December 13, 2017
One in a series of enthusiastic posts, contributed by HILOBROW friends and regulars during 2017, on the subject of our favorite squads.
The original Seven Soldiers of Victory were a team of second-tier superheroes who appeared in Leading Comics in the early 1940s, and reappeared in various forms in the ’70s and ’80s. The version I adore, though, appeared as a cluster of 30 comic books — seven four-issue miniseries and two “bookends” — written by Grant Morrison, drawn by eight different artists, and published in 2005 and 2006. All of Morrison’s soldiers had been bopping around DC Comics in some form for decades: a time-displaced knight of the Arthurian era, a newspaper-sponsored strongman, a disenchanted magician, an escape artist, a “witch boy” from a quasi-Puritan subterranean civilization, a woman whose special abilities have been forced on her by a superpower fetishist, and Frankenstein’s monster (who is fond of quoting Milton).
The team formula demands that these misfits learn to work together and appreciate each other’s gifts. The brilliance of Morrison’s take on that formula is that his Seven Soldiers not only don’t deliberately act as a team, their respective spheres of perception are so far apart that they aren’t aware of each other’s existence. (In each of their stories, we see traces of some of the others’ presence; a couple of them cross paths, very briefly, near the end.) And yet their actions, in concert, save everything.
The various Soldiers’ worldviews aren’t much like mine, either; even if I lived in their miraculous universe, I’d probably be unaware of most of them, too. But I love the idea of collectively bettering the world with people who are so different from me that we can only imagine who our secret allies might be. At her moment of greatest need, Zatanna, the magician, addresses Seven Soldiers‘ reader directly: “Whatever you are,” she says, “help me before it’s too late.” And she presses her hand against the surface of the printed page, from the inside, at just the size of my own hand.
MORE DOUGLAS WOLK at HILOBROW: #SQUADGOALS: Seven Soldiers of Victory | WTC WTF series | THAT’S GREAT MARVEL series | LIMERICKANIA series | HERMENAUTIC TAROT: Dexterity | QUIRK YOUR ENTHUSIASM: Family Fodder’s “Savoir Faire” | KERN YOUR ENTHUSIASM: Todd Klone | HERC YOUR ENTHUSIASM: Busy Bee’s “Making Cash Money” | KIRB YOUR ENTHUSIASM: 2001: A Space Odyssey | SEE ALL OF DOUGLAS’S POSTS, including HILO HERO items on Karen Berger, Rakim, Sheila E., Chester Gould, and others.
#SQUADGOALS: Annie Nocenti on THE WILD BUNCH | Alice Boone on PRETTY LITTLE LIARS | Gordon Dahlquist on BOWIE’S BAND | Rob Wringham on THE HOME GUARD | Jennifer Krasinski on WATERSHIP DOWN RABBITS | Annalee Newitz on ROBIN HOOD’S MERRY PALS | Adrienne Crew on THE BLOOMSBURY GROUP | Mark Kingwell on THE HONG KONG CAVALIERS | Adam McGovern on KAMANDI’S FAMILY | John Overholt on THE CLUB | Greg Rowland on THE VULTURE SQUADRON | Sara Ryan on BETSY, TACY & TIB | Chelsey Johnson on VI ÄR BÄST! | Brian Berger on THE JOHN FORD STOCK COMPANY | Sherri Wasserman on THE WARRIORS | Jessamyn West on FAREYNIKTE PARTIZANER ORGANIZATSYE | Josh Glenn on DADA | Matthew De Abaitua on THE TIME | Mandy Keifetz on THE FOUNDING FATHERS | William Nericcio on ZOOT SUIT PACHUCOS | Deb Chachra on FIREFLY CREW | Matthew Battles on THE ANIMAL FAMILY | Ingrid Schorr on THE HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS | Joe Alterio on THE USUAL GANG OF IDIOTS | Dan Reines on THE BREAKFAST CLUB | Rob Walker on LES TROIS INSÉPARABLES | Devin McKinney on 1975 RED SOX | Steph Burt on DAMAGE CONTROL | Elina Shatkin on THE HOLOGRAMS | Chris Spurgeon on THE ALKALI METALS | Carl Wilson on NEW YORK SCHOOL POETS | Barbara Bogaev on THE MOD SQUAD | Franklin Bruno on THE AACM | Judith Zissman on THE FUTURIANS | Mimi Zeiger on ARCHIGRAM | Jacob Mikanowski on THE RATBASTARDS | Lynn Peril on THE DALY SISTERS | Anindita Basu Sempere on MEG MURRY’S FAMILY | Libi Rose on THE ENIAC TEAM | Gary Panter on THE TRIBE OF HIPPIES | Peter Doyle on CORNEL WILDE BOYS | Ken Layne on THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG | Molly Wright Steenson on BAUHAUS | Katie Hennessey on BEAT POETS | Mimi Lipson on THE RUNAWAYS | Jordan Ellenberg on BOURBAKI | Michael Campochiaro on THE SUICIDE SQUAD | Deborah Wassertzug on THE BLOODHOUND GANG | Colin Dickey on ACÉPHALE | Douglas Wolk on SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY | David Smay on THE MYSTIC KNIGHTS OF THE OINGO BOINGO | Karinne Keithley Syers on BLACKLIPS PERFORMANCE CULT.
WOWEE ZOWEE (2018 weekly): UNISEX | UNDER THE PINK | DUMMY | AMOR PROHIBIDO | HIPS AND MAKERS | & dozens of other Nineties (1994–2003) albums. KLUTE YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2017): THE KILLERS | BANDE À PART (BAND OF OUTSIDERS) | ALPHAVILLE | HARPER | BLOW-UP | & 20 other Sixties (1964–1973) neo-noir movies. #SQUADGOALS (2017 weekly): THE WILD BUNCH | BOWIE’S BAND | THE BLOOMSBURY GROUP | THE HONG KONG CAVALIERS | VI ÄR BÄST! & dozens of other squads. GROK MY ENTHUSIASM (2016 weekly): THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF LUNCH | WEEKEND | MILLION YEAR PICNIC | LA BARONNE EMILE D’ERLANGER | THE SURVIVAL SAMPLER | & dozens more one-off enthusiasms. QUIRK YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2016): “Tainted Love” | “Metal” | “Frankie Teardrop” | “Savoir Faire” | “Broken English” | & 20 other new wave songs. CROM YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2015): DARKER THAN YOU THINK | THE SWORD IN THE STONE | OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET | THIEVES’ HOUSE | QUEEN OF THE BLACK COAST | & 20 other fantasy novels from 1934–43. KERN YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2014): ALDINE ITALIC | DATA 70 | TORONTO SUBWAY | JOHNSTON’S “HAMLET” | TODD KLONE | & 20 other typefaces. HERC YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2013): “Spoonin’ Rap” | “Rapper’s Delight” | “Rappin’ Blow” | “The Incredible Fulk” | “The Adventures of Super Rhyme” | & 20 other old-school hip-hop songs. KIRK YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2012): Justice or vengeance? | Kirk teaches his drill thrall to kiss | “KHAAAAAN!” | “No kill I” | Kirk browbeats NOMAD | & 20 other Captain Kirk scenes. KIRB YOUR ENTHUSIASM (2011): THE ETERNALS | BLACK MAGIC | DEMON | OMAC | CAPTAIN AMERICA | & 20 other Jack Kirby panels.