HISTORY OF THE MODERN HEROIC AGE PART I:
THE GOLDEN AGE
Welcome to the history of the modern heroic age as reflected through the media of the time. This site aims to give the reader a brief summary of the significant events concerning super-heroes that have occurred over the past sixty years. The history has been divided into parts that the author best feels reflect a grouping of related significant events in the history of super-heroes.
Part One of the history is dedicated to the period known as the Golden Age. Beginning in the late 1930's, the Golden Age covers the period that saw the first appearance of what we would classify today as metahumans or super-heroes, but were referred to at the time as Mystery Men (a decidedly sexist term, especially considering the number of female metahumans that served as members of the wartime All-Star Squadron). Pictured below is a magazine cover portraying the Justice Society, the most significant super-hero team of this period, accompanied by a brief commentary. This period, which officially begins in 1938 with the appearance of the first masked crime-fighter, the Crimson Avenger, and ends with the dissolution of the Justice Society in 1952, is commonly referred to as the Golden Age. To see a larger version of the magazine cover double-click the picture to the left of the article. To view additional information click the book icon associated with the article.
The Justice Society of America:
The Justice Society was the first super-hero team of the modern heroic age, its membership included many of the more prominent Mystery Men (and Women) of the time, and served as an inspiration for today's Justice League. The team was born in 1940, when a British secret agent, acting with the full authority of the top Allied commanders, asked the original Flash and the original Green Lantern to travel to Scotland to oppose a planned Nazi invasion. To this day, the Allied powers have refused to reveal the details of exactly what happened during the Scottish mission, although it is known that the Green Lantern and the Flash were somehow joined by the Sandman, the original Atom, the original Hawkman, Doctor Fate, the original Hourman, and the Spectre. After this the same group of mystery men thwarted an attempt to assassinate President Franklin D. Roosevelt just a few days later. Roosevelt proposed that the heroes continue to work as a team, giving birth to the Justice Society of America. The Flash chaired the JSA's first meeting, during which Hawkman was elected the JSA's chairman, a position he held until the JSA disbanded in 1952.
During the war the JSA was renamed the Justice Battalion and placed themselves under the command of the War Department. The Justice Battalion defended American factories from Nazi saboteurs and battled Axis spies. The group formed the backbone of the All-Star Squadron in 1941. The JSA formally disbanded in 1952 after being subpoenaed to appear before the Joint Congressional Un-American Activities Committee. When the committee demanded the Justice Society members reveal their secret identities if they wanted to be considered "good Americans," the JSA refused and went into retirement, literally vanishing before the committee members' eyes. The JSA would not be seen again until after the formation of the Justice League almost fifty years later, whom the JSA occasionally came out of retirement to help against world-threatening menaces. Today there is a new Justice Society of America made up of younger heroes trained and inspired by their predecessors from the original team.
The magazine cover depicted here shows the JSA in their post war years, circa 1948. Not all JSA members were present when the cover photo was taken, those shown are: Back row (left to right): Hawkman I, Starman I; Front Row (left to right): Johnny Thunder, Hawkgirl, Hourman I, Doctor Mid-Nite I, Atom I, Green Lantern I, Wildcat I, Flash I, Black Canary I.