SUPERHERO PANTHEON OF HARRY A CHESLER PUBLISHING

Superhero cosplay for Halloween has begun threatening to overtake horror themes in recent years. In recognition of that, Balladeer’s Blog has been including a look at a different superhero pantheon during each October’s Halloween celebration. This year it’s the superheroes from Harry A Chesler ‘s publishing company. 

Alias the Dragon 1THE DRAGON

Secret Identity: Bill Norton, Police Scientist

Origin: Tired of being relegated to the scientific end of crime solving, Police Scientist Bill Norton decides to seek out some action. He devises a flame-thrower pistol for himself plus a costume and starts fighting crime as the Dragon in his series titled Alias the Dragon.

First Appearance: Skyrocket Comics #1 (March 1944).

Powers: The Dragon had the strength and agility of a very athletic man. He wielded a pistol which could shoot fire like a flame-thrower and the dragon-scale cape of his costume was bullet-proof. In addition this hero was a first-rate scientist in criminology.

Comment: The Dragon was one of those Golden Age superheroes who didn’t care if he killed the criminals he fought. As Bill Norton our hero serves under Captain Donovan, no first name given. This character’s willingness to kill and his flame-thrower gimmick can’t help but remind a Bad Movie Fan like me of Robert Ginty’s two-movie character the Executioner.

Yankee GirlYANKEE GIRL

Secret Identity: Lauren Mason, wealthy socialite 

Origin: Lauren Mason’s family line included practioners of the mystic arts, but the only spell-casting Lauren herself ever employed was a magic conjuration employing the words “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” (I guess her delivery made all the difference.) Chanting those three words transformed her, Shazam-style, into the super-powered Yankee Girl. 

First Appearance: Either Red Seal Comics #17 (July 1946) or Dynamic Comics #23 (November 1947). There is still some dispute. 

Powers:

Yankee Girl had super-strength, the power of flight and possessed a large degree of invulnerability.

Comment: Lauren Mason had a fiancé, Corey Habot M.D.

Major Victory cheslerMAJOR VICTORY

Secret Identity: None

Origin: An unidentified American soldier at Camp Courage caught a saboteur while on night-time guard duty. The saboteur killed him but spirits of other slain soldiers resurrected him for their leader Father Patriot. That supernatural figure endowed the undead soldier with super-powers, a costume and the nom de guerre Major Victory.

First Appearance: Dynamic Comics #1 (October 1941).

Powers: Major Victory possessed the maximum strength, agility and unarmed combat abilities that a human body is capable of. He was seemingly immortal and could heal from any damage done to his body, including being burned and blown to bits. Father Patriot also granted Major Victory a mountain HQ and a plane.

Comment: When Father Patriot had a mission for Major Victory he would summon our hero by ringing the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to produce a ghostly tolling sound that only the unliving could hear. This hero often battled supernatural Axis menaces like Germany’s Legion of Lost Souls.

Spider Woman CheslerSPIDER WOMAN

Secret Identity: Helen Goddard, wealthy recluse

Origin: Since the death of her father, Helen Goddard had been living in seclusion at their isolated cabin home. She kept herself in excellent physical condition and had been working on assorted traps and other devices for self-defense in her remote residence.

When criminals on the run tried to take over the cabin and use it as a hideout Helen donned a mask and a green and yellow costume to battle them. After capturing the thugs she resolved to devote her life to fighting crime.

First Appearance: Major Victory Comics #1 (June 1944).

Powers: Spider Woman was in peak physical condition and was as agile as an Olympic gymnast. She excelled at unarmed combat and used her web-nets plus other devices to subdue her opponents.

Comment: Some of Spider Woman’s weaponry and traps had nothing to do with spiders, but what can ya do? 

Hale the MagicianTHE MAGICIAN

Secret Identity: Hale, a Spanish nobleman.

Origin: Archaeologist Henry Starrett and his daughter Lois locate South America’s hidden ruins of the (fictional) Maoni civilization. In a mountainside tomb they find the perfectly preserved body of a man in ancient Maoni sorcerer garb.

Henry breaks open the figure’s resting place and immediately dies from a mystic curse. The prone man in the tomb awakens from roughly 400 years of suspended animation and introduces himself to the weeping Lois as Hale, the Magician.

In the 1500s he was a Spanish nobleman turned Conquistador after some financial reverses. He hoped to make a fresh fortune in the newly discovered South American lands. Disgusted by the slaughters enacted by his fellow Conquistadors he defected to the Maoni tribe. (This is the actual 1941 origin story, NOT a later revision.)

After the Maoni drove the Conquistadors out of their territory Hale was educated in the ways of Maoni magic by Xingu, the tribe’s Priest-King. A jealous rival stabbed Hale before he could learn everything Xingu knew. Xingu killed the man who stabbed Hale and gave the dying man his spear-head, in which was concentrated the rest of his mystic energies.

Hale the Magician 2Xingu then died and the Maoni were lost to history, with Hale all the while in suspended animation thanks to Xingu’s spear-head. There he had remained until awoken by Lois’ late father. He returned to the U.S. with Lois and fought the forces of evil with his mystical abilities channeled through the spear-head of Xingu. 

First Appearance: Dynamic Comics #1 (October 1941).

Powers: The spear-head of Xingu was the instrument through which the Magician wielded his magic powers. Those powers were as all-encompassing yet vague as DC’s Doctor Fate and Marvel’s Doctor Strange. They included weather control, illusions, energy projection, force fields and certain matter-manipulation.

Comment: Personally I find the whole wielding of the spear-head business cumbersome. I would have made it so the jealous rival in the 1500s stabbed Hale with Xingu’s spear and then broke it off so that the spear-head remained lodged in Hale’s heart. That way the spear-head could less obtrusively preserve our hero in suspended animation like the original Bloodstone was preserved by the gem in his chest.

The spear-head – which could not be removed without killing the Magician – could still be the source of his powers when he wakes up, it would just stay lodged in his heart. 

BBlack SatanLACK SATAN

Secret Identity: Howard Flynn, District Attorney

Origin: Like many in law enforcement Howard Flynn wearied of seeing powerful gangsters going unpunished. He adopted the costumed identity of Black Satan and went after those criminals that the law couldn’t touch.

First Appearance: Yankee Comics #1 (September 1941).

Powers: Black Satan was in the peak of human condition and possessed greater agility than an Olympic gymnast. He was also a master of unarmed combat. This hero wielded a specially-designed gun that temporarily blinded people. That weapon facilitated dramatic departures and battles with multiple opponents at once. 

Comment: Like certain pulp heroes of old, Black Satan left a distinctive calling card at the sites of his activities so the cops and criminals would all know when he had struck.

By the way, if I had to guess this guy’s nom de guerre based only on his costume I don’t think Black Satan would be among my first HUNDRED guesses. “Angry Airline Pilot” would be, though.

RocketgirlROCKETGIRL

Secret Identity: Doris Dalton, scientist

Origin: Doris and her fiancé Cal Martin were a renowned pair of scientists. When they developed specialized three-rocket jetpacks they kept them a secret and adopted superhero identities to go with them. She became Rocketgirl and he was Rocket Man.

First Appearance: Scoop Comics #1 (November 1941).

Powers: Rocketgirl could fly at jet speeds via her triple-rocket backpack. She was exceptionally skilled at unarmed combat and was a scientific genius. (Because of the scarcity of Golden Age female superheroes I always list just the woman when there is a male and female pair possessing the exact same powers.)

Comment: Rocketgirl was one of Chesler’s most popular and long-running superheroes, with her final Golden Age appearance not coming until 1946.

Firebrand (Chesler)FIREBRAND

Secret Identity: Ray O’Light, power lineman  

Origin: One day while doing his job as an electrical lineman Ray O’Light was struck by lightning. Instead of being killed by the combination of controlled current and lightning he was flukishly granted assorted electricity-based super-powers. From then on he swore to fight crime as the costumed hero Firebrand.

First Appearance: Yankee Comics #1 (September 1941).

Powers: With his fists clenched Firebrand could shoot lightning bolts as well as surround himself with a nearly impenetrable electrical force field. In addition he could fly and could enhance his physical strength at will with his power charge. Anything he touched when he was surrounded by his force field would be destroyed.

Comment: With electricity-based powers you’d think he’d have chosen a name like Lightning Bolt or Dynamo or Lightning Man instead of Firebrand. 

Kitty KellyKITTY KELLY

Secret Identity: None.

Origin: After prolonged exposure to the upper atmosphere as an air hostess Kitty Kelly gained super-powers (?) and became a social worker. In this profession she used her powers to help the people she became involved with professionally.

First Appearance: Punch Comics #1 (December 1941).

Powers: In moments of extreme stress and danger Kitty Kelly’s strength increased to superhuman levels. During these periods of adrenaline rush she also gained the power of flight. She also excelled at writing unauthorized biographies of celebrities. (I’m kidding. That was Kitty Kelley.)

Comment: Kitty Kelly kind of makes you want to put on a costume with your own initials emblazoned on it and start fighting crime. Well, maybe in moments of extreme stress and danger. If then.   

Yankee Doodle JonesYANKEE DOODLE JONES

Secret Identity: None

Origin: Yankee Doodle Jones was an artificial humanoid created by an unnamed biochemist. Three maimed World War One veterans willed their bodies to this scientist so he could make a perfect warrior out of their remains. The morbid S.O.B. did just that and then injected the being with a special serum that brought it to life and granted it superpowers.

First Appearance: Yankee Comics #1 (September 1941).

Powers: This superhero possessed the strength of three men and could run at super-speed. He also had a degree of invulnerability.

Comment: The ghoulish scientist who created Yankee Doodle Jones was killed by Nazi agents immediately afterward. His son used some of the formula that brought Yankee Doodle Jones to life and gave him his powers. As “Dandy” he fought crime as our main hero’s sidekick.

Veiled AvengerTHE VEILED AVENGER

Secret Identity: Ginny Spears, secretary

Origin: Ginny Spears was the District Attorney’s secretary. She wearied of life behind a desk so, adopting a costume and the nom de guerre The Veiled Avenger she set out to fight crime.

First Appearance: Spotlight Comics #1 (November 1944).

Powers: The Veiled Avenger was at the peak of human condition and was as strong as a human female can be. She was an expert at unarmed combat and used a bullwhip in battle, to sometimes deadly effect.

Comment: The Veiled Avenger took no guff from anybody and sometimes punched cops if they screwed up. 

Master KeyMASTER KEY

Secret Identity: Ray Cardell, wealthy playboy

Origin: One night Ray Cardell, one of the idle rich, was star-gazing through his private telescope when a strange beam of alien energy blasted the instrument and entered Cardell’s eyes. Realizing that the incident had granted him superpowers Ray decided to fight the forces of evil.

He donned a costume and adopted the nom de guerre Master Key in honor of his favorite South Korean variety show. (I’m kidding. Given the time period this hero’s name was probably based on the Master Key/ New Thought process which incorporated elements of Theosophy, Hinduism, Rosicrucianism and standard “self-help” systems.)

First Appearance: Scoop Comics #1 (November, 1941).

Powers: Master Key could shoot energy beams from his eyes. Those beams could be fiery heat rays (or possibly lasers), or could paralyze people. X-Ray vision and telescopic vision were other functions of those beams. In addition this hero was in excellent physical condition and was a master of unarmed combat. He was also skilled at solving mysteries.

Comment: Dude’s called Master Key. Dresses like a Maitre’D … That may sound like the start of a Rap Song but it’s not. Anyway, another Chesler superhero – Echo – also fired paralyzing rays from his eyes as one of his powers. (If you care, Echo’s other powers were invisibility and “super ventriloquism.”) 

Lady SatanLADY SATAN

Secret Identity: Unnamed wealthy socialite

Origin: The woman who would become Lady Satan was a wealthy socialite who was returning to New York with her fiancé on a Trans-Atlantic ship. That vessel was bombed and sunk by the Nazis. With her fiancé dead in the aftermath Lady Satan swore vengeance on the Third Reich. To that end she set up operations in Occupied France and covertly fought the Nazis.

Sometime in the following years Lady Satan became well-versed in Black Magic and fought supernatural menaces beginning in 1946. 

First Appearance: As a World War II heroine – Dynamic Comics #2 (December 1941) … As a Black Magic practitioner – Red Seal Comics #17 (July 1946).

Lady Satan 2Powers: As a World War II heroine Lady Satan was in peak physical condition and was as strong as a human female can be. She excelled at guerilla attacks on the Nazis and possessed the stealth of a ninja. Lady Satan wielded a Chlorine Gun to kill her foes and was also skilled with a garotte. In addition she spoke French, English and German.

As a Black Magic practitioner Lady Satan could control the weather, project energy, manipulate matter and shoot fire. When needed she could summon up the strength of twenty men. She wore a dragon-scale ring which emitted mists that opened the way into other dimensions.

Comment: Part of the charm of these short-lived heroes of the Golden Age lies in their unfulfilled potential. Readers can easily imagine the kind of further adventures experienced by characters like Lady Satan – who debuted the same month as Wonder Woman, by the way!   

Dynamic ManDYNAMIC MAN

Secret Identity: Bert McQuade, High School basketball coach

Origin: Dr Moore and Dr Stahl were experts in both science and sorcery. They employed both disciplines in a series of treatments that transformed Bert McQuade into the superhero called Dynamic Man.

First Appearance: Dynamic Comics #1 (October 1941).

Powers: Dynamic Man had massive super-strength, could fly, was bullet-proof AND acid-proof and had “the wisdom of the sages.”

Comment: Dynamic Man adopted the superhero fad of endangering youngsters by having his little brother Ricky fight at his side as Dynamic Boy, with lesser versions of his own powers. The duo often carried out missions for the FBI. Like Rocketgirl, Dynamic Man was very popular and lasted until 1946. 

FOR MY EXAMINATION OF THE 13-PART BLACK PANTHER STORY TITLED PANTHER’S RAGE CLICK HERE

FOR MY ARTICLE ON THE LIST OF ATLAS/ SEABOARD SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE 

FOR MY ARTICLE ON THE MAIN LIST OF CENTAUR COMICS SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE

FOR MY ARTICLE ON THE MEMBERS OF INFINITE HORIZON CLICK HERE

FOR THE AUSTRALIAN SUPERHERO PANTHEON CLICK  HERE

FOR MORE SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE:  Superheroes

© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Superheroes

One response to “SUPERHERO PANTHEON OF HARRY A CHESLER PUBLISHING

  1. Pingback: BLACK SATAN: ANOTHER CHESLER SUPERHERO | Balladeer's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s