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  1. #1

    Default What Golden Age superhero do you find most enjoyable to read today?

    For instance, if someone told you they were going to take a deep dive into a Golden Age superhero and wanted recommendations, which would you recommend to them and why?

    I'd personally go with Superman, but I've never been exposed to any others. I find that, even in his earliest iterations, he holds similar degrees of inspiration and excitement that his later incarnations have in more recent decades. I figured some discussion here might broaden my horizons!

  2. #2
    Relaunched, not rebooted! SJNeal's Avatar
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    While I love the JSA, I don't love the Golden Age material I've read (granted, it's not much). I much prefer their more modern takes.

    So to answer the question I'd probably go with Wonder Woman. Although I must admit I read it ironically, because I find the stories so un-PC by today's standards. Not so say that all the things we love about WW aren't also present.
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    Astonishing Member babyblob's Avatar
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    I know everyone says Superman. But to be honest I find most of his Golden Age stuff boring. A man with his powers going after Mobsters, grifters, crooked operators of boys homes? Heck there was even an issue where he went after traffic violators. There never was a real threat to him. No challenge. he busted in, slapped a guy around, said guy became so scare he did what ever Superman asked. Pretty ho hum. I enjoy them on some level but I would not call them exciting.

    Batman, Sandman, Atom I enjoy them more in the Golden Age. You have a feeling that a lucky punch will take Batman Down, Sandman could and has been shot. There was a sense of danger with those heroes.
    Favorite teams. Alpha Flight, Avengers, Fantastic Four, West Coast Avengers, Justice Society of America, Legion of Superheroes.

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    Astonishing Member Johnny Thunders!'s Avatar
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    Next to Superman, the most stories I have read are probably All Star Comics with the Justice Society. My number one choice is the Spirit. I think I have read more origin stories than actual runs. Captain Marvel, Hawkman, and Wonder Woman are golden age origins I love.

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    Astonishing Member MRP's Avatar
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    Will Eisner's The Spirit.

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    Hello from the gutter Mad Hatter's Avatar
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    Captain Marvel, Batman and Dick Tracy.

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    Marvel's 1st Superhero Reviresco's Avatar
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    Namor. Some crazy hilarious adventures.
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    Extraordinary Member K7P5V's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mad Hatter View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Thunders! View Post
    Captain Marvel
    Captain Marvel
    In agreement with the both of you about Captain Marvel (especially the Marvel Family):


    Quote Originally Posted by Reviresco View Post
    Namor. Some crazy hilarious adventures.
    Agreed. Bill Everett's work is legendary:





    As for my choice, always thought Captain America was full of zest (especially the first ten issues):

    Last edited by K7P5V; 06-16-2021 at 11:44 PM. Reason: Corrected Grammatical Errors.

  9. #9
    Incredible Member Rimmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reviresco View Post
    Namor. Some crazy hilarious adventures.
    My top 3 would be (in this order)
    Supes
    Namor
    Cap

    And while I agree that Superman's early stuff was a little whacky, he (Superman) also wasn't portrayed as the undefeatable powerhouse he has been for the last few decades. If you took Superman of TODAY and had him bust up gambling dens and small time crooks, then, yeah, that would make no sense, really, (as you could leave that up to more street level folks like Green Arrow, etc...) but back then? There's just something about those stories I just love. of course they're repetitive, etc.., I think for me it's the whole "standing up for the little guy / standing up for what's right" angle that really gets me. Helping kids, the poor, against evil rich guys, etc... He was more of a 'crusader' if you will.

    Namor, yeah, it's just crazy fun, same with Cap. You try to get past the racist remarks made during wartime (I know we should never just "get past" racism, I don't mean it that way...) and it's just fun. And Namor, you break down the hundreds of thousands if not millions he's killed over the years, it's insane. I mean, countless attacks on the surface world with massive tidal waves, there had to be thousands upon thousands killed. And it didn't just happen once, but many times. He's got a lot of blood on his hands. Even during the Golden Age, it's interesting how that gets glossed over again and again because we need to make him a hero again to fight the Japanese.
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  10. #10
    Incredible Member Ishmael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rimmer View Post
    My top 3 would be (in this order)
    Supes
    Namor
    Cap

    And while I agree that Superman's early stuff was a little whacky, he (Superman) also wasn't portrayed as the undefeatable powerhouse he has been for the last few decades. .
    I agree with this list, although I wouldn't say Superman's early stuff is whacky. It seems really grounded in social justice issues of the day (such as when he addresses slot machines being used by children which was a thing back then, or sports gambling - which remains a thing even now). I mean his very first story is about munitions manufacturers using lobbyists to get politicians to promote war, which they will then all profit from. Superman has some amazing social commentary underlying what otherwise seem to be simply morality tales. If they did those stories today - with modern story telling sensibilities - I've no doubt a number of fandom would complain about how "woke" the stories are.

    I'd also add the GA Atom to the list. I've read a few of his stories in the JSA All Stars archive, and he has a really strong "Peter Parker" vibe going on. I was surprised by how a few of the themes Stan Lee develops in Spider-man are found in those early Atom stories.

    And Blackhawk is another great GA character. Great art - really great art - with some fun adventure type stories. Good stuff. There's a reason he's one of the military type characters to last until the '60's.
    Last edited by Ishmael; 01-28-2021 at 03:35 PM.

  11. #11
    Mighty Member Angilasman's Avatar
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    By pure technical sophistication, The Spirit and Captain Marvel (Shazam) are the best - as well as being very entertaining - but I've got maybe the most affection for Jack Cole's Plastic Man!

    I think those three are head-and-shoulders above the Superman/Batman/Captain America material of the time.

  12. #12
    DC Enthusiast Tony's Avatar
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    Plastic Man and Wonder Woman, followed by Superman, then Namor and Hawkman are the most enjoyable GA comic books to me. I'd buy the first three as written off the stands today. Jack Cole was the most talented writer artist of all time. Shame DC didn't keep restoring Plastic Man Archives.

  13. #13
    Mighty Member Enigma's Avatar
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    My only GA reading is Wonder Woman, but I love it!
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  14. #14
    All-New Member 80sForever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rimmer View Post
    My top 3 would be (in this order)
    Supes
    Namor
    Cap

    And while I agree that Superman's early stuff was a little whacky, he (Superman) also wasn't portrayed as the undefeatable powerhouse he has been for the last few decades. If you took Superman of TODAY and had him bust up gambling dens and small time crooks, then, yeah, that would make no sense, really, (as you could leave that up to more street level folks like Green Arrow, etc...) but back then? There's just something about those stories I just love. of course they're repetitive, etc.., I think for me it's the whole "standing up for the little guy / standing up for what's right" angle that really gets me. Helping kids, the poor, against evil rich guys, etc... He was more of a 'crusader' if you will.
    .
    Your conclusion is correct- Superman was a crusader. However you are completely wrong that he wasn't an unbeatable powerhouse. Even though he's scaled down compared to the later versions, he has no powerhouse supervillains to give him a challenge. I am literally reading every issue and am in 1940 and it's a joke how he handles gangsters, scientists, thieves, scammers, and crooked politicians. Ultra-Humanite and Luthor lay traps but Supes may even be KO'ed by gas a couple of times, but sawblades and bullets can't penetrate his skin. It's like playing a video game in God mode. He is never in danger.

    To the OP,

    As far as good Golden Age stories, Superman, Batman, and Namor are standouts for the Big Two from 1938 to mid-1940.

  15. #15
    Astonishing Member babyblob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rimmer View Post
    My top 3 would be (in this order)
    Supes
    Namor
    Cap

    And while I agree that Superman's early stuff was a little whacky, he (Superman) also wasn't portrayed as the undefeatable powerhouse he has been for the last few decades. If you took Superman of TODAY and had him bust up gambling dens and small time crooks, then, yeah, that would make no sense, really, (as you could leave that up to more street level folks like Green Arrow, etc...) but back then? There's just something about those stories I just love. of course they're repetitive, etc.., I think for me it's the whole "standing up for the little guy / standing up for what's right" angle that really gets me. Helping kids, the poor, against evil rich guys, etc... He was more of a 'crusader' if you will.
    Any character who gets hit with a tank shell and does not even get knocked off his feet then tears said tank apart with his bare hands is written as an unbeatable power house. Like I said I enjoy Golden Age Superman on some lever but as 80sforever posted he was never in any danger. he busts in slaps a guy silly and then the guy is too scared to do anything else and does what ever Sups says. No threat means no excitement really. Sure its fun to see a crooked gambler get whats coming to him but there is no sense of holy crap look at this. Being underpowered compared to todays Superman does not mean he was not over powered when fighting a thug or bank robber and that they posed a real threat to him because they never did.

    With other heroes like batman, Sandman, or even Green Lantern who could and has been taken down by a piece of wood there was a threat. You knew they were going to win in the end all heroes do. but I mean there was an issue where Sandman was in the hospital for a couple weeks after being shot.

    Even Golden Age Flash stories are a bit boring. He runs around real fast. Steals the clothes of the bad guy game over.
    Favorite teams. Alpha Flight, Avengers, Fantastic Four, West Coast Avengers, Justice Society of America, Legion of Superheroes.

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