Deck Log Entry #201 The Earth-Two Silver-Age Challenge---Answers!

Whew!  I don’t think I’ve ever had every question in a quiz shot down as fast as they were this year.  Clearly, I underestimated the popularity of the Silver-Age appearances of the Justice Society heroes.  My Earth-Two questions proved to be not as difficult as I had expected.  Most years I have a couple of posers---at least one---that defies all of you quiz-takers.  But this time around, they all dropped like ten-pins.  The only difficulties were caused by some semantical snags.

 

None of that takes away from the fact that you guys really outdid yourselves.  For one thing, our fearless leader, Cap, chimed in soon after I posted and nearly cleared the board.  Only a couple of detail flubs and one outright incorrect answer thwarted him.  But everyone else was spot-on in almost every answer, too.  The few misses occurred when some folks overthought my descriptions in a couple of questions.  But even then, it resulted in fortunate circumstances for one of you.

 

All those things will come out in the wash, so let’s get right to it!

 

 

1.  What is the street address of Mr. and Mrs. Jay Garrick, in Keystone City, on Earth-Two?

 

I thought that the Garricks’ address would be so obscure that I didn’t even try to find it with a search engine.  Well, I certainly underestimated fandom there.  Two minutes ago, I ran “Jay Garrick’s address” through Google and the first three hits had the correct answer.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that’s how Cap and Fraser Sherman and Prince Hal got it.  They could very well have known that the Barry Allen-Flash learnt the Garricks’ address, 5252 East 78th Street, on his first visit to Earth-Two.  He found it in the Keystone City telephone book, in “Flash of Two Worlds”, from The Flash # 123 (Sep., 1961).

 

My old pal, the Silver Age Fogey, admitted he googled the right answer, which is perfectly fine under my rules.  I just should have come up with a more Google-proof question.

 

2.  Which member of the Justice Society created a computer capable of forecasting the probable time and location of a crime?

 

Cap and Fraser knew this one right off.  Early in “The Stormy Return of the Red Tornado”, from JLA # 64 (Aug., 1968), we learn that Hourman invented such a device, which he termed the crime-caster.  What the Tick-Tock Man didn’t explain was how a chemist had the cyber-technological skills to create something which would be a marvel even by twenty-first-century standards.

 

 

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?

 

As seen in “Thoroughly Modern Mayhem”, from Green Lantern # 61 (Jun., 1968), the Green Lantern used his power ring to set up a “burglar alarm” which would send a signal to his ring if an intruder gained entry to Wayne Manor.

Luke Blanchard’s answer of having “GL keep an eye on the place” was close enough---obviously Luke meant that the Emerald Crusader would use his power ring to maintain that vigil---that I gave him full credit.  Cap’s answer was a little trickier.  He stated that Bruce Wayne simply installed his mansion with a burglar alarm.  From that alone, Wayne might have used C.P.I. or Brinks; there was no mention of Green Lantern.  However, since Cap referenced G.L. # 61, it was reasonable to infer that he knew the Lantern was involved somehow.  So I figure he’s got, at least, partial credit coming.

 

 

4.  When the Earth-Two Wonder Woman appeared for the first time in a JLA/JSA team-up, how did artist Mike Sekowsky visually distinguish her from her Earth-One counterpart?

 

I felt this might be the hardest question to crack, but it didn’t seem to fool anybody---except for the fact that Fraser Sherman sort of backed his way into the correct answer.

 

The Wonder Woman of Earth-Two made her Silver-Age début in “Vengeance of the Immortal Villain”, from The Flash # 137 (Jun., 1963), which was drawn by Carmine Infantino.  It wasn’t until 1967’s annual Justice League/Justice Society team-up, in JLA # 55-6 (Aug. and Sep., 1967) that Mike Sekowsky got a chance at drawing the Golden-Age Amazing Amazon.  And here, Sekowsky did, indeed, distinguish her from the Earth-One version by giving her strapped sandals for footgear.

 

At this time, the Earth-One Wonder Woman was wearing boots in her JLA appearances, but that was not---as Philip Portelli implied and Fraser stated right out---because Mike Sekowsky had decided to do so.

 

Wonder Woman # 98 (May, 1958), with her revised origin, is considered the début of the Earth-One Amazon Princess.  In that issue, she was shown wearing the strapped sandals.  She continued to wear the sandals until Wonder Woman # 157 (Oct., 1965), when, with no in-story explanation given, she started wearing red boots in place of her sandals.

 

It was in JLA # 43 (Mar., 1966), as Philip pointed out---time enough for Sekowsky to see the change in footgear in Wonder Woman # 157 and incorporate it into the JLA story he was drawing at the time---that the Amazing Amazon was wearing boots in that title, as well.  Sekowsky was simply adhering to a change that had taken place in W.W.’s own series. 

 

Sekowsky was good about such things.  In late 1964 to mid-’65, the artist on Green Lantern, Gil Kane, started tinkering with the proportions of green and black on the Emerald Gladiator’s torso, and you’ll notice that, in JLA, allowing for the lag time, Sekowsky made the same changes to his rendition of G.L.  And when Kane finally settled on an arrangement he liked in Green Lantern, Sekowsky mirrored it in JLA.  That sort of attention to detail is one of the qualities that later comic-book artists abandoned.

 

 

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?

 

Let’s get the correct answer, which Cap nailed right off, out of the way:  it’s The Brave and the Bold # 72 (Jun.-Jul., 1967) and the story “Phantom Flash, Cosmic Traitor”.  Prince Hal called this one, too.

 

I’ll admit I had trouble with the wording of this question.  I didn’t want to call the first team-up of non-counterparts because I figured someone would complain that, in B&B # 72, the Spectre and the Flash fought each other and didn’t have a chance to team-up.  So I went with the more generic term contained.

 

For Luke and Fraser, I had taken “The Flash’s Final Fling”, from The Flash # 159 (Mar., 1966) into account.  In that story, Kid Flash takes his mentor over to Earth-Two, to be examined by Doctor McNider.  But it occupies only a couple of pages of the story, principally to explicate the background on Barry Allen’s bizarre attitude.  The closest the blind physician gets to appearing as Doctor Mid-Nite is a glimpse of his empty costume in a closet.

 

I couldn’t really consider this as a valid response, especially given that the super-hero Dr. Mid-Nite never took an active part in the adventure or even showed up.  One can argue whether a super-hero is still a super-hero even when he is in his civilian identity, but I looked at it this way:  let’s say an issue of Superman carries a full-length story in which the Man of Steel has to travel to a hostile planet in another dimension.  Early on, before he leaves for the other dimension, he stops off a Wayne Manor to tell Bruce Wayne, “Sorry, Bruce, but I won’t be able to take your place at that charity event to-night.  You’ll have to find some other way for Batman and Bruce Wayne to appear together.” Then takes a page or two to lay out the threat he’s facing.   And suppose, after learning why, Bruce offers to go along with him to the hostile planet as the Batman, but Superman turns down the offer of help.  If the other twenty-two pages contain the Man of Steel’s troubles in the other dimension, would you really consider that to be a story which contained Superman and Batman?

 

No, of course you wouldn’t.  It would be a cameo by Bruce Wayne in a Superman adventure.  That’s why I ruled Dr. McNider’s appearance in The Flash # 159 out of consideration.  I’ll admit, though, I should have found a better word than “contained”.

 

 

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?

 

For years, the original Flash’s secret identity was kept secret by the same Golden-Age nearsightedness that kept people from recognising other maskless mystery men, such as Starman and the Shining Knight, in their civilian identities.  By the Silver Age, however, readers were no longer as blithely accepting, so in the tale “Doomward Flight of the Flashes”, from The Flash # 173 (Sep., 1967), we’re told that the Flash of Earth-Two maintains internal super-speed vibrations which blur his features just enough to be unrecognisable as Jay Garrick.

 

The fact that the original Flash did this was instrumental in defeating the Golden Man of the planet Vorvan, as Cap knew.

 

 

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 appeared just as he had in 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?

 

If any of this year’s quiz-questions could be said to be a stumper, it was this one.  Not because nobody got the answer---Fraser got it, and Cap would have had it, except he talked himself out of it---but because nobody named the definitive source of the answer.  Cap was close when he guessed it was addressed in a letter page of The Atom, sometime after the Thinker’s second Silver-Age appearance in issue # 29 of that title (Feb-Mar., 1967).

 

The source was, indeed, a subsequent “Inside the Atom” column, Cap (which is why I gave you partial credit for a correct answer).  The one in The Atom # 31 (Jun.-Jul., 1967), to be precise.  As part of Julius Schwartz’s response to the first letter printed in that issue reads:

 

As for those old-time fans who noted that the Thinker had a full head of hair---as contrasted to his original bald-headed appearance---the answer is simple:  the electrically charged thinking cap he wore caused his hair to grow back in!

 

 

8.  Other than the Spectre, who was the only other Justice Society member to be featured in a solo story?

 

Philip, Fraser, the Fogey, and Prince Hal all knew this one.  It was Hourman, who had a back-up story all to himself,  titled “The Hour Hourman Died”, in The Spectre # 7 (Nov.-Dec., 1968).

 

Cap was the only one to go out on his own and name Wildcat, from The Spectre # 3 (Mar.-Apr., 1968).  I had taken that issue into account and was forced to rule Cap incorrect here.

 

For those of you who don’t have your copy of The Spectre # 3 handy, after a two-page prologue establishing the villain, the next ten and a half pages are devoted to Wildcat, in a section that leads off with the banner “Hang ‘em Up, Wildcat---You’re Finished!”  The remainder of the issue brings the Spectre into the situation.  He bails Wildcat out of his current troubles and deals with the bad guy. 

 

The idea---and the “Hang ‘em, Up” banner contributes to it---is that the ten-point-five pages with Wildcat is a story of its own.

 

I considered The Spectre # 3 at length.  It seemed to me that the Wildcat section did not stand alone as an independent story.  It does not end conclusively; the Feline Fury is left in a humiliating situation and the villain runs free to carry on in the rest of the issue.  The page numbering does not reset between the last page of the Wildcat sequence and the introduction of the Spectre.  The Hang ‘em, Up banner could be seen as a chapter heading.

 

Certainly, somebody could produce examples of indisputably independent stories that display all of the qualities which I found as detractions.  But I did not rely on my evaluation alone.  I went to three sites---Mike’s Amazing World of DC Comics and the Grand Comic Book Database and the DC Database---all of which index the stories which appear in DC Comics.  All three list the contents of The Spectre # 3 as a single story, under the title “Menace of the Mystic Mastermind”.  That was enough corroboration for me.  I agree it’s a near thing, though.

 

 

9.  We saw at least three crime-fighting weapons that Doctor Mid-Nite carried in his medical bag.  What were they?

 

A couple of things came back to niggle me about this question.  About two weeks after I posted the quiz, I realised that the only time in the Silver Age when we see Dr. Mid-Nite with a medical satchel is in JLA # 46-7 (Aug. and Sep., 1966).  I knew that might cause some confusion with regard to Mid-Nite carrying three weapons in his bag, but, at that late date, opted to leave the question be.  I figured you guys wouldn’t take the “medical bag” reference too literally and understand that I meant simply what three weapons did we see Dr. Mid-Nite use during the Silver Age.

 

But the presumption about Mid-Nite’s satchel got me to thinking---which is always a bad thing---and it dawned on me that the the good doctor’s preëminent weapon, the one for which he is most known---the blackout bomb---I couldn’t recall seeing him use in a Silver-Age tale.  And just because we all know he used it in practically every one of his Golden-Age adventures, it wouldn’t fit the question if we never saw him using the blamed thing during the Silver-Age period.

 

Fortunately, a furious search of Silver-Age Earth-Two tales rescued me.  In “Double Danger on Earth”, from The Flash # 129 (Jun., 1962), Jay Garrick reflects on the last case of the Justice Society, and the flashback panels include one of Dr. Mid-Nite fighting under the cover of his blackout bomb, and it’s mentioned in Garrick’s narrative.

 

So, with a sigh of relief, I can safely state that the first weapon in the Man of Midnight’s little black bag is . . . the blackout bomb

 

And, as shown above, Doc exploded one of those babies a second time during the Silver Age, in The Flash # 170 (May, 1967).

 

The second weapon carried by Mid-Nite is clear enough, if somewhat derivative:  the distortion blackout bomb.  He used this against Owlman, of the Crime Syndicate, in JLA # 30 (Sep., 1964).

 

Now, Philip Portelli pointed out that, in that same sequence from JLA # 30, Dr. Mid-Nite blasted a cavernous hole in the floor of the JSA headquarters to entrap Owlman.  The mechanism by which the doc did this was unshown.  However, when I reviewed this issue of JLA on another forum, one of its long-time correspondents submitted his own pet theory; he hypothesised that, to create the hole, Mid-Nite used a prototype of his third and final Silver-Age weapon . . . .

 

. . . the cyrotuber.  JLA fans were introduced to the cyrotuber in JLA # 46 as an upgrade to Dr.Mid-Nite’s arsenal.  It was a real multi-tasker.  It could involuntarily stimulate the nerves of another person’s system; it could burn through solid metal with a laser or freeze human flesh with a discharge of liquid nitrogen.  It was just the science-y kind of thing that Gardner Fox was so fond of.  The fans not so much, though.

 

It appeared one more time in the Silver Age, in the aforementioned Flash # 170.  And wherever Prince Hal saw it spelt differently, both of those times, it was referred to as the cyrotuber (which, I know, makes no sense, but that’s what it was.)

 

Cap was the only one to nail all three.

 

 

10.  As long as we’re talking about him, Dr. Mid-Nite encountered two Earth-One villains during the Silver-Age.  Which two?

 

This question took Luke Blanchard in directions I never intended.  All because of two words.

 

The correct answer as I intended was the Blockbuster and Abra Kadabra.  Dr. Mid-Nite battled the Blockbuster in JLA # 47 . . . 

. . . . and he helped the Flash clobber Abra Kadabra in The Flash # 170.

I see Luke’s argument against the Blockbuster:  the Blockbuster does not consciously plan to do evil things, thus he is not villainous, thus he is not a villain.  In wording my question, I considered that viewpoint.  My problem was, I was afraid if I used a more generic term, such as foe or opponent, I’d have to deal with folks who might insist that Abra Kadabra’s underlings, whom Dr. Mid-Nite also fought in The Flash # 170, would also count as Earth-One “foes” or “opponents”.   And words like menace and threat were no good for the same reason.

 

Villain, on the other hand, narrowed things down suitably.  There was certainly no problem tagging Abra Kadabra as a villain.  Admittedly, in the case of the Blockbuster, the term was problematic.  However, considering the story in which Dr. Mid-Nite encountered the Blockbuster; how writer Gardner Fox used the Blockbuster as a villain, as the Earth-One counterpart to the certainly more malicious Solomon Grundy; and how the assembled heroes confronted the Blockbuster as a villain, I figured the term wouldn’t be misleading.  At least, Cap and Fraser and Prince Hal got it.

 

However, Luke didn’t come up completely empty handed on question number ten.  This is one of those times when one of you guys come up with something I missed.

 

Well, not missed, exactly.  I had remembered that a second group of Justice Society members show up at the end of JLA # 64.  I just forgot that Dr. Mid-Nite was one of them.  Yet, there he is, at the top of page 21.

 

But did he encounter T. O. Morrow?  The next page shows the back-up group of JSAers converging on the Red Tornado while he’s in the process of mopping up the ceiling with Morrow.  The super-heroes and Morrow share the same panel.

 

I figure that’s enough to qualify as an encounter.  But here’s where things get tricky.  Dr. Mid-Nite is not in that panel, nor in any other panel showing the second JSA group.  The doc is only in that one panel at the top of page 21.  Now, I could take the panel on page 22 literally:  Dr. Mid-Nite isn’t there, or in any of the following panels, so he didn’t encounter T. O. Morrow.

 

But it didn’t make sense that the Man of Midnight would show up for one panel, then leave.  More likely, I concluded, that it was Gardner Fox’s intention that the whole second set of heroes, including Mid-Nite, show up to tackle Morrow, and that artist Dick Dillin had simply omitted him.  Dillin probably wasn’t used to handling so many heroes yet, and Dr. Mid-Nite got lost in the shuffle.

 

So I decided that Luke was right:  cameo or not, Dr. Mid-Nite did encounter T. O. Morrow.  He gets credit for a correct answer.

 

 * * * * *

No doubt about it.  You fellows knocked it out of the park this time.  Time for me to head back to trivia-school!

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Some comments:

I never meant to imply that Mike Sekowsky changed the Earth-One Wonder Woman's footwear on his own. I simply pointed out that by the time he drew the E-2 WW, the E-1 WW had already converted to boots. I wasn't going to reread Silver Age WW stories again for details! Ha!

The Hourman back-up from The Spectre #7 (D'68) was quickly reprinted in Justice League of America #91 (Au'71).

Not to challenge you Commander but it seems off to claim that Doctor Mid-Nite was using his cyrotuber (or some version of it) two years before it was introduced. It could also have been another variant of his black-out bomb just as well, a sort of "Blasting Black-Out Bomb". There is nothing in the original story to support such a claim. As a theory, it's fine but it is unprovable! I'm content in thinking that the JSA had some explosive devices stored in their HQ for just such an emergency!

Philip Portelli said:

Not to challenge you Commander but it seems off to claim that Doctor Mid-Nite was using his cyrotuber (or some version of it) two years before it was introduced. It could also have been another variant of his black-out bomb just as well, a sort of "Blasting Black-Out Bomb". There is nothing in the original story to support such a claim. As a theory, it's fine but it is unprovable! I'm content in thinking that the JSA had some explosive devices stored in their HQ for just such an emergency!

As I stated, the idea that Dr. Mid-Nite blasted that hole in the headquarters' floor with a prototype of the cytrotuber was the pet theory of a respondant on the forum where I do monthly reviews of the JLA issues that came out fifty years ago.  I agree, nothing in the original story supports it, and it's rather a bit of retro-fitting to figure that the doc had the idea for his cyrotuber some two years previous.  Taken with its flaws, though, it's not an outlandish theory.

Your idea that the JSA had some explosives stored in the HQ fits the Occam's Razor test---it's the simplest notion that fits all the details.  I'm a little surprised, in fact, that Gardner Fox didn't make some sort of mention to that effect in the story.  But not more than a little surprised; of the five JLA/JSA team-ups done by Fox/Sekowsky, I rate the Earth-Three one as the worst.

Since I have so few references for JLA stories, I went with my (flawed) memory on my Wonder Woman answer. I remembered the Golden Age Wonder Woman wearing a skirt instead of shorts and decided it was the Earth 2 Wonder Woman.

For what it's worth, the Earth-1 Wonder Woman started out with the strappy sandals (hopefully intended to represent gladiator sandals, but to my youthful eyes, they looked more like ballet slippers), and then switched to the more familiar red boots when she began having her Golden Age Flashbacks phase, and kept them even after that experiment failed.  The Earth-2 Wonder Woman started out with red boots with a flared white top, and eventually switched to the strappy sandals as of All-Star Comics #50 Dec. 1940- Jan. 1950, which no doubt reflected the change in footwear in her solo series, but I don't have access to that era of stories to supply a date or issue number.  My pet theory has always been that Kanigher made the costume change to soften her image and make the post-Marston WW less threatening.  Or not.

Dave Elyea said:

For what it's worth, the Earth-1 Wonder Woman started out with the strappy sandals (hopefully intended to represent gladiator sandals, but to my youthful eyes, they looked more like ballet slippers), and then switched to the more familiar red boots when she began having her Golden Age Flashbacks phase, and kept them even after that experiment failed.  

Actually, Wonder Woman adopted the red boots in Wonder Woman # 157 (Oct., 1965), which was still the (then-)modern-age Amazon Princess.  It wasn't until two issues later---# 159 (Jan., 1966)---that Robert Kanigher kicked off his "back to the Golden Age" experiment, which kept W.W. in the red boots.

Of course, it's possible that Kanigher ordered the change in her footgear as soon as he thought of it, in preparation for the change in format he knew was coming.

The "Return to the Golden Age" was previewed in Wonder Woman #156 (Aug. 1965), when WW goes to a comic book store to check out rare Golden Age WW comics, and finds herself reliving her battle with the Brain Pirate.  In this issue, she wears her sandals in the "current day" framing sequence, and the boots in the faux Golden Age sequence.  The boots reappeared in the interim issues before the official "Golden Age Reborn" era, and remained thereafter.

Dave Elyea said:

My pet theory has always been that Kanigher made the costume change to soften her image and make the post-Marston WW less threatening.  Or not.

It's my guess the idea was taken from Moon Girl, EC's Wonder Woman imitation. Perhaps someone at DC thought they would look more mythological, or fitted with WW's bathing suit costume better.

There was an actual story from Wonder Woman #72 (F'55), "The Secret of Wonder Woman's Sandals!" where she had to earn her footwear by doing great feats (sorry!). I read it when it was reprinted in WW #211 (My'74).

As a matter of fact, the Amazon Princess had to complete great tasks to win all the parts of her outfit and her accessories, including the invisible plane.

As an aside, DC could do a trade paperback with nothing but stories about their heroes' costumes!

No argument with any of your interpretations, even on the questions where they worked against me. I must respectfully disagree with the Earth-Three story being worse than JLA 55-56. Even allowing for bias (#30 was my first comic book ever).

The background on the sandals was interesting—I got there just by comparing their look, so it was nice to learn such details.

I presume Hourman building the supercomputer just reflects the Silver Age assumption that geniuses have to be polymaths--no reason to think they specialize. Like Don Blake building his own android in Journey into Mystery or Spidey being able to deactivate the Vulture's wings.

Wow, did I show up badly. I knew I would, but still... the agonizing heartbreak.

A couple of notes, Commander.

ITEM: I don't have the books or references in front of me, but for your question about direct counterparts, i used the Atoms. They WERE counterparts... but not direct as Superman, Batman and Robin, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, etc. Shrinking vs super strength seemed different enough to me to qualify. Of course, if the timing is off, then never mind. :)

ITEM: Not that I would dare to correct your vocabulary, sir, but for question 10, might I suggest that "antagonist" might have fit the bill?

ITEM: ALWAYS love a Commander Adam trivia quiz! This was no less delightful and satisfying... marred only by the fact that HOLY COW, DID I DO BADLY! No less entertaining for that fact, though... I suspect by next year, I'll just sit and type random words for your quiz and see how I do. ;) Thank you again for a swift bit of fun!

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