In 1956, National Periodical Publications, a.k.a. DC Comics, acquired the rights to Quality Comics’ Blackhawk. The adventures of the “Magnificent 7” were still popular with the fans, even though more than ten years had passed since their heyday as World War II Nazi-fighters. So, while N.P.P. allowed most of the other Quality titles it had purchased to die quietly, keeping the Blackhawks in the air seemed to be a bankable proposition.
It began in a London air-raid shelter . . . .
“Lord Ha-Ha’s Last Laugh”, from Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos # 4 (Nov., 1963), is best known for being the story in which Howler Junior Juniper was killed in action. The death of a regular featured character stunned the readers and signified a shift in the attitude of the series. Awash in the shock of that development, most fans probably paid little attention to another milestone of that…
Last week, I talked about the introduction of the Black Widow and her recurring rôle as an Iron Man foe in Tales of Suspense. She started out as an exotically beautiful seductress who used her feminine wiles as a spy for the Godless Commies. But after only four appearances in the traditional femme-fatale mould, she was “upgraded” to a costumed villainess. Instead of manipulating behind the scenes, Madame Natasha was in the midst of the action and…Continue
Outside of the old serials from the '40's, I'm not what you'd call a connoisseur of super-hero movies. I've seen a few, mostly under protest, like Superman: the Movie, and, most recently, Iron Man (because, believe it or not, the Good Mrs. Benson wanted to see it). But I've given a pass to nearly all the others. But I don't live on the dark side of the moon, either, so I know that the upcoming sequel Iron Man 2 includes a large…Continue
“The Man Who Exposed Superman”
Editor: Mort Weisinger Art: Curt Swan (pencils), George Klein (inks)
When Mort Weisinger took over the editorship of the Superman family of magazines, he inherited a main character with near-omnipotent super-powers and a rigidly high moral code. For a hero, those two qualities were handy things for fighting…
“Duel with Daredevil”
Editor: Stan Lee Writer: Stan Lee Artist: Steve Ditko
If you’re a comic-book enthusiast, sometimes you don’t want a ponderous, multi-issue cosmic saga. Or a life-and-death adventure against an arch-foe. Or even an intense emotional drama. Sometimes, all you want…
Suppose we were sitting around talking about comics, and I brought up a certain issue of a Silver-Age comic about a team of super-heroes. And in describing what happened in the story, I mentioned . . . .
. . . That the story opened up with one member of the team discovering a menace too great to handle alone, so he activates his emergency signal.
. . . That all of the other members respond, gathering at the team’s headquarters.
. . . The…
World’s Finest Comics # 141 (May, 1964) can boast of two historic “firsts” in DC history:
1. It features the first appearance of the Batman’s the bat-insignia surrounded by the yellow ellipse. (Actually, it was originally a yellow circle, and the “New Look” Batman is something we will definitely be discussing in a future column.)
2. The debut of the Olsen-Robin Team.
If your reaction to that second one…
“O.K., class, settle down, and let’s get started. We have a lot of material to cover to-day. Biff, put away the cell phone. I’m sure the young lady can survive not hearing your voice for an hour.”
“Now, I assume you all did your reading assignment----“
“You know what they say about assuming, sir . . . .”
“Pretty much the same thing as when you assume you’ll be passing this course, Dexter. To-day’s subject is…
If you were a costumed do-gooder in the Silver Age and you wanted to join an elite team of super-heroes, you stood a much better chance in the Marvel universe than in DC land.…Continue
If you were a DC super-hero in the Silver Age, you knew you had made the big time when you were asked to join the Justice League of America.
Every Silver-Age super-team had its own method for inducting new members---and I’m going to be sprinkling in looks at most of them over the next few months---but it was the Justice League’s which was the most formalised. There wasn’t a more exclusive club of super-heroes. You couldn’t set out to join. There wasn’t an…
The new Teen Titans were three issues into their relevancy phase. No flashy outfits. No super-powers. No traditional super-villains. These were parables on the evils of social injustice, and editor Dick Giordano and writer Robert Kanigher had been none too subtle about the ultimate rightness of social sensitivity.
Thus, the story within Teen Titans # 28 (Jul.-Aug., 1970) was something completely unexpected.
Or, as Giordano put it in the…
Added by Commander Benson on February 27, 2010 at 9:30am — No Comments
Welcome back! As far as misconceptions regarding the Silver-Age Legion of Super-Heroes go, I’ve pretty much gotten the bile out of my system. So we’ll wind it up with a look at some of the minor mistaken beliefs which fans have taken to heart. These don’t crop up too often. Not because they are largely disbelieved, but because they…Continue
Still with me? Good, because we have quite a few more long-held Legion of Super-Heroes myths to puncture. In fact, this time, we’re going to take apart what are probably the two biggest and most fervently believed misconceptions about the Legion. Let’s get right to it.…Continue
I've avoided doing a "But I Always Thought . . . " piece on the Legion of Super-Heroes because, frankly, it was just too easy. It's like shooting fish in a barrel. You couldn't get through a year's worth of Legion stories in the 1970's without coming across at least one significant discrepancy from what had been well-established in Legion lore back in the Silver Age. And, besides, I'd pointed out enough of them in message-board posts. I just couldn't bring myself to take the easy…Continue