Tag Archives: pop culture


With superheroes continuing to flood movies, television and streaming media, Balladeer’s Blog takes another look at a neglected pantheon of heroes.


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.  


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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Balladeer’s Blog continues to shamelessly pander to our superhero-crazed culture with this look at another neglected Holyoke hero.
miss-victoryMISS VICTORY

Secret Identity: Joan Wayne, stenographer

Origin: Believe it or not the Golden Age Miss Victory was never given an origin story explaining how she gained her super-powers. She supposedly trained in the circus when she was younger but that would not explain her paranormal abilities. 

All that is known is that in Washington, DC, Foreign Trade Committee stenographer Joan Wayne grew tired of the corruption among politicians and government contractors so she donned a colorful costume and a mask to fight crime – and later, German and Japanese supervillains – as Miss Victory. This costumed figure worked for the FBI.  Continue reading


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Balladeer’s Blog continues to feed the beast that IS our superhero-obsessed world with a look at another forgotten Holyoke Superhero.


Secret Identity: Jack Wayne, Berlin Correspondent for the New York Globe.

Origin: When America entered World War 2 on the Allied side Jack Wayne and his editor “Pop” Simms were seized by the Gestapo. Since Jack had been a Flying Ace for the Americans during World War One the Gestapo assumed he and Pop were spies and tortured them for information.

Pop was killed by the torture and Jack, though blinded by his interrogator’s whip, managed to escape. He was rescued by the Underground Society, a secret resistance group led by Dr Dismal who – despite his name – was not a supervillain. Dr Dismal ran his resistance group from a secret base far beneath Gestapo Headquarters and, noting that Jack Wayne’s optic nerves were not entirely dead, devised special glasses and a visor he could wear that allowed him to see in daylight OR at night.

Jack donned a costume and under the nom de guerre Blackout joined Dr Dismal’s band of rebels, terrorizing the Nazis by night.  

First Appearance: Cat-Man Comics #10 (May 1942). His final Golden Age appearance came in 1944.

Powers: Continue reading


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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.  


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


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


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Foolkiller hands on hips

So Foolkiller walks into a bar and the bartender says “Hey, buddy … Why the long neck?” Oh, wait – that’s all wrong.

Since it’s the superhero film time of the year Balladeer’s Blog’s “Script Doctoring” of Marvel’s handling of Foolkiller continues with Part Eleven. 


This time around I rewrite all of The Defenders # 86 and bring my war between Wakanda and Atlantis to a close.

There are also new revelations about Foolkiller’s Purification Gun as his time with the Defenders rapidly nears its end.  Continue reading

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