Joseph Samachson

Joseph Samachson (October 13, 1906 – June 2, 1980)[1] was an American scientist and author, primarily of science fiction and comic books.


Joseph Samachson was born on October 13, 1906 in Trenton, New Jersey, the son of Russian Jewish parents, Anna (Roshansky) and David Louis Samachson, a businessman.[2][3][4]

Joseph Samachson died of complications from Parkinson's disease on June 2, 1980 in Chicago, Illinois. He was survived by his wife, now deceased, a son, Michael Samachson, and a daughter, the photographer Miriam Berkley.



A graduate of Rutgers University, he earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from Yale at the age of 23. He was an assistant professor at the College of Medicine, University of Illinois. He also headed a laboratory in metabolic research at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Hines, Illinois, a research unit dealing with diseases that affect the skeleton. Comics historian Jerry Bails wrote that Samachson worked as a research chemist for the American Molasses Company until 1938, leaving to become a "freelance technical writer".[5]


As a writer, Samachson translated a number of scientific papers, and in addition to his scientific work, earned a well-deserved reputation as an author, writing books for young people such as Mel Oliver and Space Rover on Mars, which was also published in a Dutch translation.[2]

Science fiction and pulps

Fantastic adventures 195211
Samachson's novella "The Dragon Army", written under his "William Morrison" byline, was the cover story in the November 1952 issue of Fantastic Adventures

He wrote a number of science fiction works (under the pseudonym William Morrison), including two novels published in Startling Stories,[2] the 1937 pulp title Murder of a Professor and short stories for a number of magazines, including Money from Heaven (1942).[5] He also penned a couple of Captain Future pulp novels c.1941–1942 (under the house name "Brett Sterling"), and had work appear in the science fiction magazine Galaxy.[2][5] His young adult novel Mel Oliver and Space Rover on Mars was published by Gnome Press in 1954.


He is believed to have begun working for DC Comics in late 1942, working on comics scripts for characters notably including Batman. He also wrote scripts for comics and characters including Sandman, Green Arrow, Airwave and Robotman, as well as "a string of 17 science-fiction stories in 1955 and 1956".[2][5]

In 1955, he created (with artist Joe Certa) the Martian Manhunter in the pages of Detective Comics #225. Usually credited as author on the initial strip, some commentators believe that he may have produced the plot, but that writer Jack Miller (who most believe succeeded Samachson in writing the character with the next issue), may have produced the first script.[6] Don Markstein's Toonopedia also suggests that Samachson wrote "many subsequent" appearances of J'Onn J'Onzz rather than just the first.[7] Jerry Bails also lists Samachson as having co-created the historical DC character Tomahawk.[5] In 1943 Samachson also created the character Two-Gun Percy, which first appeared under the DC Comics imprint All Funny Comics and was drawn by Bernard Baily.


Samachson also wrote scripts for Captain Video and His Video Rangers.[8]

Other work

With his wife Dorothy Samachson, he wrote about theater ("Let's Meet the Theatre" and "The Dramatic Story of the Theatre"), music ("Masters of Music" and The Fabulous World of Opera), ballet, archeology (Good Digging) and a number of other titles, including Rome, a Rand McNally "Cities of the World" title.[2]

In addition, Samachson was a frequent contributor to scientific journals and the author of The Armor Within Us: The Story of Bone.


  1. ^ "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 Mar 2013), Joseph Samachson, June 1980.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Biography by Joe Desris, in Batman Archives, Volume 3 (DC Comics, 1994), p. 224 ISBN 1-56389-099-2
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ a b c d e Who's Who in American Comic Books: Joe Samachson. Accessed May 8, 2008
  6. ^ "The Captain's Unofficial Justice League Homepage": Martian Manhunter. Accessed May 8, 2008
  7. ^ Toonopedia: J'onn J'onzz, Manhunter from Mars Archived 2016-02-13 at WebCite. Accessed May 8, 2008
  8. ^ Samachson obituary, p. 61 of the June 5, 1980 Trenton Evening Times

External links

1955 in comics

This is a list of comics-related events in 1955.

1975 in comics

Notable events of 1975 in comics. See also List of years in comics.

This is a list of comics-related events in 1975.

1980 in comics

Notable events of 1980 in comics. See also List of years in comics.

Adventure Comics

Adventure Comics is an American comic book series published by DC Comics from 1938 to 1983 and revived from 2009 to 2011. In its first era, the series ran for 503 issues (472 of those after the title changed from New Adventure Comics), making it the fifth-longest-running DC series, behind Detective Comics, Action Comics, Superman, and Batman. It was revived in 2009 by writer Geoff Johns with the Conner Kent incarnation of Superboy headlining the title's main feature, and the Legion of Super-Heroes in the back-up story. It returned to its original numbering with #516 (September 2010). The series finally ended with #529 (October 2011), prior to DC's The New 52 company reboot as a result of the Flashpoint storyline.

Captain Future

Captain Future is a science fiction hero – a space-traveling scientist and adventurer – originally published in a namesake pulp magazine from 1940 to 1951. The character was created by editor Mort Weisinger and principally authored by Edmond Hamilton. There have subsequently been a number of adaptations and derivative works. Most significant was a 1978-79 Japanese anime (キャプテン・フューチャー), which was dubbed into several languages and proved very popular, particularly in Spanish, French, German and Arabic.

Captain Future (magazine)

Captain Future was a science fiction pulp magazine launched in 1940 by Better Publications, and edited initially by Mort Weisinger. It featured the adventures of Captain Future, a super-scientist whose real name was Curt Newton, in every issue. All but two of the novels in the magazine were written by Edmond Hamilton; the other two were by Joseph Samachson. The magazine also published other stories that had nothing to do with the title character, including Fredric Brown's first science fiction sale, "Not Yet the End". Captain Future published unabashed space opera, and was, in the words of science fiction historian Mike Ashley, "perhaps the most juvenile" of the science fiction pulps to appear in the early years of World War II. Wartime paper shortages eventually led to the magazine's cancellation: the last issue was dated Spring 1944.

Detective Comics

Detective Comics is an American comic book series published by DC Comics. The first volume, published from 1937 to 2011 (and later continued in 2016), is best known for introducing the superhero Batman in Detective Comics #27 (cover dated May 1939).

A second series of the same title was launched in the fall of 2011 but in 2016 reverted to the original volume numbering. The series is the source of its publishing company's name, and—along with Action Comics, the series that launched with the debut of Superman—one of the medium's signature series. The series published 881 issues between 1937 and 2011 and is the longest continuously published comic book in the United States.

Dick Dillin

Richard Allen "Dick" Dillin (December 17, 1928 – March 1, 1980) was an American comics artist best known for a 12-year run as the penciler of the DC Comics superhero-team series Justice League of America. He drew 115 issues from 1968 until his death in 1980.

Edmond Hamilton

Edmond Moore Hamilton (October 21, 1904 – February 1, 1977) was an American writer of science fiction during the mid-twentieth century.

France Herron

France Edward Herron (July 23, 1917 – September 1966) was an American comic book writer and editor active in the 1940s–1960s, mainly for DC Comics. He is credited with co-creating Captain Marvel Jr. and the Red Skull, as well as such characters as Cave Carson, Nighthawk, and Mr. Scarlet and Pinky the Whiz Kid. Herron spent the bulk of his time in the comics industry writing for such characters as Green Arrow, Superman, and the Western character Tomahawk.

List of superhero debuts

The following is a list of the first known appearances of various superhero fictional characters and teams.

A superhero (also known as a "super hero" or "super-hero") is a fictional character "of unprecedented physical prowess dedicated to acts of derring-do in the public interest." Since the debut of Superman in 1938 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, stories of superheroes — ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas — have dominated American comic books and crossed over into other media. A female superhero is sometimes called a "superheroine."

By most definitions, characters need not have actual superhuman powers to be deemed superheroes, although sometimes terms such as "costumed crimefighters" are used to refer to those without such powers who have many other common traits of superheroes.

For a list of comic book supervillain debuts, see List of comic book supervillain debuts.

Martian Manhunter

The Martian Manhunter (J'onn J'onzz) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by writer Joseph Samachson and designed by artist Joe Certa, the character first appeared in the story "The Manhunter from Mars" in Detective Comics #225 (Nov. 1955). Martian Manhunter is one of the seven original members of the Justice League of America and one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe.

J'onzz has been featured in other DC Comics-endorsed products, such as video games, television series, animated films, and merchandise like action figures and trading cards. The character was ranked #43 on IGN's greatest comic book hero list. J'onzz was played by David Ogden Stiers in the 1997 Justice League of America live-action television pilot. Phil Morris also portrayed him in the television series Smallville. David Harewood portrays the human guise of Martian Manhunter on Supergirl.

Mel Oliver and Space Rover on Mars

Mel Oliver and Space Rover on Mars is a science fiction novel by American writer William Morrison (pseudonym of Joseph Samachson). It was published in 1954 by Gnome Press in an edition of 4,000 copies.

Morrison (surname)

The surname Morrison is commonly found throughout Scotland, England and Ireland. It is most likely of Anglo-Norman origin, traditionally believed to be a patronymic of Maurice/Morris. [1]

In Scotland there is strong evidence that surnames such as Moir, Muir and More were equally influential as potential multiple origin points for the derivative of the modern spelling of Morrison, particularly in the light of evidence that suggests many early surnames in Scotland were nuanced and altered by such simple devices as phonetic interpretations by scribes or rebranding inventions for convenience, for example, McCoinnich describes the adoption of the name Morrison on the Isle of Lewis around 1640 by families formerly know as “McBrief” or “mac a’ Bhritheimh”.[2]

The spelling of surnames, including Morrison, Morison and Muirson, became more regular after 1854 when Lord Elcho (Francis Richard Charteris, 10th Earl of Wemyss) finally succeeded in framing An Act to Provide for the Better Registration of Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Scotland, 31 May 1854.[3]

Scottish records from the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries, including The Register of the Great Seal of Scotland, Birth and Marriage records, Burgh records for Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Glasgow and records of the Cistercian Monks in the Cupar Angus area all reference various spellings of Morrison including Mauricius, Maurieson, Marrson, Maryson, Merson, Mirryson, Mirrison, Molleson, Monson, Morrison, Morison, Morisson, Morissone, Morcion, Morisone, Morsion, Moryson, Morrieson, Morriceson, Morishon, Morason, Morzon, Moorison, Morisoun, Moresoun, Moressoune, Morrowson, Murrion, Murison, Muirison, Murieson, Murrison, Muresoun, Muirsoun, Murson, Murescun, Murysone, Mwryson, Makmurisoun, M’Mursoun, and MacMaurice.

The argument for multiple surname origins is supported by the association of Moor or Saracen head(s) on some Moor, Moore, More, Mores, Morrison, Mure and Muir family crests [4],[5]. The Clan Morrison Society of Scotland registered arms featuring three Moor heads in 1919.

Perhaps the earliest recording of the surname Morrison is found in the English Yorkshire Poll Tax records in 1379 for “Ricardus Morisson”.[6] Later in Scotland the name Morrison is recorded as “Arthuro Morison domino de Darleith” being a witness to the “Resignation by John MacRoger of Gleane MacKerne, in favour of John of Culquoune of Luss, of Gleane Mackecherne, etc. 7th February 1429”.[7] Morrison families today are widely distributed across Scotland, England and Ireland with little or no common genetic or family ancestry.

The name Morrison is associated with a number of Scottish myths and legends which are inventions. At the time of King George IV state visit to Scotland in 1822 Sir Walter Scott encouraged Scottish clans and families to once again wear tartan, and along with this fervour of Scottish romanticism came the invention of many myths to add glamour to family origins.

Two prominent falsehoods have become popular to Morrison clan followers. One relates to the Gaelic translation of Morrison and the other concerns Viking origins. Firstly, the commonly quoted proposition that the Gaelic spelling of Morrison is a translation of MacGilliemhuire is “baseless”. Black makes the observation that “Equally baseless is the modern idea that “Morison” interpreted as “Mary’s son,” represents Gaelic Mac Gille Mhuire”.[8]

Secondly, there is the commercially promoted myth that the origin of the name Morrison in Scotland somehow involves Vikings. The myth suggests the Morrisons came from the Isle of Lewis and are of Viking origin.[9] This myth joins other Scottish fabrications such as Hector Boece’s (c1465-c1536) Historia Gentis Scotorum (History of the Scottish People), James Macpherson’s (1736-1796) Ossian “discovery” and the imposter Sobieski brothers (really John and Charles Allen) Vestiarium Scoticum who passed themselves off as grandsons of Bonnie Prince Charlie.[10]. Not only is the viking association an invention, so also is the proposition the name originated in Lewis.[11] The name Morrison as shown in the historical records was already in northern England and the Scottish lowlands two hundred years before some families on Lewis saw the opportunity to adopt a new name.

Professor Carter Nichols

Professor Carter Nichols is a fictional character, a comic book scientist published by DC Comics.

Seven Soldiers of Victory

The Seven Soldiers of Victory (also known as Law's Legionnaires) is a team of fictional comic book superheroes in the DC Comics universe. They first appeared in Leading Comics #1 (Winter 1941), and were created by Mort Weisinger and Mort Meskin. The team was a short-lived assembly of some of the less famous superheroes in the DC Universe who have made occasional appearances since their Golden Age debut.

Tomahawk (comics)

Tomahawk is an American comic book character whose adventures were published by DC Comics during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s as a backup feature in Star Spangled Comics and World's Finest Comics and in his own eponymous series. He was created by writer Joe Samachson and artist Edmund Good, and first appeared in Star-Spangled Comics #69 (June 1947). Tomahawk's uniqueness stems in part from the time frame of his fictional adventures: the American Revolutionary War.

William Morrison

William Morrison may refer to:

William Morrison (businessman) (1874–1956), founder of supermarket chains

William Morrison (poet) (1881–1973), Irish poet

William Morrison (cricketer) (1850–1910), New Zealand cricketer

William Morrison (director), music video director and musician

William Morrison (Australian politician) (1928–2013), Member of the Australian House of Representatives

William Morrison, 1st Viscount Dunrossil (1893–1961), British politician and Governor General of Australia

William Morrison (dentist) (1860–1926), American dentist

William McKenzie Morrison (1857–1921), American photographer

William R. Morrison (historian) (born 1942), Canadian historian of the Canadian North

William Ralls Morrison (1824–1909), U.S. Representative from Illinois

William Robert Morrison (1878–1947), Canadian politician and Mayor of Hamilton, Ontario

William Vitruvius Morrison (1794–1838), Irish architect

William Morrison, pseudonym of Joseph Samachson (1906–1980), biochemist and science-fiction writer

William Garth Morrison (1943–2013), Chief Scout of the United Kingdom and Overseas Territories

William Morrison (missionary) (1867–1918), American missionary based in the Congo Free State

William Morrison (Alberta politician) (1891–1970), former member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta

William Morrison (American politician), member of the North Carolina General Assembly of 1779

William Morrison (Canadian politician), politician in Lillooet, British Columbia

William Morrison (trader) (19th century), fur trader in Minnesota, USA, see Old Crow Wing, Minnesota

William Morrison (gardener), plant collector employed by Kew, 1824–39

William McG. Morrison (1903–1960), mayor of Charleston, South Carolina

William V. Morrison (1906–1977), lawyer, probate investigator, and genealogical researcher

William Morrison, video game designer and game design lecturer

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