Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Unnecessary Guide to Seven Soldiers

I am continuing the Seven Soldiers discussion by giving y'all this little (unnecessary) guide to the characters of Seven Soldiers.

Grant Morrison is certainly not going to be hemmed in by past events during his stories, and you will not have to have read anything prior to the actual comic itself to understand/enjoy the books.

However, I figured it might be a little fun to throw together a little guide to the characters featured in Seven Soldiers.

The Shining Knight was created by Craig Flessel in 1941.

Sir Justin was a Knight of the Round Table who fell, along with his flying horse, Victory, into a pile of ice...and awoke in World War II!

He was a backup character for over 100 issues! He was drawn for a time by Frank Frazetta! Then he was basically non-existent from the 50s until now!

Here is what he looks like (from an appearance in All-Star Squadron in the early 80s).

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Klarion the Witch Boy made his first appearance in Jack Kirby's The Demon in the early 70s. He was one wonky dude. Here is his first appearance....

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Klarion pretty much went unnoticed in the DC Universe (save for a cameo appearance in a Wonder Woman arc) until Demon got a series again, seventeen years later!! Alan Grant loved Klarion, and used him a lot. After that series ended in the mid-90s, Klarion was used by Peter David as the impetus for a big crossover called "Sins of Youth," where Klarion makes all the teen superheroes adults and all the adult superheroes teens.

The Bulleteer is basically a reworked Bulletgirl. She is going to be based on out of continuity stuff, but if you want some background on Bulletgirl ANYways, here goes.

She appeared in one of the first dozen or so appearances of Bulletman in Fawcett's Master Comics, somewhere about 1941. She was Susan Kent, girlfriend to the star, Bulletman, who figured out his identity, and when given a helmet that let her fly like him, decided to also fight crime like him - as Bulletgirl!

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Their last appearance was somewhere in the late 40s, not to appear again until DC bought up all the old character and brought them into the DC Universe in the big Justice League America crossover of #135 or so (the same time Shining Knight was brought into the DC fold).

The Spawn of Frankenstein is probably THE most obscure characters featured in the Seven Soldier. He made his first appearance in an early 70s issue of Phantom Stranger. He is basically just the classic Frankenstein's Monster, just still traveling the world, getting into misadventures years and years later.

Here is the only cover appearance I could scrounge up...

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On the other hand, The Guardian is one of the more popular heroes on this list. He starred, alongside the Newsboy Legion (a gang of kids, heavily inspired by the popular Dead End Kids of film fame (if you've never seen Angels With Dirty Faces...you really should) for the first 60 or so issues of Star Spangled Comics in the 1940s, written by Joe Simon and drawn by Jack Kirby.

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When he took over Jimmy Olson almost thirty years later, Kirby brought the Newsboy Legion and the Guardian back. They were significant contributors to the Superman series of titles in the late 80s and early 90s, even becoming popular enough to get their own mini-series...

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Guardian was last used during Joe Kelly's run on Superboy. He was killed off, then brought back...I really do not know WHAT his status is.

Mister Miracle (Shiloh Norman), like Frankenstein and Klarion, made his first appearance in the early 70s. Shiloh was taken under the wing of the escape artist Scott Free (Mister Miracle) in the following issue...

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Scott began training Shiloh to succeed him, and eventually Shiloh did so...just nineteen years later...hehe.

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After that series ended, Shiloh eventually got out of the costume biz, and became the designed for the top supervillain prison on the DC Earth. He eventually became warden of the prison. That was the last time he was heard from (2001-ish) until now.

Zatanna is probably THE most popular hero here.

She is the daughter of the notable DC magician Zatara. Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson introduced her in an early 60s issue of Hawkman. She made a few appearances in this really neat "crossover" where she would visit different heroes' mags in a quest to find her missing father.

She made a few appearances here and there, which made it all the more surprising when she was picked by the fans in a poll to determine who was going to be the newest member of the Justice League! She beat out Supergirl!!

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Who knew that they could get an even more revealing outfit for a character who used to run around in fishnet stocking and a tux top!

She was a member of the Justice League until the Blue Beetle/Booster Gold era, and she has not been a member since.

Here's a shot of her other two costumes...

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She's just been hanging around, doing magic here and there since the 80s. Just recently, she was revealed to have given Doctor Light a mental lobotomy...but I sincerely doubt that Grant Morrison is going to refer to that.

Anyhow, there you go!

An unnecessary guide to Seven Soldiers (the first bookend is out TOMORROW!)!

While it was unnecessary, I still hope it was fun!!


Blogger Johnny B said...

Ths Shining Knight was brought back in at least three issues of Justice League back in the 70s, as part of the group which was named (by Len Wein) The Seven Soldiers of Victory. It wouldn't surprise me if he was included in the spinoff Freedom Fighters book which came after.

Klarion has popped up a lot since those Kirby issues, usually when someone wanted to use the Demon as a guest star; I know he appeared several times in the 80s Demon book, and he was in an issue of Chase.

2/22/2005 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger Johnny B said...

Oops, I just went back and read where you mentioned the 80s Demon appearances. My bad!

2/22/2005 09:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm waiting for the "Hey, Cronin, this is too nerdy" cries to start. Although the fact that it's about a Morrison comic will probably mitigate that.

Anyway, that issue of Chase was really weird to me, because I'd never heard of Klarion before. Morrison's rendition sounds like it will be nothing like that, at least from what he said in the interviews.

Brad (I can't log in to Blogger for some reason) Curran

2/22/2005 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

None of the images worked for me. Also, I liked Klarion when I saw him in Sins of Youth, mostly for the mix of evil and whimsy.

2/22/2005 10:24:00 PM  
Blogger Lex said...

More Seven Soldiers! Yay!

2/22/2005 10:27:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

I dunno about the pics. They're not pictures hosted on another site....

Ah well.

If they disappear again, it must be for a good reason, that I'm violating SOME rule...hehe.

2/23/2005 12:34:00 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

It looks like the images are linking to the C drive on a local computer as opposed to anywhere online...

2/23/2005 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger Ed Cunard said...

Tangognat is right -- the pictures are linked to a local hard drive, which is why only Brian can see them, the selfish prick.

For my image hosting, I use Photobucket, because anything else is too difficult for me.

2/23/2005 09:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Brad Curran said...

"--the pictures are linked to a local hard drive, which is why only Brian can see them, the selfish prick."

That sounds just like him. "Oh, I can see all of these pictures of the 7 Soldiers from old comics and you can't." Jerk.

2/23/2005 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

My blog jedi learned me well once again.

Thanks, Ed!

2/23/2005 07:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grant had an unbelievable year last year, and I tore through the preview material for his Seven Soldiers stuff like a rabid wolverclops at WonderCon.

It's a delight. It's just a beautiful piece of candy. I'd be surprised if anything in the mainstream could touch it in the coming year, I loved it that much.



2/23/2005 09:30:00 PM  
Blogger TCSmith said...

Brain, I think this is a pretty cool piece. It's got me pumped for 7 Soldiers!

2/24/2005 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

I'm pretty sure that Bulletgirl appeared in the pretty-but-dreadfully-dull Power of Shazam series. Reading that would be even less essential than this guide, though.

2/24/2005 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Johnny B said...

Oh, by the way- I meant to post this the other night and got so flummoxed after fucking up that Klarion item that I forgot-

The Spawn of Frankenstein ran in issues 23-29 of the Phantom Stranger's 70's comic. The first three were by Len Wein with Mike Kaluta on art, and were kind of a continuation of the Doctor Thirteen stories that they had been running as a backup feature in PS. It was set in the modern day, and had the Doctor running around trying to confront the revived monster about a friend's death (which of course he didn't commit). There was then the crossover with the Stranger in #26, the cover of which you've posted, which was by Kaluta with interiors by regular PS artist at the time Jim Aparo. #27 brought on a new writer and artist- Steve Skeates and Bernard Baily, best known as the Golden Age Spectre artist, but boy, had his talents eroded. Those last few SoF's are pretty bad. After that, if the Spawn appeared anywhere else I don't recall...but I remember an edited and redrawn Wein/Kaluta story that appeared in an issue of Epic Illustrated which was supposed to have been the fourth SoF story, rejected by DC for some weird reason.

2/25/2005 01:22:00 PM  
Blogger Tim O'Neil said...

You know, it actually wouldn't surprise me if Morrison *did* reference the IC stuff, if only because he has always been very conscientious about trying not to step on other creators'/storylines' toes. The cover preview of the first issue of the Zatanna series makes it look like Z. is pretty unhappy about *something*... leave it to Morrison to rehabilitate something so bad as that as a springboard for something better.

Or he could just ignore it. Either way, it wouldn't surprise me.

2/27/2005 11:14:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Here's why I disagree, Tim.

Morrison on the continuity of his JLA Classified arc (which ties in with his Seven Soldiers arc slightly)...

"Aquaman has no beard and John Stewart is Green Lantern so it's pretty much set in some kind of current continuity but I’m afraid it's not the gloomy 'adult' world of Sue Dibny's shredded lycra pants so keep well away if it's attempted rape you crave. Cannibalism, yes, rape, no. My DCU is a day-glo, non-stop funhouse, where the world is threatened every five minutes and godlike beings clash in the skies like fireworks."

So I think he has the same view of IC that we do....it should be avoided...hehe.

2/28/2005 04:00:00 AM  
Blogger Tim O'Neil said...

Yeah, I remember that quote. It still doesn't necessarily preclude the possibility of Morrison throwing in an IC reference for the explicit purpose of debunking it, especially considering how badly Zatanna's character looked after said series. perhaps at the time of said interview he was unaware of how integral a role Zatanna played in those shenanigans.

Like I say, it's a possibility. Not a prediction, just a possibility...

2/28/2005 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous The Eyeball Kid said...

No Cannibalism in JLA:Classified. After all, Gorillas are a different species than Homo Sapiens, so Grodd eating Bats is not unreasonable. It's a bit surprising, considering that Gorillas are Herbivorous, but who's to say that the denizens of Gorilla City haven't picked up Omnivory along with the other unsavory trappings of civilization. And even if they haven't, Grodd is enough of a frothing lunatic to give it a try.

I know that Klarion put in an appearance on Batman:TAS (along with Jason Blood/Etrigan). Shining Knight showed up with the Seven Soldiers in Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E., but I think that Morrison has created a new version of the character. Bulletgirl also showed in Starman thanks to a crossover with Power of Shazam. That's all I can think of off the top of my head.

3/06/2005 01:18:00 PM  
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Blogger Ice said...

I'm a bit late to the party, but I just wanted to say thanks for the self proclaimed "unnecessary" post!

I'm going to re-read 7SoV soon and I was interested in looking into some of the characters from before Morrison got ahold of them.

This is helpful!

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