Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Superman and The Legion of Super-Heroes On The Moon

Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes once met on the moon, and it was quite the disaster.

But, perhaps we're skipping a little a head of ourselves in this story....and that's exactly what Superman was doing at the time.

So, perhaps it would be better to step back a bit, to allow you to catch up....

The Linear Men

It all started in Adventures Of Superman #476 (March, 1991, by Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding), with Clark Kent trying to get use to being engaged to Lois Lane, ended up having to help Booster Gold (the greatest hero you've never know) against a Linear Man (one of the self-appointed protectors of the timestream), who wanted to return Booster Gold to his proper time (Booster was originally a resident of the 25th Century, who "borrowed" some equipment from the Space Museum, to travel back in time to become a hero....).

The encounter did nothing to change Booster's status as a hero before his time, but did send Superman forward in time, where he met the charter members of the Legion of Super-Heroes (Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad) early in their career, but for Superman, it was the first time meeting the Legion (after the Crisis On Infinite Earths, Superman hadn't had his career as Superboy, so hadn't met the Legion of Super-Heroes until recently...).

Lost In The '40s Tonight

In Action Comics #663 (March, 1991 by Roger Stern and Bob McLeod), the Legion, busy with saving their city at the time, are startled to meet Superman, having not yet met him this early in their careers, get distracted, so an explosion there sends Superman back in time...

....all the way to 1943, where after a brief distraction at a circus, Superman gets the idea of enlisting the help of the then young and active Justice Society of America at their townhouse...but, the ghostly guardian, the Spectre, advises against that, rightfully saying that meeting Superman would mess up the JSA's history (which had already been changed in the aftermath of the Crisis On Infinite Earths so that they didn't have a Superman in their ranks), so sends the time-lost Man of Steel across the world to...

The Warsaw Ghetto

With Superman #54 (April, 1991 by Jerry Ordway and Dennis Janke), Superman did get more involved in World War II, messing up the life of the immortal General Zieten (whom Superman had just met in the modern day a few weeks previously, as Mr. Z, and where Clark's fiance, Lois Lane, was currently worried about the missing Clark Kent/Superman)...

....deciding to take a more active role in World War II due to seeing the suffering of citizens of Warsaw (unconcerned about historical damage he could cause), Superman tried to stop an experimental Nazi bomb, which exploded, engulfing him and sending him back to the future (but still beyond his own time....).   

Death Rekindled

The explosion sent Superman into space, meeting the Legion of Super-Heroes again (further along in their timeline, with members of the team being Lightning Lad, Phantom Girl, Shrinking Violet, Ultra Boy and Wildfire...corresponding to their time in the 1970s, or is that 2970s?).  

This adventure from Adventures Of Superman #476 (April, 1991 by Dan Jurgens and Art Thibert) against the menace of the Sun-Eater (a gaseous creature that....well, eats suns).  

The Legion had a bomb that they planned to use to stop the creature, but, yet again, it was Superman who was there to help defeat the menace.

That bomb's explosion sent Superman back in time yet again...  

Many Long Years Ago...

Back to Action Comics #664 (April, 1991, by Roger Stern and Bob McLeod), and to a meeting with a Tyrannosaurus Rex! 

You'd think Superman would be alone at this time, but it didn't work out that way, as he met up with Atom's foe, Chronos, who had been trapped in this time period after a battle with the Blue Beetle.

Chronos had plans to return to his own time, but that was fouled up by Superman (so Chronos had to put himself in suspended animation and get home the long way, but even then, Chronos arrived to modern time early, letting him be better prepared for future battles with the Atom), while Superman ended up a little farther in the future (but still the past), and, with yet another explosion, ended up in...


With Superman #55 (May, 1991 by Jerry Ordway), Superman found himself in the court of Camelot, as it was under attack by the forces of Morgan Le Fey and Mordred, and being protected by Merlin, and his demon, Etrigan.

Superman wasn't as much help against all the magic menaces that were around (as Kryptonian powers don't seem to work well against magic), so Merlin was forced to use desperate measures to save Camelot, bonding Etrigan to the human druid, Jason Blood, while Superman found himself yet another explosion, hurtling him into the far future once again (all the while, Lois wondering where Clark was...).

Moon Rocked

Getting readers of this article to where we started with, with Adventures Of Superman #478 (May, 1991, by Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding), with Superman, and members of the Legion of Super-Heroes (from a period in their future called "Five Years Ahead" with members Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, Laurel Gand, Chameleon Boy (going by Cham), Shrinking Violet (going by Vi), Furball (formerly Timber Wolf), where their were facing off against a homicidal Daxamite by the name of Dev-Em, with plans to blow up Earth's moon (as the Earth at this time had been taken over by the Dominators).

Superman shows up, but this time, stops the explosion of the moon.  That's when the Linear Man shows up, knowing that the moon must explode at this time, and continues the countdown, resulting in the moon exploding (sending Superman back to his home time, and Lois, with the knowledge that the Earth will lose its moon in 2995....).

As for the fate of the moon, and the future of the Earth, the Legion of Super-Heroes have to deal with that, starting with Legion of Super-Heroes #19 (June, 1991, with stories by Keith Giffen, Tom and Mary Bierbaum and Al Gordon, making their bleak future that much more dismal.... least until time resets the Legion's future (which happens again and again for a while....).

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Action Comics Centennial 100 and 200

Starting a celebration of every 100 issues of Action Comics, where Superman began back in June, 1938.

This time, looking back at his first and second 100 issues, with Action Comics #100 and #200.

Action Comics 100

The first of these special issues was Action Comics #100 (September, 1946) with a cover by Wayne Boring and Ed Dobrotka.

This issue features the main story of "The Sleuth Who Never Failed" by Alvin Schwartz and Ira Yarbrough, where Inspector Hawkins from Scotland Yard comes to America to find out Superman's secret identity...following around Clark Kent for a time, but eventually giving up on Kent as Superman's alter ego, after a myriad of super-tricks, and one not so obvious, that of finding Clark's will, where Superman is named as a beneficiary!

This issue is unique as this is the only one that features the original, Golden Age Earth-2 Superman as the star, and also has many other features, such as the Hayfoot Henry, Congo Bill (who later got a magic ring and merged with Congorilla), the Vigilante (the Seven Soldiers of Victory member) and Zatara (Zatanna's father).

Action Comics 200

J. Winslow Mortimer provided the cover for the next centennial issue of Action Comics, which was #200 (January,1955).

Here, Superman faced the "Tests Of A Warrior" by no credited writer, and artists Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye.  Superman helps the son of Indian Chief Hun-Sha, who is being forced to pass tribal tests by the evil medicine man, Morwatha, until Superman can expose his treachery.

This is a story of the Silver Age Superman of Earth-1, and with shrinking page counts, only has two other adventures, that of future Space Planeteer, Tommy Tomorrow, and jungle explorer, Congo Bill (who 48 issues later becomes Congorilla).

Come back as the countdown to Action Comics #1000 continues...

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Secret Origins Of Super Villains 1

Looking back at all those Secret Origins, they all seemed to be heroes, though the title did promise there would be a few villains along the way.

Villains, having such big egos and working their own schedule (not willing to give up too many origins in Wanted: The World's Most Dangerous Villains), instead appeared in an oversized treasury edition, that of Limited Collectors' Edition C-39 of October-November, 1975, under this fighting cover by Dick Giordano, featuring Luthor, Joker, Captain Cold, Sivana (and a few more), facing their foes of Superman, Batman, Flash and Captain Marvel!


The Joker was first up, in Detective Comics #168 (February, 1951) by Bill Finger, Lew Sayre Schwartz and George Roussos, with "The Man Behind the Red Hood!", with Batman battling the Joker again, as well as a mysterious figure behind a red hood in a tuxedo.

Batman had to due some detective work to find out who was underneath the Red Hood, with a little help from Robin and some students, which led back to one of Batman's earliest cases where he faced this dastardly criminal before at a chemical plant near the Monarch Playing Card Company where his foe escaped by diving into a pit of chemicals.  This all lead up to a modern confrontation at State University with the Red Hood, and learning a little about how the Joker became the Joker, with the part Batman played in the clown prince of crime's origin. 


Adventure Comics #271 (April, 1960) by Jerry Siegel and Al Plastino explains "How Luthor Met Superboy!", as it seemed Superman and Lex Luthor's feud went all the way back to Smallville.

When Superboy first met Lex Luthor, Lex had a full head of brown hair, and was a fan of the Boy of Steel, saving him from a Kryptonite meteor.  To return the favor, Superboy builds Lex a laboratory!  Lex invents a formula to make Superboy immune to Kryptonite, as well as a living protoplasm....yet, gets absent-minded, setting the lab on fire.  Superboy comes in and blows out the fire with his Super-breath, which ruins the protoplasm, and causes young Luthor's hair to fall out.  Luthor then vows to avenge his misfortune on Superboy, inventing items to help the residents of Smallville, to take the spotlight away from Superboy (but his quick plans only make menaces, that Superboy fixes them, infuriating Luthor more).  Luthor tries to kill Superboy with Kryptonite, but fails, leaving Superboy to only hope they can be friends again.  (Spoiler, their battles continue on and on....and even include Batman and the Joker).

Captain Cold

"The Coldest Man On Earth!" premiered in Showcase #8 (May-June, 1957) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Frank Giacoia, that man being Captain Cold (though Cold gave Flash, and readers the finger, by not being on the cover!).

Leonard Snart was a small time thief, who accidentally creates a cold gun to take out the Flash, using this weapon to rob a bank, which causes the Flash to show up to stop him.  Snart stops Barry Allen by freezing the street below his feet, then escapes to make more plans against the Flash as Captain Cold.  Using Helium, Captain Cold finds he can create cold illusions, then faces off against the Flash at a lake nearby Central City.  The Flash was too quick to be fooled by these tricks, and captures Captain Cold!


Though he premiered with Captain Marvel, Doctor Thaddeus Bodog Sivana had his origin told in Whiz Comics #15 (March, 1941) by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck.

Captain Marvel fought some villains, trying to escape them with Beautia Sivana leads him to say "Shazam!" and change back to Billy Batson, who then gets captured by Sivana and fights Gloppos, (Venusian Frog-Men) who lived on Venus, and Sivana's daugther, Beautia, explained how her father tried to invent items to help people on Earth, but was ridiculed, so built a spaceship to take her and her brother, Magnificus, to Venus, conquering its jungles.  Sivana returned to Earth to face Captain Marvel, many times, but this time Dr. Sivana has Billy trapped unable to turn into Captain Marvel using a device, that Billy eventually breaks, and faces Magnificus Sivana in a battle, injuring the scientist, whom Beautia wants to take back to Venus, where he will be no harm (though Beautia means well, that doesn't stay true, though at least Magnificus and Beautia remain Cap's friends, but Sivana's other kids, Junior and Georgia, join him to fight the whole Marvel Family).  


Outlaw cowboy Jess Manning was training his son, Toby, to be just like him, at least until the pair came across an alien being and his spacecraft in "The Origin Of Terra-Man", the second story of Superman #249 (March, 1972) by Cary Bates, Dick Dillin and Neal Adams.

The spaceman killed Toby's father, but the alien took the young cowboy into space, adapting him to be a space cowboy, training him to be a thief, giving him devices that have an old west feel, and even Nova, a flying horse.  Toby settles up with the alien, figuring out a message his dying father left him, that the alien killed Jess.  After killing the alien, Toby, taking on the name, Terra-Man, returned to the modern Earth to take on the planet's top lawman in the modern age, who happened to be Superman.

The two then faced off many times....and more!

There was also an incredible center spread of some of DC's nastiest villains by Dick Giordano, including foes of Captain Marvel like Mr. Atom, Mr. Mind, King Kull, Aunt Minerva, Black Adam, Ibac and Sivana; Batman villains Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Blockbuster, Catwoman, Joker, Riddler, Penguin, R'as Al Ghul and Talia; Superman foes Luthor, Mr. Mxyzptlk, and Toyman; and Flash Rogues including Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, Pied Piper, Heat Wave, the Top, Mirror Master, Weather Wizard, Trickster, Mr. Element, Grodd, Reverse-Flash and Abra Kadabra...

...and, a text page summarizing the battles between Wonder Woman and Cheetah, Green Lantern and Sinestro, Hawkman and Shadow-Thief, and Atom and Chronos.  Some of these villains combine, in groups like the the Monster Society of Evil, the Injustice Gang of the World, the Flash's Rogue's Gallery, and later in groups like the Secret Society of Super-Villains and the Suicide Squad.

If you love DC's bad guys, this treasury is the one for you!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Happy Winnie The Pooh Day

Oh, bother.  Something a little different and lighthearted today, celebrating the work of English author A. A. Milne (January 18, 1882 to January 31, 1956), covering Winnie The Pooh!

Alan Alexander Milne wrote stories in the 1920s about his son's (Christopher Robin Milne) teddy bear (Winnie The Pooh), and other of his stuffed animals, such as Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo (and added characters of the Owl and the Rabbit).

Though A. A. Milne had passed long before, Gold Key/Whitman published 33 issues of a comic book based on those works under the title of Walt Disney's Winnie The Pooh from January, 1977 to July, 1984, with the bear and his friends having adventures (including looking for honey) through the Hundred Acre Wood.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Secret Origins 6 and 7 of 1974

Want even more Secret Origins?

Fulfilling your wish, pulling stories from the far future, to the past of World War II, from the joys of the circus to the depths of the oceans, it is the last of the run of the 1970s Secret Origins issues, with the sixth and seventh issues of that series from January-February and March-April 1974 with covers by Nick Cardy and edited by E. Nelson Bridwell, and the origins of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Blackhawk, Robin and Aquaman.

Legion of Super-Heroes

Starting off issue #6. was "The Origin Of The Legion" from Superboy #147 (May-June, 1968) by E. Nelson Bridwell and Pete Costanza, where three youths (Rokk Krinn, Imra Ardeen and Garth Ranzz) from other planets (a little earlier than 1000 years from now), used their diverse powers to stop an attack on a wealthy financier, R. J. Brande, who then gathered these kids together as a force to fight evil and unify the galaxy as the Legion of Super-Heroes (giving them their uniforms, headquarters, and code names of Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad), with new recruits Triplicate Girl (Luornu Durgo) and Phantom Girl (Tinya Wazzo) joining very soon after.  Whereas the original story had a final panel with the original Invisible Kid entreating readers to read more of the important stories presented in that 80 Page Giant, the Secret Origins reprint wanted readers to follow the current Legion's adventures in the Superboy magazine.

The Legion would quickly add many members after that, including one of their inspirations, Superboy, the story of which happened in Adventure Comics #247 (which was the Legion's first appearance, where the Legion founders traveled back in time to get Superboy, then put him through tests to join their team).


The second reprint from that issue was the origin of Blackhawk from Quality Comics' Military Comics #1 (August, 1941) by Will Eisner, Bob Powell and Chuck Cuidera, detailing how Blackhawk first took flight to fight the Nazi menace (and since it was before Pearl Harbor, he was a Polish citizen at the time, since the United States had yet to enter the war).  While Blackhawk was a menace to the Nazis, his fight with Captain Von Tepp leading back to the farmhouse where Blackhawk lived with his brother Jack and sister Connie, with Von Tepp bombing the farmhouse.  Blackhawk pledged to find Von Tepp, tracked him down, saving a nurse from his clutches, and taking the Nazi Captain back to Blackhawk Island (where the aerial ace had a headquarters so he and his fellow pilots could fight the Nazi forces).  Blackhawk and Von Tepp had a duel in the air, with Blackhawk eventually winning, but also vowing to continue the fight.

In the letters' page, E. Nelson Bridwell told of how he wrote the Legion's origin, taking a few facts gathered over the years and integrating the different versions of Lightning Lad's origin (one having his brother, another his sister), and talking about how Blackhawk's origin changed as well (with a text page origin in DC Comics' Blackhawk #164, with American citizen Blackhawk living in Poland, and sidekick Stanislaus, trying to join the Royal Air Force to fight the Nazis, but being unable to because they weren't British, so they formed the Blackhawks; then another origin from Blackhawk #242, where Blackhawk had a name...that of Bart Hawk, and his brother didn't die in a Nazi attack, but later joined their forces! 

Letters from readers also covered the Kid Eternity and Vigilante origins from issue #4, noting that Vigilante later had a page long origin in Action Comics #52.


Starting off issue #7, was "the sensational character find of 1940"..."Robin the Boy Wonder", with his first appearance and origin from Detective Comics #38 (April, 1940), by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson.  Young acrobat Dick Grayson of Haly Circus overhears thugs threaten the owner of the circus, who then carry out a threat for not getting payment, by killing his acrobat parents, John and Mary, by sabotaging their trapeze.  Bruce Wayne was witness to this, changes to Batman, and takes the boy to Wayne Manor to keep him safe, saying that he also lost his family to criminals, then offered to train Dick to fight crime, with the lad taking on the identity of Robin, the Boy Wonder.  After much training, Batman and Robin go out to bring down Boss Zucco, who orchestrated the death of Grayson's parents, bringing him to justice after a battle on a skyscraper.


Last, but not least, was the first appearance of Aquaman from More Fun Comics #73 (November, 1941) by Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris, wherein the submarine strikes.  The majority of this tale was Aquaman fighting against a Nazi submarine and its crew, but there were a few panels of Aquaman relating his origin, how his father was an undersea explorer, who found Atlantis, and used documents he found there to turn his son into a water breather...who grew up to be Aquaman.  This issue also advertised how Aquaman was soon to have a series of his own again in the current Adventure Comics (and did not quite reprint the story as originally presented....for his early days, Aquaman had yellow, not green gloves, a later idea used by Roy Thomas in All-Star Squadron to differentiate between the Earth-2 and Earth-1 Aquaman; though you could never tell by the covers, poor Aquaman never made it onto the early More Fun Comics or Adventure Comics' covers.).

The seventh issue of Secret Origins was its last, and it's letters' page detailed a little of the changes in Robin's origin, including how E. Nelson Bridwell wrote an origin for Robin for Batman #213, which included many facts from Robin origins over the years, as well as Batman's time as Robin.  

Aquaman got a little more detail as well, as his origin had been updated as well, with Adventure Comics #260 explaining how Aquaman had been born of a lighthouse keeper and a lady from Atlantis (more details from the origin reprinted in the More Secret Origins' 80 Page Giant, but...

....more improved Secret Origins would follow!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Secret Origins 4 and 5 of 1973

This time, it is a few weird Secret Origins for you...

...with tales of revenge, and the dead.  These dead didn't stay that way, instead returning to life to mete out justice, with the origins of the western Vigilante, Kid Eternity and the Spectre, all under covers by Nick Cardy, from the fourth and fifth issues from September-October and November-Decemeber of the 1973 Secret Origins series edited by E. Nelson Bridwell.


"The Origin Of The Vigilante" was the first story in issue #4, which was originally presented in Action Comics #42 (November, 1941) by Mort Weisinger and Mort Meskin, but that really wasn't the focus of the first tale of the prairie troubadour.  Greg Sanders was the son of a sheriff, who took to the ways of the law, becoming a masked Vigilante who used old western tricks to beat modern criminals, while hiding behind a mask, allowing him to make money as a country singer by day.

The origin was only a few panels, but the majority of the story started with Vigilante already established as hero, witnessing the execution of Killer Kelly, a noted notorious criminal, in prison (except that Kelly planned ahead, and faked his death, so he could  go on a crime spree).  Killer Kelly took blues singer (and friend of Greg's), Betty Stuart, and even captured Vigilante, but old fashioned horse sense and cowboy ways got him free.

Vigilante continued on as a back up feature in Action Comics until #198 (though he only made one cover), opened the first few issues of Western Comics, and even joined the Seven Soldiers of Victory in Leading Comics...and at the time of the issue of Secret Origins, had just completed being a backup feature in Adventure Comics (which would soon feature an untold tale from the Golden Age, featuring the Seven Soldiers, including Vigilante).

Kid Eternity

Next up was "The Kid Who Died Too Soon" from Hit Comics #25 (December, 1942) by Otto Binder and Sheldon Moldoff, with a real origin, that of Kid Eternity.  The kid was on a boat with his grandpa, which was sunk by a Nazi torpedo, and survivors shot in the water.  Mr. Keeper took the boy to the heavenly gates, but the bearded man at the door said it was not yet the boy's time.  So, Mr. Keeper took the kid's spirit back, to reunite it with his body, and using the word "Eternity" the lad would be able to call upon the greatest figures in history, possessing them to fight evil in their forms (which later changed to just being able to summon them to help), as well as being able to become invisible and intangible....all of which, as long as Mr. Keeper was around.

Kid Eternity (and Mr. Keeper) fought evil through Hit Comics #60, including foes such as Master Man, Silk and Her Highness, as well as 18 issues of his own magazine, before disappearing for a while, even after this issue of Secret Origins came out, until E. Nelson Bridwell revived him in the Shazam! series in the 1970s, finally giving the lad a name and a tie to the Marvel Family in World's Finest Comics #280.

The letters' page of the issue was mostly praise for issue #1, as well as requests for other characters, including villains, which never really showed up here, but instead were in the nine issues of Wanted: The World's Most Dangerous Villains, which included Master Man and the Vigilante's foe, the Dummy, as the series was also edited by E. Nelson Bridwell.

One other request was for the following issue's hero....


The fifth issue of Secret Origins was unique, as it featured the origin of only one hero, the Spectre (which fell over two issues from the Golden Age), starting with More Fun Comics #52 (February, 1940) by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily with police detective Jim Corrigan planning to attend a ball with his girlfriend, Clarice Winston, but instead, being late as he followed a tip from stoolie Louis Snipe, so Corrigan could chase mobster "Gat" Benson's men...eventually, Jim caught up with Clarice, but so did Benson, who took Corrigan, put him in a cement filled barrel, and dumped him off the dock into the water.

This wasn't the end of the story, as a voice revived Corrigan and sent him back to Earth to battle evil, as he planned to do after rising out of the water...using his powers as a ghost (to become invisible, intangible and fly).

Then, to end his battle with "Gat" Benson, Jim Corrigan had his second story in More Fun Comics #53 (March, 1940) by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily, taking on his thugs, and even showing off some additional supernatural powers, torturing the thugs with eerie visions and changes, even saving Clarice from a fatal bullet wound (as they shot her as he came into the warehouse).  But, Jim realized he had to end his relationship with her (as while she came back to life, he was still dead).  Jim fashioned a cape and costume, and planned to continue to fight evil as...the Spectre, with this origin being timed to lead into his new series in Adventure Comics, that lasted in the 430s to 440.  Spectre's original run went to issue #101 of More Fun Comics (many, but not all reprinted), then after 3 issues in Showcase in the 1960s, he had a ten issue run of his own, until this 1970s Adventure Comics run, which was reprinted in the Wrath Of The Spectre.

The issue also had a letters' page, with requests, including hope for a Wildcat series after seeing his origin here, by letter writer and future Answer Man, Bob Rozakis, and for more origins, including Blackhawk and the Legion of Super-Heroes...who would feature in the next issue.

This issue also featured a page long article on the Legion of Super-Heroes by Paul Levitz (who would take the LSH to new heights!).

More on the Legion of Super-Heroes (and Secret Origins) to come....

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Meet The Legion Of Super-Heroes

The Legion of Super-Heroes is a group of heroic youngsters from 1,000 years in the future...who first appeared in Adventure Comics #247 (April, 1958) in a story titled "The Legion Of Super-Heroes" by Otto Binder and Al Plastino, under a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye, though the kids' costumes got a little closer to their regular look in their second appearance, in Adventure Comics #267 (December, 1959) with cover by Swan/Kaye, and story by Jerry Siegel and George Papp.

But, who were these three founding members, and what did they want with Superboy as a member?

Cosmic Boy

Rokk Krinn of Braal became the first leader of the Legion, perhaps because of his magnetic personality.

Rokk possesses the power of magnetism, native to Braalians, but his ability was stronger due to being born on Earth, with its stronger magnetic fields.

Rokk was on a spaceship headed for Earth, when he met two other teenagers who would change his life forever.

Saturn Girl

Imra Ardeen of Titan was a bit aloof when she boarded a spaceship headed to Earth, but she had a right to be, as she was a telepath, one of the strongest of the moon of Saturn, planning to come to Earth to use her power for good by joining the Science Police, to stop criminals.

Imra came aboard the ship headed to Earth, where she got an early chance to use her powers to thwart the assassination of industrialist R. J. Brande, as well as drawing the attention of the third charter Legion member. 

Lightning Lad

Garth Ranzz of Winath was leaving home, and his twin sister, Ayla, coming to Earth to look for his brother Mekt.  The three youths had had an ill-fated spaceship trip before, landing on Korbal, where they were charged with electricity by the Lightning Beasts, gaining lightning powers themselves.

This act also unhinged the untwinned Mekt (Winath residents were usually born as twins), who left home, with his brother, Garth, heading to Earth to enlist the help of the Science Police to find the missing boy.

Garth got distracted, meeting Rokk along the way, and noticed a beautiful young girl board the flight (Imra) at Titan (while Rokk hoped he could get a job with R. J. Brande).

While disembarking on Earth, two assassins planned to kill R. J. Brande, except they hadn't counted on a telepath picking up their plans, and two boys using their respective powers to stop the assassins.

R. J. Brande had the three youths report to his office afterwards, with the financier giving the kids the idea that they could work together to combat crime and injustice, using the 20th Century Superboy and Supergirl as role models, and that he would be willing to fund their enterprise.  The three youths agreed, getting code names, costumes and a headquarters, picked Cosmic Boy to be their leader, drafted a constitution to guide membership enrollment (such as each member having a unique power, and all members having to have a power), then, after a little side adventure wherein they convinced the United Planets to grant the members of the Legion citizenship to all worlds, set about to get more members, starting with Triplicate Girl and Phantom Girl (the Legion origin was finally revealed in Superboy #147 of May-June, 1968 by E. Nelson Bridwell and Pete Costanza, with a little addition to the story happening in DC Super-Stars #17 of November-December, 1977 by Jack C. Harris, Juan Ortiz and Robert R. Smith).

All this (and a little bit more), and it is time to catch up to the story presented in the Legion's first appearance, where they enroll the young Kryptonian from Smallville.


Kal-El of Krypton came to Earth, sent their as his planet exploded by his parents, Jor-El and Lara, with his ship landing on the outskirts of Smallville, where he was found by farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent, who took the boy as their own (naming him Clark Kent), raised him to learn how to use his incredible alien powers, such as flight, strength, speed, invulnerability and vision powers, but also gave him the heart of humanity, inspiring the lad to grow up to fight for truth, justice and the American way, eventually leaving Smallville to go to work for the Daily Planet, a major metropolitan newspaper, and become the hero of the world, Superman.

But, it was his adventures as a boy, that started in More Fun Comics #101 (January-February, 1945) by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, (with a rare time that Green Arrow took the cover over Superboy) that continued on through a few issues of More Fun Comics, before transferring over to Adventure Comics, where Superboy was the main feature, learning how to get along, hiding his identity from the prying eyes of Lana Lang...and, where the charter members of the Legion of Super-Heroes came back to recruit Superboy as their 13th member in Adventure Comics #247.

But, after Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, Triplicate Girl, Phantom Girl, who joined next?  (A little spoiler, it was Chameleon Boy, Invisible Kid, Colossal Boy, Star Boy, Supergirl, Brainiac 5 and Shrinking Violet....).  But, where did these new members come from (some of them were in the shadows back in Adventure Comics #247), and how did Superboy's friend, Mon-El, end up as a member as well?  When time permits, more facts of the Legion will be revealed....

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Secret Origins 2 and 3 of 1973

Even more Secret Origins for fans of comic history....

...this time around, the second and third issue of the 1970s series of reprints, this time around, featuring Supergirl, Green Lantern, Atom, Wonder Woman and Wildcat from April-May and July-August of 1973 with covers by Nick Cardy.


First up in the second issue of Secret Origins, was Action Comics #252 (May, 1959)  by Otto Binder and Al Plastino, with "The Supergirl From Krypton", with the story of how Kara survived the explosion of Krypton on a city sized fragment that had headed into space with a pocket of air, until a later calamity forced her father, Zor-El, to send her to Earth (with a costume similar to Superman's made by her mother, as they had chosen Earth for the lass based on his appearance and deducing that he was Kryptonian).  The rocket landed with Superman appearing to help, figuring out she was his cousin, and helping to place her in an orphanage in Midvale, where she would live as Linda Lee, training secretly to use her powers to later help Superman.

Many details were added to the origin, such as the name of the city (Argo City), her mother, (Allura) and much of Supergirl's later movements to become a credited heroine (as well as her adoption by the Danvers, and even finding her original parents alive....many details also covered in the Supergirl giants of Action Comics).

Green Lantern

Next, there was an "SOS Green Lantern", sent in Showcase #22 (September-October, 1959)  by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella.  That SOS was sent by Green Lantern Abin Sur, who found test pilot Hal Jordan, determining that Hal was of good character and born without fear, Abin gave him some details of being a Green Lantern, bestowing upon him his ring as Abin lay dying in his spaceship, so that Hal Jordan would take on the Power Ring and Lantern of the interstellar Green Lantern.

Hal soon adopted a mask, and even an oath for recharging his ring (which gave him the power to create green constructs, fire beams of energy and fly, with a weakness to yellow), but details of other parts of his origin (such as why he made the mask, the reason for the oath, and those who administered the Green Lantern Corps, the Guardians of the Universe), came later, as show in the Secret Origin reprinted in the 1961 Secret Origins (as well as how there was a previous Green Lantern, Alan Scott, but these details came in later issues, and a few details were given about them in text in this issue by E. Nelson Bridwell).


The "Birth Of The Atom" came in Showcase #34 (September-October, 1961) by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson, with Ray Palmer, finding a fragment of White Dwarf Star material, using it to build a ray to shrink items (but being unable to regrow them without the items exploding), and needing to be successful to get his girlfriend, lawyer Jean Loring, to accept his proposal of marriage.

Ray and Jean took some students spelunking (to take Ray's mind off his failing experiments, though he took along the White Dwarf lens), getting trapped in cave with no way out....Ray used the lens and sunlight from a small hole to shrink, then climbed the wall (smooth to a normal sized human) to cut a bigger hole, for Jean and the students to escape, but Ray safely regrew after accidentally walking under the lens again (which had cave water dripped upon it).

This led Ray to become the hero, the Atom (and the letters' page gave a little more detail, as well as a little more history of the other, Golden Age Atom, and this tale had been previously presented in the More Secret Origins Giant of 1965).

Wonder Woman

Starting off the third issue of  Secret Origins with the fuller origin of the Golden Age Wonder Woman from Wonder Woman #1 (Summer, 1942) by William Marston and Harry G. Peter, summing up the story from All-Star Comics #8 and Sensation Comics #1, of how Paradise Island was founded to escape Hercules, how Hippolyte made Diana from clay and was given life by the Greek gods, how military pilot Steve Trevor found the island and was rescued by Diana, who then participated in a contest (masked, as Hippolyte forbade Diana to participate, or leave the island), with Diana winning, and taking the costume and lasso to take Steve Trevor home to the United States, and remain as its protector, Wonder Woman (staying by Steve as nurse, Diana Prince).

More details were given over the first few issues of Sensation Comics and All-Star Comics #8 of how Diana became Wonder Woman (and got her lasso), but this was all condensed here to make one flowing story. 


Last but not least was the story from Sensation Comics #1 (January, 1942) by Bill Finger and Irwin Hasen of "The Origin Of Wildcat" (though you can see he didn't make the cover of Wonder Woman's second appearance).  Wildcat was Ted Grant, who was born a sick child, but his dad, Henry, got him to fight, to not be picked on as he was, eventually being mentored by Socker Smith, to learn to box...then, Ted faced Socker in a heavyweight championship fight, which crooked management had rigged, so Socker died in the ring, with Ted being framed for his murder.

Ted, now on the run, hear a kid talk of the heroic Green Lantern (the original) and his origin (from a comic), and decided to become a hero himself, somehow making the Wildcat costume, finding the framers, and clearing Ted Grant's good name.  Ted Grant still fights crime as Wildcat, sometimes alone, or with the rest of the Justice Society of America, of which he became a member.

Check back here for more of this run of Secret Origins with Nick Cardy covers and facts by E. Nelson Bridwell, including origins for Vigilante, Kid Eternity, Spectre and the Legion of the Super-Heroes.