As I mentioned previously, the primary focus of my revived interest in comic books is on the silver age “Justice League of America” and this is for a number of reasons.
For one, when I was a kid buying comics, I would buy used comic books at nearby bookstore and I would usually buy JLA issues because I figured I was getting more for my money as there were more super-heroes in every issue than a single-hero title such as “Batman” or “Green Lantern”.
Figure 1-More heroes in every issue of JLA
On a side note, I do recall being “interested” in Hawkgirl, but I could only rarely find a “book” that had Hawkgirl on the cover or in the story. I don’t know why, but there was just something about a chick with wings. (I’ll save the self-psychoanalysis for another post).
Figure 2 – The rarely seen Hawkgirl
This focus on JLA is also due the non-interest that I had regarding the 12-issue series “Crisis on Infinite Earths” as I mentioned in my post entitled “Crisis Averted“. (At age 30, I was “too old” for comic books).
Besides this primary focus on the “crisis of ’85” that I missed out on and the nearly 25 years leading up to that, I am also interested in finding and reading what I call “milestones”. These are books where the stories deal with special events such as an origin story, a first appearance, or the death of a character.
I recently posted my wish list containing some of those “milestones” books that I have either bought or that I plan to buy.
A “milestone” that I recently bought is “All-Star Comics” #12 published in August, 1942. This is the issue where Wonder Woman (of Earth-Two) supposedly joins the Justice Society of America. I say “supposedly” because although Wonder Woman did become the first female member of the JSA, as typical of the times, she was not exactly treated fairly or equally.
First a little history… The Justice Society of America first appeared in All-Star Comics #3 in December, 1940.
The newly formed group consisted of eight male super-heroes: The Atom, Sandman, The Spectre, The Flash, Hawkman, Dr. Fate, Green Lantern, and Hourman. This was primarily a platform for publishing the stories of super-heroes who did not their own titles.
You may be wondering where was Hawkgirl and why was she not an original member along with Hawkman. That is good question because the character who was to become Hawkgirl, Shiera Sanders, was supposedly on equal footing with her male counterpart as they were star-crossed lovers who were reincarnated from ancient Egyptian at the same time. Yet, in the early days she was relegated to the status of “wealthy heiress who gets herself kidnapped”. (I will be exploring this in a later post).
However, in the month following the formation of the Justice Society, the world was presented with its first female super hero, Wonder Woman. She made her appearance in Sensation Comics #1 in January, 1941. As you can see in the action just on the front cover, Wonder Woman is able to hold her own against the bad guys as she gets them to aim at and shoot directly at her magical wrist bands.
It took nearly a year and 9 issues before Wonder Woman was asked to join the JSA. Then Wonder Woman appeared front and center on the cover of “All-Star Comics” #12 in September 1941.
Before Wonder Woman was asked to join, they brought on Johnny Thunder, a character who has absolutely zero super-powers by himself and who has to rely on a magical thunderbolt that literal does all the work for him. He does not even wear a super-hero costume. On the cover above, he is the blonde-haired fellow in the green sports jacket (second from the top right).
Obviously, everyone is thrilled because the cover reads “and Wonder Woman!”
Yet, on page three Wonder Woman is introduced to the Justice Society and it is explained what her duties are…
Then on page four…
Yeah… they get the most powerful woman in the universe to join their club, then they make her a “secretary” and leave her back at home while the guys go out to fight “Jap” saboteurs. This is the so-called Golden Age of Comic Books…