Sunday, December 6, 2015

Booking It: Detective December: Just Imagine Stan Lee

Booking It: Detective December: Just Imagine Stan Lee: As comic fans, and I am assuming you are if you are reading these about comics, then you know DC and Marvel. On that same note you know ...

Detective December: Just Imagine Stan Lee



As comic fans, and I am assuming you are if you are reading these about comics, then you know DC and Marvel. On that same note you know Stan Lee and his influence on the whole comic book industry as a creator or co creator of almost ALL of Marvel Comics early heroes and villains, most of which are still around today.  The Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Avengers and the list goes on and on.

We know that propelled Marvel to the forefront for a long time. Writing Heroes that had real world problems, Spidey was in High School and dealt with problems that all teenagers have plus being a Super Hero and the issues they deal with.

While DC had larger then life heroes like Superman and Green Lantern who had very few problems in their civilian lives. But what if Stan Lee had created the iconic heroes of the DC Universe? How would Wonder Woman change? Would The Flash still be created by pseudo science? What would Stan Lee do with the best of them in Superman? A few years ago DC and Stan Lee decided to see would happen if Stan Lee did created the DC universe, it was a series called Just Imagine. Let us take a look at each hero in general and then an over view of the whole story.

BATMAN: Stan Lee based this one pretty close to Bob Kane and Bill Finger's original idea. Wayne Williams, a African American male, has no super powers but is in excellent physical condition and a vast personal fortune thought I am unsure why.

His father was a cop who was killed and Wayne himself was framed for a crime soon after by a gang leader named "Handz". Wayne Williams ends up in prison and becomes friends with Frederick Grant who teaches him how to develop his mind, to sew and body building. While locked up Williams is told that his mother has died and saves the Warden which allows him to get a full pardon.

Williams becomes a wrestler under the name Batman and never removes his mask, and while this is mostly crap as I know many indie wrestlers, Batman becomes HUGE in just a few weeks and gains lots of money due to being a superstar Williams uses the money to find Grant and they team up, Williams with the skill and money and Grant with the toys and brains to hunt down Handz with Williams buying a mansion for Grant and pretending to be his bodyguard and this leads to a final battle with Handz who falls to his death, but Batman carries on with a mission of Justice and protect others from people like Handz.

Wonder Woman: Maria Mendoza is an activist, right now protesting against the corporate excavation of an ancient Incan holy site. The CEO wants to gain power from the site and take over the world (OF COURSE!) 

To stop Maria, the evil CEO kidnaps her father and Maria goes to rescue him at the site but is too late and he is killed while the CEO gains demonic powers from artifacts at the site and heads to Las Angeles. Maria finds the Manco Capac staff which gives her the power of the Incan Sun God and defeats the CEO demon and stays in Las Angeles as WONDER WOMAN!

Superman: We are still on Krypton in this version but Superman, real name Salden, is the weakest of the Kryptonian Police Force even with powers such as super strength and super speed. He uses a flying harness to capture a deadly and dangerous criminal inside a teleportation lab but the criminal manages to transport both of them to a small insignificant planet called Earth.

They arrive separately discovering they have enhanced physical abilities and the bad guy sets himself up as the King of a jungle tribe. Earth at this time is primitive but has the potential to develop the technology he needs to return to his homeworld but there are way too many obstacles for the peaceful advanced future he needs, such as war, crime, poverty and so forth. Salden decides to become a superhero to help rid Earth of these problems.

Green Lantern: Len Lewis is a professor looking for something called "The Tree" from Norse legends and is called Yggdrasil and in Christianity as the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

He finds the tree to an area of Africa but also looking for the tree is Reverend Darrk whose agents shoot Len and leave him for dead but the tree shows the professor its history, including a race of prehumans, then grants him its power to serve as a lantern in these dark times.

The Flash: A typical college girl, Mary Maxwell, has a very dull life and is a avid comic book reader who wishes she could be a super hero. Her father is a brilliant scientist who cares for Mary who has a life threatening disease that slowly drains her energy.

Some enemies from her father's past attack, they are named STEALTH(Special Team of Espionage Agents Licensed to Target and Hit). They kill him but he injects Mary with the DNA of a humming bird to save her from her disease.

Robin: 

Robin is a villain in this universe. He is a embittered teen working for Reverend Darrk, who sends him on various missions and assignments all while promising Robin something in return. Robin's book opens with him attempting his current assignment, to kill Lee's version of Batman.

Captain Marvel: Okay, this one is strange, so stay with me. Robert Rogers is an Interpol agent teamed with a much tougher fellow agent named Carla Noral. The two are in India looking for master criminal Gunga Kahn but while looking for him and unknown to Rogers he is given the power through a spell conjured by Merlin to transform himself by saying the word SHAZAM!

A fakir dying in the streets gave him this power, it transforms him into a hairy red fanged monster wearing a necklace of bones. In a back up story, a young American boy named Billy Marvel who is orphaned in India and happening at the same time as the Shazam story. The boy saves a villiage with the help of a local boy Zubin Navotny. They are made honorary captains in the US Peace Corps by an Ambassador named Batson. This makes Billy "Captain Marvel"

Aquaman: Marine biologist Ramon Raymond is using dolphin DNA to see if humans can live underwater and tests it on himself but while testing it, he swims through a glowing patch of seawater he can now transform into a being of living water.


Catwoman: Green lighting strikes both supermodel Joanie Jordan and her cat Ebony. This creates a link between them and gives Jordan catlike abilities such as super agility, heightened senses, and a set of razor sharp claws.


The Sandman
Sandman: Col. Larry Wilton and Maj. Bryan Bleier are on a manned mission to investigate Saturn's moon, Titan.  Bleier cuts the tether of Wilton while Wilton is on a spacewalk and left for dead. 

Wilton drifts into a green cloud and finds himself in a bizarre realm that he dreamed of as a child and he finds a beautiful girl named Melana who grants him the powers of The Sandman.












JLA: The Reverend Darrk pops up again, trying to summon a being called Crisis to Earth to conquer it. His son, Adam Strange, notifies five heroes of
Darkk's plan and Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Green Lantern all team up.

To combat them, Darrk creates The Doom Patrol which has Blockbuster, Parasite, and Deathstroke. The heroes beat Darrk but he kills his son and runs away due to a bluff by Green Lantern who was too weak to fight as the Parasite had drained him. Turns out that Strange has powers too and will return in some form, then he dies.

The remaining heroes officially become the Justice League.








Secret Files and Origins: The National Exposer has a article called "The Coming Crisis" where they interview the members of the Justice League who explain their origins and warn of Darrk's threat.

It contains profiles of each hero, Reverend Dominic Darrk and the Church of Eternal Empowerment.

Crisis:
One of the Inca Hawk Runes is stolen which brings Wonder Woman out and she summons all of Earth's new heroes. Sandman arrives with Darrk's body and warns of the coming of Darrk's master. A being called Crisis who soon after arrives on Earth and only the Justice League can stop him...or they could but they have a traitor in their ranks. 

We also see other versions of DC people, Oracle, Phantom Stranger, Hawkman, and Atom.          

 

      

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Booking It: Detective December: Golden Age of Comics: History ...

Booking It: Detective December: Golden Age of Comics: History ...: After taking a look at how Detective Comics Inc. started, and was it ever a brief history we move on to what happened after Superman, Ba...

Detective December: Golden Age of Comics: History of DC 2



After taking a look at how Detective Comics Inc. started, and was it ever a brief history we move on to what happened after Superman, Batman, and Sandman(among others) ushered in the Superhero and the Golden Age.

Max Gaines


Many things brought on the Golden Age of Comics, but one big important one was National Allied Publications mergring with Detective Comics Inc to form National Comics which in turn absorbed a affiliated concern, Max Gaines and Liebowitz's All American Publications. This happened in 1944, and in that same year Gaines let Liebowitz buy him out and only kept Picture Stories from the Bible as the foundation of his own new company which would be called EC Comics.

Liebowitz's and comics


Liebowitz's quickly took charge and had a merger between All American and Detective Comics into National Comics as mentioned above but didn't stop there, He organized National Comics, Independent News, and all their affiliated firms into a single corporate entity named National Periodical Publications which would become publicly traded on the stock market in 1961. Though it had the official names such as National Comics and National Periodical Publications the company decided to brand itself as "Superman-DC" as early as 1940 and started being called DC comics, colloquially as DC comics years before the official adoption of that name in 1977.

But a I am NOT Superman
I AM WONDER MAN!
This lead to some real issues for other companies as "Superman-DC" began to move against anything it saw as copyright violating imitations from other comics or publications. It went after Fox Comics who had a hero named Wonder Man(no relation to Simon Williams who would show up at Marvel years and years later). DC claimed in court that Fox's Wonder Man started as a copy of Superman. Captain Marvel, who at the time was comics top selling character, belonged to Fawcett Comics and though he got his powers through magic and Gods but DC claimed he was a copy and the courts agreed that deliberate copying had occurred.

Sadly for Fawcett comics who were already facing declining sales in other books and the prospect of bankruptcy if it lost, it gave it and ceased comics publications in 1955. A few years later they sold the rights for Captain Marvel to DC who started using him in 1974 but under the title Shazam! with artwork by his creator, C.C. Beck. They couldn't use Captain Marvel at the time as Marvel had bought the abandoned trademarks in 1967 and created their own Captain Marvel. After all of this DC really pushed on the superhero but were quick to change with the times.

In the 1940's when the popularity of superheroes faded, the Company moved to focus on genres as Science fiction, Westerns, humor, and even romance. They had their share of crime and horror novels as well but really tame ones and avoided the whole backlash in the 1950's. But Actions Comics and Detective Comics continued to print out throughout all of this and keep some superheros alive.  But lets take a look at the overall Golden Age to see why all this was done. That will be next time...Stay Tuned!


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Booking It: Detcetive December: Early History

Booking It: Detcetive December: Early History: Major   Harry Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson had started a company called National Allied Publications and put out their first pu...

Detcetive December: Early History

Major
 
Harry


Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson had started a company called National Allied Publications and put out their first publication on February of 1935, according to the cover date on the publication called New Fun: The Big Comic Magazine #1 and it was tabloid sized. This would be the start of what would be come DC many years later.  The company's second title, New Comics #1 which came out in December of 1935 was very close to what would be the size that the standard comic book would become later and this helped lead to the Golden Age of Comic Books and had slightly larger dimension then today's.  New Comics evolved into Adventure Comics which kept going until issue #503 in 1983 making it one of the longest running comic book series ever.  In a nod to its history, DC revived Adventure Comics in 2009 with its original numbering.
All the FUN you can handle


Old time racism...
Under the Wheeler-Nicholson rule they had a third and final called Detective Comics that was advertised as a cover illustration that is dated December 1936 but didn't premier until March 1937 and this was a themed anthology series and was the one that introduced Batman in issue 27, that came out in May 1939 but by then Wheeler-Nicholson had left.









 
I AM THE GODDAMN BATMAN

Turns out that in 1937, he was in debt to printing plant owner and magazine distributor Harry Donenfeld, who also published pulp magazines and was the principal in the distributorship of Independent News. Wheeler-Nicholson had to take Donenfeld on as a partner in order to even publish Detective Comics #1 and this was done by Detective Comics, Inc. with Wheeler-Nicholson and Jack S. Liebowitz(Donenfeld's Accountant) were both listed as owners but sadly this only lased the rest of the year and Major Wheeler-Nicholson had to bow out which allowed Detective Comics Inc to purchase the remains of National Allied aka Nicholson Publishing at a bankruptcy auction and used the platform to launch a fourth tile called Action Comics which introduced the world to SUPERMAN in June of 1938 and helped bring about the archetype known as Superheros.
While awesome, it does lead to Superman 4.


The company very quickly introduced other heroes such as Sandman and Bat. As for that ACTION COMICS #1 that introduced Superman, on February 22, 2010 a copy sold at an action from an anonymous seller to an anonymous buyer for $1 million.

This was the start of what would become Detective Comics, not a lot of very early history but as it launched the Golden Age and introduced some of the most Iconic characters in comic book and movie history, part two will cover that Golden Age.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Booking It: Detective December

Booking It: Detective December: As I did for Marvel Comics I have decided to take a look at the other big one in DC (Detective Comics). Starting with their history up t...