Deck Log Entry # 144 The Silver-Age Challenge---DC Edition II . . . Answers!

As promised, time for the answers to my DC Silver-Age quiz of two weeks ago.   Not as many hardy souls posted in response this time around.  Luke Blanchard and Prince Hal took excellent stabs at it, and Randomnole came through with one solid answer.

 

I was impressed with the high number of correct answers these gents provided.  Many of the questions I deliberately chose to play on common misconceptions, with the expectation that many would follow the path of those mistaken notions.  However, neither Luke nor Hal were taken in by most of the tricky ones.  And the single poser that Randomnole addressed was nailed spot-on before anyone else provided the correct answer.  So good on all of them!

 

That said, no-one got all of them correct, nor did they as a group.  The right response to one of the questions eluded everyone.

 

That takes care of the commentary; now, on to the answers!

 

 

 

ANSWERS TO THE SILVER-AGE CHALLENGE---DC EDITION II:

 

 

 

1.  Of the five services of the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard), which one did Wonder Woman join as Diana Prince?

 

Diana (Wonder Woman) Prince was a lieutenant in the United States Army.

 

Both Luke Blanchard and Prince Hal got this one correct---but Luke arrived at the right answer through a means that I hadn’t considered.

 

In 1966, Wonder Woman editor Robert Kanigher undertook an interesting experiment with the series.  Beginning with issue # 159 (Jan., 1966), the adventures of the Amazing Amazon were given a retrofit, evoking the early roots of the character.  Wonder Woman’s origin was retold, as well as her first encounter with Steve Trevor.

 

Regular artists Ross Andru and Mike Esposito mimicked the style of Harry G. Peter, the super-heroine’s Golden-Age artist, and depicted the characters in their 1940’s fashion.  Trevor was again a captain and wore a World War II-vintage Army aviator’s uniform.  The hair of Diana's queen-mother changed from blonde to black, as it had been back in the ‘40’s, and her name returned to its original spelling of Hippolyte—with an “e”.

 

Subsequent stories depicted Wonder Woman assuming the identity of Diana Prince, a U.S. Army nurse, matching the events told in Sensation Comics # 1 (Jan., 1942).

 

Kanigher’s “blast from the past” experiment ended with issue # 165 (Oct., 1966).  The following issue resumed telling Wonder Woman tales in the modern style.  (But with typical Kanigher confusion, some elements of the retro period were retained, such as there being a real Diana Prince, who appeared in issue # 167 [Jan., 1967].)

 

I had forgotten about this period in the Silver-Age Wonder Woman’s history when I ginned up the question about Diana’s military service.  Luke didn’t, though, and from it derived the correct answer.  And it counts.  It meets all the criteria I set down for correct responses.

 

The source of the correct answer I had in mind stemmed from the first Silver-Age rebooting of the Amazing Amazon’s origin, which was seen in Wonder Woman # 98 (May, 1958).  In the next issue, # 99, the story “Top Secret” tells how W.W. assumed the identity of Diana Prince, and it concludes with her being awarded a commission as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. 

 

 

How do we know she is in the Army?  Because she is assigned to Military Intelligence, an Army command.

 

 

2.  What was the name of the asteroid where the ancestral home of Bron Wayn E7705---the Batman of 2967---was located?

 

Baltorr.

 

(Chuckle!)   I’ll bet this one had a lot of you going back through my recent Deck Log archive entry on the Superman of 2965, to see if I had named it in the section that discussed World’s Finest Comics # 166 (May, 1967).  Well, I didn’t.

 

This was one of the more straight-forward questions.  The only way to learn the answer was to go through that story, which provided the origin of the Batman of the thirtieth century, and find the one panel in which the name of the asteroid is mentioned.  Something which Prince Hal obviously did, because he got it right.

 

 

 

3.  Who starred as Green Lantern in the Earth-One series about the Emerald Crusader?

 

Another straight-forward one which both Luke and Hal got right.  It was Charles “Good Time Charlie” Vicker, whom we met in the two-part epic told in Green Lantern 55-6 (Sep. and Oct., 1967).  Charlie ended up trading in his TV-star status for a power ring, when he became a Green Lantern himself.

 

 

 

 

 4.  Speaking of television shows, what was the name of the television programme regularly hosted by Lana Lang for WMET-TV?

 

Among her other on-camera duties for WMET-TV, Lana Lang hosted the television series I Remember Superboy, as seen or mentioned in a few issues of Lois Lane, such as # 55 and # 60 (Feb. and Oct., 1965).

 

 

Luke answered this one correctly, and Hal agreed.

 

 

5.  In what story/issue did Superman first meet Adam Strange?

 

This is where I started to get sneaky.  I figured most would jump on “The Planet That Came to a Standstill”, from Mystery in Space # 75 (May, 1962).  This is the story in which Adam Strange first met the Justice League of America.  But Superman missed out on that adventure, appearing only in flashback.  So while Adam got to hobnob with the seven other JLA members, he missed out on getting the Man of Steel’s autograph.

 

The two didn’t meet until the sequel to MiS # 75---“Decoy Missions of the Justice League”, from JLA # 25 (Dec., 1963).  Before someone cries foul, yes, I know that Superman didn’t enter the story until the last few pages, and most of his interaction was with Adam Strange’s “aural image”.  But the last panel clearly shows the Man of Steel together with the actual Champion of Rann enjoying their defeat of Kanjar Ro.

 

 

Prince Hal nailed this one.

 

 

6.  What story/issue marked J’onn J’onzz’s last Silver-Age appearance with the Justice League of America?

 

Hal did what I figured most folks would do---go to the last issue of JLA produced by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky and count back until hitting the last Fox/Sekowsky tale to include the Martian Manhunter.  That was, indeed, JLA # 61 (Mar., 1968).

 

But I couldn’t fool Luke.  He accurately recalled that there was one later appearance of J’onn J’onzz with the Justice League that took place in Action Comics # 366 (Aug., 1968).

 

The story “Substitute Superman” winds up a multi-issue arc in which the Man of Steel is believed to have died from the lethal “Virus X”.  As it turns out, on the rocket transporting his dying body to our sun, Superman gets better.  Upon returning to Earth, he discovers that the world already believes Superman to be cured and  “he” has been performing his usual super-feats all over the globe.

 

 

The mystery is cleared up when it’s revealed that the heroes of the Justice League have been posing as the Man of Steel, until a replacement Superman from the bottled city of Kandor could be chosen.

 

 

7.  Speaking of the JLA, per the by-laws of the Justice League, what was the schedule for its regular meetings?

 

This is the one that neither Luke nor Hal got right.  I’ll let Wonder Woman herself explain the by-law scheduling regular meetings of the Justice League . . . .

 

 

I cannot accept Luke’s answer of “monthly” because it is entirely possible that more than one month, perhaps several, go by before a regular JLA meeting convenes.  If an emergency meeting brings the members of the League together, then twenty-eight days later, there is another emergency meeting, and then yet another emergency meeting two weeks after that, obviously more than one month would go by without a regular meeting.

 

I am kind of curious as to where Hal got his “last Saturday of each month” notion.

 

 

8.  In what story/issue did Bizarro № 1 with his classic reversed “S-shield” insignia first appear?

 

This is where Luke showed his real Silver-Age expertise.  He not only sidestepped the pitfall but gave the correct information, citing the exact story.

 

Frankly, I was relying on one of the many continuity errors that cropped up in DC stories in the 1970’s to trip folks up.  You see, in every Bronze-Age retelling of Bizarro № 1’s origin, it is depicted like this, from  Superman # 306 (Dec., 1976) . . . .

 

 

You see how the scenes show Bizarro № 1’s “S-shield” emblem reversed at the moment of his creation?  That’s a significant error.  For, as Luke knew, when the first Superman Bizarro was created, in Action Comics # 254 (Jul., 1959), his chest insignia was exactly like the real Man of Steel’s.

 

 

(And before anyone asks, the first Bizarro---the one of Superboy, back in Superboy # 68 [Oct., 1958]---also wore the proper “S-shield” emblem.)

 

The “S” insignia of Bizarro № 1 and all the other Superman Bizarros did not become reversed until several Bizarro-related stories later, in Adventure Comics # 293 (Feb., 1962).  And it wasn’t because of a sudden inspiration by artist John Forte.

 

 

In “The Good Deeds of Bizarro-Luthor”, Bizarro № 1 and his family are exiled from Htrae by the rest of Bizarro society for the very fact that the S-insignia on their costumes is perfect.  And as we all know, “is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World.”  The solution, which takes the Big Doofus № 1 twelve pages to figure out, is to outfit himself and all the other Superman Bizarros with new costumes bearing the backwards-S emblem.

 

As Luke also knew.

 

 

9.  Speaking of Bizarros, what did the Bizarro-Flash have as a chest insignia?

 

This was the only question Randomnole chimed in on, but he was the first to get it right.  The Bizarro-Flash’s chest insignia was the silhouette of a gavel inside a white circle.  Randomnole also did the rest of my job for me; he named the story source---specifically, Lois Lane # 74 (May, 1967)---and the reason.

 

 

Now, there’s something interesting to add.  On the previous question, I beat up the folks behind the Bronze-Age DC stories, as I so often do, for their sloppiness in making continuity mistakes.  But I have to point out a rare case when somebody actually did his homework.

 

The Bizarro-Flash did not appear again in a DC comics for another sixteen years.  Then he popped up for a bit part in Superman # 379 (Jan., 1983).  Incredibly, given the latter–age DC’s usual inattention to detail, the Bizarro-Flash was given the proper costume, down to the gavel insignia.

 

 

And they got it right again for Bizarro-Flash’s next and last appearance, in DC Presents # 71 (Jul., 1984).

 

Go figure.

 

 

10.  What was the last story/issue to show Hector Hammond as a normal man, before he enlarged his own brain?

 

This was probably the sneakiest question of the bunch, and it’s the only one that Luke fell for, I’m afraid.  But it didn’t give Prince Hal any problems.  He knew right off that it was JLA # 14 (Sep., 1962).

 

In his first appearance---“The Power Ring That Vanished”, from Green Lantern # 5 (Mar.-Apr., 1961)---Hector Hammond was a rather dashing, but completely normal-looking villain. 

 

Hammond showed up next in JLA # 14 as one of the five criminals enlisted by villain Mister Memory as part of his plot to destroy the Justice League. 

 

 

True, as Luke accurately noted, this was the issue in which Hammond used his evolution meteor on himself, to become a big-domed but immortal “man of the future”.  As Luke also pointed out, when Hammond appeared next, in Green Lantern # 22 (Jul., 1963), they took the change a step further by showing that a side-effect of turning himself immortal had eventually rendered Hammond immobile.

 

Unfortunately, Luke missed one earlier panel in JLA # 14.  The one depicting Mr. Memory briefing his five villainous cohorts on his dememorising scheme.  Here, we see a normal Hector Hammond for the last time.

 

 

In other words, Hammond did not turn himself into a future man between Green Lantern # 5 and JLA # 14.  He actually did it between the pages of JLA # 14 itself.  Just as Hal answered.

 

 

 

In the final tally, Luke got five out of ten correct, or 50%.  An excellent score, given the fact that he was the first to provide answers.

 

Prince Hal got seven of ten right, or 70%, also remarkable.

 

Randomnole only answered the one, but he was the first one to get it right and it was one of the toughies, so he deserves praise, as well.

 

I hope all of you found some of these answers enjoyable.  That’s the whole point.  Not to show how much you may not know about the Silver-Age adventures of our heroes, but to inspire that “Hey, wow!  I didn’t know that!” feeling when you see the answers posted here.

 

That’s the part that’s fun for me, when I put these quizzes together, and I hope they’re fun for you, when you read them.

Views: 1515

Comment by Lee Semmens on July 22, 2012 at 8:23am

It's strange that a number of continuity mistakes, such the reversed "S" emblem on Bizarro chest to pop up in the 1970s, given that DC's walking encyclopedia (with a fantastic memory, apparently), Associate Editor E. Nelson Bridwell was around.

I guess even he couldn't oversee everthing down to the finest detail.

 

 - Lee

Comment by Commander Benson on July 22, 2012 at 10:57am

"It's strange that a number of continuity mistakes, such the reversed 'S' emblem on Bizarro chest to pop up in the 1970s, given that DC's walking encyclopedia (with a fantastic memory, apparently), Associate Editor E. Nelson Bridwell was around."

 

You're certainly right about what an invaluable resource Nelson Bridwell was and also about how the various DC writers failed to take advantage of his vast knowledge and impeccable memory.

 

Apart from any kind of personality conflicts---which I've never heard anything about, one way or the other---I figure the main reason DC writers didn't get an accuracy-check from Bridwell was because the writers, most of the time, didn't think they had to.  Either the writers "kinda-sorta" remembered the facts and figured that was sufficient (lots of times, it wasn't) or they didn't realise that there was a detail that they needed to remember.

 

The mistake with the Bizarro-Superman's reversed S-shield is an example of the latter.  In the case of Superman # 306, either writer Martin Pasko included notes for artist Curt Swan to draw the Bizarro's chest insignia backwards or Swan did it on his own initiative.  Whomever was responsible simply assumed that the Bizarro's S-shield had always been backwards; he didn't know about the "Good Deeds of Bizarro-Luthor" story and he didn't check the first Bizarro-Superman tale in Action Comics # 254, where he would have noted the discrepancy.  (He probably figured he didn't have to.)  And since those old stories were before Julius Schwartz's time as editor, he didn't know about them, either.  So he didn't catch it.

 

I wonder how many times Bridwell caught such an error in a DC comic while reading it, then called the writer and told him, "You got this wrong, you know.  Why didn't you ask me first?"  Probably, lots.

 

The half-remembered syndrome is what brought me into being active in on-line comic sites some fifteen years ago.  I was constantly coming across message boards in which a poster would cite some erroneous information as fact---based solely on "I don't have the story in front of me, but I think I remember . . . ."

 

I learnt this lesson the hard way:  No matter how well you think you remember it, check the source, anyway.  Ninety-nine per cent of the times I've put out wrong info on line, it was because I went on memory alone.  Fortunately, there are a bunch of smart guys here at Captain Comics who catch it and let me know.  That's what keeps me honest.

Comment by Lee Semmens on July 23, 2012 at 2:30am

"Apart from any kind of personality conflicts---which I've never heard anything about, one way or the other---I figure the main reason DC writers didn't get an accuracy-check from Bridwell was because the writers, most of the time, didn't think they had to."

 

My thoughts echo yours, Commander, and everything I've read about Bridwell suggests he was a nice, quiet, inoffensive guy - quite possibly an introvert - so if there were personality clashes (and reading between the lines, personally I don't think so) I doubt if they started with Bridwell.

Apparently Weisinger used to be abusive to Bridwell earlier on, but Bridwell was far from being Robinson Crusoe there.

Comment by Prince Hal on July 23, 2012 at 7:08am

Hi, and thanks for both the quiz and the compliments, Commander.

Wish I could say I remembered all of those answers off the top of my head, but that'd be fibbing.

Was going to look for the JLA meeting bylaw in that old Amazing World fanzine DC published years ago, but had no time to, so resorted to Google, just knowing I'd pay the price for my sloth, and took it from a non-canonical website.  (dcnation.wetpaint.com/page/Justice+League+Bylaws) 

Comment by Commander Benson on July 23, 2012 at 7:41am

No crime in looking up answers, Hal.  In fact, I specifically state that it's O.K. to do so.  The real trick is knowing where to look it up.

 

Relying on The Amazing World of DC Comics # 14 would have been risky; that particular "reference" is rife with inaccuracies and contradictions of facts presented during the Silver Age.  AWODC # 14 was, indeed, a fanzine (albeit one published by DC itself), and most of the passages were written by Mark Gruenwald---before he had a position with either DC or Marvel.  So, in short, many of the "facts" he established were simply a fan's Neat Ideas and erroneously remembered items from the Silver-Age JLA tales.

 

I was most impressed that you got the Hector Hammond one.  I had that story for years before I realised that that single panel of Mr. Memory briefing his five criminal cohorts included Hammond when he was still a normal-looking man.  And Luke is a solid expert on the Silver Age and he missed it.  So you deserve a real pat on the back for that one.

Comment by Prince Hal on July 23, 2012 at 8:49am

Again, I just did some detective work on that. I used the GCD to search for appearances of Hector Hammond (however unwieldy that can be) because I figured the obvious answer was the best. 

I know what you mean re that JLA handbook, but since I didn't have time to hit my issues and reprints, I had to go for the easy choice. I got the Batman answer from Michael Fleisher's original Batman encyclopedia, which though dry, is at least fairly comprehensive. 

BTW, Commander, did you mention which issue of JLA WW's comment was in, or did I miss it?

And here's a question I enjoy pondering. It's based on the reappearances of DC's Silver Age characters, or new versions of them, in comics since then. Now, I can't speak authoritatively, as I've not purchased a DC or Marvel comic since whatever age they completely screwed up everything, but I cam't think of too many characters, however obscure, who have not been brought back for at least a cameo. Heck, even the unused cover from that Yankee Doodle Dandy issue of B and B popped up as the cover of a Doom Patrol issue. And that character never even was published.

I think the exception is (no drumroll, please) the Bat-Squad, from B and B 92. Now, that was a 15-center, and so maybe not truly a SA comic, but for the sake of argument and just for the fun of it, and to see if there are any other characters (and I'm sure there are) in this category, I pose the question. 

Comment by Commander Benson on July 23, 2012 at 12:17pm

You didn't miss it, Hal.  I forgot to include the citation for that panel in which Wonder Woman explains the meeting by-law.  It came from "The Wheel of Misfortune", JLA # 6 (Aug.-Sep., 1961).

 

Ah, the Bat-Squad . . . Major Drabney and Mick Murdock and Margo Cantrell.  They never appeared again, at least, in the pre-Crisis era.  I've long suspected that "Night Wears a Scarlet Shroud" was a story intended for Batman or Detective Comics, and some difficulty resulted in it being pressed into service as a Brave and the Bold adventure, to avoid the Dreaded Deadline Doom. 

 

In other words, it wasn't intended to be a test-market for a new team, the Bat-Squad.  The "Bat-Squad" was just a term slapped on the three secondary characters---Mick, Margo, and the Major---to turn the story into a B&B team-up.

 

The problem for me in determining the Bat-Squad, or any other obscure Silver-Age character, as never having appeared since is that I haven't followed DC comics since 1986 or so.  I have no idea of which characters have reappeared, even for playful nods to the past.  I'm fairly sure you're right about the Bat-Squad, but I'm not sure enough to make book on it.

Comment by Prince Hal on July 23, 2012 at 12:58pm

I've always wondered about that story, too. The logo in particular looked slapped on. Your surmise re its intended destination may be right, but arguing against it is that it had Cardy art, and I don't think he ever had any work published in either of the main Bat books.

Are you thinking that the story itself was tossed over from the Batman editor to Boltinoff? That would account for it. (I was thinking at first that you mean it was was pressed into service b/c of a deadline problem as an already-done book.) Your theory makes a lot of sense.

Just a weird anomaly, I guess.

Here's another: even at the end of the original B and B run, when Batman was teaming with just about anyone -- I mean, a two-parter with the Rose and the Thorn? -- the only member of the JLA he never teamed with was J'onn J'onzz. They were both detectives, after all. Couldn't they have thrown the poor guy even a co-starring role with a featured guest? 

Comment by Philip Portelli on July 23, 2012 at 1:44pm

I was about to mention why J'onn J'onzz would need a mask to impersonate Superman until I remembered that during a Superman/Flash race, betted on by intergalactic gamblers Rokk and Sorbin, the Martian Manhunter morphed into the Man of Steel to trick them, got exposed to gold kryptonite which somehow robbed him of the ability to EVER mimic the Action Ace again!

Comment by Commander Benson on July 23, 2012 at 1:46pm

Well, I was, indeed, talking about simply the script alone---not the completed art---turned over to Boltinoff.  But, in giving the matter some thought, I believe I'm probably off the mark, anyway.

 

Checking my usual sources for credit attribution, each one lists Bob Haney as the writer of "Night Wears a Scarlet Shroud", with no annotations of anyone else contributing toward the script (as there might have been if Haney had polished or completed someone else's original draft).  Looking over the story itself, many of the lines---in particular, where the Batman, trapped with a ticking Nazi bomb left over from WWII, says, "Death's been a close companion before!  Now I'm ready to welcome it for the last time!"---are clearly Haney's style.

 

And then there is the final panel, in which a caption asks the readers if they want to see the Bat-Squad again and entreats them to write in and say so.

 

And then, I took into account what was going on with DC at the time.  Since '68, DC had been experimenting with new types of lead characters---almost as if it were viewing conventional super-heroes as being on the way out.  So it introduced more outré types of super-heroes---Nightmaster, Deadman, the Creeper, Dolphin, the Hawk and the Dove.

 

DC also tried out the idea of series with powerless, costumeless heroes.  Thus begat "the Secret Six" and "Jason's Quest" and "Jonny Double".  The Teen Titans abandoned their flashy powers and flashier outfits, and the Metal Men might as well have, since once they became "human", they barely used their metallic abilities.  And, of course, the poster child for the whole powerless-hero gambit:  the New Wonder Woman, in which the Amazing Amazon was turned into Diana Rigg in white mufti.

 

Keeping that trend in mind, it is quite possible that B&B editor Murray Boltinoff (who was also responsible for the development of turning the Teen Titans into a group of normal youngsters) was testing the waters for yet another team of normal folks, with Mick and Margo and the Major.  Boltinoff could even have been looking far enough ahead that, if the team's popularity warranted it, the trio would eventually push Batman out of its adventures, the way the Little Wise Guys eventually beached Daredevil.

 

Given that "Night Wears a Scarlet Shroud" being intended for Batman or Detective Comics was only a hunch of mine, everything I've just described, that suggests it was intended to be a B&B story all along, opens up too much reasonable doubt that my hunch was correct.

 

As you said, Hal, it's a weird anomaly.  We'll probably never know the true genesis of that story appearing in B&B.

 

As to the matter of J'onn J'onzz never teaming with the Batman in B&B, that doesn't surprise me too much.  Somewhere around 1964, the Manhunter from Mars grew into a pariah, as far as DC was concerned.  Yes, he was given the lead in House of Mystery, but within a few issues, was bumped to the back of the book by, of all things, the Robby Reed "Dial 'H' for Hero" series. 

 

Shortly thereafter, Gardner Fox began omitting the Manhunter from most of his JLA scripts, and after the J'onn J'onzz series in House of Mystery was cancelled in 1968, that was pretty much the death knell for the Alien Ace.  The last two JLA scripts by Gardner Fox intended to include the entire League membership omitted the Martian Manhunter without so much as a "tied up on an urgent case of his own" acknowledgement.  It was like the martian never even existed.

 

For some reason, DC had become allergic to the Manhunter and finally rushed him off the stage completely with ". . . and So My World Ends", in JLA # 71 (May, 1969).  Outside of an occasional guest appearance, J'onn J'onzz didn't become a viable property again until 1986, when his presence was used to set the stage for the abominable "Detroit Justice League".

 

In light of the that corporate attitude toward him, J'onn J'onzz didn't have a snowball's chance of appearing with the Batman in The Brave and the Bold.

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