A few weeks back, in my “Team Canada” post, I made the point that WECA era books did not produce a super hero team like the JSA at National. This week I want to make note of the fact that super hero crossovers in these books are almost absent as well.
Even in American comics of this period were unusual. Super heroes were absolutely territorial and by literary license, ruled uniquely over their own dualistic universes as archetypical symbols of good burdened with an eternal struggle against the forces of evil. One rarely acknowledged or entered the domain of another. This elemental “Clash of the Titans” first happened in the summer of 1940 with the three issue battle between The Human Torch and Namor in Marvel Mystery Comics Nos. 8-10, then a couple of months later MLJ’s The Shield met The Wizard in Top-Notch Comics No. 7 and by the winter of that year National put out All-Star Comics No. 3 with the first appearances of the JSA. Though many super heroes acknowledged each other’s existence with stylized interactions on covers (World’s Finest Comics for example had Superman and the Batman/Robin team “dancing” together on its covers right from the start but they didn’t meet up in an actual strip until the fifties with Superman Comics No. 76 and World’s
Finest Comics No. 71 (just before the Comics Code).
In the WECA books of Canada’s First Age of Comics, I can only find two of these crossovers. The first happens in Triumph Comics No. 18, which probably appeared just at the beginning of 1944. It was announced in Triumph Comics No. 15, which gave Speed Savage a new costume for his White Mask alter ego, and at the end of the story asked readers if they would like to send in idea suggestions for a Speed Savage story. The winners of the contest were announced in Triumph Comics No. 16 and the story, suggested by Raymond Roy of Moncton, New Brunswick appeared in Triumph Comics No. 18 as its last story starting on p. 46 and entitled “’Speed Savage’ Meets Capt. Wonder.” As Ted Steele states in his preamble to the story:
Raymond Roy… wanted to see “Speed Savage” in an adventure with “Captain Wonder.” Ted Steele got in touch with Ross Saakel, creator of the Captain Wonder strip and now, we are pleased to present the thrilling adventure that takes place when “Speed Savage” alias the “White Mask” meets Captain Wonder.
The story involves a music Professor named “Marwitz” who is rebuffed by his publisher and gets revenge by playing the publisher his guarded “Death Boogie Woogie” composition over the phone. The publisher commits suicide by leaping out the window of his 19th floor office. Mobster “Ice” Spadoli has the Professor killed and steals a recording of the death song which he plays through the sewer system of the city causing numerous deaths. “Speed” sees this in the newspaper headlines and as the “White Mask” rushes to find Spadoli’s lair and on the way runs headlong into Capt. Wonder who is in the process of doing the same thing.
The story itself is also notable for two editorial oversights. Pages 50 and 51 are printed in reverse sequence and, instead of the conclusion to the story which should have appeared on page 56 (the last page in the book) we get a Frank Keith full-page cartoon. The story doesn’t appear to have an ending page.
The second WECA crossover happens in The Wing feature in Joke Comics No. 17 which is about a year later (Jan./Feb. 1945). The Wing seems to have been created by John G. Hilkert in Joke Comics No. 4, appears again only in Joke Comics No. 6 by Hilkert before she is revived by Jerry Lazare in Joke Comics No. 14. In the crossover, Lazare gives us a solid example of female empowerment because it’s The Wing who, while on patrol in the docks, beats up a couple of thugs and stumbles upon a bound up Nitro.
She releases him and together they save a research scientist and his valuable medicinal formula for the troops. When Nitro turns around to thank The Wing and offer to walk her home (gentleman as he is), she is gone, and in the last panel, a disgruntled Nitro tromps off cursing Lazare as he goes. This last panel is notable for an unusual Jerry Lazare signature where he stylizes the “G” of his first name “Gerald.” At least in this second crossover the pages are in order and there is a conclusion.
There you have it, the only two WECA crossovers. Would have been cool to eventually have had a Nitro and The Wing wedding issue.