As mentioned in a previous installment of Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed, the formation of the Justice Society of America was very interesting, because the characters involved were not even all from the same comic book company!!
However, amazingly enough, that's not the ONLY bizarre situation revolving around the third issue of All-Star Comics, featuring the first appearance of the Justice Society of America.
To set the scene, let us describe the first two issues of All Star Comics...
The book was basically just a big superhero anthology, without a true "lead" feature (like Action or Detective Comics), so the book decided to try a new hook for the anthology in the summer of 1940 - making the characters in the book all form a team together!
Good idea, no?
However, how they went about it was quite interesting. Reader Ted Watson shared the following exchange from 1987's Amazing Stories #115, between Rich Morrissey and Gardner Fox...
Morrissey: The first JSA story [in ALL-STAR #3] seemed to consist largely of a group of unrelated episodes. Were they really written that way--as separate stories?
Fox: Yes, they were. But I tied them together, and then kept that format in future issues. Morrissey: Were the stories also written by the characters' individual writers?
Fox:: No, I wrote them all. In fact, I think I wrote all the stories in the first two ALL-STAR issues as well, though I'm not sure. Maybe they were left over from the other books. As I've said, some of the things you're asking about were so long ago I don't remember them very well.
Morrissey: Did you check with the regular writers of the characters when writing the individual chapters?
Fox: No, I knew enough about the characters to handle them.
So the first team-up of the Justice Society was not really intended to be one at all!!
But wait...there's further mystery, which Ted wishes us to get to the bottom of, and I have been trying, and the question has stumped even my pal Kurt Mitchell, who has forgotten more about the Justice Society than I'll ever know, but I cannot come up with a definitive answer, so I figured I would open it up to you readers out there!
Okay, so Fox claims he wrote all the short stories, and that's how it has always been credited when people list the credits for All-Star Comics #3. However, if the book was originally meant to be a collection of short stories before the framing sequence was determined, how likely is it that Fox actually wrote all the stories?
He did not write all the stories in the first two issues, so why would he start suddenly with #3?
Fox obviously was at the end of his life when the questions were asked, and we cannot expect an older gentleman to remember such minutiae, but the question Ted Watson poses is a good one - DID Gardner Fox really write all the stories in All Star Comics #3?
If you ever find out, let us know!