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Thursday, August 16, 2012

The World's Greatest Superheroes PB

Today's my birthday, so naturally I'm in a mood to look back to my childhood (as if this whole blog isn't that!). So I searched out this little item, a book I remember my parents buying for me some time in the early 1980s (the book was published in 1982, so I bet it wasn't too long after that).

The World's Greatest Superheroes paperback reprints the first story arc from the same-titled newspaper strip, written by Martin Pasko and drawn by George Tuska and Vince Colletta. It featured Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Aquaman squaring off against Vandal Savage:
As you can see from the above pages, Aquaman doesn't come off all too well in this strip. He's mostly left behind to twiddle his thumbs up at the JLA Satellite, and at times writer Pasko almost seemed to be writing a parody, the Sea King is so bluntly dismissed by his fellow JLAers.

But, after laying unconscious for several strips, Aquaman awakens to deliver the final blow and save the day:
...yay Aquaman!

At the time I got this book, I'm sure I had no idea that this was originally a newspaper strip; I probably just figured it was a weird comic book. I loved comics in different forms (treasuries, digests, paperbacks) so seeing a JLA adventure in this way was a real kick--I distinctly remember sitting at the edge of a fountain, ripping through every page of this book as my parents wandered through the other stores.

And, not to put too much Significance on this one purchase, but I have to think it was stories like this cemented my love of Aquaman. I've generally always rooted for the underdog, and seeing Arthur treated so shabbily--only to deliver a decisive karate chop to Savage's neck--probably only put me on his side even more. Sadly, after this storyline, the strip focused almost entirely on Superman, which the paperback's cover was almost desperate to highlight.

If you're interested in seeing the entire WGSH storyline, click here--last year the Shrine ran the whole arc from beginning to end, in daily installments (and make sure you read the comments; they're almost better than the strip itself!)


BBNETMAN said...

Happy Birthday Buddy! I hope you have a great one!

Jorge PR said...

Happy brithday Rob! Have a great time! Best wishes!

And thanks for this, nice to see Aquaman saving the day for a change... and even better to see how he is aware of what the other JLers (and so many other people as well) think of him. Writers could have explored those feelings a bit more and make a great plot out of that.

Jorge PR said...

What I don't get is this: Aquaman wanted to prove worthy and good out of water to his fellow heroes (which I think is right), but suddenly he was knocked out, teleported and kidnapped, until Sups arrives. Ok, he finally waked up and knocks down the bad guy, but I wonder if he fulfilled his aim of proving himself to the others. I mean, I'm not sure that getting knocked out and kidnapped is a good way to show the others that he's good out of water. He didn't even get to leave the JLA Satellite and get to Earth! Not sure if they did him justice after all.

Laurie S. Sutton said...

I think I worked on the production of this book when I was an assistant to Joe Orlando in the Special Projects Department at DC. I certainly remember that cover! Later, I would end up being the editor of the WGSH newspaper strip with Paul Levitz as the writer.

Earth 2 Chris said...

Happy B-Day Rob!

I've only read the WGSH strip here, but I have always admired Tuska's Wonder Woman. Ahead of the curve with drawing her as sexy but powerful, like Alex Ross later on.


Andy Luckett said...

Happy birthday Rob!