This has become a superhero-crazed culture. Balladeer’s Blog’s previous looks at the superhero rosters of now-defunct comic book companies have been so popular I decided to examine the heroes and heroines of Holyoke Comics.
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.
Comment: This hero’s foes included Najar the android and the mad scientist Doctor Borcia. Doctor Diamond is one of those Golden Age superheroes who had potential but whose career was tantalizingly short. In my opinion heroes with actual super-powers are preferable to that period’s endless array of ordinary people who simply donned a costume and fought crime.
Secret Identity: Katie Conn
Origin: When she was eleven years old Katie’s parents died in a train accident. She was taken in by her criminally-minded uncle who trained her in acrobatics, unarmed combat and cat-burglary. By age twelve the girl was an expert thief until Cat-Man (Holyoke’s most famous original superhero) nabbed Katie’s nefarious uncle and adopted her. (And you thought Batman’s relationship with Robin was questionable.)
The strong-willed girl donned a costume of her own and – calling herself Kitten – was determined to fight crime as Cat-Man’s sidekick. The superhero tried to dissuade Katie but her independence and streetwise nature made that impossible. Deciding she was safer working at his side he accepted her as his partner.
First Appearance: Cat-Man Comics # 1 (May 1941). Her final Golden Age appearance came in 1946.
Powers: Unlike Cat-Man, Kitten had no super-powers. However, she was more agile than an Olympic gymnast and was in peak condition for a female her age. In addition her cat-burglary skills and street-fighting abilities made her a very capable superheroine. In a few stories her gloves were clawed.
Comment: Kitten often teamed up in separate adventures with Mickey Matthews, the boy sidekick of the Holyoke superhero called the Deacon. The pair fought criminals and Nazi supervillains as the Little Leaders. Continue reading