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All-American Comics 61
"Fighters Never Quit!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND October, 1944

Story: Unknown Art: Paul Reinman

(Originally Reviewed On 07/18/02)

With the mystic aid of an ancient green lamp - which aids Alan Scott to walk through walls and grants him immunity to metals for the time limit of 24 hours after reciting his oath and touching his power ring to the lamp - and with the considerable willpower of Alan Scott - he becomes... Green Lantern! This is the story of Solomon Grundy, Born on Monday, Joined a mob on Tuesday, Stole on Wednesday, pillaged on Thursday, Killed on Friday, Caught on Saturday, and Sunday??... It may seem like a Grimm Fairy Tale, but it is not when The Golden Age Green Lantern meets the one being who is invulneable to the power ring! This is a tale of determination and bravery... of two men, who fight the good fight until the point of exhaustion by a brutal and unnatural monster.. but Green Lantern and Doiby Dickles have pushed themselves to near breaking point to show that "Fighters Never Quit!" Late one Monday night, thick fog has settled over the quicksand area of Slaughter Swamp... and two escaped convicts make their way there, with one telling the other the legend of Cyrus Gold, who was murdered there 50 years ago, and his body was never found, but it is said that his ghost still wanders the area! The other convict cannot imagine being afraid of a ghost, having dealt death to many men in his time, but the first convict is startled, and points his finger at the sight of a large figure... which is pulling itself out of the slime and quicksand...

The two terrified convicts fire their guns at the oncoming horror, but the bullets do not stop it, and the fog completely surrounds Slaughter Swamp. On Tuesday night at a hobo jungle, the men gathered around a campfire see a most unusual sight approach them, clad in a tattered prison uniform. One of the men asks the new arrival what his name is, and the visitor tells him that he was born on Monday. This reminds the man of the old nursery rhyme, Solomon Grundy, and this strikes the figure as a good name to use. The man insists that he is the boss of the gang, and touches Solomon Grundy, who does not like to be touched, and who strikes him dead with one punch! The others see him standing in the fire with no effect, and they decide that Solomon Grundy is their new boss, one who will enable their gang to make their ill-gotten fortunes. He tells them that he doesn't understand... some things he was born knowing, but others he must learn...

The men make their way back to Gotham City, where they intend to give him a change of clothes, and then begin their plans! On Wednesday, Gotham City meets the strange visitor from the swamps, as he and his gang enter a store, using fake guns for a hold-up, then smashing a display for some real ones! The customers are fearful at the sight of The Grundy Gang, as they begin to rob the sports store.. but suddenly, Alan Scott reaches for a golf club and wonders aloud if this isn't some sort of underworld amateur night? Bullets fly over the heads of startled bystanders, and he manages to disarm a couple of thugs before fleeing in order to change into Green Lantern before anyone can get hurt! The gang laugh as they watch Public Hero Number 0 run, his bravery apparently fading when the first shots were fired, and the gang prepares to leave before the police arrive!

The police arrive on the scene, armed with tommy guns, but Solomon Grundy sees them, and lurches forward, unaffected by the gunfire, but out of the night's sky, The Gothamites see the arrival of Green Lantern, who swoops down into the gang, and Doiby Dickles lends a hand, wondering which of the gang is the Solomon Grundy Alan told him about. The Emerald Gladiator tells Doiby that he'll know Grundy when he sees him, but the cabbie is bored by the poor fighting skills of the gang, who are tripped up by a barbell, that is until he sees the new arrival from Slaughter Swamp coming up behind Green Lantern, and strikes him a glancing blow on the back of the head!

Doiby is eager to try his Sunday punch on the creature, but G.L. tells him to stay back while he uses the power ring on Solomon Grundy! It proves ineffective, however, and Solomon Grundy is unscathed by the emerald rays, which has Doiby wondering if he isn't dreaming! The gang applaud as their boss knocks out The Green Lantern, and then leave the scene, leaving the hero groggy, and being aided by a disbelieving Doiby Dickles. The cabbie helps his friend home, having felt the punches of Solomon Grundy like a sledge-hammer! At his apartment, Alan figures that Grundy is not a living being since he was able to withstand the power ring, and he knows that the only thing it is vulnerable to is wood. Scratching his chin, Alan is certain that Grundy is certainly not a scarecrow, while Doiby tunes in the radio for the news! The early morning news reports Solomon Grundy's rampage, and the stolen loot which was dropped by the fleeing gang includes a silver ring which has the name, "Cyrus Gold" engraved on it.

The name of Cyrus Gold strikes a familiar chord with Alan, as he wonders why a silver ring would be among the stolen items at a sports store. Doiby wonders what they'll do, and Alan has a good idea... On Thursday night, Solomon Grundy is tearing a steel bank vault door off its hinges, uninjured by the bank guards' bullets, and even tear gas doesn't faze him, as he leaves a jewelry store! Theatergoers are treated to the horrible sight of the swamp monster, as he and his gang commit a hold-up! All in Gotham wonder if anything can stop Solomon Grundy??? Alan and Doiby have been following Grundy's trail in Gertrude, Doiby's taxicab, with Alan telling him to keep the radio tuned to the police short wave band. They hear that Grundy have been sighted at 1405 Bleecker Street!

Gertrude makes good time, and inside the cab, The Green Lantern charges his ring, and recites his oath... "In brightest day, In darkest night, No evil shall escape my sight, Let those who worship evil's might, Beware my power ---- GREEN LANTERN'S LIGHT!" Minutes pass, as the emerald gladiator continues to press the power ring against the mystic lamp, and absorbs large amounts of energy, until he is ready to face Solomon Grundy! He flies from the hack, not daring to carry Doiby for fear that if he touches anything, it'll explode! He soars through the apartment window, surprising the gang, but Solomon Grundy strikes him senseless with one punch, and the swamp monster can't help but wonder why the gang fears this man. The gang members urge him to kill Green Lantern since their guns have no effect on him, and Solomon Grundy wonders what "killing" means and asks them to teach him...

One of the members tells him that to kill means to end forever, and Grundy dimly understands, as he hurls Green Lantern from a balcony, and watches him plunge downward, with a sudden crash and flash of emerald light! Intrigued by the noise and light, Solomon Grundy turns and grabs one of his gang to hear more noise and see more light! Another of the gang frantically tells him that killing is not a game, and that he is to kill his enemies, not his friends! Grundy has learned his lesson and flings the lifeless body of Jake to the ground, and as one of the gang sees the prone body of the gangster, Solomon Grundy assures them that he's not dead because there was no loud noise and no light!

The power ring had protected Green Lantern from injury, as he fell onto the hack, and Doiby rushes to find out what happened, seeing that he was cushioned in the fall, then asks his friend to take him home! In the apartment, Green Lantern is in a deep coma, and Doiby is worried that the "Lantrin" can't come out of his faint. Tending to the unconscious hero, Doiby overhears the radio report that Grundy and his gang have committed eleven murders, and the cabbie stares at his comatose friend, then decides that it's up to him to finish the job that the "Lantrin" started because they're a team and they never quit! The cabbie leaves the apartment, and Green Lantern is on the couch, with the radio speaking over and over about Solomon Grundy!

Listening to the radio, Green Lantern rises, determined to keep fighting, as he moves to recite his oath in harsh whispers, unaware that in his dazed state, he is not wearing the power ring! The Emerald Gladiator slowly makes his way, as a bloody Friday reaches midnight, and Green Lantern walks through the city, fueled by his will power alone! At a trainyard, he hears Doiby boasting that he's tracked the gang by the police short wave and he'll bring them in himself! This brings Green Lantern out of his fog, and as he rushes to aid his friend, he discovers that he is not wearing his ring!

Even without it, Green Lantern races forward, running on pure courage, as he helps Doiby corral the gang into a boxcar, then tells the cabbie to stand clear, for Solomon Grundy is coming! Out of the shadows, shambles Grundy, and Doiby wants in on the fight, but Green Lantern assures him that the pleasure is going to be all his! Since the power ring was ineffective, The Emerald Gladiator is going to rely on his fists, and Solomon Grundy, who does not like to be touched, is struck by a firm right hook! A train whistle is heard in the distance, and the express begins its approach down the tracks, even as Green Lantern manages to prevent Grundy from strangling him, and flips him into its path!

The train heads off, and Doiby sees that Grundy is finished. The cabbie is impressed that the "Lantrin" beat him without the power ring. Doiby's mention of his ring reminds G.L. of Cyrus Gold's ring, which explains Solomon Grundy, who came into being about fifty years after Gold's murder, and he wore the ring until he dropped it in the sports store. The skeleton of Gold was in a bog for half a century and an amazing phenonmenon took place, for on his bones, a form of pseudo-life was "born." Leaves and worn bits of wood formed themselves into the unearthly form of Solomon Grundy, which is why he was unaffected by the power ring, as well as other things, for he was not true life, but a distortion of nature! The police come to take the gang into custody, and Doiby is grateful that Solomon Grundy was stopped, and that they'll never see him again...It is now an early Sunday morning, after Saturday night's battle, and the week is over... with Solomon Grundy gone, but Green Lantern can only wonder if they have indeed seen the last of him!

I think Alfred Bester wrote this story, and I believe that he wrote this particular version of Green Lantern's Oath.

An impressive origin for Solomon Grundy, the precursor of such creations as The Heap, The Swamp Thing, and The Man-Thing.

He has a unique name, as you'd expect a Golden Age Villain who used fairy tales for the basis of his crimes, and The Swamp Monster of Slaughter Swamp to go nameless.

In this tale, Solomon Grundy looks rather gaunt and has quite an overbite, but I don't think that anyone would say this to his face.

Since this tale takes place in Gotham City, one wonders what would have happened if Batman and Robin had faced Solomon Grundy instead of The Green Lantern and Doiby Dickles?

A chilling moment when Grundy assures his gang that their fellow member is not dead because there was no flash of light and no noise.

Solomon Grundy may have been inspired by Boris Karloff's portrayal of The Frankenstein Monster, as I can see a bit of Karloff in Grundy's features.

Doiby Dickles proves to be a determined fellow, while Green Lantern shows that he is not lacking in courage, and is willing to enter a fight, even without his power ring!

This review was inspired by Leonard Bellew's vilain poll on the Silver Age/Golden Age reviews list, and he did ask if anyone could list some of the most villainous acts of Solomon Grundy because the character didn't seem very evil, just dumb.

I hope this answers some of his questions, and I'll be sure to review that promised Showcase story with Hourman and Dr. Fate's rematch with Solomon Grundy, plus his hatred of The Golden Age Green Lantern in that story, and this origin tale certainly shows the beginnings of their feud.

Steve Chung
"Reviewers Never Quit!"