Mister America

aka Americommando + Fat Man + Miss X + Mister America II + Mister America III

Tex Thompson created by Bernard Baily
Jeffrey Graves created by Geoff Johns and Dale Eaglesham

Mister America I

NAME + ALIASES:
Harry "Tex" Thomson, Americommando

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Trey Thompson (Mr. America II, descendant, deceased)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
All-Star Squadron

FIRST APPEARANCE:
As Tex Thomson: Action Comics #1 (June 1938).
As Mister America: Action Comics #33 (Feb. 1941).
Called Americommando: Action Comics #52 (Sept. 1942).

Fat Man

NAME + ALIASES:
Bob Daley

KNOWN RELATIVES:
None

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
None

FIRST APPEARANCE:
As Daley: Action Comics #2 (July 1938).
As Fat Man: Action Comics #42 (Nov. 1941).

Miss X

NAME + ALIASES:
Margaret Janice “Peggy” Maloney

KNOWN RELATIVES:
D.A. Maloney (father)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
None

FIRST APPEARANCE:
As Maloney: Action Comics #26 (July 1940)
As Miss X: Action Comics #26 (July 1940)

Mister America II

NAME + ALIASES:
Trey Thompson

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Tex Thomson (ancestor, Mister America I, deceased)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
FBI

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Justice Society of America v.3 #1 (Jan. 2007)

Mister America III

NAME + ALIASES:
Jeffrey Graves

KNOWN RELATIVES:
None

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
FBI, Justice Society of America

FIRST APPEARANCE:
As Graves: Justice Society of America v.3 #1 (Feb. 2007)
As Mister America: Justice Society of America v.3 #4 (Apr. 2007)

History

The original Tex Thompson was clean shaven and blond. From Action Comics #1 (1938); art by Bernard Baily.
In Asia, Tex Thompson and Bob Daley contend with the bizarre laboratory of Dr. Kichung. From Action Comics #8 (1939); art by Bernard Baily.
The insidious and resilient Gorrah, via Teleprojecto! From Action Comics #27 (1940); art by Bernard Baily.
As Mister America, Tex dyed his hair and donned a Revolution-era costume. From Action Comics #39 (1941); art by Bernard Baily.
The mysterious Miss X. From Action Comics #30 (1941); art by Bernard Baily.
Mister America's eagle-shaped plane. From Action Comics #41 (); art by Bernard Baily.
Bob Daley becomes Fatman! From Action Comics #42 (); art by Bernard Baily.

Tex Thompon shares the honor of having debuted in Action Comics #1 (June 1938)—the same as Superman. The strip was unremarkable in comparison to the Man of Steel and Zatara, or even another Western feature, "Chuck Dawson." "Tex Thompson" was a simple western type of adventure serial by Bernard Baily, who rather stretched his storytelling to fill the lengthy 12-page introduction. (Baily's best-known co-creation was the Spectre.) Like so many Golden Age characters, Tex was a millionnaire with too much time on his hands. This cowboy had struck it rich in oil and began travelling the world. In England, he came upon a dead man and was accused of his murder by a woman named Sonja and her cohorts. Things got complicated fast; the only witness to back up Tex was a boy named Bobby, whom the crooks had kidnapped. When the sheriff arrived, Tex punched him out in order to buy some time. Bobby freed himself and with the help of his friend Betty, alerted the authorities again. By the time they arrived, Tex had coralled the gang leader. When offered the reward for his capture, Tex gave the money to the kids instead. (Action #1)

NOTE: In newer appearances of the character, his last name has been spelled "Thompson," but all Golden Age and 1980s appearances are spelled "Thomson."

In the second issue—a tidier 6-page installment—the concept of "Bobby" became the character Bob Daley, a fellow adventurer who became Tex's righthand man. They sought and discovered a legendary "sealed city." It's ruler, the one-eyed Gorrah, invited them in. (#2) The Gorrah demonstrated that his people were invulnerable to bullets, and dropped Tex and Bob into a watery pit to die. They survived and rescued another native—the real Gorrah (leader) of the city—who then allied with them and overthrew the menace. (#3)

Abigail "Ma" Hunkel was an ordinary housewife with an inordinate amount of chutzpah. At home in the late 1930s, she was witness to the dawn of super-heroes. One day in 1939, she spied Tex Thompson, a well-known adventurer, brawling in the street below. Hunkel leapt out her window without a thought, and jumped into the fray. Once the crooks were down she admitted to him that she wanted to be an adventurer, too. He was skeptical but gave her props. (Hunkel soon became the costumed Red Tornado.) (JSA 80-Page Giant #1)

Tex Thompson was originally called Mister America, but in June 1942, he assumed the name Americommando and was assigned to undercover duty in Nazi territory. (Action #52, Young All-Stars #27, Secret Origins #29) He began his mission overseas with direct orders from President Roosevelt and took the cover identity of Hauptmann Riker of the German army. (Action #54-55)

In February, 1945, the Americommando was supposedly killed in an explosion while working undercover in Dresden. The Flash and Mr. Terrific witnessed this blast. (National Comics v.2 #1) Recently, it has come to light that Thompson took a teenage partner for at least one mission. He was called the All-American Boy. (JSofA v.3 #29)

Miss X

After Tex Thomson's (aka Mister America's) partner, Gargantua T. Potts, joined the French army as a cook, he was replaced on the crimefighting front by Miss X, a mystery woman whose disguise consisted solely of black glasses. (Action #26-27) Around the same time, Thomson's path also crossed that of District Attorney Maloney and his daughter Janice (or "Peggy", as she was called). (#29-30) Tex soon connected the two women when he and Bob Daley accompanied Peggy on a train trip to Washington D.C. They encountered Miss X once they reached the city, and Tex confided to Bob that "I think I know who she is." (#29)

Only a few month's later, while sailing to Europe on a secret mission, Tex was declared dead after a bomb sank his vessel. (#33) The tragedy seemed to have had a profound effect on Miss X, who apparently operated as much out of an attraction to Thomson as she did a desire to fight injustice. Eventually, Tex's survival became public knowledge but D.A. Maloney and Miss X have not been seen since 1940. (#43)

NOTES: Miss X was mentioned in a Thomson restrospective in Secret Origins #29 (1988).

» SEE ALSO: Fanzing: "The Many Deaths of Miss America"

Mister America

A new star spangled feature resigned from the staff of the special prosecurtor Malone, takes a special mission abroad for war Relief Commissioner. Tex goes without Bob for the first time, says goodbye to Maloney. Captain of the ship summoned him, a message warned of blowing up theier ship which they're too late to avoid and it sinks. found the saboteur but the ship was destroyed regardless. Tex and all aboard were believed dead. Mister America appeared outside the ofice of a saboteur. Dressed like a red-white-and-blue Minuteman from the Revolutionary War, Tex dyed his hair with black and announced himself by whistling "Yankee Doodle" and disarmed the thug with a crack of his new signature weapon—a whip. He also left a calling card: a feather dyed red-white-and-blue. Maloney and Daley were not in on his secrret but he confided in Bob later and insisted that Tex Thomson must remain dead. He'd survived and was rescued near Portugal and plotted his revenge on the saboteurs. He told Bob that he could help, but the two mustn't be seen together in order to keep his secret. NOTE: More recent depictions of Tex Thomson show him as a naturally dark-haired, but in Mister America's first appearance, it's clear that he was blond and darkened his hair while in costume.

Roy Thomas penned a new origin story for Mister America for Secret Origins v.3 #29 (Aug. 1988) summoned by an ad in the newspaper to the spot where he'd taken down the Scarlotti gang.

Tex became the Americommando in Action #52, but the name of the feature didn't change until #54.

Private investigator Bob Daley was a good friend to Tex (who had been thought killed by a Nazi saboteur). When Thompson returned as Mr. America, Daley joined him in crime-fighting as Fatman. His costume, incorporated a curtain and a lampshade, and resembled the Red Tornado's. Fatman first appeared in Action Comics #34 (March 1941).

Joining Up

Immediately after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt called for the formation of the All-Star Squadron. Tex joined this group of super-heroes in February, 1942, when the group held its first full meeting in New York's Perisphere (on the former grounds of the New York World's Fair). NOTES: This was Tex Thomson's first modern appearance. (All-Star Squadron #31)

Early April, 1942 Doctor Occult and Doctor Fate report that the missing JSAers are alive, but beyond their help. All available All-Stars, joined by new members Air Wave, Aquaman, Manhunter II, Mister America, Mister Terrific, the Whip and Zatara, vote to take custody of Mekanique, over the protests of Robotman. Meanwhile, the Spectre has an adventure on Hyperspace-Pluto. NOTES: 1st modern apps. of the Earth-2 Aquaman, Mister America and the Whip. The Golden Age Air Wave first appeared in Detective Comics #60 (1942), the Whip in Flash Comics #1 (1940). All-Star Squadron #59 (July 1986), All-Star Comics #13 (10-11.42)

June 1942: Fury documents the activities of the All-Star Squadron, Seven Soldiers of Victory, Freedom Fighters, Young All-Stars and the JSA. She strikes up a tentative friendship with Miss America, who acts as the recording secretary at a JSA meeting. The Squire teams up with the Seven Soldiers and comments that maybe someday his son will succeed him as the Squire. Mister America passes his spy training and becomes the Americommando. He parachutes into Nazi Germany to carry out undercover operations as a German officer, "Otto Riker." Plastic Man is described as the liaison between the All-Stars and the Freedom Fighters. Commander Steel also heads to Europe. NOTES: Secret Origins #29 places the Americommando's debut in July, not June; his last Golden Age appearance was in Action #74 (Aug. 1944). Doctor Fate mentions that because he and the Spectre are currently at a low ebb in their magical power, a special spell will enable them to enter occupied Europe without being affected by the Sphere of Influence. Fury recaps the events of Action #52-53, All-American #43, Adventure #79, Detective #68, Flash #34, More Fun #84, Sensation #11, Star-Spangled #13 and All-Star #14. Young All-Stars #27 (July 1989), Action #52 (9.42), Secret Origins #29 (Aug. 1988)

Hero Hotline: Coordinated Obscurity?

In recent years, however, there has been suspicion that Thompson had survived and was working as the Coordinator — the mysterious ex-hero who runs the Hero Hotline organization. A robot duplicate of the Americommando was delivered in a block of ice to Hero Hotline. (Hero Hotline #4) In response, the Coordinator stated emphatically "… it's not the real Americommando… trust me on this, okay?" This led many to believe that the Coordinator was Tex Thompson.

Creator Bob Rozakis cleared everything up in his May 2001 column:

He IS Harry “Tex” Thompson. Always had been, always will be… even if it is never acknowledged in a comic book. So, to answer T5’s question above: No, Mister America did not die… at least not in the BobRo corner of the DCU.

Because of DC's editorial policies at the time, Rozakis was forbidden to use the Americommando because Roy Thomas had control over the character in All-Star Squadron.

Strangely, many clues pointed to the Coordinator being Harold Jordan, Air Wave II. The Coordinator was said to have been a former hero with ties to Batman and Green Lantern. He has a fondness for Golden Age heroes, but is never said to have been active in the Golden Age. In Hotline #5, a photo shown on the Coordinator's wall suggests that Johnny Quick was his godfather. Further, he is called "Harry" by the Hotline staff and by the Calculator, who is a verified former foe.

There was also some fan speculation that Thompson was the man inside the armor of Bloodtype. (Aztek #1) This man, however, was allued to as the father of Merrryman of the Inferior Five, a Golden Ager hero called the Patriot.

Legacy

Tex was succeeded by a descendant, Trey Thompson, aka Mister America II. Trey worked for the FBI but was terminated for unknown reasons. After he left the agency, his former partner, Jeff Graves, became his informant. Mister America's path crossed with the JSA's when his wife and sons were killed by the Fourth Reich, a band of villains who sought to eradicate the family lines of any hero tied to American symbolism. Forensics evidence allowed Thompson to track and identify their killer—the villain called Catalyst. Unfortunately, he found Catalyst only after he'd killed Trey's brother as well. Nothing is known of Trey Thompson's early adventuring career though he did mention having been trained by Wildcat. (Justice Society v.3 #1)

Trey Thompson's tragic end. From Justice Society of America v.3 #1 (2007); art by Dale Eaglesham and Art Thibert.
Jeffrey Graves contemplates the mantle. From Justice Society of America v.3 #4 (2007); art by Dale Eaglesham and Ruy José.

Dr. Mid-Nite performed an autopsy on Thompson and found an arrowhead lodged in his lung. He also confirmed that the Thompson bloodline had been ended, which meant that the original Mister America was dead as well, but under unknown circumstances. (#2)

As the Fourth Reich continued their murder campaign, Trey's FBI partner, Jeff Graves assumed the mantle of Mister America (III). Graves likewise lost his job when he was discovered to have been giving secrets to his predecessor. (#4) Graves did not meet the Justice Society until both began investigating a new rash of deaths of metahumans who posed to be gods. (#11) Mr. America found the killer, Gog, and barely escaped to warn the JSA. (#12) Jeff effectively joined the JSA after this and helped them end Gog's spree. (#13)

Soon a boy claiming to be descended from a World War II sidekick came to the JSA for mentoring. He called himself the All-American Boy, and said that his great-uncle served very briefly with the original Mister America, and was killed by a Nazi. (JSofA v.3 #29) This boy was actually the sadistic villain called Karnevil, who infiltrated the JSA on behalf of the Fourth Reich. Graves's FBI skills served him well when his new protege was accused of a bloody attack on Mister Terrific. (#32) Mr. America was repaid for defending the All-American Boy with a blow to the head when Karnevil finally dropped his disguise. (#33)

Just after this the Justice Society split into two teams and Mr. America remained in New York with the core group. Mr. Terrific had recovered and made for Jeff a pair of high-tech whips—whose force could could shatter concrete. (#34)

During this time, Jeff gravitated socially toward his teammate, Lightning. It appeared there might be a romantic spark them. (#41)

Americommando II

The second Americommando was a member of the Crusaders. He was a civilian who was duped by the villain called the Silver Ghost, and fought the Freedom Fighters. (Freedom Fighters #7-9)

Americommando III

The U.S. agency, S.H.A.D.E. appropriated Tex Thomson's second alias when they engineered the brutal new Americommando. This is a man was named David and claimed to have powers on par with Superman. (Uncle Sam & the Freedom Fighters #5)

The Golden Age (Elseworlds)

Mister America was also a central character in the Elseworlds tale, The Golden Age by James Robinson. In the story, the brain of the Ultra-Humanite was transplanted into Tex's body. He was married to Miss America, Joan Dale. Joan's friends noticed that she was suffering from physical abuse, which led them to uncover Ultra's disguise.

After successfully transferring his brain into the body of Mister America in 1945, the Ultra-Humanite rises in political power and develops a way to create a "superman." He transplants the brain of Adolf Hitler into Dan Dunbar, creating a new American hero, Dynaman. "Tex Thompson" is betrayed by his wife, Miss America, who finds his journals and gives them to her old All-Star friends. The story references January 1950, when Alan Scott is summoned to the HUAC hearings.

Notes

Young All-Stars #27 and Secret Origins #29 (both written by Roy Thomas) both retell Tex Thomson's origin but the former takes place in June 1942 and the latter in July.

+ Powers

...

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:

  • Hero Hotline #4
  • National Comics, v.2 #1
  • Secret Origins v.2 #29

» SERIES:

  • Action Comics #1–74
  • The Golden Age, 4-issue limited series (Elseworlds, 1993)

» SEE ALSO: