Sunday, March 18, 2018

Justice Society of America and Miss America



I love the fact that The Spectre was a regular member of the Justice Society of America at one point.  He's become so over-powerful that I don't think we will ever see him in a team setting again (Well, except maybe for The Damned).  John Ostrander's Spectre series in the 90's touched upon this era a couple of times, and it was interesting to read the flashbacks featuring the other JSA'ers reactions to working alongside Jim Corrigan.

19 comments:

Cathy and Dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cathy and Dave said...

Dave sez,
Great cover!
I would argue that The Spectre and Dr. Fate are the two most powerful JSA members. But then the JSA was made up of incredibly powerful individuals that really didn't need a team...

Cary Comic said...

As I understand it, the JSA was initially formed as a way for National Periodical Publications (the direct forerunner of DC) to give their miscellaneous superheroes a comic book that they didn't already appear in, individually. But, as the popularity of the JSA increased, so did the demand for individual titles for the various members.

The only exceptions to this general rule were--quite ironically--the superheroes appearing in Quality and Fawcett Comics...who were then-competitors! Hence, the absence of a third Golden Age superheroine (behind Wonder Woman and Black Canary) in the JSA.

Speaking of which; one has to wonder if Karkull was mistaking Madelyn Franks for Joan Dale. The latter, having somehow acquired the power of molecular transmutation (either as a side-effect of some Miraclo derivative or Hera disguised as the Statue of Liberty), might become a target for the former. Especially, if Karkull was obsessed with regaining solid humanoid form!

Wolfhammer said...

Awesome cover! A perfect Golden Age crossover. Yes, having characters like The SPECTRE fighting alongside fellow JSA members like WILDCAT would seem hard to fathom, but the writers always seemed to make it work well.

ELS said...

ITEM: Wildcat appeared in two issues of All-Star Comics as a guest... much as Mr. Terrific did. It was due to a dispute...

ITEM: All-Star Comics was the middle ground for the two companies under Detective Comics banner... National Comics and All American Comics. On the National side, you had Superman, Batman and Robin, the Spectre, Dr. Fate, Johnny Quick, the Sandman, Superboy, Aquaman etc. On the All American side were the Flash, Wonder Woman, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Green Lantern, the Atom, Dr. Mid-Nite, Johnny Thunder, Black Canary, Wildcat, etc. National had its anthology title - World's Finest Comics. All American had its anthology title - Comics Cavalcade. All-Star was the brilliant idea to A) have a super hero team, and B) combine the National and All American heroes.

Which didn't always work as well as desired... for example, the span of months when the company had a schism, and basically became two companies - National and All American were on the outs. It didn't much matter... except for All-Star. NONE of the National characters were in All-Star for those couple of issues... instead, Mr. Terrific and Wildcat appeared, from All American's Sensation Comics. They were never full fledged members of the JSA in the Golden Age.

ITEM: Ross, this is a BEAUTY of a match up. And, as the esteemed Cary Comic noted, part two of this with Miss America and Miss America would be splendid... maybe with Mr. America and Captain America as prisoners or some such. Great cover, great thought provoking comments. YUM!!!

Jay Johnson said...

@Cary: Actually, it was a bit more complicated than that. NPP owned All-American & Flash & Sensation Comics and had just merged with the original Detective Comics, which owned Detective & Action & Adventure (along with the brand-new concept of a book with only one hero: Superman or Batman).

All-Star was started to introduce the anthology heroes of each company to the audiences of the other company, with the hope that an Action Comics reader would pick up an issue of Flash and vice versa. If a hero got popular enough to get a solo book (Flash and GL) they became "honorary" JSA members (as Superman and Batman were). If a hero stunk enough to lose his own strip in an anthology, he also disappeared from the JSA (Dr. Fate, Sandman, etc.) The first few issues of All-Star were actually stories of the individual heroes by their normal creators, with just a "sit around the table and tell stories" framing sequence. The concept grew to each hero (still individually) fighting part of a menace with maybe a group finale, to small group chapters as the page count shrunk during the war to full-blown group stories.

After the war, it was mostly full-group adventures, which was when Black Canary showed up. Note that the stories with Black Canary with the JSA during the war and Spectre & Wildcat on the team at the same time before the first JLA-JSA team-up are all Silver or Bronze Age retcons.

Jay Johnson said...

@ELS: You said it better than I did!

Sonofjack said...

Thanks for the information Jay Johnson and ELS.

Glenn Host said...

Only one of the Miss Americas has ever appeared in this blog I believe; I do not believe Joan Dale has ever done so.

Anonymous said...

@JJ: Cary's explanation might've been a tad oversimplified. But, it was by no means less accurate. Furthermore, he didn't specify WWII for Black Canary. He used the collective term "Golden Age," which covers _everything_ from ACTION COMICS v. 1/#1 to the final original JSA story circa February 1951.

Cary Comic said...

I appreciate the effort, Anon. But, when they're right, they're right.

Jay Johnson said...

@Anon: I wasn't really disagreeing with Cary, just trying to make the point that All-Star was more of a company-crossover book at the beginning. And the point I was (badly) trying to make was that Canary was a late-Golden Age addition to the JSA -- DC/NPP basically didn't have ANY female heroes other than Wonder Woman during the War. Phantom Lady and Miss America were Quality comics, Mary Marvel and Bulletgirl were Fawcett, etc, as Cary pointed out.

And there have been a couple of relatively recent stories that have had Canary helping out with the JSA at USO canteens, etc., that just rub me the wrong way. The post-war JSA were (as most comics were) a different beast than before and during the war.

Bob Greenwade said...

All of the above aside...

Speaking of The Damned, I find it a tad surprising that neither of their appearances here included Spawn. Maybe it's deliberate and for good reason, but if not it may be good to rectify that.

(Not that I'm a Spawn fan at all. I read a couple of issues, and... well, frankly, blech. But he does seem an appropriate character for that group.)

Ross said...

It's that damned cape of his. Very hard to find images of his that I can integrate with others.

Glenn Host said...

Maybe use his head in some crystal ball?

Anonymous said...

@Bob Greenwade: I have to agree with you. Todd McFarlane did such a rotten job on the first generation issues of SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN that I didn't even _attempt_ to buy any issues of SPAWN!

kevrob said...

The National-DC side was Major Wheeler-Nicholson's National Allied partnered with Harry Donenfeld in Detective Comics, Inc. Donenfeld's partner, Jack Liebowitz, was Max Gaines partner in All-American Comics. All-Star was an AA title, with, originally, half the strips supplied from the DC stable "by special arrangement." Donenfeld bought ought Gaines after the war, and National-DC absorbed AA. D&L had earlier forced the Major into bankruptcy and pensioned him off. Gaines kept the "Picture Stories...." titles [Picture Stories From The Bible, etc] and went into business as "Educational Comics" - EC. His son, Bill, started the branch called "Entertaining Comics." Hence, we got the EC horror and SF comics, and MAD. The AA-badged comics, including the ALL-STARS without any DC second-stringers, start with the Feb `45 releases, like SENSATION #38, but by the December cover date (#48) the DC slug is back on the cover, signalling the buy-out was complete.

Oddly, except for issue #3, where the Atom and Johnny Thunder are benched in favor of honorary members Superman and Batman, the DC editors didn't reverse the expulsion of the likes of Starman and the Spectre that was effected during the DC-AA split.

Cary Comic said...

Even I didn't know all that. Thanks, Kevrob! :-)

Michael Jones said...

Not only do we get great covers in Super-Team Family, we get terrific commentary by its creator and fascinating insight into comics past and present.

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