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DC: The JSA has a Strange Adventure Coming...
Reported 29/04/2004
Source Newsarama
by Benjamin Ong Pang Kean

[Image: JSA-Str_Ad_t.jpg]DC’s original superhero team is heading back to the Golden Age in a tale by acclaimed novelist and The Saga of the Seven Suns: Veiled Alliances writer Kevin J. Anderson with art by recently exclusive DC artist, Barry Kitson.

Originally titled Justice Society: Lord Dynamo, the limited series has since been retitled JSA: Strange Adventures, “with a nice pulp-magazine looking logo,” according to Anderson. The August-debuting six issue miniseries is extra-sized, according to the writer. “It's a miniseries with six giant issues - 30 pages each. Since this is really a heartfelt homage to retro science fiction and the glory days of pulp magazines, it's more on target to emphasize the pulp aspect. Lord Dynamo is the continuing villain of this story arc, but the series isn't really ‘about’ him. Lord Dynamo is a new villain -- wonderfully pulpy and retro, flying around in a giant zeppelin studded with lightning rods - part Captain Nemo and part megalomaniac. A pulpish title more accurately reflects the feel of these books.”

Part homage as well, Strange Adventures features the comic book appearance of one of America’s earliest pulp magazine authors and the magazine that gave birth to the term “scientifiction,” or now known as science fiction or sci-fi. “This is a ‘classic’ Justice Society of America story, set in the early 1940s with the Golden Age JSA members -- Sandman, the Jay Garrick Flash, the Alan Scott Green Lantern, Wildcat, Starman, Star-Spangled Kid, Dr. Fate, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Atom and Johnny Thunder. Wonder Woman is also in the JSA. No Superman or Batman, though,” Anderson said. ”Johnny Thunder, the JSA's rather dimwitted gosh-wow ‘mascot,’ wants to be a writer for Amazing Stories magazine, one of the classic pulps of the ‘40s. But his writing is terrible -- however, the editor of Amazing sees this as his opportunity to get the real inside story of the famed JSA superheroes. So he has his best writer, Jack Williamson, team up with Johnny to teach him how to write... and to follow him on his adventures. I got permission from the real Jack Williamson - who's a grand master, multiple-award-winning writer -- 96 years old - to use him in the story, and also permission from the owner of Amazing Stories to use their magazine.”

The brainchild of legendary publisher and editor Hugo Gernsback, Amazing Stories magazine was first published in April 1926. It was a classic pulp magazine and was one of the pioneers of science fiction in the United States. Early stories were reprints of Edgar Allan Poe, H. G. Wells and Jules Verne tales as well as supporting stories by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Philip Francis Nowlan (Buck Rogers) and Alpheus Hyatt Verrill (The Radio Detectives). Jack Williamson’s first published story, “The Metal Man,” appeared in the December 1928 issue of Amazing Stories. Asked what his fascination with the magazine is, Anderson clarified one point. “Well, I certainly didn't grow up in the 1940s! But Amazing is a cornerstone in the history of science fiction. Its first issue was released in 1926 and was the very first science fiction magazine. The editor, Hugo Gernsback, who is also a character in JSA: Strange Adventures, invented the term ‘scientifiction’ which he later shortened to ‘science fiction.’ Science fiction's highest award, the Hugo, is named after him. After a several-year hiatus, Amazing is resuming publication again this summer, coincidentally right around the time when this series hits the stores.

[Image: JSA001004_t.jpg]“Jack [Williamson] was one of the most popular SF writers in the golden days of the pulp magazines, which is why I used him as a main character here. His first story was published in Amazing in 1928 and, even though he is 96 years old, he still publishes a new novel just about every year, and last year he won the coveted Nebula Award for one of his shorter works. He's also won the Hugo Award, has been declared a Grand Master of Science Fiction, and is a past president of the Science Fiction Writers of America. If you don't know who Jack is, you should. I've known Jack personally for about fifteen years. He is a kind gentleman and very talented. When I was developing this storyline, I wrote to Jack and asked if I could use him as a character; he readily agreed, saying that he himself used to read the JSA comics when he was much younger. I have also written several pieces for Amazing Stories in its various incarnations -- Brian Herbert and I published the first-ever original Dune short story in Amazing -- and I know the publisher and editor well. DC thought it would be impossible to get legal permission to use Amazing, but the publisher was also very enthusiastic - turns out he's a JSA fan as well.”

As for Anderson, who’s also writing the new Starjammers for Marvel Comics, he’s also a fan of the JSA. “I remember the old series set in WWII- Last Days of the Justice Society from 1986 - when Hitler got his hands on the Spear of Destiny, thereby preventing the superheroes from going to fight in Europe. I had to dodge around that for my story here, and still remain true to the continuity. I also read some of the classic All-Star Comics from the ‘40s, which were basically solo adventures instead of teamwork. My favorite batch, though, was a revival series of All-Star and Adventure in 1999 written by James Robinson and David Goyer.

“I love the classic versions of Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, etc. Setting the story in the 1940s allows me to play up on a sense of wonder that I just don't think is available in a modern-day setting. Indiana Jones would feel at home here. Since this is set during WWII, the JSA members are precluded from fighting against Hitler because of the Spear of Destiny (the original reason for why the superheroes couldn't just fly over to Europe and kick Nazi butt and end the war in a few days). So, technically, they are supposed to stay at home and guard the country.Barry Kitson brings a majesty to this time period and these grand golden-age heroes that I've never seen before. In his own words, Barry says ‘the superheroes feel 'at home' in this era - it somehow seems to me they are given weight and presence by being shown in the era in which they were conceived.’ I took the pencils and immediately went to show them to my wife and frequent co-author. This is why I like writing comics!”
From the title I originally thought it was a JSA/Adam Strange crossover in homage to the classic space hero's old series.

But instead I've been happily surprised. I'm as much as pulp geek as I am a Golden Age freak. I can't wait for this promising series.

Glenn Walker

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