Thursday, February 28, 2019

Prelude To Detective Comics 700

Unlike other anniversary issues of Detective Comics, Detective Comics #700 (August, 1996) had some set up going into it (and then the issue itself kicked off a run of stories over multiple titles of the Batman family of comic books).

So, to give you a better understanding of the issue (and events after), a little bit of set up is required in this case....

...let's jump in!

Detective Comics 697 to 699

Starting off, Chuck Dixon, Graham Nolan and Scott Hanna took a little time to flesh out the recently introduced Lock-Up (Lyle Bolton) in the June, Early and Late July 1996 issues of Detective Comics.  Lock-Up was a criminal hunter, who captured people he deemed criminals and, well, locked them up. 

Currently in his private prison on the outskirts of Gotham were the Allergent (Maxwell Veezey) and Charaxes (the former Killer Moth, Neron-enhanced).   

Lock-Up then took Two-Face (Harvey Dent) out of police custody into his prison.  Batman, his current Robin (Tim Drake) and former Robin (Nightwing, a.k.a Dick Grayson) were on the case, but it was Harvey Bullock and the GCPD who captured Lock-Up....but, they had to free him (with Batman, Nightwing and Robin taking on criminal identities so they could be caught by Lock-Up, find his prisoners, then bring Lock-Up and the other criminals to justice, as no one else knew where the criminals were except for Bolton). 

Robin got captured, using the identity of Alvin Draper, and due to a short in the communication system, it took Batman and Nightwing a little time to find him, capture the criminals, including Lock-Up.

Meanwhile, former Gotham Mayor, Armand Krol was found dead of a plague, and Commissioner James Gordon was notified.

Robin 31

Tim Drake took a little break from heroics, and took his girlfriend, Ariana, to a car show, where he saw old time boxing champ Ted Grant in this Chuck Dixon, Mike Wieringo and Stan Woch July, 1996 issue of Robin.  Problem is, car thieves, the Speedboyz, were there as well, so Tim had to suit up as Robin to try to stop them.  Luckily, Robin got some help, as Ted Grant wasn't just a former boxer, but was also the hero Wildcat of the Justice Society of America (and the man who taught young Bruce Wayne to box).  The two heroes stopped the villains (leaving readers wanting to see Wildcat involved with Batman and his family even more), with Robin returning to the Batcave.

Meanwhile, Batman got the call from Com. Gordon, that former Mayor Krol died of a resurgence of the Clench, a disease that recently infected many Gothamites, including a young Tim Drake.

Catwoman 33 to 35

Selina Kyle had left Gotham to avoid the Contagion known as the Clench, taking on a job in Rheelasia (in the Indonesian Islands) that she really didn't enjoy (starting off these three issues by Chuck Dixon, Jim Balent and Bob Smith, running May to July, 1996). 

Catwoman was then captured by her foe, Hellhound, who was recruiting her for the Collector, who paired her with Brother Umberto, a former member of the Order of San Dumas (the cult Azrael, Jean-Paul Valley, had battled and been trained by).

It took a bit of convincing to get Catwoman to take on this new job (but Selina's attempts to escape almost got her killed, which also made her a little more willing to take the job).

The Collector had a buyer who wanted a treasure in a tomb in the middle of the African desert, and thought of recruiting Catwoman for her exceptional thieving skills, with Umberto there to help because of his knowledge of the Order of San Dumas.  With a bit of work, the two cleared the traps to get to the Great Wheel, but were betrayed by Hellhound, who had Catwoman imprisoned, where she recognized one of the men who employed the Collector.....

Batman: Shadow of the Bat 53

Helena Bertinelli, known as the Huntress, was still active in Gotham (recently running afoul of Batman and working with Robin) in the August, 1996 issue by Alan Grant, Dave Taylor and Stan Woch.

Bruce notified Dick of the fact that his Clench virus might come back to kill him.  Gordon, Penguin and other Gotham residents reacted to the news that the Clench may return.  Oracle (Barbara Gordon) used her information to contact Azrael (Jean-Paul Valley), who gave her a little information about the origins of the Clench, and hints at a possible cure to be found in the African desert from a time when the Order of San Dumas faced "the immortal". 

Batman told Gordon that he and his usual crew were leaving Gotham for a bit, while Robin informed Huntress that Batman had entrusted her with the safety of Gotham while Batman, Nightwing and he were gone (heading to Africa to look for the cure).


Batman 533 

The August, 1996 issue of Batman was the last of the prelude issues (by Doug Moench, Jim Aparo and Bill Sienkiewicz, with Batman, Nightwing and Robin winging their way to the Sudanese desert to look for the "Wheel Of Plagues".  Back in Gotham, Penguin tries to figure out how to release information that the Clench is back to cause panic, as Gordon and the Huntress work to prevent a quarantine of the city (and the panic that knowing that plague is returning).  Batman and his two helpers end up in the desert, finding out that this "immortal" had tried to use the Clench as a weapon against mankind before...and, after learning this, met up with armed forces controlled by the mystery men in charge of this menace.....

....whose identities would be revealed in Detective Comics #700.

Now, this gives you plenty of time to find and read all these issues to deduce the identity of the villain (or, just track down Batman: The Legacy Part 1, which reprints all these issues plus Detective Comics #700).  Or, just come back here next week, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel, and read my review of the issues of Batman: Legacy!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Batman's Colorful Costumes

Usually, Batman tried to be a creature of the night, hiding in the shadows, trying not to be seen by the criminal element (until he needed to make frightful entrance to instill fear in their hearts).

But, for a few issues of Detective Comics, Batman was a bright beacon in his costumes instead!

Here's a look at two of those issues.....

The Strange Costumes Of Batman

With Detective Comics #165 (November, 1950) by Edmond Hamilton, Dick Sprang and Charles Paris (all under a cover by Win Mortimer), readers saw quite a few alternative Batman outfits.

A camouflage white for fighting criminals in the snow, a glowing green to fight a radioactive foe and even a golden outfit so Batman could battle a modern day King Midas were just a few of the colorful costumes in this issue.  Other, more practical outfits made it as well, such as an interplanetary outfit (so Batman could fight crime in space), an outfit with glider wings (allowing Batman to survive what could have been a disastrous fall), an asbestos costume (to combat fire), a thin cellophane costume (to be hidden and used in prison) and even a scuba outfit (enabling Batman to fight undersea crime).

Still, the oddest of all Batman outfits was one that hadn't been used until the villain Dr. Darcy injured Batman.

This Batman suit was for Robin (allowing the Boy Wonder to impersonate Batman, keeping Gotham safe while Batman recovered from an injury).

This issue has been reprinted many times, including with the first Batman Annual of 1961, which itself has a replica edition, as well as being in a reprints of Batman Annuals.

The Rainbow Batman

Detective Comics #241 (March, 1957) by Edmond Hamilton, Sheldon Moldoff and Stan Kaye (covered by Sheldon Moldoff) showed a much brighter Batman, with the head of the Dynamic Duo adopting a different color costume every day!

The action starts with young Dick Grayson saving a girl from some robbers, but they got away (and Dick injured his arm in the process). 

Batman and Robin would then search for these robbers (as Dick could identify them), but Batman started wearing very colorful costumes as the Dynamic Duo were looking for these thieves.

The costumes got brighter and brighter, until Batman was literally "the rainbow Batman", as they finally found the criminals (after which, Batman went back to his original costume).

Why the sudden colorful costumes? 

Well, it was all for Dick. 

Not wanting the crooks to see Robin had the same injured arm as Dick Grayson, Batman took to these colorful costumes to distract the villains, allowing them to be captured without revealing Dick Grayson's identity as Robin...

....which they may have been able to figure out, if they took the time to look at Robin's injured arm, and put two and two together...

The most colorful costume of them all finally made it onto a cover, as the story was reprinted in Batman #182 (July-August, 1966).

Of course, Batman had a few transformations, that changed him and his costume as well, such as a time when he became the "Zebra Batman" as well as another time when he took a dip in the pool of chemicals and changed himself into the "Clayface Batman" to fight Clayface, but those were in the 1960s (even though Michael Cho included them on his 1950s tribute cover for Detective Comics #1000....many of Batman's looks which have been covered lately!).

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Shazam! It's Jackson Bostwick

Limited Collector's Edition #C-35 (April-May, 1975) doesn't have an artist who did the front cover, but instead has a photo, featuring the Captain Marvel of the Shazam! TV show of the 1970s, Jackson Bostwick!

Even better, this oversized issue also contains 4 classic Fawcett Captain Marvel stories (as well as a few other extras).

Holy Moley, let's take a look at what's inside this exciting issue!

The Robot Hunt

First up is the story from Captain Marvel Adventures #129 (February, 1952) by Otto Binder and C.C. Beck, under an original cover by Beck.

Billy Batson's boss, Sterling Morris, wants to learn how to hunt, but can't bring himself to kill any animals. 

Scientist Doc Quartz (a friend of Billy and Sterling's) builds the radio station owner some robot animals to go after that he can feel safe shooting at...

....but, things quickly go wrong, so Billy ends up having to say "Shazam!" to bring out Captain Marvel to bring down some of these robotic beasts!

Captain Marvel Battles The Plot Against The Universe

Next, a full length tale from Captain Marvel Adventures #100 (September, 1949) by Otto Binder, C.C. Beck and Pete Costanza, with the Big Red Cheese facing his most fearsome foe, the dreaded Dr. Sivana for a full length issue!

Sivana makes plans against the old Wizard (Shazam) who gave Billy his powers, but can't find him.  Billy takes his buddy, talking tiger Tawky Tawny, to see the Wizard....which Sivana finds out about, then learns that Shazam manifests using a bracelet of Shazamium.  Sivana tries traveling back into the past to undo Cap's origin, but Tawny stops him (though Sivana escapes).  Returning to modern times, Sivana goes to the Wizard and tricks him, getting his Shazamium bracelet.  This allows Sivana to go on the offensive against Captain Marvel.  Sivana gets Billy to build robot duplicates of the evil scientist, but Billy finds a way to trick Sivana, eventually getting the bracelet back and saving the spirit of Shazam!

The Marvel Family Curse!

A look at the Batson family from Marvel Family #17 (November, 1947) by William Woolfolk and Kurt Schaffenberger!

Freddy Freeman (Captain Marvel, Jr.) finds out about William Batson, an ancestor of Billy and Mary's, who was a leader of the Salem witch trials while going through Billy's documents.

One of those witches put a curse on the Batson family, which was going to hit the current Batsons. 

Thankfully, Freddy had time to say his magic word (Captain Marvel), and, as Captain Marvel Jr., was able to save Billy and Mary from the curse just in time!

Captain Marvel Battles The World

The last story of the issue is from Captain Marvel Adventures #148 (September, 1953) by Otto Binder and C.C. Beck, with Cap facing the whole world!

The Earth is getting tired of having all these human beings on it, so it decides to try to end all of humanity.

Captain Marvel has to stop the disasters the planet is causing, then saves the Earth from a comet that was on course towards the Earth, which convinces the planet Earth that humans might be worthwhile after all, so it stops attacking! 

Plus, the issue had pin-ups, puzzles, a feature on how to draw the Marvel Family and a 3-D cut-out on the back cover!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Stylish Batman

True, Batman has never really gone out of style, but in more than a few issues of Detective Comics, Batman has dumped his usual look for something a little different....

...., so, as we approach Detective Comics #1000, here are a couple of those different looks for Batman as he dresses up to join different groups of high society!

The Great Batman Swindle

With Detective Comics #222 (August, 1955) by Bill Finger, Dick Sprang and Charles Paris, it's time for business suit Batman!

Millionaire Ned Judson was summoned by the Brotherhood of the Batmen to join their group (because, as you know, Batman has been more than one person over the years).

Well, not really....this was a group of criminals using Batman's reputation to try to swindle millionaires, and this evil plot might have worked....

...had the real Batman not seen Judson one night on patrol, learns their plan, then trains Judson himself, to help him take the Brotherhood down.

This tale has been reprinted in Batman #259 (November-December, 1974), along with a few other costumes for Batman in the reprints contained within, and even a smaller and giant Batman (previously covered here!), along with a new story with a young Bruce Wayne being influenced by the Shadow.

The Secret Of The Dragon Society

Detective Comics #273 (November, 1959) with no listed writer and art by Sheldon Moldoff and Charles Paris bring you a Batman joining high society....well, Dragon Society, that is.

Commissioner Gordon tells a group of graduating police academy recruits of Batman's defeat of the Dragon Society.

The Dragon Society is a group of criminals that operated in multiple cities, who keep their identities a secret.

Learning that criminal Mack Hodges is a member, Batman assumes his identity, infiltrating the Society until he is caught, but, Robin arrives in time with the police to capture the Society leaders, like Harvey Straker, as Batman had been able to get out word of the secret location of where he was.

Sadly, this tale has not been reprinted, but this isn't the first time Batman's had a big he has when he was the alien Batman, or times when Batman dealt with alien invasions himself, like the stories contained within the 80 Page Giant #12!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Love For Richard And Barbara

Dick and Babs had plenty of history together, but it took years for them to find time together alone, away from Batman....

...and in that time the two went from close, to closer.

Here's a quick look back at how things evolved, from the days of their first solo team-up, that started in the pages of Detective Comics #400.

Batman Family

Dick Grayson had gotten away from Batman, taking his Robin act as the Teen Wonder to Hudson University (which seemed to be a little closer to Washington, DC, where Barbara Gordon was still working as Batgirl).  The two started on and off pairings in the pages of Batman Family, with the Jim Aparo cover of Batman Family #11 (May-June, 1977 by Bob Rozakis, Curt Swan and Vince Colletta) showing a good place to show that Robin and Batgirl might be getting closer (and over the next few issues, Dick even tried telling Babs about his feeling for her...but, things didn't quite work out, and Robin and Batgirl only had a few more adventures together, then were having separate adventures by the time Batman Family moved over to Detective Comics). 

Robin eventually went to work with the Teen Titans as they came back as the New Teen Titans, with Cyborg, Starfire and Raven, and Batgirl mostly kept to herself, being in semi-retirement.

Dick eventually changed his identity to Nightwing, then parted from the Titans for a while, landing in Bludhaven, while Barbara had been shot by the Joker, being confined to a wheelchair, and helping the Suicide Squad, Batman, the new Robin (Tim Drake) and Azrael as Oracle (an online personality Barbara created to help heroes against the ever growing legions of villains).

Birds Of Prey

Barbara had also rescued the Black Canary (Dinah Laurel Lance) who had been suffering depression and a lack of direction since the apparent death of Green Arrow (Oliver Queen).  Oracle used her as her field agent, allowing Barbara the ability to have someone working directly to right wrongs (and giving Dinah a chance to do good and get on with her life). 

Nightwing also used the services of Oracle, but, on one particular day, Dick decided to help his friend, Babs, relax, taking her up in the air for a special time (helped with a harness) allowing Babs to swing through the air (all in the pages of Birds of Prey #8 of August, 1999 by Chuck Dixon, Greg Land and Drew Geraci, under a cover by Land and Brian Stelfreeze). 

This led to a relationship between Dick and Babs that continued for some time....but, for Valentine's Day, the focus will just remain on the happy times of their relationship!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Original Batman

Gotham City only had one Batman.  

Keeping his secret at Wayne Manor, Bruce Wayne was the original Batman, right?

Well, no, not really, as readers found out in Detective Comics #195 (May, 1953) under a cover by Win Mortimer!

But, who was this masked man?

The Original Batman

In a story drawn by Dick Sprang and inked by Charles Paris (with the writer lost to history),  circus acrobat, Hugo Marmon, who had used the name of "Bat Man" in his circus act, could lay claim to being the original Batman....a problem for the head of the dynamic duo, as Gotham law only allowed "the original Batman" to wear a Batman suit (or anyone he allowed).  

For a while, Marmon allowed Batman to operate, but a conniving criminal, John Vulney, worked on Marmon's vanity, convincing him to have him petition Commissioner Gordon to keep Batman from working in Gotham City (as Marmon then did, first just to showcase his acrobatic talent, then trying as an incompetent crime fighter).

Batman then took off with Robin, outside the city.  Finding a circus, Batman planned to take over as their acrobatic act, while he had Robin do a little research around local circuses (due to Dick's connection to them from his Flying Graysons days).

Batman then did the circus act....horribly, making sure Marmon found out.  Outraged, Marmon demanded to take Batman's place at the circus, allowing Batman to again wear the costume in Gotham City for one more day.  Batman was then able to capture Vulney.  Robin returned with news, the circuses Marmon performed in never worked in Gotham proper, only outside the city, thus Marmon was never Batman IN Gotham, making Batman the original Batman again.

Of course, readers later found out that Bruce Wayne wasn't the first Batman in the Wayne family later (told here!), but, that Bruce Wayne WAS the first Robin (told here!).

Friday, February 8, 2019

Secret Origins Of The Super DC Heroes

Certainly the best collection of Secret Origins, bar none, was the Crown Publishers collection of origins for the Secret Origins Of The Super DC Heroes from 1976, with cover by Neal Adams, an introduction by Carmine Infantino (who was DC's publisher at the time) and a little historical text before each hero by Denny O'Neil, all of which made this an incredible package, designed to thrill youths of all ages!

Let's dive right into the stories reprinted here!

Superman...He's The Key, The Granddaddy Of Them All

Superman was the one that started it all, in Action Comics #1 (June, 1938) by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, and the one page origin they provided was reprinted here.

It had the young Superman launched from his exploding planet, to end up in an orphanage, where he exhibited extraordinary strength.  Later, he also had superb speed and incredible endurance, all of which allowed him to take up his career as Superman.

A pretty bare bones origin, to say the least, but more would be added to the legend of Superman and his history.

Carmine Infantino was said to have wanted a longer origin for Superman, so getting E. Nelson Bridwell as the writer, himself doing the layouts, with Curt Swan providing finished pencils and Murphy Anderson the inks, readers got the Superman origin presented in The Amazing World Of Superman, Metropolis Edition (1973), the 17 page origin reprinted here, lengthening that Golden Age origin, including Jor-El's fight with the Science Council to save Krypton, Jor-El and Lara's tearful farewell to young Kal-El, his landing in Smallville and being found by the Kents, being raised and taking the identity of Superboy, then watching his adopted parents pass away, leading him to Metropolis, and the Daily Planet, where, as reporter Clark Kent, he continued the neverending battle for truth, justice and the American way as Superman!

Probably the best of all Superman origins, this was expanded upon to make the story in Action Comics #500 (and even included a mention of Superboy's history with the Legion of the Super-Heroes!).

Batman...He Was Unable Not To Fight Criminals

Batman's origins were different, starting in Detective Comics #27, but not getting an origin until Detective Comics #33, with the 2 page version reprinted here the slightly altered version from Batman #1 (Spring, 1940, which also saw the first appearances of Joker and the Catwoman) with words by Bill Finger, art by Bob Kane (with backgrounds by Sheldon Moldoff), with the story of how a mugger shot and killed Bruce Wayne's father and mother, Thomas and Martha, with young Bruce dedicating his life to strike fear into criminals' hearts as the Batman.

A simple enough origin, and the basis for every origin that followed.

This origin was pretty much the origin readers saw in Batman #47 (June-July, 1947) by Bill Finger, Bob Kane and Charles Paris, with a few subtle alterations, like Martha dying from seeing her husband shot (and having a weak heart), young Bruce glaring at the mugger, and the mugger being given a name, Joe Chill, with Batman hunting him down, getting final vengeance (though it was Chill's own men who killed him, having heard that Chill was responsible for creating the Batman).

Both of these origins did fit under the umbrella of the Golden Age Batman, but a much longer origin for Batman (as well as his friends) did surface later, in the Untold Legend of the Batman, which added many details added to Batman's origin from the Silver Age (like his father being a Batman, as well as Bruce's stint as Robin).

Wonder Woman...The Female Sex Is Assuming Day By Day A More Dominant Role In World Affairs

Wonder Woman herself got a special condensed version of her origin, after premiering in All-Star Comics #8, then headlining starting with Sensation Comics #1.

In Wonder Woman #1 (Summer, 1942, the tale reprinted here), the story of how Hippolyta carved young Diana from clay, raised her on Paradise Island, saved pilot Steve Trevor, and competed to go back with Trevor to the mainland to fight in World War II (and taking on the identity of military nurse, Diana Prince) was summarized by William Moulton Marston (under the pen name of Charles Moulton) with art by Harry G. Peter.

This would be the definite version of Wonder Woman's Golden Age origin, and the one that formed the basis for the many that followed.

That Wonder Woman origin more or less stuck, but Wonder Woman #206 (June-July, 1973) by Cary Bates, Don Heck and Vince Colletta (under a stunning Nick Cardy cover), added a current battle with Ares to the mix (as well as Diana Prince's job at the United Nations), as well as Hippolyta withholding some memories from Diana, of how Ares came and kidnapped her sister, Nubia, from Hippolyta, and was used as a pawn by him to have the two battle (and Hippolyta's revelation of his history to her daughter, with Nubia coming to stay on Paradise Island).

Sadly, this little era of Wonder Woman, fitting between her time as a powerless Wonder Woman and the twelve trials of Wonder Woman to rejoin the JLA (including one issue of Supergirl with Hippolyta and the Amazons) has not been reprinted elsewhere.

The Flash...You Can Do Almost Anything With Him...

Now, with the Flash, the distinctions between the Golden Age and Silver Age become clearer, as it was student Jay Garrick who first became the Flash in Flash Comics #1 (January, 1940) by Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert.  Jay accidentally inhaled "hard water" and spent a year of college in a coma, before awakening with super speed (which he mostly kept secret, though he did show off for his girlfriend, Joan Williams).

Eventually adopting the identity of the Flash, he saved Joan from the Faultless Four, eventually helping to found the Justice Society of America, and being there when it ended in the 1950s (and having many stories)....then getting revived with the help of the next young man....

Barry Allen, who first appeared in Showcase #4 (September-October, 1956), became the Flash after exposure to lightning striking a wall full of his police scientist chemicals, or at least that was the story Robert Kanigher, Carmine Infantino and Joe Kubert gave readers.  Barry made his own identity as the Flash (based on a comic he read), and beating the Turtle to save Iris West in this first go around.

Sometime after this, Barry would help found the Justice League of America, and later, finding the original Flash, Jay Garrick, on an alternate Earth (which would eventually lead to Earth-1/Earth-2, with Barry on 1, Jay on 2), and later, so many other Earths, as well as a Crisis, but it all started with Barry and Jay, and the Flashes of Two Earths.

Green Lantern...No Evil Shall Escape My Sight

Alan Scott was a train engineer who nearly died in a crash, except that he was holding onto a strange green lantern as related in All-American Comics #16 (July, 1940) by Bill Finger and Martin Nodell.  That green lantern related its history, bringing with it power that Alan could focus after he made a ring of its metal to wear, useful against all items but wood, with Alan taking on the identity of the Green Lantern.  This Green Lantern would go on to found the Justice Society as well, having many cases with them as well as many solo cases, facing foes like the Gambler, Vandal Savage and the Icicle.

Green Lantern was a part of the team when it ended the first time, and being there for its first revival.

Hal Jordan was the man to become Green Lantern in Showcase #22 (September-October, 1959) by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella.  Hal was a test pilot in Coast City, who gets a Green Lantern ring from a dying Abin Sur to make him into the Green Lantern of Earth.  Hal uses his ring to fight crime, giving himself the identity of Green Lantern (and adding a mask to the Green Lantern uniform), with a ring that can make anything he can think of, but needs to be recharged every 24 hours, and is useless against yellow.

Hal also helps to found the Justice League of America, finds out about the Green Lantern Corps (and that he is the protector of Sector 2814), and works for the Guardians of the Universe (who know a little bit more about the beginnings of evil, as well how the magic that formed Alan Scott's ring, than they let on).

The Green Lantern Corps are the successors of the Manhunters as well. 

Hawkman...The Weirdness Seems To Be Part Of Hawkman's Appeal

Carter Hall was an archeologist researching the dagger of Khufu, when he bumped into Shiera Sanders (fleeing from an electrified railroad) in Flash Comics #1 (January, 1940) by Gardner Fox and Dennis Neville.  Turns out Carter was Khufu reincarnated (as Shiera was the reincarnation of his wife, both murdered by Hath-Set....who was reincarnated at Doctor Hastor, the man behind the electrical menace).  Carter uses information he had gotten on a dig to clothe himself as Hawkman, using ancient weapons and the secret Nth Metal to make wings so he could fly.  Hawkman defeats Hastor, saving Shiera.

Later, Shiera becomes Hawkgirl and assists Hawkman with his missions.  Hawkman is also a founder of the JSA, and the only member to be involved in every JSA case in the Golden Age.

Katar Hol came to Earth as a Thanagarian policeman, with his wife and partner, Shayera Hol, pursuing the shape-changing villain, Byth, in Brave and the Bold #34 (February-March, 1961) by Gardner Fox and Joe Kubert.

Using Thanagarian science (including the Absorbascon, which allowed them access to all of Earth's knowledge), ancient weapons and an ability to speak to birds, the duo took up crimefighting as Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and Earth alter egos as Midway City Museum curators, Carter and Shiera Hall.  Hawkman joined the Justice League soon after its founding, with Hawkgirl joining the JLA later.  Unlike Flash, Green Lantern and Atom, the Hawks of two Earths never worked together in the Hawkman title, though the Hawkman of Earth-1 regularly worked with the Atom of Earth-1. 

Hawkgirl later took on the name Hawkwoman, then, after the Crisis on Infinite Earths and Invasion!, Hawk history got confusing (as this history of Hawkgirls will show).

Green Arrow...A Streamlined Robin Hood

Though Green Arrow and Speedy first appeared in More Fun Comics #73, their origin waited until More Fun Comics #89 (March 1943) by Joe Samachson, Cliff Young and Steve Brodie.  Oliver Queen was marooned on the Lost Mesa, where he met Roy Harper, a boy who had been raised by the local tribe of Indians, and the two had to work together using their archery skills against thieves who planned to plunder a local gold mine.

This Green Arrow never joined the JSA, but instead joined the Seven Soldiers of Victory, and had many adventures with them, as well as only with Speedy.

Oliver Queen got a new origin in Adventure Comics #256 (January, 1959) by France Herron, Jack Kirby and Roz Kirby.  Oliver Queen was a reckless millionaire who fell overboard on a yacht, ending up on Starfish Island, alone, and having to learn archery to survive.  Queen even made some trick arrows to pass the time, and ended up getting off the island when he came upon pirates, and crafted a quick disguise to allow him to use his archery to stop them (and get off the island when the authorities arrived).  This was one of many adventures of Green Arrow illustrated by Jack Kirby.  Speedy then got a slightly newer origin as well, though not until Kirby had left Green Arrow.

Green Arrow was the first non-charter member of the Justice League of America, and later became involved with the Black Canary after getting a new costume working with Batman and losing his fortune.

Introducing The Mighty Atom

Al Pratt was a diminutive college student who started on his way to super heroics in All-American Comics #19 (October, 1940) by Bill O'Connor, Ben Flinton and Leonard Sansone.  Mugged in front of his girlfriend, Mary James, Al loses the girl for a bit, but meets Joe Morgan, a homeless ex-boxer, who helps him learn the manly art of pugilism (boxing, as well other athletics).  After a year, and in much better shape, Al goes to visit his ex-girlfriend, and stops her from being kidnapped (though Mary never sees him, as she is blindfolded).  Al decides to take up the identity of the Atom, and fight for justice (having a costume with his next appearance).

Atom is a founding member of the Justice Society of America, and, later, gets actual super-strength as well as a costume change among his many solo adventures.

Physicist Ray Palmer turns himself into the hero, the Atom, starting with Showcase #34 (September-October, 1961) by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson.  In the origin half of his tale, Ray has been experimenting with White Dwarf star material to make items shrink.  Problem is, the items become unstable after a time and explode (and Ray is unable to safely enlarge them).  His girlfriend, lawyer Jean Loring, takes him and a group of students on a nature hike into a large chain of caverns, which collapse while they are inside, trapping the group with little hope of rescue.  Ray spots a small hole, and, having accidentally brought the White Dwarf lens with him, shrinks himself to allow him to climb the smooth walls to enlarge the hole, and, while heading back to tell Jean and the kids, accidentally walks under the lens beam again, but grows this time (as cave water had gotten on the lens, bringing along some element that allowed him to grow).  Not explaining his shrinking was a success. Ray then creates a size changing uniform out of White Dwarf material, taking on the identity of the Atom.

Atom joins the Justice League after Green Arrow, and faces many foes, including ChronosJean and Ray even marry later on, after Ray reveals his identity to her, but  they later divorce. 

Shazam!...In One Thing A Sense Of Fun And The Whole Sense Of Adventure

Billy Batson was a homeless paperboy who followed a mysterious stranger into the subway in Whiz Comics #2 (February, 1940) by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck.  At the end of the line, Billy met an old wizard, who said he was dying, and wanted to pass on his powers to the lad....who only had to say the wizard's name....Shazam!  Billy then transformed into Captain Marvel, who had the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury.  This gave Billy the ability to fight the evil Dr. Sivana, who planned on blacking out the radio stations of the day.  Billy did this, and ended up getting a job with Whiz radio.

Billy eventually gathered a whole Marvel Family around himself, including his sister, Mary, and their friend, Freddy Freeman, and later, Tawky Tawny and Kid Eternity.  Thrown into suspended animation, they revived in the 1970s, and had more adventures on their own Earth, that of Earth-S, until the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Plastic Man...One Of The Wildest Imaginations...

Eel O'Brian was a small time hood who got pinched in a folied robbery in Police Comics #1 (August, 1941) by Jack Cole.  That ended up being the best thing that ever happened to him, as he was doused in chemicals, and, while recovering in a monestary, found he had the elastic properties of plastic.  Deciding to change his life for the better to follow the monks who had helped him, Eel adopted the identity of Plastic Man, and used his crooked knowledge to find criminals, so his super self could put them in jail.

Later, Plastic Man started working with Woozy Winks (a shifty indiviual himself) and the two stopped odd criminals for as long as Quality Comics lasted.  Later, Plas and Woozy found themselves at home at DC Comics, with a DC Special, reprinting some of their earliest work together.  The original Plastic Man later became a member of the All-Star Squadron, and, long after the Crisis On Infinite Earths, Plas joined the JLA as well (at a time when there was only one Earth).

True, there was a pretty good collection of Secret Origins in 1961, which led to even More Secret Origins, and even a seven issue run of reprints of Secret Origins (all of which included a few origins not seen here), but this 1970s tome was truly the greatest of them all!