John Broome (writer)

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John Broome
Born (1913-05-04)May 4, 1913[1]
Died March 14, 1999(1999-03-14) (aged 85)
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Nationality American
Pseudonym(s) Ron Broom
Edgar Ray Meritt
John Osgood
Robert Stark
Notable works
All Star Comics
Captain Comet
Elongated Man
The Flash
Green Lantern
Mystery in Space
Strange Adventures
Awards

Alley Award

  • Best Short Story (1964)

John Broome (May 4, 1913 – March 14, 1999),[2] who additionally used the pseudonyms John Osgood and Edgar Ray Meritt, was an American comic book writer for DC Comics.

Biography[edit]

Early life and career[edit]

As a youth, John Broome enjoyed reading science fiction,[3] and began writing for science-fiction pulp magazines in the 1940s.[4] By then he was already writing for some of the earliest American comic books to be published, beginning with a two-page "Pals and Pastimes" humor strip, illustrated by Ray Gill, in Centaur Publications' Funny Pages #7 (Dec. 1936).[5] By 1942 he was writing text fillers for Fawcett Comics, at least one under the pseudonym Ron Broom.[5] When his agent, Julius Schwartz, became an editor at what would become DC Comics during the 1930-40s "Golden Age of Comic Books", Broome was recruited to write superhero stories[4] starring the Flash, Green Lantern, Sargon the Sorcerer and others. His first known script for the company was the 13-page Flash story "The City of Shifting Sand" in All-Flash #22 (May 1946). He wrote text fillers under the pen name John Osgood.[5]

Through the 1940s, Broome wrote primarily Green Lantern stories and the superhero team the Justice Society of America,[6] and contributed an occasional tale starring the Atom, the Hawkman, or Doctor Mid-Nite, in titles including Sensation Comics, Comic Cavalcade, All-Star Comics, All-American Comics, and Flash Comics. Broome and artist Irwin Hasen created the supervillian Per Degaton as a JSA antagonist in All-Star Comics #35 (July 1947).[5] His final Golden Age Green Lantern story appeared in the last issue of that character's title, Green Lantern #38 (May 1949),[7] and his final JSA story in All-Star Comics #57 (March 1951), the last before its retitling as All-Star Western.

1950s and the Silver Age[edit]

As the new decade began, Broome wrote science-fiction stories for DC, both standalone tales—including "The Mind Robbers", in Mystery in Space #1 (May 1951), under the pseudonym Robert Stark—and continuing-character features, such as "Astra" (in Sensation Comics, one story of which teamed him with his future regular artist collaborator, Gil Kane), and "Captain Comet", which he created with penciler Carmine Infantino in Strange Adventures #9 (June 1951).[5][8] For the latter he used the pen name Edgar Ray Merritt, devised by his friend and editor Julius Schwartz, as a nod to fantasy writers Poe, Bradbury and Abraham.[3] Outside that genre, he wrote a large number of stories for the crime comics anthology Big Town, based on the radio and television shows.[5]

During this time, Broome created many DC characters and institutions, including the whimsical simian sleuth Detective Chimp, with artist Infantino, in The Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #4 (Aug. 1952); the Phantom Stranger, also with Infantino, in Phantom Stranger #1 (Sept. 1952);[9] and the post-apocalyptic heroes the Atomic Knights, with artist Murphy Anderson, in Strange Adventures #117 (June 1960).[5][10]

With the dawn of what fans and historians call the Silver Age of Comic Books, Broome was instrumental in writing stories of two key characters who helped revive the moribund archetype of the superhero. Following the creation of an all new Flash, a.k.a. Barry Allen who carried the superhero name from the original Golden Age Flash, by editor-conceptualist Schwartz, scripter Robert Kanigher and penciler Infantino in Showcase #4 (Oct 1956)—considered the comic that triggered the Silver Age—Broome wrote Flash stories beginning in that very issue.[11] He wrote numerous Flash stories in the character's subsequent series.[5][12][13] He co-created several of the character's primary supervillain antagonists[4] including Captain Boomerang in issue #117 (Dec. 1960),[14] the 64th century villain Abra Kadabra in #128 (May 1962),[15] and Professor Zoom in #139 (Sept. 1963).[16] Kid Flash and the Elongated Man were respectively introduced in issues #110 and 112 as allies of the Flash.[17]

Broome, with penciler Kane and editor-conceptualist Schwartz,[18] created Hal Jordan, the Silver Age Green Lantern, in Showcase #22 (Oct. 1959).[19][20] He became the character's primary scripter in Green Lantern's solo series as well.[5] Broome's stories for the Green Lantern series included transforming Hal Jordan's love interest, Carol Ferris, into the Star Sapphire in issue #16.[21] Black Hand, a character featured prominently in the "Blackest Night" storyline in 2009-2010, debuted in issue #29 (June 1964). by Broome and Kane.[22] The creative team created Guy Gardner in the story "Earth's Other Green Lantern!" in issue #59 (March 1968).[23] Writer-editor Dennis Mallonee described Broome's work on Green Lantern as the only superhero series in which screwball comedy "was essentially realized", and called Broome "a genius. He wrote about Hal Jordan, not Green Lantern. Hal's total frustration with Carol's completely goofy 'independence' was the reason I got a kick out of the early silver age Green Lantern."[24] Comics historian Brian Cronin examined similar themes in Broome's work in a 2011 column.[25]

In 1964, Schwartz was made responsible for reviving the faded Batman titles[26] and together with Broome and Infantino jettisoned the sillier aspects that had crept into the franchise such as Ace the Bathound and Bat-Mite and gave the character a "New Look" that premiered in Detective Comics #327 (May 1964).[27]

Later life[edit]

In the late 1960s, Broome and his wife, Peggy, moved to Paris, France, where he continued to script for DC Comics.[3] His last Batman story, "Public Luna-Tic Number One!", was published in Detective Comics #388 (June 1969).[5][28] His final Flash story, "The Bride Cast Two Shadows", appeared in The Flash #194 (Feb. 1970), and his final Green Lantern, "The Golden Obelisk of Qward", in Green Lantern #75 (March 1970).[5]

Broome then retired from comic-book scripting to travel and, eventually, teach English in Japan.[29] He returned to the United States in 1998, attending his first comic-book convention, Comic-Con International.[4]

Broome died March 14, 1999, at age 85, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, while swimming in a hotel pool while vacationing with his wife.[3] His last address of record was the U.S. Embassy, Tokyo, Japan, with his death certificate issued in New York State.[2]

Awards[edit]

Broome received a 1964 Alley Award for Best Short Story: "Doorway to the Unknown!" in The Flash #148 (Nov. 1964), with artist Carmine Infantino.[30] He received an Inkpot Award in 1998[31] and posthumously received the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing in 2009.[4]

Homages[edit]

An homage to Broome and artist Gil Kane appears in the novel In Darkest Night, which is set in the universe of the Justice League animated series. In the novel, a place in Coast City is named the "Kane/Broome Institute for Space Studies".[32] In the direct-to-DVD film Emerald Knights the Broome Kane Galaxy is likewise named for him and Gil Kane. In the 2011 Green Lantern movie, Broome's Bar is named after him.[33] In the Green Lantern: The Animated Series episode "Steam Lantern," the eponymous character's real name is Gil Broome, Esq.[34]

Bibliography[edit]

Comics Magazine Company[edit]

  • Funny Pages #7, 11 (1936-1937)

DC Comics[edit]

Collected editions[edit]

  • The Atomic Knights collects the Atomic Knights stories from Strange Adventures #117, 120, 123, 126, 129, 132, 135, 138, 141, 144, 147, 150, 153, 156, and 160, 192 pages, May 2010 ISBN 978-1401227487
  • Batman: The Dynamic Duo Archives:
  • Green Lantern Archives:
    • Volume 1 collects Showcase #22-24 and Green Lantern vol. 2 #1-5, 201 pages, September 1998, ISBN 1-56389-087-9
    • Volume 2 collects Green Lantern vol. 2 #6-13, 210 pages, January 2000, ISBN 1-56389-566-8
    • Volume 3 includes Green Lantern vol. 2 #14-16 and 18-21, 208 pages, May 2001, ISBN 1-56389-713-X
    • Volume 4 includes Green Lantern vol. 2 #22, 24, 27, and 29, 209 pages, July 2002, ISBN 1-56389-811-X
    • Volume 5 includes Green Lantern vol. 2 #30-31 and 36, 240 pages, April 2005, ISBN 1-4012-0404-X
    • Volume 6 includes Green Lantern vol. 2 #39-40 and 44-47, 240 pages, January 2007, ISBN 1-4012-1189-5
    • Volume 7 includes Green Lantern vol. 2 #49-56, 256 pages, September 2012, ISBN 1-4012-3513-1
  • Green Lantern Omnibus:
    • Volume 1 includes Showcase #22-24 and Green Lantern vol. 2 #1-16 and 18-21, 640 pages, November 2010, ISBN 1-4012-3056-3
    • Volume 2 includes Green Lantern vol. 2 #22, 24, 27, 29-31, 36, 39-40, and 44-45, 624 pages, November 2011, ISBN 1-4012-3295-7

Fawcett Comics[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "John Broome, 14 March 1999". United States Social Security Death Index. Retrieved March 12, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Per the Social Security Death Index listing for John Broome, Social Security Number 124-03-7328
  3. ^ a b c d Gifford, Denis (May 27, 1999). "Obituary: John Broome". The Independent. Archived from the original on June 18, 2011. Retrieved June 18, 2011.  Note: Source erroneously gives birth year as 1914.
  4. ^ a b c d e "John Broome, Frank Jacobs to Receive 2009 Bill Finger Award". San Diego Comic-Con International. 2009. Archived from the original on June 18, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k John Broome at the Grand Comics Database
  6. ^ Thomas, Roy (2000). "The Men (and One Woman) Behind the JSA: Its Creation and Creative Personnel". All-Star Companion Volume 1. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 24. ISBN 1-893905-055. 
  7. ^ Wallace, Daniel; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1940s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "In a sign of the end of the Golden Age of Comics, Green Lantern ended its run with a story by John Broome and Irwin Hasen. To add insult to injury, Green Lantern was nowhere to be seen on the cover of Green Lantern #38." 
  8. ^ Irvine, Alex "1950s" in Dolan, p. 67: "In an attempt to revive readers' interest in super heroes, writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino introduced 'Tomorrow's Man of Destiny', Captain Comet, in Strange Adventures #9."
  9. ^ Irvine "1950s" in Dolan, p. 69: "In his first series, the Phantom Stranger often made his appearances to debunk supernatural-seeming events, and the inaugural issue established this theme from the outset with stories...from writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino."
  10. ^ McAvennie, Michael "1960s" in Dolan, p. 100: "'The Rise of the Atomic Knights', ushered in by scribe John Broome and illustrator Murphy Anderson, transported fans to a post-World War III Earth ravaged by atomic radiation."
  11. ^ Levitz, Paul (2010). "The Silver Age (1956-1970)". 75 Years of DC Comics The Art of Modern Mythmaking. Taschen America. p. 251. ISBN 9783836519816. "With the addition of writer John Broome, who came on board with the second story in Showcase No. 4 and stayed almost to the end of the Silver Age, an entirely new evolution was poised to spring off the newsstand." 
  12. ^ The Flash (1956) at Don Markstein's Toonopedia
  13. ^ Irvine "1950s" in Dolan, p. 93: "In March 1959, The Flash was back, care of writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino. The series continued the numbering from Flash Comics and gave Barry Allen his own title. Issue #105 also debuted the Mirror Master."
  14. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 101: "Writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino kept even the Flash off-balance when they introduced George 'Digger' Harkness and his hand-held rebounding weaponry."
  15. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 105: "A failed stage magician from the 64th century, Abra Kadabra debuted in this story by writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino."
  16. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 109: "This issue saw 25th century criminal Eobard Thawne use his era's advanced science on an old Flash costume. The suit gave Thawne reverse super-speed...Writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino [introduced] a new recurrent villain in 'Professor Zoom'."
  17. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 100: "Editor Julius Schwartz, writer John Broome, and artist Carmine Infantino introduced the Elongated Man, a stretchable super-sleuth."
  18. ^ Daniels, Les (1995). "Green Lantern Lit Again Comics Get Cosmic Consciousness". DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. Bulfinch Press. p. 124. ISBN 0821220764. "To write adventures on a cosmic scale that had never really been attempted in a super hero series before, [Julius] Schwartz called on his friend John Broome." 
  19. ^ Green Lantern (1959) at Don Markstein's Toonopedia
  20. ^ Irvine "1950s" in Dolan, p. 95: "DC had decided to revamp a number of characters to inject new life into the genre. Writer John Broome and artist Gil Kane ensured that Green Lantern got his turn in October's Showcase #22."
  21. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 105: "In his first confrontation with Star Sapphire, Green Lantern didn't realize he was actually battling his lady love, Carol Ferris. As was revealed by scribe John Broome and artist Gil Kane..."
  22. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 111: "Scribe John Broome and artist Gil Kane split this issue into two stories...William Hand, introduced in a cameo by Kane, informed readers of a power light he invented to collect remnant energy from Green Lantern's power ring."
  23. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 129: "John Broome's script and Gil Kane's renderings debuted a character who would one day become a Green Lantern - Guy Gardner."
  24. ^ Mallonee, Dennis (2013). "Foreword". Sparkplug, Volume 1. ISBN 978-0-317-91226-5. 
  25. ^ Cronin, Brian (June 19, 2011). "Ten Goofiest Moments in the First Ten Issues of Green Lantern". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on February 24, 2012. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  26. ^ Greenberger, Robert; Manning, Matthew K. (2009). The Batman Vault: A Museum-in-a-Book with Rare Collectibles from the Batcave. Running Press. p. 19. ISBN 0762436638. "DC shifted its editorial staff around, placing legendary editor Julius 'Julie' Schwartz in charge of the denizens of Gotham City...Schwartz brought two of his Flash cohorts, writers Gardner Fox and John Broome, on to his team." 
  27. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 110: "The Dark Knight received a much-needed facelift from new Batman editor Julius Schwartz, writer John Broome, and artist Carmine Infantino. With sales at an all-time low and threatening the cancelation of one of DC's flagship titles, their overhaul was a lifesaving success for DC and its beloved Batman."
  28. ^ Sims, Chris (March 6, 2012). "Bizarro Back Issues: The Joker Commits Moon Crimes in ‘Public Luna-Tic Number One’ (1969)". ComicsAlliance.com. Archived from the original on August 26, 2013. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  29. ^ Waid, Mark (2002). "Biographies: John Broome". Green Lantern Archives Volume 4. DC Comics. p. 216 (unnumbered). ISBN 978-1563898112. 
  30. ^ "1964 Alley Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on March 18, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Inkpot Award Winners". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. 
  32. ^ Friedman, Michael Jan (2002). In Darkest Night. Bantam Books. p. 144. ISBN 978-0553487718. 
  33. ^ Johnston, Rich (June 17, 2011). "The Missing Names From The Green Lantern Movie". Bleeding Cool.com. Archived from the original on October 8, 2013. Retrieved October 13, 2013. "No mention of those who created the Hal Jordan Green Lantern, John Broome and Gil Kane. Who created Sinestro, the Green Lantern Corps, Hector Hammond and Carol Ferris. The best you’ll get is a bar in the movie, called Broome’s Bar." 
  34. ^ Altbacker, Ernie (writer); Morales, Rick (director) (January 5, 2013). "Steam Lantern". Green Lantern: The Animated Series. Cartoon Network.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Gardner Fox
All Star Comics writer
1947-1951
Succeeded by
n/a
Preceded by
n/a
Mystery in Space writer
1951–1962
Succeeded by
Gardner Fox
Preceded by
Gardner Fox
Strange Adventures writer
1951–1964
Succeeded by
Gardner Fox and France Herron
Preceded by
n/a
The Flash
1959–1970
Succeeded by
Robert Kanigher
Preceded by
n/a
Green Lantern vol. 2 writer
1960–1970
Succeeded by
Dennis O'Neil
Preceded by
Dave Wood
Detective Comics writer
1964-1969
Succeeded by
Frank Robbins