Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Squadron Supreme!

DC Comics had their premier super-hero team, the Justice League of America. They inspired Marvel Comics to create their own team, The Fantastic Four. Eventually though, that was not good enough for editor Stan Lee, so he created a more direct copy of the JLA, The Squadron Supreme.

The SS was a direct swipe of the JLA, person by person. Their leader Hyperion was the last Eternal of his reality, and was raised by normal humans. As an adult he worked as a reporter in a major metropolitan newspaper in Cosmopolis, New Troy and dated coworker Lonni Lattimer. Futhermore, Nighthawk was Batman, Power Princess was Wonder Woman, Dr. Spectrum was Green Lantern, and The Whizzer was the Flash, you get the schtick. 

I believe this crossed a line from homage straight into pure rip off! My theory is that Marvel was jealous of the popularity of DC Comics and wanted some of that for themselves.  Plus, often the personalities they gave them seemed to reflect how the bullpen at Marvel saw the JLA, which was not very flattering.  Hyperion, for instance, was arrogant and a bit of a bully. The Whizzer was  overly impulsive, and so on. They met a moderate level of success and even used characters Squadron characters throughout the Marvel Universe.  And how do you think DC Comics reacted? The Assembers! 

The DC Comic team The Assembers were analogs to the Avengers (Avengers Assemble, get it?) in a very similar vein, eventually the two teams even fought each other! The Assembers were much less successful but also developed a rich history. In any case, creating homage super hero teams is a time honored tradition, I just cited two, albeit two of the most interesting tributes ever.

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