Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #5!

This is the fifth in a series of examinations of comic book urban legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four.

Let's begin!COMIC URBAN LEGEND: All-Star Comics #3 was an inter-company crossover.


A good deal of comic book fans are familiar with All-Star Comics #3, as the late 1940 comic features the first appearance of the Justice Society of America.

Written by comic legend Gardner Fox, the team was made up of (in their first pairing) Flash, Hawkman, Sandman, Atom, Spectre, Dr. Fate, Green Lantern, and Hourman.

However, what may not be as familiar to some readers is that these characters did not all belong to the same company!

What we now refer back to as DC Comics in the early Golden Age was actually three separate companies, publishing under the same banner.

The three companies were:

  • Detective Comics, Inc. (founded by Harry Donenfeld and J.S. Liebowitz),
  • National Allied Publications (founded by Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson) and
  • All-American Publications (founded by M.C. Gaines).

In 1937, Donenfield and Liebowitz bought out Nicholson, but Gaines' All-American Comics continued to exist as a separate company.

In fact, at one point in the 1944, All-American Comics were published with a different logo!!

Eventually, Gaines sold his company to Donenefield and Liebowitz as well, when he left to go form EC Comics.

However, in 1940, All-American was still its own company, so when the JSA was formed, half of the original team were NOT DC/National characters!

Those characters?

Green Lantern and Atom (from All-American Comics)


Flash and Hawkman (from Flash Comics).

Each company supplied two characters each from two of their superhero anthologies.

So Marvel and DC were about thirty-five years late when they came up with their Superman and Spider-Man meeting.

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