by Michael Condon
1) As someone whose first exposure to the Golden Age Heroes were the yearly meetings of the JLA and JSA and Roy Thomas's 1942 set All-Star Squadron, I was surprised to find that instead of epic battles against similarly powered foes, most comic stories written in the thirties and early forties consisted of the heroes beating up criminals who could easily in our world. Even the mighty Ultra-Humanite, who wound up divesting his world of all super-heroes among other feats in later years used his matchless intellect towards much more humble ends in his first appearance. What did he do?
a) He robbed a bank.
b) He was the mastermind behind a corrupt taxi driver union.
c) He stole the plans for a submarine.
d) He was running a pharmaceuticals company that was selling sub-standard medication
2) Of course, not every super-villain thought small. One super-villain was the mastermind behind a multi-issue story-line (at a time when stories rarely extended past one issue) which resulted in the deaths of 186,744 people. This villain was executed after being caught, but got better and reappeared in the 70's. Who was it?
a) a) The Joker.
b) Mr. Mind.
c) Dr. Hugo Strange.
d) Per Degaton.
3) Sometimes crime does pay. Only one of these villains did not have their own ongoing series, something half the heroes out there would love to have? Which one?
b) Lex Luthor
4) Let's move on to villain archetypes. The Sandman series presented Cain and Abel as the actors in the first story. Their formula has been repeated often in the comics. Brother vs. brother is so common a theme, that only one of these villains is not the brother of a hero. Which one?
c) Ocean Master
d) Cobalt Blue
5) Another common theme is father vs. son. Most superheroes have had less than happy childhoods, but their issues with their parents revolve around abandonment and other emotional issues. However, some parents cross the line from selfish or unwise behavior into downright villainy. Which super-villain below is not in conflict with a super-hero child? (Note, I have to take certain liberties with the concept of parenthood in some cases.)
a) Paul Westfield
b) T.O. Morrow
c) Dr. Polaris
d) Brainiac 4
6) Yet another theme is split personality. A reasonably good person finds that he or she has a super-powered alter-ego that act independently of his/her desires. Which one of these villains has never been the victim of a Jeckyll and Hyde complex?
a) Dr. Polaris
c) Star Sapphire
d) Major Disaster
7) Lex Luthor had an, um..., romantic relationship with which of the following super-villains?
a) The Parasite
c) Poison Ivy
8) Super-villains do horrible things all the time. That's why they're villains. Which one is responsible for one of the more heinous acts of the mid-90's that lead to former You'll All be Sorry columnist Gail Simone creating Women in Refrigerators a website devoted to showing how female comic characters tend to have extremely nasty things happen to them?
a) The Joker
b) Solomon Grundy
c) Lex Luthor
d) Major Force
9) While most villains concentrate on one hero, it is fairly common for any given villain to appear in another hero's book, such as when Aquaman's arch-foe, Ocean Master, fights Superman. However, most villains are restricted to one time period or dimension. One villain managed to cause trouble for the Justice Society of America, Gem World (As in Amethyst Princess of Gem World) and the Legion of Super Heroes. Who was it? Note, his Gem World appearances have been edited out of continuity, as apparently, has Gem World itself.
a) Ra's al Ghul
b) The Time Trapper
d) Vandal Savage
10) He had never planned on being a villain. He was one of the few voices of reason on his war torn home planet. He warned them against accepting the weapons provided by the human. But they wouldn't listen. I'm not sure whether his powers allowed him to be the only survivor of the war, or if the chemical weapons somehow mutated his body and gave him his power. Even becoming the last of his race didn't push him towards the path of villainy. He first tried to commit suicide by using his gifts to destroy the charnel house his planet had become. His planet vaporized, but he survived, utterly alone. He somehow found his way to our solar system intent on avenging himself on the war profiteer, but unfortunately the super-heroes kept getting in his way. Who was he? Note, the original version of this character was considerably more blood thirsty and probably destroyed his home planet for the fun of it.
a) Mano of the Fatal Five
c) Dr. Regulus
11) Who brainwashed Snapper Carr into betraying the Justice League?
a) A time traveling Timazo who took the identity of John Dough, the most average man in the world.
b) The Joker
c) Starro the Conqueror
d) The Star Tsar
12) Being a super-hero is a high stress job, and not everyone can take the pressure, which of the following heroes did not become a villain? (Excepting, of course, temporary lapses due to external mental control.)
1) B. He gets extra points for being the first transsexual super-villain. After his presumed death he had his brain transplanted into the body of actress Dolores Winters, a move that I happen to find bizarre for a comic written in the early 40's. Heck, the body of a giant albino gorilla would have been more likely given the time period. D wouldn't have been too far off the mark for a 30's Superman villain. Superman tended to fight criminals who were beyond the reach of the law not because of having super-abilities but due to their abilities to manipulate the system such as shady business men, or in the Ultra-Humanite's case, corrupt union officials
2) B. Mr. Mind was sentenced to the electric chair. When Captain Marvel was revived in the 70's it was revealed that electric shock only put members of Mr. Mind's race into a state of suspended animation. Mr. Mind managed to wake up just before the taxidermist got to him and used his mental powers to make the taxidermist fashion a false worm for a museum exhibit. The evil caterpillar alien then spun a cocoon and hibernated for the next few decades, presumably in an attempt to wait Captain Marvel out. Unfortunately for him, Captain Marvel spent most of that time in suspended animation himself, so he was ready to pick up where he left off when Mr. Mind reemerged
3) B. Lex Luthor is certainly a star of the comics world. He appears in Superman's various titles more often than Jimmy Olsen and Perry White, and appears fairly regularly in most other titles as well. He also had a prestige one-shot devoted to his unauthorized biography and a four issue mini-series devoted to his struggle with a non-Kryptonian alien, but never had his own series. The Joker had a nine issue series that ran from 1975-76. Eclipso had a series that lasted for 18 issues from 1992 to 1994. Kobra had a 7 issue series that ran from 1976 to 1977. All in all Luthor has the better deal. He's the alpha-being of the villain world, sorry Joker and Darkseid, has more face time than 90% of the heroes and is President of the United States. Who could ask for anything more?
4) A. Malefic is the Martian Manhunter's brother. Most of you should know that Ocean Master is Aquaman's half-brother. Cobalt Blue is Barry Allen's twin brother than he never knew he had. The doctor who delivered Barry and his brother happened to be drunk and wound up killing the child of another one his patients. The doctor gave Barry's brother to that couple, the Thawnes, and told the Allens that one of their children were still-born. The Thawnes were criminals with a mystic flame that could be used to steal anything. Their son used the flame to steal super-speed and set himself up as a super-villain
5) C. Dr. Polaris was Damage's adoptive father's brother, so his role is more of an antagonistic uncle than an evil father. Grant still visits him though. Paul Westfield was the corrupt director of Cadmus who used much of his own DNA in creating Superboy. A hypertime version of him was Black Zero's, an alternate version of Superboy gone horribly wrong, mentor. T.O. Morrow was the scientist who created the android Red Tornado as weapon against the Justice Society of America. So he is in effect the robot's father. Red Tornado rebelled against his programming, and became a hero. I'm not sure if she formally adopted that title, but Brainiac 5's mother, while sharing, if not exceeding her son's brilliance, had some issues. She fostered a galactic war and tried to murder her own son in order to alleviate her boredom
6) D. Major Disaster may be ambivalent about his role as a villain, but he does not suffer from any sort of multiple personality disorder.
7) A. Ewww! I don't care if he had acquired the ability to shape change and thus looked like Lois Lane. He was still a big purple guy with a horrible leech like mouth. Still not as objectionable as the Marvel story-line that suggested that the original Baron Zemo had his brain implanted into his son's (Baron Zemo II) wife's body
8) D. Kyle Rayner's girlfriend was murdered and stuffed into their refrigerator shortly after he took on the role of Green Lantern
9) C. Pre-Crisis Mordru started his career on Gem World, which in the future would appear in our Universe as Zerox the Sorcerer's world. In current continuity he appeared as an ageless being of power who sought to eliminate all of the powers of order and chaos, including the child who would became the new Dr. Fate, hence the Justice Society's interest in defeating him
11) B. The Joker did take on the identity of John Dough in order to gain Snapper's trust. Later on, Snapper blamed the JLA for his failure to make anything of himself, and let himself be manipulated by the Key into assuming the role of the villainous Star Tsar.
Mike Condon, Fanzing's trivia quiz guru, is a librarian who lives in Brooklyn.
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