Sequence of Events Issue (Date)
14,000 BCE: In battle against the Nebula Man, the Star-Spangled Kid is thrown back in time to the era of Cavemen. He is rescued by the Justice League and Justice Society. Justice League of America #100-102 (Aug.–Oct. 1972)
In Egypt, Prince Khufu Maat Kha-Tar and his beloved Chay-Ara are murdered by the mad priest Hath-Set. The lovers are fated to be born again forever; 3,500 years later, they are reincarnated as Carter Hall and Shiera Sanders. NOTE: The date of these events, not stated in the original version of the story, was said to be 1567 B.C. (Secret Origins #11). Flash Comics #1 (Jan. 1940), Secret Origins #11 (Feb. 1987)
1,000 BCE, Greece: In battle against the Nebula Man, Speedy is thrown back in time to the era ancient Greece and falls to Circe. He is rescued by the Justice League and Justice Society. Justice League of America #100-102 (Aug.–Oct. 1972)
12th-13th Century CE, Aztec Mexico: In battle against the Nebula Man, the Crimson Avenger is thrown back in time to the era Aztec Mexico. He is rescued by the Justice League and Justice Society. Justice League of America #100-102 (Aug.–Oct. 1972)
13th Century CE, China: In battle against the Nebula Man, the Shining Knight is thrown back in time to the era of Genghis Khan. He is rescued by the Justice League and Justice Society. Justice League of America #100-102 (Aug.–Oct. 1972)
The 20th Century
January 3, 1900: Jim Corrigan (the Spectre) is born. Spectre v.3 #46 (Oct. 1996)
January 17, 1908: Kent Nelson (Doctor Fate) is born to Sven and Celestine Nelson. NOTES: Date is based on All-Star Squadron #47, which says that Kent Nelson was 12 years old when he encountered Nabu in 1920. All-Star Squadron #47 (July 1985)
Summer 1912: The young Henry King discovers his ability to create three dimensional images of people. All-Star Comics #15
August 3-4, 1914: World War I begins with declarations of war between Germany and the alliance of Britain and France.
April 7, 1915: Bruce Wayne (Batman I) is born in Gotham City to Thomas and Martha Wayne. NOTE: The year is the date shown on Bruce’s tombstone. World’s Finest Comics #33 (1948) established the month of Bruce's birth as April; Star-Spangled Comics #91 (1949) indicated that his birthday was the 7th. America vs. the JSA #1 (Jan. 1985)
July 7, 1917: In the Bronx, New York, Johnny Thunder is born at 7 a.m. of the seventh day of the seventh month. Unbeknownst to his parents, Simon and Mildred Thunder, Johnny's birth fulfills an ancient Bahdnisian prophecy. Flash Comics #1 (Jan. 1940)
c. 1918: Kal-L (Superman I) is born on Krypton to Jor-L and Lora. Not long afterwards, Kara (Power Girl) is born to Jor-L's brother Zor-L and his wife Allura in Kandor. Krypton explodes and Kal-L is rocketed to Earth, where he is found and adopted by John and Mary Kent. They name him Clark Kent. Jor-L's brother and sister-in-law, Zor-L and Allura, also launch their daughter Kara, but her journey is longer; she does not arrive for many years. Secret Origins #1 (Apr. 1986), Showcase #97-98 (Feb.–Mar. 1978)
August 1918: Johnny Thunder is kidnapped from his home, by men from Bahdnisia. These people believe that because of his "numerically significant" birth, he is destined to be the master of their magical genie. Johnny is raised in Bahdnisia, where the high priest declares that he will gain the power to rule the world on his 7th birthday. Legend tells that before that birthday, the neighboring company of Agolea declared war on Bahdnisia and kidnapped Johnny, who is lost at sea and eventually returned to his parents. Johnny, however, later secretly admits that he accidentally set himself adrift at sea; he was not kidnapped. Flash Comics #1 (Jan. 1940), JSA: Strange Adventures #2
November 11, 1918: Germany signs an armistice with the Allies, ending the first world war.
March 10, 1919: Giovanni "John" Zatara is born. NOTE: Date extrapolated with this issue and History of the DCU. DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #5 (Nov./Dec. 1980)
January 20, 1920: Germany is forced to sign the Treaty of Versailles, limiting the size of its military and requiring the payment of massive reparations to the Allied powers. Reparations payments eventually lead to the near-bankruptcy of Germany, setting the stage for the rise of National Socialism.
1920: Archaeologist Sven Nelson is killed after accidentally awakening Nabu in Mesopotamia. Nabu takes Sven's 12-year-old son Kent as his pupil, training him in the ways of magic. NOTE: This was the date in the Golden Age version of Dr Fate's origin. 1st Issue Special #9 (Dec. 1975) later retconned the story to make it later and established that Nabu had magically aged Kent Nelson to adulthood in a few days. The recap of Fate's origin in All-Star Squadron #47 (and Who's Who) returned to the original. The 1975 story can probably be considered apocryphal so far as pre-Crisis continuity is concerned, although it became very important to the post-Crisis version. More Fun Comics #67 (May 1941), 1st Issue Special #9 (Dec. 1975), All-Star Squadron #47 (July 1985)
June 26, 1924:Thomas Wayne is murdered by Joey Chill; his wife, Martha Wayne, immediately dies of a heart attack, leaving their young son Bruce an orphan. Secret Origins #6 (Sept. 1986)
July 1924: The week of Johnny Thunder's seventh birthday is marked by seven days of intense rain, which curiously leaves the Thunder home untouched. Flash Comics #1 (Jan. 1940)
1926: Sylvester Pemberton (Star-Spangled Kid) is born. All-Star Comics #70 (Jan./Feb. 1978)
1928: Dick Grayson (Robin I) is born. NOTE: This date was shown on his tombstone in this post-Crisis tale. Last Days of the JSA (1986)
71 Years Ago
September 18, 1931: The Japanese occupy Manchuria, the first act of aggression that will lead to war in the Pacific.
In Metropolis's Suicide Slum, young Jim Harper is taken in by Nat Milligan, who teaches him boxing and gymnastics. Harper is unaware that Milligan suffers from multiple-personality disorder. NOTES: In his other personas, "Nat Milligan" later trained Ted Grant (Wildcat) and, as "Joe Morgan," Al Pratt (the Atom). This is his first chronological appearance. All-Star Squadron Annual #1 (1982)
November 8, 1932: Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected President of the United States.
1933
January 30, 1933: Adolf Hitler becomes chancellor of Germany with the reluctant approval of President Hindenberg.
March 23, 1933: The Enabling Act gives Adolf Hitler dictatorial powers.
October 13, 1933: Germany withdraws from the League of Nations.
Superboy of Earth-One travels back in time and visits Earth-Two, where he trains the teenage Clark Kent of Earth-Two in the use of his super-powers. New Adventures of Superboy #15-16 (Mar.–Apr. 1981)
1934
In an Indian prison, Isaac Bowin encounters a mysterious fakir who teaches him the art of using music for hypnosis, a power he will later use as the Fiddler. All-Flash #32 (Jan./Feb. 1948)
The Chinese lantern carved from the Starheart finds its way to Arkham Asylum, outside Gotham City, where an inmate named Billings fashions it into a modern railway lantern. The lantern flames green a second time, fulfilling the second part of its mysterious prophecy by restoring the man's sanity and allowing him to return to normal life. NOTES: According to Secret Origins #18, the lantern was brought to America by three adventurers; the art makes it clear that they were Pat Ryan, Terry Lee, and Connie of Milt Caniff's classic newspaper adventure strip Terry and the Pirates, which began in 1934. All-American Comics #16 (July 1940), Secret Origins #18 (Sept. 1987)
The Golden Age of DC Comics
Doctor Occult becomes a detective, specializing the supernatural. New Fun Comics #6 (Oct. 1935)
March 7, 1936: Germany occupies the Rhineland.
August 1936: American athlete Will Everett (Amazing Man) distinguishes himself at the Olympic games in Berlin, but racism at home limits his job prospects, forcing him to become a janitor for Doctor Terry Curtis (Cyclotron). Ted Grant also participates in these Olympics. All-Star Squadron #23 (July 1983)
Doctor Occult briefly adopts a red costume with a cape, reminiscent of that later worn by Superman. NOTE: Because of this story, Doctor Occult is often considered DC's first costumed superhero. More Fun Comics #14 (Oct. 1936)
October 27, 1936: Hitler and Mussolini sign the Rome-Berlin Axis.
November 3, 1936: Franklin Roosevelt is reelected to a second term as President.
November 25, 1936: Germany and Japan sign the Anti-Comintern Pact.
1937
January 1937: Lee Travis enlists in the Abraham Lincoln Battalion, a group of Americans volunteers aiding the Spanish Republican forces against General Franco. Travis is injured on the journey to Europe and sent back without seeing action, leaving him frustrated. Secret Origins #5 (Aug. 1986)
July 9, 1937: The Japanese-Chinese War begins with the Japanese invasion of Peking.
Max Mercury becomes the costumed hero Quicksilver. NOTE: Quicksilver originally was part of the Quality Comics line. National Comics #5 (Nov. 1940)
December 1937: The "Rape of Nanking": More than 200,000 Chinese civilians are massacred as the Japanese army invades mainland China.
1938
March 12-13, 1938: Germany annexes Austria.
March 13, 1938: Baroness Paula Von Gunther's husband, Gottfried, is murdered by Nazi agents when he refuses to surrender his wealth. Two months later, Paula receives HIS ashes from the Nazis in a cigar box. Her daughter Gerta is imprisoned in a concentration camp and Paula is forced into service as a slaver and spy in America. These events drive her to insane cruelty. Wonder Woman v.1 #3 (Feb./Mar. 1943)
June 1938:Clark Kent moves to Metropolis and goes to work for the Daily Star, where he meets Lois Lane. He adopts the identity of Superman. NOTES: In original continuity Superman was the first publicly known super-hero on Earth-Two, preceding all but the little-known Doctor Occult. Action #1 (June 1938)
Magician Giovanni Zatara and wealthy oil man Tex Thompson (Mister America) begin fighting crime. NOTE: Tex Thompson became Mister America in Action #33. The origin of Zatara was retold in Secret Origins #27; the origin of Tex Thompson was retold in Secret Origins #29. Action #1 (June 1938), Secret Origins #27 (June 1988), Secret Origins #29 (Aug. 1988)
Ted Grant's parents are murdered by the mob Left destitute, hHe's forced to drop out of college and try his hand at professional boxing. NOTE: The origin story in Sensation Comics #1 (1942), mentions his parents' deaths in flashback. Sensation Comics #1 (Jan. 1942)
College student Ted Grant is trained in boxing by a man later revealed to be Nat Milligan, the man who trained Jim Harper (the Guardian). All-Star Squadron Annual #1 (1982)
September 29-30, 1938: Germany, Italy, France, and Britain sign an agreement in Munich that allows Germany to occupy the Sudetenland areas of Czechoslovakia without opposition beginning October 1. The Czech president is forced to accept it.
October 13, 1938: Hitler acquires the Spear of Destiny from a Vienna museum and takes it to Berlin. NOTES: In the real world, the Spear was stored in Nuremberg for the duration of the war. It was seized by Allied forces on April 30, 1945, only hours before Hitler's suicide, and later returned to the Hofsburg in Vienna.
October 31, 1938: Lee Travis, now the publisher of the New York Globe-Leader, becomes the Crimson Avenger, aided by his Chinese valet, Wing. NOTES: Secret Origins #5 ties the Crimson Avenger's debut to the famous broadcast of Orson Welles' War of the Worlds on Halloween of 1938 The Crimson Avenger and Wing were closely based on the Green Hornet and Kato, adventurers created by Frank Striker and George W. Trendle, who debuted on WXYZ radio in 1936. Detective Comics #20 (Oct. 1938), Secret Origins #5 (Aug. 1986)
November 9, 1938: After the assassination of Ernst von Rath, a secretary in the Germany embassy in Paris, by a young Jewish refugee, the Nazis launch a vicious anti-Jewish pogrom throughout Germany. Hundreds of homes and shops are burned and more than 20,000 Jews are arrested, many later sent to concentration camps. The date is later dubbed "Kristallnacht" (Night of Broken Glass).
Rex "Tick Tock" Tyler develops Miraclo, a wonder drug that gives him super-powers for an hour at a time. He takes out an ad offering his services to those in need as "The Man of the Hour." He will later call himself Hourman. NOTES: Hourman's debut was retold in Secret Origins #16, which asserted that Rex discovered Miraclo in December 1939—after the debuts of Hawkman and the Spectre. In his initial appearances, his name was hyphenated: Hour-Man. Adventure Comics #48 was reprinted in Justice League of America #96 (1971). Adventure Comics #48 (Mar. 1940), Secret Origins #16 (July 1987)
1939
Doctor Robert Oppenheimer hears about the discovery of nuclear fission, within a few minutes realizes that excess neutrons must be emitted, and that it might be possible to build an atomic bomb.
Early 1939: While attending Midwestern University, Jay Garrick gains super speed from exposure to "heavy water" fumes. NOTES: The date of Jay's accident is established by Secret Origins #9 (Dec. 1986), the accident took place in early 1939, a few months before his heroic debut in the fall of that year. Flash Comics #1 (Jan. 1940), Secret Origins #9 (Dec. 1986)
March 15, 1939: German troops move into Czechoslovakia, which is absorbed into the Third Reich without resistance.
Ted Knight's friend Professor Davis discovers a source of near-limitless cosmic energy. All-Star Squadron #41 (Jan. 1985)
April 1-7, 1939: Italy annexes Albania.
June 10, 1939: Plagued by dreams, Wesley Dodds becomes the Sandman. In his first major case, he solves a series of murders committed by an unknown killer called the Tarantula. At the same time, he meets Dian Belmont. NOTES: Secret Origins #7 (1986) established the date of the Sandman's debut. The Sandman's first published appearance was in New York World's Fair Comics #1, released April 30, 1939, although the story in Adventure Comics #40, which was published in early June 1939, preceded it chronologically (and was probably written first). Dian Belmont's first appearance was in Adventure Comics #47 (February 1940). Reprinted in Justice League of America #94 (1972). Adventure Comics #40 (July 1939)
April 30, 1939: The New York World's Fair opens in Queens, New York. The event is marked by the threatening appearance of the mysterious, super-powered Phantom of the Fair, who threatens to haunt the Fair. NOTES: The super-powered Phantom was closely based on the Fantom of the Fair, a costumed hero who appeared in issues #11-24 of Centaur Publications' Amazing Mystery Funnies. Secret Origins #7 (Oct. 1986)
In Gotham City, Bruce Wayne becomes the Batman. NOTE: The Earth-Two Batman's origin was retold in Secret Origins #6. Please visit the Golden Age Batman Chronology! Detective Comics #27 (May 1939), Secret Origins #6 (Sept. 1986)
Superman first encounters the Ultra-Humanite, who is an old man in a wheelchair (presumably his original body). Action Comics #13 (June 1939)
The Sandman investigates a series of murders in New York's Chinatown committed by The Face. Adventure Comics #44 (Nov. 1939)
Alan Scott (Green Lantern) visits the World's Fair and meets radio reporter Irene Miller, who later becomes his girlfriend. All-American Comics #18 (Sept. 1940)
June 10, 1939: Wesley Dodds becomes the Sandman to protect King George and Queen Elizabeth from the Phantom of the Fair, with some help from the Crimson Avenger. The Sandman and the Crimson discover each other's true identities and the Crimson gives Wesley his gas gun. Present or watching these events via radio or television are future heroes Jonathan Law (the Tarantula), Libby Lawrence (Liberty Belle), Johnny Thunder, Ted Knight (Starman), Bob Crane (Robotman), and Doctor Charles McNider (Doctor Mid-Nite). Secret Origins #7 (Oct. 1986)
The Sandman visits the World's Fair and prevents the henchmen of Wesley Dodds's crooked business partner from stealing an experimental ray gun. NOTES: Released on April 30, 1939, this was the Sandman's first published appearance, although the story in Adventure Comics #40, released in early June, was apparently written first. New York World's Fair Comics #1 (1939)
Alan Scott once again meets Irene Miller and gets a new job working with her as a radio engineer for the Apex Broadcasting Company. All-American Comics #20 (Nov. 1940)
Superman visits the World's Fair and stops thieves from stealing the priceless Rahnee Jewels. New York World's Fair Comics #1 (1939)
August 23, 1939: Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin sign a German-Soviet nonaggression pact.
World War II
September 1, 1939: Germany invades Poland.
September 3, 1939: Britain, France, Australia, and New Zealand declare war on Germany.
September 8, 1939: Major James Lawrence, American military attaché in Poland and the father of Libby Lawrence (Liberty Belle) is killed in the German bombing of Warsaw. Libby later flees from Poland to Holland and then to France. All-Star Squadron #61 (Sept. 1986)
Fall 1939: Jay Garrick becomes an assistant professor at Coleman University. Shortly afterward he saves his college girlfriend, Joan Williams, and her father from Sieur Satan and the Faultless Four as The Flash. Joan shares the secret of his dual identity. NOTES: The date of Jay's debut as the Flash was established by All-Star Squadron and Secret Origins #9, a few weeks after the German invasion of Poland. Many of those early stories described the Flash as operating in New York City, but most modern accounts show him as having always operated in Keystone City. Flash Comics #1 (Jan. 1940)
The Flash exonerates Joan Williams's father, Major Williams, of espionage charges. The Major learns that the Flash is Jay Garrick. Flash Comics #3 (Mar. 1940)
September 17, 1939: Soviet troops invade Poland.
September 27-28: Poland surrenders to its invaders. Germany and the U.S.S.R. divide the nation between them.
October 6, 1939: Carter Hall, the reincarnation of Prince Khufu, encounters Shiera Sanders, the reincarnation of Khufu's lover Chay-Ara. Wearing artificial wings and a belt of ninth metal, he becomes Hawkman I, battling and apparently slaying Doctor Anton Hastor, the reincarnation of Hath-Set. NOTES: Hawkman was the only character to appear in every Golden Age issue of All-Star and Flash Comics. His origin was retold in Secret Origins #11, which also established the date of his debut. Flash Comics #1 (Jan. 1940), Secret Origins #11 (Feb. 1987)
November 1939: Critically wounded by an explosion, Marine Corps Private Hank Heywood volunteers for an experimental procedure that turns him into a formidable cyborg soldier, becoming Steel, the Indestructible Man. Steel #1 (Mar. 1978)
November 20, 1939: Ted Knight seeks help from his cousin Sandra's colleague, Professor Davis, to harness cosmic energy with his "gravity rod." As Starman, he defeats Doctor Doog (first chron. appearance of both). NOTES: As described in All-Star Squadron #41, Ted became Starman in spring 1941, inspired by an encounter with Batman and Robin. Professor Davis invented the gravity rod, which Ted completed. All-Star Squadron #41 (Jan. 1985)
Starman fights Doctor Doog. NOTES: Starman's first appearance in print. No origin accompanied this tale, which was reprinted in Justice League of America #94 (1971). Starman's origin was not told until All-Star Squadron #41 (1985). Adventure Comics #61 (Apr. 1941)
Darrell Dane takes a serum enabling him to shrink to six inches while retaining his normal strength. He adopts the identity of Doll Man. Feature #27 (Dec. 1939), Secret Origins #8 (Nov. 1986)
The Ultra-Humanite transfers his brain from an ape into the body of actress Dolores Winters. NOTE: It is not clear whether Ultra's original form was the human first shown in Action #13. Action Comics #20 (Jan. 1940)
Scientist Terry Curtis is kidnapped by the Ultra-Humanite and forced to build an atomic disintegrator for the villain. NOTE: Terry Curtis later became the villain Cyclotron. Action Comics #21 (Feb. 1940)
1940
Calvin University student Al Pratt meets former boxing champion Joe Morgan, who begins training Pratt in boxing and weightlifting. He is unaware that Morgan, suffering from multiple-personality disorder, also trained Jim Harper (the Guardian) and Ted Grant (Wildcat) under different names. NOTE: Al Pratt did not actually become the Atom until All-American Comics #20, which took place months later. The Atom's origin was retold in Secret Origins #25, which established that Al met Joe Morgan early in 1940. Joe Morgan's strange secret was revealed in All-Star Squadron Annual #1 (1982). All-American Comics #19 (Oct. 1940), Secret Origins #25 (Apr. 1988)
After being scarred by acid, a Prussian nobleman undergoes an experimental treatment to unlock the full powers of his mind and body. As Baron Blitzkrieg, he becomes Nazi Germany's principal metahuman agent. World's Finest #246 (Sept. 1977)
February 1940: Steel parachutes into Germany on a daring mission to capture Adolf Hitler, but is captured and sent to a concentration camp. He is brainwashed and left subject to the mental influence of Baron Blitzkrieg. NOTES: This story was originally written for Steel #6, but was published only in Canceled Comics Cavalcade #2 (1978). It later was reformatted, inked by Jerry Ordway, and incorporated into All-Star Squadron #8 and #9 (1982). All-Star Squadron #8-9 (Apr.–May 1982)
On Earth-S, Billy Batson meets the wizard Shazam and becomes Captain Marvel. Whiz Comics #1 (Feb. 1940)
Jim Corrigan and his fiancee, Clarice Winston, are kidnapped by gangster Gat Benson. Corrigan is murdered, but returned to Earth as the Spectre I. NOTE: Corrigan was murdered in More Fun Comics #52, but did not actually become the Spectre until #53. The Spectre's origin is reprinted in Secret Origins, v.1 #7 (1974) and retold in Secret Origins #15 (1987). More Fun Comics #52-53 (Feb.–Mar. 1940), Secret Origins #15 (June 1987)
April 9-10, 1940: German troops invade Denmark and Norway.
After his parents are murdered by gangsters, circus acrobat Dick Grayson becomes the ward of millionaire Bruce Wayne and the crimefighting partner of Batman — Robin. Detective Comics #38 (Apr. 1940)
Superman has his first encounter with Alexei Luthor. Action Comics #23 (Apr. 1940)
Richard Grey, Jr., raised in Mongolia by wild condors and granted the power of flight by a mysterious meteorite, adopts the identity of murdered Senator Thomas Wright and fights crime as the Black Condor. Also the first appearance the Spider, the Clock, the Red Torpedo, and the infamous Madame Fatal. NOTES: These heroes were originally published by Quality Comics. Black Condor's origin was retold in Secret Origins #21. Crack Comics #1 (May 1940), Secret Origins #21 (Dec. 1987)
April 21, 1940: The first combat between German troops and the British Expeditionary Force takes place north of Hamar, Norway. The British troops are badly routed and forced to retreat.
After training with Nabu the Wise for 20 years, Kent Nelson is entrusted with the Helm of Nabu and the Amulet of Anubis, becoming Doctor Fate I (first chronological appearance). NOTES: In Doctor Fate's early adventures, he had no origin or human identity; he was said to have been created as an adult by the elder gods. His origin was reprinted in Justice League of America #95 (1971) and revised and expanded in First Issue Special #9 (1975) and All-Star Squadron #47 (1985). More Fun Comics #67 (May 1941), All-Star Squadron #47 (July 1985)
Doctor Fate (first appearance in print) battles Wotan and meets Inza Cramer, his future wife. The Spectre clashes with the magician, Zor. More Fun Comics #55 (May 1940), All-Star Squadron #47 (July 1985)
May 10-14, 1940: Germany invades Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, then moves into France. Winston Churchill becomes the Prime Minister of Great Britain.
May 27-June 4, 1940: At Dunkirk, the besieged remains of the British expeditionary forces carry out a massive evacuation of more than 335,000 British and French soldiers. During the evacuation, Libby Lawrence makes headlines when she swims across the English Channel, escaping to Dover. She subsequently becomes an internationally famous columnist and radio reporter. All-Star Squadron #61 (Sept. 1986)
Latter 1940: German germ warfare scientist Helmut Krieger moves his laboratory to Auxille, France, in an old section of the Maginot Line. The abandoned lab is discovered in 1944. NOTE: It is unclear if Helmut Krieger is related to Albrecht Krieger (Captain Nazi) or his brother Wolf. Robin v.1 #3 (Mar. 1991)
June 14, 1940: German troops occupy Paris. Eight days later, France's Vichy government signs an armistice with Germany.
Uncle Sam manifests for the first time in the 20th century. NOTE: Origin retold in Secret Origins #19. National #1 (July 1940), Secret Origins #19 (Oct. 1987)
June 20, 1940: Japanese troops occupy French Indochina.
The Flash is officially deputized by Keystone City's police commissioner. All-Star Comics #1 (Summer 1940)
July 10-August 25, 1940. The Battle of Britain: The Royal Air Force clashes with the German Luftwaffe.
Shortly after his 23rd birthday, Johnny Thunder gains the power to make his wishes come true (courtesy of a magical Bahdnisian Thunderbolt) for an hour after saying the magic word "Cei-U" ("Say You"), and begins a bumbling crimefighting career. NOTES: Johnny's origin was retold in Secret Origins #13. Johnny initially was unaware that his power derived from the Thunderbolt or that "Say You" was the magic word. Flash Comics #1 (Jan. 1940), Secret Origins #13 (Apr. 1987)
Johnny Thunder meets his girlfriend, Daisy Darling. NOTE: Peachy Pet, his adopted daughter, first appears in Flash #21. Flash Comics #2 (Feb. 1940)
When Alan Scott is awarded a railroad contract, his rival, Dekker, bombs Alan's train. Scott survives and discovers a railroad lantern formed from the ancient mystic Starheart. At the lantern's mental direction, Alan fashions a ring from the lantern that allows him to tap the Starheart's power, adopting the identity of Green Lantern I. All-American Comics #16 (July 1940), Secret Origins #18 (Sept. 1987)
Hourman is aided by a group of local kids calling themselves the Minutemen of America. Adventure Comics #53 (Aug. 1940)
At various points during the summer, Batman and Robin, Superman, Hourman, Johnny Thunder, and the Sandman visit the 1940 New York World's Fair. NOTES: This issue was released on May 11, 1940. The cover is the first time Superman, Batman, and Robin were pictured together, although they appeared in separate stories within the issue. New York World's Fair Comics #2 (1940)
Dian Belmont disguises herself as the Sandman to rescue Wesley Dodds from kidnappers. Adventure Comics #56 (Oct. 1940)
September 7, 1940. The Blitz: The German Luftwaffe begins nightly raids on England in preparation for Operation Sea Lion, a planned invasion of England.
September 16, 1940: President Roosevelt signs the Selective Service Act, beginning draft registration in America; by October 16, 16,000,000 men have registered.
September 27, 1940: Japan signs the Tripartite pact and the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis. The Axis powers are officially formed.
Batman and Robin have their first encounter with the Joker and Catwoman. Batman #1 (Winter 1940)
The Spectre defeats Xnon with the Ring of Life, which greatly increases his powers. More Fun Comics #60 (Oct. 1940)
Former 98-pound weakling Al Pratt dons a costume and dubs himself the Atom to save his girlfriend, Mary James, from kidnappers. Shopkeeper Ma Hunkel dons red long-johns and a helmet made from a soup pot to become the crime-busting Red Tornado. NOTES: Al Pratt first appeared in All-American Comics #19, but did not become the Atom until #20. His origin was retold in Secret Origins #25. Ma Hunkel was a character in the "Scribbly" strip beginning in All-American Comics #1. She did not become the Red Tornado until issue #20. She was DC's first costumed heroine. The Red Tornado appeared briefly at the Justice Society's first meeting in All-Star #3, but never was an official member of the JSA. All-American Comics #20 (Nov. 1940), Secret Origins #25 (Apr. 1988)
Hawkman battles the evil Aztec priestess Nyola and the Spectre defeats Kulak with the Ring of Life. All-Star Comics #2 (Fall 40)
November 5, 1940: Franklin Roosevelt is reelected to a 3rd term as President.
November 9, 1940: At the behest of British Intelligence, President Roosevelt sends Batman, the Flash, and Green Lantern on a mission to Scotland to investigate rumors of a planned Nazi invasion of Great Britain. The three heroes are captured by Major Helmut Streicher (first chron. appearance ) and taken to Berlin, where Hitler nearly executes them with the Spear of Destiny before they are rescued by the arrival of Doctor Fate and Hourman. Hitler uses the power of the Spear to summon Valkyries to destroy the heroes and orders attacks on England and Washington, D.C. With the help of the Spectre, who single-handedly destroys the German invasion fleet in the English Channel, and Superman, who intercepts the German bomber bound for Washington, the heroes thwart the Nazi assault and prevent Hitler's Valkyries from slaying FDR. At FDR's suggestion, they form a team, using a name suggested by Superman: the Justice Society of America (first chron. appearance ). NOTES: Some time after this story, Hitler uses the Spear to erect the "Sphere of Influence," which brings any metahuman under Hitler's mental control if they enter Axis territory. Helmut Streicher's first appearance in print, as the Red Panzer, was in Wonder Woman #228 (1976). first appearance (unnamed) of the Valkyrie, Gudra. Reprinted in Best of DC Digest #21 (1983). DC Special #29 (Sept. 1977)
All-Star Comics
November 22, 1940: The Justice Society of America (first appearance in print) holds its first official meeting in Gotham City. Members present are the Atom, Doctor Fate, the Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Hourman, the Sandman, and the Spectre. Johnny Thunder and the Red Tornado make brief appearances, although the Tornado flees after accidentally tearing out the seat of her pants. Superman and Batman are mentioned as honorary members. NOTES: Until the end of the war the unofficial real-world rule for JSA membership was that any character with his or her own title left the team to become an honorary member. Superman and Batman were honorary members from the outset because they already had their own books and because most of the characters in All-Star were published by All-American Comics, a separate company owned by DC. Although All-American books carried the DC logo, they were produced through separate editorial offices until the two companies fully merged in 1945. This story was reprinted in Famous First Editions F-7 (1975) and in a DC Millennium Edition (1999). All-Star Comics #3 (Winter 1940)
Johnny Thunder learns that his mysterious power comes from his magical Thunderbolt. Flash Comics #11 (Nov. 1940)
Late 1940: The President sends the JSA on a special mission against a Fifth Column group led by Fritz Klaver. NOTE: This story was retold in the final issue of All-Star Squadron. All-Star Comics #4 (Mar./Apr. 1941), All-Star Squadron #67 (Mar. 1987)
1941
March 1, 1941: German extermination camps begin full operation, eventually leading to the murders of some 6,000,000 Jews and 3,000,000 Communists, gypsies, and other dissidents.
Blinded by a gangster's attack, crusading physician Charles McNider discovers that he is blind in daylight, but can see in the dark. He becomes Doctor Mid-Nite, fighting crime with the aid of his pet owl, Hooty, and the unwitting aid of his nurse, Myra Mason. NOTES: Doctor Mid-Nite's origin was reprinted in Justice League of America #95 (1971) and retold in Secret Origins #20. All-American Comics #25 (Apr. 1941), Secret Origins #20 (Nov. 1987)
April 6, 1941: Germany invades Yugoslavia and Greece. Yugoslavia surrenders on April 17, Greece on April 21.
Green Lantern meets cab driver Doiby Dickles, who becomes his "right-hand man." All-American Comics #27 (June 1941)
Doctor Fate reveals his true identity to Inza Cramer. NOTES: This is the first Doctor Fate story to establish that Fate had a human identity, rather than being a purely supernatural entity. (Curiously, he also tells Inza that "there are no such things" as vampires or ghouls, calling them "hypnotically induced suggestions"!) More Fun Comics #66 (Apr. 1941)
The members of the JSA are attacked by the mysterious Mister X. The Spectre discovers that one of Mister X's henchmen is armed with the Ring of Life. Hawkman builds a second Nth metal belt and wings for Shiera Sanders, who becomes Hawkgirl. NOTES: Shiera is not actually called Hawkgirl in this story. Her first appearance as Hawkgirl in the Hawkman strip was in Flash #24 (1941). The magic ring worn by the Spectre's foe is not specifically identified as the Ring of Life in this story; it was so described in the recap of this story in All-Star Squadron #28 (1983). All-Star Comics #5 (June/July 1941)
Doctor Fate battles the sinister Ian Karkull, trapping him in shadow form. More Fun Comics #69 (July 1941)
The Polish man known as Blackhawk's family is slain by a German fighter. Blackhawk organizes an independent multinational flight squadron to fight the Nazis. NOTES: Blackhawk originally was a Quality Comics character. His real name was not revealed in his first appearance in Military #1. There were both Earth-One and Earth-Two Blackhawks. The Earth-Two Blackhawks migrated to Earth-X in 1942 (All-Star Squadron #50), where they were killed in action (Justice League of America #107), although they made an apocryphal appearance with the Earth-Two Batman in a story set in September 1944 (Brave and the Bold #167). The Earth-One Blackhawks had a similar early history, but survived the war and remained active until at least the late '70s. Military Comics #1 (Aug. 1941), Secret Origins #45 (Oct. 1989)
Late Spring, 1941: On Liberty Island, reporter Joan Dale has a dream that the Statue of Liberty comes to life and grants her the power to alter the nature of matter. Creating a colorful costume, she becomes Miss America. Military #1 (Aug. 1941)
Ian Karkull allies himself with Wotan to avenge himself on Doctor Fate, but Fate seemingly destroys both villains. More Fun Comics #70 (Aug. 1941)
"The Justice Society Initiates Johnny Thunder" Johnny Thunder joins the JSA, replacing the Flash. The Flash becomes an honorary member. NOTE: The change in the Flash's membership coincided with the debut of the All-Flash series. All-Star Comics #6 (Aug./Sept. 1941)
Ted Knight's cousin Sandra Knight becomes the Phantom Lady. Chemist Roy Lincoln invents explosive QRX-27 and transforms himself into the Human Bomb. Petty crook Eel O'Brian gains the power to stretch his body and change his shape after being doused with acid. Renouncing his life of crime, he becomes Plastic Man. NOTE: After some uncertain retconning, current continuity does again affirm that Plastic Man debuted in the forties; his unique physiology may keep him from aging. These heroes were originally published by Quality Comics. Police #1 (Aug. 1941)
June 22, 1941: German troops carry out Operation Barbarossa, an invasion of Soviet-occupied Poland, breaking Hitler's nonaggression pact with Stalin and embroiling Germany in a two-front war.
Commissioner Gordon grants official deputy status to Batman and Robin, ending Batman's status as an outlaw in Gotham City. NOTE: This story was published in 1941, but the events of the JSA's origin in DC Special #29 (1977) suggest that Batman and Gordon may have reached a private accommodation before the formation of the Justice Society. Batman #7 (Oct./Nov. 1941)
Green Lantern is elected chairman of the JSA, which pledges to raise $1,000,000 for war orphans. When Johnny Thunder is unable to raise his share, the Thunderbolt summons honorary members Superman, Batman, and the Flash to make up the difference. NOTE: The original story was the first time in print that Superman and Batman appeared together in the same story. The end of the story announces that Green Lantern is now an honorary member (coinciding with the debut of Green Lantern Comics) and Hourman is granted "a leave of absence" (marking the end of his strip in Adventure). They are replaced by Doctor Mid-Nite and Starman. All-Star Comics #7 (Oct./Nov. 1941)
June 28, 1941: Ian Karkull, now a living shadow, returns from the Dark Dimension and gathers a group of super-villains (Doctor Doog, Catwoman, Sieur Satan, Alexander the Great, Wotan, Zor, Lightning Master & the Tarantula) to help him assassinate eight future U.S. presidents. The JSA, joined by their honorary members and Starman, thwarts all but the last murder. Doctor Fate & Nabu destroy Karkull, releasing a burst of "temporal energy" that enhances the longevity of everyone present (Atom, Batman, Doctor Fate, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Hourman, Johnny Thunder, Sandman, Spectre, Starman and non-members Hawkgirl, Joan Williams, Lois Lane and Robin). Doctor Fate realizes that Nabu is taking control of him whenever he dons the Helm of Nabu. Hourman leaves the JSA to refine his Miraclo pill, replaced by Starman. Green Lantern, shaken by his failure against Wotan, opts for honorary membership, naming Hawkman the new chairman. NOTES: This story explains the departure of Green Lantern and Hourman and the arrival of Doctor Mid-Nite and Starman, as mentioned in the final page of All-Star #7. George Pérez drew the Hourman chapter. first APPS: Doctor Doog, Adventure Comics #61; Catwoman, Batman #1; Sieur Satan, Flash #1; Alexander the Great, Flash #?; Wotan, More Fun Comics #55; Zor, More Fun Comics #55; Lightning Master, ??; & the Tarantula, Adventure Comics #40. All-Star Squadron Annual #3 (1984)
Late June 1941: Dian Belmont shows a new Sandman costume design to mystery writer Jonathan Law, which he dons to become the Tarantula. Shortly afterwards, Dian is apparently killed while wearing Sandman's original costume. NOTES: Star-Spangled #1 was the Tarantula's first appearance in print. The source of the two characters' very similar costumes, the motivation for Sandman's costume change, and the death of Dian Belmont were first revealed in All-Star Squadron #18. Star-Spangled Comics #1 (Oct. 1941), All-Star Squadron #18 (Dec. 1982)
Grief-stricken, Wesley Dodds also dons the costume Dian Belmont had designed for him. Around the same time, he adopts Dian's nephew, Sanderson Hawkins, who becomes his crimefighting partner, Sandy the Golden Boy. NOTES: The new costumes were designed by Jack Kirby and were featured in all of the Sandman's subsequent Golden Age appearances. Dian did not appear in Adventure after the changeover. Adventure Comics #69 (Dec. 1941)
Realizing that the Helm of Nabu allows Nabu to control him, Doctor Fate replaces it with a half-helmet instead. The change costs him most of his magical power, but he retains super-strength, invulnerability and flight. NOTES: More Fun Comics #72 is Fate's first appearance in the half helmet; no explanation was provided until All-Star Squadron #23. More Fun Comics #72 (Oct. 1941), All-Star Squadron #23 (July 1983)
Doctor Mid-Nite joins the JSA, which battles Professor Elba. During the course of the adventure, Shiera Sanders once again aids Hawkman as Hawkgirl. NOTES: Doctor Mid-Nite went on to appear in every subsequent Golden Age issue of All-Star. This was Doctor Fate's first JSA case with his new helmet. The JSA, including honorary members Superman, Batman, Flash and Green Lantern, also appear in the one-page Hop Harrigan text story in this issue. All-Star Comics #8 (Dec. 1940/Jan. 1941)
After their encounter with Professor Elba, the JSA encounters the Brain Wave, who gives them a posthypnotic suggestion that later enables him to capture them. All-Star Squadron #20 (Apr. 1983)
After meeting Army intelligence officer Steve Trevor, Princess Diana of Paradise Island journeys to America, where she battles evil as Wonder Woman. All-Star Comics #8 (Dec. 1940/Jan. 1941)
After being framed for the murder of his mentor Ted Grant, inspired by a Green Lantern comic book, becomes Wildcat. Former child prodigy Terry Sloane, bored and frustrated with life, adopts the guise of Mister Terrific to seek new challenges. Sensation Comics #1 (Jan. 1942)
In Washington, D.C., Wonder Woman pays an Army nurse, Diana Prince, to sell her identification. The real Diana Prince joins her fiancee in South America while Wonder Woman takes over her identity. NOTES: This civilian Diana Prince is the mother of Marvin — the Super Friends' Marvin.
Ted Grant becomes heavyweight boxing champion. Sensation Comics #2 (Feb. 1942)
Doiby Dickles learns Green Lantern's secret identity. All-American Comics #35 (Feb. 1942)
The director of the FBI enlists the JSA's help in battling fascist incursions in Central and South America, from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego. All-Star Comics #9 (Feb./Mar. 1942)
July 4, 1941: Wealthy teenager Sylvester Pemberton and his chauffeur, former boxer Pat Dugan, become the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripsey. NOTE: The Star-Spangled Kid's origin was retold in Secret Origins #9. Action #40 (Sept. 1941), Secret Origins #9 (Dec. 1986)
As Diana Prince, Wonder Woman joins the Army, earning the rank of second lieutenant and becoming the secretary of Colonel Darnell of Army Intelligence. Sensation Comics #3 (Mar. 1942)
Wildcat meets bumbling private detective Stretch Skinner, who becomes his frequent partner and ally. Sensation Comics #4 (Apr. 1942)
July 26, 1941: FDR freezes Japanese assets in the U.S., suspends trade with Japan, and orders an embargo on the sale of oil and gasoline to Japan and its territories.
Newsreel photographer Johnny Chambers discovers the speed formula "3X2(9YZ)4A" and becomes Johnny Quick. More Fun Comics #71 (Sept. 1941), All-Star Squadron #65 (Dec. 1986)
Sir Justin, a knight of King Arthur's court, is revived after spending hundreds of years frozen in an ice floe. Armed with enchanted armor and a magic sword, he resumes his adventures as the Shining Knight. NOTE: The Shining Knight's origin was retold in All-Star Squadron #62. Adventure Comics #66 (Sept. 1941), All-Star Squadron #62 (Sept. 1986)
Libby Lawrence becomes Liberty Belle. NOTE: Liberty Belle's origin was retold in All-Star Squadron #61. Boy Commandos #1 (Winter 1942/43), All-Star Squadron #61 (Sept. 1986)
October 2, 1941: German troops advance towards Moscow, but are stymied by the harsh Russian winter.
Johnny Thunder learns that "Say You" is the magic word that summons his Thunderbolt, although he more commonly says it by accident. Flash Comics #20 (Aug. 1941)
Johnny Thunder adopts a young girl named Peachy Pet. Flash Comics #21 (Sept. 1941)
Starman battles the Mist (first appearance in print). Adventure Comics #67 (Oct. 1941)
October 26, 1941: Japanese Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoye is replaced by General Hideki Tojo.
October 31, 1941: After scientist Bob Crane is mortally wounded by gangsters, his assistant, Chuck Grayson, transfers Crane's still-living brain into a powerful robot body, transforming him into Robotman. NOTE: Robotman's origin was retold in All-Star Squadron #63, which also established the date of his transformation. Star-Spangled Comics #7 (Apr. 1942), All-Star Squadron #63 (Nov. 1986)
After a singing career as the Prairie Troubadour, Greg Saunders becomes the Vigilante to avenge the murder of his father. NOTES: In pre-Crisis continuity, there was a Vigilante on Earth-One as well as Earth-Two. The Earth-One Vigilante had a similar early history, but was not a member of the Seven Soldiers of Victory; his first appearance (identified as the Earth-One character) was in Justice League of America #78 (1970) and his first chronological appearance was in Justice League of America #144 (1977). Action Comics #42 (Nov. 1941)
Wealthy archaeologist Oliver Queen and a young orphan named Roy Harper become Green Arrow and Speedy. The son of a famous oceanographer, who used ancient Atlantean secrets to give his son the ability to live under water, becomes Aquaman. Doctor Fate battles Mister Who. NOTES: Although this is the first appearance of Green Arrow and Speedy, their origin was not revealed until More Fun Comics #89 (1943). The Earth-Two Aquaman was nominally a member of the All-Star Squadron. He appeared briefly in issues #59-60, his only modern appearances. The Earth-Two Green Arrow and Speedy were members of the Seven Soldiers of Victory. More Fun Comics #73 (Nov. 1941)
The Spectre meets the bumbling Officer Percival Poplaski, also known as Percival Popp, the Super-Cop, who becomes his frequent partner. More Fun Comics #74 (Dec. 1941)
November 1941: Joined by honorary members Flash and Green Lantern, the JSA travels 500 years into the future to help the Time Trust (Prof. Damon Everson, Prof. Malachi Zee, Doctor James Swanley, Doctor Wilfred Doome) develop an indestructible force field (the "bomb defense formula"). NOTES: The story takes place before Pearl Harbor. The Time Trust scientists originally were not named; the scientists appeared in subsequent All-Star stories and later were identified as the unnamed Time Trust members. This was the Sandman's first JSA case in his new costume. All-Star Comics #10 (Apr./May 1942)
The Crimson Avenger, Green Arrow, the Shining Knight, Speedy, the Star-Spangled Kid, Stripsey, and Vigilante join forces as the Seven Soldiers of Victory (a.k.a. the Law's Legionnaires). NOTES: Wing first appeared in Detective Comics #20 (1938), Billy Gunn in Action #42 (1941), and Stuff in Action #45 (1942). Leading Comics #1 (Winter 1941)

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