Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog know that words like eccentric, oddball, offbeat, weird and damn crazy come to mind when describing me. So, that being the case the most appropriate superhero mascot for this site is the Black Condor.
That’s the Golden Age Black Condor, who debuted in 1940 and is now in the public domain, not the newer comic book characters going by that name. The original Black Condor appeals to me in the same way that bad movies do. Here are the six reasons why this figure has long been my favorite weirdass Golden Age superhero:
ONE: HE STARRED IN A COMIC BOOK TITLED CRACK COMICS! Yep. Crack Comics number 1 marked the first appearance of the Black Condor. Very appropriate for a hero whose whole story sounds like it was inspired by smoking a crack pipe. Continue reading
With the emphasis on superhero movies these days Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at another forgotten superhero – or in this case a pair of superheroes.
PROFESSOR SUPERMIND AND SON
Career: Popular Comics # 60-71
Years Active: 1941-1942
Professor Warren, a man who suffered from the lack of a first name, and his son Dan Warren did superduty fighting criminals and Nazis. The Professor fully understood that super-powers don’t come without a certain risk, which is why he was happy to use his son Dan as a human guinea pig for his High Frequency Energy Builder.
Periodic sessions hooked up to this device – which so help me resembles nothing so much as an electric chair – provided the Prof’s son with “strength equal to a thousand horse-power”, or “enough to kill a hundred men.” Sometimes even more.
Adopting the aliases Professor Supermind and Supermind’s Son the team used the same division of labor employed by Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin (or Jake and the Fatman if you prefer): the Prof sat around in their home base or their invisible rocket-ship (Wonder Woman, eat your heart out!) doing the brain work while Dan went out in the field taking all the risks and getting all the lumps. Continue reading
With the emphasis on superhero movies these days Balladeer’s Blog takes a look at another forgotten superhero.
Career: Victory Comics 1-4
Years Active: 1941-1942
Comment: Pilot Daniel Lyons accidentally crash-landed his plane in the Rocky Mountains one day. Luckily for him he landed near the remote laboratory of Dr James Norton. Dr Norton rescues Dan from the wreckage of his plane and, since the pilot is near death anyway, uses him as a human guinea pig for his Cosmic Ray Lamp.
After being subjected to the lamp not only does Dan recover, but he finds his strength, stamina and intelligence have all doubled, along with his capacity for healing. Dr Norton convinces Dan to use his second chance at life to battle the Nazis. Continue reading
With the emphasis on superhero movies every summer these days I’ll periodically look at some of the stranger costumed crime-fighters who have come down the road over the years. The Black Condor will remain my blog’s Official Weird Superhero, so have no fear.
Career: Popular Comics 54 through 60
Years Active: 1940 into 1941
Comment: This bizarre superhero had the most convenient last name this side of Dr Stephen Strange. The good doctor was 75 years old before he perfected a special treatment that restored him to age 25, possibly for good. (His series got canceled long before the writers had to worry about retconning or sliding time-scales.)
Dr Hormone injected his own elderly self with special hormones he had been whipping up in his lab and followed that up with exposure to
Vita Rays “Angstrom Rays”, thus de-aging himself. With great hormones come great responsibility, however, and our intrepid hero decided to fight the forces of evil with his new youthful body and his scientific genius. His hormone chemicals allowed our hero to change his opponents’ height, weight and manipulate their anatomy in other weird ways. (This guy would have made a better villain!) Continue reading