Along with Barbara Feldon’s Agent 99 and Diana Rigg’s Mrs. Peel, Yvonne Craig’s Batgirl served as a formative example to pre-teen me that women could be every bit as heroic and competent as men. She will definitely be missed.
What better way to celebrate Independence Day than by sharing a tale starring one of the 1940s’ most patriotic super-heroes: Major Victory!
Major Victory originally appeared in Dynamic Comics #1 (Chesler, October 1941) and fought the Axis for all of three issues. The character seemingly refused to die, though, as Chesler granted Major Victory his own title three years later.
Rather than print new adventures, the publisher simply reprinted recolored versions of older stories before pulling the plug a second, and final, time.
While the Major himself didn’t have the staying power of The Shield, Captain America or even The Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy, his codename did live on in the form of Vance Astro , leader of Marvel Comics’ original Guardians Of The Galaxy.
That’s something, right?
Here’s the recolored version of Major Victory’s origin from Major Victory Comics #1 (Chesler, 1944). The art is credited to Charles Sultan.
In the annals of obscure super-heroes, few characters suffered through an origin story more bizarre and violent than Harvey Comics’ Fly-Man. From a nutty scientist father to gun-crazy thugs wielding acid, Clip Foster probably deserved more than two appearances for all the trouble he encountered while launching his war against crime.
From Spitfire Comics #1 (Harvey, August 1941), here’s the “Origin Of The Fly-Man.” The art is credited to Sam Glanzman.
Golden Age justice … and then some!
Charlton Comics’ Golden Age offerings weren’t much to speak of before such talents as Dick Giordano and Steve Ditko entered the low-rent company’s doors. But there were some gems hidden here and there.
Diana The Huntress, one of the better conceived Wonder Woman expies, premiered in Yellowjacket Comics #1 and lasted for the entirety of the book’s 10-issue run. Although the feature mixed Greek and Roman mythology a bit too freely, Diana herself stood out as a notable character despite finding herself in some crudely written and drawn adventures.
The Huntress’ strongest outing was undoubtedly her first, illustrated with much more skill by Gus Schrotter, who worked for a variety of publishers before leaving comics in the 1950s to become a children’s book illustrator.
Wilma West may not be an unrepentant @$$-kicker like The Crimson Rider, but as illustrated by the late great Wally Wood she definitely possesses other *ahem* attributes that fans undoubtedly found serviceable.
(Nudge, nude. Say no more …)
Week Month finally, unbelievably concludes with “Wilma West” from Western Crime Busters #9 (Trojan Magazines, February 1952).
Wow … from a strategically concealed Wilma West to an ending that makes Treasure Of The Sierra Madre look like a Warner Brothers Looney Tune. Wally Wood, ladies and gentlemen!
Emerging today from the mists of history is the Golden Arrow, a second-tier Fawcett character that enjoyed a 13-year run in Whiz Comics and even managed to headline his own title for a handful of issues.
Created by Bill Parker and Pete Costanza, the Arrow’s origin was familiar to anyone who followed Tarzan or the Lone Ranger. Roger Parsons orphaned and left for dead in the Wild West after his father – a noted inventor – and mother were murdered by a greedy businessman.
Raised by a kindly prospector, Parsons developed exceptional strength and reflexes as he grew and became an expert archer. The young man dubs himself the “Golden Archer” and with the help of his mighty steed, White Wind, avenges his father’s death and becomes the “Robin Hood of the Wild West.”
Although Parsons’ adventures were supposedly set in the Old West, Golden Arrow did manage to team up with Captain Marvel and Spy Smasher a time or two. It seems Fawcett creators scoffed at the time and space continuum as much as we do …
From Whiz Comics #30 (Fawcett, October 1942), here’s “A School Of Justice.” The Grand Comics Database guesses the artist was Al Carreno.
Bedridden and insane! Golden Age justice!!
Coming Next: Believe it or not, there’s one more to go!!
It’s no mystery that time has no meaning at The Time Bullet, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that day three of Wild West Week falls about 90 hours after day two.
At the very least, we have a true Golden Age obscurity to offer our understandably befuddled Time Bulleteers. The headliner of today’s post is “Wilton Of The West,” a standard-issue cowboy that appeared in the first 24 issues of Fiction House’s Jumbo Comics, the book that was also home to a much more famous jungle queen named Sheena.
Aside from the fact that Wilton was an early creation of Jack Kirby’s that was later drawn by Golden Age great Lou Fine, there isn’t much to note about the two-fisted cowpoke.
Nearly one-third through the strip’s run, however, Wilton met a mysterious “Lone Ranger” type named the Crimson Rider who – much like Racer X decades later – would appear out of nowhere to either offer sage advice or outright save the day before disappearing once more.
The Crimson Rider was unique among Lone Ranger analogues, however, because the masked vigilante’s true identity was a woman named Mary Benton who sought vengeance against the men who murdered her father. Since comic-book storytelling was incredibly compressed at the time, Benton accomplished all of her goals in her first appearance (Jumbo Comics #9).
Benton’s crusade continued through five more appearances before she finally rode off to comic-book limbo in Jumbo Comics #18. It’s too bad, because her character was far more interesting than poor Wilton and was an early example of the sort of kick-a$$ heroine Fiction House would soon highlight throughout all its titles.
Today’s story, the Rider’s penultimate appearance, is easily the strangest adventure featuring the duo and is drawn by one of the Time Bullet’s favorite artists, George Tuska.
The untitled tale originally appeared in Jumbo Comics #17 (Fiction House, July 1940).
And you thought ’90s heroes were extreme!
Coming tomorrow (probably): The Golden Arrow!
So by theme “week” you didn’t expect five consecutive days of posts, did you?
Heh. Well… errr…ummm
Sadly Time Bulleteers, my best-laid plans were waylaid by a now-dead Toshiba laptop. Guess those “Imminent hard drive failure” notifications weren’t just a bunch of gobbledygook after all!
Like the Wild West heroes of old, however, the Time Bullet is back in the saddle and ready to proceed with the six-gun action and tumbleweed terrors promised earlier this week.
Today we have the comic book adventures of Tim Holt, a star of the classic Western film era who appeared in such notable works as Stagecoach, The Girl and The Gambler, My Darling Clementine, and – perhaps most famously – The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre.
Comics based upon the fictionalized adventures of Holt and other film stars (including such A-Listers as John Wayne) were the Star Wars titles of their day, and publisher Magazine Enterprises upped the ante by giving Holt a Lone Ranger-esque alter-ego known as the “Red Mask.”
Many of the Red Mask’s adventures showed the same pulpish flair as Magazine Enterprises’ premier Western star, The Ghost Rider, probably because the great Gardner Fox worked on both characters.
“The Death Wheel!” features the menace of the wonderfully named “Lady Doom” and originally appeared in Tim Holt #30 (Magazine Enterprises, June-July 1952). The art is by Frank Bolle and is thought to be scripted by Fox.
Golden Age justice!
Coming Monday (I’m almost totally sure … ): The Crimson Rider! She’s not what you expect!
The Time Bullet is wrapping up April with a week of Wild West themed posts because … well, why not?
First up is Atlas’ Black Rider, a Lone Ranger expy distinguished by the fact that he was later retconned into Doctor Strange’s back-story.
Many of the Black Rider’s adventures were illustrated by the legendary Syd Shores, but Atlas Tales guesses this particular tale was ghosted by Chris Rule. “The Spider Strikes” originally appeared in Black Rider #27 (Atlas, March 1955).
Golden Age justice! As a bonus, here’s the cover of Black Rider #27 as illustrated by the legendary Joe Maneely.
Coming Tomorrow: Silver screen star Tim Holt, alias The Red Mask!!!