Secret Origins #50: Batman and Robin, The Flash of Two Worlds, Johnny Thunder, Dolphin, Black Canary, and the Space Museum

Secret Origins #50. The final issue! Six stories! Six guests! So many feels! The epic finale to the Secret Origins Podcast begins with Ryan Daly and Tom Panarese talking about Dick Grayson for like the millionth time when the Boy Wonder catches his very first look at Batman in “The Glimpse”. Then, Ryan teams up with J. David Weter for a new version of “The Flash of Two Worlds”. After that, Michael Bailey rides into town to help tell the story of the Western hero Johnny Thunder. Next, Ryan discovers the exotic David Ace Gutierrez at the bottom of the ocean with some opinions on the origin of Dolphin—along with a message from “Roy Thomas”. Then, Rob Kelly joins Ryan for the origin of Black Canaries young and old. And finally, Ryan and the Irredeemable Shag settle their decades-old feud to cover the secrets of the Space Museum.

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“Premonition” (Theme for Secret Origins Podcast) written and performed by Neil Daly.

Additional music: “Sons & Daughters” by The Decemberists; “Brothers In Arms” by Dire Straights; “Two Hearts” by Bruce Springsteen; “Coward of the County” by Kenny Rogers; “The Porpoise Song” by The Monkees; “Puttin’ On the Ritz” by Fred Astaire; “Little Digger” by Liz Phair; “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys; “Sugar Walls” by Sheena Easton”; “Cups” by Anna Kendrick.

Thanks for listening!

68 responses to “Secret Origins #50: Batman and Robin, The Flash of Two Worlds, Johnny Thunder, Dolphin, Black Canary, and the Space Museum

  1. Comments will be left later this week. Given my commute times, I’ll have finished this by Wednesday afternoon.

    Night Force!!!! Jealous! That books first arc creeeeeeeped me out as a kid.

  2. I’ve made it to the first plateau of this episode, and am setting up base camp. Two of my sherpas have died, but the rest are promising to trudge on. Food supplies getting low. More details later.

  3. I’ll give other comments after listening to the whole thing, but let me take a second to give you my Top 3 favorite sound effects over the course of the series.
    2–Animal Man!
    1–The Whip!

    They stay in my head for hours after every episode, so good going.

        1. When recently listening to the Animal Man edition of the Invasion! podcast, my brain was inadvertently adding the “Animal Maaaaan!” sting after every single mention of the guys name. Damn you, Ryan Daly! Damn you!

  4. Best to take this one story at a time, and since I’m just through the first one, here we go!

    Tom, you did a great job reading “The Glimpse”, and smart move just reciting it, rather than synopsizing it.

    Loved, loved LOVED the discussions on the Robins, who are some of my favorite fictional characters (well, Dick and Tim anyhow). I so hated Max Allen Collins’ firing of Dick as Robin, that it tainted any appreciation I might have for the new Jason. I do think Jason 2.0 suffered from having a new origin shoved into his backstory, but his history otherwise more or less continued. His lack of a supporting cast certainly didn’t help him, and as you guys pointed out, that was one of the best parts of Dixon’s excellent Robin run with Tim.

    As for “The Glimpse” itself, I remember being disappointed that it ended when it did. I loved O’Neil’s take, and wanted more, even though I had just been through “Year Three” and “A Lonely Place of Dying”. I had never before gotten a sense of who Dick really was pre-Robin before that night. The wonderful BTAS episode “Robin’s Reckoning, Part 1” would give us a similar look at Dick’s happy days at the circus. O’Neil returned to Dick’s origin in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #100, and we get a bit more of it there, although it’s largely concerned with just retelling the actual story beats as usual. I would be up for a comic, movie or TV series that detailed Dick’s circus life before that fateful night in Gotham.

    Great choice on the music as always Ryan. We’re off to a fantastic start!


  5. And how could I forget Perez’s art? I actually have the Year Three/Lonely Place portfolio DC released around that time, and this fits right in with that perfectly. There are a few new pieces in that portfolio that show Tim in further adventures as Robin in the classic suit, proving DC hadn’t quite figured out what to do with him just yet.


    1. Here’s what Ryan cut from Rob’s segment:
      “Yeah, I was reading [the Black Canary] story as my driver took me from my suite at The Kubert School to the pre-show before the Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert. My butler had the night off, so I had to turn the pages myself.”

      “I don’t like to say I’m the reason it happened, but I’m the reason we have an Internet.”

      “My close, personal friend, Alan Brennert?”

      “Funny you mention Pod Dylab and Film and Water, my award-winning podcasts…”

  6. Flash of Two Worlds: I really liked this one, but I have to say the Gar Logan connection always puzzled me a bit. The “lost city” angle falls apart a bit if you think about it too hard, but I tend to put it in that Silver Age “Don’t overthink it” zone, and it’s fine.

    This story would make more sense in the Flash 50th anniversary special, BUT that issue had a story of each Flash that tied together, resulting in the introduction of a future Flash written by Mark Waid. One he’d use in his Flash run later, and drawn by Mike Parobeck! It’s a great issue. I highly recommend it.


  7. Johnny Thunder: Despite my love for western movies, I never gave the older DC western heroes too much thought, just because I didn’t have much exposure to them outside of Who’s Who, and the occasional guest appearance. But in the last few years I’ve grown more interested, partially due to the Fire & Water Podcast’s coverage of them here and there.

    I’ve always liked the art in this tale, and that one panel cameo of the Lone Ranger is pure gold (he looks a bit like Klinton Spilsbury in The Legend of the Lone Ranger). Maggin and Weiss reteamed a few years later for a forgotten Elseworlds gem, Batman: The Blue, the Grey and the Bat. I’m going to have to go back and re-read this one…and that one!

    And I recently got an antenna receiver, and have been watching a lot of MeTV. And yes, Michael, Chuck Connors has a jaw that would make Dick Sprang’s Batman green with envy!

    Great stuff fellas!


  8. Marvel did not ‘have to’ undo everything Morrison accomplished in New X-men. They chose to, and it was quite possibly the second stupidest decision that Marvel has ever made. No, the most stupid, because good stories actually came out of the spider-man retcons, and because the insanely stupid ‘Magneto can be a good guy’ idea that undoing Morrison’s run was part of is just transcendently dumb and keeps on happening.

    Anyhow, great job on the podcast, and showing how the rotating guests formats can be done and is supremely suited to covering a book like this.

  9. Had this issue begun and ended with The Glimpse and Unfinished Business, I think it would have been a great way to structure the final issue of DC’s SECRET ORIGINS. A Dennis O’Neil prose tale with George Perez art, and the actual final fate of a classic DC heroine (scripted by Alan Brennert, no less) would be a fine cap to any series.

    But your comment about the Space Museum finale – which also stuck with me for years as an odd story on which to end the series – made great sense of its placement, and honestly was the perfect way for the synopsis part of the podcast to end. Perhaps Gerry Conway reworked that Space Museum motto knowing that one day, some wonderful maniac would research this series and make the connection.

    And perhaps too, someday in the far flung future, a young visitor to a Space Museum is shown an old mp3 player containing the Secret Origins Podcast and ponder how it was used to defeat The Irredeemable Mecha-Zombie-Shag and his sadistic efforts to transform the multiverse into a giant Keith Giffen comic with 78 panels on each page.

    ……but let’s face it, since the world WILL end because we never got that Red Tornado secret origin, that future moment will be rendered forever as nothing more than an imaginary story.

    But what an imaginary story it could be.

    Thanks, Ryan. 🙂

  10. You know what I just realized? Tim Drake is the Bruce Wayne from Alan Brennert’s story in Detective 500.

    I like Tanghal inking over Parobeck, but there are a few panels that do show other influences. The 3rd panel where Barry wakes up Jay, Barry looks like a Curt Swan, and the Shade running away panel is very Byrne-like.

    The 40s Canary flashback art is very reminiscent of the Infantino art of that time.

    1. Hmmm….OK, I’ll play. Five favorite SO covers in no particular order

      #20–Batgirl and Dr. Mid-Nite
      #27–Zatanna and Zatarra
      #17–Adam Strange and Dr. Occult

    2. My favorite Secret Origin covers?

      1) Issue 9–Skyman/Golden Age Flash
      2) Issue 46–JLA HQ, Titans Tower, LSH clubhouse
      3) Issue 12–Golden Age Fur….

      No wait….that’s not right. My actual top five Secret Origins favorite covers:

      1) Issue 37–Legion of Substitute Heroes/Dr Light
      2) Issue 32–Justice League of America
      3) Issue 48–Ambush Bug
      4) Issue 50
      5) Issue 1–Golden Age Superman

    3. Covers

      1) Secret Origins of the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes TPB (Bolland Alter Egos)
      2) Secret Origins Special #1 (Bolland Batman Rogues)
      3) Secret Origins #11 (Ordway Power Girl/Hawkman)
      4) Secret Origins #26 (Nowlan Black Lightning/Miss America)
      5) Secret Origins #8 (Lightle Shadow Lass/Doll Man)
      6) Secret Origins #17 (Nowlan Adam Strange/Dr. Occult)
      7) Secret Origins #29 (Turner the Atom)
      8) Secret Origins #44 (Nowlan Mud Pack)
      9) Secret Origins #21 (JLGL Hex/Black Condor)
      10) Secret Origins #2 (Kane Blue Beetle)

      Dishonorable Mention: Secret Origins #7 (Bolland Green Lanterns/Sandman) ruined by the moronic use of a color hold.

  11. You know, I can’t really list my favorite stories from this series since, even if I didn’t like the story that much, the guests brought it up (except that guy from The Hamster Strikes, or whatever). So, even though I said it on the previous episode, well done, Ryan. You really can be proud of this show, especially since I know how much time and effort went into each episode. I am delighted and humbled to have been even a small part of this series. Thanks for inviting me. 😀

  12. Okay, I just marathoned the end, so I’m going to run down through the remaining features, just so Ryan has more to do for the coda episode:

    Dolphin: Yeah, that was weird. I agree, there’s a good idea there, but it’s just mishandled. I did a spit take on David’s comment about Dolphin looking like “a mix of Hee-Haw and Rima the Jungle Girl”. Brilliant! David also sounds like Joe Dante…this just hit me. Now I’m seeing Joe Dante talk when I hear David. Weird.

    Black Canary: Well, this one is special to me, because when Rob’s arms get tired from flying the Brennert flag, I’m right there behind him to pick it up for just a bit. This is a beautiful story, period. I know Roy Thomas mentioned in one of the All-Star Companions that he just simply forgot about the elder Black Canary when he sent the JSA into limbo…but more than likely he just didn’t think about her being alive. After Crisis, who really knew what exactly became of her, before this? When we learned she was a separate character from the Canary we’d been following, Pre-Crisis, she was already long dead. Brennert made some tasty, tasty lemonade out of some seriously sour lemons with this one. The art’s great as well.

    I think Miller may get a nod for the general notion that Gotham was so corrupt. That was really his invention. Gotham wasn’t the urban cesspool it’s now known as before DKR and Year One. I don’t mind the Reaper, but this was really his last gasp, other than Barr’s and Davis’ Year Two follow-up, Full Circle. The story was very soon out of favor, and continuity.

    The Space Museum: I first learned about this in JLA #206. I don’t think I realized it was a series before. I just thought that it was an odd, one-off story. I have to admit, being a super-hero guy, this and the Johnny Thunder story were the ones I was least interested in going in when I bought this back in 1990, but it’s a perfect little slice of Silver Age. I hadn’t thought of the meta connection to the Secret Origins title, but it makes sense.

    Both Shag and Rob’s closing comments got me a bit choked up, as did Ryan’s reaction. I agree with those sentiments whole-heartedly, but I’ll save them for another time.

    A fantastic final episode for a fantastic series. I’ll do some thinking and get back to you with some favorites.


  13. Favorite Secret Origins covers:

    1. Special #1 – Bat Villains
    2. Annual #3 – Teen Titans (we’re just going to have to agree to disagree on this one, buddy)
    3. #1 – Golden Age Superman
    4. # 50 – Inventory clean-out done right
    5. #7 – GL Guy Gardner and Sandman (I should detract points for them pulling a bait and switch with Hal on the cover, but it’s just gorgeous).


  14. Finished the episode today and really felt all the feels. This was a bittersweet show realizing that this was the end. Congrats Ryan. You deserve all the accolades you are getting. This was an immense endeavor and you produced this podcast with the highest quality.

    I do have to give some feedback on the stories.

    I think Morrison didn’t want The Flash of Two Worlds to go completely out of continuity. So instead of it being the origin of the multiverse, he tweaked it to become the origin of the Flash Family. Given the upcoming Waid run where all speedsters have a special bond, I like this story a lot.

    Can’t say the same about the Dolphin one. What an omelet of weird elements. I have the Showcase issue and would have preferred something more akin to that. And Bove’s art here doesn’t match the solid stuff he did in Who’s Who.

    And love the info about the Space Museum you guys gave us. Made me appreciate this story more. By the way Shag, Space Museum is in The Chaykin Twilight series.

    And now the lists.

    Best origin stories:
    1. Creeper – no joke. This was an updated origin that actually improved on the original. Now the insanity of the Creeper is plausible!
    2. Doom Patrol
    3. JLA
    4. Poison Ivy – haunting
    5. Man-Bat – I like how his origin and Bruce’s intertwined

    Best covers:
    1. Batman special
    2. Superman
    3. Issue 50
    4. Flash rogues

    Best issue:
    1. Phantom Stranger – innovative, great creators, fascinating

    Honorable mention: Doom Patrol

    Thanks again Ryan. Secret Origins was the first podcast I got to be a guest on! Hope I held up my end of the discussions!

  15. Boy, it was tough to not keep jumping in here after each story, but I reckon that’d make it much harder for you to harvest the feedback. Anyway, congratulations on the 50th Issue Spectacular – is this the biggest, regular series, non-reprint DC Comic ever?

    I love the cover, with all the strips represented – well, they have to be taking the souvenirs to the Space Museum!

    The Robins discussion with Tom was terrific (I wish there were a podcast which was simply one host and one guest discussing one DC character, team or concept per episode – they’d be short, sharp showcases, not requiring a lot of research since the big character and story beats could guide the discussion to a place of fun opinions). I’m not usually a fan of illustrated stories in superhero comics but this was so much better than the attempts DC made in the Seventies – character-filled, prose not too flowery, with attractive illoes. I adore circus stories. Growing up in a circus, it’s no wonder Dick was unphased by killer clowns and sundry freakish folk. I really wish Dick visited his old Haly’s Circus pals more often.

    The only choice with which I disagree is George Pérez drawing Dick in his original costume twice… so he got bigger before becoming Nightwing, he looks exactly the same!

    Did DC ever create stories just for trade collections? It makes perfect sense to me that this was commissioned for Secret Origins. I don’t agree that a Secret Origins story had to have a new detail; they were secret in that the public never knew them. If we got a new detail, or angle, great but the book was positioned as a way to show post-Crisis origins and, under Roy Thomas, memorialise Golden Age heroes.

    I love the eeriness of the idea of an enchanted city in the Flash story. I never actually noticed that this wasn’t actually the origin of anything, unless we’re stretching it to be the dual-Flash team. Gar Logan, though? I guess it’s Grant Morrison just playing with expectations… Wally was the obvious choice. (How I hate Gar Logan, I’d have thrown the Brussels sprout-faced pillock off the Gem Cities Bridge.)

    So the Johnny Thunder story has a title that recalls The Fountainhead and a villain named Rand… You can bet that if Rascally Roy were editing this one, he’d have connected John Tane to Chuck Tane, saving the creators of Impulse Annual #2 the bother.

    Dolphin, ugh. I quite liked her in Showcase #100, she was terribly plucky, but Peter David’s use of her tainted the character in all historical directions… I can’t see her as anything other than a sea slapper, going from one Aqua-hero to another. Even that wet kipper Marina-Aqua-Marina from Stingray is better

    Oh, the collective noun business on Teen Titans Wasteland was to do with the plural for octopuses, not dolphins. Though I can exclusivity reveal that it’s ‘a Trollope of dolphins’.

    And David… blimey!

    That Black Canary story is a total classic, though I’m another one who could’ve done without the Reaper being in there, what a rubbish non-character he was. Alan Brennert and Joe Staton’s story was ridiculously refreshing after the mess of that JLA ‘I’m my own grandpa’ business.

    I’ve only ever read a couple of Space Museum stories in, I think, early Seventies Strange Adventures Giants, but this capper had the flavour I recall and yeah, it was a thematically appropriate one to go out on.

    Regarding the favourites list, did I mishear? You want five of each?

    So Ryan, that was emotional and I’m not surprised – you’ve put your heart and soul into this podcast. It’s given me so much entertainment, thanks to you for all the hard work, and the guests for providing a different flavour of spice, and I’m so honoured I got to take part. You’ve created your very own Space Museum!

    Does that make Shagg, Skeets?

  16. Alright, I’ve listened to the entire episode now and it’s time for the mushy stuff.

    Let me share my Secret Origins podcast secret origin. From it’s very beginning I was a sporadic listener to the Fire and Water podcast, coming originally for New 52 reviews then picking and choosing episodes that appealed to me based on subject matter. When Mike Garvey and I started doing Waiting for Doom at the start of 2015, I immediately developed a greater appreciation for the skill of effortlessly chatting and the effort of skilfully editing. I began listening to Shag and Rob more often. When Shag mentioned he was going to be talking about the Secret Origin of Firestorm on this new podcast I was willing to jump over to hear his thoughts (Thank you Shag # 1). I had planned to take the approach to the show that I took to the comic: selectively tuning in to hear about characters I liked, but there was something about the host’s dry wit and warm delivery of carefully chosen words that provided insights into the stories and art. I went back and listened to the previous episodes, then was there front row for every episode after that.

    Now, I can read a schedule and I knew that there was a Doom Patrol issue coming up. I contacted Ryan to see if the slot was open but he told me that the Doom Patrol blogger bloke had got that gig. I was disappointed, but I think that contact may have prompted the Ryster to have a listen to Waiting for Doom, which he still pretends to do to this day. We chatted about characters that were available and I managed to snag the coveted Hawk & Dove spot. Also, when I listened to the Challengers, Deadman and Doom Patrol episodes, I had to concede that bloody Doug Zawisza was charming and eloquent and we started tweeting and had him on Waiting For Doom and dammit, Doug is now one of my best online friends.

    In the 2015 end of year episode of Waiting For Doom I named Secret Origins as my favourite new podcast.

    A twitter chat with Shag led to him pegging me for the Ice segment, which was the first time Ryguy and I cast pod together (Thank you Shag # 2). By that stage I had become a full-blown Ryry addict as I went back through his old Flowers and Fishnets and Dead Bothan Spies podcast back catalog.

    Among the many great things the Ryanator does in his shows is he:
    • is incredibly well prepared and organised
    • knows what to cut out and what to keep in
    • has great comic timing and spots an opportunity for a great gag a mile off
    • subtly keeps his guests on track
    • never, never bores his audience
    • picks the BEST music choices
    • makes you feel comfortable as a guest and brings out the best in your thoughts
    • works harder than any other podcaster out there

    I’m in awe of his podcasting, and being aware of what he does makes me a better podcaster. It’s because of all this that I actively hassled him to let me podcast with him regularly on whatever he had coming up next (hello Nightforce!).

    This comics podcasting community has led to a bigger connection to comic fans than I’ve ever had in my life. I live in a country town in Australia and personally know only 3 people who like comics, but now I have dozens of friends around the globe and I can literally chat about comics any time of the day.

    Honestly, I’m struggling to fully articulate my thanks to you Ryan, so cheers for everything and three cheers for you!

  17. Ryan, thank you for 49 excellent episodes and that one with me in it. I truly have enjoyed the ride. I have had so many thoughts about so many points made since the beginning, but seldom have commented. But I have listened to every segment of every episode and thoroughly enjoyed all of it. Thank you for giving me a reason to revisit one of my favorite series from DC Comics.

    Excellent use of The Decemberists. You have great taste in music.

    Thanks again for a great ride!

  18. Mr ryan first time commenting though I wish i had done so earlier this series has been a treat I’ll never forget stumbling onto secret origins after finding the fire and water podcast.

    I’m a D.C. Fan though I had no idea there was a comic called secret origin and when I started I think when episode 5 dropped I knew that this was something special.

    Ryan I can say that work you put into each episode Definlty showed and every discussion on each issue was a treat to listen and the choice of music was Fuji always tried to guess which song was going tone used.

    I agreed and disagreed with certain things that were discussed but I Definlty enjoyed waiting for the next episode.
    And the characters some familiar,some obscure I loved all of them(yes including johnny thunder.)

    I’ll miss this series but It was a fun ride and I can always listen too them again,
    Thank you mr Ryan and I can’t wait to see what the next series you plan on doing

    Now at this point I would put down my favorite episodes or cover but I want to do something different
    I want to post my top 5 secret origins we could have gotten if the series had continued and possible song choices for a what if episode

    1) Aquaman and Wonder Woman.
    Starting of easy with the origins that where talked about that where supposed to happen but never quite made it I think we Definlty would have gotten them if secret origins had gone on.
    (Possible song choices “ocean man by ween”
    “I am woman by Helen reddy.)

    2) mr freeze and firefly.
    If secret origins had gone I Definlty think mr freeze would have gotten a issue especially if it came out around when the animated series starting which could have adapted the cartoon orgin a lot earlier.
    With firefly I think would have been picked to do a fire and ice theme and then contracts the two. Funny enough in the batman cartoon firefly and mr freeze teamed up in one of the episodes so maybe it’s not far fetched enough.

    (Song choices “Snow by the red hot chili peppers and Doosu – Louisiana House Fire. Mid 1950.)

    3) supergirl Linda Danvers and amethyst princess of gem world.

    I’m kind of suprised these two didn’t get a orgin
    With Linda there Definlty was potential especially with the death of the first supergirl as they were doing some intersting things with her.
    Yeah plus the multiple names and identities would have been a interesting topic to discuss
    Amethyst Definlty should have gotten a orgin it’s been said that if D.C. Had not messed with the comic she could have had a resurgence when sailor moon became a hit in the 90s
    Her fist series was a joy to read and i picked up the showcase of the series and ball I could think when reading it was she definitely needed to be in a issue or secret orgin.
    As for why these two I think a issue with two young heroines with powers would have been a really neat choice.
    (Song choices “reflection from the mulan soundtrack ” and “she’s got the power by Stan bush”)

    4) L.E.I.G.O.N annual
    Legion of I’m not mistaken was still going on when secret origins was ending and was really great a secret orgin with the members would have been a blast especially if lobo was in.
    (Song choice “bad company by bad company.”

    5) and for a my final choice is Toyman and Prankster.

    Now I don’t what it is maybd it’s there appreance in Alan Moores final super man story or because it’s two of supermans lesser know foes these two seems like they would have gotten a appreance.
    I could have seen be intersting to see there take on prankster and what they could have done with him.
    While toyman we may have gotten some early preview of what he would have become during the death of superman.
    ( song choices “the merry go round broke down by cliff friend and Dave franklin. And “babes in toy land from the Disney version.”)

    If you got any choices you would have picked for a secret orgin or song choice for them would be neat to hear.
    Well that’s all from keep up the good work Ryan I raise a glass to the secret origins podcast.

        1. Oh and one thing for the toy land song I would switch it out for the Doris day version I thought that was the Disney version but I was mistaken

  19. Not only did the series go out on a high note, this podcast did as well.

    No stop making the rest of us look bad by being so damn good at this!!! Midnight – The Podcasting Hour had better suck, or I’m coming for you!

  20. Work obligations have really slowed my podcast listening; but, I would remiss in saying that you put together a fantastic body of wok here, Ryan, and it was a tremendous pleasure to take part in it.

  21. *sigh*
    Damn you, Ryan.

    I was riding the feels roller coaster like crazy this episode, especially during the feedback section. I laughed my ass off at your song choice for your reflections on Roy Thomas. I damn near cried my eyes out when you listed all the guests on the show (especially realizing that I actually contributed to something so incredible as this podcast). And then I almost peed myself laughing at your comment about your wife and this podcast.

    And that’s not even getting close to the touching Brian’s Song style display between you and Shag. Holy Hannah, I don’t know that I’ve felt this touched by a series finale since I watched the Next Generation episode “All Good Things” back in 94.

    So thank you. Damn you, but thank you. You touched this old comic fan’s heart and this series shall be missed. Shag was right, this is a podcast series that will get revisited over time.

  22. Robin is one of the greatest and most important super-hero concepts of them all. Dick Grayson was Robin the Boy Wonder from inception through the first four & a half decades, then there were some other ones. It’s like how there’s new actors playing the Star Trek bridge crew, but those roles belong to Nimoy, Shatner, etc.

    Jason Todd I didn’t have a firm grasp on during his first life. I knew he wasn’t Dick Grayson at least some of the time, but unless it was explicitly stated, I recall getting confused about whether there was more than one Robin, or the chronology of a given story. I believe I first noticed a different attitude from Jason in The Cult, and I bought A Death In The Family off the newsstand, which made things much clearer. I read more Todd comics in the years following, and came to really appreciate how starkly he contrasted from Bruce and Dick under Jim Starlin. I mourned for the lost story conflict potential of a Robin gone “bad,” or at least shady, due to a dumb stunt whose window of participation had already closed before anyone outside of the direct market even had a chance to respond. Then a couple decades later Jason Todd was resurrected by Superboy punching reality and became a bog standard urban antihero with an entirely explicable fanboy following.

    Tim Drake was characterization defined by course correction. He was painstakingly designed to not cross the boundaries Todd had transgressed by being too much like Dick Grayson initially and too different eventually. Like most DC characters in the Bronze Age, Dick Grayson got saddled with gratingly arch quasi-characterization involving writers who either disliked or were disqualified by Marvel writing in its “style” (but rarely with their substance.) Marvelization was standardized in the 1980s, so Chuck Dixon and company did a fine job of building on a Peter Parker template with additional elements well suited to a Robin. Unfortunately, they still had the original Robin with all his Bronze Age developmental baggage delivered “return to sender” from Marv Wolfman. So The Robin was redesigned through Dixon’s focus on His Robin to be a little less smart, not quite the caliber of detective, a bit more of a martial artist; essentially emphasizing Dick as an acrobat with batons as his trademark weapon. Otherwise known as the pre-Frank Miller Daredevil, without the legal intrigue, and complete with weaksauce villains highlighting his status as the poor man’s alternative to a more popular hero. Also, thanks to the politics of Dixon and artist Scott McDaniel, Nightwing became a relatively chaste Christian pop aficionado, which is the sort of thing that happens when you define an iconic character by the rules of his adoptive parents in a household where he has a greatly diminished presence. Again, I hold no great love nor ill will toward Tim Drake, but I can’t help but resent how Dick Grayson was mangled to fit within Tim’s sphere. Also, I have a satchel of shlongs with Brad Meltzer’s name on it.

    I was a fan of Son of the Demon when it came out, and Ra’s al Ghul is one of my top five Batman villains, so I get why Damian Wayne existed. I’m glad Grant Morrison put that particular item in the toy (pine) box when he was done playing with it. Too bad DC had other plans, and now we’re all stuck with the Guy Gardner Robin. Whatever noise you want to make about Damian being a young unchecked version of his father, the truth is he’s Jason Todd 2.0, and he’s played out, but the New 52 is as alive as he is.

    I made it to the second page of “The Glimpse” before giving up. I despise prose stories in standard comic books, especially ones told in a straightforward third person perspective. If I wanted that, I’d crack open a novel with quality vetted by an editor from that field. I wanted to know if there were any significant additions to Grayson’s lore, so I appreciate the professional quality audiobook version offered here. The Perez drawings were swell.

    I’m not a Silver Age cat, nor am I especially enamored with DC’s plethora of pre-/non-Legion futures, so I have no longing for Space Museum exposure. Jones’ story was fine and it didn’t take long to notice Infantino had to have a swell inker on this job.

    The restaging of “Flash of Two Worlds” was nice. I wish the story had been told in first person or via an omniscient narrator rather than the report paper, so the impact of the resolution would have been built up better. Maybe it was the the secret origin of Gar Logan’s heroic ideals? Romeo Tanghal didn’t mess up Mike Parobeck’s peachy art too much, and seeing him on a classic DC hero reminded me of his work on Batman & Superman Magazine.

    Marvel has better integrated their western characters into the core heroic universe than DC, so as Bizarro-Michael Bailey, I can more readily recall examples of their offerings than DC’s. Before reading the Johnny Thunder Secret Origin, my sole exposure was his “Whatever Happened To…” which I initially misremembered as a Trigger Twins story two episodes ago. “Oh wait, this is the Clark Kent type who becomes a gunslinger and married that red-headed cowgirl named… Cinder? Cinnamon? And they gave birth to the Trigger Twins? No?” I know Jonah Hex and I can tell you the basics of Scalphunter and Bret Mav–er Bat Lash, but it starts getting awful fuzzy after that. The Weiss art wasn’t up to his usual standards, and the basic plot didn’t thrill, but the little flourishes like the learned torturer and parody origins helped. By the way, the Wild Wild West movie isn’t nearly as bad as its reputation.

    The Dolphin story was misguided. I’ve never enjoyed this character in the modern era. I still want to read the Showcase issue someday.

    I’m ambivalent toward the Black Canary story. Admittedly, I had high hopes going in, given its reputation, and elements like the way the various characters related to one another in very believably human and affecting ways impressed me. On the other hand, it’s too long and meandering, with far too many minute details I didn’t like or need. But back to the first hand, James Robinson’s work that first inspired me to love the Golden Age DC heroes through their being more grounded and fallible than their successors almost assuredly had this tale in their DNA. But back to the bad hand, the relationship between the two Dinahs is eternally problematic, unconvincing, unappealing, and plays into stereotypes against women that don’t need help being perpetuated. But I liked the art by Joe Staton better than most anything else he’s ever done. But the story strays too far from being about Black Canary, and I preferred Gerry Conway’s take, and I’d kind of prefer it if there had only ever been one Dinah commanding all that history. But, but, but…

    And so I finally finished the podcast on the fourth day, and now I’ll have to come up with a new excuse not to comment on or listen to other comic book radio shows, since I no longer have to devote hours every week to telling everyone why they should really hate DC heroes, one origin at a time. But like I told Count Drunkula when I spoke to him earlier this week, this show was an okay time suck, I guess.

    1. When I collect this show and burn it to CD for the Tenth Anniversary Box Set, I’ll put the quote “This show was an okay time suck, I guess” right on the front.

  23. One of the things I really liked about this podcast, beyond exploring the material, was that it was a community, both in the comments and on air. It wasn’t the same team all the time, it was a rotating cast of people who do this regularly and those of us who just have an e-mail and like to stick our two cents in, in the comments fields. The series came along during a rather dark period of my life, with a lot of work-related turmoil, which progressed over a long period of time. It provided a sunnier outlet and helped me deal with a lot of crap. Things are much better now, with a job I enjoy. Coupled in that was the fun of getting to participate and put my money where my mouth was. I lived in terror that I would bore the heck out of people; but, responses were positive, which made me feel even better. That’s the strength of this. It’s a community that may bicker about plot points or character; but, is supportive of the people.

  24. First off Ryan, congratulations on reaching the end of the series. You put a lot of heart into each and every episode and they were all funny, witty and informative. My hat’s off to you for your efforts, a wonderful podcast series which will stand as a benchmark for what all podcasts should be.

    With regard to the individual entries, the Robin story was excellent. It is so rare to see a illustrated prose story like this and it is a pity there aren’t more of these in comics. To my mind, the only ones I can remember are Grant Morrison and John Van Fleet’s “The Clown at Midnight” from Batman 663 and Denny O’Neil and Marshall Rodgers’ “Death Strikes at Midnight and Three” which I read in the Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told Vol 1. I found Tom’s reciting of the story and Ryan’s editing the Dire Straits “Brothers in Arms” song as background very effective. A wonderful story.

    the Flash tale was an unusual entry into the Secret Origins book, unless it was the new secret origin of how the World War 2 heroes first met their modern counterparts in the post-Crisis era. Sounds like a nice story to get around the non-availability of the multiple earths, and I know Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn used this story when they were writing “The Life Story of the Flash”.

    Johnny Thunder and Dolphin’s stories just seemed to be average to me, from what I could gather from the retelling on the podcast. Dolphin was a very good character in Peter David’a Aquaman run.

    The Black Canary story by Alan Brennert sounded amazing. I know the history of the two Dinahs was complicated pre-Crisis so Alan did a good job in streamlining the various histories. Wildcat’s story was very moving – I remember they brought this up in the early issues of Johns/Goyer’s JSA run when a character called Killer Wasp came up and Wildcat had a theory he could have been his son Jake. However, when Killer Wasp was captured, he told Wildcat that his father, Golden Wasp had raised Jake up as his son and preferred Jake to him, which led to Killer Wasp killing both his father and Jake.

    The final story on the Space Museum sounded like a good way to end the series, for the reasons Ryan and Shagg gave. What might have been a nice way to acknowledge the end would have been to cut away from the end of the Space Museum story and show a hallway leading to a museum exhibit entitles “Origins of the 20th Century Superheroes – the secrets revealed!”. Maybe a too little on the nose though!

    Top lists: I haven’t read many of the Secret Origin issues so my list of favourite stories will just be from those origins I read in other collections, but here goes:

    Top 5 Secret Origin Stories:
    1. Justice League of America
    2. Blue Beetle
    3. Suicide Squad
    4. Penguin
    5. Martian Manhunter

    Top 5 Covers:
    1. Secret Origin Special – BatVillians.
    2. Phantom Stranger
    3. Golden Age Superman
    4. Final issue Cover
    5. Legion of Substitute Heroes/Dr Light

    Honourable Mention – Bolland’s cover to the Secret Origins TPB.

    Top 5 Omissions from Secret Origins:
    1. Wonder Woman
    2. Aquaman
    3. John Stewart
    4. Swamp Thing
    5. Darkseid

    Top 5 Headscratchers (as to why they got a Secret Origin before the 5 mentioned above):
    1. Chris KL-99
    2. Midnight
    3. Titans Tower
    4. Ma Hunkel
    5. The Whip

    Top 5 Groups/Teams Omitted from Secret Origins:
    1. New Gods
    2. Outsiders
    3. L.E.G.I.O.N.
    4. Infinity Inc.
    5. Young All Stars

    Thanks again for a great series Ryan – looking forward to the coda.

  25. Favourite covers in no particular order:
    1 – GA Superman
    17 – Dr Occult and Adam Strange
    31 – JSA
    39 – Animal Man and Man-Bat
    50 – The End

    Fave stories:
    1 – The Legion Clubhouse
    And then in no particular order:
    Black Canary
    Phantom Stranger(s)
    Suicide Squad

    Favourite issues – the ones with my favourite stories in… OK, pick one – #50, because it showcased the range of the DC Universe and contained one stone cold classic in Brennert, Staton and Giordano’s Black Canary farewell.

  26. Fave stories:
    Poison Ivy
    Floronic Man
    Suicide Squad
    Stanley and his Monster
    Legion Clubhouse

    Fave covers:
    50 jam
    Hawk & Dove
    Animal Manbat
    Newsboy Legion Cadmus
    Ambush Bug

    Top omissions:
    Sea Devils
    Baron Winters
    Dr Death, the Skeletor looking dude who’s unexpectedly evil

  27. Favorite issues (this accounts for the theme, art, etc, not just the story):

    1. GA Batman (and Halo) – SO #6
    2. JLA – SO #32
    3. Flash – SO Annual #2
    4. Teen Titans – SO Annual #3
    5. Tie: SO #50/ Special #1

    Favorite stories:
    1. JLA – SO #32 (I love the pithy dialog in this one)
    2. Black Canary – SO #50
    3. Legion Clubhouse – SO #46
    4. Martian Manhunter – SO #35
    5. Barry Allen Flash – SO Annual #2 (nice coda when he was dead, plus informed the Speed Force)


  28. I just finished listening to this episode. It only took me ten days! Great work, as always. I got a little choked up during that last segment, but to be fair I almost always want to cry when I hear Shag speak.

    Ryan, this was a fantastic podcast series. I discovered it when I got a twitter message from you asking if I’d be interested in covering the Captain Atom origin. I blew through the existing episodes rather quickly and loved the show from the first episode. You know all this already, of course.

    What you might not know is the number of fantastic podcasts and blogs I’ve discovered as a result of listening to Secret Origins. I don’t think you’ve ever had a bad guest. I can honestly say I learned something new with every episode, and before your show I considered myself something of an expert in DC Comics. I realize now I’m a small fish in a big pond.

    Thank you for the Secret Origins Podcast. Thank you for choosing great guests, great music, and a great comic series. Thank you for hours of entertainment and education. Thank you for producing a quality show.

    If my own show is 1% as good as any random SOP episode, then I have made a great show myself. You set a high bar.

    I love this podcast and will miss it but I’m happy that this won’t be the end of quality shows from your camp. I am now and will forever be a Ryan Daly fan.

    Again, thank you!

  29. Favorite Covers:

    1) Issue #10 – Phantom Stranger
    2) Issue #15 – Spectre & Deadman
    3) Issue #38 – Green Arrow & Speedy
    4) Issue #31 – J.S.A.
    5) Issue #14 – Suicide Squad (though I keep looking at that cover for the Uncle Sam issue, #19, and want to swap it out)

    Top 5 Stories:

    I couldn’t tell you. I’d have a re-listen to every single episode and get back to you, which I obviously don’t have time to do. (But the Phantom Stranger issue has always been one of my very favorite comic book issues PERIOD) Sure, I could go into my back issues and re-flip through the issues to remind myself. But that won’t work. And why? Well, that leads me to my next point…

    Because you and your guests have done such an incredible job of adding depth to these stories. Perspectives not my own, and often not YOUR own Ryan. There have been characters in this series that I had zero interest in, but their stories in Secret Origins (and your guests commentary and passion) led me to seek out the issue. That’s quality guest line up and that’s quality podcasting.

    Ryan, when your show first hit the net, I didn’t want yet another show to try and keep up with. But podcasting about Secret Origins promised to be a varied line up all within my wheelhouse of DC comics. So I felt I was obligated to try out the show. And I’m glad I did. As I’ve told you many times, one of the things I’ve admired about your show is that each and every episode sounds the same. The layout is meticulous, the plan is in place, and you adhere to it as best you can. Even down to the music selections. There is purpose and care in every single episode. Your knowledge of comics exceeds my own (which, let’s face it, isn’t that hard) so I’m always learning things. Even on episodes where I was allowed an appearance. And trust me “allowed” is the correct word.

    Every single time I was invited on this show, I felt nervous. A fact I can’t say about any other show I’ve appeared on (no offense guys but I’m sure you know what I mean). The quality of this show was such that I felt by simply being allowed on it’s airwaves, that I’d dumb down the audience. That I didn’t prepare enough. That I didn’t know enough. Each time you invited me back, I was shocked. It’s a pleasure and a breeze to podcast with you, nerves always fell by the wayside once things were under way.

    I admire your efforts, I admire your format, I admire your lineup, I admire your schedule, I admire your sheer power of will so much; that I’ve made you my self styled muse for my own show. And, quality and consistency of my ACW show not withstanding, that has to mean SOMETHING. Not just that people love what you do, but that YOU INSPIRE THEM. That you MOTIVATE them. That’s what this show and YOU did for me. And I’m happy to call you a friend.

    Lastly, one of the very few times I podcasted with the late Shawn Engel was on this show. Despite Shawns long running ‘Just One of the Guys’ podcast about Green Lantern, Shawn and the LanternCast didn’t team up quite as much as I would’ve liked. He graciously allowed me to co-host an episode of JOotG, and he appeared on the LanternCast once or twice, but our episode together on Secret Origins is my very favorite team up between Shawn and I. And I re-listen to that episode often and think about how great it would be to have him back to talk more Green Lantern. And that is a memory I get to re-live thanks to you.

    This show will serve as an archive, a podcasting template to help model and structure other shows to come. And I cannot think of another show more suited to that task, nor a guy more worthy of that honor than YOU Ryan. Congratulations on this acheivement and I look forward to the next endeavor you undertake!

  30. A warship was torpedoed and sunk in the Dolphin story. This made me think of the USS Indianapolis. My biological grandpa, Vincent Udell Anderson, was on that ship and pronounced lost at sea. My grandma, Betty, was pregnant with my mom, who never got to meet her biological dad. Betty later remarried a wonderful man named Roy Thomas (not that Roy Thomas!).

    I’m not sure what a small girl was doing on that warship, as that seems pretty reckless!

    If those guys with the tattoos were agents of the aliens, that reminds me of “familiars” from the Blade movie.

    I loved this episode! I thought the stories were great, and all the guests and yourself were fantastic in your coverage. I echo all the mushy stuff that was said and is being said about how great this show is!

    Congratulations, Ryan, on having a vision and seeing it through. This was an awesome accomplishment, and I look forward to listening to earlier episodes that I haven’t heard yet, until I have heard them all.

  31. I would like to know at least five comic books that are on your wish list directly as a result of wanting to see more of a character(s) from their stories in Secret Origins.

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