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Make Mine '39

All Winners: The Winning Team

Join writer Karl Kesel as he picks a winner with ALL WINNERS COMICS 70TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL

By Jim Beard

1946. Post-War America licks its wounds and looks to a brighter future-if they survive the zombies, of course.

The bad news? The Invaders disbanded once hostilities ceased abroad. The good news? Make way for America's other Golden Age super team: the All Winners Squad!

The ALL WINNERS COMICS 70TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL, out August 5, not only celebrates Marvel's Golden Age heroes, but takes a gander at a period of time not often covered in modern "retro" tales, namely the end of World War II and the subsequent rebuilding and refreshing.

"Many [of the] characters are riding high because they helped win the War," says writer Karl Kesel on the mood at the time of his story. "At the same time, there's a certain amount of survivor's guilt for some of them because they lived while so many others didn't.

Preview art by Steve Uy
"Except for Namor who, I'm certain, feels he could have won the War single-handedly and mostly everyone else just got in his way and slowed him down."

The All Winners must cope not only with the prevailing atmosphere of the year following the surrender of both Germany and Japan, but also with a most relentless breed of monstrosity. Kesel relished the opportunity to pit his stalwart champions of justice against...zombies.

"I've loved zombies ever since I saw 'Night of the Living Dead' at a midnight show during college," Kesel waxes. "They're the only monsters that still-still-give me nightmares. Usually when I'm overworked and overstressed, I'll dream about zombies coming for me; sad but true. And since the idea of survivor's guilt was such a big part of the story, the living dead seemed like the perfect way to bring that idea to life. So to speak."

Getting back to Namor, Kesel found that writing the savage Sub-Mariner in the aquatic wonder's heyday proved an unexpected pleasure to script.

"Namor was a big surprise," he notes. "Every brash and arrogant word out of his mouth was an absolute joy to write. He's one of the funniest

Preview art by Steve Uy
characters in comics, and no one knows it! He doesn't even know it!"

Other than the aforementioned Sub-Mariner, the All Winners Squad boasted a membership of Captain America and Bucky, the Human Torch and Toro, the Whizzer and the lovely Miss America. Curiously, ALL WINNERS COMICS 70TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL reportedly features the original Cap and Bucky leading the ravenous undead horde in an attack on Times Square. But the good Captain's part of the All Winners, right? What gives?

"All I'd like to say is that [the situation] has a huge impact on Jeff Mace, the current Captain America at the time of this story," teases Kesel.

Long-time fans of Marvel and new readers will also be treated in the ALL WINNERS COMICS 70TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL to that most endearing of all comic book traditions: the super hero romance. Yep, the Whizzer and Miss America's fondness for each other becomes public knowledge in the story and it sets tongues to wagging.

Preview art by Steve Uy
"I loved writing Whizzer and Miss America!" proclaims Kesel unequivocally. "They have an absolutely wonderful Nick-and-Nora-Charles sort of banter between them. And I think I figured out a few interesting things about the characters along the way, with the Whizzer by trying to make some sense of his crazy mongoose-blood origin and name-who calls themselves the 'Whizzer'?-and with Miss America by trying to figure out what it must have been like for a super woman in a super man's world back then, and what she might have had to do to be taken seriously. They're both fascinating characters. Luckily, I'll get a chance to write them again very soon...he says with a sly wink."

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      That ALL-WINNERS SQUAD story where MISS AMERICA fought LIVING MUMMIES brought back to LIFE by FUTUREMAN's LIFE BATTERY could have been EXPANDED UPON like the THOR/HULK fight was[ Avengers#3(1/1964)/Journey Into Mystery#112(1/1965)] or J2/HULK fight[A-Next#3(12/1998)/J2#3(12/1998)].Some of those mummies could have been IDENTIFIED as GOMDULLA[ http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix3/gomdullajim.htm ],LIVING MUMMY( N'Kantu )[ http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/mummynka.htm ],MUMMY[ http://monsterblog.oneroom.org/meet_the_monsters/the_mummy.html ] and TIMELY COMICS LIVING MUMMIES that APPEARED EARLIER.GOMDULLA and the MUMMY could have been reduced in size and then GREW TO THEIR GIANT SIZES for MISS AMERICA to fight.Plus MAGAR[ http://www.geocities.com/jjnevins/magar.html ] and the SCARLET SCARAB could have been a face in the crowd who CAME TO MISS AMERICA's AID.


      IF IT WAS ME I would REVEAL that BEHIND THE SCENES FUTUREMAN used his LIFE BATTERY or ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY( Teleportation device ) to SAVE ALL THOSE TIMELY COMICS VILLAINS who were allegedly KILLED( some don't need a LIFE BATTERY to explain away their deaths and others could be brought back using other TIMELY COMICS MEANS plus a SPELL I thought of ).


      SEE IF IT WAS ME I would TREAT FUTUREMAN and MADAME DEATH like the Pre-CRISIS OF INFINITE EARTHS# 1 MONITOR and LYLA( who before the CRISIS began acted like ARMS DEALERS for Super-Villains and Criminals ).I WOULD REVEAL that FUTUREMAN used his LIFE BATTERY( see FUTUREMAN marvunapp.com profile above ) to bring the UNNAMED FEMALE Mob Boss[CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS#6(9/1941)Captain America vs. Hangman--"The Strange Case Of Who Killed Dr. Vardoff"] back to LIFE and that she became MADAME DEATH.


      KARL I like your work on SUPERBOY but on THIS ISSUE YOU ARE SHORT SIGHTED and HAVE A VERY CLOSED MIND.First when it comes to MISS AMERICA's WISDOM OF THE AGES---if the LEADER[ http://marvel.com/universe/Leader_(Samuel_Sterns) ] had been created during WW 2 a TIMELY CREATOR would have said he had the WISDOM OF THE AGES( a.k.a. super-smart;he read a lot of books to gain his SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE and ANY OTHER KNOWLEDGE he might have and so could MISS AMERICA ).What DO YOU OR MARVEL HAVE AGAINST SUPER-STRONG NORMAL SIZED WOMEN?The STRENGTH OF 1000 MEN(who can lift 200 lbs= 100 tons) is the STRENGTH OF THE SUB-MARINER at age 19 . Next have you never heard of KANG[ http://marvel.com/universe/Kang ] or ZARRKO THE TOMORROWMAN[ http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=17267&zoom=4 ]?Because FUTUREMAN[ http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix3/futuremanaws.htm ] is TIMELY'S ANSWER to those characters.Plus MADAME DEATH[ http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix3/madamedeath.htm ] is a Mob Boss and ONE OF TIMELY'S ANSWERS to MADAME MASQUE[ http://marvel.com/universe/Madame_Masque ].


      Any Zombie that CAPTAIN AMERICA,BUCKY,HUMAN TORCH and TORO can punch out isn't a threat to the SUB-MARINER( who at age 19--Motion Picture Funnies Weekly#1(1939)/Marvel Comics#1(11/1939) had the strength of 1000 men( x 200lbs=100 tons )) or MISS AMERICA[ http://www.geocities.com/jjnevins/missamerica.html ] who also has the strength of 1000 men( 100 tons --but I doubt she was in Olympic level shape when she gained her powers,so she might be able to lift more than this ).Now if it was me I would use the LORD OF DEATH's HOLLOWMEN[ http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix5/lordofdeathca.htm ] and REVEAL SOME OF THE HOLLOWMEN mutated into BARON VON BLITZSCHLAG[ Avengers:The Initiative#1(4/2007)--who could have volunteered for the procedure suspecting its full potential for gaining powers],ANIMUS[ http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix2/animushatemonger.htm ],HEADLOK[ http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix5/headloksingleton.htm ] and the SHOCKER[ http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix5/shockerma.htm ]---the SHOCKER could have been a former lab partner of the LORD OF DEATH.


      The story might be "just great"... but the art is disappointingly weak.I really like the All-Winners Squad... but it seems that Marvel just never can get a "strong" artist to do this group.Very, very disappointing. Nobody is more disappointed than I am!!With this line-up of heroes,... well, it's one of my most favorite groups.Marvel fails to get a really "strong" artist to do the All-Winners Squad. They looked BETTER than this in the 1940's. Please give us another Squad story... but with stronger art.