For this superhero-crazed world Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of B.C. Boyer’s neglected 1980s superhero the Masked Man. For Part One click HERE
ECLIPSE MONTHLY Vol 1 #3 (October 1983)
Title: The Birth
Villain: The Gypsy King
Synopsis: We open on the Masked Man leaving police headquarters after just having defeated and brought in the Jackson Gang. He is being swamped by reporters asking how he subdued the entire gang, the source of his abilities, the dangers of his vigilante career, etc.
At last our hero manages to get away from the mob and heads home to the apartment of his alter ego, private detective Dick Carstairs. With him as he arrives home is his newspaper reporter friend Barney McAlister, who publicizes the Masked Man’s deeds while keeping his secret identity confidential.
Dick wants to catch some sleep, anticipating another drab day at the routine tasks of a P.I. the next day. Unfortunately, African American reporter Dan Drekston has dug up the Masked Man’s secret identity and tracked him to his apartment.
Drekston is an internationally known, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter. That alone excites Barney’s jealousy, but making things worse is the way Drekston is demanding some exclusive stories about the Masked Man’s crusade against crime or else he’ll instead go with a news story exposing MM’s real identity. He even threatens to accuse our main character of skimming some money from the ill-gotten funds he recovers from criminals.
While wracking their brains to figure some way out of this fix, the Masked Man and Barney have no choice but to take Dan with them the next day when they hit the streets on patrol. Some humor is milked out of Dan Drekston’s insults to the low-key car that Dick and Barney drive around in on their rounds.
Eventually our heroes catch sight of the Gypsy King barreling along in a pickup truck at very high speed. Since the King is wanted for questioning in regard to the larcenous activities of his band of gypsies the Masked Man and company drive in pursuit.
After a perilous high-speed chase, the angry Gypsy King pulls over and confronts our hero. The King is a huge, brawny man – think of Spider-Man’s foe Man Mountain Marko. While the Masked Man and the Gypsy King fight it out and knock each other around, Barney discovers that the reason the King was speeding along is because he is rushing his pregnant wife to the hospital to give birth.
McAlister works away at delivering the baby and comforting the woman in labor. Drekston eventually gets his attention – and camera – drawn away from the Masked Man/ Gypsy King donnybrook and toward Barney’s delivery of the baby. Barney delivers the child, a little girl. This invites the wrath of the Gypsy King, who threatened to beat his wife if she didn’t give birth to a son.
In a cornball ending, the sight of his adorable baby girl melts his heart and he is thrilled with her, so his wife is safe. Our characters are all warmed by the experience. The Masked Man and the Gypsy King call off their fight and our heroes let him get away rather than leave his wife and newborn child stuck there without him.
And Dan Drekston gets his scoop: he does a story about Barney McAlister delivering the baby in a pickup truck. This gets the hardball reporter some public acclaim for himself, proving there are plenty of ways of being a hero, blah, blah, blah.
I’LL REVIEW THE NEXT MASKED MAN STORY SOON. KEEP CHECKING BACK FOR UPDATES.
FOR MY LOOK AT HOMBRE, SPAIN’S POST-APOCALYPTIC COMIC BOOK FROM THE 1980s, CLICK HERE .
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