One of the lesser-known characters that I recall from the 1960’s was a super villain known as “Zazzala, the Queen Bee”. What I recall is that her story was just quirky enough that the name of the character stuck with me and that is all that I recall. Over the course of 22 years, the Queen Bee appeared in ten issues across a number of titles including the Justice League of America. Her story begins in 1963 and ends with the crisis of 1985.
Queen Zazzala of the planet Koril first appeared in November 1963 in Justice League of America #23 in a story titled ‘Drones of the Queen Bee!’
To place this issue in perspective, the two previous issues of JLA, #21 and #22, presented in the first one a story titled “Crisis on Earth-One!” which was followed by a story titled “Crisis on Earth-Two!”. This marked the start of a series of annual team-ups between the Golden Age Justice Society of America and the Silver Age Justice League of America. This continues until Justice League of America #231 (October 1984). The following year, in the 12-issue mini-series “Crisis on Infinite Earths”, all hell breaks loose, and the two multiverses are merged to form “New Earth”.
Following the first multiverse crisis, after fighting and winning against a team of supervillains known as the Crime Champions, the heroes are gathered at the Secret Sanctuary, a massive cave complex located at Happy Harbor. They are gathered to celebrate Snapper Carr having completed his school exams.
Where the JLA meet in these days (the Happy Harbor Days) was a place called the Secret Sanctuary of the JLA. This meeting place was later replaced by a satellite parked 22,300 miles above the Earth after Snapper Carr betrayed the location to the Joker in JLA #77. This event occurred at the end of the Sixties in December 1969.
Into the secret sanctuary, Snapper Carr brings a transistor radio tuned to a Boss radio station playing rock n roll music. The JLA are gathered around a cake or “flour tower” as Snapper calls it. The cake is there as part of the celebration. As they enjoy their cake, an announcer comes on the radio with a “we interrupt this program” announcement. The news flash is that at three locations around the world, “winged bee men are attacking”. Flash makes the suggestion that this announcement sounds like a call to duty for the JLA. This makes me wonder what would have happened if Snapper had not had the forethought to bring along his transistor radio to a meeting of the JLA. At any rate, having the radio gave Snapper something to do as all the superhero members of the JLA went off to the different places where the bee men were attacking. Actually “looting” is a better term for what Zazzala’s bee-men were doing.
Five of the team members were taken under control by the leader of the looting bee-men, Queen Zazzala. She has purposefully trapped the superheroes and forces them to go on quests on three planets to get materials to be used for making an immortality elixir for her. She promises to free the heroes once they have completed her tasks.
On each of the planets that are traps that the heroes must overcome. The heroes perform exactly as Zazzala order them to do. However, there is a catch, the products that are delivered to Zazzala by the heroes are in bottles that are impossible to unseal and open. As one may imagine, Queen Zazzala was not a happy bee.
Queen Zazzala appeared in three other JLA issues. Her next appearance was in JLA #60 (Feb 1968). In this story, a new DC character named Batgirl came to help the league.
She also appeared in JLA #131 & #132. In these back-to-back issues, Queen Zazzala teamed up with one of Green Lantern’s nemesis, Sonar.
This crazy story from June/July 1976, will be covered in detail in a later post.
Meanwhile, the Queen Bee made a number of appearances including Action Comics #443 (January 1975) where Superman makes reference to the earlier story told in JLA #60 back in ’68.