Steed & Mrs. Peel -- Closing

The closing credits sequence for the fourth series of The Avengers bookends the episode with the same approach used in the opening titles. This series of still images, cut together in time with the music, showcases the signature items that defined the characters in the minds of many: Steed’s bowler hat and Mrs. Peel’s leather boots. The sequence concludes with the characters driving away in Steed’s vintage Bentley. Fennell, Johnson, and Clemens would later form their own production company. Incidentally, the ABC logo at the end refers to the Associated British Corporation, not the American TV network.



Steed & Mrs. Peel -- Opening

The title sequence for the fourth series of The Avengers, the first also to be shown on American television, produced some iconic images of the main characters, debonair super-spy John Steed and leather-clad martial-arts expert Emma Peel. Through the use of static images, the sequence shows that the pair is by turns flirty and violent, while showcasing Mrs. Peel’s considerable sex-appeal. The theme music which accompanied it was adapted by bandleader Laurie Johnson from his earlier composition entitled “The Shake.”



Steed & Mrs. Peel -- Intro

When the British adventure show The Avengers debuted on American television in March 1966, a special pre-credits sequence was added to explain the premise to its new audience. The brief, highly-stylized scene introduces the main characters, secret agent John Steed and his civilian associate Mrs. Emma Peel, and also gives a sense of the program’s distinctive flavor. While I’ve always been a big fan of the show, I think the sequence works just as well, or perhaps better, in “comic book” format, as seen here.

For the ultimate guide to all things Avengers, visit David K. Smith’s The Avengers Forever.



It Happened in Rutland

Following The Crossover That Wasn’t, the characters from the Marvel Universe and their fellow superheroes from the DC Universe came one step closer to meeting in an unofficial crossover event that found them in the same place at the same time, though they never actually crossed paths with each other. The time was Halloween and the place was Rutland, Vermont, which is known for its annual parade in honor of All-Hallows Eve.

Rutland and its Halloween Parade had already been featured in stories by both companies in previous years, but this time it was clear that a single story wove through issues of Justice League of America, Thor, and Amazing Adventures. The common thread is a sub-plot featuring four real-life comic book creators, writers Steve Englehart, Gerry Conway, and Len Wein and colorist Glynis Wein, who travel to Rutland for the parade and get caught up in the paranormal events that ensue.

However, when studying the overall flow of time in the Marvel Universe, continuity-pioneer George Olshevsky realized that the Rutland Halloween story with the Defenders in Marvel Feature #2 must have happened simultaneously as well, adding yet another layer to the already complex storyline. Fortunately, all the overlapping stories can be blended seamlessly, which I have endeavored to do here.

Though unstated, the semi-crossover was made possible by a dimensional convergence -- in effect, the Rutland in the Marvel Universe fused with the Rutland in the DC Universe for a little over 24 hours. Direct dimensional counterparts -- such as the two sets of Steve, Gerry, Len, and Glynis, as well as Roy Thomas and his wife Jeanie and parade organizer Tom Fagan -- merged upon entering the zone of convergence. They would have shared memories of both the Avengers and the Justice League, and it would have seemed perfectly normal, for as long as the convergence lasted. When the convergence finally collapsed, reality righted itself and the people involved were none the wiser.

Here, then, is the full and complete story of the craziest Rutland, Vermont Halloween Parade ever held:

On the evening of October 27th, on the outskirts of Rutland, Vermont, two boys are fishing in Otter Creek when they witness a large meteorite crash into the earth with a tremendous explosion. Curious, the boys approach the site of the impact and discover what appear to be large chunks of amber. However, when the shadowy figure of a man emerges from the smoldering rocks, the boys flee in a panic. The man is Loki, the Asgardian trickster, and he immediately sets into motion his latest scheme of revenge against his half-brother Thor.

Loki fires a bolt of eldritch energy from his hands into the sky. It arcs across the North American continent all the way to the west coast, where it revives the Absorbing Man, who has been trapped for about a year following a battle with the Hulk. Once free, the Absorbing Man is driven by voices in his head to make his way to New York City.

Loki, meanwhile, comes upon the remote home of the reclusive Tom Fagan, where he poses as a poor, lost traveler to take advantage of Tom’s good nature. Since Tom has stocked up on food and drinks for his coming Halloween party, he offers Loki a meal. Once inside the house, though, Loki ensorcells Tom and makes him his unwitting servant.

The Absorbing Man reaches New York by the evening of October 29th, where he challenges Thor to a fight. But, after knocking each other around the city streets for a little while, the Absorbing Man abandons the battle and is magically transported to Rutland, where the voices in his head drive him toward Tom Fagan’s house. There he meets Loki and learns of his plans to finally destroy Thor.

All day on October 30th, the Absorbing Man hides out in Tom Fagan’s barn while Loki outlines his plans. Then, when Tom’s out-of-town guests begin to arrive, Loki assumes the guise of the “lost traveler” once more. That evening, an eerie red glow is seen atop Bald Mountain, just northeast of town. Loki realizes the glow is the result of a ritual of black magic being performed on the mountain to open a portal to the dimension of the dread Dormammu, and factors it into his plans.

Meanwhile, on Bald Mountain, Dormammu’s cultists succeed in opening a portal through which they can communicate with the demonic entity and tell their dark lord that their plans are proceeding. Members of the cult are already in New York City to kidnap Dormammu’s enemy, Doctor Stephen Strange, for the ritual tomorrow that will enable Dormammu to conquer the earth.

However, the cult’s spells have an unintended side-effect due to the dimensional instability that occurs there every Halloween: the walls between this reality and a parallel world collapse, causing two different Rutlands to merge into one. The area of dimensional convergence covers a ten-mile radius around Bald Mountain.

In the Greenwich Village Sanctum Sanctorum of Doctor Strange, the Master of the Mystic Arts sees a vision of Dormammu in the Orb of Agamotto and considers summoning his sometime allies, Prince Namor of Atlantis, a.k.a. the Sub-Mariner, and the incredible Hulk. However, the sorcerer is tricked by a false image of his mentor, the Ancient One, into sending his astral form high into the sky above the city. When he returns, he finds a spell has blocked access to his physical form, which is being kidnapped by several hooded figures. When his manservant Wong tries to intervene, he receives a savage beating. Strange’s body is loaded into a station wagon and driven north out of New York.

Luckily, Wong had been on the phone with his master’s estranged lover, Clea, when the attack occurred and she became worried when he did not come back on the line. Arriving at the Sanctum Sanctorum, Clea revives Wong and learns what has happened. Using the Orb of Agamotto, Clea manages to send a psychic summons to both Namor and the Hulk.

Back in Rutland, a couple from New York, Roy and Jeanie Thomas, arrives at Tom Fagan’s house to help him finish the float for tomorrow’s Halloween Parade. Roy mentions that they heard talk on the radio driving up about mysterious red lights atop Bald Mountain. Tom tells them some of the local legends about the mountain, which has long been a site of paranormal phenomena. Still subtly affected by Loki’s spell, Tom’s manner is unusually creepy.

About a half-hour before midnight, Tom invites Roy and Jeanie to another Halloween ritual that goes back many years, gathering at a particular crossroads on the edge of town to hear “Old Mistress Sarah” chant the names of those who are to die within 24 hours. Arriving at the site, they join the crowd in time to see the elderly woman appear as she does every year. As the nearby church bells toll midnight, Old Mistress Sarah surprises the crowd when she reads off the names of Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and Hawkman, all members of the Justice League of America.

Around the same time, the Sub-Mariner and the Hulk arrive in Greenwich Village, where they are met by Clea and Wong, and they both agree to assist in the rescue of Doctor Strange. Clea hypnotizes the Hulk so that he will change back into Bruce Banner. They return to the Sanctum Sanctorum to try to determine where Strange has been taken.

Just before dawn on October 31st, Roy and Jeanie get their first look at Bald Mountain from Tom Fagan’s yard. Some of the other party-goers are already up and getting into their costumes. They then work together to put the finishing touches on the parade float.

An hour or so later, the station wagon bearing Doctor Strange’s body arrives in Rutland after driving all night. It pulls up to a ramshackle cabin at the foot of Bald Mountain, where they plan to wait until dusk before carrying the body up to the site of the ritual. After surrounding the body with black candles to keep the shielding spell potent, the cultists discuss their plans to enable Dormammu to possess the body of Doctor Strange so he can enter and conquer earth’s dimension. With devilish glee, they predict that Dormammu will cause Bald Mountain to erupt and bury Rutland in a lava flow. Having surreptitiously observed these events, Doctor Strange’s astral form then flashes back to New York and slips inside Wong’s body to better survive the prolonged separation from his physical form.

Later that morning, in the parallel universe, Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and Hawkman assemble for a meeting aboard the Justice League’s orbiting satellite. They are startled to learn they were actually summoned by the enigmatic Phantom Stranger. Having encountered the Phantom Stranger previously, Batman vouches for him, and the rest of the team agrees to hear him out. He explains that the evil sorcerer Felix Faust plans to take advantage of the annual dimensional instabilities to unleash a horde of demons in Rutland, Vermont that very night. The team agrees to investigate.

Not long after, Felix Faust arrives in Rutland, and is drawn to Tom Fagan’s house when he senses Loki’s magical energies. He sequesters himself in a small room on the house’s top floor and begins preparing himself for the incantations he will perform once the sun goes down. Loki also senses Faust’s presence, and realizes he can take advantage of whatever chaos this interloper may cause.

During the afternoon, four friends from New York City -- Steve Englehart, Gerry Conway, Len Wein, and his wife Glynis Wein -- lose their muffler while driving Steve’s dilapidated car to Rutland for the parade. Gerry mentions having had problems in Rutland the year before as well.

Meanwhile, Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and Hawkman spend the entire afternoon searching the area of Rutland for anything out of the ordinary, but have no success since the forces of evil are all laying low until nightfall.

At dusk, Hank McCoy, the former member of the X-Men known as the Beast, and his ex-girlfriend Vera Cantor find themselves stranded several miles west of town. Hank has recently mutated further into a somewhat ape-like form with blue-black fur, but has managed to disguise himself in order to appear human. Vera has enlisted his aid for a looming crisis in Canada, though she has yet to reveal any details, and they were en route to Quebec when Vera’s car broke down. After failing to flag down any passing vehicles, Hank resorts to desperate measures. Out of sight of Vera, he sheds his disguise and lopes across the road as the next car approaches, making sure he is seen. The car happens to be the one bringing Steve, Gerry, Len, and Glynis to Rutland. Steve slams on the brakes, and, freaked out by the strange apparition, they get out to have a look. Hank quickly puts his disguise back on, gets Vera, and flags down the four New Yorkers before they can get underway again. The quartet agrees to give the hapless couple a ride into town.

As they drive off, a dimensional portal opens, depositing the Juggernaut onto the road. However, before he can go anywhere, he is sucked back into the Crimson Cosmos, where he has been trapped for a year and a half. Unknown to the Juggernaut, the phenomenon is caused by the incantations of the cult of Dormammu, who are beginning their long ritual high up on Bald Mountain. Their spells further weaken the boundaries between dimensions, allowing the Juggernaut to materialize briefly in the vicinity of his hated enemy, Hank McCoy.

Soon, the four New Yorkers, along with Hank and Vera, arrive at their motel in Rutland. Hank and Vera thank them for their kindness, then go into town to find a restaurant. Steve, Gerry, Len, and Glynis check into the motel and stow their luggage in their rooms. After getting cleaned up, Glynis puts on her Supergirl costume, but Len’s costume rips when he’s putting it on, so the guys elect to keep wearing their regular clothes instead. The four friends walk up to the start of the parade route to check out the preparations and enjoy the carnival atmosphere. After a little while, they decide to head out to Tom Fagan’s place, as he is expecting them.

Twenty minutes later, Steve’s noisy car rumbles up to Tom’s house, and their host greets them at the door in his Batman costume. The four friends also detect the subtle change in Tom’s demeanor caused by Loki’s spell. He tells them that everyone is just getting ready to leave for the parade. Just then, the real Batman appears, leading the rest of the JLA to Tom’s house. Knowing from the previous Halloween Parade that Tom is one of the event’s organizers, Batman decides to let Tom know about their ongoing investigation. Tom is thrilled to have actual superheroes attending the parade, and asks them to ride on his float. Not seeing any harm in it, the Justice League agrees to participate. The heroes then head into town, but before Tom leaves his house, Loki checks in with his thrall to make sure that everything proceeds apace. Sensing that Thor is approaching, Loki sends the Absorbing Man out into the woods to ambush the thunder god when he arrives.

Tom rides into town with Steve, Gerry, Len, and Glynis. On the way, they ask if Hank and Vera can come to the party later, and Tom is happy to extend them an invitation. At that moment, Hank and Vera are having dinner at a restaurant on Main Street, unaware that the Juggernaut briefly rematerializes in the alley behind the building. The Juggernaut sees the parade getting ready to start, but before he can leave the alley, he is drawn back into the Crimson Cosmos.

As the Halloween Parade begins, Clea, Wong, Namor, and Bruce Banner arrive in Rutland, having made the journey by bus. They immediately notice the eerie red glow bathing the mountaintop and head out of town to investigate. Meanwhile, back at Tom’s house, Felix Faust begins his own sorcerous ritual, drawing demonic energies into the woods surrounding the town.

Just then, Thor arrives in the area, having used his enchanted hammer, Mjolnir, to track the Absorbing Man’s “mystic trail.” With the thunder god are his Asgardian companions Sif and Hildegarde. Thor immediately senses the evil forces that have been unleashed by Felix Faust and Dormammu’s minions. Suddenly, the Absorbing Man attacks and Thor battles him.

In town, Steve, Gerry, Len, and Glynis run into Hank and Vera again and tell them they are invited to Tom’s party later. However, their discussion is interrupted by the sudden materialization of the Juggernaut atop one of the parade floats. He smashes the float but then is just as suddenly drawn back into the Crimson Cosmos. However, in the confusion, Glynis has disappeared and Len, Gerry, and Steve begin a desperate search. Hank sends Vera back to the motel to get a room for them, then ducks into an alley and strips off his disguise. Knowing people will mistake his blue and furry form for a Halloween costume, the Beast sets off in search of the Juggernaut.

Glynis and Tom, along with several other parade-goers, have been mystically mesmerized by Loki and are compelled to walk through the woods to where Thor is fighting the Absorbing Man. The thunder god defeats his opponent by knocking him into Otter Creek in mid-transformation, causing the villain to absorb the properties of the water and be washed away with the current. Thor scarcely has time to catch his breath before Loki reveals himself, claiming he will use the dimensional chaos to supercharge his magic and thereby destroy Thor once and for all.

Loki first sics Tom’s dogs on Thor, having magically transformed them into slavering monsters. When Thor summons a vortex of wind to carry the canines away, Loki turns to his human victims, draining their life-forces to power the fearsome Fire-Sword. Thor is outraged and attacks his brother, but the duel does not go well for the thunder god. Watching from nearby, Sif and Hildegarde know they are honor-bound not to interfere in Thor’s fight.

Meanwhile, in the woods on the opposite side of town, the Beast encounters the Juggernaut when he rematerializes. The Juggernaut recognizes his old foe despite his mutated appearance, and their battle leads them up to Chittenden Reservoir, where the Juggernaut smashes a power station. However, the Beast soon loses his enemy when the Juggernaut’s massive frame keeps slipping on the loose dirt and rocks of the forest. The former X-Man then heads back towards town.

As Sif and Hildegarde watch Loki gaining the upper hand in the battle, they are suddenly visited by the Norn Queen Karnilla, who offers to use her magic to save Thor’s life if Sif will agree to help her track down her lost love Balder the Brave. Sif initially refuses the deal, but then Loki manages to separate Thor from his enchanted hammer, gloating that he need only hold Thor off for 60 seconds to then be able to kill him in his mortal guise as Dr. Donald Blake. Panic-stricken, Sif agrees to Karnilla’s terms, and so the sorceress immediately conjures up a fierce thunderstorm with driving rain that distracts Loki, allowing Thor to retrieve his hammer in the nick of time. Instantly, Thor calls down lightning to strike Loki, destroying the Fire-Sword and releasing those in Loki’s thrall. Loki himself has suddenly been struck blind, and stumbles off into the woods, losing Thor in the darkness. Giving up the search, Thor meets up with Hildegarde, who tells him Sif has gone off with Karnilla. Angered by this turn of events, the two Asgardians return to New York.

Glynis, Tom, and Loki’s other victims wander back into town with no memory of what has happened to them. Glynis soon meets up with Len, Gerry, and Steve again, to their great relief. Then the four friends decide to find a place to get something to eat.

Clea, Wong, Namor, and Bruce Banner climb Bald Mountain to find the black rite is underway. A dimensional portal has already been opened and Clea is horrified to see Dormammu lurking within. Unfortunately, they are discovered by the cult members, of whom there are at least fifty, and while some continue the ritual, others attack the intruders. Banner quickly turns into the Hulk and he and the Sub-Mariner batter the horde of cultists. Before Dormammu can commandeer his host body, though, Doctor Strange’s astral form emerges from Wong and re-enters his own physical form. Strange then battles Dormammu in the dimensional gateway, and the mystic forces they unleash against each other shake the mountain to its very foundations. The people on the streets of Rutland fear the mountain is erupting like a volcano.

There is a sudden landslide that wipes out the cult. The Hulk and the Sub-Mariner manage to protect Clea and Wong until Doctor Strange emerges from the collapsing portal. His power dampened by his exposure to the earth’s environment, Dormammu has decided to retreat, thus freeing Strange to carry Clea and Wong aloft with his Cloak of Levitation. The Hulk and Namor are caught in the final avalanche, but they manage to survive and dig themselves out. Grateful for his friends, Doctor Strange takes Clea and Wong back to the Sanctum Sanctorum in New York while the Sub-Mariner and the Hulk go their separate ways.

Steve, Gerry, Len, and Glynis are hanging out at a restaurant in town, where they have been for over an hour waiting for repairs to be completed on the floats wrecked by the Juggernaut. Glynis, still wearing her Supergirl costume, goes to the bathroom, but when she has not returned 20 minutes later, the guys become concerned. They ask a waitress to check the ladies’ room for them, only to discover that Glynis has vanished once again. Len is worried, but Gerry promises they will find her.

Glynis has been ensorcelled a second time, now by Felix Faust to serve as one of the host bodies for his demon horde. His spells also cause the Justice League, who are standing on one of the floats going down Main Street, to see all the other floats vanish into thin air, with the throng of spectators standing in a glassy-eyed trance. Baffled, the superheroes decide to pair off and canvas the area for the missing floats.

In the woods outside of town, Flash and Hawkman encounter a trio of costumed parade-goers who have been possessed by Faust’s demons. The possession has endowed the victims with superhuman powers to match their costumes. Joined by “Adam Strange” and “Captain America,” Glynis uses the powers of Supergirl to defeat the heroes. Flash and Hawkman collapse to the ground, feeling their life-force ebbing. Glynis and the two men are then teleported away to another part of the woods, where the demons plan to open a portal to their own dimension so they can invade the earth in their true forms. However, the Phantom Stranger appears and removes bits from the costumes of the fallen heroes, in preparation for performing some magic of his own.

Elsewhere in the woods, Batman and Green Lantern are likewise defeated by “Robin,” “Spider-Man,” and “Thor,” while Superman and Green Arrow are overcome by “Captain Marvel” and the 1940s “Flash.” From his hideout, Felix Faust exults over his easy victory, but the Phantom Stranger visits each of the dying heroes in turn to collect his token.

Meanwhile, Len, Gerry, and Steve search frantically for Glynis around town, then decide to go back to Tom Fagan’s house to look for her there. They are unaware that the Beast is very nearby, collecting his disguise from the alley where he left it, and is himself planning to make his way to Tom’s place, hoping to meet up with Vera there. Loki, having stumbled blindly through the woods, also draws near Tom’s house, following the mystic emanations from Felix Faust’s spellcasting. They all arrive at Tom’s house just minutes before midnight.

Hank McCoy enters first to find the party is already in full-swing. He passes Roy and Jeanie Thomas while looking for Vera. Suddenly, though, the Juggernaut smashes through the wall to continue his relentless pursuit of the Beast. Hank runs upstairs to lead him away from the other guests. He goes all the way up to the attic with the Juggernaut following close behind. In a desperate gamble, Hank removes his human-looking mask and huddles up on the floor, hoping to take the Juggernaut by surprise. When the villain enters the dimly-lit room, the Beast suddenly spins around and snarls. The Juggernaut draws back, startled, only for an instant, but it is enough for the Beast to leap on him and tear off his magic helmet. The Juggernaut falls backwards down the stairs to the second-floor landing, feeling his superhuman strength suddenly diminishing. At that moment, the clock strikes midnight.

Simultaneously, the Phantom Stranger has assembled the dying members of the Justice League at the same intersection where Old Mistress Sarah made her predictions 24 hours earlier. As the church bells toll midnight once again, the Phantom Stranger reads off the names of the heroes while tossing the items he had collected from each of their costumes. He thus breaks the spell of imminent death, allowing the Justice League to revive.

The spell broken, Faust’s demons are driven out of their host bodies, which had gathered not far from Tom Fagan’s house. Felix Faust curses his failure and, hearing the commotion in the hall, decides to make good his escape before he is discovered. Just as Len, Gerry, and Steve come upstairs to look for Glynis, they pass the Juggernaut on the landing, with the Beast in hot pursuit. Making it outside, the Juggernaut tries to steal Steve’s car, but it won’t start. The Beast leaps at him, knocking him out of the passenger-side door. They tumble into Tom’s yard and continue their brawl.

Len, Gerry, and Steve enter the room where Felix Faust has been hiding, seeing the wizard about to jump out the window. They initially assume he is trying to commit suicide, but then Faust levitates down and steals Steve’s car, making the engine start with the last of his fading sorcerous might. As the car roars away, the portal to the Crimson Cosmos opens above the weakened Juggernaut and he is drawn back into his extradimensional prison.

Meanwhile, Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and Hawkman have rushed to the scene to battle Faust’s demons before they can assume new host bodies. Glynis and the others awaken from their trance, though dazed, and catch glimpses of the battle as they head for the lights of Tom Fagan’s house. The Justice League makes short work of the demons and manages to drive them back through the doorway to their home dimension before it collapses.

As the Beast stands brooding in the darkness, Glynis wanders up to meet the three guys, who are watching helplessly as Faust drives off in their car. Len asks her where she was, but her memories are too scrambled to give a clear answer, though she thinks she saw some kind of battle raging in the woods. Gerry is mad, but Glynis puts him down for making such a big deal out of everything. Suddenly, Loki comes running out of the trees toward the fleeing car, trying desperately to reach this alien sorcerer before he disappears. To the horror of the four New Yorkers, Loki misses the car and runs right off a cliff. However, before Loki can hit the ground at the bottom of the gorge, he is teleported away by Dormammu, who has just conceived of a new plan of conquest. Assuming Loki to have been one of Tom’s costumed guests, the four friends immediately have their host call the Rutland police.

Not far down the road, Felix Faust is pulled over by the police for his missing muffler. Since he is wanted for breaking out of jail, the officers take him into custody.

With nothing left to sustain it, the dimensional convergence collapses about ten minutes after midnight and the two parallel Rutlands naturally disentangle themselves. In one world, the Beast slowly makes his way back to the motel to meet up with Vera, and in the morning they buy a car from a local farmer to continue their journey north into Canada. In the other world, the Justice League extends an offer of membership to the Phantom Stranger, but he elects to merely disappear. The teammates then return to their orbiting satellite headquarters to file their reports on the mission.

In both worlds, the Rutland police comb the gorge by Tom Fagan’s house in the morning for any sign of a body, and when none is found, the baffled Steve, Gerry, Len, and Glynis are let off with a warning for filing a false report. Steve then has the lost muffler replaced and the quartet drives back to New York City. After hearing the shocking news that 50 members of their community were killed in a landslide on Bald Mountain last night, Tom Fagan makes arrangements to have the gaping hole in the side of his house repaired before winter sets in. He also begins making plans for next year’s Rutland, Vermont Halloween Parade.


Clea's Fashion Parade

Doctor Strange’s girlfriend Clea always had a unique sense of style. Not surprising considering she came from another dimension. Created by Steve Ditko, her earliest outfits were as bizarre as the abstract landscapes that she inhabited.

When she first appears in Strange Tales #126, it seems that Clea is dressed to the nines in this elaborate outfit that includes gloves and high-heels. It also introduces the distinctively-patterned leggings that would become her trademark. It’s no wonder Doctor Strange was smitten with her.

Clea is dressed somewhat more conservatively the next time we see her, in Strange Tales #132, wearing this floor-length gown with long, tapering sleeves. Since she is with a man whom she addresses as “father” who doesn’t really look like her actual father, Orini, we might assume that she is in the Dark Dimension equivalent of a church speaking to some sort of priest. Dormammu is something of a self-styled deity, so it would make sense that his own “royal court” would have some sort of organized religious structure about it. And like many churches on Earth, Clea clearly feels it is appropriate to “dress up” to attend.

In the next issue, Clea goes casual in this comfortable-looking long-sleeve red T-shirt and pink tights (again with heels), accessorized with an elaborate ornamental collar. Its yoke-like design might be symbolic of the oppression suffered by Dormammu’s subjects. We might also note that, while living in the Dark Dimension, Clea also seemed partial to layering with horizontally-striped turtlenecks, which might suggest that her native realm is a bit chilly as well as dark.

Clea first opts to wear purple in this ensemble from Strange Tales #134, which features a wide, shiny waist-cinching belt. It is interesting to note that she seemed to favor stiletto heels in her home dimension, but largely abandoned them after taking up residence on Earth. Clearly the laws of physics as we know them do not apply in Dormammu’s realm, and she thus was forced to rethink her footwear choices once she had to start walking on solid ground.

After a period spent lost in one of the numberless nether-realms, Clea adopted her best-known look, which she would sport regularly during the period she served as Doctor Strange’s disciple. It was first seen in Doctor Strange #171 and was apparently designed by Tom Palmer. (Eventually her shirt became more of a bodysuit.) It was both functional and comfortable, while still retaining an alien quality that reminded her of her home world.

After Doctor Strange was captured and tortured by a race of extradimensional demons called the Undying Ones, he gave up the mystic arts for a period of time, until he recovered from the trauma. During this period, Clea was left to fend for herself in the unfamiliar environment of New York City. Worse, the mystic powers she had once possessed, derived from her native Dark Dimension, had faded away during her exile, and she had not yet mastered Earth’s occult forces. Thus she was forced to assimilate somewhat into the local culture, as evidenced by this outfit seen in Marvel Feature #2. It was designed by Ross Andru, and shows that Clea knows how to make a fashion statement in any universe.

After Doctor Strange returned to sorcery, Clea became his disciple, moving in with him in his Sanctum Sanctorum. She would continue to push the envelope of fashion from time to time, as we may see in future posts.


(Homo) Superior vs. Inferior (Five)

By 1966, industry leader National Comics (now better known as DC) was all too aware that the recently re-energized Marvel Comics was rapidly gaining on them in popularity. Upstart that it was, and keen to cultivate a hip image, Marvel was well-known for ribbing its competition, and the staid, conservative National proved an easy target. However, the editors at National were not above striking back, and the vehicle for one of their most elaborate spoofs of Marvel was their own lampoon of the superhero genre, the Inferior Five.

In their third try-out appearance in the anthology title Showcase (#65), written by E. Nelson Bridwell with art by Mike Sekowsky & Mike Esposito, the hapless team of superhero wannabees encounter this familiar-looking quintet of super-powered students:

The X-Men may have seemed ripe for parody at this time, as Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had already passed the book on to other creators (Roy Thomas & Werner Roth), who could not generate the same chaotic dynamism found in the title’s early issues. Although, as it was hardly one of Marvel’s top books, we can say it may have been too easy a target, and one may wonder why National singled this property out for special ridicule.

The tale opens at Dean Egghead’s Academy for Super-Heroes, as the entire staff walks out and leaves the Dean to fend for himself with his rambunctious students. Dean Egghead is a straightforward caricature of Professor X, and even shares his telepathic powers.

When no superheroes will answer the Dean’s call for help, he turns to the Inferior Five, recruiting them as his new faculty. As they enter his Academy for the first time, he introduces them to his five uncanny students. Rather than “mutants” like the X-Men, these students are described as being “atavistic,” i.e. throwbacks to earlier epochs. Therefore, instead of seeing the next stage in human evolution, we are presented with evolution working backwards, suggesting these characters are even more “inferior” than the Inferior Five.

The star pupil (who also gets the most “screen time”) is Harry McElhinney / The Ape, a bookish monkey-man who sends up Henry McCoy / The Beast.

Next we meet Irish Autumns / Basilisk, a clever parody of the similarly mythology-themed Scott Summers / Cyclops. Rather than red force beams, his eyes emit a white ray that turns people to stone. Despite the mis-aligned word balloon pointer, it is the Dean who is speaking.

We are then introduced to the brown-winged Melvin Murgatroyd XIV / Icarus, a tow-headed and uncouth youngster who is the opposite of the glamorous Warren Worthington III / The Angel.

Next up is Billy Gander / Winter Wonderlad, a goof on Bobby Drake / Iceman. Rather than turning into either a snowman or a human ice-sculpture, Billy becomes a walking iceberg by encasing himself in the stuff.

Lastly, we meet Penelope Pink / Levitation Lass, a dark-haired version of Jean Grey / Marvel Girl. With the help of the Inferior Five’s resident airhead, Dumb Bunny, Penelope immediately ditches her saggy-baggy school uniform for the more revealing version seen above.

Like the X-Men, the heroes-in-training at Dean Egghead’s Academy also have villainous counterparts, a rival team that is diametrically opposed to their do-gooding philosophy. Instead of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, we are presented with the Fraternity of Atavistic No-Goodniks.

Frog Man is an obvious analogue to the Toad, and Pterano Don Juan bears a passing resemblance to Mastermind. The Amoeba may be a take-off on the Blob, and I can only assume that Angel Fish must stand in for the Scarlet Witch. I guess there’s a sort of logic to replacing a witch with a mermaid, both being creatures of folklore. Their leader, Dr. Dinosaur, really has nothing in common with Magneto, but he is the only truly funny concept in the book, as his special power is that he has two brains – one in his head and one in his ass. Hence the two-pronged attack needed to bring him down:

Curiously, during the heroes’ field-trip to the big city, Bridwell throws in a random dig at the long-running rivalry between the Fantastic Four’s Thing and the Yancy Street Gang, which, while making for a decent gag, seems a bit out of place.

Marvel Comics would get a little of their own back about a year later with the publication of their own lampoon comic Not Brand Ecch, which would send up DC’s characters in a similar fashion.

Stan Lee has since said in interviews that he intentionally played up the idea of an intercompany rivalry “to make it fun” for the readers, and no doubt in order to inspire brand loyalty among the fans. He claims to have enjoyed a jovial camaraderie with the personnel over at National Comics, and the good-natured spoof of one of Marvel’s franchises seen in this issue of Showcase seems to support his view.


Proper Galactus

Just another reason I prefer to read Silver Age comics in Marvel’s black & white Essential reprints. When I take a look at Fantastic Four #48, for example, I can fill in the colors in my mind’s eye. Therefore, I get to see a proper Galactus, like this:

But when I read the same story reprinted in the slicker Marvel Masterworks line, I am forced to see a Galactus who looks like a reject from some outer-space Christmas pageant.

For all the wonderfully expressive work done by colorist Stan Goldberg and his assistants throughout the 1960s, it is all too clear sometimes that they were coloring as fast as possible. The wildly shifting color schemes Galactus displayed in his first several appearances shows that they didn’t always have the luxury of doing much design work in advance. Hindsight now makes the color in these old comics more of a distraction than an enhancement.


A DC Universe Chronology

When I decided to do a quick chronology of the DC Comics universe, I opted to take the opposite approach as my OMU project. Whereas with the Original Marvel Universe, I disregard publishing dates to “defragment” the timeline, I here used the publishing dates as a starting point to catalog the events of the DC universe, creating an entirely new history in the process.

For example, I placed Batman’s debut in Spring 1939, as that was the date of the character’s first appearance. I then extrapolated from that a date for Bruce Wayne’s birth, then plotted out a reasonable lifespan and worked into it the major events of his life. Other men replaced him as the generations passed. Other characters were dealt with in the same manner, causing them all to intersect in very interesting ways.

The result was something akin to the “Earth-Two” alternate reality, or the tales of “Batman II and Robin II” that appeared occasionally in Silver-Age Batman titles, or John Byrne’s Generations series. I was inspired primarily by the 1995 graphic novel The Golden Age by James Robinson & Paul Smith.

In this version of the DC world, the characters age, reproduce, and die like real-life people. I find it opens up all manner of story possibilities, and it’s fun to ponder what it might have been like had the DC Universe evolved in this manner. The timeline is limited pretty much to the 20th century, and is by no means complete.

Here, then, is a (not “the”) Chronology of the DC Universe!

Cyrus Gold is murdered in Slaughter Swamp outside Gotham City. His corpse will later be reanimated as the failed elemental Solomon Grundy.

Richard Occult is born, and is soon after rescued from devil worshippers by the Mystic Order of the Seven, along with a baby girl who will be raised as his sister and called Rose Psychic.

James Corrigan is born.

James Gordon is born in Gotham City.

Kent Nelson is born to Sven and Celestine Nelson.

Janos Prohaska is born in Krakow, Poland.

Wesley Dodds is born to Edward and Marina Dodds.

Rex Tyler is born.

Bruce Wayne is born to Thomas and Martha Wayne in Gotham City.

Carter Hall is born.

Lois Lane is born to Sam and Ella Lane.

Alan Scott is born.

Oliver Queen is born.

Johnny Thunder is born.

Jay Garrick is born.

Kryptonian infant Kal-El crash lands outside Smallville, Kansas and is found by Jonathan and Martha Kent, who rename him Clark Kent.

Archaeologist Sven Nelson is killed in Mesopotamia after accidentally awakening the ancient entity called Nabu the Wise. Nabu trains young Kent Nelson in the arts of magic.

Selena Kyle is born.

Sheira Sanders is born.

Ted Grant is born.

Libby Lawrence is born.

Thomas and Martha Wayne are shot dead in front of their terrified son Bruce.

Billy Batson is born.

Sylvester Pemberton is born.

Dinah Drake is born.

Dick Grayson is born.

Roy Harper is born.

Daniel Dunbar is born.

Barry Allen is born.

Katherine Kane is born.

Jason Todd is born.

Richard Occult becomes the mystical detective known as Dr. Occult.

Ray Palmer is born.

Will Magnus is born.

Hal Jordan is born.

Selena Kyle first becomes a prostitute.

Summer 1938
Clark Kent moves to Metropolis and adopts the identity of Superman. He meets ace reporter Lois Lane at the newspaper where they both work, The Daily Star.

Wealthy socialite Tex Thompson decides to become an amateur crimebuster.

Giovanni Zatara begins using his magical abilities to fight crime as Zatara, Master Magician.

Late 1938
Superman meets his first great nemesis, the wheelchair-bound mad scientist called the Ultra-Humanite. He also first meets cub reporter Jimmy Olsen.

Publisher Lee Travis takes on the underworld as the shadowy Crimson Avenger, assisted by his Chinese manservant Wing.

Spring 1939
Bruce Wayne begins his crusade against crime as the fearsome Batman. He presents something of a problem to new Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon.

Summer 1939
Wesley Dodds becomes the gas-mask-wearing hero called the Sandman. He meets the lovely Dian Belmont.

Batman battles his first major villain, the evil Doctor Death.

Fall 1939
Batman perfects the helicopter-like vehicle called the Batgyro. As Bruce Wayne, he meets the lovely Julie Madison.

Late 1939
Selena Kyle changes professions, becoming a jewel thief.

Darrell Dane becomes the size-changing hero Doll Man.

Early 1940
Jay Garrick leaves Midwestern University to become the super-fast crime-fighter known as the Flash.

Also, Carter Hall begins his career as Hawkman, and meets Sheira Sanders, whom he believes to be the reincarnation of his wife from a previous life in ancient Egypt.

Policeman Jim Corrigan is murdered, but returns as the mysterious crime-fighter the Spectre.

After taking his newly-developed Miraclo pill, chemist Rex “Tick-Tock” Tyler becomes the super hero known as Hourman.

Johnny Thunder develops uncontrollable magical powers courtesy of his “pet lightning bolt.”

Billy Batson first says the magic word SHAZAM and becomes earth’s mightiest mortal, Captain Marvel.

Batman first encounters the sadistic genius Dr. Hugo Strange. Also, after shooting many a criminal, Batman renounces the use of guns in his crimefighting crusade.

Spring 1940
Orphaned Dick Grayson joins Batman’s crusade as Robin, the Boy Wonder.

Superman first encounters villainous tycoon Lex Luthor.

Batman and Robin first battle the Clown Prince of Crime, the Joker. Soon after, they clash with seductive jewel thief Selena Kyle, better known as the Cat. Batman also unveils the original Batplane.

Kent Nelson begins his career battling supernatural villains as Doctor Fate and meets the lovely Inza Cramer.

The Metropolis newspaper The Daily Star changes its name to The Daily Planet.

Summer 1940
Gotham City resident Alan Scott discovers a mysterious artifact and becomes the costumed adventurer Green Lantern.

Lanford “Happy” Terrill gains energy-manipulating abilities and becomes the superhero known as the Ray.

Selena Kyle adopts the new nom de crime Catwoman.

Batman and Robin fight Basil Karlo, the first Clay Face.

Fall 1940
Al Pratt becomes the diminutive hero called the Atom.

Carter Hall marries Sheira Sanders.

The Ultra-Humanite has his brain transplanted into the body of movie starlet Delores Winters, and perishes in a volcano soon afterwards.

Catwoman dons her first super-villainess costume.

Late 1940
Flash, Hawkman, Green Lantern, the Atom, Doctor Fate, the Spectre, Hourman, and the Sandman band together to form the loose-knit Justice Society of America, and put up with irritating hanger-on Johnny Thunder.

Inspired by the recent appearances of costumed crimefighters, middle-aged housewife Abigail Mathilda Hunkle dons a makeshift costume and calls herself the Red Tornado as she battles neighborhood menaces.

While battling Batman, Dr. Hugo Strange is killed.

Alan Scott takes a job as a radio engineer at the Apex Broadcasting Company.

Perry White is made editor of the Metropolis paper The Daily Planet.

Early 1941
Scientist Ted Knight becomes the caped hero Starman.

Tex Thompson fights the good fight as the mystery man called Mr. America.

Paul Kirk becomes the masked crimebuster Manhunter.

After the final defeat of Clay Face, Batman unveils the first customized Batmobile.

Spring 1941
Charles McNider swings into action as Doctor Mid-Nite.

Summer 1941
Sheira Hall becomes Hawkgirl.

Small-time hood Eel O’Brien becomes the super-elastic Plastic Man.

The military squad called the Blackhawks is formed to combat the Nazis. They are led by Janos Prohaska.

Joan Dale becomes the costumed crimefighter called Miss America.

Sandra Knight becomes the Phantom Lady.

Chemist Roy Lincoln transforms himself into the Human Bomb.

Superman’s nemesis Lex Luthor loses his hair in a freak accident.

Green Lantern first meets his streetwise sidekick Doiby Dickles.

Fall 1941
Superman and Batman meet for the first time.

Newsreel photographer Johnny Chambers becomes the lighting-fast hero Johnny Quick.

Sylvester Pemberton and Patrick Dugan join the war effort as the Star-Spangled Kid and his adult sidekick Stripesy.

Mystery writer John Law becomes the mystery man called the Tarantula.

An Arthurian knight called Sir Justin emerges from suspended animation to battle evil as the Shining Knight.

Batman and Robin must defeat Jonathan Crane, the eerie criminal called the Scarecrow.

Starman first battles the villain known as the Mist.

Late 1941
Oliver Queen debuts as crime-fighting archer Green Arrow, along with his teenaged sidekick Roy Harper, a.k.a. Speedy.

Aquaman first leaves Atlantis for the surface world.

The Sandman trades in his gas-mask for a superhero costume and picks up a young sidekick, Sanderson Hawkins, also called Sandy, the Golden Boy.

Greg Saunders becomes the gun-slinging mystery man called the Vigilante.

Bob Daley assumes the identity of Fatman and serves as Mr. America’s sidekick.

Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, thereby drawing the United States into the war.

When American Army aviator Steve Trevor crashes on Paradise Island, Amazon princess Diana is selected to accompany him back to the world of men, where she comes to be called Wonder Woman.

In Gotham City, Oswald Cobblepot begins a life of crime as the umbrella-wielding Penguin.

Early 1942
Terry Sloane begins his career as Mr. Terrific, Man of a Thousand Talents.

Boxer Ted Grant becomes the masked adventurer called Wildcat.

Dr. Mid-Nite and Starman join the JSA.

Hourman perfects his powerful Miracle Ray machine.

Doiby Dickles learns Green Lantern’s secret identity as Alan Scott.

Green Arrow, Speedy, the Star-Spangled Kid, Stripesy, the Shining Knight, the Vigilante, and the Crimson Avenger band together as the Seven Soldiers of Victory.

While on a mission as Manhunter, Paul Kirk vanishes without a trace.

The JSA offers an associate membership to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

Spring 1942
Four slum orphans and Metropolis policeman Jim Harper join the war effort as the Newsboy Legion and the Guardian.

Chemistry teacher Thomas N. Thomas and his student Dan Dunbar also fight the Axis powers as TNT and the Dyna-Mite.

Summer 1942
Captain Rip Carter leads the international quartet of teenagers called the Boy Commandos.

When district attorney Harvey Dent is disfigured by acid, he becomes the criminal mastermind Two-Face.

Superman first battles Oswald Loomis, better known as the villainous Prankster.

Dr. Robert Crane’s brain is installed in a mechanical body, and he soon comes to be called Robotman.

After a return to Paradise Island where she wins her magic lasso, Wonder Woman joins the JSA.

Fall 1942
Tex Thompson joins the war effort, now calling himself the Americommando.

Late 1942
Kent Nelson enrolls in medical school, using his magical abilities to assist him with his studies.

Tim Drake is born.

Early 1943
Rex Tyler is forced to stop taking the Miraclo pill and retire as Hourman.

Bob Daley parts ways with the Americommando and retires as Fatman.

Spring 1943
When her father is killed by the Nazis, Libby Lawrence becomes a costumed adventuress called Liberty Belle.

John Law gives up his costumed identity as the Tarantula.

Summer 1943
When TNT is killed in action, his sidekick the Dyna-Mite returns to civilian life as Daniel Dunbar.

Fall 1943
Superman first battles the villainous Toyman.

Wonder Woman first faces the wrath of Priscilla Rich, a.k.a. the Cheetah.

Green Lantern encounters the ageless conspirator known as Vandal Savage.

Wally West is born.

“Snapper” Carr is born.

The second Speedy, later Arsenal, is born.

Summer 1944
Tex Thompson’s heroic career comes to a sudden halt.

Fall 1944
Superman first encounters the mysterious extradimensional imp known as Mr. Mxyztplk.

Starting a new trend, the Joker and the Penguin join forces against Batman and Robin.

Ma Hunkel dons her Red Tornado guise for the last time.

Late 1944
The undead strongman Solomon Grundy first menaces the world.

The Justice Society first battles the Psycho-Pirate when he kidnaps Hawkgirl.

Early 1945
The Spectre leaves earth for an extended period.

Kent Nelson retires from adventuring as Doctor Fate to practice magic and medicine privately.

Spring 1945
The war in Europe ends with the defeat of the Axis Powers.

The Seven Soldiers of Victory disband and Lee Travis retires his Crimson Avenger identity.

Summer 1945
The war in the Pacific ends with the nuclear bombing of Japan.

Late 1945
Libby Lawrence calls off her quest for vengeance as Liberty Belle.

Wildcat is made a member of the JSA.

Early 1946
Wesley Dodds retires as the Sandman.

Ted Knight hangs up his cape as Starman.

Spring 1946
Connor Hawke is born to Oliver Queen and his girlfriend Sandra Hawke.

Zatanna Zatara is born to Giovanni and Sindella Zatara.

Summer 1946
Alan Scott becomes manager of radio station WXYZ in Gotham.

Late 1946
Kent Nelson marries Inza Cramer.

Early 1947
Terry Sloane abandons his identity as Mr. Terrific.

The menace of Solomon Grundy is finally ended by the Justice Society of America.

Spring 1947
Green Lantern first battles small-time hood “Crusher” Crock.

Garth is born in Atlantis.

Summer 1947
Dinah Drake begins her stint as the crimebuster called the Black Canary.

The JSA first battles the time-traveling villain Per Degaton.

“Crusher” Crock adopts the identity of the Sportsmaster to again battle Green Lantern.

Fall 1947
The Injustice Society of the World forms to counter the invincible JSA. Its founding members are the Wizard, Brain Wave, the Gambler, Per Degaton, the Thinker, and Vandal Savage.

Molly Mayne is hired as Alan Scott’s secretary at WXYZ. To attract the attention of the dashing Green Lantern, she decides to become the costumed criminal called the Harlequin.

Late 1947
Flash meets Rose Canton, the split-personality villainess called Thorn.

Early 1948
Black Canary joins the JSA, and first meets private detective Larry Lance.

Barbara Gordon is born to James and Sarah Gordon in Gotham City.

Spring 1948
Batman first meets Vicki Vale.

Summer 1948
Batman finally discovers the identity of the man who shot his parents, a minor thug by the name of Joe Chill.

Dick Grayson assumes the identity of Nightwing. Jason Todd is recruited to be the new Robin.

The Atom begins to manifest super-strength.

A new Injustice Society replaces the first: the Wizard, the Fiddler, Huntress, the Icicle, Sportsmaster, and Harlequin, who betrays her criminal comrades to free the JSA from their clutches.

Fall 1948
Batman and Robin first encounter Eddie Nashton alias Edward Nygma alias the Riddler.

Green Lantern learns the Harlequin is now an undercover agent for the FBI.

Late 1948
Sylvester Pemberton and Pat Dugan end their partnership as the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy.

Early 1949
Flash learns the Thorn’s true identity, and he, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman help her find treatment for her condition.

Al Pratt retires as the Atom to wed Mary James.

Spring 1949
Ted Grant gives up his career as Wildcat.

Late 1949
Superman first encounters the deadly mineral called kryptonite, and discovers he is not from Earth at all, but is the last son of the planet Krypton.

Early 1950
When the original Batmobile is destroyed, Batman and Robin build a new, more advanced model.

Late 1950
When the original Batplane is stolen, Batman and Robin build a new, more advanced model.

Early 1951
Jay Garrick retires the Flash in order to settle down and marry long-time girlfriend Joan Williams.

Alan Scott relinquishes the role of Green Lantern when he is made vice-president and general manager of the Gotham Broadcasting Company.

Charles McNider gives up being Dr. Mid-Nite.

Zatara mysteriously disappears.

Spring 1951
Carter and Shiera Hall are killed in action as Hawkman and Hawkgirl.

The Justice Society of America disbands after battling a villain known as the Key, who makes good his escape.

Summer 1951
Captain Comet goes into action.

Sir Justin ceases to battle as the Shining Knight.

Dinah Drake retires as the Black Canary and marries her boyfriend, detective Larry Lance.

Spring 1952
Dinah Lance is born to Larry and Dinah Drake Lance.

Summer 1952
The mysterious Phantom Stranger makes his first appearance.

Superman and Batman finally learn each other’s secret identities.

Fall 1952
Jason Todd is killed by the Joker.

Late 1953
Billy Batson ceases to transform into Captain Marvel.

Summer 1954
Superman and Batman begin occasionally working as a team.

Late 1954
Johnny Chambers finally gives up being Johnny Quick once and for all.

Greg Saunders retires as the Vigilante.

Captain Comet’s brief career also comes to a close.

Late 1955
J’onn J’onzz arrives on Earth and assumes the identity of John Jones, but soon becomes known as the Martian Manhunter.

Early 1956
Bruce Wayne retires and Dick Grayson succeeds him as the new Batman. Tim Drake is recruited as the new Robin.

Alan Scott gets Rose Canton pregnant, but their relationship ends.

Summer 1956
Plastic Man retires from crime-fighting.

Katherine Kane adopts the crimefighting identity of Batwoman.

Fall 1956
Barry Allen develops super-speed and begins calling himself the Flash.

Late 1956
Rose Canton gives birth to twins and puts them up for adoption. The girl becomes Jennifer-Lynn Hayden (adopted by Julian and Myrna Hayden) and the boy becomes Todd James Rice (adopted by Jim and Shirley Rice).

Early 1957
Four non-super-powered men form the Challengers of the Unknown in order to seek out adventure.

Jessie Chambers is born to Johnny Chambers and Libby Lawrence.

Spring 1957
Oliver Queen is killed in action and Roy Harper becomes the new Green Arrow. The second Speedy joins him.

Stephanie Brown is born.

Fall 1957
Selena Kyle retires as Catwoman and opens her own escort service.

Late 1957
Charles McNider begins working for the FBI keeping tabs on metahumans.

Summer 1958
Superman first battles the villainous Brainiac.

Late 1958
Adam Strange is first transported to the planet Rann in the Alpha Centauri system.

Spring 1959
Batman and Robin first tangle with the sinister Mister Freeze.

Scientist Rip Hunter invents a time machine, which he uses to explore earth’s past and future.

Fall 1959
Test pilot Hal Jordan receives his power ring and becomes the new Green Lantern.

Late 1959
Wally West becomes the Flash’s sidekick, Kid Flash.

Early 1960
Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Flash, and Green Lantern band together to form the Justice League of America, and they acquire a teen-aged associate called “Snapper” Carr.

Garth first joins Aquaman on his patrols of the seas as Aqualad.

Spring 1960
Ralph Dibny becomes the Elongated Man.

Early 1961
Two aliens from the planet Thanagar assume the identities of Carter and Shiera Hall, as well as Hawkman and Hawkgirl, to study earthly crime-fighting.

Spring 1961
Green Arrow joins the Justice League.

Summer 1961
Green Lantern first crosses swords with the evil Sinestro.

Kathy Kane’s niece Betty Kane begins her occasional outings as the original Bat-Girl.

Ralph Dibny marries his sweetheart Sue Dearborn.

Fall 1961
Ray Palmer becomes the size-changing hero called the Atom.

Late 1961
Batman and Robin must battle Matt Hagen, the second Clayface.

Early 1962
J’onn J’onzz makes his first return to Mars after being marooned on Earth six years earlier.

Spring 1962
Dr. Will Magnus unveils his team of shape-shifting robot crimefighters, the Metal Men.

Fall 1962
Atom joins the Justice League.

Early 1963
Rex Tyler marries actress Wendi Harris.

Summer 1963
Dr. Niles Caulder recruits Cliff Steele (the new Robotman), Rita Farr (Elasti-Girl), and Larry Trainor (Negative Man) to become the Doom Patrol.

Summer 1964
Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad join together as the Teen Titans.

Batman unveils a new state-of-the-art Batmobile.

Barry Allen gets engaged to Iris West.

Fall 1964
Kathy Kane retires as Batwoman.

Late 1964
Hawkman joins the Justice League.

Rita Farr marries Steve Dayton, but remains in the Doom Patrol.

Zatanna first casts her spell over the world’s evildoers.

Early 1965
While in Egypt, Rex Mason is transformed into Metamorpho, the Element Man.

Spring 1965
Garfield Logan becomes a junior member of the Doom Patrol known as Beast Boy.

Summer 1965
Donna Troy becomes Wonder Girl, and she and Speedy join the Teen Titans.

Dinah Drake Lance has an extramarital affair with Ted Knight.

Fall 1965
Buddy Baker becomes the super-hero Animal Man.

Late 1965
Barry Allen and Iris West are married.

Early 1966
Batman and Robin first meet the deadly villainess Poison Ivy.

Teenager Robby Reed discovers a mysterious dial that transforms him temporarily into a wide variety of super-heroes.

Spring 1966
Rick Tyler is born to Rex and Wendi Tyler.

Summer 1966
Barbara Gordon becomes the motorcycle-riding heroine Batgirl.

Fall 1966
The Flash’s wife, Iris Allen, dies.

Late 1966
Ted Kord becomes the super-hero Blue Beetle.

Early 1967
The Spectre returns to earth after more than 20 years.

After years of searching, Zatanna is reunited with her missing father, Zatara.

In Africa, Mike Maxwell becomes the super-hero B’wana Beast.

Summer 1967
Barry Allen is killed in action, and Wally West becomes the new Flash.

Fall 1967
After circus aerialist “Boston” Brand is randomly murdered, he begins a posthumous crime-fighting crusade as Deadman.

Summer 1968
TV reporter Jack Ryder begins his nocturnal adventures as the Creeper.

The android crimefighter called the Red Tornado makes his debut.

Fall 1968
The Doom Patrol are killed while on a mission to a remote island, although Beast Boy is not among them.

Early 1969
After Wonder Woman temporarily loses her powers, Steve Trevor is killed.

Spring 1969
Dinah Lance becomes the new Black Canary.

Summer 1969
Dick Grayson retires and Tim Drake succeeds him as the new Batman, joined by Stephanie Brown as the fourth Robin.

Roy Harper retires and Connor Hawke becomes the new, goateed Green Arrow.

Larry Lance is killed.

Fall 1969
The new Black Canary joins the JLA.

Early 1970
Ted Grant retires from boxing as the undefeated heavyweight champion of the world.

Spring 1970
Green Lantern and Green Arrow take to the road in search of America.

Summer 1970
Batman meets the terrifying creature called the Man-Bat.

Early 1971
The second Speedy becomes a heroin addict.

Summer 1971
Batman first matches wits with the devilish Ra’s Al Ghul.

Fall 1971
Murdered scientist Alec Holland seemingly rises from the dead as the Swamp Thing.

Spring 1972
Jenny-Lynn Hayden becomes the super-heroine Jade and her twin brother Todd Rice becomes the super-hero Obsidian. They are reunited via an empathic connection after their powers begin to manifest themselves.

Early 1973
Jessie Chambers becomes the superfast heroine Jessie Quick.

Summer 1973
A mysterious crimefighter calling herself the Black Orchid makes her debut.

Ray Terrill is born.

Early 1976
Another refugee from Krypton, Kara Zor-L, arrives on Earth and becomes the super-heroine Power Girl.

Spring 1976
Barbara Gordon is crippled by the Joker, forcing her to give up being Batgirl.

Late 1976
Tim Drake’s back is broken by Bane and he must retire as Batman.

Early 1977
High school principal Jefferson Pierce becomes the super-hero Black Lightning.

The second Speedy, now clean and sober, becomes Arsenal.

Alan Scott loses his job when the Gotham Broadcasting Company goes bankrupt.

Early 1978
Superman kills off his Clark Kent identity, rather than explain why he has not aged in 40 years.

Jay Garrick gives Alan Scott a job at his company, Keystone Labs. Soon after, Jay reveals to the world that he was the original Flash in an interview in We magazine.

High school student Ronnie Raymond and physicist Martin Stein are fused into a single being known as Firestorm, the Nuclear Man.

Summer 1978
Bruce Wayne briefly returns as Batman and kills the Joker.

Spring 1979
Guy Gardner first becomes a member of the Green Lantern Corps.

Summer 1979
Katherine Kane is murdered.

Fall 1979
Terry Sloane, the former Mr. Terrific, is murdered.

Fall 1980
Recovered from his injuries, Tim Drake returns as Batman.

Late 1980
The new Teen Titans form. Members include Cyborg, Raven, and Starfire.

Early 1981
Teenagers Chris King and Vicki Grant discover Hero Dials that transform them temporarily into a wide variety of super-heroes and super-heroines.

Summer 1981
Wonder Woman reveals her true identity to the world.

Lee Travis dies.

Late 1982
Connor Hawke retires and settles down with Dinah Lance to start a family.

Late 1984
John Stewart takes over as the new Green Lantern.

Summer 1985
The Spectre leaves Earth once again.

Early 1986
Michael Jon Carter arrives from the future and becomes the super-hero Booster Gold.

Lois Lane dies of lung cancer.

Selena Kyle dies of a sexually-transmitted disease.

Summer 1986
Having slowly gone insane, Hal Jordan dies while trying to destroy the universe.

Fall 1987
Kent and Inza Nelson both die.

Late 1987
Superman first battles Siobhan McDougal, a.k.a. the Silver Banshee.

Summer 1988
Sylvester Pemberton dies.

Spring 1989
Bruce Wayne dies. Tim Drake retires as Batman.

Summer 1989
Mary Elizabeth Kane becomes the superheroine Flamebird.

Summer 1990
Dinah Drake Lance dies of cancer.

Fall 1990
Jessie Chambers retires from her career as Jessie Quick.

Early 1992
Ray Terrill becomes the second superhero known as the Ray.

Early 1994
Kyle Rayner becomes the new Green Lantern.

Summer 1994
Bart Allen becomes the super-hero Impulse.

Johnny Thunder contracts Alzheimer’s disease.

Fall 1994
Rex Tyler dies.

Charles McNider dies.

Al Pratt dies.

Early 1996
Cassie Sandsmark becomes the new Wonder Girl.

Johnny Chambers dies.

Summer 1997
Cissie King-Jones becomes the super-heroine Arrowette.

Summer 1998
The super-hero team Young Justice is formed.

Summer 1999
Courtney Whitmore becomes the new Star-Spangled Kid.

Wesley Dodds and Dian Belmont die within weeks of each other.

Late 1999
Hal Jordan rises from the dead as the Spectre.

Late 2000
Ted Knight dies.

While a new generation of super-heroes moves into the 21st century, it is interesting to note that Superman and Wonder Woman are functionally immortal and are still going strong at the end of this chronology.