Tag Archives: Comic Books

THE FIRST TWENTY AVENGERS STORIES FROM THE 1960s

As always, Balladeer’s Blog listens to you readers! You wanted a look at the first twenty Avengers stories similar to my recent look at the first twenty Captain America stories from the 1940s, so here we go:

Avengers 1THE AVENGERS Vol 1 #1 (September 1963)

Title: The Coming of the Avengers

Villain: Loki

Synopsis: Loki sits imprisoned on the Isle of Silence in Asgard. He cannot leave but is determined to get revenge on his archenemy Thor. Sending his astral body to Earth/ Midgard he uses an illusion spell to trick the Hulk into seeming to destroy a railroad line.  

           Rick Jones, just an ordinary teenager back then, is still the Hulk’s friend and wants to round up superheroes to corral the Hulk before the army moves in and possibly kills the green-skinned brute. He and his fellow Ham Radio Operators (LMAO), called the Teen Brigade, send out a radio summons.

           Loki arranges for Thor’s secret identity of Dr Donald Blake to hear the message, but the radio waves are also picked up by Tony Stark/ Iron Man (in his original clunky armor) as well as Ant-Man (Hank Pym, PhD) and his crime-fighting partner the Wasp (Janet Van Dyne).

           While Iron Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp battle the Hulk, Thor suspects Loki’s involvement when an illusory image of the Hulk is used to lure him to the site of the ongoing fight. Thor flies to Asgard and tries to reach the Isle of Silence but must overcome Rock Trolls, Frost Giants and Silent Ones set upon him by Loki. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Superheroes

THE FIRST TWENTY CAPTAIN AMERICA STORIES IN THE 1940s

Balladeer’s Blog’s readers always remind me that they can’t get enough superhero articles, so here we go again. With the Fourth of July Holiday coming up, I figured I’d look at the earliest stories of the Timely Comics (later called Marvel Comics) red, white & blue hero Captain America.

Captain America 1CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS Vol 1 #1 (March 1941)

Story 1: Meet Captain America

Villains: Assorted Nazi saboteurs

Synopsis: Voluntary guinea pig Steve Rogers is subjected to the Top Secret Super-Soldier Treatment and becomes Captain America. With his trusty shield, Cap defeats Nazi saboteurs up and down the East Coast, becoming a media sensation. At Camp Lehigh, army mascot James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes walks in on Private Steve Rogers switching from his uniform to his Captain America costume. Cap agrees to risk the teen’s life by making him his costumed sidekick.

Captain America earlyStory 2: Case Number 2

Villains: Sando and Omar, apparent mutants

Synopsis: Steve Rogers and J.B. Barnes are stationed now at Fort Bix. With the help of FBI Agent Betsy Ross (yes, Betsy Ross, but changed to Betty next time she appears) they become involved in the case of stage psychics Sando and Omar. Sando uses psychic powers to cause the mentally challenged Omar to “see” (really produce) visions in a crystal ball depicting disasters occurring, the first night at Fort Bix, the next night at a nearby bridge.

           The disasters really occur, and Captain America, Bucky and Betsy eventually expose Sando as Nazi Agent Sando Von Krantz, a probable mutant who used his psychic powers to fill his stooge Omar’s mind with the disasters shown in the crystal ball. Somehow Omar’s powers caused those disasters to come true. (Hey, it’s a comic book.) Sando and Omar are captured, and Betsy pleads for mercy for the simple-minded Omar.

Story 3: The Soldiers’ Soup Continue reading

12 Comments

Filed under Superheroes

SUPERHERO PANTHEON OF SPARK COMICS

Superheroes still dominate pop culture right now and readers just keep demanding more and more articles about them. Here is a look at the heroes from another defunct comic book company, in this case Spark Publications.

AtomanATOMAN

Secret Identity: Barry Dale, nuclear scientist

First Appearance: Atoman #1 (February 1946)

Origin: While working at the Atomic Institute, scientist Barry Dale was exposed to so much radium and uranium that he absorbed “the power of the atom.” Barry’s powers manifested themselves when agents who wanted to sell America’s nuclear secrets to the highest bidder tried to kill him over his refusal to help them. With his new superpowers he donned a costume and fought the forces of evil as Atoman.

Powers: Atoman possessed massive super-strength, could fly, run at super-speed, was invulnerable and had “atomic vision” (x-ray vision). In addition he could heat his body to such a degree that he could weld objects together with his bare hands.

Comment: This hero boasted that he could “smash mountains, wipe out whole cities” and “travel for thousands of miles in one leap.” He was also convinced he was just the first of many atomic-powered beings which the nuclear age would spawn. I guess to prove he wasn’t just another Superman imitation, Atoman claimed he would “help all people, regardless of race or creed or nationality” instead of fighting for “truth, justice, and”… you know.

Golden LadGOLDEN LAD

Secret Identity: Tommy Preston, student

First Appearance: Golden Lad #1 (July 1945)

Origin: Young Tommy Preston was working in his grandfather’s neighborhood antique shop when he discovered an ancient relic called the Aztec Heart of Gold. Yes. In an antique shop. (WRITER: Hey, Editor, do items like Aztec artifacts wind up in antique shops or in museums? EDITOR: You’re joking, right?  WRITER: Yeah, uh … joking. Who wouldn’t know the answer to that, right? Ha, ha, ha!)

        Anyway, the Aztec Heart of Gold holds the mystic power of “the blood of a thousand martyred Aztecs.” This relic bestowed superpowers on “pure hearted” people who were “devoted to justice.” And so Golden Lad was born!    Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Superheroes

PRIZE COMICS SUPERHERO PANTHEON

Readers can’t get enough superhero articles! Since I aim to please here is another breakdown of the superheroes from a Golden Age pantheon, in this case from Prize Comics.

Airmale pictureAIRMALE

Secret Identity: Kenneth Stevens, College Biology Professor

First Appearance: Prize Comics #34 (September 1943)

Origin: Professor Kenneth Stevens was working on a “flight fluid” when he cut his hand in a lab accident. The fluid he was working on spilled into the wound and spread like an infection throughout his body, granting him superpowers. Wearing a colorful costume, he battled crime and Axis supervillains as Airmale. (Yes, Airmale.)

Airmale and StampyPowers: Airmale was lighter than air and could fly at high speed. He could also simply walk or stand on air when he desired. The hero devised a gravity belt to regulate the pull of gravity on his body so that he could walk around just fine in his civilian identity. Airmale excelled at unarmed combat.

Comment: As if the name Airmale wasn’t campy enough, this figure granted his teenage nephew Bobby Stevens a lesser version of his own power of flight and let him fight at his side as Stampy. No, I’m not kidding.   

Doctor FrostDOCTOR FROST

Secret Identity: None

First Appearance: Prize Comics #7 (December 1940)

Origin: As a baby, this future superhero was the sole survivor of a ship that sank off the northern coast of Alaska. Inuit people recovered him from a floating chunk of ice and presented him to Professor Carlson. As the boy grew to adulthood the professor gave him superpowers and sent him to New York City to fight crime as Doctor Frost.

Doctor Frost picPowers: Doctor Frost was immune to extreme cold and could shoot cold rays from his hands to freeze opponents or objects. He could also create ice constructs like bridges across water or the air and could wrap himself in layers of ice thick enough to survive explosions. This hero was reasonably good at unarmed combat.

Comment: This fun hero deserves to be rediscovered in a big way. His archenemy was Vulcan, a heat-powered semi-humanoid villain who lived in the Earth’s core and wanted to destroy the surface world. Doctor Frost also took on menaces like gangsters, a mad scientist and his invisible army plus a supervillain called the Leader, decades before the Hulk’s similarly named foe. Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under Superheroes

SUPERHERO PANTHEON OF FOX FEATURES SYNDICATE

Superheroes continue to dominate pop culture right now and Balladeer’s Blog’s readers let me hear it when I go too long without a superhero blog post. Here is my look at the Fox Features Syndicate heroes from the Golden Age.

Dynamo Fox Features picDYNAMO

Secret Identity: Jim Andrews, electrical scientist

First Appearance: Science Comics #1 (February 1940)

Origin: Jim Andrews risked his life to contain a potentially deadly accident at the electrical lab where he worked, inadvertently gaining superpowers from the incident. He donned a costume and fought the forces of evil as Dynamo.

Powers: Dynamo could use his electrical powers to shoot electric rays from his hands, to fly, to surround himself with a force field and to magnify his own strength.

Comment: In his very first appearance this hero went by the nom de guerre Electro, but in his remaining 24 adventures called himself Dynamo instead. 

Black Lion picBLACK LION

Secret Identity: George Davis, big-game hunter

First Appearance: Wonderworld Comics #21 (January 1941)

Origin: George Davis’ career as a big-game hunter had brought him wealth and fame. Having met all the challenges of hunting members of the animal kingdom he decided to go after the most dangerous game of all: human criminals. To that end he donned a costume and took on supervillains and Nazi agents.

Powers: The Black Lion was at the peak of human condition and had the agility of an Olympic gymnast. He was also an expert at unarmed combat and could outfight multiple opponents at once. His totem animal the lion gave him superhuman healing ability. Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Superheroes

THE EPICS OF ENKIDU: AVAILABLE NOW!

epics of enkidu sizeAHMED ALAMEEN, motion-comic creator and best-selling author of the novel PSYCHS, has just launched his independent graphic novel project THE EPICS OF ENKIDU! Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog are familiar with my obsession with ancient mythology, so it goes without saying that I love the premise of this tale, which combines super-heroics with mythology and autism awareness.

The man-beast Enkidu, the foe-turned-friend in The Epic of Gilgamesh, has survived to the present-day. He surfaces in a hospital, suffering from amnesia. Can an encounter with an enigmatic superhero revive his memories or will these two figures, who should be allies, instead be doomed to fight it out in a tragic misunderstanding of Earth-shaking proportions? Continue reading

8 Comments

Filed under Mythology, Superheroes

BATTLE BRICK ROAD IS NOT TO BE MISSED!

Battle Brick RoadBalladeer’s Blog is once again proud to cover an exciting new work from some of the most daring and visionary creators in graphic novels today. BATTLE BRICK ROAD is a post-apocalyptic take on Frank Baum’s Oz stories twisted through the ingenious prism of artist ERIC WEATHERS and writer ZEB HATFIELD with lettering by FARAH NURMALIZA.

Get ready for Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion like you’ve never seen them before – as technologically and biologically enhanced warriors in a dystopian world that not even Mad Max could survive. 

Battle-hardened, survival savvy Dorothea Gale – Thea for short – searches for her father through the futuristic technological wasteland called OZ (Operation Zephyr). At her side is the hovering A.I. named TOTO (Target Objective Tactical Overwatch) and the mysterious Scarecrow, a vigilante skilled with firearms AND a deadly scythe.

Battle Brick Road coverThe bleak world of Oz has wound up divided into four separate spheres of influence, ruled over by the Watchers of the North, South, East and West. And some of those Watchers are downright WICKED!

The villains are served by their armies of perverted biological and technological creations, with only Thea, Scarecrow, TOTO, the Tin Man and the Lion standing against them.  

Order your copies of this 52 page epic today via Indiegogo: Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Neo-Pulp, Superheroes

JAWBREAKERS: GRAND BIZARRE IS AVAILABLE NOW!

Jawbreakers Grand BizarreRichard C Meyer’s fantastic team of mercenary superheroes nicknamed the Jawbreakers are back in action! They’ve been called the new AVENGERS, the new JUSTICE LEAGUE and the new X-MEN, and with good reason.

Meyer aka Ya Boi Zack is the man who recently brought readers the spectacular Stallone graphic novel project THE EXPENDABLES GO TO HELL. He’s also the creative mastermind of the IRON SIGHTS series. However, his most popular creations remain the superheroes in JAWBREAKERS, this time with art by Aaron Alfeche, main cover by Kyle Ritter and variant cover by Meyer himself.  

Jawbreakers Grand Bizarre and God KingJAWBREAKERS: GRAND BIZARRE, the third installment of the superteam’s adventures, features never before revealed secrets regarding the group of mighty mercenaries plus the mind-blowing menace of the Grand Bazaar. Said Bazaar appears on Earth once every 66.5 years and is a more hardcore version of the kind of foes that the Justice League Dark and the 1970s Defenders fought.

The title, Grand Bizarre, is a play on Grand Bazaar, so no, that’s not a typo on my part. To order this latest volume of Jawbreakers excitement: Continue reading

6 Comments

Filed under Superheroes

ANNA “THAT STAR WARS GIRL” AND HER 50th ANNIVERSARY VAMPIRELLA COVER

anna that star wars girl picAnna aka That Star Wars Girl, brings her considerable artistic abilities to the 50th Anniversary Celebration of horror icon Vampirella. Fresh story content is being created this year regarding the figure’s half-century of existence along with special commemorative covers.

Vampirella coverAnna, a free-lance artist, pop culture critic, co-host of The J.A.C.K. Show and founding member of the Fandom Menace, has her Indiegogo project for Dynamite Entertainment up right now.

Not only does Anna’s cover (at right) look terrific, but the rose in Vampirella’s hand is in memory of Anna’s younger sister Ellen Rose, who passed away last June.

T-Shirts are also available (see below). Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Halloween Season, Superheroes

DAN FRAGA’S NEW BLACK FLAG STORY IS AVAILABLE NOW

Black FlagComic book legend Dan Fraga shook the industry recently when he joined up with the daring, iconoclastic creative titans led by Ethan Van Sciver, Richard C Meyer, Jon Malin and others. Those “outlaws” – as I always call them – have broken away from the stale, corporate, suffocatingly conformist confines of the Big Two publishers to pursue their own creative vision.

Fraga became the latest addition to these blacklist-defying rebels and has dealt with the harrumphing backlash with true swashbuckling, two-fisted panache. Dan ran up the ComicsGate banner for the revival of his Black Flag superteam in their first adventure in 25 years.

The heroes Sniper, Rascal, Geisha, Guerilla, Raiden and Shrine are back at long last in a 48-page adventure which fuses the very best aspects of western comic books with manga plus unique elements that are pure Fraga. To order your Indiegogo copies: Continue reading

16 Comments

Filed under Neglected History, Superheroes