A Tribute to the of






My muse doesn’t often fail me, but I find I’ve been struggling with the subject for this final edition of the 2015 Silver Age Sage. Sometimes I’m just not feeling it, but a deadline is a deadline, even if it’s a self-imposed one and I don’t intend to start missing any at this stage in the game.

I finally settled on a short, but interesting piece of history from the end of 1977 when a new heroine was introduced for the first time in ages. Under the DC Super-Stars Presents header, we got a Secret Origins of Super-Heroes edition for issue #17 with a November/December publication date and the focus of that cover by Joe Staton and Bob Layton (note the clever amalgam of their names) is The Huntress.

For the remaining credits we have Paul Levitz as writer of “From Each Ending…A Beginning!” The subtitle is, “The Secret Origin of the Huntress.” Staton and Layton on interior art with Ben Oda lettering and Anthony Tollin taking care of colors. Just prior to the story is a one page column by Paul Levitz titled, “Secret Origins of Secret Origins” and a good chunk of it is devoted to The Huntress:

It began when inker Bob Layton started to militate for an Earth-Two Batgirl as a member of the Justice Society, in order to relieve Power Girl of the burden of being the only female member of the team. Well, the old Batgirl wasn’t terribly interesting, and a revamped revival wouldn’t have had much more potential either (or so the writer of the mag thought), so the idea was discarded.

Then penciler Joe Staton jumped on the bamdwagon, and in his quiet way insisted that we add another girl to the team. (Ever been stabbed by a super-sharp pencil?) With the whole art team against him, the reluctant writer gave in. What else could he do?

So the Huntress was created. She’s hardly an update of Batgirl, and as her future exploits will clearly show, she’s more than just the daughter of Batman. She’s an individual in her own right, and perhaps the deadliest woman crimefighter yet imagined.

Joe Staton first created the visual, in the form of the sketch that illustrates this feature. As you may be able to see the bat-scallops on the cape were added later…although the collapsible bow was an artistic suggestion.

iThen ALL-STAR editor Joe Orlando was consulted, and together the whole team worked the Huntress into her first ALL-STAR appearance…in the issue [#69] just going on sale this month.

The next page shows the initial rough and sketch Paul just described by Joe Staton and then it’s on to our story.

The splash shows Batman and Catwoman at the top, but below they are in their civilian identities of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle and are about to be wed.

Interestingly, the splash, first and second pages contain but a single balloon of dialogue. The rest is captioning as we follow Bruce and Selina’s wedding and are then given an immediate backstory, to include the fact that this tale takes place on Earth-Two, where Batman and the Catwoman had been enemies until she ultimately was reformed, paid her debt to society and reunited with Bruce Wayne to start a family. Two years later, a daughter, Helena was born and the mantle of Batman was shunted aside in favor of being more of a social activist.

Robin matured and left Wayne Manor, changed his costume and took over the bulk of the Batman’s duties and Helena grew into a beautiful young woman. Then one fateful day Selina received an unwelcome phone call and drove off to meet a man called Silky Cernak, whose goal was to blackmail her into pulling one more job. A former member of her gang, he produced a print of the Catwoman killing a man. Selina, overcome with guilt and having been convinced she’d only knocked him down, gives in to Cernak’s demands to pull another job in exchange for the original negative to the photograph.

Later, when the bat-signal is illuminating the skies of Gotham, Bruce responds as Dick is out of the country. Commissioner Gordon explains they have a tip about a midnight raid at the Gotham Civic Center, which is precisely where Catwoman and her former gang are infiltrating to steal the jewels from an exhibit.

When Batman appears he puts one thug into submission, but not before the pistol he was leveling ends up with a far different trajectory due to the impact from the Dark Knight, striking Catwoman. Batman gets to her, just as she passes away, asking forgiveness and trying to explain it was only to protect him.

The mourning for Bruce Wayne is profound and he ignores the bat-signal and nearly everything else in his life, but one night a dark figure in a flowing cape stands at the grave of Selina Wayne. It is her daughter in full costume. “I swear I’ll dedicate my life and inheritance to bringing your killer to justice…and to fighting all criminals! I swear it…mother…

The Huntress then leaps into action and using all the abilities she has developed and was endowed with by virtue of her lineage, she soon tracks down Cernak, waiting on the docks to unload some very hot gemstones. A familiar silhouette then arrives and the battle is on, but Silky soon learns it is not the Batman, but another dark figure of vengeance, who ultimately leaves him trussed up in front of police headquarters.

He is spotted by Bruce and Helena Wayne, who were there to attend to some formalities. Bruce speculates that Dick must have come back from his overseas visit and taken care of matters, but Helena suggests that maybe it was someone else and she has a feeling that someone else is here to stay.

So, in 13 short pages we get an introduction to the Huntress, though technically she didn’t show up until page 10. We’re also told (as Paul Levitz mentioned in the column) that she’ll be in the latest issue of All-Star Comics.

It’s a pretty auspicious beginning and in the years to come, she would often be teamed up with Power-Girl, much like the female version of the classic Superman/Batman team.

And that, dear readers, wraps up 2015 for the Silver Age Sage. Never fear, though. This journey is far from over and more offerings will be posted in the months and years to come, so long as great stories are to be read and shared and the webmaster keeps up his faithful duties here, allowing me this terrific forum. We have more milestones to mark, too, so be sure to join us for the journey.

As always, we solicit your input, whether it be commentary, praise or suggestions and you should know the address by now: professor_the@hotmail.com.

We will welcome you back on New Year’s Day 2016!

Meanwhile…

Long live the Silver Age!



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