Bill the Magnificent

Creator unknown

NAME + ALIASES:
Bill Hanson

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Dudley Doodle (uncle)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
None

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Hit Comics #25 (January 1943)

APPEARANCES:
Hit Comics #25–34 (Jan. 1943–Winter 1944)

+ History

Bill the Magnificent, from Hit #27 (1943). Art by Paul Gustavson.

Where once Quality had been an innovator in its features, Busy Arnold eventually threw himself into the “winds of change.” In 1943–44 most anthology titles began shifting away from super-heroes, towards a humorous tone. Elsewhere in the industry Captain Marvel was outselling Superman, and MLJ’s Archie Andrews had taken off like wildfire. “Bill the Magnificent” channeled both of those characters. Bill’s red hair recall’s Archie’s, and his powers were accessed by a magic phrase, “jeepers creepers!”, like Captain Marvel’s. Bill’s adventures lacked the heart or passion of those characters, and the feature lasted for only ten issues. Still Quality must have been betting on its success; the feature was awarded eleven pages, which was second only to the cover feature, “Kid Eternity.”

Bill Hanson was an average Joe from the town of Middleburg who inexplicably found himself living with incredible powers (and an amnesia that went with them). A newsreel reporter called Roscoe came to town one day hoping for a juicy story about this new hero. He instead found Bill, a humble copy boy. Everyone in town knew about Bill’s fantastic powers—except Bill himself. By chance, whenever Bill uttered the phrase “jeepers creepers!”, he became possessed with great speed and strength. Unfortunately for him, Bill retained no memory of anything he did while in this state, and with his powers came a personality change. He laughed at danger, and was more confident with girls. (Hit #25)


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

+ Powers

When he said the magic phrase “jeepers creepers!”, Bill the Magnificent was mysteriously endowed with super-strength, invulnerability and speed. As a bonus, his personality was enhanced to give him more confidence (perhaps too much so).