The Society Pages

Today’s post features Justice Society of America 100-Page Super-Spectacular 1, 1975. This is another one-off, Might-Have-Been issue and really from twelve years ago.

Given the popularity of the JLA/JSA summer team-ups and the LOC requests in the early 70s for JSA reprints, a 10o-pager devoted entirely to the All-Stars would have been a welcome and probably profitable enterprise in 1975. It would have had to be a special issue of the Justice League of America however, since All-Star Comics  wasn’t revived until 1976.

I enjoyed this much more than the JLA 1975 facsimile but again, half the stories selected probably wouldn’t have been reprinted in that year.

The collection opens with the revival of the JSA from June 1963.  Vengeance of the Immortal Villain was one of my prized purchases in the comic marts of the early 80s. I had been keen to see Vandal Savage, the eponymous villain, for about a decade but my first glimpse actually came courtesy of a local paper, The East Kilbride News, which carried the Pasko/Tuska World’s Greatest Superheroes newspaper strip in the late 70s.

But, as we’ve seen above, since Flash 137 had already been reprinted in 1972, why not replace it with another Flash-fable:

Unlike other Flash-team-ups, Doctors Fate and Mid-Nite are active  guest stars in this tale. As a bonus, you’d also get one of the less-prominent  members of Flash’s Rogues gallery at a time when appearances by DC’s Silver and Golden Age villains were much sought after.

The Big Super-Hero Hunt is my favourite story in the Super-Spec. It’s the second Brave and Bold  try-out for Starman and Black Canary; I had longed to read it after glimpsing an ad in one of my cousin Jim’s 60s comics in the early Seventies.

It’s unusual, I think,  for introducing Mr. and Mrs. Menace- Sportsmaster and the Huntress- the first married super-villain couple in comics? The story also has a cameo role for Wildcat. Sportsmaster uses some campy gimmicks, including his flying putting green but the pair are formidable opponents.

A third outing for the Girl Gladiator and the Astral Avenger could have revived Shiera Sanders in the Sixties for a team-up with the original Hawkman and Hawkgirl.

Again,  verisimilitude is stretched with the two shorts included in the comic, first seen in 1970 and 1972 respectively.

Finale for a Fiddler, from Flash 201, is a sweet tale in which Jay-Flash, worried about losing his edge as ever, is taken by his wife to Woodstock- or the E-2 version, Stockwood.  (” You’re beautiful people”  trills one Peacenik  “to be at out here at your age!”; doubtless the response I’d get if I went to T in the Park). Jay regains his mojo however when he corrals the Fiddler. This Murphy Anderson 7-pager is beautiful but, again, would have been too recent to reprint.

The Sight Stealers is a Dr. Mid-Nite strip,  possibly pencilled by Carmine Infantino and inked by Sal Amendola . It went unpublished in the Forties but appeared in Adventure Comics when that title carried a mix of  rotating features including  Supergirl, Black Canary, Phantom Stranger, Zatanna, the Enchantress and Dr. McNider.

Born to trouble: Jonny Double also appears within

 Here,the Medical Manhunter defends an echo-flashlight for the blind from some crooks. In one inventive scene, Doc is tied to a runaway penny-farthing. Otherwise, it’s a dull strip but, like the Jay-Flash story, I’d retain it because Mid-Nite, ( like Mr. Terrific and the original Atom) never became a fan-favourite in the Sixties and made only  a few appearances. Whenever I see him in a JSA story, however, I wish it were Batman whom he mimics rather feebly.

The collection ends with The Mystery of the Vanishing Detectives, the JSA’s final adventure in All-Star Comics  from 1951. It features a criminal called The Key who was revamped as a JLA foe in 1965.  In this story, the villain wears a key-hole mask on the symbolic splash page only. It’s a bit of a dull send-off although the quartet of  international detectives are mildly interesting, particularly the one who resembles Charlie Chan.

Perhaps the Johnny Peril back-up from that very issue of All-Star (by the late , great Joe Kubert) would have been a more apt choice, given how popular Just a Story had been.

So, for the present anyway, that’s the last Super-Spec. I have a few “random” 80-page Giants and Nineties facsimiles to review, then we’ll begin a chronological journey through DC’s Tabloids and Marvel’s Treasury Editions throughout a Bronze Age autumn!

Coming soon: The Mystery Men of August

All images are presumed copyright of their respective authors

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