Mountain Comics 47 – All-Star Squadron Annual #1

Rob welcomes Friend of the Network Chuck Dill to the cabin to discuss ALL-STAR SQUADRON ANNUAL #1 by Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway!

Check out images from this comic by clicking here!

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20 responses to “Mountain Comics 47 – All-Star Squadron Annual #1

  1. Mountain Comics is back to kick off the season of summer blockbusters, and what a way to begin. Chuck’s story of his friendship with Tony Buscema had it all! Surprises, guest stars, romance, drama and betrayal. It would make a great CW teen drama, thank you so much for sharing.
    The comic that was up for discussion was great too. Everything I want out of an episode of Mountain Comics. Remembering the comics, and places we bought comics, in our youth. All-Star Squadron is a double dose of nostalgia. We take a nostalgic look back at a 40 year old comic, that took a nostalgic look back to adventures that took place 40 years earlier. All-Star Squadron was one of my favorite titles from the early 80s. It had more superhero packed pages than any other book on the stands. I didn’t know who most of them were, but I was always happy to learn. Thanks for another great episode, I’m excited to see which comic book blasts from the past are in store for me this summer.

  2. Great discussion! I came for the comic, but Chuck’s tale of how he got the comic and the link to Sal Buscema could have been an episode to itself!

    How I got this comic isn’t NEARLY as exciting, but for me was pretty unique. Somehow my Mom noticed an ad in one of my comics, and ordered several new books through one of those services. I can’t remember if it was Mile High, or the early version of Captial, but some entity like that. I remember I got this one, and Batman Annual #8, and a Fantagraphics Spider-Man index comic! So my Mom knew I was buying All-Star Squadron by this point, or maybe she saw the cover, and she knew I liked the “old” Flash and Green Lantern.

    Either way, I was pleased to get it. Like I mentioned in a previous Mountain Comics covering Superman Family, I met the Guardian there, so I was intriuged to learn more about him. Even though I’d been buying All-Star Squadron since issue #1,THIS was the comic where I first fully took notice of Jerry Ordway. He quickly became one of my favorite artists. As far as Da Ordster, he did come fully formed somewhat, having done licensing work for a DC coloring book. Paul Levitz was taken by it, and was hunting him down when the bumped into him at a comic con, where he was showing Joe Orlando his samples. So he was kinda pre-sold to DC!

    I remember when OHOTMU started, I recalled these “Fact File” pages and thought Marvel was apeing DC. So that age old “Who came up with the OHOTMU/Who’s Who idea” first bit gets even murkier when things like this are thrown into the mix.

  3. Chuck’s story about getting this annual caused me to rewind the podcast a bit and listen again. Just wow.

    All-Star Squadron was always an automatic buy for me too, but this is one of the stories that I’ve never read. This series cemented my love of Roy Thomas whom I knew from The Invaders and introduced me to Jerry Ordway. So glad to have met them both more than once at HeroesCon. I also purchased a neat print from Arvell Jones featuring the whole Squadron.

    Rok, this particular show gave me the inspiration to look up some of what I call my “first comics”. These are the issues that I can remember having before the age of ten in the late 70s and very early 80s.

    Most of them were purchased from the newsstand in my little town of about 2,000. But I do recall two that I got on vacation. One was a Fantastic Four in the 170s (I think) that featured Salem Seven that I had when we made our way to Disney World. I can still remember the motel room we stayed in.

    The other was Showcase #100, which sustained me on the way to Nashville for another vacation. That is one book that I would love to have again if I ever see it for anything resembling a reasonable price.

    Great show and thanks for the nostalgia.

    1. “Enter: Salem’s Seven” was also one of the few FF comics I had as a kid. I hope Reed eventually got his stretching powers back!

    2. Showcase #100 is great! Go ahead and buy a copy from MyComicShop, my favorite online store. Even a FN/VF copy is only $8.40. Or a reader copy for half that. Throw in other books to spread around the shipping cost.

    3. You just mentioned two personal favorites of mine: Fantastic Four Annual #14 (the one with the Salem’s Seven story by Wolfman, Perez & Marcos, released in the summer of 1979) and the wonderful Showcase #100. Words cannot describe how much I love that latter one in particular.

  4. Mountain Comics is back! (“are” back?)

    My introduction to the All-Star Squadron was during the “Crisis on Earth Prime” storyline which was also my first JLA/JSA crossover. Because of how the main five – Liberty Belle, Johnny Quick, Firebrand, Robotman and Commander Steel – were featured, it took me months to realize all of the other Earth 2 heroes were technically part of the team.

    And because the power levels of those five were much lower than many JSA members (Johnny Quick was a slower version of the Flash, Liberty Belle had a temporary adrenaline rush, Firebrand was hot, etc) that I saw them along the same lines as the early Legion of Substitute Heroes: plucky and determined, but would stand aside when the real heroes arrived on the scene.

    So when issues like Annual #1 came around, they sometimes felt like a subplot while waiting to get back to the main five. Not that I didn’t love reading about all the other characters: it was great to get a comics history lesson that you couldn’t find anywhere else. But it would have been nice if there was more than one comic on the stands at that time featuring Earth 2.

    Speaking of DC annuals: I have a bone to pick: There were a few storylines that used the annual to finish a storyline. Annuals usually weren’t carried by the grocery stores and pharmacies. So I never read how Firestorm escaped being shrunk down out of sight by Tokamak. Or what exactly happened to Tara Markov at the end of the Judas Contract.

    I hope she’s ok!


  5. Like everyone else, I’m glad that a new season at the cabin has begun, and also like everyone else, I’m totally bowled over by Chuck’s story about the Buscema family. I’m not kidding – if just after he finished recounting it you had said, “Well, that’s it for this month, see you next time,” I don’t think I would have been disappointed.
    And man, I’m so envious of Chuck for not only meeting Sal but being a regular guest in his household. He’s always been among my favorites, and I consider him the definitive Hulk artist.
    All that said, Rob, I have to say I also enjoyed listening to your vivid memories of where you first found this comic. I’m the same way when it comes to things like that, i.e., I can’t remember more recent, arguably more important things, but clearly recall the grocery or convenience store, and even the exact row (rung?) on the spinner rack where I first saw and snatched up some favorite comic book.
    Anyway, thanks again for a great conversation, Rob and Chuck. It’s a great way to start off a new cycle of Mountain Comics.

  6. Recently re-picked up Annuals #1 and #2 as well as the Titans Annual in a dollar bin!

    I just loved that all of the Annuals DC published that summer matched with the uniformly designed trade dress and as you mentioned Rob, no copy. From memory, I believe they were all either paintings or colored to look a tad more special.

    Chuck, your story just floored me! I could totally picture the scene like it was an episode of The Wonder Years, you looking on mouth agape as Sal’s son explained who his dad was…amazing.

    I also always assumed for all these years that artists were only comped books from the publishers they worked for…can anyone chime in on this? Is it because they used the same distributers or can we assume they might have fallen off a truck haha!

    Great episode as always, can’t wait for the next one!

  7. Great episode, guys! And Chuck, always good to hear from other military brats (my dad was Army).

    I think by the time this came out I had graduated from buying at the newsstand to a small comics shop in a neighboring town. All-Star Squadron was one of my favorites, but you have to be careful abbreviating the team name.

    Sal Buscema and Roy Thomas worked together at Marvel. I imagine Roy added Sal to a comp list at DC to share what he was working on.

    1. The All-Star Squadron is, by presidential decree, EVERY Golden Age American hero. Basically anyone from this era could take part in a mission, be featured, etc.

  8. Wow is all I have to say to Chuck’s story about how he got this issue and the aftermath. I also rewound to listen a second time. You must be a good soul Chuck to even be able to look at this comic or anything by Sal Buscema!!

    Seriously great episode as usual and really glad Mountain Comics is back.

  9. Oh yes indeed, what a great story from Chuck, I enjoyed the insight into life with the Buscemas. Losing his girl to Tony was obviously rotten at the time but as you noted, Rob, it all worked out. As we say in Scotland, ‘Whit’s fur ye’ll no go by ye’.

    And yes, how DID Sal get DC comps? Did Marvel and DC give them to each other during one of their friendlier periods? And how long did Our Pal Sal keep them if both X-Men #99 (from the description) and All-Star Squadron Annual #1 were in the pile at the same time? They were published several years apart.

    Anyway, I bought the Annual when it came out too… well, when it came out in the UK, which would be months after its US debut, what with the ballast business. I like that the title was another movie reference, though the story wasn’t my favourite. OK, no story by this creative team could fail to be entertaining, it just didn’t have that Wow factor for me. Too many streetwise guys… is there any hero more boring than The Guardian?

    Actually, Hawkman did miss one issue of A-SS, #49… Brian Cronin tells the story here. And it involves a surprint.

    As regards to the prologue/epilogue, yep, typically stupid Guardians of the Universe – why make the distilled essence of evil into one figure, would it not make more sense to dissipate the badness in 1 million directions?

    I swear the Guardians of the Universe were called the Guardians of the Galaxy at least once in the early years!

    Anyway, great to have the cabin open for business again! Happy Summer!


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