Though Harvey Comics eventually became better known as the publisher of such comics as Casper the Friendly Ghost, Wendy the Witch, Hot Stuff and others, they had a large number of superheroes in the 1940s. Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at some of those heroes.  


Secret Identity: Duke O’Dowd, cab driver

First Appearance: Champ Comics #6 (April 1940)

Origin: When Duke O’Dowd was serving overseas in the French Foreign Legion he earned the friendship of Wah Le, ruler of a lost, super-scientific city in Tibet. Judging Duke worthy, he gave him a high-tech belt which granted him superpowers. O’Dowd used those powers to fight crime as the Human Meteor.

Powers: The Human Meteor’s belt possessed “radium emanations” which let him fly at incredible speeds and protected him from all metal weaponry, including bullets and shells. The belt also granted him a degree of superhuman strength via its “electric energizer”. Wooden weapons could penetrate the Human Meteor’s protective force field, or “contra-magnetic field” as Wah Le called it. An “explosatom gun” was briefly used by the Human Meteor. 

Comment: Wah Le’s super science included a televox which enabled him to monitor the Human Meteor’s adventures from Tibet as well as give him advice via a wrist television device. This hero’s sidekick was a white shoeshine boy named Toby.


Secret Identity: Judy Allen, Private Investigator

First Appearance: All-New Short Story Comics #2 (March 1943)

Origin: Private Detective Judy Allen adopted the costumed identity of Black Orchid in order to take on especially dangerous or connected criminals.

Powers: Black Orchid was in peak physical condition and excelled at unarmed combat. She was also more agile than an Olympic gymnast and was a highly skilled criminologist.

Scarlet nemesis and black orchidComment: Judy Allen’s partner at her Private Detective practice was Rocky Ford. In an amusing twist he was secretly the superhero called the Scarlet Nemesis. Ridiculously, even though Black Orchid and the Scarlet Nemesis worked together several times they never figured out that the other costumed figure was their own investigative agency partner. Some “detectives”. 

(If you’re wondering, the Scarlet Nemesis had no super-powers either, but his costume included a forehead light-beam like miners wore. He could use that light to temporarily blind adversaries.)


Secret Identity: Private Hank Greer, Army Medic

First Appearance: War Victory Adventures #3 (December 1943)

Origin: Army Medic Hank Greer, serving with U.S. forces in North Africa, deeply admired his superior, Major Conrad, a surgeon. When Conrad was struck down during a battle, he passed his ring on to Greer, telling him to rub it and “be worthy.” Rubbing the ring caused a mystical woman called “The Spirit of Mercy” to appear. (To me she looks a lot like Florence Nightingale, which I’m sure was intentional.) The Spirit of Mercy waved her wand and granted Hank superpowers plus the costumed identity of Captain Red Cross.

Powers: This hero had super-strength, a large degree of invulnerability and could fly. Rubbing the caduceus-decorated ring he inherited from Major Conrad would transform him into Captain Red Cross and rubbing it when his heroics were over would transform him back into Hank Greer. Both transformations were accompanied by booming thunder.

Comment: Despite the way it may seem, Major Conrad was apparently not a superhero himself. Exactly why Conrad had the caduceus ring in the first place and exactly what his own relationship was to the Spirit of Mercy is unknown. 


Secret Identity: Clip Foster, former heavyweight boxer

First Appearance: Spitfire Comics #1 (August 1941)

Origin: Boxer Clip Foster’s father was a scientist. Clip agreed to serve as a test subject for his dad’s shrinking device and was reduced to the size of a large housefly. Gangsters broke in and killed Foster’s father before the procedure could be reversed and also spilled acid, a tiny drop of which disfigured Clip’s face. Stuck at his small size and content with staying that way due to his new hideousness, Clip donned a costume and fought crime as Fly-Man.

Powers: Despite his tiny size, Fly-Man still had the strength and fighting skill of a full-grown heavyweight boxer. The costume he designed for himself came complete with wings which enabled him to fly, but if those wings got wet he could not fly again until they dried. This hero also used a long thread and a nail as a combination slingshot, rappeling cord and garotte.  

Comment: Like all small superheroes over the decades, Fly-Man’s actual size seemed to change from story to story and sometimes panel to panel.


Secret Identity: Not revealed

First Appearance: Joe Palooka Comics #15 (December 1947)

Origin: In the year 2446 A.D. an unnamed female historian in the domed City of Peace adopts the costumed identity of Atoma. She does what she can to keep her fellow citizens safe and to rebel whenever possible against the authoritarian regime of the futuristic city’s Governor and his pompous military commander Arton. 

Powers: Atoma’s futuristic “celanese phreton cloth” flight suit boasts an array of features: Nylon-Xenton wings with built-in atomic jet propulsion tubes, polarized eye-shields, computerized electronic directional flight control, earphones and a two-way telephonic radio.

Comment: The City of Peace’s Governor was described by Atoma as being “as bad as Hitler” from history modules. Arton and his soldiers are the only people in the domed city allowed to have weapons and are also the only people free to come and go as they please. Everyone else needs special passes or papers to prove they are allowed to be where they are.

Gigantic computerized robots with built-in atomic reactors do most of the work but occasionally malfunction and attack the citizens. Even though freedom exists only for a privileged few, science is so advanced that the human lifespan in 2446 is hundreds of years. Atoma says she is only 22 years old but her real name goes unrevealed.      


Secret Identity: FBI Operative 17 (Real name unknown)

First Appearance: Green Hornet Comics #11 (February 1943)

Origin: Having been promoted to Agent in Charge over an entire group of FBI Agents, Operative 17 grew bored with that desk job and longed for the kind of action he used to get in the field. He adopted the costumed identity of Mister Q and returned to the thrills he found in action by taking down crooks and spies the FBI couldn’t nail.

Powers: Mister Q was in peak physical condition and was proficient at unarmed combat. In addition he used Q-Bombs (smoke bombs) to cover his dramatic entrances and exits plus a Q-Gun ( a gun which fired knockout darts.) He was also a very talented investigator.

Comment: This hero’s nom de guerre was a joking play on his operative number since Q is the 17th letter of the alphabet. I like the angle that Mister Q had to keep his identity secret from his superiors and other agents at the FBI rather than being a superhero deployed by them like the Shield, Black Cobra and others.


Secret Identity: Shirl (last name never revealed)

First Appearance: Harvey Hits #1 (September 1957)

Origin: As a child, Shirl was stranded on an uncharted island somewhere off the African mainland. She was raised by apes & monkeys who educated her in the ways of the jungle.   

Powers: Greater than human strength, enhanced vision and incredible healing powers PLUS a certain level of invulnerability like the Nedor Comics jungle heroines Tygra and Kara the Jungle Princess. In addition, Jungle Girl had the ability to communicate with apes & monkeys. She could also scale sheer cliff walls, possessed advanced jungle survival skills and could ride elephants or swing on vines for transportation.

Comment: Before Gwenpool, before Harley Quinn, before Deadpool and even before Angel & the Ape came this wry, self-aware character. For the most part Jungle Girl took swipes at the tropes surrounding the countless White Jungle Queens of 1940s and 1950s comic books.

Jungle Safari and Great White Hunter clichés were also targeted with the same “LOL so random” humor that was DECADES ahead of its time. I’m not exaggerating. Jungle Girl’s antics read like a template for Gwenpool, Harley, The Unstoppable Wasp and so many other modern day efforts. All that was missing was “Doin’ the science!”

Among the trite Jungle Adventure elements looked at with tongue in cheek: 1) Tigers aren’t in Africa, they’re in India  2) Great White Hunters in pith helmets were often kinda bad guys themselves  3) An “uncharted island” that is somehow big enough to have vast jungles, mighty rivers and majestic mountain ranges  4) Treasure Hunters/ Relic Hunters in jungle areas were basically looters and plunderers  and 5) Women who’ve lived in the jungle having hairless legs and pinup model beauty.

As part of a King Solomon’s Mines joke, Jungle Girl’s island’s “mines” turned out to really be large numbers of mines left over from World War Two. Hell, if the villains competing for the mines were members of A.I.M. and Hydra you could throw Squirrel Girl into the mix.   


Secret Identity: Judge Straight

First Appearance: Black Cat #4 (February 1947)

Origin: Judge Straight was the youngest sitting Judge in his state. Despite his brilliance he was often very draconian in his handling of criminal cases.

Red Demon 2One day the wife of a man he had just sentenced to the maximum term told him off about how heartless his application of the law was. Chastened, the Judge donned a red devil costume and investigated the case. He wound up clearing the man he had earlier sentenced, and brought the real killer to justice. Straight decided to keep looking into miscarriages of justice as Red Demon.     

Powers: Red Demon was at the peak of human condition and was highly skilled in unarmed combat. He was exceedingly agile as well and had an encyclopedic knowledge of the law.

This hero had his own version of a bat-cave made up in Hellish décor including a throne in the shape of a demon’s open mouth. Judge Straight was pretty kinky! 

Red Demon 3Comment: The Judge dressed as the Red Demon in his first adventure because that red devil costume was the kind worn by the dead murder victim. He showed up at a costume party wearing it to make the real killer think he was somehow the dead victim come back to life. (It’s a comic book. Just go with it.)

I kind of like the concept of a superhero exclusively handling cases where he or other Judges may have wrongly sentenced innocent men or let guilty men free on technicalities. It’s more what the Enwil superhero the Judge should have been. Red Demon’s Rogues Gallery included foes like the Eel, the Imp, etc.      

Spitfire picSPITFIRE

Secret Identity: Douglas Black, nicknamed Black Douglas

First Appearance: Spitfire Comics #1 (August 1941)

Origin: In 1741, a British sea captain called Black Douglas was set adrift by pirates who seized his ship and killed or recruited his crewmen. Douglas wound up on an uncharted island in the Atlantic. He drank deeply from the strange-tasting waters of a spring on the island. The water, plus fumes from the island’s various volcanoes and geysers put him into supernatural slumber for 200 years. He awakened with superpowers during World War Two and used those powers against the Axis nations under the name Spitfire.

Powers: Saturated by the water and fumes of the uncharted island, Spitfire became immortal and the clothing he was wearing became immune to damage. Breathing in the gases of the lost isle for two centuries mutated him and made him capable of blowing fire, knockout gas and camouflaging smoke from his mouth.

Spitfire was also effective at armed and unarmed combat from his years at sea. His Toledo sword and flintlock pistol were presumably as impervious to damage and wear as his clothing.

Comment: It was implied that the waters on the island where Spitfire was marooned were the youth-giving waters sought by Ponce de Leon. The earthquake which awakened Spitfire sealed off the waters forever. This hero adapted quickly to the 20th Century and vigorously fought the Nazis.


Secret Identity: None was ever revealed.

First Appearance: Champion Comics #2 (December 1939)

Origin: The Champ was originally a scrawny, timid young man who was always picked on and bullied by his peers. Dr Marlin, a resident at the boarding house run by the lad’s mother, decided to use the boy as a human guinea pig for his Marlin Formula. That formula, applied to the boy’s breakfast cereal and other foods as the years went by, transformed the youngster into a paragon of physical fitness.

By the time the teen was a Freshman at Midwest University he no longer needed the Marlin Formula to maintain his extraordinary physique. Dr Marlin deemed his years-long experiment a success and planned to market his formula for commercial use. A Japanese spy called the Yellow Spider wanted that formula for Imperial Japan to use for an army of super-soldiers, but his assistant accidentally killed Dr Marlin before obtaining it.

The Champ went into action against the Japanese spy ring, killed the Yellow Spider and decided to continue using his greater than human abilities to fight the forces of evil around the world.

Powers: This superhero had strength, speed, reflexes and agility beyond that of normal men. Despite the fact that Performance Enhancing Drugs had given him his physical gifts he participated in and was a star athlete at all sports at Midwest University. He was also an exceptional student when he wasn’t roaming the world combating assorted villainy.

Comment: Part superhero and part Frank Merriwell, the Champ is an interesting character. He is referred to by everyone as the Champ and never by a name and people seem to take it in stride that he goes off to fight criminals and spies when he’s not in class or at practice. There’s a certain El Santo (or other Mexican wrestlers) feel to him as well, since he is publicly acclaimed for his heroics in athletics and his adventures on the global stage.


Secret Identity: Queen Neptina of Almoza

First Appearance: Champion Comics #2 (December 1939)

Origin: Neptina, Queen of the subaquatic kingdom of Almoza, started out as a villainess who planned to conquer the surface world. After she was deposed with the help of the U.S. Navy her successor proved even worse. A more stable and mature Neptina was restored to her throne and became a heroine, fighting the Axis powers and other evils.

Powers: Neptina possessed incredible super-strength which let her function in the intense pressure of the ocean depths. In addition, she had armies of Fish-Men at her command.   

Comment: Neptina reflected an interesting mix of influences: A villain who was the titular character like Doctor Nikola or Fu Manchu as well as a sultry Princess Aura-type from Flash Gordon.

Originally U.S. Navy Lieutenant Brad Fletcher was the heroic “underwater Flash Gordon” who fought Neptina alongside his Dale Ardenesque girlfriend Norma Kane. Neptina even lusted after Brad a la Aura after Flash Gordon while plotting to kill her rival Norma like Aura did with Dale. And, as Aura eventually settled for Prince Baron on the rebound from Flash, Neptina ultimately settled for Prince Eon of another underwater kingdom.

And make no mistake, Neptina was a hardcore baddie at first. She even planned to harvest the organs of human beings on the surface world to supply air-breathing lungs for herself and her subjects, the better to rule the surface. 

Neptina PRE-DATED Aquaman by about 2 years and she came so soon after the Sub-Mariner’s October of 1939 debut that I find it hard to believe that her hatred of the surface world and command of a subsea realm was done in imitation of Subby.    


Secret Identity: Unknown

First Appearance: Champion Comics #9 (July 1940)

Origin: Doctor Miracle was a master of magic and of super-science. From his headquarters in Nepal he sallied forth to take on the forces of evil.

Powers: This superhero wore an amulet which granted him mystic abilities like flight, telekinesis, intangibility and levitation. He could also cast illusions, elongate his arms, turn his body into living flames and undo the spells of lesser practitioners of magic. However, he was vulnerable to bullets and similar projectiles.

Doctor Miracle was also accomplished at super-science and invented devices like a Thought Detector, a Stratosphere Plane and a “Geno-Force Wall.”  

Comment: A monocle, cape and tuxedo were part of Doctor Miracle’s signature look. This hero had a hulking African sidekick named Akim and a pet tigress which served as a figurative watchdog at his Nepalese headquarters when he was off adventuring.   


Secret Identity: Dr Fairbanks (no first name known)

First Appearance: Green Hornet Comics #7 (June 1942)

Origin: Dr Fairbanks, a surgeon, was so outraged by the spiraling crime rate that he decided to take action. Disguising himself in a red, rather than Lincoln-green, Robin Hood costume he brought down gangsters and Nazi Agents.

Powers: Robin Hood was very agile, excelled at unarmed combat and was extraordinary with his bow and arrow, making him the Harvey Comics version of bow-wielding superheroes like the Arrow, Diana the Archer, Green Arrow, Alias the Spider, Hawkeye, Swiftarrow, etc.

Comment: Dr Fairbanks had two costumed assistants – a huge trucker who went by the nom de guerre Big John and Fairbanks’ valet who went by Tuck. Fairbanks’ nurse Elaine Barton was in love with the costumed Robin Hood.  


Secret Identity: Johnny Fox, Seminole Indian

First Appearance: Champion Comics #6 (April 1940)

Origin: United States Intelligence Operative Johnny Fox, a college-educated Seminole Indian, started using an ancient Seminole formula for invisibility in his espionage work.

Powers: Indian Ace used an ancient formula of the Seminoles to create Sun-Shot Pills. The red pills turned him invisible for several minutes and the blue ones turned him visible again. In addition Johnny Fox was skilled at unarmed combat and assorted espionage talents. He also piloted an amphibious craft called the Flying Gator.

Comment: Though his office was in New York City, the formula for Indian Ace’s Sun-Shot Pills consisted of rare roots and herbs from the heart of the Florida Everglades. The spirit of Johnny’s dead grandfather could be contacted by Mama Three Bears, a witch doctor of the modern-day (1940s) Seminole tribe.

War Nurse 2WAR NURSE

Secret Identity: Pat Parker, British nurse

First Appearance: Speed Comics #13 (May 1941)

Origin: Pat Parker was a nurse who lived in Doville, England. During the Nazi bombings of the country during World War Two, Pat used her nursing skills to care for the wounded and came to loathe everything the Axis nations stood for. When she got wind of a Nazi plan to attack the Royal Navy, she took action as War Nurse and continued fighting the Axis from then on.

War NursePowers: War Nurse was at the peak of human condition and was highly skilled at unarmed combat. As the war went on she became an expert with all manner of firearms and explosives. In addition she was a very capable nurse.

War Nurse 3Comment: Not Peace Warrior! Not Sin Pope! It’s War Nurse! Like the Holyoke Superhero called Red Cross (an MD), War Nurse would both inflict AND heal wounds during her adventures. She eventually formed a group of female warriors called the Girl Commandos – who boasted a Chinese woman and a Russian woman among their ranks. The spiritual conflict between being a woman of healing AND a death-dealing fighter was never broached, for obvious reasons.  

red blazerRED BLAZER

Secret Identity: Jack – sometimes Ted – Dawson, cowboy

First Appearance: Pocket Comics #1 (August 1941)

Origin: Jack Dawson, a ranch worker, was riding the range in Wyoming when he came across a spaceship invented by Dr Morgan, a mad scientist who had returned to Earth after years on Mars. Morgan offered Jack a drink which knocked him out, then used the cowboy as a guinea pig in an experiment.

He sent the man up in an unshielded “space cruiser” above the stratosphere to expose him to Astro-Pyro Radiation. That fictional radiation endowed Dawson with superpowers and he became known as Red Blazer.

Red Blazer new costumePowers: Red Blazer could fly, generate flames around his body and could shoot fire from his hands.

Comment: Red Blazer gained a youthful sidekick called Sparkie (sometimes just “Spark”), making them even MORE like the Human Torch and Toro. This hero later changed his name to CAPTAIN Red Blazer and he & Sparkie adopted new costumes (pic at right). Their headquarters was the mad doctor’s spaceship, hidden in the Sierra Nevadas.

Red Blazer’s archenemy was Doctor Skull, an evil alien intent on conquering the Earth.


Secret Identity: John Doyle, Attorney

Origin: John Doyle was framed for murder by corrupt politicians who wanted him out of the way. Just two days before his scheduled execution Doyle escaped from prison, lost the pursuing authorities and set out to clear himself.

Using his striped prison outfit as the basis for a costume, John added a mask, gloves, boots, a cape and a “Z” belt buckle to complete his ensemble. After proving his innocence, John Doyle resolved to continue fighting crime under the nom de guerre Zebra.  

First Appearance: Pocket Comics #1 (August 1941). 

Powers: The Zebra was in peak human condition, excelled at unarmed combat and was more agile than an Olympic athlete. As an interesting twist for Golden Age superheroes the Zebra’s specialty was French Kick-Boxing aka Savate. 

Those “Zebra Kicks” helped justify this unusual hero’s handle. It was sometimes implied that the Zebra’s legs were in such incredible shape from Kickboxing that he could run faster than most ordinary men, too.    

Comment: The Zebra was created by artist Pierce Rice and an unknown writer working under the groan-inducing alias “Ellery King.” (Remember Ellery Queen?)

man in black harveyTHE MAN IN BLACK

Secret Identity: Fate, Death, Kismet or Luck (He claimed all of them were his real name)

First Appearance: Front Page Comic Book #1 (1945 – No month known)

Origin: Never revealed. He was a subordinate entity who often acted on orders from the female Weaver of Destiny, with occasional interference from the Roman deities Venus and and her son Cupid.

man in black picPowers: Part Phantom Stranger, part Mister Nobody and part Horror Host, the Man in Black intervened to manipulate the final hours or days of evildoers who brought horrific ends upon themselves.

He possessed the powers of invisibility and teleportation as well as the ability to “tempt” or guide his victims to their awful fates.

Comment: The Man in Black made nearly thirty appearances between 1945 and 1966 but seldom in any one Harvey Comics title for very many issues in a row. In the 1990s many of his stories were reprinted. 


Secret Identity: Honey Blake, newsreel reporter

First Appearance: Green Hornet Comics #7 (June 1942)

Origin: Fearless, independent and ingenious Honey Blake was so adventurous and two-fisted that she found plenty of adventures and became nicknamed the Blonde Bomber.

Powers: The Blonde Bomber excelled at unarmed combat, including judo, and was a skilled acrobat. She was also an expert chemist and wasn’t above using her devastating good looks to put adversaries off their guard.

Comment: This heroine’s sidekick but not romantic interest was Jimmy Slapso. The Blonde Bomber stories at Harvey Comics continued into 1947.

City GirlHarvey had a similar blonde adventuress character called City Girl. Her secret identity was Betty Caldwell, but her adventures were bland and localized. Still, I love that name! “City Girl! Possessed of all the powers and abilities of a city!”     


Secret Identity: Don Wright, newspaper publisher

First Appearance: Speed Comics #13 (May 1941)

Origin: Don Wright, publisher of the Daily Bulletin, grew alarmed at increasing crime rates. He donned a costume and went on to fight the forces of evil as Captain Freedom.

Powers: Captain Freedom was in top physical condition and was an expert at unarmed combat, able to take on multiple opponents at once. He was also very agile. In addition, this hero had a super-scientific plane hangared under his upstate New York orchard. That plane could fly at speeds up to 700 miles per hour. 

Comment: Captain Freedom lasted all the way to 1947, which I find pretty surprising for such a run of the mill, derivative superhero.

phantom sphinxTHE PHANTOM SPHINX

Secret Identity: General Amron of ancient Egypt

First Appearance: Pocket Comics #1 (August 1941)

Origin: Six thousand years ago, Amron, a general in the Egyptian army, was placed in an enchanted slumber by his father. When relic looters led by Red Norton raided Amron’s tomb in 1941 they inadvertently awakened Amron. Using Egyptian magic he defeated the Norton Gang and went on to fight the forces of evil as the Phantom Sphinx.

Powers: The Phantom Sphinx could cast illusions, summon and control sand-storms, transmute matter, teleport and fly via a flying carpet he made out of the ground he stood on. He could also conjure up items out of nowhere and transform one species into another. 

Comment: This super sorceror was basically Harvey Comics’ version of DC’s Doctor Fate and Marvel’s Doctor Strange.

Spirit of 76THE SPIRIT OF ’76

Secret Identity: Gary Blakely, West Point Cadet

First Appearance: Pocket Comics #1 (August 1941)

Origin: Gary Blakely, scion of an American family which had distinguished themselves on the battlefield in every conflict from the Revolutionary War onward, was a Cadet at West Point. By chance he uncovered a Fifth Column plot by Nazi agents to blow up the academy. He adopted the costumed identity of the Spirit of ’76, foiled the Axis plot and resolved to continue fighting evil afterward.

Powers: The Spirit of ’76 was in peak human condition, was exceptionally agile and was very skilled at both armed and unarmed combat. His costume was bulletproof and he wielded his saber expertly in battle.

Comment: You have to admit, there’s something appealing about a superhero whose secret identity is that of a West Point Cadet. This hero lasted until 1948.   


Secret Identity: Linda Turner, movie star

First Appearance: Pocket Comics #1 (August 1941)

Origin: Linda Turner was the daughter of a famous actress and a movie stuntman. Growing bored with her celebrity life and her career of make-believe she decided to spice things up by taking on a costumed superhero identity on the side. Using the stunt training her father had given her while growing up, Linda became Black Cat.

Powers: Black Cat was at the peak of human condition and was as strong as a human female could possibly be. She was more agile than an Olympic gymnast and was incredibly skilled at unarmed combat. She rode a motorcycle which she pushed to its limits and beyond when fighting crime.

Comment: Black Cat appeared in over one hundred stories between 1941 and 1949, making her one of Harvey Comics’ most popular and long-lasting superheroes. Given her lengthy career she fought Nazis AND Communists among her Rogues Gallery of foes.

Black KittenThis figure adopted the superhero fad of endangering youngsters by taking in teenaged Kit Weston and letting him fight at her side for a time as her costumed sidekick Black Kitten. Like Batman’s ward Robin, Black Kitten’s parents had worked in a circus and when Black Cat’s foe Firebug killed them in a fire Linda Turner took him into her home. He figured out that she was really Black Cat AND fought crooks who broke into her posh Hollywood home, which was when she let him become her partner. For a while, anyway.     

Black Cat owned two cats as pets during her run – A black cat named Toby, from whom she took her superhero name, and a white cat which she would dress in a black costume when they went into action together. Her boyfriend was reporter Rick Horne but she had dalliances with the Spirit of ’76 and British Agent 99. 

Shock the Human DynamoSHOCK, THE HUMAN DYNAMO

Secret Identity: Charles Robert Gibson, wealthy scientist

First Appearance: Speed Comics #1 (October 1939)

Origin: Scientist Charles Robert Gibson (name in the tradition of Robert Bruce Banner) was experimenting on ways of incorporating external electric sources into the human body. An accident in his lab gave him superpowers with which he fought the forces of evil under a costumed identity.

Powers: Shock had immense super-strength (“the strength of 1,000 men”), could fly, generate heat, shoot bolts of electricity from his hands and was invulnerable to most harm. He could also affect electro-magnetic devices.

ShockComment: This hero went through multiple changes of costume plus a change in his civilian name – sometimes Charles, sometimes Robert. Eventually he joined the army in World War Two and served as a super-powered operative against the Axis nations.

During a fictional Japanese invasion of California, Shock joined forces with Black Cat, Captain Freedom, War Nurse & her Girl Commandos plus the Man With A Thousand Faces to drive off the enemy forces.

Shock was one of Harvey’s longest-lasting superheroes, hanging on from 1939 until 1948 and therefore, like Black Cat, Captain Freedom and the Spirit of ’76, fighting Communists as well as Nazis.   








© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog, 2020. 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.



Filed under Superheroes


  1. You have done much reading to accumulate this to share! Awesome

  2. Liam

    The Human Meteor is pretty good. The Human Dynamo and the Champ are even better!

  3. Corporal Hicks

    I like them all except Captain Freedom. Too much of a ripoff of the Shield and Captain America.

  4. Doug

    I like the Spirit of 76!

  5. Whitney

    Black Cat! You go girl!

  6. Keldor D'Antrell

    Spot on with this write-up. Too many of Harvey’s great superheroes have been forgotten.

  7. Kosmicbytes

    I like your take on these old heroes. You strike a perfect balance.

  8. Almighty Kue

    I could do so much with a great character like Doctor Miracle!

  9. Carl

    So many awesome superheroes that got lost.

  10. Archie

    The Spirit of 76 is a little like Captain America.

  11. Robby

    Captain Freedom is too much like Captain America.

  12. Joe

    Shock Gibson is the man!

  13. Mr Yoder

    I like this Black Orchid better than the DC Black Orchid.

  14. Wally Joe

    The Spirit of 76 isn’t a Marvel character?

  15. Raheem

    The Black Cat is SpiderMan’s girlfriend?

  16. Pete

    Great collection of heroes! Harvey should have kept up superheroes on the side.

  17. Tony

    The Man in Black is wild I swear!

  18. Great website. Thank you for this amazing articlescanva color palette generator

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