Monday, 20 April 2009

Crisis On Earth-X!

For sheer comic book nirvana, you can't really beat a whole bunch of super-heroes teaming up to fight a world threatening menace, then splitting up into separate groups for each part of the bad guy's nefarious plot.
It all started, of course, with the annual meeting between The Justice League & The Justice Society in the pages of JLA. Long before Crisis On Infinite Plotlines, DC in particular had got more than a little parallel universe happy, and it seemed like whenever an old (or new) character had to be introduced, yet another parallel world sprung into being. That, plus we now had genuine comic fans working in the industry, meant that a whole satellite-sanctuary of forgotten Golden Age heroes were being revived, along with new universes for them to inhabit.
For instance, at the the time of Len Wein's sojourn on JLA, he'd already brought back The Shining Knight, The Crimson Avenger, The Vigilante, the original Green Arrow & Speedy AND The Star-Spangled Kid & Stripesey in the previous year's team-up, along with most of the JLA AND the JSA. ( Bet artist Dick Dillin was thrilled to draw all that! )
By the time 1973 rolled around, Lively Len decided not to go quite as mad, and settled for re-introducing a bunch of Golden Age characters principally created by Will Eisner & Lou Fine for the long defunct Quality Comics.
Of course, there had to be yet another earth created for these guys to cavort around in, as well as those members of the JLA & JSA Dick could remember the costumes of without his head exploding. ( There's an apocryphal story, by the way, of Jack Kirby being told of the JLA's longtime artist, Mike Sekowsky, passing away. Apparently, Kirby said:"Yeah, that book'd kill anybody." )
Editor Julie Schwartz loved Len's plot, but not the fact that he'd dubbed this new earth as 'Earth- ( Swastika symbol )'. Julie rapidly scribbled over the title, advising Wein:
" No story I ever edit will include that symbol in the title. "
Which is why this all takes place on Earth-X, in case you were wondering.
There's no pretension's in this story, it's just a big, dumb, fun superhero romp. Fun to realize too, quite how much of a sad sack The Red Tornado was. I mean if Batman & Green Lantern are telling you they don't want to hang out with you, you'd take the hint, wouldn't ya?
Part Two tomorrow!


  1. Man, I love that comic--it's an all-time fave! The whole concept of Earth-X, Wein's scripting, the magnificent Dillin/Giordano art--comicbook nirvana, yep, you nailed it!

    Something that makes that comic extra-special is the memories that go with it. My family was visiting my father's family for a week; my grandmother gave my sister and me a five dollar bill to split and do what we wanted with. Well, you can guess what I did with my half of that fin! I found out exactly one dozen comics can fit in those small paper bags they used to use at the drugstore!

  2. Absolutely. The memories that come with favourite comics is a fascinating subject, which is why Rob Kelly's "Hey Kids, Comics!" is such a good site.
    ( plug plug ) Funny how we as a 'comic nation' all had the same sort of experiences, hating The Human Fly, buying 'seaside comics' & so on...