Seven Soldiers of Victory, part 6: the conclusion of the Lost Story!

Adventure Comics #443, February 1976

The back-up feature is an unpublished saga of the Seven Soldiers of Victory – written in the Golden Age but never rendered and completed until 1975.Adventure 443 splash

Part Seven: The Seven Soldiers of Victory

“Confrontation”

Writer: Joseph Samachson

Penciler/Inker: Dick Dillin, Inker: Tex Blaisdell

Editor: Joe Orlando

Returning from their separate adventures in the Land of Magic, the Seven Soldiers of Victory confront Willie Wisher and fight off all his attempts to stop them: a steel wall, vicious gorillas and a gang of human thugs!

Instead of fighting, the SSOV convince Wisher that, although his intentions are good, he can cause evil. Wisher feels so guilty he wishes he had never been born …

Poof!

Jon Shoman concludes his film (remember?) of the battle to boos and accusations of fraud. It seems only he remembers Wisher. Vigilante remembers Wisher’s words in the movie – “Willie said he’d make sure we’d never forget him…” Perhaps this film was his way of ensuring that, they reason.

Crimson Avenger asks what if Wisher only disappeared and this was all another trick – how will Law’s Legionnaires stop him next time?

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Pure pure fun! I loved it! Were there other stories tucked away in DC’s files, unpublished? Were they as bad as this? 😉

Thanks for joining me! To read the other Chapters, you can search for “Seven Soldiers”  in the browser on my webpage. Join me again for more Back Pages.

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About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

 

 

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Seven Soldiers of Victory, part 5: The Vigilante!

Adventure Comics #442, December 1975

The back-up feature is an unpublished saga of the Seven Soldiers of Victory – written in the Golden Age but never rendered and completed until 1975.

Adventure 442 splashPart Six: Vigilante

“Gnome Man’s Land”

Writer: Joseph Samachson

Penciler: José Luis García-López, Inker: Mike Royer

Editor: Joe Orlando

Vigilante finds himself literally in the center of a battlefield of … very tiny people. They stop when they see Vigilante in their midst. They explain: one group believes a straight line is the shortest distance between two points; the other that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line! Vigilante says that sounds “plum loco” and the battle resumes!

Vigilante tries to rope and shoot the warriors, but they shrink and stretch out of the way! The attackers boo and hiss each other, then turn on Vigilante – who has the nerve to use actual weapons!

While imprisoned, Vigilante discovers HE can stretch, too!  He quickly escapes. Returning to the battlefield, Vigilante turns himself into a giant housefly and scares the combatants into surrendering.Adventure 442 weirdness

Through singing a rondo, Vigilante helps the combatants realize they actually agree and stops the war. He stretches through a crack in the ground to return to earth.Adventure 442 singing

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Just when this series can’t get any weirder, Vigilante turns into Mitch Miller and choir-directs the gnome armies to a lasting peace. Plus, he can stretch like Plastic Man…

I love every panel…

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About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

 

 

Seven Soldiers of Victory, part 4: the Star-Spangled Kid & Stripesy!

Adventure Comics #441, October 1975

The back-up feature is an unpublished saga of the Seven Soldiers of Victory – written in the Golden Age but never rendered and completed until 1975.

Adventure 441 splashPart Five: The Star Spangled Kid and Stripesy

“Dead End Animals!”

Writer: Joseph Samachson, Penciler/Inker: Ernie Chua (Chan), Colorist: Carl Gafford

Editor: Joe Orland

The Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy drop (literally) into the Land of Magic. Hearing a fight in a nearby club, they see animals in human clothing walking, talking and fighting! The animals – dressed and speaking as a juvenile gang, attack and subdue SSK & Stripesy.

They awake tied to a chair, and trick their rat guard in leaving so their friend, a lion, can untie them. The chair walks away – even the furniture act human!

Star Spangled Kid plants a torch and matches in the pouch of a kangaroo and then sets fire to the club. The furniture evacuate the building and spot the planted evidence. The furniture and the animal gangs fight it out.

The furniture win the battle and make the animals vow to be good or else. To thank our heroes for helping reform the Dead-End Animals, the lion asks his friend the whale to give SSK and Stripesy a lift back to earth.

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This stuff is just getting weirder and weirder …

The “Dead End Animals” are based on the Dead-End Kids, later morphing into the “Bowery Boys”, stars of dozens of comedies. Ironically, the Bowery Boys were never made into a comic book (at least not in my searching!); odd – Huntz Hall and Leo Gorcey would have fit in perfectly in a 1950’s DC/TV humor comic (ala Sgt Bilko, Jackie Gleason, etc.)

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The letter column contains two positive reviews of the then-debuting SSOV storyline. I got this issue off the stands, being a big Aquaman fan even then.  I had not heard of the Seven Soldiers at the time and this weird back story picqued my interest. It took me many decades to gather up all these issues!

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About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

Seven Soldiers of Victory, part 3: the Crimson Avenger

Adventure Comics #440, August 1975

The back-up feature is an unpublished saga of the Seven Soldiers of Victory – written in the Golden Age but never rendered and completed until 1975.

Adventure 440 splashPart Four: The Crimson Avenger

“Kings Make a Full House!”

Writer: Joseph Samachson, Penciler/Inker: Mike Grell, Inker: Ben Oda, Editor: Joe Orlando & Paul Levitz

Crimson Avenger and Wing discover streams of water that makes them grow to giant size or shrink to the size of blades of grass. They experiment to get themselves back to normal.

They spot a collapsing castle. Growing to giant size, they prop up the castle to prevent any damage.

The castle’s owner, King Mistybrain objects to their saving his castle. He has visitors – other kings – who refuse to leave and collapsing the castle is the only way to get them to leave! The Crimson Avenger and Wing offer to help. One of the guests, King Adelbert, overhears and vows to stop our heroes!

He spikes our heroes’ drinks with the shrinking potion and tries to smash them on the dinner table. CA and Wing escape by tossing the salad and other food at the king until they can get to their growing potion.

Growing to giants, Crimson Avenger and Wing vow to find work for the lazy guests. At the mention of work, the kings run off. To thank them for their help, Mistybrain shows Crimson Avenger and Wing the direction out of the Land of Magic.

***

I’ve gotten rid of semi-permanent guests by demanding they chip in for the electric bill and rent. I therefore have first-hand knowledge that Crimson’s plan would have worked…

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A house ad announces this is the last issue starring the Spectre, ending the classic Fleisher-Aparo run. The run is reprinted in the series Wrath of the Spectre, with stories written but not completed (much like this Seven Soldiers of Victory tale) in Wrath… #4.

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Why was Wing never considered a member? He was in every adventure – they counted Speedy (and Stripesy, but he and SSK were more a team than a hero-sidekick). Was it a racist thing?

About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

 

 

Seven Soldiers of Victory, part 2: Green Arrow and Speedy!

Adventure Comics #439, June 1975

The back-up feature is an unpublished saga of the Seven Soldiers of Victory – written in the Golden Age but never rendered and completed until 1975.

Adventure 439 splash

Part Three: Green Arrow and Speedy

“Father Time’s Inn!”

Writer: Joseph Samachson, Penciler/Inker: Lee Elias, Editor: Joe Orlando & Paul Levitz

Green Arrow and Speedy enter the Land of Magic in front of Father Time’s Inn. They enter hoping to find a way home. They meet Father Time and his Boarders – heavenly bodies such as stars, moons, planets, etc. All of the Boarders are arguing.

Green Arrow and Speedy stop the erupting brawl, but are themselves knocked out my Mars and Mercury. They escape by turning Father Time’s hourglass upside down, thus reversing time and making the ropes untie themselves. Time goes all the way back to the beginning of Father Time and the heavenly bodies’ argument.

Father Time turns his hourglass back to normal and commands the constellations to attack Green Arrow and Speedy. After GA beats back Sagittarius and Cancer, he offers to help mediate the argument (the sun intentionally hid behind the earth to eclipse the new, shiny crescent moon).

Father Time rewards Green Arrow and Speedy by lending them a comet to return home.

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You know, reading through this plot synopsis had me thinking there may be a REASON this story sat in a drawer for thirty years…

The Statement of Ownership says the average number of issues sold were 144,055.

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What a coup to have Lee Elias draw this Green Arrow strip! He was GA’s regular artist during his 1959-1964 runs in Adventure Comics and World’s Finest! He is the co-creator of Eclipso … an eclipse was the reason for the argument in the story. Coincidence?

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About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!

 

 

The Seven Soldiers of Victory: the lost story!

A Bronze Age/Golden-Age hidden gem!

The Seven Soldiers of Victory (or Law’s Legionnaires) is DC Comics’ second super-hero team, following the Justice Society of America. Like the Justice Society, the membership of the Seven Soldiers is drawn from DC’s anthology comics: The Vigilante (Action Comics); the Crimson Avenger (Detective Comics); the Green Arrow and Speedy (More Fun Comics); the Shining Knight (Adventure Comics); and the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy (Star-Spangled Comics).

The Seven Soldiers of Victory appear in the first fourteen issues of Leading Comics.

A script by Joseph Samachson (co-creator of Martian Manhunter and Tomahawk) from the 1940s, in which the elflike Willie Wisher banishes the Soldiers to the “Land of Magic,” where they encounter various supernatural characters, was later serialized in 1975 in Adventure Comics #438–443, with each chapter illustrated by a different artist (Dick Dillin, Howard Chaykin, Lee Elias, Mike Grell, Ernie Chan, and José Luis García-López).

The first few issues of this story were overshadowed by the now-classic Fleisher/Aparo Spectre run as the main feature. Compared to those stories, nearly anything else would pale in comparison. But we fans of the back pages got a nice Golden Age gift!

Around this time, DC Comics had redrawn some Golden Age stories in their reprint books, but this was an unusual move for DC – taking a discovered script of third-tier characters (and except for Green Arrow, calling them third-tier is kind) and putting some of their best artists on it. It was a treat for Bronze Age readers. This story has not been reprinted that I know of – not even in the Seven Soldiers of Victory Archives (which in three volumes reprinted all the Leading Comics issues).

A truly hidden Bronze Age gem.

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Adventure 438 splashAdventure Comics #438, April 1975

The Seven Soldiers of Victory

“Land of Magic!”

Writer: Joseph Samachson, Penciler: Dick Dillin, Inker: Tex Blaisdell, Editors: Joe Orlando & Paul Levitz

John Shoman, philanthropist, introduces the first film he has produced – the Seven Soldiers of Victory gather and ask each other who called the meeting. It was Willie Wisher. The elfin Wisher can make anything happen simply by wishing it. He brings in John Shoman and a film crew and decides to send the 7 to the Land of Magic for their new adventure.

Dick Dillin, at that time rendering the adventures of the Justice League of America, was a canny choice for the opening salvo in this team adventure, and his workman-like style did not disappoint!

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Shining Knight 438The Shining Knight

“Knight After Knight!”

Writer: Joseph Samachson, Penciler/Inker: Howard Chaykin, Editors: Joe Orlando & Paul Levitz

The Shining Knight lands Winged Victory near a castle reminiscent of Camelot. He overhears that the magician living in the castle is keeping a fair maiden captive – the Princess of Twin Oaks. The Shining Knight vows to rescue her!

He fights his way into the castle before seeing his own image in a mystic mirror. His reflection steps out of the mirror and does battle with the Shining Knight.  They are too evenly matched and wear each other out. When the evil magician tries to capture the Knight, he pretends to be the reflection. Not knowing which is the real Knight, the magician locks them both into the dungeon.

The Shining Knight escapes his bonds and confronts the magician. The wizard explains that the Princess of Twin Oaks is a prize sow promised to him before the farmer reneged. The magician vows to do no further harm and Shining Knight’s doppelganger tells Knight that the mystic mirror can return the Knight to any location he wishes.

The Shining Knight and Winged Victory use the mirror to go back to Willie Wisher and to find his fellow Soldiers.

Legendary artist Howard Chaykin lent his pencils to this segment – superb art reminscent of the Shining Knight’s former pen man Frank Frazetta!

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About the author: Michael Curry is the author of the Brave & Bold: From Silent Knight to Dark Knight, The Day John F Kennedy Met the Beatles and the award-winning Abby’s Road, the Long and Winding Road to Adoption and How Facebook, Aquaman and Theodore Roosevelt Helped.  Check his website for more releases! Thanks for reading!