All-American 61 – Solomon Grundy debuts, and the Atom ends

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All-American 61 (Oct. 44) sees the introduction of Solomon Grundy, Green Lantern’s greatest enemy, in a story by Bester and Reinman.

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Rising from the evocatively named Slaughter Swamp, Grundy kills some escaping prisoners, before being befriended by some others.  It is they who name him, as all he knows is that he was “born” on a Monday.  Grundy makes the comment that he knows some things, but must learn others.  A real gift for later writers.

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The criminals dress Grundy up in a suit that makes him resemble the Frankenstein monster even more than he does naturally, and use him as their muscle for robberies.  Green Lantern uses a different version of his oath in this story, one that would later come to be associated with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps.

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Green Lantern shows up, but finds that his ring is powerless against Grundy.  Alan was not expecting this, it had never been the case before, and he gets pounded by Grundy.

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Doiby brings Alan back home, and takes his ring off him as he sleeps.  Doiby does not want Alan risking his life again.  But then Doiby goes out when he hears a news report about Grundy.  Alan wakes, and is still groggy from his beating.  He also heads out after Grundy, unaware that he is not wearing the ring.  As the ring has no effect on Grundy, it’s less of a big deal than it might be.  Grundy gets hit by a train as the story reaches its conclusion, and disappears.

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Green Lantern makes some massive leaps of logic at the end of the tale, but his suppositions on the origin of Solomon Grundy will prove to be correct.  Originally Cyrus Gold, murdered in the swamp m50 years earlier, Grundy was formed from plant life bonding to the body, which is why the ring has no power over him.  His origin is clearly supernatural, but even Alan Scott doesn’t go as far exploring that part.

Solomon Grundy returns the following year, facing Green Lantern in the pages of Comic Cavalcade.

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The Atom’s series in All-American comes to a close with this story by Joseph Greene and Joe Gallagher.

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The story deals with an infamous safe cracker, the Blue Diamond.  His son gets locked into a vault, and the Atom must find the father, whose identity is unknown even to the underworld at large.  But Al Pratt is successful, and the Blue Diamond uses his special safe cracking box to open the vault and save his child.

The Atom’s series takes a break for a while, though the character continues to appear as member of the Justice Society.  It resumes in the pages of Flash Comics.

 

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