Author Topic: Obscure DCU Characters - Round II
posted July 12, 2000 09:22 AM

This is the follow-up to the thread "Obscure DC Characters Questions" that's been around this board for the past months. In that thread, DC experts such as Mikishawm, Rich Morrisey, D.R. Black, and others helped me (and anyone else who had questions to ask) clear out the whats, hows, and whys, of some of the more forgotten (but not necessarily forgettable) inhabitants of the DC Universe.

More than 100 characters were explained, and that was a great and enjoyable ride in itself. But since there seems to still be an interest in the thread, and since I have more questions to ask...well, welcome to Round II. Maybe it won't be another 100 questions, but let's keep this running as long as anybody is interested.

Next ten characters (numbering continued from the earlier thread):

101. Arsenal (Nicholas Galtry)
102. Captain Invincible
103. Captain Strong
104. Davy Tenzer
105. Hercules Unbound
106. Jan Vern, Interplanetary Agent
107. Jero & Halk
108. Jim Corrigan of Earth-One
109. Super-Duper
110. Super-Hip

So, if anybody has something to say or explain about these characters that I know very little about, you're more than welcome.

If anything has anything to ask about other obscure DC characters, please do. Maybe even I will be able to help with some of them.

Come join the fun.


posted July 12, 2000 09:24 AM

Oh, and here is the link to the old thread, for anyone interested: http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/files/Forum94/HTML/002273.html


Rich Morrissey
posted July 12, 2000 10:29 AM

Next ten characters (numbering continued from the earlier thread):

101. Arsenal (Nicholas Galtry)

Nicholas Galtry was the guardian of Garfield Logan (variously known as Beast Boy I and Changeling III). He was normally just an average (though evil and avaricious) man out to get rid of Garfield for the fortune he was next in line for; I think this was the name under which he fought Beast Boy and his friends, the original Doom Patrol. Created by Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani.

102. Captain Invincible

This was Darryl Frye, one-time police chief of Central City. He decided to fight crime under this costumed identity, much to the amusement of his employee, the late Barry Allen (Flash II), but I don't think he ever got any farther than exercising in his basement. Created by Cary Bates and Carmine Infantino.

103. Captain Strong

Captain Horatio Strong was a non-costumed sailor who appeared in several Superman stories; he gained temporary super-strength from eating "sauncha," an alien seaweed. (As is especially clear from the names of his best friend and fiancee, J. Wellington Jones and Olivia Tallow respectively, he was a pastiche/parody of Popeye.) Created by Cary Bates and Curt Swan (with apologies to Elzie C. Segar).

104. Davy Tenzer

An apparent teenager who's actually immortal, David (the name Tenzer was a recent addition from an adoptive father) wields an old-fashioned sling and was hinted to be the source of several legendary stories, like that of David and Goliath. Created by Elliot Maggin and Mike Grell.

105. Hercules Unbound

The hero of Greek legend has, needless to say, appeared in many different incarnations at DC. This version, by Gerry Conway, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, and Wally Wood, wandered the devastated lands of an Earth devastated by nuclear and natural disaster, tying in with other DC features as diverse as the Atomic Knights and OMAC/Kamandi.

106. Jan Vern, Interplanetary Agent

I have to pass on this one.

107. Jero & Halk

Halk Kar, an alien traveller briefly assumed by Superman to be his brother, was the Earth-2 universe counterpart of Lar Gand (known on Earth-1 as Mon-El, and post-Crisis as Valor and M'Onel). He appeared in SUPERMAN (1st series) #80, in a story by Edmond Hamilton and Al Plastino. Jero I don't know.

108. Jim Corrigan of Earth-One

It's not at all sure there really IS a Jim Corrigan of Earth-1 who merged with The Spectre (who was the ghost of his Earth-2 counterpart) or if The Spectre simply assumed that identity while on Earth-1. They never seemed to exist separately, as Corrigan and the Spectre did on Earth-2. Possibly the Earth-1 Jim Corrigan was a black Metropolis policeman (although only his last name was ever given) who appeared in several Jimmy Olsen stories circa 1972. This Corrigan was created by John Albano and Jose Delbo.

109. Super-Duper

An artificial being materialized by small-time criminal Joe Parry, who'd gotten hold of an alien machine. S/he was a composite of several JLA members, incorporating Wonder Woman's head, Hawkman's wings, Green Lantern's power ring, and Flash's legs. S/he faded away when the machine was destroyed, only to be revived by T.O. Morrow. S/he was never shown to have any independent existence or consciousness. Created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky.

110. Super-Hip

The subconsicous, uninhibited alter ego of Tadwallader Jutefruce, a strait-laced genius student at Benedict Arnold High School who was the nephew of comedian Bob Hope (in Hope's licensed DC humor title). Super-Hip's origin I'm not familiar with, but it was probably due to one of Tad's experiments; his powers were vague but seemed to amount mostly to transfiguration and mind-over matter. Created by Arnold Drake and Bob Oksner, and not generally considered part of the DC Universe...even though he did attend the Doom Patrol wedding of Rita Farr and Steve Dayton, also written by Drake.

Waiting for Miki's input...

So, if anybody has something to say or explain about these characters that I know very little about, you're more than welcome.

New Member
posted July 12, 2000 12:59 PM

Halk and Jero were actually Kris-99(?) alien sidekicks. But that's about all I know about them

Rich Morrissey
posted July 12, 2000 02:59 PM

Edmond Hamilton (who also created Chris KL-99) often reused names, so it's not surprising he reused that one. Aside from Halk Kar, there was Ronn Kar the flattening Neptunian in the Legion, and Batman met a Martian policeman named Roh Kar...Hamilton gave us enough Kars to fill a parking lot!

posted July 12, 2000 05:23 PM

Arsenal (Nicholas Galtry) last appeared in TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS (mini) #3, where he faced Gar Logan as Beast Boy for the last time (in this story, the distain that Galtry used every time he used the "Beast Boy" name had helped convince Gar he needed a new super-moniker! (And I don't blame Geoff & Ben - it's "the powers that be...")

posted July 12, 2000 08:52 PM

Garfield Logan's rotten guardian.

There's nothing I can add regarding Super-Duper, and Rich has covered as much as I could have provided on Super-Hip. As for the rest ...

Nicholas Galtry, appeared in DOOM PATROL # 100, 101, 105-107, 109 and 110 (1965-1967), losing custody of the green boy to Steve and Rita Dayton in the final issue. He didn't appear again until 1982's TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS # 3, where he attacked Beast Boy in the guise of Arsenal and revealed that he had hired an earlier Arsenal to attack the Doom Patrol (back in DP # 113).

The Captain Invincible sub-plot was just -- odd. It seemed a bit undignified for Daryl Frye. That particular arc (FLASH # 314-319) was darker than the norm (dealing with a murderous vigilante called the Eradicator) and I suppose the antics of a less-than-stellar costumed crimefighter were meant to provide some sort of balance. Frye briefly returned to his costume in # 347 and 348. Waid & Augustyn's LIFE STORY OF THE FLASH skirted over the subject of Frye altogether ("The less said ... the better.").

Captain Strong appeared in ACTION # 421, 439, 456, 566 and SUPERMAN # 361 (plus a cameo in DC CHALLENGE # 10). An unnamed dead-ringer for Strong/Popeye can be found in SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL # 72.

Davy Tenzer, modelled after Michelangelo's statue of David, followed his appearance with Green Arrow and Black Canary (ACTION # 450-452) with another Elliot S. Maggin-scripted episode in SUPERMAN FAMILY # 174. Once again, there were Biblical overtones, with Davy helping Supergirl defeat a reptilian being who might be connected to the serpent of Eden.

HERCULES UNBOUND (1975-1977) was a personal favorite of mine amongst Gerry Conway's output during the 1970s. Conway's run (# 1-6) also benefitted from the exquisite art team of Jose Luis Garcia Lopez and Wally Wood. The premise had Herc breaking free from millennia of imprisonment about a month after the outbreak of World War Three. In short order, Herc befriends a blind teenager, Kevin, and his dog, Basil (# 1). With issue # 2, the trio makes it to Paris, where they meet the rest of the series entourage -- Dave Rigg, Jennifer Monroe and Simon St. Charles.

Ares lurks in the background for the entire six issues, finally confronting Herc in # 6. In the end, they declare a truce, with Ares being granted his freedom in exchange for restoring the life to Basil (killed in # 5).

Walt Simonson pencilled the latter six issues, with inks by Wood (# 7-8) and Bob Layton (# 9-10) and Walt himself (# 11-12). David Michelinie scripted # 7-9, the last of which featured the death of Dave Rigg and revealed the approximate date that the war had begun -- October, 1986.

That, of course, had been the date established in John Broome's "Atomic Knights" series. In mid-1976, Paul Levitz had penned an article that attempted to place all of DC's apocalytic futures into a single timeline (AMAZING WORLD OF DC COMICS # 12). The Knights/Hercules connection worked just fine, since both presented a near-future society that wasn't all that different than our own. The problem was the suggestion that the pre-1986 society was the highly advanced world of OMAC and that, eventually, Kamandi would exist in that world. Indeed, HERC # 4 & 5 had even introduced humanoid animal races and mentioned their KAMANDI # 16 origin.

Unfortunately, HERC # 10 (with Cary Bates signing on as the book's final writer) tried to bring all the series together by picking up plot threads from OMAC # 8 AND featuring the Atomic Knights. By the end of issue (set in early 1987), one of the Knights (Bryndon) was dead -- despite his having survived well into the 1990s in the original series.

Even worse was the final two-parter's explanation for Kevin's mysterious powers (hinted at in Conway's run) -- he'd been killed in issue # 1 and replaced by an Anti-Ares! (AWODCC # 12 had hinted at another possibility -- Kevin's "rather extraordinary ancestry.") All in all, the final three issues were a bit of a letdown, best written off as part of Gardner Grayle's fantasy in DC COMICS PRESENTS # 57.

Conway later used Hercules in the present-day WONDER WOMAN # 259-261, dressed in the Lopez-designed outfit (Simonson had introduced a new one in # 11) though Herc was a villain in this context.

Jan Vern starred in two Gil Kane illustrated episodes in 1965's MYSTERY IN SPACE # 100 and 102, only the first of which I've read. In that one, the blonde Vern (a man, just to clarify) is an agent of Interplanetary Investigations (IPI) in our solar system's future. A master of disguise, Jan investigates various evildoers and spies and, in MIS # 100, helps free IPI's Agent X, a Sean Connery lookalike named Damos.

The Venusian scientist Jero and Martian Halk were both pink fleshed allies of Chris KL-99 in STRANGE ADVENTURES # 1-3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 15 and DC COMICS PRESENTS # 78 (though they weren't in the SECRET ORIGINS remake). Jero seemed to be of aquatic origin will a green, gilled outfit while Halk had an elongated bald cranium and wore a toga. Halk had exiled himself from Mars after accidentally damaged his world's power supply. He restored Mars' power crystal in SA # 9 (reprinted in the PULP FICTION LIBRARY collection) but chose to stay with his comrades.

Black police officer Corrigan (JIMMY OLSEN # 149, 150, 152) was rumored to have been a candidate for an Earth-One Spectre when Joe Orlando rediscovered the series in the early 1970s. Instead, Orlando went with the traditional Jim Corrigan and Jimmy Olsen's pal popped up in a couple Leo Dorfman stories (JO # 163; SUPERMAN FAMILY # 167) before going into limbo. Tony Isabella revived him in BLACK LIGHTNING # 4 and 7-9, finally officially establishing his first name as Jim. After a final appearance in WORLD'S FINEST # 260, the Metropolis cop was never seen again. (He'd be a good candidate for the SCU if you ask me.)

posted July 13, 2000 05:45 PM

We're rolling again.

I'll skip the obligatory thanks this time (you all know I love you anyway) and ask the next ten instead...

111. Class of 2064
112. The Clipper
113. Forever Man
114. Interplanetary Insurance, Inc.
115. Lady Quark II (?)
116. Mr. Originality
117. Mopee (from what I've heard, his story is really something)
118. Professor Brainstorm
119. Sunburst
120. Willow (did she make more than two appearances?)


Victor Beckles III
posted July 13, 2000 05:48 PM

Willow was in JLofA #142 and ....what else?

posted July 13, 2000 08:43 PM

I just have a moment tonight after posting my Mister Baffles bio over on the Batman board but I wanted to check in.

"Class of 2064" was one of the better strips in 1984's NEW TALENT SHOWCASE. The creation of Todd Klein, each arc focused on, as the name says, kids in the space-faring graduating class of 2064.

The first episode (# 1-3, art by Scott Hampton) introduced Chryse Bantry, Pern Muller and Tycho Kushiro as kids from the Lagrange Colony on Mars. They become involved with Free Earth terrorists, who fought on behalf of the nuclear war-ravaged humans who still lived on Earth. Issue # 7-8(art by Terry Shoemaker and Karl Kesel) spotlighted Miranda Venezia, who joined her father on Lagrange-based space tours around Mars.

A question before I go --

Is Professor Brainstorm the JLA villain otherwise known as simply Brainstorm ?

posted July 13, 2000 08:55 PM

No, Professor Brainstorm was seen in MY GREATEST ADVENTURE. It might be a humor strip, but I don't know...


posted July 14, 2000 09:14 PM

I'll do some checking on Professor B. In the meantime ...

"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men ? The Shadow knows!"

"Evil is evil! The Clipper guesses! Heheheheheheh."

Unlike the better known mystery-man of the 1930s, the Clipper's chief concern was that said hearts stopped beating. "Mason," he told his kid sidekick, "The IMPORTANT thing's not if their guilty, the important thing's if their DEAD! So I need someone to hold them down while I shoot them again and again and again and again and ..." Well, you get the idea.

The story of the Clipper comes exclusively from the memory of Mason Trollbridge, a man who claimed to be the kid sidekick of the early 1930s vigilante. "I was his assistant," Mason explained. "I carried the disguise and the extra guns." They'd first met in 1931 when the Clipper saved the boy from bullies. "It impressed me that despite his rigid standards and important work, he'd been willing to stop and help a slum kid. It still does. As it turned out, he was drunk that night. But the principle still holds."

Like the Shadow, the Clipper had multiple identities (which Mason helped him keep track of) and wore a long-brimmed hat and trenchcoat, though his were brown rather than black. One account indicated that his entire face was covered by a porous blank mask (1988's FLASH # 20) while another depicted him with a bandana-style mask and a thin mustache (FLASH # 23). "Those whom he did not imprison or kill would find the tops of their ears clipped off, so they could never pass for honest men."

Not content with merely gunning down thieves and murders, the Clipper made it his business to pass judgment on anyone who committed a moral lapse. The father, mother and son that the Clipper saved from a burglar were forced to atone for their own crimes of bribery, adultery ... and breaking "Jimmy Allen's toy truck last week."

When things got too hot for him, the Clipper gave his costume and weapons to Mason and left for parts unknown. Decades later, Mason was living in a low-rent apartment in Keystone City, where he met Wally West, no stranger to life as a sidekick himself (FLASH # 20, by William Messner-Loebs and Greg LaRocque). When Mason decided to take the persona of the Clipper as his own, Wally followed close behind (FLASH # 23, by Loebs and Gordon Purcell).

It quickly became evident that Mason was just too nice to be a hard-boiled crimebuster. He negotiated a deal between a suicidal, cash-strapped thief and his victim and stopped a hold-up "because both the thugs and the victims were laughing so hard." When Wally and Mason became embroiled in a battle with Abra Kadabra, the would-be Clipper rammed his flaming car into the villain. "I though it'd be more fun," he observed, "killin' somebody that evil."

Mason mothballed the Clipper outfit but remained a staunch friend of Wally over the next few years, serving as a surrogate for the young man's own estranged father. Wally, as it turned out, filled a similar void for Mason, who hadn't seen his son, Donnie, in years. That changed in 1992 when the young man returned as a ruthless vigilante with an invisibility vest known as the Last Resort. As the name implied, he was often "the only venue for the desperate and forlorn." Father and son finally had a long overdue chat, the details of which remain private (FLASH # 59-60).

One month later, the widowed Mason proposed to Leonora McDonald and spontaneously turned the marriage ceremony of Wally's mother to Ernesto Varni into a double ceremony (FLASH # 61). With a family of his own once more, Mason soon faded out of Wally's life.

Mr Know-what?
posted July 14, 2000 09:22 PM

Don't know where this fits in with your numbering (and don't mean to interrupt), but I wonder if you have mentioned another Changeling other than Beast Boy--maybe you have--but I recall a Changeling from ACTION #400 (I'm pretty sure that was the issue, with a Neal Adams cover)--he was Superman's "son" (adopted) and died within that issue.

posted July 15, 2000 01:08 PM

No luck yet on Professor Brainstorm but I haven't exhausted all my resources yet.

I DO have an entry for ACTION # 400's Changeling, though. Once I've wrapped up the latest list, I'll do a bio on him.

Today's bio is sponsored by Rip Hunter:

It was a discovery that would have made the 1940s coalition of scientists informally known as the Time Trust green with envy. In 1943, while trying to create an invisible warship, government scientists thrust the U.S.S. Eldridge into another plane, "the dimension of the time stream."

One of those on the scene, Doctor Reno Franklin, reported that "I was one of many who 'got stuck' as we call it -- caught in between time and NON time. Before I came out of it, I absorbed vast amounts of an energy we termed chronal radiation. Of all those who 'got stuck,' I was the only one who survived without going mad. ... We had somehow teleported the Eldridge through the time-stream from Philadelphia to Virginia and back." Throwing a veil of secrecy over the incident, the military asked Franklin to head up a braintrust to adapt the chronal energy to a new type of aircraft "which would be able to repeat that time-phasing at will."

Stationed in a hollow Utah mountain, the scientists began experimenting, creating devices that the public would describe as flying saucers. It was soon discovered that time was passing far more quickly outside the base than within. The radiation within Franklin's body "was disrupting time in the whole area". By the time Franklin encountered a trio of time travellers accidentally brought to the lab by one of the saucers, he theorized that the outside world was now in the 21st Century (1984's WARLORD # 79, by Cary Burkett, Pat Broderick and Rick Magyar).

The visitors in question were Travis Morgan, Krystovar and Shakira, three adventurers from the other-dimensional Skartaris. When they accompanied Franklin into the outside world, it soon became apparent that far more time had passed. It was now 2303 and the Earth had been ravaged by nuclear war. Joining with Franklin's forces, Morgan freed the era's future United States from tyranny and then vowed to use the time machines to prevent the war from happening in the first place (WARLORD # 80, 82-85, by Burkett, Dan Jurgens and various inkers).

The small army succeeded but was thrust far back in time as a consequence. They landed in ancient Atlantis, freeing the nation from the despot known as Lord Daamon. When Morgan, Krystovar and Shakira encountered themselves from their first passage through time (WARLORD # 79), the time-stream corrected itself and thrust the trio back to their proper era (WARLORD ANNUAL # 3).

Franklin and his fellow scientists weren't as fortunate. With their time ships leaking chronal radiation, they sought a safe location to house them and, to their astonishment, found "the same cavern where we had built the ships so far in the future! Apparently our experiments had created a unique phenomenon -- a 'rip'in the time-stream within the cavern ... so that cavern now existed outside of time -- but could be entered from and exited at any point in the time-stream, past or future. It was like a little pocket existing in all times at once -- and a perfect place to leave the ships."

The scientists joined the Atlantean community, sharing their vast scientific knowledge and inter-marrying with them. Rendered immortal by the 1943 incident, Franklin finally went into seclusion, unable to bear the deaths of his now elderly friends and companions. He learned that "with the unique nature of the cavern, existing as it does as a corridor between time and nontime, the chronal energies in my body allowed me to use it as a passageway from one time period to another. I was able to slip the physical limitations of our reality and travel the time-stream at will" (WARLORD # 86, by Burkett, Jurgens and Mike DeCarlo).

Now wearing a hooded black bodysuit, its technological enhancements stored in decorative straps on his torso, the Forever Man became a passionate observer of "the history of peoples and civilizations. "Eventually, he paid visits to Morgan's wife Tara (WARLORD # 80) and Morgan himself (# 86). Bidding them farewell, he noted that "I suppose it has become something of an obsession with me -- to view the history of man firsthand ... but after centuries of life, I find I am more comfortable as an observer than as a participant in the human race." Even today, The Forever Man remains on the fringes of the time-stream, observing those like the Linear Men, who continue to defend its integrity.

John Moores
posted July 15, 2000 03:45 PM

Just briefly:

Mopee is a heavenly helpmate who allegedly caused the origin of the Flash; I'm doing this off the top of my head so I don't know the issue #, but the year was 1967. Mopee also appeared in an AMBUSH BUG comic, realting how Flash fans hate the story he first appeared in because it buggered up continuity.

Surely Mr. Originality is from a "..Meanwhile" column c.1985, written by some fan. The story told of how the fan left "The House of Ideas" in search of the long departed Mr. O.. No physical appearance by said charcter....

posted July 16, 2000 01:49 PM

Originally posted by Mr Know-what?:

Don't know where this fits in with your numbering (and don't mean to interrupt)...

Actually, you're MEANT to participate in this thread. I wouldn't want to be the only one benefitting from it.

So, "the other Changeling" is now No. 121 on the list.


posted July 16, 2000 02:15 PM

Following up on John's post:

Mopee was a diminutive version of Julius Schwartz, with tufts of red hair on his balding head and a green robe. He was a Heavenly Helpmate, commanded by his superiors to bestow super-speed on one Earthman. Unfortunately, Mopee was supposed to use an item owned by the recipient to transfer the power -- and the chemicals that transformed Barry Allen into the Flash belonged to the Central City Police Department. Because of the technicality, Mopee returned to Earth in December of 1966 and stripped the Flash of his speed. At Barry's insistence, Mopee restored his powers after the police scientist bought duplicates of the chemicals so that the imp could replicate the accident. After Mopee had done so and returned home, Barry realized that there was still a hole in the Helpmate's story: the duplicate accident that created Kid Flash (THE FLASH # 167, by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Sid Greene).

Ultimately, the whole episode has to be written off as one of those nightmares that Barry was famous for having. One can only wonder what the newlywed Iris Allen thought when her husband talked in his sleep about THIS adventure.

As John noted, Mopee also turned up in 1984's AMBUSH BUG # 3.

The official account of Barry Allen's origin has been reaffirmed multiple times over the past three decades, most recently in Waid and Augustyn's 1997 LIFE STORY OF THE FLASH. As in SHOWCASE # 4, Barry gained super-speed after an errant bolt of lightning struck his chemical work station and doused him in its contents. The account was modified slightly to include a mention of the subject of the police scientist's scrutiny that evening, a hallucinogenic street drug named ... Mopee.

It had begun on a balmy September day when Barry Allen's lunch was interrupted by a gang of motorcyclists who assaulted a man named Andrew Rutherford in the street. As the Flash, Barry rushed the victim to an ambulance and apprehended the trio. Unknown to the hero, Rutherford had blinked out of existence a moment before the attack and was replaced by another man who, in turn, vanished from the ambulance and left bank president Michael Taylor in his place.

Meanwhile, the Flash was rushing to the Security Federal Bank, where Rutherford was supposedly locked in a vault. The only person the Scarlet Speedster found, though, was pop star Cosmo Puree, who'd materialized there in the midst of an airplane flight to Metropolis. The profit motive, at least, had finally been explained. The vault had been looted of millions! Trying to make sense of the bizarre events, Flash sped to the location of the plane, creating an updraft to catapult him into the still airborne craft. This time, he caught up with the man at the heart of the mystery. Gray at the temples and clad in a purple shirt, he vanished again -- supplanted by Arturo Basura.

"Whoever this guy is," remarked the speedster, "He's got the most original getaway gimmick I've ever seen ... which is why I think I'll dub him Mr. Originality."

Running his hands through his hair that evening, Barry found himself chastised by Iris for ruining the styling he'd just had done at Rasmussen's House of Hair. In the blink of an eye, Barry had his connection. All the men had been at the hair stylist on the same day that he'd been there. Making a quick trip to the salon, the Flash learned that only two appointments for that day had yet to become entangled in Mister O's scheme -- himself and magazine editor Julian Black (also a pen name for a certain FLASH editor named Schwartz).

Black agreed to be observed by the Scarlet Speedster for any sign of activity but, when the villain made his move, the Flash lunged too quickly, before Mister O had fully materialized. He immediately teleported to a safer location -- only to find himself in a jail cell with the Flash outside holding his belt pouch of hair.

"Far as I could tell from his confession," Barry explained to Iris, "It's a form of telekinesis -- the power to move material objects -- he recently discovered he possessed. By holding a natural part of a person's body -- like hair -- and concentrating hard -- he could switch places with that person. After mulling over how to profit from his new-found power, he decided to pull perfect crimes." Using the bits of hair from his customers at the salon, the cosmetologist launched a new career.

Having deduced much of this, the Flash had sped to jail, guaranteeing that, when Mister Originality used Barry Allen's hair, he'd end up in a cell (1975's THE FLASH # 238, by Cary Bates & Bob Rozakis, Irv Novick and Frank McLaughlin). These days, Mister O has another career -- as a prison barber.

Weird But True Factoid: The only character from this story to appear again -- sort of -- was Cosmo Puree, whose Greatest Hits ("Just $6.98!") were hawked on a late-night TV commercial in BATMAN FAMILY # 14's Man-Bat episode.

Re: Professor Brainstorm. Thanks to the Great Comics Database, I found him -- in a Hy Mankin-created feature in MY GREATEST ADVENTURE # 12 and 55 -- but I'm still no closer to doing a bio. I'll keep plugging away on this one. You've piqued my curiosity.

posted July 17, 2000 07:58 PM

"The clients of Interplanetary Insurance, Inc. ranged all the way from the microscopic plant life of Mercury to the magnetic monsters of Pluto. No matter how bizarre the interplanetary life-form might be, I.I.I. was eager to insure it. The only trouble as far as agent Bert Brandon was concerned was that the supply of prospective clients had become exhausted, and he was faced with the loss of his job unless he found someone -- or something -- to insure." -- Sid Gerson, 1953's MYSTERY IN SPACE # 16 (with art by Carmine Infantino & Sy Barry).

In the pilot episode, brown-haired, spectacled Bert Brandon sold a policy to the queen of an immortal alien race called the Lullies "to the pretty premium tune of $1000 in credits a year ... We'll never have to pay off!" Almost immediately, the beings found a loophole. Although they didn't die, the Lullies DID shed bodies and take new forms. Pointing to his shell, the Lully asked "Can you prove I am the same person you sold the policy to ? Of course not! ... Since the body I once inhabited is dead, you must pay me $50,000!"

Panic-stricken that he'd bankrupt the I.I.I., Bert helped the Lullies defeat their native enemies, the Kroques, by destroying them with a heat ray. In gratitude, the queen "decided that your company does not have to pay off on our life insurance polices." Meanwhile, the seemingly-dead Kroque also owed a debt to Brandon. Thanks to the concentrated sunlight that he'd subjected them to, they were also able to evolve into Firefly People.

"So, dear boss, I.I.I. is sitting pretty with a million Lully life insurance policies, which we'll never have to pay off! And as soon as I get that raise I so richly deserve, I'll go over to the dark side and sign up my grateful friends, the Firefly People. They're immortal, too!"

Bert Brandon continued in that vein for ten issues (with Infantino assuming full art chores in # 21) before wrapping up in 1955's MIS # 25. Space Cabby (previously seen in tryouts in # 21 and 24) took its place in MIS # 26. Julius Schwartz reprinted the pilot for I.I.I. in 1969's STRANGE ADVENTURES # 218 but the tepid reaction quashed any hope of further episodes.

D. R. Black
posted July 18, 2000 05:44 PM

Hellstone (or anybody else that may be interested in obscure characters)

In the current edition of Fanzing, I wrote a proposal for an ongoing Freedom Beast series. Freedom Beast (aka Dominic Mnawe) is the successor of B'wana Beast, as seen in Morrison's ANIMAL MAN run.

If anybody's interested in learning more about either B'wana Beast or Freedom Beast, check it out at:

I don't want to sound like a shameless, self promoting huckster, but I kind of would like some feedback, be it about the proposal, the history of the characters (if I got anything wrong), etc.

My proposed series also incorporates just about every other obscure DCU hero/villian based in Africa. Impala, Vixen, and Bentama (from the OUTSIDERS series - although I had to change him a little since he was implied to have been killed).

Let me know what you think....please?

posted July 18, 2000 08:14 PM

The parasite would have its revenge.

After three years of incubating in the body of Captain Comet, the energy being had finally found a suitable vessel in which to culminate its life cycle. The energy-wielding L.E.G.I.O.N.naire known as Lady Quark would sustain the parasite's offspring after it completed the procreation process (LEGION '92 # 45). Instead, Quark's teammate, Phase, expelled the leach from Comet long enough to dupe the being into taking refuge in a lump of bio-matter "encoded with Quark's D.N.A." Horrified that "the cycle (was) broken," the shrieking parasite began molding the matter into a body and screamed at L.E.G.I.O.N. commander Vril Dox that "You ... have ... MURDERED meee!" (LEGION '92 # 46)

"I will turn this body into the engine of your destruction! ... You have tampered with my very existence. You've trapped a creature of pure energy and intelligence in a body of leaden flesh." Blasting into space, the Quark-based creature vowed that "I will return when the advantage is mine, Vril Dox, and KILL you!" (LEGION ''92 # 47, by Barry Kitson and Robin Smith)

Months later, a hysterical Marij'n Bek returned to L.E.G.I.O.N. headquarters on Cairn, claiming to have been struck down by Lady Quark, who then killed Captain Comet on the planet Ith'kaa (LEGION '94 # 62-63). A lucid Quark denied everything and Vril Dox found himself unable to get to the truth of the matter. He opted for a covert approach, requesting that L.E.G.I.O.N.naire Telepath secretly read Quark's mind (# 64, by Tom Peyer, Arnie Jorgensen and James Pascoe).

The truth supported Marij'n's account but offered details that she knew nothing about. The parasite had ambushed Quark en route to Ith'kaa, stealing her memories and leaving her for dead in the void of space. Comet's own telepathy had recognized "Lady Quark" for who she truly was and, therefore, he had to die as well. Unfortunately for Telepath, the new Lady Quark had sensed his mental probe and informed him that he would join Comet if he revealed anything. Reluctantly, Telepath told Vril that "Lady Quark is ... telling the truth" (# 66).

Unable to stop the parasite, Telepath attempted to curb her evil actions and asked her to intervene in a hostage situation without harming innocents. ("So you're saying, if I want to impersonate Lady Quark, I must pretend to care what happens to people ?") Her involvement in the crisis proved disastrous: She captured the kidnappers alive but the hostages perished in the process. Horrified, Telepath decided to enlist an ally and transmitted the truth about the second Lady Quark to Marij'n (# 67).

Meanwhile, Vril Dox's megalamanical son, Lyrl, had aspirations of his own and sent out a subliminally coded message to all L.E.G.I.O.N. officers that would bind them to his will. The effect failed on Quark, who imagined that it was Vril's doing and blasted into his office with the intent of murdering him. His protestations led her to read his mind and she realized that "You're telling the truth. I -- apologize" (# 69). Vril found the entire sequence of events disturbing ... including the fact that "Quark uncovered this crime by using mental powers she's not supposed to have (# 70).

Compared to Lyrl Dox, Lady Quark was the unequivocal lesser of two evils. She launched an assault on the brainwashed team and its pint-size leader but, before she could fire a blast of energy, Marij'n initiated an attack against HER.

"I know this LOOKS like Quark -- but it ISN'T. It just has her genetic CODE. And fortunately, CODES can be unravelled." Using a device that Telepath had helped her create, Marij'n fired the weapon at parasite and reduced it to dead matter (# 70). Ironically, Lady Quark's death removed the only obstacle to Lyrl Dox's own grab for power and the next several months saw his reign of terror grow before Vril Dox, the R.E.B.E.L.S., Marij'n and a still-living Captain Comet were able to restore order.

Tenzel Kim
posted July 20, 2000 03:33 PM

Hi Ola.

It's great to see that you decided to continue this great thread. I just love to learn more about these obscure characters that I too only have written down in my list of characters but have no real knowledge of.

I've been extremely busy lately so I haven't had the time to visit these boards, but hopefully that's about to change.

Anyway, just wanted to ask you if you've been making some profiles from the info gathered in these post cause I'm about to make a major layout change to the Guide and it would be lovely to have some new profiles to add. If you have been working on some but just haven't finished them let me know which ones and I'll see if I can do some of the others myself.

Speaking of profiles, did you ever finish that update of your 'Hell' profile or should I just use the old one?

I wish I had some info on some of the characters on your list but the only one I know something about that hasn't been discussed is Sunburst and he already has a great profile in WHO'S WHO #22.

The Who's Who profile has been modified a bit to explain his post-Crisis history. Instead of fighting Superboy he was said to have fought the Japanese hero Rising Sun. But the events of the encounter haven't been changed.

Sunburst appeared in NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY #45-47 (his origin appeared in #47) and was next seen in CRISIS #12 in which he died.

posted July 20, 2000 04:17 PM

I do not know if this was ever cleared up on your last thread since I didn't read the whole thing, but Split never appeared in SUPERBOY & THE RAVERS. Split (as seen in the cards and with the same name) was a member of a group called Team Hazard that appeared in the early issues of STEEL. He was a wisecracking smart-alec with teleporting abilities. The Wolfman data I have no idea about.

posted July 21, 2000 01:30 AM

There is a second Sunburst, introduced by Grant Morrison in DOOM PATROL # 26. Like his predecessor, he is a popular actor, helming Japan's most popular TV show. A news team follows him everywhere he goes. He even has his own manga (that's Japanese for "comics", if you didn't know).

Anyway, he was attacked by a strange woman for no apparent reason. ("She calmed down after I broke her arms and legs.") Speaking with a doctor at the hospital she was placed in, Sunburst found out that she has every power you haven't thought of.

As the doc put it, "The only way to strip her of her abilities is to think of all the super-powers you can. As you think of them, she loses them." She is also averse to dirt.

The two entered her padded cell, despite her protest that they're letting in dirt. Then, two villains, Sleepwalk and the Fog, approached the cell. Sunburst was bemused by the fact that Sleepwalk, was, well, walking in her sleep, and got punched through a wall. The Fog kidnapped the woman. When Sunburst attempted to stop their escape, he was attacked by the whirlwind of their ally, Frenzy.

Those three, along with the Japanese woman (christened "Quiz") and Mr. Nobody, formed the Brotherhood of Dada.

I believe that was Sunburst II's one and only appearance.

Also, the first Sunburst made a "where-are-they-when-we-need-them" appearance in a Dr. Light solo story in SHOWCASE '96 # 9.

Kid Psychout
posted July 21, 2000 06:52 AM

Don't believe that's Sunburst 2. Crisis deaths don't always count.

Be wiser to consider it the original.

posted July 21, 2000 08:52 AM

Tenz, I haven't finished my update of the 'Hell' bio. But I will. Soon. So maybe you shouldn't put the old one up yet. I also have additions to the "Key" (GOTHAM KNIGHTS #5), "Elongated Man" (current STARMAN issues), and "Dial H" (the SILVER AGE event) biographies.

See ya in a couple of weeks.


posted July 22, 2000 03:52 PM

Kid Psychout, his show was called "The Adventures of the NEW Sunburst".

Believe it. Sunburst 2.

posted July 29, 2000 04:01 PM

Is the first Lady Quark still dead?
How did the first Sunburst die? Killed by a shadow demon or something?
Did any of the Sunbursts have a real name?


posted July 29, 2000 05:45 PM

Yep, the first Lady Quark is still dead.

As for Sunburst (all of 'em), I hope to have the bio posted here this evening.

posted July 29, 2000 08:47 PM

The death of Japanese super-hero Sunburst during the Great Crisis was a great blow to the country that he'd defended, doubly so when it was revealed that he had also been film star Takeo Sato. The powers that Sato had exhibited on screen -- flight, bursts of flame and bright light from his hands, the ability to generate small volcanoes -- had not been special effects. Years earlier, Sato had given his own account of how this had come to be:

"It started the day of my birth -- or so I am told. You see, I was born in a tiny village, within sight of an active volcano. On the day of my birth, the volcano was belching fumes prior to an eruption. Fumes, I imagine, that I INHALED with my first breath.

"I never knew of any effect they had on me, and I grew up normally. Then, as anadult, I decided to become an actor. I won the role of a costumed super-hero in a low-budget production, and I had to learn to 'fly' on wires. It was nearly my LAST day as well, for the wires holding me in the air SNAPPED. I screamed in terror -- and next I knew, I was in FLIGHT! The studio decided to keep my powers a secret, preferring to release my super-stunts as state-of-the-art special effects" (1983's NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY # 47, by Paul Kupperberg, Alex Saviuk and Kurt Schaffenberger).

Sunburst's natural powers eventually came to the attention of criminals, who abducted Takeo's parents and blackmailed him into going on a crime spree as Sunburst. The string of robberies soon drew the attention of Superboy, who found that there was "more to (the marauder's) arsenal than mere sun-power and flight -- such as superhuman speed and agility -- an incredible hardness of body and mighty strength."

After a series of skirmishes with the Boy of Steel, Sunburst seized on a moment of concealment to reveal the extortion plot and enlist Superboy in a plan to capture the kidnappers. After his parents were rescued, Takeo related his origin to Superboy and cursed the day he'd learned of his powers.

"Maybe I can help you with that, Takeo -- since it seems the secret to your power lies in knowing how to USE it. But if I place a strong hypnotic block on that knowledge, your powers SHOULD slip back into dormancy." The plan was a success and the short career of Sunburst was brought to a close (NAOS # 45-47).

The post-CRISIS version of Sunburst's origin, according to WHO'S WHO '86 # 22, involved Japan's native hero, the Rising Sun, rather than the now non-existent Superboy.

Flash forward a dozen or so years to Iran, where a wealthy oil baron named Omar had finally discovered the origin of a jeweled globe that had been in his family for centuries. "The eternal secret of total energy" was implanted in the sphere "by a man whose name has been lost to antiquity." It was given to Omar's ancestor for safe-keeping as the forces of Alexander the Great conquered Persia in 334 B.C.

After eight years of searching, Omar learned that the globe possessed "power enough to convert the sun's solar energy into a field of force -- transforming a man into a human sunburst, and giving (him) strength enough to recreate the Persian Empire." In a burst of energy, Omar adopted an armored uniform, his exposed flesh turned blood red and his hair became a mane of fire.

En route to the United Nations to deliver an ultimatum, the flying Sunburst had a chance encounter with a distraught Aquaman, only hours after the murder of his son. The Sea King was swiftly defeated by the villain, who left him for dead in the desert. Unable to use his aquatic powers, Aquaman found a small basin of water that he rationed as he walked through the desert night. Spotting a plane on the horizon, he used a metal can to make a glare and catch the pilot's attention. "There's a certain irony here: sunlight was used to trap this man, and now, appropriately, sunlight is used to free him."

Arriving in Bakushi, Iran, Aquaman found Sunburst making new threats at an embassy. Dodging the villain's heat-vision, the Sea King declared that "my desert experience taught me a man has OTHER powers than those based in his body -- and THOSE powers -- his wit and cunning -- are the greatest powers of all!" Pulling out a mirror, Aquaman reflected Sunburst's powers back at him, burning out the solar tyrant's might (1977's DC SPECIAL SERIES # 1 -- a.k.a. "Five Star Super-Hero Spectacular" --by Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin and Jack Abel).

Within a few years, Earth -- and the universe itself -- found itself imperilled by the threat of the Anti-Monitor. Heroes from all over the globe were mobilized, including Japan's Doctor Light, the Rising Sun ... and Sunburst. Through circumstances unknown, Takeo's knowledge of using his powers had returned and he gallantly joined the defense efforts. Sunburst was killed in the skies over Tokyo, struck down by a Shadow-Demon (1985's CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS # 12, by Marv Wolfman, George Perez and Jerry Ordway).

Within months, the Sunburst name had been appropriated by a third person. Timothy Walton had designed golden body armor, complete with glider wings, that was powered by solar energy. Its defensive capabilities included bursts of force and solar energy channelled through his hands. Unfortunately for the would-be criminal mastermind, he attracted the attention of the Teen Titans almost immediately and was ultimately blasted from the sky by Starfire's own solar energy bolts.

The story might have ended there had the entire conflict not been observed by the Wildebeest. The villain stole Walton's armor, used it to kill a business rival and created a situation in which it appeared that Starfire had accidentally slain the man herself. Thanks to Nightwing's detective skills, the plot was exposed (1987's NEW TEEN TITANS # 36-37, by Wolfman, Eduardo Barreto and Romeo Tanghal). Sunburst's armor, however, was never recovered and presumably was adapted into the Wildebeest's catalog of weapons.

Meanwhile, in Japan, the legend of Sunburst was being continued by a media savvy successor, whose every action was televised on "The Adventures of The New Sunburst," described as "the country's most popular television show." Clad in a costume loosely modelled after Takeo's, the new Sunburst could channel solar energy through his hands but the full extent of his powers is unknown. In 1989, Sunburst suffered a humilating defeat at the hands of the soon-to-be Brotherhood of Dada (DOOM PATROL # 26, by Grant Morrison, Richard Case and John Nyberg).

The legend of Takeo Sato was also revisited by Paul Kupperberg in 1991's SUPERBOY # 18 (art by Jim Mooney and Kim DeMulder), set within the continuity of the live-action TV series. In this version, Takeo was a film student at Shuster University who produced and starred in the amateur production "Sunburst Over Tokyo". Takeo had discovered a talisman in Japan that granted him solar powers but members of the Yakuza tracked him to the U.S. hoping to use the amulet for themselves. Superboy defeated one of the solar-powered thugs and returned the talisman to Takeo, suggesting that the young man use the power altruistically.

Instead, the aspiring filmmaker smashed the jewel, declaring that "I picked my destiny years ago, when I decided to become a Spielberg instead of a Superboy." As the Boy of Steel began to argue that someone else could have used the talisman for good, Takeo pointed out that it could just as easily fall into evil hands.

By the earlier 21st Century, groups of freedom fighters known as Team Titans were being organized to combat the threat posed by Lord Chaos by being sent back in time. One such agent was code-named Sunburst, whose "whole team was killed in the time-transfer." On top of that, Sunburst had arrived three years earlier than intended. "All (he) could do was wait." The solar Titan could encase himself in a fiery force bubble and, like most of predecessors, was capable of generating solar blasts through his hands. In 1993, Sunburst was attacked by a Chaos-drone from the future and, despite an alliance with other factions of the Team Titans, he was ultimately killed when the robotic manhunter fired a blast into his chest (TEAM TITANS # 11-12, by Marv Wolfman & Tom Peyer, Gordon Purcell & Frank Turner and Dave Simons).

A final Sunburst didn't appear until the 30th Century. In 2969, the Legion of Super-Heroes faced a man in a red suit (with black vest and boots) who held them at bay during a robbery at the Metropolis Mint. The costume was lined with super-scientific devices that enabled Sunburst to "surround him(self) with an electro-magnetic force-field," generate bursts of blinding light and fire the requisite bursts of solar radiation. The villain was finally apprehended when he was blinded by Shadow Lass.

Unknown to the Legion, Shadow Lass was being impersonated by Uli Algor, who was working in tandem with Sunburst to convince the team that she was for real as a prelude to stealing the secrets of the LSH. Shady's boy friend, Mon-El, discovered the switch and brought the mimic to justice (1969's ACTION COMICS # 379, by E. Nelson Bridwell, Win Mortimer and Murphy Anderson).

Summing up, we've discussed:

Sunburst I (Takeo Sato): NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY # 45

Sunburst II (Omar ?): DC SPECIAL SERIES # 1

Sunburst III (Timothy Walton): NEW TEEN TITANS (second series) # 36

Sunburst IV: DOOM PATROL # 26

Sunburst V: TEAM TITANS # 11

Sunburst VI: ACTION COMICS # 379

Hope this was worth the wait.

posted July 30, 2000 12:01 PM

She came from outer space ... but she was born on Earth. The woman with green flesh, hair and antennae had been forced to make a crash landing in the ocean when her spacecraft was fired upon by a being known as the Construct. She'd been en route to find the only being on Earth who could protect her and found him as part of a trio composed of Aquaman, the Atom and the Elongated Man.

The telepathic woman in the lavender body suit and wine cape identified herself to the Justice Leaguers as Willow and begged them to take her to Atlantis. "We must not be above water at all! The Construct's domain is the air."

The answers that the heroes received in Atlantis proved no less cryptic. Willow would only respond that "this-one has come from a place she must not name, to reach a place no man must know." Her enemy, the Construct, was clearly a threat worth opposing, however, and he broke into the Atlantean communication network with a promise to "destroy every human creature in Miami, Florida" if the woman was not turned over to him.

Willow requested that Aquaman and the Elongated Man defend Miami while she continue her journey with the Atom. Privately, the other two men believed that the Tiny Titan wasn't up to the job but, given his recent bout with low self- esteem, they kept their opinions to themselves. The Atom's assessment of himself wasn't helped when Willow displayed a stunning expertise of the martial arts in the course of their journey.

Arriving at an uncharted island, Willow was attacked by the Construct. The robotic assimilation of Earth's electronic signals considered himself the harbinger of a new era, one in complete opposition to the promise of life represented by Willow. She urged the Atom to "shrink to the size of a true atom" and destroy the creature from within. The gambit was a success and the Construct's form exploded.

"This-one knew from the beginning what evil force had grown up to oppose her since she left Earth -- and the sole means of overcoming it. Neither Aquaman nor Elongated Man -- nor she herself -- could oppose the Construct on his own airwaves. Only YOU could do that, Atom. This-one was attempting to reach you when the cannons first attacked her, over the ocean."

Willow explained that she had left Earth, taken a mate and become pregnant. "The lure of the stars paled, as the Earth called out for its daughter. In the end, she has come home to the nest. Here, where no one will disturb her, she will birth her child."

She assured the Atom that, even if the Construct were to reform himself, "it will not know of Willow and her island. ... Already, YOU know more than ANY MAN should. You will keep my secret, Ray Palmer ? You will give this-one her chance for happiness -- and ask no more questions ?"

"Willow, I ... I ... I will!"

"Then, farewell," she said, kissing his bowed head, " ... forever."

Reunited with Aquaman and Elongated Man, who'd stopped the Construct's forces, the Atom held his tongue. "To ALL their questions, now and in the days to come, the little man with the big secret just smiles a smile to match" (1977's JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA # 142, by Steve Englehart, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin).

In another universe, Willow had been known as Mantis (AVENGERS # 112-135). After becoming the Celestial Madonna, she took an alien plant being of the Cotati as her mate and evolved to a higher state of existence. The object was to create a child that straddled the lines between "flora and fauna, plant and animal" (1974's GIANT-SIZE AVENGERS # 4).

After leaving Marvel for DC in the mid-1970s, Steve Englehart recalled in Fantaco's AVENGERS CHRONICLES (1982) that fans were asking if this meant Mantis would never be seen again. "Feeling playful, and feeling organic as always, I decided to bring her back, in THE JUSTICE LEAGUE, complete with a disclaimer to the Atom and Aquaman: 'I can't tell you who I am. If anybody knew I was back on Earth, we'd be in big trouble!' And that went over well, and everybody knew who she was. There didn't seem to be anybody who didn't understand"other than editor Julius Schwartz "but I had explained to him what I was doing, and he said 'Okay, whatever you say!'"

While working on a Madame Xanadu mini-series about the birth of a child of evil in 1980, Englehart decided to revive Willow. "There's a sequence -- not a big one -- in that thing where the Demon -- and this in the story's previous incarnation -- or actually Jason Blood, I think goes to an island in the South Pacific and meets her, and she says, 'Yes, my name is Willow, and the gods are trying to create this child in order to combat my child who is the force of good,' and so on and so forth."

In the end, DC rejected the proposal and Englehart and Marshall Rogers ended up revamping the story. As SCORPIO ROSE, it was published by Eclipse as a three-issue arc in 1983. Issue # 2 revealed that Willow (as Lorelei) had given birth to a son and spent the last several years quietly raising the child in Connecticut.

Eventually, Englehart returned to Marvel and, with him, came Mantis. One of his assignments was a twelve-issue SILVER SURFER series that would feature Mantis and her now-seven-year-old son, Sprout. Still living a peaceful existence in Connecticut, mother and child used their powers to help the Surfer fight the Mangog. Sprout was capable of transforming himself into a mobile tree! In the end, an attraction had sprung up between the Surfer and Mantis.

Plans changed and Marvel decided that an ongoing SURFER series might be a better course of action. Working with Marshall Rogers again, Englehart eventually fit Mantis into the second draft at the end of 1987's SS # 3. In # 4, she explained that "a time of solitude has come for (Sprout), and he needs his mother not. Thus, this one reappears. And THIS time, this one lives as the Cotati do, under whatever conditions -- and she moves from world to world as surely as blood courses and sap flows."

The original version of the mid-1980s SILVER SURFER series (illustrated by John Buscema and Jack Abel) was finally published as an out-of-continuity episode in 1990's MARVEL FANFARE # 51.

posted July 30, 2000 01:16 PM

Okay. I'm back.

Did you ever find out anything about this Professor Brainstorm character, Miki? I'm as curious as you are.

Meanwhile, I'll tease you with another ten characters:

First, Mr. Know-What's submission:

121. Changeling I

And how about some western comics for a change?

122. Arizona Raines (Quality)
123. Foley of the Fighting Fifth
124. Kit Colby, Girl Sheriff
125. Minstrel Maverick
126. Overland Coach
127. Pow-Wow Smith
128. Rodeo Rick
129. Super-Chief
130. Two-Gun Lil (Quality)

How's that for a challenge?


posted July 31, 2000 07:30 PM

No luck on Professor Brainstorm yet but I'm still in pursuit.

It looks like this week's entries are going to be a tribute to my friend Mike Tiefenbacher, the former editor of THE COMIC READER and writer of several "Whatever Happened To..." stories in DC COMICS PRESENTS (Johnny Thunder & Madame .44, Detective Chimp & Rex the Wonder Dog, Prince Ra-Man & Mark Merlin, Rip Hunter, Star Hawkins & Automan).

Although I have a modest collection of DC westerns, Mike read them ALL on my behalf a few years back, providing me with raw data that I never could have accumulated on my own. I'll be tapping into that as I write up info on the western heroes that you asked about. On top of that, Mike also came through on very short notice with a synopsis of the first Changeling story, which I'd never read.

Feel free to offer your thanks to him. I know that I plan to!

And now, on with the show!

In 1947, no one had ever heard of a metagene, the theorized element that would trigger super-powers if the body was subjected to sufficient trauma. That surely must have been the case with Erik Razar, an inmate who was electrocuted while trying to shut down the prison power supply in an escape attempt. Instead, Razar found that he now possessed the ability to become any animal that he chose, whether it be an ape, tortoise, rhino, bird, elephant or shark.

The Changeling found himself opposed by the Flash and, in a desperate battle beneath the sea, the drowning Scarlet Speedster smashed his foe's shark-head against a rock before he could take the form of an octopus. Justifying his actions with the explanation that "it was him or me," the Flash recovered the Changeling's body so that scientists could determine what truly caused Razar's metamorphosis (FLASH COMICS # 84, art by E.E. Hibbard).

Whether Erik Razar was truly killed is unknown. His name and his powers, though would live on in years to come. In 1965, Tomar-Re, the Green Lantern of Xudar, found himself in opposition with a second Changeling, an energy-being that was the sole survivor of the world of Krastl. As a survival mechanism, the Changeling was forced to assume the guise of other beings and objects at regular intervals. After a Xudarian archeologist was left comatose when the Changeling took his form, Tomar-Re pursued the parasite to Earth.

There, Earth's GL, Hal Jordan, ascertained the being's weaknesses, notably the fact that it could only transform itself into an object that already existed. As the Changeling prepared to mimic a stuffed toy, Hal obliterated the object and the nuclear menace was trapped in its insubstantial true form, not unlike a mushroom cloud (GREEN LANTERN (second series) # 38, by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Sid Greene).

The 1971 death of Superman's friend, Jan Nagy, was followed by a second shock when the scientist's will made the Man of Steel the guardian of his son, Gregor. The young man reacted angrily to the news, screaming that he hated Superman. Following Gregor to his room, Superman was stunned to see him transform into a gorilla. "YOU did this to me, my guardian! YOU placed the mark of the beast on my brow ... and for that you will pay!"

As the effect wore off, Gregor revealed that his condition had been caused as a result of Metamorphon, a synthetic element created by his father. Superman rushed to prevent catastrophe when the atomic furnace containing the element ruptured. Advised that "only hydrogen can slow down and halt that runaway reaction," the Man of Steel threw the kiln into the Nagy swimming pool where, despite Superman's efforts, a nearby Gregor was affected.

He soon learned that the slightest suggestion would cause him to involuntarily take new shapes and forms. A wish to vanish turned him into an invisible man while a desire to fly from a bully transformed him into a bat. Regarding himself as a freak, Gregor became a recluse and broke up with his girlfriend, Denise.

Determined to channel Gregor's powers for good, Superman convinced the teenager to let him train him in the use of his powers. Codenamed the Changeling, Gregor soon put his talent to good use, unearthing a stolen fortune for the F.B.I. and driving away a band of poachers in Africa.

The Man of Steel's efforts seemed to have no effect and the bitter Gregor even discovered Superman's Clark Kent alias just to taunt his guardian. While tampering with switches in the Fortress of Solitude, the Changeling accidentally triggered a self-destruct mechanism in a space station and Superman was forced to make an emergency rescue.

While Superman was absent, a life-or-death call was received at the Fortress and the contrite teen wished that he had the hero's powers. On cue, the Changeling gained the power of his guardian and, wearing a Superman costume, he raced to the bottom of the sea to recover a submarine and its crew. The transformation wore off in mid-rescue and only the arrival of the genuine Man of Steel prevented total disaster.

For Gregor, though, it was too late. His body crushed by the ocean pressure, he had only enough time to gasp out his gratitude for Superman's efforts on his behalf. "At least I die -- not as a beast -- but as a man. A WHOLE man."

"Gregor ... son ..."

"You called me ... son. Thanks! I'd have been proud to have a father like you."

Dying, the Changeling made his final transformation, turning to dust in the arms of his surrogate father (ACTION COMICS # 400, by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson).

Elsewhere in the globe, there lurked a fourth Changeling, a European assassin and metamorph who ended his career as a free agent to join the international terrorist cell known as the Cartel. The assassin's costume consisted of a camouflage-style design against a gaudy orange background while his identity was concealed by a blank face-plate. The loud outfit belied the Changeling's unique abilities, which he used in March of 1980 to take the form and voice of a French crimelord and kidnap the man's daughter. Trailing the assassin and his partners to an undersea base, Wonder Woman ruptured the stronghold and the entire band of criminals was taken into custody (WONDER WOMAN # 268, by Gerry Conway, Jose Delbo and Vince Colletta).

And elsewhere, Garfield Logan was fighting his last battle with his former guardian and current super-villain, Nicholas Galtry. Weary of Galtry's taunting him with his Beast Boy codename, Logan told the reeling bad guy that "you've SPOILED that name for me. Now I gotta CHANGE it" (1982's TALES OF THE NEW TEEN TITANS # 3, by Marv Wolfman, George Perez and Gene Day). Reuniting with Wonder Girl and Robin in August of 1980, Logan insisted they "call me Changeling. 'Beast Boy' was for the birds, er ... no offense, Robin!" (NEW TEEN TITANS (first series) # 1, by Wolfman, Perez and Romeo Tanghal)

But that's another story

posted August 01, 2000 05:44 PM

I'm babysitting my niece this evening so I'm going to cover the characters I know the least about. As noted, this data comes exclusively due to the generosity of Mike T.

Arizona Raines debuted as Arizona Ames in CRACK WESTERN # 63 (1949) but was forced to change his name almost immediately (effective with # 66), presumably because famed Western novelist Zane Grey already had a character by that name. Under his revised name, Arizona continued through CRACK # 84 (1953). He had a horse named Thunder and a kid sidekick named Spurs. Spurs' horse was Calico. Art on the strip was primarily by the renowned Reed Crandall though Paul Gustavson contributed some stories, as well.

Two-Gun Lil also appeared in CRACK WESTERN # 63-84. She was Lillian Peters and frequently joined forces with her Uncle Mike Peters (no relation to the editorial/MOTHER GOOSE & GRIM cartoonist). Art on the strip was by Pete Morisi, perhaps best known as PAM on Charlton's Thunderbolt series in the 1960s.

posted August 03, 2000 08:41 PM

Rodeo Rick appeared in WESTERN COMICS # 1-27, 31-37, 39-67 and 69 (1947-1958). The creator of the character is unknown but Gardner Fox was the most prominent writer on the strip with episodes in issues # 4, 19-21, 23-27, 31-37, 39-42, 44-46, 56-67 and 69 to his credit. Also of note is a run by France Herron (# 43, 47-54). Initially illustrated by future "Anthro"-creator Howard Post (# 1-5), the art was later passed to John Lehti (# 6), Jimmy Thompson (# 7-13), Tom Cooke (# 14-39), Ramona Fradon (# 40-42), Ed Smalle, Jr. (# 43-51), Jerry Grandenetti & Joe Giella (# 52-61), Gene Colan & Bernard Sachs (# 62), Sid Greene & Bernard Sachs (# 63), Sy Barry (# 64) and Frank Giacoia (# 65-69).

In early episodes, Rick (no last name)was portrayed as a blonde with blue hat and jeans and a red shirt. By 1950, though, his appearance had stabilized and he was consistently depicted with brown hair and a white hat and shirt. He rode a horse named Comet and met the occasional "name" villain -- the Great Kazoo (# 36), the Jungle Hunter (# 47), the Black Bandana Bandit (# 65) -- amidst dozens of ordinary owlhoots of the late 1800s.

As his name indicates, Rick was a rodeo rider and a champion at that. More than one story observed that he held riding and roping records across the boards. In one cute story, Rick's stature worked against him when he learned that crooks were preying on rodeo prize-winners. The villains wouldn't strike at Rick, given his record of catching law-breakers, so he adopted an alter-ego -- the Masked Stranger -- clad in a BLACK hat and shirt (plus white domino mask) and proceeded to break his own records. Sure enough, the bandits attacked the Stranger but soon found themselves brought down by a master. After the masked man had left town, Rick returned to the rodeo circuit. At the end of the day, it was announced that he'd regained his title as "world champion cowboy."

In the final panel, Rick remarked to the reader that "catching (those bandits) wasn't half as hard as breaking all my own records TWICE in two days" (WESTERN # 58).

posted August 05, 2000 01:02 AM

Everybody had better get this clear, especially DC! Lady Quark is NOT dead! Come on, you have to admit that was a lame, stupid way for her to die and I don't buy it! Bring her back man, bring her back!

posted August 06, 2000 08:19 PM

For what it's worth, whatever her official status, I don't think she's dead either.

Another bio that owes its existence to Mike Tiefenbacher:

Katherine "Kit" Colby was the "girl sheriff" of Moonbow and relatively unique among Western strips in that her adventures took place in the present. Specifically those adventures occurred from 1949 to 1952 in JIMMY WAKELY # 1-13, 16-18. Art was by Carmine Infantino & Frank Giacoia in the first episode with subsequent issues pencilled by Giacoia (# 2-5), Gil Kane (# 6-10) and Irwin Hasen (# 11-13, 16-18). Bob Lander inked all of Kane's episodes and all but the last two of Hasen's.

Kit rode a horse named Whitey (referred to as Flash in # 1) and her supporting cast included her father, Judge Colby (in JW # 1, 3 and 8) and Deputy Jess Sayers (# 7-13, 18). She fought the Tumbleweed Kid in JW # 7 ("The Stranger From Sunburst Bend").

posted August 07, 2000 07:53 PM

From ALL-AMERICAN WESTERN # 103 to 106 (1948-1952), Tony Barrett delivered mail and packages across the Old West aboard the Overland Coach which simultaneously thwarting bandits and solving mysteries. She rarely stopped to accept accolades, though, commenting in AAW # 112 that "I'm a working girl and the Overland Coach is behind schedule now!"

Based out of Laredo, the blonde young woman, who owned as well as drove the stagecoach, wore a buckskin shirt, blue jeans and gray gloves. Tony's brother Billy, a few years her junior, appeared in some of the earlier episodes (AAW # 105, 106). Tony fought the Salinas Kid in AAW # 118.

Frank Giacoia pencilled "Overland Coach" through AAW # 113 and Gil Kane continued for the duration of the run.

posted August 08, 2000 08:34 PM

Lt. Dan Foley of the Fighting Fifth Calvary Regiment began his adventures in ALL-AMERICAN WESTERN # 103-126 (1948-1952). When that magazine was cancelled Dan joined Johnny Thunder in moving to ALL-STAR WESTERN (bumping Don Cabellero and the Roving Ranger in the process). Foley debuted in ASW # 66, Johnny in # 67. Foley remained a fixture in the book through # 115 in 1960 (missing only # 108 due to the Silver Age rewrite of Johnny's origin). The Trigger Twins made their final bows in ASW # 116 and Johnny Thunder closed out the final three issues with Super-Chief in the back-up slot.

Joe Kubert pencilled Foley for the first two years of its existence (AAW # 103-116) before handing the reins to such men as Frank Giacoia (AAW # 117, 126; ASW # 96, 99), Carmine Infantino (AAW # 118-125; ASW # 75-77), Gil Kane (ASW # 66), Irwin Hasen (ASW # 67-74, 78, 80) and Sy Barry (ASW # 82). Howard Sherman provided art for most of the series' final six years (ASW # 79, 81, 83-95, 97-98, 100-107, 109-115).

Script credits on the first few episodes are unknown so there's no identification as to who created Foley. Certainly, though, John Broome was the writer most associated with the character, generating at least 53 stories (AAW # 112-113, 115, 121, 123-126; ASW # 66, 68, 70-72, 74-80, 82-90, 92-115). Other scripters included Irv Weirstein (AAW # 106), Leo Goldsmith (AAW # 107-110), David V. Reed (AAW # 116-119), Alvin Schwartz (AAW # 120), Dave Wood (AAW # 122; ASW # 67, 69), France Herron (ASW # 73, 81) and Gardner Fox (ASW # 91).

Dan's horse was identified by name as Charger in AAW # 123 and Blaze in ASW # 94. Based at Fort Desolation, Foley reported to Colonel Henry, whose daughter Terry showed up in the early Kubert episodes (AAW # 105, 108-110) but vanished when writer Goldsmith left. Late in the run, Broome featured the Colonel's niece, Nancy, in one story (ASW # 101). Dan's partner, an Indian Scout named Wingfoot, made several appearances in ALL-AMERICAN (# 104-107, 118, 120, 121) but didn't make the move to ALL-STAR. The only other recurring character was a Broome-created inventor named Professor Phineas in ASW # 70 and 74.

Villains of note were the Highwayman (Reginald Torbin) in AAW # 104 and King Rikon in AAW # 105. The last issue of ALL-AMERICAN WESTERN (# 126) introduced a female heroine known as the Fighting Redhead.

Only one "Foley of the Fightin' 5th" story has been reprinted. The Broome-Infantino-Giella episode from AAW # 124 can be found in SUPER DC GIANT # S-15.

posted August 12, 2000 07:33 PM

In what may well be the biggest bust since the Comet Kahoutek, I have details on Professor Brainstorm. I got a copy of 1961's MY GREATEST ADVENTURE # 55 today and discovered that it (and presumably the other episode in MGA # 12) is a half-page humor strip by Hy Mankin.

The Prof wears the trademark cap and gown, glasses on the end of his nose and has curly white hair and muttonchop sideburns.

In panel one, he explains that "if I don't prove my time machine works, the university will dismiss me. ... I know! I'll make a trip to 1,000,000 BC and bring back PROOF!"

The Prof climbs into a primitive metal locker while the Dean puffs that "he'll never make it! ... The machine's stopped -- let the old fool out!"

Professor Brainstorm offers the Dean a large egg as proof but the skeptic smashes it. "An egg's an egg! YOU'RE FIRED!"

In the last panel, a newborn dinosaur licks the Dean on the face.

You've gotta admit, Super-Chief will look good after this!

posted August 13, 2000 07:31 AM

Humor strip, you said?


posted August 13, 2000 04:51 PM

ALLEGED humor strip, anyway.

Introduced in the twilight of DC's original run in the Western genre, Super-Chief was the creation of writer Gardner Fox and artist Carmine Infantino, featured in a mere three issues of ALL-STAR WESTERN in 1960-1961 (117-119) before that title was cancelled.

"In the years before white man set foot on this continent, he was the greatest warrior and mightiest hunter of the Wolf Clan of the Nations. His name, Flying Stag, was honored and revered by his people." When the Royaneh (Supreme Chief) of the Nations died, Flying Stag was dispatched to take part in a contest to name his successor.

With the young Indian's victory a certainty, several of his rivals conspired to trap him in a pit. Unable to escape, Flying Stag prayed to Father Manitou -- the Great Spirit -- to help him. His selfless plea on his tribe's behalf and his promise to sacrifice his predestined role as Royaneh by not competing in the contest did not go unnoticed.

The voice of the Manitou declared that Flying Stag would serve him. "Your strength shall be a thousand times that of the bear -- your speed greater than the swiftest deer -- your leaping prowess beyond that of the wolf! ... From this moment on you shall be called Saganowahna -- Super-Chief! A chief above all others, even above Royanehs. And yet, so that you may aid your people, you must go to the Council House and enter the contest for Royaneh of the Nations. Yet because you have sacrificed personal glory, you shall not compete as Flying Stag -- but as Super-Chief."

At Manitou's command, Super-Chief flew from the pit, found a chunk of a meteor and fashioned an amulet that he wore around his neck. Each time the rock glowed, the hero would be granted his great powers for approximately one hour. "You will soon come to a black buffalo felled by lightning. From its hide, you shall fashion leggings moccasins, and horned mask. This shall be your garb as Super-Chief."

Inevitably, Super-Chief won the contest and saved the tribes from the vengeful trio of clan chiefs that had imprisoned him earlier. Returning to his village, Flying Stag learned that his betrothed, White Fawn, had been forbidden by her father to marry him because of his failure to participate in the tournament. "Instead," she continued, "Father says he is determined that I marry Super-Chief!"

In the final two episodes, the Native American Superman also got his own version of Jimmy Olsen, White Fawn's "bratty brother Lightfoot." During a temporal crisis, Saganowahna was pulled hundreds of years forward to July of 1985. The sight of a flying Indian and his tribesman rushing towards the space shuttle in Florida was enough to draw similarly time-displaced 1940s heroine Firebrand into action. After an extended battle, Firebrand learned that the true object of Super-Chief's attack was the being inside the shuttle -- the Ultra-Humanite (ALL-STAR SQUADRON # 54-55). With Ultra's defeat and the cessation of the time disruption, Saganowahna returned to his own time period.

Long-term exposure to the meteorite gave Super-Chief a degree of immortality, allowing him to survive more than three hundred years. When last seen, Super-Chief had succumbed to dementia and was in the custody of Bat Lash. Though no longer capable of rational speech or thoughts, Saganowahna still possessed his full complement of powers for sixty minutes of each day and used that strength to smash a crystalline menace in 1872 (1989's SWAMP THING # 85).

More than a century later, the legend of Super-Chief was revisited once more. In 1997, a young Indian came into possession of the meteorite amulet and agreed to force the residents from the town of Dry Gulch to make way for a gambling resort. Superman eventually brought the new Saganowahna to justice but the circumstances behind his acquistion of the amulet and the fate of his successor remained unrevealed (ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN ANNUAL # 9).

The first Super-Chief story was reprinted in 1971's SUPERMAN # 245 and his WHO'S WHO entry appeared in WW '86 # 22.

posted August 15, 2000 05:44 PM

Obscure is right. Holy Cow.

I have a question, but, by comparison, it's an easy one. I have heard that Mark Merlin was changed in Prince Ra-Man in HOUSE OF SECRETS but I though Mark Merlin was a Golden Age feature. Are they the same?

What were his/their abilities? Where did they appear?

I guess that's really two characters I'm asking about then:

131. Mark Merlin (Golden and Silver Age or the same man?)

132. Prince Ra-Man (Mark Merlin? or someone else?)

Thanks for any replies.

posted August 17, 2000 08:29 AM

Mikishawm, thanks for the Super-Chief bio. I always liked that character.

I've thought in recent years that the name of "Super-Chief" was a takeoff on the term "Super Chief" from the world of trains. Does anyone know for sure?

Are there any train aficionados out there? The term "Super Chief" is used for big locomotives in at least two Bugs Bunny cartoons which came out some years before the DC character Super-Chief debuted. In one of them, where (I think) Bugs goes out west and encounters Yosemite Sam, there is a second or two of footage showing the front of a train. The front is labeled "Super Chief" and has a logo of a muscular Indian wearing a big headdress, cape, and on his chest a Superman symbol (or Superman-like symbol).

Does anyone know if "Super Chief" was a specific company that made trains, or the name of a line or route, or just a generic name for a big train? Any help would greatly be appreciated.

I guess it puts new meaning to the term "More powerful than a locomotive...."

posted August 17, 2000 08:34 AM

I meant to say that I didn't think that the real Super Chief trains actually had a logo patterned after Superman. I figure that was just a Looney Tunes gag, but I also figure there must have been a real Super Chief term or brand than inspired the gag. Thanks.

posted August 19, 2000 07:56 PM

Superstone -- Thanks for the fact about the Super Chief locomotive. It's possible that it did inspire the name of the hero.

Bg -- Hopefully, Mark and the Prince will be covered here tomorrow.

As for today ...

The story of Pow-Wow Smith played out in the pages of DC's comics in reverse order, beginning in the present before moving to the past. Created by Don Cameron (who wrote at least the first six episodes) and Carmine Infantino, the Indian lawman operated in 1949-1953 from DETECTIVE COMICS # 151 to 202. Infantino left after ten episodes and Leonard Starr (# 161, 163, 175-202) and Bruno Premiani (# 162, 164-174) continued as artists on the series.

In 1953, the series was relocated to WESTERN COMICS, where Julius Schwartz replaced Jack Schiff as editor with # 43. Returning to the character he'd launched was Schwartz stalwart Infantino, who pencilled (and frequently inked) the series for the duration of its WESTERN run. France Herron scripted the first half (# 43-60) while Gardner Fox wrote the latter (# 61-85).

Pow-Wow's arrival in the book was heralded on the cover, where he became the new lead feature, bumping the previous star, the Wyoming Kid, to the back of the book. Gone altogether was the Cowboy Marshal series. With Pow-Wow's second installment (# 44), the series underwent another alteration when the locale was moved back seventy years to the 1880s.

As related in WHO'S WHO '86 # 18, "Sioux Indian brave Ohiyesa ('The Winner') left Red Deer Valley and his tribe to learn more about the world of the white man. His expert skills at tracking and handling a gun enabled him to win a job as deputy sheriff ... While still a deputy, Ohiyesa was given the name Pow-Wow Smith by some townspeople. Though he used his Indian name with the tribe, he eventually began to call himself Pow-Wow when among the white men. Once he became sheriff, Pow-Wow spent most of his time living in Elkhorn, only rarely returning to Red Deer Valley."

Gardner Fox deviated from the episodic nature of Herron's scripts and began to introduce recurring characters, the first of whom was Tony Morley, the Fadeaway Outlaw. Morley debuted in WESTERN # 62 (1957) and returned in # 73 (1958). The Fadeaway Outlaw wasn't a true super-human but used a variety of tricks and disguises to make it seem that he could vanish.

WESTERN # 73 also introduced Pow-Wow's deputy, Hank Brown, who had announced his intent to resign after he married his girl friend Sally Ann. Hank refused to leave until the Fadeaway Outlaw was in custody, much to his fiancee's chagrin. On the morning of the nuptials, the villain was captured and Pow-Wow made it to the church in time to serve as best man. Hank evidently changed his mind because he became a regular within a few issues, appearing in # 76 (mis-identified as Jim Hathaway), 77 and 79-83. Sally Ann Brown popped up in # 81.

WESTERN # 78 (1959) featured a nice story about Pow-Wow's relationship with the people of Elkhorn. Young Tommy Walters, excited about his birthday party, asked the sheriff when his own birthday was. "I'm a Sioux," Pow-Wow explained. "and we don't know the exact day we are born. The closest I can get to my birth date is -- the second day after the big buffalo kill during the Month of Shedding Ponies (approximately May) in the Year of the Plenty Buffalo."

After listening to the story, Tommy's father decided to "get in touch with the territorial governor." In short order, the entire town of Elkhorn was conspiring to hold a surprise birthday party for the sheriff. When the big day arrived, the locals were on pins and needles as each new crisis threatened to take Pow-Wow away from the festivities. When he took off in pursuit of bank robbers that evening, the townspeople despaired that he'd never return in time.

With less than fifteen minutes until midnight, Pow-Wow locked the bandits in a cell only to hear dozens of voices singing "Happy Birthday" to him. He was presented with a scroll "signed by the President and Congress of the United States" that "makes you an honorary citizen of the United States and legally declares your birthday to be May 15th from now on." For the document to be binding, it had to be presented to the recipient on his designated birthday. As two of the local men raised Pow-Wow on their shoulders, the delighted sheriff proclaimed it "the most fantastic thing that ever has happened to me -- and the most wonderful!"

A footnote added that "it wasn't until 1924 that the Federal Congress passed legislation making citizens of all Indians born within the continental limiits of the U.S.A. Until then only individual Indians or tribes had been so honored."

The final four WESTERN episodes (# 82-85) introduced Ohiyesa's fiancee, Fleetfoot. Issue # 84 expanded the family further with the introduction of Pow-Wow's twin brother, Horse Hunter. According to Sioux custom, "when twins are born, one of them is given away, to avert the anger of the evil spirits. My parents gave me to the Blackfeet to raise for their own." After seeing the sheriff's picture in a newspaper, Horse Hunter deduced what had happened and travelled to Elkhorn. Had WESTERN not been discontinued with # 85 (1960), Pow-Wow's strip might well have played with some of the same plot devices as the recently discontinued "Trigger Twins" series.

WHO'S WHO '86 # 18 revealed that Ohiyesa and Fleetfoot eventually married and that the Pow-Wow who appeared in DETECTIVE # 151-202 was their namesake descendant. "This Ohiyesa attended college in the east, then returned to Red Deer Valley, seeking to bring his tribe into the wondrous 20th Century. He too became a lawman and took the name Pow-Wow Smith, but he continued to live in Red Deer Valley."

The early 1970s saw a minor Western revival at DC and ten separate Pow-Wow Smith episodes were reprinted, most notably 1970's ALL-STAR WESTERN # 1, which was virtually a Pow-Wow solo book (reprinting WESTERN # 80 and 73). Other reprints appeared in ALL-STAR # 8, 9 and 11, DC SPECIAL # 6, SUPER DC GIANT # S-15, TRIGGER TWINS # 1 and WEIRD WESTERN # 12.

The modern-day Pow-Wow returned in 1980s DETECTIVE COMICS # 500 alongside several other crimefighters from the title's long history. The episode, by Len Wein and Jim Aparo, was a rewrite on an old Batman yarn ("The Case Batman Failed To Solve" from BATMAN # 14) in which multiple detectives joined forces to solve the murder of an associate.

Pow-Wow's 19th Century incarnation missed making an appearance in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS but he did manage to turn up with many of DC's other 1870s Western heroes in 1991's ARMAGEDDON: THE ALIEN AGENDA # 3.

Most recently, Chuck Dixon and Eduardo Barreto featured a possibly third-generation Pow-Wow ("It's United States Marshal Smith now.") in 1997's ROBIN ANNUAL # 6. In a cute sequence, Smith astonished the modern counterpart of Nighthawk by looking at tire tracks and determining that the fugitive 20th Century Trigger Twins "came off the interstate a few miles north. '78 Cadillac Eldorado. Oklahoma plates. Stolen back in Tulsa."

"You can tell that from SIGN ?"

"It's in the Texas Rangers' report."

Pow-Wow and Nighthawk eventually ended up in Gotham, meeting Sheriff "Shotgun" Smith ("No RELATION, I reckon."), Robin and the Huntress before the Triggers were taken into custody.

posted August 20, 2000 03:06 PM

In June of 1959, the Flash had his third consecutive clash with Gorilla Grodd (FLASH # 108), Superman encountered Bizarro (ACTION # 255) and Mister Mxyzptlk (SUPERMAN # 131), Batman and Robin journeyed to seventeenth-century Venice (BATMAN # 125) while Supergirl met Tommy Tomorrow in the future (ACTION # 255), Speedy began moonlighting from his regular role as Green Arrow's partner (ADVENTURE # 263), the Challengers of the Unknown thwarted "the plot to destroy Earth" (COTU # 9) and Wonder Woman quashed an alien campaign against her (WW # 108). Deep in outer space, Adam Strange defeated the robot raiders of Vor Kan (MYSTERY IN SPACE # 53) and Abin Sur embarked on what was to be his final mission as a Green Lantern (flashback in GL # 16). And, in the city of Closter, an occult investigator named Mark Merlin reassured a client that her house was NOT haunted (HOUSE OF SECRETS # 23).

In the pilot episode, Mark explained to the reader that "there are three types of cases I receive ... the most common one being 'supernatural' events which have a perfectly natural explanation." Second most frequent was "man-made ... created, as a rule, in order to perpetrate a hoax." And then there were the instances that Mark categorized in his "Question Mark File." As an example of the latter, he cited the gargantuan amoeba-like creatures that he'd fought and buried in a cavern in Ridgely Hills.

"A Mark Merlin Mystery" became a fixture in HOUSE OF SECRETS, pencilled by Mort Meskin and, with issue # 25, inked by George Roussos. For every hoax that Mark and his assistant Elsa exposed, there seemed to be ten genuine supernatural occurances that they uncovered. From other-dimensional fishmen who gave Mark temporary aquatic powers (HoS # 46) to a marauding extraterrestrial creature (HoS # 51) to condemned spirits (HoS # 62), there was never a dull moment. Mark defended himself with a variety of potions and spells, plus a "magic eye" talisman and the ability to levitate himself.

The arrival of writer Jack Miller to the series brought new details to light. In HoS # 56 (1962), Mark's uncle, the Mighty Merlin, died and the young investigator inherited his mansion on Mystery Hill. The story was altered in HoS # 58, wherein the Mighty Merlin's death was established as occuring when Mark was in college. Elsa was retroactively revealed to have been the Mighty Merlin's assistant. After his uncle was slain by the Council of Three, Mark decided to look into the case only to have the villains die of unexplained causes. Elsa speculated that the Council might have met their end through occult forces and Mark decided to make the investigation of such mysteries his life's work.

In issue # 60, Mark was caught up in sinister doings tied to the American tour of the Sarubian tomb of Pharaoh Memkata. The Pharaoh had been said to take the form of a black cat by using a charm now buried somewhere in the tomb. After the exhibit was threatened by a curse, Mark entered the transplanted burial chamber in search of the alleged charm. To his amazement, he found it -- a small cat's head with jeweled eyes.

The light of his flashlight against the jewels sent a sudden surge of energy through the investigator and Mark shook off the effects only to find himself looking down on his own body. Incredibly, his mind now inhabited the form of a black cat. Crawling onto his human body, Mark determined that "it's in a trance -- there's a heartbeat, faint and terribly slow -- but it's alive ... which means I can reverse this fantastic exchange." With Elsa impersonating Memkata's wife, Cletoma, the black cat walked towards the instigator of the would-be terrorist plot -- Sarubia's Ambassador Fazir -- and scratched out a message in their ancient tongue. When translated, it read "Fazir is the criminal. He has brought shame upon me -- Memkata."

In the aftermath, Mark kept the cat charm for himself, telling Elsa that "with magic like this, I could fight the forces of evil better than ever. But does ANY man have the right to use such great power ?" The answer, of course, was a resounding yes. With the artifact hanging around his neck, Mark entered the form of Memkata on several subsequent occasions while Elsa watched over his true body (HoS # 61, 63, 65, 68-70). Periodically, Mark even seemed capable of speaking in his feline persona (HoS # 65, 70) though this was presumably a type of telepathic projection.

HoS # 61 introduced Mark's chief nemesis, Doctor-7, a self-styled "King of the Supernatural" who imagined the occult investigator to be his only competition. Initially, much of the villain's reputation was founded on trickery (# 65) but he did possess genuine occult knowledge and drew a being known as the Morloo to Earth. From changing granite to gold to altering the make-up of human beings, the Morloo was an almost unstoppable threat that Mark and Elsa narrowly succeeded in expelling from Earth on three occasions (# 67, 68, 72).

The complexion of the series began to change with 1965's HoS # 72, when original Spectre artist Bernard Baily replaced the Meskin-Roussos art team.

In HoS # 73, The Gargoyle (alias Nicholas Balko), an old foe of Mark's (though never seen previously) kidnapped Elsa and seemed to dematerialize him. In fact, Mark had been transported to the subatomic world of Ra, home to a race whose descendants came there 4,000 years earlier from Egypt. The planet orbited a hexagon-like green sun.

Informed by a scientist named Kranak and his daughter Rinah that the properties of the other-dimensional world would render him immortal -- but incapable of leaving --Mark sought a way out by using his cat charm to inhabit an obsidian statue of a cat-god. A token representing Ra's sun fell next to Mark's insensate body and exploded, imbuing him with great knowledge and mental abilities. Thanks to his new powers, Mark could finally return to Earth -- but not without losing body and soul. Instead, Kranak transformed the young man into Prince Ra-Man, modelled after a legendary ruler of the ancient Egypt. His costume included a light green shirt, dark green pants and an orange cape.

Elsa was astonished when she was rescued by the stranger with the black hair (streaked with white) and goatee. Her elation turned to grief when Prince Ra-Man informed her that Mark was gone. For reasons of his own, Ra-Man offered no further details and Elsa could only conclude that her fiance (since HoS # 68) was dead.

Although she was unaware that Ra-Man was something of a reincarnation of Mark, Elsa initially trusted the so-called Mind-Master, and accepted his claim to be the occult investigator's heir to the Mystery Hill retreat. Together they completed Mark's last case, the investigation of a supernatural fraud named Zandor Caldoz (HoS # 74), and faced foes such as the Heap (# 75), Helio, the Sun-Demon (# 76), the Vulkanti (# 77) and Lord Leopard (# 78). After learning of Bruce Gordon's connection to Eclipso, Ra-Man even fought the lunar villain twice (# 76, 79).

A wealthy dabbler in the occult named Whitney Hargrave harbored resentment of Ra-Man's clearly superior abilities for a time (HoS # 78) but eventually conceded that the Prince was the better man and became his friend (# 79). Meanwhile, Ra-Man had also discovered that he could magically travel back and forth between Earth and Ra (# 75) and made two subsequent trips there in 1966 (# 77, 80), renewing the world's dying green sun on his last journey.

The Mind-Master was primarily a powerful telekinetic though he had a certain sensitivity to the thoughts of others. He was also capable of briefly altering matter and was transported by enlarging the sun symbol from Ra into a flying disc. Significantly, Ra-Man still possessed Mark's cat charm and used it one fateful day to enter Memkata's body and defeat Doctor-7. Returning to Mystery Hill, Memkata could not locate Ra-Man's body, unwittingly hidden in one of the Mighty Merlin's trick cabinets, and he gradually began to lose his memory of his human incarnation.

Ra-Man's disappearance brought all of Elsa Magusson's old suspicions back to life and she eventually wrote a book about her experience, postulating that Mark may have been hidden by the Witness Protection Program since his "last case had brought him in contact with international crime-figures."

While foraging for food, Memkata happened to spot one of Elsa's interviews being broadcast on a TV in an appliance story window and his foggy memories were partially rekindled. The cat successfully located the woman, who used Mark's magic eye artifact to help Ra-Man communicate with her. Returning to Mystery Hill, Elsa tapped into her knowledge of the Mighty Merlin's tricks to find Ra-Man's body. The grateful prince realized that she deserved to know the truth and finally revealed the complete story of Mark's fate. Elsa's faint hope for her fiance's return had been extinguished (1981's DC COMICS PRESENTS # 32, by Mike Tiefenbacher, Alex Saviuk and Vince Colletta).

The "Whatever Happened To ... ?" episode added a few new details to the series, including Elsa's last name (Magusson) and the identity of their hometown (Cloister). The story actually represented Tiefenbacher's second draft of a Merlin/Ra-Man revival. In the original plot, rejected because it was much too long to fit into the 8 page format, the story had reached a happy ending, with Mark miraculously revived and reunited with Elsa. Instead, Tiefenbacher could only hope for a sequel in which Mark finally returned.

It wasn't to be. Instead, the profile of DC's answer to Doctor Strange had only been raised high enough to qualify him for victim status in issue # 12 of 1985's CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. Mirroring Mark's 1962 battle with an other-dimensional shadow creature (HoS # 57), Prince Ra-Man joined the war against the Anti-Monitor's Shadow-Demons. Above New Orleans, the Egyptian prince was torn in two by the monsters. In Cloister, Elsa found herself in mourning once more.

Today Mark Merlin's name lives on through the Merlin's Lair nightclub in Midway City (DAY OF JUDGMENT # 1) but he and Ra-Man have otherwise gone unseen in the current DC Universe save for cameos in Elseworlds -- CONJURERS # 3 for Mark, DC CHALLENGE # 9 & 12 for Prince Ra-Man. 1999's DCU VILLAINS SECRET FILES # 1 briefly referred to "Dr. 7, whose talent lies with communicating with ghosts, is rumored to have been corrupted by the great beyond."

During the fifteen years between Ra-Man's appearances in HOUSE OF SECRETS and DC COMICS PRESENTS, Mark Merlin appeared in reprints in 1968's HOUSE OF MYSTERY # 174 and 1971-1972's PHANTOM STRANGER # 15, 16, 18 and 19. Although the latter reprinted the pilot (in PS # 15) and the first Memkata story (PS # 19), one can't help but ponder the missed opportunity of not running a story with Doctor-7, who was a twin to the Phantom Stranger's own foe Tannarak. And, boy, wouldn't it have been cool to see a BRAVE & BOLD with Batman and Prince Ra-Man (or Mark Merlin) taking on Catwoman ?

posted August 20, 2000 03:54 PM

An extremely minor shade of an appearance of Prince Ra-Man was in the recent JSA #15. His tombstone was seen on the Fallen Heroes Graveyard on page 21.


posted August 21, 2000 01:06 PM

Thanks, Mikishawm and Hellstone.

At least I know a litle more about this character now.

I think I must have confused HOUSE OF SECRETS' Mark Merlin with Fred Guardineer's Merlin from the original NATIONAL COMICS (Quality Comics Group).

Thanks for the summaries on these characters in general. Pow-Wow Smith is character I have seen stories of but this kind of mini-history really makes the characters come alive. Of course, it also makes me want to mortgage my house to buy back issues so it's not a completely good thing. But I will exercise restraint.

Thanks for posting.

I, for one, am still reading.

posted August 25, 2000 02:46 PM

But I might be the only one. . .

If anyone is out there still I have a few more questions.

How about Kong the Untamed? (1970's character. I remember seeing the comic once but what was it? Was it any good?)

And I just read that there was a heroine in the Golden Age called Huntress who appeared in SENSATION COMICS. Is she the same as the villainess that later married the Sportsmaster? Who was she and how was she different from the modern DC Huntresses?

Thanks for any info.

posted August 25, 2000 05:14 PM

I've put Kong and the Huntress on my agenda for the weekend. The SENSATION Huntress, by the way, was a Wildcat foe and, yes, the future wife of the Sportsmaster.

posted August 26, 2000 09:02 PM

Hungry and cold, the young blonde boy passed through the snow and crept into the cave where the clan of Cro-Magnons slept. It would mean his death if any of the tribe was awakened, particularly the sadistic chieftain Trog. Luck was with the boy and he escaped with a flaming torch and a mammoth bone to act as fuel. Kong and his mother would not freeze this night.

Attu, the child's mother, was thunderstruck. "You went to the sacred fire! If Trog had CAUGHT you -- he is as the beasts! He has no heart! You know that! You knew, and STILL you went. The spirit of Kong DOES live within you. One day, you WILL be a mighty warrior. May the gods grant that you may LIVE to see that day."

One of several non-super-hero titles launched in 1975, KONG THE UNTAMED came from the editorial office of Joe Orlando. The text page in issue # 1 related the short-lived run of ANTHRO from the late 1960s and observed that "the fall 1974 TV schedule proved that cavemen and prehistoric monsters are back in fashion, so we decided it was time to try another magazine devoted to that theme. And, rather than just redo Anthro, we decided to try an all new series," with Jack Oleck writing scripts and Alfredo Alcala provided exquisite artwork. Berni Wrightson drew issue # 1's cover.

The star of the comic book was to be "an adult caveman, the chief of a tribe of the emerging Cro-Magnons. To make him an interesting person, we began to think about his family, his childhood, and the social system that he lived under. But as we grew more and more involved in the structure of his youth, we decided that the tale of growing up in prehistoric days deserved more than a cursory telling."

The youth had been born in the shadow of a battle between his mother's tribe and a rival clan of Beast Men (the neanderthals). An hour behind the conflict, Attu went into labor, praying to the moon goddess Lural that she might bear "a man child that I may be honored by my people." Her prayer was answered and Attu gave birth to a boy.

Resuming her trek, she caught up with her tribe only to be informed by their leader, Trog, that the infant be taken away. Magl, the shaman, had noted the child's hair, blonde in contrast to the common black and brown, and recalled a legendary "strange tribe of great fighting men" who were "led by a yellow hair. A mighty warrior called Kong. And Attu's child was born while the goddess Lural showed her full face. The spirit of Kong may live anew within him. All life comes from Lural. If she has given him Kong's spirit, he will be a mighty warrior. A hunter, and unbeatable in battle."

The sorcerer had said too much. Trog had no desire to harbor a youth that might one day defeat him. When Attu protested his attempt to crush the baby's skull, Trog exiled mother and son from the tribe. "I'd kill you where you lie were it not that female blood would steal the strenth from my axe." A curse from the shaman effectively made them pariahs.

Attu christened her son Kong in recognition of the prophetic story. They spent the next several years in seclusion, ostracized by any of their people that they approached. While foraging for food one day, Kong was captured by Gurat, a member of his clan's tribal enemies, the Beast Men. Gurat bound the youngster and slashed at his body with his knife, anticipating that the scent of his blood would draw animals and inflict an ugly death on Kong.

Kong outwitted his captor, escaping while Gurat slept, luring him into a boar pit and thrusting a spear into his chest. Attu imagined that the death of a Beast Man would put them back in the good graces of the clan but Trog simply sneered and denounced them as liars. Kong returned to the pit to find evidence but was captured himself by an entire tribe of Beast Men.

Against Trog's will, Attu raided the camp and freed her son -- suffering grievous spear wounds in the process. Kong left Attu in a cave while he went in search of medicinal herbs but returned to find the horrific sight of his mother's tortured corpse. Trog had vowed to kill Attu if she pursued her son and he made good on the threat. A grief-stricken Kong denounced Lural for giving him golden hair and making him an outcast. Trog, he promised, would pay with his life (KONG # 1).

While throwing stones at wolves, Kong witnessed sparks when two of the stones collided. After experimenting with an assortment of rocks, the boy found two that would start a fire. The flames did more than warm him, though. They also attracted the Bear People, who placed Kong in a cavern to serve as a sacrifice.

The boy was astonished to find himself rescued by Gurat, who had survived the earlier spear attack. His motive: "A whelp who dared defy ME deserves better than to die like some insect caught in a spider's web." The duo fought off an attack by a bear and fled, Gurat now as much an outcast as Kong.

Ultimately, the Beast Men captured Gurat, whom they proclaimed "an evil spirit" and sentenced to death. Kong, because of his "magic" ability to create fire, was free to go. The boy refused to leave, threatening to "call down fire from the sky to destroy you all" as he held two stones aloft. "I am an evil spirit. It makes no difference to me whether you live or become ashes." The bluff succeeded and Gurat was permitted to depart with Kong. "When we fought the bear," the Beast Man noted, "our blood mingled. That makes us brothers" (# 2).

When Trog's tribe was forced to flee its meal thanks to an attacking sabretooth, Gurat and Kong decided to help themselves to the food -- only to captured when the clan returned. They were sentenced to death and hung over a volcanic pit but the sight of a full moon gave the shaman pause. He cautioned Trog against incurring the wrath of Lural by slaying Kong. The chief offered an alternative. The boy would be welcomed back into the clan if he killed Gurat with a spear. Kong took the weapon, rushed towards the Beast Man ... and cut his bonds.

The rescue coincided with the eruption of the volcano, surely creating a new legend about the wrath of Lural. Gurat and Kong didn't wait around, though. They entered the same series of caverns where the sabretooth had been seen earlier. When they emerged, the blood brothers found themselves in a lush, green valley. The threat of Kong and Gurat's human enemies paled beside the giant lizards -- some of whom could fly -- that they found here (# 3). It's entirely possible that the cavemen had stumbled through a portal into the other-dimensional land that would be known in the 20th Century by names such as Mikishawm and Skartaris.

Gerry Conway had scripted KONG # 3 over Jack Oleck's plot and assumed full writing chores with # 4. Tony Caravana and Jo Ingente provided art for # 4 while David Wenzel and Bill Draut drew # 5. The final two-parter concerned a female-dominated tribe in the lost land who were commanded by Jelenna, the tyrannical priestess of the goddess Dra. Kong met the clan when Rolen, one of the males, thrust a spear into Gurat, who plunged in a river and was left for dead.

Gurat had been discovered by another tribe, one that was even more advanced than the Dra clan. These warriors had built elaborate tree-houses, created bows and arrows and even domesticated pterodactyls (whom they called the Lanktor), equipping them with saddles and riding them like horses. The commander of the Lanktor was a man named Errus.

Meanwhile, Kong came to terms with Gurat's death and prodded Rolen to rebel against the leadership of Jelenna. Rolen denounced Dra as a false goddess and demanded that the men of the tribe rise up in rebellion. The agitator was bashed on the head by his bethrothed and, to Kong's orror, burned to death as a sacrifice to Dra. Kong was spared a similar fate thanks to the arrival of Gurat, Errus and others, all astride the flying lizards. A rain of flaming spears and arrows left the Valley of Blood in ruins.

Kong's story ended with the fifth issue, his life commemorated only in a write-up in WHO'S WHO '86 # 12 and a mention in HISTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE # 1.

posted August 27, 2000 09:40 AM

I always felt Kong would be a suitable ancestor of Aquaman. Parts of their origins are the same - yellow-haired child that must be banned from society or else it will bring disaster. And the valley with dinosaurs could very well be a part of Skartaris - a world with close ties to Atlantis...


posted August 27, 2000 09:59 AM

Okay, with Kong as #133 and the Huntress being #134, the list is continued with some more villains...

135. The Duke of Deception
136. The Evil Eight
137. Executrix
138. Grockk, the Devil's Son
139. Professor Davis
140. Smashing Sportsman


posted August 27, 2000 04:37 PM

Thanks for mentioning the possible ties between Kong and Aquaman & Atlantis, which had occurred to me, too. Of course, KONG took place so many millennia ago that the whole JLA could be descended from him.

In mid-1947, Wildcat was tracked down and imprisoned in a private zoo by a woman in a yellow tiger-skin costume named The Huntress. The brunette had decided to turn the tables on those who would throw criminals in jail. Her targets included not only costumed crimefighters but law enforcement heads and high-ranking bureaucrats. Unlike her other captives, though, Wildcat broke loose, becoming "the only man who has ever escaped the traps of the Huntress" and gaining her lasting enmity (SENSATION COMICS # 68, art by Mort Meskin).

The Huntress displayed proficiency in a wide range of weapons, ranging from the bow and arrow to shotguns to knives. Her knowledge of plant and animal life was also uncanny. She was capable of training creatures as varied as elephants and falcons to obey her and once used a serpentine jungle vine in an attempt to strangle Wildcat.

For her next outing, the Huntress hoping to reap a fortune by betting against heavyweight champion Ted Grant and replacing him with a double to guarantee that he lost. The villainess was unaware that, by kidnapping Grant's manager "Stretch" Skinner, she'd draw the attention of Wildcat. The Huntress was pleased to tangle with the hero again, noting that "You've caught me twice -- only to lose me twice! What will the outcome be this time, Wildcat ?" It was, once more, a draw. Wildcat and Stretch escaped the villainess' ship and swam for shore, leaving the Huntress behind as they raced for the sports arena. Her face hidden behind a veil, she watched as Grant won the bout and then slipped into the crowds (SENSATION # 71, by Bob Kanigher and Gil Kane).

The Huntress' clashes with Wildcat continued into 1948 with consecutive encounters early in the year (SENSATION # 75 and 76). Her reputation had grown sufficiently to be invited into the Injustice Society. In a competition to determine who would lead the group, the Huntress stole nothing less than Plymouth Rock, nearly defeating the Atom and the Flash in the process (ALL-STAR COMICS # 41). Despite the disappointing turn of events, the Huntress' time with the rogues would have lasting consequences. A mutual attraction had sprung up between the evil sportswoman and fellow member Lawrence "Crusher" Crock -- the Sportsmaster.

In August of 1948, the Huntress and her gang made another attack on Ted Grant, this time intending to kidnap both him and his latest contender, Mike Bailey, and hold them for ransom. Wildcat narrowly escaped decapitation to bring the villainess to justice once more (DC 100-PAGE SUPER-SPECTACULAR # 6, art by Chet Kozlak). She and the Sportsmaster joined the Injustice Society again in February of 1949, capturing most of the Justice Society. Several former members of the All-Star Squadron and the JSA -- including Wildcat -- were recruited to help defeat the villains (STARMAN # 62).

By 1966, the Sportsmaster and Huntress had married, gaining the joint nickname of Mr. and Mrs. Menace. "It's a perfect partnership," Crock declared. "I plan the spectacular capers -- "

" -- and I catch the costumed heroes who try to interfere," his bride concluded.

The Huntress planned to reestablish her underworld prison and stock it with costumed "trophies." She lured Wildcat out of retirement and made him the first prisoner. During a series of raids on Federal City, she vowed to make the local heroes, Black Canary and Starman, the next members of her "super-hero menagerie." Instead, the two heroes managed to coordinate their efforts so that Mr. and Mrs. Menace were caught in their own trap (THE BRAVE & THE BOLD # 62, by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson).

The evil couple renewed their ties with the Injustice Society in 1975 (JLA # 123-124) and formed a partnership with the Thorn in 1978 (ALL-STAR COMICS # 72-73, by Paul Levitz, Joe Staton and Bob Layton & Joe Giella). In the latter, the Huntress stalked her heroic young namesake through the rooms of the Justice Society headquarters, vowing to kill the woman who "stole my name." Helena Wayne, the new Huntress, finally got the better of her predecessor, goading the villainess into standing "beneath her own trap."

"Just for the record," Green Lantern concluded. "I think this establishes who has the right to the name."

On Earth-One, two months before the publication of SHOWCASE # 62, Aquaman and Mera were called in by the U.S. government to investigate O.G.R.E.'s interest in an island resort in the Caribbean. Stalking the aquatic duo was another romantic couple, a rough-hewn muscleman known as Typhoon and an attractive brunette dubbed the Huntress, who wore a yellow leopard-spotted bikini and wielded a spear gun.

Capturing the Huntress, Aquaman and Mera learned that she and her lover were pawns of O.G.R.E., forced to their bidding because of the threat of an explosive "liquidation cell" implanted in their bodies. Believing he finally had the upper hand on O.G.R.E.'s Supreme One (clad in a black hood and robe), Aquaman invaded his crab-like saucer and dismantled the liquidation switch -- but was taken captive.

Aquaman learned that O.G.R.E. had been contracted by a foreign government to retrieve a forgotten cache of nuclear missiles beneath the island, an arsenal that they'd use to blackmail the United States. The Supreme One had reckoned without Mera, who drafted the Huntress, Typhoon and divers from the U.S. Navy to take on the Supreme One and his partners. The case was closed when the Huntress led Aquaman to the Supreme One's headquarters within the island's resort. The removal of the black hood revealed the hotel manager, who'd been kidnapping guests and forcing them to act on his behalf under penalty of death (1966's AQUAMAN # 26, by Bob Haney and Nick Cardy).

Rumors abound that the reformation of O.G.R.E.'s initial pair of agents didn't take and that Typhoon later assumed a new alias. In any event, a Sportsmaster and Huntress surfaced on Earth-One in 1976, looking identical to their Golden Age counterparts. The Sportsmaster had discovered a treasure at the base of a Mexican pyramid but neither he nor his wife possessed the athletic proficiency necessary to evade the traps that lined the trail. They abducted Batgirl and Robin and forced them into a competition, culminating with a race to claim the treasure. The Dynamite Duo turned the tables on their captors and captured the bickering husband and wife (BATMAN FAMILY # 7, by Elliot S. Maggin, Curt Swan and Vince Colletta).

Mr. and Mrs. Menace had escaped to their suburban home within three months but the Huntress was fed up. Declaring that "super-villains never win," she announced her intention to become a heroine. The Sportsmaster was aghast and suggested a "'friendly' baseball game" of heroes and villains. "If your team wins, you switch to being a crimefighter ... if mine comes out ahead -- and I'm sure it will -- you stick with me."

Using unexplained technology, several heroes were teleported to New York's Crandall Stadium, forced to participate rather than risk the lives of the literally captive audience of some sixty-six thousand people. Despite a plethora of dirty tricks from Sportsmaster and his team, good triumphed over evil. As the teams were teleported away, a gloating Huntress sneered, "Well, big shot! I TOLD you the heroes would win" (DC SUPER-STARS # 10, by Bob Rozakis, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin). Her subsequent career as a heroine, if it ever materialized, remains undocumented.

The Earth-Two Huntress participated in the Great Crisis of 1985 (CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS # 9-10) and her history was elaborated on in the unified timeline that materialized in its wake -- beginning in May of 1942. As the Tigress, she first surfaced on the last page of 1987's YOUNG ALL-STARS # 6, wearing a familiar tiger-skin outfit, albeit with longer hair and a domino mask. She displayed her skill with the crossbow in YAS # 7 but didn't meet the All-Star Squadron face-to-face until # 9 (by Roy & Dann Thomas, Brian Murray and Malcolm Jones III).

She identified herself as an eighteen-year-old college student named Paula Brooks who had idolized big game hunter Paul Kirk since childhood and immediately recognized him as the costumed hero Manhunter. "I spent hours and hours practicing with the bow and arrow, so I could be like you -- only a specialist. I studied jujitsu, too -- with my folks' Japanese gardener." She created a unique "crossbow-gun" and took the alias of the Tigress in the hope that Manhunter would "sponsor me for membership in the All-Star Squadron."

After distinguishing herself during the All-Star Squadron's battle with Baron Blitzkrieg on May 9, 1942, the Tigress was voted a provisional member of the team on May 11 (YAS # 9), serving actively with its sub-group, the Young All-Stars, over the next month (YAS # 11-19, 21-23; ANNUAL # 1). On June 11, during a clash with a Nazi agent known as the Horned Owl, the Tigress was thrust through a billboard and mortally wounded by debris that pierced her chest (# 23).

Later that evening, as Squadron member "Iron" Munro raised his hands to kill the Owl's leader, Ubermensch, the valkyrie Gudra begged Munro to spare the villain. In exchange, she restored the Tigress to life, warning that "the journey beyond Earth's ramparts can leave no one untouched" (# 25). The following day, the Tigress rose from her hospital bed in a state of dementia and severed her ties with the All-Stars. She was last seen in the company of Gudra (# 26).

By 1945, the Tigress still retained a tenuous hold on her heroic past thanks to the intervention of Paul Kirk, who took the young woman as his partner. Neither Manhunter or the Tigress was averse to using a machine gun and Paula also proved adept with a flamethrower, using one to destroy a demonically altered Nazi who threatened Wildcat and Hawkman (1999's THRILLING COMICS # 1, by Chuck Dixon and Russ Heath). During their subsequent battle against the forces of Stalker, one might even infer that Paul and Paula were romantically involved, given the Tigress' reference to Manhunter as "lover" (ALL-STAR COMICS (second series) # 2).

As the decade wore on, the Huntress, a criminal believed to be Paula Brooks, became a foe of Wildcat. Indeed, most of her previous history remains intact, with stories such as ALL-STAR COMICS # 41 and BRAVE & BOLD # 62 being specifically reaffirmed (in SECRET ORIGINS # 25 and STARMAN ANNUAL # 2, respectively). It could even be argued that AQUAMAN # 26 and BATMAN FAMILY # 7 are part of the current chronology, involving either the original Huntress and Sportsmaster or their daughter and an unnamed lover.

The daughter in question was named Artemis, after the goddess of the hunt. The arrow-wielding Artemis joined Injustice, Unlimited in late 1986 (INFINITY, INC. # 34, by Roy & Dann Thomas, Todd McFarlane and Tony DeZuniga) and freed her parents from the Empire State Detention Center soon after (# 35). Unfortunately, the Crock family made the mistake of attacking Green Lantern's daughter, Jade, and a smitten Solomon Grundy slammed the entire trio with one blow (# 36).

Outside of regular DCU continuity, James Robinson and Paul Smith featured the Tigress in 1993's THE GOLDEN AGE. In August of 1948, Paula Brooks was granted amnesty for her crimes in return for her allegiance to Tex Thompson's newly created anti-communism force (THE GOLDEN AGE # 2). After learning that Thompson was actually the ruthless Ultra-Humanite (# 3), Brooks joined other heroes on January 8, 1950 in opposing him and his allies. Traumatized by the deaths of her lover, Lance Gallant, and friends such as Miss America and the Sportsmaster in the ensuing conflict, Paula returned to crime and, by 1955, was reported to have "made the F.B.I.'s most wanted list" (# 4).

Chronologically, the Huntress has made no further recent appearances though Artemis continues to make her presence known in titles such as INFINITY, INC. # 51-53 and, as the new Tigress, in YOUNG JUSTICE # 23-24 and JSA # 9-10).

posted August 28, 2000 07:47 AM

Wasn't it speculated that Paula/Tigress/Huntress was the daughter of an even earlier Tigress? The Zatara foe from ACTION #1? Has that been confirmed in any way?


posted August 28, 2000 02:13 PM

Thanks for the replies on Kong and Huntress.

Somehow I got the mistaken impression that the Huntress my friend was talking about in SENSATION was a heroine.

Turns out it was just old sourpuss, huh?

(Not that I'd say that to her face, mind you. )


I know who the Duke of Deception is but I doubt I can do the subject justice, Hellstone. He was a former Wonder Woman foe and one of th henchmen of Mars (as Ares was called in those days).

As you might expect, his specialty was cunning and deceit, the natural causes of war. He was a sort of provocateur for Mars in early stories, tricking people and nations to fight amongst themselves.

He also fought Wonder Woman solo a few times, I believe.

I'm sure someone has a complete dossier on the devious rascal coming right up!

posted August 28, 2000 05:12 PM

It's not impossible but I tend to doubt that Zatara's foe and Paula Brooks are mother and daughter. Based on the brief recitation of Paula's background, I got the impression that her parents were a fairly affluent but otherwise ordinary couple. The appendix in WHO'S WHO '87 # 5 explicitly stated that "neither Artemis nor the first Huntress are related to the original Tigress, a foe of Zatara."

Zatara fought the first Tigress in ACTION # 1 (check your MILLENNIUM EDITION), 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 22, 23, 25, 30, 35 and 42, the last of which came out in the fall of 1941. She was also seen in a panel of Zatara's history in SECRET ORIGINS # 27.

posted September 02, 2000 03:24 PM

Marty Baxter's world came crashing down when he learned that he had arthritis. The young baseball star now found it "impossible ... to swing a bat" and was absorbed in his problems as he sat in the stands watching the 1967 World Series that he'd otherwise have been playing in. Struck in the back by a black sphere, Baxter leaped to his feet with a stunning discovery: "My arthritis pain -- gone! I feel like a new man -- bursting with power!"

His euphoria lasted only a moment before resentment set in. The metal railing in front of Marty crumpled between his fingers as he lunged from the stands. "I'll make the sports world pay for what they did to me! I'm going to smash DOWN the stadium!" To the astonished baseball players, he screamed, "DOWN WITH ALL SPORTS!"

The transformation of Marty Baxter was not unique and the Justice Society of America was soon summoned to investigate the case of the Smashing Sportsman and three other menaces around the globe. Wildcat and Robin, the newest member of the JSA, were convinced that the Sportsman's next target would be Mexico's Cortez Stadium, site of the upcoming Pan-American games and directly in the path of Baxter's string of demolished arenas.

Sure enough, the Smashing Sportsman was there, now clad in a green body suit with a triangular black design on his chest, stomach and back and matching ebony boots that arched up to his thighs. The two heroes soon found themselves outclassed. The Sportsman had lung power strong enough to blow all the water out of a swimming pool and made the ground quake with the wave of his arm. He spun Wildcat and Robin in circles -- one in each hand -- and sent them flying. Though the heroes' punches had no effect on Baxter, his blows eventually battered them into unconsciousness.

"Maybe I ought to take your places in the Justice Society. A trade like they make in the major leagues. Me -- for you two has-beens. Or maybe I'll start my own gang. Whatever that black sphere was -- it just about made me invincible!"

The other members of the JSA met with similar results and, as they licked their wounds, Johnny Thunder sent his Thunderbolt to battle the rogues. When the pink lightning bolt returned declaring that "I've met my match," Johnny asked T-bolt to summon the Justice League for a fresh perspective. The JLA, however, had just fallen victim to another quartet of black sphere-enhanced villains.

Finally, the Thunderbolt used his magic to learn the marauders' secret: "The black spheres came from a universe in which they evolved -- in positive time -- to a peak, at which point they became the ultimate in super-intelligent life. They then started to devolve rapidly -- in negative time -- losing their intelligence. To escape their doom, they sought out another universe still on positive time -- ours -- in order to maintain and even increase their super-powers. Because time was short, they had to hurl themselves at random into our universe, hoping at least some of them would make contact with the highest of all life-forms -- human beings -- and be absorbed into their bodies. But only four of them made the vital contact. The remainder evidently perished."

While the spheres incubated, their hosts were induced into acting on their darkest desires and becoming criminals. "Eventually, when the four alien super-beings 'awaken,' THEY will be in full control of their human hosts" (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA # 55, by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Sid Greene).

Robin offered a solution. He reasoned that there must be dozens, perhaps hundreds, of black spheres that died on contact with Earth but which still might possess a degree of radioactivity. Superman, Green Lantern, Flash and Wonder Woman put their powers to the test and gathered enough residual radiation to enhance four of their number with the negative energy -- Hourman, Flash, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman.

Superman escorted Hourman and Robin to the location of the Smashing Sportsman's latest rampage, the ancient Colisseum of Rome. The Man of Steel quickly found that he had his hands full with Hourman, who had succumbed to the negative radiation's evil effects. The Man of the Hour's evil energy and strength was quelled only after Superman and Robin unwittingly submerged him in the Tiber River.

Each of the sub-teams found similar methods of defeating the black sphere-possessed villains but it was Johnny Thunder who actually acted on one of the discoveries. The alien-possessed humans were sensitive to, of all things, bad jokes and were convulsed with laughter when Johnny turned up at the quartet's joint hideout and delivered one groaner after another. While they roared, the Thunderbolt "blasted the black spheres out of them -- and without host bodies to sustain their life -- the aliens will quickly die."

While the JSA requested that no legal action be taken against the four ex-villains, the Justice League made plans to use the knowledge they'd just acquired to defeat their own four black sphere-generated menaces (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA # 56).

posted September 03, 2000 12:41 AM

Here's a list of obscure DC characters:
The Image
Odd Man
The Sizematic Twins
Captain Stingaree
Tim Trench

posted September 03, 2000 05:23 AM

Great work, as always, Mikishawm!

UPDATE: I went over to The Warner Brothers Cartoon Companion site and found info on the Super Chief train name and its THREE uses in Looney Tunes cartoons.

I'll reproduce the Super Chief entry here, just adding quotation marks around the cartoon titles.


Famed passenger train of the Atchison, Topeka and Sante Fe Railroad. The name is spoofed in a shot in "Hare Trigger" (Freleng, 1945), with a logo on a train engine showing an Indian in a Superman uniform, and again in "The Big Snooze" (Clampett, 1946), with Bugs and a raft of little Bugses making like a train over a recumbent Elmer Fudd. Injun Joe from "Wagon Heels" (Clampett, 1945) is referred to as The Super Chief ("whoo-whooo!")


Thanks to E. O. Costello, who wrote the Companion! "Hare Trigger" was the Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam cartoon I was thinking of in my first post on this topic. Costello's entry for Super Chief came from http://www.spumco.com/magazine/eowbcc/eowbcc-s.html

posted September 03, 2000 09:48 AM

Thanks for the Super Chief info, Superstone. I appreciate it!

Thanks, Derrick, for the additions. They've been added to the list.

I hear the temperature's supposed to get into the triple digits in some parts of the U.S. today. With that in mind ...

July 23, 1981 was a real scorcher, according to the locals in Fairfax, Maine. How hot was it ? It was SO hot that the Devil's own son took up residence in the center of town.

It began when Fairfax geneticist Thaddeus Oxford called police detective Greg King to his lab to report a bizarre incident. Moments after creating "a fire-resistant gene," Oxford's formula was blasted by a flaming red hand and metamorphosized into a gold fleshed woman with long orange hair and a red bathing suit. "I can shape these chemicals, and give them life which you, human, would have taken YEARS more research to achieve. Gaze at our creation, human ... stare in awe at Firegirl -- the first of my invulnerable warriors." Vowing to return and establish a new empire, the demonic claws vanished with the flaming woman.

Eventually, Firegirl materialized in the center of Fairfax as a harbinger for her master. While she used her fiery power to mold a throne for the demon, the inhuman torch was opposed by the city's resident heroes, Vicki Grant and Chris King, who used their "H" dials to face the villainess as Puma the She-Cat and Enlarger Man. Chris sealed Firegirl in an asphalt garbage can but she exploded from the prison, rendering the two heroes unconscious.

Climbing from a smoldering chasm in the street, a towering crimson demon with a serpentine tail and green belly addressed the horrified witnesses. "This world now belongs to -- Grockk, the Devil's son." On penalty of death, Grockk demanded that the people of Earth submit to his rule.

Taking flight, Firegirl directed the monster to "a throne fit for a king."

"Not a king, Firegirl -- an emperor over all he surveys. An emperor who shall create his very own castle ... from the molten magma boiling deep within the Earth itself."

Miraculously, Chris' next heroic persona was that of Brimstone, who, like Grockk, could command the flow of lava. When the demon sent a molten wave towards him, Brimstone directed it back towards Grockk. The duo managed to hold one another in check but Chris' power was not infinite.

As Chris' resources finally became depleted, Vicki (in the guise of Sulphur) arrived in the company of Firegirl. The two had declared a truce after Vicki's sulphuric gas ignited with the flaming woman's fireballs and Firegirl finally acknowledged that Sulphur's condemnation of Grockk was accurate. "Your words seem true -- my master is interested in power. But ... I do not think there is a way for me to resist his power ..."

Lunging at the demon, Firegirl shouted, "You did not CREATE me, Grockk. Indeed, I'm not even a living being! Therefore, if I must die to stop your rampage of evil, I will gladly forfeit my existence." His eyes and flesh stung by Sulphur's gas, Grockk dropped the captive Brimstone and was sent plunging into the Hell-pit by Sulphur and Firegirl's jointly-created explosion. Flying after the demon, Firegirl assured the heroes that "I will make CERTAIN he does not return. Thank you, humans. I, who am an artificial creation, have now -- because of YOU -- a reason to LIVE!"

Sealing the pit behind them, Brimstone, perhaps overconfidently, declared that "Grockk won't return again" (ADVENTURE COMICS # 486, by Marv Wolfman and Don Heck).

Was Grockk truly the son of Satan or was he merely bluffing ? His uncanny facial resemblance to Etrigan the Demon -- from his ears to forehead horns to blank eyes --suggest that he, like Etrigan, may be an offspring of Belial. To date, however, no connection has been established.

The principals in ADVENTURE # 486's "Dial 'H' For Hero' episode were created by readers Rock Bakletea (Grockk), Paula Hunter (Firegirl), Doug Holben (Brimstone and Sulphur), Glenn Lemonds (Puma) and Douglas Kalish (Enlarger Man).

posted September 04, 2000 04:25 AM

I'm so happy that more people than I have started to participate in these questions.

Although I'm sure Mikishawm will give you a much better piece of info, I can give you the briefs of the following.

141. The Image
A goofy hero-wannabee and deluded agent of Order from BOOK OF FATE. Only appeared for two issues, I believe.

142. ZeroMan
Not a clue.

143. Odd Man
Steve Ditko character from the 1970s. His name is Clay Stoner and he first appeared in CANCELLED COMICS CAVALCADE #2 (Aut 78) (and later appeared for the public audience in DETECTIVE COMICS #487 (Dec 79-Jan 80. He last appeared in SUPERBOY.

144. The Sizematic Twins
Henchmen of Two-Face from TEEN TITANS (1st series) #47 (Apr 77). One of them could shrink, the other could grow. They worked with two other criminal twin couples called the Flamesplasher Twins and The Darklight Twins. One Sizematic later became a member of the Secret Society of Super-Villains.

145. Captain Stingaree
Batman foe with the looks and M.O. of a pirate. Karl Courtney, one of four Courtney quadruples. (The other three were detectives and for some reason Karl believed them to be the Batman). Stingaree later became a member of the Secret Society of Super-Villains. He was seemingly murdered by Mr. Freeze.

146. Nightmaster
Jim Rook. Sword and Sorcery character who first appeared in SHOWCASE #82 (May 69). A musician who travelled to the interdimensional world of Myrra and fought supernatural menaces. He last appered as a bookstore owner in PRIMAL FORCE and SWAMP THING a few years ago.

147. Tim Trench
Private detective that worked with the pre-Crisis Wonder Woman and first appeared in WONDER WOMAN (1st series) #180 (Jan 69).


posted September 09, 2000 02:19 PM

Thanks, as always, Hellstone! There's a reason why you didn't remember Zero-Man ...

Described in detail by creator Len Wein in AMAZING HEROES # 39 (Jan. 15, 1984), ZERO-MAN would have involved an alternate 25th century in which a totalitarian group called the Final Order controlled America, erasing all records of the underground force that opposed them and dubbing them Zero-Men. Recognizing the importance of a pivotal assassination in 1984, the Zero-Men believed that the prevention of the murder would change history for the better and decided to send a volunteer back in time.

The candidate was Jonathan Dare, son of the time machine's creator. Strapped into a uniform that included special goggles and wrist bands, Dare plunged into the past as the Final Order assassinated his father and girl friend. On his heels was an agent named Finitus, who was unable to stop Dare from preventing the assassination. After unsuccessfully attempting to return to the future, Dare realized that he had succeeded in his mission and history had been changed. Finitus, in turn, vowed to make further changes to route history back toward the Final Order.

The series was still in limbo two years later when the AMAZING HEROES PREVIEW SPECIAL # 3 (Summer, 1986) revealed that pencilled pages for the entire first issue existed but that "DC's promotion department" had "never heard of this one." (The penciller in question was presumably Paris Cullins, cited in AMAZING HEROES # 50). In 1991, Mark Waid tipped his hat to the character in his crossover with the similarly-themed "Armageddon 2001" in FLASH ANNUAL # 4, with this brief reference: "Elongated Man's kid turned out okay. Zeroman's boy even inherited his powers."

Did Zero-Man survive ZERO HOUR ? Only time will tell.

posted September 10, 2000 07:00 PM

1982: Star City was in turmoil thanks to strikes and dissension among its city workers. The situation was being aggravated by a conglomerate of white collar criminals and Green Arrow had learned that the mastermind was Machiavelli, a charismatic would-be politician with ties to the mob. The Emerald Archer had reckoned without Machiavelli's bodyguard, however. The flame-tressed assassin wore a red costume with long white boots and announced that "it's MY job to stop you ... if you intend to make yourself a pest." Pulling out "a pair of hand-held, high-tech, pinpoint-accurate lasers," the Executrix made it clear that she meant business.

Green Arrow leaped for cover behind an overturned table that was soon shredded by the onslaught of deadly beams of light. Crawling amidst his scattered arrows, GA spotted his "reflector-signal arrows. I normally use them to reflect sunlight ... and flash an occasional morse code S.O.S. ... but they've just been drafted for military service." The assassin's lasers bounced off the polished arrows, destroying her weapons in the process. With the Executrix pinned to the wall with half a dozen arrows ("You -- you wouldn't hit a woman, would you ?"), the Emerald Archer learned the details of Machiavelli's scheme and prepared to expose him (DETECTIVE COMICS # 523-524, by Joey Cavalieri, Irv Novick and Ron Randall).

The Executrix, after escaping from a Star City holding cell, went back into business, selling her services to those who could meet her price. By 1985, she'd altered her costume, retaining the red and white color scheme but exposing more flesh and pulling her darkened hair into a knot on her head. Rather than rely on a single weapon as she'd done with Green Arrow, the Executrix added a variety of pieces to her arsenal, ranging from a rifle to an assortment of knives and daggers to more "outre weaponry" that was only hinted at.

Her latest target was Ron Page (WORLD'S FINEST COMICS # 313) , a whistle-blower who threatened to expose a cost-cutting move at Metrosteel that had resulted in tragedy. "A new, cheaper process in making steel ... also turns steel brittle, so that it shatters after a short while." Page revealed the details to a Daily Planet reporter but the Executrix murdered him before he could file the story.

Superman and Batman agreed to watch over Page until the story was publicized but the Executrix managed to capture him while on a train. Immobilized by sleep gas, Page was dragged to the Gotham City Bridge, where the villainess planned to throw him to his death. The Batman arrived but found himself held at bay as long as the Executrix was holding a knife to her hostage's throat.

Leaning against the bridge, both kidnapper and hostage suddenly fell backwards as the rail -- manufactured by Metrosteel -- began to crumble. Page grabbed onto the fragile rail while the Executrix clutched at his jacket, screaming, "This isn't happening! This wasn't supposed to happen! Save me!" As Batman pulled Ron to safety, the woman in red plunged into the river. "Fitting," the Dark Knight said. "You can call it justice."

"YOU might call it justice, Batman," noted Superman, bursting from the water with the unconscious Executrix in his arms, "But DEATH doesn't fit MY definition of the term" (WFC # 314, by Cavalieri, Stan Woch and Alfredo Alcala).

posted September 16, 2000 10:38 AM

Drawn together in the heat of the moment, Tim pulled Diana close to him. Now, he said, "I'm gonna try an' reach Lulu!"

"Wh-who's Lulu ?" she gasped.

"Lulu isn't a who! She's a what -- a -- a gun! And she talks the only language those babies understand!"


Steve Trevor had to die. It wasn't quite as simple as all that but the man that some had derided as "a male Lois Lane," whose singular life's goal seemed to be Wonder Woman's hand in marriage, was clearly one of the elements that needed to be excised from the floundering WONDER WOMAN comic book in 1968.

To shore up the title's sales, Mike Sekowsky, along with scripter Denny O'Neil and editor Jack Miller, took a radical approach. After setting the stage with a makeover of Diana Prince in WW # 178, the team stripped the Amazon Princess of her powers in # 179, took Steve out of the picture (leaving him comatose after an encounter with agents of the terrorist known as Doctor Cyber) and introduced an elderly blind Chinese man named I Ching, who offered to train Diana in the martial arts. But what of that man shadowing Diana on page 23 ?

WONDER WOMAN # 180 answered that question decisively when the newly empowered Diana confronted him, knocked a gun from his hand and threw him to the ground.

"You're gonna hate yourself when you find out what a nice guy I am!"

"'Nice guys' don't go around shooting at people!"

"Ya dumb chick -- I wasn't gunnin' for you! I was tryin' to save you -- from Cyber's sweeties!"

On cue, a futuristic vehicle crashed the party with a burst of machine-gun fire. Enter Lulu ... though the man ruefully noted "that blasted go-cart's armor-plated -- not a chance of doing unto them like they tried to do unto us . At least I scared 'em off."

"Name's Tim Trench. I'm a private eye outta St. Louis. An' your Diana Prince ... and Granpaw there is Ching -- right ?"

"Yes ... how did you know ?"

"A stoolie told me you're lookin' for this Doctor Cyber. Well, so am I."

"Why ?!"

"One of Cyber's gunsels nailed my partner, Archy Miles. In my business, you don't let anybody get away with killin' a pal ... cause they might make it a habit!"

You couldn't say Tim Trench wasn't pragmatic. Or sarcastic. Or chauvinistic. He was, in many respects, as far removed from Steve Trevor as you could get. At this late date, it's hard to say what each of the parties working on WONDER WOMAN brought to the table. But Trench, with his Dickensian name (think "trenchcoat"), smart mouth and St. Louis address, is clearly O'Neil's baby, an acerbic private eye verging on a parody of the pulp detectives that he'd loved as a boy.

Despite showing zero interest in Diana, Tim became the romantic lead in the series almost by default. By the end of # 180, Steve was dead, cut down in a hail of bullets by the forces of Doctor Cyber. Tim fared somewhat better though he ended up in the hands of Cyber and her army of women.

Ching and Diana, meanwhile, had launched a rescue mission and, in the course of their assault, Tim had managed to free himself, picking up a machine to replace the confiscated Lulu. "Rest easy, chums ... just like in John Wayne flicks -- here comes the marines!"

Collectively the trio escaped, with Tim cutting off the air supply in the subterranean bunker, Diana creating an exit with a grenade and Ching providing the getaway submarine. Recalling the name of a small country named Bjorland that Cyber had mentioned, Tim made an announcement:

"Go collect grampa an' get packed! We're gonna take ourselves a European vacation!"

"Shouldn't we plan ..."

"I got a plan! Get Cyber before she gets us!"

Against all reason, Diana found herself "becoming fond of Tim -- very fond! He's crusty ... but he's also strong, decisive ... a man! At times he makes me forget Steve ... almost! I wonder if being human means being fickle!"

The feelings were, by all accounts, not mutual, with Tim regarding his partners as little more than a means to an end:

"Maybe I should leave Di and Ching at home," he thought at one point, "but they might be useful ... and I can always ditch 'em if necessary."

It all came together in the center of a Bjorland ski village, where Diana and company fought their way through a small army to find Cylvia Cyber attempting to escape in a helicopter. Caught in Trench's gunsights, Cyber offered an alternative:

"Diana Prince and Ching are my enemies. You, however, are not!"

"Be careful ... she's up to something," warned Diana.

"I certainly am. I am up to showing Mr. Trench a tiny fraction of my weekly profit ... the gems I brought here to be deposited in a Swiss bank. Look at it, Mr. Trench," Cyber murmured, the jewels sifting through her fingers into the box, "look -- and know that this could be yours." As proof of his loyalty, the bad doctor had a simple request: the deaths of Prince and Ching. Tim raised his gun and, smiling, opened fire.

When issue # 182 opened, all parties were still standing. "I missed on purpose,"Tim explained. "Next time I won't! Consider that a warnin' ... I'm leavin'! An' Cyber's jewel box is leavin' with me! One thing I never could resist is temptation! An' that much bread is temptation in spades!

"Ya may not believe this, Di and Ching ... but I wish ya the best of luck. As for you, Cyber ... remember -- as I relieve you of the burden of your ill-gotten gains -- Crime Does Not Pay!"

"As you will find out, Mr. Trench --when we meet again!"

"So long, crowd!" Tim called from the rising copter. "See ya in the funny papers!"

Flash forward to 1976. As editor of DETECTIVE COMICS, Julius Schwartz had a desire to return a genuine private eye to the title, something he'd done previously with Frank Robbins' Jason Bard in 1972 and 1973. This time, Schwartz approached the man he often came to when faced with a new project: Denny O'Neil. The result, illustrated by Pablo Marcos and Al Milgrom, appeared in issue # 460:

"Trench is my name and call me what you will ... shamus, gumshoe, even private eye! Like they say, names'll never hurt me!"

In six pages, O'Neil reestablished Tim (much younger than his earlier incarnation), setting him up in a St. Louis office situated above a movie revival house overseen by Box-Office Sadie. He also had a police contact in the form of Lieutenant Komb. The humor of the earlier appearances was gone and, without it, the story did not exactly set the world aflame.

Issue # 461's second installment, in which Tim grudgingly accepted a job to protect a mobster en route to the airport, was a bit of an improvement though still a minor effort. In the end, the hood is killed and Trench pins the blame on one of his underlings. In light of his exit in WW # 182, there was more than a touch of irony in Tim's response:

"On top of everything else, you're a traitor, and -- I can't stand traitors!"

Bob Rozakis, responding to the feedback on the series in # 464, wrote that "Tim Trench was an experiment. Unfortunately, much of the reader reaction was unfavorable so it is unlikely we'll see Mr. Trench again."

Nonetheless, Tim still managed to receive a full-page entry in 1986's WHO'S WHO # 24, with art by Sandy Plunkett and P. Craig Russell. The write-up suggested that the two incarnations of Tim Trench were the same person, leading one to speculate that Tim must have cashed in Cyber's diamonds on plastic surgery. It would probably be as simple to consider the later Tim as the earlier version's Earth-Two counterpart.

Nearly a decade later, Mark Millar and Phil Hester provided what might be the capper to Trench's illustrious career in SWAMP THING # 162 (1995):

Basically, an evil druid had taken the Houma, Louisiana police department captive and the hostages phoned Hero Hotline for help:

"You know, the department I told you about that can put us in touch with any super-hero who carries a beeper ... Who are they sending ? Uh, they said they were sending someone with more than ten years' experience dealing with stuff like this ... some guy named Tim Trench. He's supposed to be one of the best in the business. Uh-huh ... Yeah, I never heard of him either."

Midway through the story, we were told that Tim had been stuck in traffic. When he finally drove into town (in a car with a bumper sticker reading "Support Your Local Super-Hero"), Trench was informed that the threat was over. He was dressed like the Spirit (with a different color scheme) --brown hat and gloves, green jacket, domino mask. Oh, yes, and a shirt with a big red "T" on it!

The following exchange comes verbatim from page 21. I've taken the liberty of replacing each representation of the trademark Vertigo profanity with the word "orangutan."

Trench: Orangutan traffic! My agent's gonna fry my orangutan for this, just you wait and see! There goes another two hundred and fifty bucks tax free cash! Orangutan! Hey,listen, while I'm here, I might as well give you my card, right ? Just in case you ever need any help of the super-hero variety.

Bystander: Tim Trench ? Orangutan, what kind of name is that ?

Trench: What's so funny about Tim Trench, you orangutan ? What are you called that's so great ?

Bystander: I've just got a normal name. It might not be anything special but at least I don't sound like an orangutan.


Ah, yes, you don't get dignified revivals like that everyday. Don't expect a Tim Trench mini-series anytime soon.

posted September 17, 2000 07:51 PM

As he was brought into custody, the Bounty Hunter assured the Fairfax police that he was going to reveal a spectacular story. Before he could utter another word, the assassin was gunned down by a robotic orb known as the Pupil. The Master did not tolerate betrayal (ADVENTURE COMICS # 484, by Marv Wolfman, Don Heck and Dennis Jensen).

Within two weeks, the shadowy Master had gathered another eight operatives. His targets were the mysterious string of super-beings that had popped in Fairfax over the last few months. The Master insisted that were only two people behind the multiple heroes. Addressing his operatives, he announced, "I KNOW they are the same, for I know their SECRET -- they possess the mystic power-dials. Dials I have been searching for -- ever since I KILLED the man who created them. And you -- my Evil Eight -- you will help me FIND those dials ... and then help me CONTROL the world, as well!"

Who were the Evil Eight ?

Covered in varying shades of green armor (with a red visor and belt), Arsenal declared that "no matter WHERE (his enemies)hide, I got me a weapon that can blow 'em straight ta kingdom come!"

Chondak was a super-strong blue ape whose brain was visible in a clear dome.

The woman with reddish-blonde hair had a crimson costume covering her torso, an orange cape and golden bracelets, necklace and belt. She was the Familiar. "Whatever I TOUCH, I can BECOME. This plumbing pipe is made of steel ... now, so am I."

Ice King was capable of manipulating cold in a variety of ways, sending out blasts of frigid air and solid ice darts and well as travelling through the air on ice sleds. The bare-chested villain wore a silver helmet and blue and silver pants.

Imagine Wolverine in his orange costume -- with a wolf's head and hairy pelt covering most of his head and chest and the leftovers making up gloves and boots. This was the feral K-9. "I move like the wild dog whose blood I share. And I lust for your death ... like the man-killing wolf."

Dressed in a black body suit covered by a white jacket and boots that climbed up his thighs, the reddish-brown haired man was a somewhat demented acrobat dubbed Maniak.

Primarily outfitted in white (with a red cape and black face), Phantasm could turn himself immaterial and was capable of summoning demonic entities to attack his foes.

The hulking Piledriver seemingly possessed steel arms and a matching torso along with long purple hair and red pants. "There ain't nothing I can't smash!" he boasted.

The heroes behind the "H" dials, Chris King and Vicki Grant, won their first skirmish, using the powers of Gravity Boy and the Hummingbird to defeat Chondak and Ice King. A second battle against the entire group left Chris and Vicki (as Blast Boy and Hydra) frozen in an iceberg, courtesy of the freed Ice King. The marauders' plan to steal an ion cannon was a success!

On orders of the Master, the members of the Evil Eight planted ion couplings at strategic locations throughout Fairfax in anticipation of a full-fledged takeover the following morning. With the push of a button, the city was sealed in a force field, "an incredible, unshatterable ion curtain." Within hours, the Justice League of America had been called to the scene but even the combined might of Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern failed to make a dent in the violet dome.

The heroes on the interior -- now known as Electrostatic and Hyptella -- evaded a tree trunk tossed their way by Chondak and the ghosts conjured by Phantasm. A fierce attack by K-9 left Electrostatic reeling but Hyptella seemed to have the lupine villain under her mental control. Smashing the ground with his fists, Chondak sent out "ripples of pure power ... shock-waves which cause the ground to fairly tremble." The staggering force was enough to knock the heroes unconscious.

Imprisoned by the Master, Electrostatic and Hyptella were stunned at just how much knowledge he possessed regarding their "H" dials. Aware that they would revert back to their normal forms within an hour, the villain simply needed to wait until that moment to take the talismans for himself.

Turning away from his captives for a moment, the Master placed a phone call to President Reagan, demanding "Fairfax as my own independent country." Advised that the resident heroes of Fairfax might yet pull off a miracle, Reagan stalled the terrorist, insisting on at least ten minutes to weigh his options. "Sighh ... nothing like THIS ever happened in my movies."

While the Master had been on the phone, Hyptella unexpectedly changed back to the smaller form of Vicki, quickly freeing Electrostatic, whose own electrical powers opened their cell before he reverted back to Chris. After that, the kids played a game of cat and mouse, evading the Evil Eight for an hour until the dials recharged. In the interim, they watched the Familiar touch a steel pipe and become a gleaming metal woman -- and dodged the explosive darts fired by Arsenal.

After an agonizing sixty minutes, the kids became Lumino and Sonik, now able to project constructs of light and sound. Arsenal was taken down by Lumino's powers and the Familiar was sealed in a cage of solid light. Transforming herself into a being of the light, the villainess seemed triumphant until Sonik blasted her with "a shrieking wail ... a horrible, ear-shattering scream." The remaining sextet quickly fell behind their allies. With the exception of Piledriver, who resurfaced in 1998's JLA # 18 (now sporting blonde hair), none of the eight rogues ever reappeared.

As the Evil Eight were taken into custody and the ion dome shut down, Lumino found a note from the now absent Master: "I know your secret, and one day I shall return to make that secret my own" (1981's ADVENTURE COMICS # 485).

The Evil Eight were created by Roger Banham (Arsenal), Stephen Cappiello (Maniak), Marshall Ferguson (Ice King), Nelson Jimenez (Chondak), George Longley (K-9), Sixto Miguel (Phantasm), Ben Stillwell (The Familiar) and David Wile (Piledriver). The heroes were conceived by Gilbert Fein (Blast Boy), Karl Heitmueller (Lumino and Sonik), Christopher Kraska (Hyptella), Stephen Moore (The Hummingbird), Jeffrey Odenweller (Gravity Boy), Alicia Shing (Hydra) and J.P. Thill (Electrostatic). Putting it all together were writer Marv Wolfman, penciller Carmine Infantino and inkers Dennis Jensen, Frank Chiaramonte and Larry Mahlstedt.

The threat of the Master continued to loom in the background of Chris and Vicki's lives over the next several months as he menaced them from behind the scenes over and over again (ADVENTURE # 488, 490; NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY # 28, 35-37, 42-45). In one key adventure, Chris and Vicki joined forces with Superman to discover the source of the Master's seemingly endless supply of super-powered minions. From the Bounty Hunter and the Evil Eight onward, they'd all been clones, created using technology from the DNA Project and Simyan and Mokkari's Evil Factory (1982's DC COMICS PRESENTS # 44).

A final clash with the Master's army culminated with the capture of Chris, Vicki and their cartoonist friend Nick Stevens, whose creations were somehow being manifested as the duo's heroic identities (NAOS # 46-48) . Incredibly, the Master no longer remembered why he'd sought the dial. At that moment, a being known as the Wizard appeared, used a third dial and merged with the Master. In their place stood Robby Reed, the hero who originally dialed "H" for hero! (# 49, plot by E. Nelson Bridwell, script by Bob Rozakis and pencils by Howard Bender)

During a battle with the villainous Shirkon, Robby found it necessary to become two people and dialed "D-I-V-I-D-E." He became both "the Wizard -- filled with all the power of good magic" and an evil scientific genius that was Reed's double. The evil Reed commanded the dial to "H-I-D-E." The dial vanished...and with it, the memories of (Reed's) previous life." (NAOS # 49). The dial reappeared on the parallel world of Earth-32 with the lost memories housed in an addled duplicate of Reed (PLASTIC MAN (second series) # 13).

Meanwhile, the evil Reed (as the Master) gained access to the DNA Project (SUPERMAN FAMILY # 194) and began creating his army of villains. To combat these marauders, the Wizard created two new "H" dials (NAOS # 45) and arranged for two youngsters named Chris King and Vicki Grant to find them and become super-heroes themselves (LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES # 272). In a subsequent confrontation, the Master erroneously became convinced that he'd killed the Wizard (NAOS # 45).

Ultimately, the Wizard located the original "H" dial and restored Robby to normal. Exhausted, Reed proclaimed himself retired from the super-hero game and presented his dial to Nick. "Obviously my good side saw a strength of character in ALL THREE of you -- and since YOU are the one whose ideas became the heroes, you deserve to become those heroes too! Good luck ... all of you" (NAOS # 49). "And then there were three!"

Moonlight Knight
New Member
posted September 18, 2000 03:08 AM

Hey Mikishawm, I've enjoyed reading your posts on the various obscure characters. I find them very educational. How do you do it? Do you have all of these comics, are have databases on characters on your computer or what? Just curious and thanks for all your hard work.

posted September 18, 2000 06:51 AM

Wow, these are amazing! And I thought I was up on my comic book trivia.

One question, though...somebody mentioned the Image, right? Well, wasn't there a Charlton villain called the Image besides the one that was described here? He wore an orange bodysuit with a visor and had an "i" insignia on his chest (which is interesting, because the character appeared years before the company Image was founded, and they use the exact same styling of the letter "i"). I don't know of any appearances other than CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS.

Any clues, anybody?

posted September 20, 2000 01:17 PM

Was Doctor Reno Franklin the Forever Man black? I think I remember him.

posted September 20, 2000 01:39 PM

Does anyone remember the Toyman from ACTION COMICS # 432? Did he pop up again, and if so were?

posted September 20, 2000 06:09 PM

Moonlight Knight --

I've spent the better part of twenty years compiling lists of all of DC characters so I just tap into those whenever I need to write a bio.

DarqueGuy --

I'll try to do the Image bio this weekend. You're correct, though, that there was a Charlton villain by that name in addition to the FATE character. In the mid-1980s, there was nearly another Image, this one a spin-off from Len Wein's GREEN LANTERN. More details soon!

Xero --

Reno Franklin was white.

T5 --

The youthful second Toyman returned in ACTION # 454 and SUPERMAN # 299. Winslow Schott killed him in SUPERMAN # 305 and took his name back.

Thanks everyone! I appreciate it.

posted September 24, 2000 11:03 AM

A starstruck audience lining the street in front of Metropolis' Glenside Theater got more than they bargained for when the actress Laurel Amour arrived for the gala premiere of her latest film in February of 1942. Bursting from the audience was a gun-toting man in a three-piece suit and a large blue-mirrored domino mask. He quickly relieved Laurel of her jewelry.

Defiant even as armed policemen surrounded him, the thief boasted that "it takes more than a threat to worry the Image!" Pulling open his jacket to reveal a button-covered chestplate, the Image suddenly multiplied. "Eleven reflections of myself ... and if you dare fire at any one of them, you'll be shooting at empty air ... but I won't!"

Clark Kent instantly realized that the police were out of their league and pursued the Image's speeding car as Superman. Employing his chest switchboard once more, the villain filled the highway with duplicates of his vehicle. With his mastery of his vision powers still in the future, the Man of Steel was stymied.

The mystery deepened when Superman learned a detective named Allan Pryor had recovered the gems for Laurel Amour, who opined that "it cost me plenty!" The Man of Steel followed the Pryor connection to jewelry clerk Tom Phelps. After a few threats from Superman, Phelps pointed the hero towards the Runyan Galleries.

The Image had overheard Phelps' betrayal and proceeded to terrorize his accomplice. Unable to find the exit amidst a dozen false doors and surrounded by multiple gun-clenching hands, the disoriented clerk fell out of an open window to his death.

Determined to go through with the gallery robbery, the Image took Lois Lane as a hostage. Once more, the Man of Steel was sidetracked, pushing his powers to the limit to find the real Lois amidst the duplicates plunging from a cliff. Refining his vision powers, Superman zeroed in on the hundreds of Images taking flight and finally grabbed the only one who cast a shadow.

The villain identified himself as Angus Calhoun, owner of Phelps' jewelry store. "By day, I sold priceless gems, then stole them back at night to double my profits. Of course, my discovery of how to cast bewildering reflections of myself helped ... and I'd have continued to get away with my crimes if it hadn't been for YOU!" (SUPERMAN Sunday comic strips # 119-124, reprinted in SUPERMAN: THE SUNDAY CLASSICS 1939-1943)

In 1945, Doll Man clashed with the second Image, "a killer who can't be seen" (Quality's FEATURE COMICS # 92).

The arrival of a third Image had to wait until 1967 when a man emerged from Eve Eden's bedroom mirror and tried to pull her through the looking glass. He wore an orange costume and hood (plus yellow belt and visor) and had a black lower-case "i" on his chest and forehead. The Image was a foreign operative who imagined that he could use Eve as a bargaining chip to convince her Senator father to change his vote on a defense bill.

The Image had reckoned without his hostage being a super-heroine. Eve switched out the lights and took the shadowy form of Nightshade. Taking flight back through the mirror, the Image tossed an explosive behind him only to have Nightshade deflect it right back into his mirror portal (Charlton's CAPTAIN ATOM # 87, by Dave Kaler and Jim Aparo).

The Image resurfaced during the Great Crisis as one of multitudes of villains recruited to terrorize the worlds of the Freedom Fighters, Marvel Family and Charlton heroes (1985's CRISIS # 9). In current continuity, the villain's appearances consist of two panels in a 1988 recounting of Nightshade's history (SECRET ORIGINS # 28). The art depicted Nightshade defeating the villain with a kick on the steps of the Capital as Eve recalled that King "Faraday began letting me go solo, and I stopped a threat to my father -- a creep calling himself the Image!" Bob Greenberger wrote the story while pencils were provided by Rob Liefeld, who later helped found that company with the lower-case "i" as its emblem. What was its name again ?

Much of the groundwork for a fourth Image had been laid in 1984 issues of GREEN LANTERN by Len Wein. They related the story of Clay Kendall (# 172), a Ferris Aircraft scientist whose psionics experiments had created a psi-chair (# 173) that fueled his desire to become a super-hero (# 175). He attempted to do just that when the Demolition Team attacked Ferris only to have his chair short-circuit and explode (# 179), severing his spinal cord (# 180). A devastated Kendall was encouraged by his girl friend to rebuild the chair and become a super-hero anyway (# 183).

Where all of this was headed had been detailed months earlier in AMAZING HEROES # 39, which revealed that Clay's experiments would ultimately come to fruition in the form of the Image, a hero Wein described as "everything that Kendall wishes he was" and whom he hoped would spin off to his own series. Accompanying the article was Dave Gibbons' portrayal of the Image.

Unfortunately, thanks to Wein's slow pacing, the Image never made it on stage before Wein left the series with # 186. Clay Kendall, for what it's worth, went out with a bang as a representative of the millions killed in Coast City's demolition in 1993's SUPERMAN # 80.

Instead the fourth Image was introduced in 1997's BOOK OF FATE # 5 (by Keith Giffen, Ron Wagner and Bill Reinhold). Earlier issues had established the series lead, Jared (Fate) Stevens as being in a tug of war between Lords of Order and Chaos, each demanding that he swear allegiance to them. The battle reached a climax on the dream plane, where Fate stumbled across a young blonde man in a light blue and orange costume.

"Okay," Jared said. "I'll bite. What's with the get-up ?"

"Get-up ? Oh you mean my crime-fighting uniform."

He was, in Fate's opinion, too pure- hearted to stomach. The blonde quickly became fed up with Jared's attitude ("You ARE a rude one aren't you ?") and announced that he'd "just be flying on my way."

"Did you just say FLY ?"

"I've also got enhanced strength and stamina, the ability to ... "

Stevens cut him off and demanded that he fly him to the Chaos area of the dream plane. The blonde, whom Fate had figured as an agent of Order, refused to enter the dark region, noting that "I think it would try to kill me ... if I tried." Stevens entered without him as the young man said, "I, um ... didn't catch your name."

"I didn't throw it."

"I call myself the Image."

"Now look what y' done. You've gone and mistaken me for someone who gives a damn."

After fighting through agents of Chaos, Fate found himself opposed by a representative of Order and his champion, a mid-controlled Image. Helpless to resist, the Image attacked only to be cut by Fate's mystic knife and thrown against the Lord of Order, disrupting his concentration and returning Fate to Earth. At his side was a teenage boy in an orange shirt, blue shorts and sneakers who asked, "Um ... uh ... what just happened here ?"

Was the persona of the Image all in the young man's mind ? If not, was he killed during Mordru's slaughter of Earth's other agents of Order and Chaos in JSA # 1 and 2 or was he beneath the Dark Lord's notice ? Only time will tell.

posted September 29, 2000 06:27 AM

As you can see, this has more and more evolved into Mikishawm's own thread. And nobody is happier for that than I am. (Why settle for anything or anyone but the best?) But nevertheless, I'd like to invite more posters here. If you have something to ask about regarding a forgotten DC character, this is the place. And if you know anything about the characters asked about, feel free to answer the questions. I'm sure there are more DC experts here than Mikishawm, DR Black, Rich Morrissey, and John Moores. The questions asked that have not yet been answered are:

135. The Duke of Deception
139. Professor Davis (although I probably meant DOCTOR Davis.)
143. Odd Man (only briefly covered by me)
144. The Sizematic Twins (briefly covered by me)
145. Captain Stingaree (briefly covered by me)
146. Nightmaster (briefly covered by me)
148. The Bronze Age Toyman (briefly covered by Mikishawm)

Keep it up. And feel free to continue the list.I still think this a fun thread.


posted September 30, 2000 09:07 AM

You know I for one am glad to have access to this board it is very informative and helpful to me.

Some characters that are obscure (to me) include: Joshua (from TEEN TITANS); Swashbuckler; and the Inferior 5. Also, how about the Ant and also Anti-Lad?

posted October 08, 2000 09:57 PM

Consider the Ant and company added to the list! At the rate I'm going, it may take a while but I'll get to 'em eventually.

In the darkness, Ike Loges felt the floor give way and grabbed at something --anything -- to keep from falling. Blinking as the lights flashed to life, Loges gasped when he realized that he was dangling from a window where the ceiling used to be -- a window with a view of a nearly upside-down River City skyline. Seated comfortably on a desk on the wall was a stranger in a garish patchwork three-piece suit and tie with clashing designs and bright colors(mostly red, blue and yellow). Completing the clown effect was a rubber mask with blank eyes (one red, one yellow), a frozen white smile and close-cropped black hair.

"He came from nowhere, garbed in a confused costume that would make a carnival clown blush with embarrassment. His weapons were absurd -- impossible! But somehow he became the terror of criminals, and everyone began to wonder ... who is ... The Odd Man ?" -- 1979's DETECTIVE COMICS # 487 (text by Paul Levitz ?).

In 1978, DC had planned an ambitious expansion of their line that would transform a standard 32 page comic with 17 story pages into a 48 page comic with 25 story pages (with the cover price increasing from 35 cents to 50). In the case of Steve Ditko's SHADE, THE CHANGING MAN title, the additional eight pages would be given over a back-up feature of his own creation.

First seen in a house ad for the impending "DC Explosion," the Odd Man's debut in SHADE # 9 was subsequently touted in a Daily Planet coming attractions page in DC COMICS PRESENTS # 2 with a release date of June 19, 1978. Unknown to most readers, however, was the fact that DC had decided in April to cancel several marginal titles that probably wouldn't survive with a 50 cent price tag. These included AQUAMAN, MISTER MIRACLE, NEW GODS, THE SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS and ... SHADE, THE CHANGING MAN. Plans were quickly made to shift at least some of the material prepared for those books to other titles. The Odd Man was slated for December's BLACK LIGHTNING # 14, after a Ray three-parter in # 11-13 had run its course.

Fate had other plans. In essence, Warner Communications execs decreed that, to test a new form of distribution, the average DC title should have the same page count as their competitors. It was announced on June 22 that, effective with comics on sale in September, all DCs would return to 17 pages of story content (but with a cover price of 40 cents). To provide consistency to the DC line, all of the thirty-two page books were promoted to monthly status. Books whose sales did not justify being a monthly and the new titles whose sales had not yet been proven were cancelled. Consequently, another twenty-three comics met their demise, including six that never even saw their first issue published.

BLACK LIGHTNING's final issue turned out to be # 11 and the Odd Man made his debut in a black and white xeroxed collection known as CANCELLED COMIC CAVALCADE that was distributed to DC staffers. Fifteen months after his originally scheduled introduction, Ditko's wildly-dressed hero got a more widely distributed appearance in DETECTIVE COMICS # 487 (with an on-sale date of September 10, 1979).

Ditko had both written and illustrated the story but his friend (and current publisher) Robin Snyder reports that the dialogue was altered somewhat when it finally appeared, presumably by 'TEC editor Paul Levitz. The logo box on the splash page, for instance, originally read simply "The Odd Man in 'The Pharaoh and the Mummies!'". In the 'TEC version, the introductory text (used in my second paragraph) appeared.

River City, it seemed, had seen a recent string of jewel robberies and related murders. The Odd Man believed that Ike Loges, "the city's biggest jewelry fence,"would have details on the crimes and he was correct -- to an extent. Loges had no specifics but he'd heard that an antiques dealer was a target. "Then the light dims and blacks out -- as does Ike Loges. When he awakens, he will find himself back in his car and will try to convince himself he has just had a bad dream ... he won't succeed."

The disorienting topsy turvy concealed room was the most ambitious weapon in the Odd Man's repertoire but it was far from the only one. His polka-dot clip-on tie had a heavy metal weight at its top that made an effective projectile or bolo, his white "smoke gloves" released a cloud of disorienting powder and a small can of oil spray tripped up his foes.

The jewel thief proved to be a madman dressed like an Egyptian Pharaoh but equipped with a futuristic ray-gun called he Mummifier that encased its victims in a cocoon of clear plastic that suffocated them instantly. Escaping the Odd Man, the Pharaoh handed a single Nile jewel that he'd stolen to a Cleopatra wanna-be.

Elsewhere, the Odd Man had returned to his alter-ego of Clay Stoner, a sandy blonde-haired private eye. He drafted his friend and confidante Judge Brass to help him figure out the common link in the thefts. Using his connections, Brass learned that a Nile gem had been among the items stolen in each theft. Brass suggested that Clay talk to the River City Museum's Egyptian authority about "the significance of those gems." Clay, who'd gotten bad vibes from the museum's Mrs. Nyla, decided that the Odd Man should ask the questions.

A visit to the Nyla home revealed a veritable shrine to Egypt, one whose curators disliked uninvited guests. Mrs. Nyla and her lover, the Pharaoh, forced the Odd Man into a sarcophagus, sealing it with the Mummifier. Clay, however, had done a chemical analysis of the plastic after his last encounter with it and had devised a solvent to melt it away.

Elsewhere, the Pharaoh and his queen remained on-model as he announced that he had "restored the Nile necklace."

"Praise Ra!" she cheered. "After three thousand years, I will wear it again!"

The Odd Man disrupted the ceremony and the latter-day King Tut vowed that the hero "would join the others -- in sacred mummification!" Instead, the Pharaoh slipped on an oil slick created by the Odd Man and sealed his lover in plastic. In shock, he cried, "my queen -- my love -- my reason for living. You were the true reincarnation of the first Nile queen. And I have robbed you of this life. There is but one thing left for me to do now -- to join you!" Before Clay could act, the Pharaoh turned the Mummifier on himself.

Ditko drew the Odd Man on two further occasions, the first of which, ironically, was in another comic book scuttled by the DC Implosion -- SHOWCASE # 106, a 25 page Creeper story originally slated for publication in August of 1978. In a cameo with intriguing implications, the Odd Man was present on the set of a TV pilot being filmed at Gotham City's WHAM-TV when the Creeper and the evil Doctor Storme burst in. Was the Odd Man/Pharaoh story merely an episode of a DCU TV series ?

The other appearance was a line-up of Ditko's DC creations seen in the "DC Profiles" entry in 1980's BATMAN # 322 and LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES # 262. Looking at the heroes depicted there, one can't help but be depressed by the fact that five of the seven (Hawk, Dove, Stalker, Creeper, Starman) have been killed outright (though the latter two got better) and Shade was altered beyond recognition in the Vertigo series. A far cry from the veneration given Jack Kirby's contributions to the DCU.

The Odd Man remains unscathed although that's largely because his obscurity places him below the radar of all but the most hardcore fans-turned-pro. He popped up in one panel of 1989's HERO HOTLINE # 5, suggesting a possible connection with the Bob Rozakis & Stephen DeStefano-created team. A decade later, the Odd Man -- and Hero Hotline -- returned as one of several candidates for a position at Project Cadmus (1999's SUPERBOY # 65, by Karl Kesel, Tom Grummett and Dan Davis). In the wake of a brawl initiated by old Ditko villains Punch and Jewelee, the fashion-challenged hero made his goodbyes to Superboy, noting that he'd had "more fun than fish on bicycles. No -- I CAN'T stay! Don't ASK, don't TELL!"

Watching him walk away sideways across a wall, Superboy could only think of one thing to say: "What an ODD MAN -- !"

Rich Morrissey
posted October 09, 2000 10:11 AM

Originally posted by Mikishawm:

The other appearance was a line-up of Ditko's DC creations seen in the "DC Profiles" entry in 1980's BATMAN # 322 and LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES # 262. Looking at the heroes depicted there, one can't help but be depressed by the fact that five of the seven (Hawk, Dove, Stalker, Creeper, Starman) have been killed outright (though the latter two got better) and Shade was altered beyond recognition in the Vertigo series.

As were Captain Atom and The Question, two more Ditko creations, in their post-Crisis series. Hawk, of course, was turned into Monarch in the badly-received ARMAGEDDON 2001 series (published seven years early IIRC); a role originally planned, according to reports, for Captain Atom. What did DC have against Ditko characters, anyway?

posted October 09, 2000 11:25 AM

At least the Question and Rac Shade were greatly enhanced when they were altered (imho). And the Question was not altered SO much "beyond recognition". And at least Stalker had a fitting end of his life, instead of just hovering around in comic book limbo. As a big Ditko fan myself, i wouldn't say most of his characters have been THAT mistreated. Not compared to, say...Plastic Man. Or the Legion.

Cap Atom and Hawk and Dove are a totally different subject, of course.


posted October 13, 2000 09:16 AM

149. Joshua
150. Swashbuckler
152. the Inferior Five
153. the Ant
154. Anti-Lad

For once, I can help with at least one character here. This is a bio that I wrote for Tenzel Kim's DC Guide:


The Ant was created by Bob Haney and Nick Cardy and first appeared in Teen Titans (vol. 1) #5, September/October 1966.

"Bet you forgot ants can bite, too!"
--The Ant, Teen Titans (vol. 1) #5, September/October 1966.]

Alter Ego: Eddie Whit
Occupation: Former thief, last seen at reform school.
Known Relatives: Unnamed parents (deceased), Danny (younger brother).
Group Affiliation: An unnamed criminal gang, one-time Teen Titans ally.
Base of Operations: When last seen, Lacklock Camp reform school.
Height: ? Weight: ?
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Red
Skin: Caucasian white.

The son of a circus strongman and a famous acrobat, Eddie Whit proved early in his life that he mastered the skills of both his parents. While still a teen, Eddie was orphaned after his parents were killed in a car accident. Eddie became the guardian of his younger brother Danny, who worshipped Eddie more than anyone else. Due to the difficulties of earning money at their age, both Eddie and Danny got themselves into trouble for some time. While Eddie was sent to the alternative reform school called Lacklock Camp, Danny was sent to an orphanage. During this time, Danny associated with a lawbreaking teen gang called the Sharks.

After Eddie was released from Lacklock, he started taking care of Danny again. At the same time, a costumed criminal called the Ant began a crime rampage that got the media's attention. The Ant displayed extraordinary abilities of strength and ability, just like Eddie. This grabbed the attention of a Dr. Paul Turner, manager of Lacklock, who suspected that Eddie might be the Ant, and contacted the Teen Titans to investigate if that was the case. Lacklock was a very successful liberal reform school, with no cells, locks, or fences, where the students were allowed to participate in sound activities, keeping them from crime. Eddie was the first Lacklock student ever that - if he indeed was the Ant - had returned to criminal activities, and Turner was worried that the bad publicity would make the authorities force him to abandon his "soft" methods. The Titans agreed that this was a situation they all wanted to avoid.

The Teen Titans encountered the Ant, attempting to bring him in. But the Ant avoided their clutches and escaped surprisingly easily, outshining Robin himself with his acrobacy and giving even Wonder Girl a match.

The Titans sought out Eddie Whit at his and Danny's apartment. Though Danny would not believe that Eddie was the criminal Ant, the Teen Titans soon found evidence of that being the case. Eddie appeared but escaped the Teen Wonders once again, his speed taking even Kid Flash with surprise. Danny accompanied the Titans as they tracked Eddie to his employer, Mister Krask of Zenith Caterers Company. Spying on Eddie, they learned that Eddie was indeed the Ant, which left Danny heart-broken, before they all realised that Eddie was also manipulated by his employer. Eddie did not want to pull any more crime capers for Krask, but for some reason, Krask was able to force him to continue.

The next time the Ant appeared, he stole a considerable amount of money at a charity picnic. Helping Eddie flee, Danny approached him and furiously asked him why he did this dirty work. Eddie revealed that Krask had shown him pictures of Danny being associated with the criminal Sharks gang, and that the pictures were to be given to the police if Eddie did not assist Krask. A puzzled Danny said that while he had met the gang, he had never joined them or done anything illegal, so the police would mean no trouble for him.

Realising that Krask had duped Eddie, the two brothers joined forces and lured Krask and his men into the Camp Lacklock area, where the criminals were easily defeated through the combined efforts of the Ant, the Teen Titans, and the Lacklock students. After that Eddie deeply apologized to the Titans and Doctor Turner, Turner answered that while Eddie still had to face justice for his crimes, he would use his influence so all Eddie would get was more time at Lacklock. Eddie was very grateful.

The Ant has not been seen since. Neither have Eddie Whit or his brother Danny.

The Ant had tremendous strength, speed, and agility, was an extraordinary acrobat and could leap several metres without effort.

Although it was never said that the Ant was anything more than human, his skills supposedly stemming from the genes and training of his parents, the Ant's extraordinary abilities suggests that there was something more to it. Although his strength was nowhere near Wonder Girl's, it was enough to keep her off-balance. Same with the speed, which, while not in Kid Flash's class, was able to take him by surprise. The Ant's acrobacy outshined even that of Robin the Boy Wonder, and he could seemingly leap longer and higher than any non-superpowered human being. All this suggests that the Ant had some meta-human powers, though perhaps he had not realized that himself.

In addition, the Ant used some specially-developed suction cups that allowed him to climb walls.


The adventure was reprinted in an issue of THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD (circa #110) in the early 70s. As far as I know, the Ant has never reappeared since. (Correct me if I'm wrong, Mikishawm.)


Tenzel Kim
posted October 13, 2000 10:51 AM

Originally posted by Hellstone:

For once, I can help with at least one character here. This is a bio that I wrote for Tenzel Kim's DC Guide: THE UNOFFICIAL ANT BIOGRAPHY

Great bio. When did you write that one? Have you ever sent it to me cause I don't seem to remember ever seeing it before.

By the way, did you ever complete that update of the Hell profile? And do you have anything new on the horizon?

Anyway speaking of the Guide, you've probably noticed it hasn't been updated for eons so you might have come to the conclusion that I had given up on it, however that is not the case. I've been working on a way to improve the site as I was still pretty much unsatisfied with the way it looked. However, as I've had way too little time lately to complete the updates I've had to put it on hold as I want to update the entire site at the same time.

Right now I'm working on an important new feature, but in order to make that one really good I need some info on Hawkman that I hope Mikishawm can provide. If it wouldn't be too much trouble I'd like a complete list of Hawkman's appearances (all incarnations) and if anyone would be interested in writing up some profiles on some of Hawkman's foes I wouldn't complain.

I hope to be able to announce the update sometime this month.

posted October 13, 2000 06:56 PM

Many thanks, Hellstone! Excellent work! The Ant story was reprinted in BRAVE & BOLD # 114 with a few pages cut.

I'm sorry to report that the Ant seemingly returned as a villain in the November page of the 1977 DC Calendar (with art by Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin). He fought the Teen Titans at the site of Rome's Colosseum.

The caption states that the Ant is "a heinous super-villain whose only desire is to write an end to the careers of Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Speedy and the Guardian" -- a.k.a. Mal. No doubt there's more to the story -- like most everyone, I'd have liked to have seen Eddie Whit revived as a hero -- but we've yet to hear details.

And Tenzel, here are the appearances of that obscure DC character that you asked about:

HAWKMAN I (Carter Hall; Earth-Two):
Adventure Comics # 462, 465-466
All-Star Comics # 1-59, 61-74
All-Star Squadron # 1-6, 9-13, 16-17, 19-21, 23, 25, 27-28, 30-32, 35-42, 44, 46, 50, 52, 60
All-Star Squadron Annual # 1-3
The Amazing World of DC Comics # 14 (text)
America Vs. the Justice Society # 1-4
The Big All-American Comic Book # 1
Crisis On Infinite Earths # 5-6, 9-10
DC Special # 29
DC Special Series # 10
The Flash (first series) # 137
Flash Comics # 1-104
Flash Comics Miniature (1946)
Infinity, Inc. # 1-5, 7-12, 15, 19, 21-22, 27
Infinity, Inc. Annual # 1
Justice League of America # 21-22, 29-30, 37-38, 55-56, 64-65, 82-83, 91-92, 147-148, 171-172, 183, 193, 195-197, 244
Who's Who '85 # 10
Wonder Woman (first series) # 243, 291

HAWKMAN I (Carter Hall; current):
Action Comics # 650 (flashback), 663
All Star Comics (1999 series) # 1-2
All-Star Comics 80-Page Giant # 1
All-Star Squadron # 61, 64, 67
Armageddon: Inferno # 3-4
Damage # 12, 15 (mention)
The Darkstars # 5-7
DC 2000 # 1-2
DCU Villains Secret Files # 1
Green Lantern Corps Quarterly # 1(flashback), 3
Green Lantern: Fear Itself
Green Lantern Secret Files # 1 (photo)
Hawkman (third series) # 5-6, 11-13
Hawkman Annual # 2
Hawkworld # 21, 28-29
Hawkworld Annual # 1
Impulse: Bart Saves The Universe
Infinity, Inc. # 25-26, 37, 39 (flashback), 48, 49-50 (flashback)
Infinity, Inc. Annual # 2 (flashback)
JLA 80-Page Giant # 1
JLA: Year One # 4, 11-12
JSA # 7 (flashback)
Justice League America # 64 (flashback)
Justice Society of America (first series) # 4-8; (second series) # 1-2, 4, 6, 8-10
Last Days of the Justice Society Special # 1
Legends of the DC Universe # 12-13, 31
Legends of the DC Universe 80-Page Giant # 1 (flashback)
Robin 80-Page Giant # 1
Sandman # 26
Secret Origins # 11, 14 (flashback), 22 (flashback), 27 (flashback), 31, 37 (flashback), 50
Secret Origins Annual # 3 (flashback)
The Spectre (third series) # 20, 54
Starman # 62, 69
Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. # 9, 11 (flashback)
Superman: The Man of Steel Annual # 1 (flashback)
Thrilling Comics # 1
War of the Gods # 2
Wonder Woman (current) # 130-133
Young All-Stars # 2-3, 6-7, 9, 14, 25, 27
Young All-Stars Annual # 1
Zero Hour: Crisis In Time # 4-3

HAWKMAN I (Earth-32):
The Golden Age # 1, 3-4

HAWKMAN I (Earth-3839):
Superman & Batman: Generations # 2

HAWKMAN I (variants):
Elseworld's Finest # 1
Green Lantern Corps Quarterly # 6
Green Lantern: Fear Itself
Hawkman (third series) # 30
JLA/Titans # 2
Justice League America # 72-75
Tangent Comics/ The Superman # 1

HAWKMAN II (Katar Hol a.k.a. Carter Hall; Earth-One):
Action Comics # 350, 365, 480-481, 482 (behind the scenes), 483, 489-491, 514, 535, 546
Adventure Comics # 423, 451, 464
All-Star Squadron # 14-15
The Amazing World of DC Comics # 14 (text)
Aquaman (first series) # 18, 30, 55
The Atom # 7, 31, 37
The Atom and Hawkman # 39-45
Batman and the Outsiders # 1
The Brave and The Bold # 34-36, 42-44, 51, 56, 70, 139, 164, 186
Crisis On Infinite Earths # 4-5, 9-10, 12
DC Comics Presents # 10 (behind the scenes), 74, 95
DC Special # 27
Detective Comics # 428, 434, 446, 452, 454-455, 467-468, 479-480, 500
The Flash (first series) # 158, 175, 199, 204, 327, 329
The Fury of Firestorm # 4
Green Lantern (second series) # 122
Hawkman (first series) # 1-21
Hawkman Special # 1
Infinity, Inc. # 22
Jemm, Son of Saturn # 5 (behind the scenes)
Justice League of America # 31-34, 36, 38, 40-41, 43-47, 50-53, 57, 59-63, 65, 68, 71-75, 78-84, 86-92, 94-106, 109, 116-119, 121, 123-137,139, 143, 145-146, 149-152, 157,
159-161, 167-168, 171-172, 175, 179,182, 183, 188, 189-191, 195, 200-202, 207-218, 221-223, 225-230, 240, 250
Justice League of America Annual # 1-2
Legends of the DCU: Crisis On Infinite Earths # 1
Limited Collectors' Edition # C-41
Mystery In Space # 87-91
The New Teen Titans (first series) # 4-5, 19
The Saga of Swamp Thing # 24
The Secret Society of Super-Villains # 5-7
The Shadow War of Hawkman # 1-4
Showcase # 101-103
Super Friends # 3, 7, 9, 33
Supergirl (first series) # 8; (second series) 20
Superman (first series) # 199, 220 (behind the scenes), 387
The Superman Family # 171
Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane # 74
Super-Team Family # 3, 12
Swamp Thing # 46
Who's Who '85 # 10
Wonder Woman (first series) # 218-222, 291, 300
World's Finest Comics # 189, 201, 209, 245-246, 250, 253, 256-259, 262, 264-270, 272-282, 286-287, 300, 302

HAWKMAN II (Earth-12):
Swing With Scooter # 5

HAWKMAN II (Earth-32; also see HAWKMOOSE: EC-):
DC Challenge # 3-4, 7, 9-12
DC Super-Stars # 14
Hawkman (first series) # 22-27
JLA 80-Page Giant # 2
Legend of The Hawkman # 1-3
Super Powers (first series) # 1-5; (second series) 1-2, 5-6
Super Powers Collection # 4, 6, 9, 12, 23
Viewmaster mini-comic # 9 (1981)

HAWKMAN II (Earth-85):
Action Comics # 588, 600
Animal Man # 6
Captain Atom # 24
Firestorm, the Nuclear Man # 67-68
Flash (second series) # 8
Hawk and Dove (third series) # 1
Hawkman (second series) # 1-17
Invasion! # 2-3
Justice League International # 10, 19-22, 24
Legends of the DC Universe 80-Page Giant # 1
Millennium # 1, 5-8
New Gods (third series) # 15
Power of The Atom # 4
Superman (second series) # 18
Wonder Woman (second series) # 25

HAWKMAN II (variants):
Action Comics # 583
The Brave and The Bold # 56
DC One Million 80-Page Giant # 1
Detective Comics # 347, 408
The Flash (first series) # 254
JLA: Created Equal # 1
JLA: The Nail # 1
Justice League America Annual # 8
The Kingdom: Planet Krypton # 1
League of Justice # 1-2
The New Teen Titans (first series) # 3
The Outsiders (first series) # 6
Superman (first series) # 192
The Superman Family # 194
Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane # 93, 111
World's Finest Comics # 184

HAWKMAN II (Fel Andar a.k.a. Carter Hall, Jr.; current):
Hawkworld # 22-25 (as a villain)

HAWKMAN II (Katar Hol; Earth-D):
Legends of the DCU: Crisis On Infinite Earths # 1

HAWKMAN III (Katar Hol; current):
Adventures of Superman Annual # 4
Anima # 12-13
Armageddon: Inferno # 2, 4
Bloodbath # 1-2
DC Versus Marvel/Marvel Versus DC # 1-2
Deathstroke # 49-50, 52
Deathstroke, the Terminator # 43
Eclipso: The Darkness Within # 2
Flash (second series) # 100
Green Arrow # 101
Green Lantern (current) # 63-64
Gunfire # 13
Guy Gardner: Warrior # 29, 32-34, 39
Hawkman (third series) # 1-13, 0, 14-18, 20-33
Hawkman Annual # 1-2
Hawkworld (mini-series) # 1-3; (second series) 1-32
Hawkworld Annual # 1-3
Justice League America # 70, 0, 93-102, 104-105, 107-113
Legion of Super-Heroes (current) # 45 (corpse)
Superman (current) # 83
Underworld Unleashed # 2 (isochron.)
Underworld Unleashed: Patterns of Fear # 1 (text)
War of the Gods # 2-4
Who's Who '91 # 6
Wonder Woman (current) # 61-62, 93
Zero Hour: Crisis In Time # 3-0

HAWKMAN III (Earth-992):
Superman and Batman Magazine # 5

HAWKMAN III (variants):
Action Comics # 757
Adventures of Superman Annual # 6
Batman: Mitefall
Hawkman (third series) # 13
Hawkworld Annual # 2
JLX # 1
Justice Riders
The Ray # 15
Sergio Aragones Destroys DC # 1
The Spectre (third series) # 22
Superboy (current) # 62
Superman (current) # 137-138
Young Justice # M
Zero Hour: Crisis In Time # 3

HAWKMAN IV (John Holliday):
Tangent Comics/Metal Men # 1

The Kingdom # 1
Kingdom Come # 1-4
Kingdom Come: Revelations (text)

HAWKMAN of 21st Century (Brian Witikker):
Deathstroke # 51

HAWKMOOSE (Earth-C-; also see HAWKMAN II: E1, E32 and HAWKMAN III: C):
Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew # 14

posted October 14, 2000 10:47 AM

I don't know if he's been mentioned here before, but as a kid I always got the Human Cannonball confused with Gangbuster. They both had those round helmets, and they both showed up in SUPERMAN FAMILY...

posted October 15, 2000 02:28 AM

Just to bring it to someones attention: the link to Obscure DCU Characters - Round I is not working.

New Member
posted October 15, 2000 03:34 PM

Does anybody recall an unproduced DC comic called "Pandora Pan". I think I read about it in an early issue of AMAZING HEROES.

posted October 16, 2000 04:05 AM

Tenz - yes, I've sent the Ant bio to you...ages ago. At the same time that you got Judge Gallows, the Faceless Hunter, Detective Chimp, and Gentleman Ghost. February this year, I believe.

The 'Hell' update is almost finished. I have a few questions still that I intend to plague Mikishawm with in the near future. And I will update it with the recent Carnivore storyline in SUPERGIRL. And I look forward to your update.

Mikishawm - The Hawkman checklist was impressive. Is it okay for me to ask a few silly questions about DC's Hell and Demons in another thread? Do you have the time?

Taz - Yes, the link is sadly destroyed, I just noticed. Furthermore, I can't find the copy I had of the original thread. So I guess that's history. I have it all printed out, though, if there's anything you are wondering about.

See ya around.


Tenzel Kim
posted October 16, 2000 02:57 PM

Originally posted by Hellstone:

Tenz - yes, I've sent the Ant bio to you...ages ago. At the same time that you got Judge Gallows, the Faceless Hunter, Detective Chimp, and Gentleman Ghost.

Damn. You're right. I just checked. I wonder what the hell I was doing at that time, since I haven't made or uploaded any of those yet.

*Hitting himself hard over the head* Hmm, maybe that was what I was doing at the time, since now I don't remember what I've just written. Who am I????

Well, thanks again. Now I have some more stuff to do

posted October 16, 2000 05:35 PM


By all means, feel free to pick my brain. There's not much there at the moment but you can stir the ashes.

I've spent the weekend working on the Nightwing Timeline (for the November issue of the on-line DC journal "Fanzing") so I'm a bit exhausted from poring over all those comics. I'll try to get back to the bios this weekend (if not sooner). In the meantime, here's something on ...

PANDORA PAN, mentioned in THE COMIC READER # 197 and 201 (Dec. 1981; May 1982):

Originally slated for release in July of 1982, Len Wein and Ross Andru's Pandora Pan was described in TCR # 197 as "the assistant of an archaeologist who unwittingly opens Pandora's Box and spends the rest of her time trying to retrieve the evil she has unleashed by doing so."

Slated for a preview in June's SAGA OF SWAMP THING # 5, the series was instead put on indefinite hiatus "due", according to TCR # 202, "to Len Wein's inability to find the time to write it." A piece of promotional art also appeared in # 201. Launched instead was ARION, LORD OF ATLANTIS, which had run for several months in WARLORD.

This was a series that I'd actually been looking forward to and its pre-release cancellation was a big disappointment. I regarded the Arion series as rather stodgy at the time and would have preferred the more energetic Pandora -- especially with art by the great Ross Andru.

Tenzel Kim
posted October 17, 2000 11:20 PM

Has the Outlaw from the early issues of ALL-STAR WESTERN been covered? For some reason I seem to remember having seen some info on him somewhere but looking through my downloaded files I can't seem to find it.

If he hasn't been covered I'd like to know something about him as I've already found a picture to go with the Who's Who profile I'll hopefully be able to put up on him on my website

And speaking of old DC Western heroes, how about some info on El Diablo now that he is slated to appear in a new Vertigo series this January?

posted October 19, 2000 03:41 PM

Originally posted by Hellstone:

Taz - Yes, the link is sadly destroyed, I just noticed. Furthermore, I can't find the copy I had of the original thread. So I guess that's history. I have it all printed out, though, if there's anything you are wondering about.

Well what I really would like is to know if you could supply me with just the bios that were covered in the thread?

You see, I keep my own database of comic-book super-heroes; and the more I learn about the obscure charaters the better.

I would also appreciate it if you could direct me to any other threads like this that might interest me. Even some that deal with cartoon characters that are not considered to be "true DC" characters.

Tenzel Kim
posted October 21, 2000 07:08 PM


Just checked out your old mails to see which profiles I hadn't made ready for the update of my site and I ran across one that said "Don't put up my 'Faceless Hunter' profile on your site...not yet, at least, since I've recently learned there are a few errors in it. I'll get back to you about that."

Have you fixed those errors so that I can get the Faceless Hunter ready for the update as well?

And I'm still looking forward to your picking Mikishawm's brain for info for the 'Hell' profile

posted October 21, 2000 08:37 PM

I'm back from the dead! Today -- famed Green Arrow villain Doctor Davis. Tomorrow -- major Teen Titans baddies the Sizematic Twins!

Fred Jenkins would do anything for his son. Diagnosed with a potentially fatal condition, the boy was in desperate need of a life-saving -- but very expensive operation. With no other options, Fred decided in early 1962 to take a series of high-risk, high-paying jobs to finance the surgery.

While testing a one-man propeller device above Star City, Jenkins came to the attention of Green Arrow and Speedy, who rescued him with helium balloon arrows when the flight pack malfunctioned. At an impromptu press conference, Jenkins offered to undertake any dangerous mission ("for the right price, of course") and, by evening, his name had been broadcast up and down the coast. In a chance encounter that night, the Amazing Archers rescued Fred again, this time while he was salvaging gems for the owners of a wrecked freighter.

Inevitably, Jenkins was hired by an unscrupulous client. The day came while Fred was testing a Cliff Climber, an orange tank with extendable arms and a clear plastic dome over the driver's seat. The device worked flawlessly and Jenkins reported the news via radio to its inventor, Doctor Davis.

Davis, a fifty-something man with curly gray hair, thick eyebrows and a mustache beneath his bulbous nose, had further instructions: Jenkins was to use the tank's arms to steal a rare jade statue from a suburban mansion.

Fred insisted that he couldn't comply but Davis responded that "you can -- and you WILL! I sent you this way because the regular road up that mountain is guarded at the bottom. What's more, I sealed you in. If you don't steal that statue, I need only press a button that will blow up the vehicle, with you in it! Think it over."

After several minutes of silence, Davis triggered the explosion, observing that "now that I know my invention works, I can build another and operate it myself." Before he had a chance to react, Doctor Davis and his two partners were captured by Green Arrow and Speedy -- in the company of Fred Jenkins.

Spotting the Arrow-Plane overhead, Jenkins had used the tank's arms to uproot an American flag and turned it upside down ("the standard distress signal"). Alerted to Fred's plight, GA explained that "a few acetylene torch arrows did the trick, burning off the dome."

Green Arrow predicted that Fred's reward for capturing the Davis gang "should be more than enough to cover your son's operation." Still shaken from his experience, the young man responded, "I don't mind telling you -- that last job cured me of risks forever" (WORLD'S FINEST # 125, by Ed Herron and Lee Elias).

Though a minor adversary in Green Arrow's history, Doctor Davis had the good fortune of appearing just as writer Gardner Fox was casting about for a representative GA villain to use in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA # 14 (with art by Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs). Four months after the publication of WORLD'S FINEST # 125, Davis returned in the JLA story, one of several crooks recruited by Mister Memory (a.k.a. Amos Fortune) to use a De-Memorizer on the heroes and give them amnesia. Using more of his inventions (a miniature aircraft and a lightning generating baton), Davis distracted Green Arrow until he could use Mr. Memory's device on the Emerald Archer.

Davis and his cohorts were soon captured by the League, of course, but the bad doctor achieved a bit of immortality with his five panel (only two less than WFC!) appearance in that issue (the twice-reprinted induction of the Atom), enabling fans to remember his name when nearly all the other evil scientists of the era are long forgotten.

posted October 22, 2000 06:59 PM

On the second Tuesday in January of 1977, twin robberies were carried out on the United States' eastern seaboard. In New York City, the theft of a collection of rare stamps went off without a hitch. In Gotham, where duplicates of those stamps were on display at a local exhibition, an identical trio of thieves had to work a little harder. The Teen Titans -- Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl and newcomer The Joker's Daughter -- were on the scene, drawn there by JD's unexplained "mental link with whomever planned the caper."

The villainous trio, each wearing thematically appropriate pointy tiaras, were:

Flamesplasher, who sprayed fire from a nozzle attached to his left forearm. The mustachioed rogue wore a blue costume with orange gloves and boots, a red cape as well as a red-orange flame-like tiara/headpiece.

Sizematic, a rough and tumble muscleman in silver armor with a red and white bullseye on his chest. He could enlarge to roughly triple his normal height.

Darklight, who projected a cloud of darkness. She had a blue costume, accented with white gloves, boots, cape and tiara.

The battle did not go well for the Titans. Robin was swatted into unconsciousness by the giant Sizematic, Kid Flash collapsed after exhausting himself trying to spin Flamesplasher's fire away from him and Wonder Girl and the Joker's Daughter unwittingly knocked one another out when they entered Darklight's field of blackness in search of the villainess.

A rematch proved just as embrarrassing, with a second batch of Titans heading into battle expecting one set of villains and getting another. Flamesplasher doused Speedy with a concussive blast of water fired from a nozzle on his RIGHT wrist, Sizematic shrank to Doll Man dimensions to evade Aqualad and Darklight exploded in a burst of white light that blinded Mal Duncan.

The collective Titans finally got their act together at the New York Historical Society, where each set of twins had been spotted. Having clogged the fire-wielding Flamesplasher's nozzle with a foam arrow, Speedy followed up by using an icicle-arrow to freeze the water-boy's spray to his twin's arm. The force building up in the watery Flamesplasher's jammed arm unit sent him into a virtual seizure that shook both him and his captive brother through a display window.

Meanwhile, Mal used a slingshot to throw the tiny Sizematic into the chin of his big brother and Kid Flash tricked the Darklight doubles into fighting themselves while Wonder Girl stood back and watched("They pulled this stunt on ME -- so I'm returning the favor."). -- TEEN TITANS # 47(by the twin Bobs -- Rozakis and Brown -- and inker Tex Blaisdell)

Elsewhere, The Joker's Daughter and Robin had found the mastermind behind the crimes -- or rather, he had found them. Two-Face -- the alleged father of Duela (Joker's Daughter) Dent -- had orchestrated the thefts of the antiquities and their doubles as part of a figurative coin flip that he intended to be the ultimate arbiter of whether he should be good or evil.

At 2:22 PM Eastern Standard Time, NYC and Gotham would be struck with nuclear missiles. "Half the loot is stashed in New York, the other half in Gotham. Thus -- when my bombs blow up both cities, if more originals survive the blast, I'll become an honest citizen. If it's the phony duplicates, I'll devote my life to crime." No wonder Two-Face was in Arkham Asylum.

Suffice it to say, the pair of Titans escaped, each nuclear strike was averted by a team of teen heroes and Two-Face was captured (TT # 48, by Rozakis, Jose Delbo and Vince Colletta). Left unexplained was the "mental link" between Two-Face and his "daughter." One might speculate that the Darklights were low-level psionics (Hinted by the first Darklight's comment that she could "cloud your minds -- as well as your bodies") and that they were, perhaps inadvertantly, leaking details of the crimes to Duela Dent. Given the uncharacteristically amateurish performance of the Titans' founders, one might also argue that they were mentally inhibiting the heroes as well.

The twin bandits languished in prison until late in the spring of 1978 when each of the male sets returned. The Flamesplashers struck at the Gabriel's Horn discotheque, headquarters of the now-disbanded Teen Titans. Mal Duncan (as the Guardian) held his own until the fiery member of the twosome pointed his nozzle at the head of Mal's fiancee Karen Beecher. The watery Flamesplasher demanded that the Guardian help them commit a new series of robberies or forfeit Karen's life.

As the rogue escorted Mal outside, they came face-to-face with Jimmy Olsen and the Newsboy Legion, who'd hoped to find information on Jim Harper, the original Guardian. While the Newsboys tackled one of the twins outside -- "Hey, Soggy! DRY UP!" -- Jimmy surprised the other inside the disco and freed Karen (SUPERMAN FAMILY # 191, by Tom DeFalco, Kurt Schaffenberger and Tex Blaisdell).

Elsewhere, the Sizematic Twins had been recruited by the Secret Society of Super-Villains as part of the Silver Ghost's plan to destroy the Freedom Fighters (SSOSV # 15, by Rozakis, Mike Vosburg and Bob Smith). In the never-published SSOSV # 16 and 17 (whose contents saw print only in an in-house set of xeroxes called CANCELLED COMIC CAVALCADE), the Freedom Fighters' forces were split and Uncle Sam and Doll Man faced Copperhead and Sizematic alone in Sun City, Florida.

Doll Man imagined that he could outwit the giant Sizematic by shrinking but he reckoned without the existence of the villain's tiny twin, who handed him a solid punch. In the end, the six-inch Freedom Fighter was no match for the duo. The entire Secret Society, writer Bob Rozakis assures us, was finally defeated by the FF before the heroes left Earth-One for their native Earth-X.

posted October 23, 2000 03:07 PM

Thanks, Miki. You said you would be busy these days, but it doesn't show. How's your grandmother?

Tenz, I'll keep in touch with you via e-mail regarding the bios to the guide. As soon as I find some extra time.

Taz, I can't give you all the bios of the original thread, but this is the list of the ones covered. Tell me if there's someone in partucular that you want, and I can consult my printed version.

1. The Adventurers' Club
2. Blackmask
3. The Gorilla Wonders of the Diamond
4. The Maniaks
5. Skull & Bones
6. Squire Shade
7. Starfire of Mygorg
8. Starhunters
9. Swing with Scooter
10. U.S.S. Stevens
11. Astro
12. Gangbusters
13. Lady Cop
14. Mercenaries
15. Split
16. SR-12
17. Sterling Silversmith
18. Templar Knight
19. Third Archer
20. Viking Commando
21. Bombardiers
22. Flying Boots
23. Frogmen
24. Kings of the Wild
25. Manhunters Around the World
26. O-Sensei
27. Sierra Smith
28. Space Voyagers
29. Suicide Squadron
30. Tom Sparks, Boy Inventor
31. Binky
32. Golden Gladiator
33. Yellow Peri
34. Human Cannonball
35. Paragon
36. Assassination Bureau
37. Bat Knights
38. Darius Tiko, the Wizard of Time
39. the Deep Six
40. the Duke of Oil
41. the Luck League
the Luck Lords
42. Nuclear Family
43. Power Elite
44. Printer's Devil
45. Ramulus the Plantmaster
46. Black Vulcan
47. Apache Chief
48. Rima the Jungle Girl
49. El Dorado
50. Samurai
51. Agent Orange
52. One Man Meltdown / Bag O´Bones / Cyclotronic Man
53. Tracey Thompson
54. New Guardians
55. Bat Squad
56. Aquagirl I
57. Aquagirl II
58. Aquagirl III
59. Snafu
60. Thriller
61. Arcana I-II
62. Argent
63. Armstrong of the Army
64. Bob Colby & Jim Boone
65. Croak McCraw , the Dead Detective
66. The Endless One
67. Fireman Farrell & the Firefighters
68. Silver Fog I-III
69. Sky Dogs
70. Wayne Clifford
Jemm, Son of Saturn
71. Bob the Galactic Bum
72. Doctor Seven
73. Fargo Kid
74. Gadgeteer
75. Green Glob
76. Knights of the Galaxy
77. Planeteers
78. Legion of the Weird
79. Lightning Master
80. Master Electrician
Silken Spider
81. Banshee
82. El Dragón
83. Firestar
84. Mad Maestro
85. Mad Mod Witch / the Fashion Thing
86. Masked Ranger
87. Professor Menace
88. The Thing That Cannot Die
89. The Three Aces
90. Ubu
Jonna Crisp
Ted and Teri Trapper
Fire Ghosts
Fire People
91. Baffler
92. Cannon & Saber
93. C.A.W.
94. Jason's Quest
95. Nimrod the Hunter
96. O.G.R.E.
97. Proletariat
98. Scarth
99. Shadowstryke
100. T.N.T. Trio
Gudra the Valkyrie
the Elementals
Atomic Knight I

And the ones covered in this thread so far are:

101. Arsenal (Nicholas Galtry)
102. Captain Invincible
103. Captain Strong
104. Davy Tenzer
105. Hercules Unbound
106. Jan Vern, Interplanetary Agent
107. Jero & Halk
108. Jim Corrigan of Earth-One
109. Super-Duper
110. Super-Hip
111. Class of 2064
112. The Clipper
113. Forever Man
114. Interplanetary Insurance, Inc.
115. Lady Quark II
116. Mr. Originality
117. Mopee
118. Professor Brainstorm
119. Sunburst
120. Willow
122. Arizona Raines
123. Foley of the Fighting Fifth
124. Kit Colby, Girl Sheriff
125. Minstrel Maverick
126. Overland Coach
127. Pow-Wow Smith
128. Rodeo Rick
129. Super-Chief
130. Two-Gun Lil
131. Mark Merlin
132. Prince Ra-Man
133. Kong the Untamed
134. Huntress I
136. The Evil Eight
137. Executrix
138. Grockk, the Devil's Son
140. Smashing Sportsman
141. The Image
142. ZeroMan
143. Odd Man
144. The Sizematic Twins
145. Captain Stingaree (briefly)
146. Nightmaster (briefly)
147. Tim Trench
148. The Bronze Age Toyman (briefly)
153. The Ant
155. Pandora Pan

Still unanswered are:

135. The Duke of Deception
139. Doctor Davis
149. Joshua
150. Swashbuckler
152. the Inferior Five
154. Anti-Lad
156. Outlaw


posted October 23, 2000 03:08 PM

Impressive, isn't it?


Tenzel Kim
posted October 23, 2000 04:17 PM

Yup. Quite impressive. However, you forgot...

157: El Diablo

posted October 24, 2000 08:05 AM

And of course, #139 - Doctor Davis - has already been answered by the Mighty Mikishawm. Sorry for that error, too.


posted October 24, 2000 01:28 PM

Got some extra time today, so I'll make an attempt to cover two of the characters listed. I'm sure Mikishawm can and will tell you more, though.

A young masked man who first appeared in TEEN TITANS (1st series) #20 (Mar-Apr 69) by invading the Titans Lair and asking the Titans for help to stop a confrontation between the police and a group of teenaged protestors. (This was the funky seventies, remember?) After a few misunderstandings, the Titans learned that the protestors were actually (and unknowingly) backed by a criminal organization, who in turn were the pawns of the sinister aliens of Dimension X (recurring foes of the original Titans that first appeared in TEEN TITANS (1st series) #16 (Jul-Aug 68). The Titans collaborated with Joshua and his brother (the leader of the protestors) to thwart the aliens' plan to release the monstrous entity called the Meroul Being. Joshua was thanked and praised for his help, but to my knowledge he has not been seen since. People asked for Joshua's entry in the original Who's Who series, but he never got one.

An interesting note about this adventure (written by Neal Adams and illustrated by Adams with Sal Amendola and Nick Cardy) is that it was based on an earlier, unpublished story by Len Wein and Marv Wolfman. In the original version, the young hero was black and he was not called Joshua but - Jericho, a name Wolfman re-used fifteen years later, in TALES OF THE TEEN TITANS #44 (Jul 84).

Michael Carter, a vigilante active in the Houston area, that appeared in DETECTIVE COMICS #493 (Aug 80). He worked with Batman to capture the Riddler. The Swasbuckler is in fact the nephew of the original Vigilante, the "cowboy" crimefighter from the 1940s. Swashbuckler is a superb hand-to-hand combatant, uses a fighting stick and rides a motorcycle. He, too, has only appeared once to my knowledge. Geoff Johns said that he wanted to do something with him in STARS & S.T.R.I.P.E., but since that title was cancelled, thos plans are probably gone for the foreseeable future. (His one adventure was written by Cary Burket, with art by Don Newton and Dan Adkins.)

"Swashbuckler" was also a one-time alias for Oliver Queen in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA (1st series) #173, as one of the faked identities used by the Justice League when they put Black Lightning to an inducting test. (Black Lightning passed his exam, but turned down the membership offer.)


posted October 24, 2000 07:24 PM

Hellstone, thanks for the bios! Re: Joshua. Wein and Wolfman obviously remained upset by the circumstances behind that story and I suppose they (as editor and writer of THE NEW TEEN TITANS) didn't want to revive him because he was a reminder of the whole controversy.

Thanks for asking about my grandmother. She has her good days and bad days -- sometimes she's in a great mood, very animated and talkative while on others she's gloomy about the fact that her broken shoulder isn't healing as fast as she thinks it should. She's determined, though, and that helps a lot.

I'd felt bad about my reduced output on the boards. I'm glad that you think it doesn't show.

New Member
posted October 28, 2000 05:39 PM

I'm sorry the first round of this thread is gone. I missed a few bios like Croak McGraw. Too bad you probably don"t want to recap him on here. I suppose you could send me the info at a2-ton@ApexMail.com. However, the character I am most interested in finding out about is Sgt. Gorilla who apparently was an intelligent gorilla fighting the Japanese in WWII.

The Vigilante
New Member
posted November 08, 2000 08:01 PM

154. Anti-Lad was "The Legionnaire Nobody Remembered" from SUPERBOY & THE LEGION (I believe it was #204). I remember he was from the future and came back to apply for Legion membership to prevent a catastrophe from happening to the LSH. After doing so, all that was left was a photo of him with the team (he never became an actual member, but the LSH would let applicants get photos of themselves at the team table with the members as a souvenir).

posted November 08, 2000 08:58 PM

What is the story behind Kubert's REDEEMER? I saw a GREAT article about it in AMAZING HEROES and then, bam, never published.

posted November 11, 2000 05:27 PM

I've always had a special affection for this next character since SUPERBOY # 204 was the first Legion issue that I ever read.

Dateline: 2958: Tears welled up in Superboy's eyes. He'd been invited to join the 30th Century's Legion of Super-Heroes and, frankly, things had not gone well. The Boy of Steel had failed three consecutive tests to join the team and he'd just been informed that he hadn't made the cut. "Only the backwards 20th Century people could think him a 'super-hero'" (1958's ADVENTURE COMICS # 247, by Otto Binder and Al Plastino).

Humiliated, Superboy wondered how he could face his friends back in Smallville. As the heroes left him there and prepared to return to the 30th Century, he pleaded with them to "give me another chance!" It was not to be. The disappointed Legionnaires "would've sworn Superboy was a sure bet to become our newest member. But now -- "

"Now we know he's not Legionnaire material."

It was back to the future, where a grim Cosmic Boy announced that he was opening "the floor to other nominations for a new member. On cue, a tall young man materialized on the round table in a burst of flame and asked, "May I make a suggestion ?"

The teenager, who called himself Anti-Lad, wore a red body suit with long black-gray boots & gloves, crossed suspenders and shorts. The top of his hood was cut out, exposing his bald head, and his eyes were concealed by a visor. "On the faraway planet I come from, our sun is 1,000 times brighter than yours. The visor amplifies Earth-light so I can see."

In a series of trials, Anti-Lad demonstrated how he came by his name, reflecting the powers of each Legionnaire back at them. As Lightning Lad fired a bolt at him, "Anti-Lad's uniform suddenly became insulated" and he shocked the Legionnaire with his own electricity. Subsequently, Colossal Boy collapsed under his own weight and Cosmic Boy found himself magnetized and stuck to the Legion headquarters. "Ever since I can remember," Anti-Lad explained. "I've always had the uncanny ability to change someone's strength into a weakness ... by turning his own power against him."

With the hero on the fast track for Legion membership, his picture was taken with the founding members and he settled into the team's guest-quarters for the night. Only Brainiac Five had his doubts -- and he was determined to confirm his suspicions. Anti-Lad awoke in the middle of the night to the glare of light in his face and instinctively covered his eyes. A stern Brainy informed him that "a person who grew up under a super-bright sun certainly wouldn't be shielding his eyes from a mere light like this."

Analysis quickly revealed that Anti- Lad's powers were artificial, a violation of Legion policy. The visor was an astonishingly advanced computer that "not only analyzed the strength of each opponent (but) also instantly created the correct counter moves to overcome them. But most surprising of all ... if I read these circuits right, the computer recently analyzed and manufactured Kryptonite."

Once 20th Century soil particles had been detected on his boots, Anti-Lad admitted that he'd followed the Legionnaires into the past and sabotaged the initiation of Superboy. The moment after his confession, the would-be Legionnaire blinked out of existence. Brainiac Five and company had no recollection of the past day, only the overriding feeling that "we've GOT to give Superboy another initiation test" (1974's SUPERBOY # 204, by Cary Bates and Mike Grell).

Travelling to the past once more, Saturn Girl erased Superboy's recollection of his first meeting with the team. Clad in different costumes to avoid triggering the Boy of Steel's memories, the Legionnaires subjected him to a second series of tests which, once more, he appeared to flunk. This time it was all a prank and the Legion unanimously accepted Superboy into its ranks (ADVENTURE # 247).

Years later, the Legion would find a photo of themselves and a stranger in their archives and wonder "who WAS Anti-Lad ?" His secret was still millennia in the future -- the 75th Century, to be exact, an era when most of Earth's inhabitants lived in geometric structures that hovered above the polluted surface.

While using a time-scanner to research a Superboy biography, a young student had witnessed the Legion's historically-inaccurate rejection of the Boy of Steel. The teenager's father theorized that "this instrument is defective. Instead of merely observing the time-stream, its scanning rays have warped it ... and altered a portion of the past ... namely Superboy's membership in the Legion. ... He is destined to (play) such a vital role with them that the entire course of history will be thrown out of control without him."

The boy's father resolved to alert the Science Court, of which he was a member, but the teenager felt obligated to resolve the matter himself. He created his visor ("only a toy in our advanced age of technology") and made an unauthorized jaunt into the time-stream via his father's timesmitter. "Father MEANS well, but by the time he goes through the proper channels to get permission, it may be too late. A crisis like this calls for drastic and immediate action." After a side-trip to 20th Century Smallville to get soil samples, Anti-Lad paid a visit to the Legion and manipulated them into believing that the Superboy test had been fixed. Upon his departure, A-Lad's visor gave "each of them a post-hypnotic command ... ordering them to have no memory of (him) once (he) disappeared."

Ultimately, Anti-Lad's efforts were undone. Multiple assaults on the Legion's history wove Superboy into and out of the team's history and inevitably took their toll on the fabric of reality. Only a last ditch effort coordinated by Cosmic Boy (as the Time Trapper) enabled the Legion to preserve the integrity of the timestream (1994's LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES # 61). In the history that arose in the aftermath, the Legion of Super-Heroes still existed (LSH # 0) but the vital role that Superboy played in those chronicles was no more.

Ironically, the 75th Century would remain a significant period in the history of the cosmos. During that era, the ageless energy-being known as Wildfire was able to sustain the legacy of the Legion of Super-Heroes and, in a truly historic achievement, revived the United Planets (1996's LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES ANNUAL # 7). Anti-Lad would surely have been proud.

Tomorrow: The Redeemer!

posted November 12, 2000 01:04 PM

"The mission for which I have summoned you ... is no simple one. Not one a mere matter of life and death ... but -- of the SOUL! It is the soul that links us to eternity. There is born into each age one with the POTENTIAL to REDEEM mankind of evil and suffering. Although he contains the SEED of the world's salvation ... he himself is NOT AWARE of his power. He must PROVE himself worthy through MANY LIFETIMES ... Only VAGUELY ... as in a dream ... can he recall being tested in past lives ... this REDEEMER. If HE succeeds ... WE are doomed to EVERLASTING PAIN AND SUFFERING! We must LURE him from his path ... to conquer his SOUL. The Redeemer must become one of US ... to assure our OWN DESTINIES!" -- The Infernal One, speaking to his unholy forces in THE REDEEMER # 1 (by Joe Kubert).

The story of the Redeemer was revealed in the pages of Fantagraphics' magazine AMAZING HEROES # 34. The Peter Sanderson-written article clocked in at eleven pages, complete with generous samples of writer-artist Joe Kubert's panels from the first issue and character sketches. Kubert even drew an original cover for the 'zine.

The intention was to preview the twelve- issue maxi-series during October of 1983, the month of its release. Unfortunately, DC decided at zero hour to postpone the title "by at least a couple months and possibly as much as half a year." A chagrined Fantagraphics editor Kim Thompson had no choice but to run "a preview that appears well -- and I mean WELL -- before the previewed subject." Little did he know ...

THE REDEEMER hinged on the concept of reincarnation and featured a man named Torkan in a succession of time periods --from the age of the caveman to the future of 2557 A.D. In each of his lives, Torkan would be unaware that a higher power had selected him to be the Redeemer. Time and again, he would be tempted by the forces of the Infernal One, recalling his past only in flashes of deja vu.

The Infernal One was an ancient-looking man, bald on the top with flowing white hair and beard. Kubert explained that he was "a wraith ... somebody who is real and yet is not real, somebody who is timeless, somebody who is not alive and who is not dead, a being and yet not a being." Existing in "a timeless place," he selected his agents of evil from all time periods.

Kubert added that there were rules of a sort in the Infernal One's temptation of Torkan. "He can't be forced to do that which is perhaps counter to what we all consider or hope is good. It's not a matter of his being put under any kind of torture and forced to take whatever steps he will. He can't be forced, he can't be twisted, but he can be induced, so that it's his choice. It's a choice that we all have to make."

The twelve-issue series was to have been composed of multiple story arcs, each set in a separate, non-chronological time period. "When we come to the 12th issue," Kubert concluded, "the character himself will be crystal clear, the situation vis-a-vis himself and the Infernal One will be crystal clear, and the battle that takes place between them will be culminated. There will be a culmination as there will be at the end of each one of the stories. But there will never be an end" to the eternal war between Torkan and his adversary.

Ironically, in the same time period that the first issues of THE REDEEMER should have been on the stands, DC featured a similar character in the pages of November and December's ACTION COMICS # 552 and 553. Therein, Marv Wolfman had revived 1960s hero Immortal Man (from STRANGE ADVENTURES # 177, 185, 190, 198). Like Torkan, Immortal Man had been resurrected multiple times throughout the course of history. Wolfman unwittingly made the character even more similar to Torkan when he gave I-Man an opposite number in the form of the immortal villain Vandal Savage. And more recently, Savage has played the same role in Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's RESURRECTION MAN series.

Unlike I-Man and Mitchell Shelley, the Redeemer would have operated outside DC continuity. According to Peter Sanderson, "Kubert feels that to allow DC's more fantastic characters, including the costumed super-heroes, to intrude upon the Redeemer's world would destroy the basic realism of the series. 'I think that would make totally incredible the character I have here.'"

THE REDEEMER's six-month postponement came and went, but it never reached the stands. Kubert had been unable to find the the time to complete the series (reported in AMAZING HEROES # 39) and DC had reportedly received complaints because of the Christian nature of the character's name. In the end, the artwork in AMAZING HEROES # 34 may be all that anyone ever sees of the Redeemer.

posted November 12, 2000 02:35 PM

In case anyone's interested, there's another Obscure DC Character (Mr. Banjo) at this link:

posted November 11, 2000 12:33 PM

Here's Mister B's story:

"Here is a master criminal, an ingenious plotter of crimes -- a fiend who would snuff out life as easily as he would blow out a candle." The legend of Mister Banjo began with Doctor Filpots, an unseen criminal genius who'd terrorized the east coast in the final days before the United States' entrance into World War Two. Law enforcement officials believed they had their big break when mobster Trigger Danny agreed to reveal all he knew about the mastermind in exchange for a lighter sentence. In early 1942, the stoolie was gunned down in retaliation.

As surgeons fought for Danny's life on a hospital table, WHIZ Radio newscaster Billy Batson slipped into the operating room, intent on getting the scoop on the wounded man's condition. Instead, Batson would determine Danny's fate. The plunking notes of a banjo heralded the arrival of a trio of gun-wielding hoods who were sought to finish what they'd started. With one magic word, Billy transformed himself into Captain Marvel and left the hitmen gift-wrapped for the police.

The local story was soon eclipsed by a national crisis. The United States' efforts in World War Two were being hampered by a saboteur, someone who was routinely leaking confidential military shipping routes to the Japanese.

Disguised by a rather obvious long white beard, Billy paid a visit to American Naval Headquarters. There, he witnessed a verbal altercation between a French "arteest" who wanted to see "zee commanding officer" and an oblivious secretary absorbed in her typing. Inevitably, a strapping sailor ejected the troublemaker. Billy followed the stranger, noting the curious detail that he was vigorously whistling as he strolled away.

The melody was overheard by a balding, well-fed gentleman with a bulbous nose, a tattered green three-piece suit and a porkpie hat. He rushed away, gasping, "Gotta hurry before I forget it!" Outside a printing shop, the fat man strummed the tune of his banjo until a man inside demanded that he "cut the racket!" Requesting "just a few pennies for Mr. Banjo," the musician made his exit once he'd received a coin. In turn, a transmitter within the shop relayed the musical notes around the globe to a Japanese outpost and alerted them to bomb a "U.S. battleship nearing Guam."

Meanwhile, Billy had confronted the Frenchman at the moment that the spy was assassinated by the returning Mister Banjo. With his final words, the man identified his killer and explained that "they told me --they would release my family -- in occupied France -- if I carry their messages ..." Billy turned to find a gun in his face. "I'M Mr. Banjo, buddy! Now it's YOUR turn!"

Calling out "Shazam," Billy changed into Captain Marvel just in time to beat Mister Banjo's bullet. Before he could interrogate the killer, Cap was distracted by a man in a Marvel Family uniform who'd just robbed a bank.

With "Cap" wanted for questioning, it fell to Billy to solve the case. Returning to Naval headquarters, the newscaster found Boogey, the man who'd pretended to be Cap, chatting with the still-typing secretary. Suddenly, everything clicked in Billy's head and he asked an officer to detain the woman and Boogey: "She's typing in Morse Code ... giving that man the secrets!"

"The girl learns the secrets ... and then one of the spy gang calls in here -- she types out the message in code on her typewriter -- that's how all the messages leak out. ... After they get the code down pat, the man walks along the street whistling it ... and then Mr. Banjo picks it up and plays it to some more spies. By this method, it's carried halfway around the world."

Captain Marvel nabbed the conspirators at the print shop and trailed Boogey to a ship in the city's harbor. There, he smashed Mister Banjo's instrument over his head and tossed the unconscious musical murderer into the ocean. Boogey revealed that "Mr. Banjo is really old Filpots -- that business of killin' Trigger Danny was just a stall to cover his other activities. HE'S the real head of the international spy ring -- he's been in cahoots with them orientals for years."

"OHO! Then instead of getting rid of ONE killer -- I got rid of TWO!" (CAPTAIN MARVEL ADVENTURES # 8, illustrated by C.C. Beck) Cap's tough talk for Boogey's benefit notwithstanding, the World's Mightiest Mortal presumably returned to fetch Mister Banjo out of the drink. The spymaster was, alas, long gone.

The Japanese assault on U.S. forces and Captain Marvel in particular continued when the evil Nippo came on the scene in CMA # 9. Within moments of his capture, Station WHIZ had received an encoded message. His hair standing on end, Billy told station manager Sterling Morris that "it's our Captain Marvel code! And it's signed Mr. Banjo!"


Or, for those of you who left your Captain Marvel Code Cards in your other pants: "You thought I'd been finished off, didn't you ? Wait till I get hold of you next month!"

And sure enough, Mister Banjo returned in the final story in CMA # 10 (with art by Pete Costanza). The nation had been stunned by President Roosevelt's decision to recall the entire naval fleet from the Pacific. Fearing that the outcome of the war was in jeopardy, Captain Marvel flew to the White House and offered to single-handedly take over for the Navy. "I'll thank you to mind your own affairs, Capt. Marvel!" FDR snapped. "I'll manage to run the country. Good day!"

As he left the Oval Office, Cap realized that he'd just spoken to an imposter but, before he could act on the knowledge, the floor opened beneath him and he fell into a sub-basement. There, he faced Mister Banjo and his gang, who'd arranged a death trap, a heavy-duty compression elevator designed to crush Big Red Cheeses. By the time, he'd muscled his way to freedom, Cap had lost the villains.

A tip led Billy to the secluded Templar Mansion, where he was immediately captured by Mister Banjo and company. After his failure in the previous outing, the saboteur was now being watch-dogged by a beautiful Axis spy named Mata. She was mystified by Banjo's interest in Billy but the fat man knew there was a connection between him and Captain Marvel. Though he'd witnessed Billy's earlier transformation, the villain couldn't remember it because of the magic inherent in the lightning bolt.

When Batson refused to reveal his secrets, he was flung from the mansion via an ancient catapult. A bolt of lightning pierced the sky and one of the gunmen shrieked, "The kid's exploded!" Captain Marvel began a swift mop-up operation even as the ringleaders fled. Speeding away in a motorboat, Mata shouted to her collaborator that "you're through, Mr. Banjo. The cause no longer needs you."

With Cap's hands around his throat, Banjo pleaded, "Don't hit me -- I'll talk, I'll tell everything!" A heavy hook near the mansion's ceiling made a convenient holding device for the villain, who shrieked in terror as disturbed bats swirled around him. Captain Marvel concluded the case by freeing the President, who confirmed that "these rattlesnakes meant to kill me in cold blood."

Scheduled to be tried for war crimes, Mister Banjo escaped from prison in 1943 to participate in Mister Mind's Monster Society of Evil. Though present in Captain Marvel's first skirmish with the league of villains (CMA # 22), Mister Banjo failed to return in any of the subsequent battles. His fate --and the role he was meant to play in the Monster Society -- have never come to light.

Still, his four panel appearance in CAPTAIN MARVEL ADVENTURES # 22 was enough to include Banjo in the Monster Society roster in 1986's WHO'S WHO # 15. Because of that, he was remembered in cameos in 1996's KINGDOM COME # 3 (page 7 panel 2, mostly hidden by a word balloon) and the recent WORLD'S FUNNIEST. As immortality goes, it's not much but it's more than most 1940s villains can claim.

posted November 12, 2000 02:37 PM

... and a look at Alan Scott's adventures in radio at:

posted November 12, 2000 12:58 PM

In his first appearance (1940's ALL-AMERICAN # 16, by Bill Finger and Martin Nodell), Alan Scott was a construction engineer in charge of building structures such as bridges. As the story opened, Alan was riding a train on a test run to gauge the effectiveness of "a newly-constructed trestle bridge." Alan's company had underbid a rival engineer, Albert Dekker, who planted explosives along the track with the intention of killing Scott and all aboard.

Alan survived only because of the train's green lantern that he'd been holding at the moment of impact. The young engineer collapsed into unconsciousness as the magic lantern filled his mind with its story.

It had arrived on Earth hundreds of years past in China as a glowing green meteor, proclaiming that "three times shall I flame green! First - to bring death! Second - to bring life! Third - to bring power!" A sorcerer named Chang retrieved the meteor, whose arrival had been prophesied, and forged it into a lamp. Fearing that Chang's actions would anger the gods, the villagers murdered the lamp maker and, in so doing, fulfilled the Green Flame's first prophesy.

Millennia ago, the Guardians of the Universe had "gathered the mystic force loose in the starways" and "locked it in the heart of a star, there to remain forever" (1978's GREEN LANTERN # 111). Unknown to the Guardians, the magic energy had become sentient and, as the Green Flame of Life, it siphoned off a small portion of its energy to serve as a force for good (GL # 112).

The Green Flame's fate eventually intersected with Yalan Gur, a dragon-like member of the Green Lantern Corps who was assigned to Earth's space sector. As a favored son of the Guardians, the beings of Oa decided to remove his emerald ring's weakness to yellow. Yalan Gur quickly became corrupted by power and attempted to dominate the people of China. The Chinese people rose up against their oppressor and the Guardians secretly aided them. They altered "the composition of (Yalan Gur's) power-battery and ring. They make him vulnerable to wood. Vulnerable to the sticks of peasants, the humblest of all weapons."

The angry Green Lantern flew out of Earth's atmosphere cursing the Guardians and then, losing consciousness from his wounds, fell back to the planet's surface. "He burns on reentry" (1991's GREEN LANTERN # 19). Simultaneously, the chunk of the Starheart found Yalan Gur and "merged with the dying hero, granting him absolution if not resurrection" (1993's GREEN LANTERN CORPS QUARTERLY # 7).

(The GL # 19 story completely ignored the Starheart explanation, identifying the meteor as Yalan Gur's molten lantern and the voice of the Green Flame as Yalan Gur himself. The GLC story reconciled the two stories.)

After Chang's demise, "the lamp passed through many hands in its travels. Curiously, however, to the bad, it brought destruction ... to the good ... luck and fortune." According to 1987's SECRET ORIGINS # 18, the lamp was eventually discovered by Milton Caniff's Terry Lee and Pat Ryan (or their DCU equivalents, Spike Spalding and Ryan Patrick) during the mid-1930s and ended up in Gotham's Arkham Asylum. There, it cured the madness of an inmate named Billings, giving him a second lease on life.

Alan Scott would be the recipient of the lamp's third gift -- power! Fashioning a ring to channel the lantern's power, Alan used it appear as an emerald phantom. He phased through the wall of Dekker's quarters like a wraith ("I have the power of going through the Fourth Dimension") and was capable of deflecting bullets and knives when he was solid. After a wooden club dazed him, Alan jumped to the conclusion that "I'm only immune to metals."

In AAC # 17, Alan (as the Green Lantern) continued to walk through walls and deflect bullets. He also used the ring to create a wall of emerald force and melt steel. Once again, wood felled the hero. GL's ability to make himself intangible, as well as the other attributes, were present in nearly every episode of the strip for at least its first few years.

Later in 1940, APEX radio announcer Jim Tellum was "machine-gunned to death" on the streets of Gotham (AAC # 20). Determined to avenge the deaths of Tellum and, subsequently, his wife, Alan considered the dead man's profession. "I'm a radio engineer. If I could get a job at APEX, I might be able to get some helpful clues on this case ... And come to think of it, working for a radio broadcasting system would be a great help to me in ALL my activities as the Green Lantern. I'd get all the news reports first hand."

Alan spoke to APEX's assistant manager, Mister Gates, who admitted that there were no job openings but that his application would be kept on file. On his way out, Alan ran into Irene Miller, a young woman he'd met a few months back at the World's Fair (AAC # 18). Irene worked at the station and was as determined as Alan to find the killer of the Tellums. In the end, the true murderer was revealed as Gates. Alan's own role is saving Irene's life during the adventure did not go unnoticed by the station manager. Irene informed her rescuer that "a job is due you as compensation for the risk you took with me."

(And, yes, Alan WASN'T a radio engineer, despite what he said in AAC # 20. On the other hand, he wasn't hired as a radio personality. Instead, he was given a position that utilized the electronics knowledge he'd gained in construction.)

Initially, Alan worked on the technical end of things at APEX. After an announcer fell ill at the radio station, Alan jumped n to cover him. The Apex president thanked him, commenting that "your speaking voice, incidentally, turned out to be surprisingly good...good enough to go on the air! Therefore, I'm going to let you handle the interviewing on the 'man on the street' program!!" (1941's GREEN LANTERN # 2).

Upon his discharge from the army, Alan seemed to drift from station to station (such as WXK in GL # 10 and WCMG in GL # 12), occasionally identified as a trouble shooter. That all changed in GL # 20 (1946).

Therein, Charles "Doiby" Dickles related a flashback in which WXYZ Radio's jack-of-all-trades Alan Scott was informed by manager Mr. MacGillicuddy that he was "trying to do too many jobs at once...You're a good sound engineer -- stick to that!" Soon after, Alan was fired when he was framed in a scam involving a gang that used radios as listening posts.

A climactic fight between GL and the thugs wrecked the WXYZ studio. Alan arrived, repaired the equipment, wrote copy for a news program and worked in the sound booth and as emcee on a new variety show. MacGillicuddy not only rehired Alan but declared him "too valuable to lose. From now on, you can hold every job in the place if you want to! You can do anything you want around here -- because you can do anything! Hear that ? Any job you want!" In the final panel, Doiby walked into the office of the new general manager of WXYZ -- Alan Scott!

And he was still in charge in 1965, when Alan met his Silver Age counterpart in GREEN LANTERN (second series) # 40. Typically, the name of the station had changed yet again. Now (and forevermore) it was the Gotham Broadcasting Company. In post-Crisis history, the GBC name was in place as early as the 1950s (1990's SECRET ORIGINS # 50). By the time Batman came on the scene in the late 1980s, Alan had additional stations in New York and California that kept him from his home town for long stretches of time (2000's BATMAN: GOTHAM KNIGHTS # 10).

Alan eventually paid the price for his neglect of the cornerstone of his empire. Half a million in debt (1976's ALL-STAR COMICS # 64), Alan lost control of Gotham Broadcasting. Despondent over the end of his life's work, Green Lantern fell prey to the Psycho-Pirate (ASC # 65) and went on a rampage (ASC # 66) with other members of the JSA until Wildcat broke the spell (ASC # 68). Relocating to Keystone City (1978's GREEN LANTERN # 108), a humbled Alan Scott accepted a position as Jay Garrick's research assistant (revealed in 1985's INFINITY, INC. ANNUAL # 1).

Soon after, Alan was confronted by Lo-Lanke, the immortal wife of Chang. She revealed that his "servants perished at the first flame of the green fire, but he survived." Chang retained a small piece of the meteor and "it preserved him through the centuries, feeding his life with its super-natural energies." When Alan's will power was diminished after his loss of GBC and he committed acts of evil when manipulated by the Psycho-Pirate, he unwittingly enabled Chang to bend his "power stone" to his will. In a final battle with Green Lantern, Chang perished when a huge tree fell on him. Lo-Lanke had never told her master that the emerald energy didn't work against wood (1978's GREEN LANTERN # 108-110).

In time, Alan decided to get back into the broadcasting game and formed a partnership with old friend Molly Maynne to purchase TV-18 and radio station KGLX in Los Angeles. The professional relationship soon became a personal one when Alan and Molly were wed (INFINITY, INC. ANNUAL # 1). The honeymoon period of the marriage came to an abrupt end when Green Lantern and most of the other older members of the Justice Society were cast into a timeless limbo (1986's LAST DAYS OF THE JUSTICE SOCIETY SPECIAL # 1).

TV-18 thrived under Molly's guidance and, by the time the JSA was freed from limbo (1992's ARMAGEDDON: INFERNO # 4), Alan Scott was able to reaquire Gotham Broadcasting (suggested by 1992's JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA # 2).

For a time confusion reigned at DC regarding Alan's business. Despite Alan Scott's statement in the 1993 NEWSTIME facsimile that he hadn't "been affiliated with the Gotham Broadcasting Company for quite a few years," the return of GBC to Green Lantern's life had to be acknowledged. While the 1992-93 JSA series had Alan at GBC, the simultaneously running GL strip in GREEN LANTERN CORPS QUARTERLY continued to refer to TV-18.

The Scotts moved from Los Angeles to Gotham sometime between 1993's GREEN LANTERN CORPS QUARTERLY # 7 and 1995's UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED: HELL'S SENTINEL # 1. In the aftermath of the Gotham quake, they relocated to Manhattan (1999's GREEN LANTERN SECRET FILES # 2). 1999's GREEN LANTERN # 110 stated that Alan "moved what could be salvaged from his Gotham Broadcasting Company building into storage." Today, GBC is known as Scott Telecommunications (GL SECRET FILES # 2).

Commander Steel
posted November 12, 2000 01:08 PM

O.K., on the matter of Alan Scott's career development, a little research through some back issues shows that character development is not a concept limited to modern comics. Alan Scott was given a steady career development over the years, sometimes by accident, sometimes deliberate.

ALL-AMERICAN COMICS # 16 (July '40) heralded the debut of the original Green Lantern. In this story, Alan Scott is stated to be an engineer. From the train motif, it is a logical assumption that he is a structural engineer.

Four issues later, in ALL-AMERICAN COMICS # 20 (Oct. '40), he is hired by the Apex Broadcasting Company, based in Capitol City, as a radio engineer. This is obviously a different sort of engineer, and no mention is made of how this is at odds with the previous engineering position he held; but it marks the start of Scott's climb up the ladder in the broadcast industry.

I regret to report that my memory (and my comic collexion) is spotty on his next career jump; but somewhere around ALL-AMERICAN COMICS # 35 (Feb. '42), Scott has moved to Gotham City and become a radio announcer for radio station WXYZ, owned by the Gotham Broadcasting Company.

In GREEN LANTERN (original series) # 20 (Summer, 1946), the reader sees Alan Scott given a promotion to general manager of station WXYZ.

It wasn't until the Silver Age, in GREEN LANTERN (second series) # 40 (Oct. '65), that the reader learns that Alan Scott finally got the big office on the top floor, as president of the Gotham Broadcasting Company, which now includes television, as well as radio.

When ALL-STAR COMICS was revived in 1976, it is revealed that Gotham Broadcasting is on the verge of bankruptcy. This is due to the Psycho-Pirate's subtle manipulations of Alan Scott's emotional stability, leading him to make poor business decisions. The stockholders fire Scott, but he bounces back and takes a job as an engineer (again, it is vague as to what field of engineering) at Garrick Laboratories--as shown in a FLASH Special and issues of ALL-STAR in 1978.

In the '80's, Scott negotiated a business deal to establish a communications enterprise in Los Angeles (INFINITY INC ANNUAL # 1), and brought Molly Mayne on board as a partner. Soon after, he married Miss Mayne. During the period when he was in Ragnarok, Molly ran the company, until Scott returned, upon which he took over as its director.

posted November 14, 2000 02:52 PM

Thank you for the story of the Redeemer, another unpublished hero that I've never heard of before. This thread is always educating.

Okay, 154. (Anti-Lad) and 158. (Redeemer) have been answered by the Mighty One.

Still unanswered are
135. The Duke of Deception
152. the Inferior Five
156. Outlaw
157. El Diablo

I could attempt to answer the Inferior Five, but I know I'd be outclassed by Mikishawm. Instead, I'll put some more pressure on him, adding five more names to the list.

159. The Council
160. Shark Wilson
161. Super-Turtle
162. Tailgunner Jo
163. Ur the Caveboy

I hope you don't feel like Sisyphos, Miki. But you know that nobody here wants this thread to die. Ever.

And as I've said before, the right to answer questions is not exclusively Mikishawm's. Feel free to join in, boys and girls.


posted November 14, 2000 03:50 PM

Hey Miki,

Just wondering what do you have on the old Fawcett characters like Ibis, MinuteMan, and Bulletman & Bulletgirl?

How about some bios of them?

Dave the Wonder Boy
posted November 14, 2000 06:19 PM

Originally posted by Bgztl:

How about Kong the Untamed? (1970's character. I remember seeing the comic once but what was it? Was it any good?)

Nice Wrightson cover on the first issue, the interior story was OK but unspectacular. That was about the same time as Kubert's TOR, the first appearance of WARLORD, CLAW, JUSTICE INC, BEOWULF, STALKER and a few others. With the exception of WARLORD, which I loved, the rest were OK for a few issues but unspectacular. But it was still good to see some new and different characters, and with WARLORD we got one great series out of the bunch.

I would have liked to see a few more issues of Kirby's ATLAS (1ST ISSUE SPECIAL #1)

posted November 17, 2000 12:41 AM

How about some little known characters from the SUPER FRIENDS comic: The Elementals.

posted November 18, 2000 07:29 PM

On a June morning in 1978, four enormous jewels were sighted in and around the United States -- a ruby near the Gotham City Police Station, an emerald atop Metropolis' Galaxy Building, a diamond outside New York City's United Nations and a sapphire on a beach near Aquaman's sanctuary.

As each location's resident super-hero stepped forward to investigate, the gems opened to reveal strange beings. Superman, for instance, found a hooded man in brown calling himself "the Gnome -- master of Earth." The Gnome possessed super-strength, magnetic powers, the ability to phase through solid matter and, most significantly in this case, the gift of transmutation --which he used to convert the emerald into Kryptonite.

Elsewhere, Aquaman was facing a woman in a blue/green scaled costume who called herself the Undine and possessed total command of any water body. Learning that the Sea King would not be harmed by a crushing wave of water, the Undine caused the ocean to recede from his presence instead. Aquaman's invocation of Proteus' name led the water elemental to transform herself into a gorilla. "Like many other sea deities, I share his shape-shifting abilities."

In New York, Wonder Woman clashed with a blonde woman in light blue known as the Sylph. In addition to the power of flight and control of the wind, she also commanded lightning and could become "as intangible as air."

And finally, in Gotham, Batman was menaced by the fire-wielding female in a scaled red costume. Though hampered by a costume that blocked her power ("That stupid Overlord! He has given me a fire-proof costume which my flame cannot penetrate!"), she managed to hold the Dark Knight at bay with unrelenting bursts of fire emitted from her eyes and mouth.

Rushing to the rescue were Robin, Wondertwins Zan and Jayna and their alien monkey Gleek. The Salamander was doused by Zan (in the form of a wave), the Gnome was rendered unconscious by Robin's gas pellets and the Sylph was hypnotized by Jayna (in the guise of an Exorian bird known as the Thrib). Elsewhere, Gleek distracted the Undine with his elastic tail while Aquaman summoned help from the creatures of the sea. The water elemental picked up the telepathic command herself and immediately called a truce. "I read your thoughts -- enough to detect the way I had been deceived -- when told you were a villain."

The four elementals were brought to Gotham's Hall of Justice, where Batman recognized them as four members of the nouveau riche whom he and fellow millionaire Sandor Fane had played host to the previous evening. The Gnome, brown-haired token male in the group was Arden Chemicals' founder Grant Arden ("I've lost track of your patents," joked Bruce), the blonde Sylph was singer-songwriter Jeannine Gale (whose "Bright Day" release had just become her sixth gold record), the red-headed Undine was author Crystal Marr (with four best-sellers -- including the new "Ice In August" -- to her credit and another, "Requiem For A Fallen Sparrow," on the horizon) and the raven-tressed Salamander was "the nation's leading couturiere" Ginger O'Shea (owner of the Gotham-based Chez O'Shea, first mentioned in SUPER FRIENDS # 6).

After Bruce had said his goodbyes and left the table, the conversation turned to Fane's recent discovery of a manuscript believed to have been written by 16th Century alchemist Paracelsus. "In those days, it was believed that there were only four elements -- earth, water, air and fire. Paracelsus wrote of spirits which inhabited these elements -- gnomes in the earth, undines in the water, sylphs in the air and salamanders in the fire." In Fane's newly-exhumed document, the alchemist "claimed he had found ways of summoning elemental spirits!"

Fane offered to demonstrate the technique for the quartet, who unwittingly found themselves serving as hosts for four elementals. Those beings picked up the story before the assembled Justice Leaguers. "We are elemental spirits who now co-habit the bodies of four humans. We were given these forms by one called Overlord, who told us you were evil-doers we should destroy. We know little of your human affairs in our realm. We believed him. And thus we came near to losing our chances to gain souls."

"We live 300 years ... then Sylphs turn into mist -- Undines into foam -- Gnomes into dust -- and Salamanders into ash. You see, there are ways for elementals to obtain souls -- if they can first gain material bodies. Yes -- by marrying a human -- or doing good over a long period. Thus we felt that by becoming heroes and battling evil, we could succeed."

Released from the elementals' control, the four Gothamites were unanimous in their anger at Sandor Fane (revealed as the Overlord) and their opposition to becoming costumed crimefighters. Even Jeannine Gale, who'd met the League in 1977 (SUPER FRIENDS # 4) and even written a song in their honor for the annual Justice League telethon (# 5), wanted no part of it. "We WORKED to get where we are," Crystal pointed out. "We have the careers we WANT -- and super-heroing is OUT!"

Superman admitted that they might not have a choice in the matter. "Those spirits can take over your bodies any time they want" and they couldn't necessarily be exorcised. Ultimately, the League managed to convince the quartet to accept at least a trial period of cohabitation with the spirits in order to have their revenge on Sandor Fane. "Look," said Grant, speaking for the group, "we won't like it, but we can put up with these parasites -- for a while anyway."

"WE won't be the super-heroes," added Ginger. "Not really" (SUPER FRIENDS # 14, by E. Nelson Bridwell, Ramona Fradon and Bob Smith).

The Elementals took ownership of their super-powered personas by junking the impractical Overlord-created outfits in favor of four toga-style costumes of Ginger's own design. The Salamander wore orange, the Undine green, the Sylph blue and the Gnome black. A unifying triangle belt emblem with slight permutations appeared on each costume. Chemist Grant Arden added that "I had to come up with fabrics our ... er ... alter egos could wear without tearing them to pieces with their powers."

The Undine explained that Grant "made my costume mostly of water -- which he tells us is used in many man-made fabrics. And that means it is under my control -- I can change its shape even as I change mine. When I change identities, I can turn the costume into Crystal's clothing. This one outfit can be used as her entire wardrobe."

"And mine is flame-proof," the Salamander added, "but porous, allowing my fire to go through it without harming it. It's also quite elastic ... for when I use ANOTHER of my powers."

The Gnome's "uniform is made of metallic threads, so my powers work on it. When I pass through this stone wall, the fabric does, too -- with ease."

The Sylph's "costume also is made of a common ingredient of modern fabrics -- air! And of course, it responds to my powers -- and becomes invisible and intangible as air when I make Jeannine's clothing visible and tangible. You see, I wear TWO outfits at once -- but only one at a time can be seen and felt."

And with that, the Elementals were ready to take on the Overlord. Sandor Fane, meanwhile, was in a panic over the fact that the Elementals had revealed his true identity to the League and were certain to track him down. Manipulated by his scheming Underling, the Overlord opted to unleash four simultaneous element-themed preemptive strikes and boasted to the Justice League that they would be unable to stop them.

In Texas, the Overlord had set his sights on the Wayne Petroleum Complex, a deliberate slap at Bruce Wayne, whom he'd learned was bankrolling the Elementals. The Sylph used her powers to unleash a blizzard on the site and stop the oil that was flooding the complex while Robin defeated the villains who were intent on setting the fuel ablaze.

Meanwhile, Aquaman was rushing to his native Poseidonis, now threatened with flame of a different sort -- the legendary Greek Fire that burned when it reacted with water. With the Undine diverting the water currents away from the Atlantean city, Aquaman dealt with the men who were pumping the fire into the sea.

In the skies above Paradise Island, Wonder Woman and the Amazons launched a desperate attempt to save their home from a carefully-directed meteor shower. They were joined by the fiery Salamander, who momentarily transformed into flame and rematerialized as a giant, her costume remaining intact. Now she found it "simple enough to burn them -- even vaporize them -- in my hands."

The Elemental most in tune with the soil of Earth found himself in the uncomfortable position of being off-planet as he and and Superman joined forces to defend the JLA satellite. The structure was being rocked by solar winds and only the Gnome's magnetic powers kept it from plunging out of orbit or, alternately, into the sun. While the Gnome literally held the fort, the Man of Steel discovered another satellite of unknown origin that was manipulating the solar winds AND directing the meteor shower towards Earth. "Must have cost him millions of dollars and months of preparation," Superman thought as he drew back his fist, "for something I can wreck with one punch!"

Elsewhere, The Batman and the Wondertwins were approaching an ancient castle that Sandor Fane had brought to America as part of his collection of medieval artifacts. The Dark Knight was convinced that the Overlord was using the structure as his base. The battle ended with surprising ease. While the Wondertwins (transformed into a triceratops and Jack Frost) defeated Fane's knights, Batman pulled the would-be conqueror from his throne.

Lost in the confusion was the Underling, who secretly smirked that he'd been running the show from the start. "I had the ideas -- but not the money to carry them out. That's why I needed Fane -- and used him, while pretending to be his servant. He TRUSTED me -- and I spent his money to build an organization -- FOR MYSELF. I've transferred the bulk of his wealth to MY secret accounts. He's practically penniless now. And," he concluded, placing Fane's crown on his head, "I am the Overlord!" (SUPER FRIENDS # 15, by Bridwell, Fradon and Smith)

With their female plurality, the Elementals were a unique super-team in 1978 and, frankly, in most years before and after. Still, despite E. Nelson Bridwell's expressed desire to revisit the characters, the quartet never appeared again. The ongoing saga of the Overlord (which continued in issues # 25, 39 and 43) seemed to be heading for a climax when SUPER FRIENDS was cancelled and the Elementals would have been logical players in the inevitable wrap-up. Evidently, though, the reluctant super-heroes decided to pass on the opportunity to fight crime, leaving the job to more experienced metahumans like Superman and Wonder Woman.

posted November 19, 2000 04:49 PM

And continuing in a Ramona Fradon vein ...

"Shark" Wilson was a man known for his distinctive features, among them his flat nose, upturned lip and lantern jaw that inspired his nickname. Then, too, there was "that long scar down his right cheek," only the most conspicuous evidence that a long life of crime had left on his body. Appropriately for a hood named Shark, he was brought to justice by Aquaman and sentenced to "an island prison fortress."

In mid-1954, Wilson decided that he'd had enough of the prison routine and made his escape, laughing at the ludicrous story that the guards told about the beach, where the sand was "believed to have magic powers that'll turn you into a fish." Wilson got a face full of the sand when he hit the ground, then rose unsteadily to his feet. "Must've been shaken up bad by that high jump."

By the time Aquaman arrived on the scene, Wilson had vanished. The Sea King was astonished to find a shark swimming offshore with the same facial features as the escaped convict. Aquaman had always scoffed at the legend of magic sands but the shark's uncanny display of human cunning concerned him. In rapid succession, the shark repelled several of Aquaman's sea allies. He manipulated two octopi into tying themselves in knots, bent the nose of a swordfish and even gathered other sharks to take on the hero.

Aquaman concluded "that shark has the brains to defeat any well-known fish ... so I'll bring up a couple of denizens of the deep never before seen by man or shark." A group of "monster boxing shrimp" beat off the renegade sharks while Aquaman sent a giant blowfish against the ringleader. "As the shark attacks, the blowfish inflates itself to three times its normal size. And at the same time, deadly poisoned spikes project out from its body. The spikes break off like arrows, sticking in the shark's body and poisoning it."

The mortally wounded shark thrashed about in agony and Aquaman prepared to "mercifully destroy it before it kills anyone." The desperate creature swam towards the beach, literally blinking out of sight before the Aquatic Avenger's eyes. On shore, a search party found the unconscious "Shark" Wilson even as a baffled guard insisted that he'd searched the location earlier and come up empty-handed (ADVENTURE COMICS # 203, art by Ramona Fradon).

Aquaman never learned quite what had happened to "the shark with the human brain" but he was destined to face more Sharks in the future. "Shark" Norton, a virtual twin of Wilson, was later jailed by Aquaman and, when he made his escape in 1959, attempted to evade the Sea King by committing robberies on land (ADVENTURE # 267).

Further in the future, Aquaman would meet the reversal on Wilson, a tiger shark who'd been transformed by radiation into a man. As Karshon, the Shark was responsible for stripping Aquaman of his Atlantean crown in 1976 (ADVENTURE # 443-444, 446-448).

Still, the events of that 1954 day lingered in his mind. "What about it ?", Aquaman asked the reader. "Was that shark I fought simply the shrewdest shark that ever lived ? ... Or was it Shark Wilson, who returned to his normal self after the shark body died ? What do YOU think ?"

posted November 20, 2000 12:08 AM

How 'bout the Bottler?

posted November 22, 2000 03:39 AM

Speaking of Ramona Fradon. . .

I thought sure someone would get to him by now and with better information than me.

But. . .

135. The Duke of Deception.

The Duke is one of Wonder Woman's earliest foes. He first appeared, I think in WONDER WOMAN # 2 (first series) as a crony of Mars, the war god.

I think this needs some background because the Wonder Woman of the 1940's is so radically different from the modern version. If any of you are "modern" Wonder Woman fans only, the Golden Age atories can be sort of jarring. "Charles Moulton" (psychologist William Marston) raided Greek and Roman mythology on only the most superficial level.

He created Wonder Woman as an Amazon (woman warriors who fought the Greeks during the Trojan war) but then he made the Amazons pacifist.

He named Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of sensuality and romantic love, as the goddess of Love in the more platonic sense, i.e., the love of humanity.

And the foe of the Amazons -- who were the children of Ares, the Greek war god according to some myths?

Well, Mars, the Roman god of war. In a double twist, Mars actually lives on Mars where he rules with an iron hand and has imprisoned political prisioners (almost all scantily clad women).

In Mouton's universe, Mars was the doppelganger for fascism and the sworn foe of Wonder Woman, peace and democracy.

It didn't really make much sense but there it was.

On with the tale.

Mars had three henchmen: the Duke of Deception, Count Conquest and the Earl of Greed with whom he plotted to rule the world. Each was depicted in Greco-Roman armor. The Duke's armor was blue with orange or yellow piping. It included a crested helmet.

The Duke was skinny, short and scrawny. He looked older than Mars and the other henchmen. In early stories he was depicted as a white-haired man with a receding hairline, an aquiline nose, protruding chin, missing teeth and warts on his face.

In one later appearance he was depicted as thin and slight but more dapper with a receding hairline and widow's peak but only a flash of grey at each temple.

Through his fascist proxies, Mars had started a global assault on peaceloving people. The Duke of Deception was his most reprehensible agent.

Mars selected the Duke for his most important mission. The duke was to capture Wonder Woman. He is prepared. He and Mars already have some plots hatched for her.

The Duke reveals a room where macabre phantasms of living people hang from a wall like carcasses in a butcher's shop. These phantasms are like gloves that the Duke can put on. Along the wall are the phantasms of Hitler, Mussolini, Hirohito and Wonder Woman.

Slipping into the phatasm of Wonder Woman, the Duke goes forth to defeat her. But it is he who is defeated.

Subsequently, the Duke was imprisoned by Mars and made the slave of Mars' own enchained slaves, the women prisoners.

Turning to his greatest weapon, lies, Deception convinces the women that he planned to be arrested for their benefit.

Eventually he leads a slave revolt, freeing the women prisoners.

Then he managed to find a way to trick Mars and Count Conquest down tino the cells and paralyze them with electric rays. [Mars' status as a true god was never very clear from story to story].

But the women had merely exchanged one jailer for another. They proclaimed Deception as their new King. But it was not to last. Once again the Duke's deceptions were inadequate to stop the triumph of good.

On another occasion, Deception used Dr. Psycho as a pawn to try to defeat Wonder Woman. They failed again.

But the connection with Dr. Psycho was important for a different reason. Later on some of Dr. Psycho's powers seemed to rub off on the Duke.

My first real encounter with the Duke was in WONDER WOMAN # 217. At that time, Diana was proving herself worthy to rejoin the justice league by enduring twelve trials or labors like the labors of Hercules.

Each of the twelve adventures was "reported" back to the league by one of the members. In # 217, Green Arrow had his turn.

The adventure began as Oliver Queen made his way to the United Nations building in New York City. As he followed Diana about the building, he suddenly sees an amazing sight. Green Arrow is getting into the elevator with Diana.

The door of the elevator closes as Oliver Queen is rushing forward.

Inside the elevator, "Green Arrow" begs Diana to change into Supergirl to save some Pacific Islanders from a volcano. Diana is having none of it. She says, "Where do you get the idea I'm Supergirl --?"

"Green Arrow" quickly pulls out one of his rubber tipped arrows and tells Diana to shine her heat vision on it.

Amazingly, the arrow melts as if Diana had the heat vision power. As the smoke fills the elevator, "Green Arrow" leaps out at the next floor.

Diana changes quickly to Wonder Woman.

The real Green Arrow tells us that the phoney GA went off o change clothes. The astute reader might suspect it was actually to change phantasms.

Regardless, a policeman appears in the hallway asserting he had just seen Green Arrow run down the hall.

Diana quickly figures out that the occupants are all suffering from different delusions. From there it was a sort hop onto the solution.

And sure enough she's right.

The Duke of Deception is watching her in a bowl of water used as a scrying mirror.

As Green Arrow leaps back into the Duke's illusions by re-entering the building, Diana summons her invisible jet. Boarding her plane, the Amazon Princess uses her mental radio to view the delusions suffered by the occupants of the U.N. building.

She also located the one mind NOT affected by the illusion, the Duke of Deception's.

His eyes blazing, the Duke claims that his powers had increased and he was no longer in Mars' employ.

He then confronts Diana on the top floor of the U. N building.

He tricks Diana into lassoing a simulacra of himself. Then he stealthily snatches the lasso from her hands and uses it to bind her. [Diana lost her Amazon strength back then when she was bound by a man.]

The Duke attempted to confuse Diana further and held a sort of trial by fire for her in the middle of a circus ring.

As Diana was about to catch him again, he materialized a number of duplicates around her.

Next he materializes as a mad doctor who has chained Diana to an operating stretcher made of nails.

But Diana psyches him out instead.

She points out that he was clearly trying to overcompensate for no longer oworking for Mars. His once brilliant schemes and plots had been replaced with a mad and pointless scheme to shake Diana's confidence.

"Once a super-villain, now a has been."

As his confidence faded, the Duke's maintenance of the illusion that she was captured failed.

Leaping up she grappled witht he Duke. He had one final trick. Like Proteus, he began to change his form from viper, to eagle, to dragon to pig.

But it's too late. As he rushes in pig shape towards the window, Wonder Woman's lasso captures him.

Then, his real plan was revealed. He wanted to make the world bow down to him so that Mars would also have to bow to him.

Wonder Woman hauled him off to where Aphrodite could deal with him, ending the adventure.

I don't know of any subsequent appearances off hand, although I believe there were more.

Anyway, the upshot was that the Duke went from otherworldly plotter to Protean-like mastermind. But he was still a cad.

posted November 22, 2000 06:04 AM

Thanks, Bg!

I've been holding off on the Duke until I had more time (he's made a LOT of appearances) so I REALLY appreciated the write-up. Great work! I'll see if I can add some more this weekend (knock on wood).

Oh, and WONDER WOMAN # 217 was where I first encountered the Duke, too!

Tenzel Kim
posted November 23, 2000 12:51 AM

I believe I downloaded all the old files way back when so I'll check if I've deleted them since or still have them hanging around. If I don't have the originals I might have some revised editions being worked upon for my DC Guide, so hold off on typing in the printed version Ola.

I'll look into it later today.

posted November 23, 2000 04:35 AM

Wow. Tenz - if you have the original thread somewhere, please post it on the boards. Otherwise I'd have to scan my printed version or tyoe it in again. And that would take some time....


posted November 25, 2000 07:21 PM

With apologies for repeating what Bgztl has already written (and profuse thanks to Michael Fleisher, whose 1976 WONDER WOMAN ENCYCLOPEDIA was a godsend), here's my take on the Duke of Deception:

During the latter half of 1942, Major Steve Trevor disappeared on a secret mission and his "angel," an Amazon princess named Diana, feared the worst. A consultation with the goddess Aphrodite revealed that Steve was a prisoner of Mars, God of War, in an unearthly realm overlaid with the planet Mars. "No mortal can enter Mars's domain except as a shackled prisoner ... Mars takes prisoner only the souls of the dead." The goddess provided Wonder Woman with an "elixir of living death" that would enable Diana's astral form to enter the hidden land.

Once there, Wonder Woman soon identified the war god's three lieutenants, chronic complainers Lord Conquest and the Earl of Greed and the fawning Duke of Deception, who kept his true opinions about Mars to himself. He also kept the true identity of the new slave to himself, preferring to use the inevitable conflict to his advantage.

The Duke was an elderly balding man of medium build with shrunken cheeks, warts and shrivelled skin. Like Mars and Conquest, he wore the garb of a Roman legionnaire, complete with a blue crested helmet and breastplate.

Once Mars was defeated by Wonder Woman, the embarrassed God of War was determined to avenge himself but a retaliatory attack by Greed on the Amazon proved a failure. Deception was tapped for the next assignment. As part of his plan, he would use his "false forms, or phantasms of living people, which he animates with his astral body."

Operating behind the scenes, Deception arranged for Wonder Woman to be framed for the murder of Naha, a Hawaiian dancer though only he knew that the victim was a phantasm. Naha was, in fact, a slave of the Duke and captured Wonder Woman with the intent of transporting her to Mars. Once the Amazing Amazon had gained the upper hand, she convinced Naha to reveal her master's plans, including the secret of the phantasms.

Elsewhere, a disguised Duke was manipulating Emperor Hirohito into launching a new attack on Hawaii. The renewed invasion was deflected by Wonder Woman while Etta Candy (disguised by a WW phantasm) decoyed the Duke and his forces. Once the genuine Wonder Woman arrived, Deception was dealt a humiliating defeat. Diana knocked him from his phantasm shell, destroyed his Martian spacecraft and sent his astral form fleeing back to the realm of Mars in the form of a slave girl.

The God of War was not amused, ordering the Duke thrown in the dungeon even as he summoned Lord Conquest for another go-round with the Amazon princess. The third agent actually succeeded in bringing Diana to Mars and the jubilant warlord ordered Deception and Greed set free while Wonder Woman was chained in their place. Diana's captivity was short-lived and she left the realm with Mars' armory and castle in flames. For a time, at least, the God of War would be preoccupied (WONDER WOMAN # 2, by William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter).

In 1943, reports reached Mars of the surging presence of "women in war activities." Fearing that "if women gain power in war, they'll escape man's domination completely ... (and) achieve a horrible independence," the God of War demanded that his unholy trinity "go to Earth and put these upstart females in their place." The trio balked at the prospect so Mars drafted Deception, noting "you're the one to fool females." The Duke sought out an Earth agent named Doctor Psycho, prodding him into the first of many battles with Wonder Woman.

In the wake of Psycho's defeat, the Duke slipped and mentioned that Mars had been no more successful. "Deception's admiration for Wonder Woman and her sex is touching," noted the war-god. "Take him to the women's prison and make him their slave." The Duke was mortified but used his guile to draw the women to his side, telling them that he wanted "to get freedom for you women leaders." The ensuing mutiny put the Duke on the throne before an audience of adoring women while the imprisoned Mars, Conquest and Greed were forced to flee the planet in disgrace (WW # 5, by Marston and Peter).

The Duke enlisted his daughter, the beautiful blonde Lya, to help firm up support among the Martian women and grant him absolute power. Deception's daughter, however, was just as duplicitous and persuasive as her father. She proclaimed that "Deception, like all Martian men, believes women are inferior and only fit to be slaves." When her father begged for his life, Lya agreed to make him a political prisoner in permanent exile aboard a spacecraft. In a last minute bit of trickery, the Duke manipulated his daughter and her disciples into coming aboard the ship while he remained on Martian soil.

In early 1948, Wonder Woman was lured to the spacecraft, where Lya captured her and created a phantasm of the Amazing Amazon. ("It's lucky father left this ectoplasmic flesh-like clay in his spaceship.") As Wonder Woman, Lya attempted to steal Earth's atomic weapons and use them when she renewed hostilities with Mars. Instead, the genuine article escaped and rounded up the entire band of alien women. They would be detained on Transformation Island and, with time, reformed (COMIC CAVALCADE # 26, by Marston and Peter). The Duke had unwittingly been spared a new uprising but the God of War was looming around the corner.

With the death of Wonder Woman's creator William Moulton Marston in 1947, Bob Kanigher eventually assumed the writing chores on the series, still illustrated by H.G. Peter into 1957. Regrettably, most of classic rogues gallery faded with Marston. Indeed, virtually the only Golden Age villain to continue to be revived by Kanigher throughout the 1950s was the Duke of Deception.

Kanigher's first treatment of the character seems to have been in 1949's WONDER WOMAN # 34, where Mars had returned to the planet of his origin and dispatched the Duke of Deception to eliminate the person he blamed for Earth's lack of warfare -- Wonder Woman. As a phantasm of Paula von Gunther, the Duke took control of her "transmaterialization machine" and used it to wipe Etta Candy's Holliday College off the face of the Earth.

Eventually, Wonder Woman traced the disappearance to the God of War and, using Aphrodite's elixir, sent her astral form to the realm of Mars. While there, the Amazing Amazon faced duplicates of both Etta (secretly the Duke) and Steve Trevor (a phantasm that concealed explosives) before rescuing the Holliday Girls and their school from its captivity in Limbo.

A vengeful Mars, Lord Conquest and Duke attempted to destroy Earth with a solar death-ray. Bound by her own magic lasso and held by the Duke, Wonder Woman threw a pebble at her captor's hand, breaking his grip and enabling her to stop the threat (SENSATION COMICS # 92). In 1951, The Duke followed up with a solo mission that sealed Washington, D.C. in a forcefield that was actually a kind of gateway for Martian invaders (WW # 47) and, with Mars and Conquest, another assault on Paradise Island (SENSATION # 104).

After that, the Duke of Deception seems to have cut all ties with the war-god and taken the planet Mars as his own. Late in 1953, he posed as a Professor Dekon, using his trademark misdirection to send Wonder Woman chasing into space after an imaginary fleet of invaders while his own Martian forces struck Earth (WW # 63).

That plot failed but the Duke's next attempt in 1954 left Earth a wasteland. With the aid of benevolent archaeologists from Jupiter, Wonder Woman was recovered from the planet's surface and sent back in time to change history. Earth's fall had begun when a box secretly containing miniaturized Martians had washed onto the beach of Paradise Island. The enlarged invaders set foot on the land, stripping the Amazons of their power and beginning a chain of events that would culminate in the end of world. Forewarned, Diana opened the box in waters far from her home and sent the fleet into the path of an undersea volcano (WW # 65).

Eventually, the Duke began to advocate the consolidation of several otherworldly armies into a single massive invasion force. Hoping to overcome their reluctance to fight Earth, the Duke brought Earth's finest athletes to Mars for an Olympic-style ceremony in which they would be defeated, thereby proving the alien races were superior. The plot backfired when Wonder Woman fought and won the competitions on behalf of the Earthmen (1954's WW # 66). A second attempt to defeat Wonder Woman herself before an audience of prospective invaders of Earth met with similar failure (1956's WW # 84). He finally made a second failed attempt to lure Wonder Woman off-planet while the Martians attacked (1957's WW # 88). The Duke's joint Mars-Pluto-Saturn armada wouldn't come to fruition until late 1958 (WW # 104).

When he wasn't drumming up support for an invasion force, the Duke was trying out super-weapons. A "brain-wave deceiver"rendered Wonder Woman incapable of distinguishing between fantasy and reality (1956's WW # 81) while "shrinking rays" got the jump on Brainiac by miniaturizing Skyscraper City (1957's WW # 93) and a "gigantic inter-stellar cannon" keyed in on Wonder Woman's invisible jet and threatened the Amazing Amazon (1957's WW # 94).

By the late 1950s, the Duke had received a make-over along with the rest of the Wonder Woman cast, the result of the new art team of Ross Andru and Mike Esposito. With no visual references to work from, I can't say precisely when the transformation occurred but the Silver Age Duke had abandoned his Roman garb altogether. He now work an orange and black costume and hood and, characteristic of a master of illusion, the color of his skin changed from yellow (WW # 104) back to pink (# 140) and then to green (WW # 148, 153).

In the five years that passed between the Duke's appearances in WW # 104 and 140, the Wonder Woman series had begun its slide into the non-canonical world of "Impossible Stories." On a semi-regular basis, the Amazing Amazon now joined forces with her teenaged and infant personas in Amazon home movies depicting events that would otherwise be, well, impossible.

The environment was an entirely appropriate one for the Duke, who menaced the Wonder Family in # 140 (1963), directed his Martian armada at Paradise behind the scenes in # 152 and replaced Wonder Girl's face with a Harvey Dent-like visage using Martian transplant technology he claimed to have used to create Medusa and Mister Hyde (1965's WW # 153). Not to worry, though. The Wonder Family recovered the teenager's true face in the wreckage of the Duke's spacecraft and "our Amazon scientists will be able to graft it back on." Suffering Sappho!

The only honest-to-goodness, Earth-One, no-Wonder-Family-here clash between Wonder Woman and the Duke of Deception in that period occurred in 1964's WW # 148. Herein, "the imperator of illusions" had been so desperate to achieve victory over Wonder Woman that he'd been subconsciously projecting mirages of a captured Wonder Woman and cheering Martian followers to himself on the desolate surface of the red planet. With his sanity on the line, "the master of matter" redoubled his efforts to defeat his foe. The Amazing Amazon was subjected to an onslaught of threats, most illusory but with enough real ones thrown in to keep her off guard.

Once Diana had been convinced that all of the threats were illusions and stopped fighting them, the Duke sent in a giant serpent to capture Wonder Woman and bring her to Mars. Before an audience of increasingly skeptical Martians on the red planet, the Duke of Deception ordered Wonder Woman to compete against his followers in the Olympics of the Doomed. The twist: she had to win every match from within a small cage AND she had to exit the inescapable cell and place the Duke within. Despite the odds, the Amazing Amazon won every bout.

Holding the cell above a deep pool of water, the Duke explained that "all you have to do to win the game, Amazon -- is escape from your cage -- and the embrace of that sea creature -- after I drop you to the bottom of that pool." When the cage was pulled back to the surface, the impossible seemed to have happened. It was empty! As the audience began to snicker, the Duke transformed his finger into the key to the cage, insisting to his followers that "only I could have opened the door for her! Only I! Only I! It was impossible for her to escape!" As he climbed into the cage, the door slammed behind him. Wonder Woman had been inside all along, disguising her presence with (I guess) Amazon magic.

As per Martian custom, the victor of the Olympics was free to go. The loser, however, found himself unable to exit the cage that he'd created. "That's YOUR problem, Duke," laughed Diana. "And while you're imprisoned in your own cell -- better think about reforming -- before you get into worse trouble!"

The Impossible Stories and the Duke himself were kicked out of the series in # 158 to pave the way for an ill-advised experiment that attempted to replicate the look of the Golden Age strip (# 159-165). Mars, unseen since 1950's SENSATION # 104, reappeared in # 159 and 160. Once the focus shifted back to Earth-One, Mars showed up once more (# 169) while a Martian invasion story (rewritten from WW # 65's Duke of Deception episode) appeared in # 173 minus the original ringleader.

Outside of a reprint of his appearance in WW # 5's Doctor Psycho story (reprinted in Ms. Books' 1972 WONDER WOMAN hardback), the Duke failed to reemerge until 1975's WW # 217. Scripted by Elliot S. Maggin and illustrated by Dick Dillin and Vince Colletta, it was well worth the wait.

At the time, Wonder Woman had been undergoing self-imposed monitoring by the members of the Justice League to determine whether she still had what it took to be part of the team. Green Arrow was observing Diana Prince when her United Nations workplace erupted into chaos. Everyone --including GA himself -- suddenly began seeing their own personal illusions. Wonder Woman quickly realized who was at the center of the crisis and used her mental radio to isolate her foe's mind.

"The Duke of Deception, at your service, dear Princess Diana." Though clad in a tuxedo rather than Roman garments and in possession of a full (if graying) head of hair, the baggy-eyed Duke once again bore a resemblance to his original incarnation. "I have not had an altercation with you for many years. When first we met, I was in the employ of Mars, the war-god. But since I've been on my own, my powers have increased."

In the unavoidable conflict, Wonder Woman lost her lasso to the Duke, who wasted no time in wrapping it around her wrists and giving it the appearance of chains. "And you need not be reminded that when you are shackled by a man you lose your Amazon strength."

The battle came down to a battle of wills, with Diana taunting the Duke with the fact that "you failed as the top aide to the God of War ... and now you want to compensate. ... Is it drivel that you've changed from a self-assured, logical plotter to a less-than-sane Mad Hatter shuffling people through a patternless tea party ... once a super-villain -- now a bitter, old HAS-BEEN -- ?"

"No ... no! -- NO! Don't make me unsure of myself ... I can't concentrate when you confuse me like that -- !"

The tide had turned and Wonder Woman, her bonds now dissolved, encircled the Duke in her lasso of truth and demanded to learn his goal. "I planned by driving the United nations delegates mad ... to make myself their master. I'd plunge the entire world into WAR ... and make Mars, the war-god, bow to ME ... as Mars once made ME bow to HIM." Disgusted, Diana took her captive "to a place where Aphrodite can deal with you."

Late in 1976, DC embarked on a second, more successful flashback to the Golden Age in WONDER WOMAN (# 228-243) to reflect the World War Two time period of the Lynda Carter television show. Late 1977's WW # 239 and 240 (by Gerry Conway, Jose Delbo and Vince Colletta & Joe Giella) brought the Duke into play.

The story was set in June of 1942, shortly before the Amazon Princess had met Mars' underlings -- not that she'd have recognized him anyway. This Duke of Deception was a tall, youthful handsome specimen whose looks only enhanced his lies. The Duke proposed to Mars that they take advantage of a recent run of bad publicity that Diana had received. "If we could cause that disfavor to DEEPEN into outright hostility ... and provoke a confrontation ... wouldn't that achieve BOTH your aims ? The destruction of Wonder Woman ... and a worsening of the World War ?"

Mars was delighted with the plot and sent his underling to Earth, where the Duke soon manipulated Wonder Woman into toppling the Statue of Liberty (which she'd seen as an animated attacker) and attacking American military forces (whom her eyes had perceived as Nazis). The Flash's attempt to intervene was met with an illusion designed for himself. When his speed caused the mirage to fade, Jay Garrick realized that something was very wrong.

Hoping to expose the mastermind behind the illusions, Jay disguised himself as a Nazi super-villain called Siegfried the Speedster and raided the courtroom where a more docile Wonder Woman was attending a preliminary hearing for her actions. With public opinion threatening to turn back in the Amazon's favor as she fought the "Nazi," the Duke countered by providing a Prohibition-era gangster with an "illusion-lens." Suddenly, Diana found a concrete behemoth in her path and, finally cognizant of the fact that she was being manipulated, she simply stopped fighting. In a moment, Wonder Woman found herself amidst a heap of gray dust and rock. "I was battling the sidewalk itself ... literally pounding myself to death against the concrete."

Napoleon Jones, the gangster in possession of the lens, was taken into custody even as he accused a mysterious Duke of being the mastermind. In Olympus, the rogue was about to pay a stiff penalty for his failure. "You've always been so VAIN about your deceptive good looks," snarled Mars. "Let your punishment be the stripping of illusion! Let the world see you as you REALLY are -- deep in your SOUL. There is your punishment, Deception!"

Now a bald, toothless, shrivelled shell of his former self, the Duke of Deception made a vow. "This is YOUR FAULT, Amazon! You'll PAY for this, U swear. If it takes forever ... I swear you'll suffer! SUFFER!"

Roy Thomas, incidentally, introduced the "real" Siegfried the Speedster into his 1942-era ALL-STAR SQUADRON continuity, thus making the convenient appearance of a Nazi speedster in the courtroom a bit less obviously a hoax. As Zyklon, the Nazi version of the Flash debuted in ALL-STAR SQUADRON # 45.

Little more than a year after his first chronological appearance, the Duke of Deception made his last. In a contest judged by the Gods, Diana had lost her Wonder Woman title to a redheaded Amazon named Orana but took it back when her successor was killed. In early 1979, Wonder Woman found herself facing a new trial when the Angle Man hijacked the space shuttle and the NASA personnel seemed to be working on his behalf by creating a super-weapon. Noting a General's reference to "conquest,"the greed displayed by the project coordinator and the deceptive behavior of an astronaut, the Amazon princess began to ascertain what was going on.

Striking astronaut Mike Bailey, Wonder Woman watched the Duke of Deception emerge from his body. "You defied the Gods --became the Wonder Woman again AGAINST our will -- with no true TEST to regain the title. This mission is that test -- and you are going to FAIL!" The Duke's prediction notwithstanding, Wonder Woman defeated the Angle Man and expelled Mars himself from the villain's body. The goddess Athena proclaimed Diana "the one true Wonder Woman. Go ... and know that all is right with you and your gods" (WW # 254, by Jack C. Harris, Delbo and Giella).

As the Crisis On Infinite Earths was bearing down on the DC Universe in 1985, the Duke of Deception was granted a brief half-page biography in WHO'S WHO # 7. He was never seen again.

Or was he ? With his phantasms, he could make you believe he was anyone. With his powers of illusion, he could make you believe anything. The Duke of Deception has not been sighted in the modern DC Universe but that does not mean he no longer exists. Be afraid ... be VERY afraid ...

posted November 26, 2000 12:59 PM

Hal Jordan, super-villain. If you want a phrase guaranteed to generate controversy among Green Lantern fans, that's the one to use. And yet, back in 1966, Hal's own Uncle Titus was suggesting that very thing.

Multi-millionaire architect Titus Thomas Jordan was "far and away the richest member of the Jordan clan," complete with "his own private airfield -- and golf course," a butler named Givens and a chauffeur named Williams. Unfortunately, the public also regarded T.T. as the meanest member of the family, joking that "the initials stand for 'Terrible Temper' Jordan."

Titus approached his nephew with the challenge of using Jim Jordan's new public relations agency to correct his image as an ogre. Unknown to the young man, however, Titus had also been enlisted by Jim's wife, Susan, to prove that her husband was Green Lantern. "If a nephew of mine is really Green Lantern," he thought, "I want to know it. They can't keep secrets like THAT from ME!"

At a family gathering at his estate that weekend, Titus hosted Sue, Jim and brothers Jack and Hal for a reunion. With Jim escorted to the library to select photographs for his uncle's promotional campaign, Titus laid out the plan for the rest of the family. "I've created one of those super-criminals that Green Lantern is always fighting, complete with a snazzy uniform. One of us will pose as this phony criminal -- and I've decided it will be YOU, Hal."

"ME ? But I'm -- er -- not the type."

"DAD BLAST IT! Are you going to spoil everything now by arguing with me ?"

Hal finally agreed but he blanched when he saw what he was supposed to wear. The costume of the Bottler was in shades of light and dark orange and the bottle motif was everywhere, from stems on the gloves and boots to icons on his chest and cowl to miniature flasks on the belt. Hal's reaction had nothing to do with the design, though. As Green Lantern (the REAL one), he'd crossed paths with the supposedly imaginary villain on the previous night.

When he interrupted the Bottler's warehouse heist, GL discovered that each flask on his belt contained a different threat, from explosives used to open a safe to knockout gas that rendered the Emerald Gladiator unconscious. Hal realized that playing along with Uncle Titus' game might flush out the real Bottler and he headed for the library to "'break in' and start 'robbing.'" Intent on his mission, Hal never saw the weighted bottle coming for his head and collapsed to the ground. "We can do without YOU in this plot," observed his assailant. "Why use a FAKE Bottler when the REAL ONE is ready for action!"

Elsewhere, Jim told Sue that he'd already figured out what she and Titus were up to and strolled off to talk to the man he saw climbing in a window. Tapping the prowler on the shoulder, a smiling Jim said, "Hold it! I know who you are." The Bottler grabbed him by the jacket and pulled back his arm even as the young man laughed. "Oh, stop the pretense, Hal. I know you wouldn't lay a finger on me -- !"

"Not a finger -- but my whole fist, chump!"

So much for Jim.

Inside, Titus handed over his collection of stamp rarities to "Hal,"complaining that his decision to tie him and Jack to their chairs was "going too far!" Green Lantern, sporting a nice goose-egg on the back on his head, agreed and flew into the room to wrap things up. After smothering one of the rogue's flask explosives in an energy sphere, Hal fired an enormous projectile at his foe. "One way to deal with a human bottle -- is by a giant bowling ball. And I claim a STRIKE!"

The unmasked thief was exposed as Titus' driver Williams. "He learned of the imaginary criminal you created, Mr. Jordan," GL speculated, "so he decided to put your idea into actual practice. He became the Bottler in real life. I guess he was fed up being a chauffeur. No doubt he thought he saw an easy road to riches -- but it only turned out to be a path to jail."

While Green Lantern hauled the Bottler off to jail, his bruised brother was receiving virtually no sympathy from his wife. Sue was convinced that Jim had faked being struck and slipped off to become the Emerald Crusader. "And that ice bag. As if YOU needed it!"

Even if his bride wasn't convinced, Jim believed he could use his uncle's embarrassment over the incident to prevent Titus from arguing with his solution to his publicity woes. "The truth is, Uncle Titus, that you DO have a terrible temper. And you'll never get the public to like you unless you can control yourself."

The p.r. man let out a sigh of relief when Titus responded. "James, you're the first one who ever had the courage to tell me that to my face! And you know something, I think you've done me a good turn. I'm going to double your fee. And I am going to control my temper -- you watch" (GREEN LANTERN # 44, by John Broome, Gil Kane and Sid Greene).

Whatever his intentions, Titus never quite triumphed over his temper, at least at family gatherings (1969's GL # 71 and 1992's GL # 36). Susan Williams Jordan, though, finally acquiesced to reality and gave up on the emerald theory about her husband (1977's GL # 101). As for Williams (no relation to Sue), one presumes that the Bottler is still on a shelf in a California prison.

Speaking on obscure heroes, two Quality Comics western characters were just featured in AC Comics' reprint book, BEST OF THE BEST # 16. From 1950's CRACK WESTERN # 70, you get an adventure of Arizona Raines and his kid sidekick Spurs ... AND you get the ORIGIN of the masked hero known as the Whip! Art is by Paul Gustavson and Reed Crandall, respectively.

posted November 28, 2000 09:25 AM

Mikishawm - to answer the question you asked in the "Hell" thread, I believe Ur the Caveboy appeared in early issues of NEW FUN COMICS.

Time to recap again, I think. I'm beginning to lose count.

Recently answered were:
135. The Duke of Deception
160. Shark Wilson
164. The Elementals
165. The Bottler (GREAT villain, by the way)

Still unanswered are
152. the Inferior Five
156. Outlaw
157. El Diablo
159. The Council
161. Super-Turtle
162. Tailgunner Jo
163. Ur the Caveboy

I hope you are all still enjoying this. I do.


posted November 28, 2000 10:21 AM

Wow, more Duke of Deception. I remember the "modern" Golden Age story but I've never even heard of the rest of those appearances.

I wonder how I got Count Conquest in my mind instead of Lord Conquest?

Thanks Mikishawm.

That one I printed out to keep.

posted November 29, 2000 05:34 AM

Taz, Tenz, and all of you others who want to see the original thread again. The eminent poster known as Eduardo has posted it here: http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/files/Forum94/HTML/005094.html

Happy? I am.


posted November 30, 2000 04:39 PM

How about some info on some obscure BRAVE AND BOLD characters like the Queen Bee (Marcia Monroe), who Batman (I reiterate - BATMAN) proposed marriage to (not Bruce Wayne - BATMAN), or Jim Aparo (Drawing Batman into some weirdo deathtrap), Deja Vu (or Flashback) who fought Wonder Woman and Batman, etc etc etc.

Or maybe Cutlass and Barracuda, who actually took over a WORLD'S FINEST cover in the 80s, or Lu-Shu Shan, better known to world as I-Ching?

-- Xan

LOVE this post. Would love to see it collected in book form.

posted November 30, 2000 05:19 PM

Me, too!

Great choices, by the way.

posted December 01, 2000 11:19 AM

Another set of characters I'm stumped on - Her Highness and Silk. They appeared in one of the Marvel Family/Kid Eternity stories in WORLD'S FINEST, where it made mention that HH&S had their own series (Quality Comics, of course) for several issues. In the WF story they were thieves, were they heroes or rogues in the Golden Age?

posted December 02, 2000 12:46 PM

I thought I'd double up today with a couple characters that I don't have a lot of info on:

"The story so far: Ur, the caveboy, has discovered fire in a tree struck by lightning. He became a hero. The whole family sat around the fire when -- a dinosaur appeared!!" -- Dick Loederer's "Caveman Capers" in NEW FUN COMICS # 2.

With that passage, the second installment of one of DC's earliest features began. The one-page humor strip ran for five episodes in 1935's NEW FUN COMICS # 1-5 and, I'm sorry to say, I've only seen issues # 2 and 5.

Like many caveman stories in comics and film, including the ALLEY OOP comic strip (launched in 1933), the series opted to ignore the fact that men and dinosaurs did not co-exist. Instead, each episode found the blonde, blank-eyed Ur and his curly haired brunette sister Wur trying to evade some prehistoric creature.

In NEW FUN # 2, the siblings ran into a forest to evade a long-necked dinosaur that was in close pursuit. After taking care to place his precious torch of fire between two stones, Ur joined his sister in climbing headfirst into the top of a hollowed-out tree trunk. The big lizard seemed to be amused by the small legs and bare bottoms that were trying to mimic branches and began to twist his neck around the tree. Neglecting his own bare bottom, the dinosaur abruptly let go when his tail waved into the path of Ur's torch. While their pursuer erupted with some choice profanity ("?*@?"), Wur and Ur began to crawl out the base of the trunk.

By the final installment in # 5, Ur and Wur (now blonde with pigtails) had gained the power of flight, albeit only because an ape-man had sent them hurtling through the air at breakneck speed at the end of # 4. Their flight was spotted by a creature that ... well, let's not mince words ... a creature that looked EXACTLY like Walt Disney's Pluto with Dumbo-size reptilian ears. "Holy mastodon!" shrieked Ur. "A flying ichtosaurus is after us!" As they whizzed by a hornets' nest on a branch, Ur swatted it and the enraged insects attacked the flying dog. While "Pluto" smashed into another tree, Ur and Wur's momentum finally stopped and they began to plummet to earth.

Like a number of other 1930s DC strips, "Caveman Capers" didn't so much end as stop. One is merely left to assume that Ur and Wur didn't survive their headlong plunge. There's always the possibility, of course, that latter day cave teenagers Anthro or Kong ... or even 1946-1947 humor character Caveman Curly (ALL FUNNY # 14-20) ... stepped in to rescue the kids who blazed the trail. In any event, it's all ancient history now.

Her Highness and Silk were the stars of one of comic books' first spin-off strips, certainly the first villain spin-off. The "Her Highness" feature was launched in mid-1942's HIT COMICS # 28, stealing the spot of Don Glory, Champion of Democracy, and continued through # 57 in early 1949. After a pair of six-page installments, the series proceeded with five-page episodes until the end.

Her Highness was a comedy staple, the innocent little old lady with granny specs and white hair tied behind her head who was actually a thief. Her accomplice was Silk, an attactive young woman with flowing brown hair and a body-hugging dress. Together, they matched wits with Kid Eternity in his third appearance (HIT # 27). They escaped from jail in # 28 for a second clash with the Kid (representing her only cover appearance) and moved directly to the center of the book for the debut of their own series.

Future "Roy Raymond" artist Ruben Moreira drew Her Highness' appearances in "Kid Eternity" and her series pilot. Alex Kotzky is speculated to have illustrated other early (and late) episodes of the series while Janice Vallaeu drew a fourteen issue stretch from # 35 to 48.

Former COMIC READER editor Mike Tiefenbacher noted that, while "Her Highness and Silk are indeed in the confidence game, they're not very good at it and almost never succeed at actually committing crimes. Silk, in fact, is honest but poor and hungry, while Highness is a pickpocket capable of stealing candy from a baby (which she does in one story). At the end of each tale, they wind up in jail (though the contrast with VILLAINS such as the Cyborg or the Joker is marked)."

After a healthy run in HIT COMICS (surviving longer than most of Quality's super-hero features), Her Highness and Silk entered comics limbo. In 1977, Kid Eternity was adopted into the Fawcett comics universe of Earth-S by E. Nelson Bridwell (SHAZAM! # 27), who eventually revealed that the Kid and Freddy (Captain Marvel, Jr.) Freeman were brothers (1982's WORLD'S FINEST # 280).

Logically, if Kid Eternity was part of the Marvel Family's world, his rogues gallery would be, too. In the final Marvel Family episode in WORLD'S FINEST (# 282, by Bridwell and Gil Kane), Her Highness and Silk returned, unchanged since 1949.

Decades earlier, at a public rally, the Marvels and all their friends had been swept into an ageless limbo by the Sivana (SHAZAM! # 1). The two con-women had evidently been working the crowd that day.

Appropriately, Bridwell paired Her Highness with Aunt Minerva, a Captain Marvel foe who was a deceptively unthreatening old woman herself. Using Her Highness and Silk to arrange things with Dudley Batson, Minerva had set up a Marvel Family charity circus performance that would keep the heroes occupied while her gang looted the homes of wealthy families in the audience. They reckoned without Kid Eternity's newfound ties with the Marvels. Recognizing his old sparring partners, the Kid alerted the heroes, used his powers to provide legendary replacements at the circus and helped round up the entire mob.

"Highness," Silk asked as they were marched away, "How many times have I suggested we go STRAIGHT ?"

"As many times as I've told you to SHUT UP, Silk. I will NOT abandon my PRINCIPLES!"

posted December 03, 2000 06:14 PM

"I feel like a character from Howard or Tolkein. Pretty soon, though, I'm gonna wake up and find this is a spaced-out dream. And I'm gonna swear off reading sword-and-sorcery sagas!" -- Jim Rook, 1969 (SHOWCASE # 82).

The circumstances that would transform Jim Rook into the Nightmaster began nearly a millennium before his birth in the other-dimensional land of Myrra. The world was full of strange sights, from the benevolent Zelks (grasshopper-like steeds that the natives rode: SHOWCASE # 82) to Hackies (animated suits of armor "filled with vile souls of dead Warlocks": # 83) to Smoke Spiders (giant arachnids that materialized in unlimited numbers from magic vapors: # 84) to Arivegs (monstrous flying plants that "devour anything that falls within their grasp: # 84).

In a kingdom of Myrra, a monarch had once commanded the court magician, the blue-skinned Farben, to provide two renowned warriors with weapons that they would use in defense of the realm. The blue-fleshed barbarian "Brom was given the enchanted Mace of Mists." The pink-skinned Nacht, a goateed man clad in a blue hood and body suit and a red cape, was bequeathed with the Sword of Night.

Corrupted by power, Brom and Farben conspired to murder their sovereign and the loyal Nacht. The two warriors fought "for a full day" but ultimately the Sword of Night was victorious. Before Nacht could react, Farben cast a spell to exile the hero to "a separate spiritual plane" that overlapped with Myrra -- Earth. The Sword of Night was stuck fast, Excalibur-like, in a stone column in the royal chamber. With the disappearance of Nacht, the balance of power shifted in the favor of Brom and his descendants. The faction known as the Warlocks reserved a special fate for the kingdom that their patriarch had coveted. Its "magnificent buildings crumbled" and its "people shrivelled under the mystic onslaught," reduced into short, withered blue-skinned creatures.

On Earth, Nacht, using his family name of Roke (inferred from SHOWCASE # 83 & 84), had no choice but to adapt to the strange new world of 10th Century Earth. He took a mate and began a family that would extend for centuries to come. His legacy would ultimately fall on the shoulders of a child born in 1942, a kid from the slums of New York City named Jim Rook.

It seemed that Jim had to fight for everything in his life, rising up from poverty, defying society to court a daughter of privilege named Janet Jones and carving out a career as the lead singer of a rock band called the Electrics. A lifetime of struggles had left the young man full of rage. Jim's speech seethed with often bitter sarcasm and his violent temper was the central obstacle in Janet's parents' refusal to approve their marriage plans.

After beating three hecklers into semi- consciousness ("You think because I don't look like a bank manager I'm weak -- because, I favor peace, I'm a coward ... fair prey for bullies ?"), Jim was pulled away by Janet. Walking through the streets of lower Manhattan, Jim spotted a store called Oblivion, Inc. and, convinced that a vacant lot was supposed to be on the spot, felt compelled to try the door. He and Janet immediately realized that they'd made a mistake. The door locked behind them, the temperature began to plummet and a spiral of golden energy tore them away to the land of Myrra.

With Janet nowhere in sight, Jim was brought before the wizened King Zolto. The monarch admitted that he'd taken advantage of a fracture in the barrier that had long separated Earth and Myrra and summoned a descendant of Nacht before the opportunity passed. Jim kept his cool but insisted that he and the missing Janet be sent home at once.

The conversation was disrupted by the humming of the Sword of Night, still sheathed in the pillar. The song of the sword was a warning of approaching Warlocks and Zolto pleaded with Jim to release the blade. Despite Rook's insistence that "from swords I know zero," Zolto assured him that "the weapon will guide your arm."

As predicted, the heir to Nacht could draw the weapon and he instantly felt "some sort of weird strength surging through my arm -- through my whole body. The blade seems ALIVE ... to KNOW what it wants to do. I didn't even see that Warlock bolt coming. The sword pulled my hand to parry. Since this obviously isn't my show -- I'll follow the sword's lead -- and hope for the best!"

It was a strange scene, the Earthman with the turtleneck, Nehru jacket and striped pants fighting otherworldly magicians in green robes. Though Zolto had to bail out his young defender in the end, he pronounced Jim Rook's first battle a success.

"Look -- will you DITCH that warrior bit ? Like I said before, my scene is SOUND -- NOT derring-do! It's been grins playing Prince Valiant, but I've had enough. So show me where Jan is, and point me in the direction of home!"

That, unfortunately, was a problem. Janet had been pulled away by Warlocks during the transferrence spell. "If you would see Janet alive again," Zolto informed him. "You must enter the Warlock fortress."

Accompanying Jim on his quest was Boz, a man whose clothes and skin were snow white. Rook himself was dressed in the costume of his ancestor, whose thermal qualities were more appropriate for the frigid Myrran atmosphere (and, Zolto must have secretly thought, furthered Jim's acceptance of the role of hero). "From this moment forward,"the king proclaimed. "Throughout Myrra, you shall be known as -- Nightmaster!"

"Hooray for me."

As his travels progressed, Jim learned of other properties of the Sword of Night. Its touch would compel anyone to speak honestly ("This thing have truth-juice on the point ?"), something that Rook learned accidentally when the weapon grazed a woman he thought was Janet. The enchantment instantly revealed her as the Ice Witch, who had no choice but to reveal the spell that would grant them access to the Warlock's fortress (SHOWCASE # 82, by Denny O'Neil, Jerry Grandenetti and Dick Giordano).

As the journey progressed, Rook found more allies in the form of a barbarian named Tark (short for Tickeytarkapolis Trootrust) from the mountainous terrain of Szasz and Doe and Rae (no word on Mi or Fa), a pair of mute Sirens. "They defied the Warlocks. As punishment, the fiends stole their voices and locked their song in a crystal casket."

Thanks to Tark, the band of warriors learned that Janet was a captive of a Warlock known as Duke Spearo and invaded his castle. Therein, Spearo explained to Janet that she was a critical component in the Warlock king's plan to breech the dimensional barrier and invade Earth. "King wants to make you queen ... unsound idea, I think -- making foreigner queen. Queen will lead invading forces ... only for magic to operate, she must be conscious and willing. We're taking you to King. He will PERSUADE you to help conquer your foreign home."

Within the castle, Rae found the casket that held the voices of the Sirens and carried it along as they pursued Spearo and company aboard the Moonship, a flying vessel that travelled only at night. When Jim and company fell from the ship during a battle with the spectral Hackies, Rae opened the box and her sweet song filled the air -- and created a cascading solid bridge of sound to catch their fall. By chance, Tark explained, the Moonship had been passing over "Melody Chasm ... an enchanted spot where Siren sound becomes substance."

Rook, of course, didn't believe it for a minute but he couldn't argue with the results. "Too freaky ... on Earth, when I was a rock musician, I used to say music was my life. That was just rapping ... but HERE, in this nightmare, music really IS my life" (SHOWCASE # 83, by O'Neil and Berni Wrightson).

And, much as Jim might have wished otherwise, his reputation was growing. The Warlocks had begun to refer to their adversary by Zolto's chosen name, the Nightmaster.

The tide began to turn when Jim, Tark and Boz met a decrepit sorcerer named Mar-Grouch the Mystic, who'd been born prior to the exile of Nacht and was sympathetic to humans. The mage cast a spell to transport Jim's fiancee to his chambers but Spearo and his wizard had anticipated the development and transformed Janet mentally and physically into a barmaid named Mizzi.

Eventually, Jim was captured and mocked by the Warlocks for defending a world that wasn't his own. "I COULD give you a big routine about how any tyranny anywhere ... must be fought because so long as ONE PERSON's enslaved, we're ALL in danger of losing liberty. Or I could tell you that I believe in doing whatever I've GOT to do as well as I can, no matter how distatesteful it is. Both answers are PARTIALLY true -- but the REAL answer is that you took someone precious from me. And once I decided I love someone, I'm committed ... I'll do anything for him or her. It so happens that I love Jan."

And somewhere within the mind of Mizzi, Janet began to reemerge, discreetly cutting her lover's bonds and returning to her normal form. The desperate Warlocks plunged through a portal to Earth, followed by Jim and Janet. Tark's last words rang in their ears as the gateway closed: "Farewell, Nightmaster. You were a good warrior -- and a good friend!"

In the vacant office of Oblivion, Inc., the Nightmaster pointed his blade at the Warlocks and gave them their options. "Either go back to Myrra -- or stay here and try your luck against the Nightsword." The mages retreated and the Sword of Night "rends the black portal to Myrra -- rends and destroys it." Embracing on the vacant lot where Oblivion, Inc. had once stood, the young lovers consoled themselves with the likelihood that they'd just experienced a joint hallucination. Still in Jim's hand, however, was the Sword of Night (SHOWCASE # 84, by O'Neil and Wrightson).

In SHOWCASE # 82, Denny O'Neil had predicted that "Jim Rook may vanish into the limbo reserved for three-D movies, Edsel autos and other ideas that tried to grab a piece of popularity, and missed." He was, unfortunately, correct. Regardless, Nightmaster had opened a new door at DC and, like the portal to Myrra, it would never quite be sealed. The early to mid-1970s saw a plethora of fantasy and sword-and-sorcery titles, from classics like Beowulf and Burroughs' John Carter and company and Lieber's Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser to original series such as Claw the Unconquered and Stalker and Starfire and the only real success, Mike Grell's Warlord.

DC made a nod towards Jim Rook himself in a Charles Vess-illustrated entry in 1986's WHO'S WHO # 16. Nightmaster also popped up in comic book limbo in 1990's ANIMAL MAN # 25 and as a prisoner in the gulag in 1996's KINGDOM COME # 3 and 4. Charles Vess depicted Nightmaster again on a single page in issue # 3 of 1991's BOOKS OF MAGIC mini-series (scripted by Neil Gaiman). The story found Doctor Occult taking Timothy Hunter on a tour of magical dimensions adjacent to Earth. Of Nightmaster, Occult had this to say:

"The worlds beyond can be refuges, Timothy. Perhaps EACH of us creates his fantasy world -- a place to which we can retreat. HERE a country named Myrra, THERE the land of Pytharia, and at the EDGE of every map, 'Here there be dragons.'

"In your world, Jim Rook sang songs of enlightenment and love -- until he was seized by a kingdom of blood and enchantment ... where companions to heroes are forever brave and true ... where evil wizards forever brood on dusty parchment spells to raise their armies of the dead, and then forever flee, their schemes in ruins ... where giants Feefifofum until their heads are severed by heroes' swords -- each blade named and magical. In THIS place, men have sobriquets like Claw the Unconquered, or Stalker the Soulless; Rook became Nightmaster annd will fight to save the world, or to destroy it. In worlds such as this the terms become synonymous, I am afraid."

Nightmaster didn't make a full-fledged return to action until back-to-back guest appearances in 1995. A far more mellow Jim Rook resurfaced in PRIMAL FORCE # 8 as the proprietor of an occult book store based out of Oblivion, Inc. William Twotrees, a member of the Leymen, had been a regular visitor to the shop even though Rook cautioned against "dabbling in the dark arts." Rook clearly still had the magic touch, recognizing "the Power" in Will's teammate Liam McHugh when they shook hands.

When Will and most of the team were captured by the occult body known as the August, it was the Nightmaster (summoned by the Black Condor) who ended his long retirement and rushed to the rescue (PF # 11). The Sword of Night was as capable as ever and severed the mystic bonds that held the Leymen as if they were butter (PF # 12, by Steven Seagle, Nicholas Choles and Barbara Kaalberg).

One month later, Nightmaster could be found in the pages of SWAMP THING # 160. Unlike the man in PRIMAL FORCE, this version of Jim Rook was a good samaritan who'd given away most of the money he made as a singer to help others and now spent his days working in a tavern (while avoiding alcohol himself). He seemed genuinely surprised when Oblivion, Inc. rematerialized across the street. "I thought I hallucinated the whole building," he explained, as part of a 1969 drug overdose. His short-lived marriage to Janet had survived barely two hundred days before their divorce in 1971.

Now, though, his other life came rushing back to haunt him. Myrra, it seemed, had been razed by the Warlocks, who now planned to cross the threshhold to Earth. Tark and a pink-fleshed Boz made a desperate flight to Earth (with the aid of the mystic Traveller) to summon the Nightmaster. Tark died a tragic death at the hands of a semi-trailer but Boz managed to find an incredulous Rook. Jim insisted that Boz was a hallucination but Nightmaster's one-time servant refused to give up, pulling the dormant Sword of Night from a cupboard and telling Rook that "you're the only hope we got left." Against his better judgment, Jim entered Oblivion, Inc. with Boz and took his blade in hand. The Sword of Night blazed back to life and the Nightmaster was reborn (SWAMP THING # 160, by Mark Millar, Phillip Hester and Kim DeMulder).

Elsewhere, the Swamp Thing fought and killed a druid who planned to establish the Warlocks' first foothold on Earth (SWAMP THING # 161-162). At that point, the Swamp Thing was being subjected to a series of trials by various elemental Parliaments and, weary of the testing and fearful for his humanity, he refused to participate in pushing back the invasion of the Warlocks. The Traveller, working with another mystic known as El Senor Blake, summoned Janet Jones to guarantee that Jim Rook would not back out. Though happily married to an accountant named Maurice and the mother of a boy named Patrick, Janet was compelled to drive from Florida to Manhattan.

In New York, Nightmaster stood guard at the portal within Oblivion, Inc. even as other defenders like Claw, Stalker and Starfire fled (SWAMP THING # 163). Ironically, the arrival of Janet that was meant to bolster his resolve caused him to weaken. Her words were so obviously scripted ("I don't CARE about the life I've carved out for myself in Florida or my marriage to that idiot accountant. I just want to be with you again, Jim, until death do us part.") that he began to waver.

The resolution of the crisis seemed to take its cue from Gaiman's BOOKS OF MAGIC passage, which had lumped together DC's sword-and-sorcery characters and dismissed them as being part of a "fantasy world." Indeed, when the paranormal outbreaks throughout the country finally drew the Swamp Thing to the epicenter of the crisis, he confirmed that the threat of the Warlocks and the "intersection of worlds" was being created by Jim Rook.

Entering Oblivion, Inc., the elemental found it filled with books of fantasy that Jim Rook had read as a child. "Oblivion, Inc. itself is nothing more than a physical manifestation of a desire to retreat ... back into a simpler age, filled with books." Confronting Rook, the Swamp Thing explained that "Myrra and its fairytale people ... and nothing more than your retreat from the real world ... brought to life by the scale of your misery. SEARCH your feelings, Rook ... What happened in your past ... which now causes you such terrible pain ... ? Why does your subconscious seek to destroy the world ?"

In an instant, all of the supernatural manifestations were gone and the destruction they caused was soon erased. "They're gone ... Boz, Tark, Janet. All those people who meant so much to me. All gone forever." Asked whether Janet had been created as part of his fantasy, Jim responded, "Are you kidding ? She was my WIFE. Breaking up with Janet was probably the main reason I lost my grip on the real world, man. Realizing she didn't really WANT me anymore is what gave me the STRENGTH to let go."

Questions remained, of course. "How come I was able to build this WHOLE shop with my subconcious mind and fill it with all these dumb, old books I lost when I was a kid ? Who's behind this, man ? What's going down here ?"

Jim Rook never got his answers but the Swamp Thing did. Summoned before the elemental Parliament of Vapors, he was informed that "the Nightmaster was chosen as the catalyst for your elevation because the sword symbolizes not only air but also intelligence and reason. These qualities were needed to halt the migration from Rook's personal dreamworld." Elsewhere, an unwitting Rook sold the former Sword of Night to El Senor Blake, who placed the weapon with other objects of power, including Sargon's Ruby of Life (SWAMP THING # 164).

Was this truly the end of Nightmaster ? Was the Jim Rook who ran a bookstore out of Oblivion, Inc. the same man who claimed he hadn't seen the building or acted as Nightmaster in a quarter century ? And if Claw, Stalker and company were truly the creations of Rook, how does one account for their involvement elsewhere in the DC Universe ? Those lingering questions suggest that Nightmaster's final battle has yet to be fought.

posted December 04, 2000 01:33 PM

Sorry to interrupt the normal way of this topic.

As Hellstone posted, I reposted all the Obscure DC Characters Round I some days ago. I didn´t reply to the topic or post a link to it in this thread because my connection was down for a few days, after the reposting was done. I loved this topic and its predecessor (also the Miki I know who you are in the Batman boards) and while I never post in it, it is one of my regular stops in the DC boards. I happened to have store the entire topic in my computer and after reading that you needed it, I said "let´s try to post it". It worked so-so (a five pages topic is now a really long, long, long one page topic).

The repost was also a way to thanks Hellstone and Mikishawn, who in the past had answered some of my questions (like the Mirror masters, Bloodsports and Chillbaines questions).

So thanks to all the posters on this topic for making it a great place to have fun.

posted December 06, 2000 06:30 PM

How about a comprehensive history of Vartox, the rival/hero from Superman, introduced in the early seventies, reintroduced right before the Crisis. There was some discussion of him on another board and the...ummm....fascination some of us gay guys have for him....

posted December 07, 2000 11:31 AM

Not sure if this was brought up before:
I dimly remember a Superman villain from the 70s that was carrying an aerial antenna around, or he had one as a symbol on his chest.

posted December 09, 2000 05:13 PM

That would be Blackrock. He and Vartox are now on the list

The Texas sands of Wild Stallion Mesa were soaked with blood on that dark day in the late 1800s. A young Mexican girl watched as her father was gunned down by bandits for the chest of gold her carried. A young Texan boy saw his own father struck with a bullet by the same outlaws. Rising out of the dust, the boy proved every bit the marksman that his Texas Ranger father was. In an instant, the killers lay dead at his feet. Rick Wilson was barely eight years old.

Captain Sam Wilson was in no hurry to see his son fulfill his dream of being a Texas Ranger but no one could deny that he thrived on Rick's companionship. Since Maria Wilson had been slain by an unknown gunman (whom she had described with her dying breaths), Sam couldn't bear to let the boy out of his sight. The youngster had vowed to find his mother's killer when he joined the Rangers and Sam feared where the path to vengeance might take him.

Paloma, the orphaned Mexican child, filled a void in the Wilson household, one that Sam tried to deny. Insisting that she needed "the guidin' hand of a kind woman to bring you up like a lady," the Captain sent her to a childless couple in Purple Ridge. Within days, Paloma had fled her adoptive parents and returned to the Wilson homestead. Informed that "the good Dios chose YOU to be my family ... you and Rick," Sam knew better than to argue.

The family unit was joined by another scarred soul when Rick was in his thirteenth year. The boy had rescued a hawk that was being attacked by two cougars and nursed it back to health. As he peeked in at his son that night, Sam grinned at the glare the hawk was giving him "as if he was Rick's own watchdog." The bond between the hawk and the young man would never be broken.

All through his teens, Rick polished his sharpshooting skills. By the time he was eighteen, he'd achieved a degree of accuracy that led even his accomplished father to admit that "I'd hate to face you in a shoot-out." Still, the gray-haired Ranger kept dragging his feet and Rick finally exploded at the man he'd idolized.

"I'm tired of waitin' -- tired of bein' treated like a wet-nosed kid!" Packing a few belongings, Rick rode off, telling his adoptive sister that "I'm gonna PROVE I'm a man ... and Dad ain't gonna like it!" The hawk, silent as ever, followed in the sky above.

A year later, Captain Wilson was called upon to investigate a stagecoach robbery, one in which "two men were gunned down in cold blood." A third man, who'd pleaded in vain for a non-violent robbery, was the only bandit who was positively identified. He wore tan pants, a light green shirt open at the chest, a dark green vest, brown poncho and black hat and had brown hair -- and the face of Rick Wilson.

In the streets of Purple Ridge, Rick was called out -- by his father. Paloma tried to intercede, pleading with her father and brother to settle things peacefully, but neither would listen. Rick proved the quicker draw by a fraction of a second and left his father bleeding on the dusty ground. Typical of Rick's skills, the shot had been aimed carefully enough to only graze the old man -- but it had taken its toll. Flatly announcing that "I have no son," Sam walked from the doctor's office and past a crowd of slack-jawed townspeople to nail up a picture on Rick Wilson: "Wanted ... Outlaw."

That night, Rick had a vision of a man cloaked in black who rode an ebony horse. He warned of "a 'welcoming committee' of two ... up ahead" and vanished as abruptly as he'd appeared. The manifestation of the California-based horseman in Texas fueled the supernatural legend of El Diablo. Though unnerved by the words of "the devil," Rick found the warning reaffirmed by the hawk, which was circling ominously over a secluded spot near Wild Stallion Mesa. His partners in crime, it seemed, did not like to share.

Within the hour, Captain Wilson and his posse discovered the money from the stage robbery at the mesa ... alongside the corpses of the Fenton Brothers. The man that the siblings had intended to ambush was long gone. "I didn't want it to end this way," Rick thought. "I've always dreamed of wearin' a Texas Ranger badge ... of ridin' with Dad and his men. But these are the cards that ramrod dealt me. I'VE got to play 'em HIS way. To the bitter end" (1970's ALL-STAR WESTERN # 2, by Bob Kanigher and Tony DeZuniga).

The 1970 revival of ALL-STAR WESTERN, which had originally run from 1951 to 1961, represented editor Dick Giordano's take at a western title for DC. The first issue was a reprint showcase for Pow-Wow Smith but the last page promised "a new breed in blazing western adventure" with the next issue's introduction of El Diablo ... and The Outlaw.

Both the supernatural-tinged El Diablo and the more straightforward "Outlaw" came from the typewriter of veteran writer Robert Kanigher. Indeed, the premise of Rick Wilson seemed like a dark reflection of Kanigher's earlier western hero, Johnny Thunder (which ran from 1948 to 1961). That series had also involved a widower lawman and his son but, in that instance, John Tane had promised his dying mother not to follow in his father's footsteps and was forced to adopt the alter ego of Johnny Thunder to get around his vow. Where Sam Wilson was reticent about allowing his son to be a lawman, Sheriff Bill Tane desperately wanted John to join him and considered the boy a coward when he declined.

The series gained another link to Johnny Thunder when Gil Kane signed on as artist for the second and third episodes of "Outlaw." In the first of these, Rick found that he wasn't truly accepted anywhere. Even the outlaws who worked with him viewed the son of a Texas Ranger with suspicion. During a train robbery, half of the Dix Gang took advantage of Rick's precarious position atop the locomotive to ambush him while the rest of the bandits held Sam at gunpoint in a car below. On separate fronts, the Wilsons killed their respective assailants but the chasm between father and son was as wide as ever. Sam Wilson had no son (ASW # 3).

In retaliation for Captain Wilson's capture of outlaw "King" Coffin, the bandit's gang abducted Paloma and vowed to kill her if their leader was not freed. As the horrified townspeople watched, Wilson refused to make a deal, defiantly placing the noose around Coffin's neck when the hangman himself refused.

Rick rode into the crowd, snatched Coffin and demanded an alliance. "You've got the best hideout in this territory. No lawman's broken into it -- and lived. I sure could use a place like that to cool off." At the encampment, Rick wasn't simply cool, he seemed as cold as his father, callously allowing Coffin to shoot at the hawk and make advances on Paloma.

It had all been a pretext, of course. Once the gang's guard was down and most of the men were drunk or sleeping, Rick stormed into Coffin's room as the villain was attempting to rape Paloma. The livid bandit pursued the brother and sister, with only the savage claws of the hawk preventing Coffin from shooting them. In an underwater struggle with "King" in whitewater rapids, only Rick survived. The rescue of Paloma and the defeat of her kidnappers had no discernable impact on Sam Wilson. He had no son (ASW # 4).

During a visit to his mother's grave, Rick froze at the sound of a "klik" of a gun behind his right ear. Captain Wilson finally had the drop on the outlaw. In handcuffs, Rick made a futile attempt to escape from Sam's deputy and grab his gun but the old Texas Ranger shot the weapon out of his hand. "Got to hand it to the old cuss," his son admitted. "He's still as fast as chain-lightning."

The young man's jail time was measured in hours thanks to a prison break engineered by "Gunpowder" Grimes to free one of his men. Rick went along for the ride, even helping hold off his father and a posse, but a musclebound member of the gang pronounced him a spy. Under a barrage of slaps and accusations, Rick exploded and began hammering back at the big man. The young outlaw observed that "only the chill of Gunpowder's gun pokin' into my ribs stopped me from killin' him." Rick hands were tied behind his back and he was tossed into a derelict train car for the night.

The gang had been gearing up for an assault on Purple Ridge during their 50th anniversary Founder's Day celebration. Filling the abandoned locomotive with dynamite the following morning, they intended to send the timebomb rolling into town and take advantage of the destruction that followed. The central target in the impending robbery was a golden horseshoe that was to be awarded to the winner of a sharpshooting contest.

As the train moved inexorably towards Purple Ridge, Rick heard the shriek of his hawk. The bird's beak furiously tore at the ropes around his wrists until Rick's hands, now covered in blood, were free. As he defused the explosives, the outlaw was stunned to see his father riding alongside the car.

"Your hawk led me to you, son. Jump on my horse. We've got work to do -- cleanin' out the Gunpowder gang."

Though Rick's heart had soared when he heard his Dad call him "son," the situation was far from good, particularly after Captain Wilson's horse was shot. Taking refuge beneath the stalled train, father and son prepared for a last stand as Gunpowder grabbed a stick of his trademark dynamite. "At least I'm fightin' alongside you, Pa --like the Ranger I always wanted to be. Instead of helpin' you as an undercover agent."

Rick later recalled that they'd been low on ammunition. "Our last slugs ricocheted off the rocks, showerin' sparks on the short fuse of the dynamite Gunpowder held. The blast thundered like a mountain blowin' its top off. When the ground finally stopped shakin' ... we crawled out. Pa drew out somethin' shiny that I'd dreamed about ever since I was a kid ..."

"I want you to be wearin' the badge that's rightfully yours, son. So when we get back to town I can tell folks you never were an outlaw but a secret Ranger."

"Mom 'knew' all the time. But, now I can tell Paloma the truth about my masquerade."

The day was capped when Sam and Rick competed against one another in the sharpshooting contest. A beaming Paloma announced that "the judges ruled it was a tie. The golden horseshoe will remain in the family -- bringing us all good luck."

The trio rode off into the sunset, still in a state of euphoria. Sam vowed that "from now on, son -- we'll fight together."

"You an' me, Pa. Out in the open at last. Father and son wearin' the same star. Keepin' it bright and shiny" (ASW # 5, by Kanigher and Jim Aparo).

The abrupt conclusion to "Outlaw" caught many readers off guard in 1971, with more than one objecting to the unexpected revelation that Rick was an undercover Ranger. In looking over the entire series, though, it seems evident that Kanigher had the development in mind from the beginning, having carefully avoided involving Rick in any crime beyond robbery. Still, the six-panel wrap-up was undeniably hasty, without so much as a reaction from either Captain Wilson or Paloma to Rick's secret. Indeed, one is left to wonder just how long Sam had been in on the secret.

The decision to end Rick Wilson's run was an editorial one. Dick Giordano had been succeeded by Joe Orlando, who wanted to move in a different direction with a different creative team. The "Outlaw" logo would continue to grace ALL-STAR WESTERN but, like Rick Wilson, it would only be in the descriptive sense. Billy the Kid was about to ride into town.

posted December 10, 2000 02:51 PM

Pancho Guinones was having a good day. He had a fine new horse and saddle, a hot meal in his belly and a promising start to his card game. Somehow, though, he got the impression that his luck was about to go sour. Maybe it was that blonde stranger in buckskins who stood in the doorway of the tavern and called him a "sneaky, murderin' rat." After the cigar was shot out of his mouth, Pancho was fairly confident that good fortune had left him.

"You shot my Pa in the back less'n a few hours ago -- then you stole his horse and saddle."

Pancho insisted that, whatever else he may have done, he wouldn't have shot a man in the back. A local stepped forward to say, "He's right, Billy. ... Ah'm no friend of this thieving varmint, but ah do know he's above thet kind'a killin'."

The Mexican bandit did admit to taking the horse and saddle, though. "Pancho see thees beautiful horse weeth no one to care for heem, so he say 'Pancho, thees three hombres who shoot thees old man, who leave thee poor horse to starve, so you must --"

Billy stopped him at that point. With someone who could identify the killers, the Kid had a chance at bringing them to justice. Billy agreed to let Pancho keep the horse if he'd help track down the assassins and the two set up camp for the night. By morning, Pancho was gone again, adding Billy's money, provisions and watch to his rapidly accumulating cache of goods.

Billy picked up the trail in a village where Pancho had eaten breakfast. Discovering the stolen eighty dollars, the Kid slapped the woman and accused her of being the Mexican's accomplice. "And what about my watch ? Was he wearing mah watch, too ?"

Sobbing, she asked, "How could I know this ? I am BLIND!"

Suddenly contrite, Billy tossed the money back on the table and stuttered that "mebbe it were some other critter did thet stealin' ..."

"I am sure that is true," she answered, still weeping. "Mr. Pancho is very rich ... he has left me money many times."

Once more, Billy tracked down Pancho, only to be informed by the bandit that someone else had stolen the watch from him. Arriving in the next town, Pancho wondered why Billy was stopping instead of continuing the search for the killers. "Ah'm NEVER going to stop looking for them, Mex ... but right now we've gotta stop and earn some money for new provisions."

A local recognized the blonde as Billy the Kid and insisted the gunfighter become their new sheriff -- at least long enough to stop the threat of Blackie Kane. "None of us could stand up to the lightning draw of Blackie -- an' nobody here has got the stomach for that kinda violence." Billy agreed to take the job long enough to capture Kane -- and none too soon. A drunken Kane had just gone on a spree that spooked a horse and trampled a little boy.

While Billy transported the youngster to the nearest doctor some two miles away, his companion decided to confront Kane. ("Pancho do not like hombres dat cause leedle boys to get hort.") Billy returned to town to find Pancho dying of a gunshot wound to the chest. Shoving his way through the crowd, Billy kneeled beside him, cursing, "You dumb thieving Mex. Couldn't you have waited until I -- "

"Always you make weeth thee tough talk, keed -- but you no fool Pancho -- you love heem like brodder ... Pancho ees happy you return een time, Billy ... so he can geeve back thee watch weeth thee beautiful picture inside that he steal from you ... the picture of YOU and your father ... Don't worry, keed ... your secret ees safe with Pan ... cho ..."

Billy walked from Pancho's body to the tavern, identified the cocky Blackie Kane and shot him dead. The next morning, Billy arranged a proper grave for Pancho, complete with this epitaph: "I loved him."

"Adios, amigo ... I'll have to continue my hunt alone ... but ah'll never forget you ..." Flipping open the pocket watch, the Kid looked at the family photograph and its inscription, "To my loving daughter, Billy Jo," and then added, "Nor the fact thet you kept my secret well ..." (1971's ALL-STAR WESTERN # 6, by John Albano and Tony DeZuniga).

ASW # 7 continued the formula of the series when Billy was rescued from an Indian ambush by another shady character, "'Ace' Van Winston ... gambler, gunfighter and philosopher." He was also a man in love with killing, particularly Indians. Minutes after Billy prevented Ace from murdering a native youngster, the duo found themselves surrounded by an entire tribe. Ace was sentenced to burn at the stake but Billy was freed out of gratitude for her part in sparing the boy -- the Chief's son.

Ace pleaded with Billy to kill him on the spot. When the Kid refused, the gambler pulled out his trump card. "WAIT! Perhaps it would be easier for you to do if I told you it was I who cut down your esteemed father!"

"Yo're lying, Ace ... yo're jest saying thet so ah'll -- "

"Then how would I know that his last words were of you ... his daughter -- MISS Billy Jo ?"

Overhearing the conversation, the Chief offered to let Billy and Ace face each other in a duel, each with one bullet in their gun. Ace pretended to reach for his weapon and Billy instinctively fired, mortally wounding him. "Ah don't get it," she told him, "You only bluffed goin' fo' yore gun, gambler -- how come ?"

"Heh heh. That Indian chief would never have let me go free if I'd beaten your draw, Kid ... The deck was stacked ... so I played ... the Joker" (ASW # 7).

In a tavern in the Midwest, Billy seemed to have found the other two men who had killed her father. "Within seconds it was over ... the two men had drawn against a legend ... the legend of Billy the Kid ... and lost ..." The other patrons in the saloon could only gasp in disbelief. "NEVER seen a man draw THAT fast in mah life!"

The local sheriff was less impressed and put Billy in a cell with an old man nicknamed One-Eye. The old timer was an inveterate scavenger and became fixated on his fellow prisoner's boots. The two got into a fight and, when the sheriff tried to break them up, One-Eye pulled a concealed knife and stabbed him in the back, removing off the lawman's boots for good measure. Against her better judgment, Billy fled the jailhouse with the killer.

Billy soon learned that One-Eye had plenty of enemies, including the gang that he'd run out on. The bandits got the drop on the escapees and were stunned to discovered (by way of her pocket watch) that Billy the Kid was a girl. Aware of Billy's sharpshooting skills, One-Eye goaded the villains into trying to outdraw "a skinny female." Three corpses later, Billy was ready to "make tracks outa hyar ... afore any more of yore FRIENDS show up."

First though, the old scavenger felt compelled to pick through the possessions of the bandits, plucking the boots off one body and looking through the telescope of another. Billy asked again if One-Eye was ready to leave but the old man told her to go on without him. "Ah got too much to do hyar fer a spell."

"Robbing dead men! Yore no better'n the skunks we jest killed!"

While Billy rode off, One-Eye began firing on the posse he'd seen while looking through the telescope. "And if ah'm able to outshoot these varmints, ah bet ah'd shore git me a lot more fine pair o' boots. Yes indeedy!"

On the opposite end of the shoot-out, the posse was confident that it was just a matter of time before the killer was out of ammunition. "Yep ... his next stop'll be BOOT HILL" (ASW # 8).

In the end, editor Joe Orlando decided that Billy the Kid simply wasn't going to click and the series was put on hold. The twist of her concealed gender was interesting but not visual enough to have any impact on the potential audience. If ALL-STAR WESTERN was truly going to be a success, it needed a lead character who grabbed the reader the moment they saw him. Vamping for time, Orlando released ASW # 9 as an all-reprint issue and got to work with Albano and DeZuniga on creating a new western hero.

The end result was unveiled in late1971's ALL-STAR WESTERN # 10: "Cold-blooded killer, vicious, unmerciful hellion without feeling, without conscience ... a man consumed by hate, a man who boded evil ... That was ... Jonah Hex." And the rest was history.

posted December 10, 2000 03:49 PM

Here's someone I tried to find out about when I first saw him: Mr. E, the creepy member of the Trenchcoat Brigade, who took Harry Potter... ooops... Tim Hunter through the Time Stream in the original BOOKS OF MAGIC 4-parter. He later had a 3-issue limited series with great art (by John K. Snyder, I think), which was later taken out of continuity when the BoM became monthly. He then showed up in the Trench Coat Brigade mini. The other members of the Brigade (Dr. Occult, Phantom Stranger and John Constantine) all were established characters... Was Mr. E, too? And has he ever dated Ms. Tree?

posted December 11, 2000 12:53 PM

Hey Miki,

Since you seem to be on a western kick right now, how about the original Terra-Man?

posted December 13, 2000 09:10 PM

I remember a two page prose Kid Flash story in the original TEEN TITANS series where he battled a villain in a blue suit that gave him whirlwind powers. It was assumed the villain spun out to sea when his battery died out and drowned...

Does that count?

posted December 15, 2000 08:35 AM

Hello everyone. Does anyone have any history on Primal Force? Either the team or individual members (or both)? How about Nubia? Is she still around? How about her history?

posted December 15, 2000 11:05 AM

Originally posted by taz_19632000:

Hello everyone. Does anyone have any history on Primal Force? Either the team or individual members (or both)?

Hmmm... I have the entire run of PRIMAL FORCE at home, but I'm really bored at the office so I'll see what I can remember off the top of my head... The book, btw, was Steven T. Seagel trying to do the Nen X-Men before they let him do it for real...

Dr. Mist: Immortal African Mystic. Leader of the Global Guardians and the Ley Men. I first saw him in a Superfriends story. The mystic flame that gave him his powers is an idea "borrowed" from Henry Ryder Haggard's classic novel "She".

Meridian: Teleporting sorceress in a boring costume.

Golem: Hunka hunka moving clay. I think this one was new. Based on Jewish legends and kabbala myths.

Red Tornado II: Former JSA and JLA member, part time wind elemental. He was a few screws short of a hard drive when he was with this team, and a mystical reason was suggested for this.

Jack O'Lantern II: Irish super hero, used to be a Global Guardian (though this might have been his predecessor).

Claw: Asian warrior with a demon claw that has its own mind.

Black Condor: Flying mystery man with a very kinky black leather outfit that covers about 10% of his lean, athletic body...

I gotta go take a cold shower here...
Did I forget someone?

New Member
posted December 16, 2000 08:13 PM

Super Turtle first appeared in the Superman family of titles (ACTION, SUPERMAN, SUPERBOY, JIMMY OLSEN?, LOIS LANE?) sometime around the March 1963 cover date.

His origin wasn't revealed until SILVER AGE 80-PAGE GIANT #1 (July 2000). I don't have the issue open in front of me, but I do recall that Super Turtle was really Tur-Tel of the planet Galapagon. He was sent to Earth (possibly Earth-12, the home of the Inferior Five) as a baby and adopted by human parents. His adoptive name was not revealed.

Perhaps someone here has the resources and time to research his actual first appearance. (Surprisingly, the Grand Comic Database doesn't have the information.) I'd say you'd have to go back to at least Jan 1962 and work your way forward to be sure you hadn't missed anything. From my own investigations, assuming my notes are correct, I do know the following:
Super Turtle appeared in SUPERBOY #103 (Mar 1963), but not #92-95,97-99,101-102
I think he was in ACTION #299 (not sure), but not #282-284,289-298
He also wasn't in SUPERMAN #153-158,160
Any additional info would be much appreciated.

posted December 16, 2000 09:35 PM

In the tradition of Charles Dickens, I have to work this weekend and next. Bah, humbug! Unfortunately, that means another rerun here, in this case a couple pieces I wrote for THE O'NEIL OBSERVER # 2 when it was scheduled to be a JLA issue. (The actual ONO # 2 appears as in insert in the current COMIC BOOK MARKETPLACE # 84, with a piece by me on Frank Robbins, a Green Arrow-related interview with Denny O'Neil conducted by Scott McCullar, Steve Skeates' recollection of the "lost" Green Arrow-Aquaman team-up intended for AQUAMAN # 57 ... and more. End of plug.)

"Want to see more of the Mind-Grabber Kid ?" the final caption of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA # 70 asked. "Let us know ... because we sort of like him." Reaction to teenager Lucian Crawley's ridiculously costumed alter-ego, whose envy of the JLA provoked an alien attack on the team, was tepid at best. His introduction also marked an end to Denny O'Neil's initial humorous slant on the series, replaced by a more somber approach in the subsequent accounts of the devastation of Mars (#71), the death of Larry Lance (# 74) and the betrayal of Snapper Carr (# 77). Still, if the Mind-Grabber Kid was not the sensational character find of 1969, he was not entirely forgotten either.

A Mark Waid-scripted sequence in 1992's JUSTICE LEAGUE QUARTERLY # 8 had the Kid show up in a line-up of potential new members for the Conglomerate:

"'Kid' ? How old are you ?"



From the other end of the revival spectrum came 1995's PRIMAL FORCE # 10, written by Steven Seagle. In this one, a drooling Lucian Crawley, cured of his "delusions" of being a super-hero at the cost of his sanity, was liberated from the Kadmon Psychiatric Convalescent Home by the occult organization known as the August. By page seven, Lucian had embraced the dark side, acquiring the new name of Mind Eater. With his powers amplified to enable him to possess other people's brains, Mind Eater spent the next few months fighting various members of the Leymen before taking a nasty chest wound from Claw in # 12.

Snapper Carr's betrayal of the Justice League in the pages of JLA # 77 may have been the most controversial act of Denny O'Neil's tenure on the title. While developments such as the resignation of the Martian Manhunter, the death of Larry Lance and the loss of Oliver Queen's fortune were bound to have detractors, none involved the complete shift in attitude that Snapper's actions did.

In the course of twenty-three pages, Snapper knocks out the Atom, helps imprison Batman, impairs the nervous systems of the other Leaguers and exposes their Secret Sanctuary to the Joker. A sardonic Atom quips, "When that kid decides he doesn't like someone, he really goes all the way!" As a reader in JLA # 80's letter column observed, all of this was a bit hard to reconcile with the Snapper who was reduced to tears at the prospect of the team's demise (JLA # 12, reprinted in # 76).

Named an honorary member of the JLA for his help in defeating Starro (1960's THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD # 28), Snapper Carr appeared in every episode through 1963's JLA # 20. After entering college, his group participation slowed down but he rarely missed more than three issues in succession. By the time Gardner Fox left the series in1968, Snapper's beatnik patter was more than a little dated. O'Neil used the character only in his first script (# 66) before reviving him for the fateful John Dough story.

Like Wonder Woman (now powerless) and the Martian Manhunter (deemed redundant next to Superman), Snapper was apparently regarded by O'Neil as a character who was contributing nothing unique or useful to the JLA. Aquaman, who seems to have fallen into the same category, sat out virtually every issue of of O'Neil's run save for # 68. His absence would later be attributed to his search for Mera, running in concurrent issues of AQUAMAN.

Though Snapper's betrayal seemed hard to believe, O'Neil provided a credible motivation for his feelings. Ridiculed by his peers in college, Snapper "got sick of being a nothing! I wanted to do something myself ...I wanted to find out who I am." Steve Englehart built on this nicely in 1977's JLA # 150, providing a more complete picture of why the young man would do what he did.

The saga of Snapper Carr's reconciliation with the Justice League would play out over the course of the 1970s. Deeply ashamed at what he'd done, he declined an invitation to attend the League's 100th meeting (JLA # 100) and later went to elaborate lengths to alert the League to the threat of Anakronus rather than simply using his signal device. "After everything that happened between us, I didn't know if I still had the right to..." (# 114).

By JLA # 149 and 150, Snapper was destitute, unable to find a job -- even a humiliating position cashing in on his League status -- but denied access to welfare payments. Tempted by the Key, he attacked the JLA again, this time as the Star-Tsar. Moved by Snapper's plight, the League resolved to help their former mascot turn his life around. With the backing of the entire team, Lucas Carr landed a scientific position at S.T.A.R. Labs (SUPERMAN FAMILY # 189). His subsequent appearances in JLA (# 181 and 200) would be much more cordial.

The past decade has seen Snapper become a full-fledged super-hero as part of the space-faring Blasters (1989's INVASION! # 3). More recently, he's been partnered with a heroic android from the 853rd Century in the pages of HOURMAN. Like most DC characters, Snapper's history has been refined in the past decade (primarily in JLA: YEAR ONE # 3-12 and HOURMAN # 16's reprise of JLA # 77) but his role as the man who betrayed the Justice League will always be a part of his heritage.

posted December 17, 2000 01:06 PM

Mikishawm, the4thpip, and Outpost2 - thank you for your answers. A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and everyone else here.

I'll just do one more recap this year:

Recently covered were:
146. Nightmaster
156. Outlaw
161. Super-Turtle
163. Ur the Caveboy
169. Her Highness and Silk
175. Primal Force
and two bonus biographies (extra thanks, Mikishawm)
177. Mindgrabber Kid
178. The Betrayal of Snapper Carr

Still unanswered are
152. the Inferior Five
157. El Diablo
159. The Council
162. Tailgunner Jo
164. the Queen Bee (Marcia Monroe)
165. Jim Aparo (can't wait to hear the story about this one)
166. Deja Vu / Flashback
167. Cutlass and Barracuda
168. Lu-Shu Shan / I-Ching
170. Vartox
171. Blackrock
172. Mister E
173. Terra-Man
174. does anyone know the "villain in a blue suit with whirlwind powers" that StGeorgeNYC mentioned?
176. Nubia

And I'd like to add one other name. Would anyone like to share the history of the legendary
179. Slam Bradley
with me?

The list is growing again. And this thread has regained a lot of steam recently. That's great.


New Member
posted December 17, 2000 04:30 PM

One correction:
"167. Cutlass and Barracuda"
should read "Swordfish and Barracuda".
They appeared around WORLD'S FINEST COMICS #304 (?) - #307.
Barracuda was Abigail Kent, an ancestor of Jonathan Kent.

posted December 17, 2000 06:49 PM

More re-runs, I'm afraid ...

First though, a couple quick responses:

Super-Turtle made his debut in 1962's ADVENTURE COMICS # 304, a momentous event slightly overshadowed by Lightning Lad's death in the same issue.

Thanks for the updated roster, Hellstone! A couple quick comments: The villain in BRAVE & BOLD # 158 is definitely named Flashback. The villain in TEEN TITANS # 30 was never named but I've always referred to him by the name of the story: "Whirlwind."

On with the show ...

A hallmark of Julius Schwartz's comic books of the 1960s and 1970s was his commitment to keeping his series contemporary, whether it was adding an elevator and telephone to the Batcave in 1964 or transferring Clark Kent to WGBS in 1970. With interest in the space program at an all-time high in 1969 thanks to the July 20 moon landing, what could be more timely than establishing a new location for the Justice League's headquarters -- in orbit above Earth ?

Snapper Carr's exposure of the League's Secret Sanctuary to the Joker provided the necessary motivation. Concluding that their security had been compromised, the League resolved to establish a new base. (Mark Gruenwald later pointed out in THE AMAZING WORLD OF DC COMICS # 14 that some seven villains had discovered the original headquarters prior to that issue. Evidently, the Joker was the straw that broke the camel's back.)

JLA # 78 introduced the League's now-famous satellite sanctuary, set in an orbit 22,300 miles above the Earth and accessible through a teleportation tube utilizing Thanagarian technology. The satellite became a fixture in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA and throughout the entire DC line well into the 1980s.

By that point, some had begun to express the sentiment that placing the JLA in outer space put too much distance (figuratively and literally) between them and the population they protected. Even the cover to JLA # 78 seemed to have anticipated the reaction. In a symbolic scene, the Vigilante had angrily shouted, "I'm disgusted with you, Justice League! How can you quit Earth at a time like this!"

Perhaps inevitably, the satellite met its end in 1984's JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA # 229 and 230, the victim of invaders from Mars. Effective with JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA ANNUAL # 2, the League formally abandoned the venerable headquarters and moved to an abandoned factory in an ethnically diverse Detroit neighborhood. Most of the damaged satellite fell out of orbit in 1985's CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS # 8 and JLA ANNUAL # 3 with the rest following in 1986's JLA # 251-252.

By contrast, the cave that served as the team's original Secret Sanctuary has thrived in the years since its initial retirement. In 1972, the JLA conducted their 100th meeting on the site (JLA # 100) and ousted the Injustice Gang from the cave in 1978 (# 158). The League even reestablished their quarters there on two separate occasions (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA # 247 to JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL # 7 and JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA # 56-62) and has loaned the base to teams like the Doom Patrol (DOOM PATROL # 21-62), the Legion of Super-Heroes (LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES (fourth series) # 89-100) and Young Justice (JLA: WORLD WITHOUT GROWN-UPS # 2 to YOUNG JUSTICE # 19).

And yet, space still has its allure. With the installation of a Watchtower on the moon in issue # 4 of the current JLA series, the League once again has an outpost in the heavens.

The Emerald Eye of Ekron claims to have existed "for an incomprehensible time span" (LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES (current) # 120). "Were you but PART of a greater creature once, some prehistoric incarnation of the Green ?" the Emerald Empress once asked the orb (LSH (1984 series) # 58).

The Eye was (re)discovered during an alien race's archaeological expedition in the late 20th Century (Earth-time) and, en route back to the aliens' planet, it killed the entire crew. The deaths may have been an accident. When discovered by L.E.G.I.O.N. member Garryn Bek, the Eye was sending an electrical charge through one of the victims in a futile attempt to revive him. In any event, Bek was selected by the Emerald Eye to be its new host (L.E.G.I.O.N.# 11-12). The Eye soon developed an affection for Bek's wife, Marij'n, and allowed both to channel its power (# 17). After taxing its energy to the limit in order to expel the Computer Tyrants (in a humanoid vessel known as Mister Starr) from the planet Talok VIII, the Eye vanished (# 22) and the residual energy housed in Garryn Bek was exhausted soon after (# 26).

During the 28th Century, the Emerald Eye of Ekron was the subject of a fierce civil war on the planet Venegar. The legend of its power still tantalized natives such as the Empress more than two hundred years later (LEGIONNAIRES # 37).

By the 29th Century, the Eye had been enslaved by Mordru, who regarded the orb as a mere object of power rather than a sentient being. After Mordru's defeat (LEGIONNAIRES # 48), the Emerald Eye eventually found itself in the possession of the centuries-old Scavenger. Late in the 30th Century, it was freed from its containment box during a clash with the Legion of Super-Heroes (LSH (current) # 74) and established a bond with Shrinking Violet for an extended period of time (behind the scenes in LEGIONNAIRES # 31 and explicitly in LSH (current) # 83 through LEGIONNAIRES # 50).

It eventually resurfaced, gathering the Empress, the Persuader, Tharok and Validus to unite with it as the new Fatal Five. Rather than relying on his union with human hosts, the Eye (displaying its speech capabilities) sought to strengthen its own abilities by serving a host, "one with simple aims and strong desire." He chose the Empress (LSH # 120).

Origin possibilities:


The origin of the Emerald Empress of Earth-One was recounted by Jim Shooter in ADVENTURE COMICS # 352:

"Venegar was the site of the long-dead Ekron civilization, whose astounding scientific secrets were all lost ... until" a native named Sarya discovered them in the mid-30th Century. Thanks to "an ancient map," she was able to locate the Crypt of the Eye. Resting on a green pedestal was the Emerald Eye of Ekron.

"The Eye possessed nearly unlimited power. To Sarya, it was a means of fulfilling her ambitions. ... It took only a few hours for Sarya to seize power and become the Emerald Empress. But her tyranny caused the people (of Venegar) to rise in rebellion." Observing that "even the Emerald Eye can't cope with so MANY super-weapons," Sarya fled into outer space and began looting space merchants to help bankroll the army she intended to gather. With the Eye behind her, the Emerald Empress became "the most wanted female criminal in the history of the universe."

The facts that the Eye might be sentient and that it used human beings as hosts were revealed in Sarya's final appearance (Paul Levitz's LSH (1984 series) # 57-58). As the conflict with the Legion escalated, Sarya became a host for the globe's power, "burning with the energy from the Emerald Eye." The transformation was not without its price. "I've absorbed so much of your power these past few days, I can FEEL the change in my body," the Empress told the Eye. "I'm fading. You're killing me you silent monster -- and you won't EVER let me die, will you ?"

When the Eye wouldn't grant Sarya the death she craved, the Empress approached Sensor Girl. "I know MORE of the Eye than you might DREAM, Sarya -- for Orando is STEEPED in the magic of old, and I know the LEGENDS of Ekron -- of wizards whose own magic CONSUMED them." Observing that "what the Eye cannot see, it cannot possess," Sensor masked Sarya and the world from the Eye. With a feeble "bzzzt," the Emerald Eye went black and Sarya withered into a crone and collapsed into a cloud of dust (# 58).

Leland McCauley later formed a new Fatal Five, complete with an Emerald Empress (Ingria Olav) that he'd selected and provided with the Eye (LEGIONNAIRES # 4). Olav, however, proved to be an unskilled coward and she was slain by the energy of a second Eye (# 5), one that had selected Cera Kesh to be its mistress (# 3-4). "Sadly for you," Cera told McCauley, "eyes comes in pairs" (# 5). After convincing McCauley's Eye to align with her, Cera flew into outer space with plans to revive the Fatal Five. "The two Eyes BELONG together. They were MEANT to serve a single master ... The Emerald Empress" (# 6).

Any details that might have been provided in regard to the Wizards of Ekron and the pair of Emerald Eyes were abandoned when the 2995 line of continuity was scrapped in the wake of ZERO HOUR.


While the Emerald Eye could be momentarily immobilized by a number of different external options, its only INTERNAL weakness was Kryptonite! In some manner, the radioactive rock played havoc with the Eye, rendering it virtually motionless (ADVENTURE # 352) or leaving it dazed (SUPERBOY & THE LSH # 247). Curiously, the Eye was capable of synthesizing K-radiation for offensive purposes without any ill effect (SUPERBOY & THE LSH # 231 and LSH # 303). Could the Emerald Eye be a lost artifact from Superman's home world ?


Effron was a mystic from the other-dimensional kingdom of Veliathan who clashed with Superman and Green Arrow twice in the early 1970s (WORLD'S FINEST # 210 and ACTION # 437) and, in an unrecorded duel, Superman and Batman. In the latter, the heroes confiscated the mage's hypnotic Golden Eye, an over-sized, oval-shaped eye that vanished from the Man of Steel's Fortress (SUPERMAN # 268) and ended up, in miniaturized form, on the forehead of a would-be super-hero. Corrupted by power, the wizard refused to give up the power even after slimy green fallout from the magical energy began to blanket Metropolis. Luring the mage into space at a high rate of speed, Superman stopped short, came up behind him and grabbed the wizard. He stopped ... but the eye kept rocketing forward into deep space. The would-be hero regained his senses once the link with the Golden Eye was broken (SUPERMAN # 273).

The similarities (Effron/Ekron; the parasitic aspect of the Eye; the emerald fallout; the last glimpse of the Eye speeding into space) are enough to make an argument for a possible connection.


Both the beings of Penelo (GREEN LANTERN (second series) # 159-160) and the trio of Luck Lords on Ventura (LSH (1984 series) # 44-45) possess pupil-like heads. Any connection beyond that is purely speculative. Reader Andrew Capraro's suggestion that the Emerald Eye was linked to the Luck Lords was greeted by Paul Levitz as "an interesting suggestion" (LSH # 62's letter column).


The Green Glob was a sentient emerald wraith that served as the catalyst in a series of stories in TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED # 83-98, 100, 102-103. In 1991, Gorilla Grodd captured the Glob ("some sort of cohesive plasma. Invisible, odorless, intangible, yet an almost LIMITLESS source of energy") and used it to alter reality (ANGEL AND THE APE (second series) # 3). Grodd's grandson, Sam Simeon, attempted to "interface" with the Glob, which represented itself as three green objects, two green plates with a green globe sandwiched between them. The orb had a gaping hole in its center to simulate a lantern effect but, in something of an optical illusion, it sometime resembled a green eyeball.

The entity, Sam learned, was an early creation of the Guardians of Oa, one of a series of "undetectable machines ... incredibly powerful machines ... capable of warping the very nature of reality ... a teaching machine (that) temporarily warp(s) reality in order to teach a lesson."

Sam hoped to convince the Green Glob to heal the heroine Dumb Bunny, whose neck had been broken by Grodd, but the entity refused. "I cannot perform counter to my programming. Once a lesson has been learned, the fabric of reality must be restored."

"But ... I ... I wish to learn what a permanent change would do to your programming."

Pausing, the Glob replied, "Acceptable. It is done."

Suddenly, the green orb began to pulse and enlarge, repeating, at progressively higher volume, "I have transcended my programming!" Shrieking, "I AM FREE!", the Green Glob vanished in an emerald burst of energy (A&A # 4). Its present whereabouts are unknown.

Is it possible that the Emerald Eye is one of the orbs created by the Guardians, one which, like the Green Glob, has "transcended its programming ?"


Adventure Comics # 352-353, 365-366, 378
Crisis On Infinite Earths # 10
Legion of Super-Heroes (1979 series) # 269-271, 299 (behind the scenes), 301 (behind the scenes), 302-303; (1984 series)21, 24-26, 53-54, 56-58
Superboy # 198, 215, 219
Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes # 231, 246-247

THE EMERALD EYE (Earth-2995):
Legionnaires # 2-6

THE EMERALD EYE (current):
L.E.G.I.O.N. '90 (et al.) # 11-17, 19-22
Legion of Super-Heroes (current) # 74, 76 (behind the scenes), 83-84, 120-121
Legionnaires # 31 (behind the scenes), 33-34 (mention), 36-37 (mention), 39 (behind the scenes), 40-41, 45, 48-50

New Member
posted December 17, 2000 10:14 PM

Love this thread! Since the list of unanswered entries is getting shorter, I'll suggest some more characters. Like many of you, I made lists of characters years ago but didn't think to take extensive notes. These are the most obscure I could find as I quickly skimmed my files.

Hellstone, maybe it's time to start a Round III thread.

Adam Strange II (Mystery In Space #94 and #98, Hourman #11)
the Arrows of Alaska (Adventure Comics #260)
Astra, Girl of the Future (Sensation Comics #99) (Was this one addressed already?)
Astralad (New Adventures of Superboy #3-4)
Automan (Tales of The Unexpected #91)
the Beefeater (Justice League Europe #20)
Blackwing (Wonder Woman #???)
Burp the Twerp, the Super Son-Of-A-Gun (Quality Comics character, reintro'd in the Plastic Man mini-series)
Captain Incredible (Action Comics #354)
Colonel Future (Superman #378)
the Crimson Avenger (Albert Elwood) (World's Finest Comics #131) (See next post.)
Crusader (Aquaman #56)
Dyno-Man of Sorrta (Superman #206)
Element Girl (Metamorpho #10)
the Eliminator (Action Comics #379)
the Flying Dutchman of Time (Fury of Firestorm #??)
the Golden Eagle (Justice League Of America #116)
the Green Arrows of the World (Adventure Comics #???)
the Homeless Avenger (Vigilante #48?)
Hoppy the Marvel Bunny (Fawcett Publ. character)
the Human Hurricane (Mitch Anderson) (House of Mystery #155)
Hyperboy, Hyperdog, and the Hyper-Family of Trombus (Superboy #144)
Hyper-Boy / Hyper-Man of Zoron / Oceania (Action Comics #265)
the Intergalactic Vigilante Squadron (Adventure Comics #237)
Lando, Man of Magic (World's Best Comics #1)
the Liquidator (Aquaman #38)
Little Miss Redhead (Sensation Comics #72)
Marsboy (Adventure Comics #195)
Marvel Maid and Marvel Man of Terra (Action Comics #272-273)
Mighty Boy and Mighty Dog of Zumoor (Superboy #85)
Mighty Man (IIRC, mentioned in a Superman Annual letters page as a potential reprint tale)
Miss Arrowette (World's Finest Comics #113)
Miss X (Action Comics #??)
Nadir, Master of Magic (New Adventure Comics #17)
Neolla, the Superwoman of Zorkia (Action Comics #354)
Nightwolf (World's Finest Comics #323)
Petronius (Lois Lane #3)
Power-Boy of the asteroid Juno (Superboy #52)
Power Lad (Jimmy Olsen #45)
Power-Man, King of Outer-Space (Lois Lane #??)
Pulsar (New Adventures of Superboy #31)
the Roving Ranger (All-Star Western Comics #58)
Sonik (World's Finest Comics #310)
the Space Rangers (Mentioned in The History of The DC Universe; was this based on a specific Tales of the Unexpected / Space Ranger story?)
Superwoman (Luma Lynai of Staryl) (Action Comics #289)
Superwoman (Kristen Wells of 29th century Earth) (DC Comics Presents Annual #2)
the Tarantula (Jerry Lewis) (Adventures of Jerry Lewis #84)
the Terrific Whatzit (McSnurtle the Turtle) (Funny Stuff #1)
the Tiger-Man (Desmond Farr) (Tales of The Unexpected #90)
Ultra the Multi-Alien (Mystery In Space #103)
the Waterfront Warrior (???)
the Wyoming Kid (Western Comics #1)
Xeen Arrow of Dimension Zero (Adventure Comics #252-253)
Yango the Super-Ape (Superboy #172)

And if that were not enough, here are some honorable mentions. (The following only appeared in one or two panels each and probably don't merit full bios, but I wanted to include them for completeness.)

Lux of Gor (Action Comics #330-331)
Mask-Man (Action Comics #330)
Multiple-Man (Action Comics #330-331)
Strella of Planet Y (Action Comics #330-331)
Surya (a.k.a. Slirya) of the Evolution Planet (Action Comics #330-331)
Atom King (Action Comics #386)
Electroman (Action Comics #386)
the Multiple-Men (Action Comics #385)
the Naurons (Action Comics #386)
Trygg the Invincible of Ulta (Action Comics #444)
Voltro of Omegon (Action Comics #444)
Energiman (Green Lantern #32)
Golden Blade (Green Lantern #32)
Magicko (Green Lantern #32)
Strong Girl (Green Lantern #32)
Liquidman (Superboy #101)
Shadowman (Superboy #101)
Stormboy (Superboy #101)
Telepathy Man (Superboy #101)
Tree-Man (Superboy #101)
Balloon Man (World's Finest Comics #145)
Electric Man (World's Finest Comics #145)
the Flame (World's Finest Comics #145)
the Freezer (World's Finest Comics #145)
Aeroman of Marr (World's Finest Comics #163)
Dr. Chill of Klon Kado (World's Finest Comics #163)
Serpento of Orazak (World's Finest Comics #163)
Solarman (World's Finest Comics #163)
Windlass of Marr (World's Finest Comics #163)
Zardin, the Boy Marvel of Nangar (World's Finest Comics #163)

New Member
posted December 17, 2000 10:17 PM


Alter Ego: Albert Elwood
Occupation: Inventor
Known Relatives: None
Team Affiliation: None
Base of Operations: Gotham City & Metropolis
First Appearance: World's Finest Comics [1st series] #131 (Feb 1963)
Height: ~ 5 ft. 10 in.
Weight: ~ 170 lbs.
Eyes: Black
Hair: Brown

History: When a new criminal organization, the Octopus Gang, starts a crime wave across the nation, crackpot inventor Albert Elwood decides to use his skills to help stop the crooks. Elwood creates a number of fantastic weapons and dons the costumed identity of the Crimson Avenger, continuing the legacy of a previous lawman of the same name.

When the Octopus Gang attempts to steal gold dust from a stage coach re-enactment in Gotham City, Batman and Robin are ready and waiting. As the dynamic duo race towards the hirelings, the Crimson Avenger suddenly appears firing a fire-gun, the flames from the gun encircling the crooks. He then uses another device which sends out bubbles of force with which to enclose the bandits. The criminals duck, and the bubbles smash into Batman and Robin, enabling the criminals to escape. The Crimson Avenger introduces himself, apologizing for his "small error", then departs.

Later, the Octopus Gang tries to rob a Metropolis Bank. As Superman decends upon the crooks getaway car, the Crimson Avenger drives up and sends out a robot ram's head to smash the vehicle. The ram's head runs amuck, distracting Superman and allowing the gang to once again escape. Using his x-ray vision, Superman learns the Crimson Avenger's secret identity. Before Superman can lecture him, the new hero drives off.

After returning to his workshop, Elwood reads the newspaper and learns that his exploits are being mocked. He becomes enraged by their ungratefulness and vows to show everyone.

That night in Metropolis, Superman, Batman, and Robin meet to discuss stradegy in handling the Octopus crisis. Superman's hearing picks up an alarm from the Ancient Arts Museum. The trio corner the crooks in the museum. As they are about to capture them, the Crimson Avenger appears. As he shoots his new weapon, a balloon effect ray, he begins to sneeze wildly. The sneezing throws off his aim, causing the ray to hit Superman and Batman. The two heroes become bloated and float helplessly up in the air. The Crimson Avenger apologizes to Robin, stating that he is allergic to the nearby roses. Realizing that the roses are artificial, Robin accuses the Avenger of faking the sneeze. The Crimson Avenger punches Robin and escapes.

Later, after the balloon effect wears off, Superman, Batman, and Robin look for clues in the Elwood's workshop. Batman deduces that Elwood has been captured by the Octopus Gang and replaced by one of its members. The heroes begin to trail the gang by following traces of a broken ink bottle. Meanwhile, in the crooks' hideout, the Octopus orders the false Crimson Avenger to check on Elwood. Moments later, the heroes burst in. The Octopus orders his men to attack, while he runs towards a large wall switch. The Octopus orders the heroes to stop, warning them that the switch will detonate a bomb hidden under Metropolis' streets. Just then, a man dressed in the garb of the Crimson Avenger emerges from the back room weilding a kryptonite ray rifle. He tells the Octopus to have the others tie up Batman and Robin, while he keeps Superman at bay with the kryptonite. When the Octopus removes his hand from the switch, the Crimson Avenger blasts him instead! After the criminals are rounded up, the Crimson Avenger reveals himself to be Elwood! Elwood explains that the phoney Avenger was distracted when the heroes burst in, enabling him to use the knockout gas in his gimmick ring to gain the upper hand. Elwood states that he is hanging up his costume and returning to his inventing career, leaving the crimefighting to them.

Weapons and Powers: The Crimson Avenger's arsenal included: a fire-gun which generated an expanding circle of fire; a bubble-gimmick which enabled him to ensnare criminals in a bubble of force; a robot ram's head used to smash cars; a balloon ray which caused a temporary bloating and floating effect; a kryptonite ray rifle; and a gimmick ring containing knockout gas.

Comments: The second Crimson Avenger appeared only once. He states that he took the name of a former lawman, suggesting that this tale took place on Earth-Two.

posted December 18, 2000 01:51 AM

This thread is a treasure.

I am looking forward to Terra-Man.

posted December 18, 2000 03:23 AM

Okay...this was the last time I attempted to number them...

Well, how about starting Round III in a new thread?


posted December 20, 2000 09:23 PM

Shall we start a thread III then?

New Member
posted December 20, 2000 11:08 PM

Thanks to the poster named Eduardo, Round I was rescued from oblivion.

So that it doesn't happen again, I downloaded everything from Round I and Round II and have been formatting it in order to establish an independent archive that won't be deleted by DC when the threads grow too old. The files were so big, however, that I editted them a bit to save space, removing sig files and kudos, fixing spelling errors, and the like. (They're now a mere 225K and 460K, respectively)

So, if we start a Round III, I can finalize the first two rounds (as well as Mikishawm's "Golder Agers Today" post, which references other obscure golden age heroes) and upload them to a permanent location by this weekend.

Hellstone, since you started this thread, would you do the honors and start a Round III?

posted December 20, 2000 11:21 PM

I was able to print all 71 pages of Round I through school. So I give a special thanks to Eduardo.

posted December 21, 2000 04:48 AM

Round III is on its way.


To be continued in Obscure DC Characters, Round III.