Saturday, March 30, 2013
THE SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY
Sorting through old files, I came across two pitches I made to DC
Comics in 1976. Neither was dated, but I remember writing this one
during the three weeks I was in Cleveland creating Black Lightning.
I was back and forth between Cleveland and New York a lot that year
as the new regimes were coming together and/or falling apart at DC
By way of further preface...
When DC was recruiting me, assignments on top titles like Justice
League of America and Batman were being offered...as well as a page
rate a few bucks higher than my Marvel rate. When I was fired from
Marvel on the day I came into the Marvel offices to quit - having
already told DC I was accepting its offer - certain ranking people
at DC decided DC was no longer obligated by what they’d offered me.
The top titles were off the table and my DC page rate was actually
a few bucks less than my Marvel rate. Yes, I was a colossal idiot
for ever trusting DC again.
Since I wouldn’t be writing Batman, which I had really wanted to do
back then, or Justice League of America, which I was willing to do,
I figured I might as well create my own assignments rather than be
stuck on the dredges of the DC roster...especially given that the
roster was mostly dredges back then. I also figured I would stick
to mostly existing DC characters until I knew if they would honor
whatever deal we struck for Black Lightning.
Spoiler alert. They didn’t.
On to the pitch...
THE SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY
as recreated by Tony Isabella
World War II...and to combat the Axis menace, the United States of
America summons seven of its bravest super-heroes. Banded together
under the command of the mysterious Agent X (James W. Gordon), the
super-heroes are our nation’s first and last lines of defense...and
THE SHINING KNIGHT
AIR WAVE (Larry Jordan)...this wizard of the wireless’ super-powers
give him mastery of the sounds that travel through space. He can
travel along electrical waves by means of his special boots and can
also “tune in” on any metal anywhere. He’s the leader of the team,
the straight man.
JOHNNY QUICK (Johnny Chambers)...a scientist who has discovered a
formula which gives him super-speed. This power is activated by
his mental recall of the mathematical equation which contains - in
code - the secret of his formula. He is the group’s glamour boy,
but also has a very quick mind.
LIBERTY BELLE (Libby Lawrence)...non super-powered heroine who uses
her war correspondent job to get to the fight. She’s a feisty, knowledgeable
and capable young woman.
THE SHINING KNIGHT (Justin)...a super-strong knight who, along with
his flying horse Winged Victory, was frozen in an iceberg circa the
time of King Arthur and survived to our time. His armor affords
him amazing protection from harm. His sword is able to cut through
almost anything. He’s gallant, somewhat naive and, befitting his
background, perhaps a bit too proud.
THE TARANTULA (John Law)...essentially the same basic super-powers
as Spider-Man, though artificially created. He’s a wise guy, probably
because his powers are artificial.
THE VIGILANTE (Greg Sanders)...When his dad was gunned down by a
gang of criminals, Greg decided to take the law into his own hands
in the guise of the Vigilante. He’s a master of all western skills
and he speaks with a very cool “cowboy” speech pattern. Instead of
a horse, he rides a motorcycle.
WILDCAT (Ted Grant)...This is the Earth-1 Wildcat, who was in those
Batman/Brave & Bold issues that couldn’t be explained expect by the
presence of a Wildcat on Earth-1. He’s a heavyweight fighter and
not yet the champion he would become. He is hot-headed and won’t
get along well with the other members.
The SUPPORTING CAST would initially consist of only “Agent X.”
However, I am considering adding a behind-the-scenes scientist to
create various gadgets to help our heroes stomp out the Nazis. In
this role, I could use Professor Ira West, the Flash’s absent-minded
father-in-law, Professor West. Since this is years before the coming
of the Flash, the professor would be younger, but no less absent-minded.
The OPENING STORY would be 34 pages long with the title “Assault on
Fortress Europe.” This fortress would not be merely some figure of
speech, but a super-fortress built by GENERAL IMMORTUS. The same
one who would fight the Doom Patrol in our time. In World War II, he’s
allied with Hitler. This huge fortress is guarded from all forms of attack -
air, land or sea - by deadly creatures of the General's creation. A fourth
monster lurks within the castle. These creatures are roughly based on the
ancient elements of air, earth, fire and water.
This story would have Agent X captured by Immortus to prevent the
government man from whipping our heroes into a team. They try to
rescue him. This will be your basic “get to know the heroes” book
and filled with plenty of action, characterization and background
From time to time, our team will meet other heroes. My list at this
time consists of:
BOOMERANG...an Australian super-hero
CONGO BILL...jungle explorer from the old DC series
CRIMSON COSSACK...a Russian super-hero
FLYING TIGER...a Chinese super-hero
GUARDIAN...slum super-hero from the old DC series
HOP HARRIGAN...daredevil pilot from the old DC series
LITTLE BOY BLUE...boy hero from the old DC series
MANHUNTER...from the old DC series
SARGON THE SORCERER...from the old DC series
TNT...from the old DC series
WHIP...western super-hero updated from the old DC series
ZATARA THE MAGICIAN...from the old DC series
Some of the other villains the Seven Soldiers would face within a
few issues of the origin story would be:
CAPTAIN SWASTIKA...super-powered Nazi
BLITZKRIEG...super-speedster, the fascist man alive
ATTILA THE HUN...the original returned to life
THE SAMURAI SQUAD...seven very deadly swordsman
Considering the success of both The Invaders and its Liberty Legion
spin-off, it couldn’t hurt for us to have a group of World War II
super-heroes going for us.
ADDENDUM: I’m of two minds about this pitch. I think it would have
been a fun book for me to write and for the fans to read. Rereading
it today, it strikes me as too derivative. Is that because it was too
derivative in 1976 or because it seems that way in 2013? I’ll
let you decide.
I was absolutely talking out of my ass when I mentioned the success
of Marvel’s Invaders and Liberty Legion. I didn’t know if the two
books were selling well or not. What I did know was the quickest
way to get publisher Jenette Kahn’s attention and approval was to
compare something to something being done at Marvel Comics.
I think she liked their books better than DC’s.
She did okay this series, but it was put on my back burner because
I was concentrating on Black Lightning, because I had accepted
the editor’s position she had offered me and because I was pissed
at DC cutting the page rate I had originally been offered and which
I’d accepted. When I left the editor’s position, I never returned
to this or any of the other pitches Kahn had liked. Beyond Black
Lightning, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. But I was certain I
wanted out of New York and away from the people who lied to me
on a nigh-daily basis.
ADDENDUM TWO: Just before posting today’s bloggy thing, I looked at
my handwritten notes for the pitch and discovered I had worked out
the creatures of General Immortus and which heroes would do battle
with them. Here’s the breakdown:
1) AIR (Air Wave and the Shining Knight)...The Thunderbird
2) LAND (Johnny Quick and the Vigilante)...The Yeti
3) SEA (The Tarantula and Wildcat)...The Octo-Man
4) FIRE (entire team)...The Burning Man
I had previously written about two of these creatures - the Burning
Man and the Thunderbird - in one-page fillers I had written for the
Marvel black-and-white horror magazines. Creatures of legend are,
after all, in the public domain.
I will have a second DC Comics pitch for you tomorrow. It’s a spin-
off from the Legion of Super-Heroes.
© 2013 Tony Isabella