Balladeer’s Blog’s readers have made it clear they love these light-hearted superhero posts on weekends, so here we go with the first twenty stories of the MLJ character the Shield.
Secret Identity: Doctor Joe Higgins, a chemist.
Origin: On his deathbed Joe’s father Tom revealed to him the secret of a chemical formula he had been working on. That formula could bestow superpowers on a normal human being. As Joe grew older he got his PhD in chemistry, finished his father’s formula and used it on himself, gaining superpowers. He devised a special costume and fought the forces of evil as the Shield, a super-powered operative of the FBI.
First Appearance: Pep Comics #1 (January 1940). His final Golden Age appearance came in late 1945.
Powers: The chemical formula that the Shield rubbed onto his skin followed by bombardment with flouroscopic rays endowed him with massive super-strength plus invulnerability and the ability to leap enormous distances. His name came from an acronym for the areas of the human anatomy affected by his chemical formula: S – Sacrum H – Heart I – Innervation E – Eyes L – Lungs D – Derma. The Shield also wore an indestructible costume which encased his torso like a shield.
Comment: The Shield was America’s first star-spangled superhero, beating Captain America into print by more than a year. He eventually had a youthful sidekick called Dusty and a private detective sweetheart named Betty Warren. His archenemy was the Vulture. His adventures continued until December of 1945. Only J Edgar Hoover knew the Shield’s secret identity. Yes, J Edgar Hoover was the head of the FBI, proving that even back then the FBI was a crooked and politically corrupt organization.
PEP COMICS #1 (January 1940)
Title: The Shield, G-Man Extraordinary
Villains: A Stokian spy ring
Synopsis: The Shield is given his first assignment. He must destroy a spy ring from the fictional nation of Stokia after the ring blows up a munitions factory, sabotages commercial shipping and assassinates U.S. military personnel. Our hero defeats all of the villains and survives their explosion of the Hotel Braganza.
NOTE: This is the first time readers see the Shield attach wires from his earpieces to telephone wires so that his enhanced hearing can “bug” the room of his targets. Continue reading