DigestCast #13 – Justice Society

DigestCast is back! Because the Patreon supporters demanded it, Shag and Rob discuss DC SPECIAL BLUE RIBBON DIGEST #3! Featuring two tales starring the Justice Society, and a classic Dr. Fate solo adventure! Plus YOUR Listener Feedback!

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24 responses to “DigestCast #13 – Justice Society

  1. Still listening, but did you guys realize that the two panels introducing Power Girl were edited? PG is missing the cleavage lines on page 16! They show up elsewhere unedited, but not here. Odd!

    Power Girl


    1. Those are cleavage lines? I thought that was a leftover ‘y’ that wasn’t erased after the letterer realized that wasn’t another word balloon…

  2. This is the debut of Earth-Two Richard (Dick) Grayson in that Neal Adams created adult Robin costume. E2 Dick gave it to his E1 counterpart in JLA as Rob mentioned, but I guess E1 Dick realized he had too many licensing deals, so he handed it back after that story, and E2 Dick looked at that gray monstrosity and … well, what woudl you do?

    All-Star #36’s credits are a huge bone of contention to diehard JSA fans like Roy Thomas and the late Jerry Bails. Thomas spent many, MANY pages of his All-Star Companion books trying to figure out who drew what, why Superman and Batman were suddenly dropped into the book for this ONE story, etc. It was indeed the first comic (and even the first COVER) to feature the Trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Heck, other than the World’s Finest covers, (and a brief one panel cameo together in an early JSA tale in All-Star) it was the first COMIC story where Superman and Batman appeared together, despite being frequent partners on Superman’s radio show.

    That Dr. Fate story is da bomb. Nuff said.

    As for Earth-Two Aquaman…I will fully stand behind Rob on this, as we have discussed privately. One day an “Inherit the Wind” like legal battle will result from these arguments.

    Was that an audio glitch at the end, or has Rob REALLY been ingesting too much Transformers? He sounded a bit like Soundwave!!!


  3. This digest was bought off the rack when released as part of my beloved ‘summer comics’, stuffed in my pocket and brought to the beach, read in the back yard, etc. I love this digest … alas … lost in a parental purge.

    I had met Power Girl before somewhere but loved reading this first adventure here. Loved the crazy Brainwave especially when his real form was revealed.

    As for the boob window, at some point in the All Star run, Star Spangled Kid creates a symbol for her, a PG inside the S Shield shape. She yells at him that she doesn’t need some co-opted symbol when she needs her own.

    I really loved the Golden Age story as it was the first time I had seen many of these characters in solo action. Remember, most JSA stuff at this point was in JLA. When was I going to see a purely Dr. Mid Nite story? And this felt like a JLA story with everyone splitting up. I loved it.

    Of course, the real winner is the Fate story. I have gushed previously about it so no need to repeat. But it is so sweet. One of my favorite issues of all time.

    And of course my man the Creeper is shown in the Two Earths piece. Clearly DC wanted to show off its best characters!

  4. Man, you know you don’t do Digest Casts enough when the last one was released in the “before time” – that was about 2 or 3 years ago, right?
    Loved the show as usual, and what a great book to cover! I snapped this one off of the spinner rack, or rather magazine stand, when it came out and thoroughly loved it. I was glad it reprinted both All Star #s 58 and 59, because originally I had bought #58 a few years earlier, but then never got the follow-up, so it was great to finally read the conclusion to the story.
    Generally I’d agree with Shag about the hard-to-read quality of many Golden Age stories, but I have to say, I recall really liking the story included in this digest. In particular, I liked that prologue that you guys sort of glossed over, when Calvin Stymes is camping out with his erstwhile college buddies and tells them the legend of the river – basically like a campfire horror story – and all of the guys speculate about what they would do if they lacked a conscience. It really set the mood.
    As for the other material, yeah, the Dr. Fate story is truly outstanding, by far the best part of the book. I also thought the Earth-2 primer pages drawn by Staton were glorious – of course, I had seen them before when they first appeared in Adventure Comics.

  5. Great show, guys. While I enjoyed your enjoyment of these books, I Don’t think I ever appreciated earth 2 to the extent you guys did. But I’m glad to see you’re finding some joy in some trying times.

  6. Please have more Earth-Two centric episodes. And any chance to bring in Roy Thomas for an All-Star chat would be solid gold!

    Long live the ex-boy-teen wonder! And in the battle of the Kara Zees, make mine PG, as her personality Is larger than life compared to her counterpart. She made boys like the Kid, Firestorm and Andrew Winston follow her around like puppy dogs while Supergirl always seemed to fall for and haplessly follow the loser dudes (except Brainiac Five, who knew historically he didn’t have a shot… so why didn’t he hit on Power Girl when he met her in JLA #147?)

    Roy through Degaton made a meta dig in America vs the Justice Society about the whole black haired spandex version Brain Wave created for him. That and the lack of acknowledgment that there was an Earth-Two Aquaman (as well as forgetting about the Earth-One Doctor Fate – editor’s note: see World’s Finest Comics #201).

  7. Several of us accidentally commented on the gallery post. I blame the distraction of Simonson’s amazing Dr. Fate art (especially the Muppet mouth on Khalis). I can’t use the obvious excuse and blame Power Girl; my wife hears these comments sometimes.

    Rob, I appreciate your effort to avoid calling Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman “The Trinity,” and I like Triumvirate better. My objection isn’t even on heresy lines, like you might expect — well, not heresy alone. It’s also about the inaccuracy. Trinity literally means “three-in-one,” or “tri-unity.” It’s perfectly appropriate for Luornu Durgo. Like a certain deity as understood in (little “o”) orthodox Christianity, Chuck Taine’s wife is three persons in one being. Clark, Bruce, and Diana are not that.

        1. Yep, Mart. I remember hearing or reading Big Three, also. I think Rob would have preferred Big Four, for reasons involving 70% of the Earth’s surface and someone with “finny friends.”

        1. I love Ambush Bug, but he’s the buzzkill of that trio (Get it? Buzzkill?) Seriously, that lineup sounds like the cast of an insect -themed Three’s Company remake.

  8. Thanks for another GREAT episode guys, I LOVED it!

    I’m glad you mentioned that the new All Star JSA collection was available through InStock Trades. I went ahead and ordered it because I’ve always wanted the issues of All-Star with the revival of the JSA – all of the other bonus material (which I already own as single issues) – will just be be icing on the hardcover cake!

    The neat thing about this issue of DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest is that you have a classic look at the JSA and a modern (at the time) version. I also think it’s really cool they they had a solo story in the book. I wish that they would have used this format more often. It’s the same template used for the other JSA digest published 2 years later in Best of DC #21 (although the ‘solo’ story was a team-up of Black Canary and Starman.)

    Although you discussed the last three page story, you didn’t mention that it was actually first published in Adventure Comics #461.
    That was when the JSA was in Adventure following the end of All-Star Comics.
    The story in the digest is actually edited (or changed) a bit. On digest page 97 – story page 3 – in panel 3 the digest copy reads –
    “Thus the two worlds knowingly co-exist: One inhabited by the familiar Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Deadman you have seen in the Justice League”
    but the original says –
    “Thus the two worlds knowingly co-exist: One inhabited by the familiar Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Deadman you have seen IN THESE PAGES” because of course Adventure at that time was a dollar comic featuring all of those heroes.

  9. In addition to being the only JSA story of the Golden Age to feature Superman and Batman in a full adventure, ALL-STAR COMICS #36 also has some behind-the-scenes significance. Back then, DC was made up of two companies – National and All American. Somewhere along the line, they had a falling out. Since All-Star was an All American comic, the National owned heroes were removed from the team (Starman, Sandman, Dr. Fate, Spectre) and the All American owned Flash and Green Lantern were put back on the team. National and All American eventually mended their fences, and I believe officially merged into one company. Superman and Batman guest starring in that issue was a symbol of that unification.

  10. Great job, gentlemen. Thanks for inspiring me to read that Dr. Fate story. You talked about what possible influence it had on later Fate stories, and I’m forced to wonder about the character’s appearance in the second wave of the Super Power Collection. He always seemed like an odd choice to me—an Earth-2 character, not in the JLA, probably only on the DC C-list at the time. (I always assumed it was just because he has such an awesome costume.) Any thoughts?

  11. DigestCast is back! I’ve been waiting for this show since the Patreon poll was put up. Well done on an excellent episode. This show always brings a smile to my face as it brings back great memories of me reading digests any time my parents had to drag me anywhere. Though I never had this particular issue, I always enjoy hearing anything to do with the digests, especially the DC Special Blue Ribbon issues!

    I agree that Robin the Ex-Boy Wonder doesn’t great but if he wanted something more accurate, Robin the Man Wonder doesn’t sound too good either.

    I agree with everyone above that Dr.Fate’s 1st Issue Special is great and it was awesome to see it reprinted here. In fact, after hearing the Fire and Water coverage of the 1st Issue Special (back in the antediluvian age) made me go out and buy that comic! To whom do I send the kick back to?

    Also, I would like to ask why everyone likes Dr.Fate to the extant they do? For me, it’s mostly the costume. To the point Noah Tarnow mentioned above, he doesn’t seem like a main attraction for DC Comics to include in many titles or merchandising. I think I just liked his costume so much from the Super Powers action figure which made me want to hunt down any issues he was in. And the Egyptian mythology from those issues didn’t hurt either!

    I’m looking forward to the next Digest Cast with all those creators Shag mentioned! Keep up the great work!

    1. For me, the appeal of Dr Fate was the whole set-up when I met him – yes, the costume is amazing (it has to be the full face mask?) , but he lived in a tower with no doors. In Salem! With a wife who had a certain sadness to her… happily, years later, Inza herself got to be Dr Fate in the fabulous Bill Loebs series.

  12. Impressive pod cast. Most impressive. The cover is cool. But, yeah Doc looks like he’s pointing and doing the yoda Speech from Empire. Doc,” always looking to the stars the future. Never ware he was or what he was doing.”
    The close up of the JSA is cool. Huh, Wally Wood pulled back a lot. Great inking, but mostly when Wally inks it’s almost like he drew it. Even his stuff over Ditko looks like Wally Wood, but here he held back. Which is cool. The Power Girl boobs getting bigger would be a miner twick for what he would do. The cleavages line cut was weird, but doesn’t really change any thing. Ya know what would be there. Brain Wave was cool. Glad the look went with his son. Sad that the comics made him a villain latter. Kind of missing the point of Brain Wave jr.

    It was a fun enough story.

    On to the reprint. It was a good reprint. But, I’m thinking it was a planed one. Like Roy wanted to do the story told them hid plan and this was reprinted to remind readers of it. So when the contuation happened this would be fresh in the mind of readers. Though this story is pretty cool. And having the heros working independent was kind of cool.

    The Dr. Fate story is cool. To bad it wasn’t an on going ah well.

  13. I’d like to suggest another digest that could be covered in a future episode, if you get hold of a copy: Archie’s Super Hero Comics Digest Magazine #2.


    I remember getting this digest in my childhood, and I remember it so vividly due to a jarring change in tone between stories. There were reprints of Mighty Comics stories from the 1960s, with Jerry Siegel trying too hard to mimic the Marvel Style, then there were a couple of fun “Pureheart the Powerful” and “Superteen” stories with Archie and Betty as super-heroes…and then there was a new Black Hood story with Neal Adams art, where the hero fails and the hostage is brutally murdered. The shift from Archie-style humor to “gritty realism” was a real shock for this young reader. (There was also a cool fantasy story from Wally Wood, as well as stories from Gray Morrow and Al McWilliams, so there’s quite a bit of interesting material…still, the only stories that stuck in my memory were that Black Hood story and Wally Wood’s story.) Hope you can get hold of this and cover it in a future podcast.

  14. Thanks for coming back to us! I don’t have this issue, it sounds tremendous. That Golden Age story would be new to me, I’ve never even read the Infinity Inc sequel (is there really not an II trade?).

    I have the Super-Squad stuff, there was a fun energy to those issues. It seems weird, though, that everyone just took Karen’s word for it, straight away, that she was who she said she was… she might have been the dastardly Brain Wave.

    That cover is rubbish, and the dull logo doesn’t help, but heroes holding up old covers was a bit of a thing with the Silver Age Giants, it’s likely a holdover from that.

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