Tag Archives: forgotten superheroes

SUPERHERO PANTHEON OF ACE PERIODICALS

Readers cannot get enough items on superheroes! Whenever I go too long without a blog post on this topic the reminders to do another one start rolling in. Here is a look at the neglected Golden Age superhero pantheon from Ace Periodicals.

Captain Victory bigCAPTAIN VICTORY

Secret Identity: Jack Wilson, Diplomatic Attache

Origin: Jack Wilson was serving as a Diplomatic Attache at the American Embassy in the fictional Central American nation of Centralvo. While there he gained superpowers but Ace Periodicals’ writers never got around to explaining how during this character’s brief run.

First Appearance: Our Flag Comics #1 (August 1941). His final Golden Age appearance came that same year.

Captain Victory smallPowers: Captain Victory (No relation to the Jack Kirby character of that name) could fly and had massive super strength. The upper limits of his flying abilities and his strength were never established before the character disappeared. 

Comment: Since America had not yet entered World War Two, Captain Victory’s adventures had to walk a fine line. The hero thwarted an Axis Powers attempt to trick Centralvo into entering the war on their side, stopped a Nazi sub from secretly sabotaging the Panama Canal and – in a prescient bit – defeated a Japanese sneak attack on the American Navy. 

Lightning GirlLIGHTNING GIRL

Secret Identity: Isabel Blake

Origin: When Isabel’s Naval Officer father John was brainwashed by Lash Lightning’s supervillain foe the Teacher and forced to help the Japanese forces against the U.S. When Lash Lightning was in one of the Teacher’s death traps he transferred some of his power to Isabel so she could help him.

Her father was freed from his brainwashing and died a hero. Isabel vowed to continue fighting the Axis nations to avenge her father and became Lightning Girl, Lash Lightning’s partner.

First Appearance: Lightning Comics Volume 3 #1 (June 1942). Her final Golden Age appearance came in 1946.

Powers: Lightning Girl could fly at lightning speed, shoot lightning bolts from her hands, generate lightning-heat and track Lash Lightning through their shared electrical impulses.

This superheroine could recharge herself with any electrical outlet. Continue reading

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SUPER PRESIDENT’S FIRST CARTOON

Mascot new lookUsually on President’s Day Weekend Balladeer’s Blog reruns my review of the hilariously bad and weird 1960s superhero cartoon Super President.

For a change of pace I won’t repost that old review but will instead provide a look at the very first episode depicting President Norcross’ heroic antics as Super President. 

IF YOU DO WANT TO READ MY REVIEW OF THE SHOW CLICK HERE

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DOCTOR MENSANA: AUSTRALIAN SUPERHERO

One of Balladeer’s Blog’s biggest hits of 2015 was my examination of Australian-made comic book heroes like Dark Nebula, Vixen, Crimson Comet, Niteside and the super-team called the Southern Squadron. Here’s another, and for my full look at Aussie super-types click HERE

Doctor Mensana

Dr Mensana in one of his two super-powered forms.

DOCTOR MENSANA 

Debut Year: 1941 

Secret Identity: None. He openly used his real name, but the public often tagged him with nicknames like “the Samson of science” or “the man of Mind Plus.”

Origin: Sporting both an MD and a PhD the good Doctor Mensana used his unrivaled genius to create pills which could make him super-strong AND endow him with telepathic powers in addition to even greater intelligence than he already possessed. 

Powers: When our hero swallowed one of his M-Plus (M+) or Mind-Plus pills his already formidable brilliance was multiplied many times over. His cranium would grow and he would also boast telepathic and psionic powers. When Dr Mensana swallowed one of his S-Plus (S+) or Strength-Plus pills he would instantly bulk up with muscles and possess incredible super-strength. Continue reading

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AUSTRALIAN SUPERHERO PANTHEON


With superhero movies dominating the box office and superhero cosplay starting to dominate Halloween there’s no better time for Balladeer’s Blog to examine Australia’s greatest superheroes.    

Dark NebulaDARK NEBULA

Debut Year: 1982

Secret Identity: Mark Medula, an astronaut in Australia’s fictional space program.

Origin: Returning from a flight to Mars, Colonel Mark Medula docked at the Threshold Space Station, which had just been seized by the alien warlord Cerellus.

Medula tried to stop Cerellus and the resulting chaos killed Medula’s body, but, amid all the cosmic energies being unleashed, that body became inhabited by both Cerellus’ soul and Medula’s soul.

Mark Medula’s body gained incredible superpowers and went on to battle Earthly and interplanetary menaces as the superhero called Dark Nebula. Cerellus often challenged Mark for control of their shared body, further complicating Dark Nebula’s adventures. 

Powers: Dark Nebula has super strength and can fly, both in space and in a planet’s atmosphere. He is invulnerable and wields a combination of potent cosmic energy and dark mystical energy. Those combined scientific/ supernatural forces can be used to fire Darkfire energy beams from his hands and employ force fields. He also has psionic abilities like telepathy and ESP.  

Comment: Dark Nebula’s adventures combine the cosmic head-trips of Jim Starlin’s Adam Warlock/ Magus storyline with some of the surreal mysticism of Dr Strange at his best.

Dark Nebula Southern SquadronArguably the greatest Dark Nebula story arc was the one where he was off in deep space having a “deep” adventure while back on Earth his archenemy the Grandstander (Think of the Joker but with powers on Sinestro’s level at least) was impersonating him to ruin his reputation.

It endangered his marriage, too, since his wife had no idea why the man she thought was her husband never came home anymore after his public escapades. When Dark Nebula at last returned to Earth he had to tangle with the Aussie superteam the Southern Squadron who were out to bring him down for the crimes the Grandstander had framed him for.

When the misunderstanding was finally straightened out the Southern Squadron joined forces with Dark Nebula to tackle the Grandstander. This crossover was as much a milestone in Australia as the Avengers/ Defenders War in the 1970s was in the U.S.   Continue reading

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THE MARVEL: OBSCURE SUPERHERO

Marvel MLJReaction to my recent look at the forgotten superheroes from MLJ Publishing has been through the roof! We live in a superhero- crazed world right now as evidenced by movie releases in recent years. As a nice little encore here’s another MLJ superhero for you:

THE MARVEL Continue reading

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MLJ COMICS SUPERHERO PANTHEON

With the flood of superhero movies every summer in recent years Balladeer’s Blog will feature periodic examinations of the more obscure comic book companies. This time out it’s MLJ.

FoxTHE FOX

Secret Identity: Paul Patton, newspaper reporter and news photographer.

Origin: When his co-worker Ruth Ransom got kidnapped, Paul Patton felt he could fight crime AND enhance his journalism career by first donning a costume and thwarting criminals as the Fox and then getting a “scoop” on those adventures, complete with photos. And this was decades before Peter Parker made a living with news photos of his exploits as Spider-Man.

First Appearance: Blue Ribbon Comics #4 (June 1940). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1942. 

Powers: The Fox was at the peak of human condition. He had acrobatic skills greater than Olympic athletes and was a master of all forms of unarmed combat. His stealth skills were the equal of any burglar or ninja. The white eye-lenses on his mask permitted him to see in the dark.   Continue reading

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NEDOR SUPERHERO PANTHEON

With the flood of superhero movies every summer in recent years Balladeer’s Blog will feature periodic examinations of the more obscure comic book companies. 

Cavalier

THE CAVALIER

Secret Identity: Rance Raleigh, owner of an antique and curio shop

Origin: In Raleigh’s store was a portrait of the Duke de Chantreigh, sometimes said to be an ancestor of Rance. When that portrait would frown it was a supernatural sign that danger was coming. Rance would then suit up as the Cavalier and go into action. The first time was when Jake Miles, who was investigating munitions factory sabotage was hit by a truck outside Raleigh’s shop before he could tell him what he had discovered. 

First Appearance: Thrilling Comics # 53 (April 1946). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1948 

Powers: The Cavalier possessed the strength of a normal athletic male but was highly skilled with a sword and at unarmed combat. In addition he often used esoteric weapons and relics from his shop, just like the Golden Age Hawkman would wield artifacts from his museum. Continue reading

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PROF SUPERMIND AND SON

With the emphasis on superhero movies these days Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at another forgotten superhero – or in this case a pair of superheroes.

Supermind & Son 1PROFESSOR SUPERMIND AND SON

Career: Popular Comics # 60-71

Years Active: 1941-1942

Professor Warren, a man who suffered from the lack of a first name, and his son Dan Warren did superduty fighting criminals and Nazis. The Professor fully understood that super-powers don’t come without a certain risk, which is why he was happy to use his son Dan as a human guinea pig for his High Frequency Energy Builder.  

Supermind and Son 2Periodic sessions hooked up to this device – which so help me resembles nothing so much as an electric chair – provided the Prof’s son with “strength equal to a thousand horse-power”, or “enough to kill a hundred men.” Sometimes even more.

Adopting the aliases Professor Supermind and Supermind’s Son the team used the same division of labor employed by Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin (or Jake and the Fatman if you prefer): the Prof sat around in their home base or their invisible rocket-ship (Wonder Woman, eat your heart out!) doing the brain work while Dan went out in the field taking all the risks and getting all the lumps.   Continue reading

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ODDBALL SUPERHERO: THE CONQUEROR

With the emphasis on superhero movies these days Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at another forgotten superhero.

ConquerorTHE CONQUEROR

Career: Victory Comics 1-4

Years Active: 1941-1942

Comment: Pilot Daniel Lyons accidentally crash-landed his plane in the Rocky Mountains one day. Luckily for him he landed near the remote laboratory of Dr James Norton. Dr Norton rescues Dan from the wreckage of his plane and, since the pilot is near death anyway, uses him as a human guinea pig for his Cosmic Ray Lamp.

After being subjected to the lamp not only does Dan recover, but he finds his strength, stamina and intelligence have all doubled, along with his capacity for healing. Dr Norton convinces Dan to use his second chance at life to battle the Nazis. Continue reading

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ODDBALL SUPERHERO: DR HORMONE


Doctor Hormone
With the emphasis on superhero movies every summer these days I’ll periodically look at some of the stranger costumed crime-fighters  who have come down the road over the years. The Black Condor will remain my blog’s Official Weird Superhero, so have no fear. 

Doctor HormoneDOCTOR HORMONE  

Career: Popular Comics 54 through 60

Years Active: 1940 into 1941

Comment: This bizarre superhero had the most convenient last name this side of Dr Stephen Strange. The good doctor was 75 years old before he perfected a special treatment that restored him to age 25, possibly for good. (His series got canceled long before the writers had to worry about retconning or sliding time-scales.)

Dr Hormone injected his own elderly self with special hormones he had been whipping up in his lab and followed that up with exposure to Vita Rays “Angstrom Rays”, thus de-aging himself. With great hormones come great responsibility, however, and our intrepid hero decided to fight the forces of evil with his new youthful body and his scientific genius. His hormone chemicals allowed our hero to change his opponents’ height, weight and manipulate their anatomy in other weird ways. (This guy would have made a better villain!)   Continue reading

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