The Great Defender

Created by Maxwell Elkan

NAME + ALIASES:
Stormy Foster

KNOWN RELATIVES: Unnamed granddaughter, Von Hammer (great-grandson)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS: None

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Hit Comics
#18 (December 1941)

APPEARANCES:

  • Hit Comics #18–34 (Dec. 1941–Winter 1944)
  • Starman v.2 #37
 

Von Hammer

NAME + ALIASES:
William Von Hammer

KNOWN RELATIVES: Unnamed mother, Stormy Foster (great-grandfather, deceased)

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Superman #689 (Aug. 2009)

APPEARANCES:
The Shade v.2, #1-2

+ History

Cover of Hit Comics #24 (1942). Art by Reed Crandall.
Splash page from Hit #24 (1942). Artist unknown.
Ready! From Hit #24 (1942). Artist unknown.

Despite the feature’s title, which was “Stormy Foster,” the hero’s public referred to him as “the Great Defender,” and Stormy Foster’s identity was a secret. His “mask” was naught but a fake moustache, but his creator, Max Elkan, did a great job at making the two appear different. Stormy Foster ran later than most of Quality’s costumed heroes and starred on the cover of Hit Comics from #18–23.

During the day, Stormy Foster was a shy, bespectacled drug clerk—but the Great Defender in times of need. When thieves came to pillage Doc Vaughan’s drugstore, Stormy applied a false moustache and popped a super-vitamin which imbued him with the strength of ten men. His escapades were sometimes aided by the Chinese delivery boy named Ah Choo. (Hit #19) Ah Choo didn’t have a stereotypical accent at first, but in time he unfortunately began speaking like the Blackhawks’ Chop Chop—with ‘L’s for ‘R’s.


[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

Notes

Stormy’s penchant for vitamins might have been inspired by his fictional predecessors. At DC, Hourman took “Miraclo” from the start (Adventure #48, 1940). And though the popular Blue Beetle didn’t take “vitamin 2X” when he first debuted, he did in Mystery Men Comics #13 (July 1941), several months before Stormy’s first appearance.

The name “Stormy” is usually a nickname, but in this feature, Foster’s name is never used in quotation marks, so it’s assumed to be his real name. These days, “Stormy” is more commonly a girl’s name.

DC Legacy: Von Hammer

Von Hammer, from The Shade #2 (2012); art by Cully Hamner.

Foster apparently fathered at least one child. The hero Mon-El once met a German hero named William Von Hammer who had inherited a bit of invulnerability from his mother, whose grandfather was Stormy Foster. (Superman #689)

More was revealed about Von Hammer when he went in search of the anti-hero called the Shade. This, in response to an encounter in Europe with a gang of enhanced Belgian assassins called Les Diaboliques. After Von Hammer killed most of his oppenents, and continued on his mission to find the Shade. (The Shade v.2 #1) He did this via a mutual acquaintance, Bobo Benetti. It was something to do with a man named Caldecott, which lit a fire under the Shade, and the two met during an attack by the shadow villain, Bete Noire. Von Hammer then revelaed that he was hired by someone in Caldecott Industries (actually descendants of the Shade) to find sample of Shade’s blood. The Shade turned the tables and rehired Von Hammer to investigate the family in England. (#2)

+ Powers

After taking a super-vitamin, the Great Defender could make great leaps, bend bars, and was speedy enough to dodge bullets. He sometimes used a “paralysis gas” that issued from a gun stored in his cape.

Von Hammer seems to have some measure of invulnerability or vitality that was passed down genetically.