One Panel #514: Leading with the 7 Soldiers of Victory

From Seven Soldiers of Victory: "Blueprint for Crime" by Mort Weisinger and George Papp, Leading Comics #1 (December 1941)

After the success of the Justice Society of America in All-Star Comics, which starred heroes on the All-American side of what became DC Comics, the National side (gee, did they have annual baseball games?) decided to put its own heroes in a similar team in a new book called Leading Comics. This group, the 7 Soldiers of Victory - Green Arrow & Speedy, Star-Spangled Kid & Stripesy, Crimson Avenger (sorry Wing, you don't count), the Shining Knight, and Vigilante - banded together and not, just like the JSA, having their own solo adventures, then meeting up for some resolution. In their first of 14 outings before Leading became a humor comic, a villain called the Hand assembles a group of five other villains, some of them from the stars' past adventures, which the Soldiers must individually stop. Introducing the Dummy, who is the only one in the gang to get his own (half-page) Who's Who entry.

If the 7 Soldiers (or later, Law's Legionnaires) didn't succeed as well as the JSA, it must surely be that National buried the lede by not using their most prominent heroes, Superman, Batman and Robin in the group, though between their books, including World's Finest, maybe they thought they were over-exposed. Theoretically, one would be able to imagine a completely different roster based on National's publications:
Superman (Action)
Starman (Adventure)
Batman (Detective)
Dr. Fate (More Fun)
Ok fine, Star-Spangled Kid (Star-Spangled), but wait a few months and you could have had Robotman or TNT in the team.

THAT'S a group worthy of rivaling the JSA! One wonders how that would have changed the JLA (or if it would even have been called that) at the dawn of the Silver Age...

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