[Superman Fan Club] Presents: THE SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS Week 4

[Superman Fan Club] Presents: Challenge of the Secret Society of Super-Fans!

Welcome to Week 4 of a very special challenge / contest , reading one single issue a week (as they are digitally published that is) of THE SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS (1976) #1-14.

This time around: THE SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS #4, as we continue to feature the first appearances of Darkseid and the New Gods / 4th World for the first time since Kirby left DC in the mid-70s!

Q&A:

  1. What do you think of the heavy mix of Flash Rogue villains in the Secret Society?

  2. How do you feel about the battle between Green Lantern and Mantis?

  3. Which was better this time around, the artwork or the writing?

  4. Did you have any cool “super car” flying vehicle sightings this time around?

I read THE SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS #4
  • Yes, I did!
  • Oops, I did not

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And here is the letters page from this issue from back in 1976, along with two other pages to relish that are not in the digitized version (boooooo!):


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Wow!

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To start, it was really great to see a Stan Lee cameo in this issue! Now onto the questions:

I think that the Flash Rogues are usually thrown into teams like this for a reason. Outside of Grodd, they aren’t really about conquering the world, so you can throw them into these big villain groups like glorified henchmen. Also, most of them are just average criminals with fancy gimmicks. That makes them slightly more relatable than tyrant masterminds like Sinestro. Yet, they still fit in the colorful world of superheroes vs. supervillains in a way that some of the Bat-villains wouldn’t match the tone of. So, yeah, Flash Rogues are generally a good choice to fill out the ranks of your supervillain group.

I think Hal should’ve hit him with the ole boxing glove construct. That would’ve done the trick. The energy blast really played into Mantis’ hand. In the end, I get that Mantis had enough will power energy to suck the remaining power from Hal’s ring. However, I have to figure there was a point before that where Hal should’ve realized that he messed up and changed tactics. You live, you fight supervillains, you learn, I guess…

Ummm… neither were stellar, really. Far be it from me to criticize anyone else’s art. Mine is really bad. However, Jack Kirby this was not. The writing didn’t exactly sweep me off my feet either, but I did like the Mantis trick with the GL energy and I thought David Kraft did a relatively good job writing Darkseid’s dialogue (which can be hard to do without making it ridiculous). So, I guess I give a slight edge to the writing.

No. No Super Cars… Only Death…
Black Racer

Edit: I posted that and then remembered that in Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle, The Black Racer took the form of a car.
Black Racer Car
So… technically, I guess I did spot a flying super car…

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I totally forgot about the Black Racer’s appearance in Seven Soldiers: Mr Miracle! Now I’ll have to go back and check that as is my wont in these threads LOL, plus I’ll take another gander today at a real nice hard cover archive I have of one of the volumes the Seven Soldiers of Victory from the 1940s (there just aren’t enough cowboy superheroes, don’t you agree?).

I was also amused to see Funky Flashman appear or as you say “Stan Lee,” especially after your comment earlier that that’s probably where Mantis got his henchmen from.

There’s something strangely bad about the artwork hopefully only in the specific issue that I’ll plan to highlight later, in the coming days. It was definitely done by committee, but I suspect someone just crassly cut out heads from other comic strips and pasted them in here as well.

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Do it! Mister Miracle is probably my favorite miniseries out of Seven Soldiers.

The moment that really solidified my love for (Golden Age) Vigilante was his serenade from the first chapter of his film serial series:

It starts about 1:09 in. But, yeah, there’s a lot of unexplored potential in a cowboy troubadour superhero. I also wish DCUI would digitize the Golden Age Seven Soldiers appearances.

As petty as the Funky Flashman’s character is, I’ve always loved the fact that he’s supposed to be Stan. There’s a lot to unpack from how Kirby characterized him in his first appearance in Mister Miracle issue 6. Funky exists as proof that there were hard feeling between the two comic legends after Kirby first left Marvel. I’m glad he stuck around for a while after Kirby left DC.

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This was my first encounter with the great Funky Flashman way back when I was a kid. I loved his hijinks. I didn’t know about the whole Stan Lee thing for another 25 years or so.

  1. Flash has one of the greatest Rogues Galleries in all of comics, so the more the merrier I say. My three favorites Capt. Cold, Mirror Master and Grodd all show up in this series.

  2. Hal, he calls himself the power parasite, that’s a clue. The really good fight is between Grodd and Kalibak.

  3. Kraft’s writing edges out the art of Pablo Marcos, Ernie Chua and Vince Colleta.

  4. Grodd and Kalibak got hit by a trolley car. They probably threw cars at each other when we weren’t looking.

After this issue Gerry Conway leaves DC to become Editor in Chief of Marvel for about six weeks. David Kraft leaves with him, so we have a whole new team next issue.

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Overall I agree about the Flash Rogues gallery. If somebody were to run a Silver and Bronze Age Flash Club, I’d sign up.

I admit though, I’m looking forward to the… let’s say, “possible” arrival of more of Superman’s villains in this particular comic.

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What I’m wondering is if DC will be digitizing DC Special Series #6 while it’s doing the regular series.

In my opinion, it is the best single issue of SSOSV.

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I’m hopeful that, based on the two hardcover volumes of this series that you can buy having all the issues including #16 and #17 as well as the one you mentioned here, that all these goodies will be digitized.

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I think it’s fine to have so many Flash villains. Next to Batman, he has perhaps one of the best rogues galleries in comics, although at least a few Batman villains would be nice to see.

Cool fight between Green Lantern and Mantis. This probably would make him one of the most dangerous adversaries GL has ever faced.

I think the artwork was slightly better than the writing, which was fine until Funky Flashman (Funky Flashman???) started speaking. That dialogue was so 70’s it was wearing bell bottoms!

Not much in the way of flying vehicles, but who knows what future issues will bring?

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What’s funny is the way they draw Funky Flashman reminds me of pictures I’ve seen of what David Anthony Kraft looked like at the time.

I’m going to look one more time for some kind of flying vehicle, I’ll be back later LOL.

Okay, I’m now going to show why I feel the artwork was not real sharp this time around and that the writing was a tad better, in my opinion.

Exhibit A:

I’ll show in a second why I think Captain Comet’s head is a bit too big in this panel, but look at the size of that fist, oh my goodness.

Exhibit B:

There’s just something odd about the proportion of Captain Comet’s head here in proportion to his body, at least again in my opinion.

Exhibit C:
Where do I start here

Again poor Captain Comet! Apparently his face is melting and the emblem on his chest is roaming around!

Exhibit D:

Someone pretending to be Grood

This is not Grood, whoever else it is!

Exhibit E:

Is this Superman dressing up as Darkseid for Halloween?

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Let’s just call this a photo finish, shall we?

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Speaking of the Seven Soldiers of Victory and Vigilante, I was a little surprised and perhaps even embarrassed to realize that the issue that marks the return of the Seven Soldiers of Victory to modern DC Comics in the Bronze Age is an issue I own, but didn’t even know it was in the issue… the main feature must have clouded my brain all these decades…


(1975)

This is also in our digital library here (I’m also getting the sense that gorillas were quite popular in the mid-70s).

Here’s the first page of the story, and what’s really cool is this isn’t exactly a reprint either!

This is actually an unused script from the early 40s by Joe Samashon that was supposed to be in Leading Comics #15 (July 1945) until the decision was made to change from Seven Soldiers of Victory over to funny animal stories.

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That’s pretty cool! I’ll have to check it out because I was always under the assumption that Len Wein brought them back in Justice League. It seems that DC was mulling it over before then.

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I still have to post my week four answers. I will probably read issues 4 and 5 together and answer them at the same time. I’m just a little behind!

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Never a problem, we do time travel here all the time!

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