New Found Glory

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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.

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Mother Mayhem

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Comic-book entrepreneur Harry A. Chesler used to joke that his middle initial stood for “Anything.” Given that his studio produced a character like Mother Hubbard, it’s safe to say there was more than an ounce of truth to his jest.

Mother Hubbard was a crime-fighting witch who used her magic against Nazi torturers, soul-stealing elves and  – in today’s story –  ogres and gnomes who rob the eyeballs of sleeping children.

Yep, pure 100 percent nightmare fuel. It’s no wonder the good Mother only appeared in less than a handful of tales.

The 13 Days Of Halloween conclude with Mother Hubbard’s third, and final, adventure from Scoop Comics #3 (Chesler, March 1942). The story and art are uncredited, although I wouldn’t be shocked to learn that the creators were somehow related to the Brothers Grimm.

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Brrrrr…..

That’s it for another Halloween, Time Bulleteers! Don’t worry, we’ll be back Nov. 2 for a special All Soul’s Day tale starring the Golden Age Ghost Rider!

Bucket Of Blood

Today’s story was condemned in Frederic Wertham’s Seduction Of The Innocent for an admittedly lurid scene depicting two gangsters draining blood from an unconscious woman.

The good doctor opined that outside of children’s comics, the only place to read of such atrocities was the “forbidden pages of de Sade.” I wonder what he thought of the tale’s crime-fighting heroine, the Veiled Avenger, who brandished a whip.

Despite the unsettling nature of the crime depicted, the Golden Age comic seems rather tame now compared to the violence depicted in your average Geoff Johns title, especially given the fatal brand of justice dealt to the perpetrators of said crime.

As this blog has noted time and time again, Golden Age super-hero comics generally favored clear-cut – rather than Pyrrhic – victories for the forces of law and order.

From Red Seal Comics #16 (Harry A. Chesler, April 1946), here’s “The White Death.” The art is credited to Gus Ricca.

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Dynamic Tension

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The original Dynamic Man debuted in Mystic Comics #1 (Timely, March 1940) as one of many super-heroes the future House Of Ideas threw out to the marketplace in the hopes of replicating the success of Carl Burgos’ Human Torch and Bill Everett’s Sub-Mariner.

The character’s creator, Daniel Peters, took a page from the Torch’s playbook by casting Dynamic Man as an android brought to life by a brilliant scientist who hoped to benefit humanity by producing the “perfect man.”

Like most brilliant scientists in Golden Age comics, Dynamic Man’s would-be mentor perished as soon as his greatest dream was realized. The newly sentient being grimly vowed to continue the scientist’s “good work” and embarked upon a glorious super-hero career that lasted all of four issues.

(Although he was revived a few years back by J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Weston as a neutered being disgusted by any and all forms of sex.  Great idea!)

That would normally be all she wrote, but one year later another Dynamic Man with a nearly identical character design and origin appeared in the first issue of Harry A. Chesler’s Dynamic Comics.

Nobody seems to know if the appearance of a second hero so similar to one that failed months before is a coincidence or a less heralded example of the type of editorial policies that led to two separate Phantom Ladies.

At any rate, this Dynamic Man far outpaced his predecessor by lasting a good seven years before fading into comic-book limbo. Like Marvel’s Dynamic Man, the Chesler hero was also revived in the 21st Century as a false hero. This time, thanks to Alex Ross, the one-time crusader acted as an agent for a nefarious global conspiracy.

(Another great idea!)

The following story originally appeared in Dynamic Comics # 13 (Harry A. Chesler, January 1945). The art is provided by Al Plastino, a name that is no doubt familiar to fans of the Silver-Age Superman.

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Get Off My Lawn!

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The Golden Age Spider Woman was an unusual heroine even by the era’s standards. Helen Goddard, a beautiful shut-in who lived alone in the Ozarks, dressed up as a gigantic spider to keep intruders off her property.

Given that the character only appeared once before fading into the mists of comic-book history, it seems Ms. Goddard’s quest for solitude was a rousing success.

The following tale originally appeared in Major Victory Comics #1 (Harry A. Chesler, 1944). The story and art are uncredited.

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Rocketman Vs. Zip-Jet

Rocketman and Rocketgirl debuted in Scoop Comics #1 (Harry A. Chesler Comics, November 1941) and enjoyed a fairly healthy career as B-List heroes for a B-List publisher.

However, as fans of The Rocketeer well know, super-heroes sporting jet packs never truly go out of fashion. In the early ‘50s, St. John Publications – a publishing house known for just about everything but super-hero comics – repackaged Chesler’s Rocketman stories as the adventures of “Zip-Jet,” supersonic enemy of evil.

The heroes’ costumes were recolored yellow and the stories were re-written to provide more clarity than the hastily produced originals.

Unfortunately, St. John’s stab at the super-hero market wasn’t successful. Zip-Jet only lasted two issues.

(However, Rocketman and Rocketgirl – this time re-named Jet Girl – did find new life decades later under the AC Comics umbrella. AC head honcho Bill Black has never met a public domain character he didn’t like.)

For the sake of comparison, here is one of Rocketman’s Chesler adventures followed by the St. John Zip-Jet version. Personally, I consider the original “Rocketman” and “Rocketgirl” monikers far superior to “Zip-Jet” and “Pat.”

The rewritten stories and recolored costumes published by St. John are admittedly much snappier, though.

Decide for yourself!

From Punch Comics #11 (Harry A. Chesler Comics, November 1944), here’s an untitled Rocketman adventure drawn by Ruben Moreira.

And now, from Zip-Jet #1 (St. John Publications, February 1953), here’s “Death Stalks The Show.”