Obscure DC Characters:

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Smashing Sportsman

Marty Baxter's world came crashing down when he learned that he had arthritis. The young baseball star now found it "impossible ... to swing a bat" and was absorbed in his problems as he sat in the stands watching the 1967 World Series that he'd otherwise have been playing in. Struck in the back by a black sphere, Baxter leaped to his feet with a stunning discovery: "My arthritis pain — gone! I feel like a new man — bursting with power!"

His euphoria lasted only a moment before resentment set in. The metal railing in front of Marty crumpled between his fingers as he lunged from the stands. "I'll make the sports world pay for what they did to me! I'm going to smash DOWN the stadium!" To the astonished baseball players, he screamed, "DOWN WITH ALL SPORTS!"

The transformation of Marty Baxter was not unique and the Justice Society of America was soon summoned to investigate the case of the Smashing Sportsman and three other menaces around the globe. Wildcat and Robin, the newest member of the JSA, were convinced that the Sportsman's next target would be Mexico's Cortez Stadium, site of the upcoming Pan-American games and directly in the path of Baxter's string of demolished arenas.

Sure enough, the Smashing Sportsman was there, now clad in a green body suit with a triangular black design on his chest, stomach and back and matching ebony boots that arched up to his thighs. The two heroes soon found themselves outclassed. The Sportsman had lung power strong enough to blow all the water out of a swimming pool and made the ground quake with the wave of his arm. He spun Wildcat and Robin in circles — one in each hand — and sent them flying. Though the heroes' punches had no effect on Baxter, his blows eventually battered them into unconsciousness.

"Maybe I ought to take your places in the Justice Society. A trade like they make in the major leagues. Me — for you two has-beens. Or maybe I'll start my own gang. Whatever that black sphere was — it just about made me invincible!"

The other members of the JSA met with similar results and, as they licked their wounds, Johnny Thunder sent his Thunderbolt to battle the rogues. When the pink lightning bolt returned declaring that "I've met my match," Johnny asked T-bolt to summon the Justice League for a fresh perspective. The JLA, however, had just fallen victim to another quartet of black sphere-enhanced villains.

Finally, the Thunderbolt used his magic to learn the marauders' secret: "The black spheres came from a universe in which they evolved — in positive time — to a peak, at which point they became the ultimate in super-intelligent life. They then started to devolve rapidly — in negative time — losing their intelligence. To escape their doom, they sought out another universe still on positive time — ours — in order to maintain and even increase their super-powers. Because time was short, they had to hurl themselves at random into our universe, hoping at least some of them would make contact with the highest of all life-forms — human beings — and be absorbed into their bodies. But only four of them made the vital contact. The remainder evidently perished."

While the spheres incubated, their hosts were induced into acting on their darkest desires and becoming criminals. "Eventually, when the four alien super-beings 'awaken,' THEY will be in full control of their human hosts" (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #55, by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Sid Greene).

Robin offered a solution. He reasoned that there must be dozens, perhaps hundreds, of black spheres that died on contact with Earth but which still might possess a degree of radioactivity. Superman, Green Lantern, Flash and Wonder Woman put their powers to the test and gathered enough residual radiation to enhance four of their number with the negative energy — Hourman, Flash, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman.

Superman escorted Hourman and Robin to the location of the Smashing Sportsman's latest rampage, the ancient Colisseum of Rome. The Man of Steel quickly found that he had his hands full with Hourman, who had succumbed to the negative radiation's evil effects. The Man of the Hour's evil energy and strength was quelled only after Superman and Robin unwittingly submerged him in the Tiber River.

Each of the sub-teams found similar methods of defeating the black sphere-possessed villains but it was Johnny Thunder who actually acted on one of the discoveries. The alien-possessed humans were sensitive to, of all things, bad jokes and were convulsed with laughter when Johnny turned up at the quartet's joint hideout and delivered one groaner after another. While they roared, the Thunderbolt "blasted the black spheres out of them — and without host bodies to sustain their life — the aliens will quickly die."

While the JSA requested that no legal action be taken against the four ex-villains, the Justice League made plans to use the knowledge they'd just acquired to defeat their own four black sphere-generated menaces (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #56).

Snafu

Created by Bob Rozakis, Snafu's name was based on a paraphrase of the wartime expression "Situation Normal, All Fouled Up." He was one Bartholomew Higgins, a man garbed in a garish costume and an assortment of lights and noise-making mechanisms, all designed to disorient his victims. He picked crowded areas like shopping centers and stadiums as his ideal targets. Man-Bat defeated him in one of his first cases in New York City by drowning out the sound effects with his bat-cry and closing his eyes to the lights, using his sonar to follow him (BATMAN FAMILY #11, 1977).

On a return engagement, Snafu tried to counter Man-Bat's sonar with technological enhancements but Kirk Langstrom's acute hearing came through and Higgins was defeated again (BATMAN FAMILY #18-19, 1978).

Rozakis brought back Snafu for a final outing in HERO HOTLINE #3 (1989), complete with a redesigned look by Stephen DeStefano and computer enhanced color effects. This time, the villain was defeated when Voice-Over threw Snafu's sound effects back at him.

Snake-Eyes Bentley

Written by Richard Meyer

Snake-Eyes Bentley had been sent to prison by Air Wave and District Attorney Larry Jordan (whom the criminal did not know were the same man), but had decided to use his time there wisely, learning much by working in the prison radio shop that he hoped to turn into a rich pay-off and revenge.

He gathered together his old gang, and their first job was to go to the home of Jordan, knocking him unconscious. Bentley replaced his telephone with a special bomb that would go off when it rang. Jordan managed to escape before anyone called, using a match to burn the ropes holding him.

Changing into his Air Wave guise, he found that the radio waves in the area were being jammed, another part of Bentley's plan. The criminal needed to pull a few hold-ups to get some cash before exacting his revenge on the hero. Bentley and his men robbed a tollbooth, while Air Wave used the direction finder in his helmet to triangulate where Bentley was from the jamming signal.

The signals took Air Wave toward the bridge, and he strode across it on the telephone wires using his special skates. Unfortunately, one of the wires broke, having been cut through by one of Bentley's men, who proceeded to knock the hero out. Bentley suspended Air Wave under the bridge, by wires secured to the track of the trolley that passed over the bridge regularly. Once it did this time, the ropes would be cut and Air Wave would fall to his death in the river far below.

Air Wave awoke as the trolley neared and was able to swing over to the main support of the bridge, using the electromagnetic soles of his shoes to grip the pylon. He freed himself from his bonds by cutting them with the sharp flanges of his wire-riding skates, and headed back up top and launched himself into Bentley's men.

Soon afterwards, Bentley was once again back in prison, this time with the rest of his gang and a greater yen for revenge against Air Wave.

Appearances:

  • Detective Comics #88

Snapper Carr

Snapper Carr's betrayal of the Justice League in the pages of JLA #77 may have been the most controversial act of Denny O'Neil's tenure on the title. While developments such as the resignation of the Martian Manhunter, the death of Larry Lance and the loss of Oliver Queen's fortune were bound to have detractors, none involved the complete shift in attitude that Snapper's actions did.

In the course of twenty-three pages, Snapper knocks out the Atom, helps imprison Batman, impairs the nervous systems of the other Leaguers and exposes their Secret Sanctuary to the Joker. A sardonic Atom quips, "When that kid decides he doesn't like someone, he really goes all the way!" As a reader in JLA #80's letter column observed, all of this was a bit hard to reconcile with the Snapper who was reduced to tears at the prospect of the team's demise (JLA #12, reprinted in #76).

Named an honorary member of the JLA for his help in defeating Starro (1960's THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #28), Snapper Carr appeared in every episode through 1963's JLA #20. After entering college, his group participation slowed down but he rarely missed more than three issues in succession. By the time Gardner Fox left the series in1968, Snapper's beatnik patter was more than a little dated. O'Neil used the character only in his first script (#66) before reviving him for the fateful John Dough story.

Like Wonder Woman (now powerless) and the Martian Manhunter (deemed redundant next to Superman), Snapper was apparently regarded by O'Neil as a character who was contributing nothing unique or useful to the JLA. Aquaman, who seems to have fallen into the same category, sat out virtually every issue of of O'Neil's run save for #68. His absence would later be attributed to his search for Mera, running in concurrent issues of AQUAMAN.

Though Snapper's betrayal seemed hard to believe, O'Neil provided a credible motivation for his feelings. Ridiculed by his peers in college, Snapper "got sick of being a nothing! I wanted to do something myself ...I wanted to find out who I am." Steve Englehart built on this nicely in 1977's JLA #150, providing a more complete picture of why the young man would do what he did.

The saga of Snapper Carr's reconciliation with the Justice League would play out over the course of the 1970s. Deeply ashamed at what he'd done, he declined an invitation to attend the League's 100th meeting (JLA #100) and later went to elaborate lengths to alert the League to the threat of Anakronus rather than simply using his signal device. "After everything that happened between us, I didn't know if I still had the right to..." (#114).

By JLA #149 and 150, Snapper was destitute, unable to find a job — even a humiliating position cashing in on his League status — but denied access to welfare payments. Tempted by the Key, he attacked the JLA again, this time as the Star-Tsar. Moved by Snapper's plight, the League resolved to help their former mascot turn his life around. With the backing of the entire team, Lucas Carr landed a scientific position at S.T.A.R. Labs (SUPERMAN FAMILY #189). His subsequent appearances in JLA (#181 and 200) would be much more cordial.

The past decade has seen Snapper become a full-fledged super-hero as part of the space-faring Blasters (1989's INVASION! #3). More recently, he's been partnered with a heroic android from the 853rd Century in the pages of HOURMAN. Like most DC characters, Snapper's history has been refined in the past decade (primarily in JLA: YEAR ONE #3-12 and HOURMAN #16's reprise of JLA #77) but his role as the man who betrayed the Justice League will always be a part of his heritage.

A hallmark of Julius Schwartz's comic books of the 1960s and 1970s was his commitment to keeping his series contemporary, whether it was adding an elevator and telephone to the Batcave in 1964 or transferring Clark Kent to WGBS in 1970. With interest in the space program at an all-time high in 1969 thanks to the July 20 moon landing, what could be more timely than establishing a new location for the Justice League's headquarters — in orbit above Earth?

Snapper Carr's exposure of the League's Secret Sanctuary to the Joker provided the necessary motivation. Concluding that their security had been compromised, the League resolved to establish a new base. (Mark Gruenwald later pointed out in THE AMAZING WORLD OF DC COMICS #14 that some seven villains had discovered the original headquarters prior to that issue. Evidently, the Joker was the straw that broke the camel's back.)

JLA #78 introduced the League's now-famous satellite sanctuary, set in an orbit 22,300 miles above the Earth and accessible through a teleportation tube utilizing Thanagarian technology. The satellite became a fixture in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA and throughout the entire DC line well into the 1980s.

By that point, some had begun to express the sentiment that placing the JLA in outer space put too much distance (figuratively and literally) between them and the population they protected. Even the cover to JLA #78 seemed to have anticipated the reaction. In a symbolic scene, the Vigilante had angrily shouted, "I'm disgusted with you, Justice League! How can you quit Earth at a time like this!"

Perhaps inevitably, the satellite met its end in 1984's JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #229 and 230, the victim of invaders from Mars. Effective with JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA ANNUAL #2, the League formally abandoned the venerable headquarters and moved to an abandoned factory in an ethnically diverse Detroit neighborhood. Most of the damaged satellite fell out of orbit in 1985's CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #8 and JLA ANNUAL #3 with the rest following in 1986's JLA #251-252.

By contrast, the cave that served as the team's original Secret Sanctuary has thrived in the years since its initial retirement. In 1972, the JLA conducted their 100th meeting on the site (JLA #100) and ousted the Injustice Gang from the cave in 1978 (#158). The League even reestablished their quarters there on two separate occasions (JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #247 to JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL #7 and JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #56-62) and has loaned the base to teams like the Doom Patrol (DOOM PATROL #21-62), the Legion of Super-Heroes (LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES (fourth series) #89-100) and Young Justice (JLA: WORLD WITHOUT GROWN-UPS #2 to YOUNG JUSTICE #19).

And yet, space still has its allure. With the installation of a Watchtower on the moon in issue #4 of the current JLA series, the League once again has an outpost in the heavens.

Sonik

(not the hedgehog)

To my knowledge, he made only two appearances in the 1985 run of WORLD'S FINEST. Both were written by Joey Cavalieri so I assume he created the character.

Real name: William Parker, a black man who heads a boy's club in an unspecified ghetto (but a very well-integrated ghetto with black, white and hispanic street kids) He was also some sort of engineer specializing in sound although he is never seen working for a stereo company or at any job related to this skill.

Sonik was a very earnest, "socially-relevant" though uncompelling character. His two appearances are pretty low-profile and he largely refrained from violence. His costume was a yellow and brown hip-hop,jacket-and-tights affair that didn't look too good either.

Origin: Ridiculed by the street kids for his attempts to uplift the community, Parker decides to create a super-hero persona to give the kids a different role model from the thugs and hustlers they idolize. Parker idolized Edison and decided to also focus on sound as the source of his powers, whipping up some devices using common electronic parts (like a stereo speaker and Walkman.)

Powers: he had a sonic blaster that could shake things apart, a collapsible mike that allowed him to eavesdrop on conversations from a distance, a set of sound effects he could amplify and a "cloaking device" that allowed him to muffle sounds so he could sneak up on people.

In his first appearance, he helps Batman and Superman capture a group of gangsters (but only after first getting into Batman's way.) He also shows up the resident bad-ass hood, impressing the kids who realize that a life of crime isn't so attractive after all.

In his second appearance, a few months later, he helps Superman bodyguard a thinly-disguised version of Michael Jackson after an unknown figure tries to kill him. This story is noteworthy for the surprisingly sympathetic depiction of the Michael Jackson-character and the embarassment that Batman suffers when he prematurely accuses someone.Those who are sick of the Batman-as-God character that appears in comics now should get WORLD'S FINEST #318 for that one scene.

Son of Vulcan

Written by John Censullo

Real Name: John "Johnny" Mann

Charlton Appearances

  • Mysteries Of Unexplored Worlds #46 (May 65)
  • Mysteries Of Unexplored Worlds #46 (May 65) [3-page featurette, "The Roman Gods On Mount Olympus"]
  • Mysteries Of Unexplored Worlds #47 (Jul 65)
  • Mysteries Of Unexplored Worlds #48 (Sep 65)
  • Son Of Vulcan #49 (Nov 65)
  • Son Of Vulcan #50 (Jan 66)

DC Appearances (Earth-4 only):

  • Crisis On Infinite Earths #12 (Mar 86)

History

MYSTERIES OF UNEXPLORED WORLDS #46 (May 1965) Story: "A Mighty Champion Is Born! See How Johnny Mann Became The Son Of Vulcan"

Synopsis: John Mann, a newsman for World-Wide News Syndicate, is taken off his Viet Nam assignment to cover the trouble on Cyprete. John is known to his fellow reporters as "sensitive" and a "tragedy finder". He is 5 foot 8 inches tall, 150 pounds, and in fairly good shape. His right leg is artificial, a result of his combat days in Korea. John visits the ruins of a temple, the great hall of Jupiter, that legend says was the place where the Olympian gods met. He remarks that there have been countless wars on this island, and now a civil war was brewing. He raises his voice, asking the Olympians why they permit mankind to wage such stupid wars, and commit crimes of violence and greed. Suddenly, the thunder rolls and the heavens open. The rain is a deluge, and lightning hurtles down at him as if directed by the gods themselves. Finally, a bolt strikes John, leaving him laying near death.

A huge foot urgently prods the journalist back into the world of the living. John opens his eyes to see what no modern man has ever before beheld — the gods of Olympus! Jupiter asks how a mortal entered their hall, and wonders if he's alive. Mars responds that he is. John stands before the angry gods, who begin to interrogate him. Mars has great contempt for mortals, so Vulcan asks to question the stranger. He inquires about the weapons being used in the modern wars. John gives Vulcan the information he seeks, then dares to ask the gods why they permit such violence. Jupiter is infuriated, but the mortal is not frightened. He tells Jupiter that he will not be silenced, and he will publish the follies of the gods, even if he must die for it. Jupiter raises his sword and is about to smite the defiant mortal, when Venus pleads for his life. Vulcan adds his pleas to that of his sister, stating that the mortal is a courageous man. Jupiter agrees to debate his fate in the council of the gods. Vulcan is assigned to argue his case. While they walk, Vulcan notes that the human is lame just as he is.

Before the assembled gods, Vulcan states that John Mann has proven his courage in battle and has fought against the forces of evil. Instead of punishing him, Vulcan believes they should aid the mortal in his battle against crime. Mars argues that the gods did not create mankind's evil; that he is the author of his own woes. John remarks that there are men who have dedicated their lives to combating evil, while the gods stand idly by. He states that he fights crime and evil by publishing the truth about it, that he fought actively in Korea and was wounded badly more than once, and he risked his life again in Viet Nam. He asks Mars if his own courage has been put to the test, and boldly accuses the god of war of being a coward. Jupiter calls an end to the proceedings. He proclaims that he has made a decision. He states that the gods refuse to accept the blame for mankind's pitiful plight, but that they will provide him help. Jupiter asks the mortal if he will do his part if one of the gods sponsors him. John agrees, but asks who will sponsor him. Vulcan steps forward and asks that the human be his ward. Mars protests giving the human the power of an immortal god. Jupiter agrees, allowing Vulcan to grant John some of his powers so long as the cause is just.

As John leaves with his sponsor, Venus tells him that she is glad he has been spared. Vulcan brings John to his workshop, where his most potent weapons are stored. He devises armor and a shield, that will protect the mortal from many of mankind's weapons. After John dons the magical armor, Vulcan tells him that he will not be given any one weapon. All that he sees before him will materialize in his hand when he asks for it. John asks what good it will do, since he is not strong enough to wield the weapons. Vulcan explains that it is within Venus' power to bestow vitality and strength, to use when he combats evil. Venus points a wand at John Mann, proclaiming him the Son of Vulcan.

Shortly, John is brought before Jupiter and the other immortals. Jupiter tells the human that he must pledge to never misuse his powers. He also states that these gifts may be withdrawn for good cause at any time, by any god of his domain. They will watch over him, and ensure his compliance with the conditions they have imposed. John says goodbye to Vulcan, promising to not bring shame on his name. As the mortal prepares to return to Earth, Mars tells him that his joy will be brief, and a longer time of grief lies ahead.

Story: "He Stands Alone!"

Synopsis: Two groups on the island of Cyprete, the Preteons and the Cyclates, have historically resolved their conflicts on the battlefield of the colosseum. Johnny Mann investigates new hostilities between the two parties. He visits General Ator of Cyclates, who is known to be a reasonable man. Johnny is already aware that the natives of Cyprete believe that their island was ruled long ago by the Giant Gladiator. Ator says that whenever the Giant Gladiator has appeared, the people of the island have fought to gain his favor. Some claim to have seen the Gladiator once again, thus the Cyclates must defeat the Preteons in order to show they deserve to rule the island. Johnny realizes that Ator isn't about to be swayed, so he decides to try his arguments on the other end of the island.

When he arrives there, he beholds the Giant Gladiator! The Gladiator tells the people that, in order to gain his favor, they must defeat the Cyclates the next day on the battlefield of the colosseum. He warns them that if they lose, they will forever be his slaves. Johnny transforms into Son of Vulcan, and follows the behemoth into the confines of the colosseum. The hero overhears a man calling himself Dr. Kong, who will claim the land as his domain, and its people as his servants. Son of Vulcan bursts into the room and demands that Kong tell the people the truth. The villain pulls a lever and a trap door opens, dumping Son of Vulcan into a pit filled with water. Hour after hour, far into the night, the hero battles a gigantic octopus. Finally, as the first rays of morning filter down into the water, the hero springs towards freedom above in one monumental gesture.

Son of Vulcan arrives just in time to hear the Giant Gladiator demand a fight to the death between the two armies. The hero, who is still a stranger to these people, pleads with General Ator to not believe the monster's lies. Son of Vulcan engages the Gladiator in fierce battle. The hero finally kills the monster by summoning the sword of Ulysses, which he plunges into the creature's face mask. General Ator, believing that their sacred Giant Gladiator must be avenged, orders his men to fire upon Son of Vulcan. Before they can act, the hero pulls off the monster's helmet, revealing that it is merely a robot. Son of Vulcan then spots Dr. Kong behind one of the columns. Weakened by the collapse of the Gladiator, the column falls, apparently killing the villain. Later, a disguised Kong swears to make Son of Vulcan pay for thwarting his plans.

Story: "The Roman Gods On Mount Olympus"

Synopsis: Three-page supplement which gives information on Jupiter, Neptune, Juno, Pluto, Minerva, Vulcan, Mars, Phoebus Apollo, Venus, Cupid, Mercury, Saturn, Janus, Pan, Midas, and Atlas.

MYSTERIES OF UNEXPLORED WORLDS #47 (July 1965) Story: "The Golden Curse"

Synopsis: Leonard Lambie, a downtrodden professor of mythology at a small eastern college, looks through his scrapbook of Son of Vulcan's exploits. Lambie reads of the hero's battle with the Giant Gladiator, his last clash against a giant sea creature, and a conflict that very day where he defeated an oriental warlord and his army who threatened to destroy the civilized world. The poor professor finds himself longing for power and gold. Later that night, Jupiter orders Mars to retrieve Johnny Mann in his fiery chariot. Vulcan and Venus witness the mortal's arrival. Johnny is brought before Jupiter and a list of his achievements is read. Mars insists that the mortal will misuse the gifts they have bestowed upon him, but Jupiter decides he is worthy of their trust. He also reminds the human that he is still on trial. After he is dismissed, Venus flirts with Johnny in an attempt to make Mars jealous. Believing the mortal cannot be trusted with such power, Mars travels to Earth and grants Leonard Lambie the golden gauntlets of King Midas. Mars tells the human that anything he points at will turn to gold, but omits the fact that each object will revert to its original form in 48 hours. Lambie goes home and tries out the gauntlets, first on a trash can, then on his nagging wife.

The next morning, Johnny is assigned to investigate the world gold shortage. He tries to talk to Mr. Zoloto, the world's biggest dealer in gold, but is forced away at gunpoint. As Johnny leaves Zoloto's Wall Street office, Leonard Lambie arrives and requests a meeting. Lambie shows Zoloto that he can change anything into gold. The two men come to an arrangement, but after Lambie leaves, Zoloto has him followed. Johnny's instincts tell him to trail Zoloto's thugs, and he is led right to the home of Leonard Lambie. When he sees that the goons are carrying weapons, Johnny transforms into the Son of Vulcan. The hero tries to stop the hoodlums, but he is turned into gold by Lambie. Lambie, his wife, and Son of Vulcan are taken to Zoloto's grotto, in an abandoned subway tunnel near his New York office. Unable to move, Son of Vulcan telepathically tells Lambie that Zoloto will look for an excuse to kill him. The hero, Mrs. Lambie, and other golden objects taken from Lambie's home are placed on a conveyer belt which will melt all the gold down to uniform ingots. As the hero's body enters the flames, the gold begins to melt. However, being the son of the god of fire, the flames cannot harm his physical form. He reverts back to flesh, then summons a mighty mace. Son of Vulcan breaks out of the furnace and, as bullets bounce off his armor, he removes Mrs. Lambie from the conveyer.

Zoloto tries to escape and flood the room with gas, but Lambie transforms him into gold. He swears never to use the gauntlets again and discards them. He then calls the police. After they arrive, Son of Vulcan explains everything that has happened. Just as Leonard Lambie is being arrested for the deaths of his wife and Zoloto, Esmerelda Lambie reverts back to normal. Realizing the transformations are only temporary, the police release the man to his angry wife. Later, Son of Vulcan brings the gauntlets back to Olympus to Jupiter, but before he can accuse Mars, the god of war confesses. He explains that he wished to embarrass the hero. His plan was to have a weakling commit a crime. If the hero had hurt the weakling, he would have been guilty of bullying. If, instead, he had allowed the man to go unmolested, he would have been guilty of neglecting his duty. Either way, the Son of Vulcan would have lost favor in Jupiter's eyes. Jupiter declares that the hero has proven his worthiness once more, and that it is Mars who has lost favor in his sight. Mars quietly vows to make the hero pay for his shame.

MYSTERIES OF UNEXPLORED WORLDS #48 (September 1965) Story: "Fury Of The War God"; "Part 2 The New Captain Tusk"; "Part 3 The Villain"

Synopsis: On Mount Olympus, Jupiter warns Mars that if he interferes in the affairs of men again, he will be banished to Earth. In New York, Johnny Mann is told by his boss that a fierce but good man named Captain Tusk has a modern fleet of killer whaling ships around Antarctica, and only 400 miles away on the great ice shelf, three U.S. Navy meteorologists have vanished. When Johnny is assigned to find the story there, he remarks that he was planning on asking for an assignment to look into the riots in the Near East where the mobs have been attacking the U.S. embassies. Meanwhile, Mars tries to abide his father's wishes, but jealousy is in his heart. He travels to Earth and listens in on two conspirators in the Near East. Mars supplies the gold needed to hire hoodlums to demonstrate against the Americans. Jupiter observes Mars' treachery and banishes him, limiting his once mighty powers, and sending him hurtling through the sky. Mars blames Son of Vulcan for his situation, and vows to make him pay.

By sheer chance, Mars lands in the Antarctic. The god of war encounters Captain Tusk, binds him, and takes his place. Mars leaves Tusk and his daughter, Sally, in the same ice cavern where the missing meteorologists are trapped. He then baits a trap for Son of Vulcan. Still disguised as Captain Tusk, Mars begins attacking ships and planes, then lures the hero to the stranded humans. The villain then arrives himself and strikes. The god of war punches the hero hard enough to stun him. When Son of Vulcan recovers and follows his mysterious foe, Mars captures the hero and discloses his true identity. The exiled god reveals his plan to discredit the hero and Vulcan, enabling him to return to Olympus. He chains the Son of Vulcan to the bow of his vessel and again attacks ships and aircraft, making it appear at a distance that it is the hero that is leading the assault. Son of Vulcan calls upon his adoptive father for the strength to break his chains, but Jupiter forbids any interference by Vulcan in this tragic rivalry. Jupiter then peers down and falls for Mars' deception, concluding that Son of Vulcan is not worthy of their trust.

The Navy finally resorts to using special nuclear shells. Son of Vulcan is certain he will be killed, but miraculously he survives the blast and is freed from his chains. Mars flees to another of Captain Tusk's ships, upon which he has imprisoned the once-stranded humans. He tries to fire one final weapon at the approaching hero, but Sally interferes, causing the projectile to hit the ship itself. Sally and her father are thrown into the freezing water by the blast. Son of Vulcan only has time to save Sally. To the hero's surprise, Mars, not wanting to be blamed for an innocent mortal's death, saves Captain Tusk. Soon afterward, Johnny Mann interviews the survivors. Tusk states that the last time he saw the stranger, he was battling four killer whales. Johnny wonders if Mars perished in the frigid ocean — or whether the god of war has survived and is banished to Earth permanently, creating an ongoing threat which he must now guard against.

SON OF VULCAN #49 (November 1965) Story: "The Diamond Dancers"; "Part II A Living Tomb"

Synopsis: Dr. Kong secretly takes photos in the vast Diamond Dealers Exchange in New York, which holds great quantities of the best grade of diamonds. He is posing as Changchin, the director and star of a musical which is being presented right next door. After Kong leaves to develop the pictures, John Mann arrives to cover the story of the two billion dollars worth of diamonds that is currently at the Exchange. After he concludes his task, the reporter decides to take a look at the Chinese performance next door. John thinks he recognizes Kong as one of the performers, and tries to go backstage using his press pass. When he is stopped by one of Kong's guards, John slips behind a curtain and transforms into Son of Vulcan (wearing all-new armor).

A few weeks earlier, Mars had survived his conflict with the killer whales in the Antarctic, unearthed precious metals and diamonds, made his way back to civilization, and established a new identity as Mr. Warren Masters. He has now arrived in New York and has tracked Johnny Mann to The Chinese Folly.

When the performance ends, Son of Vulcan confronts Dr. Kong. Kong strikes the hero with a special sword, which jolts him with thousands of volts of electricity, knocking him unconscious. Mars, in the guise of Warren Masters, arrives and identifies Kong as the man that fought Son of Vulcan on the island of Cyprete. Kong tries to strike the stranger with his sword, but Mars easily destroys the weapon. Mars then informs Kong that he is his new partner. When Kong tries to kill the unconscious hero, Mars stops him, telling him that he will not allow murder to be committed. Instead, Mars and Kong take the body to a construction site, burying Son of Vulcan under the girder of a new skyscraper that is being erected. Mars then tells Kong that he will assist him in the theft of the diamonds.

Son of Vulcan awakens, finding himself unable to move. The hero asks Vulcan for help, but Jupiter has forbidden either him or Venus from assisting the mortal further. Hoping Jupiter won't notice, Vulcan sends a ball of fire from his magical forge down to Earth. The tiny flame ignites a vein of coal near Son of Vulcan, weakening the rock enough for the hero to burst free. Meanwhile, Jupiter observes Mars' new mischief and becomes even angrier at the god of war. The hero reverts back to his guise as Johnny Mann and returns to The Chinese Folly. As Mars breaks through the wall into the vault of the Diamond Exchange, the reporter confronts Kong during his latest performance. Johnny transforms back into Son of Vulcan and temporarily halts Kong, then faces the man who the hero concludes is the god of war. Mars uses tear gas to disable Son of Vulcan just long enough to take the diamonds and seal the hero in the vault. He believes Jupiter will think that the hero has misused his powers and looted the vault himself.

When Kong tries to claim his half of the plunder, he realizes that his partner plans on cheating him. He persuades his accomplice to sit in a special chair, which then traps Mars' wrists with iron bands. Meanwhile, the hero pleads with Vulcan to keep him from being falsely accused of a crime. Vulcan borrows King Midas' golden touch, which he transfers to his adopted son. The hero changes the steel walls to soft gold, which he easily breaks through. Son of Vulcan finds the trapped god of war, but he won't free him until he catches Dr. Kong. Mars tells the hero that Kong is on his way to a freighter in the harbor. Son of Vulcan finds Kong escaping in a miniature submarine and disables it, leaving the villain to die in the sinking craft. He then hurries back to Mars in order to free him before the police start asking questions. However, the god of war is long gone, leaving a message that he'll make the mortal pay some day.

SON OF VULCAN #50 (January 1966) Story: "The Second Trojan War"; "Part 2 Prisoners Of Doctor Kong"; "Part 3 The Trojan Horse Walks!"

Synopsis: As a reporter for World-Wide Correspondents, Johnny Mann had been sent to Asia Minor to bring back a story on the recent misfortunes of an American film company. Johnny interviews its director, A. J. Colosso, who believes that the accidents that have befallen the cast and crew of "Warrior Against Troy" are being caused by someone not wanting the picture to be filmed. He thinks it is the work of a rival film company which is determined to destroy his chances for a comeback. Colosso then recounts the story of the Trojan War.

Paris, the Trojan prince, carried off the fair Helen of Mycenae and thus caused the terrible ten-year war between Troy and Greece. Many Greek kings and heroes besieged Troy. Achilles eventually killed the great hero Hector, Paris' brother. After years of harsh fighting, the Greeks tricked the Trojans by leading them to believe that they had retreated, while leaving behind a giant wooden horse. However, the horse was hollow and, later that night, the Greeks emerged from their hiding place and killed the Trojans. The city was burned to the ground on the orders of King Agamemnon.

Colosso remarks that his crew has come to Asia Minor to film the movie near Hissarlik, site of the historical Troy. Suddenly, someone cries out for help. It is Lisa Connors, who plays Helen in the movie. A runaway chariot is heading right for her! Colosso runs to help, enabling Johnny to transform into Son of Vulcan. The hero leaps to the girl's rescue, stopping the rampaging steeds in their tracks. Son of Vulcan quickly learns how terribly vain and spoiled the actress is. Colosso's troubles worsen when the actor playing Achilles quits due to the danger. Needing an excuse that will enable him to continue his news investigation, the hero volunteers to take the actor's place. Observing the events on a hidden camera is Dr. Kong, who is furious that his attempts to chase away the movie company have been foiled. Kong assigns Adam Klink, an imperfect robot built by the villain, to rid him of the hero.

A few hours later, as the day's filming ends, the robot causes a calamity that threatens to crush Lisa Connors. When the hero saves the girl from the impending doom, the bratty actress complains that he messed up her hair. She tells Colosso that she'll leave the picture if the Son of Vulcan isn't fired by the next day. Upon further investigation, Colosso and the hero discover a footprint near the accident site, left behind by some type of machine. That night, the robot kidnaps the girl, but it is just a ruse which leads Johnny Mann into Dr. Kong's underground cavern. Kong confronts the reporter and reveals that he knows of his dual identity. Before Johnny is able to summon his powers, the robot knocks him out. He soon wakes up, finding he has been bound and gagged. Since Johnny is unable to call on his adoptive father, Kong feels safe revealing his plans of world domination. The villain has built an anima-ray, which has the power to bring life to inanimate objects, subject to his will. He has been carrying out his experiments in this underground cavern, and was afraid that the movie company might detect him.

After Kong leaves, Johnny is able to rub the gag off on the edge of his robot guard. He transforms into Son of Vulcan, destroys the robot, and flies off to search for the actress. He soon encounters the Trojan horse, which has been animated by Kong's device. After trying different tactics, he summons the mighty bow and flaming arrow of Hercules. After setting the wooden monster ablaze, he rescues Lisa Connors from the belly of the beast. Kong then animates a man-made stream into a malevolent wall of water, which he calls his Scamander-Monster. Son of Vulcan manipulates the creature's movements so that it strikes the evil doctor, vanquishing the villain and destroying his anima-ray device.

CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #12 (March 1986) Story: "Final Crisis"

Synopses: The heroes of Earth-4 join in the battle against the threat of the Anti-Monitor.

Powers

Son of Vulcan could summon any weapon from Vulcan's arsenal on Olympus. He was invulnerable to things like bullets. He had great strength. He could fly. He once used telepathy to communicate with someone

Space Marshal

Real Name: Linc Wade

Appearances: RIMA, THE JUNGLE GIRL #7 (Apr-May 1975).

Linc Wade, LW-451, soldier of fortune and space prospector, toils in the soil of deserted planetoid called Astra 41. When he hears a sound behind him, Wade incorrectly believes it is a bushwhacker out to steal his claim. With razor-sharp reflexes, Wade turns and fires his hi-velocity star gun, striking the stranger with a force of 20,000 volts of raw electricity. The dying man tells Wade he has been lost for days, and was only looking for some water. He wasn't even carrying a gun. The man gives Wade a photo of his family, and asks that Wade tell his wife that he tried for the kids. When the man dies, Wade calls the Galaxy Consul Patrol to report the killing.

A short time later, somewhere in the Earth's solar system, at a quorum meeting at the Galaxy Consul HQ, Wade faces sentencing. Because of the wars that ravaged the solar system in the past, violence has been outlawed. The penalty for illegal killing is death. However, because he voluntarily admitted his guilt, Wade is given the opportunity to expiate his crime. He will be trained to be a Space Marshal, on special assignment. His role will be to battle every form of violence which may threaten the peace in the most remote reaches of the galaxy. Wade gratefully accepts.

After many months of grueling training, Wade finally graduates. He is now qualified to kill, but only to safeguard peace. In addition to his own self-control, he will be monitored constantly, for he cannot be permitted to make even one mistake. Two days later, at the launch pad, Wade is introduced to his Saturnian deputy, Katto. Their first mission: to check out a disturbance on Asteroid 117, SM-33.

Space Rangers

The Space Rangers are mentioned in HISTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE in this paragraph: A young orphan boy was found in the Command D bunker of Space Planeteer Headquarters by Gen. Horatio Tomorrow. Young Tommy Tomorrow would grow up to be the greatest Planeteer of all. The Planeteers were the prime peacekeeping armed forces of the future. The Space Rangers became the future policemen. It appears that the text was referring to the Planeteers as space rangers but the phrase was capitalized and preceded a picture of Space Ranger, who was a solo operator.

Space Voyagers

Crew Members: Bartt, Armando, Melong, and Nolan.

Appearances: RIMA, THE JUNGLE GIRL #1 (Apr-May 1974), #2 (June-July 1974), #3 (Aug-Sep 1974), #4 (Oct-Nov 1974), #5 (Dec 74-Jan 75).

Episode #1 (part one) : The Space Voyagers are four young explorers named Bartt, Armando, Melong, and Nolan. While roving the galaxy in their starship, they detect a planet that looks inhabited. The ship hovers overhead while the crew descends to the surface. The teens discover human footprints, which they follow. They come across an old man who is being attacked by a large, flying insect. After firing their weapons to distract the creature, they get the old man to safety. He brings them to a marble mausoleum, where the teens discover four dead figures. Upon closer examination, they realize the figures look just like them!

Episode #1 (part two) : An alien creature, resembling a giant brain, contacts the Space Voyagers telepathically, explaining that the figures they are observing are just an illusion. The humans on the creature's own planet had perished during a planetary famine, so it needs the Voyagers to repair it's machines. The creature then wipes their memories of everything it had just explained, then places a suggestion in their minds to travel to it's world. When the teens arrive, the creature immobilizes them and grafts their human traits onto it's machines. The machines rebel and turn on their master, destroying it. The creature had not considered that the grafting process would also transfer the human spirit of freedom into the machines.

Episode #2 (origin) : Four teenagers on a distant planetoid decide to leave their world, so they go to the forbidden area and begin preparing a spaceship. Bartt will be the commander, Armando will handle engineering, Melong will be the navigator, and Nolan will be in charge of weapons. Bartt's mother arrives with some of the other parents. She reminds them that it is forbidden to leave their planetoid under any circumstances. For trespassing on the forbidden site, the teens must answer to the Elders. When they are brought before the Elders, the youths are reminded that many, many years earlier, their people had lived on Earth. War, pollution, and famine were devastating the planet. There was no hiding place, so their people exiled themselves, searching until they discovered the asteroid that is now their home. The teens explain that they need to choose their own lives. The Elders consider their words, and agree. Soon after the Space Voyagers blast off into space, they receive an SOS from a star cluster in C-416-038. The Voyagers save the inhabitants of the planetoid Arctus, but are forced to leave immediately afterward when they realize that contact with the natives would be deadly to them.

Episode #3 : The Space Voyagers set foot on a new planet, and are surprised to find statues of themselves there. They are attacked and captured by a crowd of humans, who all look exactly like they do. It is clear that this world is not Earth, yet they see the ruins of Yankee Stadium. The Voyagers conclude that they have landed on a parallel Earth. The natives tell them that they won't be deceived by the teens. They claim the Space Voyagers first came to their planet centuries earlier, and that the statues were built in their honor. Then, an unexpected nuclear attack from an outer galactian invader devastated their world. The alternate Voyagers' spaceship had been protected in it's hanger, a mile below the planet's surface. These Voyagers had told the natives that they would search outer space until they found a safe planet to recolonize. They never returned. When the planet continued to deteriorate, the natives blamed the Voyagers for their misery. Their forefathers insisted that everyone fashion themselves in their enemy's image, the image of treachery. The teens blast themselves free and, in the struggle, the natives collapse. The Voyagers discover that the natives were actually living skeletons, wearing masks to cover their rotting faces.

Episode #4 : The Space Voyagers land on an alien planet and encounter intelligent ant-people. The creatures chase them, intending to use them for food. The teens stumble into a huge glass-enclosed subterranean cavern filled with eggs. When the eggs begin to hatch, the teens blast them. They run back to their spaceship and escape.

Spanner's Galaxy

Written by Rich Meyer

Spanner's Galaxy was a six-issue limited series by Nicola Cuti and Tom Mandrake.

For those who have never read the series, a long, long time ago, the Kaborians arrived on Earth and brought the age of chivalry to the then-primitive society. Over the years and centuries that followed, the inhabitants of Earth lost touch with that part of their early culture and eventually united the entire Milky Way Galaxy under a Confederation of Free Worlds, in which trade and commerce flourished wildly. The Kaborians, and their art of chivalry, were largely forgotten.

Polaris Spanner was born on the planet Proxie, which was also known as Spanner's World, where his father Rigel ran a jelly farm and did research. A jelly farm grows jellies, which are giant amoeba-like creatures made of protoplasm, which is the basic building block of most furniture a kitchen utensils of the time, and was stronger than plastic.

Spanner fell in one of the jelly pens when two of his alien friends demonstrated how to "castle", disappearing and leaving a pair of Kaborians in their place. His injuries were so severe that the Kaborians castled back with him to their home planet so he could get immediate medical treatment.

Spanner had just returned from a trip to Star City with his father, where his father ran into some trouble purchasing a "shek", which was a strange and unique weapon, and Spanner met a young thief named Andromeda Jones. The Kaborians who castled in had actually been the ones causing trouble for Spanner's father, as they had wanted to purchase the shek, so that it could be buried with the warrior who had used it.

After recuperating from his injuries, Spanner stayed on Kabor and was taught ancient Kaborian combat techniques that included the use of the shek as an offensive and defensive weapon (it was could act as everything from a boomerang to a laser shield). He was also taught the theory and practice of "castling", which was a means of teleportation that could be used on objects and for travel. Castling involved basically switching places with something else somewhere else. Spanner took the vows to become a Kaborian Knight, and was prepared to go out into the universe and bring the practice of chivalry with him.

After working on, and later taking a partnership in the Medeusian freighter, The Persius, Spanner castled into the midst of a group of bounty hunters (called "pounders") and discovered that there was suddenly a very high price on his head, by the President himself. Marcus Baka, a former magistrate on Proxie, was set up as the head of the operation to capture Spanner. Meanwhile, Andromeda was uniting her own guild of pounders, under the colorful name of The Bluestar, and was planning to go after Spanner herself for the reward. Spanner had become the most wanted man in the galaxy.

In the course of his travels to escape his many pursuers, Spanner met up with a small furry and very resourceful creature that was a Gadgeteer, which he nicknamed "Gadj". Gadgeteers have the uncanny ability to put any devices together using whatever parts and junk they have at hand and make them work. He also learned that the authorities had released information that said that Spanner was carrying a plague infection called The Hades Germ, a disease that could wipe out an entire planet in the course of a few days. With the support of his family, Spanner finally turned himself into the authorities, and he was confined, with Gadj to a small asteroid for the protection of the rest of the galaxy.

After six months in his asteroid prison, one of the Kaborians castled with Spanner, taking him back to the home world he trained on. He was brought there for trial, for having violated the Kaborian law, which states "no castler may castle to avoid jeopardy if it means placing another castler in jeopardy." Spanner pleads guilty to avoid having an old school friend die in combat to prove his innocence. His sentence was to be served in yet another prison while wearing "the Mask of Nygug". The mask was made of narconium, which prevent the force lines needed for castling from passing into Spanner (everything else, air, light, sound, food, etc. could pass through unabated). Before he could serve his Kaborian sentence, a woman on a flying Kamado Dragon abducted Spanner. She turned out to be one of his police interrogators, a woman named Tenna. Tenna had done some research that proved Spanner had been framed, because the Hades Germ did not exist.

Tenna returned his shek and she and Spanner talked with Commander Richard Harris, who had been working under Baka in the operation to find Spanner. He soon discovered that Baka himself had started the entire situation. The former pounder had wanted the power gem in Spanner's shek to use as a power source for a unique black hole weapon one of his compatriots had developed, with which he hoped to hold the universe for ransom. Baka and Spanner met in combat and Baka actually defeated Spanner, but was prevented from killing him by Andromeda. Baka slew the young woman and took off with the power gem from the shek.

Spanner became a hero in all corners of the galaxy, and the President appointed Spanner and Gadj as his "Personal Agents Extraordinary". Spanner's first job was to hunt down the newest person on the most wanted list: Baka.

Appearances: Spanner's Galaxy #1-6, Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #21

Tom Sparks

Tom Sparks was in WORLD'S FINEST #49-58. No other details, I'm afraid.

The Spectre/Jim Corrigan of Earth-One (Or Earth-B or Earth-?)

The Spectre was another Earth-Two denizen who made a bunch of unexplained appearances on what appears to be Earth-One, beginning in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #75, where he met up with Batman to face off against the menace of Shahn-Zi. This Spectre was split from Jim Corrigan, much like the Spectre was in his own magazine at the time, but no explanation was ever given for his sudden appearance on Earth-One (in both his heroic and secret identities).

The Spectre's appearances anywhere could've easily been explained away as being the Earth-Two hero moving between the alternate universes (given his usually great power and ability to do so), but this was never mentioned or stated in any of these particular tales.

A much grimmer Spectre began avenging crime in the early seventies, as Michael Fleischer and Jim Aparo related the character's adventures in ADVENTURE COMICS. This Spectre was much more similar to the earliest version of the character, and the body count was both high and warped. Jim Corrigan was still the alter-ego of this Spectre, and he did show up to help the Batman on one occasion which would seem to indicate that he belonged on Earth-One.   

The one problem with this particular portrayal of the Ghostly Guardian being set on Earth-One was that in one story, it was shown that pretty much everyone knew that Clark Kent was Superman, indicating that he was probably a fictional character there.

Several years later, Dr. Terrence Thirteen was involved with the Spectre while attempting to debunk a number of charlatans. This Spectre showed the same rather-murderous attitude toward evil that the Fleischer/Aparo Spectre had, which is why I group these appearances in with those of a probable Earth-One Spectre.

One key to the mystery may lie in an almost throwaway caption in AMERICA VS. THE JUSTICE SOCIETY #2. After the Spectre offers to basically destroy the world for his old friends to get them out of legal trouble, the Spectre leaves, to the caption "Then, it seems as if a different universe opens up beneath the feet of one who has been Jim Corrigan on at least two Earths — and the Spectre is seen no more among men." To me, this says that while there is only one Spectre, there may be a multitude of Jim Corrigans that he can inhabit at any time.

COMMENTS

The Spectre had "died" during a JLA/JSA crossover circa JLofA #83. His next appearance was in the Fleisher/Aparo ADVENTURE COMICS series, with no other super-heroes in evidence. However, Joe Orlando (or someone) confirmed in one of the letter columns that "this is the Earth-One Spectre". This was probably just to satisfy the fans' questions, since there is no real indication that Fleisher cared about multiple Earths. The Clark Kent/Superman comment was, I suspect, partly a gag and partly an attempt to preserve the grim and creepy atmosphere of the series, by fostering the illusion that these stories took place in the "real" world... with no "soft-hearted", gaudy super-heroes to clutter things up.

That said, the E-2 Jim Corrigan turned up alive(?) and well circa #70 of the 1970s ALL-STAR COMICS series, with the Justice Society, mentioning that the Spectre seemed to have disappeared lately... the implication being that he now inhabited the E-1 Corrigan. And in JLofA #220 a few years later, the specifically Earth-One Corrigan turned up again, being held in some kind of mystical stasis. Roy Thomas promised in a footnote to explain how he got that way in a future story, but it never happened.

Steve Gerber pitched a new SPECTRE series to DC in the 80s that would have, among other things, explained the two Corrigans, but after CRISIS, the whole question was declared moot, since there was now only one Earth and one Corrigan anyway.

(And there was also ANOTHER police detective named Jim Corrigan on Earth-One in the 70s, who apparently had nothing to do with the Spectre. He appeared in the later JIMMY OLSEN issues and in BLACK LIGHTNING, working in Metropolis. Actually, I'm not sure if they were both the same guy, but they were almost certainly intended to be.)

When you think about it, the Crisis did more good for "Earth-B" than anything else, since many of those questionable tales (especially with Wildcat and Plastic Man) now can fit into the DC universe fairly easily.

Of course, Batman still couldn't have met the Blackhawks, the Unknown Soldier, or Sgt. Rock during the war, and the Vigilante's post-1947 adventures are still up in the air, but what the hey?

THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD, during the years of Haney and Boltinoff, could be confusing. Most times, they ignored the whole Earth-One/Two device but other times, (the Black Canary story), they would use it themselves.

Appearances:

  • The Brave And The Bold #75, 116
  • Adventure Comics #431-438

Split

Split was a character that Wolfman originally intended to be a part of the Titans. Hence he appears in the special card set for DC VS. MARVEL that was painted by Julie Bell and pitted the Titans against the X-Men. His primary ability was teleportation, and if I remember correctly, he was described as kind of a sassy, prankster sort. To my understanding, he was later given a different name.

Split (the same evil young red-haired man in a red, white and black jacket as seen in the cards) was a member of a group called Team Hazard that appeared in the early issues of STEEL. He was a wisecracking smart-alec with teleporting abilities. He used his teleportation powers to transport members of Hazard's Black Ops ( STEEL #6, 8, 0, 19, 25 and 27).

The Split Man

Profile by Bob Buethe

He made two STRANGE ADVENTURES appearances, of which I only have the second. He was an adventurer archaeologist in the Indiana Jones mold, and had been given a magic belt by a witch doctor. It allowed him to split into two identical selves... one with a red aura, the other with a blue... who could communicate telepathically. However, his two selves had to rejoin by sundown or both would die. In the story I have, he used this power to lead a group of thieves in South America on a wild goose chase while his other self delivered a valuable artifact to a museum.

According to the Grand Comics Database:

The Split Man appeared in:
  • STRANGE ADVENTURES #166 (July 1964)
  • STRANGE ADVENTURES #203 (August 1967)

The Sponge Man (a.k.a. the Sponge)

Created by Arnold Drake and Bob Brown

PERSONAL DATA:

Alter Ego: Miklos
Occupation: Deep-sea sponge-diver
Known Relatives: None
Group Affiliation: None
Base of Operations: Florida, later at the bottom of the ocean
Height: (as Miklos) N/A (as Sponge Man) variable
Weight: (as Miklos) N/A (as Sponge Man) variable
Eyes: Blue
Hair: (as Miklos) black (as Sponge Man) none
Skin: (as Miklos) white (as Sponge Man) orange, sponge-like

First appearance: Challengers of the Unknown [1st series] #47 (Dec 1965-Jan 1966)

HISTORY:

Miklos was a deep-sea sponge-diver who lived a rather good life on the coast of Florida. He earned enough money to live on, had a good apartment, and a shy, continous flirt with Lisa, the girl next door.

One day Miklos came upon a spectacular find at the bottom of the ocean, a strange sponge-like object, almost shaped like a man, rotted to a likewise peculiar, green-hued rock. While examining the thing, a vicious moray eel suddenly flashed by. Jerking aside, Miklos accidentally gashed his hand on the jagged rock. At first Miklos dismissed the injury as "just a scratch", but after bringing the strange sponge to the surface and carrying it home, his hand had begun to throb intensely, his body ached, and he just wanted a night's sleep.

When Miklos wakened the next morning, he was in for the shock of his life. His injured hand had... changed. and not only his hand, he discovered. His entire body had mutated into a freakish sponge-like being.

Knowing that the famous Challengers of the Unknown were in town testing diving gear, the desperate Miklos sought them out, figuring that they may be the only ones to help him. Arriving in Miklos' apartment, Prof Haley of the Challengers examined his find, concluding that the "rock" was actually a meteor possessing a freakish life-force that had been transmitted to Miklos through the cut on his hand.

Miklos lowered his voice and explained that this was not all of it. He had found out that by concentrating, he could now do strange things, absorbing water just like a sponge. But not only water - energy and sound could apparently be absorbed by his freakish body. Stunned, the Challs decided to take a sample of the meteor and test it, promising Miklos to do their best to counteract his condition.

What neither Miklos nor the Challengers were aware of, was that his next-door neighbor, a sinister man named Stacy, had overheard the entire conversation from the other side of the wall. When the Challs had left the building, Stacy came over to Miklos and explained that he knew of a doctor who could help him. Sadly, this doctor lived in another country and it would cost a fortune bringing him here and setting up a lab for him. Miklos answered that he was not a wealthy man and could not raise that kind of money. Stacy protested: "With your special powers, you could take it! In your condition, who would blame you?"

Miklos refused to steal to cure himself. But later that night, as the strange-looking man restlessly prowled the streets, he was tormented by the fact that people around him were repulsed by his appearance, even Lisa, the girl next door.

The next day, the Challengers discovered Miklos on the streets and gasped in shock as the Sponge Man started to absorb all color in the area, leaving a black and white world in his trail. Shortly afterwords all sound was absorbed as well. Without functioning traffic lights, the traffic was stuck in a jam. and without sound, the police were not reached by the burglar alarm of a nearby bank, from which Stacy ran out with a big loot. the Challs attempted to stop Stacy, but the Sponge Man then absorbed all their strength, leaving them unconscious. Lying in the streets, the Challengers would have been killed by a driverless truck, had they not been saved by Miklos. Miklos explained that he wished them no harm but that Stacy and the stolen money was his only way to be cured.

The Challs of course realized that Stacy had tricked Miklos. After a wild chase, they were able to approach him and let him catch a glimpse of Stacy's police record, proving that Stacy was a cheap crook. As Miklos realized the terrible truth of the revelation, his mind snapped. In a state of shock, he left the Challs and Stacy behind him, wandering aimlessly, absorbing all water in his path, and growing as he did.

Prof theorized that the Sponge Man would continue to drain the rivers, lakes, and oceans. Ships would strand, populations would thirst while the creature would grow bigger and bigger until he eventually would become bigger than the Earth.

To ensure that the worst would not happen, the Challengers prepared a lake with tranquilizing chemicals, in hope of putting the Sponge Man to sleep. the Sponge Man absorbed the body of water, and the Challengers' plan had nearly succeeded when a forest fire started near the lake. While the Challs evacuated the area, the tranquilized Sponge Man was nearly consumed by the flames. Suddenly, the cry of a child pierced his dulled mind. A frightened little girl was trapped in the midst of the fire while the Challengers helplessly watched. But the cry made the giant Sponge Man regain his senses. With a final effort, he lurched to his feet and let the water of his body pour down on the flames and put out the forest fire.

Once the water - and the sleeping potion - were expelled from his body, the Sponge Man was reduced to normal size. the Challs offered peace and asked him to come with them so they might find a cure for him. But the Sponge Man refused.

"A cure? When? Next year? In ten years? Maybe never? and all that time, where will I be... locked up in a laboratory cage... like a guinea pig? No, thanks! I'm a freak! There's no place for me on land!"

With these words, Miklos jumped into the ocean, trading his old life for a new one on the bottom of the sea, surrounded by sponges and marine life. While the Challs would continue searching for a cure, it seemed as if the Sponge Man had finally found peace.
(Challengers of the Unknown [1st series] #47)

Months later, that peace was disturbed when U.S. military forces began to build an undersea defense system called "Fortess Fish Hook", a dome with aqua-troops, submarines, missile launchers and more. To their assistance, they had America's foremost underwater experts, the Sea Devils.

However, dynamiteers clearing the area for the installation were rather ruthless and destroyed a huge region, killing all sea life in the area... and waking the dormant Sponge Man. Stunned by the blast, the sinister sea thing regained its feet and stared at the carnage about him, including all of his dead "friends". Furiously, the Sponge Man once again started absorbing water into his swelling body, and attacked the engineers, the military forces, and the Sea Devils in a fit of rage.

After a quick battle, the Sponge Man captured the female Sea Devil Judy Watson, but let her go since she somehow, deep in his dim memories, reminded Miklos of the neighbor girl Lisa he had once been in love with. the Sponge Man turned away leaving the Sea Devils behind him.

The Sea Devils had recognized the creature as the Sponge Man that the Challengers had encountered months earlier, and they decided to get their assistance in capturing the creature. the cooperation would not be frictionless, though. the Challs still considered Miklos their friend and would not agree to hurt him. the military and the Sea Devils, on the other hand, had only witnessed the Sponge's destructive side and intended to do whatever was needed to stop the monster. Furthermore, tension grew between the two teams as Judy Walton, girlfriend of the Sea Devils' leader Dane Dorrance, started to show interest in Ace Morgan of the Challengers.

Meanwhile, a meeting was being held in the secret HQ of the notorious criminal organization known to the world as Scorpio. A "foreign power" had paid Scorpio to sabotage "Fortress Fish Hook", but to their luck, the Sponge Man was doing their work for them.

When the Sponge next appeared, attacking an army platform, the Challengers tried to reason with their friend. the creature cried out: "No, you are not my friends! My friends are the fish of the sea! You humans killed them... now I kill you!" With those words he attacked the Challs. the Sea Devils joined the battle, but even the combined might of the two teams was no match for the absorbing abilities of the Sponge. Drained of energy, heat, color and sound, the heroes were almost defeated. Finally, they got lucky as they were able to stun the Sponge with an electrical shock.

The Sponge Man was captured and contained in a plexi-glass cage. the military was satisfied but the Challengers were disturbed. Was there no way they could help Miklos?

Then, fate seemed to intervene. Appearing on the scene was Lisa, Miklos' former neighbor, who claimed she would do anything she could to help him. the Challs brought Lisa to meet Miklos, and as her soothing voice penetrated his warped mind, the never-forgotten love that Miklos had for this girl jogged his memory. He remembered his true self as Lisa told him that the Challengers were his friends. If they could cure Miklos, he and Lisa could be together. Miklos calmed down and agreed to cooperate.

But of course, this was not the end of it. As soon as Miklos and Lisa were left alone, she let him out from his imprisonment, fooling him into believing that the Challs were evil liars, then manipulated him into destroying the military bases once again.

When the Challengers and the Sea Devils learned about the Sponge's escape, they first quarreled about whose fault it was, then started fighting each other, but when June admitted that she had deliberately flirted with Ace to make Dane jealous, both teams calmed down and analyzed the situation. Realizing that Lisa was the only one who could have let Miklos out of his cage, they learned that she was, in fact - a Scorpio agent!

June made amends for her childish flirting games by making Lisa talk. Knowing every female's weakness, she simply threatened Lisa with cutting off all her hair, after which the hard-boiled villainess sang like a canary. Effective torture, if not politically correct.

The heroes then attacked Scorpio's headquarters, defeating most of the criminals, but were nonetheless unable to prevent their launching of a missile filled with poisonous gas, in order to pollute the waters around the military sites. However, the Sponge Man arrived on the scene, grown to gargantuan size after absorbing loads and loads of water. Believing that the missile was aimed at him, Miklos caught it and threw it back on the Scorpio HQ. the Challs and the Sea Devils avoided being crushed by it, but the poisonous gas had started leaking out, threatening the heroes, the villains, and the entire nearby town.

Hesitantingly, the Sponge Man decided to absorb the gas and save the humans, but then, ironically, he started to transform back to human himself. Were he now to absorb the gas, it could kill him when he had fully returned to human, making him face an unbearable dilemma: "Why should I die now... when I can really live again as Miklos?"

But as his common sense returned, Miklos realized that there was no question about how he should act. With the last of his inhuman powers, he absorbed all of the spreading poison. Then, finally completely human again, dived into a water tank to contain it. Miklos found peace in death, knowing that he had done the right thing.

When the press asked the Fortress' Admiral about the event, the military man replied:
"Just say I was wrong about him... and that Miklos died a hero's death."
and Ace Morgan filled in:
"Miklos made up for all the harm he caused... like a sponge, he wiped the slate clean.
(Challengers of the Unknown [1st series] #51)

As a footnote, Scorpio later returned to fight super-heroes such as the Green Lantern Hal Jordan, and were partly responsible for Celia Forrestal becoming the heroic Skyrocket, to avenge her parents killing at the hands of Scorpio. (Power Company: Skyrocket #1). They would return even later to battle the hero known as Thunderbolt (Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt #2-3, #7-12). Miklos' neighbor Lisa could very well be identical to Scorpia, unit leader of the Scorpio troops.

POWERS:

The Sponge Man had the uncanny ability to absorb virtally anything - liquid, gas, energy (including light, heat, and kinetic energy), and sound - into his body. He would grow in size and strength while doing it, and would also adapt some of the traits of what he absorbed (i.e., absorbing colors would make him colorful, absorbing heat would make him burning hot and his victims freezing cold, etc).

Due to the oxygen he absorbed through his body, the Sponge Man could survive underwater.

APPEARANCES:

  • Challengers of the Unknown [1st series] #47 (Dec 1965-Jan 1966)
    "The Sinister Sponge"
  • Challengers of the Unknown [1st series] #51 (Aug-Sep 1966)
    "Smash the Sponge Man... or Die"

Squadron of Justice

SQUADRON OF JUSTICE I (Pre-Crisis)

The first group of heroes to use the name of the Squadron of Justice was the Lieutenant Marvels. Three young men from different areas of the country (Texas, the Ozarks, and Brooklyn) all named Billy Batson were reading Captain Marvel's comic book adventures and happened to wonder if saying "Shazam" would work for them as well. As it happened, Tall Billy, Hill Billy, and Fat Billy all said the word at the same time and were each transformed into one of the Lieutenant Marvels, having powers akin to Captain Marvel. They could only change if all three said the magic word at the same time.

Appearances:

  • Whiz Comics #21 (noted as the Squadron of Justice)

SQUADRON OF JUSTICE II (Pre-Crisis)

The Squadron of Justice never was called by the name formally, but they were a group of heroes from Earth-S who were gathered together by the god Mercury to help try and save the Olympian Gods and the wizard Shazam when King Kull of the Beastmen attacked and paralyzed them all. Mercury also gathered a number of heroes from Earth-One's Justice League of America (Superman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Green Arrow, Hawkman, and Hawkgirl) and Earth-Two's Justice Society of America (Batman, Robin, Green Lantern, The Flash, Wonder Woman, and Johnny Thunder) to deal with the situation. With Shazam's paralysis, the wizard was unable to send out the magic lightning that would transform Billy Batson, Mary Batson, and Freddy Freeman into the Marvel Family.

The Squadron was made up of six heroes:

  • Bulletman and Bulletgirl: Jim Barr was a police scientist who had invented the Gravity Helmet that enabled him and his wife Susan to fly through the air as literal human projectiles.

  • Spy Smasher: Alan Armstrong was a Virginia sportsman who battled crime and enemies of America with his superb fighting abilities and technical know-how.

  • Mister Scarlet and Pinky The Whiz Kid: Attorney Brian Butler and his adopted son used their ace acrobatic skills and strange weaponry against all varieties of crime.

  • Ibis The Invincible: Prince Amentep was the son of an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh who had been resurrected in modern times, along with his wife Princess Taia. Ibis used the mystical Ibistick and its incredible powers in his fight against crime and sorcerous menaces.

King Kull's plans involved completely destroying mankind on all three Earths, so that his subjugated Beast-Men could once again rule over all. Superman, Wonder Woman, Spy Smasher, and Green Arrow headed to Earth-Two to battle King Kull's agents there: Queen Clea of Atlantis, the Penguin, Blockbuster, and Ibac. Queen Clea was planning to take over the entire continent of Atlantis (on Earth-Two, Atlantis had recently risen from the depths and was inhabited by two nations ruled by women; the inhabitants had learned to survive without mutating into water-breathers, like the inhabitants of Aquaman's city on Earth-One had done). The villains were dispatched with relative ease, but a strange cloud appeared over a nearby island and caused it to sink beneath the waves again in a very destructive fashion, which King Kull planned to have happen to every continent and island on Earth. Superman used his super-breath to freeze the cloud and threw the block of ice into the head of a passing comet, ending the threat. The heroes headed back to Earth-S as Atlantis disappeared beneath the waves again.

On Earth-S, a series of destructive and incredibly strange occurrences were happening all over the world. There was a very odd eclipse occurring that kept one side of the planet in perpetual darkness and the other side in continual light. There was volcanic activity in the Canadian Rockies, as witnessed by Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Bulletman, and Bulletgirl. When Hawkman flew too near to one of the volcanos, his shoulder began to petrify into stone. Off the coast of Atlantis, an iceberg was moving through the water at high speed and transforming anything that came near it into ice (including people). Rock formations came to life in the Garden of the Gods in California and began turning people into stone and laughing. Billy Batson, ace anchor at Station WHIZ in New York (and the alter-ego of Captain Marvel), also reported that the steel frame of a building being constructed downtown started walking away, after turning all the construction workers on it into iron.

Batman, Robin, Mr. Scarlet, and Pinky were investigating that situation. Batman got too close to the structure and part of his jaw turned to iron (making it very difficult for him to talk). They examined the bodies of the transformed workers and found they all had the unique grin usually associated with the effects of the Joker's laughing gas. The Joker was, in fact, working with an old enemy of Bulletman known as the Weeper. The two sent more gas into a local jewelry store, which transformed the people inside into living diamonds, and the diamonds and jewels followed the two criminals out of the store to their hideout. Mr. Scarlet noticed the marks on the sidewalk made by the moving gems and the four heroes followed the trail and made quick work of the two villains and their thugs. They took a sample of the Joker's gas to Jim Barr (also known as Bulletman) for analysis, as Pinky's hair had turned to diamond during the fight. Unfortunately, the analysis revealed that the gas was nothing by nitrous oxide, which meant there was some other force at work on all the inanimate objects.

Bulletgirl and the Hawks caught up with the other heroes and had photographs from a news service of some more super-villains causing trouble on the dark side of the world. The heroes of Earth-One and Two were able to identify them as the Shade and Doctor Light. The heroes who could fly switched partners to hopefully confuse the villains, with Bulletman and Hawkman heading after the Shade, and Bulletgirl and Hawkgirl tackling Doctor Light.

The Shade was at the Louvre, where he was causing all the figures in the classical paintings to become real people and move off their canvasses. Bulletman found that as he got close to any of the figures, his hand began changing, becoming two-dimensional. Hawkman's wings blew the painted people away, and the two heroes went after the Shade. Bulletman was able to use his Gravity Helmet to repel the Shade's darkness cane out of his hands. As Hawkman attempted to use it to stop the darkness (which was being caused by an overhead satellite), even the Shade was surprised that nothing happened.

Hawkgirl and Bulletgirl went to face Doctor Light at Yellowstone National Park. After Dr. Light's holographic duplicates tricked them into the paths of some geysers, the two caught up with the villain, who was already petrified into solid stone. Bulletgirl's arm was also turned to stone when she got too close. Light's duplicates were sentient and told them to get Light's weapon to make a satellite "turn day back into night". Bulletgirl retrieved the weapon (apparently with her already petrified arm) and Hawkgirl shot the gun at the satellite in the sky above them, but nothing happened. As the heroes got together again to discuss their options, they decided to use each weapon to move the satellites until they crashed together. The destruction of the two devices caused everything to revert back to normal, including the transformed body parts of our heroes.

The Green Lanterns, the Flashes, Ibis, and Mercury headed to Earth-One, where Mr. Atom and Brainiac were attacking a futuristic model city called Tomorrow. A strange black feedback aura prevented the heroes from attacking the giant Mr. Atom directly, and the Green Lanterns were able to trace the source of the aura to Brainiac's spaceship, hovering above the domed city. While Ibis and both Green Lanterns went to stop Brainiac, the three speedsters worked overtime repairing the damage and saving the people that Mr. Atom's rampage was endangering. The Green Lantern of Earth-Two worked at saving people who were falling through the air (which made the Earth-One GL believe Doctor Destiny was involved), the Green Lantern of Earth-One passed through the side of Brainiac's ship and was subjected to the "barium effect", which transformed him into a living skeleton. Ibis showed up in time to stop Brainiac from killed the hero, turning the robot dictator's own weapon against him. Ibis also changed Green Lantern back to normal, and the two heroes destroyed Brainiac's machines, causing the black aura around Mr. Atom to disappear. The two Green Lanterns then went to stop the device that was making gravity act strangely, while Ibis returned to the city of Tomorrow. Ibis was attacked by Mr. Atom before he could finish instructing the Ibistick how to contain the robot. Mr. Atom attempted to use the Ibistick to send the hero to a distant star, but a fail-safe in the magicks of the Ibistick caused Mr. Atom to suffer the fate he had wished on Ibis.

Soon after, all of the heroes headed to the Rock of Eternity, where King Kull had the Olympian Gods and Shazam as prisoners. Superman took the lead and flew inside, and was surprised to find King Kull in possession of a hunk of red kryptonite. The unpredictable element took over Superman's mind, filling him with a rage and a desire to kill. In the meantime, Mercury had sent Johnny Thunder to find the alter-egos of the Marvel Family. After inadvertently saying his magic word "Cei-U", his Thunderbolt appeared and changed the three kids into Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, and Captain Marvel, Jr. at long last. The Thunderbolt then took all four heroes to the Rock of Eternity, where Captain Marvel knocked the King of the Beast-Men out, while Junior destroyed the red kryptonite, and Mary freed the Olympians. Superman was still in a murderous rage, and the red kryptonite had made him immune to the deadly effects of green kryptonite, which the Green Lanterns had tried to stop him with. Remembering that Superman was vulnerable to magic, Captain Marvel flew directly at Superman and said his magic word "Shazam" when he was next to the Man of Steel. The magic lightning broke the spell of the red kryptonite and Superman returned to normal, saving Billy before he fell.

King Kull was imprisoned with magic chains that supposedly even Hercules couldn't break, and the heroes returned to their own worlds.

Appearances:

  • Justice League of America #137-139

Squire Shade

Squire Shade was a lookalike for Hawkman foe, the Gentleman Ghost. He was introduced in the dying days of the DC horror line as the first host in GHOSTS. Is this the Golden Age Flash villain who's currently a semi-good guy in STARMAN? He's another immortal character, and may well have been a squire at one point. Squire Shade's FIRST appearance was in a DC digest. He appeared in:

DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #17
Ghosts #104-110, 112
Secrets of Haunted House #44

Starfire (sword and sorcery)

A typical barbarian title by David Michelinie and Mike Vosburg in the mid-'70's, distinguished only by a female lead character. It was set in the future, and Starfire was the widow of a swordsman who'd taught her everything he knew.

Starfire was NOT the widow of Dagan (the swordsman). The two were never married, but they were lovers before Dagan was tortured to death by Sookarooth's men.

Here's the skinny; Starfire was raised since birth as a slave of the Mygorg. Her mother was white and her father was "yellow" (it actually says this in STARFIRE #1, but we can safely presume that Starfire's father was Asian-American).

Anyway, young Starfire's mixed heritage and beauty draws the attention of King Sookarooth of the Mygorg. Instead of making her a slve like all the other humans, Sookarooth has Starfire educated and raised with all the amenities of palace life.

Upon turning 18, Starfire learns that this was because Sookarooth intended for her to become his mate. Fleeing Castle Mollachon, Starfire heads for the countryside, but is caught by Sookarooth's men. She is rescued from them by Dagan, a warrior-priest, who then takes her under his wing and teaches her various forms of combat.

Starfire is a skilled swordsman, archer, and tracker, among others.

Anyway, Dagan is soon captured by Sookarooth, tortured, and killed. Starfire avenges her lover's death by storming Castle Mollachon, freeing Sookarooth's human slaves, and she eventually slays Sookarooth himself.

Starfire vows to rid her world of the Mygorg and free her people from slavery.

In Starfire's final recorded adventure, she learned that the alien Mygorg that ravaged her world had been brought there by a mystic "Eye of Armageddon". The revelation filled the heroine with "hope! We now know of the Eye of Armageddon... and that it can be destroyed...and our world made free!" (STARFIRE #8). Though they were unaware of it, Starfire and Claw the Unconquered were two of the eternal champions of the Sornaii (STAR HUNTERS #7). Her appearances include:

STARFIRE III:
Starfire #1-8
Star Hunters #7
Who's Who '86 #22

STARFIRE III (variants):
Starman #55
Swamp Thing #164

Starfire also appears in one panel of SWAMP THING #163. Starfire, Claw, Stalker, and one other sword and sorcery character I dont recognize are all pictured running away from Nightmaster. She's also pictured in her original costume (my fave!) except its mistakenly colored blue (it should be green).

Here's the lowdown on issues #2-4 of STARFIRE. As for issue #1, see my first post.


Starfire #2 - "The Siege of Lortnan Manor"
Written by David Michelinie, Art by Mike Vosburg and Vince Colletta

At Lortnan Manor, young Kyrse Lortnan is about to be killed by a Mygorg warrior for committing the crime of reading books, an activity forbidden to humans. As his father Velg Lortan looks on in horror, Starfire and her band of followers arrive just in time! After a short battle, all the Mygorg in the Manor are killed, but Velg tells Starfire that the dead Mygorg were only the advance guard for a larger patrol of Mygorg soldiers. Oops!

Soon after, the entire patrol of Mygorg soldiers storm the walls of Lortnan Manor. Starfire and her men manage to hold them off, and the Mygorg commander, Kevarj, retreats. He's already plotting his second attack, and this time he'll be using sky-beasts, which are pterodactyl like creatures which shoot heat beams (called "death bolts") from their eyes. Starfire manages to stop the sky beast once (you've got to see it to believe how she does it!), but sensing the Mygorg won't stay routed for long, her and her men flee into the countryside. As she leaves, Starfire is given a map by Kyrse, and the map is said to lead to the legendary Lightning Lords, beings who have powerful weapons that could be used in the battle against the Mygorg.

Also, in this issue we meet the first of Starfire's supporting cast, a balding man named Thrumdahg who wears all blue and swings a nasty axe. Thrumdahg makes some unwanted advances towards Starfire, and she ends up showing him exactly who's boss. Embarrassed in front of the men, Thrumdahg soon grows to resent Starfire, as we'll see in issue #3.


Starfire #3 - "The Arena of the Frost Dragon"
Written by Elliot S! Maggin, Art by Mike Vosburg and Vince Colletta

Still wandering around, Starfire and her followers come across a gladiator pit where a giant, deformed human is fighting a frost dragon (instead of breathing fire, frost dragon's breath ice) with a metal ball and chain. With the crowd of Mygorg engrossed in the battle, Starfire and her men ambush the spectators and free the giant. The giant is mute, so Starfire decides to name him Thump, saying that "He looks like a Thump, don't you think?" Thump quickly proves his loyalty by stopping Thrumdahg's plot to assault and overthrown Starfire as leader of the rebels.

We also meet Anzus, the group's weapon keeper, who is an older man with a white beard who wears a purple outfit and a green hooded cape.

Another Mygorg commander tracks down Starfire with the help of a human slave named Moonwatcher, who is an excellent tracker. Setting up in a nearby Mygorg village, the commander decides to ambush Starfire's camp at dawn. Moonwatcher overhears this, manages to kill the commander, and escapes to tell Starfire. Starfire decides to attack the village before the Mygorg can attack her. Starfire's army of ex-slaves wins, and they free the human slaves held in the village, who them join Starfire's ranks.

Starfire wants to continue their quest to find the Lightning Lords but since nobody knows how to read the map Kyrse gave them (remember, its a crime for humans to read books), she isn't sure what to do. In a stroke of good luck, it is discovered that Thump knows how to read. Pointing them in the right direction, the mute giant leads them onwards.....


Starfire #4 - 'slaves of the Golden Queen"
Written by Elliot S! Maggin, Art by Mike Vosburg and Vince Colletta

While heading through a mountain pass, Starfire and her followers are ambushed by Nitrons, tribal beats who spurt flame from their tails (really!). A brief struggle ensues, and the Nitrons manage to steal all the human's food and supplies. Trekking onwards on empty stomachs, Starfire spots a settlement "with supplies we can doubtless beg, borrow, or steal" in a nearby canyon.

Starfire, Thump, Anzus, Moonwatcher, and Raynor (not much is revealed about him) enter the settlement, and they meet the settlement's Queen Karoleen, a feminist with an attitude who sports a golden helmet which covers half of her face. "All men are slaves in this city" Karoleen tells Starfire, and you just know what's gonna happen next. Starfire decides to "trade" three of her men (Azmodus, Moonwatcher, and Starfire in disguise) for two wagonloads of food. Once inside, Starfire reveals herself and engages Karoleen in battle. As soon as this happens, Karoleen sends a group of her female soldiers to reclaim the food. Raynor, Thump, and Azmodus lead Starfir's followers in defending the food, while Starfire and Moonwatcher deal with Karoleen.

We learn that Karoleen has much in common with Starfire. She too was destined to marry Sookaroth and escaped. However, her escape had a price - a hideously scarred face caused by the Mygorg's flaming arrows. Thus, Karoleen hides the scarred side of her face behind her golden helmet. To make a long story short, Karoleen dies fighting Starfire (she plunges to her death), and Starfire and her merry men escape with the food. They continue along their journey to find the Lightning Lords.

Star Hunters

Another Michelinie feature, this one set in a spacefaring future with a group of rebels, led by one Donvan Flint, against a tyrannical government. One of many similar ideas that (IIRC) sprang up in the wake of the original 'star Wars" movie.

The Star Hunters included Bruce Sellers, Darcy Vale, Donovan Flint, Jake Hammersmith, Mindy Yano and Theodore McGavin. As they returned to Earth for a final confrontation with the Corporation that had exiled them in space, McGavin was killed and Flint made a crash landing on the planet (STAR HUNTERS #7). The final resolution of the conflict (written by Gerry Conway) was set to appear in issue #8 but it was lost in the DC Implosion. The Adam Strange back-ups for SH #8 and 9 eventually appeared in WORLD'S FINEST #263 and GREEN LANTERN #132.

The Star Hunters appeared in:

  • DC Super-Stars #16
  • Star Hunters #1-7
  • Who's Who '86 #22

Stanley and His Monster

Created by Arnold Drake and Bob Oksner

First appearance: THE FOX AND THE CROW #95, December 1965-January 1966.

Personal data:

STANLEY:
Alter ego: Stanley Dover Jr.
Occupation: Kid
Known relatives: Sheila Dover (mother), Mitchell Dover (father), Stanley Dover Sr. (maternal grandfather, deceased), Marge Dover (maternal grandmother, deceased)
Group affiliation: None
Base of operations: The suburbs of Star City
Height: N/A
Weight: N/A
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Blond
Skin: Caucasian white

THE MONSTER:
Alter ego: Unnamed. Sometimes known as "The Beast With No Name", "Massachusetts", 'spot", or "Thpot"
Occupation: Dog. Expelled Demon of Hell.
Known relatives: None
Group affiliation: Demons of Hell
Base of operations: Formerly Hell, currently the suburbs of Star City
Height: N/A
Weight: N/A
Eyes: Black
Hair: Magenta (all over his body)
Skin: Furry

History:

The story about Stanley and his Monster is actually two stories. One, an innocent fairytale about a boy and his dog. The other, a considerably darker tale about arts arcane and evil personified.

It starts with an entirely different Stanley. A monster in his own right.

Growing up in an American suburban area in the 1950s, Stanley Dover Sr. was seemingly the most decent citizen anyone could imagine. He was married to a beautiful woman and housewife named Marge, he had a decent job as a postman, was a good neighbour, and went to church every Sunday.

However, the bright idyll of the 1950s could cast a dark and twisted shadow. After a few years of marriage, Stanley and Marge were drawn into Satanist circles by one of their friends. Although most of the Satanic worshippers in their "club" - including Marge - saw the practicing of arcane arts mainly as a way of "letting loose", a way of breaking the taboos of the Truman era and engaging themselves in group sex sessions, for Stanley Dover it became much more. He deeply wanted to serve the Dark Powers and use them for his own satisfaction. Ultimately, he was captivated by the promise of life eternal - and by that, he did not mean in the hereafter, as most religions promised.

Marge didn't think much about Stanley's serious dedication, not until the day she found that she was pregnant, and suggested to Stanley that it was time to grow up and leave the Church of Satan. Stanley could not believe it. There was not a chance that they would abandon the church for the sake of the child - on the contrary, the newborn child was going to be sacrificed in the name of Satan. The very next day, a death-scared Mary fled the neighbourhood, and Stanley never saw her again. (GREEN ARROW (vol. 3) #9, December 2001)

Bitter and disappointed, Dover travelled to England to study the science of the supernatural and socialize with well-known occultists, such as Jason Blood and Alexander Burgess. It was in the Burgess Estate in Wych Cross, that Stanley Dover had an encounter that would forever change his life.

In the early 1920s, Alexander Burgess' father, the magus Roderick Burgess, had attempted to capture Death herself, but instead got hold of Death's little brother - Dream of the Endless. For decades, the Roderick family had kept the so-called Sandman in a glass cage in their basement, and now, in the late 1960s, Stanley Dover snuck a peek of him. Not knowing who the strange creature was, Dover was still impressed by the capturing of a being that he sensed had great power. It was rumored that Burgess' ancient book known as the Magdalene Grimoire had been crucial to the capturing, and Dover, not above stealing when it suited his purposes, returned to the United States with the unholy book in hand. The Magdalene Grimoire provided Dover with enough wealth to set himself up in style in Star City, but, like Burgess, he never succeeded in capturing Death. (GREEN ARROW (vol. 3) #9, December 2001, THE SANDMAN (vol. 2) #1, January 1989)

In 1985, life took an unexpected turn for Dover. Knocking at his door was a woman named Sheila, who introduced herself as the daughter he had never seen. Sheila explained that Marge had been dead for many years, that she herself had been brought up by her aunt, and that her boyfriend Mitch had advised her to seek out her long-lost father. She did not know why her parents have separated, but wanted to get back to her roots, her family. Pretending to be touched by her tears, Dover decided to play the good father.

Some years later, Sheila gave birth to Stanley Dover Jr., giving old Stanley the perfect cover for his wicked activities. While the parents was at work, grampa Stanley looked after his grandson at the same time that he attempted to arise creatures of Hell. The ancient chants and spells of the Magdalene Grimoire served as lullabies for the baby Stanley, something that old Stanley remembered as something rather cute later in his life. And on the surface, the family life was both very cute and very happy. (GREEN ARROW (vol. 3) #9, December 2001)

Young Stanley grew up in the happy suburbs of Star City with his caring parents, Sheila and Mitchell Dover. (A modern man, Mitch had agreed on taking his wife's family name.) Except for Sheila's sad childhood, the Dovers were probably the most typical suburban couple you'll ever find - in the most positive meaning of the word. Caring, intelligent and fun-loving people, fond of gardening, barbecues and socializing with their neighbours. They still love each other and experience no marital difficulties except for the occasional quarrel. And they are both starting to gain weight. Neither of them has been involved in any criminal affairs...and none of them has ever joined any Satanic church.

Stanley was (and is still) the Dovers' only child, something that has not seemed to make him a spoilt brat. Actually, Stanley is a lovable kid, who dreams of becoming either a professional wrestler or a super-hero as a grown-up. Early in his life, his parents realized that he was quite intelligent. For example, he learned how to read and write before he was five years old.

Nevertheless, at the age of five, Stanley was a very lonely boy. He had no siblings. No other kids his own age lived in his neighbourhood. He found some content in comic books and his own wild flights of imagination, but longed for company. He wanted a dog, but was allergic to them. Things looked bleak...until one day, while he was chasing a baseball down a sewer, and actually found the dog he had longed for. Or...it was not quite a dog. It was something even better. A genuine monster!

What Stanley did not know at the time, was that the Monster in question was actually a demon - a nameless creature that had been banished from Hell by Lucifer himself, just because he was, well, too nice to be there. He had treated his fellow demons with love and respect, given solace to the damned, and pasted "have a nice day" stickers all over the city of Dis. These actions drew the attention and awakened the anger of Lucifer, who decided that the nameless one should be banished to Earth. That would teach him some manners.

Lucifer's plan almost succeeded. Wherever the Monster moved on Earth, he was feared and hated by ignorant humans. Frustrated and angered, the Monster had probably chosen the path of evil, were it not for the interference of the good-hearted and innocent Stanley.

Stanley did what any normal five-year-old would have done - he befriended the Monster and took it home. The lonely Monster despised the fact that he scared people, and was more than happy to be Stanley's "dog" and friend. And since he had no name, Stanley gave him one. Although the Monster would have preferred "Massachusetts", he was content with Stanley calling him 'spot" - or "Thpot" as the kid pronounced it (he had a lisp in those days).

When Stanley asked his parents if he could keep a Monster he had found, they gladly agreed, more than happy that their son could be so satisfied with an imaginary friend. Even to this day, the Dovers have not actually seen the Monster, and, just like the parents of "Calvin and Hobbes", they believe it to be a figment of Stanley's imagination. For months, even years, Stanley has kept the Monster in his bedroom, hiding him under the bed in times of crisis (and ignoring the fact that this should be topologically impossible). (THE FOX AND THE CROW #95, January 1966; SECRET ORIGINS #48, April 1990; WHO'S WHO IN THE DC UNIVERSE #1, August 1990)

As time went by, Stanley and his Monster embarked on many fun adventures together, developing a deep and sincere friendship. Whatever would happen, they promised never to leave each other. (THE FOX AND THE CROW #96 - STANLEY AND HIS MONSTER (vol. 1) #112, February 1966 - November 1968.) However, Hell's rulers would not agree on that bargain. During this time, a weary Lucifer had abdicated and abandoned Hell. The infernal realm was now under Heaven's control, and the punishment of the damned overseen by the angels Remiel and Duma. (THE SANDMAN (vol. 2) #28, July 1991) The Hell's Angels did not like the thought of having demons running around on Earth, and decided to send out agents to fetch them all, the unnamed one included. Some escapees, like Lord Asteroth, were collected by Etrigan, who had been appointed "Hitman of Hell" at the time. (THE DEMON (vol. 3) #42-45, 1994) Others, like Anton Arcane, were brought back by Agony & Ecstasty, Hell's inquisitional "police". (SWAMP THING (vol. 2) #125, November 1992, #136-138, October-December 1993.)

To collect Stanley's Monster, the Angels appointed the female rhyming demon known as Nyx, who was sent to Earth and invaded the Dover household. With the help of the Phantom Stranger and the mysterious Ambrose Bierce (a John Constantine-wannabee), Stanley and his Monster were able to avert the danger, and the Monster was ultimately allowed to stay on Earth. Stanley's parents were introduced to the Monster and encountered a lot of weirdness during this time, but their memories of the whole event were soon erased. Life in the suburbs returned to normal. Such as "normal" was. (STANLEY AND HIS MONSTER (vol. 2) #1-4, February-May 1993)

Time went by. Stanley grew older and went to school, and his parents got increasingly worried about him never outgrowing his "imaginary friend". They asked grampa Stanley if he couldn't talk to the boy. Stanley Sr., still playing the part of the good grandfather, agreed, just as happily as Stanley Jr. agreed to introduce his grandfather to his "friend". What Stanley Sr. had not anticipated, was that his grandson's imaginary friend was real. And that he suddenly would stand eye to eye with a demon of Hell.

Old Stanley recognized the Monster instantly. This was the one who in his arcane books was referred to as "the Beast With No Name" - a creature that would be forced to do the bidding of any human being that gained control over it. Stanley Sr. had been trying to summon the creature for years, often while taking care of little Stanley, and now realized that he had succeeded, indirectly and unknowingly, by transferring the curse to his grandson. Astonished, old Stanley asked his grandson to go get him a glass of water while he got "acquainted" with the magenta-colored Monster.

He had only turned away for a couple of seconds, but that was enough for the repulsed Monster to flee the Dover household. Furious about having been so close to the goal, and that the creature still would elude his grasp, old Stanley finally revealed to his grandson what kind of person he really was.

Old Stanley kidnapped young Stanley and imprisoned him in the basement of his big Star City mansion. Reasoning that hurting the child would be the only sure way to lure the demon out from hiding, the old mage started a wicked scheme to get the Monster's attention. He contained his grandson in a glass cage (similar to the one he had seen in the Burgess Estate), dressed him up as the Monster, and fed him only the blood of children who had been innocently killed by Stanley Sr. on the streets of Star City. Infamously known as "the Star City Slayer", the seemingly mild-mannered old man was never suspected to be guilty of the murders, or, for that matter, the disappearance of young Stanley. However, his plan didn't work. The Monster did not appear and Stanley Sr. was becoming increasingly frustrated.

Ironically, the Star City Slayer almost fell prey to street violence himself when Stanley Sr. was assaulted by robbers one night. To his surprise, he was saved by a delirious Green Arrow. The original Green Arrow, Oliver Queen, who everybody believed to be dead. In fact, the real Oliver Queen was still dead. Stanley Sr., who had studied occultism for decades, recognized this Green Arrow as a "hollow" - a creature with the body and mind of a living man, but no soul. It was later revealed that this "Ollie" was a creation by Hal Jordan, the Spectre, who believed that his former friend deserved a second life. Ollie's soul, on the other hand, was still in Heaven, and refused to inhabit the new body.

However, this was not known to Stanley Dover Sr. at the time. He only realized that this soulless "Green Arrow" could be a valuable instrument for him in his evil mission. He befriending the confused, soulless hero (who didn't realize that he was anything less than the real thing), offering him food, clothes, a sanctuary, and, above all, friendship. While "Green Arrow" resumed his hero career, Stanley Sr. played the role of Ollie's old, good-hearted, gay friend.

While adventuring, the soulless Ollie gradually learned more about what he really was. Afraid that his plan would fail if the hollow learned too much about itself, Stanley Sr. put his plan in motion, trapping Ollie and his young friend Mia in the basement where Stanley Sr. was already held captive. Here, Stanley Sr. revealed the plan he had had since the day he met Ollie: he was to mystically transfer his own soul to the soulless body. In the shape of the Green Arrow, he could infiltrate the JLA HQ, and thus get the means to locate the missing demon who could provide him with everything...perhaps even life eternal. It was a convoluted and far-fetched plan, but Stanley Sr., mad and power-hungry, really believed it would work. (GREEN ARROW (vol. 3) #9, December 2001)

The soulless Ollie was just about to be killed when fate intervened in the form of Oliver's son, Connor Hawke, the second Green Arrow, who entered the building in an attempt to free the captives. Of course, Stanley Sr. was not unprepared, but unleashed a cadre of demons to fight the young archer. Feeling that Connor had no chance to survive this fight, the soul of Oliver Queen finally returned to the "hollow" body, making the original Green Arrow "whole" again. Soon, the first and second Green Arrow stood side by side, battling the minions of Hell. Finding themselves outnumbered, they were ready to sacrifice themselves and save the world by letting the JLA destroy the building with them in it.

At the last second, Stanley's Monster actually turned up and succeeded in sending the other demons back to Hell. He saved the Green Arrows, freed young Stanley from captivity, and punished the old Stanley with the words:
"You dreamed of mastering me, didn't you? Of inhabiting meÖas you intended to inhabit Mister Queen over there. You wanna get inside me? Fine."
A screaming Stanley Dover Sr. was then devoured by the Beast.

Oliver, Connor, Mia, and Stanley Jr. were all freed from their imprisonment and returned to their respective lives.

The reunion of Stanley and his Monster was a sweet one, with the Monster erasing the painful memories of abuse from Stanley's mind. They returned to the simple life of building forts and climbing trees - and their mutual satisfaction of forever being each others' heroes. (GREEN ARROW (vol. 3) #10, January 2002)

Powers, skills, and weapons:

Stanley Dover Jr. is a typical boy of his age. He has no meta-gene, no extraordinary abilities, and does not know any martial arts. He is highly intelligent and rather hyperactive.

Before he was banished to Earth, the Monster had demonic powers of a fairly high caliber. Most of them were stripped from him as part of his punishment. He has working knowledge of magic, but is mostly incapable of using it since his Earthly exile. However, he can recognize other Demons, no matter how well they are disguised. He has also been able to conduct other mystic feats at occasions, such as the time when he closed old Stanley's doorway to Hell, and erased Young Stanley's painful memories. The Monster is vulnerable to magic spells, and certain mystical objects and substances (such as holy water).

The Monster still has superior strength and an incredibly high threshold of pain. He is impervious to cold and fire. He has good night vision. His diet consists mainly of poisons, toxic wastes, garbage, and trash (which makes him come in handy on cleaning day). He has an adverse effect on normal animals, who are terrified of him and will run away, no matter how well trained. He can be hurt by heavy-duty weapons, but will heal completely unless they've been blessed. He has no extensive knowledge of weaponry, but if called upon, can wield a mean pitchfork. His claws can rip through concrete and his teeth can bite through an inch of Steel (though they'll smart a bit afterward). Despite his appearance, he can move swiftly, and delicately if the need arises. (WHO'S WHO IN THE DC UNIVERSE #1, August 1990; GREEN ARROW (vol. 3) #10, January 2002)

Appearances in chronological order:

THE FOX AND THE CROW #95, December 1965-January 1966
THE FOX AND THE CROW #96
THE FOX AND THE CROW #97
THE FOX AND THE CROW #98
THE FOX AND THE CROW #99
THE FOX AND THE CROW #100
THE FOX AND THE CROW #101
THE FOX AND THE CROW #102
THE FOX AND THE CROW #103
THE FOX AND THE CROW #104
THE FOX AND THE CROW #105
THE FOX AND THE CROW #106
THE FOX AND THE CROW #107
THE FOX AND THE CROW #108
STANLEY AND HIS MONSTER (Vol. 1) #109, April-May 1968
STANLEY AND HIS MONSTER (Vol. 1) #110, June-July 1968
STANLEY AND HIS MONSTER (Vol. 1) #111, August-September 1968
STANLEY AND HIS MONSTER (Vol. 1) #112, October-November 1968
THE BEST OF DC #49, June 1984 (reprint)
SECRET ORIGINS (Vol. 3) #48, April 1990
WHO'S WHO IN THE DC UNIVERSE #1, August 1990 (fact page)
STANLEY AND HIS MONSTER (Vol. 2) #1, February 1993 (also a background article)
STANLEY AND HIS MONSTER (Vol. 2) #2, March 1993
STANLEY AND HIS MONSTER (Vol. 2) #3, April 1993
STANLEY AND HIS MONSTER (Vol. 2) #4, May 1993
CONJURORS #1, April 1999 (Elseworlds)
CONJURORS #2, May 1999 (Elseworlds)
CONJURORS #3, June 1999 (Elseworlds)
GREEN ARROW (Vol. 3) #2, May 2001 (Stanley only, dressed up as the Monster)
GREEN ARROW (Vol. 3) #8, November 2001 (Stanley only)
GREEN ARROW (Vol. 3) #9, December 2001
GREEN ARROW (Vol. 3) #10, January 2002

Starman II (pre-Crisis)

Alter Ego: Bruce Wayne, alias Batman
Occupation: Millionaire Socialite
Known Relatives: Thomas Wayne (father, deceased); Martha Wayne (mother, deceased); Richard "Dick" Grayson (legal ward)
Group Affiliation: None
Base of Operations: Gotham City (Earth-One)
First Appearance: Detective Comics #247 (September 1957)
Height: 6 ft. 2 in.
Weight: 210 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Black

History: Renegade scientist, Professor Milo, gathers three members of the underworld in his secret laboratory to discuss the problem of Batman. He explains that others have failed at crime because of the caped crusader, but believes he shall succeed by defeating Batman through a phobia. After many years of research, he has developed a substance so precious it can only be used once, a substance that will make Batman helpless against their march of crime.

The next day, at a charity benefit, where Batman is an honored guest, Milo paints the phobia liquid on a spotlight lens which mimics the bat-signal. When Batman is introduced, Milo's henchman projects the image of the bat into Batman's eyes. Batman is stunned by the bright light, begins to feel a little dizzy, and excuses himself as he is helped off-stage by his partner, Robin. The heroes return to their home and their civilian identities of Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson.

That night, when Batman and Robin are summoned with the real bat-signal, Bruce finds he cannot look at his own bat emblem. He rips the emblem off and dons his costume. When they reach the Batmobile, Batman finds he cannot enter it, and the duo are forced to tend to the crime on foot. Shortly, at the Gotham Art Museum, Batman and Robin confront three art thieves. When Batman pulls out one of his batarangs, he goes into a sudden panic, and the criminals escape with the stolen artwork. The thieves report back to Professor Milo that the phobia works.

The following night, Batman and Robin again answer a call from the police. When Batman corners the criminals on a building rooftop, one of them opens a small box and lets loose a bat. Batman is so panic-stricken, he falls off the edge of the building. Robin saves his partner, but the criminals again escape with their stolen goods.

Later, back at the Batcave, Batman concludes that someone has given him an artificial phobia against bats. In the days that follow, Batman's phobia gets so bad that he is forced to retire. Batman brings Robin to Police Commissioner Gordon's office to inform the police that, from that moment on, Robin will be working with a new partner, Starman. Within an hour, news of Batman's retirement spreads around the world.

The next time the police are faced with a crime they cannot handle, they project a star-signal into the night sky. Starman and Robin arrive at the crime in progress in a hovering Star-Plane. Using their fists and a handful of star-darts, the heroes capture the four thugs and bring them into custody.

Back at their new headquarters, the Star-Loft, Bruce confides in Dick that it won't be long before people guess that Starman is actually Batman, and criminals will begin to use his bat phobia against him once more. When Dick asks if there are cures for phobias, Bruce explains that the person can be made to realize that there's nothing to fear, but it usually takes time. Before he can react, Dick straps Bruce to a chair and rolls out a news reel projector. Dick begins showing films of the exploits of Batman, deafening himself to Bruce's pleas to stop. As scene after scene flashes before him, Bruce begins to relax. Elsewhere, Professor Milo proclaims to his men that it is obvious that Starman is really Batman in another costume. Milo states that he has come up with a bat-scare that will finish Batman for good.

Later that night, as bandits make off with a factory payroll, Starman and Robin arrive. The criminals are prepared, and unleash a huge bat-shaped balloon. Instead of being frightened, as expected, Starman and Robin jump aboard the bat-balloon and ride it towards the thieves. Two are captured immediately. Starman then captures the remaining two who are fleeing by slashing the floating balloon with a stararang. Starman quickly learns of Professor Milo's whereabouts from his prisoners. He soon arrives at the secret lab, confronting Milo. The cunning scientist quickly holds up a paper cutout of a bat, believing it will stop his attacker, but Starman merely punches through it and into Milo's jaw. Starman then reveals his Batman costume underneath, showing that the phobia no longer has any effect. The world soon learns that Batman is back.

Weapons and Powers: Bruce Wayne has been trained in numerous fighting techniques and is an expert in hand-to-hand combat. He is a man of great intelligence and ingenuity and, as Batman, is renowned for his superior detective skills. As Starman, he flew a robot controlled Star-Plane, which was kept at it's secret hanger, the Star-Loft. Among other weapons, Starman wielded star-darts and the stararang.

Comments: This portion of Batman's history was eliminated by the events of the Crisis on Infinite Earths. In the revised history, a hero resembling the one described above was active for a year and a day, from January 1951 to January 1952. This hero was, in fact, two separate individuals: Dr. Charles McNider, a.k.a. Dr. Mid-Nite, and David Knight, the time-traveling son of the original Starman.

Charles McNider replaced Ted Knight, the original Starman, who had suffered a mental breakdown, from January 1951 to early December 1951. When David Knight, the fifth Starman, was snatched from the moment just prior to his death and transported through time to early December 1951, he was trained by McNider as his replacement. David was active from December 1951 to January 2nd 1952, and was believed by the general public to be the same Starman that had been fighting crime for the last eleven months.

The post-Crisis Starman was first mentioned in Starman [second series] #2 (December 1994), made a cameo appearance in Starman Secret Files #1 (April 1998), and made his first full appearance in Starman 80-Page Giant #1 (Jan 1999).

Starman III

Real name: Mikaal Tomas
Other aliases: Michael Thomas
First appearance: 'starman," by Gerry Conway, Mike Vosburg and Mike Royer, in 1ST ISSUE SPECIAL #12 (March ë76).
Base of operations: New York City, later Opal City.
Planet of origin: Talok III (originally unnamed but described as being 3,000 light-years away from Earth and in orbit around a red dwarf star).

Powers: Highly skilled unarmed combatant, flight through the use of "flight pods." Mikaal also possessed a 'sonic crystal" which originally alerted him to approaching danger and generated sonic bursts that could be directed against an opponent. It was later said to harness cosmic energy and may have become the source of his flight powers. Because of something unique in Mikaal's physiology, the crystal would work for him, but few other Talokians.

Mikaal Tomas was a member of a blue-skinned race bent on conquering Meridian (Earth), not because its own world was dying, but because the species "required conquest emotionally." His race lived on Talok III, but was originally the lost 13th Tribe from Talok VIII, future home of Shadow Lass (a.k.a. Umbra) of the Legion of Super- Heroes. Mikaal, one of the Talokian Warrior Elite, and his lover, Lyysa Jurndaal, were among a group sent to establish a hidden base on the moon. It was to be the staging point for the invasion.

Lyysa did not share her race's addiction to conquest, however, and sought to warn Earth. Mikaal failed to talk her out of her plan and she was killed attempting to steal a shuttle craft. Distraught, Mikaal attacked the guard who shot her, only to be knocked out and hauled before the base's leaders, Lady Cormell, Master Komak and an unnamed third alien. He was found guilty of treason and sentenced to death.

But Mikaal escaped and traveled to Earth, where his stolen shuttle crashed in the North Bronx. Flying from the doomed ship at the last minute, Mikaal was spotted by a gang of thugs who attempted to rob him. Despite being stabbed, Mikaal defeated the toughs and walked off.

Soon, police, led by Inspector Dave Clarson and Sgt. Jack O"Donnell, arrived to investigate the crash. They had barely begun when Col. Magruder of the USAF arrived and announced his men would take over. A dispute over jurisdiction was cut short when the shuttle exploded, killing Clarson. Magruder would later try to recruit O"Donnell in his efforts to hunt down the shuttle's pilot.

Meanwhile, Mikaal, broke into a grocery store and was confronted by its owner, Franklin Clay. Suspecting Mikaal to be a burglar, Clay threatened him with a rifle, but the alien used his 'sound stuff" to make the weapon vanish. Then he collapsed. Clay decided "the boy needs a bed more"n jail," then thought, "and if I can make myself some money off that sound gadget he's got, well, nobody says a Good Samaritan's gotta take a loss."

Mikaal awakened in Clay's apartment and told his story to the man and his wife, Ruth. They obviously didn"t believe him, so when Ruth excused herself, Mikaal was certain she had gone to call the police. Declaring that he must be free to fight against his people, he flew out a window.

On the moon, Komak had enlisted the aid of a "mind-slaver" - First Guardsman of the Worldstone Turran Kha - to hunt down and kill Mikaal. Kha attacked Mikaal on Earth and as the two aliens faced off in front of startled humans, Mikaal thought, "A guardsman — here on Earth. Then the Mind Council is serious, and the threat to Earth — is deadly! I only pray I have the strength to do... what must be done!"

And then the story ended with a standard "write in and let us know if you want to see more of Starman" blurb. Unfortunately for anyone who did want more, it would be nearly 20 years before Mikaal Tomas" story would be continued.

When comics fans first read of Mikaal Tomas in 1976, they had no idea he would not be seen again for almost two decades. He did not merit a WHO'S WHO entry and if he appeared in CRISIS, it must have been in one of Perez's amazing crowd shots.

Most people forgot about Mikaal, and those who didn"t debated whether he was ever part of the DC Universe in the first place. That question was answered in an epilogue to STARMAN vol. 2 #3 (Jan. ë95). Readers of the James Robinson-penned series were shown an emaciated, ragged Mikaal, now billed as "The Cosmic Freak" at a circus owned by a man named Bliss.

Four issues later, Jack Knight, the newest Starman, visited the circus during a trip through Turk County in search of collectibles. He found the chained alien, who could no longer speak English. Mikaal managed to touch him, filling Jack's mind with disjointed images from his past. Disturbed, Jack spoke to Bliss and was told the Freak was only Greg Bailey, a performer from Albany. Jack was not convinced, so Bliss ordered his hulking servant Crusher and the other freak show performers to attack the fledgling hero.

In the following issue, Jack learned Bliss was an incubus, a demonic creature that fed upon the emotions of humans. Watching Jack's battle with the monster, Mikaal felt hope stir within him and was at last able to use his crystal - now mysteriously fused to his chest - to join the fray. Bliss was destroyed, Crusher fled and Mikaal and the other freaks were free.

In issue 10, Ted Knight, began working to restore Mikaal's memories. As his memories trickled back, Mikaal became Jack's ally and a friend to a "tame" incarnation of the swamp creature Solomon Grundy. He would even find happiness with a new love, an African-American man named Tony.

He would later accompany Jack into space, traveling to Rann and "Throneworld," where they learned the surprising connection between Starman IV (Prince Gavyn) and Starman V (Will Payton). Detours into the timesteam would allow them to visit a young Jor-El on Krypton and the 30th Century, where Mikaal learned his race's true past and his possible future.

But what had happened to Mikaal after his first appearance? The details would be scattered throughout the series.

In 1976, the blue Starman traveled America, fighting his people and more terrestrial threats. He believed he had killed Turran Kha, but that later proved to be incorrect. Other members of his race, such as the Rahndolph Twins and the Mighty Zag, did die at his hands.

He wound up in Ted Knight's hometown of Opal City because "that's the place for a Starman." Along the way, he ran afoul of the original Green Lantern Alan Scott after a gang of robbers painted themselves blue to pass as members of his race. After making peace, they caught the real criminals. Mikaal was impressed by Scott's heroism.

He also teamed up with the Martian Manhunter. This may have occurred after a similar "misunderstanding," judging from art in issue #63. Mikaal also fought the sorcerer Felix Faust, possibly with J"Onn's help. This would have predated Faust's first appearance in "Justice League of America" by several years. Mikaal also defeated a super-villain called The Goner and battled another named No Mercy.

Then his people disappeared and he found himself at loose ends. Because of his race's tendency toward addictive behavior, Mikaal turned to hedonistic pursuits, including drug use. For a while, he lived with a couple of hustlers named Bruce and Tiffany (STARMAN 80-PAGE GIANT #1, Jan. ë99). That ended when Tiffany brought No Mercy home, offering him sex in exchange for drugs. Although stoned, Mikaal recognized his old enemy. During their battle, No Mercy stabbed Bruce to death with a ceremonial dagger hidden inside an African statue (Tiffany had stolen it from future police officer Matt O"Dare) and Mikaal blasted his foe out a window.

Master Komak finally caught up with Mikaal in an Opal disco (issue #28, March ë97). By this time, Mikaal was so far gone from drug use he did not recognize Komak or even remember much of his own past.

"For six months you fought us," Komak said. "But by the seventh month, you would have died. If our race had had a seventh month."

He explained an invasion of Daxam by their race had gone badly. Fearing retaliation by the potentially super-powered Daxamites, the blue-skinned race created a genocide device to use against Daxam. First, however, Darkstar Chaser Bron attacked the "Worldstone," outraged the Talokians had destroyed one of his favorite planets. During the melee, the genocide device went off, destroying the planet and its 39 million inhabitants.

When word of this reached the moonbase, many committed suicide. Others went out into space to meet their fates. Komak planned to do this, but first traveled to Earth, where he succumbed to sexual addiction and contracted herpes. Incurable but not fatal among humans, the disease was proving lethal to Komak.

A warrior to the end, Komak asked Mikaal for a fight to the death. Using a device and drugs, the two aliens left their bodies in their astral forms. Komak died and Mikaal returned to his body to find his sonic crystal fused to his chest and apparently useless. Leaving the disco to seek a drug connection, Mikaal was attacked by unknown men and spirited away.

The rest of the story would be revealed in issue 64. Mikaal was essentially sold into slavery, passing from one person to another for 12 years. For a while, he was part of a Japanese businessman's collection of super-hero memorabilia. Then he was traded to a European countess for the Red Torpedo's ship. The countess used the alien for her pleasure until Bliss killed her and took him to feed off his emotions. Mikaal was Bliss" prisoner for seven years.

During the 'stars My Destination" storyline, Mikaal learned Turran Kha was still alive. When war broke out between Rann and Throneworld, the two warriors fought again. This time, Mikaal made certain Kha would not return. This marked a change in the "gentle" warrior. By the time Mikaal and Jack returned to Earth, he had become more violent, more like others of his species. In one issue, he blew up a carload of fleeing felons. In his defense, he pointed out they had killed at least one person. Shortly after this, he was captured by the evil Culp.

During the "Grand Guigol" storyline, it was revealed that No Mercy, whose real name was Louie Soul, had died at Mikaal's hands. His son, Frankie, had worked for the Mist II and was among the criminals recruited by Culp to destroy Opal. He wanted to kill Mikaal, but found himself standing in line behind Solomon Grundy. The kindly Grundy had sacrificed himself during the "Infernal Devices" storyline and a new, more traditionally vicious Grundy had arisen in his place. Grundy claimed his good persona was gone forever, yet when Soul fired a bazooka at Mikaal, Grundy stepped in the way. The swamp monster died (temporarily, again) claiming he didn"t know why he saved his foe. Mikaal apparently then killed the younger Soul.

Mikaal also appeared, briefly, in the pages of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF ALIENS , a one-shot part of a fifth-week special event. But characterization was off, with "Mikaal" acting bored and disinterested in doing anything to protect Earth. Frankly, I suspect he was really a Durlan in disguise.

When last seen, Mikaal was among the heroes left by Jack Knight to defend The Opal. In the aftermath of "Grand Guigol" and his father's death, Jack retired from "the Life" to be with his children and the woman he loved. Before leaving Opal City behind, he visited with Mikaal and told him he considered him a brother.

He also spoke to Tony, who worried about Mikaal's new, more dangerous attitude. Jack told Mikaal, who was already aware of Tony's fears. Hopeful, Jack said the couple would work it out.

"Or we won"t," Mikaal said bluntly.

Mikaal's current activities are unknown, but it can be assumed that he still operates in Opal City, although not under the name Starman. In one possible future - one that leads to the current incarnation of the Legion - his "years of wandering" end in 2021 when he travels to Talok VIII. He becomes the planet's champion and dies valiantly, leaving behind a legend that will still inspire the planet's inhabitants a millennium later.

The Starman Dynasty

Starman
Theodore "Ted" Henry Knight. Husband, and later widower, of Adele Doris (last name unrevealed). Father of David Knight (Starman) and Jack Knight (Starman). Grandfather of Kyle Knight. Cousin of Sandra Knight (Phantom Lady). Member of the Justice Society. First app. Adventure Comics #61. Active 1941 to 2000 AD. Died battling the Mist in Starman v2 #72.

Starman of 1942
Doris Lee. Girlfriend of Ted Knight (Starman). Active for one adventure in late 1942, as shown in All Star Comics #15, and as retold in Starman v2 #69.

Starman of January-November 1951 [post-Crisis only]
Dr. Charles McNider a.k.a. Dr. Mid-Nite. Replaced Ted Knight, who had suffered a mental breakdown, as Starman from January 1951 to early December 1951. Trained the time-traveling David Knight as his replacement. First mentioned in Starman v2 #2, cameo in Starman Secret Files #1, first full app. in Starman 80-Page Giant #1.

Starman of December 1951 [post-Crisis only]
David Knight of the late 20th century. Snatched from the moment just prior to his death and transported through time to early December 1951, so that he might spend a month as Starman before he died. Replaced Charles McNider as Starman from December 1951 to January 2nd 1952, believed by the general public to be the same Starman that was active since January 1951. First mentioned in Starman v2 #2, cameo in Starman Secret Files #1, first full app. in Starman v2 #76. See entry under 'late 20th century' for more.

Starman of 1957 [pre-Crisis only]
Bruce Wayne (a.k.a. Batman). When a criminal named Professor Milo induced in Batman an artificial phobia against all things related to bats, Batman secretly donned the identity of Starman to defeat him, as shown in Detective Comics #247.

the Star-Man of 1960 [pre-Crisis only]
Real identity unrevealed. Ruthless criminal determined to gain great power through use of a fabulous Tibetan belt. Defeated by Batman, Robin, and Batwoman, as shown in Detective Comics #286.

Starman of the mid 1970s.
Mikaal Tomas of Talok III, alias Michael Thomas. Active in the mid 1970s. First app. in 1st Issue Special #12.

Starman
Prince Gavyn of Kranaltine a.k.a. Throneworld. First app. in Adventure Comics #467. Believed killed approximately four years ago in a wave of anti-matter, later revealed that his soul merged with the body of William Payton when Payton became the next Starman.

Starman
William Payton. Actually the reincarnation of Prince Gavyn (Starman). First app. in Starman v1 #1. Believed killed in battle with Eclipso, later revealed to have survived. Currently active on Throneworld, exists as an amalgamation of Gavyn and Payton, with the Gavyn persona being the dominant one.

Starman
David Knight. Son of Ted Knight (Starman) and Adele Doris (last name unrevealed). Older brother of Jack Knight (Starman). First app. Starman v1 #26. David was Starman for just under a week when he was killed by Kyle, the son of the Mist, in Starman v2 #0. As explained in Starman v2 #77, David was snatched from the moment just prior to his death and transported through time to early December 1951, so that he might spend a month as Starman before he died. Returned from January 2nd 1952 to the moment of his death. See entry under 'December 1951' for more.

Starman
Jack Knight. Son of Ted Knight (Starman) and Adele Doris (last name unrevealed). Younger brother of David Knight (Starman). Father of Kyle Knight with Nash, the daughter of the Mist. Father of an unborn daughter with Jayne Payton a.k.a. Sadie Falk. Member of the Justice Society. Cameo in Zero Hour #1, first full app. Starman v2 #0. Retired as Starman in Starman v2 #80, passed on his cosmic rod to Courtney Whitmore a.k.a. the second Star-Spangled Kid.

Starman of early 21st century [post-Zero Hour only]
Thom Kallor of 30th century Xanthu, alias Danny Blaine. Thom Kallor, formerly Star Boy of the Legion of Super-Heroes, time traveled at around age 30 from the early 31st century to the early 21st century, taking up the mantle of Starman. First pre-Zero Hour app. as Star Boy in Adventure Comics #282, first post-Zero Hour app. as Star Boy in Legionnaires #0, first app. as Starman in Kingdom Come #2. Also mentioned in Starman v2 #50 and #1,000,000.

Starman of mid 21st? century (century assumed, must be between 21st and 30th century)
Patricia Dugan. Possibly the daughter of Pat Dugan a.k.a. Stripesy a.k.a. S.T.R.I.P.E.. First mentioned in Starman v2 #50.

Starman of mid 21st century
Unnamed great-grandson of Ted Knight (Starman). When this Knight took up the mantle of Starman, he became a villain. First mentioned in Starman v2 #1,000,000.

Starman of early 22nd century
Unnamed descendant of Ted Knight (Starman). Stated to have existed a few generations after the great-grandson of Ted Knight. When this Knight took up the mantle of Starman, he too became a villain. First mentioned in Starman v2 #1,000,000.

Starman of 22nd? century (century assumed, must be between 22nd and 822nd century)
Tommy Tomorrow II. The descendant of Tommy Tomorrow of the Planeteers, who was active in the late 21st century. First mentioned in Starman v2 #1,000,000.

Starman of? century (century unknown, must be between 21st and 822nd century)
Lis Roo. This notable hero carried on the tradition of Starman. First mentioned in Starman v2 #1,000,000.

Starman of? century (century unknown, must be between 505th and 700th century)
Unnamed member of the Pancosmic Justice Jihad. First depicted in Superman: Man Of Tomorrow #1,000,000.

Starwoman of 801st century
Unnamed descendant of Ted Knight (Starman). Died exiling Solaris from the galaxy for a thousand years. First mentioned in DC One Million #3.

Starman of 852nd? century (century assumed)
Unnamed father of Cale Knight (Starman), great-grandfather of Farris Knight (Starman). Discovered the quarvat (cosmic rod) on a remote asteroid. Became the first Starman in over 3000 years. First mentioned in Starman v2 #1,000,000.

Starman of 853rd? century (century assumed)
Cale Knight. Grandfather of Farris Knight (Starman). First mentioned in Starman v2 #1,000,000.

Starman of 853rd? century (century assumed)
Unnamed daughter of Cale Knight (Starman), mother of Farris Knight (Starman). First mentioned in Starman v2 #1,000,000.

Starman of 853rd century (years leading up to 85,271 AD)
Farris Knight. Grandson of Cale Knight (Starman). Member of Justice Legion A. First app. in JLA v3 #23. Hero turned villain, who formed an alliance with the evil Solaris in 85,271 AD. Redeemed himself in DC One Million #3 by sacrificing his life during the birth of Solaris in the late 20th century, driving the entity out of the galaxy before it could destroy Earth.

Starstriker

The villain known as Starstriker was a mutant who was born at the same time as Captain Comet, but hadn't been exposed to the radiation of the unique comet that passed through the skies that night. Thus, Starstriker's latent mutant powers were never fully stimulated. He planned to expose himself to the comet's rays when it next appeared in the skies to induce the same kind of super-mental powers that Captain Comet was born with.

Meanwhile, Captain Comet was having his own set of problems because of his powers. He seemed to be losing his mental powers and he was starting to have violent and destructive "comet attacks", in which his entire body transformed into a huge flaming comet. Luckily, Superman was around to contain one of his worst attacks, and the Man of Steel offered to help Comet find the comet that he had been exposed to at birth, hoping that a renewal of the radiation would both stop the comet attacks and regenerate his powers. Heading to the Fortress of Solitude, Superman scanned his immense science library and discovered that the comet would be reappearing in the skies over Chicago, Illinois in the early hours of the next morning. The comet was unique in that it warped through space along its journey, which was why Comet hadn't been able to locate it.

Starstriker, however, had been able to discover the same information and awaited the comet's arrival atop a levi-craft. Seeing and over-hearing Superman and Captain Comet discussing the situation, he launched a missile at the two heroes. Superman deflected it, and Starstriker sent the Kryptonian out of the area by firing a series of rockets directly at Chicago. Starstriker then used his powers to trigger another, and possibly fatal, comet attack in the Captain. Superman stopped the rockets and then headed after Captain Comet, while Starstriker basked in the radiation of the real comet.

Superman caught up to Captain Comet's fiery form, and diverted him to impact against the other comet before it disappeared into the space warp. Comet exploded, and the resultant energy soon reformed into Captain Comet, revitalized. The two headed back to Earth to capture Starstriker, but the villain's expanded super-powers allowed him to escape fairly easily. Captain Comet went in search of Starstriker, while Superman went back to take care of business as Clark Kent. The next morning, Comet contacted Clark while he was at his desk at the Daily Planet, and as he changed to Superman in the storeroom, he discovered that he had lost his powers. Superman took the JLA transporter tube to the JLA satellite to search for Captain Comet, who he had suddenly lost mental contact with.

The transporter beamed Superman down to the site where Comet's thought trail ended, at the Barringer Meteor Crater in Arizona. Starstriker noticed him right away and sent a trio of energy duplicates of himself to battle the Man of Steel, not knowing he was powerless until the hero passed out from sheer exhaustion. After capturing Superman and bringing him inside his hideout (where Captain Comet was also being held prisoner), Starstriker said that his lifelong ambition had been to gain enough power to dominate the world. Superman suddenly broke out of his cell, since he wasn't really exhausted (and had merely forgotten that he was indestructible). After freeing Captain Comet and allowing the hero to remove the mental blocks, Superman challenged Starstriker to a rematch. As he and the villain squared off, Comet telepathically told Superman that Starstriker had prepared a menace to force the world to surrender to his control, a series of seven giant comets that were set on an intercept course with Earth. Superman headed to space to deal with the situation, while Captain Comet contended with Starstriker.

Superman used one comet as a type of "cosmic cueball" to ricochet all the others into a course that caused them to destroy each other. Back on Earth, Starstriker was attempting to cause Captain Comet to have his final comet attack, but was forced to hold back until he was certain Superman didn't need him. Once the comets were taken out of play, Captain Comet caused Starstriker to suffer a comet attack of his own, and performed some mental restructuring so that if the villain every used his powers again, they would trigger yet another comet attack, ending his usefulness as a villain or world-conqueror.

Appearances:

  • DC Comics Presents #22

Steel-Man

The Batman-Superman of Earth-X

Jimmy Olsen visited Professor Potter in his Mount Tipton workshop, to talk to him about other dimensions. Potter had created a Dimension-Travel Machine which he was going to demonstrate when he returned from a lecture, but Jimmy accidentally activated the machine while he was inside. The top of Mount Tipton blew off in the resultant explosion, and Jimmy pulled himself from the machine's wreckage to find himself on another Earth. He noticed that the trees grew up and bowed over the ground there.

Jimmy apparently landed in the middle of a bullfighting arena, because he saw Perry White dressed as a matador in front of a charging bull. Perry was startled by Jimmy landing and tripped in front of the charging bull. Jimmy suddenly discovered that he had super-powers much like Superman, and saved Perry.

Perry convinced Jimmy to use his powers for good (since it looked like he was stranded on this alternate Earth) and the young man stayed with the retired matador, honing his abilities. But soon, the elderly White's heart gave out, but not before he gave Jimmy a letter of introduction to his cousin in Metropolis.

Jimmy went to see Perry's cousin, who was in fact Clark Kent, Tours Custodian of the Metropolis World's Fair. Jimmy accidentally knocked over a statue of Benedict Arnold (the second president of the United States), which was seen by Clark. Clark said that Jimmy was Steel-Man, a character that Clark had created in his hobby as a science fiction writer (he had also created such characters as Solarman, Mystic Man, Storm King, and Superman himself). Jimmy decided to take the name of Clark's fictional hero and, after discovering that his clothing was now indestructible, reweaved his clothes in to a costume. The costume had the trunks and books of Superman, with the grey shirt, leggings and cape and cowl of The Batman (to hide his red hair and freckles). The chest emblem was an 's" that was very similar to the one that Superman wore in his first appearances in ACTION COMICS. Jimmy also gave his signal watch to Clark so he could summon him whenever he needed him.

Jimmy met this world's Potter, who was Clark's tough-as-nails boss, and Lucy Lane, who monitors the World's Fair computer. While on his tour of the complex, the Luthar (an acronym for League Using Terror Havoc And Robbery) League attacked, flying in on anti-gravity discs. Pulling a "Clark," Jimmy tripped and fell into the garbage chute so he could change into Steel-Man.

Meanwhile, the Luthar League had attacked the Science Hall, firing their Element Guns at the Radio-Telescope model to transform it into a huge spider-web to capture the guards. Steel-Man broke their the web as they tried to make off with a model atom that used priceless gems for electrons. Steel-Man stopped them easily and later that day, the Mayor of Metropolis declared it to be 'steel-Man Day" in honor of the new crime-fighter, and held a ticker-tape parade for him.

Meanwhile, the Luthar League was making more nefarious plans, this time with it's leader (who looked exactly like Batman's archenemy, the Joker) planning the demise of Steel-Man. Soon after, Clark summoned Steel-Man with his signal watch, wanting Jimmy to get him a chunk of lava for inspiration as he wrote a new science fiction TV play about a hero named Lava-Man.

At the same time, the Luthar League was raiding the World's Fair Art Pavilion (including taking a genuine Rembrandt portrait of the great actor Mickey Mantle in the role of Hamlet). This time as the hero approached them, the League diverted Steel-Man's attention by magnetizing a model of Earth, creating a giant lodestone that threatened to uproot all metal structures in the area. Steel-Man melted a giant tire from an exhibit, coating the globe and shielding the magnetic attraction (yeah, I know...that's just what he did though). The gang also used their element guns on the space rocket exhibit, launching it toward the crowded fairground. Steel-Man intercepted it, but was suddenly very weak. The rocket had apparently been carrying some of the remains of Mount Tipton that had been carried over into this dimension, and like Superman and his vulnerability to Kryptonite, Jimmy found he was weakened by Tiptonite. Luckily, Clark came by and was able to remove all the deadly rocks.

Later, Jimmy is surprised to see his Professor Potter there, having built a new Diminsion Travel Machine to rescue Jimmy. Unfortunately, Jimmy didn't want to go, since he was Superman here, and even Lucy Lane was crazy about him. Potter decided to wait to see if Jimmy would change his mind, as he was called away on another alarm from Clark.

Steel-Man followed the signal-watch's tone only to find The Joker at the helm of an odd machine. The Joker took off his mask to reveal...Clark Kent, the true leader of the Luthar League! He activated his machine, which he gloated contained an element from the lava Steel-Man had brought him. The device drained Steel-Man's powers and transferred them to Clark, who was going to make himself King of the World.

Later, Clark was defiantly facing off an angry crowd when Steel-Man, unmasked as Jimmy, arrived carrying a huge steel shell. He dared to Clark to prove that he had super-powers by crushing the shell in his bare hands. Since Clark had already destroyed every piece of Tiptonite, he called Jimmy's bluff and did so, releasing a strange gas in the process that Jimmy said would destroy his super-powers. Clark did not believe him, until Jimmy floored him with a hard left to the jaw.

Later, as Clark Kent was imprisoned, Jimmy revealed that Lucy had used the computer to come up with the formula for the gas that defeated him. Jimmy decided to return to his own world with Professor Potter. Potter asked Jimmy about what was the gas that defeated Clark. Jimmy said that, ironically, it was a concentrated dose of Krypton Gas.

Appearances: Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #93 "The Batman-Superman of Earth-X" (June 1966)

Sterling Silversmith

Sterling T. Silversmith appeared in the middle chapter of Len Wein's 1975 "Bat-Murderer" five-parter (DETECTIVE #446), with exquisite art by Jim Aparo. Silversmith had been obsessed with silver since childhood and, now, as a silver-haired older man, he had amassed a fortune in stolen goods that he smuggled through his antiques business. Dapper in his white suit, bullets bounced off Silversmith thanks to a silver alloy woven into the fabric. When a skeleton belonging to one of the villain's former henchmen was accidentally discovered within a statue, Batman investigated and stumbled upon Silversmith's operation. Fleeing from the scene, the rogue was stopped by a bar of silver thrown into his shoulders by the Dark Knight.

Silversmith returned in 1980 (DETECTIVE #495, by Michael Fleisher and Don Newton). Having learned that Matthew Thorne, the Crime Doctor, was aware of Batman's true identity, Silversmith demanded the secret, administering poisonous quicksilver when the doctor proved reluctant. The Doc agreed to tell all in exchange for an antodote but Batman's unwitting intervention delayed things too long and Thorne was left a vegetable. Silversmith's WHO'S WHO entry was in #22 of the original series.

The Stylist

The Stylist was a paid assassin who attacked the martial artist known as Richard Dragon, wishing to test his skills against the famed "kung-fu fighter". the Batman, who thought that Dragon was a mugger, interrupted their battle in Gotham City. the confusion allowed the Stylist to escape.

A limousine pulled up before Batman and Dragon as they left the park, and Dragon received a key to a safe deposit box in Las Vegas and a quarter, which Batman determined to be from eccentric billionaire Calvin Curtis. Dragon had helped Curtis a year earlier by fixing his bicycle and defending him against some thugs.

The Stylist returned the next day and tricked Batman into beating him up in front of some TV cameras, in hopes of getting him out of the way to continue his match with Dragon. Later that night, the Stylist again faced off against Richard Dragon, but soon sensed something was wrong, as Batman had taken the martial artist's place. the Stylist escaped, but injured a policeman in the process.

Through an associate of Dragon's, the two heroes trail the Stylist to Matanzas, Yucatan, which was a "crime city" in the Central American jungles run by Carlos Esteban, the crooked former partner of Calvin Curtis. the Stylist had returned there to return the fee that Esteban had paid to kill Dragon, the criminal believing that Curtis had left Dragon most of his fortune out of gratitude for saving his life. Esteban was about to kill the Stylist, when the Batman and Dragon burst in on them. During the battle, the Stylist prevented an assassin from killing Dragon from behind and then escaped into the jungle, where he tried to reclaim his lost honor by walking into quicksand.

A week later, the Batman and Dragon visited the safe deposit box in Las Vegas to find Curtis's will, which left everything to charity, and Dragon's bicycle pump.

Appearances:

  • The Brave and the Bold #132 (Feb 1977)

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