1st Issue Special #10 (January, 1976)
“We’re the Outsiders”
By: Joe Simon, Jerry Grandenetti, & Creig Flessel
Cover Price: $0.25
While I can’t say I bought this one off the racks (I wasn’t even a gleam when this hit the stands), I can say I paid cover price for it… so that’s something, right? I gotta admit, I snagged this one thinking it had some sort of connection to… well, the Outsiders… like, of the “Batman and…” variety. Even though I knew that was an 80’s concept, I still thought there may be a connection. Spoiler Alert: Nope.
I remember being confused after buying this one. It says “1st Issue Special” on top, yet I never thought that was actually the name of the series. I thought for sure the title of the book was “Outsiders”, and that this was simply the first issue. So, how can an issue be both a “first” and “#10 in a series”?
Well, during the mid 1970’s it appeared as though DC was trying to eat their cake and have it too, in publishing an anthology series wherein every issue is a “#1″… sounds a lot like the contemporary market there, no? 1st Issue Special would last 13 issues, and may be best remembered as the series that introduced Mike Grell’s Warlord to the world (in issue #8, Nov ’75).
DC would revisit the title of Outsiders in 1983, however, it would prove to be a much different (and more successful) venture featuring more traditional superhero fare.
Several odd characters are huddled around a television set. On screen, there is a newscaster reporting on a “freak” that is currently terrorizing the town of Lynnville. The newsman goes on to stoke the flames of the impending riot by stating that the towns citizenry is currently assembling to commit a “final assault” on the creature. Operation: Rescue commences. Our team of Outsiders intends to intervene and save the poor misfit. Johnny, Ronnie, Mary, and Doc hop onto Larry’s body-cart, and they are off!
Upon reaching town, they find a young bulbous-headed boy named Billy being beaten down by several townsfolk. The Outsiders sing a little rescue tune (seriously), even the playing field, and ultimately rescue the boy.
Perhaps in a commentary on perception, Mighty Mary is able to get the drop on a few yokels by luring them to her by showing them her pretty face. When they get close enough, she pounces and grabs them with her large rippling scale-covered muscles.
The team reconvenes once they appear to be out of danger, and they take the opportunity to share their origin stories with us… the reader. No seriously, Hairy Larry wants to tell us what’s up.
|Thanks for lookin’ out, Larry!|
Our first story is of Johnny, the reptilian character. Several years back, fisherman Ahab Smith got a nibble on what he thought to be a pretty interesting catch. He took the lizard-child to a Hospital to get checked out.
A while later, Doctor Goodie is called into a dark examination room. Another Doctor is observing the lizard-boy, and decides that he must end its suffering… and wields a large butcher’s knife to do the deed. Goodie and this bespectacled prick enter a struggle, which Goodie loses. The Doc is about to carve up Johnny, when the lizard hisses at him and (maybe?) pokes him with his forked tongue, knocking him out. Dr. Goodie wraps the critter in a blanket and runs out of the hospital.
Our next story features Batman and Robin as they catch some crooks with delicious Hostess Fru… oh, wait. That’s just an ad… we’ll discuss that one later.
Our real second story is for the rescue-ee, Billy. You see, he lived with his father who ran a tailor shop. One night (perhaps this very night), two mooks broke in and attempted to hold-up the joint. Billy’s doddering daddy, Old Man Lundy, tells them he has nothing. They see a poorly hidden trap door in the floor, and head over to see what he’s hiding. Lundy protests… so they kill him.
Making their way down to the lower level, the creeps find Billy and his amazing dome looking back at them. Billy, not meaning any harm introduces himself and slowly approaches. One thug whacks him in the head with a piece of lumber, which doesn’t appear to affect our Billy.
The thugs retreat back up the ladder, and Billy curiously follows. The men panic and toss a kerosene lamp at the boy, which causes the entire shop to go up in flames. Billy emerges from the fire, only to find himself surrounded by townies, who all takes turns introducing the boy to several blunt instruments in attempt to run him out of town.
Our third story is another Doctor Goodie tale. This time, in spaaaaace!!! Goodie is headed toward Venus on a super-secret mission when he becomes abducted by aliens (or maybe just Venus natives, who knows?) Two years go by, and Goodie is still missing (I wonder what became of the lizard-boy during this time?). His craft finally reappears. He is taken to a medical facility and it is determined that he had been in suspended animation. They also advise him that there’d been some alterations made to his previously gorgeous face… he looks like one of them shrunken apple heads (see below).
Our fourth and final story… is yet another Doctor Goodie story. They must have had big plans for him. Anyways… he’s back to being his devastatingly handsome self, and is once more practicing medicine. All of the women who make his acquaintance seem to fawn over him.
He excuses himself, and heads to his private quarters located twenty-stories (!) below the hospital proper.
|Always loved these cross-section pictures we’d sometimes get back in the day|
When he arrives, he removes his mask, revealing his shrunken-apple head and meets with his team, now featuring Billy as a full-fledged member. They gather once more around the television set, and find that yet freak (this one flaming!) is terrorizing a town called Luckless. The Outsiders must enact Operation: Rescue once again!
This was a harmless little tale in one of the more twisted neighborhoods of the DC Universe. Makes me wonder if this band of characters is still out there somewhere… likely trying to scrounge up the cash to afford a lawyer to go after Batman for taking their team name.
Truth be told, not much to this one. We observe the team’s initial outing, we learn their mission statement, and get a bit of insight as to their origins. We don’t get the origins of the Amazing Ronnie nor Mighty Mary, perhaps those were being saved for the hopeful launch of the series proper. I suppose I’d be somewhat remiss not to sorta-kinda compare this to the Doom Patrol, and perhaps even Marvel’s X-Men. There is a text piece included written by Allan Asherman (which I will pop in below) discussing how people are different, and how we should all strive to be accepting of one another. So, I suppose at its core, The Outsiders is a commentary on discrimination predicated on ones appearance. Okay, I guess I can dig that. I’ve read enough comics featuring heroes sworn to protect a “world that fears and hates them”, that this resonates in me a bit.
These Outsiders would, to my knowledge only make one more appearance… over thirty years later in a single panel of an issue of Superman (from that odd era where Superman didn’t even appear in his own books).
|From Superman #692 (November, 2009) – Words: James Robinson/Art: Fernando Dagnino
Love their designation “FIS10″… I now get that reference!
Worth seeking out? Well, if you come across it for two-bits… sure. Otherwise, I think I can safely say this is not required reading.
|Ol’ Doc Scary feels your pain, lady!|
|Never knew there was a DC version of the Bible…
Gotta wonder if it was affected during Crisis?
|Toldja we had Hostess!
Batman is so badass he knocks dudes out while they’re driving!
|Okay, gotta find these before December.|
|I don’t think I’ve ever seen a doctor with a dragon tattoo on his chest.
Might wanna check his credentials
|A. Leading Authority is one of my top-ten authors!
I think this is how Batman got his start
|No… Maybe this is how Batman got his start|
|T’was a simpler time.|
|I can’t picture Randy Savage saying “Sink your teeth into a Slim Jim!”
I don’t get the werewolf reference either… maybe it’s their taste for blood ‘n metal?
UPDATE 5/8/23 – “Remastered” for WordPress!