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Look Back: Solomon Grundy Was Born On a Monday...For the First Time!

This is "Look Back," a feature that I plan to do for at least all of 2019 and possibly beyond that (and possibly forget about in a week, who knows?). The concept is that every week (I'll probably be skipping the four fifth weeks in the year, but maybe not) of a month, I will spotlight a single issue of a comic book that came out in the past and talk about that issue in terms of a larger scale (like the series overall, etc.). Each week will be a look at a comic book from a different year that came out the same month X amount of years ago. The first week of the month looks at a book that came out this month ten years ago. The second week looks at a book that came out this month 25 years ago. The third week looks at a book that came out this month 50 years ago. The fourth week looks at a book that came out this month 75 years ago.

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We conclude August (just as August concludes period) with August 1944's All-American Comics #61 by Alfred Bester and Paul Reinman, the introduction of Solomon Grundy!

It's not really well known today, but a popular children's rhyme at one point was:

Solomon Grundy,Born on a Monday,Christened on Tuesday,Married on Wednesday,Took ill on Thursday,Grew worse on Friday, Died on Saturday,Buried on Sunday,That was the end,Of Solomon Grundy

There was a longer version that went...

Solomon Grundy, born on a Monday, Christened on a stark and stormy Tuesday, Married on a grey and grisly Wednesday, Took ill on a mild and mellow Thursday, Grew worse on a bright and breezy Friday, Died on a grey and glorious Saturday, Buried on a baking, blistering Sunday. That was the end of Solomon Grundy.

So anyhow, that was the set-up for All-American Comics #61, when Bester and Reinman introduced a new villain known as Solomon Grundy.

Basically, a man named Cyrus Gold shows up from the dead in the muck of the Slaughter Swamp, so named after HIS VERY MURDER...

The resurrected Gold decides that he will become a criminal (probably some residual memory from Gold's murder). His zombie-like invulnerability made him a powerful criminal...

Green Lantern tries to stop him and in a shocker, he just beats Green Lantern up easily!

Meanwhile, in one of the robberies, Cyrus Gold's ring is found and that's a total curiosity for everyone...

Green Lantern tries to stop him again and he again easily defeats Green Lantern. There is a twist here that I just have to address in a future column (my "Man, they let you get away with a lot of crazy stuff in the Golden Age").

Green Lantern is almost killed, but he can't help but get himself back up and try to stop Grundy again. This time, he fights Grundy without his ring and uses a tricky sort of judo like throw to toss Grundy in front of a train, seemingly killing him...

This is when Green Lantern figures out that the reason he couldn't beat Grundy with his ring is because his ring's only weakness is wood and Cyrus' body was created using the mass of the swamp, so basically he was made out of wood...

Fascinating introduction of a great supervillain.

If you have any suggestions for September (or any other later months) 2009, 1994, 1969 and 1944 comic books for me to spotlight, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com! Here is the guide, though, for the cover dates of books so that you can make suggestions for books that actually came out in the correct month. Generally speaking, the traditional amount of time between the cover date and the release date of a comic book throughout most of comic history has been two months (it was three months at times, but not during the times we're discussing here). So the comic books will have a cover date that is two months ahead of the actual release date (so October for a book that came out in August). Obviously, it is easier to tell when a book from 10 years ago was released, since there was internet coverage of books back then.

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