Tag Archives: Golden Age Superheroes

KALTHAR: NEGLECTED SUPERHERO

Superhero movies continue to dominate at the box office, so Balladeer’s Blog figured it was time to look at another neglected comic book star: in this case Kalthar, from MLJ Publishing. FOR MY BIG LIST OF NEGLECTED MLJ SUPERHEROES CLICK HERE

KaltharKALTHAR THE GIANT MAN

Secret Identity: None. Kalthar is his real name. 

Origin: The father of the infant who would become known as Kalthar the Giant Man gave his life saving the Urgana African tribe from Muslim slave traders. To thank the dead hero for his role in keeping them free the Urgana people raised his infant son as one of their own and named the child Kalthar.

As he reached adulthood Kalthar formed a Tarzan-like bond with all the jungle animals around the Urganas’ Congo River locale. Kalthar so impressed Ta-Lo, the High Priest of the tribe, that the medicine man chose the adopted young man to receive the gift of the secret grains which Urgana medicine men discovered in the jungle. Those grains enabled Kalthar to grow to giant size and helped him battle evil-doers throughout Africa.     

First Appearance: Zip Comics number 1 (February 1940). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1941.

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THE FLAG: NEGLECTED ACE PERIODICALS SUPERHERO

Flag 2Superheroes continue to practically own pop culture right now. Balladeer’s Blog’s readers wanted more, so I recently posted a look at the Superhero Pantheon of Ace Periodicals. Here is another of their characters that I just added. FOR THE ORIGINAL ITEM FEATURING NEARLY TWENTY MORE FORGOTTEN HEROES AND HEROINES CLICK HERE 

FlagTHE FLAG

Secret Identity: Jim Courtney, flag-maker 

Origin: An unnamed baby was left on the doorstep of crippled World War One veteran John Courtney in 1920. Courtney, a flag-maker, was intrigued by the American Flag birthmark on the infant’s chest. He named the boy Jim and raised him as his son, teaching him his flag-making trade.

On Jim’s 21st birthday he was visited by the ghosts of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln who told him he was a super-powered being and that his powers were ready to be used now that he was an adult. Jim donned a costume and fought the forces of evil as the Flag.

First Appearance: Our Flag Comics #2 (October 1941). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1942.

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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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THE ZEBRA: ODDBALL SUPERHERO

With superheroes dominating popular culture right now Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at another odd Golden Age figure: the Zebra.

The ZebraTHE ZEBRA

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 (April 1941). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1946.  

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: Created by artist Pierce Rice and an unknown writer working under the alias “Ellery King,” the Zebra was one of the Golden Age superheroes published by Harvey Comics.

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THE SUPERHERO PANTHEON OF RURAL HOME – CROYDON – ENWIL PUBLISHERS

With superhero cosplay starting to take over Halloween what better time of year for a look at the neglected male and female superheroes of the Rural Home/ Croydon/ Enwil/ Orbit and McCormick conglomeration.

Captain WizardCAPTAIN WIZARD

Secret Identity: Joseph Preston

Origin: Joseph Preston was unjustly suspected of a murder he did not commit. While fleeing the police he took shelter in a haunted wax museum where he encountered a wax figure who was really the magician Theophrastus.

The magician’s powers told him Preston was innocent so he gave the man a mystical cape, costume and mask which granted him superpowers. Calling himself Captain Wizard our hero caught the real murderer and went on to fight the forces of evil on a regular basis.

First Appearance: Red Band Comics #3 (April 1945). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1946. 

Powers: Thanks to his enchanted costume Captain Wizard had super-human strength, could fly and was invulnerable. He also never required sleep. In addition he could switch from his street-clothes into his costume and vice-versa simply by saying “Abracadabra.”   Continue reading

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NIGHTSHADE: ANOTHER FORGOTTEN SUPERHERO

Superhero-mania shows no signs of abating! Since Balladeer’s Blog’s recent look at the defunct Centaur Comics superheroes was such a hit I decided to post an entry on another of their neglected figures.

Nightshade splash pageNIGHTSHADE

Secret Identity: Howard Hall, scientist

Origin: Wealthy young scientist Howard Hall found both science and his life of luxury to be ultimately unfulfilling. Immersing himself in the secrets of Eastern Mysticism he discovered he had a real knack for one particular Dark Art: endowing his shadow with life, solidity and super-strength.

Calling himself Nightshade, Hall costumed himself in a white tuxedo and white hat with a pair of large sunglasses serving as a mask. He used his new abilities to fight crime and other forces of evil.  

First Appearance: Amazing-Man Comics #24 (October, 1941). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1942.

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KING OF DARKNESS: CENTAUR COMICS SUPERHERO

Everywhere you turn these days you see superhero movies and/or series. Balladeer’s Blog examines another neglected superhero from Centaur Comics.

King of Darkness 2KING OF DARKNESS

Secret Identity: Bruce King, radio engineer.

Origin: Bruce King’s experiments with ultra-short radio waves led him to some incredible discoveries. Utilizing his finds he built what he called a Black-Zero Transmitter, donned a costume and took to the skies to fight crime with his new inventions.

First Appearance: Amazing-Man Comics #24 (October 1941). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1942. 

Powers: The King of Darkness’ Black-Zero Transmitter enveloped him in a field of darkness – which he called “a queer pillar of darkness.” This field/ pillar which surrounded the King of Darkness enabled him to fly by negating gravity and to shoot black rays from his hands. Continue reading

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