It’s summertime, and a half-century ago, if you were a DC fan, it meant the arrival of the annual team-up between the Justice League and the Justice Society. In the spirit of those fondly remembered sagas, I’ve dedicated this year’s quiz to Earth-Two.
For those of you who came in late, the parallel-Earth concept was initiated in the DC universe by Julius Schwartz and Gardner Fox, the editor and writer, respectively, of The Flash. The tale “Flash of Two Worlds”, appearing in issue 123 (Sep., 1961), was intended as a nod to the older fans who were writing in asking about the original version of the Flash and the other Golden-Age DC heroes who had ceased publication by the early 1950’s. As the story established, DC’s heroes of yesteryear resided on a different Earth, occupying the same space as the modern Flash’s world, but vibrating at a slightly different rate, which kept them apart. Technology, history, customs, life---all were nearly identical on both Earths, but with occasional differences.
This second Earth---which would eventually be designated as Earth-Two---was where the Golden-Age adventures of the Jay Garrick Flash and the Alan Scott Green Lantern, and all the others had taken place. "You see," said Schwartz and Fox to those long-ago readers, "we didn’t forget about your heroes; they just live on another Earth." To the creative team’s surprise, the idea of a group of super-heroes that lived on an Earth almost like ours was a hit with both the older and the younger readers.
Fox had the two Flashes teaming up again, once in 1962 and in 1963, and each story gave increasingly wider looks at the other super-heroes occupying Earth-Two, who had joined together back in the 1940’s as the Justice Society of America. Solid sales of those issues established those old-time all-stars as fan favourites. In the summer of ’63, Schwartz pulled out the big guns and had the Justice League of America meet the Justice Society for a two-issue crisis affecting both worlds. The pairing proved to be so popular that it became an annual tradition.
Despite Schwartz’s initial intention to keep the appearances of the Earth-Two heroes to a tantalising minimum, the readers’ fascination with them gained ground until the crusty old editor had to give in. In 1965, you couldn’t pull a DC mag off the rack without bumping into a Golden-Age mystery man. The original Green Lantern had started making appearances in his Silver-Age counterpart’s title. Showcase ran to back-to-back issues starring Doctor Fate and Hourman; The Brave and the Bold did the same thing with Starman and the Black Canary. And that year’s JLA/JSA team-up was the Justice Society’s show all the way.
For this quiz, that Earth-Two explosion in 1965 was a good thing, for it provided much of the material for my quiz, which is devoted to the Silver-Age appearances of Earth-Two characters.
Those of you who look forward to my quizzes are familiar with the rules, I know, but for anyone stopping by my column for the first time, here are the standard rules:
1. All of the questions, and answers, are drawn from Silver-Age material. That is, anything produced by DC from the publication of Showcase # 4 (Sep.-Oct., 1956) to December, 1968, which I demark as the end of the Silver Age. If your answer comes from outside that period, then it is invalid. For example, if I were to ask “What is the space sector patrolled by Tomar Re, the Green Lantern of Xudar?” and you answered “Space sector 2813,” you would be wrong. During the Silver Age, Tomar Re’s space sector was “9”; “2813” was a Bronze Age revision.
The Silver-Age limitation is a tricky thing to keep in mind. Even the veteran quiz-takers here slip up sometimes. (Remember the “Per the Legion Constitution, who is the only person that the Legion Leader is answerable to?” fiasco?)
2. I’m definitely not infallible, also something to which the veteran quiz-takers will attest. I might have missed something, somewhere, in twelve years of DC publication. If you come up with an answer that meets the criteria of the question and can cite the Silver-Age reference, then I will gladly award you credit. “But I always thought . . . “ explanations won’t cut it, though.
3. I’ve got no problem with anybody using a search engine to look for answers. I try to make my questions as Google-proof as possible. The right answers are difficult to find with a search engine, though I cannot say impossible. Once I got tripped up by an article I had written for another site; it contained the answer to a question in one of my quizzes, and one of quiz-takers found it. (Hi, Luke!)
4. There are no prizes. You’re playing for bragging rights.
There are a couple of caveats pertinent to this quiz. One, no stories before The Flash # 123, when the parallel-world concept was instituted, count. I didn’t want to get bogged down in “This 1959 Superman story must have happened on Earth-Two because it said he didn’t have a Superboy career,” kind of stuff.
Second, the “What If?” story including the Batman and Alfred of Earth-Two, from Detective Comics # 347 (Jan., 1966), doesn’t count, either. I excluded it because it’s an “imaginary” appearance. It shouldn’t make a difference, anyway, but I wanted to save you the trouble of considering it or reviewing it.
That’s it. Everybody ready? Let’s go!
2. Which member of the Justice Society created a computer capable of forecasting the probable time and location of a crime?
3. With Dick Grayson grown up and moved out, what special protection did Bruce Wayne arrange for Wayne Manor whenever he was away on business?
5. Which comic (title and issue number) contained the first adventure of an Earth-One and an Earth-Two hero who were not direct counterparts, nor was a JLA/JSA team-up?
6. That the original Flash avoided recognition by blurring his features with internal super-speed vibrations was not revealed (at least to the readers) until his fight against what villain?
7. Along with the original Flash, another Golden-Age character revived in The Flash # 123 was a foe from his rogue’s gallery, the Thinker. In his Silver-Age début, the Thinker looked just as he had in his 1940’s appearances---as a bald-headed man with a pencil moustache. However, in the Earth-Two villain’s next Silver-Age appearance, he sported a full head of hair. After fans’ letters pointed out the discrepancy, what was Julius Schwartz’s in-fiction explanation for the Thinker’s newfound hirsuteness?
8. Other than the Spectre, who was the only other Justice Society member to be featured in a solo story?
10. As long as we’re talking about him, Dr. Mid-Nite encountered two Earth-One villains during the Silver-Age. Which two?