilante, Air Wave, Aquaman, TNT and Dan the Dyna-Mite, and Tommy Tomorrow and numerous others that I can't recall".

(3) In the list mentioned above he only named superheroes and Tommy Tomorrow. He went on to list characters and elements he created for the Super-books.

Luke Blanchard said:

It might be a mistake to assume that the decisions of which features to run rested with the title editors. Whitney Ellsworth was the credited editor for a long time and other higher-ups may have had a say. Weisinger could have influenced what happened in the titles he wasn't editing: e.g. it could be Schiff asked him what he should drop in 1951 and Weisinger said "Shining Knight". And maybe some other editor would've become dissatisfied with the back-ups in Adventure Comics and Action Comics and replaced them.

Referring to pages 165, 183 and 217 of Men of Tomorrow:

Whitney Elsworth was hired as what we would now call executive editor. Somewhere in the book it says that he was credited as editor when in many cases a subordinate editor (like Weisinger) was doing most of the editing, which included brainstorming stories. Weisinger was hired to work as an editor under Ellsworth in 1941. When Weisinger was drafted he had them hire his friend from the pulps, Jack Schiff. He reportedly remained in close contact with Schiff by telephone or telegram and exercised a lot of remote editorial control.

Thanks, Richard.

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