Posts tagged golden age
So, this week marks the debut of the Avengers movie. From all impressions it looks like it’ll be pretty great, awesome and (insert gushing adjective here). I was a little weirded out by the choices of characters to include, though. Sure, Hulk, Captain America, Iron Man & Thor I can get. Heck Hawkeye is a good fit too, but I don’t know why anyone would pick Black Widow over Ant-Man & the Wasp. I mean, the Black Widow is a character who has less than 20 appearances in her entire 70+ year history! So, in my never-ending quest to inform the public, I present to you the (balls-out crazy) origin of… The Black Widow!
Our story opens in the parlor (get it) of Madame Claire Voyant. At first I thought this was a stage name for the character, but no it’s the real name of a psychic medium. I love you, Golden Age. Anyway, Claire is going to help a well-to-do family’s widow see her dead husband. They all sit around the table, seance-style when all of a sudden, the image of Satan himself appears and freaks everyone right the heck out. You see this isn’t any of Claire’s psychic chicanery, it’s ‘ol Scratch himself! Not only that, he’s there to pretty much screw with everyone in the room. As you’ll see, when the widow starts accusing Claire’s antics as a farce, Lucifer does his thing and a bunch of lives are set on an odd course.
“Does that mean presents? Oh, you said Satan, my bad.”
Of course, the Waglers don’t believe a word, which I would normally be 100% behind, but man, Satan was right there! On the way home the car hits an unexplained skid. and well, things play out as you might expect except for one small detail…
Man, Satan is a dick.
And so, the next step of Beelzebub’s wonderfully circuitous plan is unfurled. James is hell-bent (see what I did there) on getting revenge for his imagined slight, so he heads back to Claire’s home. The story doesn’t explain how James knows where she lives, or how he gets there when his only transportation has become a smoldering wreck. I am just going to chalk it up to “demonic intervention” and let it lie. Anyway, James in his oh-so stylish vertically striped pants guns Claire down in her home. Of course, it isn’t that simple…
I’m starting to think that man in red there may not be entirely a good guy.
James hoofbeats it out of there and Satan takes Claire’s corpse to h-e-double hockey sticks. When there, he places Clair on an altar and starts a “mystic rite”. He also invokes the “almighty evil”. Now I dunno, but since Satan is supposed to be the ruler of hell and all of its minions, you’d think that he himself is the almighty evil, but what do I know. Anyway, flames envelop Claire’s body as Satan commands her to rise again as…
There is something about this image that hits all the right creepy buttons for me.
So OK, let me get this straight. Satan goads a family into killing Claire so he can have her as his instrument on Earth? He should have cut out the middleman, he is freaking Satan after all. Maybe he had to do things the way he did to ensure that she’d have a proper mindset, but whatever. Anyway, Lucifer goes on a bit of a big speech about how awesome he and hell are, while giving Claire a tour. It shows some pretty graphic depictions of pain and suffering (for the Golden Age anyway), including the fate of people who commit suicide (turned into trees of suffering). He then goes on to tell the Black Widow that this is nothing in comparison to what he has in store for her. The Black Widow seems cool with that, though she does ask for permission to kill her killer. Satan is all like, of course, my dear, kill in my name!
So the scene cuts to the docks, where James is wallowing in his despair. You can’t really blame the guy, seeing as Satan completely screwed up his life. As a matter of course, the Black Widow shows up, and the results are what you may expect, that is, if you were expecting a flaming touch that equals instant death!
Luckily, they left out the panel where the Black Widow mated with him before the killing.
With that, Satan hits the “recall” button and the Black Widow returns to his side in a flash of flame. This attracts the attention of a local beat cop who finds the body of James lying on the docks. He is dead, of course, but he also has his forehead marked with a black widow insignia, adding insult to (grievous) injury. Now, cops then weren’t like cops now, so he easily puts two and two together and realizes James was killed by a person with a black widow motif. We’re left to wonder if he starts a manhunt though, because we’re brought back to hell. Here, Satan finally unveils what his actual plan for the Black Widow is, and wow, it is a doozy…
What? The only evil-doers in this story were under Satan’s influence in the first place!
So you see, the Black Widow is a hero! Um, yeah tell me another one, guys. Anyway, as I mentioned before. Claire Voyant, aka the Black Widow had a total of only five Golden Age appearances and a couple of Silver Age cameos before returning in J. Michael Straczynski’s frankly amazing The Twelve. While I really enjoyed that series, I don’t see how that merits her inclusion in the Avengers movie. Oh! A thousand pardons. I guess I was misinformed and of course the Silver-Modern Age Black Widow is in Avengers, not this one. Well, I guess that means I owe you guys another Secret Origin tomorrow!
This story originally appeared in Mystic Comics #4, July 1940. To my knowledge, it has only been reprinted in the Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Mystic Comics – Volume 1.
Well, This is the last entry for Green Lantern month here at Secret Origins. It’s been a wild ride, but let’s be honest, most Green Lantern origins are startlingly similar. “Ooh I inherited a ring, I am gonna make giant boxing gloves and stuff now, I guess.” Today’s Lantern is decidedly different. Not only is he not a member of the Green Lantern Corps, but he’s also the prototypical Lantern. How can that be, you may ask? Well, it’s because he’s the first, and still one of the greatest. He’s Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern!
The story of the original Green Lantern starts eons ago with the Guardians of the Universe. One day, those “lovable” blue overlords created the Central Power Battery and the Green Lantern Corps themselves. This was considered good, but those wee totalitarians also decided to banish all magic in the universe into the heart of a star, because hey, why not? Eventually, the Starheart gained a kind of sentience, and broke a part of itself off, and it in turn found itself approaching a small blue/green world of little importance in the milky way galaxy. Gravity did its work and drew the fragment of the Starheart into the Earth. Smack dab into ancient China, specifically. When it landed, the Starheart made an ominous statement…
One man, named Chang the Lampmaker, was unafraid to approach the meteor. While many of the townsfolk were afraid of the glowing green rock (Kryptonians visiting ancient Earth maybe), Chang takes it and forms it into an ornate lamp. A historical note, here, Alan Scott was originally called Alan Ladd, evoking Aladdin and his lamp. At the time, there was a famous actor by the same name, so the publisher changed it at the 11th hour. Back to the story, the lamp itself looks pretty great, but because this is taking place in a time of extreme ignorance, the other villagers assume that Chang is an evil guy for messing with green fire. So when his work is complete, poor Chang doesn’t get to admire his handiwork for long…
And so, Chang dies. You might think this fulfills the prophecy that the Starheart recited earlier, in an ironic Twilight Zone twist, but you’d be wrong. This is comics, so as soon as one of Chang’s murderers touches the lamp, it emits its green flame and incinerates the attackers and the house when the murder took place. After that, the lamp passed through the hands of many owners. It brought luck and fortune to the good, and destruction to the wicked. That’s what I want out of my magic lamp, a moral compass. Eventually, the lamp made its way to 1940′s Gotham City, because yes, the city can exist without Batman. You’re forgiven for instantly thinking Batman though, because it does come into the possession of an inmate at Arkham Asylum. The inmate murdered his stockbroker after the 1929 crash, he also liked to work with metal, so he fashions the lamp into a train lantern. After this task is completed, the lamp decides after many centuries to fulfill the second part of the prophecy…
And so, the man inexplicably is allowed to walk free. What of the newly minted train lantern, though? Well, as luck would have it, it came to be used on a train! And while it took centuries for the second prophecy to be fulfilled, the third would only take a few days. We find Alan Scott and his assistant Jimmy Henton testing a new trestle bridge built by Scott’s company. Jimmy is concerned with a man named Dekker, who lost out on the bid for the bridge. Jim thinks Dekker is going to somehow sabotage things. Jimmy is a pretty astute guy, because the bridge is blown up. In the wreckage, Alan finds Jimmy dead, but what is in store for him will change his life forever…
The Starheart/Lantern continues with its spiel, tell Alan to fashion a portion of itself into a ring to be a focus for the power. As such, the ring must be touched to the lantern every 24 hours to recharge its link. To me, this actually makes more sense than the Corps’ version of the 24-hour limit where it seems much more arbitrary. Anyway, as Alan forms the ring, he has thoughts of revenge on Dekker, even contemplating murder. The ring has other ideas, though. It seems to give Alan some clarity of mind, and ultimately Alan decides to bring Dekker to justice rather than vengeance.
Alan is surprised to find himself streaking through the sky like a green comet, making a bee-line for Dekker’s “place of business”. Once there, Dekker immediately outs himself as the mastermind of the bridge explosion, going so far to say some of the overhead he’s going to charge the government when they’re forced to take his bid will cover the costs of the explosion itself. So yeah, he’s kind of a dick. At this point, Alan makes his appearance and freaks everyone right out by his method of entry.
Of course, bullets are pretty futile. Really now, the guy just walked through your wall! Do you really think bullets won’t go right through, too? Dekker is convinced Alan is just playing up the “superstitious, cowardly lot” aspect of villainy and tells his goons to keep at it. These thugs are apparently paid pretty well, because they comply, even though they aren’t very effective.
Even though he is full of green fighting fury, Alan is felled by a wooden paperweight, revealing his ring’s only weakness. Alan is a hearty specimen though. He gets right back on his feet, and although the ring isn’t working, his fists still do! He takes out the remaining thugs easily and it’s just down to Scott and Dekker…
Alan gets Dekker to submit, and flies him across the Grand Canyon, scaring the ever-loving crap out of the unscrupulous cretin. At this point, Alan makes him write a confession admitting all of his wrongdoing. I don’t think that this confession would be considered valid seeing that Dekker is obviously doing it because he’s being threatened. It really doesn’t matter though, because as soon as the confession is signed, Dekker dies of fright. Alan scoffs, saying it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Now don’t get me wrong, I like Alan Scott, but the way this is written, it really seems like Alan is just protecting his business interests rather than being truly heroic.
Thankfully, Alan Scott realizes that he has been given great power, and he can use it to help the weak and oppressed, because that’s what Golden Age heroes do, dammit! But to be a Mystery Man, he needs an alter ego. Using the source of his power as his new moniker, he dons one of the most
garish unique costumes ever…
After these humble beginnings, Alan Scott, aka Green Lantern, has had one of the most storied careers in comic history. Other than a brief hiatus, Alan has brought emerald justice to the world for nearly 70 years, and is still serving actively today. While DC Comics has said that they’re putting the Golden Age heroes, Alan included, to the side for a while, you can’t keep a good ring-slinger down. I’m certain that the first Green Lantern will grace many a comic page in the years to come!
This story was originally published in Secret Origins vol. 2 #18 September, 1987. It’s never been reprinted to my knowledge, so keep an eye on your back issue bins!
So this is it! After 13 weeks, we finally reach the end of the Green Hornet’s adventure! Will he and Kato emerge triumphant or does gangland have one final ace up their sleeve? You’ll never know unless you watch Chapter 13, Doom of the Underworld! (Wow, I hope that title doesn’t give anything away!)
So, The Green Hornet is over, but this column is not! Here is your chance to have a say in the content on this site. Below is a poll with a bunch of choices. To my knowledge most of these are in the Public Domain, so I can definitely post them. I am not too sure on Superman or Batman, but if they win, I’ll still put them up unless asked to remove them. My personal preference is for Captain America, because it’ll tie in nicely with the upcoming movie, but I’ll defer to the poll winner. See you next week with a new serial!
What Serial Would You Like to See Next?
- Captain America (100%, 1 Votes)
- Finish Captain Marvel! (0%, 0 Votes)
- Finish Zorro's Fighting Legion (0%, 0 Votes)
- Batman (0%, 0 Votes)
- Superman (0%, 0 Votes)
- The Green Hornet Strikes Again! (0%, 0 Votes)
- Other (Specify in Comments) (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 1
It’s the penultimate chapter of The Green Hornet! The war between the racketeers and the Hornet sways back and forth every weeks, but it seems like the forces of good are getting a foothold, thanks to some recent arrests. When we last left our heroes, they were involved in a thrilling scuffle on the rails, how will they get from that to what lies in store for them in Chapter 12: Panic at the Zoo?! Well, watch and find out! I’ll meet you back here next week for the final thrilling chapter!
Wow! So last week we mixed our usual two-fisted action with political intrigue! The mayoral race was being fixed, but Britt Reid uses his position as editor of the Daily Sentinel to demand a recount! It all culminated in a rendezvous with an armored car, dynamite and a dangerous mountain curve! While, it’s pretty much a given that the Hornet is going to escape relatively unscathed, you gotta wonder how. The armored car got blowed up real good! I can’t wait to see what happens next, can you!? Sit back and enjoy chapter 11 of The Green Hornet: Disaster Rides the Rails!
So, there are only a few weeks left in this serial. You would think it’d start getting stale now, so what do the serial writers do? They gave us a double cliffhanger! Not only has Axford got the Hornet trapped in a closet with deadly acid, he may also discover that the Hornet is really his pal Britt Reid! It’s a real corker how this one is resolved, so, get to watching! You don’t want to hear big gibbering anyway, not when there’s adventure to be had! Turn down the lights and watch Chapter 10 of the Green Hornet: Bullets & Ballots!
Last week, The Hornet was taken to the cleaners, literally! Now, the cops and the crooks are after The Hornet & Kato! I bet if the Black Beauty didn’t make a noise like a giant hornet it’d be easier to get away! As it is, this episode treats you to a thrilling car chase, but who know how it will end, but Britt Reid’s number may be up! Sit back and enjoy Chapter Nine of The Green Hornet: The Hornet Trapped!
The Hornet certainly has those racketeers on the run! Everyone is scrambling, and the Hornet and Kato are relentless! Why, even a collapsing bridge probably won’t be able to stop the Emerald Emancipator! Although, the people behind the rackets aren’t just going to give up, I’m sure they have something up their sleeves to give Britt Reid a run for his money! Guessing by this week’s title, there may be a bounty of some sort on the man. I’m on the edge of my seat, aren’t you? Let’s get the talky part out-of-the-way and jump straight into the action with Chapter 8 of The Green Hornet: Dead or Alive!
Things are actually looking pretty good for the Hornet this week! He got a confession out of Rockford, and was on the verge of breaking another racket, all he had to face for a cliffhanger was falling out of a 2nd story window! I bet he’s none the worse for wear, and at this moment is taking a well-deserved break from crime-fighting to have a nice tea time with Kato. Nah, I’m just pulling your leg! There’s sure to be more gunplay, car chases and derring-do in Chapter 7 of The Green Hornet: Bridge of Disaster! If nothing else, I’m willing to bet even money there will be a bridge facing some kind of disaster. Let’s watch and find out!
I don’t want to be an optimist, but so far, the Hornet has escaped an exploding car, survived a plane crash, gotten the best of a runaway train, and narrowly escaped a collapsing tunnel. Somehow, I think he’ll survive his car being set up as a time bomb. Sarcasm aside, even though we know the Hornet and Kato will survive, it’s still fun to see how they resolve seemingly unresolvable cliffhangers. But hey, you didn’t come here to listen to my spiel, you (hopefully) came to watch some exciting Green Hornet action, so let’s get to it!