Though Harvey Comics eventually became better known as the publisher of such comics as Casper the Friendly Ghost, Wendy the Witch, Hot Stuff and others, they had a large number of superheroes in the 1940s. Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at some of those heroes.
THE HUMAN METEOR
Secret Identity: Duke O’Dowd, cab driver
First Appearance: Champ Comics #6 (April 1940)
Origin: When Duke O’Dowd was serving overseas in the French Foreign Legion he earned the friendship of Wah Le, ruler of a lost, super-scientific city in Tibet. Judging Duke worthy, he gave him a high-tech belt which granted him superpowers. O’Dowd used those powers to fight crime as the Human Meteor.
Powers: The Human Meteor’s belt possessed “radium emanations” which let him fly at incredible speeds and protected him from all metal weaponry, including bullets and shells. The belt also granted him a degree of superhuman strength via its “electric energizer”. Wooden weapons could penetrate the Human Meteor’s protective force field, or “contra-magnetic field” as Wah Le called it. An “explosatom gun” was briefly used by the Human Meteor.
Comment: Wah Le’s super science included a televox which enabled him to monitor the Human Meteor’s adventures from Tibet as well as give him advice via a wrist television device. This hero’s sidekick was a white shoeshine boy named Toby.
Secret Identity: Judy Allen, Private Investigator
First Appearance: All-New Short Story Comics #2 (March 1943)
Origin: Private Detective Judy Allen adopted the costumed identity of Black Orchid in order to take on especially dangerous or connected criminals.
Powers: Black Orchid was in peak physical condition and excelled at unarmed combat. She was also more agile than an Olympic gymnast and was a highly skilled criminologist.
Comment: Judy Allen’s partner at her Private Detective practice was Rocky Ford. In an amusing twist he was secretly the superhero called the Scarlet Nemesis. Ridiculously, even though Black Orchid and the Scarlet Nemesis worked together several times they never figured out that the other costumed figure was their own investigative agency partner. Some “detectives”.
(If you’re wondering, the Scarlet Nemesis had no super-powers either, but his costume included a forehead light-beam like miners wore. He could use that light to temporarily blind adversaries.) Continue reading