Bros Before Bots


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The fact that DC sued Victor Fox’s Wonder Man out of existence didn’t stop another enterprising publisher from claiming a variation of the name a few years later.

The publisher in question, our good friends at Better/Nedor/Standard, unveiled “Brad Spencer, Wonderman” in the 1944 one-shot, The Complete Book Of Comics And Funnies. Spencer’s origin, drawn by the great Bob Oksner, involved a liberal use of a “secret current” that granted the hero super-strength and invulnerability.

Aided by his girlfriend and armed with a flame pistol, Spencer fought such villains as Dr. Voodoo (I think every Golden Age publisher had a villain named Dr. Voodoo) and the Immortal Emperor from the planet Lilith.

The nefarious Emperor wasn’t Spencer’s only nemesis from space. Many of Wonderman’s adventures – which ran for about three years – bore a greater resemblance to Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers than any brightly-colored man of steel.

Today’s story marks Wonderman’s final adventure on the printed page, as the publisher moved on to genres that were more appealing to post-war audience. It notably features a robot sidekick named “Roboroy” that is apparently nearer and dearer to Brad’s heart than Wonderman’s long-suffering girlfriend.

Super-hero comics are such a boy’s club, amirite?

From Wonder Comics #20 (Standard, October 1948), here’s “The Robots Of The Demon Star.” The scripter and penciller are not credited, but the Grand Comics Database states that the good-girl influenced art was inked by a name that should be familiar to Silver Age Marvel fans: George Roussos.

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