Celebrating the Unpopular Arts

Yes, the DCU should be like this

1964 marked the year Julius Schwartz gave up editorship at Strange Adventures and Mystery In Space in favor of Batman and Detective Comics (a topic I want to revisit in a future post). Instead we got Jack Schiff, which was a big letdown. Schwartz and his creators often put in more effort than required, whereas Schiff’s mission statement seemed to be “our brand is meh!” Just look at the caliber of Adam Strange under Schiff compared with Schwartz and I think the case is closed.

Last weekend I reread a few issues from the Schwartz era (including the one below — love that cover!) that I would have gotten to earlier as part of my Silver Age reread, but they’d been misfiled.

Now I’m done unless I buy some off eBay or purchase the more affordable From Beyond the Unknown reprints. That got me thinking that one of the things I like about Strange Adventures is that it’s exactly what the DCU ought to be like.

If the DCU were real, the heroes couldn’t possibly be monopolizing all of the adventures — the world has just too much weird stuff going on. In Strange Adventures (yes, I realize that most of these stories are not DCU Earth One canon or existing in a single Earth-SA, but work with me) adventures happen to everyone. An ordinary man may discover he has to stop a Martian invasion —— or find he’s now “The Man With the Head of Saturn.”

In fact having your head turned into things would be quite common.An ordinary boy may have to stave off an alien goliath —— heck, even his dog can save the world!That’s my kind of comic-book universe.

#SFWApro. Covers top to bottom by Murphy Anderson, Gil Kane, Anderson, Anderson, Anderson, Kane.


  1. Le Messor

    “If the DCU were real, the heroes couldn’t possibly be monopolizing all of the adventures”

    I can see the cool, Twilight Zone feel of ordinary people having extraordinary adventures.

    I think we still get these stories these days, but superheroes tend to get involved. (There are specific examples on the tip of my tongue, but I just got up. Was there one in early Fantastic Four?)

      1. Le Messor

        The closest I can definitely think of is an issue of Alpha Flight where a small town gets invaded by aliens (Body-Snatchers style), but of course it’s the home town of one of the heroes, and she gets involved.

        I’m also wondering if the Molecule Man’s origin has that everyman Twilight Zone feel, then Fantastic Four?

        But hard to brain today.

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