Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Oddball Super Heroes: Simon Says...Show Me the Money!

Hi there! Welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, an Ant Man blog in an Iron Man internet. I'm Dave-El and I'm caught in a Civil War between my inner child and my arrested adolescent.

Hey, guys! We're two (count' em, TWO!) weeks out from the premiere of Captain America: Civil War. In tribute to the co-creator of Captain America and to help me not have to come up with an original topic every Wednesday for this blog, I'm looking back over some really oddball creations Joe Simon provided for DC Comics.

As we noted here and here, Joe's off-kilter creations for DC did not last long. Brother Power the Geek only made it for 2 issues while Prez: First Teen President lasted for 4 issues. Today we take a look at two features from Joe Simon that only lasted ONE single issue each.

In the mid-1970's, DC launched a series called 1st Issue Special. Each issue served as a launching pad for some new or revived character that would presumably lead into a new series. Out of 13 issues, only 2 lead to ongoing series, Mike Grell's Warlord and Gerry Conway's revival of New Gods. For everyone else, the series should've been called Only Issue Special

First Issue Special#2 saw the debut of a new feature from Joe Simon. It was in the spirit of the Boy Commandos that Joe created for DC with Jack Kirby back in the 1940s after Joe and Jack left Captain America. This new team of boy adventurers, developed with Prez artist Jerry Grandinetti was Green Team: Boy Millionaires.    

The Green Team was a group of boys who were bitten by radioactive ten dollar bills and imbued with the powers of legal tender and the ability to make it rain in strip clubs.

OK, not that. Nope, the Green Team was a group of boys who... had a million dollars. Yep, boy millionaires with a yen for adventure and cash to burn to make those adventures happen. It's like a boy Donald Trump and his equally rich and pampered pals. 

The only prerequisite for joining the Green Team is one million dollars. The boys paid fortunes to anyone who could offer them a worthy adventure.

So who were the boy millionaires of the Green Team? 

  • Commodore Murphy - a boy shipping magnate.
  • J.P. Huston - a boy Texan oil tycoon
  • Cecil Sunbeam - a boy Hollywood film director known as "The Starmaker".
  • Abdul Smith - an African-American shoeshine boy who received half a million due to a bug in his bank's computer. He shrewdly multiplied that stake, returned it to the bank, and had a million dollars left.

The first thing our gang of rich kids do is fund something called the Great American Pleasure Machine. Now, if you're thinking what I think you're thinking, I must remind you this was in a newsstand comic book with a Comics Code Authority seal on the cover and you should be ashamed of what you're thinking right now. ASHAMED, I say! 

Anyway, the villain of the story uses the Great American Pleasure Machine (seriously, get your mind out of the gutter!) and it drives him insane. (I give up.)  

The Green Team wore matching jumpsuit uniforms with many, many, MANY pockets for to carry money in.  They had a chain of keys that would unlock many labs and money vaults all over the world.  The boys always had on hand at least a quarter-million dollars that they could use in a moment's notice to hire, I mean, to go on adventures. With hookers.

Two issues of a regular Green Team series were prepped
but were not published. The two inventoried stories were belatedly printed in the first volume of Cancelled Comic Cavalcade (Fall 1978). Therein, the boys were pitted against giant lobsters and the Russian Navy as well as a villain called the Paperhanger who had special wallpaper that grew plants and trees and, for good measure, was a dead ringer for Adolf Hitler. 

In subsequent decades, the Green Team appeared in one panel of Animal Man #25 (July 1990) where the boys beg Animal Man to rescue them from limbo and offer sacks full of cash as a bribe.

The team also appears in a single page of Adventures of Superman #549 (Aug. 1997), written by Karl Kesel, in which the boys meet the Newsboy Legion and Dingbats of Danger Street, financing a youth center for the two street gangs.
Cecil Sunbeam and Abdul Smith appear in Ambush Bug: Year None #1 (Sept. 2008), written by Keith Giffen and Robert Loren Fleming. Ambush Bug is assigned to solve the murder of Jonni DC and the team provides clues as he investigates.

A new version of the team got a series at DC in 2013 called Green Team: Teen Trillionaires. It lasted 8 issues. 


Joe Simon and Jerry Grandinetti gave it another go with another strange super team. Perhaps eyeing the growing success of Marvel's X-Men revival, Joe and Jerry gave us their own team of super heroes on the outside fringes of normal society, the Outsiders.   

Originally to be called the Freaks,[1] the Outsiders debuted in 1st Issue Special #10, (January 1976). This group consisted of:

  • Amazing Ronnie - green lumpy-headed, four-armed 
  • cyclops with acrobatic and combat skills.
  • Billy - little boy with a big steel head
  • Doc Scary - ghoul faced cyborg created by aliens, he is the leader of the Outsiders
  • Hairy Larry - a red haired half-man/half-car dwarf and the team's primary source of transportation. 
  • Lizard Johnny - a green lizard dude with regenerative powers, poisonous venom and (possibly) amphibious abilities.
  • Mighty Mary - Her head is that of a beautiful girl with long blonde hair. The rest of her is a super strong creature with orange scales with flippers for arms and legs. 

  • What else do we know about the Outsiders? 

    When arriving on the scene, they sing their own personalized introductory theme song. 

    And they talk directly to the readers to share their back story. Well, that was nice of them. 

    While the name "Outsiders" would be used by Batman's personal super hero team in the 1980s, this particular collection of Outsiders would never appear again except for a cameo in Superman#692 (November 2009) as detainees of Department 7734.


    Next week, Oddball Super Heroes completes its look at the strange creations of Joe Simon by revisiting Joe's last collaboration with his Captain America co-creator, Jack Kirby.

    Another new post online today and a new blog post is coming up tomorrow. Until next time, remember to be good to one another. 

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