NOVELTY PRESS SUPERHERO PANTHEON

You demanded more superheroes, you got ’em! Here is Balladeer’s Blog’s look at the neglected figures from Novelty Press.

TWISTER

Secret Identity: Bob Sanders

First Appearance: Blue Bolt Comics Vol 2 #1 (June 1941)

Origin: After getting carried up into the funnel of a tornado which killed his parents, teenager Bob Sanders learned he had somehow (you know comic books) acquired tornado powers. He donned a costume and fought crime as the superhero called Twister.

Twister 2Powers: Twister could spin around so quickly that he could generate, control and become part of a tornado strong enough to send cars and trucks flying. By punching villains while spinning around he could k-o them through walls. In addition, by breathing in a lungful of air, this hero could exhale it as gale force winds.

Somehow, Twister’s powers enabled him to construct and use a Cyclone Gun which shot intensely powerful bursts of air.   

Comment: At one point a Twister story tried justifying this hero’s powers by saying he was a direct descendant of Odysseus. But all Odysseus did was temporarily control the winds in a bag as a gift from the god Aeolus. Why didn’t they say Twister was descended from Aeolus instead?

White StreakWHITE STREAK

Secret Identity: Manowar/ Dan Sanders

First Appearance: Target Comics #1 (February 1940)

Origin: Manowar, called White Streak by the media, was an android left behind by the lost civilization of Utopia thousands of years ago. The Utopians destroyed themselves with war so they left their super-powered android in suspended animation to come to the aid of the next civilization if war caused by greed again threatened destruction.

White Streak picWhen the South American dictator Don Ruizen of Bolita went to war with his neighboring countries over oil, the Utopian robot Manowar activated itself in the volcano where it was hidden. After defeating the armies of the warmongering Don Ruizen, the android moved to America, from then on battling the forces of evil as White Streak.

Powers: White Streak had superhuman strength, invulnerability, the power of flight and could shoot rays of white energy from his eyes. That last ability prompted the press to give him his nom de guerre.

Comment: This android superhero was programmed to blend in with human beings and adopt the language and customs around him. He accomplished this so well he often used the secret identity Dan Sanders, FBI Agent.     

GunmistressGUNMISTRESS

Secret Identity: Toni Gayle/ Toni Gay

First Appearance: Young King Cole #1 (September 1945)

Origin: Toni Gayle was the beautiful but tough daughter of Gunmaster aka Gregory Gayle of Guns Against Gangsters fame. With such a father it was no surprise that Toni grew up being able to handle herself in any situation.

When her father was seriously injured by a murderer called the Ape, Toni took action to bring the felon to justice. She decided to continue fighting crime as a vigilante since her father still forbade her from joining the police force. She alternated between her modeling career and her wild adventures.

Gunmistress and sharkPowers: This heroine was as strong as a human female could possibly be and excelled at all methods of self-defense. Toni could deck men with one punch. She was also an ace criminologist and wasn’t above using her dazzling beauty against her criminal foes.

Comment: Toni went in the reverse direction of Marvel Comics’ Patsy Walker, who started out as a character in teen romance comic books then later became the superheroine called Hellcat. Toni Gayle – later shortened to Gay for who knows what reason – started out as a model who waged war on crime to being a character in teen romance comic books. Her boyfriend in those sappy teen stories was Butch Dykeman … So changing Gayle to Gay makes more sense now.   

Sub Zero ManSUB-ZERO MAN

Secret Identity: Never revealed but created by Larry Antonette so “Larry Anton” would make a good name for him.

First Appearance: Blue Bolt Comics Vol 1 #1 (June 1940)

Origin: This hero was originally a spaceship captain for the secret high-tech civilization that lived on Venus. While traveling through space one day a frozen asteroid came too close to their vessel and froze the ship, killing everyone on board except the captain.

The Venusian captain managed to crash-land on Earth, where a group of scientists thawed him out with gamma radiation. He learned that exposure to the asteroid’s radiation and the gamma rays had given him superpowers.

Sub Zero Man and FreezumThe Venusian adopted an Earthling identity as a private investigator in Salt Lake City and fought the forces of evil as Sub-Zero Man.

Powers: Sub-Zero Man could surround himself in a surface layer of ice to obscure his identity and could freeze objects around him. He could also shoot freeze-rays from his hands and make ice weapons out of thin air.

Comment: This hero adopted the superhero fad for endangering youngsters and took on a teen Inuit sidekick called Freezum. Two of Sub-Zero Man’s foes were called Professor X and Green Turtle, but obviously weren’t the good-guy characters of those names.

Green Sorceress 2THE GREEN SORCERESS

Secret Identity: Queen Norzimo of Voltor

First Appearance: Blue Bolt Comics Vol 1 #1 (June 1940)

Origin: The Green Sorceress was the ruler of the high-tech subterranean civilization called Voltor. At first she often clashed with the superhero Blue Bolt, protector of the rival kingdom of Deltos. Ultimately this supervillainess reformed and fought the forces of evil.

Green SorceressPowers: The Green Sorceress was a skilled warrior woman and excelled at armed or unarmed combat. She could teleport over unknown distances by disappearing and reappearing amid green puffs of smoke. In addition she had futuristic weaponry like ray-guns and an orb which let her see anywhere on Earth or under it.

Comment: This woman shared a certain Batman/ Catwoman air of sexual tension with Blue Bolt until she reformed and became a superheroine.

Wonder Boy Novelty Press 2WONDER BOY

Secret Identity: Dick Cole

First Appearance: Blue Bolt Comics Vol 1 #1 (June 1940)

Origin: In 1923 the infant Dick Cole’s mother left him on the doorstep of Professor Blair, a scientist at Farr Military Academy. He raised the boy as his own while using him as a human guinea pig in his experiments. (He’s a good guy?) By the age of 17 Dick had super-powers and used them to take on the forces of evil.

Powers: Thanks to Professor Blair’s conscienceless experiments, Wonder Boy had maximum human strength and intelligence, extraordinary reflexes and the ability to pick up any athletic or martial skill simply by watching someone else use those skills. He also healed from injuries with much greater than human speed.

Wonder Boy Novelty PressComment: Professor Blair’s “vitamin serums” and “radiation treatments” enhanced Dick Cole so much he could walk at 6 months of age and speak at a year old. He graduated High School at age 12, toured the world for 5 years with the professor, then became a Cadet at Farr Military Academy.

Wonder Boy’s earliest adventures took place with him balancing superheroics with the demands of being a Cadet. His green and black Cadet uniform served as a makeshift costume long after Dick had graduated. His adventures ran until 1950.  

Target 2TARGET

Secret Identity: Niles Reed, metallurgist

First Appearance: Target Comics Vol 1 #10 (November 1940)

Origin: When Niles Reed’s brother Jim was killed by gangsters the outraged metallurgist designed a special alloy costume for himself then started fighting crime and Axis supervillains under the name Target.

TargetPowers: Target’s specially designed costume made him bullet-proof AND explosion-proof while not inhibiting his movements at all. He was also highly skilled at unarmed combat and was in excellent physical condition.

Comment: For a time Target had a trio of costumed sidekicks called the Targeteers, including one called Target Girl. Some of this hero’s adventures were written by Mickey Spillane himself.     

Spacehawk with his helmet onSPACEHAWK

Secret Identity: This Neptunian’s real name was never revealed.

First Appearance: Target Comics Vol 1 #5 (June 1940)

Origin: Spacehawk was part of the Neptunian space patrol and roamed our solar system saving peaceful planets and moons from aggressor worlds. In these stories nearly all celestial bodies in our solar system were inhabited by countless alien races and species, unknown to scientists on Earth.

Powers: Spacehawk could communicate telepathically, resist mind control technology and was highly skilled in Neptunian science and surgical procedures. Think of him as a blend of Flash Gordon and Doctor Who. His space armor gave him a degree of super-strength and invulnerability. This hero also used an unusually shaped heat-ray gun and wore an antigravity belt so he could fly on any planet.

Spacehawk without his helmet onSpacehawk also possessed a spaceship equipped with assorted Neptunian devices, including robot decoys of Spacehawk himself.

Comment: Beginning in April of 1941, Spacehawk was assigned to help the Allied Nations on Earth fight the Nazis. The people of Neptune recognized that the madman Hitler might one day try to conquer neighboring planets if he wasn’t stopped. 

Spacehawk didn’t show what he looked like under his odd helmet until his third story.

ChameleonCHAMELEON

Secret Identity: Peter Stockbridge

First Appearance: Target Comics Vol 1 #6 (July 1940)

Origin: Peter Stockbridge was the heir to the Stockbridge Holdings fortune. His parents died when he was very young so he was raised by his uncle Adam Stockbridge. Independently wealthy, Peter took to adventuring on behalf of the downtrodden in which role his mastery of disguises earned him the nickname Chameleon.

When America entered World War Two, Chameleon started using his considerable talents for the FBI and Secret Service.

Powers: Chameleon was a master of disguise and could afford any and all state of the art techniques for altering one’s face, voice, even fingerprints. In addition he was highly skilled at armed and unarmed combat and was an expert criminologist.

Comment: The fact that Peter Stockbridge was really Chameleon was a closely-guarded secret until an adventure which saw his Uncle Adam Stockbridge murdered and Peter himself framed for the crime. The government launched a massive manhunt and made public the fact that he was Chameleon.

Ultimately, Peter cleared himself of the murder charge and even though his secret identity was forever blown his expertise at disguise minimized the damage and he resumed fighting crime and spies until 1949.

Blue BoltBLUE BOLT

Secret Identity: Fred Parrish

First Appearance: Blue Bolt Comics Vol 1 #1 (June 1940)

Origin: Pilot Fred Parrish crash-landed his plane in a deep gorge after being struck by lightning twice. His unconscious form was taken to the subterranean kingdom of Deltos by the inhabitants.

Dr Bertoff, the chief scientist of Deltos, used radium to harness the “lightning residue” still contained in Fred’s body. This procedure not only cured Fred but gave him superpowers with which he saved Deltos from an enemy invasion. As Blue Bolt he also fought the forces of evil back on the surface world.

Blue Bolt and Green SorceressPowers: Blue Bolt could fly and shoot bolts of lightning from his eyes. He wielded a lightning gun powered by his own body, so it would never run out of charge. He was also in peak human condition and excelled at unarmed combat.

Comment: This hero briefly had a female sidekick named Lois Blake, who was given the same powers as Blue Bolt by the advanced science of Deltos.

Blue Bolt 2She never wore a costume or used a colorful alias, plus when America entered World War Two she ended her romance with our hero and was never seen again.

Blue Bolt was the most popular and longest-lasting of the Novelty Press superheroes. His adventures ran from 1940 to 1953. After World War Two ended he became a commercial air pilot in his civilian identity.  

FOR THE HARVEY COMICS SUPERHERO PANTHEON CLICK HERE

FOR THE FOX FEATURES SUPERHERO PANTHEON CLICK HERE

FOR THE PRIZE COMICS SUPERHERO PANTHEON CLICK HERE

FOR THE SPARK COMICS SUPERHERO PANTHEON CLICK HERE

FOR THE HARRY CHESLER PUBLISHING SUPERHERO PANTHEON CLICK HERE

FOR THE DELL SUPERHERO PANTHEON CLICK HERE

FOR THE AUSTRALIAN SUPERHERO PANTHEON CLICK  HERE

FOR MORE SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE:  Superheroes

© 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.

26 Comments

Filed under Superheroes

26 responses to “NOVELTY PRESS SUPERHERO PANTHEON

  1. “Comic book crime fighting heroes *&* crooks on the other side of the law
    enlarged vivid Imaginations beyond even the most imagined Fairy Tales.”

    _-Van Prince

  2. Stush

    The White Streak is awesome!

  3. Marshall

    Blue Bolt is so awesome!

  4. Mr 100

    The Green Sorceress! rrraawrrr

  5. Lojack

    The White Streak > the Vision. Change my mind.

  6. Great reviews! We could use superheroes to save the country from Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

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