Superheroes are dominating the box office these days and are well-represented on the small screen, too. Reaction to Balladeer’s Blog’s look at the forgotten MLJ superheroes has been so impressive I’m throwing in a bonus hero from MLJ.
THE SCARLET AVENGER
Secret Identity: Jim Kendall
Origin: Jim Kendall, his wife and child were on board an airplane which was also transporting a shipment of gold bullion. A criminal gang tried to hijack the plane to get the gold and in the resulting mayhem the plane crashed near a remote mountain.
Kendall was the only survivor, his face paralyzed from the crash and never able to smile again. (Shades of the Avenger from Justice, Inc.) He vowed to wage war on the type of criminals who caused his wife and child’s death. Believed dead, Jim Kendall covertly used the fortune in gold bullion to finance his crusade against crime.
First Appearance: Zip Comics # 1 (February 1940). His final Golden Age appearance came in late 1941.
The Scarlet Avenger possessed a brilliant scientific mind and achieved the greatest degree of physical fitness a human male is capable of. He created and wore a bullet-proof scarlet cape and wielded guns of his own design: one shot a paralyzing ray and the other a magnetic ray.
His extraordinary wealth bankrolled his secret headquarters plus his vehicles like a rocket-car and an airship powered by “neutrons.” In addition he had a network of secret operatives like various old Pulp Heroes used to have. The Scarlet Avenger used futuristic video-phones to contact his agents, called Operators.
Comment: Inez Courtney became the Scarlet Avenger’s closest agent and eventually all the other agents faded away from the stories. This hero’s Rogue’s Gallery of villains included a Dick Tracy-esque deformed genius called Peanut Head, Mr Nimbus, who wielded a hypnotic ring to control people and, greatest of all, the villainess called Texa.
She was a super-strong woman with a mind as brilliant as Jim Kendall’s own and led a gang called The Tribe of the Hood. Texa’s crimes included an attempted kidnapping of the U.S. President, the theft of government gold and busting loose all the criminals held in Alcatraz. Texa had an airborne vessel of her own until the Scarlet Avenger caused its destruction.
FOR MORE SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE: Superheroes
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