DC History Club, April 2020: Suicide Squad Pt 1, The Brave and the Bold to Ostrander Discussion, Polls and Quiz

Suicide_Squad_Vol_1_1
The challenge is to take a shifting roster of little known characters, a concept that largely failed thirty-years early, highly serialized character-driven story-telling built issue-upon-issue, and turn it into a series that last more than 60 issues and a team that would be relevant for years to come. By 1987, the Suicide Squad was little more than an interesting name with a largely forgotten history in DC Comics. But, an influx of talent and ideas from the thriving “Independent” smaller comic book companies took that idea and created an influential and highly entertaining team of villains fighting and dying in a moral grey area. John Ostrander, Kimberly Yale, and Luke McDonnell’s Suicide Squad provides insights on the maturing of comics, the impact of the independent companies, the slowly growing diversity of comic characters, and more in a fast paced, exhilarating comic series.
Join us as we explore Ostrander’s Suicide Squad from its influences; to its development of minor characters and creation of new ones; to what it represents in terms of story-telling and character diversity; and onto to its impact on the future of comics and the DC Universe.

Stay tuned for more coming this month :
• Polls: Coming soon polls on Suicide Squads impact on DC and comics in general, and Ostrander/Yale’s revitalization of existing characters
• Quiz: Mid-month will see a quiz as you can test how much you know about the history of the Suicide Squad.

Suicide Squad Reading.
Ostrander’s Suicide Squad plays the long-game in its story-telling. Threads and character development would build over months or years before they pay off. Any reading list that is representative and provides the highlights of the series will naturally drop you mid-stream into these developments. But, we believe that the recommendations for Ostrander’s run represent some of the best and most representative issues of the series.

Recommended Reading:
The Brave and the Bold (1955) #25 (original series)
Legends (1986) #3 (modern debut)
Suicide Squad (1987) #22 (Deadshot, Flagg, Waller focus)
Suicide Squad (1987) #40-43 The Phoenix Gambit (Batman, Waller, Bronze Tiger focus)

Links to Recommended Reading:

DC Universe
DC Universe
DC Universe
DC Universe

Deeper Dive: Really need to know more about this great run, here’s our recommendations for more extensive reading.
Legends (1986): #1-6
Deadshot (1988) #1-4 (leads into Suicide Squad #22)
Suicide Squad (1987) #33-36 (Apokolips)
Suicide Squad (1987) #48-49 (Oracle, Waller focus)
Suicide Squad Special: War Crimes (2016) #1: Ostrander writes today’s Squad

Links to Deeper Dive Reading:

DC Universe
DC Universe
DC Universe
DC Universe
DC Universe

Suicide Squad based on Ostander’s run appears in more than just the comics, check here to find out everywhere you can find them.

History Challenges:

  • Squad Facts: Found something interesting about Silver Age and Ostrander Suicide Squad you want to share? Post your Squad Facts. See an example below.
  • Squad Research: Have you found a reliable source for more information on the Suicide Squad. Add to the Research Links wiki below by clicking on the pencil in the upper right corner.
  • Squad RIP: As you read Suicide Squad and discover a team member that has fallen during a mission, add them to our Suicide Squad RIP wiki below.

Suggested Discussion Topics.

  1. Ostrander came from a successful run at First Comics creating the character Grimjack. In what ways did he work in independent comics influence Suicide Squad? How did Suicide Squad differ from other DC team comics at the time?

  2. The list of characters that Ostrander and Yale either created or elevated is a long one, Amanda Waller, Deadshot, Captain Boomerang, Oracle, Bronze Tiger and more. Which of these characters do you believe become most influentional? Which character do you identify with in some way? Which one was the greatest rehab achievement? Or any other thoughts you have on the series character development.

  3. How does today Suicide Squad, either in films, television, or comics differ or compare to Ostrander’s run? What elements have been improved upon and what has been lost? Could DC produce a Suicide Squad closer to Ostrander’s in today’s market?

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Research Wiki (add to the wiki by clicking on the wiki pencil)

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Not every enjoyable or even popular comic book series is historically important. The following poll questions explore your opinion on whether the Suicide Squad run helmed by Ostrander, Yale and McDonnel is historically important and if it is what makes it so. Vote and if you’re so inclined Defend your vote below

  1. Do you consider Ostrander’s Suicide Squad (1987) to be an historically significant comic series?
  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

  1. What elements of Suicide Squad (1987) do you believe contribute to its historical importance? (Pick as many as you believe apply regardless of how you voted on question 1)
  • Reinventing/revitalizing characters such as Deadshot, Bronze Tiger and others
  • Creating Amanda Waller
  • Creating Oracle
  • Establishing an ongoing viable team for DC comics, television, animation and movies
  • The economic value of the Suicide Squad to DC/WB/AT&T
  • Bringing ‘80s independent comics sensibilities to DC
  • Its highly serialized story telling
  • That any character could die on any mission
  • The diverse and always changing team lineup
  • Integrating real-world conflicts and politics into the story-line

0 voters

The next two questions deal with Suicide Squad characters and their broader impact on DC.

  1. Which two revitalized characters had the greatest impact during Ostrander’s Suicide Squad run?
  • Bronze Tiger
  • Deadshot
  • Vixen
  • Barbara Gordon/Oracle
  • Captain Boomerang
  • Rick Flagg
  • Nightshade

0 voters

  1. Which two characters had the greatest impact on DC comics, television, animation and movies beyond Suicide Squad (1987)?
  • Bronze Tiger
  • Deadshot
  • Vixen
  • Barbara Gordon/Oracle
  • Captain Boomerang
  • Rick Flagg
  • Amanda Waller
  • Nightshade

0 voters

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Think you know the Suicide Squad, it’s characters, or you just like guessing answers? Take the Suicide Squad Part 1 Quiz below. If you want, tell us how you did or anything else you want.

  1. The original Suicide Squad was created in 1959 by penciler Ross Andru and what prolific DC writer?
  • Bob Haney
  • Bob Kanigher
  • Bob Vance

0 voters

  1. Karin Grace, an original Suicide Squad member who also appears in Ostrander’s run, was given what job title in her 1959 debut?
  • Night Nurse
  • Combat Nurse
  • Space Nurse

0 voters

  1. In their first adventure, the Suicide Squad enticed a giant monster to grab onto their manned rocket for its previously schedule trip to where?
  • The Sun
  • Mars
  • The Moon

0 voters

  1. Prior to Suicide Squad, John Ostrander was known for creating and writing what character for First Comics?
  • Badger
  • Sable
  • Grimjack

0 voters

  1. Which of these characters is not on the cover of Suicide Squad (1987) #1?
  • Enchantress
  • Bronze Tiger
  • Mindboggler
  • Rick Flagg
  • Vixen

0 voters

  1. The Female Fury Lashina operated under what name as a member of Suicide Squad?
  • Gunsmith
  • Fury
  • Duchess

0 voters

  1. The name of the character Oracle is first seen in Suicide Squad #23. In what issue would her identity of Barbara Gordon be revealed?
  • #26
  • #38
  • #56

0 voters

  1. For several years, a mad pie-thrower haunted the pages of the Suicide Squad. Who was eventually revealed to be the culprit
  • Amanda Waller
  • Head of Security Murphy
  • Captain Boomerang

0 voters

  1. Amanda Waller lost her husband and children to violence in what city?
  • Gotham
  • New York
  • Chicago

0 voters

  1. John Ostrander put the character the Writerr onto the Suicide Squad and promptly killed him through a case of writer’s block. Who was the real-world DC writer this character represented?
  • Alan Moore
  • Paul Kupperberg
  • Grant Morrison.

0 voters

Bonus Question

  1. What is the name of the civilian Task Force X employee who was killed on Apokolips?
  • Mary
  • Murphy
  • Francis
  • Flo

0 voters

Answer Key:

  1. Bob Kanigher
  2. Space Nurse
  3. The Sun
  4. Grimjack
  5. Vixen
  6. Duchess
  7. #38
  8. Captain Boomerang
  9. Chicago
  10. Grant Morrison
  11. Flo

Suicide Squad Ranking
0-3 Little Known Villain on First Mission
4-6 Big Time Villain Working Off Sentence
7-9 Mission Team Leader
10 Mission Accomplished, You’re Free

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Suicide Squad Rest-In-Peace Memorial (click on the wiki pencil to add names)
Please add within the “spoiler” blur since the team is classified
A star for each fallen Squad member listed
:star: :star: :star: :star: :star: :star: :star: :star: :star: :star: :star: :star: :star: :star: :star: :star: :star:

Block Buster: Fried to a crisp by Brimstone
Legends #3

Mindboggler
First Appearance: Firestorm Vol. 2 #29 (1984)
Death: Suicide Squad #2 (1987)
Insulted Captain Boomerang. In kind, he did not warn her of incoming attack. She died as a result.

Karin Grace
First Appearance: Brave and the Bold #25 (1959)
Death: Suicide Squad #9 (1988) sacrificed herself to explode bomb
Part of original Suicide Squad in 60s
Let’s just call her very emotional

The Thinker
Death: Throat sliced by teammate The Weasel
The Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad Special

The Weasel
Death: Killed by Col. Rick Flagg by brain blast while wearing Thinker’s helmet
The Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad Special

Mr. 104
Death: Red Rocket Brigade multiple members blasts
The Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad SpecialThe Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad Special

Psi
Death: Red Rocket Brigade member blast
The Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad SpecialThe Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad Special

Shrike
Death: Riddled by a hail of gunfire while rescuing a nun
Suicide Squad #25

Rick Flagg
Death: Detonated a leftover Nazi atomic bomb at terrorist base in Qurac
Suicide Squad #26

Arthur Light aka Dr Light
Death: Convinced by the ghost of his dead lab partner that he was meant to be a hero, Dr. Light was obliterated by parademon fire attempting to save the Squad
Suicide Squad #36

Lashina/Duchess
Death: After finally revealing her true identity as Lashina, Squad member Duchess was Omega Beamed to death by Darkseid
Suicide Squad #36

Florence “Flo” Crawley
Death: Flo, Squad IT specialist and Amanda Waller cousin, finally got her wish to go on an active mission. Killed by parademons on Apokolips
Suicide Squad #36

Ravan
Death: Thuggee devote of Kali Yuga was killed by Kobra from a venom spray to the face while preventing holy war in Israel
Suicide Squad #47

Karma
Death: One-time reluctant Doom Patrol member gained down by Amazon while fight off a were-beast
Suicide Squad #58

The Writer
Death: Having written himself into continuity, a comic book writer is brutally shredded by a were-beast when writer’s block prevents him from altering his future
Suicide Squad #58

Enforcer
Death: Little known Firestorm villain is speared to death while Floyd Lawton looks on
Suicide Squad #58

Micheal Cray aka the Atom
Death: Cray was killed by a nail while miniaturized by shrunken CIA agents who mistakenly believed he was Ray Palmer
Suicide Squad #61

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Karin Grace, Space Nurse. It’s not easy fighting as part of the Suicide Squad while wearing a pencil skirt.

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I didn’t think Karin Grace was going to be the first character we dived into this month, but here goes. In the first 2 Brave and the Bold issues, she has a purpose. As a “Space Nurse” (an oddly specific made up occupation) she monitors the health of the team as they travel on a rocket traveling around the sun (another oddity, seems like not the best destination). And, unlike her contemporary, June Robbins of the Challengers of the Unknown, Karin was an actual member of the team not an “honorary” member. And as I mention above, Karin does all her adventuring wearing a pencil skirt, which left me wondering how it fit under her jump suit when she parachuted out of a plane. But then, like everyone on the team but Rick Flagg she didn’t have a second act other than being in love with Rick. I did like her turn in the updated version when she hated Rick with a burning passion because it was more interesting.

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From @biff_pow, just moving to main thread so everyone can see

I hope I’m not throwing off the flow or format with this reply, but one thing i love about the Ostrander run was the covers, either in execution or dramatic hook!

Suicide_Squad_Vol_1_6 Suicide_Squad_Vol_1_10 Suicide_Squad_Vol_1_51

Suicide_Squad_Vol_1_36 Suicide_Squad_Vol_1_21

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From @msgtv

“No, this is cool. Should throw up on the main thread. I was thinking movie posters, which is true for some but others of the really good ones are like covers for dime store detective novels or pulp magazines”

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You highlighted a few of my favorite covers.
Issue #1 with the Squad’s profiles facing outward and the text hook in the middle. This looks like a Hitchcock poster. Who will live, who will die?
Issue #6 Deadshot scopes in on Enchantress. Simple, powerful image tells you everything you need to know about the Squad.
Issue #10 Waller backs down Batman. Classic cover that helps establish the Wall is a power player in the DCU. Often cited as one of the must reads, but I don’t think the story is as good as the cover.
Issue 49 Ostrander and Yale takes a character some DC writers couldn’t wait to get ride of and makes her a real player.

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Fantastic Ostrander era cover here.

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Hadn’t seen this one yet. So the took Deadshot from a nobody to someone who can star on a cover.

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Agreed- Ostrander put in the legwork that truly fleshed out the Deadshot that readers and film/animated film audiences nowadays love. I’d be remiss however if I didn’t acknowledge the compelling storytelling that Marshall Rogers and Steve Englehart built around this character during the late 1970s.

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That’s very nice what’s the comic/issue?

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Detective Comics 474 (December 1977)

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Okay, gotta add that to my reading and it’s time to hit the Deadshot mini-series that ties into The Squad.

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And that’s another very cool cover

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Here’s the details on the comic- Detective Comics Vol 1 474 | DC Database | Fandom

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@DC89 thanks for steering me towards Rogers and Englehart’s reinvention of Deadshot. One of the fun things for me about the history club is you think you’re diving in one direction, then you end up turned in another. So Deadshot had appeared once before in the in Batman #59 (not on digitalized yet) in a very different kind of character. The page you have above tells you everything you need to know including a great new costume and purpose. The story itself is very solid and makes you want to dive back into '70s Batman. Neal Adams gets a lot of credit for his 70s Batman, but Rodgers is pretty darn good himself. This is the Batman I remember reading as a kid, very fluid looking, powerful but not overpowering.


The final big fight between Deadshot and Batman takes place on a giant, functional typewriter (of course it does) but under Englehart and Rogers it feels more believable than the 60s camp. Now, I’m on to the Deadshot mini from '88.

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Read the Deadshot (1988) mini-series straight through last night that we’ve listed in our Deeper Dive list. It made the list based on articles consistently listing it as among the best Suicide Squad stories of Ostrander’s era. Well this series is beyond fantastic. This is the single best Suicide Squad story I’ve read yet, and I’ve hit about half of the run from Brave and the Bold through Ostrander. I do have to say though, if there’s any story that deserves a content warning this is it. Details: Deadshot’s son is kidnapped and one of the kidnappers is a child predator. It’s tough stuff and could see it be upsetting for some.
Without giving too much away, there’s two important developments tied to this story. First, we now fully see Ostrander’s vision for Deadshot, what makes this character tick beyond the simplistic story he was given in the past. These three panels I think go to the core of Deadshot.

The second important element is that Kim Yale, Ostrander’s wife, joins him as co-writer for the first time on a Suicide Squad story. Really recommend you read the NPR story in the Research Wiki links above. Ostander describes how he and Yale traded chapters of the stories they wrote back and forth, and in particular how she protected the women characters in the stories from appearing as stereotypes. In this story, they use the character of Marnie Herrs, Deadshot’s Task Force X assigned counselor, as a framing device to explore Deadshot’s past and how it impacts him today and going forward. For what could have been a sketch of character, Herr’s is given a full personality and an agenda of her own. We see Yale on many of the Suicide Squad’s best stories going forward, and that’s why we credit Ostrander, Yale and McDonnell as the primary creators of this series.

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