Still technically a “Multiverse Talk” post.

§ September 30th, 2022 § Filed under multiverse talk § 11 Comments

So this panel has been, as they say, living rent-free in my head ever since I first read it in All-Star Squadron #3 way back in 1981:

As a 12-year-old, I thought that was pretty much the height of wit, and even now as a slightly-more-than-12-year-old it amuses me a bit. Yes, “All-Star Squadron” is a good, catchy title, but how do you shorten it without showing your whole…well, you know?

Now here’s the thing: while I read the first dozen or so issues of the series at the time (and then dipped back in on occasion on and off ’til its eventual cancellation), I can’t for the life of me recall just how they got around it in the editorial/letters pages? This just wasn’t a joke for a comic book, it was probably a small concern behind the scenes as well, as titles were regularly shortened for convenience (like JLA, DET, ADV, LSH, A&A, B&HB, ADVDMJL, etc.).

This will be a question I might be able to answer for myself once I get back to the shop and poke through the stock, but does anyone recall what they did? My suspicion is that they eschews abbreviations entirely, or just called it ALL-STAR or something. I feel like ASQ would be the ideal solution, but I don’t know what they did, or at least I won’t for a few hours.

Anyway, it’s funny that it’s Superman that gets to the off-color gag first. Though, it’s fine because this is the Earth-2 Superman and he always seemed to be a little more rough ‘n’ tumble given his Golden Age origins. Also, that panel gives you a bonus look at Hawkman’s weirdo fullface mask. Like, what is up with that tongue, dude?

There you go, a silly sorta-throwaway joke from Roy Thomas, Rich Buckler and Jerry Ordway. And only “sorta” because I’m sure what Superman was saying was exactly what Rascally Roy and the DC editors were thinking.

11 Responses to “Still technically a “Multiverse Talk” post.”

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Mike: I think Roy made a joke about it in the letter column page as well, but I think the hyphen saved the day: “A-SS” keeping it on the right side of the Comics Code Authority, whereas “ASS” would have got slapped…

    Re: Superboy meets Bonnie & Clyde…I may have cracked the case! Wort Weisinger is to blame!

    According to Wikipedia:

    “In the late 1950s, Superman comic editor Mort Weisinger decided to place all of Superboy’s adventures in an early-to-mid-1930s setting, in light of Superman’s first comic appearance being in 1938. In 1970, the Superboy writing staff decided to “update” Superboy by setting his book always about 15 years behind Superman. This resulted in the 1970s stories featuring Superboy being set in the 1950s.

    Starting with the debut in 1980 of a new Superboy comic, the Boy of Steel’s era was moved up again, to take place in the late 1960s/early 1970s. This also explained Superman’s shifting age within his own comic books.”

  • Dave says:

    Thomas’s tin ear for flat dialogue is unsurpassed.

  • joecab says:

    I also thought this joke was hilarious and remember checking the lettercols to see how they would deal with it. As I recall, they simply called it “All-Star”.

  • adam fore says:

    I have always been puzzled by the OG hawkman mask. imagine having a conversation with someone wearing a mask like that. it’s a great example of artists replicating another artist’s idiosyncracies to the detriment of their own work.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    I actually think the Earth-Two Hawkman full face mask with the tongue is badass looking–and much better than his yellow mask from the late Golden Age through the early Bronze Age or the golden helmet he wore during the late Bronze Age. Although the mask he wore in his very first appearance in Flash Comics no. 1 is also cool looking.

    I also think Joe Kubert’s Hawkman and Hawkgirl costume redesigns for the Silver Age were very cool looking –although Murphy Anderson is my favorite Silver Age Hawkman artist.

    Here’s a cool link to Hawkman through the decades–unfortunately it doesn’t show his very first mask, but otherwise I think it’s fairly thorough.

    These two links are fun as well!

  • Aaron says:

    While I agree with Sean that Thomas used the abbreviation A-SS, I’m really here to say that I love that look on Supes face as he’s staring down at the Atom. *We all did our part to save the President, even you, you Little Guy* is clearly in his thought bubble.

  • Snark Shark says:


    “or just called it ALL-STAR”

    I think that’s what they did.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “Superboy meets Bonnie & Clyde”

    Funny movie for DC to cash-in on, given their squeaky-clean image!

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Snark Shark:

    DC should have followed Superboy meets Bonnie & Clyde with Teen Titans meet Easy Rider, and Doom Patrol meet A Clockwork Orange…

  • will richards says:

    A*S? Or is that worse??

  • Sean Mageean says:

    I actually dig Golden Age Hawkman’s fullface mask–it’s better than his later, boring yellow mask with a red hawk emblem or his Bronze Age golden helmet look.

    Here’s a cool link to Hawkman’s look through the decades…unfortunately it doesn’t show his very first mask from Flash Comics no. 1.