Charlton vs Mighty MLJ

Two parallel universes from two silver age comic book publishers examined ad naseum!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sideline Sundays: Brave Blue Boys Battle

One was the latest in a line of heroes brave,
the other was the first of heroes who save.
The first gained strength from a serum he made,
the second is strong from a serum another gave.
Candidate #1 wore a durable costume of blue,
candidate #2 wore a chain mail costume of blue.

And so we look back on two heroes that, at one time during the golden age of comics, left their mark and then faded into obscurity. They have been resurrected, quite literally and fictionally, but neither are household names. On the surface,both are quite different... deep down their similarities are astoundingly parallel given they were each created in 1939. For the Blue Beetle it was Fox Publishing then Charlton Comics picked up his rights; for the Wizard it was MLJ Comics then Mighty and Archie.





Blaine Whitney was heir-apparent to a legacy as a mental wizard, of sorts, harnessing his amazing cranium capacity to invent stunning inventions that were vital during the critical days of World War II. Deciding to follow the heroic legends of his forefathers, themselves Wizards operating in their own eras for the benefit of humanity, Whitney became the Wizard and invented an invulnerable costume while devising a formula called F22X that granted him super strength. Dan Garrett, however, was a mere beat cop who wanted to do more for his fellow man, and turned to his local pharmacist who himself was a mental genius, Dr. Franz, who developed Vitamin 2X which grants super-strength. Dan also obtained a chain mail garb which granted him a measure of protection, even a level of invulnerability .



Both heroes decided to follow the standard operating protocol of the day. The Wizard adopted a young boy named Roy Rossman and granted him the title of "Super-Boy", although apparently the boy wasn't granted a similar invulnerable suit nor strength formula...so Roy was super on his  own. Blue Beetle was aided by a young boy named Sparky aka Sparkington J. Northrup, although the lad's costumed career was rather brief as he later served as a regular garbed hero and role model for orphans in Europe. Neither were all that memorable themselves.



Later appearances of both blue bombardiers indicated that other powers were either inherent in their formulas or from other means. Included in this was the ability to fly and seemingly know where danger lurks and be ever present to combat it. While Wizard was building upon the successes of his ancestors using the same alias in past decades, upcoming decades would see the appearance of two more Blue Beetles after the original mysteriously vanished in the mid-1950's during a brief revival.




In the early 1980's  Blue Beetle returned with his memories of his former career restored to him by mysterious cosmic entities. No longer a police officer but now and FBI agent, Dan quickly revealed to the world that he hadn't lost a step. The Wizard took a bit longer, as a villainous alleged version denigrated his reputation in the mid 1960's. By the turn of a new century, the Wizard proved instrumental in assisting the Mighty Crusaders, with him he just joined, in a key victory against a cadre of their foes. Now they are sitting on the sidelines awaiting revival once more by the right writer.

Two men in blue, with a will that was true.
Their strength was in their might, they never let evil out of their sight.
They may be forgotten at this time, but they are remembered in this rhyme! :)

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