TreasuryCast #44 – More Secret Origins of Super-Villains


Rob welcomes Nuclear Sub Terry O'Malley to discuss DC Comics' LIMITED COLLECTORS' EDITION #C45, More Secret Origins of Super-Villains, featuring classic tales starring Catwoman, Mirror Master, Mr. Mxyzptlk, and The Cheetah!

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10 responses to “TreasuryCast #44 – More Secret Origins of Super-Villains

  1. What a great show, with today’s co-host putting the Terry in ‘terrific’. Well, except when he said Cheetah wasn’t a top tier villain. Cheetah, Mirror Master, Catwoman, Mxyzptlk – they’re all top-tier challenges to their assigned hero, and to me that puts them in the first rank of DC infamy, up their on the lunchboxes with Luthor and Joker. Heck, Cheetah has always been Diana’s number one foe, even if the current version is utter pants.

    This isn’t one of the treasuries I have but I’d have been delighted with it, it’s a great collection of stories and features. I actually did try making a diorama, from the first Shazam issue – isn’t this the one remaining Shazam! Limited Collectors Edition needing covered, Rob (sticks hand up)?

    Nice one, Terry, for working out why the Catwoman costumes feature appears where it does, ah, I remember the joy of comic book flatplans. I suspect the predominance of eight-page stories in the early comics was down to the increments by which mags could be up-paged. As for the feature itself, it’s a fun cut-and-paste job. What a shame that the upcoming Catwoman 80th Anniversary issue manages to have two covers featuring basically the same Forties outfit but doesn’t find room for that weird green Sixties number or any of the early cat-headed versions.

    George Papp is the first Superboy artist I ever saw and I rather imprinted upon his version of Smallville, his work is perfection. And how adorable is Ma Mxyzptlk?

    When I was a kid I wanted to live in Carmine Infantino’s Central City, it was so blooming slick and futuristic.

    The Legion artist Terry’s extremely discerning daughter likes is John Forte. Hey, we should have a show featuring Discerning Daughter and Shagg’s Precocious Princess! Call it Fire and Daughter Team-Up.

  2. Oh, man. Loved this episode so much, even more than usual, because you’re again covering one of the treasuries I actually had back in the day. In fact, this one, together with the Batman treasury – the very one in the house ad on your gallery page – are, I think, among the first treasury books I ever had (I’m pretty sure Bicentennial Battles was the first). And it was because of that house ad. It was in one of the comics I had, and the little 8 year-old me begged and pleaded with my mom until she agreed to write out that check for a whopping $3 so I could send away for those. I still remember how they arrived in one of those big, brown cardboard mailers. I kept the mailer to store them, and to carry them around (like to school, to show off to my friends).
    As for the stories inside, I recall liking the Batman book better. In this one, I liked, or at least best remember, the Flash and Superboy stories – unlike Terry, the giant mosquito really made an impression on me, and I still fondly recall that splash page to this day.
    That diorama on the back cover tempted me back then: in that early stage of my comics reading I often cut up my comic books, but even I decided to give my scissors a rest rather than try to take on that challenge…

  3. The Catwoman story that was in this treasury is one of my favorite “it’s so crazy I love it” stories from the Golden Age. I mean, she just didn’t get amnesia. No, that’s for lesser villains. She FELL OUT OF AN F’N PLANE and got amnesia. That’s how they do it in Gotham. And the bit with the villain being who the villain is was legit clever. There is a follow up story where we see Selina working a regular job and getting annoyed at the press Batman gets, because comics in the golden age.

    I love that they used the WANTED logo in this treasury. I stumbled across that series years ago and unless I accidentally put it in the wrong box that series is among the comics that survived the purge last year. I bought it and filed it away as a “someday I will podcast about this because this is a great hook for a mini-series show”, so hopefully I didn’t accidentally sell it. Which I keep discovering has happened. This is what it sounds like, when doves cry.

    Awesome to finally have a voice to Ward Hill Terry. He was a great co-host and the thing with his daughter at the end made me smile.

    Can’t wait for the next one, Rob.

  4. Great episode. That cover is just the most exciting thing ever. Is it me, or was the mid-to-late-‘70s a golden age (so to speak) for DC villains? Maybe it’s because that’s the era of my earliest comics memories, and I’ve always been a sucker for colorful archnemeses. (When I finally read Secret Society Of Super Villains a few years ago, I was in sort-of heaven—loved it, but wish it had been better.)

    That diorama is indeed tempting, no matter how hard it would be to assemble properly. Shouldn’t someone be making modern diorama kits for nostalgic adult nerds like us?

    Finally, perhaps my memory is failing me (in this regard; it’s definitely failing me in countless other ways), but I believe that Catwoman costume featurette was included in the Greatest Batman Stories Vol. 2 TB released in 1992, full of nothing but Catwoman and Penguin stories (to capitalize on Batman Returns, of course). Sold my copy many moons ago, alas I cannot check.

    1. Your memory’s good, Noah – there’s a reworked version of it in that brilliant book (which also gives us two pages on the Penguin’s brollies), I’ve added a scan of it to the @TreasuryComics Twitter notice for this episode.

  5. Fun show! I actually have this treasury. I think I picked up a pretty beat-up copy cheap at Heroes Con.

    That Catwoman costume page was reprinted in The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told Vol. 2, which was all Catwoman and Penguin stories to tie into the release of Batman Returns in 1992. I doubt many of these feature pages got reprinted elsewhere, but this one did!

    H.G. Peter’s art always looked like woodcuts to me. He was an older fella when he co-created Wonder Woman, so he actually illustrated at the turn of the century when that style of artwork was still very much in vogue.

    Terry was a great guest, looking forward to hearing more from him!


  6. Thank you for the show, guys. I’m always glad to see a new treasury cast.

    Since we have books on comics history, archives, internet, etc nowadays, I hope we don’t forget what a thrill collections like this were for readers back then, who didn’t have much access to character’s pasts. Although I stated collecting Batman in Fall 1976, I didn’t learn the origins of most of “big 5” villains until the Legend of the Batman miniseries and the one-page origins in Batman’s Villains digest. This treasury pre-dates when I began collecting, but, of course, I have it now.

    Weird that there are two Cat-themed, female villains in one treasury. I think the will she stay reformed or revert back to evil presented a great number of story possibilities for Catwoman. It added an extra dynamic of should Batman trust her. There is a follow-up to this story called “The King of Cats” where Selina seems to have returned to crime and Batman seems jealous of the “King” and his relationship to Selina. Too bad the comics code came along to squash the good guy in love with the bad girl trope, or we may have gotten more interesting stories. Selina had returned to straight-up bad guy by the time she disappeared in the 50s.

    Has anyone noticed how well-paced Bill Finger’s stories are? As much as I love the bronze age, sometimes the stories do end too abruptly. Finger always seemed to work his stories into whatever space he was allotted. Finger was such a brilliant writer.

    Compared to some tales from the typewriter of William Moulton Marston, the Cheetah story seems downright subdued. Most of his stories were much weirder than this. Considering what we know of his real-life, I’m sure the “darling” kiss panel after Wonder Woman escapes the water trap was intentionally sapphic. We all know about the huge amount of bondage in WW stories of the time, but I wonder if he slipped in some of other fetish stuff because he had all these fetishes or he just wanted to titillate readers into buying the book. Golden Age Wonder Woman stories are fun because they are just so bat-crap crazy! I truly do love them.

    DC really missed out not having a Flash treasury full of Infantino art. Well, I guess considering the reduced page counts and the fact that we got an Infantino Flash here, in the first Super-Villains treasury and in the Best of DC treasury, we almost got a treasury worth of Infantino Flash content. Ok, we didn’t, but I’m just trying to look on the bright side.

    Not a complaint, because I really enjoyed the show, but is there a reason you covered this sequel treasury before the original Secret Origins of Super-Villains?

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