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Friday, March 24, 2017

USENET fandom - Crisis on Captive Earth and the true identity of "Satan Girl"

About a year ago, there was a semi-regular feature here at DC in the 80's called Usenet Fandom... wherein I would dredge up forum posts about comics from the prehistoric internet and, with my own superpower of "hindsight" proceed to dissect and analyze them... making us "future folks" feel quite a bit smarter than all those college students pulling up BBS's and newsgroups via primitive modems.
As I often do, I found myself getting sidetracked... and eventually lost my way with the feature.

Well... let's give it another go, shall we?


Today we're going to discuss the blockbuster follow-up to Crisis on Infinite Earths... Crisis on Captive Earth! Wait, what?!

In a missive titled, "The 'Next' CRISIS?" on January 28 1986, Usenetter "Mr. B", says:

We'll discuss Crisis on Captive Earth in a bit more detail below, however... this is a portion of the text page from Secret Origins #2 (May, 1986) Mr. B is talking about:

I'll agree somewhat with Mr. B, the origin story was perhaps a bit hokey... but, very likely contorted to fit the existing plot.  The text-piece in the back of the issue discusses the entire history of the character (and plenty of neat Charlton Comics information!). That being said, perhaps DC was trying to tie everything in as neatly as possible. This doesn't always make for the snappiest or most exciting story, but it works.

Gil Kane's artwork here, while not bad... sort of dates the book, and makes it feel much older than it is. I have similar feelings anytime I read pre-Crisis "Trial era" Flash comics with Carmine Infantino on art. Mr. B is mistaken as to the penciller on the Blue Beetle ongoing... that would be Paris Cullins (though, Chuck Patton did draw issue #10).
Crisis on Captive Earth, eh? Well, research indicates that you and I might know this maxi-series better as Crisis of the Soul! Hmm, still nothin' huh? Okay... Crisis on Captive Earth became... Crisis of the Soul... which then became... Legends!

Per Amazing Heroes #62 (January 1, 1985) which served as their 1985 Preview issue, this story was originally envisioned to take place in a twelve-issue maxi-series by Paul Levitz, Len Wein, and Jerry Ordway. Legends would only run six issues, and would feature Wein, as well as John Ostrander and John Byrne in the creators' chairs... and it's finished product may have only matched the scrapped maxis in when it would start hitting store shelves.

Jerry Ordway offered the following:
"The Crisis sequel was Crisis of the Soul, and featured the Corruptors from Legion continuity, I think. It was meant to be very personal to the heroes, showing them the darkness and having them deal with it and reject it or not. The Corruptors basically quarantine the Earth and that’s all I remember off the top of my head. Paul Levitz and I plotted out the main beats, and it was all set to go, until the editor ran into resistance from the other editors who didn’t want to have to cross over with it. Then when the editors changed, I bowed out. It became Legends, but it was fairly different from what we originally planned."

A piece from TwoMorrows Publishing's wonderful Back Issue #9 sheds a bit of light on this subject. The two-pages included below come from their free-preview of the issue... they always put out great work, and are well worth your time.

From Back Issue #9 (2003)

Whoop... Legion of Super-Heroes stuff. That really puts me at a disadvantage. Let's see what we might be able to unpack here without much in the way of context. Satan Girl, from what I have deduced, was created as a dark-mirror of Supergirl (Kara Zor-El) when she had been exposed to Red Kryptonite while on an adventure in the 30th Century.

Adventure Comics #313 (October, 1963)
Since Red-K was no longer a "thing", post-Crisis, this character went away... very quickly, in fact (more on that in a bit) that is, until Zero Hour where she shows up to give the Legionnaires grief as a time anomaly. Not sure why Mr. B included this bit, but I'm pretty glad he did.

For completist's sake, here are a couple of replies I was able to locate... surprisingly, none of which add anything to the CRISIS talk... it's all Satan Girl here...

On February 2, 1986, "CF" answered in a post titled "Sensor Girl=Satan Girl" with:

On February 5, 1986, "TY" followed up with:

So from this, I gather that Satan Girl only lasted the one story... again... not sure why Mr. B included this... but it was a fun education regardless!

That's all we've got for this installment. I hope folks enjoyed this... and as always, if you have any additions or corrections, please do not hesitate to write-in! Thanks for reading!

-Chris Sheehan

Can't wait for the next installment in this series of articles? For more of Chris Sheehan, check out his highly recommended Chris is on Infinite Earths blog. He also co-hosts the very excellent Cosmic Treadmill podcast with Reggie Hancock!

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