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Your Top Creative Runs part 18

Let's finish the day with a couple of DC team books and one of the longest running Image books.

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114. 36 points - Justice Society (Levitz/Staton)justicesociety

This run ended up in various different books (All Star Comics, Adventure Comics, JSA) and included the storyline that explained why the JSA disbanded in the 50's and disappeared from comics for the most part during that time period, which involved the communist witch hunt by the House Un-American Activities Committee, a real piece of American history that had a big effect on society and led to the blacklisting of various writers, actors, politicians, and whatnot. In this story, rather than unmask, the JSA quit and went into hiding. Some of the members remained somewhat active, but for the most part they retired.

Thanks to various crossovers and random appearances in other stories throughout the 70's, the team had gained enough popularity to get a return. Unlike most heroes, this return involved aging the characters into their 50's, so that despite having been around alongside Batman and Superman, they were presented as an older generation of heroes, mentoring the youth of the DCU and their WWII connections and history wasn't glossed over, but instead embraced. This run basically set the tone and role for the JSA that it still follows to this day.


113. 36 points - Savage Dragon (Larsen)
#1 - Present
savagedragon
Erik Larsen created Savage Dragon as a kid, then reworked the character a few times through some various appearances over the years leading up to the debut of his solo series in 1993 (following a short miniseries). The book was one of the first titles published by Image Comics, which was founded when a group of high profile artists/writers left Marvel and DC to create a competing company. The book is one of the two original Image series that is still currently being published on a monthly basis and Larsen has written and drawn just about every single issue to date, which is currently over 160 issues, plus various minis, crossovers, and whatnot. The character has teamed up with other indy characters like Hellboy, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Spawn, and the cops in Powers, Invincible, and some others, some of which will show up later on in this list.

The story of Savage Dragon follows a guy who looks like a dragon (hence the nickname) and works for the police department fighting mostly super powered crime. Found in a field with no memory of his past, the Dragon was recruited to join the police in fighting the various super powered villains running rampant in Chicago.

The actual origin of the Savage Dragon was shrouded in mystery until 2005, when it was revealed he was actually an evil tyrant named Kurr and the leader of a nomadic group of aliens searching for a new homeworld. His people wanted to peacefully coexist, but Kurr decided he wanted to just kill everyone on Earth and take over. Two of his people's scientists conspired against him, gave him brain damage, and left him on Earth after implanting images from some TV broadcasts to teach him about Earth culture. This revelation ended up playing a big part as a few years later his memories returned to him, and the once heroic Dragon turned more ruthless, eventually turning into a full on villain, while his son, Malcom, became the new lead hero of the book.

I enjoyed the cartoon in the 90's that aired on USA.


112. 37 points - All-Star Squadron (Ordway/Thomas)allstarsquadron
#19 - #29 plus Annual #2 and #3

Spinning out of the same events that were described in the JSA run by Levitz and Staton, Jerry Ordway and Roy Thomas at the same time chronicled the adventures of the newly returned JSA, but with a focus on the JSA during the era they were most associated with, WWII.

The books saw characters like The Freedom Fighters, Captain Marvel, Batman, Superman, and others that were fighting alongside the traditional JSA. The stories took place on Earth-2 and as a result some characters, like Jay Garrick, were replaced by characters like Johnny Quick, trying to give focus on characters that had been ignored and folding in the adventures of the Quality Comics heroes that DC had recently purchased.

As a nod to the original JSA series, Thomas tried to fit in at least a cameo for Hawkman into each issue, as he's the only character to have appeared in every issue of the original All Star Comics that was the home to the JSA, including the two issues that came out before it became the JSA's book.

After issue #67 the series was replaced by Young All Stars.
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