The Amazing Everett


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Today marks the 30th anniversary of Bill Everett’s death.

Although the legacy of Everett’s formidable talents are far from forgotten – thanks to the efforts of such chroniclers as Blake Bell – I believe the broader scope of the writer-artist’s work is often neglected in favor of his apparent preoccupation with water-based heroes and themes.

(Not that I blame people for focusing on that particular fact. Everett, after all, created the Sub-Mariner, The Fin, Hydroman, etc. etc.)

Still, it’s worth noting that many of Everett’s characters dealt with darker themes than your standard, square-jawed Golden Age heroes. Namor, of course, was comic’s first true anti-hero: a super-man just as likely to destroy a city as defend its populace.

Everett’s “Aman, The Amazing-Man” – the Golden Age inspiration for Marvel’s Iron Fist – was more outwardly heroic but also fought  – at times, unsuccessfully – the corrupting influence of his greatest enemy. A subsequent adventure found the hero impulsively battling Hitler a year before the U.S. entered the conflagration and achieving little more than causing random chaos before finding himself captured.

By the 11th issue of Amazing-Man’s comic, the character’s Tibetan masters called Aman to task for his mistakes and sent a re-dedicated hero back into the world. This tale marked the end of Amazing-Man’s struggles against corrupting influences and – perhaps not coincidentally  –  the end of Everett’s affiliation with the character.

Taken together, the early issues of Amazing-Man comics offers an intriguing character arc for a super-man who was far less than a man of steel before discovering his true strength. The fact that such a story emerged from the earliest days of the super-hero genre is a true testament to Bill Everett’s talent and vision.

From Amazing-Man Comics #11 (Centaur, April 1940), here’s “Purification!” The story was scripted by Allen L. Kirby and drawn by Everett.

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One thought on “The Amazing Everett

  1. Funny little narrative detail in 9:7 — “save one, who slips away silently beneath the surface”.

    Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, American comic book writers seemed to be divided into two camps. One camp saw the war as a struggle amongst wicked leaders (who were not clearly identified with real heads of state or of government) and stoked by amoral, profiteering munitions producers; this camp fantasized about a super-hero who would clobber all these people and bring the warring states to negotiate a peace. The other camp specifically saw the Axis powers as the villains; this camp especially wanted Hitler given a beat-down. But neither camp seemed to have a clear idea of just what awful things were being done, let alone what awful things would be done, by any of the parties involved. So the fictional interventions now seem trivializing.

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