Tag Archives: Comic Books

JUSTICE SOCIETY 11: SHANGHAIED INTO SPACE

Hourman 2For this superhero-crazed world it’s the very first superhero team in history: the Justice Society of America. FOR PART ONE CLICK  HERE 

I will review the original issue and then detail how I would “script-doctor” the story for modern audiences.

all star 13ALL STAR COMICS #13 (October 1942)

Title: SHANGHAIED INTO SPACE

Heroes: WONDER WOMAN (Original), STARMAN, THE ATOM (Original), DOCTOR MIDNITE, HAWKMAN (Original), THE SPECTRE, SANDMAN, JOHNNY THUNDER

Villains: NAZI SCIENTIST GRAF GOOTSDEN, ASSORTED HOSTILE ALIENS

Synopsis: Der Fuhrer and the Japanese Emperor are discussing their outrage over the defeats their forces have suffered at the hands of the Justice Society of America. Grasping at straws the Axis leaders okay the plan of Gootsden, a German rocket scientist. (And since this was written in 1942 it’s interesting to note that there was at least pop culture speculation about a German rocket program that early.)

flashGraf Gootsden has Nazi agents gas/ suffocate (the comic book says both at different times) the Justice Society members in their headquarters, then immediately shoot them into space. The spacecraft used to exile the JSA from Earth range from conventional rockets to flying saucer-type vessels, another interesting touch.

The Justice Society members battle hostile aliens and/ or monsters on all the planets of our solar system then manage to make their way back to Earth in Gootsden’s ships. Next they round up his ring of agents in the U.S. 

How I Would Revise It:     Continue reading

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JUSTICE SOCIETY 7: HEMISPHERE DEFENSE

Hourman 3Enjoy some more Christmastime kid-friendly content with this 7th installment featuring the FIRST superhero team in history: DC Comics’ Justice Society of America. FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE   

I will review the original issue and then detail how I would “script-doctor” the story for modern audiences.

All-Star 9ALL-STAR COMICS #9 (February 1942)

Title: HEMISPHERE DEFENSE

Heroes: HAWKMAN (Original), DOCTOR FATE, BATMAN (Original), THE SPECTRE, SUPERMAN (Original), DOCTOR MID-NITE, GREEN LANTERN (Original), SANDMAN, THE ATOM (Original), JOHNNY THUNDER, FLASH (Original), STARMAN 

Villains: THE AXIS POWERS

Synopsis: The Justice Society members are summoned to Washington D.C. for a meeting with the Director of the FBI. With America officially entered into World War Two the Axis Powers are actively trying to strike at the U.S. through Mexico and to add nations in Central and South America to their conquests.

Doctor FateThe Justice Society of America is sent south of the border to deal with the burgeoning menace. Over the next several days they defeat super-scientific weapons like gigantic octopus-shaped aircraft invading Argentina, enormous floating warships as long as the Siegfried Line, and an entire army of Colombian people hypnotized into serving the Nazis.     

The JSA also exposes and crushes Axis intelligence networks in Mexico, Chile, Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia. When the battles are all over the U.S. government flies the heroes’ girlfriends and wives to Panama to party with them and celebrate their victory.

How I Would Revise It: Continue reading

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JUSTICE SOCIETY 6: TWO NEW MEMBERS

Hourman 3Time for more Christmastime kid-friendliness with the 6th installment of the FIRST superhero team in history: DC Comics’ Justice Society of America. FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE   

I will review the original issue and then detail how I would “script-doctor” the story for modern audiences. 

All-Star 8ALL-STAR COMICS #8 (December 1941)

Title: TWO NEW MEMBERS WIN THEIR SPURS

Heroes: DOCTOR MID-NITE, STARMAN, THE ATOM (Original), THE SPECTRE, DOCTOR FATE, HAWKMAN (Original), SANDMAN, JOHNNY THUNDER

Note: First appearance of Wonder Woman, but in her own separate story.  

Villains: DOCTOR ELBA, THE LIGHTNING MAKERS

Synopsis: Starman is being welcomed to the Justice Society of America when suddenly another superhero, Dr Mid-Nite, arrives unexpectedly with his new chemical concoction – Solution K. This solution will restore the sanity of assorted witnesses to heinous crimes, witnesses driven mad by drugs devised by a mysterious villain called Dr Elba.

StarmanThe men responsible for those crimes were not prosecuted because of the sudden wave of madness afflicting witnesses set to testify. Armed with Dr Mid-Nite’s Solution K the Justice Society and Dr Mid-Nite revisit the crazed and institutionalized witnesses.

Doctor Mid-NiteThose witnesses are injected with Solution K, which restores their sanity. The JSA once again rounds up the criminals who escaped prosecution, like blackmailers, jewel thieves, racketeers, political saboteurs and thugs armed with radio-controlled lightning.

Dr Mid-Nite exposes Dr Elba as a psychiatrist who runs an insane asylum where he used inmates as guinea pigs to perfect his insanity-inducing drug. Dr Elba falls to his death fighting Mid-Nite. Dr Mid-Nite joins Starman as the newest Justice Society members.  

How I Would Revise It:  Continue reading

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JUSTICE SOCIETY 5: WAR ORPHANS

More Christmas Season kid-friendliness from the Golden Age with the 5th installment of the very FIRST superhero team in history: DC’s Justice Society of America. FOR PART ONE CLICK HERE

I will review the original issue and then detail how I would “script-doctor” the story for modern audiences.

All-Star 7ALL-STAR COMICS #7 (October 1941)

Title: THE JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA RAISES A MILLION DOLLARS FOR WAR ORPHANS 

Heroes: BATMAN (Original), SPECTRE, SUPERMAN (Original), HOURMAN, GREEN LANTERN (Original), DOCTOR FATE, FLASH (Original), SANDMAN, HAWKMAN (Original), JOHNNY THUNDER, ATOM (Original)

Villains: THE GENERALISSIMO, HOTFIST AND ASSORTED GANGSTERS

SandmanSynopsis: Justice Society Chairman Green Lantern mentions the plight of war orphans in Europe and recommends that the JSA members combine their crime-fighting activities with fund-raising for those orphans.

The heroes spend the next several days collecting bounties on wanted criminals, selling exclusive rights to a newspaper to cover their war on a particular gang of mobsters and trying to recover a priceless Aztec treasure before it falls into the hands of a corrupt Mexican General and his troops.

In the end the JSA raises ONE … MILLION … DOLLARS … for orphans in war-torn Europe.  

How I Would Revise It:  Continue reading

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JUSTICE SOCIETY: FIRST STORY

Mascot sword and pistolWe live in a superhero-crazed world right now. Here at Balladeer’s Blog I’m always glad to oblige readers’ requests to throw in superhero-related posts because I have a soft spot for the subject since superhero comic books were a gateway to two of my adult passions: mythology and opera.

DC fans have complained that I pay too much attention to Marvel Comics and other comic book companies, so here is the first of my looks at DC’s biggest claim to fame – the VERY FIRST SUPERHERO TEAM EVER. Long before the Justice League came the Justice Society in 1940.

I will review the original issue AND detail how I would “script-doctor” the story for modern audiences.

All Star 3ALL-STAR COMICS #3 (December 1940)

Title: THE FIRST MEETING OF THE JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA

Heroes: FLASH (Original), RED TORNADO (Original female version), SPECTRE, SANDMAN, GREEN LANTERN (Original), HOURMAN, DOCTOR FATE, HAWKMAN (Original), ATOM (Original), JOHNNY THUNDER    

Synopsis: At this very first meeting of any superteam in comic book history, the members make general introductions and each relate one of their adventures via flashback. The Red Tornado stops by for a visit.

While the meeting is going on, FBI Chief J Edgar Hoover invites the entire team to a Top Secret meeting the following Tuesday and the Justice Society of America accepts. 

How I Would Revise It: Continue reading

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BLACK SATAN: ANOTHER CHESLER SUPERHERO

Balladeer’s Blog’s recent look at the superhero pantheon of Harry A Chesler Publishing was pretty popular. To meet demand here is another Chesler superhero. I went ahead and added him to the main list, too. For many more Chesler heroes click HERE 

BBlack SatanLACK SATAN

Secret Identity: Howard Flynn, District Attorney

Origin: Like many in law enforcement Howard Flynn wearied of seeing powerful gangsters going unpunished. 

He adopted the costumed identity of Black Satan and went after those criminals that the law couldn’t touch.

First Appearance: Yankee Comics #1 (September 1941).

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SUPERHERO PANTHEON OF HARRY A CHESLER PUBLISHING

Superhero cosplay for Halloween has begun threatening to overtake horror themes in recent years. In recognition of that, Balladeer’s Blog has been including a look at a different superhero pantheon during each October’s Halloween celebration. This year it’s the superheroes from Harry A Chesler ‘s publishing company. 

Alias the Dragon 1THE DRAGON

Secret Identity: Bill Norton, Police Scientist

Origin: Tired of being relegated to the scientific end of crime solving, Police Scientist Bill Norton decides to seek out some action. He devises a flame-thrower pistol for himself plus a costume and starts fighting crime as the Dragon in his series titled Alias the Dragon.

First Appearance: Skyrocket Comics #1 (March 1944).

Powers: The Dragon had the strength and agility of a very athletic man. He wielded a pistol which could shoot fire like a flame-thrower and the dragon-scale cape of his costume was bullet-proof. In addition this hero was a first-rate scientist in criminology.

Comment: The Dragon was one of those Golden Age superheroes who didn’t care if he killed the criminals he fought. As Bill Norton our hero serves under Captain Donovan, no first name given. This character’s willingness to kill and his flame-thrower gimmick can’t help but remind a Bad Movie Fan like me of Robert Ginty’s two-movie character the Executioner.

Yankee GirlYANKEE GIRL

Secret Identity: Lauren Mason, wealthy socialite 

Origin: Lauren Mason’s family line included practioners of the mystic arts, but the only spell-casting Lauren herself ever employed was a magic conjuration employing the words “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” (I guess her delivery made all the difference.) Chanting those three words transformed her, Shazam-style, into the super-powered Yankee Girl. 

First Appearance: Either Red Seal Comics #17 (July 1946) or Dynamic Comics #23 (November 1947). There is still some dispute. 

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