Thursday, August 9, 2018

100-Page FAKES! presents: SECRET ORIGINS # 1

100-Page FAKES! imagines mid-1970s DC 100-Page Super Spectaculars that never were...but should have been!

Ooooo--I like this one!

When DC Comics temporarily retired its 100-Page Super Spectacular format in 1972, publisher Carmine Infantino was still determined to utilize the company's vast archive of previously-published material. Reprints cost DC roughly bupkis, so of course Infantino was going to continue with them. A new ongoing reprint title called Wanted, The World's Most Dangerous Villains served up a steady diet of Demand Classics, and it was subsequently joined on the spinner racks by another reprint anthology series: Secret Origins.

The Secret Origins concept began as two different 80-Page Giants (Secret Origins in 1961, More Secret Origins in '65), offering grateful readers an opportunity to read the beginnings of the Superman-Batman team, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Adam Strange, The Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, The Challengers Of The Unknown, The Justice League of America, Aquaman, Robin the Boy Wonder, The Atom, and Superman. And The Flash's mask. In retrospect, it seems odd that there were no more Secret Origins collections to follow until the early '70s, when Infantino's reprint crusade brought us Secret Origins # 1, with a cover date of February-March 1973.

The real-world Secret Origins # 1 reprised the familiar short-form origins of Superman and The Batman (one and two pages, respectively), closed with the Silver Age Flash's origin from 1956's Showcase # 4, and also presented the Golden Age Hawkman's first encounter with elusive bad guy The Ghost. The series lasted for a total of seven issues.

And it shoulda been a 100-pager.

Now, it is. Today's 100-Page FAKE! takes the four stories that ran in 1973's Secret Origins # 1, and adds more original origins to create a 100-Page Super Spectacular. First, we mix in a two-parter starring Bulletman (in the first part) and Captain Marvel (in both parts) that introduces the evil Captain Nazi in Part 1, and gives us the origin of The World's Mightiest Boy Captain Marvel Jr. in Part 2. SHAZAM! We follow that with the debut and origin of Mon-El, a character introduced in the pages of Superboy, eventually to join The Legion Of Super-Heroes and become a supporting character on the current TV series Supergirl. 1967 gives us "The Million Dollar Debut Of Batgirl!," and the Golden Age of comics is further represented by the 1939 introduction of Doll Man. That still left us three more pages to get to our target of 96 (the number of comics pages in the first run of ad-free Super Specs), so we display the covers of those two '60s editions of Secret Origins, and include what I believe was the first appearance of Henry Boltinoff's one-page '60s gag strip Super-Turtle. Mission accomplished!

Superman (untitled), Action Comics # 1 (June 1938--you knew that!)
Batman (intro to "The Batman Wars Against Dirigible Of Doom!"), Detective Comics # 33 (November 1939)
Bulletman with Captain Marvel vs Captain Nazi (untitled), Master Comics # 21 (December 1941)
Captain Marvel with Captain Marvel Jr vs Captain Nazi (untitled), Whiz Comics # 25 (December 1941)
Superboy with Mon-El in "Superboy's Big Brother!," Superboy # 89 (May-June 1961)
Hawkman and Hawkgirl vs "The Ghost," Flash Comics # 88 (October 1947)
Batman and Robin in "The Million Dollar Debut Of Batgirl!," Detective Comics # 359 (January 1967)
Super-Turtle (untitled), Adventure Comics # 304 (January 1963)
The Doll Man (untitled), Feature Comics # 27 (December 1939)
The Flash in "Mystery Of The Human Thunderbolt!," Showcase # 4 (September-October 1956)

I still have my copy of Secret Origins # 1, but it's safely stored away, and I don't have a scan of that issue; its contents were re-created here from available resources (including my crappy scan of the Hawkman/Ghost story from Flash Comics # 88--sorry about that). The Mon-El story is taken from its reprint in the 80-Page Superboy # 129, a comic book which has meant a great deal to me ever since I read it as a kid. All contents copyright DC Comics Inc. The Captain Nazi saga and Doll Man story are in the public domain; the rest can only be shown here in representative samples. My paid subscribers get to see the whole thing, so maybe you oughtta consider subscribing, too.  Some secrets need to be shared: please enjoy this faux 100-page edition of Secret Origins # 1.


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