Golden Age Showcase: Mister Mind and the Monster Society of Evil

So the Justice League movie came out this weekend.

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I haven’t seen it, I probably will despite the negative reviews, and I think I’ll use this opportunity to talk about super hero team ups.

The idea of superheroes teaming up to fight evil together is nothing new in comics.  The very first time it happened was in All Star Comics #3 in 1940 when the Justice Society of America was formed.

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Super hero team ups like this can happen for a couple of reasons.  In the case of the JSA above and the original Luke Cage and Iron Fist books,

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it was a successful attempt at saving the characters from poor sales numbers.  In the case of the modern day Avengers,

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It was a reward for the fans for watching the movies and making the MCU into the most successful franchise of all time.

But it’s not just superheroes that have been brought together, the bad guys get their team ups too.

While one of the most famous examples has to be DC’s Suicide Squad,

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today I want to talk about the first super villain team up in comic book history: The Monster Society of Evil.

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Origin and Career

The Monster Society of Evil was a collection of super villains that were published by Fawcett Comics: the original creators of Captain Marvel.

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Captain Marvel was an interesting hero, mostly because for a brief period of history he was actually more popular than Superman.

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But we’re not here to talk about Captain Marvel, we’re here to talk about the bad guys and the devious mastermind that brought them together.

The Monster Society of Evil made its first appearance in Captain Marvel Adventures #22 in March of 1943.

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The story was drawn by the original Captain Marvel artist C.C Beck,

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and written by one of the most prolific Captain Marvel and Superman writers of all time: Otto Binder.

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The comic starts off with the mysterious and intimidating Mister Mind intercepting a broadcast about an Indian Princess who has a set of jewels that she wishes to donate to the Allied war effort.

Comic Book Cover For Captain Marvel Adventures #22

For starters, props to the villain for having a moon base and second, it’s amazing how just on the nose a bad guy named “Captain Nazi” can be.

Why is Mister Mind helping someone like Captain Nazi?  Because it’s evil of course!

Comic Book Cover For Captain Marvel Adventures #22

It turns out that there’s more to the princess’ jewels than  meets the eye, and that Captain Nazi is very good at disguises,

Comic Book Cover For Captain Marvel Adventures #22

even if his henchmen are idiots.

Captain Marvel manages to track down Captain Nazi, only to find that it was all a trap set up by Mister Mind.

Comic Book Cover For Captain Marvel Adventures #22

While the hero is able to take the villains out one by one, both sides manage to track down a second pearl and the villains make their getaway through the power of teamwork.

Comic Book Cover For Captain Marvel Adventures #22

The race to retrieve the pearls would go on for several issues, with Captain Marvel taki.  Interestingly, the mastermind behind the whole operation would continue to remain hidden for two more issues until Captain Marvel finally decides to take the fight to Mister Mind’s moon base.

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It’s a pretty awesome story, with Captain Marvel fighting robots,

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and squid men.

Comic Book Cover For Captain Marvel Adventures #26

The Captain decides to search as his alter ego, Billy Batson.  After brushing off an insignificant little worm he’s confronted by a giant of a man who appears to be the real Mister Mind.

Comic Book Cover For Captain Marvel Adventures #26

Our hero manages to defeat the villain with an epic headbutt!

Comic Book Cover For Captain Marvel Adventures #26

But it turns out that the giant wasn’t Mister Mind at all!

Not to worry though, they reveal the true identity of Mister Mind in the next issue.  You know that worm Batson brushed off of his shoulder?  Yep…that’s the criminal mastermind!

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Oh yes, that’s certainly the face of a criminal mastermind and genius.

Despite his small stature and lack of long range vision, Mister Mind is a capable villain with the ability to hypnotize creatures and humans to do his bidding.  So naturally he teams up with Hitler.

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Mister Mind turns out to be a very slippery nemesis for Captain Marvel and the two would continue their game of cat and mouse (worm and human just doesn’t have the same ring to it) for over twenty issues and ended in Captain Marvel Adventures #46 when he’s captured, tried, and executed via electric chair…

Comic Book Cover For Captain Marvel Adventures #46


And that was the end of Mister Mind in the Golden Age of Comics, one of the smallest and most devious villains in all of comic books.

So what happened?

Sure the evil worm may have been killed, but we all know that death is but a revolving door in comics so he could have made a comeback.

Unfortunately that wouldn’t happen.  Fawcett stopped making comics in 1953 and DC wound up suing Fawcett for copyright infringement in one of the longest court cases in comic book history.

In 1972 DC Comics began publishing their own Captain Marvel stories under the title of SHAZAM! due to Marvel Comics snapping up the copyright to the name.


Mister Mind would be reborn as a DC super villain in the second issue of the series where it was revealed that he had survived the electrocution and hypnotized a taxidermist into creating a fake corpse.

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The villainous worm would reform the Society of Evil to include some of the most powerful and deadly villains in the Captain Marvel franchise.

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This would continue until DC reset its entire universe in 1986 with the Crisis on Infinite Earths event and everything was reset.

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Mister Mind would wind up returning to the DC universe in the limited event series The Power of SHAZAM!, only this time he became a tad more…intimidating.

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This version of the villain was a member of a species from Venus and almost destroyed the Earth in a nuclear holocaust.

The worm would continue to be a nemesis of the Captain Marvel series and DC heroes as a whole.  His most recent appearance was in the company’s New 52 reboot, although the Society of Evil didn’t make an appearance.

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He has yet to appear in any recent DC comics.

Mister Mind is one of the most interesting comic book villains to ever come out of the Golden Age of Comics.  He was smart, capable, and evil to the core but needed to manipulate others to do his dirty work for him.  Outside of stalwarts like Lex Luthor and the Joker, Mister Mind has one of the longest and most successful careers of any comic book super villain and I would be very interested in seeing if DC decides to do anything with him in the future.

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Golden Age showcase: Suicide Squad

Today we’re going to take a break from the actual Golden Age of Comics and talk about one of the greatest comic book teams in history, one so famous that their getting their own movie which is coming out this week!

I have very high hopes for this movie.  I like the cast, I like the director, I even like the comic book company that created them and I can’t think of a better way of sharing my excitement than by talking about the comic book series that inspired the movie.


The Suicide Squad works like this.  Any DC villain in government custody can be recruited into the squad, led by a highly capable government official named Amanda Waller.


Each squad is sent on missions that are deemed too dangerous or nearly impossible for ordinary people to complete, which makes a team of super villains perfect because in the even that they fail the government can deny any involvement.  In order to ensure compliance each team member is given an explosive collar (in some versions it’s a batch of explosive nanites in the bloodstream) that can be detonated if they step out of line, killing them in the process.

Here’s the thing, the original Suicide Squad wasn’t made up of hardened criminals with superpowers, it was actually a 1959 comic book about ordinary soldiers taking on seemingly impossible tasks, which meant that for the longest time The Suicide Squad looked less like this


and more like this.


Origin and Career

The first use of the name Suicide Squad appeared in 1959’s The Brave and the Bold #25.  However, this was not the first team to use that name in the DC timeline.  That honor belongs to the Suicide Squadron that first appeared in 1963’s Star Spangled War Stories.


This Suicide Squadron was made up of a ragtag group of soldiers who the government considered to be expendable enough to be sent to a mysterious island to fight dinosaurs.  This iteration of the team is important because they were led by a man named Rick Flagg,

a highly capable military officer who would lead the squad to victory and would help by becoming and established part of the Suicide Squad mythos.  After WW2 ended the Suicide Squad was reformed into Task Force X under President Truman to be the government’s response to an increasingly large number of supervillains and spies.  They were eventually disbanded when Rick Flagg sacrificed himself to stop a device called the War Wheel.


The next group to adopt the name Suicide Squad (although this was the first team to use that name) was a group of four individuals who appeared in 1959’s The Brave and the Bold #25.


Once again the group was led by a man named Rick Flagg, although in this case it was Rick Flagg Jr. the son of the original Rick Flagg.

The group was assembled under the operational name “Task Force X” and adopted the name “Suicide Squad” because each of the members of the team had experienced a horrible tragedy that had affected them so badly they had lost their will to live and didn’t care if they died on a mission or not.  They were the commander and leader Rick Flagg, medic Karin Grace, physicist Hugh Evans, and nuclear scientist Jess Bright.

Their adventures were pretty strange.  Just like the original Squadron, this team did a lot of fighting against dinosaurs.


and they were often placed in very perilous situations with little to no back up or support.


However, the title wasn’t selling very well and every member of the team was either killed or wounded during their final mission fighting a Yeti in Cambodia.


Hugh Evans died after falling down a ditch, Jess Bright was captured by the Soviets and turned traitor, Karin and Rick survived but went their separate ways.  The Squad was disbanded and the title was shut down.

So what happened?

Well, the 1980’s happened.  In 1985 DC Comics launched the Crisis on Infinite Earths story line that essentially erased all the previously existing history and continuity of the DC universe and started from ground zero.


This universe wide reboot led to comic book creator John Ostrander,

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to take the Suicide Squad title and revamp it considerably.  The end result was Suicide Squad that we know and love today.


The differences between the new and old versions were quite remarkable.  Instead of volunteering for these dangerous missions by choice many members of the Suicide Squad were forced into service under the rule of Amanda Waller, although the team was still led in the field by Rick Flagg Jr.

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Instead of dealing with fantastic threats like dinosaurs this version dealt with classified government black ops missions that had a high mortality rate (this played into the political culture of the 1980’s but we’ll get into that later) and most importantly: there was a revolving cast where any member could be killed at any time.

The current version of the Suicide Squad is one of the most interesting and exciting ideas in comic books today.  However, it is important to remember that if it wasn’t for a heroic band of misfit soldiers and four random people ready to die for the mission, we wouldn’t have this title today.