Friday, January 1, 2016

Famous Firsts: "All Star Super Squad" by Conway, Estrada, and Wood

Happy New Year, Groove-ophiles! 2015 is history and 2016 is here! Kinda exciting, huh? More excitement for ya, baby: the first issue of DC's All-Star Comics revival from October 1975! Remember the excitement this ad generated?

The legendary Justice Society of America, the original super-team, had only existed in annual team-ups with the Justice League during the Silver Age and early Groovy Age, though fans clamored for more, more, more (true, Andrea)! Well, in 1975, Gerry Conway teamed with Ric Estrada and Wally Wood to bring that fabled super-team out of retirement. Sorta. As you'll see, Conway's revival was to have centered on three "younger" heroes: Robin (in his Neal Adams designed threads from JLA #92), Star-Spangled Kid, and a brand new heroine, Power Girl, the All Star Super Squad, but that didn't last long. Why? 'Cause fans wanted the JSA, baby! But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's dig the very first issue of the ASC revival, ish #58, and take a look at the energy and excitement that went into bringing back some of DC's finest! Here we'll see the seeds planted that would inform how DC would handle the JSA to this very day! The ties to the Golden Age, the (grudging) passing of the torch to younger heroes (legacy heroes), and best of all, the series would eventually lead to Paul Levitz taking the helm and setting the pace for how writers would handle the JSA for decades to come. Whoops, strayed away from ish #58 again! Let's get on with it, shall we?
Cover art by Mike Grell


  1. I can remember how excited I was when I saw this ad. I loved the annual JLA/JSA team-ups and always wondered why the JSA didn't have a series of their own. I did enjoy All-Star when it restarted, especially the ones that involved Wally Wood, and it was always a great read and I hated to see it end.

  2. ..."true, Andrea." Heh, I see what you did there...

    Pulled this one off of the spinner rack early in my comics reading; it was my first introduction to Earth 2. One thing I really like now is the fact that when DC decided to revive the All Star title, the numbering from the original canceled series was simply resumed.

  3. Thank you! waiting for ages to see JSA on one of my comic reading blogs. My all time favorite (along with LSH). Speaking of the LSH... ???)I never got enough of JSA this is a wonderful New Years surprise.

    you know what I would like to see? How would you handle Robin of Earthy 2 in terms of costume and idiom? Would he be Night Wing?

  4. This was one of my favorites as a kid. I particularly liked the issue where they go back to King Arthur's time with some exceptional Wally Wood art.

  5. One of the ones I bought for the art. Estrada was great, but back in this era, no matter how complete the pencils, they ended up functioning as practical breakdowns for Wood to layer on his charismatic finishes. He was able to be pretty productive that way and I'm sure he sold a lot of comics. The only artists I remember surviving his inks with some distinction were Gil Kane and Steve Ditko, and those were just wonderful comics.

  6. Happy New Year and Great post. Loved the JSA and its reincarnations (esp. dug the reprints in the D.C. Super Special 50 -64-75-100 page Giants), Is it just me, or did anyone else feel that the "busty" Power Girl did not really fit with a group evolved from the "wholesome" 40s? Maybe a "leggy" Black Canary would have been a better choice? (Anyhow - Gerry Conway was my bete noir... killing Gwen, divorcing Reed, etc.) CHeers!

  7. Actually, the original All-Star Comics changed its name to All-Star Western and continued until #119 in 1961. So DC could have started the new All-Star with #120 if they had wanted.

    Did Andrea True have any hits besides "More, More, More," or was she a one-hit wonder?

  8. I remember the Super Squad from a reprint in a DC digest ca. 1980.

    The adult/Earth-2 Dick Grayson was Robin in this story and in his appearances in annual JLA-JSA team-ups, so I think he would have kept the Robin costume and idiom. Either that, or maybe he would have eventually become Bruce Wayne's successor as Batman.

  9. me thinks "The Code" or DC's editors in anticipation of the code restrained Wood a bit here. I somehow think PG's cleavage must have been "less restrained" after Wood's 1st go at it



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