Justice Society Presents: All-Star Comics #27

JUSTICE SOCIETY PRESENTS: ALL-STAR COMICS #27

Shag and Rob discuss the 1945 tale, "A Place in the World" by Gardner Fox, Joe Kubert, Paul Reinman, and more, from ALL-STAR COMICS #27!

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21 responses to “Justice Society Presents: All-Star Comics #27

  1. Just listened to the episode this morning. Between that and the video of Shagg cutting a rug at the Father/Daughter Dance he took his daughter to last night, I believe I have all the irredeemable content I can stand of the week. Haha!

    As for this episode, a “very special” issue like this has the potential of going really wrong or, at the very least, not aging very well. Fortunately, it sounds like the well-intentioned sentiment behind the story comes through despite the outdated language and viewpoints.

    Since Shagg brought up Oracle in In-Stock Trade recommendation, I will echo is praise for the Birds of Prey book and would implore you, Rob, to check it out at pretty much any point in the series. It was one of my favorite books in the late 90s and was a consistently great read.

    Thanks for another great episode about the JSA, guys!

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    1. I almost forgot! Rob, Fade Out is one of the best shows on this network. Anyone who questions it being here on the FW Network needs a patented Alan Scott *CONTACT* punch.

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      1. Concur with Steve that Fade Out is great and people should listen, especially to the Wyler episode that just dropped. Also Birds of Prey. I remember Dixon and Simone both did great work.

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  2. Okay, lots of thoughts on this one. Thank you for doing it. It’s also a reminder that I never commented on your FW Presents podcasts for War Comics month in November. I loved it, but didn’t make time to write the Diabolu Frank-length comment it warranted. I may still.

    For me, this comic really hammers home that Dr. Wertham was one-eighty out on whether comics had a net positive or negative effect. I had no idea that this existed, and I’m touched and pleased that it does. I agree that the writers were probably involving kids with disabilities instead of service members to make them more relatable. I doubt the timing had anything to do with it, though. By fall of ’45, many service members with debilitating injuries would have already returned home. I have an additional, alternate theory that might not hold water.

    People tend to have a great deal of sympathy for veterans with disabilities, I think even more than they do other people with disabilities. That may be because the injuries are usually a result of service to others, but I think identification with the individual may also be a factor. A disabled veteran was clearly once able-bodied, and then something happened to them. That’s a subconscious reminder to those without disabilities that it could happen to them, too. I know for me, there’s a thin layer of survivor guilt in there, also (“Why him and not me?”). Anyway, I think starting with a soldier and his brother and then including other kids may have been a way to exploit existing sympathy for returning veterans, who were considered heroes, and connect it to others with disabilities. If you appreciate and respect the one group, why not the other? They’re no more at fault for their disabilities, no less human, and no more removed from you, really. That’s certainly the connection the soldier who kicked off the story makes.

    And even if extending the respect disabled veterans already received wasn’t intentional, I hope it was one of the effects. There should be enough respect for others to go around.

    I think Dr. Mid-Nite may have withheld his secret from Hal out of sensitivity. Charles McNider is severely visually impaired, but his impairment does not have nearly the effect on his life that Hal’s blindness has on Hal. In my head canon, he wanted to avoid any comparison or false equivalency.

    Shagg, I think the phrase you were looking for to describe people who work with people who stutter is “speech language pathologist.” It’s a broad field, working with everyone from stroke victims who have trouble talking or swallowing food, to neuro-atypical people who can’t hold conversations well, to kids who are behind on learning how to make the “r” sound. They’ve done a lot for service members with traumatic brain injuries, too. I appreciate your calling attention to their work.

    I love the mystery writer angle in the Flash story — that he’s unwittingly planning crimes. I have read descriptions of criminal tactics by Dashiell Hammett and Richard Stark that were detailed enough to serve as “how-to” manuals. And as a planner, I’ve helped plan some ops that never came to fruition — but would’ve worked, darn it! (I mean, I’m pretty sure…)

    That’s enough until I remember something else, or someone else’s comment causes a neuron to fire. Thanks for bringing this comic and the JLA version to my attention and for doing such an excellent review.

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      1. Mart, we use “speech therapist,” too, but it’s a more general term, like physicians, physician’s assistants, and nurse practitioners are all “health care providers.” If I remember correctly, Shagg used “speech therapist” but didn’t seem satisfied, so I tried to give him another term.

        I hope Miss Somerville was able to help your brother. I went on about this because my family also has reason to celebrate this field of endeavor.

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  3. Interesting choice for an issue Rob. Shag I share your apprehension for the Golden Age so I wasn’t sure what to expect when this episode popped up in my feed. Happily, you guys won me over with your discussion.

    I must admit I never quite understood Hawkman’s golden age look. The way you described him talking is dead on what I imagined in my head as well. He’s like an early walkaround character at Disneyland from the neck up. Or maybe a prototype from the Jim Henson workshop. Sorry Rob, I actually much prefer the hood that I guess came later. And all credit where it’s due to him starting the CrossFit trend of looking ripped. I mostly was exposed to these characters in the JSA series of the early 2000’s so I have a preference for that take of Doctor Mid-Nite. I’m sure McNider could be just as interesting as Cross with the correct writer but Cross has the leg up in costume coloring.
    Wonder Woman going missing made me think of an episode of ST:DS9 where the women and people of color were expected to skip picture day in a time travelish story to a similar time period. Sorry Wonder Woman, this kid with “insert outdated offensive term here” has a hard enough time in life, at least let him talk to a man’s man, like Johnny Thunder. All joking and criticism aside it was a nice story with good intentions and I look forward to checking out your reading recommendations one day, I do appreciate the thought put into each pick.

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  4. 1 AS a lifelong wheelchair user I liked it
    2. if they did it now there would be at least three pages of arguing over “hanicapied vs disabled”
    3 I HAD forgotten that the one with MY disability is a frustrated writer. Nobody ever stole my stuff though…Marvel’s Agents of Atlas came sorta close though,
    4. HERE IS my stuff http://www.howcomics.com

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  5. Listening now, so I can fill in some blanks with Wildcat’s non-membership.

    Over in Roy Thomas’ wonderfully exhaustive “All-Star Companion” volumes, it is theorized why Wildcat and Mr. Terrific appear as guests in All-Star #24 and then Wildcat reappears, more or less considered a member for one issue in #27.

    At the time, Max Gaines’ All-American Comics (the publisher of All-Star, Flash, All-American, Sensation, Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman, etc.) had a brief falling out with their sister company National Periodical Publications (publisher of Adventure, More Fun, Action, Detective, Batman, Superman, etc.). NPP characters Starman and Spectre were removed from the line-up after issue #23 due to this split. At one time the JSA had been a pretty even mix of NPP and All-American characters, but slowly the shift had been made to more All-American heroes. Wildcat and Mr. Terrific were brought in to replace Spectre and Starman in #23, but for some reasonTerrific was dropped for apparently the next issue produced, but not published, issue #27. To bolster the ranks, Flash and Green Lantern were brought back as permanent members, after having gone to honorary status when they got their own titles. After this story was completed, it was decided GL and Flash were big enough stars to help fill in the ranks, and Wildcat was sent back to the gym. Not long after this, NPP bought out Gaines’ All-American and the rights to all their characters, while Max went off to form EC Comics.

  6. Great episode guys. Love to hear about the actual golden age adventures of the JSA. Wonder Woman’s absence from the majority of the story was explained in Wonder Woman 242 & 243. After the end of WWII Diana’s mission to “man’s world” was technically over, but Wonder Woman wanted to stay. Hippolyta allowed Diana to remain, as long as she returned to Paradise Island whenever summoned. It turns out, this was one of those times. Diana received a note from mommy during the JSA meeting and needed to leave for Paradise Island immediately.

    1. All of this is 100% correct, but I think a clerical error is in play. I do not think the little footnote in the bottom of a panel in WW #243 is meant to say “See All-Star #27,” I think it was supposed to reference a completely different All-Star issue, #23. I’ll explain.

      Sure, it feels weird for Wonder Woman to lack an action chapter in All-Star #27, until one notices that, back then, this was not a rarity in that book — it was the norm. Diana had a full solo piece, same as the dudes, in #11 and #13, but after that, ended up being relegated to the role Shag and Rob talked about. That is, shown among the team in the bookend chapters, noted as “Secretary” in the roll call, but not having a solo chapter. We can rightly disapprove in hindsight, but this treatment of Diana wasn’t unique to #27. If the ’70s creative team on Wonder Woman (Jack Harris writing and Larry Hama editing) wanted to use that two-parter to explain something from a book published 33 years before, I’d think they’d pick an issue that WAS unusual. “Such as,” he asked? Well, All-Star #23 is a book in which Wonder Woman does not appear at all — not even in the bookend sequences. And that WAS unusual for the time. So I suspect that’s what was supposed to be retconned, not #27.

      In the WW #243 panel in question, Diana talks about her having not been “in on the action” and the reply comes from the Spectre, and that (to me) reads as if the adventure she missed out on was one that HE did have a hand in. Spectre wasn’t in All-Star #27, as Shag and Rob recapped. He was in #23, though.

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      1. It would certainly seem that your assessment is accurate. But, while doing further research I found irrefutable evidence! Here is a transcript from a parchment I found while digging through the JSA archives at their brownstone in Gotham City. This has been translated from Ancient Greek.

        “Dear Society of Justice Chairperson.

        Please excuse Diana from her current assignment. While it would be wonderful to help those poor children who have been cursed by the gods, Diana is needed here in Paradise Island. The annual Mother/Daughter bake sale is upon us, and even I Queen of The Amazons must contribute. I can only meet the high demand of my famous double fudge brownies with the aid of my daughter Diana helping me in the kitchen. Last year the sale of those brownies made up 72% of total profits. The temple to Hera has a crack in the foundation that will be quite costly to repair, so we can not afford to lose any income from this years sale. I apologize for any inconvenience my daughter’s absence from Man’s World will have during the next week.
        Sincerely
        Wonder Woman’s Mother”
        And there you have it my friends. Proof positive that not even Vice Principal Woodman can deny

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  7. Great episode fellas. I have been aware of this story for many years, and I love the sentiment of it. It’s interesting that pop culture and art dealt with the injuries of war in a more positive, straight-forward manner after World War II. Many historians believe the rise of horror films came from society trying to come to grips with the disfigured and disabled soldiers that returned from the war.

    I’m kind of surprsied Shag, who admittedly has trouble with Golden Age comics, found Martin Naydel’s work so enjoyable. I hate to say, I do not. I love many, MANY Golden Age artists, and can appreciate the scrappy, somewhat crude, inventing-it-as-they-go-along nature of much of the art in those stories. But Naydel’s just seems…amateurish to me. I don’t mean to be cruel, but his work honestly puts me off JSA and Flash stories from thsi period. I’m not sure why he was chosen above these other artists to illustrate the opening and closing chapters of each issue. The hunched figures, the overuse of the three-quarter shots of the faces…it just doesn’t work for me. Sorry!

    As for Green Lantern not really using his ring, that’s a complaint long lodged against Gardner Fox. Even in the Justice League stories, he often forgot Martian Manhunter had abilities that weren’t direct copies of Superman’s powers. His J’onn J’onzz rarely if ever used his telepathy or invisibility, for instance. So Green Lantern being a scrapper like Wildcat, that’s just par for the course!

    I appreciated the great coverage, and will have to give this one a re-read soon. I like the network synergy Rob cooked up too. We should do that more often!

    Chris

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  8. Impressive podcast most impressive. This is Liz Anne Oswalt. Sorry this reply is late. I got busy this week. As someone who is blind in their left eye I can relate to this comic. Now even though I come from a large military family I myself have never served. I did try to join when I got in the mail a postcard asking me to join a scientific program within the Navy. Which I had received because I had gotten a biology award in high school. As well as making mostly A’s in biology class as well as other science classes. I had even looked into getting a deferment to be able to join in spite of being blind to my left eye. However that was not to be the case because at the time I weighed 190 pounds. May have been 200. And even on 6 foot tall. That didn’t fit what the military deemed for someone to join .

    But, that was a long time ago. So adding that to the Asperger syndrome and other fun disabilities. I can relate well enough to the story. Enough of that time to talk about the story itself. The art is well over time. We can definitely see that Jack Kirby contributed a lot to comics. The best of the bunch is of course Joe’s work. Mr. Kubert. Was deftly ahead of the pack at this time. However his artwork improved a lot after the story as well. And I’m not sure how much he had to change to fit with the printing process of the time. Or if you inked himself. I’m not certain. The doctor bit that costume is fine. If that eyesore that green lantern gets away with. Isn’t called out. They don’t think Dr. Mennonites should be either. At least he has the decency to not dressed like he’s preparing for Christmas. Other than the Joe Kubert story the wildcat story seems to have the best art in this story. Though that’s not saying much.

    The stories themselves are well of their time. Speaking of the duo that changed comic history. You can tell Standley contributed a lot to the writing of comics. They got here. And I realize there is more people involved that just keep Kirby and Stan Lee. Still, looking at the things that came before their team. I do things that came after their team up his night and day. Still the comic puts across a good message that is necessary. So I’m glad it was made. Though it is definitely over time can’t wait to hear the next podcast.

  9. Excellent episode Rob and Shagg! Weirdly I had just read this issue a few months ago as I am doing a read-through of all the All-Star archives and this issue was in the last volume I am up to. I find the Golden Age comics refreshing. Although my favorites are Bronze and 1980s, these stories really give us a time capsule of what the world was like. Although fumbling and uneducated, the sentiments expressed in this issue were sincere and had the heart in the right place. With regard to the GL issue above, I have found that the GA stories often were not sure how to use the ring. This was long before the idea of “constructs” we are used to today, so there are plenty of stories where there is just green flame coming from the ring (although not out of his nose – inside joke for FAM listeners) or he is walking through walks and stuff. Much easier to just punch people out.
    Love the format of this show – never know what we are going to get next!

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  10. Welcome back, and thanks to Rob for the terrific choice of comic. The Best Years of Our Lives is a wonderful film, a powerful tearjerker with an important message.

    I was shocked by the negative nod at Dr Mid-Nite’s costume, I love it, it’s so striking – the goggles, the colour scheme… and the crescent moon buttons are so cute.

    The kid in the Green Lantern story looks so much more realistic than everybody else, I wonder if he was based on some more of that artist Paul Reinman knew.

    Speaking of artists, I still get confused by the fact there was a Martin Naydel and Mart Nodell.

    I was glad to hear Rob praise the Wildcat logo, its random excellence struck me too.

    All in all, a fab discussion of an issue with a lot of heart.

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  11. Who compiles and maintains the JSA’s crime records? How much do you want to bet that’s one of the team secretary’s responsibilities? Do the other members appreciate or even notice all of the time Wonder Woman spends keeping those records up to date? Not likely. I don’t know why women put up with us (men).

    Thanks for another excellent episode. I enjoyed The Best Years of Our Lives tie-in.

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