Thursday, June 29, 2017

The First Super-Team Family

With the awkward title of Super-Team Family, DC welcomed a new anthology book to its line in October-November 1975....and what a book it was! 

Featuring "the world's greatest super-heroes" of Superman, Batman, Robin and the Teen Titans, and the Flash (with two of his major foes, Captain Cold and Heat Wave), this book premiered reprinting some classic tales, with much hope for the future as well, all under a cover by Dick Giordano (though this issue credited as Ernie was later revealed to be Mr. Giordano's work in a letter's page).

Here are the stories....and a little historical perspective behind these tales.....

World's Finest Comics #175

First up is the Superman/Batman team up from World's Finest Comics #175 (October-November, 1968), with "The Superman-Batman Revenge Squads" by Leo Dorfman, Neal Adams and Dick Giordano, had Superman, Batman (as well as Robin, Jimmy Olsen, Commissioner James Gordon and even guest star, the Flash) facing off against evil teams based on opposing Superman and Batman in the Superman Revenge Squad and the introduced here, Batman Revenge Squad.

The importance of the tale has been discussed somewhat here, and this story led to the second of two Neal Adams tales in World's Finest being reprinted in Super-Team Family #3, and this story was of inspiration to Grant Morrison, who created an evil holographic Justice League with distorted color schemes during his run of the JLA.

Teen Titans #19

Next up is Teen Titans #19 (January-February, 1969), with "Stepping Stones For A Giant Killer" by Mike Friedrich, Gil Kane and Wally Wood (with an eerie cover by Nick Cardy), introducing Sylvester Sepastopol, who would go by the name of Punch, a young man who wanted to join JLA villain Headmaster Mind's school for villains, but wasn't allowed as the villains felt he was too young. 

So, the lad organized a plan to take on the Teen Titans, which included Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad and Wonder Girl, with Speedy rejoining the team at this time (originally, Speedy wasn't an original Teen Titan, but their secret origin clarified that, and at the end of the tale, Aqualad left the team to help Aquaman on his quest for his missing wife, Mera).

This tale is important for changing the direction of the Teen Titans title (with Speedy and Wonder Girl becoming an item, with the team facing more relevant cases instead of wacky villains, as well as developing its own inner continuity), and along with DC Super-Stars #1 and Super-Team Family #7, featuring Teen Titans reprints...

...which led to a return of the Teen Titans title briefly in the 1970s (picking up with issue #44, and lasting until #53, and introducing the Bumblebee, as well as giving the Joker's Daughter a home, as well as forming the Titans West)...

Flash #166

Last but not least is Flash #166 (December, 1966) with the "Tempting Target For The Temperature Twins" by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella, with the Flash dealing with Captain Cold and Heat Wave (reunited for the second time without the rest of the Rogues), who face a Flash who has injured himself, and has to use crutches to get around (plus keep his secret as Barry Allen from his very recently made wife, the former Iris West, now Iris Allen).

This was one of the last covers to feature Flash villains for a while (other than one with Grodd, one with the Rogues Gallery and one with Captain Cold), as the title changed direction after Barry and Iris' wedding, and dealt with their relationships, and problems in Central City.

Super-Team Family itself found itself an odd niche, starting with the second issue, and a new team-up with the Creeper and Wildcat (as well as a reprint), and had a second issue mixing reprints with a new story, then its fourth through seventh issues were all reprints, leading to a split book again, with new Challengers of the Unknown stories with Doom Patrol reprints in Super-Team Family #8 to #10, and all new team-ups in #11 through #15, which feature either the Flash or the Atom in each, and you can read about most of the new team-up stories here, and in the future, we'll look back at the rest as time progresses!

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