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Saturday, January 2, 2016

Justice League Dark Key Comics Part 2

Alright, here we are with Part 2 of this Justice League Dark key comics series, and once again, we're just going to cover the 1st appearances of major and some minor characters off this off-beat team. The team does have a revolving line up and some of these characters do join up briefly or are just associates of the team and not really members.

I know, I go overboard sometimes on these lists, but believe me, I get complaints that I don't go overboard enough. So, if you missed Part 1, just click the link. Other than that, let's get to Part 2 of this beast.

1st appearance of original Swamp Thing

I've talked about this one here and there, and I've revealed that although this is the 1st appearance of the character of Swamp Thing, the original incarnation only lasted one issue before he was revamped. This not the Alec Holland version that most fans are familiar with.

House of Secrets #92 is the 1st appearance of the Alex Olsen Swamp Thing. The character was a success and DC wanted creators Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson to give the character a more heroic spin and star Swampie in his own comic series.

Not sure why Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson decided to revamp the character into Alec Holland with a different origin story of sorts, but it stuck. The revamped Swamp Thing was very similar to Marvel's Man-Thing, and despite Man-Thing being created a year earlier by Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, Marvel never took legal issues with it because both characters were similar to The Heap.

So, yes, this is the 1st appearance of the Swamp Thing in House of Secrets #92, fast becoming an important Bronze Age book and one of the best and most valuable horror key issues from that era. It has the cover date of July, 1971.

1st appearance of Jason Blood (Etrigan)

Etrigan the Demon and Jason Blood! My brother was a fan of the character, and collected his volume 3 series back in the early 90s.

Yep, I did read some his issues and enjoyed the character as well. However, the 1st appearance of the Demon and Jason Blood 1st appeared in this comic right here, and the Demon #1 has been a somewhat hot comic.

Back in 2014, this comic appeared on the Undervalued and Sleeper Comics Part 4, but it ain't no sleeper no more. This comic is getting a bit up there in price, but 9.6s still haven't hit the $1,000 mark.

To me, that's a bit surprising. Although he's not really a core member of the Justice League Dark, Jason Blood has been linked to the group every now and then but infrequently. Actually, I don't think the character ever officially joined Justice League Dark.

I was actually surprised to discover in some reports that Ewan McGregor's name was thrown around by Warner to play Etrigan for the Justice League Dark movie.

I definitely was not expecting this character to make the cut, but he would be pretty awesome on the big screen regardless. So Jason Blood is the host for Etrigan the Demon, who is obviously the son of demon named Belial.

Summoned by the legendary wizard of folk lore, Merlin, Etrigan was bound to Jason Blood, a knight in King Arthur's Camelot, when the wizard could not obtain the secrets to the demon's powers. Thus, begins our anti-hero in this cursed tale.

Jason Blood in Modern continuity is a demonologist in Gotham City. The character was created by legendary Jack Kirby, and that should be 'Nuff Said, as Stan Lee always says.

The Demon #1 has the cover date of September, 1972.

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1st appearance of Alec Holland Swamp Thing
1st issue to 1st self-titled comic series 
1st cameo appearance of Anton Arcane

Well, if we're talking about Swamp Thing keys, this one should definitely not be ignored. If we're talking about Justice League Dark member's 1st appearances, then this key issue here is a must-have.

As I said before, this is the version that most comics fans are familiar with when speaking of the Swamp Thing. The Alec Holland version is also the one that is an associate and on and off again member of the Justice League Dark.

Much like the original origin in House of Secrets #92, Alec Holland was mutated into a hideous Swamp-like creature. However, writer Alan Moore would later revamp this and have Swamp Thing actually be an elemental creature that somehow absorbed Holland's memory after his death.

Also, this issue is important because it has the 1st cameo appearance of Anton Arcane, and rumors are going around that Anton may be one of the villains for the Justice League Dark flick. The character is a huge nemesis for Swamp Thing, and his 1st full appearance is in Swamp Thing #2 of the same series.

So, House of Secrets #92 is one to get and Swamp Thing #1 volume 1 is surely one to get also if we're talking about the 1st appearance of Alec Holland as the creature since this version is somewhat more tied to the Justice League Dark. 

I suppose you could say this is the 2nd appearance of the Swamp Thing character over-all as well but that's kinda unnecessary. November, 1972 is the cover date for this 1st appearance key issue.

1st appearance of original Black Orchid

Susan Linden Thorne or the original Black Orchid made her 1st appearance in Adventure Comics #248, and this isn't the version that's in the Justice League Dark comics. Actually, we don't really even know if this character is even being considered, and if so, which version it is.

This one is major speculation. It's a pretty overlooked Bronze Age key currently, but I don't know if this one will actually go up more because of actual fan base or just because of movie hype speculation?

Although this has the words origin on the cover, this really isn't so for Adventure Comics #428. Very, very little background was given for the character and she became quite famous for the character with no origin story until Neil Gaiman grabbed a hold of the character.

As a result, writers teased fans throughout the years with different, possible origins for the character which were often refuted. Before Gaiman, Black Orchid was more of a Metahuman or normal human superhero.

Gaiman would later change Black Orchid into a human-plant hybrid and was given the name of Susan Linden Thorne and an origin. This origin seems to be the official one.

Adventure Comics #428 and the 1st appearance and lack of origin of the Black Orchid has the cover date of August, 1973.

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1st appearance of Shade the Changing Man

Shade the Changing Man is an original founding member of the Justice League Dark, but wasn't on the team roster for very long. He was replaced by Black Orchid in issue #9 of the series.

Shade was created by legendary Steve Ditko. Writer Peter Milligan would adapt and revamp the character in the Vertigo imprint later.

Shade the Changing Man is Rac Shade from the planet Meta. It's a militant planet in another dimension, and our hero is, of course, a fugitive from there.

Shade's main weapon is his M-Vest, which provides a force field and allows him to project the illusion of a larger self. Under Peter Milligan's revamp, the M-Vest would be able to warp reality.

This incarnation wasn't a fugitive but an unhappy lovelorn character sent to the Earth to stop the planet from being consumed by madness. Talk about a mighty task there.

Anywho, when Shade loses control of his M-Vest, he's kinda forced to leave the Justice League Dark since he's sucked into the M-Vest's field. Anywho, Shade is a founding member of Justice League Dark, and his original 1st appearance is in Shade the Changing Man #1 and this Bronze Age key issue has the cover date of June, 1977.

1st appearance of Madame Xanadu

Doorway to Nightmare was a horror/mystery anthology comic that was published in the late Bronze Age era, and like most horror comics, there was a traditional host for the series. That host was Madame Xanadu.

She is a mystic and fortune teller who uses tarot cards to see or sense visions. She can also read people's futures.

Madame Xanadu is an occult character and can levitate objects, teleport, and ward off demons as well. Doorway to Nightmare #1 only lasted 5 issues before being cancelled.

Throughout the character's history, she has been deeply connected to the Spectre and his host, Jim Corrigan. She is also a member of the Sentinels of Magic and has advised or counseled the Suicide Squad on certain affairs.

A founding member of the Justice League Dark, she is also one of the core members of the team also. Doorway to Nightmare #1 containing the 1st appearance of Madame Xanadu has the cover date of February, 1978.

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Part 3 is ready with more Justice League Dark key issues, or should I say 1st appearances of the team's members? Who knows? Who cares?

Just click the link below to continue. See you soon!


  1. Wow! This one definitely had a few surprises. Awesome research. I have one more for speculation. In part 1 you mentioned Frankenstein as possible member. Did you know that in the DCU Frankenstein had an offspring? The Spawn of Frankenstein. More strange even, there is a Phantom Stranger / Spawn of Frankenstein Special! Ah, you never now what those movie guys will pull out of the head. But till they do, our heads will start to smoke with just one question: WHO ARE THE MEMBERS OF THE JL DARK!?


  2. Hello mayhem, so I was planning on buying a comic investment between $500-750 USD. I will most likely keep it 15-20 years before I consider selling. I have some books in mind but anything you might recommend?

  3. Hey Mayhem,

    no way you can leave out Swampy 2 if the rumors of Anton Arcane are true. For me that would definitely be the cheap snag to get with the most potential. I mean, the baddie always gets screen time!

    Max Rebo

  4. Hey Mayhem you can never go overboard on these speculation key listings. Your just trying to explore all options on what books to consider. It's the right way to go. Just keep doing what's your doing. That's why your site is great.

  5. Thanks. So far, these are certainly some interesting selections. You`re doing a great job!!!

  6. Hey y' all,

    got another one which should be added to this list. SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING 21, the famous comic in which Alan Moore slabs a new background and origin on ole Swampy.

    Speculation Jones

    1. i was thinking the same thing. swamp thing 20 and 21, the first alan moore issue and revamp the character i think are important comics. issue 20 imo is one of the most important comics in modern (post 1980) history. and the Alan Moore run from #20-#50, one of the greatest reads in all of comics.