Friday, April 13, 2007

I Regret To Inform You

I regret to inform you that I am shutting down the Perisphere.

I thought long and hard on this, but some other things have popped up (including taking on more of a role over at the Superman Database and a more general comic book blog) in addition to getting back to more personal writing. Something had to go and it was either this blog or I clone myself to keep up with everything.

So to everyone that enjoyed the blog, thanks for checking me out. If you are interested in checking out my blog just go over to the Fortress of Baileytude.

Until I can get back to this, keep em' flying.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Two Week Hiatus

For a host of reasons, most of them personal but also the fact that I am not as caught up on the reading as I should be, I'm taking two weeks off from posting here. Things in my personal life are not horrific, but there is a lot going on that I may relate here at some point. I apologize if anyone is disappointed, but these things tend to happen to me from time to time. I hope to take the two weeks and come up with some new material for the site that will make up for the time off.



Thursday, March 22, 2007

Update 03-21-2007: Almost Sick

I don't know if I am coming down with a cold or if my allergies are kicking in but I feel like crap right now. I almost "called in" for this week, but after seeing another comment I decided to keep to my schedule. If people are starting to check out this site/blog I want to keep it going along smoothly.

Still, feel like crap right now.

So this week I cover issue eight, which introduced one of my favorites members of the All-Star Squadron; Steel the Indestructible Man, soon to be called Commander Steel. I've read the first four issues of Steel's original series (for some reason issue five eluded me until recently) and it was one of the best books DC put out in the late eighties. Hopefully DC will reprint that series at some point.

In addition to that I have the usual Golden-Age Books for this week list. Light week, but issue four of Justice Society of America came out and it was really freaking good. I mean if that was the only book that DC put out this week that I buy I still would have been happy.

Until next week.

Golden-Age Related Books for Comic Week 03-21-2007

Another week, another batch of comic books from DC Comics.

Disclaimer: These are the books DC has posted on their site as coming out on March 21, 2007. There is a slight chance that these books might not be at your local comic shop because, let's face it, DC has not been batting a thousand lately with getting their books out on time. This is not meant as a slam against DC, it's just how things have been for the past year or so.

I also claim no responsibility if your local comic shop sells out of the book if you wanted to buy it. Hold/Reserve boxes are your friend.

Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis #50
Batman Confidential #4
Birds of Prey #104
Checkmate #12
Detective Comics #830
Fifty-Two #46
Flash #10
Justice Society of America #4 (Two Covers)
Showcase Presents: Hawkman Volume 1 TPB

Another light week Golden-Age wise, though if you haven't read Justice Society of America #4 yet I suggest you do do right now. It's ok. I'll wait.

Read it?

Wasn't that so freaking awesome?

Yeah, I thought so too.

I was very amused that DC used the Variant Cover for the solicitation and on their site. I understand why. It would have ruined the surprise from the end of issue three.

Still, this series is bar none the best DC is publishing right now, and that is a die-hard Superman fan saying that.

To see the non-variant cover to Justice Society of America #4 click HERE. I do warn you, if you are waiting for the trade it will spoil something major.

All-Star Squadron #8

Cover Date: April 1982
Cover Price: $0.60
Release Date: January 28, 1982

Story Title: ”Afternoon of the Assassins!” -24 pages

Cover Artist: Joe Kubert

Writer: Roy Thomas/Gerry Conway (Steel sequence)
Penicller: Adrian Gonzales/Don Heck (Steel sequence)
Inker: Jerry Ordway
Colorist: Carl Gafford
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Len Wein

Heroes: Atom I, Firebrand II, Hawkgirl I, Johnny Quick I, Liberty Belle I, Robotman I, Shining Knight I, Steel I

Villains: Baron Blitzkrieg, Black Assassin (Scwarzer Meuchelmorder in German), Kung, Zwerg

Supporting Characters: Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Dr. Allison, Major Morton, Dr. Gilbert Giles, Gloria Giles

Memorable Quote: “I was fighting for my life- -the lives of two British commandos - - and the lives of million people I’d never know!” – Steel, The Indestructible Man


A Nazi agent called the Black Assassin attacks Winston Churchill while the Prime Minister gives a speech at the Halls of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa. Liberty Belle and Shining Knight leap to Churchill’s defense but the Assassin manages to slip free and get a clear shot at his target. Suddenly the hero known as Steel comes out of nowhere and makes quick work of the Assassin. In a final attempt to kill the Prime Minister the Nazi activates a bomb belt but Steel takes the full brunt of the explosion.

Despite his wounds Steel manages to give Churchill a book before the Shining Knight takes him away to get medical attention. After finishing his speech Churchill visits Steel in a nearby hospital where Belle is trying to find some information about Steel from her fellow All-Stars. During that conversation Belle is informed that the President wants Steel brought back to Washington as soon as possible. Soon afterward a special train rockets from Canada bound for the United States.

During the journey Churchill explains that the book Steel had given him was a journal that reveals that Steel is actually Hank Heywood who joined the Marines after the German attack on Poland. In November of 1939 Heywood was returning to camp when he spotted some saboteurs trying to blow up the ammo dump. An accident caused the explosives to go off and Heywood was gravely injured. Only the brilliant researcher Dr. Gilbert Giles and his experimental medical procedures saved Heywood. In fact the process enhanced Heywood, making him stronger and faster than a normal man.

On a visit in London Steel stopped the Black Assassin from his first attempt to kill then First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill. Steel agrees to go on a mission for Churchill to kidnap Adolph Hitler. Heywood’s journal goes blank after describing an aerial battle that ended with Steel getting shot down over Germany. Elsewhere Baron Blitzkrieg and Zwerg listen in on the story as well. Blitzkrieg is pleased with how things have gone thus far and feels that his back-up plan cannot fail.

Back on the train the assassin known as Kung lands and uses his ability to transform into animal form to become a tiger. He is surprised by Hawkgirl who attacks the Japanese agent. Kung manages to overcome her and it is only the timely arrival of Johnny Quick that saves her life. Robotman takes on Kung next, but the assassin manages to slip past him and get to his intended target; Winston Churchill. Kung stalks the Prime Minister but Steel comes around just in time to once again save Churchill’s life. Kung escapes but the All-Stars and Churchill are relieved that the man known as Steel has revived.

Meanwhile Baron Blitzkrieg is incensed at Kung’s intrusion but is still satisfied that his plan is still on track, especially with his special agent. A special agent named Steel!


-The Black Assassin was a once and done villain and is never seen again.

-The speech Churchill gives before the Canadian Parliament after the assassination attempt did happen. The reason that the Parliament looks so much like the US Congress is that reference material could not be found at the time.

-Canadian Prime Minister William Lyons MacKenzie King is referred to in a caption on page seven but never shown in the comic itself.

-Steel, the Indestructible Man first appeared in the aptly named Steel, The Indestructible Man #1 (March 1978). This series came out as part of what has become known as the DC Explosion, where DC Comics released a large number of titles and back-up features all at once. Gerry Conway wrote the series with art by the underrated Don Heck and much like Conway’s Firestorm the Indestructible Man read like a Marvel book set in the DC Universe. It was a fantastic series and had the usual romantic conundrum and crazy villains. Steel, The Indestructible Man was cancelled after issue five during the DC Implosion. Issue six appeared as part of the privately circulated Cancelled Comics Cavalcade.

-Pages nine (possibly eight) through seventeen of this issue were originally intended to be part of that sixth issue. Roy decided to incorporate much of Don Heck’s penciled art and Gerry Conway’s script into the narrative. On page nine we’re given narrative captions that are “excerpts” from Steel’s journal, which was a staple of the original Steel series.

-The journal reveals that Steel was in London in his Hank Heywood identity as an aide to Major Morton. He was rather happy to be there too since he had been engaged to Dr. Giles’ daughter Gloria and was forced to end that engagement at the insistence of Giles when he found that Heywood was also the man called Steel.

-Steel was added to the series because Roy Thomas and editor Len Wein felt that a “Captain America” type character was needed for the World War II setting.

-In addition to creating Firestorm and Steel Gerry Conway also created the Punisher and has done a lot of work for the Law and Order series, particularly Law and Order: Criminal Intent where he served as co-executive producer.

- Kung first appeared in Wonder Woman #237 (November 1978) during a storyline that took place in 1943. This issue backdated Kung to 1941.

Oh my God. I really don’t know what to say about this cover. Wow.

-A Fact File page featuring Shining Knight, Robotman and Johnny Quick appeared before this issues installment of All-Star Comments.

-This month’s All-Star Comments, featuring the second logo, began with this note:

SPECIAL SQUADRON NOTE: Few DC heroes have been as much requested for “membership” in the purposefully amorphous All-Star Squadron by the letter-writing hordes as has the man called Steel, whose magazine had its own five-issue run a few years back, under the aegis of creators Gerry Conway and Don Heck. In fact, a sixth issues was completed when STEEL, THE INDESTRUCTIBLE MAN was cancelled as part of a temporary DC cutback at the time…and in many ways, it was one of the best and most important of the series. Thus Len and Roy decided to take the majority of the pages of that sixth issue---previously unprinted except in Xerox format for a very limited audience—and have it partly rewritten and totally relettered and re-inked to fit into issues 8 and 9 of ALL-STAR SQUADRON. Especially after you’ve read the conclusion of Hank Heywood’s war-diary next month, we think you’ll see why we did it. Let us know how you feel about Steel as an All-Star, okay—not that we ever doubted you would!

-After that came three letters regarding issue four.

Mark Walden of Northridge, California wrote that the series was getting better and better and that Buckler and Ordway’s art made him feel like he was re-living the Golden-Age. He then requested that Aquaman, Green Arrow, Speedy and Captain Marvel make appearances in the book. Roy replied that since it had been established that Captain Marvel had been active in the World War Two of Earth-S he would fit right in.

John K. Austin of Cheney, Washington was impressed with the level of characterization put into the characters with the possible exception of Superman, who John felt should have been cockier. His final comment was to not cancel the book. Roy informed him that there was almost no chance of that happening since the book has proven to be one of DC’s top-selling titles.

Finally, Wally Podrazik, c/o McGraw-Hill Paperbacks in New York, New York wrote in to comment on how television was presented in the title and to either directly or indirectly plug a book he had written. He wrote that while TV did exist in 1941 the programming “beast” was different than that of 1981. Coast-to-coast hook-ups were still a decade away and experimental programming was spotty at best ranging from stock film filler to cooking tips. Despite this Podrazik felt that on Earth-Two it was quite possible for Libby Lawrence to have a television news show but added that it was probably a simul-cast of her radio program. He also mentioned that broadcasting hours were cut back tremendously during 1942 and 1943. Podrazik’s final thought was to recommend that Roy play with TV in Nazi Germany where sets were quite common in public places like hospitals and carried propaganda broadcasts through 1943 in Berlin and 1944 in Paris. Roy thanked Podrazik for the ideas and the verification that Libby’s TV broadcast was possible.

-The back cover of this month’s issue contained an advert for Monogram’s Snap Tate (trademarked) models of Mattel’s famous Hot Wheels vehicles. I think most kids were issued one of those Hot Wheels Trans-Ams when they came out so I can see where a model of it would do quite well.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Update 03-14-07: So, Thursday Good For Everyone?

Seems good to me. Weekends are becoming busier and busier for me, so getting the Index done works a lot better during the early part of the week. I've also taken on the task of reading reviews for the Superman Database's podcast on a weekly basis, so there's that too.

I didn't get the new dossiers done like I wanted, but I tried to make it up by having more graphics in the entry for issue #7 because I figure y'all would be too distracted by the pretty pictures to notice the lack of substance.

I have no shame. I really don't.

I did get to update the Atom dossier, so check that out if you wish too.

So between that, the entry for issue #7 and this week's list of Golden Age related books with my supposedly humorous commentary you should have a good ten, maybe fifteen minutes of content to go through.

See you next Thursday. Supposedly.

Golden-Age Related Books for Comic Week 03-14-2007

Yes, it's that time of the week again. The new comics are out. Here are the ones I think are important.

Another week, another batch of comic books from DC Comics.Disclaimer: These are the books DC has posted on their site as coming out on March 14 2007. There is a slight chance that these books might not be at your local comic shop because, let's face it, DC has not been batting a thousand lately with getting their books out on time. This is not meant as a slam against DC, it's just how things have been for the past year or so.

I also claim no responsibility if your local comic shop sells out of the book if you wanted to buy it. Hold/Reserve boxes are your friend.

Crisis on Multiple Earths: The Team-Ups Vol. 2 TPB
Fifty-Two #45
Flash: The Fastest Man Alive TPB
Green Arrow #72
JLA Classified #36
Robin #160
Robin: Wanted TPB
Superman #660
Superman/Batman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told TPB
Tales of the Unexpected #6
Teen Titans #44
Wonder Woman #5

Kind of a light week actually. I mean it's kind of pricey if you buy all the trades but still, light week all around.

So what's on the schedule this week? Did Crisis on Multiple Earths: The Team-Ups Vol. 2 come out? I didn't see it in my box nor at Titan Games and Comics. If it came out I need to get it.

Superman #660 came out to as DC gets that line caught up. If you are inclined to listen to such things I will be reviewing this book for the Superman Database podcast, which should come out on Sunday. Download and listen to my "dulcit" tones as I talk up this latest issue of Superman.

How's that for a plug? I mean I'm reviewing JLA Classified #36 for the Superman Homepage (which should be up on Monday) as well, just in case you were interested.

Wonder Woman #5 comes out. This is so freaking weird. I mean really freaking weird. This issues doesn't wrap up the storyline that has been running through the past four issues, but is, in fact, a fill in before the whole Amazon Attacks stuff starts to come down the pike. The only time I've ever seen a storyline not get resolved like this was New Universe's Nightmask. Let's hope it doesn't take twenty years for that story to finish, though with the Dodsons you never can tell.

And I will throw down my bulls#$% card for the week and say while it wasn't all that bad I don't think that Superman/Batman Annual #1 is one of the greatest Superman/Batman stories ever told.

So, DC plays catch up and releases a bunch of trades. Weird week.

All-Star Squadron #7

Cover Date: March 1982
Cover Price: $0.60
Release Date: December 24, 1981

Story Title: “Carnage For Christmas”- 5 pages
“Chapter II: In Battle Joined!” - 6 pages
“Chapter III: Divided We Stand” – 8 pages
“Chapter IV: Tragedy and Triumph!” – 8 pages

Cover Artist: Joe Kubert

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penicller: Adrian Gonzalez
Inker: Jerry Ordway
Colorist: Carl Gafford
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Len Wein

Heroes: Atom I, Firebrand II, Hawkgirl I, Johnny Quick I, Liberty Belle I, Plastic Man (Earth-2), Robotman I, Shining Knight I

Villains: Baron Blitzkrieg, Zwerg, Members of the German-American Bund

Supporting Characters: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Fala, Winged Victory, Prime Minister Winston Churchill

Memorable Quote: “This is a strange Christmas Eve; almost the whole world is locked in a deadly struggle. Let us cast aside for this night, at least the cares and dangers which beset us, and make for the children an evening of happiness in a world of storm. Let the children have their night of the fun and laughter; let the gifts of Father Christmas delight their play. Let us grow-ups share to the full in their unstinted pleasures, before we turn again to the stern task and the formidable years that lie before us…resolved that, by our sacrifice and daring, these same children shall not be robbed of their inheritance…or denied their right to live in a free and decent world. And so, in God’s mercy…a Happy Christmas to you all!” –Prime Minister Winston Churchill


On a dark and cold December night two figures walk down the streets of Washington D.C. They bump into Private Al Pratt and though there words are exchanged between them they continue on their separate ways. The two men duck down a side street and after saluting the wall and giving a Heil Hitler Baron Blitzkrieg doffs his trench coat and complains about the soldier. He and Zwerg meet with members of the German-American Bund and they go over their plans to kill both President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill by using a robot double of the Prime Minister when Churchill visits his American ally.

Meanwhile Al Pratt changes into the Atom and meets with President Roosevelt. After reminiscing about their first meeting when the Justice Society formed the Atom briefs the President on what his fellow Justice Society members had been doing since they disbanded the team and enlisted into the military. Roosevelt asks the status of the non-JSA members, but the Atom does not know them quite as well. Melodramatically the President has the Atom wheel him into the next room and the Mighty Mite is shocked to see the very heroes the two were just discussing. The teammates catch up with one another before Roosevelt reveals the reason he called them together. A plan has been uncovered to kill the British Prime Minister who is bound for America on a British destroyer.

The next day the All-Stars patrol the surrounding area of the U.S. Naval Base at Norfolk, Virginia. Hawkgirl, Shining Knight, Winged Victory and Liberty Belle search the skies over the Atlantic while Johnny Quick and Firebrand patrol the surrounding road and Robotman and the Atom stand firm at the Naval installation itself. They spot the Duke of York, the destroyer that Churchill is traveling on and once it pulls into port there is a tremendous explosion, which Robotman suspects to be the result of a German electric torpedo. Robotman and the Atom charge into action but are mistaken as enemies and are attacked by the British sailors.

After the mistake is cleared up Robotman spies a German U-boat and with the help of Liberty Belle, the Shining Knight and the Atom he lassos the sub and begins to pull it onto the beach. Meanwhile, in the Prime Minister’s quarters Winston Churchill is shocked when confronted by Baron Blitzkrieg and his robot double.

Back on the beach Robotman succeeds in beaching the U-boat and when the Nazis come out fighting the All-Stars are there to take them on. Once the battle is over the All-Stars stick around to see the historic meeting between Roosevelt and Churchill. Liberty Belle tries to engage the Prime Minister in conversation based on their history but Churchill doesn’t respond. She realizes something is wrong and urges Johnny to do something. He is too late, however, and the Churchill robot explodes. When the dust clears the All-Stars realize that Plastic Man had been impersonating the President all along and that both men were sage.

Blitzkrieg escapes, but is chased down by Robotman. Much to Robotman’s surprise the Baron knocks him down. The rest of the All-Stars arrive and the Baron tries to fly away with Churchill. Realizing he can only escape alone he drops the Prime Minister, who is rescued by Hawkgirl. After hitting Winged Victory with a powerful eye blast Baron Blitzkrieg is able to get away clean. Soon after Roosevelt and Churchill finally meet at the Capitol Airport.

Two days later the All-Stars are present when Roosevelt lights the White House Christmas tree and listen to a stirring speech given by the Prime Minister.


-This issue kicks off with a quote from Winston Churchill. “So we had won after all! ...I went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful.” This was taken from Churchill’s writing and was his reaction to hearing the news that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor.

-A letter writer in issue #11 would point out some discrepancies with the photo of the Justice Society that appears on the front of the Washington World from the first page of this issue. Hourman is there though he was, by the time, no longer a member and the Sandman was wearing his gas mask and suit costume. It is very likely that the editor on the World went with a file photo which showed the charter members of the JSA minus the Spectre.

-On page three Baron Blitzkrieg and Zwerg stop before a wall that bears a poster for the MGM film Nazi Agent. The film featured Conrad Veidt who plays twins, one of which is a Nazi (Baron Huge Von Detner) and the other an American (Otto Becker) forced to help a group of German spies. Eventually Otto kills his brother, assumes his identity and exposes the spy ring.

-Not only do the members of the Justice Society, including honorary members Superman and Batman, appear in the flashback detailing the group’s origin but they also appear as the Atom, who had been training to be a Tank-Corpsman in Virginia, details how his former members were doing now that they’ve joined the armed services. Hawkman had joined the Army Air Corps on the West Coast, the Sandman was trained to use a 37mm Anti-Aircraft Cannon, Dr. Fate became a paratrooper, Dr. Mid-Nite joined the Army Medical Corps, Starman was in flight training at Fort Randolph near San Antonio, Johnny Thunder joined the Navy, the Spectre has been keeping busy at home and even Green Lantern enlisted.

-The Atom refers to Hawkman as a tyro or “dodo”. A dodo was a flyer in the Army Air Corps who had not yet soloed. The term tyro (alternatively spelled tiro) means novice or beginner and is taken from the Latin word tiro meaning a young soldier or recruit. The dodo handle is amusing when you consider all the solo flying the character had done.

-The Spectre couldn’t join a branch of the armed services because he was, well, dead.

-The Hostess Ad from this issue had Batman taking down a perp who was dressed like a giant dog in an effort to steal a group of canines from the Gotham Dog Show via a hypersonic whistle. The Dark Knight Detective distracts the would be Pied Piper (the guy from the story, not the Flash villain) with some Twinkies. In all honesty this is the weirdest Hostess Ad that has been used in this series. It’s a guy in a dog suit who believes that prize winning dogs are his key to Money Road but apparently suffers from some sort of emotional disturbance that makes him stop everything to eat Twinkies. I mean I like me some Twinkies. I really do, but I would be more likely to stop because I didn’t want Batman to use that martial arts he knows to put a serious hurt on me. Between the lame dog catcher joke and the fact that this guy looks like that weird dude from The Shining I have to say that I lost sleep because of this ad.

-This also appears to be the last Hostess Ad, at least for the next five months or so. Sad. Very sad.

-The Shining Knight and Hawkgirl discuss Liberty Belle’s swimming of the English Channel. This occurred in 1940 when the boat she was traveling on to escape the Battle of Dunkirk was shot out of the water.

-When the two leaders greet each other Roosevelt refers to Churchill as “Former Naval Person,” which was the Prime Minister’s codename in their correspondence in 1940. Churchill called Roosevelt “POTUS,” which is short for President of the United States.

-Churchill would make his Marvel Universe version of this trip in Giant Sized Invaders #1 (June 1975). That book was written by Roy Thomas. Go figure.

-All Star Comments featured a new logo and two letters this month, plus a decent sized footnote section.

Mike Christensen of Rockford Illinois gushed about the atmosphere of issue three and lent his voice to the question of where Hourman was. Roy told him to keep watching and mentioned that while the first three issues dealt directly with the war the pendulum would soon swing the other way.

Bill D. Middleton of Clovis, New Mexico complimented the writing and art but also mentioned the fact that the book meshes well with what Bill considered the newfound patriotism of the early eighties. Roy comments that DC never been ashamed of its heritage and that despite dealing with America’s lapses as well as successes this would be the direction the series would continue in. He finishes by writing that jumping on bandwagons or indulging in nostalgia was never their intention; just telling fun comic book stories.

And then there was Roy’s Fabulous Footnote:

FABULOUS FOOTNOTE DEPARTMENT: Remember how we told you in our first issue that we were going to relegate most “historical” or “nostalgic” footnotes to our letters page? Well, we haven’t been doing all that much of it so far, in the interest of printing more letters, but here are a few quickies, following this issue’s page number to which they refer:

Page 3: By coincidence, the MGM film, “Nazi Agent” with Conrad Veidt was released nationwide on Jan. 21, 1942. How’s that for timing?

Page 4: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill did indeed arrive in the U.S. on the new battleship Duke of York on December 22, 1941…and was met at Washington Airport by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt that evening, after dark. We added the fog that pops up later—just as we added the Nazi U-boat and, of course, the All-Star Squadron itself. We’ve gotta have some leeway, don’t we? (And, as in out story, FDR actually served as President for over twelve years without most people ever realizing how really crippled he was. Time have changed…not in every way for the better.)

Page 6: Dala, FDR’s Scottish terrier, was the most photographed dog on earth during most of World War Two.

Page 27: Excerpts from Churchill’s speech on the While House lawn of Dec. 24, 1941, are authentic, of course.

Oh, and by the way—since those adventures didn’t occur until mid-1942 or later, this encounter with Baron Blitzkrieg is the earliest yet recorded, and precedes both those in the tabloid-sized Superman-Wonder Woman clash in ALL-NEW COLLECTORS’ EDITION Vol. 7 (1978) and the baneful Baron’s two solo clashes with out amazing Amazon in the pages of WORLD’S FINEST COMICS.

-This month’s back cover features an advertisement for Monogram’s super scale plastic truck kit, molded in authentic color even.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Update 03-07-07: It's Not My Fault

My schedule got really thrown off this week so the updates were small and late this week. I really wanted to get it out on the schedule I was trying to keep, but it just didn't work out that way.

Oh well. I'll try harder for next time.

Next week I hope to have more dossiers, updated dossiers and issue seven of All-Star Squadron.

I make no promises, but I'll give it a go.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Golden-Age Related Books for Comic Week 03-07-2007

Another week, another batch of comic books from DC Comics.

Disclaimer: These are the books DC has posted on their site as coming out on March 7, 2007. There is a slight chance that these books might not be at your local comic shop because, let's face it, DC has not been batting a thousand lately with getting their books out on time. This is not meant as a slam against DC, it's just how things have been for the past year or so.

I also claim no responsibility if your local comic shop sells out of the book if you wanted to buy it. Hold/Reserve boxes are your friend.

All-New Atom #9

Detective Comics #829

Fifty-Two #44

Helmet of Fate: Zauriel

Justice League of America #6

Manhunter #29

Nightwing #130

Nightwing: Brothers in Blood TPB

Shazam: The Monster Society of Evil #2

Superman/Batman #32

Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters #8

Wow, Superman/Batman! It came out. It actually came out. Surprise heaped upon surprise.

Ok, I'll stop. DC seems to be trying. Maybe it's time to cut them some slack.

This is a rare week for me as I actually went to the comic shop on Wednesday. Usually I hit Titan Games and Comics on Thursday or Friday because of how my schedule works, but this was a weird week as far as that kind of thing goes, so I actually got to go on the day the books came out. Which was nice otherwise I wouldn't have gotten a copy of Captain America #25.

Yeah, I know, that's a Marvel book, but hey Cap's a Golden Age character and it was such a big deal that I had to get it.

Anyway, pretty solid week so far. 52 #44 was amazing. Simply amazing. I can't say enough how much I enjoyed it. Justice League of America #6 and Superman/Batman #32 were both great reads as well, especially Justice League which had a really sad ending. I'm reviewing both books for the Superman Homepage this week, so look for that on Monday or Tuesday. Manhunter #29 was great. I am so glad that the book is getting another chance. I'm looking forward to getting to Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters. It started out kind of fifty/fifty for me but the last two issues have really sold me on the concept and I'm looking forward to the next mini-series when it comes out.

So go. Buy comics. Have fun. Mourn Steve Rogers.

I mean they'll bring him back, but for now give the guy his due.

All-Star Squadron #6

Cover Date: February 1982
Cover Price: $0.60
Release Date: November 26, 1981

“Mayhem in the Mile-High City!” -27 pages

Cover Artist: Rich Buckler and Jerry Ordway

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penicller: Adrian Gonzales
Inker/Embellisher: Jerry Ordway
Colorist: Carl Gafford
Letterer: Ben Oda
Editor: Len Wein

Heroes: Atom I, Doctor Mid-Nite I, Firebrand II, Hawkgirl I, Hawkman I, Johnny Quick I, Liberty Belle I, Robotman I, Shining Knight I

Villains: Feathered Serpent, General Saukel, Unnamed German Soldiers, Unnamed Hypnotized Minions, German Ambassador to Mexico, Herr Blume, Zwerg, Baron Blitzkrieg

Supporting Characters: President Manuel Avila Camacho

Memorable Quote: “Those bumbling fools in Berlin! They spurned my advice - - and now their plans for Mexico lie in ruins. But tonight I shall carry the war to the United States itself - - and if any verdammt masked “heroes” rise against me - - they shall be smashed by the might of Baron Blitzkrieg!” –Baron Blitzkrieg


The Feathered Serpent continues to rage about his plans to sacrifice Shiera Sanders and to become the master of Mexico. Both the Shining Knight and Hawkman threaten the Serpent, who views this as their attempt to stall him. Because the stars are not in proper alignment for sacrificing he tells his captives how he came to become the Feathered Serpent. He claims to have been born on the peninsula that they are now on but was educated in the United States and Europe between the wars. He returned there months ago as an archeologist and discovered the hidden temple of Kukulkan and what he considered his heritage. He found that he could read the ancient pictographs and control those who had kept their bloodlines pure.

After a short, heated exchange with General Saukel the Feathered Serpent finally gets around to the sacrifice. Shiera surprises him and manages to kick free of her restraints. Chaos reigns as Hawkman and Shining Knight finally break their bonds as well and begin to fight not only the minions of the Feathered Serpent and the Nazi soldiers. In the tumult Shiera manages to change into her guise as Hawkgirl and joins her fiancé in battle. The Feathered Serpent takes advantage of the battle to kill General Saukel as his sacrifice and gains the powers he had been boasting about. Realizing that Mexico City is in danger the heroes quickly follow the villain as he races towards his conquest.

In Mexico City the citizens are shocked to see an ancient Aztec pyramid burst from the ground. Those of pure blood also fall under the Serpent’s sway and begin to march up the pyramid. With weapons supplied by the Nazis the mesmerized pure bloods open fire on those who try to stop them. The Nazis are surprised to see Dr. Mid-Nite, Firebrand, the Atom and Johnny Quick start to fight against the spellbound pure bloods. Not far away at the National Palace the Feathered Serpent arrives to slay President Camacho and assume his place as ruler of Mexico. Liberty Belle and Robotman are there in disguise as well and protect the President after he defies the Feathered Serpent. After ringing Mexico’s proud bell of freedom Liberty Belle feels the same adrenal surge as when the Liberty Bell rings out in Philadelphia and quickly the battle turns in their favor. The Serpent charges at Belle after tossing her aside, but she manages to use his momentum against him and he falls to his death. Suddenly the real Feathered Serpent flies by and the heroes realize that the Serpent they fought was a fraud.

At the German Embassy the Feathered Serpent confronts the Nazi agents who sent the imposter to kill Camacho for their own ends. After informing them that he has is the true ruler of Mexico Hawkman, Hawkgirl and Shining Knight arrive. As the Hawks tussle with the Nazis the Shining Knight chases the Feathered Serpent back to the pyramid. He manages to take out Johnny Quick before grabbing Firebrand. Firebrand proves to be a poor hostage and uses her newfound abilities to set the Serpent’s armor and wings on fire. The two begin to fall but Firebrand is rescued by the Shining Knight. As the hypnotized pure bloods begin to come out of their trance the All-Star discover that the Feathered Serpent is really German and that he wanted to be his own power after discovering the secret of Kukulkan. He makes one last ditch effort to kill the All-Stars with a hidden bomb but Robotman and a revived Johnny Quick waste no time in getting rid of it. Afterwards President Camacho holds a celebration in honor of Mexico and the All-Star Squadron.

Later that night Baron Blitzkrieg and his friend Zwerg discuss how it is now his turn to carry the war to the United States itself and woe to any hero that gets in his way.


-This issue was the late Adrian Gonzales’ first one as penciler.

-Another reference to Indiana Jones is made in this issue, this time a direct mention of the famed archeologist himself. One has to wonder what the Earth-2 Indiana Jones would have been like. This reference is interesting also because Marvel would eventually publish the Further Adventures of Indiana Jones.

-The Hostess ad this month has the Flash fighting against Dr. Sorcery who’s plan to mess with a police department marathon is halted by the Flash’s use of Hostess Cup Cakes. After Sorcery is in police custody everyone celebrates with more Cup Cakes. Because that’s what I want to do after running a marathon; eat a bunch of snack cakes.

-The Liberty Bell that Liberty Belle rings in this story first rang out in 1810 to announce Mexico’s independence from Spain.

-President Manuel Avila Camacho was President of Mexico from 1940-1946. While he was certainly soured on the Nazis after this issue’s adventure on Earth-2 it wouldn’t be until May 22, 1942 that Mexico would declare war on Germany when German U-boats sunk two ships carrying oil.

-Nearly a decade and a half before this issue saw print Roy Thomas introduced a super-villain named Kukulcan in the pages of X-Men, who wore an outfit very much like the Feathered Serpents.

-The supposed Feathered Serpent once again claims that he will be no Quisling and adds that he won’t be a Petain either. French general Marshal Petain, who served in World War I, tarnished his reputation with the British and the Americans by heading the government of the “Vichy France” from 1940 to 1944. Vichy was the capital of the one-third of France that while unoccupied by the Germans after their invasion in June of 1940 became politically subservient to the Third Reich.

-The last page of this issue introduces Baron Blitzkrieg into the series. On a very personal note I think that outside of Axis Amerika in the pages of Young All-Stars Baron Blitzkrieg is the best villain the All-Star Squadron ever faced.

-After Len Wein explained the gaff made with the Firebrand arrow on the previous issue’s cover and suggested that the reader could cut the arrow out of this issue and paste it over the mistake (if anyone actually did this let me know) the following letters were printed in this installment of All-Star Comments:

“War Correspondent” Dave Elyea of Cheboygan, Michigan wrote in praise of the use of Per Degaton as well as re-telling the JSA’s bomb defense formula story. He also requested that the story should be retold in a special all-new ALL-STAR DIGEST. Roy let Dave down gently by telling him that outside of the JUSTICE SOCIETY DIGEST there were no plans to reprint old DC and Quality stories.

Andy Glaess of Northglenn, Colorado started out with nothing but compliments but ended his letter by pointing out that the plane the All-Stars flew in issue two was not in use until 1944. Roy copped to the mistake and, as was covered in the entry for issue two, explained that there wasn’t enough time to fix the boo-boo once they caught it.

Dan Springs of Alt Springs, Florida begged to bring Hourman into the series and ended his letter with a play on the MAKE MINE MARVEL saying from old Marvel books. Roy caught the bit and explained that they are trying to figure out the story to explain how the Hourman worked with the JSA after he quit the team.

The Comments ended with two Nostalgic Notes from Roy. They are as follows:

NOSTALGIC NOTE: We just realized that, when we listed the origins and/or first appearances of all the various heroes and heroines who appeared in the first few issues of ALL-STAR SQUADRON we forgot to include Firebrand (Rod Reilly), because he didn’t appear in costume…so just for you completists out there: There was no origin story for Danette Reilly’s non-super powered brother, but his first appearance (like that of Plastic Man and Phantom Lady) was in POLICE COMICS #1, August 1941. Now are we friends again?

ANOTHER NOSTALGIC NOTE: We just wanted to make sure that no loyal fans of ALL-STAR SQUADRON and/or the original Justice Society of America accidentally miss out on our special JUSTICE SOCIETY issue of our THE BEST OF DC/BLUE RIBBON DIGEST series, now on sale! Editor Len Wein has packaged two JSA tales which form an integral part of the background of these first few issues of DC’s newest hit—namely, “The Day That Dropped Out of Time” from ALL-STAR COMICS #35, 1947 (the deathless adventure which introduced the time-altering Per Degaton to a waiting world) and the exciting, all-important, “Untold Origin of the Justice Society” from DC SPECIAL #29, back in ’77! See? Who said you had to fifty years old in order to understand what’s going on in an issue of ALL-STAR SQUADRON? As somebody once said—we do it all for you!

-Here’s the cover to that digest. Neat, huh?

-The back cover of this issue is the same from the last one. But here it is again anyway.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Golden-Age Related Books for Comic Week 02-28-2007

Or as I would like to call it The Birthday Edition of the Golden-Age Related Books for Comic Week 02-28-2007, but I won't because it isn't technically my birthday.

You see I am one of those oddities known as Leap Year Babies. I was born on February 29, 1976, so not only am I a Leap Year Baby but a Centennial Leap Year Baby to boot. So on the years where there isn't a February 29th I'm kind of in a limbo as to when my birthday should be observed, kind of like Lincoln and Washington's birthdays but without the day off from school. Is it February 28th, since that is technically the last day of February? Or, as my wife put it to me today, is it March 1st the day to choose because my mother had me the day after February 28th?

In the end I'm still another year older, so it really doesn't matter.

Besides, I have the same birthday as Superman, so how freaking cool is that?

(For those who may be curious, the Earth-2 Superman's actual birthday was February 29, 1916. I got that bit of trivia from an "interview" with both the Earth-1 and Earth-2 Supemen that was written by E. Nelson Bridwell and featured in the Amazing World of DC Comics Special Edition #1 Celebrating the Super DC Con '76, which took place on February 27, 28 and 29th of 1976. Weird little happenstance there.)

Disclaimer: These are the books DC has posted on their site as coming out on February 28, 2007. There is a slight chance that these books might not be at your local comic shop because, let's face it, DC has not been batting a thousand lately with getting their books out on time. This is not meant as a slam against DC, it's just how things have been for the past year or so.

I also claim no responsibility if your local comic shop sells out of the book if you wanted to buy it. Hold/Reserve boxes are your friend.

Action Comics #846
Batman #664
Batman Confidential #3
Blue Beetle #12
Fifty-Two #43
Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #9
Green Lantern #17
JLA Classified #35
JSA Classified #23
Justice #10
Showcase Presents: Green Lantern Vol. 2 TPB

For me it's kind of a light week comic book wise. I will definitely be picking up Action Comics even though I know the story is about to be interrupted. But Geoff Johns has done some great damage control on the lateness issue, so I'm cool. Mark Guggenheim takes over the Flash after the much panned run by Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo, so that is definitely getting purchased. Also Green Lantern is finally coming out again, which makes me happy yet frustrated as well.

You could say that it is a good week if you have the word Justice or at least the letter J in your title. JLA Classified has been really good this past arc and JSA Classified has been consistently good with the possible exception of the Steve Englehart story.

And then there's Justice, which should be awesome.

I know it will never happen because Justice has pretty much been Alex Ross' love letter to the Super Friends, but a twelve issue Justice sequel featuring the Justice Society fighting an amped up Injustice Society would be all about some cool.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Update 02-27-2007: A Day Late

But still here, so I don't feel too bad about that.

What I do feel bad about is the fact that I haven't gotten another Dossier written, but I'm working on them.

So for this week all I got is the entry for Issue #5, the last for penciller Rich Buckler.

See you tomorrow for our ususal Wednesday meeting.

All-Star Squadron #5

Cover Date: January 1982
Cover Price: $0.60
Release Date: October 29, 1981

“Never Step on a Feathered Serpent!”
-27 pages

Cover Artist: Rich Buckler and Romeo Tanghal

Writer/Co-Creator: Roy Thomas
Penicller/Co-Creator: Rich Buckler
Inker/Embellisher: Jerry Ordway
Colorist: Carl Gafford
Letterer: Ben Oda
Editor: Len Wein

Heroes: Atom I, Doctor Fate I, Doctor Mid-Nite I, Firebrand II, Hawkgirl I (as Shiera Sanders), Hawkman I, Johnny Quick, Johnny Thunder, Liberty Belle I, Robotman I, Sandman I, Shining Knight I, Spectre I, Starman I

Villains: The Feathered Serpent, General Saukel, Unnamed Nazi soldiers, Unnamed Bundists

Supporting Characters: President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Slugger Dunn

Memorable Quote: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - - a date which will live in infamy - - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the Naval and Air Forces of the Empire of Japan. Now matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion the American people in the righteous might will win though to absolute victory. I ask that Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack -- a state of war exited between the United States and the Empire of Japan.” –President Franklin D. Roosevelt


At a meeting of the Justice Society Hawkman announces his decision to enlist in the United States Army in his real identity as Carter Hall. He expects a negative response but his comrades surprise him by giving their best wishes, an act Hawkman misinterprets as them not caring all that much for him. The Atom sets him straight by admitting that they had all decided that they were going to enlist but believed that Hawkman would try to talk them out of it. They finally call the meeting to order and vote to inform the President of their intentions and to disband the Justice Society for the duration. After the meeting Mid-Nite asks Hawkman if there was any word on Hawkman’s fiancé. Hawkman replies that there hasn’t been and that he is flying to the Yucatan in the morning to find her. Mid-Nite and then the Atom decide to join him but first the trio keeps Hawkman’s promise to check in on Danette Reilly.

Meanwhile in a stone temple located in the Yucatan Peninsula Nazi General Saukel pleads his case that the order to strike must be given at once. Sitting on his throne the Feathered Serpent counters that the stars tell him the time is not yet right. Saukel believes that any further delay could end in disaster, especially since Great Britain has fulfilled its agreement with the United States and declared war on the Japanese and the fact that Green Lantern had prevented a Nazi invasion of the East Coast. The Feathered Serpent refuses to listen adding that their alliance is not for the benefit of Nazi Germany but for the glory of Mexico and that he, as the living symbol of the old ways, will usher in a new age for his homeland with the sacrifice of the captured Shiera Sanders.

Back in New York Johnny Quick and Robotman answer a request from the police to help them with a group of saboteurs on Liberty Island. The two heroes take down the bundists and continue on to Danette Reilly’s apartment where they join Liberty Belle the Shining Knight, Dr. Mid-Nite, the Atom and Hawkman. While the others discuss her condition Danette wakes up and based on something she remembered in her dreams she investigates the key that Slugger Dunn had given her on behalf of her comatose brother. The key fits a bust that opens a hidden closet and reveals her brother’s secret life.

Outside the heroes continue their discussion when Johnny Quick begins to smell smoke. They quickly realize that the smoke is coming from Danette’s bedroom and the group rushes in only to find Danette surrounded by flame and wearing a strange costume. Danette passes out leaving Robotman and Johnny Quick to rescue her and put out the flames. After coming around Danette tells them about finding out her brother was the hero known as Firebrand and the sudden emergence of her powers. After that is settled Hawkman says his good-byes as he prepares to search for his fiancé but the Atom quickly volunteers everyone to help in his quest. Danette also agrees to go much to the chagrin of the Shining Knight.

The next day the heroes, in the civilian identities, arrive in Mexico and quickly set about finding Shiera Sanders. After spotting someone wearing his fiancé’s scarf Hawkman and the Shining Knight capture the man and coerce him into leading them to Shiera. The rest of the group is led to a warehouse where they are attacked by Nazi soldiers. The battle is brief but fierce and with the help of the new Firebrand the heroes defeat the Nazis and interrogate General Saukel.

Miles away Hawkman and the Shining Knight are led to an ancient pyramid only to be felled by a hidden electrical net. Soon afterward the two heroes revive only to stare in horror as the Feathered Serpent prepares to sacrifice Shiera Sanders!


-There was a bit of a snafu with this issue’s cover. The black arrow that read “Fire-Brand!” in flaming letters was mostly black, which while direct wasn’t the whole of the art that was supposed to appear on the cover. The original arrow looked a heck of a lot like this:

Apparently there was a flub somewhere between Chemical Colors, who did the color separations on the issue, and the public with the words “Introducing” and “The Hottest New Heroine of All” getting left off.

-Sadly there was no Hostess Ad this month.

-The first scene in this issue retold events from All-Star Comics #11 (June-July 1942) where the members of the Justice Society resign and joined the armed services.

-The parallels to Roy Thomas’ run on Marvel Comics’ Invaders continued in this issue. In Giant Size Invaders #1 Roy put in President Roosevelt’s “date which will live in infamy” speech, though in the Giant Size Invaders version Roy accidentally wrote “day” instead of “date”, a mistake he rectified here.

-General Saukel talks of a Nazi attack on America’s East Coast with the aid of an experimental aircraft carrier that was thwarted by Green Lantern. This took place in Green Lantern #4 (Summer 1942), which had this awesome cover.

-The Feathered Serpent tells Saukel that he and his followers are not merely quisling-like puppets. The term Quisling comes from Norwegian leader Vidkun Quisling who helped deliver his country to the invading Germans in 1940. Soon after the word Quisling entered the lexicon in reference to someone who betrays his own people to an enemy.

The Feathered Serpent also mentions Hitler’s quest for the Ark of the Covenant (as well as the Spear of Destiny). The Ark comment is a tip of the fedora to the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark which featured some guy named Harrison Ford playing an archeologist named Indiana Jones.

-In the “Changed for Decency Department” the original art for page sixteen of this issue had a tastefully shadowed but nude Danette Reilly. Well, not exactly nude, but the original art did make it pretty clear that Danette slept sky clad. Colorist Carl Gafford was instructed to add underwear lines on this and another page before it was sent to the Comic’s Code Authority.

-After a message from Roy regarding the well-nigh unanimous positive response to the first issue this installment of All-Star Comments printed letters from the following readers:

Mike Gallagher of Memphis, Tennessee found the first issue thrilling and requested that the team have the most flexible membership ever seen.

Shepard Siegel of New York, New York realized halfway through the issue that the title of that issue was also the title of a song and asked if “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire” really played through the attack on Pearl Harbor. Roy responded that it didn’t play during the attack but got a good deal of play that night at the Pearl Harbor PX.

Steven Utley of Austin, Texas was a bit put off by the submersible aircraft carrier but was pleased by the first issue adding that Roy was one of the few comic writers that could actually write. Roy responded that he was happy to hear from a professional science fiction writer and that there were rumors at the time of a Japanese submersible carrier which could have been used to launch the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The late Jerry Bails of St. Clair Shores, Missouri wrote in to compliment the creative team on the book despite the demotion of some of his favorites like Dr. Fate, Green Lantern and the Spectre. Roy responded to this letter as well, which makes sense since the two were friends. If you weren’t aware Jerry Bails is one of if not the founding father of comic book fandom and someone who I admired and respected.

Finally Andrew MacLaney of Lansing, Missouri was very fond of Rich Buckler and Jerry Ordway’s art, which is in contrast to his feelings to Joe Staton’s work in All-Star Comics. Roy took this as an opportunity to sadly announce that this issue was Rich Buckler’s last for more contemporary pastures and that beginning next issue Adrian Gonzales would take over the penciling chores.

-Roy’s Addendum to this issue’s letters page was as follows:

Now, a few fast notes on your welcome responses to the questions we asked in #1.

1.) Nearly every DC and Quality hero we ever heard of was asked for, by at least one letter-writer—and if you and we and ALL-STAR SQUADRON stick around long enough, you’ll all get your wishes.

2.) Most readers want relatively few new heroes, unless they are minority characters or non Americans…which is what we had in mind ourselves, luckily for us!

3.) Readers seem equally divided on whether villains should be Axis-oriented or not, so we’ll keep mixing them up for the nonce.

4.) Most readers want to see more women in the group—and the introduction of Hawkgirl and Firebrand in this issue should show where we stand on that one! Keep writing, huh?

One last point: Though Roy and Rich are correctly listed as “co-creators” of the ALL-STAR SQUADRON, they want to acknowledge here what they’ve always felt—that the true inspiration for this mag, and so many others since it, was of course the original Justice Society stories edited by Shelly Mayer and written by Gardner F. Fox in the 1940’s. As far as we’re concerned each and every issue of ALL-STAR SQUADRON is dedicated to these two men—two of the most talented ever to grace the field!

-The back cover to this month’s adventures featured Challenge #8860 of Lego’s Expert Builder Series. On a very personal note I had an aunt that gave me a bunch of these for birthdays and Christmases when I was growing up. I don’t know if I had this one, but they were a ball to play with.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Well Yes, I'll Take Three

Once again I get to be a standard comic book site and talk about references to my subject that are made elsewhere on the Internet. This one comes from Newsarama as part of their coverage of the New York City Con.

And I quote:

"Asked about All Star Squadron trades, Bob Wayne seemed to suggest that, based on audience response, they think they can do some large Showcase collections of the material."

As the subject of this post suggest, yes please. I'll take three.

I would prefer full color, but I'll take what I can get.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Golden-Age Related Books for Comic Week 02-21-2007

Another week, another slate of books released by DC Comics, another post about the books that I think are noteworthy because of their relation to DC's Golden Age characters or DC's characters from the Golden Age depending on how you want to look at it.

Disclaimer: These are the books DC has posted on their site as coming out on February 21, 2007. There is a slight chance that these books might not be at your local comic shop because, let's face it, DC has not been batting a thousand lately with getting their books out on time. This is not meant as a slam against DC, it's just how things have been for the past year or so.

I also claim no responsibility if your local comic shop sells out of the book if you wanted to buy it. Hold/Reserve boxes are your friend.

Atlantis: Sword of Atlantis #49
Birds of Prey #103
Brave and the Bold #1
Catwoman #64
Catwoman: The Replacements TPB
Checkmate #11
Checkmate Vol. 1: A King's Game TPB
Fifty-Two #42
Helmet of Fate: Black Alice #1
Ion #11
Justice Vol. 2 HC
Robin #159
Superman #659
Teen Titans: Titans Around the World TPB
Wonder Woman #4

You may notice that I included Robin and the Teen Titans trade this week, as well as Catwoman and her trade. Well, Robin (or Dick Grayson at any rate but the character Robin) was created in the Golden-Age as was Selina Kyle, so there you go. I may not buy the books but they are worth a mention.

Decent week overall. The new Brave and the Bold premeires and I am glad to see it. Team-up books rule and the fact that George Perez and Mark Waid are involved makes it even better. I may not read as many titles as I used to, but it will be nice to read a book with Batman in it again.

Yes I do read Superman/Batman, but when was the last time we saw that published?

Speaking of books that took their sweet freaking time Wonder Woman and Superman both come out this week as well. I am quite confused by the Superman issue since I thought this was going to be the Krypto issue, but hey at least Superman is coming out. Wonder Woman...well Wonder Woman is probably about to turn around with the new writer coming on, but Wonder Woman has to be DC's biggest flub as far as One Year Later is concerned. The story isn't bad but where has it been?

DC needs to get it's act together and get their books out on time, that's all I'm sayin'.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Update 02-19-2007: New Stuff

Well I'm at three weeks in a row now, which is very satisfying. I actually did four posts this week, five including this one.

First up was issue four of All-Star Squadron, which was an important issue to the series because it explained away why the heroes of Earth-2 didn't lay waste to the Axis forces five seconds after Pearl Harbor. Yeah the Holy Grail and Spear of Destiny might have been a little too convenient as a plot device to keep the heroes in check but it worked.

Next was the first entry in a new feature here at the Perisphere; the All-Star Dossiers. This feature replaces the Who's Who section I originally had and I think it is a marked improvement. I hope to add one each week with the first detailing the origin and early All-Star Squadron history of the Atom, who is my absolute favorite Golden-Age DC (or should I say All-American?) hero.

I also added a "Read Me First" post to catch people who may come to the site later up on how I do things with the dossiers.

Finally I wanted to post the very awesome variant cover to Justice Society of America #3. It's just a neat piece of artwork.

That's it for this week. See y'all on Wednesday for the New Comics Update.

For Anyone That Is Interested

Here's the variant cover to Justice Society of America #3.

Click on the image to see a larger size.

A neat if not bloody cover. The comic shop I keep my hold box at and call "home", Titan Games and Comics, has started pricing their variant covers somewhat reasonably so I picked this up.

Actually I would have probably picked it up anyway because it's the Justice Society. I have two exceptions to the Not Buying The Variant Cover rule; Superman and the Justice Society.

Yeah, I'm a sucker, but I'm a sucker with a neat variant cover so I think I can look at myself in the mirror in the morning.

And I should because my hair can get really funky.

All-Star Dossiers

Back when I originally conceived of this blog/site I knew that I wanted to include a Who's Who section. At that time I was content to simply re-type the original Who's Who: The Definitive Guide to the DC Universe entries in addition to including bits and pieces from a couple of Role Playing Source Books I've managed to acquire over the years. As I got deeper into making this blog my own I grew uncomfortable with doing this. Yeah there's a certain historical significance to the entries, but they weren't mine. So I decided to do something about that feeling of unease.

And thus was born the All-Stars Dossiers.

Yeah, the word dossier is a tad on the pretentious side but given the war-time setting of the book it seemed to fit. While it is going to be a bit of leg work getting all of the information together I think the end result will be more satisfying than simply copying somebody else's work.

So why have I asked you to check this entry out first before digging into the dossiers proper?

Well, as with everything I tend to do I am approaching these entries from a bizarre angle. Considering the fact that the index entries are coming out on a weekly basis it seemed fitting to have the dossiers unfold in a similar style. If the current issue in the index is number 19 then all of the entries will relate the history of the characters up until that time. The first entry is of the Atom and I posted it the same week I posted the index of issue four, so Al Pratt's history goes up to that point. Even though Al eventually married his college sweetheart Mary and developed super-powers and died during Zero Hour the entry has him listed as single, only possessing the abilities of a highly trained boxer and is very much alive. As the weeks and months go by information will be added to reflect the "current" issue.

Another thing; while everything is going to be honky dory in the beginning when the series catches up to the Crisis on Infinite Earths certain entries are going to get a bit...confusing. I do have a plan for this. When it gets to that point I'll simply make annotations regarding what is Pre-Crisis and Earth-2 and what is the "new" history. Again it could be a little disorienting but in the interest of being complete I believe I'll figure a way to do it. Eventually the entries will have what I hope to be some of the most comprehensive data on the Internet regarding these characters, which is saying something because you can find anything on the Internet. It's a challenge, but one I hope to meet.

So sit back, click on an entry (no matter how many are there) and hopefully learn something about these characters that you didn't know. As always if there are any factual errors or any bits of info you think I missed just let me know. I will cop to any mistakes I make and add the information with full credit given to the person who provides it.


Monday, February 19, 2007

Atom I

Real Name: Al Pratt
Occupation: Student, Costumed Adventurer
Marital Status: Single
Known Relatives: None Uncovered
Group Affiliation: Justice Society of America, All-Star Squadron
Base of Operations: Calvin College
First Appearance: All-American Comics #19 (October 1940)
Height: 5’1” Weight: Originally 90 lbs, now 150 lbs.
Eyes: Blue Hair: Red



Nothing of his early years is known but there is one thing that is certain; Al Pratt was short. There was no getting around it. Al was one of the original “90 pound weaklings” who spent most of his early college career getting picked on by some of his larger classmates. He couldn’t even defend his girlfriend Mary when the two are mugged by a seemingly unarmed man, an act that caused Mary to end their relationship.

Soon after Al buys a meal for a derelict and tells the stranger about his feelings of weakness and frustration at the fact that he couldn’t stand up for himself much less the woman he loved. The derelict turned out to be a down on his luck former boxer named Joe Morgan. Something about Al’s story gets to Joe and he offered to train the young man in the hopes of turning him into a professional fighter. The two men travel to Pratt’s family farm and Al begins a strict regime of weight and fight training. Within a year Pratt packed on sixty pounds of muscle and became quite adept at the “sweet science”.

Morgan and Pratt parted ways somewhat bitterly after Al refused Joe’s hopes for a boxing career. Sometime later Al went to visit his ex-girlfriend Mary and arrived just in time to see her being kidnapped. He follows the intruders and after discovering their intention to hold Mary for ransom he breaks in and savagely takes out the supposed kidnappers. Mary was blindfolded and never saw who her rescuer was and when the police arrived after receiving an “anonymous” tip they find the kidnappers tied up and a calling card from someone named “The Atom.”

The Justice Society

Soon after Al designed a distinctive costume and embarked on a crime fighting career while attending college and renewing his relationship with Mary. Later Al was “drafted” by Dr. Fate into joining a group of his fellow heroes to battle Hitler (who had summoned the mythic Valkyries with the Spear of Destiny) and halt a Nazi invasion of England. The fight was taken to the lawn of the White House and despite being the only non-powered hero Al was the one who leaped in front of a blast by one of the Valkyries intended to kill President Franklin D. Roosevelt. When the smoke cleared from that particular battle the Atom joined the other heroes to become a founding member of the Justice Society of America.

As a member of the Justice Society Al fought against the machinations of Nazi spymaster Fritz Klaver and helped smash the rackets of the mysterious Mister X. The Justice Society also raised a million dollars for war orphans before dealing with the madness of Dr. Elba. They even embarked on a mission to Latin America at the behest of the F.B.I. Chief to fight German and Italian spies. Things got even stranger when a simple battle with Fifth Columnists turns into a trip to the year 2442 to help a group of scientists develop a bomb defense formula.

The All-Star Squadron

On December 6, 1941 the Atom, along with fellow heroes Hawkman and Dr. Mid-Nite, visited Washington D.C. and while taking in Lincoln Memorial the group was attacked by a strange creature known as The Monster. The heroes managed to subdue the creature but were startled when the creature turned into an old man and disappeared in a flash of light after uttering the word Degaton. The next day the Atom joined Dr. Mid-Nite at a Redskins game during which Mid-Nite noticed a large number of military officials being paged away from the game. Mid-Nite and Atom investigate and are told about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Atom joined a group of heroes at the White House where President Roosevelt asked them to form a new team answerable only to him to battle against the enemies of the United States. Roosevelt christened the group the All-Star Squadron and wasted no time in giving them their first assignment. The first mission took the Atom and his fellow All-Stars to San Francisco, where they helped calm the population during a supposed Japanese attack. The real threat was Per Degaton, who had traveled from the year 1947 to begin his quest to rule the world. The Atom was among the heroes that stormed Degaton’s undersea craft, but due to the nature of the process that brought Degaton to the past the Atom, and the rest of the All-Star Squadron, could not remember who they had been fighting or why.

Later that day the Atom traveled to Pearl Harbor with the rest of the All-Stars and joined them after they decided to take the battle to the Japanese. Before reaching Wake Island the more powerful heroes of the team came under the influence of the Dragon King’s dynamo powered by the Holy Grail. Green Lantern dropped the Atom and the rest of the unaffected heroes on an occupied island and after Liberty Belle stunned GL with a handy piece of wood the Atom fought against the Japanese forces on the island. After coming around Green Lantern scooped up the Atom and his fellow heroes in an energy construct and followed Hawkman, who feigned being under the effects of the device and lured Green Lantern and the others to safety.

Justice Society Disbands

Soon after Al decided that he could best serve the United States by joining the armed forces. The rest of the Justice Society felt the same way and at their first meeting following the formation of the All-Star Squadron the Justice Society disbanded. Despite this Al, as the Atom, joined Hawkman, Dr. Mid-Nite and several other members of the All-Star Squadron on a trip to the Yucatan Peninsula to search for Hawkman’s fiancé. Once there he and the rest of the All-Stars are caught up in a zealot named the Feather Serpent’s attempt to conquer Mexico. The Atom was there when the Feathered Serpent was revealed to be a Nazi agent and not a native to that Mexico as he had claimed.

Al then entered the service and trained to be a Tank-Corpsman in Virginia. It was while he was there that Al received a summons from the President of the United States. On his way to the White House Private Al Pratt bumped into two men and the hot headed Al had some words for the larger of the two men and their apparent lack of manners. Nothing came of the situation, though what Al didn’t know at the time was that the men he ran into were Baron Blitzkrieg and his associate Zwerg. After changing into his Atom uniform Al met with the President and briefed FDR on the whereabouts of his fellow Justice Society members.

Afterwards FDR leads the Atom into the next room where Al is surprised to see the members of the All-Star Squadron who hadn’t joined the service standing there. The All-Stars are asked to help protect Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who is scheduled to arrive in the United States to meet with the President. The next day the Atom partners with Robotman at the Naval installation at Norfolk and joins his mechanical colleague in rushing on to the Duke of York, the vessel Churchill was traveling on, when an explosions rocks that ship. While the sailors at first think the Atom and Robotman are the enemy and attack the confusion is soon cleared up. After Robotman beaches the U-boat that had attacked the York the Atom suggests to one of the officers that the All-Star should take care of the Nazi sailors that are about to begin pouring out of the sub.

Later that night the Atom is present for the supposed meeting of Roosevelt and Churchill where Baron Blitzkrieg’s plot to replace the Prime Minister with a booby trapped robot double comes to fruition in a massive explosion. The heroes believe that the President had died but are relieved to find out that Plastic Man had impersonating FDR and survived the blast. Along the other All-Stars the Atom attempts to capture the Baron but fails. Two days later the Atom attends the tree lighting ceremony and is moved as he listens to the Prime Ministers speech.

Psychological Profile

Al suffered from what is commonly known as a “Napoleon Complex”. His small stature and history of being picked on by those bigger than him gave him something a chip on his shoulder. Working with a group of men who possessed powers and weapon beyond comprehension didn’t really help matters much and while Pratt could more than hold his own he always felt somewhat inferior to the other members of the Justice Society.

In battle Al was a fierce combatant. The training he received from Joe Morgan was used to a ferocious effect and Al took on the reputation of being a scrapper. This could be used against Al, especially when he would rush into a fight without anything resembling a plan.

Powers and Weapons

Al Pratt was trained by former boxing champ Joe Morgan to the near peak of physical condition. In addition to gaining strength and agility Al became a formidable hand to hand combatant with lightning quick reflexes.

All-Star Squadron #4

Cover Date: December 1981
Cover Price: $0.60
Release Date: September 24, 1981

Story Title: “Day of the Dragon King Chapter One” – 5 pages
“Chapter Two: Aftermath of Infamy!” – 8 pages
“Chapter Three: What Price Vengeance?” – 14 pages

Cover Artist: Rich Buckler and Dick Giordano

Writer: Roy Thomas (Co-Creator)
Penicller: Rich Buckler (Co-Creator)
Inker/Embellisher: Jerry Ordway
Colorist: Carl Gafford
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Len Wein

Heroes: Atom I, Batman (Earth-2), Doctor Fate I, Doctor Mid-Nite I, Flash I, Green Lantern I, Hawkman I, Johnny Quick I, Johnny Thunder and Thunderbolt, Liberty Belle I, Plastic Man (Earth-2), Phantom Lady I, Robin (Earth-2), Robotman I, Sandman I, Shining Knight I, Spectre I, Starman I, Superman (Earth-2), Wonder Woman (Earth-2)

Dragon King, Unnamed Japanese soldiers

Supporting Characters:
Danette Reilly, Firebrand I (as Rod Reilly), Slugger Dunn, Unnamed American soldiers, Unnamed General

Memorable Quote: “We decided we’d arrive together, remember – not as the Justice Society, or as individual heroes and heroines – but as America’s newest bunch of Axis busters – the All-Star Squadron!” - Hawkman


The newly formed All-Star Squadron travel to Pearl Harbor and for the first time the heroes get to compare notes and talk about recent events. Two members are missing; Plastic Man, who had to get back to Washington and report to President Roosevelt and Phantom Lady, who had to find her rather worried father. When the All-Stars reach the Naval base shock and grief nearly overwhelm them as the full extent of the sneak attack becomes clear. The armed forces on the ground begin to fire on the All-Stars mistaking them for the enemy. With the help of Thunderbolt the hostilities end and the All-Stars meet with the military officials in charge. After some debate they decide, at Liberty Belle’s behest, to take the fight to the Japanese. With the exception of the Shining Knight the heroes head off to the Japanese aircraft carriers to the north.

Meanwhile Danette and Sir Justin visit her injured brother. The two run into Slugger Dunn, who leads Danette to her Rod’s bedside. He warns Danette that even though Rod is alive he is in a coma and that the doctors don’t know when he’ll come out of it.

After even more debate the All-Stars decide to head to Wake Island, believing that location is a likely target for Japanese attack. However on a small island between where the All-Stars were and Wake a Japanese base receives a visit from the Dragon King who had been sent by the High Command in anticipation of an attack by Superman and his ilk. With the help of the fabled Holy Grail the Dragon King uses a Dynamo powered by science and magic to magnify his powers and direct it. He activates the machine which sends waves of energy towards the oncoming heroes.

The effects of the energy wave are immediate. Superman, Spectre and Wonder Woman feel a sense of unease and dizziness while Dr. Fate attacks Hawkman and Green Lantern drops Johnny Quick and the other heroes he was carrying down on the island where a squad of Japanese soldiers is waiting. Superman wonders what has happened to them and where the sudden desire to see his comrades die came from. The Spectre theorizes that since he and Superman, along with Wonder Woman, are not human they have more of a resistance adding that they will soon pass under the spell of the strange emanations.

On the ground Liberty Belle uses a handy piece of wood to stun Green Lantern and allow the group to defend themselves. Back in the air Johnny Thunder takes off to attack the American forces at Wake Island with the reluctant Thunderbolt. The Dragon King watches this from his view screen taking pride in his achievement and when one of his men asks how long the heroes will be under their control he replies that the wave’s effects will last from the time they enter the energy zone until the time they leave.

Suddenly Dr. Fate chases Hawkman out of the energy zone and comes out of his murderous funk. Realizing what was going on Hawkman flies back into the zone and tricks the dominated heroes (including Green Lantern whom Hawkman convinces to grab Liberty Belle and the others) into following him to safety. Hawkman’s plan works, but the All-Stars realize that they can’t take the battle to Japan like they had planned to lest they become servants of the Axis.

Not far away the Dragon King escapes in a submarine. One of his subordinates asks why they don’t increase the range of the Grail’s power. The Dragon King calls the underling a fool adding that there are limits to their power, but only for the present. He vows that one day he will take the battle to America’s shores.

At the same time Hawkman muses on how he needs to get to the Yucatan to find Shiera, but not before he has to drop a bombshell on both the Justice Society and the All-Star Squadron.


- During the flight to Pearl Harbor Hawkman mentions the fact that he is worried about his fiancé Shiera Sanders who had been on an archeological dig in the Yucatan. This is a bit of foreshadowing to the next storyline that takes place in issue five and six.

- He also mentions the fact that he knows something about Axis activity in Mexico, which is a reference to All-Star Comics #9 (February-March 1941) where the Justice Society traveled at the behest of the F.B.I. Chief to fight German and Italian spies since the U.S. couldn’t act there officially.

-Johnny Thunder’s Thunderbolt makes his first appearance in the series, not counting the Preview in Justice League of America #193. As an entity subservient to Johnny Thunder he was never an official member of either the All-Star Squadron or the Justice Society, which is really a shame because Johnny would have been pretty useless to both groups without him.

- Libby steps forward and really takes charge in this issue, which may or may not have been a bit of foreshadowing to her time as chairwoman of the group. This particular scene is significant since Libby took on Hawkman, who was the chairman of the Justice Society.

- The Shining Knight notes that Danette is warm to the touch. This was yet another bit of foreshadowing as Danette would fully develop her powers and assume the role of the second Firebrand next issue.

-DC wanted to avoid the use of the word “Japs” despite it being rather common during the Second World War. For the first few issues they used the word “Nips” instead, which is short for Nippon, which is how the Japanese refer to their homeland.

- The Hostess Ad for this month has the Penguin using a parade of penguin puppets to distract people from noticing his theft of the Emperor’s Sword. When he stops to also steal some Hostess Fruit Pies the police nab him and reveal that they put the emperor penguins on parade and the Emperor’s sword together and used the pies as bait to catch him. On one hand it’s nice to see the Gotham City Police Department catch a criminal without the aid of Batman. On the other I wonder who came up with the idea to use the Fruit Pies. “Well you know, guys, the Penguin's fat and fat people like to eat so if we put out some pies he’ll obviously want to eat them. Take that, Dark Knight Detective!” I bet it was Chief O’Hara. He always seemed to have it in for fat people.

- Another bit of oddness surrounding this month’s ad is that fact that it was printed on a slicker paper than the rest of the issue, which is a shame because the ads should never have better production values than the story, but then again comics were printed on what amounted to be tissue paper for decades.

-Superman muses on how it had been only three years since he was the only active mystery man. This was a reference to the fact that Superman made his first appearance in the spring of 1938 and how all heroes derived from his debut.

-While mention is made of the near-simultaneous attacks on Wake Island, Guam and the Philippines as well as Pearl Harbor, but no mention is made of the attacks on British colonies in Thailand and Mayala.

- The Dragon King references Hitler’s possession of the Spear of Destiny in relation to Tojo’s acquisition of the Holy Grail. Hitler used the Spear of Destiny in an attempt to invade England, but was stopped by the heroes who would make up the founding members of the Justice Society of America. This story was told in DC Special #29 (September 1977).

- Later the Dragon King mentions Dr. Daka, who was the fictional head of the Imperial Japanese undercover operatives. Dr. Daka was taken from the 1943 Columbia Pictures serial Batman and was played by actor J. Carrol Naish.

-Despite his vow the Dragon King never appeared in another issue of All-Star Squadron.

- The bombshell Hawkman drops on his fellow heroes is his intention to retire from both the JSA and the All-Stars to join the service as revealed next issue.

- This issue sees the first appearance of the letters column dubbed “All-Star Comments”. This issue printed letters from readers of the All-Star Squadron’s preview effort in the pages of Justice League of America #193. Junior D. Kerns of Tooele, Utah both congratulates and thanks those involved for producing the series. Albert F. Feichenbach of Chicago, Illinois was glad that his initial fears about the series were unfounded and asks to see the Earth-2 Aquaman and if the Kryptonite exposure Superman suffered was the characters first. Mike Dennifer, also of Chicago, Illinois appreciated Rich Buckler’s art and puts in a request to see Steel the Indestructible Man, Quicksilver, Ultra Man and the Tarantula as either guest stars or members. Paul Baize of Glen Burnie, Maryland really hated the truncated helmet of Dr. Fate. Dan Coakley of Norwood Massachusetts was left totally confused by the time travel aspects that had not yet been revealed and wondered about the differences between Rod Reilly’s appearance in this title and his origin as revealed in Freedom Fighters #12. Dean K. Rollings of Athabasca, Alberta, Canada caught that the Flash/Wonder Woman/ Green Lantern race was a reference to Comic Cavalcade #1. Finally, Mark Lagasse of Hoosick Falls, New York felt that this was the book he was born to read and wondered how Libby Lawrence could have been on the television in 1941.

For his part Roy Thomas addressed the readers’ concerns thusly:

(1) Dunno about Earth-Two’s Aquaman for now – but this possibly was the Earth-Two Superman’s first encounter with Kryptonite. And no, he doesn’t know what did him in!

(2) Steel, Ultra-Man and the Tarantula are already penciled in for near-future appearances.

(3) The “Harry” in the preview, as revealed in issue #1, was not later Vice President Harry S. Truman, but Harry Hopkins, a friend and advisor to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt from the 1930’s till FDR’s death in 1945. “Harry the Hop” as some called him…a New Dealer who moved into the White House the day after war broke out in Europe.

(4) The “Rod Reilly” introduced in ALL-STAR SQUADRON is, of course, not the one from Earth-X who appeared in FREEDOM FIGHTERS; nor is our Plastic Man the same as any other who has appeared in comics since his original title folded in the mid-50’s. In our view, all 1940’s DC and Quality Comics Group stories occurred on Earth-Two, even though some of these events were duplicated on Earth-One.

(5) Thanks to a few old-time comics buffs for noticing that the Flash-WW-GL race was indeed the cover scene of COMIC CAVALCADE #1, 1943 (with Wildcat a bystander then too). The scene of Superman, Batman and Robin at a USO was likewise from an early WORLD’S FINEST cover. Our theory is that the old-time heroes posed for such pix occasionally to help charity or the war effort…though that doesn’t mean others of those old covers weren’t simply conjured up out of an artist’s fancy!

(6) Don’t blame colorful colorist Carl Gafford for Dr. Mid-Nite’s golden gloves (or for Atom’s red-instead-of-orange lapels). These were conscious decisions made to keep down the number of colors in those characters’ costumes.

(7) As stated in the JLA #193 insert, regular TV broadcasting began in the U.S. in the middle of 1941. So, though few people had sets at that time, Libby Lawrence’s TV news show is, so far as we know, quite possible. Anybody have any better info?

(8) One of the most-objected-to aspects of ALL-STAR SQUADRON so far has been Dr. Fate’s truncated helmet. This is the one he was wearing by 1941, though…so it stays on. (Besides, it’s all a set-up for a later plot, so keep reading.) And Sandman did indeed wear his purple-and-yellow outfit, rather than his gasmask and business suit, by this period, so that’s how we’ll be depicting him.

- The back cover featured an advert for Fast 111’s from MPC. Apparently the success of kids racing the 111’s led to a demand to build the 111. I’ve never been into models so this desire escapes me.