Balladeer’s Blog’s examination of the Justice Society’s World War Two-era stories continues. FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE
This blog post will cover the only “lost” Justice Society of America story to have definitive artwork and story elements recovered. It’s all in fragments since the story went unpublished so I’ll go with what is known and add my usual revisions for modern audiences.
Possible Publication Month: I’ve read anywhere from July to September 1945 so it may or may not have referred to World War Two still raging.
Title: THE WILL OF WILLIAM WILSON
Heroes: FLASH (Original), GREEN LANTERN (Original), HAWKMAN (Original), DOCTOR MIDNITE, THE ATOM (Original), JOHNNY THUNDER
Villains: PSYCHO-PIRATE AND ASSORTED THUGS
Synopsis: Well the Spoiler comes right up-front since this story was apparently long known as “the lost Psycho-Pirate story.” In the original plan the fact that the Psycho-Pirate (Charles Halstead) was really the man behind the tale’s villainy was to be a surprise.
Just like when they used their superpowers to raise money for war orphans several issues ago, the Justice Society was drawn into this adventure for the sake of charity. The will of recently deceased eccentric millionaire William Wilson stated that all of his fortune would go to charities if the Justice Society of America could accomplish the seemingly impossible by securing some designated relics from around the world.
The only relics known for sure from the surviving fragments of artwork and writing were the sword of Genghis Khan, some kind of gem from an Arabian nation and a lost Cellini Cup. Speculation (from Golden Age Comics historians) about the other items include: the egg of a roc, the autograph of reclusive millionaire Abner Knapp and a moon rock shaped like green cheese.
The JSA succeeded in collecting all of the items, whatever they really were, and defeated armed thugs trying to kill them during and after their Scavenger Hunt. It then turned out the Psycho-Pirate was behind it all because he wanted revenge on our heroes for defeating him and sending him to prison the last time they clashed.
To that end he established the false identity of William Wilson as well as Alfred Fiddle, the man set to inherit William Wilson’s millions if the JSA failed to collect all the necessary relics. It’s your typically stupid Golden Age villain plan.
The surviving artwork and dialogue shows the tale ended with the Psycho-Pirate back in prison contemplating his next run-in with the Justice Society.
How I Would Revise It:
A. My revised hero lineup would rotate in Mister Terrific as this issue’s replacement for the annoying Johnny “Jar Jar” Thunder and, as always, I would use Hawkgirl instead of Hawkman. AND I would have Wonder Woman take part in the mission instead of serving as the JSA’s secretary like in the original World War Two-era stories. Since this is a lost story anyway I’d also use Wildcat to give him some more Golden Age JSA action.
B. I would have William Wilson be a REAL tycoon who died recently and whose will had the stipulation about the Justice Society having to gather up the relics for his money to go to charity. Otherwise it would go to Alfred Fiddle, who could be depicted as a pawn of the Psycho-Pirate’s emotion-manipulation powers.
C. As in the previous Psycho-Pirate story I would have the villain already be using his mystic Psychodrama Masks to give him maximum power.
D. I would write it so that the heroes split up into smaller groups to obtain the relics: Atom and Dr Midnite to get the Arabian gem, Wonder Woman and Mister Terrific to get the moon rock, Flash and Hawkgirl to get the sword of Genghis Khan plus Green Lantern and Wildcat to get the Cellini Cup. (I reject the autograph from the reclusive millionaire as too trivial and the roc egg as too repetitious given the Arabian gem already in the tale.)
E. Mr Terrific could use his genius to calculate where each of the relics are located and accompany Wonder Woman to the moon, wearing breathing equipment he invented. They could encounter Indiana Jones-style traps set to protect the moon rock left by a long-dead civilization on the moon. Atom & Dr Midnite would fight Golden Age Arab stereotypes, Flash & Hawkgirl would fight rival relic hunters in the Gobi Desert. Green Lantern would fight a giant squid to get the Cellini Cup from a sunken ship like in the real story while Wildcat outfights the seaborne thugs on the surface ship who were also looking for the cup.
F. Psycho-Pirate would use his emotion-manipulating powers to cause innocent bystanders to interfere with the JSA every step of the way and even to cause the heroes to fight among themselves, Treasure of the Sierra Madre style after they recover the relics.
G. If you absolutely MUST have the Abner Knapp autograph as part of the story I would write it so that Knapp is being impersonated by the Psycho-Pirate. This would be his ace-in-the-hole to ensure the JSA fail to collect ALL the items mentioned in William Wilson’s will. Posing as Knapp he could simply refuse to give them an autograph. I’d make it known from the start that failure to get ALL the items means that the relics that WERE rounded up are forfeited and become part of Wilson’s estate to be inherited by Albert Fiddle, Psycho-Pirate’s pawn.
H. Hawkgirl (like Hawkman in the original story) would recognize Psycho-Pirate as the villain behind it all and our heroes would defeat him again and send him back to jail, while charity would get William Wilson’s fortune and presumably museums would get the relics.
I WILL REVIEW THE NEXT JSA STORY SOON. KEEP CHECKING BACK FOR UPDATES.
FOR MY EXAMINATION OF THE 13-PART BLACK PANTHER STORY TITLED PANTHER’S RAGE CLICK HERE
FOR MY ARTICLE ON THE LIST OF ATLAS/ SEABOARD SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE
FOR MY ARTICLE ON THE MAIN LIST OF CENTAUR COMICS SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE
FOR MY ARTICLE ON THE MEMBERS OF INFINITE HORIZON CLICK HERE
FOR THE AUSTRALIAN SUPERHERO PANTHEON CLICK HERE
FOR MORE SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE: Superheroes
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