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.

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