Tag Archives: superheroes


For this weekend’s escapist, light-hearted superhero blog post let’s do something different. Here’s a brief look at all the Marvel Comics publications from January of 1970. Reprints excluded.

avengers 72AVENGERS Vol 1 #72 (January 1970)

Title: Did You Hear the One About Scorpio?

Avengers Roster: The Wasp (Janet Van Dyne), Captain America (Steve Rogers), Goliath (Clint Barton), Yellowjacket (Hank Pym, PhD), the Vision (not applicable) and Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell, Kree Captain)

Villains: Zodiac (first appearance)

Synopsis: At Avengers Mansion, Captain America reconciles with Rick Jones, explaining that it was really the Red Skull and not him who savagely beat Rick when he was serving as the new Bucky. NOTE: The Red Skull had used the Tesseract/ Cosmic Cube to transfer his mind into Cap’s body and vice versa.

During a briefing from S.H.I.E.L.D. the Avengers are informed that three high New York officials have been abducted by a costumed supervillain called Scorpio, a recurring foe of S.H.I.E.L.D. back then. Scorpio was really Nick Fury’s evil brother Jake Fury.

zodiacThis leads to the Avengers learning that Scorpio is not alone – he is a member of a global, astrology-oriented team of supervillains called Zodiac. Each member rules their own crime empire in various locations around the world.

Our heroes clash with Zodiac, whose members wield powers based on their zodiacal signs. The Avengers thwart the villains’ plan to seize the capital cities of a dozen nations as part of a plan to take over the world.

Zodiac is defeated in battle, but they escape to face the Avengers multiple times in the future. NOTE: The Zodiac member Libra will be revealed as Mantis’ father in Avengers #122 (April 1974). Continue reading


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This weekend’s escapist, light-hearted superhero blog post centers around Marvel’s Power Man. Last year I covered his first twenty issues HERE. Here are more of his 1970s tales.

pm 21POWER MAN Vol 1 #21 (October 1974)

Title: The Killer with My Name

Villain: The original, villainous Power Man (Erik Josten)

Synopsis: The flood of glowing headlines that Power Man has been getting after crushing Cottonmouth’s drug ring in the previous issue get soured a bit one day when Luke goes to Noah Burstein’s clinic. He has gone there to visit his girlfriend, Dr. Claire Temple, but she has left behind a note for him saying she has left New York and can never see him again.

pm vs pmThe hurt and angry Power Man returns to his Hero for Hire office above the Gem Theater. Luke gets attacked there by the original Power Man, a former operative of Baron Zemo who was given his super-strength by the Avengers foe the Enchantress.

That villain, real name Erik Josten, is demanding that Luke stop using the Power Man name since he has been using it for years. The resulting destructive battle causes the building to start collapsing, trapping a little girl inside. Naturally, Luke Cage wins the fight and saves the child. Continue reading


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This weekend’s light-hearted and escapist superhero blog post looks at the early stories featuring the Femizon called Thundra, who started as a villainess before reforming.

ff 129FANTASTIC FOUR Vol 1 #129 (December 1972)

Title: The Frightful Four – Plus One

Villains: The Frightful Four (The Wizard, Sandman, the Trapster and Thundra)

NOTE: This was Thundra’s first appearance.

Synopsis: The Wizard, Sandman and the Trapster are still at large after their recent clash with Spider-Man and the Human Torch in Marvel Team-Up #2. Meanwhile, at the Baxter Building headquarters of the Fantastic Four, the Human Torch drops a bombshell on his teammates – he is quitting the team to go live with his true love Crystal of the Inhuman Royal Family.

thundra walkingCrystal, Johnny Storm’s longtime girlfriend and former member of the Fantastic Four, was forced to move back to the Inhumans’ hidden city of Attilan due to her body’s negative reaction to air pollution in the human world.

After a fierce argument in which Invisible Woman (Johnny’s sister) sides with the Torch, Johnny flies off in the Fantastic Four’s plane to reach Attilan. The arguing is reignited by Agatha Harkness (still in the years BEFORE she tutored the Scarlet Witch) who tells the Fantastic Four that she has urgent business and they must come pick up Reed and Sue’s son Franklin Richards at her Whisper Hill home. Continue reading


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This weekend’s escapist superhero blog post will examine the infamous independent creation Grips. His gritty, ultraviolent escapades ranged from fighting street crime to stopping Saddam Hussein from using nukes on America.

grips pictureGRIPS

First Appearance: Grips #1 (September 1986). His final appearance came in March 1992. 

Secret Identity: Martin Kane, artist for Fat Ninja Comics

NOTE: Created and written by Kris Silver and with his earliest adventures illustrated by Tim Vigil of Faust fame, Grips was a cross between Wolverine and the Punisher. However, as a character from an independent company whose internal pages were in black & white his violence and other mature themes went WAY beyond anything featuring either of those two Marvel Comics creations.

Think of the over the top, seldom realistic violence of films like Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky, or maybe Sonny Chiba’s 1970s Street Fighter flicks.

grips on rooftopAs I indicated in the title of this blog post, I consider the Grips tales to be what low-budget, disreputable Grindhouse movies of the past were to glossy, professional films from major studios. The writing and artwork in Grips seldom approached the standards of the Big Two publishers, but the visceral violence, profanity and often taboo subject matter more than made up for the overall shoddiness of the finished product.

One thing is certain – you’ll consider Wolverine and the Punisher to be as bland and corporate as Richie Rich comics after you’ve walked the Sacramento streets of Kris Silver’s deranged vigilante called Grips. 

Powers and Weapons:  Continue reading


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For this weekend’s escapist, light-hearted superhero post here at Balladeer’s Blog, I will review the final few crossover stories involving DC’s Justice League and Justice Society. For my review of their 1963-1969 crossovers click HERE.

jla 183JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #183 (October 1980)

Title: Crisis on New Genesis

Justice Society Roster: Dr. Fate, Power Girl, the original Huntress and the original Wonder Woman (Diana Prince-TREVOR)

Justice League Roster: Firestorm, 2nd Superman, 2nd Green Lantern and 2nd Batman

New Gods Roster: Orion, Mr. Miracle, Big Barda, Metron, Lightray, Highfather and Oberon  

Villains: Darkseid, the Fiddler, Icicle and the Shade

NOTE: This crossover has the JLA and JSA teaming up with the New Gods, Jack Kirby’s creations which were kind of the third version of the X-Men and the Inhumans. His fourth version, the Eternals, had been introduced back at Marvel during his 1970s return there.

Synopsis: The planet called New Genesis is the home of the superpowered figures called the New Gods. Their arch-foe is Darkseid, ruler of the planet Apokolips. As the story begins, Darkseid is still presumed dead following his previous clash with the New Gods.

new godsThe remaining evil forces on Apokolips – led by Granny Goodness (a Kirby creation, needless to say) – have raided New Genesis and abducted most of the inhabitants, then taken them as slaves back to their own planet. They did it with the help of three Earth-Two villains – Icicle, Shade and the Fiddler – so the New Gods use the annual get-together of the Justice Society and Justice League to recruit the two teams to help them recover their kidnapped population. Continue reading


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This weekend’s light-hearted and escapist superhero blog post here at Balladeer’s Blog will examine the unjustly overlooked character the Heretic, a NON-Marvel and non-DC character. 

heretic clockTHE HERETIC

Secret Identity: Dominic DeMarco

First Appearance: The Heretic #1 (November 1996)

Origin: Much of the Heretic’s past remains shrouded in mystery. In his early adult life he left the seminary and joined the Brotherhood of Cain, a covert order of religious assassins who presented themselves as righteous warriors crusading against evil.

        That turned out to be a lie, so the disillusioned figure left the order and was branded a heretic, a label he embraced as his nom de guerre. Acting independently, he used the skills and abilities he learned from the order to begin his own war against the crime and corruption at all levels of society, including government and organized religion.

        Gaining bizarre superpowers, the Heretic also battled the infernal forces behind all Earthly evil, from the lowest street crimes to the bloodiest wars. He learned that God and Satan exist. Heaven and Hell exist. And there’s no predicting which side the rest of us will end up on. Continue reading


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For this weekend’s escapist, light-hearted superhero post here at Balladeer’s Blog, I will review the 1975-1979 crossover stories involving DC’s Justice League and Justice Society. For my review of their 1963-1969 crossovers click HERE.

jla 123JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #123 (October 1975)

Title: Where On Earth Am I?

Justice Society Roster: Hourman, Dr. Mid-Nite, Wildcat, Johnny Thunder, the original Robin (now an adult) and the original Wonder Woman (Diana Prince-TREVOR)

Justice League Roster: The 2nd Flash, 2nd Batman, 2nd Green Arrow, 2nd Hawkman, 2nd Aquaman and 2nd Black Canary (daughter of the original)

Villains: The Injustice Society (Icicle, the Shade, the Gambler, the Wizard, the Sportsmaster and Huntress) plus Cary Bates

Synopsis: Continue reading


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This weekend’s light-hearted, escapist superhero post from Balladeer’s Blog will look at the Charlton Comics heroes based on how they were BEFORE DC Comics bought them from the defunct company. I will cover more than just the heroes depicted in pastiche form in Watchmen.

charlton yellow jacketYELLOWJACKET

Secret Identity: Vince Harley

First Appearance: Yellowjacket Comics #1 (September 1944)

Origin: Best-selling mystery novelist Vince Harley suffered a home invasion at his mansion home, where he indulged in his longtime passion of raising bees. During the stress of that attempted robbery, Harley’s superpowers manifested as a self-defense mechanism. From then on, he fought crime as the costumed superhero Yellowjacket. 

yellowjacket picPowers: Yellowjacket was a probable mutant with the power of mentally controlling bees. He used his armies of those insects to sting, distract or harass opponents in battle. In addition, this hero was in peak physical condition and excelled at unarmed combat. Continue reading


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For this weekend’s escapist, light-hearted superhero post here at Balladeer’s Blog, I will review the 1970-1974 crossover stories involving DC’s Justice League and Justice Society. For my review of their 1963-1969 crossovers click HERE.

jla 82JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA Vol 1 #82 (August 1970)

Title: Peril of the Paired Planets

Justice Society Roster: Dr. Fate, Sandman, Dr. Mid-Nite, Wildcat, Starman, Mr. Terrific, Superman (original), Batman (original), Wonder Woman (original), Flash (original), Green Lantern (original), Hawkman (original), and the 2nd Red Tornado (android)

Justice League Roster: Green Arrow, 2nd Superman, 2nd Batman, 2nd Flash, 2nd Hawkman, 2nd Green Lantern, 2nd Atom, and the 2nd Black Canary (daughter of the original)

Villain: Creator2

Synopsis: A powerful alien called Creator2 plans to force Earth-One and Earth-Two to merge, thus freeing up a lot of material for the being to indulge their whim to create other planets. However, the merger will destroy both Earths. Continue reading


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This weekend’s light-hearted, escapist superhero post here at Balladeer’s Blog examines Canadian-made superheroes from the 1940s. When imports of American comic books were banned in Canada in late 1940 to try trimming their trade deficit, writers and artists north of the border filled the gap with some unjustly neglected characters.  


Secret Identity: Alana North

First Appearance: Triumph-Adventure Comics #31 (August 1941). Her final Golden Age appearance came in 1947.

Origin: Nelvana was the daughter of a mortal woman and Koliak, god of the northern lights. When she became an adult, she took to using her powers as a demigoddess to battle the forces of evil. 

Powers: Nelvana could fly at the speed of light, turn invisible, shoot heat rays from her hands and disrupt radio and other communications. In addition, she possessed the power of telepathy. 

Comment: Nelvana was one of the superheroines to be in print before Wonder Woman herself. Nelvana has been on postage stamps in Canada and is still synonymous with Canadian-made comic books of the Golden Age. 

black wingBLACK WING

Secret Identity: Phil Dauntless

First Appearance: Lucky Comics #1 (June 1941). His final Golden Age appearance came around mid-1944. 

Origin: While serving as a fighter pilot in World War Two Europe, Phil Dauntless stole the Flying Fish, a virtually indestructible experimental plane/ submarine from the Nazis. Nazi spies framed Phil for treason, causing him to adopt the costumed identity of Black Wing as he went on to fight crime and Axis villains while seeking evidence to clear himself. 

black wing runningPowers: Black Wing was in peak physical condition and excelled at unarmed combat. He was also a superb pilot and had the advantage of flying the high-tech craft he had stolen from the Nazis.

Comment: Black Wing had two sidekicks – his love interest Dizzy and his co-pilot Hap. After a few issues Black Wing and Hap overhauled the Flying Fish to be wingless like a rocketship.    Continue reading


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