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DISCLAIMER: This timeline won’t necessarily reflect what you’re used to in your history books, your literature, your films, your television shows or your comic books. Because this is what really happened...
The Golden Forties / World War II Era
Nick Fury and his friend Red Hargrove enlisted in the U.S. Army.
During World War II, James “Logan” Howlett continued his career as a soldier of fortune and adventurer, notably teaming up with Captain America on one occasion, and serving with the Canadian Parachute Battalion on D-Day.
Reed Richards (b. December 28, 1925) graduated from high school in Stockton, California, and entered college at age 14. Over the next four years, he would earn a mathematics degree at Harvard and an advanced physics degree at M.I.T. [Birthday in honor of Stan Lee.]
In Egypt, archeologist Abdul Faoul (b. 1901) unearthed the mystical Ruby Scarab, created by Nabu in 3500 BCE. The gemstone gave him extraordinary powers, and he became known as the “Scarlet Scarab,” determined to fight for Egypt in World War II.
Dr. Alexander Thorkel, a colleague of research chemist Darrel Dane, stole Dane’s shrinking formula and fled to Peru, where he had already established a secret uranium laboratory in the jungle. [This establishes a connection between the shrinking technology of Doll Man and Dr. Cyclops.]
New York police woman Betty Dean became an ally of Prince Namor of Atlantis, and tried to convince him that the Nazis were his enemy, not the Americans. [Marvel Mystery Comics #3]
The Press Guardian.” Meanwhile, in his day job, Chase continued to become more outspoken in his defense of First Amendment rights, and in particular making a case for the rights of “mystery men” (thus coining that term) to remain masked. [It seems only natural that part of Chase's crusade would be to defend the controversial cause of costumed crime fighting.]
John Dickering debuted in Chicago as the masked vigilante “The Comet,” using his mutant powers of flight and disintegrating eyebeams to fight crime.
Jay Garrick (age 21) began to use his super-speed powers to fight crime in Pittsburgh. Rumors soon circulated about “The Flash.”
In Albuquerque, New Mexico, Rodrigo Gaynor became a crime fighter in the tradition of Zorro, going by the alias “The Whip” (a.k.a. “El Castigo”).
Android X5328B, built by Vladimir Sikandur the Robot Master of Yugoslavia, was discovered in the U.S. where he had been sent to steal gold from Fort Knox. X5328B was stopped by the Human Torch, who then tracked down and destroyed the rest of Sikandur’s android army, forcing Sikandur to retreat to his castle in Latveria. Skiandur’s bride-to-be, the Countess Sylvia Fortunov, had been badly burned in the attack, and he sent for the local gypsy doctor Werner von Doom. Von Doom was unable to save her and fled in fear of his life. Exposed too long to the bitter cold, he soon died, and his son Victor (age 12) vowed revenge. Despite his parents’ wishes to the contrary, Victor too began studying the dark arts as his mother had.
Hawkman.” [Birthday taken from the 1976 DC Calendar.]
In New York City, 22-year-old Johnny Thunder accidentally discovered the power of his magic ring and how to unleash the genie Yz (whom he soon nicknamed “Thunderbolt”) within.
The remaining volunteers from the Operation Rebirth program were administered the super-soldier formula. As the Vita-Ray machine could not be repaired, they instead were treated with an alternative, fluoroscopic irradiation process that had been developed by the engineering team from Dayton. Of the eleven men, only two survived the 12-hour ordeal: Joe Higgins from Jersey City, New Jersey, and William Lohmer from Yorkville, New York. Both men found that they were now at the peak of human potential. However, both men would eventually discover that they suffered from side effects that were not present in the super-soldier formula that Dr. Erskine had administered to Steve Rogers. [This is an alternate but more plausible origin story for both of these gentlemen. The super-soldier program ends up explaining a lot of superheroes...]
Higgins, who had already completed FBI training, reported for assignment. He was given the codename “The Shield” and assigned to the Bureau’s field office in Chicago. He would serve as one of the nation’s top agents for the next several years.
Master Man.” He became increasingly mentally unstable and paranoid, though, and soon left the U.S. for Germany. A Nazi sympathizer, he changed his name from William to Wilhelm and began fighting for Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich. [Yes, the Marvel version of Master Man is the same character as the Fawcett version!]
In addition, one sample of the super-soldier serum had gone missing. It had been smuggled out and would soon be sold on the black market to millionaire Percy van Norton of New York.
Batman first encountered the criminal mastermind Dr. Hugo Strange in Boston.
Private eye Dan Dare became known for taking on extraordinary cases in Cincinnati, Ohio.
With his brain now transplanted into Dolores Winters’ body, the Ultra-Humanite would clash again with Superman, only to seemingly die in a volcano. In reality, though, the Ultra-Humanite had survived again and started working to establish a new power base.
Howard Stark was called in to become a consultant. From the beginning, Stark clashed with others in the program, as his designs were so expensive and used materials so rare that there was no chance to mass produce them. Nevertheless, he was given the funding to start building prototypes of some of his technology, in hopes that his discoveries would prove useful in defense of the nation.
Having recently completed work on a superhumanly strong, telepathically-controlled robot, codenamed “Electro,” the wealthy and eccentric scientist Philo Zogolowski (a.k.a. “Professor Zog,” b. 1880) was one of the agents who moved to the SSR from the FBI. At first, Zog and his robot worked closely with the new agency’s 12 “Secret Operatives,” such as Operative #3 Dick Gardner, but they soon began handling situations that only a super-powered robot was suited for.
As his mentor “Nugget Ned” died, the now 18-year-old Roger Parsons learned that Brand Braddock had killed his family. Now going by the name “Golden Arrow,” Parsons brought Braddock to justice and then continued to patrol the western wilderness against evil-doers.
Spy Smasher” (later changing his alias for a short time to “Crime Smasher” after the world War II had ended).
While exploring an Andean volcano in Colombia, American archaeologist Dr. Simms and his assistant Ramon discovered an ancient alien android, Manowar the White Streak. The android explained that after his people had perished in war, he had shut down, going into stand-by mode for centuries. During that time he had come to believe that war was wrong and had become a pacifist. He then accompanied the scientists back to Washington, D.C., where he became a special agent of the FBI, adopting the name Dan Sanders.
Oil-millionaire-turned-adventurer Tex Thomson was on a ship headed to Europe when it was blown up by Nazi saboteurs. Thomson was believed dead, but he showed up in Portugal, where he vowed vengeance on such fifth-columnists. When he returned to the U.S., he joined the “mystery men” movement, assuming the persona of “Mr. America,” with a costume based on the American flag.
Sailor Lance O’Casey began having high-seas adventures with his pet monkey, Mister Hogan. (He later took on a first mate, the young Mike Bellew.)
In Milwaukee, news reporter William “Scoop” Smith and his cameraman Barney “Blimp” Black began fighting crime.
After completing his training, the android Curt Cowen began working as a full-time FBI field agent. At the same time, he began using his enhanced strength, durability and electro-magnetic powers to secretly fight crime on his own as the “Dynamic Man.”
After getting adjusted to life in 20th century America, the resurrected mummy of ancient Egyptian seer Ra-emhet began working with the U.S. Army under the name “Mystico,” using his ancient Egyptian mystical powers to help fight criminals and saboteurs.
Doug Danville started fighting crime in Minneapolis. Known originally as “K the Unknown,” he would soon change his alias to “The Black Owl.”
A taxi driver was killed by a giant insect in New York. Brought back to life by an infusion of a swami’s mysterious fluid, he became the undead superhero known as the “Silver Streak,” using his new mystical powers of super speed and flight to fight crime. However, soon discovered that as an undead being he now needed to feed on the living, draining the blood of the criminals he captured. [The back story of the Silver Streak doesn't make a lot of sense, but in the context of being something akin to a vampire, it is actually pretty good.]
In New York, Dan Lyons debuted as the masked crime fighter known as “The Black Marvel.”
In Springfield, Massachusetts, policewoman Peggy Allen (b. 1915) began moonlighting as a masked crime fighter in a red costume. She soon became known as “The Woman in Red.”
Inventors Joel and Joshua Williams of Williams Innovations invented a remote-controlled robot using a durable, rubber-like substance of their own design. They soon found themselves the target of Fifth Columnists trying to gain access to their top-secret creation. However, “Flexo,” as the robot was known, proved an invaluable ally against these enemies.
[Birthday taken from the 1976 DC Calendar.]
Boston, including his first two encounters with The Joker (the second of which was believed at the time to have killed him), a face-off with Dr. Hugo Strange’s “Monster Men,” and a run-in with Catwoman.
Also in Boston, adventurer Duke O’Dowd debuted as “The Human Meteor.” A trip to Tibet the previous year had helped him tap into previously unknown mutant abilities, and he found that he was able to fly by propelling himself forward against the air.
Paul Patton, photographer for the Scranton Times newspaper, debuted as masked crime fighter “The Fox.”
On the planet Zrfff within the universe known as “The Fifth Dimension” (a.k.a. Limbo), the mischievous scientist Bolo and his minions created a robot, Marvex, to serve as their slave. Upon being activated, however, Marvex rebelled against his creators, killing them. Their deaths created an explosion that ruptured the barrier between dimensions, sending the super-robot through to our universe, where he landed on Earth among the humans he had been modeled after.
In Peru, Dr. Alexander Thorkel used Darrel Dane’s shrinking formula to shrink several of his associates from the U.S. before they finally escaped and caused him to fall to his death. They later returned to their normal size. Dane soon visited the laboratory in Peru and dismantled it, destroying all evidence in order to keep his formula secret.
Namor had decided to help the Americans and returned to New York City, but there he was put on trial for his past crimes. He was found guilty, drugged and sentenced to death, but the attempted execution by electric chair merely jolted him out of his drug-induced stupor, and he escaped.
Scientist Allen Turner invented a wing-shaped aircraft that he dubbed “The Wing” and used it to become a flying, costumed adventurer known as “Skyman.”
In Cleveland, Ohio, Tom Hallaway (b. 1921) debuted as the crime fighter alias “The Spider,” who became known for using his archery skills against criminals.
Kent Nelson debuted as “Doctor Fate” from his new home in Salem, Massachusetts.
Strongman.” However, his mental faculties would soon start to deteriorate, allowing him to easily be brainwashed by the Nazis less than two years later when he was convinced to join the Battle-Axis.
Retired U.S. Navy Lieutenant Jim Lockhart unveiled a specially designed submarine, called The Torpedo, that he had designed and built himself. Calling himself “The Red Torpedo,” Lockhart began waging on one-man war on the Axis powers and opportunist pirates that threatened American interests.
In Chicago, John Dickering (a.k.a. The Comet) met reporter Thelma Gordon (the sister of Boston Police Captain Jim Gordon), who became his girlfriend. He told Thelma that he had developed a scientific formula for a gas 50 times lighter than hydrogen, which had given him his powers. This was a lie, however, and in fact he was a mutant (Homo sapiens superior).
[Birthday taken from the 1976 DC Calendar.]
Former stage actor Richard Stanton, Jr. (a.k.a. “Madame Fatal”), now secretly pretending to be a harmless little old lady, finally caught up to gangster John Carver, who had kidnapped his infant daughter nine years prior. In the ensuing melee, Carver accidentally shot himself. Before he died, he revealed that Stanton’s daughter was still alive. Stanton would continue dressing as a woman to hide his true identity as he fought criminals and tried to find his missing daughter.
In Boston, Batman had his first encounter with the original Clayface, Basil Karlo. Soon afterwards, Bruce Wayne and Julie Madison broke up, as she left Boston to pursue an acting career.
On Friday, May 10, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of Great Britain after Neville Chamberlain resigned. That same day, Germany began its invasion of France.
On Wednesday, May 15, the first McDonald’s restaurant was opened in San Bernardino, California by Richard and Maurice McDonald.
In Boston, Harvey Dent was promoted from Assistant District Attorney to District Attorney.
Socialite Brenda Banks debuted as the masked crime fighter “Lady Luck.”
Namor returned to New York City looking for revenge on humankind. He caused considerable havoc, including damage to the top of the Empire State Building, before police woman Betty Dean stopped his rampage. Namor would soon return, however, leading to an amazing confrontation with The Human Torch (Jim Hammond). The battle ended in a stalemate, with the Torch agreeing to allow Namor to leave New York.
Scientist Jim Kendall debuted as “The Scarlet Avenger.” Kendall had been in an airplane that had been hijacked by criminals and crashed, killing his entire family. It also left his face muscles paralyzed. Using a variety of specialized guns and a steel-weave cloak that was partially bullet-proof, he vowed to avenge himself on all criminals.
The spirit of Oggar, former apprentice of the wizard Shazam, located a 14-year old boy that he felt would be a worthy successor: Martin Burns. Appearing to him as a mysterious shadow, he told the boy that he had inherited “a power as great as Hercules.” Burns put on a costume and used his increased strength to become “Marvel Boy.” However, the new powers made him mentally unstable, and Oggar had difficulty communicating with him. Burns got it in his mind that he was actually the reincarnation of Hercules. Oggar was patient and spoke to him from the shadows every night, gradually teaching him all that he knew and training him to be his successor. [This is my explanation for the first occurrence of Marvel Boy in Timely Comics.]
Mutant John “Steel” Sterling of Rhode Island began fighting crime without trying to make his identity secret. Sterling was a mutant who had developed metal-like properties, including increased strength and durability. He would soon begin working for the U.S. government, which made up a backstory about a secret chemical process that had given him his powers.
The San Francisco Daily Planet and forced editor-in-chief George Taylor into retirement, promoting assistant editor Perry White into the top job. White was an industry veteran who had cut his teeth as a reporter for major newspapers in Chicago and New York, and he had a reputation for integrity as well as for attracting readers. While Lois Lane’s “Superman” stories had increased circulation, ownership feared that the Star had become synonymous with sensationalism. To counteract this, White promoted Clark Kent and worked him in tandem with Lane on the most incendiary stories. Kent’s more cautious and measured approach provided a reassuring counterpoint for readers compared to Lane’s bold descriptions and impossibly fantastic claims. Many newspapers and readers still claimed Daily Planet stories were a hoax, however, and were quick to point out that Superman “stunts” almost inevitably seemed to coincide with Lane and Kent’s travel schedule.
While working for the Pacific Electrical Corporation near Sacramento, California, Dr. Andrew Bryant (b. 1913), a young research scientist, exposed himself to gamma radiation and found that he gained super powers. He became “Captain Future,” using leads from his girlfriend Grace Adams (b. 1913), head of the Agatha Detective Agency, to take down local criminals.
Deciding that he did not understand the ways of humans, the super-robot Marvex from the Fifth Dimension (a.k.a. Limbo) left Earth and traveled into outer space, never to return.
Dr. James Bradley, former partner of Professor Phineas T. Horton, succeeded in getting his own android to work. Just as Horton’s android (the original Human Torch) had uncontrollably built up heat, Bradley’s was uncontrollably building up electricity, so Bradley built a special belt that would collect the electricity like a battery and allow him to discharge it. The android believed he was a human being with amnesia. Bradley told him his name was Guy Newton, and that he had been struck by lightning, which had burned off all of his hair and left him with electrical powers. The android soon began using those powers to fight crime as “Volton, the Human Generator.”
German forces captured Paris on Friday, June 14. On Saturday, June 22, France signed an armistice agreement surrendering to occupation by Axis powers Germany and Italy. The unexpectedly swift and casualty-light defeat of France raised Hitler’s popularity and support for the war among the German people.
On Sunday, June 2, Denny Colt (b. 1912) debuted as the masked crime fighter “The Spirit” in Kansas City.
After a Kansas City councilman disappeared and was found dead in Los Angeles, The Spirit (Denny Colt, age 28) teamed up with The Rocketeer (Cliff Secord, age 34) to solve the case. [The Rocketeer/The Spirit: Pulp Friction]
In London, England, Sexton Blake (age 67) retired as a private investigator due to the war.
Richard Raleigh debuted as “The Red Bee,” using trained bees and a special “stinger gun” he had developed to fight criminals. Raleigh was one of the most improbable of the mystery men to appear. Based in Fresno County, California, he was a successful beekeeper who migrated his bees between various agricultural cites in California and Oregon depending on the pollination season. Inspired by Superman, he decided he could make a difference too and determined to fight injustice at every stop along his journey.
Boston, Massachusetts) discovered the Starheart while inspecting a railroad bridge collapse in rural Indiana. At the time, Scott was living in Indianapolis and working as a railroad engineer and inspector for the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), tasked with overseeing the decaying infrastructure of the Indiana Railroad’s outdated interurban system. Sensing his presence, the Starheart appeared to him as a train lantern and communicated with him subconsciously. Without fully understanding why, he created a new power ring out of its metal, fashioned a costume using the traditional colors of Wu Xing (green, red, yellow, white and black; although the black he chose was actually a very dark shade of violet), and made his debut as “The Green Lantern.” [Birthday taken from the 1976 DC Calendar.]
While enlisted in the French Foreign Legion, Thomas Corbet’s entire unit was pursued and wiped out by enemy forces in North Africa. The only survivor, he was close to dehydration when he came upon an oasis full of glowing water. He drank deeply and found that the water had given him the ability to fly and project “neonic energy” blasts from his hands. Returning to the U.S., he used his new powers to become the crime fighter “Neon the Unknown.”
Nick Terry, a police officer in the small town of Yorktown, Indiana, began moonlighting as the masked crime fighter known as “The Owl.” He first started fighting crime in the neighboring medium-sized cities of Anderson and Muncie, and eventually would travel as far away as Fort Wayne or Indianapolis.
On Thursday, July 4, The Spectre was granted the power to bring back to life the ghost of one particularly patriotic soldier from the American Revolutionary War. The soldier’s spirit was reanimated in a body that resembled the popular “Uncle Sam” personification of the American spirit, and he was given certain special powers, including superhuman strength and limited precognitive abilities, which would be based on how well he was able to live up to the ideals that America was founded upon. The soldier accepted this role and proceeded to protect the American homeland, first uncovering a fascist saboteur ring called “The Purple Shirts” and then fighting against America’s enemies in World War II.
The “Battle of Britain” began on Wednesday, July 10, as Germany began an air campaign against the United Kingdom. The British Royal Air Force and German Luftwaffe battled in the skies over Britain until October 31. In the end, the German forces were unable to gain air superiority, giving them their first defeat of World War II.
James Bond’s parents, Andrew and Monique Bond, died during one of the first air strikes. James (age 9) was at the time staying with his uncle Max in Scotland.
Daniel Dyce became the masked vigilante known as “#711.” An innocent man wrongfully serving a sentence at the United States Penitentiary in Atlanta, he would secretly escape each night to operate as a crime fighter, using his prison cell number as his alias.
Using experimental artificial wings and a jetpack, Drake Sheldon debuted as a “mystery man” under the alias “Air Man” in order to bring his father’s killers to justice.
Inventors Joel and Joshua Williams were killed and their robot Flexo was destroyed in a confrontation with Fifth Columnist saboteurs.
Robert Frank (b. 1921) debuted as “The Whizzer.” He had discovered super speed powers, which he said came from a transfusion of mongoose blood, although that was only a cover story. In reality, he was a mutant (Homo sapiens superior).
Howard Stark in the Strategic Scientific Reserve program and offered to let Garret test some of the new technologies they were testing for the Allied war effort. Among other things., Franz gave Garret a state-of-the-art wireless communication device and prototype chainmail armor made out of cellulose that was as light and flexible as silk, but strong enough to stop a bullet.
Tom Dalton, a lineman for an electric company in Wisconsin, was shocked by 10,000 volts of electricity and was surprised to discover that it unlocked a hidden mutant super power within him. He became the mystery man known as “Magno.”
In Milwaukee, news reporter William “Scoop” Smith was murdered by a Nazi fifth-columnist spy ring.
Young district attorney Bill Perkins became the costumed crime fighter “The Mouthpiece.”
At the age of 16, Red Raven left the flying city of the Aerie (or “Bird-People”) in the North Atlantic to fight the aggression of the Axis powers in Europe.
American Bart Hill, who had been orphaned in Australia and raised by Aborigines, debuted as the boomerang-wielding hero known as Daredevil (not to be confused with the 1960s American hero Matt Murdock who would begin fighting crime in the 1960s under the same name). With his tremendous acrobatic ability and boomerang-throwing skills, he would fight Nazi spies and saboteurs throughout the war and then criminals until he retired in 1950.
In New York City, the undead superhero known as the “Silver Streak” rescued a dying teenager named Micky O’Toole (b. 1926) who was losing blood. instinctively, he understood that he could save the boy by giving him some of his own blood. However, this made O’Toole undead as well. O’Toole became Silver Streak’s crime-fighting partner, at first using the alias “Mercury,” but he soon changed it to “Meteor.” However, both of them now craved the blood of the living. They tried draining animals, which helped but did not fully satisfy their hunger. They did manage to turn a hawk into an undead minion, however, and they nicknamed him “Whiz.”
Struck by lightning repeatedly during an electrical storm, New York reporter Lanford “Happy” Terrill discovered that he had the mutant ability to absorb energy from his surroundings and then emit it from his body in whatever form he chose. He decided to join the “mystery men” movement as “The Ray.”
The young mutant Thomas Raymond (b. 1927), who had demonstrated immunity to heat and fire, became the sidekick of the Human Torch and adopted the name “Toro.”
On Tuesday, September 17, Hitler postponed Germany’s planned sea invasion of Britain (“Operation Sea Lion”) indefinitely due to heavy losses and the failure to achieve air or naval superiority during the Battle of Britain.
Al Pratt (age 19), now a second-year student at Bridgeport Junior College in Connecticut, debuted as “The Atom” in New York City. Using just his brawling skills and raw determination, he quickly established himself as one of the most formidable “mystery men” of his day.
After Master Man (formerly William, now Wilhelm Lohmer) had defected to Nazi Germany, scientists there began analyzing the super-soldier serum in his blood in order to perfect their own formula.
In St. Louis, The Crimson Avenger (Lee Travis) and his sidekick Wing began wearing new-style, brightly colored “mystery men” costumes, instead of just hats and cloaks.
The Arrow (Ralph Payne, age 44) decided to retire as a crime fighter due to the physical wear-and-tear on his body. He traveled to Cleveland to find The Spider (Tom Hallaway, age 19). The two compared techniques and struck up a friendship, and Payne taught the younger archer everything he knew. Payne was impressed by Hallaway’s prowess and nicknamed him “Speedy.”
New York City cop Kip Burland was framed for a jewelry heist and suspended from the police force. Taking matters into his own hands, he became “The Black Hood” in order to clear his name. Afterward, he was readmitted to the police force but continued leading a dual identity as a masked crime fighter.
Dr. Abraham Davis was kidnapped from his Washington, D.C. laboratory for his invention called the Ultra-Dynamo.
Jim Anthony became a self-described “super-detective,” operating out of his secret mansion in the Catskill Mountains.
The Green Lantern (Alan Scott) had his first encounter with the zombielike Solomon Grundy, who would prove to be his most persistent foe.
On October 31 (Halloween), the “Holiday killings” (1940-1941) began with the murder of mobster Johnny Viti. Batman started working with DA Harvey Dent and BPD Captain Jim Gordon to solve the murders.
[Mysterious Doctor Satan]
The man who would eventually be known as Max Mercury arrived in 1940 after his third attempt to enter the Speed Force. He spent the decade as the costumed crime fighter Quicksilver. By 1940, he was using Max as a first name in his secret identity, and by 1947, he had settled on the last name Mercury. (In 1949, he would accidentally bounce off the Speed Force again and landed in the early 1960s.)
An extra-dimensional alien “police officer” (of sorts) named Aarkus, “Destroyer of Evil,” was contacted by scientist Enoch Mason and decided to accept his invitation to spend some time fighting injustice in our dimension.
The centaur named Speed was aided in returning to Otherworld by Ibis the Invincible and Captain Marvel.
At precisely midnight Eastern Time on Friday, November 1, Doctor Fate (Kent Nelson, age 34) used his magic to send out sent out a message summoning a variety of heroes to a secret meeting, which would take place three weeks later. After consulting with the spirit of Nabu, Nelson had given careful consideration to the kinds of “mystery men” he wanted to invite, eschewing those who he deemed to be too violent or mentally unstable, those with connections to the government or other backing organizations, or those who had not taken care to protect their secret identities.
In Boston, the Holiday killer struck again on Thanksgiving, November 21.
The Flash (Jay Garrick, age 22), Green Lantern (Alan Scott, age 25), Hawkman (Carter Hall, age 24), Hourman (Rex Tyler, age 26), Sandman (Wesley Dodds, age 29) and The Spectre (in the body of the resurrected Jim Corrigan). Batman (Bruce Wayne, age 25), Bulletman (Jim Barr, age 28), Captain Marvel (Billy Batson, age 12 in his unaltered state), The Shock (Robert Gibson, age 22) and Superman (Clark Kent, age 20) had all been invited but did not attend, although Batman and Superman sent messages wishing the group well. The Red Tornado (Abigail “Ma” Hunkel, age 38) had been invited and arrived, but she had torn her costume and excused herself before the meeting began. Johnny Thunder (age 23) had not received an invitation, but had somehow heard about the meeting and attended anyway. After some discussion, Batman, Superman, Red Tornado and Johnny Thunder were all granted honorary (non-voting) membership. The Flash was voted the first chairman.
A year after his super-soldier transformation, Steve Rogers officially debuted as “Captain America” and started working special secret military assignments.
The Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR) founded “Project M” to study paranormal science, including human mutation, ESP and the supernatural. Dr. Myron Mazursky (b. 1887) was placed in charge.
Millionaire Jethro Dumont (b. 1909) had taken an interest in Eastern religion early in life. He dropped out of college in New York City to go live in Tibet and study to become a Buddhist monk. After ten years there, he had developed meditative techniques that had unlocked hidden powers within him, including the ability to levitate himself and to generate bio-electrical energy. In December, he returned to New York, where he began fighting injustice as “The Green Lama.”
A mutant (Homo sapiens superior) going by the name “Dr. Frost” began fighting crime with his cold-based powers in Duluth, Minnesota. He would move to St. Paul the following spring.
In Philadelphia, The Blue Beetle (Dan Garret) was brought to the brink of death when he received multiple wounds from a machine gun fired at point blank range. In a last-ditch effort to save his life, Dr. Franz administered to him a dose of “Miraclo” (which he knew as “2X,” after the markings on the pill), the drug that Rex Tyler had developed for the Bannermain Chemical Company. The drug gave its users increased strength and stamina, and it healed Garret’s wounds. However, it nearly always proved fatal by the time its effects wore off in an hour. Fortunately, like Tyler, Garret seemed immune to the ill effects of the drug. The reason why, as it turns out, was the blue beetle scarab that he wore; its alien technology filtered the toxins out of his system. Dr. Franz had a very limited supply of 2X pills, but he would continue to give them to Garret as needed. In time, the scarab would begin to synthesize this compound without the need for Garret to take the pills.
The vigilante mutant going by the alias “Samson” was convinced by his friend David to check himself into a mental hospital.
Air Man (Drake Sheldon) was killed when he crashed into a building while flying.
Brian Butler (b. 1912), the district attorney of Akron, Ohio, debuted as the mystery man “Mr. Scarlet.”
On Sunday, December 1 in Portland, Oregon, former physician Dr. Charles M. McNider debuted as the costumed hero Dr. Mid-Nite.
In Boston, the Holiday killer struck again on both Christmas (December 25) and New Year’s Eve (December 31).
Music of 1940
♫ The Comedians (including the Comedians’ Galop) composed by Dmitry Kabalevsky
♫ Roy Acuff and His Smokey Mountain Boys, “The Precious Jewel” (Columbia 37017)
♫ Will Bradley, “Celery Stalks at Midnight” (Columbia 35707)
♫ The Cats and the Fiddle, “I Miss You So” (Bluebird B-8429)
♫ Jimmie Davis, “You Are My Sunshine” (Decca 5813)
♫ Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra featuring Frank Sinatra and the Pied Pipers, “I’ll Never Smile Again” (Victor 26628)
♫ Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra, “Cotton Tail” (Victor 26610)
♫ The Benny Goodman Sextet featuring Charlie Christian, “Seven Come Eleven” (Columbia 35349)
♫ Woody Guthrie, Dust Bowl Ballads, Volume 1 (Victor P-27) and Volume 2 (Victor P-28)
♫ Coleman Hawkins Octet, “Bouncing with Bean” (Bluebird B-10693)
♫ Harry James and His Orchestra featuring Frank Sinatra, “All or Nothing at All” (Columbia 35587)
♫ Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, “Pennsylvania 6-5000” (Bluebird B-10754)
♫ Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys, “Mule Skinner Blues” (Bluebird B-8568)
♫ Le Quintette Du Hot Club De France with Alix Combelle, “Nuages” (Swing 88)
♫ Artie Shaw and His Orchestra, “Frenesi” (Victor 26542)
♫ Artie Shaw and His Orchestra, “Stardust” (Victor 27230)
♫ Bukka White, “Fixin’ to Die Blues” (Vocalion 05588)
♫ Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, “New San Antonio Rose” (Okeh 05694)
With all of Dr. Erskine’s original super-soldier serum samples depleted and no new breakthroughs, Operation Rebirth had comes to a standstill in the U.S. by the beginning of the year. However, it was soon revived, when they managed to lure Dr. Wilfred Nagel away from the German super-soldier program.
Frank Rock, a steel worker from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was soon stationed in North Africa, where he earned a series of field promotions and ended up serving as platoon sergeant with Easy Company (First U.S. Infantry Division) in the European theater of World War II.
Under Dr. Mazursky, the SSR’s Project M task force began secretly abducting and studying various mutants (Homo sapiens superior) and other abnormal people of interest. Mazursky coined the term “metahuman” to cover this broad group.
In New York City, secretary Elizabeth Barstow began using her knowledge of jiu-jitsu to fight crime as “The Silver Scorpion.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt began serving his third elected term as U.S. President, becoming the first and thus far only President to do so.
The radio program “The Man Called Midnight” started broadcasting from New York. Soon, radio announcer Dave Clark found himself actually becoming the mystery man “Midnight” in his spare time.
The Nazi super-soldier known as “Baron Blitzkrieg” debuted on the European battlefront. Meanwhile, 17 volunteers were administered the newest batch of super-soldier serum. Only one survived: Albrecht Krieger, who would become known as “Captain Nazi.” Although the German super-soldier program would continue through the end of the war, no additional test subjects would survive the process.
In New York City, the android Volton (Guy Newton) still believed that he was a human who had gained electrical powers through a lightning strike. He was now more in control of those powers than ever, and no longer needed the special belt that Dr. James Bradley had created for him. Bradley, who remained mentor to him, helped him create a new costume to take full advantage of his powers.
On January 29, a son was born to the Atlantean princess Atlanna of Poseidonis and Tom Curry, the lighthouse keeper from Massachusetts with whom she had fallen in love. They named the child Arthur Curry. Like another human-Atlantean hybrid, Namor, he soon demonstrated extraordinary abilities beyond those of either humans or Atlanteans.
The element plutonium was discovered by Glenn Seaborg and his team.
Dr. Herbert Warren (now calling himself “Professor Supermind”) perfected his “Energy Machine,” which allowed him to charge his 21-year-old son Daniel with electricity, thereby triggering the latent super-powered genetics within him. Under the strict control of his father, Daniel set about becoming a mystery man.
In Los Angeles, Perry Chase’s secret identity as “The Press Guardian” was uncovered. He reluctantly gave up crime fighting, but kept his job as a reporter for the Los Angeles Herald-Express and continued arguing for the rights of “mystery men” and for First Amendment rights in general.
Nick Terry had his secret identity as “The Owl” discovered by his girlfriend, Belle Wayne, a newspaper reporter in Muncie, Indiana. She decided to join him in fighting crime and became “Owl Girl.”
A private in the U.S. Army, Jack Weston became a costumed crime fighter known as “Minute-Man.” His double-identity was known to his superior officer General Milton, who would use Weston on special missions.
In Boston, the Holiday killer struck again on Valentine’s Day, February 14.
Having returned to the U.S. from China, Mark Todd debuted as the crime fighter “Blazing Skull.”
Using only her fists, 24-year-old Sandra Knight stopped would-be assassins from murdering her father, Senator Henry Knight of Maryland. She then decided to become a “mystery woman” and debuted as “The Phantom Lady.”
After more than a year recovering from his wounds and subsequent surgeries, Henry “Hank” Heywood returned to active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps. At the request of Dr. Giles, he initially kept the increased strength and abilities of his new, cybernetic body a secret, and the Marine Corps assigned him to desk duty. However, he soon realized that his special talents could be useful in the fight against fifth columnists, and he adopted the costumed persona of “Steel, the Indestructible Man” (later “Commander Steel” after he had been named an “Americommando” by President Roosevelt).
James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes (b. 1925) was a teenager whose soldier father had been killed and who had subsequently been adopted as the camp mascot at the army base where Steve Rogers was stationed. Having become friends with Rogers, he discovered that he was secretly Captain America and took the initiative to start going on missions with him as his sidekick. The Army was impressed by Barnes and would soon decide to start training him for special missions, both with and without Rogers.
Steve Rogers (Captain America) met Elizabeth “Betsy” Ross (no relation to Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross or his daughter Betty Ross), a member of the U.S. Army’s Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps.
After seeing Captain America in action, Jeffrey Mace of Brooklyn became the crime fighter known as “The Patriot.”
In Boston, the Holiday killer struck again on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. Around this time, Bruce A. Wayne was reintroduced to an old friend, socialite and humanitarian Linda Page (b. December 1919), who would eventually become his wife, although he did not begin dating her at this time.
Amidst the growing tensions of World War II, the Soviet Union and Japan signed a neutrality pact.
In Cincinnati, Ohio, Susan Kent (b. 1916) discovered that her boyfriend Jim Barr was Bulletman. Barr crafted a second “gravity helmet” and gave it to her to wear as “Bulletgirl.”
In New York City, Dr. James Bradley became “Doctor Nemesis,” using medicine and technology to fight crime.
Ted Knight visited his cousin Sandra Knight in Washington, D.C. and learned that Dr. Abraham Davis had been missing for six months, and that the FBI had no clues. Sandra showed him Dr. Davis’ laboratory, containing prototypes of many inventions, including a prototype “gravity rod.” She also told him she had joined the “mystery men” movement, which inspired Ted. After contacting Dr. Davis’ former assistant Jim Barr for advice, and then working on it for three days, Ted was able to get the rod to work on cosmic rays. Calling himself “Starman,” he then used the rod to help Sandra track down the kidnappers and rescue Dr. Davis. Davis was so grateful that he gave Ted his blessing to keep the gravity rod and continue fighting crime with it.
In Hartford, Connecticut, wealthy sociality Marla Drake put on a panther-skin outfit and became the costumed adventurer “Miss Fury.”
Jeff Dixon, the son of Apache chief White Falcon, debuted as “The Bronze Terror,” fighting against the oppression of his people.
Two days from execution for a murder he didn’t commit, John Doyle escaped from prison and became a “mystery man” to prove his innocence. Using his striped prison uniform as part of his costume, he succeeded in getting the evidence to bring the real killer to justice and clear his name. He then decided to continue fighting crime as “The Zebra.”
When his submarine sank, Lt. Peter Noble of the U.S. Navy expected to drown with the rest of the crew, but was instead surprised to find that he had latent mutant abilities that allowed him to breathe underwater and survive at deep seas pressures. He put his newfound abilities to use as “The Fin.”
John Sargent, who had come into possession of the Ruby of Life, started using his magical powers to fight crime under his stage magician name “Sargon the Sorcerer.”
In Buffalo, New York, pharmacist Bob Benton and his assistant Tim Roland accidentally created a new drug, which Benton called “formic ethers.” By inhaling the vapors, the two men were given heightened strength, agility and limited invulnerability. They soon became the masked vigilantes known as “The Terror Twins”: Black Terror (Bob) and Kid Terror (Tim).
The robot Electro was destroyed while fighting Nazis secret agents. Because of their telepathic bond, SSR science agent Philo Zogolowski (a.k.a. “Professor Zog”) received a psychic shock when this happened, causing him to have an aneurysm and die.
Rookie cop Chuck Lane debuted as the costumed crime fighter “The Jester.”
Newspaper publisher Don Wright debuted as the costumed crime fighter “Captain Freedom.”
On Thursday, May 1, former newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane died at age 78. His final word was “Rosebud.”
In Boston, the Holiday killer struck again on Mother’s Day, May 11.
The FBI arrested master spy Frederick “Fritz” Joubert Duquesne (b. 1877) and two associates on charges of spying for Germany.
Dr. Robert Crane (age 33) was a brilliant scientist and engineer who had worked for a number of years with Professor Phineas T. Horton at Timely Engineering in Illinois. Now the head of the SSR’s robotics division, Crane had made great progress. By mid-1941, he had managed to recreate a functioning, fully articulated android body, although it still lacked the artificial skin and functioning computer “brain” that Horton had perfected. That is when Nazi spies infiltrated the SSR to try to steal the android, and shot Dr. Crane repeatedly in several major organs, fatally wounding him. (They were stopped from stealing the android by the Black Marvel, however.) In a desperate attempt to save Crane’s life, his research partner and friend Chuck Grayson worked with surgeons to transplant Crane’s brain into the android body.
Shiera Sanders became Hawkgirl. Although she never attended any meetings of the Justice Society of America, her association with Hawkman eventually resulted in her being granted an honorary membership.
In Utah, the Ultra-Humanite (still in Dolores Winters’ body) set a forest fire and then kidnapped the fire fighters in order to perform experiments on them. This was a test-run, as he was perfecting the process by which he intended to create his own army of super-powered henchmen. When he was finished, believing that he had killed all of the fire fighters, the Ultra-Humanite traveled east to Detroit, where he intended to bring his plan to fruition. However, one of the fire fighters did not die. Instead, Jim Rodriguez awoke to find that the experiments had given him the power to control fire. He chose the alias “Fire-Man” and became a crime fighter. Along the way, he tried to piece together what had happened to him.
In Boston, the Holiday killer struck again on Father’s Day, June 15.
On June 20 in New York City, Dr. Harry Kane was killed by Russian spies looking to steal his chemistry research. His wife, fellow chemist Shannon Kane, used one of Dr. Kane’s formulas to create a special “spider-web fluid” that she could project from bracelets. Determined to stamp out Communism, she became the mystery woman “Spider Queen” and worked with local police detective Mike O’Bell to fight crime.
On Sunday, June 22, Germany, Italy and Romania invaded the Soviet Union. Throughout the summer, the Axis made significant gains into Soviet territory.
The Comet (John Dickering) became an early casualty of the “mystery men” movement, when he was killed while fighting mobster “Big Boy” Malone’s henchmen in Chicago. His brother Bob (who did not have any mutant powers) then swore revenge and became a masked vigilante under the name “The Hangman.” Bob met his brother’s ex-girlfriend, reporter Thelma Gordon, and the two struck up a friendship that eventually developed into a romantic relationship.
Led by Prince Namor, the Atlanteans of Thakorr attacked the surface world with “whirlpool machines,” causing massive flooding in Russia, Germany and the U.S. The Human Torch finally confronted Namor in New York City and convinced him to abandon the campaign. New York newspaper photographer Phil Sheldon witnessed the action first-hand and was able to get stunning photographs, but was blinded in one eye by a piece of falling masonry during their fight.
Soon after this, the Germans retaliated against the Atlanteans, causing Prince Namor to put aside his differences and pledge to join forces with his longtime rival The Human Torch.
In Boston, the Holiday killer struck again on July 4.
On Saturday, July 12, Great Britain and the Soviet Union signed a military alliance against Germany.
Polish resistance pilot “Blackhawk” (Janos Prohaska) made his way to England. He encountered several other pilots from occupied countries who were ready to fight in the war effort, but they were all unable to join the Royal Air Force as they were not British citizens. However, in August, Blackhawk convinced Winston Churchill to let them set up a secret base in the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland and form a team of their own, and thus the Blackhawk Squadron was formed.
At the age of 20, Patrick “Eel” O’Brian had become part of a burglary ring. During a late-night heist at the Crawford Chemical Works in West Virginia, he and his three fellow gang members were surprised by a night watchman. During the gang's escape, Eel was shot in the shoulder and doused with a large drum of unidentified chemical liquid, some of which got into his wound. In the meantime, the rest of his gang drove off without him. Fleeing on foot into the mountains, Eel suffered increasing disorientation from the gunshot wound and the exposure to the chemical, and eventually he passed out. When he awoke, he found himself in a secluded mountain monastery, being tended to by the monk who had discovered him unconscious. The monk, sensing a capacity for great good in O’Brian, turned away police officers who had trailed Eel to the monastery. With this act of kindness, Eel resolved to give up his criminal ways. Eel soon discovered that the chemical had enacted a radical change on his physiology, giving his body the properties of rubber and allowing him to stretch, bounce and mold himself into any shape. It also affected his mind, however, making him prone to silliness and unable to fully distinguish reality from fantasy. He immediately determined to use his new abilities on the side of law and order. Returning to Louisville, he debuted in August as “Plastic Man.” He also used his powers to maintain his old identity as Eel O’Brian in order to infiltrate the criminal community.
As a very young child, Carol Vance’s parents were killed in a forest fire. Thanks to her mutant powers over fire, the flames did not harm her. She survived unscathed and was adopted by a family named Martin. In August, Carol Vance Martin began using her mutant powers to fight crime as “Wildfire.”
U.S. scientist Roy Lincoln was working with his father on an experimental new explosive called “27-QRX.” When Nazi spies invaded his lab and killed his father, he resorted to ingesting the explosive rather than letting it fall into their hands. He expected this to kill him, which it would have, except that Roy had a hidden mutant superpower. His body bonded with the 27-QRX and he gained the ability to cause anything he touched to explode. The only way to control his new power was to wear a complete body containment suit and special fibro-wax gloves. He soon found himself fighting to defend the nation against other Nazi spies and saboteurs, working under the alias “The Human Bomb.”
Twins Rick and Dick Walters (b. 1929) discovered that they were mutants (Homo sapiens superior) who grew stronger and more invulnerable when they were in each other’s presence. They dressed in patriotic costumes, called themselves “Yank and Doodle,” and began fighting criminals and Fifth Columnists in Minneapolis.
University of California astrophysics professor Archibald “Archie” Masters got caught in the room with the university’s cyclotron particle accelerator during an experiment. The radiation should have killed him, but instead it unlocked hidden metahuman potential within him, giving him the powers of flight, super strength, limited invulnerability and electromagnetic pulse generation. However, he soon began to notice health problems: although he had been given super powers, he had also been given cancer. Nevertheless, he decided to use his powers for the betterment of mankind and became the masked crime fighter known as “The American Crusader.”
Hollywood starlet Linda Turner debuted as the masked crime fighter “The Black Cat.”
Wealthy but bored Baltimore socialite Rod Reilly debuted as “Firebrand,” assisted by his best friend and valet, “Slugger” Dunn, a former heavyweight boxer.
Nelvana, the demi-goddess daughter of Koliak (a.k.a. Hodiak), Inuit god of the Northern Lights, appeared to the native peoples of northern Canada and promised to protect them in the coming time of great need.
New Yorker Joan Dale discovered she was a mutant (Homo sapiens superior) with the power to transmute elements. Shortly after the emergence of her new abilities, she was abducted and studied by Project M scientists from the U.S. Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR). While drugged, she hallucinated that the Statue of Liberty was speaking to her. Based on this experience, when she awoke, she decided to begin using her powers to fight crime—at first surreptitiously, and eventually transmuting her clothing into a flag-themed costume and going by the name “Miss America.”
The Flash became an “inactive member” of the Justice Society of America due to his other obligations. Green Lantern took over as chairman, and the JSA extended full membership to Johnny Thunder.
The Whip (Rodrigo Gaynor) relocated from Albuquerque, New Mexico to New York City.
As a new cadet at the United States Military Academy at West Point, 18-year-old Gary Blakely began dressing as “The Spirit of ‘76” and fighting Nazi Fifth Columnists.
Aspiring actress Patricia Patrios lost her job on the assembly line in New Jersey, and uncovered a smuggling plot by the foreman who fired her. Sensing an opportunity, she put on a flag-themed costume and helped police catch the criminals. Calling herself “Pat Patriot,” she was soon able to turn the incident into a role on Broadway. She would have a few more “adventures” after that, but they were all carefully arranged publicity stunts. By June of the following year, she had stopped appearing as “Pat Patriot” all together and was concentrating on “serious acting.”
Dr. Abraham Davis completed work on another invention, a “black light projector.” Sandra Knight worked with Davis to miniaturize the projector, and then used it as a tool against crime in her role as “The Phantom Lady.”
In New York City, teenager Bill Bryon (age 19) began using his super strength to fight crime as “The Young Avenger.”
Washington, D.C. stenographer Joan Wayne debuted as the masked crime fighter “Miss Victory.”
One of his fellow FBI agents began assisting the alien android Manowar the White Streak under the alias Red Seal.
Provoked by the incursion of Nazi spies into the hidden realms beneath the United States, the subterranean hero “Rockman” emerged to defend the people of the underground kingdom of Abysmia.
On Friday, August 1, at the trial of gangster Sal Maroni, Boston District Attorney Harvey Dent had acid thrown in his face, permanently scarring him. The shock of this trauma caused Dent to go insane, releasing his inner demons and eventually turning him into the villain known as “Two-Face.”
On Wednesday, August 13, U.S. Army Air Corps Captain Steve Trevor (b. 1919) crash landed his plane on the island of Themyscira (a.k.a. “Paradise Island”), where he was discovered and nursed back to health by Princess Diana of the Amazons. (He taught her basic English during this time and found her to be a quick study.) Her mother, Queen Hippolyta, learned from him of the great war raging (World War II) and determined that the Axis powers were a great evil that so threatened the world that even Themyscira was no longer safe. Hippolyta therefore determined to hold a contest to appoint one of her people to leave the island, escorting Captain Trevor back to his home, where she would be “an ambassador against evil in the world of men.” Princess Diana, who at age 19 was by far the youngest Amazon on the island, was forbidden from entering the competition. However, she defied her mother and not only competed, but won. Hippolyta then realized that it was her daughter’s destiny and honored her wish. To protect Diana, she gave her three magic gifts: a tiara, a pair of indestructible gauntlets, and the Lasso of Truth.
On Thursday, August 14, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt issued a joint statement, later referred to as “The Atlantic Charter,” outlining the ideal goals for the post-war world: no territorial aggrandizement; no territorial changes made against the wishes of the people; restoration of self-government to those deprived of it; free access to raw materials; reduction of trade restrictions; global cooperation to secure better economic and social conditions for all; freedom from fear and want; freedom of the seas; and abandonment of the use of force, as well as disarmament of aggressor nations. In January 1942, all of the Allies pledged adherence to this charter’s principles.
On Saturday, August 23, while battling Captain Marvel, Captain Nazi crippled 13-year old Freddy Freeman (b. May 7, 1928) and killed his grandfather and legal guardian, Jacob Freeman. Captain Marvel (who in his secret identity was 13-year-old Billy Batson) then adopted Freddy as a sidekick, learning that he could share his abilities with others. (When Batson and Freeman were both using the powers at once, each one would only be at half their normal strength.) Although Freeman was wheelchair-bound, when he transformed into “Captain Marvel, Jr.” he regained the use of his legs and was endowed with superpowers similar to Captain Marvel’s. Unlike Batson, Freeman did not age to adulthood when he made the transformation, but stayed a teenager. [Whiz Comics #25; birthday taken from the 1976 DC Calendar.]
In Milwaukee, Sylvester Pemberton (b. December 13, 1925) and Pat Dugan (b. March 5, 1910) took on Nazi agents together when they disrupted a movie theater where both men were in the audience. Each of them later decided independently to become a masked crime fighter. Soon they teamed up again as the patriotic duo of “The Star-Spangled Kid” (Pemberton, age 15) and “Stripesy” (Dugan, age 31). [Birthdays taken from the 1976 DC Calendar.]
A rich Chicago kid named Tom Townsend started fighting crime in a U.S. flag-themed costume with his trained eagle, while calling himself “Captain Flag.”
In Portland, Maine, district attorney Howard Flynn began wearing a mask and fighting criminals as “Black Satan.” Although he was at first welcomed as a heroic mystery man, Flynn soon found himself addicted to inflicting pain and became a criminal himself. He changed from a simple mask to a demonic one that resembled his namesake.
Superman learned that he could fly if he concentrated, and he began dedicating himself to mastering the talent.
In Rochester, New York, the ghost of Bruce Carter, a soldier killed in the American Revolutionary War, appeared to his ancestor Bruce Carter III, and told him where to find his old cloak. When Carter III put it on, he was amazed to find that it magically gave him super strength and invulnerability. The ghost of Carter I warned him of impending danger, and Carter III agreed to become a champion for America using the alias “Fighting Yank.”
Johnny Chambers (b. 1917) discovered he could gain super speed powers by reciting a special mathematical formula. (Without realizing it, the formula was serving as a meditative focus, allowing Chambers to tap into the Speed Force.) He decided to become a mystery man using the name “Johnny Quick.”
The Scarlet Avenger (Jim Kendall) was shot to death while fighting criminals.
Having recently arrived in America, Cat-Man (David Merrywether) was killed for the second time while fighting some criminals. After being revived by his mystical cloth costume to live the third of his nine lives, he decided to stay in the land of his birth for a time to fight the plague of crime that had seized it.
American explorers discovered the bodies of Sir Justin, a Knight of King Arthur’s Round Table, and his winged horse Victory frozen in the Arctic ice. They brought them back to New York and were amazed to discover that they were still alive. Realizing that he must adjust to life in a new century, Sir Justin adopted the civilian name “Justin Arthur.” Before long, however, he found himself once again fighting the agents of evil as “The Shining Knight.” He would eventually make his way back to his home in Britain and would help defend it in war time, but Victory would always carry him back to his second home of America when he was needed there.
In Philadelphia, Elizabeth “Libby” Lawrence became the mystery woman “Liberty Belle.”
In Boston, Batman apprehended Alberto Falcone, believed to be the Holiday killer, after he murdered gangster Sal Maroni on September 1.
On Thursday, September 4, Princess Diana left Themyscira and ventured into the world of men. Returning Steve Trevor to his Army Air Corps base in Texas, she was able to get a job there as an Army nurse under the civilian name “Diana Prince.” She would soon be better known, however, by the heroic alias “Wonder Woman.”
On Monday, September 8, there was a fatal train wreck just south of Indianapolis, which put the Indiana Railroad out of business. Combined with the changes brought about by the passage of the Transportation Act of 1940, Alan Scott (Green Lantern) found himself unemployed. He moved from Indianapolis, Indiana back to his original hometown of Boston, Massachusetts.
On Monday, September 22, Captain America, Bucky, The Human Torch, Toro and Namor the Sub-Mariner united to rescue Winston Churchill from Master Man (Wilhelm Lohmer). At Churchill’s suggestion, they formed a loose alliance, called “The Invaders,” under which they would continue to operate throughout the war. Churchill arranged for them to meet Lord James Montgomery Falsworth, the original WWI-era Union Jack, who joined the team as an elder statesman and provided them with a base of operations in England. Others would soon join the squad as well.
In Boston, Dr. Jonathan Crane (b. 1904) debuted as the fear-inducing criminal known as “The Scarecrow.”
In New York, John Law was interested in writing a book about the mystery men movement. Eventually, he decided that to truly understand that culture, he would have to become one of them, or at least pretend to. Following various leads he had collected in interviews for his book, he made the association of Wesley Dodds (The Sandman) and Dion Belmont (his girlfriend). Having already chosen the alias “The Tarantula” and designed his own suction-cup devices to help him climb walls, Law was able to convince Dodds to help him invent a gun that would fire a sticky substance similar to spider webs. Meanwhile, Belmont created a costume for him. In October, Law gave his new persona and gadgets a test run. He had no intention of continuing as a mystery man after that, but after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he was contacted by Dodds, who convinced him to join the All-Star Squadron and continue fighting crime.
New York newspaper reporter Keen Marlow was captured and accused of spying while reporting behind the lines in Nazi Germany. While imprisoned, he met Professor Erik Schmitt, a scientist who had previously worked with Doctors Reinstein and Koch in the German eugenics program. Schmitt was anti-Nazi and had been imprisoned for destroying their supply of super-soldier serum. He had secretly managed to smuggle one last sample with him into the concentration camp, however. He had originally planned to use it on himself, but when he was mortally wounded, he gave it to Marlow. After ingesting the serum, Marlow’s strength, speed and reflexes were heightened to the pinnacle of human perfection, and he used his new abilities to escape. He then dressed in a dark, skull-themed costume with a skin-tight, inhuman mask and continued to fight the Nazis on their own turf for the rest of the war, calling himself “The Destroyer.”
Mighty Man (John Doe) met and found himself falling in love with fellow mutant Ann Star, who had become something of a novelty going by the name “Super-Ann” due to her super strength. He secretly began aiding her in her adventures, always keeping hidden as he did so.
Doctor Fate (Kent Nelson, age 35) lost the magic helmet given to him by Nabu (The Helmet of Fate), but retained some of his magic powers via his Amulet of Anubis and Cloak of Levitation, and was thus able to continue fighting crime.
The Flame (Gary Preston, age 23) was injured while battling a mutant foe named The Octopus. He used a special Tibetan ritual to share his powers with his girlfriend, Linda Dale (b. 1917), and she became “Flame-Girl.” She then used those powers to defeat The Octopus.
Captain America (Steve Rogers, age 19) first encountered the Nazi agent of terror known as the “Red Skull” (Johann Schmidt, age 26).
Law clerk Jim Hornsby (b. 1921) began operating as the masked vigilante “Black Cobra,” using insider knowledge gained from working in the office of his father, the district attorney, to catch criminals that were “outside the law.”
On Friday, October 31 (Halloween), Harvey Dent debuted as “Two-Face” and killed mob boss Carmine “The Roman” Falcone in Boston.
Concerned by the spread of fascism, Dan Kane once again resumed his masked “Captain Terror” persona, which he had used during the Spanish Civil War, and began fighting Nazi agents in the U.S. and in Europe.
In Washington, D.C., teenage heiress Madeline Joyce (b. 1924) discovered latent mutant abilities, including telekinetic powers and X-ray vision. (The use of the latter would damage her eyesight over time, forcing her to wear glasses.) She soon debuted as “Miss America,” unaware that another heroine in New York (Joan Dale) had recently adopted the same alias.
In New York City, Nazi agents began brainwashing Dr. James Bradley (Doctor Nemesis) into becoming a Nazi agent. (Under Nazi influence, he soon began calling himself “Doctor Death.”) With his help, they recruited (through various means) several other costumed adventurers to their cause, including The Human Meteor (Duke O’Dowd), The Spider Queen (Shannon Kane), Strongman (Percy van Norton) and Volton (Guy Newton). Along with German agent Skyshark (Elias Schleigal), this group became the core of “The Battle-Axis.”
On Thursday, November 27, Greg Sanders debuted as a cowboy-themed “mystery man” going by the alias “The Vigilante.” Although he was from Wyoming, he was based primarily in New York City.
In New York City, the cowboy-themed crime fighter known as The Vigilante (Greg Sanders) first encountered the foe that dog him his entire career: the pint-sized criminal mastermind known only as The Dummy.
Cat-Man (David Merrywether) rescued an orphaned 11-year-old girl, Katie Conn, who despite his protests would eventually become his sidekick “Kitten.”
In Boston, Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot debuted as a new mob boss known as “The Penguin,” a.k.a. “The Gentleman of Crime.”
Exiled American Rick Blaine (b. 1904), owner of Rick's Café Américain in Casablanca, Morocco, helped Czechoslovak underground leader Victor Laszlo evade the Nazis.
Ann Star discovered that Mighty Man (John Doe) had been secretly following her and helping her in her adventures. The two fell in love and retired from adventuring to live “a normal life.” They were soon married and settled down together in Montana.
Green Lantern and Hourman went on sabbatical from the Justice Society of America. (Green Lantern’s leave of absence was due to having too many commitments, while Hourman’s was starting to deal with the effects of addiction to the Miraclo drug.) Eager to keep its active roster at eight, the JSA added Dr. Mid-Nite and Starman as new members. Hawkman became the new chairman.
Dian Belmont, the girlfriend of Wesley Dodds (The Sandman) was killed. Dodds adopted her 14-year-old nephew, Sanderson “Sandy” Hawkins (b. September 26, 1927), whom she had been raising. Before she died, Belmont had also designed a new costume for The Sandman, which Dodds wore thereafter. Dodds also re-sized one of the costumes for Sandy and trained him to be his sidekick, “Sandy the Golden Boy.” [Birthday taken from the 1976 DC Calendar.]
After helping the University of Texas football team complete a top-ranked season, 19-year-old sophomore Maximo Miller (secretly a super-powered mutant) was killed while pursuing Nazi spies.
In Akron, Ohio, Brian Butler (a.k.a. “Mr. Scarlet”) adopted a boy named Pinkerton, or “Pinky” (b. 1929), who became his costumed sidekick, “The Whiz Kid.”
Deborah Wallace, namesake ancestor of the 18th century lover of Keith Everet, Earl of Strethmere, arrived at the Wallace castle in Ireland and awakened Everet’s ghost. The “Gay Ghost” rescued Wallace from Nazi spies and inhabited the body of her fiancé, Charles Collins, who had been killed while fighting the Nazis. He then accompanied her back to America.
When the rest of The Invaders were brainwashed by The Red Skull, Bucky Barnes quickly assembled several other heroes he knew to rescue them. This new team, which he called “The Liberty Legion,” consisted of Blue Diamond (Elton Morrow), Jack Frost, Miss America (Madeline Joyce), The Patriot (Jeffrey Mace), Red Raven, The Thin Man (Bruce Dickson) and The Whizzer (Robert Frank).
Nick Fury and Red Hargrove were stationed in Oahu at the time, and Hargrove was among the many killed that day. The death of his friend galvanized Fury against both the Japanese and the Nazis, and would shape his career defending America for the rest of his life.
Utilizing his limited powers of clairvoyance, the supernatural hero known as Uncle Sam had sensed an impending danger to America in the Pacific. Without knowing the exact nature of the threat, he had hastily summoned all of the mystery men he could to combat it: the Invisible Hood (Kent Thurston), Magno (Tom Dalton), Miss America (Joan Dale), Neon the Unknown (Thomas Corbet), the Red Torpedo (Jim Lockhart), Manowar the White Streak and the Red Seal. Traveling aboard Lockhart’s specially-designed submarine, The Torpedo, this band of heroes was able to reach Pearl Harbor just as the attack began, but was unable to stop the devastation. By the time fighting had ended, the submarine had been sunk, and all of the heroes had been killed except for a severely weakened Uncle Sam.
After participating in the attack on Pearl Harbor, Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service pilot Shigenori Nishikaichi crash-landed his Zero on the Hawaiian island of Niʻihau. There, he was assisted by three locals of Japanese descent before being killed by the locals. This incident would later add to American paranoia about the loyalty of U.S. citizens of Japanese descent.
President Roosevelt’s administration had long debated how to address the “mystery men” situation in the U.S. On the one hand, it was clear that some of them were vigilantes acting outside of the law. On the other hand, some were acting in the public interest in a time when crime was rampant and police resources stretched thin due to the Great Depression. What’s more, the mystery men had become a useful weapon against increasingly frequent attacks by “fifth columnist” spies on American soil. The FBI had taken an active interest in their activities, but had made few arrests, publicly dismissing them as hoaxes and focusing their “public enemies” list solely on gangsters. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt received information that further attacks on American soil were imminent. Seeking to prevent such attacks, he immediately sent a representative to the Justice Society of America and asked them to organize a meeting of heroes at the White House.
On Monday, December 8, Roosevelt spoke to a joint session of Congress, and less than an hour later they approved his request for a declaration of war against Japan. Several other nations also declared war on Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor, including Britain, Australia and China. Meanwhile, Germany and the other Axis powers soon declared war on the U.S. in solidarity with Japan.
Later on the evening of December 8, Roosevelt secretly met with a handful of mystery men that had managed to gather on short notice in response to the President’s request: The Atom, Dr. Mid-Nite and Hawkman of the Justice Society; Shining Knight from the Seven Soldiers of Victory; and the independent heroes Johnny Quick and Liberty Belle. During this meeting, Roosevelt unveiled his plan for a government-sanctioned “All-Star Squadron,” a secret task force of mystery men dedicated to protecting the homeland against enemy attack. The Trylon and Perisphere structures built for the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York had already been retrofitted into a top-secret spy base, and were given as a headquarters and command center for the Squadron. (The Justice Society and Seven Soldiers of Victory continued to function independently, but also coordinated activities with the independent members of the Squadron, which were spread out over the entire nation.) The seven heroes assembled in the White House that evening immediately took action on the first piece of intelligence the President gave them (which federal agent Cyril “Speed” Saunders had lost his life obtaining), and were able to thwart a Japanese attack on the West Coast. They then began recruiting additional members for the All-Star Squadron.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Kent Nelson (Dr. Fate) contacted Dr. Nelson Drew, a trusted ally and professor at Columbia University, and gave him a secret Egyptian formula called “Lamesis.” The formula proved extraordinarily difficult to produce, and Drew had only enough of the secret ingredient, passed along since the days of the Pharaohs, for one dose. When he imbibed the concoction, it transformed him, giving him super strength and speed. He adopted the alias “The Liberator” and began fighting Nazi and Japanese saboteurs.
Following the death of his cousin, mutant superhero Magno, Janesville, Wisconsin police chief Calvin Dalton was inspired to begin using his own mutant (Homo sapiens superior) powers to secretly “ferret out” organized crime as the costumed crime fighter known as “The Ferret.” The more he used his powers (including super strength, invulnerability and heightened senses), the stronger he found them becoming. However, he also found himself becoming more and more animalistic in his behavior.
Music of 1941
♫ Masquerade composed by Aram Khachaturian
♫ The Andrews Sisters, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” (Decca 3598)
♫ Big Bill Broonzy, “Key to the Highway” (Okeh 06242)
♫ Una Mae Carlisle, “Walkin’ by the River” (Bluebird B-11033)
♫ Nat Cole Trio, “Sweet Lorraine” (Decca 8520)
♫ Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra, “Take the ‘A’ Train” (Victor 27380)
♫ The Benny Goodman Sextet featuring Charlie Christian, “Good Enough to Keep (Air Mail Special)” (Columbia 36099)
♫ Lil Green, “Why Don’t You Do Right?” (Bluebird B-8714)
♫ Billie Holiday, “God Bless the Child” (Okeh 6270)
♫ Billie Holiday, “Solitude” (Okeh 6270)
♫ The Ink Spots, “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire” (Decca 3987)
♫ Harry James, “Two O’Clock Jump” (Columbia 36232)
♫ Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five, “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town” (Decca 8593)
♫ Gene Krupa and His Orchestra featuring Anita O’Day, “Drum Boogie” (Okeh 6046)
♫ Gene Krupa and His Orchestra featuring Roy Eldridge and Anita O’Day, “Let Me Off Uptown” (Okeh 6210)
♫ Lead Belly with the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet, “The Midnight Special” (Victor 27266)
♫ Tommy McClennan, “Cross Cut Saw” (Bluebird B-8897)
♫ Jay McShann featuring Walter Brown, “Confessin’ the Blues” (Decca 8559)
♫ Memphis Minnie, “Me and My Chauffeur Blues” (Okeh 06288)
♫ Big Maceo Merriweather, “Worried Life Blues” (Bluebird B-8827)
♫ Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” (Bluebird B-11230)
♫ Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, “A String of Pearls” (Bluebird B-11382)
♫ Robert Petway, “Catfish Blues” (Bluebird B-8838)
♫ The Sons of the Pioneers, “Cool Water” (Decca 5939)
♫ Ernest Tubb, “Walking the Floor Over You” (Decca 5958)
♫ Bea Wain, “Do I Worry?” (Victor 27353)
♫ Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, “Take Me Back to Tulsa” (Okeh 06101)
The U.S. began major involvement in World War II and began to climb out of the Great Depression.
Many men enlisted in the U.S. armed forces immediately after Pearl Harbor. Among them were Cincinnati private eye Dan Dare (U.S. Army, European theater 1942-1945) and Martin Jordan (Hal’s father, U.S. Army Air Force, Pacific theater 1942-1945).
New York photojournalist Phil Sheldon traveled to Europe as a war correspondent.
In conjunction with the U.S. Army, the Strategic Scientific Reserve’s Project M group created a special-ops unit of metahumans nicknamed the “Creature Commandos.” The original members included: Lt. Matthew Shrieve (normal human), Sgt. Vincent Velcoro (vampire), Pvt. Elliot “Lucky” Taylor (malformed human), Warren Griffith (werewolf) and Dr. Myrra “Medusa” Rhodes (mutant), who were eventually joined by the robot J.A.K.E.
The mystical city of K’un-Lun reappeared in our dimension, and Wendell Rand (now age 18) returned to the U.S. There, he would found the Rand Corporation in New York and marry socialite Heather Duncan (b. 1926).
After a year of development, the U.S. Operation Rebirth program selected 300 African American soldiers and administered them Dr. Nagel’s version of the super-soldier serum. Only five survived the initial test. Eventually, after being used for high-risk missions, only Isaiah Bradley survived. For his final mission, which he undertook against orders, he dressed as Captain America, earning himself the nickname “Black Captain America.” The U.S. government suppressed knowledge of Bradley and the other African American super-soldiers.
Captain Murphy of the Louisville Police Department reluctantly started working with Plastic Man. He eventually deputized him to help catch the notorious criminal Eel O’Brian, unaware that O’Brian was really Plastic Man undercover.
At Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in Scotland, 15-year-old wizard Tom Marvolo Riddle (later known as Voldemort) opened the Chamber of Secrets.
The Venusian World War began on the planet Venus. What started as a simple land war on the Southern Continent would soon encompass the entire planet. [This is the war from the final Carson Napier story, "War on Venus," and also eventually grows into the alien war at the center of This Island Earth.]
John Carter and Dejah Thoris were kidnapped from Mars by the Skeleton Men of Jupiter. Carter died during an escape attempt and Dejah committed suicide rather than allow herself to be recaptured.
In the largest spy roundup in U.S. history, 33 members of the Duquesne Spy Ring were sentenced to prison.
In Janesville, Wisconsin, the use of his mutant (Homo sapiens superior) powers caused police chief Calvin Dalton (a.k.a. “The Ferret”) to transform into a feral half-man, half-beast. He turned violent, but was slain in a confrontation with The Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy.
Ted Grant (b. September 12, 1924) debuted as boxing crime fighter “Wildcat” in New York City. He had trained with ex-boxer Joe Morgan, the same man who trained The Atom (Al Pratt). Meanwhile, Morgan himself would begin the year adventuring with the Arabian hero “Raja,” who called him “Punchy.” [Birthday taken from the 1976 DC Calendar.]
Teenage millionaire and martial arts expert Terry Sloane (age 19) debuted as “Mr. Terrific” in Philadelphia.
Nick Fury began commanding the First Attack Squad, a unit of U.S. Army Rangers stationed at a military base in the United Kingdom to fight specialized missions primarily in the European theater of the war. After their first mission, they were awarded the honorary title of Commando by Winston Churchill, and they are soon nicknamed “The Howling Commandos.”
After exhaustively studying the work of his distant relative, Baron Victor Frankenstein, Nazi scientist Dr. Basil Frankenstein moved into Castle Frankenstein in Geneva, Switzerland with his Japanese assistant Dr. Kitagowa and tried to follow Victor’s methods to create a new “Frankenstein’s monster.” Their ultimate plan was to create a zombie-like army of soldiers for the Third Reich.
In New York City, police detective Mike O’Bell was killed, and the Spider Queen (Shannon Kane) again blamed the Communist spies who had killed her husband. Kane had already been in contact with fringe elements of the hero community who had convinced her that the Nazis were the only ones who could defeat the Communists, and so she joined their cause by becoming a member of the Battle-Axis.
In New York City, The Vigilante (Greg Sanders) acquired a sidekick named Daniel Leong who went by the moniker “Stuff, the Chinatown Kid.”
Gary Preston (The Flame, age 23) and John Aman (The Prince of Orphans, age 28) teamed together to catch “The Great Question.” Preston was killed in the confrontation. Aman returned with the prisoner to Tibet, and chose to remain there. Upon Preston’s death, his girlfriend Linda Dale (age 24) lost her spiritual bond with him that allowed her to share his powers as Flame-Girl, and so she retired from crime fighting.
Fire-Man (Jim Rodriguez) caught up with the Ultra-Humanite (still in Dolores Winters’ body) in Detroit, looking to bring the killer to justice. Unfortunately, Rodriguez was no match for the Ultra-Humanite, who quickly killed him. The Ultra-Humanite then kidnapped scientist Terry Curtis and several members of his staff, and used his advanced science to generate his own super-powered henchmen. One of his experiments turned Curtis’ janitor Will Everett into “The Amazing Man.” Everett would soon turn on the Ultra-Humanite, though, and become a hero with the All-Star Squadron. Curtis, meanwhile, was reluctantly forced to become the villain “Cyclotron.”
A Canadian serving as a Captain in the Allied Air Force was given the code name “Johnny Canuck” and given freelance status to battle Axis forces around the world in whatever manner necessary.
The Green Mask (Michael Shelby) suddenly lost his heightened strength, speed and reflexes, as the Vita-Rays wore off. The Vita-Ray machine’s inventor, Dr. Abraham Erskine had since died, and the designs had been lost. Shelby contacted his friend and Erskine’s former assistant, Dr. Walter Green, who agreed to try to help recreate the process.
The All-Star Squadron held its first all-members meeting in the Perisphere structure in New York. Hawkman (the acting chair of the Justice Society) and Liberty Belle were voted as co-chairs for the organization. The Shield operated as its liaison with the FBI, while James “Bucky” Barnes and Thomas “Toro” Raymond served as representative of the international super-squadron fighting overseas as The Invaders.
During that first meeting of the All-Star Squadron, the supernatural hero Uncle Sam arrived and explained how he had tried to prevent the attack on Pearl Harbor. He then recruited a new team of “Freedom Fighters” to operate out of Washington, D.C.: Black Condor (Richard Grey, Jr.), Doll Man (Darrel Dane), The Human Bomb (Roy Lincoln), The Phantom Lady (Sandra Knight) and The Ray (Lanford “Happy” Terrill). (All of these Freedom Fighters also remained members of the All-Star Squadron.) A few months later, they were joined by Firebrand (Rod Reilly).
After the first meeting of the All-Star Squadron, J. Edgar Hoover held a smaller meeting in New York with just the members Justice Society, and gave them assignments to eradicate Fifth Columnist threats throughout Latin America. Hoover was made an honorary member of the Justice Society at this meeting.
Almost one year after turning his son Dan Warren into a superhero, “Professor Supermind” (Dr. Herbert Warren) accidentally killed Dan by over-charging him with electricity. In his grief, Professor Supermind destroyed all of his research and then killed himself.
On Wednesday, February 11, the USS Shark submarine was damaged off the coast of Manado, Indonesia by the Japanese destroyer Yamazake, losing all propulsion and communication capabilities. The 54 men aboard (four officers and 49 enlisted) would spend the next two months adrift in the Pacific Ocean.
On Thursday, February 19, worried about fifth column activity, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized local military commanders to designate “military areas” as “exclusion zones,” from which “any or all persons may be excluded.” This power was then used to declare that all people of Japanese ancestry were excluded from the entire Pacific coast, including all of California and much of Oregon, Washington and Arizona, except in special internment camps that were established.
After six months as a “mystery man” in Chicago, Captain Flag (Tom Townsend) was arrested by Dick Tracy. Tracy convinced Townsend to retire from crime fighting and join the U.S. Army, saying that the policed were better equipped to take on crime, and Townsend’s country needed him more now on the battlefield of World War II. Townsend would go on to become a decorated war hero.
In New York, the mystery man known as “Bob Phantom” (actually newspaper gossip columnist Walt Whitney) was seriously injured and gave up crime fighting.
Paul Patton (The Fox) was drafted into the U.S. Army and retired from crime fighting.
While Donald “Dan” Richards was attending the police academy, his classmate Jim was framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Richards took up the costumed identity of “Manhunter” to track down the actual killer and clear Jim’s name. Afterwards, he continued to operate as Manhunter with the help of his dog, Thor.
In Boston, Jim Gordon’s wife left him and took their son, James Jr., back with her to live in Chicago.
Wonder Woman (Princess Diana of the Amazons) became an honorary member of the Justice Society of America.
Dr. Basil Frankenstein and Dr. Kitagowa brought their creature to life at Castle Frankenstein in Geneva, Switzerland. However, rumors of the monster soon leaked out and were investigated by The Invaders. When confronted, the monster managed to break free of Frankenstein’s control and kill his master, then leapt to his apparent death along with Dr. Kitagowa. However, the monster was in love with Kitagowa, and he protected her during the fall so that she actually survived. Although the monster had been destroyed, she was able to salvage its still-living heart and returned to her laboratory in Hiroshima, Japan to study it.
At age 67, small-time crook Stanley “Stinky” Printwhistle was looking to score one last heist by blowing up a bridge and then looting the oncoming train. The plot was foiled by Captain Marvel, and Printwhistle fell off the bridge. However, he was saved by an evil spirit. In a deal with this devil, Printwhistle sold his soul for the power of four of the most evil men in history. By saying the word “Ibac” (formed from the initials of their names), he was given the terror of Ivan the Terrible, the cunning of Cesare Borgia, the fierceness of Attila the Hun and the cruelty of Caligula, as well as superhuman strength and stamina. He would become an ongoing enemy for the Marvel Family over the next year.
San Francisco police officer James Harper legally adopted four homeless newsboys (Tommy Tomkins, Anthony “Big Words” Rodriguez, Johnny “Gabby” Gabrielli and Patrick “Scrapper” MacGuire) after they helped him with a case, so that they wouldn’t go to jail. Frustrated that the kids had been able to solve the case where police couldn’t, and then were being treated as criminals, Harper decided to become a “mystery man” in his spare time and chose the alias “The Guardian.” The boys, encouraged by their own success at stopping the criminals, started calling themselves “The Newsboy Legion,” and continued to help both Jim and The Guardian, who they suspected but weren’t entirely sure were the same person.
Dr. Robert Crane emerged from the radical surgery that transplanted his brain into an android body. Now going by the name “Robotman,” he tried to adjust to his new body. He took advantage of his increased strength and become a valued member of the All-Star Squadron, but he also faced struggles adapting to his new life, including legal challenges by Timely Engineering, which claimed that he was their property and not a person. Legally, Robert Crane had been buried and declared dead, and while eventually Robotman would be granted human rights by the courts, he would not regain his old identity.
The USS Shark submarine became grounded on an uncharted island (later known as Lagos Island) northwest of the Marianas. The U.S. Navy soldiers aboard would soon nickname the place “Dinosaur Island” as they were preyed upon by prehistoric beasts. Although they had stockades of weapons aboard the submarine, the dinosaurs took their toll.
When Nazi agent “Iron Jaw” killed his parents, 13-year-old Chuck Chandler debuted as “Crime Buster.” Over the next year, he managed to thwart Iron Jaw and his agents and bring the Nazi saboteurs to justice. He was never very good at being a “mystery man,” though, as all of those around him knew his secret identity and his costume just consisted of his school hockey uniform and a cape.
Paul Kirk, a former big game hunter, became a costumed crime fighter in Albany, New York using the alias “Manhunter.” (He was unaware that Dan Richards had started using that alias the previous month.)
The subterranean hero “Rockman” disappeared back into his underground realm and was not seen again.
On Saturday, April 4, Liberty Belle (a.k.a. Elizabeth Lawrence, age 24) and Johnny Quick (a.k.a. Johnny Chambers, age 25) were wed in Boston. The All-Star Squadron teammates had first met just four months earlier in a meeting with President Roosevelt after the attack on Pearl Harbor. [Note that official sources list April 1 as their wedding date, but as that was a Wednesday, April 4 is much more likely.]
Benjamin Jacob Grimm (b. August 28, 1924) graduated high school in New York City’s Lower East Side and soon after joined the Army Air Force, where he would become a decorated pilot during the war. [Birthday in honor of Jack Kirby.]
Captain Terror (Dan Kane) was killed in action while fighting Axis agents in Europe.
Building on the work of Dr. Robert Crane, the SSR unveiled its prototype “G.I. Robot.”
Detroit Daily Sentinel newspaper chairman Britt Reid (The Green Hornet) and his chauffer Ikano Kato encountered Private Steve Rogers (Captain America) of the U.S. Army. Reid also narrowly missed running into reporters Clark Kent (Superman) and Lois Lane of The San Francisco Daily Planet.
The “gentleman criminal” known as “The Eel” was caught by The Phantom Detective.
The Whizzer (Robert Frank, age 23) and Miss America (Madeline Joyce, age 20) were invited to join The Invaders after helping them defeat the Super-Axis, a group of Nazi supervillains.
The Bronze Terror (Jeff Dixon) became confrontational with the FBI when they entered Apache tribal land, and he was shot and killed when it escalated.
The surviving crew of 14 soldiers from the USS Shark submarine were rescued from Lagos Island by a U.S. Navy ship searching for a rumored Japanese base on a rumored, uncharted “Dragon Island.” There was no sign of any Japanese activity in the area. The nature and location of the island was immediately classified by U.S. military command.
Diane Grayton, who had discovered she had the mutant power to control black widow spiders (genus Latrodectus) with her mind, decided to fight crime. She wore a green-skinned, Halloween-style witch mask to scare criminals and called herself “The Spider Widow.”
The U.S. Office of Strategic Services (OSS) spy agency was created. The pre-existing Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR) was soon absorbed into the new agency as its Research and Development Branch, and its mandate and funding shifted to support covert activities rather than combat technologies.
On June 1, the Grand Coulee Dam began operating in Washington State as the first water over-topped its spillway.
The Battle of Midway, one of the most important naval battles of World War II, was fought June 4-7. Six months after Pearl Harbor, the Imperial Japanese Navy had hoped to lure the United States Navy into a trap and then inflict another demoralizing defeat, thus ensuring their dominance in the Pacific. However, American code-breakers were able to determine the date and location of the attack, enabling the U.S. Navy to set up an ambush of its own. The U.S. scored a decisive victory in the battle and inflicted irreparable damage on the Japanese fleet.
On June 22, the Battle-Axis launched “Project Mojave,” a scheme designed to create an earthquake in the western United States to release toxic gas buried there, crippling the U.S. war effort and forcing the nation to withdraw from the conflict. They were thwarted by the Invaders, along with Blazing Skull and Silver Scorpion (who were both made honorary members of the team). Doctor Death (Dr. James Bradley) was eventually shocked with electricity by Volton, his own android creation, who had believed he was human but had finally learned the secret. Doctor Death was left for dead, but his knowledge of medicine had saved him, and when he regained his senses, he repented. He then returned to a life of crime fighting in New York City as “Doctor Nemesis.” The other Battle-Axis members were all taken into custody by the U.S. government. Silver Scorpion (Elizabeth Barstow) retired from costumed crime fighting due to injuries sustained in the battle. [The Invaders Vol. 2]
Jim Gordon became Commissioner of the Boston Police Department.
European war correspondent Chase Yale had developed a secret identity as “Commando Yank.” In July, he approached U.S. Navy intelligence and became a special agent for them, working undercover with a troop of specially trained British commandos.
Forbidden from flying combat missions because of his age, British teenager Mickey Malone built his own airplane and became a secret ace fighter pilot, codenamed “Phantom Eagle” (a name previously used by an American ace in WWI).
Superman began construction of a “Fortress of Solitude” in a hidden location in the Brooks Range of northeastern Alaska. [Superman’s “Secret Citadel” first appeared in Superman #17.]
The Justice Society and All-Star Squadron had their final battle with the forces of the Ultra-Humanite and his henchmen. Cyclotron (Terry Curtis, age 37), who had been forced into serving the Ultra-Humanite, heroically sacrificed his life by taking the Ultra-Humanite into the atmosphere and allowing himself to blow up. [All-Star Squadron Annual #2]
At age 14, Billy Batson discovered his twin sister, Mary, who had been separated from him at birth (December 23, 1927) and adopted and raised by a Mrs. Bromfield in Cincinnati. On July 6, he shared his Captain Marvel powers with her, and she became known as “Mary Marvel.” (Whenever multiple members of the “Captain Marvel Family” were using their powers at once, each would have their powers reduced proportionally; for example, if all three were active, then each one would only be at one-third their normal strength.)
In Portland, Maine, four youths banded together to fight local crime lord “Black Satan,” whom the local police had been unable to apprehend. Calling themselves the “Four Comrades,” they became some of the youngest costumed crime fighters in the country. The four boys were: Alfred “Buzz” Brandon (b. 1927), a juvenile boxing prodigy; Thomas “Tommy” Tompkins (b. 1929), a boy inventor; and William “Pudge” O’Conner (b. 1928) and Thomas “Tip” Addams (b. 1930), a pair of street urchins.
Concerned that Lagos Island (a.k.a. “Dinosaur Island”) would give the Japanese a strategic position in the pacific theater of the war, the U.S. landed an elite force of Army soldiers there to secure it. They were not prepared for what they encountered there, and were unable to secure the island for the Allies. Covertly, both the Allies and the Axis would try to take Lagos Island on several occasions throughout the war, but neither side was ever able to capture it. They never fought each other directly, as neither side was ever able to get past the dinosaurs that dwelled there.
U.S. soldier John Grayson adopted the masked identity of “Captain Commando” and used it to rally disheartened troops into battle against Axis foes in Europe.
Wonder Woman (Princess Diana of the Amazons) became the first female to achieve full membership in the Justice Society of America.
The U.S. Army Air Corps launched its new “Secret Squadron” paramilitary aviation organization. The squadron was based on the success of “The Blackhawk Squadron,” an independent international aviation team that received funding from the British government, and by the Canadian aviator codenamed “Johnny Canuck,” who had launched a solo campaign in February. Former WWI fighter pilot Capt. Jim “Red” Albright, who had earned a reputation fighting criminals as “Captain Midnight,” was selected to head the new squadron.
While performing experiments for the U.S. government, scientist Tom Standish was exposed to a “black light ray” that gave him metahuman powers, including heightened strength and the ability to fly. He became a mystery man using the alias “The American Eagle.” He was soon joined by a sidekick, Bud Pierce, a.k.a. “Eaglet,” an exceptionally strong young man whose father had been a circus strongman.
Paired with Corporeal Eugene “Mac” McMorris, the prototype G.I. Robot, nicknamed “Joe,” showed great promise on its first assignment to Lagos Island (a.k.a. “Dinosaur Island”).
When The Spider Widow (Diane Grayton) was ambushed by Nazis, Tony Grey used his mutant flying powers to rescue her as “The Raven.” The two heroes soon became partners and love interests.
The Black Owl (Doug Danville), The Green Lama (Jethro Dumont), Dr. Frost, and Yank and Doodle (Rick and Dick Walters) teamed up to battle Frankenstein’s monster, who was on the loose in St. Paul, Minnesota. The monster fled and soon after this was seen battling Nazis in Europe.
The Vita-Rays that had revived the ancient Egyptian mummy Ra-emhet (now operating under the name “Mystico the Wonder Man”) suddenly wore off, and he was reduced to a pile of dust.
The Red Bee (Richard Raleigh) died while saving the lives of Hourman and several other members of the All-Star Squadron from the Nazi supervillain Baron Blitzkrieg.
On Saturday, October 31 (Halloween), mob boss Sophia Gigante Falcone attacked Arkham Asylum in Massachusetts, freeing several dangerous felons, including The Joker, The Scarecrow and Two-Face.
Mr. America (Tex Thomson) accepted a special assignment from President Roosevelt. He was given special training and made the first “Americommando.” The Americommando program was later expanded to include John Grayson, a.k.a. “Captain Commando”; Henry Heywood, a.k.a. “Commander Steel”; Peter Noble, a.k.a. “The Fin”; Jack Weston, a.k.a. “Minute-Man”; and Chase Yale, a.k.a. “Commando Yank.”
Wildfire (Carol Martin) was killed while fighting crime.
Natalia Alianovana “Natasha” Romanova (b. 1939) when her mother died during the Battle of Stalingrad (August 23, 1942-Fenruary 2, 1943). He would raise the orphaned child as a surrogate father. Natalia demonstrated remarkable intelligence from a very early age.
District attorney Bill Perkins, who had been moonlighting as the mystery man “The Mouthpiece,” was arrested (and subsequently convicted) for murdering suspects.
With some upgrades, the SSR’s first G.I. Robot prototype, “Joe,” was sent back to Lagos Island (a.k.a. “Dinosaur Island”) with his human handler, Corporeal Eugene “Mac” McMorris. Both Mac and Joe were lost and presumed killed during the mission.
Plastic Man (Eel O’Brian) acquired a sidekick, a middle-aged ex-con with a loose grip on sanity whose stated name was Wolfgang “Woozy” Winks.
The “Hangman killings” targeting Boston police officers began with the murders of Chief O’Hara and former Police Commissioner Gillian Loeb.
On Saturday, November 28, exactly four weeks after escaping from Arkham Asylum, The Joker set the Cocoanut Grove Fire in Boston, which killed dozens.
Brooklyn law clerk Larry Jordan decided to put his interest in radio and electronics to use, and became the costumed crime fighter “Air Wave.” Given his unique skill set, President Roosevelt would soon personally request his inclusion in the All-Star Squadron.
Using the Spear of Destiny, Hitler had gained control of Oggar, the former disciple of the wizard Shazam who had turned evil. While engaged in a mystical battle with The Spectre, Oggar caused a German U-Boat to sink a fishing boat, killing an old man and his 14-year-old grandson. The Spectre overcame Oggar and then took his spirit and that of the boy he had killed to the Rock of Eternity. There, The Spectre said that due to Oggar’s meddling the boy had died 75 years too soon. Before Shazam and the Valar, he sentenced Oggar to be the boy’s protector for the next 75 years, after which time (in December 2017) they could both pass into the afterlife. Oggar, now known as “Mr. Keeper,” found himself transformed and in possession of new magical abilities, but ones that could only be used in aid of the boy. When the boy said the word “Eternity,” Oggar could make him visible or invisible, tangible or intangible, or summon a demon in the likeness of any historical or mythological figure for a period of no more than 66 seconds. The boy, who could only ever remember being called “Kid” by his grandfather, now went by the name “Kid Eternity.” At this time, The Spectre also released Oggar’s apprentice Martin Burns and erased his memory, so that he would not become Oggar’s successor.
Electrical engineering student Dick Martin had been framed for murder and sentenced to die in the electric chair. Instead of killing him, however, the jolt tapped into latent mutant powers, giving him electrical powers. He became the hero “Pyroman.”
After crashing into the swamp in the Kampinos Forest in Poland in 1918, Baron Erich von Emmelmann had slowly turned into a vaguely man-shaped heap of vegetation. As the fighting of World War II disturbed the tranquility of his swamp, he now emerged, 24 years later, and began wandering the planet.
On December 2, under the supervision of Enrico Fermi, the scientists of the Manhattan Project created the world’s first controlled nuclear reaction in Chicago, Illinois.
Music of 1942
♫ Fanfare for the Common Man composed by Aaron Copland
♫ Gayane (ballet; including the famous “Sabre Dance”) composed by Aram Khachaturian
♫ Rodeo (ballet) composed by Aaron Copland
♫ Roy Acuff and His Smokey Mountain Boys, “The Wreck On the Highway” (Okeh 6685)
♫ Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra, “The ‘C’ Jam Blues” (Victor 27856)
♫ Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra, “Perdido” (Victor 27880)
♫ Lionel Hampton, “Flying Home” (Decca 18394)
♫ Lena Horne, “Stormy Weather” (Victor 27819)
♫ Lead Belly, “Rock Island Line” (Asch 102)
♫ Glenn Miller and His Orchestra, “American Patrol” (Victor 27873)
♫ Glenn Miller and His Orchestra featuring Tex Beneke, Marion Hutton and the Modernaires, “(I’ve Got a Gal in) Kalamazoo” (Victor 27934)
♫ The Mills Brothers, “Paper Doll” (Decca 18318)
♫ Fats Waller, His Rhythm and His Orchestra, “The Jitterbug Waltz” (Bluebird B-11518)
The Great Depression ended in the U.S.
Isaiah Bradley, the “Black Captain America,” was court martialed and began serving a 17-year prison sentence in solitary confinement. There, his mind and body slowly deteriorated due to unforeseen side effects of the inferior super-soldier serum he had been given. Officially, Operation Rebirth was cancelled, but some in the program fought to keep access to the files open for further study.
James “Jim” Olsen (b. 1923), who had worked at The Daily Planet newspaper in San Francisco since he was 15, was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to Europe. He would die the following year at Normandy Beach on D-Day, leaving behind a wife and young son, James Jr.
In England, 16-year-old wizard Tom Marvolo Riddle (later known as Voldemort) murdered his father, Tom Riddle, Sr.
Private investigator Nick Carter adopted a son (b. 1933) and began teaching him detective work. Just as he had adopted a pseudonym, he gave the boy a new name: Chick Carter.
To better investigate supernatural ways to fight Hitler, President Roosevelt authorized the U.S. Office of Strategic Services’ “Project M” group to spin off into its own, independent research organization, called the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD). Although technically independent, they continued to be primarily funded by the U.S. government. They also relocated from New York City to a building provided for them on the Alamogordo Army Air Field in New Mexico.
The “Creature Commandos” special operations unit of the U.S. Army was deployed to Lagos Island, a.k.a. “Dinosaur Island.”
San Francisco police officer James Harper (The Guardian) adopted a fifth homeless boy, Walter “Flip” Johnson, Jr. He became a member of The Newsboy Legion, as did Harper’s niece, Roberta “Famous Bobby” Harper.
On Mars, the Green Martians and White Martians had lived in secret for many years among the other peoples of Mars. The White Martians decided to rise up and take over the planet and tried to persuade the Green Martians to join them, but the Green Martians refused, and instead revealed themselves to Carthoris, Jeddak of Helium, leader of the dwindling population of Red Martians. Carthoris offered amnesty to both the Green and the White Martians, but the White Martians refused and began a war of terror against Helium and the other free peoples of Mars. (It is worth noting that the oldest Green and White Martians at this time were in their early 50s in Earth years, which is still considered adolescence for Martians.) J’onn J’onzz was among the Green Martians that volunteered to take on the dangerous job of “Manhunter” to track down the White Martian terrorists.
In Kansas City, Missouri, a homeless man named Paul Destine (b. 1910) visited a magic show, hoping to win a door prize so he could eat. The star of the show was a blind fortune teller calling herself “Professor Seezall Nozall.” Her real name, however, was Irene Adler, and she was a mutant (Homo sapiens superior) with precognitive powers. When she started to look into Destine’s future, she stopped the show and called him backstage for a private consultation. There, she informed him that he, too, was a mutant, and that she saw conflicting destinies for him. She told him that he would have to choose the path of good or the path of evil, and that his powers would activate once he cleared his mind. Destine returned to the audience and tried to do just that. He was finally able to enter a kind of trance-like state, at which point he suddenly found himself transported hundreds of miles away to Atlanta, Georgia. There, he witnessed the murder of crime fighter #711 (Daniel Dyce) by mobster Oscar Jones. Deciding to choose the path of good, he decided to try to catch Jones and bring him to justice. He called himself “Destiny.”
A second G.I. Robot prototype was unveiled by the SSR. Nicknamed “Mac” in honor of Corporeal Eugene “Mac” McMorris, it featured an improved design and functionality. On its first mission to Lagos Island (a.k.a. “Dinosaur Island”), it sacrificed itself to save two other soldiers. It was then brought back to the U.S., where it was studied and rebuilt. Vast improvements were made to it at this time with the help of organic chemistry professor Alberto F. Thompson, Jr., on special leave from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
In Boston, Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle broke up.
Tex Thomson (a.k.a. Mr. America) was placed behind enemy lines to do undercover work against the Germans.
Psychiatrist Henry King (b. 1912) debuted as the costumed criminal “Brain Wave,” coming into conflict with first the Justice Society and later the All-Star Squadron.
German forces finally found a way to disable and then destroy the super-vehicle known as the Blue Tracer. Its two-man crew, William “Wild Bill” Dunn and Robert “Boomerang” Jones, were killed.
A visit to a museum triggered repressed memories and powers in teenager Martin Burns (age 16) that had been given to him by the spirit of Oggar, former apprentice of the wizard Shazam, but erased by The Spectre in December 1942. Once again, however, he found that the surge of power made his grip on reality tenuous, and he imagined that his new powers were the result of scraping himself on the “mummified remains of Hercules” at the museum. He created a new costume and began fighting crime again. [This is my explanation for the second occurrence of Marvel Boy in Timely Comics.]
An adventurer from Montreal calling himself “Canada Jack” began fighting Fifth Columnists across Canada. He soon mobilized citizens across the country to aid his cause.
In Atlanta, Destiny (Paul Destine) finally caught mobster Oscar Jones and brought him to the police for the murder of Daniel Dyce. He then used his mutant powers to transport himself to another crime scene in another city, and continued to try to pursue wrongdoers.
Nick Terry was injured while fighting crime as “The Owl.” He and his girlfriend Belle Wayne (Owl Girl) decided to retire from masked crime fighting. They were soon married and began raising a family in Yorktown, Indiana.
Archie Masters (The American Crusader) left his job at the University of California and traveled to Europe to fight the Nazis. In France, he soon rescued an American teenager named Michael “Mickey” Martin (b. 1926), who became his assistant and sidekick.
Still only able to half grasp the memories he had lost, Martin Burns (Marvel Boy) became determined to find the truth. He could not even remember the name of his former master Oggar, believing it was “Oksner” and confusedly telling his mother that was his own middle name as well (when his actual middle name was Simon). Searching for answers, he found the hidden cave where Oggar had lived, and there he felt the full power and knowledge of Oggar flow into him. The surge put him into a deep sleep from which he would not awaken for many months. When he finally did awaken, he would forget that he was Martin Burns and believed he was Oggar himself.
In Boston, the criminal known as the Scarecrow (Dr. Jonathan Crane, age 38) was caught by Batman (Bruce Anthony Wayne, age 27) and sent to prison, where he would remain for the next 20 years.
In Boston, cousins Dumfree and Deever Tweed began their careers as crime bosses.
The Tarantula (John Law) was killed while fighting Nazi agents in New York City. Although he had begun his career with the intention of writing a book about his experiences, he never did get around to it. However, in his apartment were several notebooks filled with interviews and notes about the mystery men, including ones that specifically identified Wesley Dodds as The Sandman. Dodds managed to obtain the documents before anyone else discovered them, and kept them hidden.
While fighting Fifth Columnists, the robot known as “Bozo the Iron Man” was damaged beyond repair and its pilot, police detective Hugh Hazzard (age 30), was killed. The Blue Beetle (Dan Garret, age 22) managed to stop the criminals and recover the robot, which he then gave to his government contact, Dr. Franz, who worked for Howard Stark.
Former small-time crook Stanley “Stinky” Printwhistle, who just a year prior had gained the power to transform into the super-powered Ibac, ironically died quietly in his sleep just shy of his 69th birthday.
On Sunday, May 9, John and Mary Grayson were killed by mobster Tony Zucco in what was made to look like an accident while performing at Haly’s Circus in Boston, orphaning their 10-year-old son Dick.
At a custody hearing in Boston, Dick Grayson was adopted by Bruce Wayne. He soon began training with him and adopted the alias “Robin” after his hero Robin Hood.
Racial tensions between blacks and whites boiled over into a race riot in Detroit, Michigan on June 20 and continued until June 22 before Federal troops regained control. The rioting killed 34, wounded 433, and destroyed property valued at $2 million. Following the violence, the Japanese incorporated the incident into their propaganda, encouraging blacks not to fight for the U.S. in World War II. Another race riot soon boiled over in Harlem, August 1–2.
Bruce A. Wayne began dating Linda Page.
The rebuilt G.I. Robot was relaunched into the field. Now nicknamed “Jake,” it was placed under the command of U.S. Marine Sargent Harry Coker and deployed to the Pacific to fight the Japanese.
U.S. special agent Captain America (Steve Rogers) led a group of “mystery men” on a daring air drop against a Nazi battlement. His team included his regular Invaders teammates James “Bucky” Barnes, The Sub-Mariner (Namor), The Human Torch (Jim Hammond) and Toro (Thomas Raymond), plus their allies Aarkus, Destroyer (Keen Marlow), Black Widow (Claire Voyant), The Fin (Peter Noble), Blazing Skull (Mark Todd) and Black Marvel (Dan Lyons). The raid was successful, but Black Marvel and The Fin were killed. Likewise, Black Widow disappeared without a trace after this mission. This would also be the last mission the Blazing Skull would undertake with The Invaders; afterwards, he would return to the Pacific theater of the war to fulfill his promise to the “Skull-Men” and seek vengeance upon the Japanese.
Following his success with the Louisville Police Department, Plastic Man started working as a special agent of the FBI, reporting to Chief Branner.
The mutant hero “Dr. Frost” was killed by Nazi Fifth Columnists in Minneapolis.
Doug Danville retired as The Black Owl when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Before he left, he entrusted his secret to Walt Walters, the father of Rick and Dick Walters (Yank and Doodle). Walt became the new Black Owl, and began teaming with his sons to fight spies in Minneapolis. Danville, meanwhile, was soon killed in action in the war.
On Friday, September 3, the Allied forces began invading Axis power Italy. By early October, all of southern Italy had been captured by the Allies, but further advances proved more difficult.
Batman solved the Hangman killings.
Los Angeles detective Dan Dunn joined the Marine Corps and left to fight World War II in the Pacific Theater.
Lieutenant Jack Weston (a.k.a. “Minute-Man”) was injured while on special assignment fighting Nazi saboteurs. He would not return to active duty. After the war, he transitioned to a new career as a government secret agent.
An elderly man named Tim Dudley discovered Mary Marvel’s secret identity and tried to con his way into the Marvel Family by posing as her uncle. Although he didn’t have any superpowers, Captain Marvel and his crew ended up keeping the “lovable old fraud” around as their manager, “Uncle Marvel.”
The Spider Widow (Diane Grayton) and The Raven (Tony Grey) were ambushed and killed by Nazi spies.
Detective Jim Anthony was killed while on a case.
Uncle Sam’s Freedom Fighters team intercepted a secret Nazi invasion force headed for Washington, D.C. Black Condor (Richard Grey, Jr.), Firebrand (Rod Reilly) and The Ray (Lanford “Happy” Terrill) were all killed, while The Phantom Lady (Sandra Knight) suffered an injury that sidelined her for the rest of the war, but in the end the nation’s capital was successfully defended. Sensing that the threat to his homeland was abating, Uncle Sam did not reform the team again.
Rex Tyler suffered a heart attack (just after his 30th birthday) due to the effects of the Miraclo drug that he used to transform himself into Hourman. He survived, but stopped taking the drug and retired from crime fighting.
Looking for a bit of excitement, wealthy Boston socialite Mortimer Drake turned to a life of crime as “The Cavalier.”
The G.I. Robot “Jake” was assigned to the Creature Commandos.
The Spider (Richard Wentworth, age 55) retired from crime fighting in New York City.
While the Creature Commandos were exploring the lost civilization of Mu beneath the Pacific Ocean, the G.I. Robot “Jake” was destroyed.
Contract killer Floyd “Flattop” Jones was hired to kill Chicago plainclothes police detective Dick Tracy, leading to a number of harrowing confrontations between the two men.
In Pittsburgh, genius Jill Trent (b. 1919) decided to put her multiple science degrees to work fighting crime. Along with her lover Daisy Smythe (b. 1920), she became a “science sleuth,” solving crimes and fighting Fifth Columnists.
Music of 1943
♫ Ted Daffan’s Texans featuring Leon Seago, “Born to Lose” (Okeh 6706)
♫ Al Dexter and His Troopers, “Pistol Packin’ Mama” (Okeh 6708)
♫ Benny Goodman and His Orchestra featuring Charlie Christian, “Solo Flight” (Columbia 36684)
♫ Dick Haymes and the Song Spinners, “You’ll Never Know” (Decca 18556)
♫ Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five, “Five Guys Named Moe” (Decca 8653)
The Vulcan-Romulan War began (it continues to the present day).
In World War II, U.S. Army Major Reisman led a commando unit made up of military convicts who have volunteered for a “suicide mission” in return for a full pardon. They conduct a stealth attack on a posh vacation chateau for Wehrmacht officers in occupied France to disrupt German command before an Allied invasion. [The Dirty Dozen]
Cross-dressing mystery man Madame Fatal (former stage actor Richard Stanton, Jr.) was briefly employed by The Shade. In return for his service, The Shade was able to locate Stanton’s long-lost daughter, who had been kidnapped as an infant in 1931.
Baron Wolfgang von Strucker discovered highly advanced technology left on Earth by the alien Gnobians.
Reed Richards (age 18) joined the U.S. Army and a military scientist. During his brief tenure, he became privy to some of the research the Strategic Scientific Reserve had conducted for the Army, and he committed all of it to memory.
In Westchester County, New York, telepathic powers began to emerge in ten-year-old Charles Francis Xavier (b. 1934). As a side effect, he would soon find his hair thinning, and by the age of 16 he would be completely bald.
James Bond (age 13) began attending Eton College boarding school.
Batman’s underground “Batcave” became fully operational.
In New York City, Doctor Nemesis (Dr. James Bradley) was injured and retired from fighting crime. He then began working as a technology consultant for the OSS.
In Denver, Colorado, scientist Brad Spencer accidentally electrocuted himself, and discovered that it unleashed hidden mutant potential within him. In addition to increasing his strength, vitality and invulnerability, it gave him the ability to invent technology intuitively, without fully understanding the science behind it. Calling himself “Wonderman,” he began fighting crime both on Earth and in outer space. From his “Wonderlab” in the Colorado mountains, he was joined by his girlfriend Carol Paige (who called herself “Wondergirl”) and a robot that he had designed called Roboroy.
The Black Hood’s secret identity as New York City cop Kip Burland was discovered. Burland was dismissed from the police force and opened his own private detective business. While he continued using the name “Black Hood” professionally for a time, he no longer wore a costume and publicly distanced himself from the “mystery men” movement that he had been a part of.
American student Bill Norris had been studying at the Sorbonne in Paris when the Nazis occupied the city. Norris had resisted when the Nazis harassed an elder gentleman, and for that he was thrown in a concentration camp. There, he met members of the French underground resistance and eventually escaped. In February, he fashioned a “mystery man” costume and began calling himself the “Grim Reaper,” working behind enemy lines to continue the resistance.
A new G.I. Robot, nicknamed “Jake 2,” joined the Creature Commandos squad.
The vigilante known as “The Hangman” (Bob Dickering) was cornered by police detective Dick Tracy and his men in Chicago. He was then shot and killed by police when they mistakenly thought he was drawing a weapon (it was actually a grappling hook gun), after he refused to surrender. At the time of his death, his girlfriend, reporter Thelma Gordon, was three months pregnant with his baby.
Commander Steel (Hank Heywood) died behind enemy lines near the eastern front of the European theater of the war. His body was recovered by Soviet forces, who transported it back to Moscow to carefully study the cybernetic technology it contained. This would later form the backbone of the Soviet “Winter Soldier” project.
New York police officer Jim Corrigan enlisted in the U.S. Army. The Spectre, the spirit of vengeance that periodically possessed him, left Corrigan alone at this time and became permanently invisible. The Spectre also removed the spirit of Uncle Sam’s powers and corporeal body at this time, and Uncle Sam disappeared once more, although he vowed to return again whenever his country needed him most.
The American Crusader (Archie Masters) was forced to return to the U.S. and retire from crime fighting due to his rapidly failing health. He entrusted his estate and all of his secrets to his assistant and protégé, Michael “Mickey” Martin (age 18).
On Sunday, May 14, contract killer Floyd “Flattop” Jones drowned while attempting to escape from police.
Archie Masters (The American Crusader) died from cancer. Before dying, he ensured that his sidekick and protégé Michael “Mickey” Martin was enrolled at the University of California, where Masters had been a professor for many years. Martin swore to continue Masters’ research into radiation in an effort to understand what had happened to Masters.
As World War II had progressed, Paul Kirk (alias Manhunter) had done less crime fighting and more and more spy work for the U.S. government. Finding himself burned out from this line of work, Kirk abandoned the life of a superhero and returned to big game hunting.
U.S. forces captured Rome, Italy on Sunday, June 4.
Tuesday, June 6 was “D-Day,” the day that Allied forces invaded and retook the beaches of Normandy, France from Germany and turned the tide on the western front of the war in Europe. The landings were conducted in two phases: an airborne assault landing of 24,000 British, U.S. and Canadian airborne troops shortly after midnight, and an amphibious landing of Allied infantry and armored divisions on the coast starting at 6:30 am. Surprise was achieved thanks to inclement weather and a comprehensive deception plan implemented in the months before the landings, codenamed Operation Bodyguard, to distract German attention from the possibility of landings in Normandy. A key success was to convince Adolf Hitler that the landings would actually occur to the north at the Pas-de-Calais. There were also decoy operations taking place simultaneously with the landings under the codenames Operation Glimmer and Operation Taxable to distract German forces from the real landing areas.
Captain Nazi would be stationed at Omaha Beach, and so Captain America (Steve Rogers) joined the marines landing on the beach that day. He was able to locate Captain Nazi during the early moments of the invasion and personally fought and killed him in hand-to-hand combat. [This explains why Captain Nazi disappeared in 1944. Captain Rogers was a soldier and a badass.]
Following D-Day, there was a rash of “mystery men” killings in the U.S. as Nazi sleeper agents and their allies in the criminal underworld fought back in greater force. The Wizard (Blane Whitney) and super-powered government agent John “Steel” Sterling were the first to be killed when they were each lured into traps by Nazi agents.
After a close call with Nazi agents and with her own strength waning with age (she was now 42), Abigail “Ma” Hunkel officially retired from fighting crime as the Red Tornado. She remained involved with the Justice Society of America in a support role, however: managing finances, organizing meetings, etc.
The Whip (Rodrigo Gaynor) moved back to Albuquerque, New Mexico from New York City.
Delegates from all of the Allied nations met at a conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the conclusion of World War II. Among other things, the Bretton Woods Conference established the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
After two years of development, Dr. Walter Green believed he had re-created Dr. Abraham Erskine’s destroyed Vita-Ray machine. He tried using it ton irradiate his friend, Michael Shelby, so that Shelby could again gain the powers that had made him The Green Mask. However, the machine accidentally created a gamma radiation explosion that killed both men. Green’s teenage son Johnny (b. 1930) was also in the room as an assistant at the time and did not die, but instead gained gamma-fueled powers. Whenever he was angry, he would grow in stature and strength and his hair would turn green. To cover his hair, he adopted Shelby’s former secret identity of The Green Mask.
The Avenger (Richard Henry Benson) was lured into a trap and killed by Nazi agents.
Having been separated from the Helmet of Fate for too long, Doctor Fate’s Amulet of Anubis and Cloak of Levitation ceased granting him magic powers. In September, Kent Nelson retired from crime fighting and resigned from the Justice Society of America. After the war ended, he became an archaeologist like his father had been, and began searching the world for the lost Helmet of Fate. Nearly two decades later, he would finally recover it and regain his magical powers.
Crime fiction writer Vince Harley discovered that he had the mutant ability to control bees and debuted as the crime fighter “Yellowjacket.”
The Greek god Zeus sent the goddess Artemis, also known as “Diana the Huntress,” into the world of men to recover a lost icon stolen by the Nazis. He would send her on similar missions for the next two years.
In New Orleans, The Clock (Brian O’Brien) was lured into a trap and killed by Nazi agents.
Superman first encountered Mister Mxyzptlk, an impish alien from “The Fifth Dimension.”
In Chicago, Thelma Gordon gave birth to Roger Gordon, the son of recently deceased vigilante Bob Dickering (a.k.a. “The Hangman”).
The Liberator (Dr. Nelson Drew) was lured into a trap and killed by Nazi agents.
On Saturday, October 7, Max Eisenhardt (the future “Magneto”) escaped from the Nazi prison camp at Auschwitz during a brief uprising.
On Monday, October 9, the Nazis attempted to open a portal and let out the “Seven Gods of Chaos.” A baby demon came through instead. U.S. soldiers adopted it and name it “Hellboy.”
At the invitation of the U.S. government, the Blackhawk Squadron relocated from its original base of operations in the Orkney Islands of Scotland, to a new secret base in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska in the north Pacific. This put them in a better position to fight the Japanese. After the war ended, they would retain this base and continue to fly special missions for a number of years.
Paul Destine had a brief encounter with Namor the Sub-Mariner, during which he realized that he could read the Atlantean’s mind. Feeling that there was some kind of hidden connection, Destine became determined to find Atlantis. He abandoned crime fighting and set out to sea. He soon realized that his telepathic abilities were becoming stronger, and that he could read anyone’s mind. Yet his obsession with Namor and Atlantis remained, and the more minds he read, the closer he felt he was getting to unlocking the truth.
After foiling the latest German assault with some help from Sgt. Rock and Easy Company, Captain America (Steve Rogers, age 24) was recalled to the U.S. for a top-secret mission in Boston. He was assigned to be billionaire bodyguard to Bruce Anthony Wayne (age 29), who was suspected of being the mastermind behind an espionage ring. However, the real culprits turned out to be the Joker and the Red Skull, whom Captain America and Bucky defeated with some help from Batman and Robin. [Batman and Captain America]
Music of 1944
♫ Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra, “Opus No. 1” (RCA Victor 20-1608)
♫ Private Cecil Gant, “I Wonder” (Gilt Edge 501)
♫ Coleman Hawkins’ Swing Four, “The Man I Love” (Signature 90001)
♫ The Ink Spots & Ella Fitzgerald, “I’m Making Believe” (Decca 23356)
♫ Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five, “G.I. Jive” (Decca 8659)
♫ Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five, “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby?” (Decca 8659)
♫ Lead Belly, “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” (Musicraft 312)
♫ The Merry Macs, “Mairzy Doats” (Decca 18588)
♫ Dinah Washington with the Lionel Hampton Sextet, “Evil Gal Blues” (Keynote 605)
Following a lead he received, the Blazing Skull (Mark Todd) returned to the United States and died while flying his prop plane into a missile that had been aimed at the White House by the Masked Raider. Although Todd’s body was killed, as a Spirit of Vengeance, he was bound to this world and his spirit continued to live on.
U.S. soldier Jim Corrigan was wounded in battle while fighting in Europe. The Spectre immediately retrieved Corrigan and left this mortal plane, returning to the otherworldly realm from which he had come.
Black Cobra (Jim Hornsby, age 23) was joined in his crime-fighting activities by his younger brother Bob (b. 1929), who took the alias “Cobra Kid.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt began serving a record fourth term as U.S. President.
The Gay Ghost (Keith Everet) found the peace he had sought for centuries and was finally allowed to pass from this world into the afterlife.
Tex Thomson (a.k.a. Mr. America) died during the bombing of Dresden (February 13-15) while trying to rescue innocent civilians.
In the early morning hours of February 26, Captain America (Steve Rogers, age 23) and his strike team tracked Red Skull (Johann Schmidt, age 30) down and confronted him at his hidden bunker in Berlin. During the ensuing battle, Red Skull and his men were pinned under rubble from a cave-in caused by heavy Allied bombing, and Captain America barely escaped. The cave-in released an experimental gas from canisters in the bunker, which put the Red Skull and the other survivors into suspended animation, during which time their wounds slowly healed.
Bruce Anthony Wayne (age 30) married Linda Page (age 25) in Boston.
In Springfield, Massachusetts, Peggy Allen was shot while on the job as a policewoman, and her injury forced her to retire as the mystery woman known as “The Woman in Red.”
Although the Spectre had departed, The Flash and Green Lantern both returned to active duty with the Justice Society of America. In addition, the team added two new honorary members: Mr. Terrific (Terry Sloane, age 22) and Wildcat (Ted Grant, age 20).
While manning a rocket headed for Berlin, the U.S. Army special-ops unit known as the “Creature Commandos” was lost in space.
Frankenstein’s monster was captured by the Nazis and placed in suspended animation. The body was placed in a cargo plane to be flown to Dr. Kitagowa in Japan, but the plane was shot down over the arctic and lost. The monster remained frozen in suspended animation in the wreckage until it was rediscovered in 1973.
Sandy the Golden Boy (Sanderson Hawkins, age 17) was turned into a silicon-based monstrosity when a prototype “silocoid gun” that The Sandman (Wesley Dodds) had invented accidentally exploded. Dodds retired from crime fighting and used his sleeping gas technology to place Sandy in suspended animation (greatly slowing his aging process) while he searched for a cure.
Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a stroke on Thursday, April 12. Vice President Harry S. Truman (b. 1884, d. 1972) then succeeded him as the 33rd U.S. President (1945-1953).
In actuality, neither Captain America nor Bucky had been killed in the explosion. Barnes had lost his left arm, but had been recovered from the icy North Atlantic waters by a Soviet submarine. At first, the Soviets believed they had recovered Captain America. After examining him for any traces of the Super Soldier serum, Barnes was placed in cryostasis.
Meanwhile, Rogers landed in a different part of the North Atlantic. Stunned and unconscious, he washed ashore a small island, where he soon became completely frozen in ice. Due to the super-soldier serum in his system, this did not kill him, but kept him in a state of perfectly suspended animation for nearly two decades until he was rediscovered in 1964.
On Monday, April 30, the Human Torch (Jim Hammond) caught and killed Hitler. As the existence of super-humans was still classified, the world was told that Hitler committed suicide.
However, Hitler survived death. His brain patterns had been imprinted just before his demise, and his consciousness was transferred to a cloned brain thanks to Nazi scientist Arnim Zola.
While recovering from wounds sustained from a landmine near the end of World War II, Nick Fury began to receive the “infinity formula” developed by Dr. Berthold Sternberg. In addition to helping heal him, the drug kept him youthful, but Fury was required to take additional injections periodically or he would age rapidly and die.
German forces in northern Italy surrendered to the Allies on Wednesday, May 2 and Germany itself surrendered on Monday, May 7. However, dangerous Nazi factions loyal to Hitler continued to fight on in a secret war that would last many more years.
As Germany surrendered, Red Raven returned home to find that the Aerie (Bird-People) were preparing to invade human civilization. Red Raven foiled their plan by sinking their domed island and plunging them, including himself, into suspended animation using their own gas weapons.
Arnim Zola successfully transplanted the cloned brain of Adolph Hitler into the body of one of his loyal followers, a man named Schmachenburg who had volunteered to sacrifice himself so that the Führer might live again. (Zola had a complete clone of Hitler’s body as well, but as that clone was aging at normal speeds, it was only a six-year-old child and not suitable for the brain transplant.) Hitler would spend the next several months in a medically-induced coma recovering from the operation.
In Chicago, Dick Tracy, Jr. graduated from high school and took a job as a police sketch artist.
Clinton Francis “Clint” Barton was born in Waverly, Iowa on June 18.
On Thursday, June 28, the Seven Soldiers of Victory finally defeated and killed The Iron Hand, but at a cost: The Crimson Avenger’s sidekick Wing lost his life in the process. The Crimson Avenger (Lee Travis) himself suffered grave injuries in the battle and was forced to retire from crime fighting. The Arrow (Ralph Payne), now age 49, also retired again.
The Whip (Rodrigo Gaynor) retired from crime fighting.
On Monday, July 16, the U.S. detonated the first ever nuclear device at the Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range in New Mexico. One of the nuclear scientists, Charles Xavier’s father Dr. Brian Xavier (b. 1907), was killed in the explosion under suspicious circumstances.
At 9:40 AM on July 28, a B-25 Mitchell bomber flying a routine personnel transport mission in thick fog accidentally crashed into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building, killing all three passengers as well as 11 people in the building. The resulting fire was extinguished 40 minutes later, and the structural integrity of the building was not compromised.
On July 30, after delivering parts for the first atomic bomb to the U.S. air base at Tinian, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. Of 1,196 crewmen aboard, approximately 300 went down with the ship. The remaining 900 faced exposure, dehydration, saltwater poisoning, and constant shark attacks while floating with few lifeboats and almost no food or water. The Navy only learned of the sinking when survivors were spotted four days later by the crew of a PV-1 Ventura on routine patrol. Only 317 survived.
After 27 failed attempts, Japanese scientist Dr. Kaneda succeeded in building a functioning, three-story high, remote-controlled military robot. The robot was officially named Tetsujin 28-go. The war, however, was already over, and Dr. Kaneda died shortly thereafter of heart failure. With the Japanese military in disarray, Dr. Kaneda’s secret laboratory and the robot remained lost and abandoned.
Although the war had ended, Bill Norris continued to obsessively pursue Nazi agents and war criminals as “The Grim Reaper.”
The android mystery man known as the Dynamic Man (a.k.a. FBI agent Curt Cowen) was destroyed in action while pursuing rogue Fifth Columnists.
With the war now over, FBI agent Doris West dissolved the military task force known as “Red, White and Blue.”
After the war ended, Ivan Petrovich (age 35) was told to take his surrogate daughter Natalia Romanova (now age 6) to Department X along with other young female war orphans. There, Natalia was brainwashed and trained in combat and espionage at the covert “Red Room” facility.
The Spider (Tom Hallaway) died while on a solo mission. With their roster hit hard and their primary (The Iron Hand) and secondary (defending the homeland during war) missions now at an end, The Seven Soldiers of Victory decided to disband.
On September 20, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the U.S. war-time intelligence agency, was dissolved by Presidential order, and its functions were split between the Department of State and the Department of War. The Secret Intelligence (SI) and Counter-Espionage (X-2) Branches went to the Department of War and were combined into a new office called the Special Services Unit (SSU). The State Department received the Research and Development Branch, which was renamed the Interim Research and Intelligence Service (or IRIS, later known as the Bureau of Intelligence and Research).
The adventurer Canada Jack went on his last assignment and then, with the war over, retired.
During the clean-up of Berlin, the Red Skull and his men were found by Nazi sympathizers, preserved in a state of suspended animation where they had been caught in a cave-in. Under the direction of Arnim Zola, they were carefully moved to a secret location and kept in suspended animation so that they might continue healing.
The United Nations was established on Wednesday, October 24.
In Chicago, Dr. Adam Mann was experimenting with uranium-235, when he was accidentally exposed to a large dose of radiation. Instead of proving lethal, the radiation unlocked hidden metahuman potential, giving him super strength, invulnerability and other powers. He became a “mystery man” using the alias “Atomic-Man.”
In Portland, Maine, local crime lord “Black Satan” killed three of the Four Comrades before being apprehended by the sole survivor, the youngest member of the young crime-fighting group, Thomas “Tip” Addams (age 15). Addams would later change his name to “Kip Adams” in order to try to put the past behind him. However, he would be unable to fully do so, remaining obsessed with “what-if” scenarios and finally returning to crime fighting in 1954.
In Nuremburg, Germany, trials against Nazi war criminals began on November 20.
After an assassination attempt on Vito “Godfather” Corleone (age 58), his son Michael Corleone (age 25) retaliated by murdering the two who had ordered the hit. Michael then fled to Sicily.
On Wednesday, December 5, “Flight 19,” a training flight featuring five Grumman TBM Avenger torpedo bombers, disappeared off the east coast of Florida. The planes would be recovered three decades later, thousands of miles away in the Sonoran Desert.
On Friday, December 7, the four-year anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the All-Star Squadron officially disbanded, and its headquarters in Queens reverted back to the federal government.
Now awakened from his coma, Hitler (whose cloned brain had been transplanted into the body of his follower Schmachenburg) began to enact his fail-safe plan. Although his supporters had been scattered, many secret cells still remained and rallied to his cause.
When the Scarlet Scarab (Abdul Faoul, age 44) was mortally wounded, he hid the mystical Ruby Scarab in the hidden tomb of an ancient Egyptian Cat-God to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. He then went to the house of his colleague, American archaeologist and Egyptologist Peter Ward (b. 1914) to deliver an ominous warning. Ward followed the clues and found the sacred Ruby Scarab. He then began protecting Egypt and fighting evil-doers as “The Scarab.”
Music of 1945
♫ Sidney Bechet and His Blue Note Jazzmen, “Blue Horizon” (Blue Note 43)
♫ Les Brown and His Orchestra featuring Doris Day, “Sentimental Journey” (Columbia 36769)
♫ Spade Cooley and His Orchestra, “Shame on You” (Okeh 6731)
♫ Dizzy Gillespie Sextet, “Groovin’ High” (Guild 1001)
♫ Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, “Hot House” (Guild 1003)
♫ Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, “Salt Peanuts” (Guild 1003)
♫ Dizzy Gillespie Quintet, “Shaw ‘Nuff” (Guild 1002)
♫ Erskine Hawkins and His Orchestra, “Tippin’ In” (RCA Victor 20-1639)
♫ Woody Herman and His Orchestra, “Caldonia” (Columbia 36789)
♫ Billie Holiday, “Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?)” (Decca 23391)
♫ Joe Liggins, “Honeydripper Pt. 1” (Exclusive 207)
♫ Johnny Mercer, “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive” (Capitol 180)
♫ Johnny Mercer, “On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe” (Capitol 195)
♫ Vaughn Monroe and His Orchestra, “There! I’ve Said It Again” (RCA Victor 20-1637)
♫ Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers featuring Charles Brown, “Drifting Blues” (Philo P112)
♫ The Morris Brothers, “Let Me Be Your Salty Dog” (RCA Victor 20-1783)
♫ Charlie Parker, “Billie’s Bounce” (Savoy 573)
♫ Sister Rosetta Tharpe, “Strange Things Happening Every Day” (Decca 8669)
♫ T-Bone Walker, “I Got a Break, Baby” (Capitol 10033)
♫ T-Bone Walker, “Mean Old World” (Capitol 10033)
By this time, approximately 85% of U.S. homes had electricity and 50% had a telephone.
After World War II, James “Logan” Howlett wandered again before ending up in Japan. There, he married a woman named Itsu.
The terrorist organization Hydra was formed by Japanese ultranationalists tied to the mystical ninja clan known as The Hand. Their original purpose was to overthrow the Japanese government and install a new government that would rearm Japan. However, shortly after its founding, former Nazi leader Baron Wolfgang von Strucker seized control of the organization. Under his leadership, it rapidly evolved into an global organization bent on world domination.
Namor was exiled from his home, the undersea Atlantean city-state of Thakorr.
James Bond graduated from Eton.
To avoid an investigation into unethical practices, Herbert Wyndham and his partner Jonathan Drew (b. 1917) moved their genetics experiments from London, England to a new laboratory in a citadel near the peak of Vrashka Chuka in northwestern Bulgaria, which had been inherited by Drew’s wife Miriam (b. 1920). They named their new laboratory “Mount Wundagore.”
The first general assembly of the United Nations took place in London, England.
Following her husband’s death at Alamogordo in July 1945, Sharon Xavier (b. 1910) had become romantically involved with his colleague, Dr. Kurt Marko (b. 1909). The two were married in January, and Marko and his son Cain from a previous marriage (b. 1932) moved in with Sharon and her son Charles. Being a telepathic mutant (Homo sapiens superior), 12-year-old Charles soon discovered that Marko had married his mother only for her money and did not love her. Depressed, his mother turned to alcohol. Meanwhile, despite being two years younger than his stepbrother, Charles demonstrated far greater mental aptitude and had skipped several grades in school. This caused Dr. Marko to favor his stepson over his own son, creating resentment in the household. Cain began bullying Charles and Dr. Marko responded by harshly disciplining and secretly abusing Cain.
Chicago police detective Dick Tracy (age 45) made the acquaintance of wealthy industrialist Charles “Diet” Smith, who would provide Tracy over the years with many of Smith Industries’ newest technological innovations. Tracy soon began using a prototype “Two-Way Wrist Radio” developed by Smith’s blind son, Brian “Brilliant” Smith.
Using escape vehicles based on Zagon rocket technology, several thousand Nazi forces, led by Hitler himself in his new host body, executed a mass evacuation of Europe. Witnesses referred to the flurry of UFO activity over Europe as “Ghost Rockets.” The sightings began in February, with the bulk of them (about 2,000) taking place between May and December. Most were around Sweden, where the Nazis had secretly built most of the rockets, but some happened as far away as Greece. Witnesses attested that they did not behave like meteorites or any known aircraft, but there was no consensus at the time as to their origin. They would later converge in Antarctica, where they would establish a new base of operations at the secret underground city of “New Berlin.”
ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), the first general-purpose electronic computer was unveiled to the public at the University of Pennsylvania on the evening Thursday, February 14, and was formally dedicated the following day. It had been financed by the U.S. Army and had taken almost three years and $500,000 to build.
On Tuesday, February 19, Bruce Thomas Wayne was born to Bruce Anthony Wayne and Linda Wayne in Boston, Massachusetts. At age 31, the elder Bruce Wayne promised his wife he would retire from being Batman and focus on his family, business empire and charitable activities. This caused a falling out between him and his 13-year-old adopted son Dick Grayson, who decided to “step out of the shadow” of his mentor and continue fighting crime solo as Robin.
In China, a Civil War began (1946-1950) between forces loyal to the government of the Republic of China and forces of the Communist Party of China.
Jackie Robinson, an African-American, attracted controversy when he began playing baseball in the all-white minor leagues for the Montreal Royals, the AAA affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Shiro Yoshida was born in Japan. His mother had been on the outskirts of Hiroshima when the first atomic bomb was deployed on August 6, 1945, and she suffered the effects of radiation poisoning, but her unborn child had developed normally. In fact, Shiro was a mutant (Homo sapiens superior) whose unique physiology had kept both himself and his mother alive. Once he was born, his mother’s health quickly deteriorated, and she died before his first birthday. Shiro was raised by his extended family, and grew up hating America for its use of the atomic bomb that killed his mother.
On April 20, the League of Nations ceased operations and turned all assets over to the United Nations.
The hidden city of Feithera, home of a race of Bird People, was discovered in a hidden valley in Greenland, accessible only by air. Hawkman traveled there to help defend the city against unscrupulous hunters who had formed an alliance with the traitorous Feitherian Trata.
A group of the Bird People, an offshoot of the Inhumans who lived in the floating city of Aerie (or Sky Island), had begun further mutating and demonstrating a more bird-like appearance, possibly as a result of experiments with Terrigen crystals. To stem what was seen as a genetic threat to their population, those who had mutated were banished from Aerie. After a few years of wandering, these banished Bird People would found the city of Feithera in a hidden valley in Greenland, accessible only by air.
Martin Burns, the former Marvel Boy, was awoken from his slumber by the Marvel Family. The surge of power that had placed him in suspended animation had given him great power, but it had also further destabilized his mind. As a result, when he awoke he no longer believed that he was Martin Burns, disciple of Oggar, but now thought that he was Oggar himself. [Captain Marvel Adventures #61, with some added speculation about the ultimate fate of Marvel Boy.]
On May 2 in Louisiana, Lex Luthor’s sister Lena Thorul married Jeff Colby, a soldier returning home from World War II.
The Zebra (John Doyle) was killed while fighting crime.
British teenager Lynn Thomas (b. 1928) joined her father Dr. Brandon Thomas (b. 1898) as he established a medical mission in the Congo region of Africa. Dr. Thomas, who would become known as “Doctor Bwana” among the locals, soon realized that he was dealing with a mysterious epidemic unlike anything that had ever been seen before.
The Basketball Association of America (precursor of the National Basketball Association) was founded on June 6 in New York City.
With World War II wrapped up and believing that there were no more spies to fight, Alan Armstrong changed his alias from “Spy Smasher” to “Crime Smasher.”
The Oracle (Bob Paxton, age 25) suffered an aneurysm and died.
On Monday, July 1, the United States began detonating nuclear bombs at its Pacific Proving Grounds in the Marshall islands. Unknown to scientific personnel at the time, heavy concentrations of atomic fallout from the detonations were being carried by the prevailing weather patterns and deposited many miles away directly onto Lagos Island, the top-secret, uninhabited, northern-most island in the Mariana chain, which was also known as “Dinosaur Island.”
On Venus, the Zagons completed their conquest of the planet’s southern hemisphere and then turned their attention to the Metalunan kingdom in the north.
Cat-Man (David Merrywether) lost his life for a third time while saving the life of his sidekick Kitten (Katie Conn, age 16). When his mystical cloth revived him for the fourth of his nine lives, he allowed her to continue believing he was dead. He left the United States to continue traveling the world.
Angry that Germany had lost the war, the renegade Nazi supervillain Baron Blitzkrieg went on a murderous rampage through several U.S. cities. In late September, he fought several heroes in Washington, D.C. The American Eagle (Tom Standish), Eaglet (Bud Pierce), Atomic-Man (Adam Mann) and The Human Bomb (Roy Lincoln) were all killed in the confrontation. Roy Lincoln died saving the life of Miss Victory (Joan Wayne), who suffered career-ending injuries, but was able to prevent Baron Blitzkrieg from destroying the U.S. Capitol building.
In New York, secretary Louise Grant (b. 1924) debuted as the crime fighter known as “The Blonde Phantom.”
In St. Louis, socialite Diana Adams (b. 1923) debuted as the crime fighter known as “Miss Masque.”
Recently discharged from the Army, Reed Richards (age 20) and Ben Grimm (age 22) both enrolled in the New York University’s School of Engineering in the Bronx, where they found themselves as roommates. The two quickly became lifelong best friends, and when Richards said that he planned to build a rocket ship and fly to the moon someday, Grimm told him that if he ever did, he would fly it for him. While at NYU, Richards and Grimm also made the acquaintance of Victor von Doom (age 18), a brilliant but troubled engineering student from eastern Europe.
The renegade Nazi supervillain Baron Blitzkrieg continued his killing spree through the U.S. In October, he killed Yellowjacket (Vince Harley) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, then arrived in New York City, where he was met by an entire squad of heroes. He managed to kill two of them, the second Captain America (William Naslund) and The Destroyer (Keen Marlow), before finally being apprehended by those remaining: The Atom (Al Pratt), Bucky (Fred Davis), The Human Torch (Jim Hammond), Johnny Thunder, Miss America (Madeline Joyce), Toro (Thomas Raymond) and The Whizzer (Robert Frank). [This explains the disappearance of a few heroes and would have been epic. Somebody write the fan fiction!]
Believing that Captain America was a symbol that should be continued, Jeffrey Mace (who had been operating as “The Patriot”) then partnered with Fred Davis, the second Bucky, and took up the mantle as the third Captain America.
Martin Burns, still believing himself to be his former master Oggar, was slain in a final confrontation with the Marvel Family. [Captain Marvel Adventures #66]
On Wednesday, October 9, famous ufologist George Adamski witnessed his first UFO.
In New York City, The Green Mask (Johnny Green, age 16) died of gamma radiation poisoning brought about by using his own powers.
Also in New York, the Justice Society discovered that the superheroes known as Silver Streak and Meteor were undead beings and had been preying on the blood of homeless innocents as well as criminals. In the ensuing confrontation, Silver Streak, Meteor and their undead hawk Whiz were all destroyed. [Another epic confrontation whose story has not yet been told. This is a fitting end to my "Silver Streak is undead" theory.]
In Los Angeles, Thomas Halloway put his costume away and retired as “The Angel,” returning to life as a normal private investigator.
The Whizzer (Robert Frank) and Miss America (Madeline Joyce) retired as crime fighters. As members of President Truman’s “All-Winners Squad,” both had revealed their secret identities to the government, and they were both rewarded with well-paying jobs in a top-secret nuclear testing facility.
The Flamingo Hotel opened in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 26.
Music of 1946
♫ Harry Choates and His Fiddle, “Jole Blonde” (Gold Star 1314)
♫ The King Cole Trio, “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66” (Capitol 256)
♫ The Delmore Brothers, “Hillbilly Boogie” (King 527)
♫ Blind Boy Fuller, “Step It Up and Go” (Columbia 37230)
♫ Dizzy Gillespie and His Orchestra, “52nd Street Theme” (RCA Victor 40-0130; New 52nd Street Jazz, RCA Victor HJ-9)
♫ Dizzy Gillespie and His Orchestra, “A Night in Tunisia” (RCA Victor 40-0130; New 52nd Street Jazz, RCA Victor HJ-9)
♫ Lightnin’ Hopkins, “Katie Mae Blues” (Aladdin 167)
♫ Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five, “Choo Choo Ch’boogie” (Decca 23610)
♫ Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five, “Let the Good Times Roll” (Decca 23741)
♫ Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys, “Kentucky Waltz” (Columbia 20013)
♫ Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys, “Rocky Road Blues” (Columbia 20013)
♫ Charlie Parker’s Ri Bop Boys, “Ko Ko” (Savoy 597)
♫ Charlie Parker Septet, “Ornithology” (Dial 1002)
♫ Charlie Parker Septet, “Yardbird Suite” (Dial 1003)
♫ The Sons of the Pioneers, “Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds” (RCA Victor 20-1904)
Bruce A. Wayne spent the year mostly retired as Batman, trying to focus on making a difference in other ways. [This syncs well with the fact that Robin’s first solo adventures were published this year.]
At some point during the year, the Ultra-Humanite exchanged Dolores Winters’ body for that of a giant insect.
British occultist Roderick Burgess, who had capture Dream of the Endless in 1916, died, and his son Alex took over as Dream’s captor. Over the next 40 years, he too attempted to negotiate with Dream, to no avail.
Robert Frank (formerly The Whizzer) and Madeline Joyce (formerly Miss America) were married, and Madeline became pregnant with their first child. Early in the pregnancy, before Madeline even knew she was pregnant, there was a radiation leak at the nuclear research facility where the couple worked. Because Madeline’s mutant powers protected her from radiation, she repaired the damage. However, the incident exposed her baby to massive amounts of radiation.
Baron Wolfgang von Strucker relocated the headquarters of Hydra from Japan to a private island in the Pacific. A small, semi-autonomous group known as “Shocker” remained behind in Japan, and similar cell groups were established in other parts of the world. Because of the secretive nature of the organization, each splinter cell had its own codenames (“Big Fire,” “Thrush,” etc.), and some peripheral group members did not even know that their parent organization was, in fact, Hydra.
The Guardian and the five adopted brothers of The Newsboy Legion went on their last adventure together. Jim Harper then retired from extracurricular crime fighting. That summer, the boys started entering college, where they would all go on to excel and become brilliant scientists.
Sharon Xavier-Marko (age 36) died from pneumonia complicated by severe alcohol abuse, leaving her son Charles (age 13) in the care of his stepfather Dr. Kurt Marko (age 37). Meanwhile, Dr. Marko’s relationship with his own son Cain (age 14) continued to grow increasingly confrontational.
Johnny Thunder discovered that his control over the genie Yz suddenly ended after seven years. No longer able to use his magic ring, he retired from the Justice Society of America and from crime fighting in general. Replacing Thunder in the Justice Society was Robin (Dick Grayson of Boston), who at age 14 became its youngest ever member. (He was granted a special part-time “student membership,” since he was still in high school.)
A pregnant woman named Magda sought refuge at the Mount Wundagore citadel in northwestern Bulgaria and gave birth on January 8 to twin children there, one boy and one girl. Raised by Gypsies Django and Marya Maximoff, the twins were named Pietro and Wanda, and would grow up to be the superheroes Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, respectively.
On January 15, the mutilated body of Elizabeth Short (b. July 29, 1924) was discovered in Los Angeles. Acquiring the posthumous nickname “The Black Dahlia,” her unsolved murder became widely publicized and the source of much speculation.
Captain Freedom (Don Wright) retired from crime fighting.
Pyroman (Dick Martin) was killed while fighting crime.
Black Cobra (Jim Hornsby, age 25) was severely injured while fighting crime and died soon afterward from his injuries. His sidekick and younger brother Bob (alias Cobra Kid, age 17) retired from crime fighting, but would pursue a degree in criminal justice and then join the FBI after college.
Mr. Terrific (Terry Sloane, age 24) was injured and retired from crime fighting. He continued to support his friends in the Justice Society by offering them a new headquarters in Philadelphia (which they happily accepted following a couple of skirmishes with the new “Men in Black” organization in New York). And he continued to support programs to curb juvenile delinquency through his Fair Play Foundation.
Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier when he played his first game for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15.
Nelvana of the Northern Lights was seen by human eyes for the last time before returning to Eä. Before she left Earth, she had a brief affair with a human named Richard Easton and gave birth to a daughter, whom she named Narza. The baby was delivered near Resolute Bay in Canada’s Northwest Territories by a medical student named Michael Twoyoungman (b. 1925), a member of the Tsuu T’ina Nation. He took the child back to the nation’s reservation near Calgary, Alberta, where she was raised.
At age 29, Elizabeth Lawrence Chambers retired from crime fighting as Liberty Belle.
In Minneapolis, the Black Owl (Walt Walters) received a bullet wound and was forced to retire from crime fighting. His now 18-year-old sons Rick and Dick (Yank and Doodle) continued without him.
In Sacramento, California, Captain Future (Dr. Andrew Bryant, age 34) died from radiation exposure while “recharging” his gamma radiation powers. (His wife, private detective Grace Adams Bryant, would die a few years later in 1959 at age 45 from cancer caused by radiation exposure.)
During a heated confrontation with his stepbrother Charles Xavier, Cain Marko (now age 15) broke a vial of chemicals in his father’s laboratory, creating deadly fumes. Dr. Kurt Marko (age 37) saved the two boys, but was exposed to a lethal dose of the chemicals. Just before dying, he confessed that he had played a part in the death of Charles’ father Brian Xavier. Cain fled and became a drifter and eventually a soldier. Meanwhile, Charles had recently graduated from high school several years early and would enter Harvard University in the fall.
On June 24, while flying his small airplane near Mt. Rainier in Washington state, businessman Kenneth Arnold witnessed nine saucer-shaped UFOs traveling at an estimated 1,200 miles (1,930 km) per hour. His account was the most prominent of the more than 800 “flying saucer” reports made in the summer of 1947, and caused the Pentagon great concern.
On Monday, July 7, a Metalunan spacecraft from Venus shot down a Zagon spacecraft that it encountered during a reconnaissance mission above the Earth. A saucer-shaped scout craft from the Zagon ship crash-landed on a ranch near Roswell, New Mexico. Although there were witnesses, the incident was hastily covered up by the United States military, which claimed that the crashed object had been a top-secret weather balloon.
The larger, oblong Zagon transport ship crashed in northern Scotland. There were no witnesses and it took several weeks for the British government to locate the wreckage. Dr. Gargunza was selected to head a top-secret military project, code-named “Project Zarathustra,” to reverse-engineer the alien technology recovered from the crash.
The UFOs were witnesses by several military personnel at Muroc Army Air Base (now Edwards AFB) in California on July 7 and 8, as well as other witnesses in California and Arizona. The sightings on July 8 were probably of Zagon scouting missions to locate the wreckage of the ship that had been shot down.
Fearing an escalation in the war with the Zagons, the Metalunans of Venus asked Dr. Thaddeus Sivana to help develop powerful weapons and ion shields to defend themselves.
Following the Roswell incident, the “Men in Black” organization was founded in New York City. One of their first assignments was to cover up the landing of six UFOs on Maury Island in Washington State (later confirmed to be Venusian) that had been witnessed by several people in June.
Sandra Knight (now age 30 and fully healed from her WWII wounds) decided to again begin fighting crime in and around Washington, D.C. as “The Phantom Lady” (with an updated costume).
Dinah Drake (b. April 10, 1927) debuted as the crime fighter “Black Canary.” Although from Boston, Massachusetts, her first appearance was in New York City. [Birthday taken from the 1976 DC Calendar.]
On August 14, India and Pakistan gained their independence from Britain.
An Amazon named Clare left Themyscira (a.k.a. Paradise Island) with a magic “moonstone” in pursuit of Prince Mengu, whom she had seen on a ship from a distance and with whom she had become smitten. Her search led her to America, where she found the prince, but ultimately decided he was not a worthy suitor because he could not defeat her in battle. She stayed in America for a little while, adopting the civilian name “Claire Lane” and even trying her hand at fighting criminals like Wonder Woman under the alias “Moon Girl,” but all the while her heart yearned for romance.
On September 18, the U.S. Air Force (originally part of the U.S. Army) became a separate branch of the U.S. military.
In Egypt, Peter Ward (age 33), the man who had taken over the mantle of “The Scarab” when Abdul Faoul had died, was himself killed by criminals. The mystical Ruby Scarab that had given both men their powers was lost again and would remain hidden for many years.
The Wizard (William Zard) organized the “Injustice Society” to combat the Justice Society, featuring the criminals Brain Wave (Henry King), the Gambler (Steven Sharpe III), the Thinker (Clifford DeVoe), Per Degaton and Vandal Savage. The Injustice Society almost accomplished their plan, but they were ultimately defeated and all were captured and put behind bars except for the Wizard.
On Tuesday, October 14, American pilot Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 (Muroc Army Air Field, California).
On October 22, the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948 (a.k.a. the First Kashmir War) began.
The Shield (Joe Higgins) had begun showing signs of illness, as if his body was attacking itself, and had found himself growing progressively weaker. On what would turn out to be his last assignment for the FBI, he was killed by the villain known as “The Eraser.”
James Bond was first recruited into the British Secret Service at age 17.
Black Canary (Dinah Drake, age 20) became an honorary member of the Justice Society of America.
Fred Davis, the second “Bucky,” was shot and wounded, leaving him with a permanent limp and forcing him to retire from crime fighting. Jeffrey Mace, the third “Captain America,” then trained Elizabeth “Betsy” Ross to serve as his new sidekick. She adopted the alias “Golden Girl.”
Music of 1947
♫ Roy Acuff and His Smokey Mountain Boys, “Wabash Cannon Ball” (Columbia 37008)
♫ The Blue Sky Boys, “Kentucky” (RCA Victor 20-2296)
♫ Francis Craig and His Orchestra featuring Bob Lamm, “Near You” (Bullet 1001)
♫ Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, “That’s All Right” (RCA Victor 20-2205)
♫ Dizzy Gillespie and His Orchestra, “Two Bass Hit” (RCA Victor 20-2603)
♫ Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys, “Blue Grass Special” (Columbia 20384)
♫ Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys, “Blue Moon of Kentucky” (Columbia 20370)
♫ Merle Travis, “Dark as a Dungeon” (Capitol 48001; Folk Songs of the Hills, Capitol AD-50)
♫ Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson and His Orchestra, “Old Maid Boogie” (Mercury 8028)
♫ Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, “Bubbles in My Beer” (MGM 10116)
Mother Theresa began her missionary work with the poor in India.
While in prison, future activist Malcom Little (b. 1925) converted to the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Malcom X.
In Chicago, a botched security detail led to the death of Brian “Brilliant” Smith, the blind inventor of the Two-Way Wrist Radio and son of wealthy industrialist Charles “Diet” Smith. Police Chief Brandon resigned in the wake of the tragedy. Dick Tracy (age 48) was offered his job, but declined, and suggested his longtime partner Pat Patton for the job. After Patton was promoted to Chief, Tracy started working with a new partner named Sam Catchem.
Their prison sentences completed, the Kryptonian criminal General Dru-Zod and his associates were released from the Phantom Zone to find that their planet was no longer there. (It had been destroyed in 1914.) Rescued by a passing Skrull patrol, they soon learned what had happened, including the rumor that the son of Zod’s former nemesis Jor-El had survived. Zod vowed to exact revenge upon the child and began searching for signs of his whereabouts.
Robert Frank, Jr. was born to Robert Frank (formerly The Whizzer, age 27) and Madeline Joyce Frank (formerly Miss America, age 24). Like his parents, the child was a mutant (Homo sapiens superior), and at birth it was discovered that he emitted a deadly level of radiation. The government research agency that the Franks worked for convinced the child’s parents to place him in a special capsule where he would be kept in suspended animation until a cure could be found.
At the age of 12, Hal Jordan witnessed his father Martin die in a plane crash while working as a test pilot for Ferris Air in California (near Edwards AFB).
After being charged with numerous safety violations and the conducting of “unethical experiments,” Victor von Doom was expelled from New York University. His final experiment had exploded, disfiguring his face. He blamed his fellow classmate Reed Richards, but the school found that Richards had not been involved. Von Doom began traveling the world extensively.
In Cleveland, Ohio, comedian Larry Davis performed a superhero-like stunt for publicity, only to later discover that he had stumbled into a real crime scene and saved the day. Deciding that he liked fighting crime, he became “Funnyman.”
Tim Dudley, a.k.a. “Uncle Marvel,” died of natural causes in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Now an officer in the U.S. Army, Gary Blakely (age 25) retired from costumed crime fighting as “The Spirit of ’76.”
On Wednesday, January 7, Kentucky National Air Guard pilot, Captain Thomas F. Mantell crashed his plane and died while he and several other pilots were in pursuit of a UFO. Several other witnesses in the area reported seeing the UFO as well. Although no one realized it at the time, the UFO was a Metalunan spacecraft on a mission to collect gold and uranium for the war effort on Venus.
On Thursday, January 22, the U.S. Air Force formally launched Project Sign to investigate UFO sightings around the country. Their first major investigation was the Mantell case.
Dinah Drake (a.k.a. “The Black Canary”) began working with Larry Quentin Lance (b. 1923), a detective in the Boston Police Department. The two would eventually develop a romantic interest.
Robert Charles “Shock” Gibson was killed in Los Angeles while fighting mobsters.
Rick and Dick Walters (Yank and Doodle) and their father Walt (the former Black Owl) were all killed in Minneapolis by Nazi sleeper agents. The killers were soon apprehended by The Justice Society.
While looking for Atlantis, Destiny (Paul Destine, age 38) discovered the Serpent Crown in Antarctica, which healed all of his wounds and gave him immense power. He spent the next several years learning how to wield it, all the while slowly being driven mad by its evil influence.
The Grim Reaper (Bill Norris) tracked Nazi scientist Arnim Zola to South America, but there found himself ambushed and killed by Arnim’s security squad.
The Cold War (1948-1991) began with the Soviet Union’s blockade of Berlin, beginning on June 24. The U.S. and U.K. began airlifts of food and fuel to West Berlin.
At age 38, Stripesy (Pat Dugan) was injured had to retire from crime fighting. His partner, the 23-year-old Star-Spangled Kid (Sylvester Pemberton) was instead joined by his new girlfriend Merry Craemer, a.k.a. “The Girl of 1,000 Gimmicks,” who had already deduced his secret identity. Merry had learned a lot of tricks from her father, convicted felon “Fly-Foot” Craemer, and had invented quite a few of her own as well. [In the comics, Merry was Sylvester’s newly adopted sister, but that doesn’t make sense at this point in his life, since he’s already an adult.]
Air Wave (Larry Jordan) married his girlfriend Helen and retired from costumed crime fighting.
Alan Armstrong, a.k.a. Crime Smasher (and formerly known as Spy Smasher during World War II), retired as a crime fighter.
The Atom (Al Pratt) temporarily gained super strength as a delayed reaction to his exposure to thorium when battling the reluctant supervillain Cyclotron in 1942.
Still intent to take down the Justice Society, the Wizard (William Zard) organized a new group of supervillains to form a second “Injustice Society.” The new members included the Fiddler (Isaac Bowin), Harlequin (Molly Mayne), the Huntress (Paula Brooks Crock), Icicle (Joar Mahkent) and the Sportsmaster (Crusher Crock). The new line-up fared no better than the first, and the team was captured and imprisoned.
For her help in subduing the Injustice Society, Black Canary (Dinah Drake) was voted as a full member of the Justice Society of America.
Mary Mitchell debuted in New York as the costumed crime fighter “Sun Girl.” She actively sought out other heroes and teamed up with Captain America, The Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner, among others.
Mr. Scarlet (Brian Butler, age 36) was fatally injured while he and The Whiz Kid (Pinky Butler, age 19) apprehended the mafia boss of Akron, Ohio. Pinky promised his adopted father on his death bed that he would retire from costumed crime fighting and go to college.
British ace pilot Mickey Malone flew his last post-war secret mission as the Phantom Eagle. After this, he would retire from adventuring and focus solely on his commercial business.
Dr. Tom Strange had his last adventure, and then died shortly thereafter from years of radiation poisoning. The U.S. government confiscated his research for its nuclear program, but found that he had left no record of the formula for his radium-infused super-serum Alosun. Nevertheless, they soon began working on several different human radiation projects. Among the scientists working on this project was Michael Martin (age 22), former protégé of Archie Masters (The American Crusader), who had recently earned his biochemistry degree from the University of California and had impressed researchers with a dissertation on the topic of tapping hidden human potential through radiation.
Indiana Jones again returned to Marshall College, accepting a fully tenured position there, where he would continue teaching until he retired (with the exception of a brief period in 1957 during which he was fired under suspicion of being a communist by the FBI).
The Elder Goddess Gaea selected the ninth human being that she intended to present to the Fourth Host of the Celestials: a 19-year-old boy from India named Jawaharal Patel. (He would be the last person Gaea selected; the final three individuals would be found by Heimdall in 1972, just prior to the return of the Celestials in 1976.) She placed him in suspended animation to await the moment he would be needed.
Colonel Thaddeus E. “Thunderbolt” Ross (b. 1917) of the U.S. Air Force met the third Captain America (Jeffrey Mace).
The Riddler and the Mad Hatter debuted in Boston. At age 33, Bruce A. Wayne came out of retirement back to full-time status as Batman to combat them. This began to put a strain on his Bruce Wayne’s marriage. His relationship with his adopted son Dick Grayson (a.k.a. Robin) also continued to go through its ups and downs, as the teenager showed more and more of an independent streak.
Brad Spencer (a.k.a. “Wonderman”), his girlfriend Carol Paige and his robot sidekick Roboroy decided to leave Earth and explore the universe.
In Pittsburgh, Jill Trent (age 29) and Daisy Smythe (age 28) retired from crime fighting.
Funnyman (Larry Davis) was shot while trying to apprehend a criminal in Cleveland, Ohio. He died several days later from his wounds.
Paul Kirk (the former Manhunter) was severely wounded while on an elephant safari. His life was saved by the intervention of a clandestine organization called “The Council,” which put him into suspended animation. They would spend the next several years working to alter his genetic structure so he could heal quickly from most wounds.
John Sargent, better known as the crime fighter “Sargon the Sorcerer,” disappeared. His mind had started to be corrupted by the power he wielded through the Ruby of Life, and he secretly began to study darker magic.
At age 24, The Star-Spangled Kid (Sylvester Pemberton) became seriously ill and had to retire from crime fighting. His girlfriend Merry, “Girl of 1,000 Gimmicks” continued fighting crime on her own throughout the winter, then retired as well. When Pemberton recovered, the two were married and started a family.
On December 31, the CIA formed the Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI) by merging the Scientific Branch in the Office of Reports and Estimates with the Nuclear Energy Group of the Office of Special Operations.
Music of 1948
♫ Dizzy Gillespie and His Orchestra, “Manteca” (RCA Victor 20-3023)
♫ Wynonie Harris, “Good Rockin’ Tonight” (King 4210)
♫ Woody Herman and His Orchestra, “Four Brothers” (Columbia 38304)
♫ John Lee Hooker, “Boogie Chillen’” (Modern 20-627)
♫ Mahalia Jackson, “Move On Up a Little Higher” (Apollo 164)
♫ Lonnie Johnson, “Tomorrow Night” (King 4201)
♫ Stan Kenton and His Orchestra with June Christy, “How High the Moon” (Capitol 15117)
♫ Amos Milburn, “Chicken-Shack Boogie” (Aladdin 3014)
♫ Thelonious Monk, “‘Round About Midnight” (Blue Note 543)
♫ Charlie Parker, “Embraceable You” (Dial 1024)
♫ Charlie Parker Quintet, “Scrapple from the Apple” (Dial 1021)
♫ Charlie Parker’s All Stars, “Parker’s Mood” (Savoy 936)
♫ Roy Rogers, “Don’t Fence Me In” (RCA Victor 20-3073)
♫ Dinah Shore and Her Happy Valley Boys, “Buttons and Bows” (Columbia 38284)
♫ The Stanley Brothers, “Little Maggie” (Rich-R-Tone 423)
♫ The Stanley Brothers, “Molly and Tenbrook” (Rich-R-Tone 418)
♫ Kay Starr, “You Were Only Fooling (While I Was Falling in Love)” (Capitol 15226)
♫ Beto Villa y Su Orquesta, “Rosita” (Ideal 149)
♫ T-Bone Walker, “Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just as Bad)” (Black & White 122)
♫ Dinah Washington, “Ain’t Misbehavin’” (Mercury 8072)
♫ Muddy Waters, “I Can’t Be Satisfied” (Aristocrat 1305)
After three years, Reed Richards (age 23) attained an advanced mechanical engineering degree from New York University. His best friend, Ben Grimm, would later tell everyone he was convinced Richards would have done it in a year if the two of them hadn’t been having so much fun together. Richards himself would claim that he conducted a great deal of independent research and experimentation during this time. Richards then transferred to Columbia to pursue a Ph.D. in theoretical physics. He would stay in contact throughout the year with Grimm (age 25), who was still pursuing his own engineering degree across town at NYU. While at Columbia, Richards boarded a room above the office of a physician named Franklin Storm. Although he had no way of knowing it at the time, this was how he first met his future wife, the physician’s daughter Sue Storm (then age 12), as well as her brother Johnny (then age 4).
After high school, Adam Blake (b. 1931) had moved from his family’s farm to Madison, Wisconsin. There, he had made the acquaintance of Professor Emery Zackro (b. 1898), a physics professor at the University of Wisconsin, who tested him and discovered that he was a mutant (Homo sapiens superior). After Blake used his powers to stop thieves from stealing one of Zackro’s experimental machines, Zackro hired Blake as his assistant and agreed to help him further test his powers. At that time, public knowledge of mutants was very rare, and their study was considered “pseudo-science,” but Zackro was eager to help Blake discover who he was. Zackro postulated that Blake’s mutation was caused by both of his parents being born on May 19, 1910, the day that Earth had passed through the tail of Halley’s comet. Although the comet theory was later discarded, it guided their thinking for a long time and they became eager to study a comet up-close. They then began work on building a “spaceship” concept that Zackro had designed, with plans to send Blake into space to study a comet.
On Venus, the Venusian World War escalated as the Metalunans were drawn into full-scale conflict with the Zagons. The war also began to have an irreversibly disastrous effect on the environment, as the Zagons began using chemical weapons and directed meteor strikes to penetrate the Metalunans’ defenses. The fallout from these attacks became trapped in the planet’s thick cloud cover, creating a runaway greenhouse effect and turning the rain into sulfuric acid. [This Island Earth]
During the Chinese Civil War, The Mandarin’s aunt was slain and his family estate and fortune were seized by the Communists. The Mandarin swore revenge upon the world and fled into the forbidden “Valley of Spirits.” There, he found the skeleton and spacecraft of Axonn-Karr, an intelligent, dragon-like alien from planet Maklu, who had crashed on Earth centuries earlier. Over the following years, The Mandarin discovered how to use the ten mysterious power rings that the alien had been wearing.
A daughter, Liễu (“willow”) Brandt, was born in Huế, Vietnam to Gustav Brandt, a former Nazi officer who had fled Germany after World War II, and his young Vietnamese wife. The girl’s mother died soon after, and Gustav left the child at the temple of the alien Priests of Pama, a sect of the Kree. The Kree believed that Liễu might become the Celestial Madonna and mate with the eldest Cotati on Earth to become the mother of the Celestial Messiah, “the most important being in the universe.”
At the age of 18, the prince Blackagar (a.k.a. “Black Bolt”) re-entered Inhuman society, having promised never to speak. Despite the communications barrier, he and fellow royal Medusalith (age 14) began to develop genuine affection for one another.
Based on the Nazi and Japanese super-soldier programs from World War II, the terrorist organization Hydra began developing its own eugenics program. The division of Hydra called “Secret Empire” was placed in charge of this project. Over the next decade, it would test various formulas on hundreds of kidnapped infants from around the world, and then raise these “augments” to be soldiers for Hydra. One of the earliest and most successful test subjects was Khan Noonan Singh, a child of British and Indian descent who received the serum in vitro in late 1949.
Wilson Fisk married , the bodyguard and right-hand man of New York crime lord Don Rigoletto, married Rigoletto’s daughter Vanessa. This created tension between the two men.
Batman (Bruce Anthony Wayne, age 33) and Robin (Dick Grayson, age 17) teamed up with the Spirit (Denny Colt, age 36) to stop a “Crime Convention” in Hawaii. [Batman and the Spirit]
On January 1, a cease-fire was declared ending the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948 (a.k.a. the First Kashmir War).
In Pittsburgh, chemistry professor Dr. Edward Clariss (b. 1905) managed to duplicate the conditions that had unlocked Jay Garrick’s speed powers, and he tapped into the Speed Force himself. Bitter at the scientific community, he called himself “The Rival” and used his new powers for crime and revenge, but was defeated by The Flash when his powers proved to only be temporary.
On February 11, under pressure from the Men in Black organization, the U.S. Air Force changed the name of their Project Sign program to “Project Grudge.” The mission of the program then became to publicly discredit the extraterrestrial origin hypothesis for UFOs. Meanwhile, Project Grudge secretly continued to gather information on extraterrestrials, which by this point had been proven by overwhelming evidence, and they fed that information to the Men in Black.
Wilson Fisk killed his boss and father-in-law, New York crime lord Don Rigoletto, and took control of his criminal empire, immediately becoming one of the most powerful figures in New York’s underworld. His wife Vanessa had no idea that Wilson had killed her father, or even that her father and husband were involved in criminal activity.
Mary Mitchell was killed while fighting crime in New York as “Sun Girl.”
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed on April 4, uniting the U.S. and western Europe against the Soviet Union and its communist allies.
Sandra Knight (now age 32) again retired from fighting crime as “The Phantom Lady.”
Louise Grant retired as “The Blonde Phantom” and became engaged to her boss, private detective Mark Mason, who was not aware of her secret identity.
Skyman (Allen Turner) was killed when his experimental aircraft crashed.
Ted Grant (now age 24) stepped away from fighting crime as “Wildcat” in order to pursue his dream of becoming heavyweight boxing champion. He would eventually retire to run a gym in the Bronx.
In Pittsburgh, Professor Edward Clariss returned as “The Rival” to challenge The Flash (Jay Garrick). This time, his speed powers were permanent and much stronger, but they turned out to be more than Clariss could handle, as he went too fast, entered the Speed Force and disappeared from this world forever.
Nazi sleeper agents freed Baron Blitzkrieg from a secret, maximum-security prison in upstate New York. The android known as “The Human Torch” (Jim Hammond) tried to prevent the break-out, but was damaged seemingly beyond repair. Soon thereafter, when U.S. government scientists could not figure out how to repair him, they instead deactivated him and buried him in the Mojave desert. Disillusioned, his partner Toro (Thomas Raymond, age 22) gave up fighting crime and eventually got married and lived a normal life.
In St. Louis, socialite Diana Adams (age 26) retired as the costumed crime fighter “Miss Masque.”
The fugitive Baron Blitzkrieg was located in upstate New York by the Black Terror (Bob Benton) and Kid Terror (Tim Roland), but he killed both of the heroes and escaped heading west into Pennsylvania. A few days later, he encountered Bulletman (Jim Barr) and Bulletgirl (Susan Kent Barr) in central Ohio. Blitzkrieg killed Bulletgirl in the confrontation, but was then slain by her husband. Jim Barr then hid the “gravity helmets” he and his wife had used to fight crime and retired to concentrate on raising the couple’s young daughter in Cincinnati.
The Green Lama (Jethro Dumont) retired from crime fighting and moved back to Tibet.
The ghost of Bruce Carter I told his descendent Bruce Carter III that he had finally found peace. The threat which had kept him vigilant and bound to Earth had ended, and he was prepared to pass into the Afterlife. They said their goodbyes, and Carter III found that his cloak was no longer magic, so he retired as “The Fighting Yank.”
The U.S. Air Force’s Project Grudge program issued the “Grudge Report,” which thoroughly denied any extraterrestrial connection to UFO sightings. It was then announced that Project Grudge would be dissolved, although it would in fact continue to operate until late 1951, working in tandem with the Men in Black to discredit further UFO sightings and calm the fears of the public.
On August 3, the Basketball Association of America absorbed the rival National Basketball League and changed its name to the National Basketball Association.
Moon Girl (the Amazon known as Clare) abandoned her quest for romance, left America and returned to Themyscira (a.k.a. Paradise Island).
In New York City, Kent Allard retired as “The Shadow.”
After nearly nine years of fighting crime as “Midnight,” New York radio announcer Dave Clark decided to retire as a mystery man. The radio drama “The Man Called Midnight” ceased broadcasting, and Clark transitioned into news radio.
Jeffrey Mace (the former “Patriot” and the third “Captain America”) was injured in the line of duty. His girlfriend Elizabeth “Betsy” Ross (“Golden Girl”) had already decided earlier in the year to retire from crime fighting, and Jeffrey decided it was time for him to give it up as well.
Chuck Lane retired his costumed identity “The Jester.”
Samuel "Slam" Bradley retired as a private investigator in Cleveland, Ohio.
On Saturday, October 1, after the Communist Party of China had captured all of the mainland, its leader Mao Zedong proclaimed the People’s Republic of China, with its capital at Beijing. Some two million remaining loyalists soon fled to the island of Taiwan, the last remaining stronghold of the Republic of China.
In his arctic hideaway, while tinkering with the rocket that had carried him to Earth as an infant, Superman discovered a message from his parents and a data repository of Kryptonian history. Thanks to a built-in universal translator, he was finally able to learn about his heritage: who he truly was, where he had come from and what had happened to the rest of his people. At this time, he began learning the language of his ancestors, and discovered that the symbol he wore on his chest was the glyph for “El,” his family name, which meant “hope” in Kryptonian.
Having lived as a spirit for five years, Kid Eternity retired from actively adventuring in the world and began a period of quiet contemplation.
Taipei, Tawain was named the temporary capital of the Republic of China.
Capt. Jim “Red” Albright, a.k.a. “Captain Midnight,” retired from the United States Air Force, and the “Secret Squadron” group that he had led since WWII was dissolved.
On Saturday, December 24, Chicago police detective Dick Tracy (age 49) finally married his on-again, off-again fiancée of the past 18 years, Tess Trueheart (age 39).
Music of 1949
♫ The Miles Davis Nonet, “Boplicity” (Capitol 60011)
♫ The Miles Davis Nonet, “Jeru” (Capitol 60005)
♫ The Delmore Brothers, “Blues, Stay Away from Me” (King 803)
♫ John Lee Hooker, “Crawlin’ King Snake” (Modern 20-714)
♫ John Lee Hooker, “Hobo Blues” (Modern 20-663)
♫ John Lee Hooker, “Huckle Up Baby” (Sensation 26)
♫ Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five, “Beans and Cornbread” (Decca 24673)
♫ Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five, “Saturday Night Fish Fry (Parts 1 & 2)” (Decca 24725)
♫ Stick McGhee and His Buddies, “Drinkin’ Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee” (Atlantic 873)
♫ Robert Nighthawk, “Black Angel Blues (Sweet Black Angel)” (Aristocrat 2301)
♫ Bud Powell, “Somebody Loves Me” (Roost 509)
♫ Bud Powell, “Tempus Fugue-It” (Mercury 11045)
♫ Charlie Parker’s All Stars, “Chasing the Bird” (Savoy 977)
♫ Tampa Red, “When Things Go Wrong with You (It Hurts Me Too)” (RCA Victor 22-0035)
♫ Floyd Tillman, “Slipping Around” (Columbia 20581)
♫ Lennie Tristano, “Intuition” (Capitol 7-1224)
♫ Hank Williams, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (MGM Records 10560)
♫ Hank Williams, “Lovesick Blues” (MGM Records 10352)
The Atomic Fifties / Boom Era
Improvements in air transportation led to increased global travel.
Apartheid was established in South Africa (1950-1990).
With the U.S. engaged in its first war since WWII, the “Operation Rebirth” super-soldier program was quietly re-started, albeit with minimal staff and funding.
A border dispute began between planets Andoria and Vulcan. It currently remains unresolved.
At age 48, Abigail “Ma” Hunkel testified against mobsters in New York, and then went into the federal witness protection program. Because of this, she retired permanently from her role as secretary of the Justice Society of America.
Clark “Doc” Savage, Jr. retired.
Reed Richards (age 24) attained his doctorate from Columbia and accepted a research position at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena in his home state of California.
At the age of 16, Charles Xavier graduated with honors from Harvard and began a two-year stint in graduate studies at Oxford University in England. While at Oxford, Charles met a brilliant fellow genetics student, a Scottish girl named Moira Kinross (b.1933), and the two began a romance.
Merlyn sent James Braddock back to our universe to become the father of the next Captain Britain. Braddock soon met the Lady Elizabeth, married her and brought her to his family estate in Maldon, Essex, England.
On Tuesday, January 17, the Brinks Heist robbery occurred in Boston, and Batman became obsessed with bringing the perpetrators to justice, spending more and more time pursuing them and fighting crime in Boston. [speculation]
A Metalunan scout spacecraft from Venus crashed in the forests at the foot of the Itombwe Mountains in the Belgian Congo (what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The sole surviving Venusian used advanced technology to genetically alter a troupe of eastern lowland gorillas to make them more intelligent, and then had them build a hidden city with him as their leader. Content with this life, he made no attempt to contact or return to his people on Venus. Two of the young gorillas, Solovar and Grodd, showed exceptional intelligence as well as telepathic and telekinetic abilities, and he raised them as his own apprentices.
Linda Wayne was in a car accident on Lincoln Street in downtown Boston. The accident was caused by the Court of Owls, and caused Linda to suffer a late-term miscarriage. Bruce and Linda’s marriage began to crack under the strain. Soon afterwards, Jarvis Pennyworth was murdered by the Court of Owls. [This is a New 52 plotline, but it works really well here.]
At the request of his late father, former British military man Alfred Pennyworth (b. April 8, 1919) began employment at Wayne Manor as the valet of Bruce Wayne. [Birthday taken from the 1976 DC Calendar.]
Fighting came to an end in the Chinese Civil War, with the People’s Republic of China (Communist Party) controlling the mainland, the Republic of China (loyalists) controlling Taiwan, and both sides still asserting the legitimacy of their claim to the other.
After four-years serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, King Faraday (b. 1928) became a special operative for the CIA.
At the age of 17, Dick Grayson (Robin) graduated from high school in Boston and moved to Philadelphia to become a full-time member of the Justice Society of America.
The Korean War (1950-1953) began when forces from North Korea invaded South Korea on June 25. President Truman ordered U.S. air and sea forced to aid the South Koreans on June 27.
By early July, when U.S. forces arrived, South Korea’s forces had been reduced from 95,000 to less than 22,000 men. What was left were placed under U.S. operational command of the United Nations Command.
An orphan named Tommy Troy (b. 1935) was living in foster care when he found a magic ring in the attic. The ring transformed him into an adult with super powers, and he became “The Fly.” [In the original stories, it is never explained why Tommy suddenly goes from a young boy to an adult. The reason: his first few adventures happened quite a few years earlier than the original published dates.]
Brenda Banks retired as the masked crime fighter “Lady Luck.”
Manhunter (Dan Richards) was killed.
Dan Reid, Jr., owner of The Detroit Daily Sentinel newspaper, died at the age of 78. His son, Britt Reid (age 44) retired from crime fighting as the Green Hornet in order to run the family business, although he would occasionally return over the next few years for important cases.
Dan Turner retired from being a private investigator in Hollywood.
Dick Whitman (b. 1926) was assigned to help Lt. Donald Draper (b. 1917) build a field hospital. Soon afterwards, Draper died in an explosion, burnt beyond recognition. Whitman then changed their dog tags and stole Draper’s identity.
After the death of his father, human Robert Grayson (age 17) returned to Earth from the colony of Eternals on Uranus. Wielding the Quantum Bands, he became known as the hero “Marvel Boy.”
Madeline Joyce Frank (formerly Miss America, age 26) died during the birth of her second child, which was also stillborn. Her husband, Robert Frank (formerly The Whizzer, age 29) sank into depression and alcoholism, and eventually lost his job with the top-secret government nuclear research that had employed him. The Franks’ first child, Robert Jr., remained in suspended animation, forgotten by all but Frank Sr. as the years passed.
Nazi agent Iron Jaw returned to exact his revenge on Chuck Chandler, who was now 21 years old and in college. The former “Crime Buster” no longer wore a mystery man costume, because the girls in college thought it looked silly, but he managed to thwart his old foe once again.
Music of 1950
♫ Fats Domino, “The Fat Man” (Imperial 5058)
♫ Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys, “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” (Mercury 6247)
♫ Red Foley, “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” (Decca 46205)
♫ Lefty Frizzell, “If You’ve Got the Money I’ve Got the Time” (Columbia 20739)
♫ Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys, “Uncle Pen” (Decca 46283)
♫ Patti Page, “The Tennessee Waltz” (Mercury 5534)
♫ Percy Mayfield, “Please Send Me Someone to Love” (Specialty 375)
♫ Piano Red, “The Wrong Yo-Yo” (RCA Victor 22-0106)
♫ Professor Longhair, “Mardi Gras in New Orleans” (Atlantic 897)
♫ Tito Puente, “Ran Kan Kan” (RCA Victor 47-5829)
♫ Hank Snow, “I’m Moving On” (RCA Victor 48-0328)
♫ Ernest Tubb, “Throw Your Love My Way” (Decca 46243)
♫ T-Bone Walker and His Band, “Strollin’ with Bones” (Imperial 5071)
♫ Clara Ward and the Ward Singers, “How I Got Over” (Gotham 674)
♫ Muddy Waters, “Louisiana Blues” (Chess 1441)
♫ Muddy Waters, “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” (Aristocrat 412)
♫ Muddy Waters, “Rollin’ Stone” (Chess 1426)
♫ The Weavers, “Goodnight Irene” (Decca 27077)
♫ Hank Williams, “Long Gone Lonesome Blues” (MGM Records 10645)
Cat-Man (David Merrywether) had died four times (the latest in 1949 while fighting pirates in the Philippines) and was living the fifth of the nine lives bestowed upon him by the mystical cloth costume he wore. Having moved to Australia, he began fighting crime with a new sidekick, “Kit.”
Tibetan representatives in Beijing signed an agreement affirming China’s sovereignty over Tibet, and the agreement was confirmed a few months later by the government of Tibet.
While traveling in Tibet, Victor von Doom found mystics that helped create a suit of armor for him that both concealed his scarred face and made him nigh invulnerable.
Blackagar Boltagon (age 20), prince of Attilan, discovered that his brother had secretly allied himself with the alien Kree, the race whose genetic experiments first created the Inhumans. Trying to stop an escaping Kree vessel, he used his sonic powers, causing the vessel to crash. The crash killed several members of the Royal Family and Genetics Council, including his parents amd all of his older siblings. His younger brother Maximus was driven insane by his proximity to Blackagar when he used his voice. Blackagar assumed the title of King, but was haunted by the consequences of his actions.
In the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City, teenager Matthew Michael Murdock (b. September 1, 1938) saw a truck about to hit a blind man, and bravely ran to pull him out of the way. In the process, however, a canister of radioactive material fell from the back of the truck and struck Matt in the face, blinding him. The canister then rolled into the sewer where it was buried in sludge and lost for many years. When Matt awoke, he found that although he had lost his eyesight, his reflexes and his other senses had become heightened to beyond normal human ability. [Birthday in honor of Gene Colan.]
In February, the House Un-American Activities Committee began holding hearings to crack down on the problem of “costumed vigilantism.” Most of the heroes of the former All-Star Squadron would soon retire in exchange for a full pardon from President Harry S. Truman, as would many others who brokered similar deals. A few heroes deemed sufficiently patriotic and necessary for continued national security (including Superman and Wonder Woman) were able to continue covertly in a limited fashion after signing loyalty oaths.
Batman (Bruce Anthony Wayne, age 35) was among a handful of costumed heroes who chose to ignore the subpoena of the House Un-American Activities Committee and became fugitives. Batman did not trust the J. Edgar Hoover or the loyalty program, and was unwilling to consider retirement while there was a crime spree going on in Boston, choosing instead to focus on the emerging problem of the new supervillain “Killer Moth.”
At age 18, Robin (Dick Grayson) also chose to ignore the subpoena, instead returning to Boston to work alongside his mentor. However, his crime fighting activity tapered off greatly in the fall when he began attending college at Boston University.
Dr. Jules de Grandin (age 80) and Dr. Samuel Trowbridge (age 75) investigated their last case (“The Ring of Bastet”) in Harrisonville, New Jersey.
On Wednesday, March 14, King Kull of the Submen was awakened from suspended animation by an earthquake near Euskirchen, Germany.
On Monday, March 19, the Justice Society of America officially disbanded. Its final roster listed 10 full-time members: The Atom, Black Canary, Dr. Mid-Nite, The Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Robin, Sandman, Starman and Wonder Woman; and 11 associate members: Batman (honorary), Doctor Fate (retired), Hawkgirl (active), Hourman (retired), Johnny Thunder (retired), Mr. Terrific (retired), The Red Tornado (retired), The Spectre (status unknown), Superman (honorary), Wildcat (retired) and J. Edgar Hoover (honorary). With the exception of J. Edgar Hoover (at his own request, his name was kept from the public record), all of these were offered full Presidential pardons in exchange for signing loyalty oaths to the United States, a deal which most of them accepted. Many other costumed heroes followed their lead and soon accepted similar deals.
Al Pratt (age 31) took the Presidential pardon, signed a loyalty oath and retired as The Atom. He returned to Bridgeport University and completed his degree, then completed a doctorate in physics at Harvard University, and finally returned to Bridgeport University where he taught for a number of years. Along the way, he met and married Mary James.
Jay Garrick (age 32) took the Presidential pardon and retired as The Flash, although he would still secretly use his powers on occasion. As a trained scientist, he began to run an experimental laboratory in his hometown of Pittsburgh, where he would work for several decades.
Alan Scott (age 35) signed a loyalty oath and retired as The Green Lantern, then went into television broadcasting, eventually becoming a station manager in Boston.
Dinah Drake (age 23) signed a loyalty oath and retired as Black Canary. The following year, she would marry her boyfriend Larry Lance in Boston.
Hawkman (Carter Hall, age 34) and Hawkgirl (Shiera Sanders, age 32) signed loyalty oaths and retired from crime fighting. They were wed the following year.
Starman (Ted Knight, age 35) signed a loyalty oath that allowed him to continue defending the city of Baltimore. However, the death of his fiancée, Doris Lee, a short time later caused him to have a complete mental breakdown. He gave up being Starman and recuperated for a time in a mental institution.
Giovanni “John” Zatara signed a loyalty oath and retired as “Zatara the Magician” to focus more on his pregnant wife Sindella.
Dan Garret (age 30) signed the loyalty oath and retired as The Blue Beetle in Philadelphia. Spurred on by his interest in the scarab that his father had discovered in Egypt, he also retired from being a police officer and became an archeologist.
Elizabeth Lawrence Chambers (age 33) signed the loyalty oath. She had already been retired for four years as Liberty Belle and was pregnant with her second child. Her husband, Johnny Chambers (age 34) was still active as Johnny Quick. He signed the oath as well and became a government operative. This change left a bad taste in Elizabeth’s mouth, as she sensed that the government connections were forcing Johnny down a path that led to unethical choices.
Darrel Dane (age 39) signed a loyalty oath and was told he could continue operating as Doll Man provided he supply the U.S. government with the secret of his shrinking technology. Remembering the harm that Dr. Barmell and Dr. Thorkel had wrought with the formula, however, Dane never supplied his secret, claiming that he did not remember it. He continued operating as Doll Man anyway.
Thomas Halloway (age 38), who had retired as The Angel in 1946, signed a loyalty oath and began working for the Secret Service.
Plastic Man (age 29) and his sidekick Wolfgang “Woozy” Winks (age 46) both signed loyalty oaths. In doing so, Plastic Man revealed that he had once been the criminal known as Patrick “Eel” O’Brian. While he was granted a pardon for his past crimes, this caused his status as an official FBI agent to be revoked. While he remained a government agent in a different capacity, the change weighed heavily on O’Brian, and he soon showed signs of decreased mental stability, became increasingly paranoid and losing his trademark sense of humor.
Tommy Troy (age 16) didn’t sign a loyalty oath, but he put his magic ring away and stopped being “The Fly.” He focused on his school work and soon earned a scholarship to college, and then to law school.
U.S. President Harry S. Truman created a special task force, called “Task Force X,” to determine how best to respond to the threats that had previously been handled by costumed heroes. At the recommendation of Task Force X, President Truman created a new “Agency of Exceptional Engagements” (AXE), initially composed of two divisions. “Argent Division” would respond to civilian matters, including masked and superpowered villains, while “Opera Division” would respond to national and international crises. For Opera Division, AXE chose to put in place the “Suicide Squad,” a special-ops unit that had been led by decorated veteran Rick Flag since World War II. Soon the term “Opera Division” would scarcely be used at all, and the division would just be referred to as “Suicide Squad.”
In the spring, Michael Corleone returned from Sicily and began establishing himself as the heir apparent to Vito “Godfather” Corleone.
On Friday, May 4, a daughter, Bonnie Tracy, was born to Chicago police detective Dick Tracy and his wife Tess.
On May 20, a baby girl was born to Giovanni “John” Zatara and his wife Sindella. Sindella died mysteriously shortly after childbirth. At her insistence, John named the baby Zatanna Zatara.
Adam Blake (age 20) and Professor Emery Zackro (age 53) completed nearly two years of work on a revolutionary “spaceship” for Blake (at first, it was capable of only extreme-altitude flight, but over time its range increased), which they called The Cometeer. In June, Blake debuted as “Captain Comet.” He and Zackro were promptly called to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee, which had outlawed non-government sanctioned “costumed vigilantes” in the U.S. However, the two successfully argued before the committee that Blake’s “costume” was in fact a protective uniform, that their mission was solely one of scientific exploration, and that any adventures Blake might have would technically take place in the international territory of outer space, not within the United States. They were given an exemption and referred to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics for oversight.
On June 25, the first commercial color television broadcast occurred in four U.S. cities, although most people could not tell the difference on their black-and-white televisions.
In Hollywood, Linda Turner signed a loyalty oath and retired as “The Black Cat.”
The Shining Knight (Sir Justin Arthur) was killed while battling a secret Nazi splinter cell in Europe.
Fred Parrish (age 31) signed a loyalty oath and retired as “The Blue Bolt.” By this time, his body had lost the ability to turn excess energy into super strength, although his mutant metabolism still relied on electricity rather than food for nourishment.
From Saturday, August 25 through Wednesday, September 5, numerous people in the area of Lubbock, Texas reported seeing unexplained lights flying overhead in one of the first UFO cases to gain national attention. The Men in Black, working covertly with the U.S. Air Force’s Project Blue Book program, later convinced many of the witnesses, including several respected scientists, to agree that they had only seen birds, but not all of the witnesses were willing to publicly support this story. Additionally, several photographs that were taken on August 31 were released to the media and could not be discredited.
On September 4, U.S. President Truman spoke to the nation from San Francisco in the first coast-to-coast live television broadcast.
Captain Marvel (Billy Batson, age 24) had his first encounter with the reawakened King Kull.
Disappointed by the U.S. decision to regulate heroes, Marvel Boy (Robert Grayson, age 18) decided to leave Earth for good. With the Quantum Bands, he would travel the cosmos for many years in his role as Eon’s “Protector of the Universe,” and eventually settled on the alias “The Crusader.”
In the Hidden Valley, a secluded colony of Homo mermanus located in the North Atlantic east of Newfoundland, King Thar’s evil brother Zath returned from exile. his body now twisted from the dark sorcerery he practiced, he now went by the name Sizzath. Thar managed to trap Sizzath in an other-dimensional prison, but was himself killed by radicals loyal to Sizzath. the radicals then banished Thar’s wife Berra, who was pregnant at the time. Berra fled to the city of Poseidonis in Atlantis.
In clear violation of the loyalty oath he had signed earlier in the year, Darrel Dane (Doll Man) used his shrinking formula on his girlfriend Martha Roberts, allowing her to become “Doll Girl.”
Music of 1951
♫ Jackie Brenston and His Delta Cats, “Rocket 88” (Chess 1458)
♫ Rosemary Clooney, “Come On-A My House” (Columbia 39467)
♫ Nat “King” Cole, “Unforgettable” (Capitol 1808)
♫ Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys, “Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Arms” (Mercury 6372)
♫ Lefty Frizzell, “Always Late (With Your Kisses)” (Columbia 20837)
♫ Lefty Frizzell, “I Want to Be with You Always” (Columbia 20799)
♫ Dizzy Gillespie and His Orchestra, “Tin Tin Deo” (Dizzy Gillespie, Vol. 1, Dee Gee MG 1000)
♫ Woody Guthrie, “This Land Is Your Land” (Songs to Grow On, Vol. 3: This Land Is My Land, Folkways FP27)
♫ John Lee Hooker, “I’m in the Mood” (Modern 835)
♫ Howlin’ Wolf, “Moanin’ at Midnight” (Chess 1479)
♫ Elmore James, “Dust My Broom (I Believe My Time Ain’t Long)” (Trumpet 146)
♫ B.B. King, “Three O’Clock Blues” (RPM 339)
♫ Les Paul & Mary Ford, “How High the Moon” (Capitol 1451)
♫ Bud Powell, “Hallucinations” (a.k.a. “Budo”) (Bud Powell’s Moods, Mercury MGC-610)
♫ The Bud Powell Trio, “Un Poco Loco” (Blue Note 1577)
♫ Johnnie Ray and the Fair Lads, “Cry” (Okeh 6840)
♫ The Stanley Brothers, “I’m a Man of Constant Sorrow” (Columbia 20816)
♫ Billy Ward and the Domonies, “Sixty-Minute Man” (Federal 12022)
♫ Muddy Waters, “Honey Bee” (Chess 1468)
♫ Hank Williams, “Cold Cold Heart” (MGM Records 10904)
♫ Hank Williams, “Hey, Good Lookin’” (MGM Records 11000)
♫ Sonny Boy Williamson, “Eyesight to the Blind” (Trumpet 129)
Returning to his home of Latveria (a semi-autonomous city-state in northern Serbia), Victor von Doom (age 24) overthrew and executed the cruel Baron Vladimir Sikandur and became its new ruler. Revitalizing the area, he instantly became the hero of its downtrodden people. He was particularly interested in the android technology that Sikandur had abandoned a decade prior, and began using his engineering expertise to secretly revive that program. Doom’s advanced defenses would help maintain Latveria’s autonomy from pressures to unite with the rest of Serbia and Yugoslavia. He would also weather many challenges to the throne from the Fortunov family, whose fortune had built Doomstadt and who had been promised succession by Baron Sikandur.
The first vaccine for polio, which had killed and paralyzed thousands each year, was developed and tested by Jonas Salk.
In Iowa, Clint Barton’s parents were killed in a car accident, and he and his brother Barney were sent to live in an orphanage.
While fighting crime in Australia, Cat-Man (David Merrywether) was killed for the fifth time. Under the care of his sidekick Kit, he revived again and began living the sixth of the nine lives granted to him by his ancient, mystical cloth costume. He soon began dating Terri West, daughter of the noted Australian scientist Dr. Martin West.
Charles Xavier (age 18) completed his studies at Oxford with doctoral degrees in genetics and biophysics. He proposed marriage to his girlfriend, fellow Oxford genetics student Moira Kinross, but she turned him down and broke off the relationship. Returning home to America, Xavier was promptly drafted into the U.S. Army. He soon discovered that his estranged stepbrother Cain Marko had recently been drafted as well, and before being shipped overseas to Korea, he used his telepathic powers to manipulate decision-making so that he ended up in the same unit as Marko.
At age 16, having lied about his age, Slade Joseph Wilson (b. 1936) enlisted in the U.S. Army and was deployed to Korea.
Early in his reign as king of the Inhumans, one of Black Bolt’s subjects was captured by a human. Convinced that the current location of Attilan (an island southwest of Iceland) was too vulnerable, Black Bolt used powerful antigravity engines to move the entire city to a hidden valley in the Chinese Himalayas, the location of an ancient but abandoned Eternals civilization. The bold move proved popular with his subjects, and the new location became known as the “Great Refuge.”
The Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) relocated from a building on the campus of the Alamogordo Army Air Field in New Mexico to a custom facility in Fairfield, Connecticut.
In Hartford, Connecticut, Miss Fury (Marla Drake) was caught and arrested for operating as a masked hero without government sanctioning. As part of a plea-bargain, she signed a loyalty oath, her trademark panther-skin outfit was confiscated and she promised not to operate as Miss Fury anymore.
On January 16, Jeff and Lena Colby had a baby boy, whom they named Lionel Joseph Colby. Even as a child he showed remarkable intellectual ability. As he grew older, he learned about his infamous uncle and became obsessed with his legacy.
Elizabeth II became Queen of the U.K. upon the death of her father George VI.
At the Mount Wundagore citadel in northwestern Bulgaria, Miriam Drew (age 32) and her young daughter Jessica (age 12) both fell ill from what they believed was radiation poisoning from the nearby uranium mine. Miriam soon died. To save Jessica’s life, her father Jonathan injected her with an experimental serum that he and his partner Herbert Wyndham had made from irradiated spiders’ blood. Her vital functions were then slowed and she was put into suspended animation to give the serum a chance to save her. The process would take decades, during which time she would age at a greatly decelerated rate.
Although the U.S. Air Force had announced the end of Project Grudge to study UFOs in mid-1949, the increased UFO activity and continued public interest had forced the government to continue addressing public concerns. As a result, the Air Force revived the program as Project Blue Book in March 1952. The mission of the project was to publicly discredit all UFO sightings and offer plausible alternate explanations, while secretly channeling data collected about extraterrestrial UFOs to the Men in Black.
On Thursday, March 6, the exiled Queen Berra of the Hidden Valley gave birth to Garth. The baby was born with purple eyes, which was seen as a bad omen. All babies born with purple eyes in Atlantis were to be put to death, but Garth was saved by the Atlantean sorcerer Atlan, who took stole him out of the city and raised him alone in the wild ocean.
On Monday, March 10, Superman (Clark Kent) and Batman (Bruce Anthony Wayne) met and worked together for the first time. Because Batman was technically a fugitive wanted by the federal government, Superman had to choose between arresting his new ally or breaking the law and disobeying his loyalty oath to the United States government; he chose friendship. Superman and Batman would continue to be close allies until the latter’s death in 1956.
On Saturday, April 26, Wonder Woman (Princess Diana of Themyscira, age 30) rescued a one-year-old girl (b. 1951) from a burning building. The baby was critically injured and there were no other survivors, so Diana brought her to Themyscira (a.k.a. “Paradise Island”) to ask for help from the Amazons in healing her. When their “purple ray” proved unable to save her, Diana and Queen Hippolyta made a plea to the gods for help. In a scene reminiscent of the six Olympian gods that had brought life to Diana in 1922, a goddess appeared to Diana and Hippolyta. She called herself “Donna,” saying that she could not reveal her true name as she had come there without the permission of the other gods, but that she foresaw that this child would be a mighty warrior and deserved to be saved. She restored the child, endowing her with superhuman gifts “from me and my sisters.” She then told them to name the girl “Troia” and disappeared. (Many years later, they would discover that she was actually the Titaness Theia, who had escaped from Tartarus, where the Olympian gods had imprisoned her.) Troia, who would also go by the name “Donna,” would grow up to idolize her “big sister” Wonder Woman. [Date taken from the 1976 DC Calendar. This is a compromise origin story for Donna Troy that cuts through the clutter of all of her confusing, competing origins.]
Schmachenburg’s body started to reject the transplanted, cloned brain of Adolph Hitler. Realizing that he was dying, Dr. Walter Jackson, an American Fifth Columnist loyal to Hitler devised a scheme to save him. He recruited Dr. Brad Cummings, a fellow scientist who had worked on top-secret robotics projects for the SSR during World War II. Together, they began building a robot body for “Mr. Schmachenburg.”
In Boston, visual effects expert Garfield Lynns debuted as the new supervillain “Firefly.”
Puerto Rico became a U.S. commonwealth.
James “Jamie” Braddock, Jr. was born to James and Elizabeth Braddock in Maldon, Essex, England.
Malcom X (age 27) was paroled from prison. He would quickly become one of the Nation of Islam’s most prominent leaders. His outspoken views on race relations, including the belief that blacks were superior to whites, led to much controversy and media attention.
The mysterious Phantom Stranger was first seen on Earth in his current form.
Princess Diana of Themyscira (Wonder Woman, age 30) was finally granted permission by her mother Queen Hippolyta and married her long-time boyfriend Steve Trevor (age 33). Marriage was an alien concept for Amazons, and her relationship with Steve had put a strain on Diana’s relationship with her people, but the miracle healing of the baby Troia had softened them to her request.
Hitler’s memories were successfully transferred from the cloned brain in Schmachenburg’s body to the newly completed robot body, known as “Cerebex.” Dr. Walter Jackson mistakenly believed he could control the robot, but Cerebex killed him. He then used the enhanced intelligence that his artificial brain offered him to begin building an army of “Mechanoids” with which to conquer the world.
After more than 12 years of fighting crime in Kansas City, Denny Colt retired as The Spirit. (He had not signed a loyalty oath the prior year.)
The United Nations Headquarters was completed in New York City.
The Metalunan Venusians began recruiting scientists from Earth for a secret project to help solve their energy crisis and develop new weapons of war. During this recruitment process, on Thursday, November 20, an alien from Venus named Orthon made contact with noted ufologist George Adamski near the town of Desert Center, California.
Hitler began using the enhanced intelligence that his new, artificial brain offered him to begin building an army of “Mechanoids” with which to conquer the world.
Music of 1952
♫ Eddie Boyd, “Five Long Years” (JOB 1007)
♫ Jim & Jesse, “Are You Missing Me?” (Capitol 2233)
♫ Little Walter and His Night Cats, “Juke” (Checker 758)
♫ Gerry Mulligan Quartet featuring Chet Baker, “My Funny Valentine” (Fantasy 525)
♫ Webb Pierce, “Wondering” (Decca 46364)
♫ Tex Ritter, “High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me)” (Capitol 2120)
♫ Jo Stafford, “You Belong to Me” (Columbia 39811)
♫ Hank Thompson, “The Wild Side of Life” (Capitol 1942)
♫ Big Joe Turner, “Sweet Sixteen” (Atlantic 960)
♫ Dinah Washington, “Trouble in Mind” (Mercury 8269)
♫ Kitty Wells, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” (Decca 28232)
♫ Slim Whitman, “Indian Love Call” (Imperial 8156)
♫ Hank Williams, “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)” (MGM Records 11283)
♫ Hank Williams, “Honky Tonk Blues” (MGM Records 11160)
♫ Mac Wiseman, “I Wonder How the Old Folks Are at Home” (Dot 1115)
Scarlet O’Neil met Texas lawman Russell “Stainless” Steel and shared some adventures with him.
In Boston, Dinah Laurel Lance was born to police detective Larry Lance (age 30) and his wife Dinah (age 26), the former Black Canary.
Richard and Mary Parker died in a plane crash in Switzerland. After their deaths, their six-year-old son Peter Benjamin Parker (b. November 2, 1946) went to live with Richard’s older brother Ben Parker and his wife May Reilly Parker in Forest Hills, Queens, New York. [Peter's birthday in honor of Steve Ditko.]
While serving in Korea, Charles Xavier’s stepbrother Cain Marko (age 21) decided to desert the army. Crawling into a cave, he discovered the lost secret Temple of Cyttorak. Marko impulsively grabbed the crimson gem within and found himself transformed into a larger, superhuman being – an immortal avatar of the ancient god Cyttorak himself. Years later, Xavier would encounter him again calling himself “The Juggernaut.”
(b. 1893) was recruited by Merlyn and his daughter Roma, agents of the extradimensional Otherworld, to represent our universe in the Captain Britain Corps. He traveled to Otherworld and left our universe behind.
Chicago police detective Dick Tracy conducted the first closed-circuit television police line-up between three cities: Chicago, Detroit and New York.
On January 20, World War II hero Dwight D. Eisenhower (b. 1890, d. 1969) became the 34th U.S. President (1953-1961).
In Cairo, Egypt, Hector Hall was born to American archaeologists Carter (age 37) and Shiera (age 35) Hall. Carter and Shiera were the reincarnations of an ancient, cursed Egyptian prince and his bride, and unknown to them that curse also extended to any children they might have. At birth, Hector’s soul was bound to an ancient evil called the “Silver Scarab.”
Led by Dr. Jeffrey Stewart and Dr. Dan Forbes, scientists from the CIA's Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI) defused a magnetic anomaly that risked disrupting the Earth's rotation.
Josef Stalin died on March 5. Georgy Malenkov became the new Premier of the Soviet Union (1953-1955), but his power was challenged by Minister of Defense Nikolai Bulganin and First Secretary of the Communist Party Nikita Khrushchev.
Jeffrey Mace (the former “Patriot” and the third “Captain America”) and Elizabeth “Betsy” Ross (the former “Golden Girl”) were married.
At the age of 31, Golden Arrow (Roger Parsons) gave up his life as a solitary vigilante, got married and settled down.
On May 29, the summit of Mt. Everest, the highest peak on Earth, was conquered for the first time in known history.
An ape-like alien cyborg from the planet Ro-Man arrived on Earth, planning to kill all of humankind with his “Calcinator” death ray. However, he was quickly defeated by Superman.
[The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms]
The Cuban Revolution (1953-1959) began, led by Fidel Castro.
The Korean War ended on Monday, July 27 with an armistice agreement.
At age 56, The Phantom Detective (Richard Curtis Van Loan) solved his last case and retired.
Jonathan Drew left Mount Wundagore for the United States, leaving his ailing daughter Jessica in the care of his associate Herbert Wyndham.
In Philadelphia, The Black Bat (Anthony Quinn) was caught by the FBI and arrested for vigilantism.
Facing increasing pressure from the U.S. government, Darrel Dane finally retired as Doll Man. Refusing to turn over his research to the government, he dumped what remained of his shrinking chemicals. These would later contaminate Robert Carey in 1957, causing him to shrink uncontrollably.
A young James “Jimmy” Olsen, Jr. (b. November 29, 1940) was given a part-time job as an office boy at The San Francisco Daily Planet. His father, who had also started as an office boy for the newspaper, had died fighting in World War II. [Birthday taken from the 1976 DC Calendar.]
On November 20, U.S. Navy pilot Scott Crossfield and his D-558-II Skyrocket team became the first to reach twice the speed of sound.
Hitler, now in the robot body of Cerebex, led his robot army to take over the world. However, his plan was thwarted by Cerebex creator Dr. Brad Cummings, who built a wooden robot to exploit Cerebex’s weaknesses. [Planet Comics #73]
Defeated and badly damaged, Hitler rallied his remaining forces and began working on a new plan for world domination.
Robotman (Robert Crane) was trapped in a cave-in. With no nourishment, his organic brain died and his mechanical body eventually went into shut-down mode.
William Burnside was selected as the first volunteer for the U.S. government’s revived “Operation Rebirth” super-soldier program. However, the chemists were unable to perfect the formula and the government decided that the program was unwise due to the political climate, as the Korean War was winding down. Burnside was obsessed with being the new “Captain America” and even legally changed his name to “Steve Rogers,” but he was denied the opportunity. The FBI relocated him and gave him a new career. In December, however, Burnside and his associate James Monroe stole some of the unfinished super-soldier formula and injected themselves with it. Burnside then began imitating “Captain America” and Monroe began imitating “Bucky.” The super-soldier formula did enhance their physiologies, but it also gave them psychotic symptoms.
Learning that the U.S. had a new Captain America, Arnim Zola brought one of the Red Skull’s followers, Albert Malik, out of suspended animation and tasked him with impersonating the Red Skull from a secret base in Algeria while his master continued to heal from his wounds.
Scientists Cal Meacham and Ruth Adams were kidnapped by a Metalunan Venusian named Exeter, who explained that his people were losing a war against the Zagons and planning to relocate to Earth. However, once they reached Venus, Exeter changed his mind and helped the prisoners escape. As they were escaping, they witnessed the desperate Metalunans counter the Zagon attack with an “Ultimate Weapon,” designed by Dr. Sivana using their Earth-based research. Unfortunately, this attack was much more powerful than they anticipated. It killed 99% of life on the planet, including Earth adventurer Carson Napier and all of the Sivana family except for Thaddeus Jr. (age 23 in Earth years). It also stopped the rotation of the planet and stripped it of its magnetic field. The only survivors from either side of the conflict now lived underground, as life on the surface had become impossible. [This Island Earth, with the Metalunans and Zagons defined as competing sides of a Venusian civli war. This is how the "fantastic swamp garden" Venus of yore became the inhospitable, barren planet we know today.]
USAF pilot Chuck Yeager and his team achieved Mach 2.44 on December 12 in an X-1A aircraft to reestablish Yeager as the world’s fastest man.
Music of 1953
♫ The Chet Baker Quartet featuring Russ Freeman, “All the Things You Are” (Chet Baker Quartet Featuring Russ Freeman, Pacific Jazz PJLP-6)
♫ Tony Bennett, “Rags to Riches” (Columbia 40048)
♫ Ruth Brown, “Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean” (Atlantic 986)
♫ Duke Ellington, “Satin Doll” (Capitol 2458)
♫ Guitar Slim and His Band, “The Things That I Used to Do” (Specialty 482)
♫ Jimmy & Walter, “Easy” (Sun 180)
♫ Little Junior’s Blue Flames, “Mystery Train” (Sun 192)
♫ Shelly Manne and His Men, “Gazelle” (Contemporary C 353)
♫ Shelly Manne and His Men, “La Mucura” (Contemporary C 354)
♫ Dean Martin, “That’s Amore” (Capitol 2589)
♫ Gerry Mulligan Quartet featuring Chet Baker, “Walkin’ Shoes” (Pacific Jazz 606)
♫ Les Paul & Mary Ford, “Vaya Con Dios” (Capitol 2486)
♫ Webb Pierce, “There Stands the Glass” (Decca 28834)
♫ Frank Sinatra, “I’ve Got the World on a String” (Capitol 2505)
♫ Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton, “Hound Dog” (Peacock 1612)
♫ Hank Williams, ‘Your Cheatin’ Heart” (MGM Records 11416)
With their planet dying and little hope remaining, the two sides of the Venusian World War—Metalunans and Zagons—continued to fight, but both sides also secretly prepared to abandon Venus and settle on Earth.
During the year, reports leaked to various major newspapers indicating that the U.S. Air Force had discovered what it believed were two artificial satellites of extraterrestrial origin in orbit around the Earth. One of these was later identified as the “Black Knight” satellite, an artifact orbiting in a near-polar orbit and believed to be approximately 13,000 years old.
At age 32, Scarlet O’Neil decided to stop using her mutant power of invisibility and quit adventuring for good. She soon got married and started a family.
Vito “Godfather” Corleone (age 67) went into semi-retirement, and his son Michael Corleone became the operating head of the Corleone crime family in New York (1954-1980).
Varsity Swim Team star Sue Storm (age 17) graduated from high school in Long Island, New York and began attending college in California.
Charles Xavier (age 20) completed his service in the U.S. Army and enrolled in Columbia University. There, he simultaneously pursued a medical degree in psychiatry and additional doctorates in psychology and anthropology.
James “Bucky” Barnes was awoken by the Soviets, who had held him in cryostasis since recovering his injured body in April 1945. He was outfitted with a bionic arm to replace the one he lost, and with no memory of his past, he was brainwashed to be a Soviet spy and assassin code named the “Winter Soldier.” Over the coming decades, he would be returned to cryostasis several times and retrieved whenever needed for special assignments.
King Kull captured Billy Batson (age 27) and placed him in suspended animation, preventing him from changing into Captain Marvel. This also prevented the rest of the Marvel Family from sharing Batson’s power. Kull began a plan to take over the world using the power of the Rock of Eternity.
Following the introduction of all-electric color the previous year, the first national color broadcast (the 1954 Tournament of Roses Parade) occurred on January 1. The price of color televisions still precluded most Americans from buying them until the mid-1960s, however.
In the U.K., several teens and young adults were selected for “superhuman enhancement” as part of the top-secret Project Zarathustra, including Michael “Micky” Moran, Richard “Dicky” Dauntless and Johnny Bates. Unbeknownst to them, they were kept subconscious, living in virtual simulations, by Project Director Dr. Gargunza for years until the project’s termination. During this time, the participants used their superpowers in a wide variety of simulated scenarios. Micky went by the alias “Marvelman,” Ricky went by “Young Marvelman” and Johnny went by “Kid Marvelman.”
Hal Jordan turned 18 on Saturday, February 20 and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on his birthday.
The amphibian humanoid “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” a modern descendent of the Miri Nigri, was discovered in the Amazon, Brazil.
At the Mount Wundagore citadel in northwestern Bulgaria, Herbert Wyndham made his first great breakthrough in genetic research, developing a “genetic acceleration” suit that regulated and enhanced his intelligence and bio-functions. Encased completely in the silver suit, he found his brain function greatly increased and soon began making further extraordinary genetic breakthroughs.
Unknowingly, Wyndham’s genetic acceleration technology also affected one of the rare bacteria cultures he had been studying. Over the course of several years, the bacteria would rapidly evolve a hive mind intelligence.
Dr. Stephen Vincent Strange (b. November 22, 1912), a gifted but egotistical New York neurosurgeon, was involved in an automobile accident that shattered both of his hands. The damage effectively ended his ability to conduct surgery, since his hands now trembled uncontrollably. Strange desperately began to search for a way to restore his hands, consulting various doctors, homeopathic treatments and traveling around the world to remote regions for exotic cures, all to no avail. [Birthday in honor of Roy Thomas.]
On May 17, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka ruling, which made segregation illegal. The decision overturned the 1896 Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson, in which the court had ruled that segregation laws were constitutional if equal facilities were provided to whites and blacks (the so-called “separate but equal” doctrine).
After many years of wandering, the creature known as “The Heap” (formerly Baron Erich von Emmelmann) arrived in the swamps of southern Florida. There, he would find himself drawn to the Nexus of All Realities, and would take his place as its newest guardian.
In Japan, Dr. Kaneda’s secret testing facility and the giant robot Tetsujin 28-go (literally “Iron Man #28”) were discovered by his now 10-year-old son, Shotaro. Under Shotaro’s control, Tetsujin was put to work stopping criminals and enemy robots. He was still doing so as late as 1981 (at age 37).
After his son Thor defied him, Odin decided to teach him humility. He erased Thor’s memories of godhood and implanted the memories of partially disabled, human medical student Donald Blake (b. 1930). Blake’s lifelong medical problems had just caused him to pass away, and Odin sent Thor to take his place and live Blake’s life for a while. By learning to deal with limitations while helping and healing others, the All-Father hoped his son would become a worthy heir to the throne of Asgard.
Selina Kyle retired as Catwoman. She lived in an apartment paid for by Bruce A. Wayne, with whom she continued to have a secret, on-again-off-again love affair.
The imposter “Captain America” (born William Burnside, but had legally changed his name to Steve Rogers) and “Bucky” (James Monroe) were caught by the FBI. They were found guilty on several counts and imprisoned. There, they underwent psychiatric counseling under the custody of “Doctor Faustus” (real name Johann Fennhoff), who secretly spent years brainwashing them on behalf of the international terrorist organization SPECTRE.
After making further modifications to his spacecraft, The Cometeer, Captain Comet (Adam Blake, age 23) left Earth to explore deep space. Meanwhile, his associate and ally. Professor Emery Zackro (age 56), would continue studying space engineering. Pursuing his dream of helping all of humanity reach the stars, he would soon retire from teaching at the University of Wisconsin to join the CIA’s space research division and relocate to Stockton, California.
The monster Godzilla (Gojira) attacked Tokyo, Japan, causing major damage and thousands of deaths. In a final confrontation, the monster was killed, along with much of the life in Tokyo Harbor, using a weapon called an “Oxygen Destroyer” that had been developed by scientist Daisuke Serizawa. In the process, Serizawa sacrificed his own life and took the secret of his powerful weapon to the grave with him. The public was not told about the Oxygen Destroyer, but was instead told that the Japanese Self-Defense Forces had defeated the monster. Meanwhile, the Oxygen Destroyer had awakened and mutated Precambrian life forms, which would continue to evolve over the next four decades, finally becoming the monster known as “Destoroyah” in 1995.
FBI agent Bob Hornsby (age 25) , who had been the masked vigilante “Cobra Kid” in his youth, took up the mantle of his deceased brother and became a masked super-spy under the alias “Black Cobra.” He adopted an office clerk named Steve Drake (b. 1939) as the new Cobra Kid.
Thugs in the employ of The Dummy shot and killed Stuff, the Chinatown Kid (Daniel Leong) in New York City. Stuff’s mentor, The Vigilante (Greg Sanders), returned fire and killed the attackers. However, Sanders had never signed a loyalty oath and was operating as a masked hero without government sanction. He was arrested and sentenced to prison. The Dummy, meanwhile, continued building his criminal empire.
At the University of Colorado in Boulder, physics professor Keith Spencer was conducting radiation experiments when one went out of control. Spencer used his own body to shield students from the radiation, thinking the action would kill him, but instead it gave him extraordinary abilities. Unbeknownst to him, the experiment had secretly been sabotaged by Michael Martin (age 28), a science agent working for the secret U.S. Atomic Research Program who had also been pursuing his Ph.D. in nuclear physics at the University of Colorado. Since the death of Martin’s mentor Archie Masters (The American Crusader) ten years prior, he had worked to study the relationship between radiation and metahuman abilities, and he was convinced that he could unlock superhuman potential in the right candidate. Having identified Spencer, one of his professors, as a prime candidate, Martin had arranged for the accident to take place. Once Spencer had absorbed the radiation, he found that he could increase both his size and strength by clapping his hands sharply or otherwise causing his adrenaline to flow. He decided to use his powers to fight crime, adopting the alias “Captain Flash.” He was aided by one of his students, Ricky Davis, whose life he had saved in the initial explosion. Meanwhile, Martin took a research position with the U.S. Air Force in Colorado Springs and continued to furtively watch and study the experiment he had begun with Spencer.
Kip Adams acquired some of the infamous Hourman “Miraclo” drug to give himself superhuman strength and invulnerability. As a boy, he had been a street urchin named Thomas “Tip” Addams, but he had changed his name after his friends, the other members of the “Four Comrades” teenage crime-fighting team, had been killed by the notorious gangster “Black Satan” (former district attorney Howard Flynn). While attending college thanks to money set aside for him by his friend Tommy Tompkins, he obsessed about how to make himself invincible to criminals. Finally, using the Miraclo, he christened himself “The Flame” and once again began fighting crime in Portland.
Sandra Knight (now age 37) returned for one final stint as “The Phantom Lady.”
Music of 1954
♫ Spartacus (ballet) composed by Aram Khachaturian
♫ Chet Baker, “But Not for Me” (Chet Baker Sings, Pacific Jazz PJLP-11)
♫ Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, “Work with Me Annie” (Federal 12169)
♫ Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, “Okie Dokie Stomp” (Peacock 1637)
♫ Clifford Brown and Max Roach, “Joy Spring” (Clifford Brown and Max Roach, EmArcy MG-26043)
♫ Ray Charles, “I Got a Woman” (Atlantic 1050)
♫ The Chordettes, “Mr. Sandman” (Cadence 1247)
♫ The Chords, “Sh-Boom” (Cat 104)
♫ June Christy, “Something Cool” (Something Cool, Capitol H 516)
♫ Lowell Fulson, “Reconsider Baby” (Checker 804)
♫ Bill Haley and His Comets, “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around the Clock” (Decca 29124)
♫ Howlin’ Wolf, “Evil” (Chess 1575)
♫ J.B. Lenoir, “Mamma Talk to Your Daughter” (Parrot 809)
♫ The Moonglows, “Sincerely” (Chess 1581)
♫ The Penguins, “Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)” (DooTone 348)
♫ Elvis Presley, “That’s All Right” (Sun 209)
♫ Jimmy Rogers, “Chicago Bound” (Chess 1574)
♫ Frank Sinatra, “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me” (Capitol F2787)
♫ Frank Sinatra, “Young at Heart” (Capitol F2703)
♫ The Spaniels, “Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight” (Vee-Jay 107)
♫ Big Joe Turner, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” (Atlantic 1026)
♫ Sarah Vaughan and Her Trio, “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” (Images, EmArcy MG-26005)
♫ Muddy Waters, “(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man” (Chess 1560)
♫ Muddy Waters, “I Just Want to Make Love to You” (Chess 1571)
When his parents were killed while on safari in Africa, 13-year-old Oliver Queen (b. December 9, 1941) became the sole surviving heir of a multimillionaire Hollywood family whose holdings included Queen Industries. [Birthday taken from the 1976 DC Calendar.]
Namor returned to the undersea city of Thakorr.
After eight years behind bars, Henry King (age 43, formerly the supervillain “Brain Wave”) was released from prison. He had been a model prisoner and appeared to be reformed and ready to reenter society. In prison, he had befriended Floyd “Fly-Foot” Craemer (age 47), and upon being released he was introduced to Craemer’s daughter Merry Pemberton (age 28), her husband Sylvester (age 29) and their son Sylvester Jr. (age 4). He would become a good friend of the family and would end up being very helpful to them during Sylvester’s battle with cancer in the following years.
The second Nick Carter (age 55) retired after a 22 year career as a private investigator. By this time, his adopted son Chick Carter (age 22) was a detective in his own right.
Vito “Godfather” Corleone, former head of the Corleone crime family in New York, died at the age of 68.
Under the direction of scientist Dr. Russell A. Marvin, a secret U.S. space program called “Project Skyhook” began launching research satellites into Earth orbit from a launch facility near Stockton, California. Although Marvin was convinced that the satellites were obtaining orbit, this was impossible to verify officially as communication was never established with any of them. [Earth vs. the Flying Saucers]
At age 37, Johnny Chambers retired in January as the government-sanctioned superhero Johnny Quick. His marriage with his wife Elizabeth (formerly Liberty Belle) was severely strained at this point.
Kara Kal-El “Karen” Kent was born to Clark and Lois Lane Kent in San Francisco. The half-human/half-Kryptonian baby would one day be known as Power Girl.
FBI agent Bob Hornsby, alias Black Cobra, was killed on assignment. His sidekick Steve Drake vowed to continue on as the new Black Cobra.
On January 8, a daughter, Hippolyta “Lyta” Trevor, was born to the Amazon Princess Diana of Themyscira (age 32) and her husband Steve Trevor (age 35).
With the support of Nikita Khrushchev, Nikolai Bulganin became First Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers and de facto head of the Soviet Union (1955-1958).
At Mount Wundagore, Herbert Wyndham succeeded in promoting the genetic acceleration of some local animals into the half-human, half-animal beings that he dubbed his “New Men.”
The mutant vigilante going by the alias “Samson” reappeared.
On April 12, the first polio vaccine was announced to the world.
On April 15, Ray Kroc opened his first McDonald’s franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois. It would prove enormously successful. Kroc would soon purchase the McDonald brothers’ equity in the company and lead its worldwide expansion.
Albert Einstein died on April 18.
Twins were born to James and Elizabeth Braddock in Maldon, Essex, England. The first, a daughter named Elizabeth “Betsy” Braddock, was born late in the evening of April 22. Her brother, Brian Braddock, followed soon after in the early hours of April 23.
Trying to recreate the experiments of Nikola Tesla in Colorado, Dr. Saul Erdel built an enormous radio telescope powered by something he called the “Computer Brain.” (This was based on technology salvaged from the abandoned Wonderlab of Brad Spencer.) On April 24, he used this to try to contact Mars, but unexpectedly it instead created a beam that teleported a living Martian to his laboratory. The machine was irreparably damaged in the process, stranding the alien, a young (63 in Earth years or 33 in Martian ords) “Green Martian” named J’onn J’onzz, on Earth. The shock of the encounter also caused the elderly Erdel to have a heart attack and die. The alien soon used his telepathic powers to begin learning English and his shapeshifting powers to take on human form.
At age 22, Dick Grayson graduated from Boston University with honors and got a job as a junior executive at Wayne Corporation. He also continued working part-time as Robin both solo and with Batman.
In Portland, Maine, The Flame (Kip Adams, formerly known as Thomas “Tip” Addams) was killed while fighting crime.
Batman rescued a dog, which he named “Ace” (b. 1953, d. 1964), and trained it to help him on some missions.
Sandra Knight (now age 38) retired from fighting crime for the final time as “The Phantom Lady.” She then started working for the U.S. government, training female spies.
Captain Flash (Keith Spencer) believed his arch-nemesis, Dr. Konrad Kreuger, had been killed when a mountain collapsed on his hidden base. In fact, Kreuger had survived unharmed.
Sailors Lance O’Casey and Mike Bellew had their last adventure.
A giant octopus attacked San Francisco before being defeated by Superman.
On July 9, the Russell–Einstein Manifesto was issued in London by Bertrand Russell in the midst of the Cold War. It highlighted the dangers posed by nuclear weapons and called for world leaders to seek peaceful resolutions to international conflict. The signatories included eleven pre-eminent intellectuals and scientists, including Albert Einstein, who had signed it just days before his death. A few days after the release, philanthropist Cyrus S. Eaton offered to sponsor a conference—called for in the manifesto—in Pugwash, Nova Scotia.
The Disneyland amusement park opened in Anaheim, California on July 17.
Captain Flash (Keith Spencer) and his sidekick Ricky Davis were both killed by Dr. Konrad Kreuger. Kreuger was soon killed in a covert airstrike thanks to information gathered by U.S. Air Force scientist Michael Martin, who had secretly been monitoring the activities of Captain Flash for his own purposes. Martin won accommodation for the incident and soon earned promotion within the Air Force’s “Special Weapons Programs.”
The vigilante mutant going by the alias “Samson” was killed during a confrontation with police.
Dr. Stephen Strange (age 43), whose career was ended by an automobile accident in 1954, located a hermit called the “Ancient One” (who was actually Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme) in the Himalayas. The Ancient One had the power to heal Strange’s damaged hands, but refused to help because of Strange’s selfishness. However, he sensed a noble side to Strange that he attempted to bring to the surface. Strange’s good side appeared when he discovered the Ancient One’s disciple, Baron Mordo, attempting to kill the old man. After Strange selflessly thwarted Mordo (who would become Strange’s most enduring antagonist), the Ancient One took him on as a disciple and began teaching him the mystic arts.
Ibis the Invincible (Amentep) retired from crime fighting, and he and his wife Taia moved to Egypt.
On Venus, the last remnants of the Zagon Empire, now driven underground, annihilated the remaining Metalunan resistance, thereby ending the Venusian World War. They then began preparing to invade Earth.
Following their crushing defeat, Thaddeus Sivana Jr. (age 25) and many of the surviving Metalunan Venusians opted to go into suspended animation using a device developed by Dr. Sivana Sr. had called “Suspendium.”
After accidentally being brought to Earth in April, the Green Martian named J’onn J’onzz had by now used his telepathic powers to learn English and his shapeshifting powers to take on human form. He posed as Denver police detective John Jones and began to secretly fight crime on Earth (later under the alias “Martian Manhunter”) while waiting for his chance to return to Mars.
Jonathan Drew returned to Mount Wundagore, where he was possessed by the ghost of the 6th century magician Magnus. Magnus warned Drew’s partner Herbert Wyndham that the laboratory site had been constructed upon the place where the malevolent Elder God Chthon had been banished. He then began to train the Wyndham’s half-animal, half-human “New Men” in the ways of combat and chivalry of his time, until they eventually came to refer to themselves as the “Knights of Wundagore,” and to Wyndham as the “Lord High Evolutionary.”
The Civil Rights Movement began in earnest in the U.S. as the Montgomery Bus Boycott was organized to protest racial segregation laws after Rosa Parks (1913-2005) was arrested on December 1 for refusing to give her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama.
In London, England, Sexton Blake III (b. 1927) opened a detective agency, following in the footsteps of his namesake grandfather (now age 82). The younger Blake opened his business in a suite of plush offices in Berkeley Square, and hired a receptionist, Marion Lang, and a secretary, Paula Dane.
Music of 1955
♫ The Gadfly Suite composed by Dmitri Shostakovich
♫ Chet Baker, “Let’s Get Lost” (Chet Baker Sings and Plays with Bud Shank, Russ Freeman and Strings, Pacific Jazz PJ-1202)
♫ Count Basie and His Orchestra with Joe Williams, “Every Day I Have the Blues” (Clef 89149)
♫ Chuck Berry, Maybellene” (Chess 1604)
♫ Johnny Cash, “Folsom Prison Blues” (Sun 232)
♫ Clifton Chenier, “Eh, Petite Fille” (Specialty 552)
♫ Sammy Davis, Jr., “That Old Black Magic” (Decca 29541)
♫ Bo Diddley, “Bo Diddley” (Checker 814)
♫ Fats Domino, “Ain’t It a Shame” (Imperial 5348)
♫ Kenny Dorham, “Minor’s Holiday” (Afro-Cuban, Blue Note BLP 5065)
♫ Tennessee Ernie Ford, “Sixteen Tons” (Capitol F3262)
♫ George Jones, “Why Baby Why” (Starday 202)
♫ Smiley Lewis, “I Hear You Knocking” (Imperial 5356)
♫ Little Richard, “Long Tall Sally” (Specialty 572)
♫ Little Richard, “Tutti-Frutti” (Specialty 561)
♫ Little Walter and His Jukes, “My Babe” (Checker 811)
♫ The Louvin Brothers, “When I Stop Dreaming” (Capitol F3177)
♫ Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers (Gee 1002)
♫ Dean Martin, “Memories Are Made of This” (Capitol 3295)
♫ Jimmy Martin and the Osborne Brothers, “That’s How I Can Count On You” (RCA Victor 47-6111)
♫ The Modern Jazz Quartet, “Django” (Prestige PREP 1370)
♫ The Platters, “Only You (And You Alone)” (Mercury 70633)
♫ Red Prysock, “Hand Clappin’” (Mercury 70674; Rock ‘n Roll, Mercury MG 20088)
♫ Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers, “Doodlin’” (Blue Note 45-1630; Horace Silver and the Jazz Messengers, Blue Note BLP 1518)
♫ Muddy Waters, “Manish Boy” (Chess 1602)
♫ Sonny Boy Williamson, “Don’t Start Me to Talkin’” (Checker 824)
At age 25, James Bond was assigned to the Double-O section of the British Secret Service (where he was given number 007) and was granted a “license to kill.”
Texas lawman Russell “Stainless” Steel was killed in the line of duty.
In the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City, retired boxer “Battlin’ Jack” Murdock (b. 1920) started fighting again in order to put his blind son Matt (age 18) through college at Columbia University. At Columbia, Matt met Franklin P. “Foggy” Nelson (age 18), who would soon become his roommate and best friend.
The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Alabama laws requiring segregated buses. The Montgomery Bus Boycott ended and its leader, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was recognized as a leading figure of the Civil Rights Movement.
When preparing for the first Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, it became clear that four of the scientists involved in the discussions did not share the same views on global security threats as the others. They were Maris Morlak, a Lithuanian nuclear physicist, Jerome Hamilton, an American medical biologist, Carlo Zota, a Spanish electronics technician, and Wladyslav Shinski, a Polish geneticist. Convinced that scientists needed to rule the world to protect it from unknown future threats, the four of them agreed to pool their resources and form a partnership, which they called “The Enclave.”
In Japan, James “Logan” Howlett’s wife Itsu became pregnant with his child. At this time, Logan was recruited by the new CIA black-ops unit “Team X,” which placed him under its mental control using false memory implants. Itsu was killed by the Winter Soldier, and it was believed that the child she was carrying was killed as well. However, the child was cut from his mother’s womb by Romulus and survived the attack thanks to the accelerated healing ability he had inherited from his father. The child was adopted and named Akihiro, but would come to be nicknamed Daken (“mongrel”).
Wealthy heiress Katherine “Kathy” Kane (b. 1934) was alarmed to read about the murders of Bruce Anthony Wayne and his wife, and the way their deaths strangely paralleled the deaths of Bruce’s own parents in 1924. Bruce’s mother, Martha Wayne, was also Kathy’s great aunt, making Bruce her second cousin, and Kathy was very shaken to learn that these murders had hit so close to home. She decided to do something about it, and began preparing to become a costumed crime fighter.
Wrestler Brett Carson renamed himself “Mr. Muscles” and claimed to be a superhero as part of his self-promotion for his wrestling career.
When David Crandall was a teenager, he was lost at sea, where he discovered that he had the mutant power to command the elements. Upon reaching adulthood, he became “Nature Boy.”
After more than 40 Earth years (63 Rannian years) of world war, the planet Rann (in the Alpha Centauri star system, 4.37 light years from Earth) had been plunged into a Dark Age. Nations had degenerated into warring city-states and ambient radiation left behind from the wars had rendered most of the male populace sterile. Despite much advanced technology, the planet stood on the brink of extinction. [Date chosen in honor of the cover date of the first issue of Showcase comics.]
Floyd “Flattop” Jones, Jr. (b. 1938) debuted in Chicago and carried on the murderous legacy of his father, who had died when he was six years old. He was finally stopped when he was shot and killed by rookie policewoman Lizz Worthington, an assistant to Dick Tracy.
The gypsy fortuneteller “Zaza the Mystic” began working with police to solve crimes.
Chuck Chandler, the former teenage “Crime Buster,” graduated from law school at age 27. He had continued to have the occasional adventures during his college years, but had not worn his makeshift “superhero” costume during that time.
By the end of April, Project Skyhook had launched a total of 10 satellites but not successfully confirmed that any of them had reached orbit. Considering the project a failure, the U.S. government decided to redirect all of its resources into Army and Navy satellite programs. On Monday, April 30, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. John Hanley (Project Skyhook director Dr. Russell Marvin’s father-in-law) drove to Project Skyhook headquarters near Stockton, California to inform Marvin of the decision, as well as to share details of a study that found many of the satellites had indeed crashed. However, that very morning on his way to work, Dr. Marvin had a close encounter with a UFO, during which he made a sound recording. [Earth vs. the Flying Saucers]
On Tuesday, May 1, flying saucers from the planet Venus attacked the Project Skyhook base and killed almost everyone there. Dr. Marvin and his wife Carol survived, and Gen. Hanley was kidnapped. Dr. Marvin was soon able to decrypt a message from the aliens on the sound recording he had made the day prior, and he met with government officials to discuss it. On May 6, Dr. Marvin met with the Venusians, and they informed him that they wanted to meet the world leaders in Washington, D.C. in 56 days (on July 1) to negotiate an occupation. Dr. Marvin had observed a weakness in the aliens’ defenses, however, and he started working on a weapon to counter their attack. [Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, with the aliens defined as being from Venus.]
While most of the world remained oblivious to the threat of the aliens from Venus, weapons contractor Howard Stark and his team worked frantically to build the weapons to destroy them, based on the Dr. Marvins’ designs. Meanwhile, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower put Rick Flag and his “Suicide Squad” in charge of defending Washington, D.C. As the July 1 deadline for surrender drew nearer, they monitored the alien activity and identified the most likely targets for attack. [Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, with a little less helplessness.]
On Tuesday, June 26, Bruce Anthony Wayne (Batman) and his wife and Linda were murdered in front of their ten-year-old son Bruce Thomas Wayne. The murders were pinned on mental patient William Jensen, but had secretly been orchestrated by the Court of Owls. At age 23, Dick Grayson became the new Batman as well as the chairman of Wayne Enterprises. The family’s friend and butler Alfred Pennyworth became the legal guardian of young Bruce.
Kathy Kane (age 22) debuted as “Bat-Woman.” She soon met and fell in love with Dick Grayson (Batman, age 23).
Roy William Harper, Sr. (the brother of San Francisco police officer Jim Harper, a.k.a. “The Guardian”) had been a single father working as a forest ranger in Arizona. When he was killed in a wildfire, his son Roy Jr. (b. November 1, 1948) was raised by his friend Brave Bow, a Navajo medicine chief. Under Brave Bow’s tutelage, the boy became an expert archer and survivalist. [Birthday taken from the 1976 DC Calendar.]
James Braddock, Sr.), Union Jack (James Montgomery Falsworth) and a contingent of wizards led by Albus Dumbledore (b. 1881), all armed with Dr. Marvin’s weapon. In Moscow, various Soviet heroes were aided by the Blackhawk Squadron and the mysterious Martian Manhunter (J’onn J’onzz). In Paris, Superman (Clark Kent), Wonder Woman (Princess Diana of Themyscira) and Batman (Dick Grayson) teamed up to save the day. And in Washington, D.C., Dr. Marvin himself fired the first shot, and the Suicide Squad (led by Rick Flag) did the rest, aided by a few unexpected allies: Doll Man (Darrel Dane), The Flash (Jay Garrick), The Phantom Lady (Sandra Knight), Spy Smasher (Alan Armstrong) and the magician John Zatara. [Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, with a decisive victory for Earth.]
Only a handful of flying saucers escaped destruction, and they were offered asylum by Adolph Hitler in “New Berlin” in Antarctica.
Following his heroics in helping defeat the Venusians, Albus Dumbledore was offered the position of Minister of Magic, but turned it down. Instead, he chose to accept an offer to become Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, whose previous Headmaster, Armando Dippet (1637-1956), had died helping Dumbledore defend London (becoming one of the few Earth casualties).
[20 Million Miles to Earth, with the beginning changed to reflect that Calder didn’t travel to Venus first.]
Wrestler Brett Carson was injured, and the career of “Mr. Muscles” came to an end.
On Friday, August 10, a strange phenomenon occurred simultaneously in five places: the small village of Midwich in England, a township in Australia’s Northern Territory, an Eskimo community in northern Canada, a village in the Irkutsk region of Russia near Outer Mongolia, and another village in the mountains of northwest Russia called Raminsk. All of the inhabitants of these towns, including the animals, suddenly fell unconscious, and anyone who entered those areas also fell unconscious. At the end of approximately four hours, the villagers all regained consciousness, seemingly unaffected. No cause could be determined for the incident, which came to be known as the “Time-Out.” [Village of the Damned]
Police determined that the evidence being obtained on advice of Zaza the Mystic was not reliable enough to lead to convictions, and so they discontinued working with her. Zaza went back to fortunetelling.
J’onn J’onzz (The Martian Manhunter, age 64 in Earth years or 34 in Martian ords) managed to make contact with his family on Mars, a dying planet where civilization was only a shadow of what it had once been. It would be the last time he would speak with anyone he knew on his homeworld, which would soon be embroiled in a catastrophic war.
All of the human female residents of childbearing age from the villages affected by the “Time-Out” of August 1956 discovered that they were pregnant, even those who had no cause to be. Once discovered, the pregnancies seemed to develop more rapidly than normal. [Village of the Damned]
On Tuesday, October 23 in Kansas City, Missouri, young police forensic scientist Bartholomew Henry “Barry” Allen (b. March 19, 1933) discovered the ability to tap into the Speed Force when he was doused in chemicals in his lab when it was struck by lightning. (It is probable that this event merely served as a catalyst to unlock a metahuman power that was already within him.) Patterning himself after the original Flash, he became the second costumed crime fighter to go by that name. (At this point, Allen had always believed the original Flash to only be an urban legend.) [Dates taken from the 1976 DC Calendar.]
On October 29, Israel invaded the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, and within a day Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel to cease fire, and then began to bomb Cairo. Despite the denials of their governments, it became clear that the invasion and its consecutive Anglo-French attack had been planned beforehand by the three powers with the aim of regaining Western control of the Suez Canal and removing Egyptian president Gamal Abdul Nasser from power.
Plastic Man’s sidekick Woozy Winks died of a heart attack. With his best friend gone, the mentally unstable hero lost the last thing binding him to the world. He “melted” into a liquid-like state, seeped into the Ohio River and disappeared.
On November 3, five-year-old Ororo Munroe was trapped in a cave-in and her parents were killed when their home was struck by a bomb during the bombing of Cairo by British and French forces.
On November 7, under pressure from the U.S., USSR and United Nations, a cease-fire was reached in the Suez Crisis.
The kaiju Rodan (Radon) debuted in Japan.
The Vietnam War began (1956-1975).
Music of 1956
♫ Harry Belafonte, “The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)” (RCA Victor 47-6771; Calypso, RCA Victor LPM-1248)
♫ Chuck Berry, “Roll Over Beethoven” (Chess 1626)
♫ Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, “Nica’s Dream” (The Jazz Messengers, Columbia CL 897)
♫ Clifford Brown, “Donna Lee” (live: June 25, 1956; The Beginning and the End, Columbia C 32284)
♫ James Brown, “Please, Please, Please” (Federal 12258)
♫ Johnny Cash, “I Walk the Line” (Sun 241)
♫ The Del-Vikings, “Come Go with Me” (Fee Bee 205)
♫ Martin Denny, “Quiet Village” (Exotica, Liberty LRP-3034)
♫ Bo Diddley, “Who Do You Love?” (Checker 842)
♫ Duke Ellington, “Diminuendo in Blue and Crescendo in Blue” (live: July 7, 1956; Ellington at Newport, Columbia CL 934)
♫ Ella Fitzgerald, “Night and Day” (Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Song Book, Verve MGV 4002)
♫ John Lee Hooker, “Dimples” (Vee-Jay 205)
♫ Johnny Horton, “Honky Tonk Man” (Columbia 21504)
♫ Howlin’ Wolf, “Smokestack Lightnin’” (Chess 1618)
♫ The Osborne Brothers and Red Allen, “Ruby Are You Mad” (MGM K-12308)
♫ Carl Perkins, “Blue Suede Shoes” (Sun 234)
♫ Elvis Presley, “Don’t Be Cruel” (RCA Victor 20-6604)
♫ Elvis Presley, “Heartbreak Hotel” (RCA Victor 20-6420)
♫ Elvis Presley, “Love Me Tender” (RCA Victor 20-6643)
♫ Ray Price, “Crazy Arms” (Columbia 4-21510)
♫ Louis Prima, “Jump, Jive, An’ Wail” (The Wildest! Capitol T-755)
♫ Louis Prima, “Medley: Just a Gigolo/I Ain’t Got Nobody” (The Wildest! Capitol T-755)
♫ Jimmy Reed, “Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby” (Vee-Jay 168)
♫ Marty Robbins, “Singing the Blues” (Columbia 4-21545)
♫ Sonny Rollins Plus Four, “Pent-Up House” (Plus 4, Prestige PRLP 7038)
♫ Otis Rush, “I Can’t Quit You Baby” (Cobra 5000)
♫ Shirley & Lee, “Let the Good Times Roll” (Aladdin 3325)
♫ Frank Sinatra, “I’ve Got You under My Skin” (Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! Capitol W653)
♫ Frank Sinatra, “You Make Me Feel So Young” (Songs for Swingin’ Lovers! Capitol W653)
♫ Big Joe Turner, “Boogie Woogie Country Girl” (Atlantic 1088)
♫ Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps, “Be-Bop-A-Lula” (Capitol F3450)
♫ Johnny “Guitar” Watson and His Orchestra, “Three Hours Past Midnight” (RPM 455)
The Asian Flu epidemic began; by the end of 1958, it would kill two million people worldwide.
The Boston Redevelopment Authority was established to oversee urban redevelopment projects. It soon moved into the national spotlight as an example of poor “urban renewal” policy as it became mired in controversy over projects such as the razing of Boston’s West End neighborhood to make room for high-rise complexes that would bring in move tax revenue.
[Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull]
Vulcans visited Earth for the first time when one of their spaceships crash-landed in Pennsylvania.
Moira Kinross earned her doctorate in genetics from Oxford and moved back to Scotland. She had reestablished a long-distance relationship with her high school boyfriend, Joseph MacTaggert, who was now a politician, and the two of them were soon engaged to be married.
Charles Xavier (age 18) completed his studies at Oxford with doctoral degrees in genetics and biophysics. He proposed marriage to his girlfriend, fellow Oxford genetics student Moira Kinross, but she turned him down and broke off the relationship. Returning home to America, Xavier was promptly drafted into the U.S. Army. He soon discovered that his estranged stepbrother Cain Marko had recently been drafted as well, and before being shipped overseas to Korea, he used his telepathic powers to manipulate decision-making so that he ended up in the same unit as Marko.
After being caught in a strange radiation storm at sea, businessman Robert Carey was accidentally exposed to the shrinking chemicals that had been used by Doll Man (Darrel Dane). He then began shrinking, slowly but uncontrollably. Within a few months, he had shrunk away to microscopic size and was never seen again. [The Incredible Shrinking Man]
George Adamski received a letter from the U.S. State Department acknowledging that he had met with the Venusians in the California desert in 1952. The federal government later denied this letter, claiming it was a hoax.
Soviet spy-in-training Natalia Romanova (age 18) met the secret agent known as the “Winter Soldier” (James Barnes) and they fell in love. The relationship did not last, however, as Natalia learned that when Barnes was not needed for an operation or assassination he was kept in cryostasis in order to cease his aging.
In the wake of Project Skyhook and the Venusian invasion of 1956, the CIA’s Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI) recruited noted scientist Dr. Reed Richards (age 30) of Caltech to lead a top-secret project to develop a rocket capable of interplanetary space flight. Among the many brilliant minds assigned to work under Richards on this project was Dr. Emery Zackro (age 58), who had helped build the prototype rocket that had sent Captain Comet to the stars in 1954.
Selina Kyle (the former Catwoman, age 38) gave birth to the late Bruce Anthony Wayne’s love child, a daughter whom she named Helena.
Nature Boy (David Crandall) was killed while fighting crime.
On their way to take part in an episode of the radio program Heroes, four acquaintances were involved in a plane crash an miraculously survived unscathed: jet pilot and Korean War hero Kyle “Ace” Morgan, circus acrobat and professional daredevil Matthew “Red” Ryan, deep-sea diver and oceanographer Walter Mark “Prof” Haley, and Olympic champion wrestler Leslie “Rocky” Davis. They decided since they were “living on borrowed time” they would band together as adventurers, and so they became “The Challengers of the Unknown.” Establishing their headquarters at “Challenger Mountain” in Colorado, they soon began using their unique talents to tackle many “unknown challenges” on behalf of the Pentagon, fringe scientists and various other people with unusual problems.
All of the women who became pregnant as a result of the “Time-Out” incident of August 1956 gave birth at nearly the same time on Tuesday, February 5. All of the children had pale, silvery skin, blond hair and strangely arresting eyes. In Midwich, England, 12 children were born and all survived; in northern Australia, 30 children were born, but all were stillborn; in the Eskimo village in Canada, 10 children were born, but they were killed immediately as their appearance was frightening to the villagers; near Irkutsk, Russia, nearly 60 children were born, and the townspeople killed the children and their mothers; and in the village of Raminsk, Russia, 28 children were born and all survived. [Village of the Damned]
At age 11, Bruce Thomas Wayne convinced his adopted older brother, Dick Grayson (Batman, age 24), to begin training him as the new Robin.
The Challengers of the Unknown first met archaeologist and inventor June Robbins, who would soon become the team’s unofficial fifth member.
In Japan, while studying latent radiation effects in Hiroshima, American scientist Dr. James Bowen and his assistants Sueko Togami and Ken'ichiro Kawaji became aware of a wild boy living near the outskirts of the city and surviving by catching and eating small animals like dogs and rabbits. They became determined to study this boy.
By the time they were four months old, the children of Midwich, England who had been born on February 5 as a result of the “Time-Out” incident of August 1956 had already matured as if they were 18 months old. The children in Raminsk, Russia were at least as advanced, if not more so. [Village of the Damned]
The first of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs was held in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, Canada. By the time of this conference, the four scientists of The Enclave had all faked their own deaths and relocated to a remote island in the North Atlantic. The island was a former outpost of the Deviants and over the following months they used the advanced technology found there to build their own Citadel of Science, which they named the Beehive.
An amorphous alien life form landed in a meteorite near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Teenager Steve Andrews managed to freeze the creature, and then the U.S. Air Force transported it to the Arctic. [The Blob]
The attempted invasion of Earth by the Venusians in 1956 did not go unnoticed outside of the Solar System. Word soon reached the Skrull Empire, which recognized the star system as a former strategic outpost of their enemies the Kree. They sent a small scout party to investigate. Four Skrulls landed on Earth in August 1957 and established a base in a secluded area of the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia (the modern nation of Zambia) in south-central Africa. They began monitoring world activities, as well as performing experiments on local wildlife. One of the experiments was to try to adapt the virus Sakutia as a biological weapon against Earth life forms. Over millennia, the Skrulls had built up natural immunity to this pathogen, but they believed that it held great potential against humans should an invasion prove necessary.
At Camp Crystal Lake in New Jersey, 11-year-old Jason Voorhees (b. June 13, 1946) was believed to have drowned in the lake, although his body was never recovered. His mother Pamela (b. 1930), who was a cook at the camp, blamed the counselors, and she would soon begin to hear voices in her head telling her to kill the people responsible. In reality, Jason had survived. Although born deformed and mentally unstable, he was a mutant (Homo sapiens superior) and had developed extraordinary strength and regenerative powers. He took his mistaken drowning as an opportunity to disappear and live in isolation.
The Skrull scouting party in Northern Rhodesia (modern Zambia) was discovered by Dr. Mark Logan, and American biologist studying wildlife in the area. The Skrulls killed Dr. Logan, his graduate assistant and his local guide, and used their shape-shifting abilities to assume their identities. The Skrulls then relocated their camp to Dr. Logan’s laboratory in Lusaka, where the fourth and final Skrull killed Logan’s wife and assumed her identity. The Logans had a young son named Garfield Mark “Gar” Logan (b. 1952), and the Skrulls decided to test their modified Sakutia virus on him. On previous animal tests, it had turned the victims green, sometimes forced random shape-shifting, and finally resulted in death within three days. At first, it seemed that Garfield Logan also would die. However, his unique metabolism soon reacted with the infection in an unexpected way, binding the Skrull virus’ DNA with his own. After a week, he made a full recovery and found that he had shape-shifting powers of his own. Unlike the Skrulls, he could not take any form he wished. However, he could mimic any animal that he had seen, regardless of size, although his coloration would remain green. The Skrulls continued to pretend to be his parents and their colleagues as they studied his abilities.
Near Portland, Maine, nine-year-old Hogarth Hughes discovered a giant robot from outer space. During a confrontation with the U.S. military, the robot was seemingly destroyed, but it actually reassembled itself sometime later atop the Langjökull glacier in Iceland. [The Iron Giant]
[The Amazing Colossal Man]
The Soviet Union launched the Sputnik 1 satellite into low-Earth orbit on Friday, October 4, setting into motion the “space race” with the United States.
The Soviet Union launched the Sputnik 2 satellite on November 3. It was the second man-made object to enter Earth’s orbit and the first to carry a living creature, a dog named Laika who died after a few hours from overheating and stress.
While married to Baron Christian Wagner in Bavaria, Germany, the shapeshifting mutant (Homo sapiens superior) Raven Darkhölme (a.k.a. Mystique, age 67) had an affair with fellow mutant Azazel (age 731) and became pregnant from the encounter.
Music of 1957
♫ Chuck Berry, “Johnny B. Goode” (Chess 1691)
♫ Chuck Berry, “Rock and Roll Music” (Chess 1671)
♫ Bobby “Blue” Bland, “Farther Up the Road” (Duke 170)
♫ Patsy Cline, ‘Walking After Midnight” (Decca 9-30221; Patsy Cline, Decca DL 8611
♫ Ann Cole, “Got My Mo-Jo Working (But It Just Won’t Work On You)” (Baton 237)
♫ Sam Cooke, “(I Love You) for Sentimental Reasons” (Keen 3-4002)
♫ Sam Cooke, “You Send Me” (Keen 3-4013)
♫ Elizabeth Cotten, “Freight Train” (Negro Folk Songs and Tunes, Folkways FG 3526)
♫ Danny and the Juniors, “At the Hop” (Singular 711)
♫ Miles Davis, “Bye Bye Blackbird” (‘Round About Midnight, Columbia CL 949)
♫ Miles Davis, “’Round Midnight” (‘Round About Midnight, Columbia CL 949)
♫ Miles Davis, “Springsville” (Miles Ahead, Columbia CL 1041)
♫ Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants, “Bags’ Groove” [take 1] (Bags’ Groove, Prestige PRLP 7109)
♫ Duke Ellington and His Orchestra, “The Star-Crossed Lovers” (a.k.a. “Pretty Girl”) (Such Sweet Thunder, Columbia CL 1033)
♫ The Everly Brothers, “Wake Up Little Susie” (Cadence 1337)
♫ Slim Harpo, “I Got Love If You Want It” (Excello 2113)
♫ Slim Harpo, “I’m a King Bee” (Excello 2113)
♫ Billie Holiday, “Fine and Mellow” (live on the television program The Sound of Jazz: December 8, 1957; Broadcast Performances Volume 3: 1956-1958, ESP 3006)
♫ Buddy Holly, “Oh Boy!” (Brunswick 9-55035; The “Chirping” Crickets, Brunswick BL 54038)
♫ Buddy Holly, “Peggy Sue” (Coral 9-61885)
♫ Buddy Holly, “That’ll Be the Day” (Decca 9-30434; The “Chirping” Crickets, Brunswick BL 54038)
♫ Ferlin Husky, “Gone” (Capitol F3628)
♫ Jerry Lee Lewis, “Great Balls of Fire” (Sun 281)
♫ Jerry Lee Lewis, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” (Sun 267)
♫ Little Richard, “Keep A Knockin’” (Specialty 611)
♫ Little Richard, “Lucille” (Specialty 598)
♫ Magic Sam, “All Your Love” (Cobra 5013)
♫ Johnny Mathis with Ray Conniff and His Orchestra, “Chances Are” (Columbia 4-40993)
♫ Charles Mingus Quintet, “Haitian Fight Song” (The Clown, Atlantic 1260)
♫ Thelonious Monk, “Brilliant Corners” (Brilliant Corners, Riverside RLP 12-226)
♫ Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane, “Nutty” (live: November 29, 1957; Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall, Blue Note 0946 3 35173 2 5)
♫ Elvis Presley, “All Shook Up” (RCA Victor 47-6870)
♫ Elvis Presley, “Jailhouse Rock” (RCA Victor 47-7035)
♫ Sonny Rollins, “Blue 7” (Saxophone Colossus, Prestige PRLP 7079)
♫ Sonny Rollins, “I’m an Old Cowhand (From the Rio Grande)” (Way Out West, Contemporary C 3530)
♫ Sonny Rollins, “The Last Time I Saw Paris” (The Sound of Sonny, Riverside 12-241)
♫ The Silhouettes, “Get a Job” (Junior 391)
♫ Horace Silver, “Señor Blues” (6 Pieces of Silver, Blue Note BLP 1539)
A rash of Sasquatch sightings in the Pacific Northwest earned the creatures the nickname “Bigfoot.”
Prince Namor’s mother Fen and Emperor Thakorr himself. Namor tried to stop Destine and was gravely injured in the encounter, but still chased him all the way to New York City. There, Destine defeated Namor and left him weakened and suffering from amnesia, while he used the crown to start controlling people’s minds and building a political empire.
An alien crash-landed on Earth and was captured by the U.S. Air Force, which would spend the next two decades conducting experiments on it and its spaceship. During this time, the alien managed to make contact with one of the scientists working on the project, Dr. Thomas Woodward (b. 1916), which allowed him to establish a telepathic connection. Now understanding the alien, Woodward would subsequently find himself compelled to help it escape.
At age 16, Oliver Queen was shipwrecked on Starfish Island. While stranded there for several months, the future Green Arrow developed his already sharp archery skills to perfection.
Nikita Khrushchev (b. 1894, d. 1971) forced Nikolai Bulganin to resign, and became the new de facto head of the Soviet Union (1958-1964).
Sue Storm (age 21) graduated from college in California and began working as a model and actress in Los Angeles. She was reintroduced to Dr. Reed Richards, and despite their age difference the two of them began dating.
After six years in an orphanage, Clint Barton (age 13) and his brother Barney (age 15) ran away from the orphanage and joined the Carson carnival of Traveling Wonders. There, he fell under the tutelage of Jacques Duquesne (a.k.a. “The Swordsman,” b. 1926) and Buck Chisholm (a.k.a. “Trick Shot,” b. 1934) and became a master archer.
The Skrull scouting party in Northern Rhodesia (modern Zambia) was given new orders, and abandoned Africa for the United States. Later, the Skrulls impersonating Garfield Logan’s parents faked their own deaths in a boating accident, then shape-shifted into kidnappers and forced the six-year-old to commit crimes for them. Gar soon escaped from them and was placed in the custody of Nicholas Galtry by the state of California. Galtry soon turned out to be a cruel and unscrupulous caretaker, however.
Earth-based measurements showed the surface of Venus to be too hot to support life.
While exploring the Solar System, the alien robot Brainiac discovered the rocket containing the surviving members of the U.S. Army special-ops unit known as the “Creature Commandos.” He captured them, imprisoned them in his “zoo” and studied them intently, then traced their route back to Earth.
Professor George Zellaby, whose wife had given birth to one of the Midwich “Time-Out” children, a boy named David, discovered that the children shared a “hive mind” collective consciousness: what one of them learned, all of them knew. [Village of the Damned]
On February 1, Explorer 1 became the first U.S. satellite (and the third man-made object overall) successfully launched into Earth’s orbit. While in orbit, it was the first instrument to confirm the existence of the Van Allen radiation belt around the Earth.
Dr. James Bowen and his assistants captured the “wild boy of Hiroshima” and began studying him. They discovered that he was regenerated from the lost heart of Basil Frankenstein’s monster, which had been lost and presumably destroyed when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. In response to the protein-rich diet the scientists fed him, the boy grew at an astounding rate to a height of 70 feet (20 m) and a weight of 200 tons, becoming the first “Gargantua.”
Using the handful of Venusian flying saucers in his fleet, Hitler’s forces executed “Plan 9.” Striking the Los Angeles, California area first, they intended to reanimate the recently deceased and convert them into an army of undead Nazi soldiers with which to conquer the world. However, they were unexpectedly met by the Iron Giant, which sacrificed itself to stop the threat and save humanity. The zombies were then quickly rounded up by Superman (Clark Kent, age 38) and the Flash (Barry Allen, age 25), with help from agents of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD).
The Legion of Super-Heroes first traveled from the Earth-M universe to our universe and made contact with Superman, the analog of the Kal-El from their universe who had mentored and saved the life of Mon-El, who served as the inspiration for the Legion. Superman was made an honorary member of the Legion.
On April 25, residents of Boston’s West End neighborhood received their eviction notices from the city as the Boston Redevelopment Authority prepared to raze the neighborhood to the ground. A 12-year-old Bruce Thomas Wayne watched the incident unfold in disgust, and became more resolved than ever to help others by following in his father’s footsteps as a masked defender of the innocent.
In California, a wealthy woman named Nancy Archer grew to a height of 50 feet after an encounter with an alien. She was later electrocuted by a damaged power transformer during an encounter with the police. [Attack of the 50 Foot Woman]
On Tuesday, May 6, while on a dig in South America, archaeologist Adam Strange (b. December 3, 1933) was caught in a “Zeta Beam” from the planet Rann. The beam, which was intended to establish communication with Earth, instead temporarily transported Strange to the planet in the Alpha Centauri system. Before the effects of the Zeta Beam wore off and he was transported back to Earth, Strange learned the local language, fell in love with a Rannish woman named Alanna, and obtained the future Zeta Beam schedule so that he could return again and again. [Dates taken from the 1976 DC Calendar.]
At age 32, Sylvester Pemberton (the former Star-Spangled Kid) died from cancer. He was survived by his wife Merry (age 31) and his son Sylvester Jr. (age 7).
Lt. Col. Glenn Manning, who had grown to a height of 60 feet after being exposed to radiation, was located now living in Mexico in a zombie-like state. He was brought back to the U.S., where he again escaped and went on a rampage before being electrocuted. [War of the Colossal Beast]
On Friday, June 13, nearly a year after her son supposedly drowned on what would have been his 12th birthday, Pamela Voorhees brutally murdered the two counselors she felt were responsible for her son’s death. Camp Crystal Lake was closed after the murders and remained closed for several years.
United States Air Force Major Christopher Summers (b. 1927) was informed that he had been selected to be a test pilot for the new National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). While flying himself, his pregnant wife Katherine Ann (b. 1928), and their two young sons Scott (b. 1947) and Alex (b. 1951) in their private airplane, a rebuilt de Havilland Mosquito, down the West Coast of North America from Alaska, their plane was attacked by a starship from the alien Shi’ar Empire on an exploratory mission to Earth. The Shi’ar pursued Summers’ aircraft to prevent Summers from making their presence on Earth known to the general public. The Shi’ar ship fired on Summers’ plane, which was made of wood, causing it to burst into flame. Unable to find more than one usable parachute in time, Ann put it on 11-year-old Scott, told him to hold onto seven-year-old Alex, and pushed them both out the plane door, hoping to save them both. Scott and Alex escaped just before the plane exploded. They would live the rest of their childhood in an orphanage, believing their parents to be dead.
In fact, Christopher and Ann had been teleported aboard the Shi’ar starship and taken to the Shi’ar Imperial Throneworld of Chandilar in the Triangulum Galaxy. There, Christopher was separated from his wife and imprisoned. He soon broke free and discovered the mad Shi’ar Emperor D’Ken attempting to rape Ann. D’Ken responded to the interruption by murdering Summers’ wife before his eyes, and then ordered Summers to be sent to the Slave Pits of Alsibar where criminals and political prisoners were incarcerated. The unborn child was removed from Ann’s lifeless body and placed in an artificial incubation-chamber, commonly used to breed slaves.
Superman first encountered Brainiac.
The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was established on July 29.
Hardtack I series of nuclear tests in the Pacific, the U.S. launched three, 3.8-megaton nuclear missiles from Johnston Atoll, codenamed “Teak” (August 1), “Orange” (August 12) and “Infant” (August 20). The first two warheads both exploded in the high atmosphere, as intended. However, the third test failed and instead landed on a nearby island, believed at the time to be uninhabited, where it detonated. The “Infant Island” incident was kept classified by the U.S. military.
On August 30, Superman (Clark Kent) completed construction of his “Fortress of Solitude” in a secret location in the remote Brooks Range of northeastern Alaska. It was now furnished with fully restored Kryptonian technology salvaged from the rocket that had brought him to Earth as an infant. [The Fortress of Solitude was formally introduced in Action Comics #241. Date taken from the 1976 DC Calendar.]
In Japan, the gargantuan “wild boy of Hiroshima” escaped from the laboratory of Dr. James Bowen and caused a minor panic across the Japanese countryside until he and a burrowing, reptilian kaiju dubbed Baragon battled and apparently killed each other. However, two pieces of the Gargantua’s body survived and regenerated into new Gargantuas: Gaira and Sanda. Over the next several years, they too would grow to immense size. Gaira escaped to the sea, but Dr. Paul Stewart discovered Sanda and brought him to his lab for further study, finding him to be peaceful and gentle.
At Columbia University, junior Matt Murdock met and fell in love with Elektra Natchios, a sophomore from Greece. Natchios would soon leave Columbia, however.
In Bavaria, Germany, shapeshifting mutant (Homo sapiens superior) Raven Darkhölme (a.k.a. Mystique) gave birth to a son, Kurt Wagner (later known as “Nightcrawler”). The child was born with blue fur, yellow eyes, a pointed tail, and an overall demonic appearance similar to his father, Raven’s lover Azazel. Confused and horrified by the child’s appearance, Raven’s husband, Baron Christian Wagner, accused her of infidelity, and Raven instinctively killed him in front of many witnesses. The local townspeople then tried to catch her, but she escaped. The child was left behind, and Raven believed he had been killed, but he had actually been rescued by his father Azazel. Azazel took the boy to another of his lovers, the Gypsy sorceress Margali Szardos, who raised him as a foster mother in the Bavarian circus. Kurt soon proved a natural gymnast and performer, and in a brightly colored costume, audiences believed he was merely wearing a devil-like costume for his act.
The “Suicide Squad” (the black-ops arm of the U.S. government’s Agency of External Engagements) located Adolph Hitler at his hidden base in Patagonia. Hitler’s new robotic body had now merged with the Nazis’ War Wheel machine, and in this massive and deadly form he managed to kill most of the squad—including leader Rick Flag. in the end, however, they were successful in destroying him, thus putting an end to the last secret front of World War II.
The werewolf Baron Russoff attempted to use the ancient magical tome known as the Darkhold to cure himself of his lycanthropy, inadvertently freeing Chthon from imprisonment. However, the Knights of Wundagore were able to hold him off, and Magnus was able to re-bind him. Magnus, Still in the body of Jonathan Drew, then left Mount Wundagore again.
At his secret laboratory, Arnim Zola activated his clone of Adolph Hitler (now age 19), using the last brain-wave impression he had made of him. Realizing that his true identity was now a liability, Hitler started wearing a hooded mask over his face. To keep a low-profile, he also started using the alias “Hate-Monger” instead of his own name while trying to rally new followers to his cause. Rather than trying to conquer the world, he decided that he just wished to see his enemies destroyed.
Following the death of Rick Flag, Sr., the U.S. Agency of Exceptional Engagements (AXE) asked CIA agent and former World War II “Howling Commandos” leader Nick Fury to serve as interim leader of the Suicide Squad.
Music of 1958
♫ Adagio in G minor composed by Remo Giazotto, as inspired by Tomaso Albinoni
♫ Cannonball Adderley, “Somethin’ Else” (Somethin’ Else, Blue Note BST 1595)
♫ The Big Bopper, “Chantilly Lace” (Mercury 872 802-7; Chantilly Lace, Mercury MG-20402)
♫ Bobby “Blue” Bland, “Little Boy Blue” (Duke 196)
♫ The Capris, “There’s a Moon Out Tonight” (Planet 1010)
♫ The Champs, “Tequila” (Challenge 1016; Go Champs Go! Challenge CHL-601)
♫ Ray Charles, “(Night Time Is) The Right Time” (Atlantic 2010)
♫ The Coasters, “Yakety Yak” (Atco 45-6116)
♫ John Coltrane, “Blue Train” (Blue Train, Blue Note BLP 1577)
♫ Danny and the Juniors, “Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay” (ABC-Paramount 9888)
♫ Don Gibson, “Oh Lonesome Me” (RCA Victor 47-7133; Oh Lonesome Me, RCA Victor LSP-1743)
♫ The Miles Davis Quintet, “If I Were a Bell” (Prestige 45-123; Relaxin’ with the Miles Davis Quintet, Prestige PRLP 7129)
♫ The Miles Davis Sextet, “Straight, No Chaser” (Milestones, Columbia CL 1193)
♫ Lou Donaldson, “Blues Walk” (Blues Walk, Blue Note BLP 1593)
♫ Duke Ellington and His Orchestra featuring Mahalia Jackson, “Come Sunday” (Black, Brown and Beige, Columbia CL 1162)
♫ The Everly Brothers, “All I Have to Do Is Dream” (Cadence 1348)
♫ The Kingston Trio, “Tom Dooley” (Capitol F4049; The Kingston Trio, Capitol T-996)
♫ Lazy Lester, “Sugar Coated Love” (Excello 2143)
♫ Peggy Lee, “Fever” (Capitol F3998)
♫ Little Anthony and the Imperials, “Tears On My Pillow” (End 1027)
♫ Little Richard, “Good Golly Miss Molly” (Specialty 624; Little Richard, Specialty SP 2103)
♫ Isidro López, “Mala Cara” (Ideal 1595)
♫ Magic Sam, “Easy Baby” (Cobra 5029)
♫ Tito Puente, “Hong Kong Mambo” (Dance Mania, RCA Victor LPM-1692)
♫ Nina Simone, “My Baby Just Cares for Me” (Jazz as Played in an Exclusive Side Street Club, Bethlehem BCP-6028)
♫ Frank Sinatra, “One for My Baby” (Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely, Capitol W1053)
♫ The Stanley Brothers, “Angel Band” (Country Pickin’ and Singin’, Mercury MG-20349)
♫ The Swan Silvertones, “Mary Don’t You Weep” (Vee-Jay 867)
♫ Link Wray, “Rumble” (Cadence 1347)
♫ Faron Young, “Alone with You” (Capitol F3982)
Yale University graduate student Raymond Palmer published his Ph.D. dissertation on the science behind the case of Robert Carey, the “Incredible Shrinking Man.” The paper impressed the Yale Chemistry Department enough to offer Palmer an ongoing research position.
At the age of 42, Thaddeus E. “Thunderbolt” Ross was promoted to General and placed in charge of U.S. Air Force “Special Weapons Programs.” At the urging of Michael Martin (age 33), science director of his “gamma bomb” research project, he moved what was left of Dr. Abraham Erskine’s “Vita-Ray” machine, which had been gathering dust at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio, to a research facility in New Mexico.
At age 17, after being rescued from Starfish Island, Oliver Queen sought out and finally located Ralph Payne, who had served with The Seven Soldiers of Victory during World War II as “The Arrow.” Payne was now 63 years old and suffering from the effects of a stroke the year before, but he was happy to talk with Queen about his adventures with his former partner “The Spider” (whom he had nicknamed “Speedy” because he was so quick with his bow), and to give him advice about becoming a masked hero. It would be their only meeting, as Payne would have a second, fatal stroke shortly thereafter.
Kit Walker XXI became the 21st Phantom in Bangalla, Tanzania, Africa (1959-1987).
After being brutally beaten and raped by her husband, Scottish politician Joseph MacTaggert, geneticist Moira MacTaggert found herself pregnant with his child. She sued him for divorce, threatening to ruin his political career, and did not tell him about the baby. Later that year, Kevin MacTaggert was born and soon demonstrated reality distortion abilities that led Moira to believe that he was a mutant (Homo sapiens superior).
While fighting crime in Australia, Cat-Man (David Merrywether) was killed for the sixth time. He was revived yet again by his ancient, mystical cloth costume, and began living the seventh of the nine lives it granted him. However, he decided to leave Australia. He told his sidekick, Kit, goodbye and allowed his fiancee, Terri West, to believe that he was truly dead, then he headed to Africa to begin his new life.
After the notorious Thanagarian criminal Byth Rok (b. 1892 by Earth’s calendar) gained shape-shifting powers, he escaped off-world. Two of the planet’s best young police officers, Katar Hol (b. 1900) and Shayera Thal (b. 1900), were assigned to pursue him across the Milky Way galaxy as he fled the Polaris star system.
In Bayport, New York, the Hardy brothers, Frank (age 50) and Joe (age 49), retired as private investigators when Frank was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. Their longtime friend Nancy Drew (age 45) retired from her own detective business in Toledo, Ohio, and traveled to Bayport to be with the brothers.
In the Slave Pits of Alsibar, Christopher Summers met four aliens who had been imprisoned for various crimes against the Shi’ar Empire - a Saurid named Ch’od, a Lupin named Cr’reee, a Mephitisoid whom Summers nicknamed Hepzibah (as her true name was unpronounceable by most not of her own species), and a Shi’ar cyborg named Raza Longknife - and together they escaped and stole a starship. Naming their vessel the Starjammer, and themselves the Starjammers, the group functioned as space pirates targeting Shi’ar vessels.
Seven veterans of a tragic interstellar war that had devastated many worlds in the Milky Way found themselves as refugees on the technologically primitive planet of Amzot. Together, they swore an oath to preserve the innocence of their newly adopted home and protect it from the horrors of war and weapons that had killed their own people. These guardians, who would come to be known as the “Herculoids,” included the humanoids Zandor and Tara (two of the last survivors of the burned-out husk now known as the “Ghost Planet”), the dragon-like Zok, the rock-ape Igoo, the armored quadruped Tundro, and a pair of protoplasmic beings named Gloop and Gleep. Zandor and Tara would soon have a son, Dorno, who would become the unofficial eighth member of the team.
The earliest well-documented case of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in a human dates to a case in the Congo at this time, although the virus is known to have jumped from simians to humans by World War II, if not earlier.
The Cuban Revolution ended with a victory for Fidel Castro’s forces, which soon established a communist government in the island nation.
Nick Fury recruited several members to his “Suicide Squad” team, including: Ulysses Bloodstone, Victor Creed (a.k.a. “Sabretooth”), Timothy “Dum Dum” Dugan, Dominic Fortune, Sergei Kravinoff (a.k.a. “Kraven the Hunter”), Namora of Atlantis and Ernst Sablinova (a.k.a. “Silver Sable”). [The whole “Avengers 1959” concept works a whole lot better integrated into the history of the Suicide Squad than it does into the history of The Avengers.]
The unborn child of Christopher and Ann Summers reached maturity and was raised from the Shi’ar incubation chamber in which he had been placed when Emperor D’Ken had killed his mother. His parents had planned to name him “Gabriel Summers,” but he was given the name “Vul” by the Shi’ar slave masters. As an exotic alien species, he was put up for sale and bought by the house of Shakari, where he would eventually become the personal servant of Lord Davan Shakari, later known as “Eric the Red.”
Alaska became the 49th U.S. state on Saturday, January 3.
The supervillain known as “Mr. Zero” (and later as “Mr. Freeze”) debuted in Boston.
Zinda Blake applied to become the first female member of the Blackhawk Squadron, and was eventually granted honorary status.
In their first mission, Nick Fury’s Suicide Squad took down a secret Nazi cabal trying to create its own “Captain America.” After that mission, Bloodstone and Sablinova left the team.
A modern specimen of paleosaur, grown to gargantuan size due to exposure to subterranean radioactivity, emerged to wreck havoc on London.
Nick Fury’s Suicide Squad went on their second mission, taking on a variety of Nazi supervillains. Louise Grant Mason (a.k.a. “The Blonde Phantom”) joined the team at this time.
New York advertising executive Roger O. Thornhill was pursued across the country after he was mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, leading to a dramatic final confrontation at Mount Rushmore.
Gorilla Grodd slew the Venusian ruler of the hidden Gorilla City and took control of it for himself. His fellow gorilla Solovar contacted The Flash (Barry Allen) for aid in stopping Grodd, who planned to take over the world.
Mercury Seven”: Malcolm Scott Carpenter (b. 1925, d. 2013), USN; Leroy Gordon “Gordo” Cooper, Jr. (b. 1927, d. 2004), USAF; John Herschel Glenn, Jr. (b. 1921), USMC; Virgil Ivan “Gus” Grissom (b. 1926, d. 1967), USAF; Walter Marty “Wally” Schirra, Jr. (b. 1923, d. 2007), USN; Alan Bartlett Shepard, Jr. (b. 1923, d. 1998), USN; and Donald Kent “Deke” Slayton (b. 1924, d. 1993), USAF.
On Saturday, April 11, Kara Zor-El arrived on Earth from the planet Krypton. Although 45 years had passed on Earth since she left her home planet on the day of its destruction, because she was traveling at near-light speed, only about four years had passed for her. (When she left, she was eight years old in Kryptonian years, or 11 in Earth years, and she was now biologically 11 in Kryptonian years, or 15 in Earth ones.) She landed in Siberia, where she was soon confronted by her cousin, Jor-El, now known on Earth as Superman. He spoke to her in Kryptonian and eventually persuaded her to return with him to the United States. [Date taken from the 1976 DC Calendar. Time dilution based on Einstein's theory of relativity. Supergirl landing in Siberia was taken from the 2011 telling of the origin story.]
The Flash had his first encounter with Gorilla Grodd and put an end to his world-conquering plans, restoring peace again to Gorilla City.
Arthur Curry (b. January 29, 1941) debuted as “Aquaman.”
On Monday, May 18, Clark and Lois Kent introduced Clark’s cousin Kara Zor-El to their friends Fred and Edna Danvers. Kara, who rapidly begun learning English, had expressed a desire to assimilate to Earth culture, and the the Kents believed that the Danvers were trustworthy and well-positioned to provide a “typical American home” for her. The Danvers were excited for the opportunity and began the adoption process. Kara soon chose “Linda Lee Danvers” as her new, Earth name.
In the alternate, parallel Earth-Hexa universe, where it was the year 2484, the 19-year-old son of Michael Jon Carter (now deceased) figured out how repair the time-sphere his father had stolen years ago from the space museum in San Francisco. Using it, he traveled first to the Earth of our universe, and then to many other universes, having many adventures along the way under the alias “Rip Hunter.”
On June 25, Thaddeus “Tad” Bach (b. 1936) was contacted by aliens, who invited him to represent Earth in their galaxy-defending police force, the Darkstars. Bach accepted, swearing to uphold the letter and spirit of the “Commandment,” the galactic code of law. Bach immediately found himself embroiled in upholding the peace in the aftermath of a bitter war that had devastated several inhabited planets in a nearby region of the Milky Way. [June 25 is the birthday of Alex Toth, creator of Space Ghost.]
Lex Luthor created an imperfect copy of Superman called “Bizarro.”
Nick Fury stepped down as head of the Suicide Squad and returned to active duty with the CIA. The Agency of Exceptional Engagements decided to cancel their civilian crisis-oriented “Argent Division” in favor of a more traditional espionage organization, and reorganize the international “Suicide Squad” black-ops division into a much smaller, tighter unit.
On Tuesday, August 11, teenage Kryptonian Kara Zor-El was formally adopted by Fred and Edna Danvers under her new legal name: “Linda Lee Danvers.” She soon began attending high school in Santa Rosa, California. [Date taken from the 1976 DC Calendar. That nonsense about an orphanage has been removed.]
Hawaii became the 50th U.S. state on Friday, August 21.
The U.S. government’s Agency of Exceptional Engagements (AXE) recruited Rick Flag, Jr. (b. 1931), son of the original Suicide Squad leader, to head the new team. Rounding out the team were physicist Jess Bright (b. 1934), astronomer Dr. Hugh Evans (b. 1924) and physician Dr. Karin Grace (b. 1930).
On Wednesday, September 30, Kara Zor-El (a.k.a. “Linda Lee Danvers”) adopted a costume similar to her cousin’s and began fighting crime as Supergirl. [Date taken from the 1976 DC Calendar.]
In Kingston, New York, 12-year-old Jean Grey (b. 1947) began to demonstrate mutant (Homo sapiens superior) telepathic and telekinetic powers. These powers first manifest when her best friend was hit by a car and killed. Jean mentally linked with her friend and nearly died as well, leaving her comatose in the hospital. While there, research scientist Dr. Nathaniel Essex (Mister Sinister, age 128) ascertained that she was an Omega-level mutant and decided to extract genetic material to clone her. Not long afterward, Charles Xavier (age 25), a fellow telepath and a psychiatry resident at Columbia University, sensed Jean's dilemma and visited her, helping to bring her mind out of the coma and coaching her on how to control her powers. Three and a half years later, Xavier would recruit her as one of the founding member of the X-Men.
During a visit to Kansas City to see his aunt, Iris West, Wallace Rudolph “Wally” West (b. January 16, 1951) visited her boyfriend Barry Allen’s police laboratory and was caught in a freak accident similar to the one that transformed Allen into The Flash. The accident helped Wally discover his own ability to tap into the Speed Force, and he soon took on the persona of “Kid Flash.” [Birthday taken from the 1976 DC Calendar.]
The Legion of Super-Heroes traveled from the Earth-M universe to our universe and contacted Superman for the second time. Superman would go on to have several more adventures with the Legion in the Earth-M universe.
Bates Motel. That night, she was murdered in the shower of her motel room. Back in Phoenix, Marion’s sister Lila and her boyfriend Sam Loomis became concerned about Marion’s disappearance. They learned from a detective named Abrogast that Marion was suspected of having stolen money from her employer.
On Sunday, December 20, Abin Sur crash-landed in the California desert and died. Test pilot Hal Jordan (age 23) of Earth became the new Green Lantern of Sector 2814. [Date taken from the 1976 DC Calendar.]
Music of 1959
♫ Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers (featuring Bobby Timmons), “Moanin’” (Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Blue Note BST 4003)
♫ The Dave Brubeck Quartet, “Take Five” (Time Out, Columbia CL 1397)
♫ Ray Charles, “What’d I Say” (Atlantic 2031)
♫ Ornette Coleman, “Lonely Woman” (The Shape of Jazz to Come, Atlantic SD 1317)
♫ Bobby Darin, “Mack the Knife” (Atco 45-6147; That’s All, Atco 33-104)
♫ Miles Davis, “Summertime” (Porgy and Bess, Columbia CS 8085)
♫ The Miles Davis Sextet, “So What” (Kind of Blue, Columbia CS 8163)
♫ Esquivel, “Whatchamacallit” (Exploring New Sounds in Hi-Fi, RCA Victor LPM-1978; Exploring New Sounds in Stereo, RCA Victor LSP-1978)
♫ The Flamingos, “I Only Have Eyes for You” (End 1046; Flamingo Serenade, End LP 304)
♫ Wilbert Harrison, “Kansas City” (Fury 1023)
♫ Johnny Horton, “The Battle of New Orleans” (Columbia 4-41339)
♫ The Isley Brothers, “Shout” (RCA Victor 47-7588; Shout! RCA Victor LPM-2156)
♫ Lightnin’ Slim, “Rooster Blues” (Excello 45-2169)
♫ Charles Mingus, “Better Git Hit in Yo’ Soul” (Mingus Ah Um, Columbia CS 8171)
♫ Charles Mingus, “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” (Mingus Ah Um, Columbia CS 8171)
♫ Gerry Mulligan & Ben Webster, “Chelsea Bridge” (Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster, Verve MGV 8343)
♫ Buck Owens, “Under Your Spell Again” (Capitol F4245)
♫ Jimmy Reed, “Baby, What You Want Me to Do” (Vee-Jay 333)
♫ Jim Reeves, “He’ll Have to Go” (RCA Victor 47-7643)
♫ Marty Robbins, “El Paso” (Columbia 4-41511; Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, Columbia CS 8158)
♫ Santo & Johnny, “Sleep Walk” (Canadian-American 103; Santo & Johnny, Canadian-American SCALP 1001)
♫ Jimmy Smith, “The Sermon” (The Sermon, Blue Note BLP 4011)
♫ Wynn Stewart, “Wishful Thinking” (Challenge 59061)
♫ Barrett Strong, “Money (That’s What I Want)” (Tamla 54027)
♫ Dinah Washington, “What a Difference a Day Makes” (Mercury 71435)
Q. Where did you get the Doc Strange pic of him punching the gorilla while kneeing the cage open? I'd guess it's a Thrilling Comics cover, but I can't find which one. Thanks.
A. It's from the cover of Thrilling Comics #36 (July 1943). I believe the artwork is by the great Jack Binder, older brother of Otto Binder, but it was not credited in the issue.
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