All Star Comics

All Star Comics


caption=Cover to "All Star Comics" #3 (Winter 1940-1941)
schedule=#1-3 Quarterly
#4-57 Bimonthly
publisher=DC Comics
date=Summer 1940 -
February-March 1951
subcat=All-American Publications

"All Star Comics" is a 1940s comic book series from All-American Publications, one of the early companies that merged with National Periodical Publications to form the modern-day DC Comics. With the exception of the first two issues, "All Star Comics" primarily told stories about the adventures of the Justice Society of America. The series is notable for its introduction of the Justice Society of America, the first team of superheroes, and the introduction of Wonder Woman.

Original Series

The original concept for All Star Comics was an anthology title containing the most popular series from the other anthology titles published by both All-American Publications and National Comics. "All Star Comics" #1 contains primarily superhero stories including All-American's Golden Age Flash, Hawkman, Ultra-Man, National's Hour-Man, the Spectre and the Sandman, plus the adventure strip "Biff Bronson" and the comedy-adventure "Red, White and Blue". The title premiered with a Summer 1940 cover date.

Issue #3 (Winter 1940/41) is of historical significance for depicting the first meeting of the Justice Society, at which its members swap stories of their exploits, subsequently depicted in the book's array of solo adventures. In addition to the Flash, Hawkman, Hour-Man, the Spectre, and the Sandman were Doctor Fate, from National's "Adventure Comics", and Green Lantern and the Atom from All-American's flagship title, "All-American Comics". The Justice Society was originally a frame story to present an anthology of solo stories about the individual characters. Different chapters of the JSA's stories would often be handled by different artists. This new format proved to be so successful that the individual adventures were dropped and the heroes started teaming up to fight crime.

Issue #8 of this title (December, 1941) is notable in the history of superhero comics for the first appearance and introduction of Wonder Woman in an 8-page insert story written by William Moulton Marston under the pen name of "Charles Moulton", with art by Harry G. Peter. The insert story was included as a backup story in the issue to test reader interest in the Wonder Woman concept. The "Wonder Woman" story generated enough positive fan response that Wonder Woman would be awarded the lead feature in the Sensation Comics anthology title starting from issue #1. Wonder Woman would also appear in "All Star Comics" starting from issue #11 as a member of the Justice Society.

"All Star Comics" increased its frequency from a quarterly to a bimonthly publication schedule, and the JSA lasted through #57 (March 1951) — ironically, a story titled "The Mystery of the Vanishing Detectives". Superhero comics slumped in the early 1950s, and "All Star Comics" became "All Star Western" from #58-119 (in 1961) with Western heroes replacing the Justice Society.


1976 Revival Series

In 1976 the name "All Star Comics" was resurrected for a series portraying the modern-day adventures of the JSA. This new series ignored the numbering from "All-Star Western" and continued the original numbering, premiering with "All-Star Comics" #58. Starting in issue #66, a hyphen was added to the title and the words "All-Star Comics" became a much smaller part of the cover while the words "Justice Society" became much larger. This series ran for seventeen issues before it was abruptly cancelled as part of the DC Implosion and the JSA's adventures were folded into Adventure Comics. The 1970s series introduced the new characters, Power Girl and the Helena Wayne version of the Huntress. Furthermore, the 1970s series was the first regular series set on DC's alternate continuity, Earth-Two. Despite the cancellation of the series, it generated enough interest to spawn two other series set on Earth-Two, All-Star Squadron and Infinity Inc.

ubsequent revivals

Since then, a number of Justice Society related comics have used the name "All-Star Comics". A 1999, two-issue "All-Star Comics" series was published as a part of the "Justice Society Returns" storyline.


The entire original series has been reprinted as hardback volumes in the "DC Archives" series as "All Star Comics Archives" Vol. 0-11. The first nine issues of the 1970's revival of the series, "All-Star Comics" #58-67, were collected in the trade paperback, "Justice Society" Vol. 1 published in August 2006. A second volume with the rest of the 70's stories, "All-Star Comics" #68-74, was released in February 2007.

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