Golden Age Showcase: Doiby Dickles

Let’s talk about sidekicks.

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The sidekick’s job is to watch the main hero’s back and help in any way possible.  Sometimes this means providing support and help from afar and sometimes it means getting their hands dirty and joining the hero in his/her adventures.

More often than not, comic book publishers use sidekicks as a way to fill a need in the comic that the hero can’t fill.  In the case of Robin the Boy Wonder, it was a way for DC Comics to make one of their most popular heroes more kid friendly and accessible in a time where comic book superheroes were facing a lot of scrutiny.

Over the course of comic book history there have been plenty of other sidekicks.  Some have worked,

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and some have not.

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Today we’re talking about a Golden Age super sidekick that belongs in the “did not work” category, although if you ask me it’s a crying shame.

Today we’re going to talk about Doiby Dickles.

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Origin and Career

The Green Lantern of the 1940’s was radically different from the Green Lantern we know today.

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Instead of being an interstellar cop who got his powers from an advanced piece of alien technology, the Golden Age Green Lantern was a railroad engineer named Alan Scott who used a ring powered by magic.

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When popular heroes like Batman and Superman experienced a sales boost by adopting sidekicks, National Comics turned to legendary comic book creator Bill Finger to create a sidekick for Alan.

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I know I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: Bill Finger wasn’t just a big name for the Green Lantern, he also helped create a huge chunk of the Batman mythos we know and love today.

Doiby made his first appearance in All American Comics #27 in June of 1941.

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The man was a Brooklyn taxi driver who drove Alan Scott around as needed.

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He spoke with a thick Brooklyn accent, always wore a derby hat, and wasn’t afraid to get into a fight when he needed to.

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He had something of a temper as well and could swing a wrench with enough power to make him a force to be reckoned with.

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Also, he was incredibly attached to his cab, who he named “Goitrude”.

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In short, Doiby Dickles was an ill tempered, foul mouthed cab driver who was quick in a fight and wanted to do everything he could to help.

He was magnificent.

So what happened?

The Golden Age of superheroes ended and the ensuing Silver Age took more of a science fiction bent.

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This included a dramatic revamping of the Green Lantern series which shifted from the magic wielder Alan Scott to the galactic space cop Hal Jordan that we know and love today.

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Sadly, this meant that the new age of comics didn’t have time and room for a hard talking fast punching maniac like Doiby,

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so DC decided to ship him off into space and marry an alien princess named Ramia from the planet Myrg after saving her from a forced marriage to a man named Prince Peril.

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Doiby and Ramia would return to Myrg where Doiby would become it’s king.  The people of Myrg would go on to adopt Brooklyn accents and recreate the baseball field where the Brooklyn Dodgers played.

God, the Silver Age was weird.

While Doiby was no longer a member of the main supporting cast he did manage the odd guest appearance where he actually helped the Green Lanterns defeat Sinestro.

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Sadly, Goitrude was destroyed in the battle.  It’s one of the most heartbreaking deaths in all of comics.

While that was the extent of his Silver Age career, Doiby was nowhere near done as a character.  He would continue to have revival after unlikely revival, even into the modern age.

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He made an appearance with a superhero group known as “Old Justice”.

It was a joke group of old superheroes who made it their mission to keep the younger generation of superheroes in check and make sure they didn’t mess things up too much,

Naturally they became a thorn in the side of the more famous “Young Justice” superhero team, although in the end they did manage to put aside their differences and let the young ones do their jobs.

If you want to read more stories with Doiby in them, I recommend the Young Justice “Sins of Youth” story line.

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Doiby’s next adventure would be with Young Justice again, when they agreed to help him travel back to Myrg and defeat an alien race known as the Slag by playing a game of baseball.


It’s worth mentioning that the team was only able to win by blatantly cheating.

Sadly, the baseball game was the last major appearance for Doiby Dickles.  The rest of his appearances are guest spots and flashbacks with Alan Scott.

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So, according to DC continuity, Doiby is still out there on an alien planet and is enjoying a long and happy life with an alien queen while ruling a race of Brooklyn accented extra terrestrials.

Shine on you crazy bastard, you deserve it.

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Golden Age showcase: The Spectre

Today is all about the final member of the original superhero team, the Justice Society of America.


And who better to end such a lengthy string of articles than with God.  Not a god like Zeus or Thor but rather, THE God.  Granted today’s character is only part of the divine being we all know and love but he’s an incredibly important part when it comes to comic books.  I’m talking about the literal personification of God’s wrath in the DC universe: The Spectre.


Origin and career:

Fun fact about this character, he was created by comic book legend Jerry Siegel who was the co founder of this guy, you’ve probably never heard of him.


The Spectre first appeared in 1940 and was originally a cop named Jim Corrigan

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Corrigan had the unfortunate luck of being at the wrong place at the wrong time and was murdered by gang of mobsters who threw him into a barrel filled with cement and then threw the barrel into a river.  Instead of dying, Jim was confronted by an entity known only as “The Voice” and was sent back to earth in order to rid the world of evil as a spirit of vengeance.


It seems that Seigel liked to give his characters incredible amounts of power because the Spectre was on level of power and ability comparable to Superman, and if you take the fact that the Golden Age Superman was nowhere near as powerful as he is today you could argue that the Spectre was even more powerful at this time.  He could change his size at will


He could travel across the world in the blink of an eye


and he had some rather gruesome ways of dealing with those he sought to punish, including one noteworthy instance where he turned a criminal into a walking skeleton.


and leaving a man stranded in the middle of a warehouse, paralyzed with some sort of science ray for the rest of his life.


It should be noted that while Jim Corrigan did have a fiancee at the time named Clarice he decided to break up with because when you’re a non corporeal being with the ability to pass the judgement of the Lord upon all evil doers you’re probably not very well suited for the married life.

Sadly it seems that even back in the Golden Age people realized that having a superhero who is way to powerful to be fighting mere mobsters and cannot be hurt is a bit…boring and by the start of the Second World War the Spectre’s role in the DC universe was greatly diminished.  Jim Corrigan was re incarnated in 1942 and the Spectre became more like his name sake, an invisible ghost like figure who tended to only intervene in events rather than take direct action.  Near the end of the Golden Age he was reduced to the role of guardian angel in a comic book series “Percival Popp, the Super Cop”.


It seems that the Spectre’s decision to retire with the rest of the JSA during the 1950’s was probably a good idea.

So what happened?

Forgive the pun but the Spectre came back in the 1960’s with a vengeance.


Instead of toning his powers down legendary DC editor Julius Schwartz made the Spectre even more powerful, basically becoming the closest thing to God in the DC universe.  However, the problem of his power still remained and the creative staff struggled to find ways to tell good stories with a nigh omnipotent protagonist.  The solution was to have him make cameos in other books like the Flash and Batman and many of his later stories took a more occult feel and leaned more in the direction of horror anthologies than a superhero.


After a period of time as a severely depowered hero with his alter ego running an occult detective agency his role as an agent of God would reach it’s apex under the writing of John Ostrander, who claimed that the Spectre was actually one of the fallen angels who was cast out of Heaven named Aztar.  During this time the Spectre would be confronted with deep and morally questionable decisions like whether or not he should punish a woman who had killed her abusive husband in his sleep.  He would also have an enemy that was his equal in terms of power, a rival angel of death called Eclipso.


The Spectre would eventually become an integral part of the DC universe on a cosmic level, playing an important part in many of DC’s massive multiverse events like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Zero Hour.  In 1999 Jim Corrigan would eventually find peace and his soul was separated from the Spectre who attached itself to the soul of the Green Lantern Hal Jordan during the event comic Day of Judgement. 


After Hal was released from the Spectre’s control the entity would go on a violent rampage before finding a new host in a man named Crispus Allen.


The Spectre would continue to fight many of DC Comic’s massive cosmic threats including his old nemesis Eclipso and the personification of Death, Nekron.


He’s also had several cameo appearances in various other titles including one of the best episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold

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and a pretty good short film under the DC Showcase title.

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As one of DC’s most powerful characters (and that’s saying something) the Spectre has struggled as a character for good and compelling stories.  However, as the personification of vengeance (something that a lot of superheroes in general share) he is and will remain an important part of the mythos and mythology of one of the greatest collection of heroes the world has ever known.

Golden Age #11: Golden Age Green Lantern

Today is part two of of our series on the Justice Society of America.


Since we already talked about the man on the far right of this picture we’re going to move over one and talk about the man with the green mask and cape.  This is a special post because that hero is the Golden Age version of the Green Lantern, the blue print for one of the most famous and prominent heroes around today.


Origin and career:

Thanks to the Green Lantern’s popularity we know quite a bit about the Green Lantern’s history.  However, what’s really interesting is that the original version of Green Lantern shared almost none of the traits and history of the Green Lantern we know today.


The original Green Lantern’s name was Alan Scott.  He was a humble railroad engineer who was minding his own business when an alien entity named Starheart saved him from a terrible accident.  Starheart took the form of ring and pushed Alan towards adopting the persona of the Green Lantern.


What makes this iteration of the Green Lantern interesting is just how similar he is to the Green Lantern we know and love and how different he is at the same time.  It turns out that this Green Lantern had more of a mystical tint to it since it was discovered that Starheart was actually a meteor that crash landed on Earth thousands of years ago and has had quite a history with humans prophesying that it would act three times: once to destroy, once to heal, and once to give power.  Alan Scott just happened to be the third one.

Like the current Green Lantern the original Green Lantern had a wide variety of powers.  The ring allowed Alan Scott to fly, project light that could blind opponents, and project solid light constructs that could knock someone out.

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The ring also made him invulnerable to every type of weapon except those made out of wood for some reason (the Golden Age was weird) and had to be recharged but touching a large Green device shaped like a lantern every 24 hours.

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In terms of stories and enemies the Green Lantern had a pretty lackluster career.  In his solo work he mostly fought human antagonists although he did introduce future DC heavyweight villains Vandal Savage


and Solomon Grundy.


He would later join his other superhero compatriots that weren’t selling well and become one of the founding members of the Justice Society.  During this time he became the head of a Broadcasting Company and spent the war making money and kicking Nazi butt.

So what happened?

After fulfilling his Nazi beating quota Green Lantern suffered the same post war decline in readership that almost every hero who wasn’t named Batman or Superman had.  His books were cancelled in 1949 but he would make a roaring comeback in 1959 with the dawn of the Silver Age of Comics.

A quick note about the Silver Age of Comics.  This period of comic book history took place between 1956-1970 and was known for two things.  First, it saw the rise of Stan Lee and Marvel Comics.


and for drawing most of its influence from this

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and this.

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Yes, the Silver Age was a time when popular culture was dominated by science, the power and possibilities of atomic energy, and mankind’s first forays into space.  Comic books were quick to pick up on these new fascinations and nowhere was it more apparent that Green Lantern who introduced a new face of the franchise in 1959: Hal Jordan.

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Right away you can see several differences between Hal and Alan.  For starters there’s no cape and the comic has more of a science fiction feel to it rather than a gangster/fantasy spin.  The new comic also featured several other changes that would become standard Green Lantern lore.  Hal was a test pilot instead of a railroad engineer and while the ring could still use green light to project solid light constructs and provide powers of flight and protection it could also work against wooden weapons.  Instead it’s new weakness was the color yellow (just the color yellow, the Sinestro Corps didn’t exist yet).  As for its origin the new Green Lantern wasn’t just a hero who had been given magic powers.  Now he was actually a member of an intergalactic police force run by the immortal Guardians.

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So DC comics now had a new Green Lantern with a more detailed backstory and a focus on science fiction over fantasy which, looking back, made him quite a bit more interesting.

That being said Alan Scott didn’t just disappear.  In fact, he would go on to have a long and illustrious career as his own character.  One of DC Comic’s big Silver Age stunts was the creation of the Multiverse, the idea that the DC universe existed in multiple universes which gave the writers and creators the excuse to keep a lot of characters around without having to deal with a lot of pesky continuity flaws.  The idea was introduced in the Flash of Two World’s story and allowed DC to keep a lot of it’s old Golden Age heroes around.

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As one of the founding members of the JSA, Alan Scott continued to exist as his own man through the Silver Age, even working with Hal Jordan on several occasions.


And he’s been hanging around the DC universe ever since. No matter what has happened within the DC universe and no matter what Earth shattering event has occurred, the original Green Lantern has always been there watching over Earth’s other heroes with his magic ring.