My nine-part retrospective of DC's 100-Page Super Spectaculars detailed my sheer fascination with these treasure troves of irresistible goodies from the DC archives. From the first superhero Spec when I was 11 in 1971 through the format's final glut and implosion in '74, I absorbed these with delight and wonder. My affection for them still lingers decades later, and my wish that there had been even more of them prompted me to create this series of what-ifs, imagining more Super Specs that might have been.
In that retrospective, I mentioned how I mourned the death of the 100-pagers twice. Obviously, I missed them when they finally went away in 1974, but that was the second time the format was cancelled; the first wave of Super Specs ended abruptly and unexpectedly in 1972, and remained MIA for nearly a year. In that interim period, the vintage reprints that had been the Super Specs' stock in trade shifted to regular-sized titles. A series called Wanted, The World's Most Dangerous Villains was my favorite.
Wanted focused on the villains, but it was really just an excuse to collect and market some ace superhero reprints. The concept started out as two issues of DC Special in 1970 and '71, and it became an ongoing series in '72. Each issue was all-reprint...which was very much what I wanted! Beginning with Wanted # 2's encore presentation of Batman and Robin's 1944 battle with united underworld of The Joker and The Penguin, the book began offering the Golden Age material I really craved, and that continued throughout the remainder of the book's nine-issue run.
My pick of the litter was Wanted # 4, which featured the Golden Age Green Lantern's first encounter with Solomon Grundy, and my boy Kid Eternity facing his evil opposite number Master Man. Oh, and a one-page house ad that dropped the bombshell that DC had acquired the rights to the original Captain Marvel. SHAZAM!
The return of the Super Specs eliminated Wanted's raison d'etre, though I doubt the book was ever selling well enough to stall its inevitable cancellation. But looking back from this far future world of the 21st century, why not combine the two into one? Why not a 100-Page Super Spectacular edition of Wanted? Hey, howzabout a 100-page version of my favorite, Wanted # 4?
In slapping this together, I tried to channel the late, great E. Nelson Bridwell, the stalwart DC writer and editor who was in charge of selecting reprints for Wanted and the Super Specs. More importantly, I tried to fulfill the dream of what would have been an ideal Super Spec for twelve-year-old me. That meant an all-Golden Age edition (other than the Superboy story from 1960). That meant The Justice Society Of America, whose '40s exploits had never been reprinted up to that point. That meant Captain Marvel. That should have also meant Batman and Plastic Man, but the former is at least represented here by his Boy Wonder partner Robin. Plas will get to appear in a future faux Super Spec.
For this package, we're going with the full no-ads 100-page format used in the first wave of Super Specs. That's 96 pages, plus inner and outer covers. If this were an actual Super Spec, it would have featured a significantly different cover (probably a wraparound) than its real-world counterpart, with a table of contents on the inside front cover and a letters page on the inside back cover. Using the contents of the original Wanted # 4 as bookends, we open with Green Lantern versus Solomon Grundy and close with Kid Eternity versus Master Man.
It made sense to follow Solomon Grundy's debut with a reprint of his tussle with the Justice Society. The ad for Captain Marvel's return in Shazam! # 1 leads us to to the World's Mightiest Mortal taking on his arch-enemy Dr. Sivana, a tale from Robin's late '40s solo series in Star Spangled Comics (with a particularly goofy-looking nogoodnik called The Clock), Blackhawk thwarting the amoral femme fatale Morella and her crime club The Mockers, and Superboy's first encounter with The Kryptonite Kid. Kid Eternity wraps things up.
As with all of our 100-Page FAKES!, copyrights prevent us from sharing the whole thing publicly. We can share the public domain Blackhawk adventure, and we represent the rest with a few sample pages. (On the other hand, my subscribers do get to see this work in all of its 96-page glory, a simple thank-you gift from me and those who choose to Fund me!)
Here's where all of these stories first appeared:
Green Lantern vs Solomon Grundy in "Fighters Never Quit," All-American Comics # 61 (October 1944); reprinted in Wanted, The World's Most Dangerous Villains # 4 (December 1972)
The Justice Society Of America vs Solomon Grundy in "The Revenge Of Solomon Grundy!," All-Star Comics # 33 (February-March 1947)
Captain Marvel vs Dr. Sivana in "Captain Marvel And Sivana's Private Kingdom," Whiz Comics # 142, February 1952)
Robin the Boy Wonder vs The Clock in "Zero Hour!," Star Spangled Comics # 79 (April 1948)
Blackhawk vs Morella (untitled), Blackhawk # 33 (October 1950)
Superboy vs The Kryptonite Kid in "The Dreams Of Doom!," Superboy # 83 (August-September 1960); reprinted in 80 Page Giant # 10 (May 1965), which was the source of my scan.
Kid Eternity vs Master Man (untitled), Kid Eternity # 15 (May 1949); reprinted in Wanted # 4
You ready? Let's go! It may not be real, but it is spectacular.
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|The mighty E. Nelson Bridwell|