In 1940, DC Comics threatened to sue Fawcett Publications over a character the former company claimed was too close to their most valuable property: Siegel and Shuster’s Superman.
The offending character was not, surprisingly, Captain Marvel but a blonde, blue-eyed hero known as “Master Man.”
Master Man’s curriculum vitae certainly sounded familiar. The self-described “Wonder Of The World” was said to be “stronger than untamed horses, swifter than the raging winds, braver than mighty lions, wiser than wisdom and kind as Galahad.”
The super-man, however, gained his powers from a magic capsule (“The Vitacap!”) and monitored the Earth from a stone castle he build upon the highest mountain peak. Lacking a secret identity and supporting cast, Fawcett probably could have made the case that Master Man was distinctly different from the Man Of Steel.
Since the publisher already had the infinitely more original and successful Captain Marvel, though, Master Man disappeared after appearing in six issues of Master Comics – later home to Captain Marvel Jr.
To be honest, much like Fox Publication’s Wonder Man, Fawcett’s “Wonder Of The World” wasn’t a particularly inspired creation. (In fact, it isn’t really known who created the character although artist Newt Alfred drew Master Man’s first adventure.) The most notable aspect of today’s adventure is the apparently irony-free spectacle of a blonde, blue-eyed “Master Man” tormenting a Hitler analogue.
So much for the Aryan physical ideal.
“The World’s Greatest Scourge: War” originally appeared in Master Comics #2 (Fawcett, April, 1940) The art is by Newt Alfred.