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CSBG Archive

When We First Met – Europe, DC Comics Style

Every week we spotlight the various characters, phrases, objects or events that eventually became notable parts of comic lore. Not major stuff like “the first appearance of Superman,” but rather, “the first time someone said, ‘Avengers Assemble!'” or “the first appearance of Batman’s giant penny” or “the first appearance of Alfred Pennyworth” or “the first time Spider-Man’s face was shown half-Spidey/half-Peter.” Stuff like that. Here is an archive of all the When We First Met features so far! Check ‘em out!

After last week’s look at the introduction of three notable Marvel European countries, today we look at the introduction of four notable DC Comics European countries – Modora, Vlatava, Zandia and Markovia.

Modora was first seen in 1962’s Green Lantern #14 (by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella), under unusual circumstances, as Hal Jordan is looking for a stamp for his friend…

While there, he discovers that a Modorian citizen has come to America to fight crime. By the time, Hal returns, the citizen has already started…

I include the following just to show how impressive Sonar’s debut was…

Dude knocked out Green Lantern in their first fight! Impressive.

Next up is Vlatava, the home of Count Vertigo. The Count mentioned his home country a few times but it was not until 1981’s World’s Finest Comics #272, in a story by Bob Haney with art by Trevor von Eeden and Brent Breeding, that we see the country, after the Count seemingly dies…

The young vigilante traveling with Green Arrow is no one you need to know.

Of course, the Count was faking his death…

Next is Zandia, introduced in 1981’s New Teen Titans #14 by Marv Wolfman, George Perez and Romeo Tanghal, as Madame Rouge (who Changeling rightly blames for the death of his adopted mother, Elasti-Girl) tries to conquer the tiny island nation…

Later on, when Zandia becomes the home of Brother Blood, it popped up in the Mediterranean rather than the Baltic Sea. I dunno where it is considered to be now.

Finally, in 1983’s Batman and the Outsiders #1, by Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo, we meet Markovia. Lucius Fox is kidnapped there…

and after the Justice League won’t help him break into the country, Batman quits and heads off to the country, which we are helpfully shown on a map…

Here is the Markovian castle where we first see Geo-Force in his royal attire…

Okay, that’s it for this week! If you have any other comic book firsts you’d like to see me feature, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com


Markovia sure has a funny place for eastern european country, right next to luxemburg. More like smack in the middle of western europe it is.

Yeah, Sonar got a rough deal. He and Doctor Light should have a beer together sometime.

BTW, I believe that Vlatava is the only one of these to have had a “final appearance”: http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/Spectre_Vol_3_13

Knocking Hal out isn’t that impressive. It seriously happened to him all the freaking time.

Bialya is my favorite because I find bialys to be delicious alternatives to bagels.

I’d like to see a sister country, Bagelia.

Yeah … Sonar is as impressive as the tree branches that also regularly knocked Hal out during the silver age. thanks for bringing “badass” Hal back DC … :eye roll:

Ultimately I’m more of a DC guy and I’ve certainly read every story shown here, but Marvel definitely has the edge in made-up European countries, for Latveria alone.

Yeah, what’s up with that placement of Markovia? Did Barr tell Aparo to put it in eastern Europe, and Aparo never even looked at a map and just chucked it in wherever he felt like? That’s really weird. Plus, countries are NEVER colored blue on a map. Belgium looks like a sea.

Greg: That’s because Belgium was submerged when it became a colony of Atlantis.

I’m pretty sure that, in the DC universe, knocking Hal Jordan out three times gets you a free latte at Starbucks.

SubBrussels? Even Aquaman at his lowest wouldn’t go near what sprouts out of that! (Yeah, I did it.)

All those trees with free coffee — GL of the Jungle would have been a worthwhile parody for MAD back then….

The Trevor von Eden art is just wow. Love that guy’s work.

Trevor von Eden is a highly underrated artist. And Brett Breeding is one of my top favorite inkers ever, he’s right up there with Joe Sinnott and the late Gene Day.

Speaking of great art, I remember picking up that first issue of Batman and the Outsiders fresh off the U Totem racks back in ’83. Awesome stuff by Barr and Aparo. Still one of the very best series debuts for my money.

Most likely it was some sort of error that occurred somewhere between Barr’s script and Aparo’s finished art, but there’s a part of me that wonders if Aparo had thought “Fictional European country? Oh, like Prisoner of Zenda” and drew everybody’s clothes & castles more in a middle European design like the Ruritanian romances rather than eastern Europe, and placed Markovia accordingly on the map.

I love how old comics could start off with something as mundane as looking for a stamp. It’s kind of like The Simpsons, but comics never got awful! Oh. . .wait.

Dean FTW, btw.

I have a Titans issue with the awesome line on the cover “See Zandia…AND DIE!”. Gotta dig that out.

Modora…I totally forgot that that’s the name of Sonar’s country, but it’s featured quite prominently in the AWESOME Elongated Man ’92 mini. With Parobeck and Templeton art. Ah, such a good comic. The followup in JLE 50…not so much.

You left out my favorite part of the Modora debut: When Hal asks for a stamp he learns the place is so small they don’t bother with mail, because everyone lives within walking distance.

Travis, I agree about the mini and the follow-up, but I did like the JLE scene where Sue supposedly abandons Ralph and gives Wally their wedding ring to give back to him. When Ralph hears it he freaks out until he sees the diamond-studded ring and tells Wally it’s a trick (“That’s something I got her as a birthday gift. The real wedding ring was cubic zirconium!”).

Fraser, I like that scene too, but isn’t it in the mini?

But yeah, that scene just shows how much of an equal partner Sue is, and how friggin’ cool Ralph and Sue were.

And then there’s *SIGH* Identity Crisis….

I think it was in JLE because I remember it as one bright moment in an otherwise dismal story. But I could be wrong.
Yes, to both your other points, resoundingly.

Yeah, it could be in JLE 50, because I do tend to read them all in one go. Actually, thinking about, I think you might be right.

Y’know, any excuse to go back and read that mini is a good one, so if I find it I’ll take a look.

Brian, I’m too lazy to look for this in the archives. Have you covered the first appearance of Santa Prisca? The first mention I recall is in the Venom story arc, and it was later mentioned to be the home of the prison Bane grew up in. I’m sure I could look up it’s origin on Wikipedia, but your write-ups are so much more entertaining.

And I’m sure Fraser’s been worried about this, but I did in fact look up the Elongated Man fake ring bit, and it IS in JLE 50. So kudos to Fraser’s good memory. It’s a pretty good bit, if explained a bit too much at the end. But it definitely is the best part of that issue.

The best by far.

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