Tag Archives: Quality Comics

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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FIRST TWENTY BLACK CONDOR STORIES

Awhile back, Balladeer’s Blog examined a few dozen Golden Age superheroes from Quality Comics. Here’s a look at the first twenty stories of the number one entry on that list – the Black Condor.

black condor picBLACK CONDOR

Secret Identity: Senator Thomas Wright

First Appearance: Crack Comics #1 (May 1940)

Origin: Click HERE.

Powers: The Black Condor could fly at extraordinary speeds and was in peak physical condition. He was more agile than an acrobat and excelled at unarmed combat. In addition, he was a marksman with his handgun which fired powerful Black Energy rays.

black condor another picCRACK COMICS #1 (May 1940)

Title: The Man Who Can Fly Like A Bird

Villains: Gali Kan and his Mongolian bandits.

Synopsis: Using his power of flight to battle evildoers all over Asia, the Black Condor becomes world-famous, though some people doubt the veracity of the “sightings” of this flying man. At last, our hero gets the opportunity to avenge the death of his parents on Gali Kan and his men while simultaneously saving a city in India from their depradations. 

crack 2CRACK COMICS #2 (June 1940)

Title: The Man Who Can Fly

Villain: Rajah Ali Khan

Synopsis: The Black Condor saves Andrea Kent and her brother Denny from the evil plans of the Rajah Ali Khan, who seeks to seize their inheritance through a forced marriage to Andrea.

Our hero overcomes the Rajah and all his troops.

NOTE: In this story, which introduced the Black Energy ray-gun, the pistol’s rays simply paralyze large groups of the Rajah’s men and don’t destroy them. Continue reading

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QUALITY COMICS SUPERHERO PANTHEON

mascot sword and gun pic

BALLADEER’S BLOG

Okay, regular readers definitely let me hear it over the way I skipped doing a light-hearted superhero post last weekend. I’m taking a look at the Quality Comics characters as they were in the Golden Age before they got absorbed by the black hole of DC Comics, into which the IPs of other publishers have been mangled to fit their latest “Crisis” nonsense. The days when they had the heroes of each newly acquired company set on an alternate Earth sound much more fun, but I’m not a comic book expert.

the rayTHE RAY

Secret Identity: Happy Terrill

First Appearance: Smash Comics #14 (September 1940) His final Golden Age appearance came in 1943.

Origin: While covering a scientist named Dr Styne as he tested his experimental lighter than air craft, New York Star reporter Happy Terrill rode along but got exposed to solar radiation and struck by lightning. (I hate when that happens!) This freak accident gave him superpowers with which he fought crime as the Ray.

Powers: The Ray could fly, shoot solar energy and electricity from his hands and turn his entire body into energy if needed. He drew power from light so extended periods shut off from all light sources would leave him powerless.

Comment: Like so many other Golden Age superheroes, the Ray was co-created by Will Eisner.   

lady luckLADY LUCK

Secret Identity: Brenda Banks

First Appearance: The Spirit Section (June 1940). Her final Golden Age appearance came in 1950.

Origin: Brenda Banks was the daughter of wealthy mine owner Bickford Banks. Growing bored with her luxurious life as a socialite, she secretly studied all manner of unarmed combat and donned a costume to fight the forces of evil as Lady Luck, in honor of her Irish heritage. Continue reading

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BLACK CONDOR CAPTIONING FUN RETURNS

The Black Condor was too late with his attempt to use an innocent bystander as a human shield but luckily the gunman's shot went wide.

The Black Condor was too late with his attempt to use an innocent bystander as a human shield but luckily the gunman’s shot went wide.

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STILL MORE BLACK CONDOR CAPTIONING FUN

Awhile back I named the silly Golden Age superhero the Black Condor as the Official Superhero of Balladeer’s Blog because of his joyous weirdness. Here’s another cover from the Continue reading

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