13 Classic DC COMICS Characters Co-Created by JOHN BROOME

A BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE: Technically more than 13. You’ll see what we mean…


John Broome, who was born 110 years ago on May 4, 1913, wrote for science-fiction pulps prior to venturing over to Fawcett Comics, where he would write for a few years, and then to DC through friend and agent Julius Schwartz. His original work at DC came in the second half of the 1940s and he was assigned several of the company’s heroes, including the original Hawkman, Flash and Green Lantern, as well as the Justice Society of America and Dr. Mid-Nite.

However, it was just a few years later when superheroes were on the outs. Still, Broome wrote two stories during that time that would have resonance in the coming Silver Age:

— In the final issue of Flash Comics #104, February 1949, Broome wrote a story where Jay Garrick encountered a new Flash.

— He would also write the final adventure of the JSA during the Golden Age in All-Star Comics #57, February-March 1951.

Flash Comics #104 (Feb. 1949). Pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Bernard Sachs.

Broome continued to work for DC following this, applying his writing to Superman, Batman, Westerns, science-fiction, adventure and mystery stories during the Fifties. In addition, he would co-create Captain Comet, the Phantom Stranger, and Detective Chimp.

However, his greatest work would begin with Showcase #4 (Sept.-Oct. 1956). While he did not write the origin story of the new Flash, he did write the second story there… as well the majority of Silver Age Flash stories that would follow. Along the way, he introduced characters into the Flash canon, including co-creating (with artist Carmine Infantino) an incredible collection of villains.

Showcase #4 (Sept.-Oct. 1956). Pencils by Carmine Infantino, cover design by Robert Kanigher, inks by Joe Kubert.

If that weren’t enough, in Showcase #22 (Sept.-Oct. 1959) he would introduce the Silver Age Green Lantern, which he co-created with Gil Kane (with significant input from editor Schwartz), as well as the Guardians of the Universe, the Green Lantern Corps and, of course, another great rogues gallery.

Showcase #22 (Sept.-Oct. 1959). Art by Gil Kane.

You’d think those would be enough accomplishments for any one writer, but when Schwartz took over editing the Bat-titles, he had Broome do the first story of Batman’s “New Look” (Detective Comics #327, May 1964), as well as several issues after that.

Detective Comics #327 (May 1964). Pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Joe Giella.

During this time, Broome was living in Europe (including Paris). He had left the U.S. in 1962 but would return to New York for a month or two every year to get new assignments and then head back to write the stories from abroad and mail them in. He finally retired from comic book writing around 1970.

In 1999, John Broome died at the age of 85.

To fully appreciate the man’s imagination and contribution to comic books, here are 13 CLASSIC DC COMICS CHARACTERS CO-CREATED BY JOHN BROOME (and then some):

1. All of these villains in the Flash’s rogues gallery. Yes, all of them.

Pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Murphy Anderson. From 80-Page Giant #4 (Oct. 1964).

2. Wally West/Kid Flash.

Pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Joe Giella. From The Flash #110 (Dec. 1959-Jan. 1960).

3. Elongated Man (Ralph Dibny) and Sue Dibny.

Pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Sid Greene. From Detective Comics #340 (June 1965).

4. Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) and Carol Ferris (Star Sapphire).

Pencils by Gil Kane, inks by Joe Giella. From Green Lantern #26 (Jan. 1964).

5. Guardians of the Universe and Abin Sur.

Pencils by Gil Kane, inks by Murphy Anderson. From Green Lantern #1 (July-Aug. 1960).

6. The Green Lantern Corps. Several members in this great group originated with Broome.

Art by Brian Bolland. From Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #9 (Nov. 1985).

7. Guy Gardner and GL’s bad guys. All originated in stories written by Broome.

Pencils by Gil Kane, inks by Sid Greene. From Green Lantern #59 (Mar. 1968).

8. These three Golden Age villains.

Sportsmaster (cover art by Alex Toth, from Green Lantern #28, Oct-Nov. 1947), Per Degaton (cover art by Irwin Hasen, from All-Star Comics #35, June-July 1947), and the Thorn (cover art by Joe Kubert, from Flash Comics #89, Nov. 1947).

9. The Phantom Stranger.

Pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by John Giunta. From The Phantom Stranger #2, Oct.-Nov. 1952).

10. Captain Comet.

Pencils by Carmine Infantino, inker unknown. From Strange Adventures #9 (June 1951).

11. The Atomic Knights.

Art by Murphy Anderson. From Strange Adventures #117 (June 1960).

12. Detective Chimp.

Pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Joe Giella. From The Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #6 (Nov.-Dec. 1952).

13. Star Hawkins and Ilda the Robot.

Pencils by Mike Sekowsky, inks by Bernard Sachs. From Strange Adventures #131 (Aug. 1961).


— PAUL KUPPERBERG: My 13 Favorite JOHN BROOME FLASH Stories. Click here.

— STRANGE SPORTS STORIES: A 60th Anniversary Salute. Click here.

13th Dimension contributor-at-large PETER BOSCH’s first book, American TV Comic Books: 1940s-1980s – From the Small Screen to the Printed Pagehas just been published by TwoMorrows. He has written articles and conducted celebrity interviews for various magazines and newspapers. Peter lives in Hollywood.




Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Wow, an incredible legacy of characters created by Mr Broome!

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