Green Arrow and Speedy
This issue also features the first appearance of Aquaman, of Dr. Fate foe Mr. Who (with the doctor capturing the cover in his half mask that he was using at this time), as well as Spectre and Johnny Quick stories, a ton of Golden Age goodness!
This is the Golden Age (or Earth-2 if you prefer) origin of Green Arrow, and is presented in the Secret Origins of the Super DC Heroes of 1976 (in both hardcover and soft cover), along with Golden and Silver Age origins of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Atom and more under a cover by Neal Adams.
This was another story represented in a full reprint, that of the Millennium Edition: More Fun Comics #101 of November, 2000. This issue also features Aquaman, Johnny Quick and in his last Golden Age appearance, the Spectre, as well as debuting a new feature...Superboy (a story of Superman, as a boy! Superboy took over the cover quickly, preventing Green Arrow from getting covers on Adventure Comics, where his, Superboy, Johnny Quick and Aquaman's features all moved to after More Fun Comics #107 of January-February, 1946).
This tale ends up in Brave and the Bold #117 (February-March, 1975), the last of B&B's 100 page issues, and has Batman teaming up with Sgt. Rock, as well as a few great tales with the Secret Six, Viking Prince and Blackhawk!
Brave and the Bold had also become a bit of a home for Green Arrow, as he and Batman had many team-ups (though this was the Earth-1 Batman and Green Arrow)!
The story was represented in World's Finest Comics #204 (August, 1971), which also had a new story with Superman and Wonder Woman, as well as an early Captain Comet reprint, which featured characters that were prototypes for Green Lantern's Guardians of the Universe.
This appearance of Green Arrow and Speedy is considered Golden Age, though the Superman and Batman team-up (their first regular team-up in World's Finest Comics) are the Earth-1 (Silver Age) versions of the heroes...and the reason this issue was given a reprint in its entirety, with the Millennium Edition: World's Finest #71 in August, 2000). It even includes a story of Revolutionary War hero Tomahawk!
Shining Knight reprints start with Adventure Comics #150 (March, 1950) and "The Ten-Century Lie" by Joe Samachson and Frank Frazetta, with a flashback to a time in Camelot before Sir Justin became frozen and ended up in World War II.
This story was presented in the Masterworks Series of Great Comic Book Artists #1 (Spring, 1983), focusing on the artwork of Frank Frazetta, and also includes "Sir Justin, Bronco Buster" from Adventure Comics #151 (April, 1950) and written by Joe Samachson, and Adventure Comics #153 (June, 1950) in "The Duel of the Flying Knights" written by Joe Samachson, Adventure Comics #155 (August, 1950) with "The Imitation Knight" written by Joe Samachson (with Sir Justin having to fool high society girl, Mary Mason, into NOT thinking he's the Shining Knight), and Adventure Comics #157 (October, 1950) with "Camelot, U.S.A." written by Joe Samachson, wherein Sir Justin and his flying horse Winged Victory come to Camelot, Michigan to help the town celebrate its centennial, and foil criminals.
The story in Adventure Comics #153 (June, 1950) in "The Duel of the Flying Knights" written by Joe Samachson and art by Frank Frazetta was also reprinted in World's Finest Comics #205 (September, 1971)...
...and this tale was set in the Shining Knight's time in Camelot with King Arthur and Merlin, fighting an ancient Greek warrior, Bellerophon, and his magical horse, Pegasus, with evil Sir Mordred engineering the fight between these two, and features a main story with Superman working with the Teen Titans, as well as a reprinted sci-fi tale.
This tale of Sir Justin (and his 20th Century squire, Sir Butch), found the duo transported to the 35th Century by a miscast spell by Merlin, and they ended up facing off against rebels trying to overthrow the government before being able to return home.
The Shining Knight story had Sir Justin facing off conman Deadpan Dixon who tried to steal Winged Victory, so Sir Justin let him to teach the crook a lesson he'd never forget!
Crimson Avenger and Wing
This story had no title in the original book, but was given the title of "Murder On The Oceanic Line Docks" later, and was written and drawn by Jim G. Chambers, and featured the Shadow-inspired Crimson Avenger (mostly called "The Crimson" in this story) and Wing facing off against gambler Mike Moran and other hoods.
Detective Comics #38 (April, 1940) has the first appearance of Dick Grayson, also known as Robin, the Boy Wonder, and this issue was collected in its entirety in the Millennium Edition: Detective Comics #38 (April, 2000).
This story was given the title of "Phoney Jewel Robbery", and was written and drawn by Jack Lehti, and has Crimson Avenger and Wing facing jewel thieves and mobsters, with the real criminals being a bit of surprise!
Sadly, tales of the Crimson Avenger and Wing in their more super-hero style have not been reprinted, but they faired better than their fellow duo....
Star-Spangled Kid and Stripsey
Star-Spangled Comics #55 (April, 1946) with the story of "The Jigsaw Murder" by artist Jon Small (with no writer identified) detailed the death of Pudge Malone, and how the Kid and his partner found the killer with the help of a puzzle.
This story was reprinted in Superboy #185 (May, 1972), with a cover by Nick Cardy, featuring Superboy and the world's greatest young heroes, including a reprint of the first Teen Titans story, as well as the first Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys, and a Golden Age tale of Kid Eternity and a story of the Legion of Super-Heroes!
The Vigilante's first appearance in Action Comics #42 (November, 1941) later entitled "The Origin of the Vigilante", and was written by Mort Weisinger and drawn by Mort Meskin, featured the first story of the Vigilante, and a quick flashback to his origins, and his hunt to catch Killer Kelly.
This story was reprinted in Secret Origins #4 (September-October, 1973) with a cover by Nick Cardy, and the issue also featured a reprint of the first appearance of Kid Eternity, and their origins are nicely summarized on the cover.
This story was reprinted in Wanted, the World's Most Dangerous Villains #3 (November, 1972), with a cover by Nick Cardy, and also has reprints of Golden Age tales of Dr. Fate and Hawkman facing some of their foes!
This story ended up being reprinted in Greatest Golden Age Stories Ever Told hard cover of 1990 (with the story content page mislisting the original issue as Action Comics #128), and has a cover by Jerry Ordway.
A shame no other of the Seven Soldiers made it into the book (though there was a public service ad featuring Green Arrow....and another with the introduction of Star-Spangled Comics).
Vigilante's next reprinted tale comes from Action Comics #160 (September, 1951) with "The Capture of Four Aces", written by Dick Wood and drawn by Bob Brown.
This tale found itself reprinted in Super DC Giant S-15 (September-October, 1970) along with other western tales...
...including Pow-Wow Smith (a native American who became the sheriff of a small town) in two stories, and real life cowboy, Buffalo Bill, all instead of with super-heroes, all under a cover by Joe Kubert.
This story was represented in World's Finest Comics #225 (September-October, 1974), and at least the Vigilante made a half-way decent appearance on the Nick Cardy cover, unlike Black Canary (who also had a reprint in the Superman-Batman team-up book, as did time-traveling Rip Hunter).
Nice to see DC taking advantage of all those extra pages, back in the day!
This story was reprinted in Action Comics #403 (August, 1971), along with a Superboy and Krypto reprint, and two new Superman stories all under a Carmine Infantino/Murphy Anderson cover that reminds us all of the importance of giving blood....the life you save could be Superman's!
This tale found itself in World's Finest Comics #227 (January-February, 1975) in a cover with layouts by Carmine Infantino, and completed art by Nick Cardy, and focused more on the Superman-Batman new story (with Deadman) and a reprint of an old Superman-Batman team-up, as well as reprints of Rip Hunter and Martian Manhunter stories, and even an article on old film serials that included DC heroes, like Superman, Batman and Robin, Congo Bill, Blackhawk and...the Vigilante!
Would that Vig could find his way into the movies today!
Vigilante's next reprinted tale, of "The Red Dust Bandit" from Action Comics #192 (May, 1954) by Dick Wood and Howard Sherman, details Vig and Stuff's fight against a bandit who looks like Vig's alter ego of Greg Sanders, and causing quite a lot of trouble in 8 pages!
This tale found its way into Action Comics #405 (October, 1971), with a cover by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano, and also has a Golden Age Aquaman reprint from Adventure Comics.
This story ended up being represented World's Finest Comics #228 (March, 1975) under a Nick Cardy cover, and this issue also featured a new Superman/Batman Super-Sons story (with Robin in the mix), as well as Silver Age Aquaman, Metamorpho and Eclipso reprints!
This tale made it into Four-Star Spectacular #5 (November-December, 1976) (this series last issue), under a cover by Ernie Chan, and with stories of Superboy, the Golden Age Wonder Woman, and the Silver Age Green Arrow (as Green Arrow was facing the Rainbow Archer, a character that would come to menace him again, when he had his second costume).
Sadly, we never got to the end of Vigilante's Golden Age trail (that of Action Comics #198 of November, 1954), but you can find all of their appearances as the Seven Soldiers of Victory in 3 Archives of Leading Comics!
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