World’s Foulest

DC comics New 52 universe- some might call it an unlovely and violent revival of the worst of comicdom’s Nineties excesses- is in the midst of its first crossover event. “Forever Evil” focuses on the super-villains of the New 52 . The concept reminds me of one of my favourite bi-monthly titles of the early Bronze Age: Wanted, the World’s Most dangerous Villains.

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Having gravitated to DC’s colour output as Marvel UK annexed the House of Ideas monthlies in the early 70s, I was very interested in the colourful and quirky villains of the Golden and Silver Ages.This was, after all, the era of the Fourth World and Relevance. I was particularly interested in the wartime rogues of Earth-2.

Wanted ceased publication with issue 9 but back in 2012, I speculated on the contents of a brace of further issues on my blog, Some Fantastic Place ( currently on hiatus due to ongoing IT issues, but see http://somefantasticplace-dougie.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/dreams-of-evil-doers.html ). To my surprise, I have learned I wasn’t alone in dreaming up issues of Wanted  (see http://marvelmasterworksfansite.yuku.com/topic/20325/Wanted-The-Worlds-Most-Dangerous-Villains).

So, let’s play the game again and meet more of that Legion of Doom!

Wanted 10: something I wanted to redress was the  absence of DC’s superheroines from the series. Blue Lama (a slinky villainess from Sargon the Sorceror’s strip) and the Golden Age Hawkgirl had both appeared. However, the main players on the distaff side hadn’t.

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For issue 10, I followed a lettercol suggestion made to editor Bridwell and chose an early duel between Wonder Woman and the Cheetah, “The Secret Submarine”. The Silver Age tale was more challenging: I knew I wanted Supergirl but her clashes with Lesla-Lar and Black Flame had previously been reprinted. I had also hoped for a Legion of Super-Heroes tale but many of their best villains featured in two-parters. Then I hit upon Jimmy Olsen 63. “The League of Fantastic Supermen” actually features Kara and the adult Legion of Super-Villains, being the debut of Sun Emperor and Chameleon Chief. I would’ve loved to have seen them some six or seven years early.

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 Wanted 11: another oversight, in my opinion was the absence of Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash. Since the Rose and Thorn back-up was running in Lois Lane at the time, I thought it would be fun to reprint the debut of the original villainess.

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This issue would have the theme of transformation and also of thunderbolts: I felt the Marvel Family deserved more reprints and this issue suited Sabbac, a demonic foe of Captain Marvel Jr.

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Wanted 12: the first anniversary issue stars the Golden and Silver Age Green Lanterns. The Silver Age GL’s Ruritanian foe, Sonar with his sound-weapon would make a nice contrast with Knodar, The Last Criminal on Earth.

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The unlucky Wanted 13 would feature imps and tricksters: “The Cross -Country Chess Crimes” and “Simple Simon met the Hawkman” from Flash 53, 1944- or “The Return of Simple Simon” from issue 65.

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Wanted 14: since the super-heroine issue would be a roaring success in these days of Women’s Lib, my sequel stars Mary Marvel and Batwoman. the former was a hugely popular character and the latter deserved membership in Fox’s JLA from day one. We lead off with Mary Marvel meets Georgia Sivana. The second tale is from the Silver Age and features recent fan-favourite, Catman: a villain I didn’t discover until 1977, when Bob  Rozakis featured him  in the oddball Freedom Fighters . Kathy Kane only has a cameo but I’d have her prominently featured on a Cardy cover.

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Wanted 15: a Batman and Robin issue. Leading off would be “Joker’s Millions” from 1952 and the back-up would be “The Clock Strikes”, a solo Robin strip from Star-Spangled Comics that would be the inspiration for the tv show’s Clock King .

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Wanted 16: the final issue of my imaginary run is an All-Luthor issue. First, “The Scrambled Superman” is a prototype Phantom Zone story. “Luthor and Clark Kent: Cell Mates” from Adventure Comics would be reprinted in a future Superman Family but is an ironic little drama for the Boy of Steel, when Jonathan Kent chooses not to grant Lex parole.  

I was disappointed not to find a suitable spot for Black Jack, Aquaman’s frequent foeman of the Golden Age. As I noted on Place, I would also have loved to have seen the first clash between The Mad Hatter and Batman; the Brainiac-Clayface team-up from WF – or perhaps the Joker/Clayface feud, with a cameo for the original Bat-Girl; the origin of Dr. Psycho and the first battle between the JSA and the Wizard. Which DC villain is your favourite felon?

Coming soon: Flash in the Silver Age and Batman in the Fifties

All images presumed copyright of their respective owners

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