Justice Society Presents – The New Golden Age


In this episode of JUSTICE SOCIETY PRESENTS, Shag and Rob discuss the recently released THE NEW GOLDEN AGE one-shot! We cover the lead feature with lots of JSA-related teases, plus the brand-new Who's Who entries featuring the Golden Age Aquaman, Harlequin’s Son, The Boom, Ladybug, Red Lantern, Quiz Kid, Salem the Witch Girl, and more!

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24 responses to “Justice Society Presents – The New Golden Age

  1. I also realized some of the Who’s Who entries were probably completely made up when I got to Cherry Bomb.

    But for the Harlequin’s Son, I still wondered if it was from an early issue that I had missed. Infinity Inc never made it to the local grocery store where I found new comics. All my copies came from a mail subscription and I had missed the first few.

    His costume is a crazy mashup of so many different characters which probably will have some great story describing each.

    Is he wearing Obsidian’s belt?

    And where did he find Quazar’s Quantum Bands!?

  2. ps Adam watermen makes a hell of a lot more sense than ARTHUR curry
    I agree with rob on AQUAMAN. OR I sorta remember them saying Aquaman WAS Neptune Perkins
    You’re gonna punch me but in my brain anytime aquaman deals with JSA that’s Namor!

  3. Great episode fellas! The Justice Society first appeared in All-Star Comics #3, published November 22, 1940. That’s probably why that day kept recurring throughout the issue.

  4. What a fun episode that mixed the feel of a classic Who’s Who episode and the new JSA show. My favorite part was how committed Shag was to eliminating the idea of the “yellow gloves = golden age Aquaman” argument. After hearing Shag’s argument I felt that Oliver Stone should jump on this and produce a movie called CURRY about how the mob, the CIA, Paul Levitz, and the Cubans all assembled to remove the Golden Age version of Aquaman from continuity.

    This book sounded like a lot of fun. I just picked it up digitally along with the Stargirl book and will be getting to it soon. Like Rob, I haven’t really bought new comics in quite some time, so it’s a bit weird to be doing so again. But I loved how this special sounded so I wanted to experience it for myself.

    And thank you for playing the argument that divivded the Who’s Who listnership for years. It was funny to hear again, especially Rob saying that I knew when to shut up, which is both funny and accurate.

    Now I want to relisten to the Who’s Who podcast from the beginning.

    1. Nice comment re: Oliver Stone. I’ve seldom heard the word “logic” so thoroughly misused as during Shag’s use of the word in the context of his commitment to Golden Age Aquaman’s non-existence.

      I think that both Shag and Rob agree, GA Aquaman didn’t exist *until he did.* The only real point of contention seems to be whether that existence, once established, should be retroactive. I agree with Rob that it should. If GA Batman, GA Superman, and GA Wonder Woman can be said to have “always existed on Earth 2” once it was established that they did, then the same should apply to GA Aquaman, *even though* that establishment was only really solidified “13 minutes before” he and his Earth were eliminated by the Crisis.

      1. “Technically” speaking, GA Batman, Superman, WW, etc, are truly different characters than the Earth-2 versions of each. Reality is, the Earth-2 versions of these characters were created when they were created – and to me, it doesn’t matter if that was in the 60s or the 80s.

        I agree with Mark Waid, and will take it a step further – we *see* an Earth-2 Aquaman (not a fever dream!). And although DC Editorial / Paul Levitz may have said just after that, “there is no Earth-2 Aquaman and he never existed,” that’s never been put *into a story.* But who has been put into a story? That Earth-2 Aquaman.

          1. Indeed, even Shag consistently acknowledged the Golden Age Aquaman. He just puts him on Earth 1, rather than Earth 2. The argument was always “There’s no Earth 2 Aquaman,” not “There’s no GA Aquaman.” My apologies for the inconsistency.

      2. Since DC Comics presented positive evidence for both assertions, neither explanation fits all the evidence. The real argument is about which evidence to dismiss. Shag places greater weight on Levitz’s testimony and the explanations of parallel Earths. These are both out-of-story messages from DC on high. Rob places greater weight on the diegetic evidence. The different origins and Aquaman’s fighting against the Third Reich mean this isn’t the same guy. Shag dismisses those stories from continuity just as he would if Bob Haney had written them. But for Rob, these are seminal Aquaman stories that cannot be ignored.

        In the end, since our head canon is as valid as whatever somebody at DC says, I think we each get to decide for ourselves.

        1. Agreed that we must each decide for ourselves, but you’ve missed an aspect of Rob’s reasoning that I think is particularly important. Roy Thomas is an authority (arguably THE authority) on Earth-2, and *he* says that there was an Earth-2 Aquaman. Dismissing “zany Haney,” or even Levitz, is rather a different thing than dismissing Roy Thomas, specifically on matters related to Earth-2.

  5. Hm, the idea that ‘Ladybug’ isn’t a threatening name is interesting, given that actual lady-bugs are pretty fearsome hunters in the insect world…

    Otherwise, it was interesting to listen to that argument from about 10 years ago. I’m glad you guys went to couples therapy and managed to patch things up.

  6. A joint episode, is that a first? Anyway, I loved it. When I first noticed the non-yellow Benday dot pattern on the Who’s Who entries I pulled a face, but I’ve No-Prized it away… that’s DC acknowledging that these aren’t ‘real’ and shouldn’t be mentally inserted into the original comics. Well, except for Golden Age Aquaman, who definitely existed.

    Rob: ‘All of a sudden the Superman who appears in the JLA/JSA team-ups has grey on his temples and his ass is bigger.’ HOW RUDE.

    The Red Lantern entry is good, but that retro logo is upsetting, with the inconsistency in length between the ‘Red’ side and the ‘Lantern’ side. Still, Darran Robinson did a great job overall in designing the new logos.

    The Crimson Flame is from Golden Age Wonder Woman stories – remember Zara, Priestess of the Crimson Flame from the much-reprinted Villainy Inc story?

    Never mind the Aquaman argument, if there’s any doubt that here we have the classic Shag, note the many instances of ‘Thay-Deus Brown’. Oh dearie me.

  7. Regarding the story itself – obviously intended to be completely confusing. I haven’t read Flashpoint Beyond, but now I will. I was a bit lost during the Time Masters part of the story.

    As for “who is Helena Wayne” – and I could be completely wrong about this – but I think this is the Earth-0 version of Bruce and Selina’s child. By this point in Batman’s life, Damien would be out of the house, so I could see her being the only kid. And Damien wouldn’t be the one to spill the beans about his identity.

    Again – I could be completely wrong, but I wonder if everything happening prior to the Helena Wayne “stuff” is taking place on the original Earth-2, and that the stuff with Helena is taking place on Earth-0.

    I really should go back and reread this, and see if I can wrap my head around it better.

  8. Regarding the discussion of Per Degaton’s name: “Per” is a fairly common Swedish name (such as the actor Per Oscarsson and the author Per Wahloo); I once met a man named Per (a Swedish improv performer who visited my local theatre as part of an international improv show), and I learned that it’s pronounced “pehr” (almost like “pair,” but not quite such a long-A sound).

    While I don’t know whether Gardner Fox intended for Per Degaton to be Swedish, I imagine he chose the name to be uncommon enough to be memorably “exotic,” but not so rare as to be implausible. I wonder if he might have actually named the character after a real person he knew?

  9. Just in case…

    D) Odd that Rob referred to “Cherry Bomb” as a phrase, like it was a term coined by The Runaways or John Cougar Mellencamp, instead of a firework dating back to at least the 1920s (we’ve lived long enough to have to specify which “the twenties.”) My mom once held a lit cherry bomb too long and injured her hand enough to have to go to the hospital, which was probably in the late ’50s (still good on that one for most/all of our remaining lives.) Glad that DC has retconned some women of color into their Golden Age heroes, and that I’ve mostly given up on Elon Musk’s Twitter to avoid any dudebros explaining how there couldn’t have been any African-American chemists in the 1940s.

    E) I’ve gone through both comment threads for this episode, and I’m sincerely disappointed to find that I seem to be the first Whoosier to note that Harlequin’s Son dates back to the development of Infinity Incorporated in 1982. As revealed by Rob’s buddies TwoMorrows Publishing in 1999’s Alter Ego Vol. 3 #1, “The Secret Origins of Infinity, Inc.” available both in the magazine and Collection Volume One, was an image (presumably by co-creator Mike Machlan) of the prospective new Harlequin. “Northwind is shown–but at his side (see P. 33) is a new, young, male Harlequin, who Jerry’s notes suggest might become ‘comics’ first ‘gay’ character. Or we could just assume it.’ Not a bad idea, and maybe we should have played it that way; but we were already going to have two Green Lantern-derived heroes in Infinity, Inc.” A further note alongside the illustration, “a new Harlequin had to wait for the ‘Manhunter’ super-crossover a few years later.” The drawing itself offers, “I think this guy’d be fun… He’d probably be a care-free fun loving valley-boy who’d be gagging everyone with- spoons”. Man, they sure loved their hyphens and questionable conjunctions back then. See for yourself on the publisher’s blog. Too bad we didn’t get this in the ’80s (I’ll definitely be dead by 2080,) and again, not sorry to miss ComicsGaters bleating on about the SJWs gay agenda in my social media.

  10. I believe Darwin Cook intended the boy who appeared in one panel of New Frontier #6 to be the John Henry Irons we already knew, a.k.a. Steel. So does a retcon count as a legit first appearance?

  11. Well it took over a week to listen to this show – first I couldn’t find the time – then I got covid so I couldn’t follow the arguments. But since I’m now finished I can safely say that Earth 2 Aquaman was re-introduced in the same series as Amazing Man appeared in. So if it’s in All Star Squadron it’s Aquaman from Earth 2 – the Golden Age Aquaman who is NOT King of Atlantis, and is possibly related to Nemo.

    That Paul Levitz said it wasn’t so for a while to differentiate the two earths is just one retcon that doesn’t make sense as both Fate and Aquaman were published at the same time in the same book and if golden age Green Arrow met Aquaman that’s Golden Age / Earth 2 Aquaman.

    At least I think that’s the argument I mean really does it mater? The whole whiney whine whine about “They are just making this up” IT IS COMICS FOLKS. Not only is it comics it’s DC Wibbly Rebootily Hyper Timey – it’s all made up. Except for the bits that are real and projected from another universe using Grant Morrison’s Brain as focus lens.

    But in all of this I loved this episode. I scoff at the idea that Shag thinks JLI might actually finish in 1 or 2 years time… But sure lets just pretend it does and we can at least get more JSA Presents. Who knows if Who’s Who will return – but I have to admit I’m only on the letter “I” podcast so far so there’s plenty to go to catch up.

    I’m hopefully the new JSA book will be good, it should look good at least. But will it lose steam? Will Johns have time to keep it monthly now Stargirl is finished? Who knows?

  12. Man, you two were really going at it years ago, weren’t you? Heck, I don’t think Paul Levitz and Roy Thomas would argue about the Earth-2 Aquaman this hard and they wrote the stories in question!

    My two cents, I think it comes down to in-story references versus out-of-story narration. I believe Roy Thomas had the title of Earth-2 editor during his run on All-Star Squadron and Infinity Inc. He has a lot of knowledge of the Golden Age characters and histories. His inclusion of a in-story reference to an Earth-2 Aquaman during the JLA/JSA/All-Star team-up combined with said character’s appearance shortly before the effects of Crisis I think takes precedence. The prologue to the “death of the Earth-2 Batman” reference can be chalked up to an “unreliable narrator”.

    On the less argumentative side, I’d read about the new JSA and Stargirl series. What crap timing, coming out as the Stargirl TV show is ending. I finally decided to stop by a nearby comic store and picked up the one-shot and the Stargirl first issue (the JSA #1 was sold out). First new issues I’ve bought in years. I followed along with the one-shot fairly well, but then the whole alternate Earths thing pre-Crisis never confused me as a kid. It’s great to see the JSA characters again.

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