All-Star Squadron

The All-Star Squadron is a DC Comics superhero team that debuted in Justice League of America #193 (August 1981) and was created by Roy Thomas, Rich Buckler and Jerry Ordway.

All-Star Squadron
All-Star Squadron 31
Cover of All-Star Squadron #31 (March 1984). Art by Jerry Ordway.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearancePreview:
Justice League of America #193 (August 1981)
First full appearance:
All-Star Squadron # 1 (September 1981)
Created byRoy Thomas
Rich Buckler
Jerry Ordway
In-story information
Base(s)Trylon and Perisphere
See: List of All-Star Squadron members

Publication history

The All-Star Squadron debuted in a special insert in Justice League of America #193 (August 1981).[1] The new team was launched in its own series the following month[2] and was created by Roy Thomas, Rich Buckler and Jerry Ordway.[3] The eponymous comic book series was published for 67 issues from September 1981 to March 1987[4] and three annuals were published as well.[5] When Rich Buckler left the series after the fifth issue, editor Len Wein hired Adrian Gonzales as a replacement and notified Roy Thomas with a note stating "You're going to like Adrian Gonzales".[6] He drew the series for 13 issues which included a crossover with the Justice League of America[7][8] Jerry Ordway, who had inked the series since its start, became the penciler as of issue #19 (March 1983). He and Thomas co-created the Infinity, Inc. team in issue #25 (Sept. 1983).[9] All-Star Squadron #32 (April 1984) and #33 (May 1984) detailed how the Freedom Fighters traveled from Earth-Two to Earth-X.[10][11] Several issues of the series detailed origins of various characters including Amazing-Man,[12] Starman,[13] Doctor Fate,[14] Liberty Belle,[15] the Shining Knight,[16] Robotman,[17] Johnny Quick,[18] and the Tarantula.[19]

The concept

All-Star Squadron #1 contains "An Open Letter to the Readers" written by Roy Thomas. In it he describes the impetus for the series, namely, DC wanted a comic book telling tales of the Justice Society of America. The last series to do so was All Star Comics, which lasted only seventeen issues, ending in 1979. As Roy Thomas put it, DC management gave him "a chance to write a return of the JSA." Instead of writing stories in the modern era, Roy Thomas decided to place the tales during World War II. The setting would be DC's fictional world of Earth-Two, a parallel universe to the mainstream DC continuity established during the 1960s, to explain how DC characters who were well established having adventures in the 1940s could still be in their 30s in contemporary comics. The cast of characters would include a large ensemble of heroes from both the DC stable and the Quality Comics Group (which had been purchased by DC). With so many characters to choose from, the creative team decided to concentrate on "quite promising characters who have been ignored or underplayed for years," instead of those Earth-Two characters who had counterparts on Earth-One. Roy Thomas writes, "If we lost the original GL, we gained the Earth-Two Robotman; if we dropped Jay (Flash) Garrick, we picked up on Johnny Quick; Liberty Belle could stand in for Wonder Woman till more super-powered ladies came along. We even tossed in an Earth-Two version of the venerable Plastic Man, whose series in Adventure was just folding…"

The All-Star Squadron was an example of "retroactive continuity" or "retcon", as it rewrote the already-established history of DC superheroes that had been published during the 1940s. The first known use of the term "retcon" was by Roy Thomas in the letter column of All-Star Squadron #20 (April 1983). Several story lines ironed out continuity errors, fleshed out characters' origins and rewrote earlier stories to explain inconsistencies in character development, resolve lingering questions or fill in missing details.

The Trylon and Perisphere, actual structures constructed in Flushing Meadows, Queens, New York for the 1939 New York World's Fair, housed the Squadron's headquarters.[20] The Perisphere contained the Squadron meeting hall, while the Trylon was retrofitted as an aircraft hangar/vertical launch platform. The All-Star Squadron had a robotic butler named Gernsback, who was based on the Elektro robots from the fair and was named after science fiction publisher Hugo Gernsback.

After the 1985 DC Comics storyline Crisis on Infinite Earths merged the various parallel worlds DC had established over the decades into a single universe, the older, "Golden Age" versions of DC's mainstream heroes were largely eliminated from continuity. The All-Star Squadron was left only with the characters unique to that time period. Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Arrow, Plastic Man and several other heroes were no longer extant at that point in history, and had thus never been Squadron members. In part to clear the slate after the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths and to re-launch the franchise, All Star Squadron was canceled with issue #67 and replaced with a successor series, Young All-Stars.[20] The principal characters featured in Young All-Stars were considered spiritual and contextual analogs for the missing characters: Iron Munro for Superman, Fury for Wonder Woman, Flying Fox for Batman, Dan the Dyna-Mite for Robin, and Neptune Perkins for Aquaman. Evil analogs were also created for the missing characters at the same time: Übermensch, Der Grosshorn Eule, Fledermaus, Usil, and Sea Wolf. Young All-Stars was published for 31 issues[21] and one annual.[22]

In a nod to the original JSA adventures in All Star Comics, writer Roy Thomas tried to include at least a cameo appearance by the Golden Age Hawkman in every issue, since Hawkman was the one hero to appear in every Golden Age issue of All Star Comics, including the two pre-JSA issues. Unfortunately, the artwork for issue #49 was printed without Hawkman's cameo included, so it became the only issue to break the streak. The string of appearances had already been broken several issues into a mid-1970s revival of All Star Comics.

When writer Gerry Conway revived the Justice Society in their own regular series in 1976, he initially intended to have the younger members of the group, including Power Girl and the Star-Spangled Kid, spun off into their own team and potential series of their own, to be called the All-Star Squadron. The group's name was subsequently changed to the Super Squad, after management at DC worried that the team's original name would be abbreviated as A.S.S.[23]

Fictional history

The All-Star Squadron battling Captain Marvel. Art by Rich Buckler.

On the day of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt gathered available superheroes—including members of the Justice Society of America, Freedom Fighters, Seven Soldiers of Victory and solo heroes—at the White House.[20] He asked them to band together for the war as the All-Star Squadron to battle sabotage and keep the peace on the home front during World War II. The rationale for not using the Squadron in combat situations in the European or Pacific Theaters of War was that Adolf Hitler had possession of the Spear of Destiny, a mystical object that gave him control of any superheroes with magic-based powers or a vulnerability to magic (including Superman, Green Lantern, Doctor Fate and others) who crossed into territory held by the Axis Powers.

At the time, many of the Justice Society members had been captured by the time-travelling villain Per Degaton with the help of JSA foes he had pulled back in time, but the available heroes were asked to first guard against a potential attack on the American west coast. Degaton himself used some stolen Japanese planes with hypnotized troopers to launch such an attack on San Francisco, hoping to change history by making the United States fight to a stalemate against Japan, enabling him to take over the world, so the new Squadron's first major mission was to stop the attack and rescue the captured heroes, who also became part of the new group. Due to Per Degaton going back in time after the JSA were freed they forgot his involvement, though the events were not wiped. America's entry into the war caused several of the members of the JSA to enlist, or be drafted in their civilian identities. These included Alan Scott, Starman, Hawkman, The Atom and Johnny Thunder.




  • Rich Buckler – #1–5, 36 (Sept. 1981–Jan. 1982, Aug. 1984); Annual #3 (1984)
  • Adrian Gonzales – #6–18 (Feb. 1982–Feb. 1983); Annual #1 (1982)
  • Don Heck – #8–9, 65 (April–May 1982, Jan. 1987) (Steel section only for #8–9)
  • Jerry Ordway – #19–26, 29 (March 1983–Oct. 1983, Jan. 1984); Annual #2–3 (1983–1984)
  • Richard Howell – #27–28, 30, 40 (Nov. 1983–Dec. 1983, Feb. 1984, Dec. 1984); Annual #3 (1984)
  • Rick Hoberg – #31–35, 38–39 (March 1984–July 1984, Oct. 1984–Nov. 1984); Annual #3 (1984)
  • Arvell Jones – #37, 41–46, 50–55, 58–60, 67 (Sept. 1984, Jan. 1985–June 1985, Oct. 1985–March 1986, June 1986–Aug. 1986, March 1987)
  • Keith GiffenAnnual #3 (1984)
  • Carmine InfantinoAnnual #3 (1984)
  • Don NewtonAnnual #3 (1984)
  • Martin NodellAnnual #3 (1984)
  • George PérezAnnual #3 (1984)
  • Todd McFarlane – #47 (July 1985)
  • Mike Harris – #48–49, 61 (Aug. 1985–Sept. 1985, Sept. 1986)
  • Mike Clark – #51, 56–57, 60 (Nov. 1985, April 1986–May 1986, Aug. 1986)
  • Tony DeZuniga – #62 (Oct. 1986)
  • Michael Bair – #63 (Nov. 1986)
  • Wayne Boring – #64 (Dec. 1986); Annual #3 (1984)
  • Alan Kupperberg – #66 (Feb. 1987)

Cover artists

  • Rich Buckler – #1, 3–6, 36 (Sept. 1981, Nov. 1981–Feb. 1982, Aug. 1984)
  • Joe Kubert – #2, 7–18 (Oct. 1981, March 1982–Feb. 1983)
  • Jerry Ordway – #19–33, 50, 60 (March 1983–May 1984, Oct. 1985, Aug. 1986); Annual #1–2 (1982–83)
  • Rick Hoberg – #34–35, 37–39 (June 1984–July 1984, Sept. 1984–Nov. 1984); Annual #3 (1984)
  • Arvell Jones – #40–44, 46, 52, 55, 58–59, 64–66 (Dec. 1984–April 1985, June 1985, Dec. 1985, March 1986, June 1986–July 1986, Dec. 1986–Feb. 1987)
  • Tim Burgard – #45 (May 1985)
  • Todd McFarlane – #47 (July 1985)
  • Mike Harris – #48–49, 61–62 (Aug. 1985–Sept. 1985, Sept. 1986–Oct. 1986)
  • Mike Clark – #51, 53–54, 56–57 (Nov. 1985, Jan. 1986–Feb. 1986, April 1986–May 1986)
  • Michael Bair – #63 (Nov. 1986)
  • Tom Grindberg – #67 (March 1987)


  • Len Wein – #1–20, Annual #1 (Sept. 1981–April 1983)
  • Roy Thomas – #21–67, Annual #2–3 (May 1983–March 1987)

Associate/assistant editors

Collected editions

  • Showcase Presents: All-Star Squadron Vol. 1 collects the "All-Star Squadron" insert preview from Justice League of America #193; All-Star Squadron #1–18; and All-Star Squadron Annual #1, 528 pages, April 2012, ISBN 1-4012-3436-4
  • Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 6 includes All-Star Squadron #14–15, 208 pages, June 2013, ISBN 978-1401238223
  • Infinity, Inc.: The Generations Saga Vol. 1 includes All-Star Squadron #25–26 and Annual #2, 192 pages, July 2011, ISBN 978-1401231057

See also


  1. ^ Catron, Michael (June 1981). "Thomas Revives WWII Superheroes". Amazing Heroes. Stamford, Connecticut: Fantagraphics Books (1): 28–30. All-Star Squadron, DC's new World War II-era superhero series debuts in May in a 16-page preview insert in Justice League of America #193.
  2. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 195. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. The creative team of writer Roy Thomas and artist Rich Buckler on All-Star Squadron offered readers a nostalgic glimpse back in time, albeit through the slightly distorted lens of Earth-2's history.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Beatty, Scott (2004). "All-Star Squadron". In Dougall, Alastair (ed.). The DC Comics Encyclopedia. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 11. ISBN 9780756605926.
  4. ^ All-Star Squadron at the Grand Comics Database
  5. ^ All-Star Squadron Annual at the Grand Comics Database
  6. ^ Thomas, Roy (March 2011). "'I Want To Do It All Again!' Roy Thomas Talks About The 1980s at DC Comics – Schwartz, Warts, And All". Alter Ego. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. 3 (100): 22. ISBN 978-1-60549-031-1.
  7. ^ Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 198: "The Justice League of America teamed up with the Justice Society of America on a large-scale with 'Crisis on Earth-Prime', a five-part saga that crossed from the pages of Justice League of America into All-Star Squadron...A collaboration between writers Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas, and artists Don Heck and Adrian Gonzales, the saga also featured cover artwork by DC luminaries George Pérez and Joe Kubert."
  8. ^ Thomas, Roy (2000). "The Justice League-Justice Society Team-Ups". The All-Star Companion. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 191–192. ISBN 1-893905-05-5. Justice League of America #207– 209 (Oct.–Dec. 1982) and All-Star Squadron #14–15 (Oct.–Nov. 1982)
  9. ^ Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 203: "The children of the original Justice Society of America made their smash debut in this issue by writer Roy Thomas and penciler Jerry Ordway...All-Star Squadron #25 marked the first appearances of future cult-favorite heroes Jade, Obsidian, Fury, Brainwave Jr., the Silver Scarab, Northwind, and Nuklon."
  10. ^ Thomas, Roy (w), Hoberg, Rick (p), Collins, Bill (i). "Crisis on Earth-X! The Prequel" All-Star Squadron 32 (April 1984)
  11. ^ Thomas, Roy (w), Hoberg, Rick (p), Collins, Bill (i). "The Battle of Santa Barbara—Times Two!" All-Star Squadron 33 (May 1984)
  12. ^ Thomas, Roy (w), Hoberg, Rick (p), Machlan, Mike (i). "The Secret Origin of... Amazing-Man!" All-Star Squadron 23 (July 1983)
  13. ^ Thomas, Roy; Kupperberg, Paul (w), Jones, Arvell (p), Collins, Bill (i). "--Catch a Falling Starman!" All-Star Squadron 41 (January 1985)
  14. ^ Thomas, Roy (w), McFarlane, Todd; Clark, Mike (p), Colletta, Vince (i). "The Secret Origin of Dr. Fate" All-Star Squadron 47 (July 1985)
  15. ^ Thomas, Roy (w), Harris, Mike (p), DeZuniga, Tony (i). "The Origin of Liberty Belle" All-Star Squadron 61 (September 1986)
  16. ^ Thomas, Roy (w), DeZuniga, Tony (p), DeZuniga, Tony (i). "The Origin of the Shining Knight" All-Star Squadron 62 (October 1986)
  17. ^ Thomas, Roy (w), Bair, Michael (p), Machlan, Mike (i). "The Origin of the Golden Age Robotman" All-Star Squadron 63 (November 1986)
  18. ^ Thomas, Roy (w), Heck, Don (p), DeZuniga, Tony (i). "The Origin of Johnny Quick" All-Star Squadron 65 (January 1987)
  19. ^ Thomas, Roy (w), Kupperberg, Alan (p), DeZuniga, Tony (i). "The Origin of Tarantula!" All-Star Squadron 66 (February 1987)
  20. ^ a b c Markstein, Don (2010). "All-Star Squadron". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on April 4, 2012.
  21. ^ Young All-Stars at the Grand Comics Database
  22. ^ Young All-Stars Annual at the Grand Comics Database
  23. ^ Thomas, Roy (April 2002). "All The Stars There Are in (Super-hero) Heaven!". Alter Ego. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. 3 (14). Calling the resulting group the 'Super-Squad' was intended to differentiate it from the JSA. Also, while I wanted to use the All-Star name for the comic, I knew that, in fact, none of these characters were what readers of the '70s would consider to be 'stars.' Hence, 'Super-Squad.' Which also avoided the acronymic problem presented by the alternative 'All-Star Squad.'

External links

1983 in comics

Notable events of 1983 in comics. See also List of years in comics.

Amazing-Man (DC Comics)

Amazing-Man is the name used by four fictional characters published by DC Comics. The first three are African-American superheroes and are members of the same family. The first Amazing-Man debuted in All-Star Squadron #23 (July 1983), and was created by Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway. The second Amazing-Man debuted in Justice League America #86 (March 1994), and was created by Dan Vado and Marc Campos. The third Amazing-Man debuted in Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #12 (March 2008), and was created by Geoff Johns and Dale Eaglesham. The fourth Amazing Man debuted in OMAC (vol. 3) #2 (December 2011), and was created by Dan DiDio and Keith Giffen.

Captain Triumph

Captain Triumph is a superhero from the Golden Age of Comics who first appeared in Crack Comics #27, published in January 1943 by Quality Comics. The character was later obtained by DC Comics, though by that time he had already lapsed into the public domain. Some of his Golden Age adventures were reprinted by AC Comics in the Men of Mystery anthology. He is not to be confused with another DC Comics property, Triumph.

Dan the Dyna-Mite

Dan the Dyna-Mite is a fictional character, a teen-aged superhero published by DC Comics. He was the young sidekick to the character TNT, and was created by Mort Weisinger and Hal Sharp in 1942. TNT and Dyna-Mite made their debut in Star Spangled Comics #7 and starred through #23.

Dann Thomas

Dann Thomas (born Danette Maxx Couto January 30, 1952) is an American comic book writer and is the wife of comic book writer and editor Roy Thomas. She has at times collaborated with her husband on All-Star Squadron, Arak, Son of Thunder, the Crimson Avenger miniseries, and Avengers West Coast.

She married Roy Thomas in May 1981 and legally changed her first name from Danette in the early 1980s.

Dragon King (DC Comics)

Dragon King is a fictional character from DC Comics. He was created by Roy Thomas and Rich Buckler, and first appeared in All-Star Squadron #4, in December 1981.

Firebrand (DC Comics)

Firebrand is a name that has been used by five heroes by DC Comics.

Ian Karkull

Ian Karkull is a fictional supervillain in some comic-book titles published by DC Comics. He first appeared in More Fun Comics #69 (August 1941) as a foe of the sorcerer Doctor Fate. He later became a recurring foe of the All-Star Squadron and the Justice Society of America, beginning in All-Star Squadron Annual #3.

Jester (Quality Comics)

The Jester is a fictional character, a Golden Age superhero created by Paul Gustavson and published by Quality Comics. He first appeared in Smash Comics #22 (May 1941). Like most of Quality's characters, the Jester was later purchased by DC Comics and incorporated into their universe. Though little used by the company, he appeared in All-Star Squadron #31 and #60 and Starman #46.

Johnny Quick (Johnny Chambers)

Johnny Quick is a Golden Age DC Comics character with the power of superhuman speed. He was a superhero who appeared mostly in More Fun Comics during the Golden Age. In the 1980s Johnny Quick's adventures were reconnected into the reality of DC Comics' Earth-Two; this was done in the pages of the comic book the All-Star Squadron.

Justice Society of America

The Justice Society of America (JSA) is a superhero team appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The team was conceived by editor Sheldon Mayer and writer Gardner Fox during the Golden Age of Comic Books. The JSA first appeared in All Star Comics #3 (Winter 1940–1941), making it the first team of superheroes in comic books. The original members of the Justice Society of America were Doctor Fate, Hour-Man, the Spectre, the Sandman (Wesley Dodds), the Atom (Al Pratt), the Flash (Jay Garrick), Green Lantern (Alan Scott), and Hawkman (Carter Hall).

The team was initially popular, but after the popularity of superhero comics waned in the late 1940s, the JSA's adventures ceased with issue #57 of the title (March 1951). During the Silver Age of Comic Books, DC Comics reinvented several Justice Society members and banded many of them together in a new team, the Justice League of America. JSA members remained absent from comics for ten years until Jay Garrick appeared alongside Barry Allen, his Silver Age counterpart, in The Flash #123 (September 1961). The Justice Society was established as existing on "Earth-Two" and the Justice League on "Earth-One". This allowed for annual cross-dimensional team-ups of the teams between 1963 and 1985. New series, such as All-Star Squadron, Infinity, Inc. and a new All-Star Comics featured the JSA, their children and their heirs. These series explored the issues of aging, generational differences, and contrasts between the Golden Age and subsequent eras.

The 1985 Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series merged all of the company's various alternate realities into one, placing the JSA as World War II-era predecessors to the company's modern characters. A JSA series was published from 1999 to 2006, and a Justice Society of America series ran from 2007 to 2011. As part of DC Comics' 2011 relaunch of its entire line of monthly books an unnamed version of the team appears in the Earth 2 Vol 1 (2012–2015), Earth 2 World's End (2014–2015), and Earth 2: Society (2015–2017).

Kung (comics)

Kung is the name of two fictional characters in the DC Comics universe.

The first version of the character was an Earth-2 supervillain who fought the Wonder Woman and All-Star Squadron of that world in stories taking place before the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Liberty Belle (comics)

Liberty Belle is the name of three fictional superheroines. Two are from DC Comics: Libby Lawrence and Jesse Chambers, the other is from Charlton Comics: Caroline Dean.

List of Freedom Fighters members

The Freedom Fighters is a team of comic book superheroes, as published by DC Comics.

The roster of the team has changed a great deal over the years. These roster lists are of the members during the team's various incarnations by team iteration.

The codenames listed under Character are those used during the time frame of the particular iteration. Characters with more than one codename for that period have them listed chronologically and separated by a slash (/). Bolded names in the most recent iteration published are the current team members.

First Appearance is the place where the character first appeared as a member of a particular iteration. It is not necessarily the first appearance of the character in print, nor the story depicting how the character joined the team.

All information is listed in publication order first, then alphabetical.

Magno (Quality Comics)

Magno is a fictional superhero originally published by Quality Comics. He was created by Paul Gustavson. His first appearance was in Smash Comics #13 (August 1940). He was one of the characters that were purchased by DC Comics when Quality Comics sold their assets. However, the copyright on these comics expired before that, making them public domain. Aside from a brief appearance in All-Star Squadron, he hasn't been utilized in any significant way by DC Comics since.


Mekanique is a fictional supervillainess in the fictional DC Universe. She first appeared in All-Star Squadron #58 (June 1986).

Pat Dugan

S.T.R.I.P.E. (Special Tactics Robotic Integrated Power Enhancer) is a fictional superhero in the DC Comics Universe. S.T.R.I.P.E. is a powered armor suit invented and worn by Patrick "Pat" Dugan, the former adult sidekick to teenage superhero Sylvester Pemberton, the Star-Spangled Kid. "Stripesy", as he is often called, is a gifted mechanic who built the Star Rocket Racer, a bubble-topped limousine with the functions of a rocket and helicopter. Together, they were members of the Seven Soldiers of Victory and the All-Star Squadron. Stripesy was created by Jerry Siegel (co-creator of Superman) and Hal Sherman, and first appeared in Action Comics #40 (September 1941).

TNT (comics)

TNT is a DC Comics superhero from the 1940s. TNT and his side-kick Dan the Dyna-Mite were created by Mort Weisinger for DC Comics, and made their debut in Star-Spangled Comics #7 (April 1942)

The "human hand grenades" had a short lived career during the Golden Age of Comic Books, reappearing occasionally in reprint form during the seventies, returning in Super Friends # 12, and appearing from time to time in All-Star Squadron and its Post-Crisis sequel, Young All-Stars.

Young All-Stars

The Young All-Stars are a team of fictional DC Comics superheroes. They were created by Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas, and Michael Bair, and introduced in Young All-Stars #1, dated June 1987.

Associated characters
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