Tag Archives: Golden Age Superheroes

HOLYOKE SUPERHEROES

This weekend’s light-hearted and escapist superhero blog post looks at the neglected superheroes of Holyoke Comics.   

doctor-diamond

Any of us could stick a drawing pencil up our butt and draw a better picture.

DOCTOR DIAMOND

Secret Identity: Drake Gorden, MD

Origin: While on a passenger ship in the South Seas Dr Drake Gorden was swept overboard during a typhoon. He washed ashore on an uncharted island inhabited only by a monk formerly from Tibet. The monk decreed Doctor Gorden to be worthy of the Egyptian black diamond he guarded. That jewel bestowed super-powers on Gorden, who returned to the U.S. and fought crime as Doctor Diamond. 

First Appearance: Cat-Man Comics # 1 (May 1941). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1942. 

Powers: The black jewel granted Doctor Diamond the strength of fifty men and an impressive degree of invulnerability.  Continue reading

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MLJ COMICS SUPERHERO PANTHEON

For this weekend’s light-hearted, escapist superhero post, Balladeer’s Blog will feature MLJ, the company that later became Archie Comics.

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 COMICS SUPERHEROES

This weekend’s light-hearted, escapist superhero blog post takes a look at the Golden Age superhero line-up from Nedor.  

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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SUPERHEROES OF CENTAUR COMICS

This weekend’s light-hearted, escapist superhero blog post examines the Golden Age superhero pantheon of the company called Centaur Comics.

Air ManAIR MAN

Secret Identity: Drake Stevens

Origin: Drake Stevens’ father, Ornithology Professor Claude Stevens, was murdered and when the police were getting nowhere Drake donned a costume equipped with various technical gimmicks and set out to bring the killers to justice.

As always happens in comic books Drake decided to continue fighting crime under his new nom de guerre Air Man.

First Appearance: Keen Detective Funnies #23 (August 1940). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1941.

Powers: Air Man’s costume boasted feathers filled with an experimental anti-gravity gas as well as a jet-pack. In addition to that he sported guns plus a Chemical Belt loaded with egg-shaped explosives. On top of that Air Man was highly skilled at unarmed combat and had Olympic-level gymnastic abilities. 

Comment: Air Man was one of those Golden Age superheroes who didn’t hesitate to kill off his adversaries when the situation called for it.  

Blue LadyBLUE LADY

Secret Identity: Lucille Martin, novelist

Origin: Returning from a trip to China on board a luxury liner, Lucille Martin was given a priceless statue by a Chinese woman named Lotus. She was told to guard the statue from some men who were pursuing Lotus and by way of payment the Chinese woman also gave her a blue ring.

When the men pursuing Lotus killed her, Ms Martin accidentally discovered that the ring gave her super-powers. She donned a costume, called herself the Blue Lady and brought Lotus’ murderers to justice as the start of a crime-fighting career.  

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

Powers: Accidentally breaking the blue-bird shaped gem on the Oriental ring released a gas which bestowed upon the Blue Lady the strength of ten men, invulnerability and the ability to teleport via blue mists. She could also generate those blue mists to hide in and to disorient her opponents. In turn, other gasses were the Blue Lady’s weakness.  Continue reading

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MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS

cap original human torch and sub-marinerThis weekend’s light-hearted, escapist superhero blog post will examine the early years of Marvel Comics, which was called Timely Comics back in 1939.

Their first superhero series was titled Marvel Comics, which was changed to Marvel MYSTERY Comics beginning with the second issue.

mar c 1MARVEL COMICS Vol 1 #1 (October 1939)

Title: The Human Torch

Synopsis: A human-looking android is created by scientist Phineas Horton and made known to the public. Bizarrely enough, the android’s body bursts into flames upon contact with the air (it’s the little things, really) so this misnamed Human (Android) Torch is sealed up tight to prevent it from running amok.

1939 human torchThis figure escapes, learns to control its ability to “flame on” and “flame off”, and defeats the crime boss Anthony Sardo and his gang. When Phineas Horton hints at using his android creation to make money, the Torch rebels and flies off to function in the world on his own. Continue reading

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BATMAN: THE REAL YEAR ONE (1939-1940)

For this weekend’s light-hearted, escapist superhero post, Balladeer’s Blog will look at the first twelve months of Batman stories.

dc 27DETECTIVE COMICS Vol 1 #27 (May 1939)

Title: The Case of the Chemical Syndicate

Villains: Alfred Stryker and his thugs

NOTE: This was the very first appearance of Batman.

Synopsis: Wealthy Bruce Wayne is relaxing with Commissioner Gordon at the latter’s home. Gordon discusses with Bruce the reported sightings of a figure called the Batman. Bruce pretends to be as puzzled as the commissioner is.

A phone call summons Gordon to the Lambert Mansion, where the son of the chemical company tycoon is being held on suspicion of murdering his father. The commissioner invites Bruce to tag along (?) and he does so.

batman posingThe Lambert son (no first name is ever given for him and his father) insists he’s innocent and that his father was receiving threats from a criminal syndicate muscling in on the family’s firm, Apex Chemical Corporation. The dead man’s partner Steve Crane starts getting threats now and wants police protection.

Bruce Wayne secretly decides to give Crane extra protection as Batman. That night, our hero clashes with multiple hired killers, tossing one of them off the roof of a building during their fight. Batman also has to evade the police, who want the vigilante arrested. Continue reading

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MINUTE-MAN: THE EARLY STORIES

With the 4th of July Holiday rapidly approaching, Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at one of the patriotic superheroes of the World War Two Era – in this case Minute-Man, whose nom de guerre came from the famed Revolutionary War militiamen. 

minute-man picMINUTE-MAN

Secret Identity: Private Jack Weston, U.S. Army

First Appearance: Master Comics #11 (February 1941) His final Golden Age appearance came in 1944.

Origin: Private Jack Weston at Camp Blaine was selected by General Milton to secretly become America’s costumed operative Minute-Man, sent on missions of vital national security on a minute’s notice like the Minutemen called to action in the Revolutionary War.

Powers: Minute-Man was in peak physical condition and possessed the agility of an acrobat. He was a master of unarmed combat in addition to being well-versed in commando techniques. 

Comment: Jack Weston was later promoted to Lieutenant in order to give his secret identity more flexibility, but General Milton remained the only one privy to Minute-Man’s real name. Jack’s father Robert was killed in action during World War One.

mmSTORY 1: The Origin of Minute-Man

MASTER COMICS #11 (February 1941)

Synopsis: General Milton gives Private Jack Weston his secret assignment to be the costumed operative called Minute-Man. The hero thwarts a ring of masked spies from an unknown country (but clearly Germany) who want to discourage America from entering World War Two.

Minute-Man saves a train-load of new soldiers from plunging over a cliff, then stops the foreign spies from blowing up an entire U.S. Army training base. Continue reading

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RED ANN

While we all await further details and clarification from yesterday, let’s indulge in a look at an often neglected character from escapist fantasy – the superheroine Red Ann from Nedor Publications.

red ann bigRED ANN

Secret Identity: Ann (last name never revealed). She was created by Jerry Robinson so Ann Robinson would make a good name for her.

Origin: When Ann was in her early twenties she was a beautiful lady pursued by several men. She married an older but not elderly man named Bart (no last name ever given). On their honeymoon in Maine (Maine?) a gang of thugs employed by a supervillain called the Voice murdered Bart before her eyes, then drove off, leaving her there in tears.

red annAfter Bart’s funeral, Ann’s desire for revenge against the Voice prompted her to cut all ties with her family and friends, even former suitors. She taught herself marksmanship with handguns and learned how to fight. Adopting the costumed identity of Red Ann she set out to take down the Voice’s criminal empire and kill him for the murder of her husband. Continue reading

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THE FIRST 20 UNCLE SAM SUPERHERO STORIES FROM THE 1940s

As the 4th of July approaches, Balladeer’s Blog presents one last red, white and blue-themed superhero – Uncle Sam, from Quality Comics. For over 20 more Quality Comics heroes click HERE.

uncle samUNCLE SAM

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 continue 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.

uncle sam againPowers: 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.

national comics 1NATIONAL COMICS #1 (July 1940)

Title: The Coming of Uncle Sam

Villains: The Purple Shirts

Synopsis: The origin of Uncle Sam, including his “adoption” of Buddy Smith, the scrappy kid in short pants depicted on the cover. Uncle Sam wages war on the Purple Shirts army, which is being financed by an unnamed – but obvious – foreign power.

Our hero invades the Purple Shirts’ secret stronghold at Box Valley in the southern Rocky Mountains. Uncle Sam clobbers the villains and rescues the U.S. President, whom they kidnapped earlier in a commando raid. Continue reading

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NEGLECTED DC SUPERHEROES OF THE GOLDEN AGE

With the bulk of Balladeer’s Blog’s light-hearted superhero blog posts featuring Marvel Comics characters, DC fans have been demanding some love. I previously looked at the Justice Society, so this time here’s my take on their overlooked Golden Age heroes.

air waveAIR WAVE

Secret Identity: Larry Jordan

First Appearance: Detective Comics #60 (February 1942)

Origin: District Attorney Larry Jordan became disgusted with the way so many criminals escaped conviction in the courts. He adopted the costumed identity of Air Wave and set out to fight crime on his own terms.

Powers: Air Wave was in peak physical condition and was more agile than an acrobat. He excelled at unarmed combat and wore special boots which let him glide or skate along power lines and phone lines. He also had radios in his costume’s earpieces. In addition, his trained parrot Static served as his mascot.

Comment: This hero appeared in nearly 80 adventures from 1942 to 1948. Continue reading

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