Saturday, August 22, 2009

Secret Origins: Dr. Fate by Levitz, Staton, and Nasser

One of Ol' Groove's favorite mystical superheroes is DC's Dr. Fate. As a kid, I always thought he had a cool costume and awesome powers, but when I read a reprint of his origin by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman in Justice League of America #95 (recently posted over at Grantbridge Street), I was totally blown away. His origin was really a bit sadistic and twisted, ya know? That Kent Nelson could survive such a brutal origin and still become a superhero spoke volumes for the strength of his character. A few years later, when the Justice Society of America was enjoying a revival in the pages of All-Star Comics, the JSA's regular writer and artist, Paul Levitz and Joe Staton re-imagined Dr. Fate's origin for an issue of DC Special Series (#10, Winter 1978). The coolness factor was ramped up about 6,000 notches when Mike Nasser (now Michael Netzer) stepped in to ink the tale. His psychedelic-yet-realistic inking style perfectly complemented Staton's cartoony style to create a truly unique visual that perfectly suited the mood of Levitz's script. Dig it, baby!

Today's comicbook creators take note of how faithful Levitz, Staton, and Nasser were able to stay true to the source material, and yet give it a new shine and gloss that fit the era it was created for. That's how ya make good comics!


  1. I just recently dug this issue out of one of the longboxes and I too was impressed with the artwork on the Fate story. The first panel of page six is a favorite!

  2. That is a great panel, isn't it? I get a nice Jim Starlin vibe from it!

  3. How nice to see this again. Many thanks for the nice words, Groovy!

  4. From the heart, Michael! I couldn't get enough of your work during the Groovy Age. I plan on posting some of your Kobra work (including the Batman/Kobra tale from that awesome 5 Star Super Spectacular), the Batman story you did with David V. Reed in the Batman Spectacular, and that Black Lightning job you did that wound up in World's Finest. I'd love to have you reminisce about any or all of those here on DotGK if you have the time/inclination. Just drop me an e-mail at

    And thanks for stopping by!



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