DC Superhero Super Teams 1960-1980 – WIF Graphic Novels

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DC Superhero Teams

You May Never Heard Of

(Circa 1960s-80s)

From the Cowboys and the Steelers of the 70s, to perhaps the greatest professional football team of all time in the 80s, the 49ers, throughout history there have been the existence of some truly great teams but perhaps none greater than DC’s greatest superhero team of all time, The Justice League. But what about the other greatest superhero teams you’ve never heard of? Below is a list of the top 10 greatest DC superhero teams you’ve never heard of from the late 1960s to the decade of my childhood, the 1980s. Enjoy.

10. The Wanderers


The Wanderers made their first appearance in Adventure Comics #375 in December of 1968. While they have been considered by many as a smaller version of the Legion of Super-Heroes, they actually started out as a group of villains. Led by Re-Animage, their group has consisted of several members including Dartalon, Elvar, Aviax, Psyche and the Quantum Queen. Their biggest storyline came when they were presumed dead after being killed by their arch nemesis’ mad wife, Clonus. But, after the dust had settled, we came to find out that they were cloned and were able to live on through their clone selves and even solve their own murders.

9. The Forever People


After appearing in February 1971 in the comic of their own name, the team held several adventures throughout New Genesis while traveling on a huge Super-Cycle that could fly, pass through objects and teleport.

Throughout the years members have included Mark Moonrider, who carries the Megaton Touch, which emits energy; Big Bear, who not only has a ferocious look but superhuman strength; Beautiful Dreamer, a pure knockout that can create illusions; Vykin the Black with his magnetic powers; and Serifan, who can create force fields and anti-gravity waves with his Cosmic Cartridges.

Among some of their greatest adventures include the time they found themselves stranded on the planet of Adon. And along the way, love found its way into connecting Beautiful Dreamer with not one but two members of the team, Big Bear and Mark Moonrider.

8. The Freedom Fighters


Although the Freedom Fighters may be a team you have never heard of, their leader is unquestionably someone you have, unless you are un-American. Uncle Sam, a DC version of the government figure created to instill the red, white and blue spirit in all of us, leads a ragtag group of superheroes including Hourman I, Magno, Red Torpedo and Miss America.

They made their first appearance in Justice League of America #107 in October of 1973 when Uncle Sam put the group together for a failed attempt at turning back the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the event that brought the U.S. into the second World War. Sadly, during the attack, not only were Red Torpedo and Hourman I captured, but Magno and another member, Neon The Unknown were killed.

7. All-Star Squadron


Don’t let the name fool you. The All-Star Squadron has had some of the biggest name in DC history, but the team itself is one you’ve probably never heard of. Over the years, members have included several Justice League members, such as Green Lantern, Plastic Man, Hawkgirl and Hawkman. But their longest standing and most associated members include Commander Steel, Johnny Quick and Liberty Belle.

They made their first appearance in Justice League of America #193 in August 1981, not to mention a more youthful incarnation that debuted in June 1987 in Young All-Stars #1. Among the younger version of the team were the atomic punching Dyna-Mite, the powerful Fury and the furry winged Flying Fox.

Although they have had many great adventures, one of the greatest stories ever told happened a little over a year after their debut. In a multi-issue arc that saw the All-Star Squadron team up with the Justice League of America to prevent the Squad’s arch nemesis, Per Degaton, from unleashing a nuclear nightmare and altering the course of history.

6. The Global Guardians


The Global Guardians have had some great stories written about them and their adventures, but their original claim to fame was becoming the first truly global super hero team. Debuting in June of 1982 in DC Comics Presents #46, their members have been from all over the world.

Most of their members debuted as stand alone super heroes nearly thirty years before joining together. When I say that this team was truly global, there really is no better way to describe them. Over the years, their members have been from Denmark, Ireland and Africa, just to name a few locales.

What has been most amazing, as comics tend to try and do, these global super heroes, some from opposing countries, have been able to put aside those differences and put Earth’s needs first. During the 80’s, as the Cold War was heating up, DC was able to successfully join together Owlman from the United States of America and Tundra from Mother Russia. Perhaps comics had a bigger part in ending the Cold War than we previously thought.

5. Young All-Stars


I touched on them a bit earlier, but they do truly deserve their own spot on this list. As previously mentioned, The Young All-Stars made their debut in June 1987 in issue #1 of Young All-Stars. Like The Global Guardians, The Young All-Stars also made history, by becoming the first teen super hero team.

Even though The Young All-Stars debuted in 1987, their timeline was set during World War II during 1942. Dan the Dyna-Mite, Fury 1, Flying Fox and Neptune Perkins are just a few of their members over the years. The team was originally assigned to simply sell war bonds during the Second Great War, but that changed quickly as they began fighting such villains as Per Degaton, Deathbolt and the Ultra-Humanite.

4. The Hero Hotline


The Hero Hotline is just exactly what it sounds like. While other super heroes are off fighting super villains like Lex Luthor or The Joker and are not available, all anyone needs to do to find a substitute superhero is simply dial 1-800-555-HERO. The Hero Hotline first debuted in Action Comics Weekly #637, in January of 1988.

Based out of New York City, the hero hotline includes such heroes as Diamondette, Hotshot, Microwave Mom, Mr. Muscle, Private Eye, Stretch, Voice-Over and 500Z-Q. The Hero Hotline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and handles emergencies beyond the normal range.

The Hero Hotline was originally founded by Tex Thomson and has since been maintained by the mysterious Coordinator. After hours emergencies are handled by the more than capable night crew which includes Chlorino, Marie the Psychic Turtle, Rainbow Man, Thunderhead and Zeep the Living Sponge.

3. The Blasters


The Blasters made their debut back in 1988 in Invasion #1. During an alien invasion of Earth, scientists kidnapped 50 humans and forced them to walk through a minefield. The humans that were able to survive this event did so by manifesting latent metagene powers. Those that did survive formed a wandering superhero team that came to be known as The Blasters.

The group cruised the the galaxies, piloted by the attractive, feline humanoid alien known as Churljenins. The group which was led by Lucas “Snapper” Carr, also consisted of Dust Devil, Looking Glass, Crackpot, Jolt, Frag, Gunther and Mrs. Levy.

During one of their more famous missions, they were able to foil a plot by a criminal organization known as The Spider Guild as they were attempting to sell black market weapons on Earth. During a near fatal attempt to help fellow superhero Valor escape from being imprisoned, The Blasters decided to disband. Shortly after this, Lucas “Snapper” Carr, after being captured Khund thugs, had his hands cut off, which robbed him of his super power of teleportation. Although his hands have since been restored, the team has yet to join back together for any further adventures.

2. The Newsboy Legion


At this point, there have been a couple iterations of the young superhero team, known as The Newsboy Legion. The original Newsboy Legion first debuted in Star Spangled Comics #7 in April of 1942. That original team consisted of Anthony “Big Words” Rodriguez, John “Gabby” Gabrielli, Patrick “Snapper” MacGuire and Thomas “Tommy” Thompkins.

Interestingly enough, the second Newsboy Legion, which debuted in 1988 during Superman Annual 2nd Series #2, consisted of clones of all four original members of the original Newsboy Legion in addition to new members, Roberta “Famous Bobby” Harper and Walter “Flip” Johnson.

The Newsboy Legion members were adopted by police officer Jim Harper, as he hoped to help them avoid a hard knock life of living on the streets in Metropolis’s Suicide Slums. Throughout their adventures, The Newsboy Legion found themselves being rescued on more than one occasion by fellow super hero, The Guardian. The interesting part in that, is that The Guardian was none other than Jim Harper, the same man that had rescued the team from a life on the streets. He turned out to be their guardian in more than one way.

1. The Secret Six


The Secret Six first appeared in Action Comics Weekly #601 in May of 1988. The Secret Six were an undercover operative team consisting of LaDonna Jameal, Tony Mantegna, Mitch Hoberman, Dr. Maria Verdugo, Luke McKendrick and Vic Sommers.

The team spent most of their time fighting crime and defendingdemocracy, ultimately serving a covert U.S. government group known as The Agency. After many successful missions, the team retired, but then several years later, rejoined in order to help train a new group of operatives. While on a flight, heading to their new training mission, the flight went down, as it was later learned to be sabotaged. Only one of the six survived.

DC Superhero Teams

You May Never Heard Of

(Circa 1960s-80s)

Superheroes of Summer – WIF Underrated Movies

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Original Superhero Movies

There isn’t much that’s going to outsell a superhero at the movie theater box office these days, so it makes sense for filmmakers to raid the comic book archives for the next big franchise. After all, comic book heroes come complete with storylines and a built in audience. However, there are a few bold filmmakers who made movies about original masked crime fighters created solely for the big screen. It doesn’t always work out, but when it does, it works out incredibly well.

10. Special

Les Franken, played by Michael Rapaport, is a quiet and lonely parking attendant who loves comic books. He decides to volunteer for an experimental antidepressant test and after a few days, he notices that the drugs have given him superpowers. Unfortunately for Les, the doctor running the experiment, as well as his own friends, claim this is all in his head and he’s just having a psychotic reaction.

Les doesn’t believe them and tries to fight crime using his “powers,” which include the ability to float, telepathy, and teleportation. Throughout the film, it’s hard to say if Les really has powers, or if anything that happens in the movie is real. It’s a combination of dark, funny, and oddly uplifting as Les tries to live out his fantasy of becoming a crime fighting hero in a world that doesn’t believe in him.

9. Defendor

Woody Harrelson stars in this masked vigilante movie as Arthur Poppington, who dons a black helmet and wears black make-up to become Defendor. Arthur was set on the path to fight crime after his mother left him when he was just a child, and later she died from a drug overdose.

When Arthur asked his grandfather who was responsible for killing his mother, his grandfather said “Captain Industry.” Showing an absurdly poor grasp on what that actually means, Arthur thinks that Captain Industry is a man named Radovan Kristic, and as an adult, tries to take down the man he’s somewhat arbitrarily and wildly misguidedly selected as his nemesis. He becomes Defendor and spends his nights attempting to put away Radovan, as well as a crooked cop he has in his employment.

8. Super

This darkly comedic film from James Gunn, who would go on to directGuardians of the Galaxy, follows the adventures of Frank Darbo. Frank – played by Rainn Wilson – is a short order cook with a beautiful wife who just happens to be a drug addict. She eventually leaves him for a slimy strip club owner, played by Kevin Bacon, who was the person who got her addicted to drugs in the first place.

After his wife leaves him, Frank sinks into a depression, only to be lifted out of his state of despair when he’s inspired by a superhero on a public-access television show on the All-Jesus Network. That’s when he makes a costume and becomes the Crimson Bolt. He hits the street and fights “crime” by hitting people in the face with a pipe wrench. Eventually, rather than getting immediately locked up, he somehow gets a sidekick named Boltie, and the pair tries to take on the strip club owner in order to win back Frank’s wife.

7. The Toxic Avenger

For more than 40 years, Troma Entertainment has been distributing and producing B-movies that are equal parts campy and gruesome. Their most famous film, which is used in their logo, is 1984’s The Toxic Avenger. The origin story of the Toxic Avenger is that he was a 98-pound weakling named Melvin Ferd, who worked as a janitor at a health club.

At the club, four gym members torment Melvin and after a particularly nasty prank, he jumps out of the health club’s window and lands in a barrel of toxic waste, leaving him burned and disfigured. He begins to transform into a large mutant with super strength and a heightened sense of awareness that tells him where crimes are occurring. Using his trusty mop, he sets out to clean up the streets of the fictional Tromaville, New Jersey. The film was a hit for the small independent film company, spawning three sequels, an animated television series, and a musical stage production.

6. Boy Wonder

One night when he was a child, Sean Donovan was out with his mother and abusive, alcoholic father, when the family is set upon by carjackers, and his mother is killed before his eyes. Jump ahead a few years to Sean as a teenager, and it’s clear that he’s incredibly bright, and even speaks fluid Mandarin. Not only is he smart, he’s also fast and lean, having trained as a boxer for years. But as you might expect from someone who watched his mother get murdered, he’s also deeply disturbed.

Sean’s withdrawn and quiet, spending most of his time looking at mug shots in search of his mother’s killer. One day the quiet teenager stops a crime in progress and doles out an extremely violent punishment on the perpetrator. This sets the wheels in motion for Sean to begin a mission of vigilantism and personal revenge as his life spins out of control, trying to right wrongs while searching for his mother’s killer as the police frantically try to track him down.

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5. Darkman

After the success of Evil Dead II, director Sam Raimi was looking for a film to make with a major Hollywood studio, originally setting his sights on famed comic and radio character The Shadow. When he couldn’t get the rights, he chose to make his own character. Darkman was born, and played by Liam Neeson decades before people realized what an enormous badass Neeson really is.

Darkman’s real identity is Dr. Peyton Westlake, a scientist who developed a new synthetic skin to help people with acid burns. One day, some bad guys come to Peyton’s lab looking for a document that his girlfriend left behind. To get Peyton to tell them where the document is, they burn him with acid and blow up his lab. He survives, but not without suffering full body burns. To help manage his agony, a doctor severs the ends of his nerves, leaving him invulnerable to pain. He breaks out of the hospital and uses his synthetic skin to help him set off on a path of revenge.

The movie was a moderate success at the time, but was overlooked for years – at least, until Raimi helped kick off the current superhero renaissance with Spider-Man. It’s since become a newly rediscovered cult classic.

4. Unbreakable

One of the most thought-provoking superhero movies of all-time, M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable is an atmospheric movie that has barely any action. That alone sets it apart from most other films in the genre.

The movie opens with a man named David Dunn emerging from a train crash as the lone survivor – not only alive, but without a scratch. After the accident, David meets a man named Elijah Price. Elijah is an incredibly fragile man, sickly and brittle to the point where he earned the nickname Mr. Glass as a child. Elijah’s looking for a man on the other end of the spectrum, and discovers his match in David. Unbreakable is a fascinating look at the world of superheroes and villains, and how they might realistically fit into the real world.

3. The Incredibles

This loving send-up of the superhero genre from Pixar Studios is about what happens when superheroes try to settle down and live average lives. Bob and Helen Parr – formerly known as Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl – have three kids, all of whom have powers. After being forced into a boring, suburban retirement, Bob gets an itch to start fighting crime again. Eventually, he’s given his shot thanks to a mysterious benefactor he later realizes is a supervillain he unintentionally helped create years before. The villain, Syndrome, was Mr. Incredible’s biggest fan as a child, but after Bob shunned him it set him down a dark road that culminates in a plan to kill off superheroes and claim his own fame and fortune.

The Incredibles wowed audiences of all ages and impressed the critics, boasting the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of any superhero movie and winning an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film. Brad Bird, who wrote and directed the first film, is currently writing a sequel.

2. Chronicle

Chronicle follows three high school seniors, Andrew, Matt and Steve, who find a glowing crystal in a hole in the forest. After interacting with the crystal, they gain superpowers that include telekinesis and flight. Their powers develop, but Andrew – a meek, quiet kid whose mother is dying of cancer and whose father is an abusive drunk – quickly becomes the most powerful of the group. With his troubled past, it doesn’t take long for the frequently bullied Andrew to turn down a dark path toward villainy.

Andrew’s story is one of the most sympathetic origin stories for a villain in the superhero genre. It’s a fascinating look at what happens when certain individuals are given god-like powers, and also makes the viewers to ask themselves if they’d use such powers for good? Or smite those who have wronged them?

1. RoboCop

RoboCop is the 1987 Paul Verhoeven classic starring Peter Weller as Alex Murphy, a dedicated cop in the not-too-distant future of crime-ridden Detroit. The city makes a deal with a mega-corporation, called Omni Consumer Products, which plans on automating the police force in exchange for the right to develop high-rise apartments. Since OCP is running the police force, they look at more effective ways to do so, moving forward with the RoboCop program.

When Murphy is killed in the line of duty, his body and remaining consciousness are fused together with the RoboCop suit, creating a cyborg super-cop. Eventually, his memories and soul begin to overtake the robot side of himself and he sets out to find the people who tried to brutally murder him. This film has one of the more interesting connections to comic books, in that the films actually did inspire a comic book, and a number of original RoboCop series have been published in the ensuing years.

Superheroes of Summer

– WIF Underrated Movies