DC Special Series #19: Secret Origins of the Super-Heroes
Never underestimate the power of nostalgia!
As a kid, I absolutely loved DC Digests. They were cheap, had a ton of pages, and were an important part of my childhood. I totally remember having these with me on the beach in summers. The digests also exposed me to a ton of DC characters I didn't know about. It was in digests that I read early JSA adventures, met the Silent Knight and Viking Prince, read the original Fatal Five arc where Ferro Lad died. It was here I also read the excellent Dr. Fate story by Pasko and Simonson.
And I learned the secret origins of heroes.
I had this DC Blue Ribbon Digest, Secret Origins of Super-Heroes. But officially, it is DC Special Series #19. And I remember having this and reading this as a kid. To be honest, this has to be the first place that I read the actual Supergirl origin story from Action Comics #252, reprinted here.
I have a number of reprints of Action Comics #252 but I had to buy this from the bargain box when I saw this in my local comic store. And mostly, because it is so heavy with memories that I felt like a Kid Anj again. Plus it does have a bunch of great stories in it!
It also sports a great cover by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano. Great little Supergirl in her seventies costume in the background.
They also really pack a lot of comic into a very tiny little space.
Here we get the classic Otto Binder/Al Plastino origin story but in this cute little package. I mean, I can easily scan two full pages!
I love this story.
This digest also introduced me to one of the oddball characters that I love from the DCU: the Manhawks!
From The Brave and the Bold #43, we have a Gardner Fox/Joe Kubert story which isn't the origin of Hawkman, but the origin of the Hawk police force on Thanagar. Why do they wear Hawk regalia? Because of this battle with the Manhawks.
Seriously, look at the last panel of Hawkman battling a Manhawk. That is fantastic!
And we even get new material! A new retelling of Wonder Woman's origin is done by writer Cary Burkett and legend Jose Delbo. It is great to see a more classic origin again, the masked Diana fighting in a tournament, and earning her passage to America. Incredible.
But listen to this murderers' row of great stories and creators.
Robin, from Batman #213, by E. Nelson Bridwell and Ross Andru.
The Legion's Ranzz family, from Superboy #172, by E. Nelson Bridwell and George Tuska.
Aquaman, from Adventure Comics #260, by Robert Bernstein and Ramona Fradon.
The Elongated Man, from Flash #12, by John Broome and Carmine Infantino.
And one of the many Superman/Batman World's Finest team origin, from World's Finest #94 by Ed Hamilton and Dick Sprang.
I always look for these digests. There is a Supergirl solo digest which I don't have!!