Marschall Saber and Henry Cannon had a passion for murder ...
and each other. Clad in a green uniform, the red-haired Saber was an expert
marksman, an assassin for a New York City mobster named Leibowitz. Cannon
hid his Moe Howard haircut in a dark blue body suit, offset by a yellow robe,
gloves and boots and was a blade master in the service of the Rinaldi Mob.
Early in 1984, the men decided a career move was in order and each murdered
the other's boss. They did so on the orders of a woman within the District
Attorney's office who vowed to consolidate Manhattan's gangs under her control.
Saber had thrown down his rifle almost without a fight when he encountered
the Vigilante while Cannon simply surrendered to the police. They did so knowing
that D.A. Marcia King would "put in an application for both assassins
with the Government Witness Relocation Program" and set them free.
Appalled that the duo was literally getting away with murder, the Vigilante
raided their apartment and quickly found himself outmatched. Brought down
by successive knife and bullet wounds, the Vigilante might well have been
shot to death by Saber had it not been for the intervention of another concerned
citizen the Electrocutioner. Arriving on the scene, the police found
three unconscious gunmen the Vigilante and the electrocuted but still
breathing Cannon and Saber (VIGILANTE #5, by Marv Wolfman, Keith Pollard and
In a rather ludicrous scene, the couple escaped the hospital after Cannon
threw a lightweight plastic knife at Captain Arthur Hall. Instead of falling
to the ground as it would have in the real world, the knife slashed Hall's
throat (#7). The assassins took their services to the West Coast. Itt was
at their Malibu beach house that they accepted a contract to kill the Vigilante
By now, the mantle of the Vigilante had passed from Adrian Chase to Alan
Welles to Dave Winston. Despite his unfamiliarity with the duo, Winston held
his own and managed to get a shot off at Saber, wounding him seriously enough
for Cannon to abandon the battle and flee. In the course of the conflict,
the men had revealed their client's Long Island address and, with Saber recovered,
they raced to the scene to salvage their reputation. In the end, Vigilante
manuevered them into striking each other: Saber took a blade to the shoulder
and Cannon was felled by a bullet in the abdomen (1986's VIGILANTE ANNUAL
#2, by Paul Kupperberg, Ross Andru and Tony DeZuniga, with edits by Wolfman).
Cannon and Saber were slated to return in 1989's MANHUNTER #10, which would
have introduced a gay supporting cast member named Vince Nuncioin into the
series. As described by co-writer John Ostrander in AMAZING HEROES #145, "Mark
Shaw was cellmates with him in prison. In prison, as on the streets, if you
need something, he'll arrange it." According to AH #157, the episode
had "already scared a couple of artists off" and, with MANHUNTER's
cancellation in early 1990, the story's completion became a moot point.
Cannon and Saber's WHO'S WHO entry was in issue #26 of the original series
Alter Ego: Samson, alias Mighty Youth, alias Merrio
Occupation: (as Mighty Youth and Samson) Hero, (as Merrio) Court jester
Known Relatives: Unnamed family members
Group Affiliation: None
Base of Operations: 10th century BC Greece (Earth-One)
First Appearance: Adventure Comics #257 (February 1959)
Height: ~6 ft. 4 in.
Weight: ~260 lbs.
History: The biblical Samson was born circa 1090 BC, to the Israeli tribe
of Dan, in a region adjacent to the Philistine territory. Samson was a man
of great strength, a Nazirite consecrated to God who, for religious reasons,
had never cut his hair. In fact, he believed his strength derived from his
devotion to God, and that if his hair were ever cut, his strength would leave
him. He was one of the last Judges to lead Israel, a duty he performed for
some 20 years.
Samson's downfall came when he fell in love with a woman named Delilah, from
the Valley of Sorek. The rulers of the Philistines went to Delilah and offered
her a small fortune in silver if she could learn the secret of their enemy's
great strength. With this knowledge, they would overpower Samson and subdue
him. Delilah's first three attempts at learning his secret were unsuccessful
but, after nagging him day after day, claiming he would tell her if he truly
loved her, Samson relented and confided in her. Delilah sent word to the rulers
of the Philistines, who soon arrived with the silver they had promised her.
Delilah then put Samson to sleep on her lap, and called a man to shave off
the braids of Samson's hair. Samson awoke from his sleep, finding his enemies
around him, but he quickly learned that his mighty strength had left him.
The Philistines seized Samson, gouged out his eyes, and took him down to Gaza,
where he was imprisoned.
Some time later, the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great
sacrifice to their god Dagon, and to celebrate the capture of their enemy.
They brought Samson out to the temple to entertain them, not mindful that
his hair was beginning to grow back. The temple was crowded with many people,
and all the rulers of the Philistines were there. Samson instructed the lad
who held his hand to position him where he could feel the pillars that supported
the temple, so that he might lean against them. Samson prayed to God to strengthen
him just once more, so that he might get revenge on the Philistines. He then
reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Samson pushed
with all his strength, bringing the temple down upon himself and on all the
people in it. Samson's family retrieved his body and brought him back home
to be buried.
The Greek hero known as Samson was not the biblical hero described above.
Evidence suggests however that he could be his grandson or grandnephew. It
is very possible that, when the first Samson was captured, some of his family
fled to Greece, where they settled. So what then is known of this hero named
Samson who battled evil 3000 years ago?
Samson's first contact with the 20th century comes during his teen years.
Jimmy Olsen is contacted by a man named Kasmir, who convinces Jimmy that he
is a time policeman from the future. Kasmir tells Jimmy, who is an honorary
member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, that the Legion have detailed him to
assist Jimmy on a vital mission into the past. He brings Jimmy to the Legion
time bubble, and offers to allow him to take the controls. Kasmir instructs
Jimmy to take them about 3000 years into the past, where he will explain their
mission. Once there, Kasmir draws a heat-blaster gun. He tells Jimmy he is
really a criminal from the future, who escaped and stole the time bubble.
The complex controls stumped him, but luckily the automatic controls were
set for the late 20th century. Kasmir figured that Jimmy, being an honorary
Legionnaire, would know how to operate the device. He fires the heat-blaster,
but Jimmy dodges the beam, which hits the time bubble instead. This, in turn,
sets fire to an adjacent pile of logs. A teen arrives, saying it took him
all morning to cut that timber. Jimmy, who has spent time in this period before,
understands the youth's language. He is amazed when the teen easily kayos
Kasmir with one punch.
Jimmy asks the teen what his name is and why he is wearing a turban. The
teen responds that it is his business, that a wise man had warned him to keep
his real name secret or his enemies would destroy him and his parents. He
introduces himself instead as Mighty Youth. Jimmy explains that he is from
the future, and asks Mighty Youth's help in hiding the time bubble. The teen
brings Jimmy and the time bubble to a secret room within the walls of the
city. He then lends his stranded guest some clothes and gets him a job with
a shepherd. After a hard day's work, Jimmy comes up with an idea to make more
money, but ends up being arrested instead. Later, his new friend rips the
bars out of the dungeon wall. Mighty Youth's turban is knocked off, revealing
his long black hair underneath. Given the time period, the long hair, and
the teen's strength, Jimmy concludes he must be Samson. Mighty Youth admits
that Jimmy is correct, but tells him that a Seer had foretold that he would
have a giant's strength only as long as he never cut his hair. Kasmir overhears
this secret and devises a plan.
As Mighty Youth and Jimmy pass a small shop, the lovely Delilah comes out
and stops them. Mighty Youth tells her he is in a hurry and cannot stay. Although
Delilah admits she finds him very attractive, Mighty Youth says he has no
time for romance. Jimmy, incorrectly believing this is the biblical Samson,
reflects on how Delilah will someday cause Samson's downfall. Later, as they
sleep, Kasmir attempts to cut off Samson's hair. Superman arrives just in
time, having followed the time bubble's locator signal. Kasmir throws a vibro-grenade,
whose vibrations begin to shake the place apart. Superman braces himself against
the columns to protect his friends. However, at that very moment, the guards
arrive to arrest Jimmy. Superman tells his friends to go, while he pushes
down the supporting columns. The whole city wall topples, preventing the guards
from following. Jimmy introduces Samson to Superman. Superman notes to himself
that he has already met Samson as a grown man. Superman then flies Jimmy and
Kasmir back to their proper eras.
After reaching adulthood, Samson abandons the Mighty Youth identity. He continues
combating evil under his real name. In the years that follow, Samson meets
and befriends Hercules, another hero of his own era. They eventually find
themselves under the rule of King Zarl. Zarl is a greedy miser, who taxes
his people into poverty so he can increase his royal fortune. Zarl forces
Samson and Hercules into being the royal guards at his treasure cave, day
and night. They are unable to appear elsewhere to aid others, except in disguise,
hence they adopt secret identities. Samson becomes Merrio, a court jester,
while Hercules becomes Tarkus, a stablehand. They begin to secretly distribute
the King's fortune to the poor. To keep Zarl from entering the cave and finding
the jewels missing, they make up a supernatural tale of the Avenger, who they
claim has taken over the cave. They tell the King that even their great strength
cannot defeat the powerful spirit. The King informs the heroes that he will
keep their families as hostages until they think of a way to defeat the Avenger.
If they fail, both Samson and Hercules will be executed.
Desperately, the duo consult their friend, the Seer, who peers into the future
with his crystal-ball. They observe the exploits of Superboy, who they soon
learn is invulnerable. Believing he has an elixir which could bestow invulnerability
on them, the Seer casts a magic spell which transports the two heroes into
the future. The spell also apparently gives them both the ability to speak
modern English. 12-year-old Clark Kent attends a sideshow at the Smallville
County Fair, starring Hercules and Samson. Clark soon learns that they are
not actors, and later confronts them as Superboy. The two heroes try to learn
the secret of the invulnerability elixir, but soon realize that no such potion
exists. Their only hope is for Superboy to return to the past with them. The
magic spell will soon wear off, so Samson and Hercules blackmail Superboy
into coming with them, threatening to reveal his secret identity if he doesn't.
They hurry to a predetermined hilltop, where the sunset draws them all back
into the past. They then explain the situation to Superboy in more detail,
who says he will try to think of some way to save them both from execution.
Samson and Hercules don their secret identities and head to the royal arena,
where a big show is scheduled for King Zarl's entertainment. Superboy is forced
to reveal himself when a stray war club almost strikes the kind Queen. Zarl
believes that Superboy can defy the Avenger and tells him that, if he succeeds,
it will save Hercules and Samson from execution. The two disguised heroes
hurry back to the cave, so that they are there when the King arrives. When
Superboy attempts to enter the cave, he is thrown out by the magic of the
Avenger. Suspicious, the King insists on seeing the cave for himself, with
the three strongmen as his bodyguards. Suddenly, the Avenger appears! Neither
the heroes nor the King's soldiers can defeat the supernatural menace. The
Avenger soon chases off the King, telling him the jewels are lost to him forever.
Superboy then reveals to his allies that the Avenger is really Krypto, his
Super-Dog, who he had summoned from the future. Superboy had supplied the
Avenger's voice with his super-ventriloquism. Superboy and Krypto then fly
back to their own time, leaving Samson and Hercules to free their families.
Some time later, Samson finds himself drawn one more time into the future.
When Lana Lang breathes in the scent of a weird tropical plant, called the
hate flower, she develops a deep hatred of Superboy. Using a magic mask from
the supernatural section of the Smallville Museum, she summons various people
from the past. The magic of the mask compels those summoned into doing whatever
Lana commands. At one point, she calls upon Hercules, Samson, and Atlas. She
commands them to destroy the Smallville Scientific Institute, then sees to
it that the destruction is blamed on Superboy. After the deed is carried out,
the three heroes are returned to their own eras. Eventually, Lana is cured
by her father, Superboy, and Krypto.
Weapons and Powers: Samson possesses tremendous strength and stamina. Like
his namesake, Samson loses his extraordinary power whenever his long hair
Comments: The Samson depicted in ACTION COMICS #279, an imaginary story,
was seen battling the Philistines, and may well have been the biblical hero
described above. The version shown in SUPERMAN'S GIRL FRIEND, LOIS LANE #19
must have been a dream based on a number of discrepancies. Most glaring is
the fact that the adventure took place in Rome, a thousand years after Samson's
other exploits. Another is the method of time-travel, caused by the fumes
of a strange hallucinogenic plant. Finally, Lois had the ability to understand
and speak the native tongue. It is likely that she had learned earlier from
Superman that Samson used the cover of Merrio as a secret identity, something
she incorporated into her dream.
In the 1970s Joe Simon and Jack Kirby the legendary collaborative
team who produced so many wonderfully imaginative Sandman stories in the 1940s
teamed up once more to create a NEW Sandman for the 1970s. This new
Sandman was written in a very whimsical way. He was intended to actually be
THE Sandman parents told their children about when they asked why there was
"sand" in their eyes when they woke up. He was the eternal, immortal
Sandman, and he protected children (although we only saw him actually protect
TWO children, Jed and a little girl who was the daughter of a scientist) from
hideous nightmare monsters.
The Sandman had two nightmare monsters as sometime-helpers/nuisances, called
Brute and Glob (you can imagine what they looked like from the names). And
actually, the two lead characters in Monsters, Inc. looked suspiciously
a LOT like them... hmmmmm...
Anyway, the character lasted for six issues (although the first issue was
originally intended to be a one-shot, stand-alone), and the final seventh
issue co-starring Santa Claus himself was published first in
CANCELLED COMICS CAVALCADE #2, and then for the general public in a Christmas
issue of BEST OF DC DIGEST #22. The series was definitely intended for children.
The character languished in limbo from the mid-1970s on to about 1983, when
Roy Thomas brought him back in WONDER WOMAN #300. In this issue, Thomas retconned
the character (he did that kind of thing a lot, actually) to now be a human
scientist who had originally worked at UCLA and was an expert on dreams. As
he explains in his secret origin flashback to Wonder Woman, his real name
was Dr. Garrett Sanford, and one day, when the President of the USA, no less,
was in a coma that no doctors could get him out of, Dr. Sanford was sent for
from Washington due to his expertise in dreams and nightmares. He was brought
to a top-secret base where the President was being held, and was supplied
with all this Kirby-like equipment which could actually propel him into the
Dream Dimension itself. He was dressed in a specially-designed uniform and
took the plunge. In the Dream Dimension he found the President's astral form
being clutched by a huge nightmare monster, whom he fought, saving the Prez
and bringing him back to consciousness. Unfortunately for Sanford, he was
now stuck in the Dream Dimension, and he could only leave it for one hour
with the use of his special whistle (don't ask). The government people sent
in the rest of the equipment for Sanford, who took up residence in the Dream
Dimension and began calling himself the Sandman.
This retroactive continuity leaves much to be desired, in my opinion, however,
and doesn't address too many questions raised from a re-reading of the series.
Anyway, in WONDER WOMAN #300, Sanford is shown to be somewhat obsessed with
Wonder Woman, watching her as she dreamed. As a nightmare monster came to
attack her, he protected her, but to his dismay she reacted as any woman would
react to a stalker, at least at first. The Sandman helped WW against the nightmare
monster a few times that issue, but he never appeared in the series again.
I guess he felt rebuffed.
He appeared shortly afterwards in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA ANNUAL #1, where
he assisted the JLA in defeating Dr. Destiny, who also had powers over dreams.
The Sandman was made an honorary member of the JLA, but this detail has been
almost completely forgotten by everyone, it seems, except me.
When this Sandman next appeared, it was sadly only in a flashback, where
it was revealed that he had gone crazy and committed suicide!!! This was around
INFINITY INC #49 or so, and was written by Roy Thomas once again (surprise,
Now, I've enjoyed most of what Roy Thomas has written, but I really hate
his take on the 70s Sandman. I thought he took a character straight from legend
and the imagination and reduced him to just another guy in tights with superpowers.
There could have been SO much more done with the character if he had been
kept as the "eternal, immortal Sandman" rather than been changed
into the former Dr. Garrett Sanford. Anyway, what's done is done, and Neil
Gaiman's SANDMAN has already proven the potential in an "eternal, immortal
(Endless?) Sandman" character... but I thought I'd point out that he
WASN'T the first to do so. Simon and Kirby did it first.
Anyway, back to INFINITY INC. One of the founders of Infinity Inc, the Silver
Scarab (Hector Hall), had already been turned into a villain and killed off
in an earlier storyline, but apparently Hector Hall's untarnished soul was
still out there somewhere. Well, Brute and Glob (remember those two?) ended
up going fishing one day and caught Hector Hall's soul. And since the LAST
Sandman had been alive when he became the Sandman, causing him to be driven
slowly insane because of it, it only made sense for the NEXT Sandman to be
dead already. Hector Hall's soul was placed into Dr. Garrett Sanford's body,
which was itself remolded somehow to look just like Hec's old body. Then he
began stalking Hippolyta (Lyta) Trevor, alias Fury, his ex-girlfriend (sounds
kinda... familiar, don't it?), who was pregnant with his baby. He was found
out soon enough though, and he explained that he didn't want to show his face
because he could only leave the Dream Dimension for an hour at a time and
thus couldn't be a good husband for Lyta, letting her believe he was still
dead but looking in on her and the unborn baby from time to time. Well, Lyta
pooh-poohed this and said she'd be happy living in the Dream Dimension with
him, since she wasn't bound by any "one hour rule".
Hector and Lyta got married in INFINITY INC #50 (after battling some fairy
tale monsters, of course) and settled into newlywed bliss in the Dream Dimension.
The Hector Hall Sandman was next seen, for the last time, in Neil Gaiman's
SANDMAN series, where it was shown that, even after two years or so, Lyta
Trevor Hall was STILL pregnant and the baby wasn't coming out any time soon.
Hector Hall was seen galavanting and palling around with Jed, the original
Sandman's pal. Well, it was revealed that the whole Dream Dimension, the Dream
Stream, and everything there, was all in Jed Walker's mind. In fact, it was
also revealed that Brute and Glob had originally been servants of Morpheus,
the true Sandman, and they created their own little "The Dreaming"
in this boy's mind due to his special abilities. They got this bozo Sanford
to stand in as their own made-up Sandman, and then after he committed suicide
picked up a dead soul for the next one.
Well, Hector Hall as the Sandman picked up Morpheus, who Brute and Glob said
was just another nightmare monster, and when he went to confront him like
any red-blooded superhero would, Morpheus saw this "little ghost"
and returned him to the dead, to Lyta's dismay. Morpheus also saw that Lyta
was carrying a child who had been carried in the womb for a long time in the
Dreaming. He was special, and later on he returned after Lyta gave birth to
him in the real world and named him "Daniel".
Now, due to the machinations of Morpheus/Dream's brother-sister Desire, with
the assistance of Loki and Puck, Daniel Hall appeared to be killed, and Lyta
Hall appealed to the Furies to go after his killer. They couldn't do anything,
however, until they realized that Dream had spilled his own family's blood
by killing his son Orpheus. That his son had asked him to do this didn't matter,
all that mattered was that the Furies avenged those who killed family blood.
Thus, Lyta Hall, as Fury, was responsible for the Sandman's death, although
it was really the Witches Three, alias the Furies, alias the Fates, who killed
Daniel Hall then became the new Dream (Sandman), inheriting all the memories
of the former Dream.
Believe it or not, this year's trio of appearances were the first that Mister
Kringle has made in current DCU continuity. Here's where he appeared prior
to that (and I haven't included all the appearances by guys in Santa Claus
SANTA CLAUS (Earth-Two):
Action Comics #105
Superman's Christmas Adventure
SANTA CLAUS (Earth-R):
All New Collectors' Edition #C-53
The Best of DC #4
Limited Collectors' Edition #C-33, C-42
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
(1) #1-12 (1950 to 1961); (2) C-50
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer Annual
SANTA CLAUS (Earth-S):
SANTA CLAUS (Kriss Kringle; Earth-One):
The Best of DC #22
DC Comics Presents #67
DC Special Series #21
House of Mystery #191 (behind the scenes)
Limited Collectors' Edition
SANTA CLAUS (variants):
Ambush Bug Stocking Stuffer #1
The Best of DC #58
DCU Holiday Bash II
FREEDOM FIGHTERS #7.
House of Mystery #257
LOBO PARAMILITARY CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, retold in LOBO
Star Spangled War Stories [2nd series] #126
"You Can't Pin A Medal On A Gorilla"
Paraphrased from an article by Scott Shaw, a CBR
Marine Corporal Pinky Donovan and his pet gorilla Charlie entertain the U.S.
troops fighting in World War II by performing in USO shows. The duo are split
up when Pinky is called back to active service. They are unexpectedly reunited
when Charlie saves Pinky during a beach assault against the Japanese forces.
When the gorilla continues to aid Pinky and his men, their Commanding Officer
becomes so irritated that he busts Pinky down to the rank of Private. However,
when Charlie later plays a pivotal role in neutralizing the enemy, he is decorated
with a mock medal and given the honorary title of "Sgt. Gorilla".
Franklin John Rock was no stranger to death even before he joined the army.
His father, Sgt. John Michael Rock, had been killed by a snipers bullet in
France during World War One while his stepfather, John Anderson, perished
during a mine cave-in. Even a surrogate father that Frank had come to admire
while working at a Pittsburgh steel mill had met an untimely death.
Sgt. Rock's complex family tree comes by way of creator Robert Kanigher,
who added new (and often conflicting) branches throughout the characters original
29 year run (1959s OUR ARMY AT WAR #81 to 1988s SGT. ROCK #422). Rock's father
was variously described as having died in a mine cave-in (OAAW #231), in World
War I (#275 and 419) or in a Pittsburgh steel mill (#347). Robin Snyder (in
a letter mistakenly attributed in #353 to Mike Tiefenbacher)suggested that
one of the deaths occurred to Rock's stepfather and his existence was confirmed
in #400. As things currently stand, it was father John Rock who died in combat
and stepfather John Anderson who perished in a cave-in. The third death, as
theorized above, probably occurred to a father figure that Frank Rock worked
with at the steel mill.
Of Rock's other siblings, Ann was confined to a mental institution (#400),
Eddie died in a motorcycle accident (#231), Josh was killed in a plunge off
the Golden Gate Bridge while training to be a paratrooper (#158), Larry was
left a vegetable after his WWII injuries and was cared for by his sister Amy
(#421). Bill was in the Marines (#141) and hopefully escaped the family curse.
("Saving Sgt. Rock", anyone?) Issue #347 had Rock mistakenly recall
Josh's death as having occurred to Bill. (Rock's WHO'S WHO entry mentioned
a fifth brother, Mickey (also deceased), and failed to note Amy, Ann, Bill
Further flashbacks would establish Rock as a graduate of Pennsylvanias Hillside
High School, where he was a far better athlete than scholar. After John Andersons
death, Frank tried to support the family as a prizefighter but soon took a
more secure position at a Pittsburgh steel mill.
Rocks days at the steel mill had been established in the introductory OAAW
#81 but his origin wasnt detailed in depth until 1963s SHOWCASE #45. This
account had him gaining his Sergeants stripes after the 1944 D-Day invasion.
The backstory would later be revised to establish that Frank had enlisted
on December 8, 1941. Frank left behind a girlfriend named Mary Walsh, who
sent him a Dear John letter in OAAW #175. Rocks only serious love interest
during the war was French Resistance fighter Mademoiselle Marie, who crossed
paths with Frank in (among others) OAAW #115, 140, 294, BRAVE & BOLD #52,
DC SUPER-STARS #15, SGT. ROCK ANNUAL #2 and SGT. ROCK #412 and 421.
Rock routinely turned down offers to be promoted further, gaining the nickname
of the General of Sergeants in OAAW #256. That issue, incidentally, launched
a serial in which Frank saw action in the Pacific apart from Easy Company
and ended up lost at sea and stranded on a desolate island (#257-260). Upon
his return to the European Theater and the death of his replacement, Sgt.
Decker, Rock took his proper place in Easy Company once more (#262).
In 1965, a member of the Rock family briefly staked out a claim on the Japanese
end of World War Two, with Franks brother Lieutenant Larry Rock fighting on
Bataan with the Marines. Kanigher and Irv Novicks Fighting Devil Dog survived
a mere four issues in OUR FIGHTING FORCES (#95-98) before being bumped for
the contemporary adventures of Captain Phil Hunter in Vietnam. After follow-up
appearances in 1966s CAPT. STORM #13 and 1977s UNKNOWN SOLDIER #205-207 (a
solo trilogy written by Steve Skeates), Larry was killed in 1982s SGT. ROCK
ANNUAL #2. Kanigher later changed his mind and had Franks sibling return as
an invalid in SGT. ROCK #421, the penultimate issue.
Although readers often joked that Sgt. Rock and Easy seemed to possess a
super-human capacity for survival, Kanighers only overt concession to the
booming popularity of super-heroes and super-villains was a Nazi officer with
an iron hand. The Iron Major (Franz von?)debuted in OAAW #158 (1965), returning
in #165, 251-253, BRAVE & BOLD #162, SGT. ROCK #342, 345, 359 and SGT.
ROCK ANNUAL #2 & 4. After a final bow two issues before the end of the
series (SR #420), the Iron Major returned as a ghost in the present-day WAR
OF THE GODS #4 and HAWK AND DOVE ANNUAL #1.
Kanigher had established Franks post-war survival in OAAW #168, wherein he
had Rock visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and Bob Haney picked up on
that fact in THE BRAVE & THE BOLD. In issue #84, hed had Rock and Easy
cross paths with Bruce (Batman) Wayne during the war (in an episode obviously
set on Earth-Two) and followed up with a present-day sequel in B&B #96.
In that one, Bruce arrived at the United States Embassy in South America and
was introduced to our Military Attache and Chief of Embassy Security ... Sergeant
Rock, U.S. Army. Two subsequent present-day episodes found Rock tracking a
Satanic figure that he believed was Adolf Hitler (B&B #108) and an Easy
Company ghost that hed been ordered to execute at the Battle of the Bulge
(B&B #117). In the bizarre B&B #124, Bob Haney and Jim Aparo actually
guest-starred as Rock and Batman trailed a terrorist organization called the
In World War Two flashbacks, Rock crossed paths with Earth-Twos Batman once
more (B&B #162) as well as Wonder Woman (WORLDS FINEST #248-249) and a
time-displaced Superman (DC COMICS PRESENTS #10). BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS
#2 and WORLDS FINEST #300 placed Easy Company in the European nation of Markovia,
also seen in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #3-5. Rock was also tossed into cross-time
affairs such as 1978s SHOWCASE #100 and 1992s ARMAGEDDON: INFERNO #2 and 4.
All of the super-hero crossovers were more than Kanigher could take. In the
letter columns of 1978s SGT. ROCK #316 and 323 and 1980s SR #347 and 348,
he announced that his hero had not lived past 1945, blunting most of Haneys
BRAVE & BOLD episodes if nothing else. It is inevitable and wholly in
character that neither Rock nor Easy survived the closing days of the war,
Apprised of the fact that Bob Haney had written the first two Sgt. Rock stories
in OAAW #81 and 82 (with art by Ross Andru & Mike Esposito and Mort Drucker,
respectively), Kanigher retroactively declared the first episode that hed
written (OAAW #83s Joe Kubert-illustrated The Rock and The Wall) as Rocks
true debut. A number of fans have argued passionately on Kanighers behalf,
accurately citing numerous Rock prototypes that appeared in the four years
leading up to issue #83 and noting that the character in #81 is called Sgt.
Rocky. In the end, though, popular opinion seems to have fallen in favor of
the Kanigher-edited Rock of Easy as being the inaugural episode and it was
OAAW #81 that was recently selected by DC as a Millennium Edition.
SGT. ROCK ended in mid-1988 with issue #422 (the ironically-titled Rehearsal
For Death with Joe, Andy and Adam Kubert collaborating on the art and color)
but was revived almost immediately as a reprint series for a 21-issue issue
run from 1988-1991. A pair of brand-new SGT. ROCK SPECIALs were published
in 1992 and 1994. Chuck Dixon followed up the latters Battle of the Bulge
theme with a second Rock story set in that period as part of Christmas 1997s
DCU HOLIDAY BASH II. Six months after SGT. ROCK #422, Rick Veitch had penned
an unusual Sgt. Rock episode for SWAMP THING #82, set on May 1, 1945. It seemed
that Frank had survived the war in Europe though whether he and Easy were
shipped to the Pacific remains undocumented.
The modern successors to Easy Company had first appeared in BRAVE & BOLD
#108 and 117 (the latter also checking in on some of the surviving WW2 vets)
and returned during DCs 1988 Invasion! sequence with a role in FIRESTORM #80
and STARMAN (first series) #5. The legendary sergeants fate would not even
be hinted at in the modern DC Universe until General Rock reappeared
in 2001s SUPERMAN #166.
The closest that Kanigher ever came to a last Easy story was in 1987s Sons
of Easy, an Andy Kubert-illustrated two-parter in SGT. ROCK #417-418. In a
prophetic dream, Frank found himself and Easy surviving both World War Two
and the Korean War only to have their offspring perish in a veritable bloodbath
in 1968-era Vietnam. Profoundly shaken, Frank confessed to Horace Bulldozer
Canfield that the nightmare wasso bad I can still taste it.
What could be worse than this war?
Maybe its not learnin a lesson from this killin, Bulldozer, I dont know.
I dont remember. Maybe its just as well. Maybe there are some dreams were
lucky not to remember. This is our war. The one were stuck with. The one weve
gotta fight to a finish. Lets go Easy!
Scarab was an evil magician that terrorized Egypt 3000 years ago. He was
captured and imprisoned in a pyramid, where it was believed he would remain
forever. In the late 20th century, archeologists moved the pyramid, enabling
the magician to escape. The heroine known as Isis was able to trick Scarab
in becoming trapped in the pyramid once again. This time his imprisonment
would be permanent.
ISIS #1 (Oct-Nov 1976)
The Scarab II
Written by Richard Meyer
In October of 1941, Louis Sendak found the amulet known as Scarabeus that
transformed him into Scarab. Scarabeus had been one of many things brought
by his father from journeys he took behind a green door in their family home,
a door which would only open for certain, unspecified reasons. The door was
a pathway into the Labyrinth, a place that was also known as The Subtle Realms.
As Scarab, Louis had the power of flight, was incredibly strong and somewhat
invulnerable, and had many other mystical powers as well.
Scarab fought many criminals and eccentric super-villains, including Shabbez
Jekk (the Overlord of Tharn who stole Manhattan's shadow) and the Loom of
Despair (which wove the smoke of the ovens in Auschwitz into black weltschmerz).
He also worked with several mystery-men and super-heroes of the time period,
including Doctor Fate and Sargon the Sorcerer (with whom he faced off against
Doktor Vortex and the Quote). He had also joined a team of second-tier "mystery
men" in Chicago known as the Seven Shadows.
Scarab also assisted the Justice Society of America on at least one occasion
during this time period. Johnny Sorrow had kidnapped Sandy the Golden Boy
and murdered the Seven Shadows. Sorrow himself had been a small-time crook
with big ideas until Sandy damaged the Subspace Prototype device that he had
been wearing in a battle between Sorrow and the JSA. Sorrow was cast into
the Subtle Realms, ruled by the King of Tears. The denizens fashioned a mask
to contain his radically altered form and sent him back into the real world
to help bring about the arrival of the King of Tears. Sorrow blamed Sandy
for his transformation and for the death of his wife (she had accidentally
seen his transformed face and died). Scarab and the JSA (Hawkman, Hawkgirl,
the Flash, Green Lantern, Sandman, and the Spectre) arrived to thwart Sorrow's
schemes. Sorrow escaped, but the Spectre captured the King of Tears, transforming
him into actual tears that he asked the Justice Society to guard.
In 1944, after Louis had recovered from a debilitating event that had him
unconscious for six months, the door opened and his wife Eleanor was pulled
into the world behind it. Eleanor was trapped in the hallways and doorways
for the next forty years, until a being known as the Sicari found the door
and went through and attacked Eleanor. After a long retirement from being
Scarab, Louis was forced to once again call upon the Scarabeus to save his
wife's life, though she ended up being in a coma.
While contemplating what to do and how to help his wife, Louis encountered
the Phantom Stranger, who reminded him that the scarab was the sacred animal
form of Khepri, the rebirth deity seen as the dung beetle by the Egyptians.
Khepri was the creative form of the god Ra, and was the god of resurrection
and renewal. Once Louis accepted his own mortality and limitations, the Scarabeus
renewed him, transforming him into a young man again. His powers as Scarab
were increased as well, and included a sort of 360-degree vision.
Scarab next investigated the mysterious events in the town of Whitehaven,
North Carolina. There was a mass suicide by all the men in town (except one
injured man who hadn't been able to walk) and all the women were partaking
in regular orgies with each other, and every female in town was pregnant by
an unknown means. Scarab discovered that the "unknown means" was the demon
known as the Rathorach, who had come to the town to spawn and die.
Louis next searched for Jeff Coogan, the son of an old friend who suddenly
went missing. He was located, now being one of the deformed and tortured prisoners
of Colouris, the Sacred Vivisector. Scarab defeated Colouris and his people,
the Lillot, in the world known as the Secret Garden. He was not able to save
Jeff, who sacrificed his life so that Scarab could stop Colouris.
Eleanor started to produce ethereal tendrils from her body that eventually
took physical form as a gigantic chrysalis. As his concern for his wife and
what to do about her grew, Louis threw himself into his work as Scarab, encountering
Mr. Chigley and His Zoo of Shame, Ernest Breedlove (the world's sexiest man,
who was raped to death by a deck of tarot cards), the Phantom Barber, and
the Electric Fetus Machine. Louis was summoned to London after the Russians
from the Institute of Brains tested the Scream Over Hiroshima over that city,
causing untold physical and psychic destruction. Psychic Hilda Routledge told
Louis that his wife was coming back, and explained much that was going on
with the Scream and how it could seriously damage the veil between the astral
and physical planes. After poltergeists injured Hilda, Scarab went into the
schism directly into the heart of the Scream in Russia, where it was created
by the young men known as the Gloryboys (q.v.). A renegade Russian general
unleashed the Scream on the entire world before Scarab could stop him, and
untold numbers of strange and unreal things began to happen all over the world
on both the real and astral planes. This caused Bobby Dazzler and Benedict
Creed of the Cosmic Coincidence Control Center to step in to stop prevent
the Scream from destroying the world. Scarab, however, was not able to assist
them, as he had discovered that his wife's chrysalis had opened and he went
to be with the lifeform that emerged from it. The effects of the Scream eventually
died out and Creed and Dazzler (who was killed by his exposure to possible
futures that the Scream could've brought into being) were able to fix things
and seemingly make nearly everyone forget what had happened by imprinting
a new reality framework upon the world-mind.
Louis Sendak's final appearance was as a prisoner in his own home, at the
hands of Johnny Sorrow. The villain was planning to exact his vengeance on
Scarab, the JSA, and the world by using Sendak as a vessel to release the
King of Tears. Sorrow injected Sendak with the tears that the Spectre had
cried during their first encounter. Sendak was "overwritten" with the essence
of the King of Tears, and according to Johnny Sorrow the old man ceased to
exist. His body virtually exploded (as did the Labyrinth), releasing essence
of the Subtle Realms into our own universe. Louis Sendak was presumably killed
during the experience (no further mention was made of him in that particular
story), even after the JSA had again managed to defeat the King of Tears.
JSA #1-4, 16-17
Scarth was a musclebound guy in a techno-tanktop with a spiked blond
crewcut and an Aryan sense of superiority. "NOTHING can hurt me if I
see it COMING," he boasted. "It's a reflex. It's a gift." Armed
with an assortment of weapons, he was the chief enforcer for Necrodyne Industries,
a sinister corporation run by the wizened Mr. Dunwich. Initially, Scarth's
primary focus was the recapture of the immortal man named Incarnate (in Steven
Grant and Vince Giarrano's MANHUNTER (1994 series) #3, 5) but Chase "Manhunter"
Lawlor quickly became a secondary target. The first bout went to Lawlor when
he knocked Scarth off a skyscraper. Climbing out of a deep crater, the bloodied
Scarth vowed that the next time would be different (#4).
In issue #8, Scarth succeeded in capturing Manhunter by blasting him from
behind. Lawlor escaped in short order, pulling his mask over Scarth's face
so that he couldn't react to his blows. The final conflict devastated Necrodyne,
with Dunwich himself slain by Incarnate. Lawlor used one of Scarth's own weapons
(a flash gun) to blind the villain and then proceeded to beat him to a pulp.
As he was carried off, Scarth was informed by the obsequious Mister Jaffey
that "by the time you wake up again, I'll be RUNNING Necrodyne. And YOU
we'll REBUILD, better than ever. I have a whole BUNCH of improvements in mind"
Secret Agent Woman
April 30, 1940: At 3 P.M. yesterday, an attack by a fanatical easterner on
the President was attempted. G-Men have been called in.
The assassination attempt on Franklin Roosevelt had, in fact, been the third
strike on a world leader in the span of little more than a month. Manhattan
socialite Carter Hall was mulling on the events of the day while attending
a concert when he suddenly found himself in the midst of the mystery.
A young blonde in the crowded hallway suddenly found herself attacked by
a glassy-eyed man from the Middle East wielding a nasty-looking blade. Hall
swung into action, decking the would-be assassin and, displaying his knowledge
of antiquities, identifying the weapon as a khanjur. Impressed by her rescuers
scholarship, the woman slipped a card into his pocket:
A hand written invitation added: Why not call tonight?
After piquing Carters interest with the card, Ione insisted that he not get
further mixed up in this terrible affair!Identifying herself as a federal
agent, she revealed that she was headed for Araby to invesigate the revival
of the 11th Century Sect of Assassins. Even now they plan a world-wide murder
plot to kill those in authority in all countries and set up their own rulers.
Predictably, the young womans protests only encouraged Carter Hall to follow
her, flying behind her ship from New York to Cairo. Head in hand, Ione seemed
to dread her mission. I wish I had someone to turn to ...
On cue, the Hawkman landed on her hotel room balcony and introduced himself
as her bodyguard. Ione immediately pulled out a map to Alamut, the so-called
City of Assassins and asked the Hawk to confirm its location while she arranged
for an air raid.
While Hawkman infiltrated Alamut, Ione was kidnapped by the Sect and brought
to the city in chains. Raiding the meal hall, the Hawk snatched a scimitar
and dived into the wave of assassins fighting, were told, with the power of
ten men. Flinging the F.B.I. agent over his shoulder, Hawkman wrapped up the
mission by bringing down the leader of the Sect with his slingshot. The deadly
missile flys (sic) true and Hassan Ibn Sabah sinks to the floor ... dead.
Gardner Fox and Sheldon Moldoff picked up in FLASH COMICS #6 where theyd
left off in #5. Observing that my wings are not working properly, Hawkman
was forced to land with Ione in the middle of the desert. Without the F.B.I.
agents additional weight, the Hawk briefly took to the sky again to determine
their whereabouts. Predictably, Ione was gone when he returned, abducted this
time by slavers.
A rescue attempt went awry and, with his wings unreliable, Hawkman was taken
prisoner, too. A fellow captive identified himself as Major Brent, the only
survivor of an army unit decimated by Sheba, the self-described Queen of the
Finally solving his flight problem (Ah. The adjustor fan needs a minor correction.),
Hawkman escaped, roused the nearby army battalion and returned in time to
rescue Brent and Ione from serving as the main course for lions in Shebas
arena. With all of the Desert Queens forces watching the festivities, her
army was caught off when the calvarys tanks rolled in. The woman whod vowed
to free Araby from the hated white people found herself a prisoner of the
men she despised.
With FLASH #7, Carters fiancee Shiera Sanders was back in her proper role
as the strips female lead. Ione Craig never appeared again and, given the
fact that she spent most of the two issues in chains and cheesecake shots,
one might well assume that she was drummed out of the F.B.I. Or, to play devils
advocate, rather than speculate on Ione Craigs lack of qualifications for
the job, maybe we should be asking just how gullible Carter Hall really was.
Consider the facts. Carter met an agent of the F.B.I. who ...
... was assigned to seek out a cult but was unfamiliar with their weapon
... revealed her status as an operative to a stranger and provided him
with details on her mission while encouraging him not to get involved.
... didnt question either Hawkmans subsequent offer of help or his familiarity
with the case.
... seemed incapable of defending herself against a succession of attackers.
Carter himself wondered, If they know Ione Craig is a secret agent, why send
her to Araby? The assassins will only kill her. Rather than following through
on the suspicious chain of events, he allowed his male defense mechanisms
to kick in.
In the largely uncharted territory of the mystery-man, Carter and Shiera
still had much to learn about keeping a secret. In the Hawkmans second case,
Shiera had gone so far as to reveal his true name to terrorist Alexander the
Great and arrange a meal with the madman in the hope of negotiating
a settlement! Alexander, who had threatened to crush the entire eastern seaboard,
was captured by the Hawk and left for the authorities (FLASH COMICS #2). One
can only imagine what he told them.
A month later, Carter himself revealed his secrets to a quintet of kidnapped
scientists, including college pal Dick Blendon. The grateful men assured Hawkman
that theyd keep the truth to themselves (FLASH COMICS #3). But did they?
Another point of curiosity was the unusual malfunction of Hawkmans wings
while flying across the desert with Ione. Up to that point, the only man with
the technology to ground the Hawk was Alexander, whod demonstrated the effects
of his mass-enhancing ray in FLASH #2. Were the wings actually weakened by
an out-of-synch fan, as Hawkman believed, or was Ione secretly disabling them
with a device derived from Alexanders weapon so that the hero would discover
Its a matter of record that, by November of 1940, the F.B.I. had files on
Hawkman and several of his contemporaries. Further, the agency regarded them
as trustworthy enough to solicit their aid in spearheading an assault against
Nazi Germany (DC SPECIAL #29). On November 26, J. Edgar Hoover himself requested
that Hawkman and the newly-minted Justice Society of America track down Fritz
Klaver and his ring of saboteurs (ALL-STAR COMICS #4).
In any event, the Silver Age Hawkman crossed paths with government agents
himself in 1965 when he went up against C.A.W. in HAWKMAN #10. The C.I.A.
agent known only as Blondie was everything that Ione Craig was not
observant, resourceful and more than capable of holding her own in a fight.
And she should have been. When the case was over, she unmasked herself as
Shayera Thal. Hawkgirl had tried to put one over on her husband but hed known
it was her all along. Theres just no fooling those extraterrestrial police
The Separated Man
The Separated Man had been an alter-ego assumed by Professor Brian Holmes
in Midville. the scientist had devised a method of transforming himself into
a molecular giant that could separate and control (from a distance) its various
body parts. Unfortunately, the process also turned him evil (or at least made
him completely unable to control himself), and he went on a rampage through
Midville until he was stopped and imprisoned. His son Tommy was elected "teen
mayor for a day", which coincided with a reappearance of the Separated
Man, as a giant hand began ripping the roofs off of houses. the townspeople
believed that Tommy was behind it, to gain vengeance on the town for imprisoning
his father. the boy pleaded his innocence, and called in the Teen Titans to
help clear himself and stop the new menaces.
Kid Flash, Robin, Aqualad, and Wonder Girl arrived to help Tommy, who had
also almost been stomped to death by the giant hand (along with his girlfriend
Martha). As he finished detailing the history of the Separated Man to the
Titans, two giant feet began treading toward the clubhouse, one of which had
Tommy's father clinging to the ankle. Wonder Girl's magic lasso "tripped"
the monster feet, which took off running away with Professor Holmes still
clinging to the side of one. Tommy told them that since his father was in
his human form on the foot, he couldn't actually be this Separated Man. the
Titans and all the kids headed for Midville, where the giant hand was still
causing a lot of damage. Robin, Wonder Girl, and the teens lassoed the hand
and pulled it out of town with the combined force of all of their motor scooters.
As the hand was pulled out of town, a giant eyeball appeared over the town
and started crying tears of flame. Holmes also showed up in town, much to
the chagrin of the Mayor. Kid Flash used his super-speed to put out the fire
and drive the eye away, and brought Holmes out to where the hand was tied
down. Holmes explained that he hadn't unleashed the Separated Man, but rather
his former cellmate, Jake Trask, had done so after watching Holmes work on
his formula in prison (he was trying to devise one which did not have the
criminal tendencies his original one did). He had also devised an anti-serum
to transform the Separated Man back to normal. Unfortunately, Trask overheard
their plans with a laughably giant ear hidden behind a rock outcropping. the
teenagers turned on their transistor radios real loud and deafened the ear
with the Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand", which then fled the
area. Wonder Girl flew after the ear, only to find the giant eye watching
her. the mouth caught up to her and screamed with such a gale force that she
was blown away. She managed to plug the mouth with a billboard and continued
her search for the rest of the Separated Man. Kid Flash came upon the feet
crushing a forest and tried to chase them, but got caught in a bog. Aqualad
also could find no sign of the creature at sea. Holmes let Robin know that,
in case anything happened to him, his old laboratory was in the abandoned
lighthouse on the beach, a fact that was also overheard by the ear of the
Separated Man. the ear fled, and Robin told everyone to meet him at the beach.
A complete Separated Man appeared at the beach, tossing boats at Tommy and
Martha as they waited for the others, but soon gave up and waded out to the
lighthouse. the teenagers surfed after him, propelled by a wall of water created
by Aqualad and a bunch of whales. Wonder Girl lassoed the Separated Man's
hand as he drew back to swat the kids who were ramming him with their surfboards,
but found that even she could not halt the creature's progress. the Separated
Man rose out of the water and onto a pier as Robin and Holmes arrived. Holmes
told the Boy Wonder that he had given the creature a false tip, since the
Laboratory wasn't really at the lighthouse. the pier collapsed, knocking Holmes
out (though Aqualad and a manta ray managed to save everyone from any serious
While the creature's attentions were focused on Wonder Girl, who was trying
to tie its giant arms together, Robin dove in the water and rammed a giant
needle directly into the Separated Man's heart. the serum forced Trask to
revert back to normal. Holmes went peacefully back to his cell to finish out
his term, and the authorities apprehended Trask.
I know a lot about this guy. For one, he paved the way for 'dark' heroes
like Batman. Originally a pulp hero from the late 30's all the way through
the 40's, DC did a comic series with Denny O'Neil as the editor and Mike Kaluta
doing the art in the 70's. Then when the 80's came around (86 roughly until
89) a succession of other SHADOW comics by DC were published, done by Andy
Helfer and Howard Chaykin. Then in the early 90's there was a series called
THE SHADOW STRIKES!, done by Gerard Jones.
What I'm looking for are links between the Shadow and other DC heroes. In
the 70's we had two BATMAN issues (#253 and #259) which featured the Shadow
as a supporting character, and I've run across a note that in BATMAN #336
it was mentioned that the Shadow had 'retired'. The Avenger shows up in some
of the 70's O'Neil/Kaluta SHADOW series, and I know Doc Savage (another name
some people could kick around for quite a while) was featured in a few issues
of THE SHADOW STRIKES!. Unfortunately, the Avenger and Doc Savage are also
pulp heroes which DC decided to work into their comics for a few issues each.
I have run across some tantalizing and encouraging hints that the DC version
of the Shadow found his training in Shamballa (anyone familiar with WARLORD
comics should recognize the reference), but I haven't been able to actually
get my mitts on any of the 80's series which make this claim. In fact, short
of finding a lot of hints and clues, digging up any comic history of the Shadow
regarding DC makes me feel much like the Shadow himself with all the detective
I would be most appreciative if anyone has any idea of what I'm talking about
and would come forth with some more information. I'm in the process of obtaining
some old SHADOW comics of the Chaykin series and Helfer series, but I'd like
to be able to put together a big unifying picture of one of the key inspirations
for the Batman.
The problem with finding any relevant links with the DC Universe, outside
of the BATMAN issues, is that the Shadow isn't really a DC character - he's
a Conde Nast Publications character. Other than Batman, I think the only interaction
that the Shadow had was with The Avenger and Doc Savage, again both Conde
Nast characters. You're sort of looking at the same situation as with the
Archie/Impact heroes, in that the company that owns the heroes just licensed
them to DC, apparently with the proviso that the characters not lose their
particular uniqueness and join the DC Universe.
I've always kind of thought that the appearances of the Shadow in BATMAN
were done just for their promotional value ... it was in DC's interest to
get the Shadow back in the public eye so that his own comic would sell better.
I doubt anyone really considered them canon, especially the second one with
the changes that were made to Batman's history to accommodate the Shadow's
appearance in the story.
As for the SHADOW series themselves, I'd stick with the original Kaluta/Redondo
series myself. The Chaykin stuff was interesting for the first story arc,
but it didn't interest me enough to keep reading (you can get the first storyline
in the BLOOD AND JUDGMENT trade paperback). I only glanced at a few of the
Helfer comics, so I can't really give much of an opinion on them other than
to say they didn't interest me either. Helfer's a pretty good writer on most
anything, though, so don't let my opinion on that prejudice you.
"A week ago I saw my family ripped to pieces in front of me. Only I
survived. Now, whenever I use my powers, I can't forget they were brought
by the death of my parents, my brothers and my sister. It makes me crazy sometimes."
The summer of 1993 saw a wave of terror pass over the United States as a
group of alien parasites spread out on a campaign of death. A certain percentage
of their victims survived the encounters, which activated their bodies' metagenes
and unleashed strange new powers within them. For the young man speaking above,
survival came at a terrible price.
The darkness in Shadowstryke's soul was mirrored in the power he received.
He could now project jagged rays of shadow energy from his hands. Garbed in
dark purple and gray, Shadowstryke hid his face behind a mask whose sunken
eyes and nose and sewn-shut mouth suggested a skull. Seeking revenge against
the parasites, he joined with other so-called "New Bloods" Krag
and Slingshot and formed an alliance with Justice League America (JUSTICE
LEAGUE AMERICA ANNUAL #7, by William Messner-Loebs and Greg LaRocque).
Eventually, nearly all of the New Bloods came together to crush the parasites'
monstrous offspring. As Shadowstryke fired his shadow-bolts at the creature,
the bursts united with the energy-blasts of Mongrel to create a truly formidable
combination that sent the monster reeling (BLOODBATH #2). Shadowstryke has
not been seen since that bloody summer.
Shahn-Zi was a Chinese myth come to life as Gotham City's Chinatown was celebrating
the Year of the Bat. the Lord of the Yellow River created a force field around
the Chinatown area and revealed his plans to regenerate himself, using Mayor
Bill Loo's son Danny as his receptacle. Shahn-Zi's power also attracted the
attention of the visiting Jim Corrigan, and his alter-ego the Spectre. the
Astral Avenger and the Batman battled Shahn-Zi, and the River Lord had nearly
destroyed the Spectre when the Batman found and destroyed the source of his
power, a model water wheel using water from the Yellow River of China.
Years later, Shahn-Zi appeared at yet another New Year's celebration in Chinatown,
though this time Bill's son Danny was presiding over the festivities. This
time, the combined strength of Batman and Jason Blood (also known as Etrigan
the Demon) was barely able to stop the Lord of the Yellow River from taking
over the city (and Etrigan needed to get special help from his master Merlin
in order to defeat him).
The Brave and the Bold #75, 137
"Shark" Wilson was a man known for his distinctive features,
among them his flat nose, upturned lip and lantern jaw that inspired his nickname.
Then, too, there was "that long scar down his right cheek," only
the most conspicuous evidence that a long life of crime had left on his body.
Appropriately for a hood named Shark, he was brought to justice by Aquaman
and sentenced to "an island prison fortress."
In mid-1954, Wilson decided that he'd had enough of the prison routine and
made his escape, laughing at the ludicrous story that the guards told about
the beach, where the sand was "believed to have magic powers that'll
turn you into a fish." Wilson got a face full of the sand when he hit
the ground, then rose unsteadily to his feet. "Must've been shaken up
bad by that high jump."
By the time Aquaman arrived on the scene, Wilson had vanished. The Sea King
was astonished to find a shark swimming offshore with the same facial features
as the escaped convict. Aquaman had always scoffed at the legend of magic
sands but the shark's uncanny display of human cunning concerned him. In rapid
succession, the shark repelled several of Aquaman's sea allies. He manipulated
two octopi into tying themselves in knots, bent the nose of a swordfish and
even gathered other sharks to take on the hero.
Aquaman concluded "that shark has the brains to defeat any well-known
fish ... so I'll bring up a couple of denizens of the deep never before seen
by man or shark." A group of "monster boxing shrimp" beat off
the renegade sharks while Aquaman sent a giant blowfish against the ringleader.
"As the shark attacks, the blowfish inflates itself to three times its
normal size. And at the same time, deadly poisoned spikes project out from
its body. The spikes break off like arrows, sticking in the shark's body and
The mortally wounded shark thrashed about in agony and Aquaman prepared to
"mercifully destroy it before it kills anyone." The desperate creature
swam towards the beach, literally blinking out of sight before the Aquatic
Avenger's eyes. On shore, a search party found the unconscious "Shark"
Wilson even as a baffled guard insisted that he'd searched the location earlier
and come up empty-handed (ADVENTURE COMICS #203, art by Ramona Fradon).
Aquaman never learned quite what had happened to "the shark with the
human brain" but he was destined to face more Sharks in the future. "Shark"
Norton, a virtual twin of Wilson, was later jailed by Aquaman and, when
he made his escape in 1959, attempted to evade the Sea King by committing
robberies on land (ADVENTURE #267).
Further in the future, Aquaman would meet the reversal on Wilson, a tiger
shark who'd been transformed by radiation into a man. As Karshon, the Shark
was responsible for stripping Aquaman of his Atlantean crown in 1976 (ADVENTURE
Still, the events of that 1954 day lingered in his mind. "What about
it?", Aquaman asked the reader. "Was that shark I fought simply
the shrewdest shark that ever lived? ... Or was it Shark Wilson, who returned
to his normal self after the shark body died? What do YOU think?"
Arthur Conan Doyle wrote and published a total of 60 Holmes adventures between
1887 and 1927. The first novel was entitled "A Study In Scarlet".
Sherlock Holmes was born William Sherlock Scott Holmes on January 6th, 1854.
He had at least one brother, Mycroft Holmes, who was seven years his senior.
Some sources also suggest the existence of another brother, Sherrinford.
Holmes entered Christ Church College at Oxford in 1872, having spent the
previous summer in a class taught by Professor James Moriarty, a man who would
later return as his greatest nemesis. While attending the university, Holmes
investigated and solved the first case of his career.
After leaving Oxford in 1877, Holmes settled in London on Montague Street
and embarked on his career as a consulting detective.
In January 1881, the first meeting of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John H. Watson
occurred in the chemistry lab at St. Bartholomew's Hospital, where Holmes
was conducting experiments. Both realized they were in need of a roommate
and, soon afterward, Holmes and Watson moved into a London apartment at 221B
On May 4th, 1891, Sherlock Holmes was reported dead by his partner, Dr. Watson.
An apparent battle to the death had ensued between Holmes and the infamous
Professor Moriarty, that resulted in both men tumbling over a cliff at Reichenbach
Falls, Switzerland, to a watery grave in the chasm below.
For the next three years, Watson was led to believe that his friend was dead.
Only the detective's brother, Mycroft, knew that he was actually alive. During
that period, Holmes traveled about as a Norwegian named John Sigerson. Holmes
had used his disappearance as a cover to allow him to defeat three criminals
who were intent on killing him.
Holmes returned to his London practice in 1894, continuing his investigations
until 1903, when he retired to the Sussex Downs.
(Note: In "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen", Sherlock Holmes
was still believed dead when the League was formed in 1898.)
A run through on Sherlock Holmes in the DC Universe
Sherlock Holmes of Earth-One:
ACTION #283 (magically created Holmes duplicate)
SHERLOCK HOLMES #1
DETECTIVE COMICS #572
JOKER #6 (an actor named Clive Sigerson poses as Holmes)
Sherlock Holmes of Earth-Four:
ALL NEW BAFFLING ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Sherlock Holmes of Earth-B:
DC SPECIAL SERIES #8
Sherlock Holmes of Earth-Quality:
HIT COMICS #29
KID ETERNITY #4,8,10
Sherlock Holmes of Earth-S:
CAPTAIN MARVEL, JR. #2
WORLD'S FINEST COMICS #279
Various Alternate Realities/Futures:
JUSTICE LEAGUE EUROPE ANNUAL #2
KINGDOME COME #2
Sherlock Holmes Post-Crisis:
DETECTIVE COMICS #572
Sierra Smith, assisted by the lovely Nan, was a 1940s detective in
the Western U.S. He appeared in DALE EVANS #1-19, 21-23 and DETECTIVE #206.
James Robinson mentioned his detective prowess in the recent STARMAN #18.
Talking of obscure characters, I'm suprised no-one's mentioned those loser
villainesses from Poison Ivy's first appearance, y'know the Silken Spider
Created by 46-year-old Harlan Ellison of Sherman Oaks, CA, the Silver
Fog was one of the earliest villains to appear in Marv Wolfman and Carmine
Infantino's 1980 "Dial 'H' For Hero" revival. Basically, Sam Toth
was a scientist who tested a particle accelerator on himself and transformed
himself into ... a silver fog. With great effort, he could regain solid form
but he was quickly beginning to fade away. Toth turned to crime to find a
cure, a development that brought him into contact with Chris King (as Captain
Electron), whose energy powers unwittingly cured the grateful Toth (ADVENTURE
Toth's assistant, Edward Arling, later used the same technology to become
the second Silver Fog but quickly became disgusted with life as a super-villain
when he found himself in competition with the Gentleman Ghost and I.Q. and
opposed by the Teen Titans (NEW TEEN TITANS (second series) #40).
Arling's son, Nelson, adapted the concept for himself, creating a being of
living fog that was manipulated by a control box. The third Silver Fog
was defeated by Impulse (IMPULSE #51).
Not really characters. They were more of a type of character that debuted
in Batman Family no. 19, sometime in the early-1980s and appeared only twice.
First the backstory: in the pre-Crisis DC, Commissioner Gordon had a grown
son who became a spy in Red China. He managed to escape the Chinese and get
back to the States but apparently, the Chinese were so vengeful that Gordon's
son felt it was too dangerous to come out in the open and so he remained in
hiding in the US, not even telling his father or his sister, Barbara Gordon,
Batgirl, where he was.
Incidentally, Barbara Gordon was a congresswoman at the time, something that
everyone seems to have forgotten. She used her government contacts to try
and find out what happened to her brother and this eventually brought her
into conflict with the Sino-Supermen.
The Sino-Supermen were super-powered agents, created by Beijing. As Batgirl
is later told by an intelligence agent, the Chinese refuse to believe that
Superman, the Flash and all the other superheroes were created by accident
and believe that they were secret products of the US government. The US, for
its part, encourages such thinking, perhaps because they want the Chinese
to waste their resources trying to come out with their own superheroes.
The Chinese superbeings (who included women), were pretty much crude knock-offs
of American heroes like Superman, Supergirl, Flash, Green Lantern and Batman,
but with one glaring defect. Just a few seconds after they used their powers,
these guys would BLOW UP. Despite this virtual death sentence, none of the
Sino-Supermen ever displayed anything beyond a fanatical devotion to duty.
They never got much of a chance to show off any characterization at all.
Their appearances would go like this: Imitation Superman knocks open a wall.,
glows ominously, then explodes. Imitation Green Lantern blasts a crowd of
cops, glows ominously and then explodes. Most of these suicide superbeings
never got any lines.
Eventually Batgirl finds out what happened to her brother. As for the Sino-Supermen,
they are never heard of again. Their few appearances are likely no longer
in continuity as Commissioner Gordon's grown son has been retconned away.
Still if anyone needs some heavies for a story set in China, those low-cost
labs can probably mass produce these guys by the thousands.
An odd fact I remember about the Sino-Supermen...that they
felt that the U.S. had used their technology after their first encounter with
Batgirl and created Firestorm (that, at the time, Firestorm was a new hero...and
he showed up just after Batgirl encounted them for the first time...)
(or the Heroes of the Microcosmos, take your pick.)
They appeared in a three-part JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA story, issues #213-216
circa 1983 that put the JLA in a sword-and-sorcery setting. Gerry Conway was
the writer, Don Heck, the artist. The Sisterhood were not so much a super-group
as a team of resistance fighters and only a small handful were ever identified.
The story starts with the Atom, Ray Palmer suffering a nervous breakdown
because of some professional reverses. Jean, his wife, goes to his old friend
Hawkman for help but Ray is too far gone. Cackling like a madman, he uses
some sort of machine to send himself into some sub-atomic world. A group of
less powerful JLA members (Batman, Black Canary, Green Arrow, Red Tornado
and Hawkman) shrink themselves and go after him. But in the transition, they
suffer some form of amnesia. They land in some medieval world, remembering
that they have some common objective but not sure what it is.
They soon encounter a hooded woman who introduces herself as "the Wanderer"
and who fills them in on the history of the world. The planet is ruled by
the tyranny of Goltha, a baddie who usurped the throne and killed the rightful
ruler. With an army of ogre-like creatures and his daughter, the Black Princess,
Kass'andre, Goltha crushes all opposition and keeps the JLA on the run. It
is later revealed that decades earlier, Goltha managed to seize power by enslaving
a powerful giant that fell from the sky. Three guesses who the giant was.
(It is later explained that there is some sort of time anomly between the
sub-atomic world and the normal universe.)
Eventually, after falling into the hands of Kass'andre, both the JLA and
the Wanderer are rescued by members of a female monastic/guerrilla group calling
itself the Siren Sisterhood. The Wanderer reveals she is Krystal Kaa, the
true heir to the throne and both the JLA (who slowly regain their memories)
and the Sisterhood agree to help her fight Goltha and free the enslaved Atom.
However discord soon breaks out in the two camps. The ambitious Kass'andre
decides not to wait to inherit the throne and begins plotting against her
father. The JLA and Krystal Kaa disagree on how to handle the Atom. The Leaguers
want to free him but Krystal Kaa believes he can be sacrificed in the fight
to free her kingdom. All sides come together in one big battle in the palace
courtyard. Kass'andre kills her father and declares herself the new ruler.
The Atom is turned loose and the JLA and the Sisterhood fight over how to
handle him. But before things deteriorate further, Green Arrow calls out Ray
Palmer's name, snapping the Atom from his trance. Kass'andre tries to kill
Krystal Kaa with a ray blast from a gem she has implanted in one of her eyes
but it is reflected back and kills the Black Princess instead.
Krystal Kaa regains the throne, the League and the Sisterhood shake hands
just before the JLA returns to the normal world for a tearful reunion between
Ray and Jean.
The main members of the Sisterhood are:
Krystal Kaa: platinum-haired princess with an attitude. She had a magic staff
with a power gem at the end that could be used for energy bursts. She also
had a glove with a gem that emitted similar energy bursts. These weapons were
passed down from her royal ancestors.
Sister Light: robed woman who could generate blinding light.
Twigg: plant-woman who could "stretch" her arms and legs. Had a
measure of super-strength.
Mother Moon: a matronly woman with healing powers.
Mule: the sole male member of the sisterhood. He was a huge, bestial creature,
covered with blue fur. He had great strength and savagery but was like a puppy
to Sister Light.
No origin was given for most of the Sisterhood although it is implied that
they were freaks of nature. (Oooooh! Mutants!) There were assorted robed women
and armoured female fighters in the Sisterhood as well but the reader learns
little about them.
The whole story was rather confusing and I got the impression that it was
not well-thought out and that certain elements of the story were abruptly
changed before publication. At one point in the story, Sister Light tells
a group of soldiers, "you think I am helpless because I am unmarried?"
The League look out of place in the story and the threats never seem very
menacing. And the Sisterhood themselves are pretty forgettable despite Conway's
attempts to make them strong, sympathetic characters. Even Don Heck's skill
in drawing beautiful women seems to have waned in these stories as none of
the Sisterhood look very striking. If anything, the story reminds one of the
tepid sword and sorcery cartoons of Hanna-Barbara ('Galtar and the Golden
Lance' anyone?) in the 1970s.
The whole story arc was badly timed. Just as it finished, the AMETHYST mini-series
came out, also dealing with a princess from another world, trying to regain
her throne using gem magic. And then there was the Atom who is shown being
reunited with his loving wife in the JLA and who next pops up becoming estranged
from his wife and heading out to his own sword and sorcery miniseries in "Sword
of the Atom."
As far as I know, the Siren Sisterhood never appeared again. I can't say
anyone missed them.
Henchmen of Two-Face from TEEN TITANS (1st series) #47 (Apr 77). One of them
could shrink, the other could grow. They worked with two other criminal twin
couples called the Flamesplasher Twins and The Darklight Twins. One Sizematic
later became a member of the Secret Society of Super-Villains.
On the second Tuesday in January of 1977, twin robberies were carried out
on the United States' eastern seaboard. In New York City, the theft of a collection
of rare stamps went off without a hitch. In Gotham, where duplicates of those
stamps were on display at a local exhibition, an identical trio of thieves
had to work a little harder. The Teen Titans Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder
Girl and newcomer The Joker's Daughter were on the scene, drawn there
by JD's unexplained "mental link with whomever planned the caper."
The villainous trios, each wearing thematically appropriate pointy tiaras,
The Flamesplashers, one twin had water-based powers and the other
fire-based; the "flamer" sprayed fire from a nozzle attached
to his left forearm. The mustachioed rogue wore a blue costume with orange
gloves and boots, a red cape as well as a red-orange flame-like tiara/headpiece.
The Sizematics, one Size-a-Matic twin could grow, the other shrink;
the "grower" was a rough and tumble muscleman in silver armor
with a red and white bullseye on his chest. He could enlarge to roughly
triple his normal height.
The Darklights, one Darklight twin had the power to emit blinding
light, the other clouds of dense black vapor; the "darkie" girl
had a blue costume, accented with white gloves, boots, cape and tiara.
The battle did not go well for the Titans. Robin was swatted into unconsciousness
by the giant Sizematic, Kid Flash collapsed after exhausting himself trying
to spin Flamesplasher's fire away from him and Wonder Girl and the Joker's
Daughter unwittingly knocked one another out when they entered Darklight's
field of blackness in search of the villainess.
A rematch proved just as embrarrassing, with a second batch of Titans heading
into battle expecting one set of villains and getting another. Flamesplasher
doused Speedy with a concussive blast of water fired from a nozzle on his
RIGHT wrist, Sizematic shrank to Doll Man dimensions to evade Aqualad and
Darklight exploded in a burst of white light that blinded Mal Duncan.
The collective Titans finally got their act together at the New York Historical
Society, where each set of twins had been spotted. Having clogged the fire-wielding
Flamesplasher's nozzle with a foam arrow, Speedy followed up by using an icicle-arrow
to freeze the water-boy's spray to his twin's arm. The force building up in
the watery Flamesplasher's jammed arm unit sent him into a virtual seizure
that shook both him and his captive brother through a display window.
Meanwhile, Mal used a slingshot to throw the tiny Sizematic into the chin
of his big brother and Kid Flash tricked the Darklight doubles into fighting
themselves while Wonder Girl stood back and watched("They pulled this
stunt on ME so I'm returning the favor."). TEEN TITANS
#47(by the twin Bobs Rozakis and Brown and inker Tex Blaisdell)
Elsewhere, The Joker's Daughter and Robin had found the mastermind behind
the crimes or rather, he had found them. Two-Face the alleged
father of Duela (Joker's Daughter) Dent had orchestrated the thefts
of the antiquities and their doubles as part of a figurative coin flip that
he intended to be the ultimate arbiter of whether he should be good or evil.
At 2:22 PM Eastern Standard Time, NYC and Gotham would be struck with nuclear
missiles. "Half the loot is stashed in New York, the other half in Gotham.
Thus when my bombs blow up both cities, if more originals survive the
blast, I'll become an honest citizen. If it's the phony duplicates, I'll devote
my life to crime." No wonder Two-Face was in Arkham Asylum.
Suffice it to say, the pair of Titans escaped, each nuclear strike was averted
by a team of teen heroes and Two-Face was captured (TT #48, by Rozakis, Jose
Delbo and Vince Colletta). Left unexplained was the "mental link"
between Two-Face and his "daughter." One might speculate that the
Darklights were low-level psionics (Hinted by the first Darklight's comment
that she could "cloud your minds as well as your bodies")
and that they were, perhaps inadvertantly, leaking details of the crimes to
Duela Dent. Given the uncharacteristically amateurish performance of the Titans'
founders, one might also argue that they were mentally inhibiting the heroes
The twin bandits languished in prison until late in the spring of 1978 when
each of the male sets returned. The Flamesplashers struck at the Gabriel's
Horn discotheque, headquarters of the now-disbanded Teen Titans. Mal Duncan
(as the Guardian) held his own until the fiery member of the twosome pointed
his nozzle at the head of Mal's fiancee Karen Beecher. The watery Flamesplasher
demanded that the Guardian help them commit a new series of robberies or forfeit
As the rogue escorted Mal outside, they came face-to-face with Jimmy Olsen
and the Newsboy Legion, who'd hoped to find information on Jim Harper, the
original Guardian. While the Newsboys tackled one of the twins outside
"Hey, Soggy! DRY UP!" Jimmy surprised the other inside the
disco and freed Karen (SUPERMAN FAMILY #191, by Tom DeFalco, Kurt Schaffenberger
and Tex Blaisdell).
Elsewhere, the Sizematic Twins had been recruited by the Secret Society of
Super-Villains as part of the Silver Ghost's plan to destroy the Freedom Fighters
(SSOSV #15, by Rozakis, Mike Vosburg and Bob Smith). In the never-published
SSOSV #16 and 17 (whose contents saw print only in an in-house set of xeroxes
called CANCELLED COMIC CAVALCADE), the Freedom Fighters' forces were split
and Uncle Sam and Doll Man faced Copperhead and Sizematic alone in Sun City,
Doll Man imagined that he could outwit the giant Sizematic by shrinking but
he reckoned without the existence of the villain's tiny twin, who handed him
a solid punch. In the end, the six-inch Freedom Fighter was no match for the
duo. The entire Secret Society, writer Bob Rozakis assures us, was finally
defeated by the FF before the heroes left Earth-One for their native Earth-X.
Skragg the Super Sniper
Arthur T. Sommar ("Ted" to his friends) had a wife, three kids,
went to church in Larchmont, sat on the Board of Directors of four corporations
and was always kind to children, the cleaning lady and small dogs. And was
a homicidal maniac. He suddenly went off the edge and killed his wife Midge
with his briefcase, and then just started walking, ending up in Manhattan,
in the midst of a battle between the Freedom Fighters (who were invisible
due to the effects of a device created by Doll Man that utilized the powers
of the Ray and Phantom Lady) since they were on the lam from the authorities)
and a gang of masked bank robbers on roller skates using sports equipment.
This scene was being observed by Kylor and Nimak, two "Boy Scouts"
from the anti-matter universe of Qward. Wanting to help the "noble thieves,"
Nimak decided to give them a "straser" or strafing laser unit. An
unearthly beam of energy shot down and struck Sommar, which began to melt
and mutate him. His briefcase became a flying laser platform, and his skin
turned green, which his hands disappeared, being replaced by laser barrels.
He immediately fly upwards into the air and fired upon the heroes, knocking
them all down with such force that Uncle Sam though the Human Bomb had done
Uncle Sam, The Human Bomb, and the Black Condor headed out to the source
of the blast. They found the newly-created Skragg taking target practice,
blasting the Rockefeller Center from 25 blocks away, and quickly discovered
that he was able to see them as well. A brief battle ensued and Skragg was
defeated and taken back to the Freedom Fighters' hideout. Skragg had returned
to his normal personalitiy and was shocked to find he had no hands. Uncle
Sam began reading him his rights, and he asked for his obligatory telephone
Unfortunately, the annoying voice of the telephone operator sent Skragg back
into his homicidal mode, and in his new Skragg personality. He summoned his
laser platform and flew off to the World Trade Center. Skragg attacked the
Human Bomb with a new mode of attack, using a vibrating ray that stopped his
heart (but he was able to counteract it with his own explosive energy). The
Ray and Doll Man temporarily blinded Skragg while the Human Bomb touched the
laser platform. The concussion sent Skragg off the side of the Tower and,
not having any hands, was unable to grab onto anything. The Ray attempted
to grab him, but his hand became immaterial for a moment, a side effect of
the invisibility device.
They later discovered that the buildings that Skragg had attacked or destroyed
all contained one of the corporations that Ted Sommar was a director of the
board on. Uncle Sam figured that they hadn't seen the last of Skragg (though
why, I don't know, since they had just seen him plunge to his death).
L.B. Kellogg and Tom Mandrake's Sky Dogs were led by Captain Geoffrey
Hawke, Mullah Ka Kwaja and Ndemba, pirates who travelled aboard a flying ship
called the Moonjammer and preyed on brigands who looted the innocent. The
secret of the craft's flight came from the magician Mullah Ka Kwaja. Princess
Zelaleddin launched the Sky Dogs on a quest for the Seven Jewels of Power,
which were also sought by the infamous Captain Kidd. Waiting in the wings
for one of the pirates to collect all seven gems was the evil sorcerer Melin
(NEW TALENT SHOWCASE #1 and 2).
The Sky Pirate
Miles Lydecker was a scientific genius who graduated from Metropolis Poly-Technic
at the age of 19. His specialty was hypersonics, and he devised a way to use
hypersonic vibration to lift and move things. the U.S. Government wanted to
use his research for weapon development, so Lydecker went underground with
his research, working for "the cause" as a member of the Merry Men,
a secret organization protesting the military-industrial complex. To prove
what they could do, the Merry Men used one of Lydecker's devices to destroy
an empty airplane, and later stage a series of daring airplane robberies,
in which Lydecker jumped out of the plane with the money and no parachute,
relying instead on his unique technology. the media began calling him the
"Sky Pirate", which his associate Lawrence Carbo believed was good,
since it gave the authorities a figure to latch onto so their other activities
could be more effective. After awhile though, Carbo told him that he would
have to leave the country to get the heat off the organization, so in 1970,
Lydecker took a plane to Chile and continued his research in a village in
Twenty years later, Lydecker had still believed his sacrifice was for "the
cause", until he happened upon a magazine that had been used as packing
material. It proclaimed Lawrence Carbo to be a wealthy yuppie who apparently
had the Midas touch with his projects. Lydecker returned to the U.S. to get
his vengeance on his former "friends", resuming his identity of
the Sky Pirate, though this time adopting a costume as well, and a special
vehicle and weapons to fit the persona. He used his hypersonic devices to
break into Carbo's Philadelphia skyscraper and install a time-release destruct
device that would destroy all of the data in his computer system unless he
was paid a million dollars within twelve hours.
The Sky Pirate didn't know that, for some reason, the use of his hypersonic
devices somehow affected the fledgling super-hero known as the Black Condor,
who had a sensitivity to the vibration that caused him extreme pain. He tracked
the erstwhile villain down to the skyscraper, where his questions about what
was going on were ignored by the Sky Pirate. When he tried to get answers
from him, the Sky Pirate shot him with one of his hypersonic discs and turned
it on, forcing the Condor to fall from the sky. the Condor was able to make
it to the river, where the water muffled the vibrations and he was able to
remove the device. Meanwhile, Lydecker called Carbo to make arrangements for
the payoff (not realizing that Carbo was planning to have him killed after
he turned over the codes to the device on the computer) and returned to his
hotel room. the Black Condor was inside waiting for him, but wasn't going
to take him to the authorities, since he felt that what the Sky Pirate was
doing was his own personal business. the Condor did however trail him to the
meeting place, just in case things got out of hand.
Lydecker met his old friend Ariel on the roof, and Carbo burst onto the scene
as well, with an assassin in a helicopter gunning for Lydecker. Carbo claimed
that he was fighting the system on the inside, but still ordered his man to
shoot when Lydecker scoffed at him. the assassin's shot went wild and struck
Ariel. the Condor swooped in and disarmed the assassin and the pilot, while
the Sky Pirate attacked and knocked out Carbo. the Condor found that Ariel
was still alive, and flew her to a nearby hospital, but not before cautioning
Lydecker on not doing anything to Carbo he would regret later.
The Sky Pirate tied Carbo to the top of the flagpole on Independence Hall,
and Carbo's computers began transmitting information that left him in a world
of trouble. the Sky Pirate himself disappeared completely.
Black Condor #2 (Jul 1992) - #3 (Aug 1992)
Written by Rich Meyer
Slam Bradley was one of the many comic
book creations of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the men responsible for
Superman. Superman had already been designed at the time they created Slam,
but they were holding out to sell the character to a newspaper syndicate.
Slam debuted in the first issue of
DETECTIVE COMICS, back in 1937. His first adventure introduced him, his
partner, Shorty Morgan, and the general lean of his adventures: Fights,
fights and more fights. Slam was a man of action...the splash page of his
first adventure describes him as an
"ace freelance sleuth, fighter and adventurer", and had him using
a man as a club to hit another man! That first story had him fighting an
"inscrutable Oriental" menace, obviously much influenced by the
works of Sax Rohmer (in fact, a few years later DC Comics would serialize
a Fu Manchu novel in the pages of Detective Comics). The "Oriental" villain
was apparently very popular back in the late thirties, since two different
stories in that pivotal first issue featured a Chinese mastermind as the
bad guy. I'm sure they were all good fun back then, but the stories tend
to have a racially offensive appearance nowadays, with many depictions being
barely recognizable as human.
Times change and one must look at such
things in terms of the era they were created in. Slam Bradley himself became
much more of a dilettante in later issues, though he did still love a good
brawl and had a hair-trigger temper. Slam and Shorty worked with the police,
Federal investigators, fire departments and many other law enforcement
officials and agencies. The pair had all sorts of adventures, from their
initial foray into Chinatown, to tracking down a condemned murderer in
Switzerland, to saving a small crippled boy from a building on fire from
arson. Slam Bradley lasted in DETECTIVE COMICS until issue #152, giving
him a rather respectable run for a non-costumed hero, even in the Golden
Slam Bradley seemed destined for creative
oblivion until 1981, when he was brought back into DETECTIVE COMICS for
the anniversary 500th issue. His story in this issue, "The Too Many
Cooks Caper" was a great homage to the many features and the hundreds
of mystery stories that had appeared in the legendary title since 1937.
Slam joined such deductive luminaries as Roy Raymond, TV Detective, Jason
Bard, Christopher Chance (The Human Target), Pow-Wow Smith, Captain Mark
Compass, and Mysto, Magician-Detective to solve the mystery of the apparent
murder of their fellow detective Archie Evergreen. Slam was much more of
a typical hard-boiled, Sam Spade-like detective in this issue, with a lot
of native intelligence and his yen for violence (subdued though that may
be because of his age).
The Slam Bradley feature in that special
issue apparently got enough accolades so that the writers remembered him,
and got Slam a major part in the next anniversary issue of DETECTIVE COMICS
#572, which commemorated the comic's fifty year existence. This time, Slam
joined forces with four of the DC Universe's greatest detectives: The Batman,
Robin, The Elongated Man and Sherlock Holmes, to solve a mystery and a
murder plot that spanned a century. Slam has to attempt to solve the murder
of his partner Shorty at the same time. This has to be one of the best
and most fun stories to have ever appeared in Detective Comics featuring
a multitude of talented artists (including Alan Davis, Carmine Infantino
and Nestor Redondo). Slam's characterization as a gumshoe was of a man
being much more thoughtful, but still never swaying when the need to take
action presented itself. "Mellower" is the term I can best use
to describe Slam, and the young Robin (the late Jason Todd, Batman's second
partner) was quite taken with Slam's style. Slam even stood down the Batman...a
feat that few men would probably have the nerve to even try.
Slam Bradley appeared in more backups in DETECTIVE COMICS, and in ACTION
COMICS and SUPERMAN in the 90s. It may have been descendant; he was young,
had inherited his father's resemblence to Superman, and was once mistaken
for Clark Kent. Also, Slam an older relative, Biff Bradley from GUNS
OF THE DRAGON.
Bradley's face resembled that of Superman (as did Seagle and Shuster creation
Doctor Occult). He wore the same suits that every early comics plain-clothes