Now I realize that I have several irons in the fire, so to speak with my Fan of Bronze and Silver Sightings threads, but I'm either 1) nostalgic or 2) depressed so I'll be commenting on these DC 100 Pagers that I loved as a youth and still love today! I'm sure that I have at least 90% of them and hopefully these will appeal to Golden, Silver and Bronze Age fans. I know that I'm talking about Justice League of America AGAIN but you must start at the beginning and this was my first one. Also, I have the real issue in front of me so it's very visceral to me.
Justice League of America #110 (Ap'74) was the Christmas 1973 issue and it was in my stocking! About the cover, it's a bit generic and Nick Cardy can't do much with it but I got a kick seeing all the heroes lined up around the stories. The inclusion of Doctor Mid-Nite in the lower left corner began my fascination with him and my belief that he was a major character.
Also of note is the "Here Comes TV's Super-Friends!" banner. The debut of Super-Friends on Saturday mornings was the most exciting thing in my young life at the time. It seemed to validate my admiration of these heroes. This was four years before Superman: The Movie so this was super-hero action to me!
Despite the popularity of Super-Friends, Wonder Woman still did not rejoin the League until #128. But Aquaman would get more appearances. Of course, Superman and Batman were always there!
The new story "The Man Who Murdered Santa Claus!" was by Len Wein, Dick Dillin and Dick Giordano and edited by, naturally, Julius Schwartz. Credit was given to "Green Lantern fan" Duffy Vohland. It starts, logically, with the murder of a Santa Claus volunteer and the gauntlet is thrown!
Since it began with the Man of Steel and the Darknight Detective, it was fortunate the challenge was addressed to the team or we would have had a World's Finest story instead! They summon the JLA but since it's Christmas time, many of them are away (Flash is in the future, the Atom is sub-atomic, the Elongated man is, uh, on vacation, etc!) but responding are the Red Tornado "smoothly" ditching Kathy Sutton, interrupting Green Arrow as he prepares to "notch an arrow" with Black Canary and in comics' most famous "slipping on a bar of soap" scene, Green Lantern incapacitates himself so his power ring zaps him with a healing aura and shanghies substitute GL John Stewart to the JLA Satellite (of Love)!
Despite Stewart's urban setting and attire, he is accurately portrayed as an architect. Hal Jordan apparently never told the team that he had a back-up but Green Arrow vouches for him. But Ollie gets into an argument with the Red Tornado about what Christmas is and since he is no Linus Van Pelt, it got heated. But since there are lives at stake, Batman takes charge as usual and leads them to St. Louis!
Since they have to find a specific lock in the city, Reddy uses his super-speed to find it using the GL-zapped key! This is because the Flash was not there but Superman and Green Lantern could have easily done the same thing! Luckily they find the correct building after meeting some poor children. Ironically it's GREEN ARROW who enforces the Guardians' rules with the tyro John Stewart. You would think that there would be a manual or something!
End Part 1---More to follow!
As our six heroes enter the rundown tenement, they suddenly fall down a trap-door, despite three of them being able to fly! Going with a Christmas theme, a "hot coal" is dropped on them. But this "coal" is a miniature red sun!!! That means it saps Superman's powers, plus it has a yellow core so Green Lantern's ring won't work on it. It made sense then but now? Why couldn't the ring push it away with its red surface? Why could'nt Red Tornado blow it back up? Why don't they try to blast their way out of the trap? Superman decides that, even though he's weakened, to fly up and smash it. Which he does because "he will never admit defeat!" Sadly he can't admit victory because the effort appears to destroy him! Carrying on despite the loss of their most powerful member, the JLA encounter the dreaded Poison-Yellow Gas Calliope!
Think about that for a minute, Reddy says the room is sealed so he can't dissipate the fumes. Fine. John Stewart can't directly affect the gas. Fine. But he can demolish the calliope, as could GA and Bats. JS-GL could manipulate the air or blast his way out. Batman has gas-filters on him. But again Black Canary sacrifices herself by using her sonic song to hold back the gas. While having a conversation. But the Emerald Archer does get a dramatic moment.
At this time, the villain is revealed to be.....the Key who has not been seen since #63. Who created weapons strong enough to kill Superman. And apparently can afford only one henchman, designated Key-Man #1, probably to make him feel good about himself!
The surviving JLAers enter another room where they are attacked by giant globes that resemble Christmas ornaments. Somehow Batman deduces that they shouldn't let them make contact and in two panels, the World's Greatest (Masked) Detective is gone! Four panels later, Green Arrow goes all "Suicide Squad" to let John and Reddy escape!
Unfortunately the Novice Lantern and the Ruby Revolver are attacked by Laurel & Hardy's worst nightmare: giant Wooden Soldiers who can turn yellow and become heavier! The Trapped Twosome are about to be squashed when they are saved by another trap door!
Unaware of this, the Key is ecstatic. He remembers how the prison doctors discovered that the psycho-chemicals he used on himself were killing him. He was dying and soon. But he created this elaborate and expensive labyrinth so he could outlive the Justice League. Well some of them. And he never fought three of them. But it was all for naught as the JLAers appear before him, alive and well! This was because of the intervention of the Phantom Stranger, not-regular member of the team! Actually I was hoping that the Key did use some psycho-chemicals on the JLA. At least that would explain their death-wishes!
The Key flees to die (he doesn't but after what Steve Englehart did to him...) and the heroes save the citizens above from a bomb. In a nice touch, John Stewart uses his architectural knowledge to give the poor neighborhood a merry Christmas! And gains Green Arrow's respect, which, with fifty cents, bought him a comic book! The Phantom Stranger modestly vanishes!
Later the team summon Red Tornado back to the satellite, which is annoying poor Kathy Sutton to no end, to give him a Christmas present: a new (Len Wein-designed) costume which he still wears today in some variation. It wasn't that bad but it had too many stripes! Reddy never thought to decline it anyway!
Merry Christmas (belatedly) to one and all!
I recall the letter columns wanting them to alternate between Hal Jordan and John Stewart as Green Lantern but John never reappeared until Justice League of America Annual #1 in 1983!
Next: The Justice Society Versus Masked Criminals who nearly Won!
Those 100 pagers were great fun, especially right at their height within my first months of comic book reading.
E. Nelson Bridwell as the archivist back then picked some really great reprints throughout the 100 pagers, as well as the 52/48 pagers before that and the reprint series that came afterwards.
Sadly, I don't own all of those 52-48 or 100 pagers either, let alone the 80 page giants that came before them. Those seem scarce on the back issue market unless you want to pay a lot for them when they are available.
But I always keep my eye out for them and enjoy the ones I do have. Too bad the reprint material isn't part of their respective Showcases. Then those volumes would truly be complete.
First Reprinted Story: All Star Comics #40 (My'48) --The Plight of the Nation by John Broome, Carmine Infantino, Arthur Peddy, Alex Toth, Bernard Sachs and Frank Giacoia.
The team consisted of the final '48-51 lineup of the Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, the Atom, Doctor Mid-Nite, Wonder Woman and Black Canary.
The JSA battle juvenile deliquency, the Crimson Claw Gang and a kid version of said gang. First the Claw-Leader was obviously a brillant guy with great strategic planning. The police seemed helpless to stop this gang of non-powered criminals. Please remember that because they handed the JSA their cowls, masks, wigs and helmets for a while. They put Flash and Hawkman in an elaborate death-trap, got the drop on GL and BC and later caught the Flash again! For all that, they finally defeat the Claws in four panels! I guess the Atom really tipped the scales in their favor.
The heart of the story is, of course, the juvenile delinquency/gangs issue. As noted in All Star Companion Volume 1, the creators saw j.d. as a result of enviroment, putting blame on bad parents, uninformed teachers and a careless and short-sighted government. Parents, teachers and the government preferred to blame the comic books! From that, the Comic Code was born.
The focus of ASC #40 was the Brent family: sister Julia trying to hold the family together, older brother Eddie who was part of the Crimson Claws, his younger brothers Chick who started the kid Crimson Claw gang and Don who joins the gang but was undercover for the Junior Justice Society of America. What a household!
Next: Zatanna's Quest Ends or Thanks for the Help, Even If You Weren't Really There!
...The 100-Pagers i REALLY did in retrospect were the first ones , the only?? DCs of this type that truly deserve this title...The totally adless ones , which ran from late '71 into latish '73 ?
They became a more-or-less regular title , complete with lettercol ( " A Look Through The 100 Page Super Spectacles " - They had letcol TITLES then !!!!!!!!!!! ) , about...very late '72 ? With an internal numbering for what 100-Pager they were as well as a number for what title they were a Giant for .
The SHAZAM! one in latish '73 was the first to give in , and add ads...Too bad :-( / I was disappointed then , that the marvels' one cou;ldn't be adless :-(...
Yes, I got most of the 100 Page Super-Spectactular series before they were integrated into the regular DC titles. There was also sort-of a companion book Super DC Giant.
There was no #1-3 but #4 was Weird Mystery Tales, #5 Young Love and #6 the awesome World's Greatest Super-Heroes!
#7 to #13 were in the individual titles then it went as a seperate again with
#19-Tarzan (Russ Manning, IIRC)
#20-Batman with the complete Golden Age Two-Face trilogy, ironically!
After that, it was back to the established titles!
...SUPER DC GIANT was the same thing before , Bronze Age Bra/Weird Age Walt sez here .
Perhaps they may have overlapped slightly , but I believe the 100-Pagers were the successors to the Super DCs .
Cool thread, and it raises two points for me right away:
1. For some reason, everyone I've ever talked to who was reading comics in that era fondly remembers Justice League of America #111, the one with Libra as the bad guy behind the Injustice League. I was honestly surprised by this, as I don't really recall it too well, but it seems to be universal (outside of me). Although I will cop to remembering one scene, where Aquaman displays super-strength due to living at extreme depths. I cheered when DC did that, because I've always felt Aquaman's powers were too weak and environment specific, but my joy was short-lived as the idea was dropped immediately (like, by the next issue). I never gave up hope that they'd return to the idea, and they finally did, like 20 or 30 years later. (I hope I'm remembering that all right.)
Also, if memory serves, this was the period where Hal Jordan seemed to get knocked unconscious early in every story month after month. I'm guessing it was so that that the minor Leaguers who were left would get some screen time, or maybe the writer at the time just didn't care for Green Lantern. Whatever the reason, it seemed to get as routine as Jim West on the Wild, Wild West. One time he even slipped in the shower and knocked himself out!
2. My favorite 100-Page Super-Spectacular, bar none, was an all-reprint issue of the actual Super-Spectacular series that had a Neal Adams wraparound cover of the JLA and JSA rosters. Boy howdy, that was gorgeous. And useful for seeing the differences between the two teams. I loved it so much, I bought two so I could tear the cover off to frame -- and then couldn't bear to defile a comic book in such a way!
...I actually missed that Neal-covered 100-PSS , CC...I was off to camp at that time !!!!!!!!! AAUUGH .
Oh , and " Bra " is , in my understanding , some more Polynesian/Hawiian(Sp??) variant on " Bro " , it was an intentional write there .
...I just fast-Mile High-looked up what I guess is #4 in the whole 100-PSS series , WEIRD MYSTERY TALES , which I HAD!!!!!!!!!_and which seemingly contained mostly Atomic/early Silver DC mystery reprints but which I am fairly sure contained at least 1 new , more modern , story , in keeping w/its HELLACIOUS Bemi Wrightson cover...I really really really really really really really remember that story FONDLY...If it was the only newie in an all-reprint Giant , I suppose it's EXTREMELY unlikely to be reprinted (Sigh!!!!!!!)...
...It's often been said that SY Barry , not his brother Dan , Sy Barry , who later drew the THE PHANTOM newspaper strip for many years , rather epitomized the " house style " of 50s DC.........their mystery/adventure anthologies , anyway !
Here's a contents list, E.D. If DC ever does a Weird Mystery Showcase it might include the issue.