Last night I was reading some comics where Twilight Zone-like stories are told in fewer than 22 pages. Specifically, I was reading Child Of Tomorrow: And Other Stories, a collection of EC comics by Al Feldstein.
Now, one often thinks of EC books as anthologies, unconnected stories that don’t share any characters. Even Martians and Jupiternians change from tale to tale. But there is at least one constant in the EC Universe:
The Secretary of Defense makes his first appearance in “‘Things’ From Outer Space!” (Weird Science #12, 1950). At the end he’s revealed to be an alien, indicating he was just meant to be a one-shot character.
But something about him spoke to Feldstein, and the next month he reappeared in “The Flying Saucer Invasion” and is a for-real Earthling.
Fans couldn’t get enough of The Secretary of Defense, and EC knew they had a smash on their hands. To keep up with demand, he also appeared in Weird Fantasy #14 in “The Cosmic Ray Bomb Explosion”.
After his appearance in “Destruction of the Earth” (Weird Science #14):
there was a salary dispute and a controversial decision was made. He was replaced in “Martian Infiltration” (Weird Fantasy #15):
Fans were outraged, and he was back the next month for “The Last City” (Weird Fantasy #16):
By this time, Secretarimania was in full swing. The Secretary of Defense appeared in “Spawn of Venus” (Weird Science #6), “7 Year Old Genius!” (Weird Fantasy #7), and “Seeds of Jupiter” (Weird Science #8). Those are all the stories collected here, so I can’t tell you where his career went after this.
So who was the Secretary of Defense? He doesn’t look like any of the actual Secretaries of Defense who were serving while Feldstein was writing these stories. Turns out he was based on organized labor figure John L. Lewis, who formed the “CIO” portion of the AFL-CIO, at least according to Bill Mason, who wrote the foreword to this book.
The Secretary of Defense, folks! The Deadpool of 1950! Please send your photos of Secretary of Defense cosplay to this blog.
(Note: I was looking for info on this guy and it turns out this blog kind of beat me to the scoop.)