Secret Origins

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Secret Origins

Brian Bolland's cover to the 1989 Secret Origins collection.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Ongoing series
Genre
Publication date April 1986 – August 1990
Number of issues 50 + 3 annuals and 1 special
Editor(s) Roy Thomas
Mark Waid
Collected editions
Secret Origins ISBN 0-930289-50-1

Secret Origins is an American comic book series published by DC Comics.

The title began in 1961 and for one issue, all reprints. The title Secret Origins of Super Heroes (or Super Villains) went onto a second series, also reprints, which ran for seven issues from 1973-1974. Its most well-known incarnation was a 50-issue series (plus three annuals and a special) that ran from 1986 to 1990. Typically, an issue would be given over to clarifying the post-Crisis origins of a number of characters,[1] usually two (as most of the issues were 'double-sized', i.e. 48 pages, plus ads). Roy Thomas was the initial writer/editorial consultant on the series; later issues were overseen by Mark Waid. Three more specials followed in 1998-1999. In 2004, it returned to the all-reprint format with a "Weird" special featuring Doctor Fate, The Spectre, Animal Man, Enchantress, Metamorpho, Congorilla, El Diablo, and Bizarro World.

A new incarnation focusing on characters in The New 52, will launch in April 2014. The first issue will feature the origins of Superman, Supergirl and the Dick Grayson version of Robin.[2]

Characters featured in the 1980s/1990s series[edit]

Issue 1: The Golden Age Superman; this was intended as a tribute to the original version of the character, as the latter-day version of Superman was being concurrently introduced by John Byrne in the Man Of Steel miniseries; art by Golden Age Superman artist Wayne Boring. (See also Kal-L.)

Issue 2: The Blue Beetle, both the Dan Garrett and Ted Kord versions; art by Gil Kane.

Issue 3: Captain Marvel (credited by the Shazam! title); a retelling of the story from WHIZ Comics #2, albeit updated to modern day. Much of this was changed in the Legends crossover and Thomas himself would retcon this some months later in SHAZAM! The New Beginning, and all of which was changed by Jerry Ordway in his graphic novel The Power of Shazam!.

Issue 4: Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond).

Issue 5: the original Crimson Avenger; art by Gene Colan.

Issue 6: Halo of the Outsiders; the Golden Age Batman. This was the first double-sized issue.

Issue 7: Green Lantern Guy Gardner; the Golden Age Sandman (this story was later subtly retconned in Sandman Mystery Theatre.)

Issue 8: Shadow Lass; Doll Man.

Issue 9: The original Star-Spangled Kid (Skyman) and Stripesy; the Flash (Jay Garrick).

Issue 10: The Phantom Stranger. This was a Legends tie-in that related four possible origins for the character; one was by Mike Barr and Jim Aparo (a variation on the Wandering Jew myth), another by Alan Moore and Joe Orlando (which postulated that the Stranger was a fallen angel).

Issue 11: the Golden Age Hawkman; Power Girl. Again, both stories presented have been retconned, with Power Girl's backstory having been recently redefined by Geoff Johns in the pages of JSA Classified (which served as part of the buildup to Infinite Crisis).

Issue 12: The Challengers of the Unknown; Fury.

Issue 13: Nightwing (art by Erik Larsen); Johnny Thunder and his Thunderbolt; the Whip.

Issue 14: Suicide Squad. Another Legends tie-in, it served as a prequel to the later series, and was penned by that series' writer, John Ostrander.

Issue 15: The Spectre; Deadman.

Issue 16: Hourman; the Warlord; 'Mazing Man.

Issue 17: Adam Strange; Doctor Occult.

Issue 18: Green Lantern Alan Scott; the Creeper.

Issue 19: Uncle Sam; the Guardian.

Issue 20: Batgirl (Barbara Gordon); Doctor Mid-Nite.

Issue 21: Jonah Hex; the Black Condor.

Issue 22: the Manhunters. This was a tie-in with Millennium (as was the subsequent issue), and aligned the various histories of the characters with the Manhunter name together.

Issue 23: the Guardians of the Universe (written by Todd Klein); the Floronic Man (written by Rick Veitch).

Issue 24: Doctor Fate; Blue Devil. Mark Waid began editorial duties with this issue.

Issue 25: the Legion of Super-Heroes (now apocryphal); the Golden Age Atom.

Issue 26: Black Lightning; Miss America.

Issue 27: Zatanna her father Zatara, and Doctor Mist.

Issue 28: Midnight (art by Gil Kane); Nightshade (art by Rob Liefeld). Nightshade's origin doubled as an introduction/backdrop to a three-issue Suicide Squad (of which she was a member) arc where she returned to her place of origin to save her brother.

Issue 29: The Atom (Ray Palmer); the Red Tornado (Ma Hunkel; this was Sheldon Mayer's last comics story); Mr. America (aka the Americommando).

Issue 30: Plastic Man; the Elongated Man.

Issue 31: the Justice Society. A full-length story, and Roy Thomas' last contribution to the series (excluding the Grim Ghost story in Issue 42).

Issue 32: the Justice League. In a full-length story by Keith Giffen and Peter David, the league is formed by Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), the Flash (Barry Allen), Aquaman, the Martian Manhunter and Black Canary. Superman and Batman were not founding members, and Wonder Woman's revised continuity precluded her from same. The events depicted were later expanded upon in JLA: Year One and JLA: Incarnations.

Issue 33: Fire, Ice and Mister Miracle. This and the subsequent two issues dealt with members of Justice League International.

Issue 34: Captain Atom, G'nort and Rocket Red.

Issue 35: Booster Gold, Maxwell Lord, and the Martian Manhunter (rendered apocryphal by events & revelations in J'onn J'onnz' later solo series).

Issue 36: Green Lantern Hal Jordan (story by Jim Owsley); Poison Ivy (story by Neil Gaiman).

Issue 37: The Legion of Substitute Heroes; the first (villainous) Doctor Light.

Issue 38: Green Arrow and Speedy (Roy Harper/Arsenal).

Issue 39: Animal Man (story by Grant Morrison); Man-Bat.

Issue 40: the all-gorilla issue, spotlighting the likes of Congorilla, Detective Chimp, and Gorilla Grodd.

Issue 41: the Flash Rogues Gallery - Weather Wizard, Heat Wave, the Trickster, the Pied Piper, Grodd, and Captain Cold.

Issue 42: Phantom Girl; the Gay Ghost/Grim Ghost.

Issue 43: the original Hawk and Dove; Cave Carson; Chris KL-99.

Issue 44: Clayface I, II & III. This issue gave background information for an arc that appeared in Detective Comics issues 604 through 607, entitled "The Mud Pack".

Issue 45: Blackhawk; El Diablo.

Issue 46: the headquarters of the Silver Age Justice League (story by Grant Morrison), the New Titans' Titans Tower, and the 'rocketship clubhouse' of the Legion of Super Heroes. Arm Fall Off Boy makes his first appearance.

Issue 47: deceased Legionnaires Ferro Lad, Karate Kid and Chemical King.

Issue 48: Ambush Bug, Stanley and His Monster, Rex the Wonder Dog, and the Trigger Twins.

Issue 49: Bouncing Boy, the Newsboy Legion, and the Silent Knight.

Issue 50: a 96-page last issue. This consisted of a prose retelling of Dick Grayson's first encounter with Batman (by Dennis O'Neil and George Pérez); the first meeting of the Golden and Silver Age Flashes (story by Grant Morrison); how Johnny Thunder (the western hero) came to be; the definitive history of the Black Canary; and the stories behind Dolphin and the Space Museum.

Annuals and specials[edit]

Annual 1: the Doom Patrol (art by John Byrne); Captain Comet.

Annual 2: The second and third Flashes (Barry Allen & Wally West).

Annual 3: the Teen Titans. This was an anniversary tribute with contributions from George Pérez, Tom Grummett, Irv Novick, Dave Cockrum, Kevin Maguire and Colleen Doran. It also included a 5 page Who's Who entries on Flamebird, Golden Eagle, Bumblebee, The Herald, The Antithesis and The Gargoyle.

Special 1: the Penguin (by Alan Grant and Sam Kieth), the Riddler (by Neil Gaiman, Matt Wagner and Bernie Mireault), and Two-Face (by Mark Verheiden and Pat Broderick).

Additionally, there was a belated Secret Origins 80 Page Giant issued in 1998 (ISBN 1-56389-440-8), that focused on the members of Young Justice. In a sense, this was bringing the concept full circle, since Secret Origins had begun as an 80-page reprint collection in 1961 (which was itself reissued in 1998).

Collected editions[edit]

Some issues of the series was collected in a trade paperback along with other material and some original work in 1989, Secret Origins, but the official title as stated in the book's indicia is given as Secret Origins Of The World's Greatest Super-Heroes (ISBN 0930289501). The focus was on DC's major characters: the Flash (Barry Allen, from Secret Origins Annual #2); Green Lantern (Hal Jordan, from #36); J'onn J'onnz, the Martian Manhunter (from #35); and Superman (from The Man of Steel #6). There was also an all-new retelling of Batman's origins, Batman: The Man Who Falls, by Dennis O'Neil and Dick Giordano; this story later served as a cited inspiration for the 2005 film Batman Begins.[3]

Secret Origins of Super-Heroes[edit]

During 52, weeks 12 through 52 featured two-page origins of various heroes, written by Mark Waid. Here is the issue list with the origins featured:

Secret Origins of Super-Villains[edit]

Beginning with #37 each issue of Countdown featured the origins of a super-villain, written by Scott Beatty. The origins are:

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 218. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "The heroes of the DC Universe got a little more exposed thanks to the new ongoing effort Secret Origins, a title offering new interpretations to the backgrounds of some of comics' biggest icons." 
  2. ^ http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=50240
  3. ^ DiDio, Dan (Vice President of DC Comics), Goyer, David S. (Co-writer), Levitz, Paul (President - DC Comics), Nolan, Christopher (Director), Schreck, Bob (Batman Editor - DC Comics) (2006). Genesis of the Bat (DVD featurette). 
  4. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/wonder_woman&p=1
  5. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/elongated_man&p=1
  6. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/metamorpho&p=1
  7. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/steel&p=1
  8. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/black_adam&p=1
  9. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/lobo&p=1
  10. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/the_question&p=1
  11. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/animal_man&p=1
  12. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/green_lantern&p=1
  13. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/wildcat&p=1
  14. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/booster_gold&p=1
  15. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/nightwing&p=1
  16. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/hawkman_and_hawkgirl&p=1
  17. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/black_canary&p=1
  18. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/catman&p=1
  19. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/metal_men&p=1
  20. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/robin&p=1
  21. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/blue_beetle&p=1
  22. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/martian_manhunter&p=1
  23. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/zatanna&p=1
  24. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/power_girl&p=1
  25. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/firestorm&p=1
  26. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/red_tornado&p=1
  27. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/mr_terrific&p=1
  28. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/starfire&p=1
  29. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/green_arrow&p=1
  30. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/plastic_man&p=1
  31. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/batman&p=1
  32. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/teen_titans&p=1
  33. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/birds_of_prey&p=1
  34. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/justice_society&p=1
  35. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/justice_league_of_america&p=1
  36. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/poison_ivy&p=1
  37. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/deathstroke&p=1
  38. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/parallax&p=1
  39. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/lex_luthor&p=1
  40. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/riddler&p=1
  41. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/eclipso&p=1
  42. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/joker&p=1
  43. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/general_zod&p=1
  44. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/penguin&p=1
  45. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/the_trickster_and_the_pied_piper&p=1
  46. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/the_trickster_and_the_pied_piper&p=2
  47. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/two_face&p=1
  48. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/killer_frost&p=1
  49. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/desaad&p=1
  50. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/mr_mxyzptlk&p=1
  51. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/deadshot&p=1
  52. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/granny_goodness&p=1
  53. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/mister_mind&p=1
  54. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/scarecrow&p=1
  55. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/dr_light&p=1
  56. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/sinestro&p=1
  57. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/doomsday&p=1
  58. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/gorilla_grodd&p=1
  59. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/cyborg_superman&p=1
  60. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/circe&p=1
  61. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/solomon_grundy&p=1
  62. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/harley_quinn&p=1
  63. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/black_manta&p=1
  64. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/bizarro&p=1
  65. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/bane&p=1
  66. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/felix_faust&p=1
  67. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/mr_freeze&p=1
  68. ^ http://www.dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/ras_al_ghul&p=1
  69. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/amazo&p=1
  70. ^ http://dccomics.com/heroes_and_villains/?hv=origin_stories/darkseid&p=1

References[edit]