Yes, I know there’s some contention over when the Silver Age began.

§ August 5th, 2022 § Filed under dc comics, multiverse talk § 18 Comments

Gonna start responding to some of your Multiverse Talk comments here, though I do have more multiverse content to come. Just thought I’d get a head start:

Daniel sez

“DC would have been better served if their in-universe history had played out like it did in Darwyn Cooke’s DC: The New Frontier, with it all taking place on the same Earth, and with Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman bridging the gap between the JSA generation and the JLA generation.”

The big reason I like this idea is that it reflects what happened in the real world…DC’s 1940s heroes all went away, only starting to come back, what, five years later with the debut of Silver Age Flash. During that interim period Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman continued to be published, presumably as they were the biggest money-makers, perhaps in sales but certainly in licensing.

The one downside, perhaps, at least as far as the publisher’s desire to maintain an I’s status quo, is that this would age the Supes/Bats/WW trinity. Okay, maybe not Wonder Woman, who’s generally portrayed as immortal. And I know some would argue Superman is also immortal, but I think, in my wholly unverified opinion, that we’ve had enough “Old Supes” stories over the years that the idea of that character aging is probably generally accepted.

Regardless, having S/B/WW around for the Golden Age of Heroes, then a brief intermission, then being the Older Still Active Heroes once the Silver Agers start showing up, that would put their ages at…well, I guess it depends on 1) how long the Golden Age was in-story; and 2) how long the break between generations was. In the real world, Superman first appeared in 1938, and, let’s see, All-Star Comics #57 in late 1950 was the end of the Justice Society’s original run. The Silver Age launched with the arrival of the new Flash in Showcase #4. So with these examples, we have Supes active for 12 years until DC’s Golden Age ended, he hung around for 6 years, and then boom, the Silver Age.

Thus at the beginning of the Silver Age, Superman is however old he was in the original comics, let’s say 30, add 16 on top of that, so he’s about 46 as the Silver Age begins. NOW, for in-story purposes none of that matters, as it could be established the Golden Aqe was a whole year long, the break was a year long, and thus Superman’s still in his early 30s when the new cast of Silver Agers move in.

I mean, that’s all just playing with numbers trying to sort out that particular hypothetical circumstance. But then Daniel also sez

“I think the biggest mistake that DC made was to narratively tie the Earth-Two characters to a fixed point in history (e.g., World War II). Just as the Earth-One characters perpetually took place in “the present,” there’s no reason that the Earth-Two characters couldn’t have perpetually taken place ’20 years ago’ without being tied to a specific historical period.”

The two solutions would be, as you said, making their prime active years “twenty years ago,” which will still feel weird to us old fanboys (the JSA active circa 2002? egads) but that’s the only way to really do it, I guess. Though they could “Captain America”-it and establish they were “stuck in limbo staving off Ragnarok” or something. The other solution is to put them on a parallel Earth where the heroes did debut during WWII, and journeys to that Earth either bring you to that wartime era, or, if you want older heroes, to, like, that’s Earth’s “present” which would be set in the 1970s or thereabouts. That avoids messing with “main Earth” and its sliding-scale “our heroes first showed up 5/10/20 years ago” universe.

A long time ago on this site, somewhere, where I can’t find it now, I noted one (only one?) of the weird things about the Smallville TV show is how what is essentially the Superboy part of the Superman story is taking place “now.” We, The Comic Book Fans, are used to Superboy stories set “15 years before now,” and sometimes reflecting the world as it existed (like “Superboy’s Mission for President Kennedy!” or, in New Adventures of Superboy, seeing the occasional hippie). Moving the Adventures of Clark Kent as a Really Tall Boy in Smallville to current day just seems weird to those of us familiar with the source material, in the same way moving the JSA’s origins away from its WWII era would feel equally odd.

Again, just for the folks used to it. If DC insists on giving the JSA its own “20-30 years ago” sliding timescale, we old folks just have to get used to it, and assuming DC remains consistent with its application (and that’s a big assumption) it just becomes the norm for newer readers regardless of how many angry letters 50+ year JSA fans write to the Comic Buyers’ Guide, despite it being defunct.

18 Responses to “Yes, I know there’s some contention over when the Silver Age began.”

  • Did any of DC’s “main” Golden Age characters ever have battles in Europe during WWII? (By the way, I liked very much how James Robinson’s came with Parsifal in THE GOLDEN AGE as a reason why this never happened, not Spear of Destiny stuff.)

    Point being, there’s a war. As there was in Korea. And Vietnam. Etc. Keep Parsifal as the guy who keeps the JSA from helping in wars and forget exactly which dictator owns a Spear of Destiny.

    OR.Have the JSA exist in 20XX and have Per Degaton shunt them back in time to the 40s where they are stuck for a few years. In the STARGIEL Summer Special last year, Green Arrow tells the origins of the Seven Soldiers of Victory to Courtney, saying yes, he and Speedy were in the 40s for a bit thanks to Chronos. I actually found that to be brilliant.

    The JSA in the 40s for a random unnamed year? Count me in. Or a few years, to keep them that much older than the Silver Age guys.

    A few friends I know who write crime novels started their careers in the 90s, so of course the cops fought were Vietnam vets. The books happen in Real Time, so in one instance, a cop fought in the First Gulf War, another in some vague post-9/11 tour of duty in Afghanistan or Iraq (to explain battle scars). So it happens without the main characters suddenly working into their mid-70s.

    Mike, if you still have copies of that STARGIRL special, check it out. I’ll be damned if I didn’t love Green Arrow’s being in the SSoV after all.

  • There’s a scene in, I think, a satellite-era JLA, where a couple of the other heroes are talking about Superman in some dramatic moment, and one says “He was the first.” And that’s the problem I always had with post-Crisis continuity – Superman *should* be the first superhero. The resonance between his real-world impact and his in-story impact being equivalent carried a lot of weight, and I think it still would. I could never get with his being a second- or third-generation hero.

  • Daniel T says:

    I wish people could get over the notion that any Age of comics began with a certain year or a certain issue. You can’t say the Silver Age began in 1956 any more than you can say there was one specific year Homo habilis became Homo erectus–it’s a continuum.

    Maybe Crisis on Infinite Earths was the end of the Bronze Age, but Ronin, American Flagg, Nexus, TMNT, Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, Mister X, Love & Rockets etc. are definitely not Bronze Age comics.

  • Daniel T: For what it worth, I’ve never really thought of “Ages” other than with DC and with Marvel. Not as much for the latter, but because of Timely. (And so Silver Age a haze between 1955 and 1964(?) ) Again, DC and Marvel.

    If it was Bronze Age, I’d say the start of independents like First and Eclipse. And I wouldn’t think Ronin or Swamp Thing (or Watchmen or Dark Knight Returns), the others are, and I guess Atlas from the mid 80s would be Bronze Age, too. But that’s just me.

    When I worked at a comic shop in the 90s, there was talk of a new age, like Platinum o Chromium. This at a time when stores were closing left and right.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    I disagree with Daniel T.’s comment that “Ronin, American Flagg, Nexus, TMNT, Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, Mister X, Love & Rockets etc. are definitely not Bronze Age comics.” To me, the beauty of the Bronze Age is that it was a time when the creative energies of the first fan generation–mostly comprised of Baby Boomers–unleashed its creativity and brought idealism, revolution, edgy sci-fi and fantasy tropes, a certain underground sensibility, a sense of humor, and a social conscience to comics. By the early eighties the comics Daniel T. mentions were being made by creators who still fall into the overall Baby Boomers cohort–it’s just that most of them were late wave Boomers who had come of age in the mid-to-late ’70s when Bowie, The Ramones and The Sex Pistols were impacting youth culture, rather than in the mid-to-late ’60s, which was when the early wave comic creator Boomers such as Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Steve Gerber, and Steve Englehart came of age — in the era of The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and The Stones.

    Howard Chaykin (born in 1950) began as an assistant to Gil Kane, Wally Wood, and Neal Adams and started getting published at DC in the early 1970s at the start of the Bronze Age. Chaykin’s American Flagg, to an extent, built on the characters Chaykin had previously created in the ’70s: Cody Starbuck; Ironwolf; The Scorpion; and Dominic Fortune–but added more political satire and a dystopian future. So, he skews a bit on the older side but was just hitting his early thirties when he created American Flagg.

    Mike Baron (born in 1949) and Steve Rude (born in 1956) published their first issue of Nexus in 1981; art-wise Nexus owed a debt to master comic artists Alex Toth, Jack Kirby, Russ Manning, and Doug Wildey–building on their Silver Age art styles. I would guess that chances are that before creating Nexus, Baron had also read and absorbed most of Jim Starlin’s “cosmic” comics work on Captain Marvel, Warlock, and in the groundbreaking underground/independent anthology comic Star*Reach, published by Bronze Age writer Mike Friedrich, since Nexus’ backstory seems to me to owe some elements to Starlin’s sci-fi themes.

    Alan Moore (born in 1953) embraced the counterculture in his youth (he was a tripper before he became a wizard), published poetry and essays in fanzines in the late ’60s, became a member of the Northampton Arts Lab, and began writing professionally in the late ’70s in the U.K. for 2000 AD and Warrior magazines. Moreover, when Len Wein (as editor) brought Moore on board for Saga of the Swamp Thing, Moore was initially working with– and eventually brilliantly reworking and redefining–one of the early Bronze Age of comics’ most important and era-defining DC characters. Also bear in mind that Moore came on Saga of the Swamp Thing after Martin Pasko (and Dan Mishkin) had written the first nineteen issues, so he took over (in 1984) on a Bronze Age comic which had started its volume 2 run in 1982.

    With TMNT’s debut in 1984, Kevin Eastman (born in 1962) and Peter Laid (born in 1954) built on and parodied tropes from popular Bronze Age franchises of the era, New Teen Titans, Daredevil; The X-Men, and–arguably–Howard the Duck. The first three franchises listed all trace their roots back to the Silver Age of comics (though with some different characters on the original Teen Titans and X-Men teams), even if they reached their zenith in the early ’80s Bronze Age of comics. Howard the Duck dates back to the mid ’70s–which makes him a total Bronze Age character–and the pivotal anthropomorphic character of the era–until the Turtles stole his anthropomorphic thunder. So one can argue that the TMNT debuted on the cusp of a new age of comics, but they still were first published in the late Bronze Age–as a send up of Bronze Age characters.

    As with Steve Rude, Mario Hernandez (born in 1953), Gilberto “Beto” Hernandez (born in 1957) and Jaime Hernandez (born in 1959) drew (no pun intended) a lot of their artistic influences from the likes of Silver Age greats like Steve Ditko, Wally Wood, Jack Kirby, Russ Manning, Alex Toth, Harry Lucey, Samm Schwartz, and Dan DeCarlo–as well as famous comic strip artists like Ernie Bushmiller (Nancy) and Hank Ketcham (Dennis the Menace)–which they then filtered through their unique talents and sensibilities on Love and Rockets (which debuted in ’81 with the self-published issue–then got picked up by Fantagraphics in ’82) ; Mr. X (which debuted in 1983); and other projects. And even before Love and Rockets, Los Bros had their fantastic fan art published in The Comics Journal and other fanzines in the late ’70s. One might make a compelling case that Love and Rockets is its own thing and highly personal and it exists outside of comics Age categories, but if Beto’s first story, “BEM,” harkens back to anything, it almost seems like its a highly creative and stylized, punk rock reimagining of a Steve Ditko monster of the week story from late Silver/early Bronze Age Charlton Comics. The character design of Castle Radium (the hero whom the evil BEM defeats) even has a clean cut Ditko-hero look to him. Jaime, too, in his early stories, mixes the punk rock aesthetic with tropes from early Bronze Age (and some Silver Age) romance comics and Archie comics…of course he refashions these tropes by creating the endearing Maggie and Hopey and their on-again off-again romance. I will concede that, due to the characters in Love and Rockets aging in real time, at a certain point, the series does evolve into its own thing outside of “Ages” of comics–but I think the first several issues of Love and Rockets would qualify as late Bronze Age creations due to the more sci-fi and Heavy Metal Magazine-esque elements to be found in them–before Palomar and Hoppers 13 become the main locals for long story arcs which will yield amazing character development and great humanist storytelling.

    Mr. X creator Dean Motter is also a Baby Boomer–although I couldn’t track down his exact year of birth. And again, early Mr. X stories aesthetically owe a debt to some of the retro-Futurist stories published in Metal Hurlant, as well as to German Expressionist films such as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari.

    Finally, Frank Miller (born in 1957) definitely comes on the scene as a Bronze Age artist, first published professionally in 1978 in Gold Key Comics’ Twilight Zone no. 84; soon followed in the same year by some short stories at DC for Weird War Tales; and getting his first gig at Marvel on John Carter Warlord of Mars no. 18–also published in ’78. He began doing Daredevil in ’79, at first drawing Roger McKenzie’s scripts. Ronin–which I think is the best thing Miller ever both wrote and illustrated–came out in 1983-84. Sure, Ronin filtered Miller’s love of samurai manga (such as Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima’s Lone Wolf and Cub) into his pre-existing style, but to me it is still a Bronze Age comic; just like Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson’s Manhunter (Paul Kirk) stories probably seemed avant-garde and visually aesthetically jarring and ahead of the curve in 1973…but ultimately they are still Bronze Age comics.

    So, I think there are a few things to bear in mind when considering what constitutes the Bronze Age of comics:

    1. Just how large and vast the Baby Boomer cohort is–it is defined as a generation born from 1946 to 1964. So, I would say that any Baby Boomers who entered the comics field professionally in their late teens/early twenties definitely fall into the Bronze Age of comics as far as their early published work goes, if they first got published in or prior to 1985.

    2. The impact of both the counterculture and underground comics sensibilities on Bronze Age Comics–such as Roy Thomas and Barry Windsor-Smith’s iteration of Conan; Steve Gerber’s acerbic Man-Thing, Howard the Duck, etc., stories; and Steve Englehart and Frank Brunner (on Doctor Strange) and Jim Starlin’s “cosmic” consciousness stories (both of which helped make Marvel seem cool in the ’70s and influenced the slightly younger Boomer writers and artists who would emerge by the end of the decade and into the early ’80s–like Bill Mantlo, Peter B. Gillis, etc.) Even the mid-70s X-Men reboot by Len Wein, Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum owes a debt to the ideals of the counter culture (and possibly Star Trek T.O.S.) what with its new, international brotherhood of mutants striving for survival and a better tomorrow.

    3. The huge, huge impact that Metal Hurlant/Heavy Metal Magazine–which is definitely a franchise that started in the Bronze Age (Metal Hurlant debuted in 1975), (Heavy Metal debuted in 1977)–had on the American comics industry.
    Arguably, without Heavy Metal Magazine there would not have been an Independent and Alternative comics creators’ rights-based industry that took off in a big way in the early ’80s–allowing American Flagg (Chaykin even contributed to Heavy Metal Magazine pre-American Flagg…and is it possible that comic strips published in Heavy Metal Magazine like RanXerox by Tamburini and Liberatori helped prime the pump for American Flagg?); Nexus; TNMT; Love and Rockets; Mr. X; Ronin; etc., etc., to flourish as they did. For those of us who were young when this comics renaissance was all happening in real time it was definitely an amazing time to be alive!

    So, the reason I mention the years of birth for all of these creators except for Dean Motter (whose info. I couldn’t find) is just to illustrate that most of these Baby Boomer comics guys whose comics were mentioned by Daniel T. were born during the 1950s –Kevin Eastman is a slight outlier, having been born in 1962–but he’s still a late Boomer–because the Generation X cohort births begin circa 1965. Of course, one could divide the Boomers into the categories of early Boomers who had to worry about the Draft and Vietnam (and some who were in the war), and late Boomers who came of age after the Vietnam War was over, but my point is, even though it is a large cohort on the whole, they all grew up during the same general era–so, yes Jaime Hernandez in his early twenties is all punk rock Nardcore and designing album sleeves for local Oxnard bands Agression (sic) and Dr. Know, but, moving back in time, hypothetically, five year old Jaime Hernandez was listening to the Beatles and the Stones on his mom’s transistor radio in 1965, just like fifteen year old Mike Baron would most likely have been doing concurrently on his own transistor radio–although circa 1980 Mike Baron (circling in on thirtieth birthday) was maybe digging The Weirdos, The Dils, or The Dead Boys. But music snob Howard Chaykin would have always been listening to jazz…(LOL). So, as we hit 1980 or so, yes, more of a Punk Rock, New Wave, or Alternative aesthetic is coming to the surface in some independent North American comics, but that is still happening in what is technically the (late) Bronze Age of comics.

    There’s no hard rule, but if the Golden Age of Comics is supposed to be from roughly 1938–the debut of Superman–until the mid-1950s, it would seem that on average a specific “Age” of comics might span fifteen, seventeen, maybe even up to twenty years (as some would argue that the Golden Age began in the mid-1930s with the publication of Famous Funnies and New Fun Comics).

    I suppose that just as some argue for the post-WWII yet pre-Silver Age ten year gap being called “The Atomic Age” of comics, one could make the case that somehow 1980 was a “Year Zero” reset and that the early ’80s comics should be called “The New Wave Age,” “The Punk Age,” “The Independent Age,” or–horror of horrors–“The Reagan Age” of comics…but I would counter that The Bronze Age of Comics spans from The Nixon Administration through at least the first term of the Reagan Administration (from 1969 to 1984) and maybe even further–up to the late ’80s. The Bronze Age of Comics, as I see it, spanned both the hippie rebellion, anti-Vietnam War, Feminist, Social Justice, and Environmentalist movements of the late ’60s/early ’70s (read any Denny O’Neil comic from the early ’70s to see what I’m talking about) as well as the jaded post-Watergate, Anti-Iran Contra, Punk Rock, highly cynical era of the late ’70s into the early ’80s (read Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, and Watchmen; American Flagg; Love and Rockets; etc.). Everything builds on things that have come before and nothing is created in a vacuum. Without exposure to Fellini’s and Buñuel’s films (such as I Vitelloni, La Dolce Vita, and Los Olvidados) and Ernie Busmiller’s Fritzi Ritz, and Steve Ditko’s art as a template, would Beto Hernandez’s Palomor stories have been possible as we know them? Without Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson’s first iteration of Swamp Thing, what would Alan Moore–brilliant though he is–have had to build on and mold for DC Comics when they first recruited him? Without Space Ghost and Adam Warlock would Nexus exist? Without Denny O’Neil and Mike Kaluta’s retro adaptation of pulp fiction hero The Shadow in the early ’70s would we have been gifted with Dave Stevens’ retro character The Rocketeer? I’m just saying that a lot of the late wave Baby Boomers took the Bronze Age tropes and characters that first wave Boomers laid out for them and then did their own thing with them–but those works created up until at least the mid-80s still fall under the umbrella of the Bronze Age, as I see it. And I still think the Bronze Age was and remains the best age of comics so far because it covered so much ground…its much better than the Dark Age of comics…

  • Sean Mageean says:

    I totally agree with Walaka of Earth Two’s comment. Superman was and should remain the first superhero. One can argue that The Clock, by George Brenner, is the first fully masked vigilante hero in comics(he debuted in 1936 in Funny Picture Stories no. 1 and was first published by Comics Magazine Company but eventually landed over at Quality Comics). Of course, Siegel and Shuster’s Doctor Occult predates Superman by a few years (1935) and while he’s a mystical character, he’s not really a superhero in the traditional sense of the word. I think that was one of the cool things about Geoff Johns’ Doomsday Clock…the notion that Superman is the first superhero in various iterations across various timelines. Also,I think satellite-era JLA was the funnest era of the JLA. Also agreed that post-Crisis
    continuity was a disaster. Having a Multiverse is a good thing…having only one Earth is very limited.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Wayne Allen Sallee, I’m pretty sure James Robinson and Paul Smith’s Golden Age is an Elseworlds story. Personally, I think the “Spear of Destiny” idea worked well. I suggest you read Paul Levitz and Joe Staton’s “The Untold Origin of the Justice Society” from DC Special no. 29 (Sep. 1977)–it’s retoactive continuity, but the future JSA members The Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Dr. Fate, Hourman, The Spectre, The Sandman, The Atom,(and honorary members) Batman and Superman do end up in battling Nazis in Europe in the early days of WW II before America entered the war. I also suggest you check out Roy Thomas’s All-Star Squadron run if you haven’t already. There is a story arc in there where various JSA members including Allan Scott, Carter Hall, Al Pratt, etc.(but not Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, or Jay Garrick) join the armed forces in their civilian identities–which I think Thomas was basing on an actual JSA story published in All-Star Comics in the ’40s…or actual stories in those individual characters solo stories in the comics they were featured in. But definitely, All-Star Comics published war time propaganda stories in the early ’40s where the JSA fought the Axis powers: Already in All-Star Comics no. 7 (Oct. 1941) there is story called “The JSA Raises $1,000,000 for War Orphans. In All-Star Comics no.9, (Feb. 1942) the JSA gets into “Hemisphere Defense” and travels to various Latin American countries to make sure Nazis aren’t infiltrating. In All-Star Comics no. 11 and 12 (June and Aug. 1942) The JSA appears in a story titled “The Justice Society of America Joins the War on Japan,” and another titled “The Black Dragon Menace.” In All-Star Comics no. 14 (Dec. 1942) the JSA fights the Nazis in Europe in a story called “Food for Starving Patriots!”- with Sandman in Greece, Hawkman in France, Atom in Holland, Johnny Thunder in Czechoslovakia, Starman in Poland, Spectre in Belgium, Dr. Mid-nite in Norway, and Dr.Fate in Germany. All-Star Comics no. 24 (March 1945) features the story “This is Our Enemy” set in Germany–I think this might be the only time the original Mister Terrific was actually shown as a JSA member in the Golden Age. Finally, in Dec 1945, All-Star Comics no. 27, the story “A Place in the World sees the JSA supporting people who are physically disabled–especially injured WW veterans attempting to transition back to civilian life.

  • Daniel T says:

    Technically, The Golden Age is Elseworlds, but most elements of it were introduced into regular DC continuity by James Robinson and Geoff Johns in Starman and JSA.

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    Yes, it started as Elseworlds (though not on the covers), but in a recent Flash comic where Wally West met Jay Garrick, it started with GA Flash and The Ray (Robinson loved Quality heroes) were taken captive and almost beaten to death. And Parsifal is mentioned.

    Sean: I did read that Untold History and it was pretty good. But every story involving the Spear of Destiny or Covenant of the Ark meant no heroes in Europe. Never bothered me since there were so many artists and writers that I can understand the conflictions.)

    Regardless, I loved the way Green Arrow wasn’t killed in COIE but was trapped in the 40s with the Seven Soldiers of Victory, as always. So having certain heroes sent to 1942 and aging a few years because they were stuck until 1945 or 1952, the All-Star stories would actually exist, and I say all this only if DC decides to make them present day and 90 years old.

    Better than explanations like exposure to Dr. Fate’s magic kept them young. That excuse, or something close, was in some story or arc I can’t really remember. Possibly Mark Waid’s JLA: Year One. Hourman and Alan Scott are in a cage with Silver Age characters on the cover of the trade.

    THE GOLDEN AGE had an anniversary trade out a few years back. Anyone who enjoys the JSA, I encourage anyone reading this to buy it. The writing is great and Paul Smith’s art is incredible.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Wayne Allen Sallee, thanks for the info. I’ve cut way back on current DC Comics but I did pick up that issue of the Flash just because I saw The Ray guest starring and figured it would be an enjoyable read. On a side note, a few years ago I managed to purchase a low grade copy of Smash Comics no. 21 (April, 1941) that has The Ray on the cover and Lou Fine art on The Ray story…also Jack Cole art on the Midnight story.The All-Star Squadron issues that featured the majority of the Freedom Fighters characters in “The Battle of Santa Barbara” is a very fun read.

    I wish DC would just let Roy Thomas jump back onto All-Star Squadron from where he left off –even if it were to be a Black Label or deluxe series with a lower print run at a higher price point, I think there are enough readers of a certain age who would buy it.

    As to the whole aging of the JSA —there are too many stories I haven’t read to know what the latest twist on that is, but I actually thought the Dr. Fate’s magic and/or Ragnarok idea wasn’t too bad. There was also an anti-aging explanation offered up in early issues of Infinity, Inc. that referred back to a classic JSA story
    published in the ’40s as to why some of the team members aging was slowed down. Beyond that, other possible answers could be The Spectre making it so …possibly even bringing back deceased JSA members…I don’t know if this has already happened in established stories or not. Another plausible explanation for at least half of the Golden Age JSA team still seeming to be in their fifties physically even if they are actually pushing one hundred would just be the results of their power set: Dr. Fate (Kent Nelson), and Jim Corrigan (The Spectre) are easy enough to explain because of their magic-based powers–and this could extend to any magic-based All-Star Squadron members as well such as Zatara, Doctor Occult, Sargon, etc. I think it would also not be too big of a stretch to have Jay Garrick and Alan Scott’s longevity explained due to their power sets…Garrick’s accident with “hard water/heavy water” and him having a latent metagene…and there’s always the Speed Force…and Scott’s exposure to the energy from his power ring could account for his seeming younger than he is. With Hawkman and Hawkwoman you’ve got the whole reincarnation thing going on anyway…but maybe they have longevity due to ancient Egyptian talismans or something. Johnny Thunder has the Thunderbolt who could have kept him seeming younger. Superman and Power Girl are from Krypton, so that could easily explain their longevity. The original Wonder Woman is an Amazon and her daughter is half-Amazon. Then you’ve got characters like the original Starman and the original Hourman where the effects of the cosmic rod and Miraclo could
    explain for them having longevity. The original Atom gained super strength –and possibly longevity–as a result of his battle with Cyclotron. The original Batman and Mr. Terrific already passed away before COIE, so I think that should remain canon (but if one wanted them still around it could be argued that with both Bruce Wayne’s and Terry Sloane’s fortunes and genius level IQ’s they could have perfected nanobots to keep them seeming younger…and the original Dr. Mid-nite and Wildcat could have nanobots in their systems as well–or Wildcat (Ted Grant) might have a metagene healing factor. The original Black Canary backstory seems so convoluted, but, again, when her latent sonic scream/canary cry manifested itself, it might also have indicated a metagene that greatly reduces her aging process. So, I know there are lots of JSA stories I haven’t read yet from the last several decades, and I know some characters died in Zero Hour, or in the Robinson run of JSA, or the subsequent runs…but I do think that fan favorite core characters Jay Garrick, Alan Scott, Kent Nelson, Carter and Shiera Sanders Hall, and Ted Grant should still remain as JSA members who can trace their history back to WW II and have greatly reduced the ravages of time. If Marvel can have Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, Nick Fury, et al, pushing one hundred years of age, why can’t DC do the same? For the rest of the JSA, I’m cool with occasional cameos from Kal-l and Jim Corrigan Spectre and any other Golden Age characters the writers might want to bring in. I’m also cool with having the second, third, or fourth guy or gal take up the mantle of Mr. Terrific, Hourman, Dr. Mid-nite, Wildcat, Starman, Sandman, and so on. I’m definitely down to have original Power Girl, Robin, and Huntress on the team (and again, maybe Richard Grayson and Helena Wayne could have nanobots keeping them vital?) — and I think during the Convergence event from 2015, it was implied that original Earth 2 Grayson was going to take up the mantle of Earth 2 Batman–which would be cool. Also down to have Infinity, Inc. members or some of the recent pre-New 52 JSA additions including Cyclone and Jakeem Thunder.

    I agree with Robinson that Quality Comics characters are great and sadly underutilized by DC –wasn’t that into the reboot versions of Phantom Lady and Dollman from a
    few years back, however. I think it could be fun to see a story arc set in the ’40s where you could get an All-American Comics (DC)/Quality Comics/Fawvcett Comics cross-over adventure where the Golden Age iterations of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Bullet Man and Bullet Girl, and Doll Man and Doll Girl all star together.

    Lastly, yes Paul Smith is a great artist! My favorite story he did is Marvel Fanfare no. 4 –with Chris Claremont and Terry Austin–featuring the X-Men in the Savage Land.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Daniel T., I guess I should search for and read Robinson’s Starman run –I’ve heard that it is very good!
    I did buy most of the Robinson/Goyer JSA run several years ago and some of the Johns Justice Society of America run but haven’t put aside the time to read them yet. Right before the New 52 (unfortunately) happened, I picked up a few of the Guggenheim issues of Justice Society of America and enjoyed them for the most part…I didn’t like Alan Scott not being called Green Lantern any more or being costumed ridiculously as a giant power battery…that was just…not good.

    As I see it, one of the things that always made the original Golden Age JSA characters a lot cooler than their Silver Age Earth One counterparts was their great costumes–especially Kent Nelson, Jay Garrick and Alan
    Scott’s costumes.

  • Billy says:

    Sorry Mike, I lost it when I realized that I am now older than Golden Age Superman and the whole rest of the post went over my head!

  • David Conner says:

    Having been a fan during the ’80s, I definitely thought of the Bronze Age as something that was *in the past*, though admittedly when and why it ended was vague.

    I saw the ’80s as something different, and symbolized by the kind of titles Daniel T referenced.

    In retrospect, I think I still agree with that, with the rise of the direct market being the key to whatever we call the age following Bronze.

  • Cassandra Miller says:

    Seeing this on Monday morning, and I’m surprised no one mentioned this:

    Mike, the main reason Wonder Woman survived into the 50s has to do with the terms of the original contract between AA/National and Marston. If there came a period where she didn’t appear in a comic published for a certain length of time (I’ve heard two months), the rights would revert to the Marston estate. So, Wonder Woman might be the first comic that continued to be published solely for a rights issue!

  • Snark Shark says:

    Cassandra Miller: “So, Wonder Woman might be the first comic that continued to be published solely for a rights issue!”


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