Merlin

Created by Dan Zolnerowich
Merlin

NAME + ALIASES:
Jock Kellogg (deceased)

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Jepson Kellogg (unspecified relative), Ronnie Kellogg, (unspecified ancestor), three swordsmen (unspecified ancestors), Merlin (ancestor)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
All-Star Squadraon

FIRST APPEARANCE:
National Comics #1 (July 1940)

APPEARANCES:

  • All-Star Comics v.2 #1 (May 1999)
  • National Comics #1-26 (July 1940–Nov. 1942)

SEE ALSO:

+ History

Both of the magicians, Merlin and Tor, were at one point written and drawn by Fred Guardineer (who had previously created the magician Zatara for DC’s groundbreaking Action Comics #1 in 1938). Guardineer stayed at DC only into 1940 (Action #29, Oct. 1940 was his last on Zatara). At Quality, he created Tor (Crack #1, Feb. 1941) and soon after took over “Merlin” as well, with National #12 (June 1941). According to Alter Ego #21, Dan Zolnerowich worked for the Iger shop at this time, but Guardineer did not. (Both signed the strip “Lance Blackwood.”) Guardineer also created a fourth magician that ran simultaneous to Zatara, Marvelo, in Columbia’s Big Shot Comics #1–10 (May 1940–Feb. 1941).

Guardineer’s artwork was spectacular, but he spent little effort in distinguishing the magicians from one another—or from his other works. Like Zatara, both Merlin and Tor sported moustaches, plus capes over their tuxedos (Merlin added a hood). But most significantly, under Guardineer both Quality magicians began speaking their spells backwards at the same time (but not at their inceptions). Merlin only began speaking reverse spells when Guardineer took over (National #12). And although Guardineer worked on Tor from its debut, that hero only began speaking in reverse around the same time (Crack #14, July 1941). Both series also ended at the same time, but Guardineer's work continued appear at Quality through 1944.

Merlin weaves a backwards spell. From National #13 (July 1941). Art by Fred Guardineer.

When English playboy Jock Kellogg learned that his uncle was dying, he couldn’t wait to inherit the fortune. Instead, he received a different kind of inheritance. His uncle’s money was gone, but he told Jock that he was descended from Merlin, the ancient wizard of Camelot. Jock received Merlin’s cloak, which was imbued with considerable magical powers. Kellogg was incredulous, but he soon found value in its powers, and went straight to work helping to fight the war. As Merlin, his first super-adversary was Mars, the very god of war, who had chained the goddess of peace. Merlin defeated Mars’ minions, Hunger and Poverty, then wrestled the war-god himself. Upon Merlin’s victory, peace was declared on the ground as well. (National #1)


[
Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

DC

Merlin might have been a member of the wartime group called the All-Star Squadron. His only appearance in a DC comic was as part of the “Justice Society Returns” event. In February 1945, Merlin threw in with a group of mystics against a villain called Stalker. He died that day. (All-Star Comics, v.2 #1)

+ Powers

Merlin could perform any variety of feats like levitation, astral projection, self-transformation, transmutation, animation, time travel, and intangibility. With the mastery of reverse-magic, he added a dizzying array of godlike abilities as well. No matter the situation, a few “back-words” was all it took!