Thursday, October 19, 2017

Gotham Guide: The Golden Age Of Solomon Grundy

Solomon Grundy....born on Monday, christened on Tuesday, married on Wednesday, took ill on Thursday, grew worse on Friday, died on Saturday and buried on Sunday.  That was the end of Solomon Grundy.  But, here, instead of talking of the old nursery rhyme, it will be a look at the creature that came out Slaughter Swamp on the outskirts of Gotham...who was named for the character in that rhyme in a classic Golden Age tale.

Fighters Never Quit

Solomon Grundy first emerged  in All-American Comics #61 (October, 1944) by Alfred Bester and Paul Reinman, coming out of Slaughter Swamp after criminal Cyrus Gold, the man who would become Grundy had been left there for dead 50 years before.

The animated corpse leaves the swamp and heads into Gotham (getting his name of Solomon Grundy from a couple of hobos), becomes their crime boss, and leads them on an attempted take over of Gotham, until Green Lantern (Alan Scott) takes him on (and has problems with Grundy, as Grundy is made of plant material, including wood, which the Golden Age GL is powerless against).  Still, Alan and his partner, Doiby Dickles defeat the creature.

This was the only solo Solomon Grundy tale reprinted, in Wanted, the World's Most Dangerous Villains #4 (December, 1972).

And, Then There Was One

Grundy returns in Comic Cavalcade #13 (Winter, 1945) by Alfred Bester and Paul Reinman for more battles with Green Lantern.

This time, Solomon Grundy is reanimated with the use of chlorophyll, by the Professor, who had killed Baron York (his own brother), in an attempt to take over Gotham's gangs.  Green Lantern (Alan Scott) is warned by his mystic Lantern, but too late, as he is overpowered by Grundy.  Solomon Grundy kills the Professor to advance his own plans and take over the gang, but has become too plant-like, allowing Green Lantern to defeat him by taking away his carbon dioxide, which Grundy needs to live, leaving Grundy petrified in a power ring bubble!

The Revenge Of Solomon Grundy

Grundy gets free from the bubble in All-Star Comics #33 (February-March, 1947) by Gardner Fox, and a host of artists, including Irwin Hasen, Joe Kubert, Stan Aschmeier, Martin Naydel, Jon Chester Koziak and Paul Reinman after a lightning bolt struck.

The JSA find their meeting room ransacked, and realize that it must have been Solomon Grundy, so they go searching for him (and the missing Green Lantern).  Each member meets Grundy (except Johnny Thunder), but it was the Golden Age Green Lantern who eventually defeats Grundy, this time, sending him to the moon!

This story was reprinted in Super-Team Family #4 (April-May, 1976) and in All-Star Comics Archives #7 of 2001.

The Case Of The Withered Flower

Solomon Grundy came back from the moon in Comic Cavalcade #24 (December-January, 1947/1948) by John Broome, Irwin Hasen and John Belfi to face Green Lantern (Alan Scott) and Doiby Dickles again.

This time, Grundy appeared to be much smarter than he was before, and could also disguise himself as Dick Cashmere (the long lost son of John Cashmere, a friend of Alan Scott's).  Grundy plans to kill John, but Green Lantern defeats him, this time imprisoning Grundy at the Earth's core.

Grundy was picked up where he was left here by Per Degaton, and put in the previous trap he had been, as revealed by Roy Thomas in the earliest issues of All-Star Squadron (to explain that this story had been forgotten about!).

Solomon Grundy's first appearance of the Silver Age was in Showcase #55 (March-April, 1965), facing off against Dr. Fate and Hourman (along with the Golden Age Green Lantern), and it took until his next appearance, in Justice League of America #46 (August, 1966) for Batman to first face Solomon Grundy (though it was more Batman foe, Blockbuster (who much later joined the Suicide Squad), doing that....for that and the second issue of the JLA/JSA team-up).

In Justice League of America #91 and #92 (1971), Solomon Grundy faced the same heroes from Earth-1 and Earth-2 (with the Golden Age Batman not around, though the Earth-1 Batman was a little, plus both Earths' Robins), and Solomon Grundy got the idea there may be an Earth-1 Solomon Grundy, an idea played out in the Superman titles, with Batman later facing an inferior outgrow of Solomon Grundy in Detective Comics #523 (February, 1983), where Batman ended the menace of the Earth-1 Solomon Grundy in fire.

Wonder if it was a Sunday?

The original Solomon Grundy continued on in Infinity, Inc., Starman, Green Arrow (and more), and as a member of the Injustice Society of the World, after getting some fame in the 1970s as a part of the Legion of Doom on the Super Friends cartoon show... well as getting two live action portrayals, once in two episodes of the Legends Of The Super Heroes, played by Mickey Morton, and in the two episodes of Arrow that introduced Barry Allen, (but as Cyrus Gold) played by Graham Shields, before moving to Gotham (to be played by Drew Powell).

1 comment:

  1. Read the Showcase 55 story in a (I think!) Brave and the Bold reprint in the early 70s---great fun! Hey; I wonder if anybody ever said to Grundy "Don't make him angry, you wouldn't like...oh wait, he's always angry!"