Okay, regular readers definitely let me hear it over the way I skipped doing a light-hearted superhero post last weekend. I’m taking a look at the Quality Comics characters as they were in the Golden Age before they got absorbed by the black hole of DC Comics, into which the IPs of other publishers have been mangled to fit their latest “Crisis” nonsense. The days when they had the heroes of each newly acquired company set on an alternate Earth sound much more fun, but I’m not a comic book expert.
Secret Identity: Happy Terrill
First Appearance: Smash Comics #14 (September 1940) His final Golden Age appearance came in 1943.
Origin: While covering a scientist named Dr Styne as he tested his experimental lighter than air craft, New York Star reporter Happy Terrill rode along but got exposed to solar radiation and struck by lightning. (I hate when that happens!) This freak accident gave him superpowers with which he fought crime as the Ray.
Powers: The Ray could fly, shoot solar energy and electricity from his hands and turn his entire body into energy if needed. He drew power from light so extended periods shut off from all light sources would leave him powerless.
Comment: Like so many other Golden Age superheroes, the Ray was co-created by Will Eisner.
Secret Identity: Brenda Banks
First Appearance: The Spirit Section (June 1940). Her final Golden Age appearance came in 1950.
Origin: Brenda Banks was the daughter of wealthy mine owner Bickford Banks. Growing bored with her luxurious life as a socialite, she secretly studied all manner of unarmed combat and donned a costume to fight the forces of evil as Lady Luck, in honor of her Irish heritage.
Powers: Lady Luck was in peak human condition and excelled at unarmed combat. In addition, she was also more agile than an acrobat and possessed keen detective skills.
Comment: This superheroine’s chauffeur Peecolo was the only person who knew about her dual identity and often drove her around during her superheroics. Brenda Banks’ love interest was Police Chief Hardy Moore, who thought Lady Luck needed to be arrested for her vigilante activities. Naturally, the unsuspecting lawman would sometimes confide to Brenda his latest plans to snare Lady Luck.
Secret Identity: Darrell Dane
First Appearance: Feature Comics #27 (December 1939) His final Golden Age appearance came in 1953.
Origin: Chemist Darrell Dane invented a liquid which allowed him to shrink while retaining the strength of a full-sized human being. He used this formula to become Doll Man and save his colleague Dr Roberts and his daughter Martha from gangsters.
Powers: Doll Man could shrink down to a height of 6 inches but still had his full-sized strength. This hero kept himself in top physical condition to maximize his impact. He trained an eagle and a German Shepherd to carry him into action until at length he used his scientific prowess to construct a very small plane for transportation.
Comment: From 1951 to 1953 Doll Man’s girlfriend Martha Roberts gained the same superpowers and fought at his side as Doll Girl.
Secret Identity: Tom Hallaway
First Appearance: Crack Comics #1 (May 1940) His final Golden Age appearance came in 1943.
Origin: Wealthy playboy Tom Hallaway felt that crime had gotten out of control so he assumed the costumed identity of the Spider and did battle with the forces of evil.
Powers: The Spider was incredibly skilled with a bow and arrow and was good at unarmed combat. His quiver contained assorted trick arrows for nearly any situation. His chauffeur Chuck was the only one who knew his seccret identity. (So maybe he should have worn a mask.) This hero also drove around in his custom high-tech car called the Black Widow.
Comment: Obviously the Spider was Quality Comics’ version of the Arrow, Diana the Archer, Green Arrow and other such figures at other comic book companies. His series was officially titled Alias the Spider.
Secret Identity: Carol Vance
First Appearance: Smash Comics #25 (August 1941) Her final Golden Age appearance came in 1942.
Origin: As a child, Carol Vance was orphaned when her parents were killed during a forest fire. Carol’s courage impressed an entity called the Lord of Fire, who granted her a variety of fire-related superpowers. When she reached her teen years Carol fought the forces of evil as Wildfire, unknown to her wealthy adoptive family the Martins.
Powers: Wildfire could fly, shoot fire from her hands and utterly control flames, even absorbing them into herself to put out fires. She was also completely invulnerable to flames.
Comment: Showing that there’s no telling what will or won’t catch on in superhero comic books, this dynamic and promising figure only lasted until November of 1942.
Secret Identity: Daniel Richards
First Appearance: Police Comics #8 (March 1942) His final Golden Age Appearance came in 1949.
Origin: Police officer Daniel Richards grew frustrated at seeing his best friend on the force framed for a crime he didn’t commit. He donned a costume and cleared the friend’s name, then continued to fight crime and Axis Agents as Manhunter.
Powers: Manhunter was in peak human condition and was an expert at unarmed combat. His agility surpassed even that of the greatest acrobats. In addition he was a brilliant detective. Manhunter’s trained dog Thor fought at his side.
Comment: Like some other Golden Age superheroes, Manhunter’s costume sometimes included shorts and at other times included full-length pants.
For some odd reason he was called Don Richards in his debut story, but Daniel or Danny from then on.
THE HUMAN BOMB
Secret Identity: Roy Lincoln
First Appearance: Police Comics #1 (August 1941) His final Golden Age appearance came in 1946.
Origin: Chemist Roy Lincoln and his father were developing X-24 or 27-QRX, a super-explosive, for the War Department when enemy agents broke into their lab to steal their creation. The agents shot Roy’s father so he decided to drink the super-explosive to keep it out of their hands. He expected to die but instead gained incredible powers which he used to fight criminals and the Axis nations as the Human Bomb.
Powers: The Human Bomb was bullet-proof and immune to explosions. His hands could make anything blow up just by touching it and his punches therefore packed an amazingly destructive force. This hero’s costume was made out of his invention “Fibro-Wax” and could contain his explosive body. As the Human Bomb he would have to remove one or both of his gloves to unleash his powers.
Comment: Roy Lincoln’s romantic interest was Jean Caldwell, who became his fiancee. For a time the Human Bomb had three teenage sidekicks called the Bombardiers.
MARGO THE MAGICIAN
Secret Identity: Margo Webster
First Appearance: Uncle Sam Quarterly Vol 1 #2 (December 1941) That was also her final appearance.
Origin: Margo learned certain magical powers from her father, a stage magician called the Great Presto. When performing in Shanghai, the Great Presto, Margo and her brother Jimmy helped hide two Chinese soldiers who were fleeing some Imperial Japanese occupation troops. Found out, the Great Presto gave his life to let Margo escape. Using her powers, Margo freed her brother, the Chinese soldiers and an American reporter from captivity. She planned on continuing to fight the Axis Powers.
Powers: Margo possessed hypnotic illusory powers. She could make adversaries think they were being attacked by huge dragons, or were watching her hurl enormous boulders at them, or feel intense heat. In addition she could make them believe she had transformed their legs into trees and had caused their gun barrels to curl up.
Comment: In her one and only adventure, Margo the Magician helped the Chinese soldiers escape as well as seize food intended for the Japanese troops and use it to feed starving Chinese victims. The tale ended in a cliffhanger, with Japanese planes overhead about to bomb the Chinese village with Margo in it.
Some sources claim it was not clear if Margo had real sorcery abilities or if everything was illusory. Actually, Margo herself makes it very clear that she simply casts illusions, which are seen only by the people on whom she inflicts them. Only the Japanese soldiers see the things that Margo is making them think she does to them. Bystanders remark that they don’t see the things the Japanese soldiers are screaming about.
Secret Identity: William “Wild Bill” Dunn
First Appearance: Military Comics #1 (August 1941) His final Golden Age appearance came in 1943.
Origin: American engineer William Dunn was working with a British tank unit in Ethiopia. World War Two had made the M’bujies – a futuristic Lost Civilization in Ethiopia – decide to become active and conquer the world with their advanced technology. Dunn was the only survivor when the M’bujies attacked the British forces, leaving behind many wrecked vehicles of their own and the Brits.
He decided to combine his inventive genius with reverse-engineered M’bujie technology to create a triphibian craft called the Blue Tracer because of its resemblance to a tracer bullet. Adopting the Blue Tracer as his own nom de guerre, too, he wiped out the M’bujie civilization and then fought the Axis powers around the world in his new vessel.
Powers: Blue Tracer had no superpowers himself, just his inventive genius and piloting abilities. His Blue Tracer craft could move about on the land like a tank, in the air like a plane and under the sea like a submarine. Thanks to M’bujie technology the Blue Tracer‘s hull was impervious to even the heaviest enemy shells & explosives and boasted machine guns, missiles and heavy artillery superior to anything the rest of the world could produce.
Comment: The Blue Tracer had a sidekick called “Boomerang” Jones, a former Australian soldier who was believed dead. He nursed Bill Dunn back to health after his unit’s battle with the M’bujie.
Secret Identity: Rod Reilly
First Appearance: Police Comics #1 (August 1941) His final Golden Age appearance came in 1942.
Origin: Rod Reilly, the son of a wealthy steel magnate, grew bored with his life of luxury and decided to fight crime. He donned a costume and, wielding a variety of weapons, took action as Firebrand.
Powers: Firebrand, in peak human condition, was exceptionally skilled at unarmed combat, having been coached by his confidante and valet Slugger, a former boxer, for years. He also had greater agility than most acrobats.
His arsenal included lit torches aka Torches of Justice, a lariat and vacuum cups for climbing straight up the skyscrapers of New York. This hero would leave one of his lit torches as a calling card at each place where he struck.
Comment: Oddly, Firebrand wore a transparent shirt as part of his costume, I guess to show off for the ladies. Like the Green Hornet and several other heroes, he was mistaken by the police for a criminal himself and was hunted by both sides of the law.
His father was “Emerald Ed” Reilly and his romantic interest was fellow socialite Joan Rogers.
NEON THE UNKNOWN
Secret Identity: Tom Corbet
First Appearance: Hit Comics #1 (July 1940) His final Golden Age appearance came in late 1941.
Origin: Tom Corbet was an American serving in the French Foreign Legion in 1940. While pursuing enemy forces across the North African desert his unit got lost and all but Tom died of thirst or heatstroke. Corbet reached an enchanted oasis and drank from its glowing waters. Not only was his life saved by those waters but he gained superpowers with which he fought the forces of evil as Neon the Unknown.
Powers: Neon could fly and could shoot “neonic” (sometimes ionic) energy blasts from his hands. He could also transform from his regular clothes to his costume and back again at will.
Comment: Neon the Unknown should not be confused with another Quality Comics costumed superhero called simply the Unknown.
THE RED BEE
Secret Identity: Rick Raleigh
First Appearance: Hit Comics #1 (July 1940) His final Golden Age appearance came in 1942.
Origin: Assistant District Attorney Rick Raleigh grew disgusted with gangsters and corrupt politicians who kept beating the legal system. He donned a costume and fought crime as the superhero called the Red Bee.
Powers: The Red Bee was in peak human condition and excelled at unarmed combat. He also trained swarms of bees to strike at his command. (?) In addition he wielded a Stinger Gun which shot non-fatal but painful rays.
Comment: This hero’s favorite bee was named Mike. Really. Also, he worked as an Assistant D.A. in fictional Superior City, Oregon.
Secret Identity: Never revealed
First Appearance: Feature Comics #42 (March 1941) Her final Golden Age appearance came in September with her 7th adventure.
Origin: In 1777 an unidentified little girl watched Betsy Ross sew the first American flag. Betsy gave the awestruck girl a few threads from that flag and the girl put them in a locket she wore around her neck. She died from pneumonia after running home in the rain but in 1941 her grave was discovered in an old cemetery in Philadelphia. The locket was opened and the girl’s ghost emerged as an adult, powered by the flag threads, and assumed corporeal form. As U.S.A. she fought foes who threatened America.
Powers: In her U.S.A. form this superheroine had only the strength of a mortal woman but her cape, designed after the American flag, was bulletproof and gave her the power to fly. The flag-cape also served as a warning system about dangers to the United States. In addition, her “Torch of Liberty” could shoot flames, concussive force beams and disintegrator rays as well as project light.
Comment: In her first few adventures U.S.A. flew by just holding the flag but soon took to wearing it as a cape. Her greatest weakness was if an opponent literally “hid behind an American flag”, which left her powerless against them. Similarly if a villain used weaponry done up to resemble an American flag she could be harmed by them.
Secret Identity: Max (no last name ever given)
First Appearance: National Comics #5 (November 1940) His final Golden Age appearance came in 1949.
Origin: Never fully revealed, but it was hinted that he came up with his super-powers in the laboratory where he was always working.
Powers: Super-speed, super-stamina and extraordinary agility.
Comment: He was nicknamed “the laughing Robin Hood.” Obviously, Quicksilver was to Quality Comics what the Flash was to DC and the Whizzer was to Golden Age Marvel (Timely Comics). To avoid trademark battles with Marvel’s Quicksilver, when DC resurrected this figure from the inventory of Quality characters they bought they gave him a last name and rechristened him Max Mercury instead of Quicksilver.
My assumption that Quicksilver granted himself his powers in his laboratory is based on how old such a concept was by 1940. In December 1901 H.G. Wells’ story The New Accelerator featured a chemical formula which granted super-speed. Super-speedsters in pop fiction certainly did not start with the Flash.
Secret Identity: Jim Lockhart
First Appearance: Crack Comics #1 (May 1940) His final Golden Age appearance came in 1942.
Origin: Jim Lockhart, who was a Captain in the U.S. Navy, retired to devote time to his pet project: a comparatively small submarine which could be piloted by one man and was outfitted with advanced weaponry. Calling himself AND the vessel the Red Torpedo, he took action against the forces of evil.
Powers: The Red Torpedo the MAN was a skilled mariner and was excellent at unarmed combat. The craft called the Red Torpedo could fly, travel on the surface of the ocean and plunge into the depths like a submarine. The vessel could shoot laser beams from its front and this hero wielded two handguns in battle as well. A nearly indestructible pointed ram was used to puncture holes in battleships and other hostile craft.
Comment: The Red Torpedo fought all manner of seagoing menaces as well as the Axis forces. His archenemy was the Black Shark, a modern-day pirate who worked for the Nazis and anyone else who paid him.
This hero discovered Merezonia, an undersea kingdom inhabited by beautiful water-breathing women called Mermazons.
Secret Identity: Joan Dale
First Appearance: Military Comics #1 (August 1941) Her final Golden Age appearance came in 1942.
Origin: One afternoon, Daily Star reporter Joan Dale passed the time before a meeting with her editor by visiting the Statue of Liberty. Joan was awestruck by the statue and it later appeared to her in a dream, bestowing mystical powers upon her. She used those powers to fight the country’s enemies as Miss America.
Powers: Miss America had powers as all-encompassing yet vague as DC’s character the Spectre, and used them just as mercilessly. She could turn villains into birds or trees, make matter disappear, fly, shoot energy blasts from her hands and increase her own physical strength. She also possessed telekinesis and was able to affect matter at the molecular level.
Comment: Joan Dale soon grew tired of the way her boss at the Daily Star treated her and quit to become an FBI Agent like her new beau Tim Healy.
Secret Identity: Joe Hercules
First Appearance: Hit Comics #1 (July 1940) His final Golden Age appearance came in 1942.
Origin: Joe Hercules was born with much greater than normal strength. It was never revealed if he was a mutant or if he was a semi-divine descendant of the actual Greco-Roman demigod Herakles/ Hercules. When racketeers caused his mother’s death from a heart attack, this hero left the circus where he worked as a strong man. He donned a costume and avenged himself on the crooks. He then decided to keep fighting crime as the superhero called Hercules.
Powers: This hero had enough super-strength to punch his way through a concrete wall and to outfight several men at once.
Comment: It’s hard to figure why Quality Comics had this fairly routine superhero involved in the December 1941 multi-hero crossover in Uncle Sam Quarterly instead of one of their more unique heroes.
THE IRON MAN
Secret Identity: Hugh Hazzard
First Appearance: Smash Comics #1 (August 1939) His final Golden Age appearance came in 1943.
Origin: A mad scientist named Dr Von Thorp created a remote-controlled construct called Bozo the Iron Man/ Bozo the Robot. (Bozo would not become a clown’s name until 1946.) He used the remote controls to send the Iron Man on a crime spree, with the police failing to stop it.
The police chief called in freelance detective/ police scientist Hugh Hazzard, who eventually spotted the robot robbing a jewelry store. Hazzard figured out how to deactivate the robot, then hid inside it, reactivated it and rode along back to Von Thorp’s hideout. He emerged from the Iron Man and defeated the mad scientist.
When the police junked the robot, Hugh Hazzard retrieved it and fought crime and enemy agents with it, sometimes from inside it like it was armor and sometimes remote controlling it.
Powers: The Iron Man’s armor/ shell was bullet-proof, had the strength of 1,000 men, could run at 70 miles per hour and could function on the ocean floor. Hugh Hazzard eventually modified the construct so that he could fly in it, too.
Comment: This figure was never a true android since it had no independent will or thought process. Hugh Hazzard wore it like the later Iron Man would wear his armor or controlled it remotely. Dr Von Thorp later escaped prison and temporarily regained control of Bozo’s body. The villain perished in that story.
Secret Identity: Dianne Grayton
First Appearance: Feature Comics #57 (June 1942) Her final Golden Age appearance came in late 1943.
Origin: World-famous female athlete and sportswoman Dianne Grayton, possibly based on the real-life Babe Didrickson, secretly cultivated her talent for training black widow spiders to do her bidding. Disguising herself in a horror-mask she decided to participate in the ultimate sport – fighting criminals and Axis supervillains.
Powers: Spider Widow was in peak human condition and was as strong as a human female can possibly be. She was more agile than an acrobat and was an expert at all forms of unarmed combat. She also had an army of black widow spiders which she took into action with her and used them to strike down or just intimidate her foes.
Comment: The sportswoman/ Babe Didrickson angle plus the way a beautiful woman was concealing her identity behind a hideous mask combine to make me wish Spider Widow had lasted a lot longer than November of 1943. This heroine had a villain called Spider Man, who controlled and rode a gigantic spider. Spider Widow wore a traditional witch’s hat as part of her costume.
For a few issues she had a winged male sidekick called the Raven, who played peacemaker between Spider Widow and Phantom Lady, who had had an ongoing feud.
Secret Identity: Bobby Barnes
First Appearance: National Comics #1 (July 1940) His final Golden Age appearance came in 1955.
Origin: When the planet Viro collided with another celestial body the resulting explosion hurled debris all across the universe. Entrapped within some stone and ground from Viro, this young hero was in suspended animation and eventually fell to Earth in that meteor coating. The meteor landed near Chicago and burst open, freeing the early teen boy.
He was taken to an orphanage and named Bobby Barnes, but escaped when he grew angry over radio news reports about a dictator invading Europe. Literally swimming to Europe, he used his superpowers to drive back the invading army, then returned to America. Under the guidance of Sgt Crane at an Army Air Corps base, he continued fighting the forces of evil as Wonder Boy.
Powers: As an alien from Viro, Wonder Boy had the strength of a thousand Earth men and could leap for long distances.
Comment: Wonder Boy’s love interest was Sally Benson, daughter of Professor Benson, a scientist ally of this superhero. Wonder Boy’s costume was the Viroan clothing he was wearing when Viro collided with the other celestial body.
Secret Identity: Chuck Lane
First Appearance: Smash Comics #22 (May 1941) His final Golden Age appearance came in 1949.
Origin: Rookie cop Chuck Lane wanted to do more to fight crime than he was permitted to do as an officer of the law. Since one of his ancestors had been a court jester he decided to use a jester motif to battle criminals as a costumed superhero. As Chuck Lane he pretended to be very clumsy to help hide his double identity.
Powers: The Jester was in peak human condition and excelled at unarmed combat. He was as agile as an acrobat and used weapons like juggling balls, a boomerang and other novelty items in his crusade. He often staged his assaults on criminals as practical jokes. His boomerang had a clown face and was named Quinopolis. (?)
Comment: Though mostly forgotten today, the Jester was among the Quality Comics heroes with the longest run and a very large number of stories.
Secret Identity: Ezra Smith (assumed name)
First Appearance: National Comics #1 (July 1940) His final Golden Age appearance came in 1944.
Origin: During the Revolutionary War, a dying American soldier named Sam (last name unknown) felt such a fervent desire to continuing fighting for the new country that he assumed supernatural status. Over the decades he incarnated as Uncle Sam whenever the United States needed him.
In 1940 he appeared to young Buddy Smith, whose father Ezra was just killed for opposing a Fascist organization called the Purple Shirts. Uncle Sam defeated that group and became Buddy’s substitute father, pretending to be his late father Ezra to legal authorities.
Powers: This hero had Superman-level strength and invulnerability. He could fly in a sense by making enormous Hulk-sized leaps. He had a mystic ability to know where he would be needed. Due to his supernatural nature, Uncle Sam could not be photographed or filmed.
Comment: When he was no longer needed in a given time period, this hero faded away, to once again incarnate during the next period of crisis for the country. In Uncle Sam Quarterly Vol 1 #2 (December 1941) the figure had a crossover story with Black Condor, the Ray, Quicksilver, Neon the Unknown and Hercules (Quality Comics version). The superheroine Margo the Magician appeared in that same issue but in a separate story if you’re desperate for a female character to tie to that event in some way. The supervillain in the crossover story was called … the Villain. He organized America’s criminals and evildoers into a Union.
Given that December 1941 was also when the U.S. entered World War Two it’s a shame that Quality Comics didn’t seize upon the opportunity to keep a team of their own heroes together like DC did with the Justice Society of America.
Secret Identity: Sandra Knight
First Appearance: With Quality Comics – Police Comics #1 (August 1941), With Fox Features – Phantom Lady #13 (August 1947) Her final Golden Age appearance came in 1955.
Origin: Washington D.C. socialite Sandra Knight’s father was Senator Henry Knight. One day Sandra surreptitiously saved her father from an assassination attempt and, loving the adventure, decided to fight crime as the costumed Phantom Lady. She appropriated a Top Secret device called a Black Lantern to use as a weapon in her one-woman crusade.
Powers: Phantom Lady was as strong as a human female can be, was more agile than an acrobat and was incredibly skilled at unarmed combat. She wielded a Black Lantern/ Darklight, which would cast beams of darkness to disorient her opponents. When used on herself, the Darklight would make her temporarily invisible. Family friend Professor Davis invented the Darklight.
Comment: Phantom Lady sometimes wore a yellow and green costume with a domino mask alternated with a yellow “curtain” mask. Her fiancee was Don Borden, an agent with the State Department’s counter-intelligence division.
Secret Identity: Senator Thomas Wright
First Appearance: Crack Comics #1 (May 1940) His final Golden Age appearance came in 1943.
Origin: See below
Powers: The Black Condor could fly under his own power, was in peak human condition and was incredibly skilled at unarmed combat. In addition, he wielded a pistol which shot black energy blasts of an unknown nature. (See below.)
Comment: Naturally this is the Golden Age Black Condor, who is now in the public domain, not the newer comic book characters going by that name. The original Black Condor appeals to me in the same way that bad movies do. Here are the six reasons why this figure has long been my favorite weirdass Golden Age superhero:
ONE: HE STARRED IN A COMIC BOOK TITLED CRACK COMICS! Yep. Crack Comics number 1 marked the first appearance of the Black Condor. Very appropriate for a hero whose whole story sounds like it was inspired by smoking a crack pipe.
TWO: THE THOROUGHLY WEIRDASS ORIGIN OF HIS POWERS – A little boy named Richard Grey, Jr was traveling through Mongolia with his parents. Those parents and their guides were robbed and murdered by roving bandits and little Richard was raised by black condors. Never mind the fact that condors don’t live in Mongolia, we’re told a little boy was able to survive on worms provided by his condor mother.
But wait there’s more! Little Richard (not the singer) watched the other hatchlings being raised by his foster mother learning to fly and eventually followed suit, imitating their “perfectly aerodynamic motions”. Years later a monk named Pierre befriended Richard and taught him English, which is apparently the language of choice for French monks living in Mongolia.
Presumably Pierre also taught Richard to stop crapping on people as he flew overhead.
The same gang of bandits who killed Richard’s parents are still active in the region however. The bandits kill Father Pierre, prompting our now-grown hero to don an odd monk outfit of his own and fly into action to get revenge. After ending the reign of terror of these bandits Richard decides to go live in his parents’ homeland.
THREE: A HILARIOUS NEW TWIST – Arriving in Washington, DC the Black Condor fails to stop the assassination of United States Senator Thomas Wright. He captures the conspirators however and, since the late Senator Wright and Richard Grey, Jr look EXACTLY the same the Black Condor decides to assume the Senator’s identity as his own alter ego.
So a man who was raised by birds, learned English from a French monk in Mongolia and who hasn’t set foot in his home country in nearly two decades IMPERSONATES A U.S. SENATOR with nobody being the wiser – not his staff, not his colleagues, not the press … nobody!
FOUR: THE LACK OF A MASK – As you can see in the pictures the Black Condor went maskless like Superman, with just a pair of eyeglasses to keep the world from realizing he and Senator Thomas Wright were one and the same, yet nobody ever caught on! Only once did this hero wear a mask … and pants.
FIVE: THE KINKY COSTUME – People who complain about the supposedly revealing outfits worn by superheroines should enjoy the equal time they get in the costume Senator Wright strips down to when it’s time for action. That getup is apparently from the “Just a little something for the ladies” Collection.
SIX: THE WASHINGTON D.C. LOCALE – For once I’m being sincere. There really is something cool about a superhero operating out of Washington D.C. and regularly flying past the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and other national treasures. And having the hero’s secret identity be a United States Senator kicks ass and opens the way for plenty of exciting stories.
If you really want a 7th reason there’s the Black Condor’s black energy gun. A couple of stories into the character’s run he was suddenly wearing a holster with a gun that shot black energy beams. No explanation was ever given for the gun or how our hero came to possess it, making it fit in perfectly with the rest of this character’s half-assed elements.
Decades later part of the Black Condor’s origin would be retconned to claim radiation in the Mongolian hills enabled him to fly but I prefer my alternate explanation: the Condor’s creator could have had Richard Jr raised by Father Pierre and other monks who, in typical comic book fashion, would be into levitation. Richard could be presented as learning their esoteric art of levitation so well he could actually fly. The Black Condor moniker would be his superhero name simply because of his fascination with actual condors.
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