Charlton vs Mighty MLJ

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

Friday, August 27, 2010

Fawcett Fridays: Number One with a Bullet

Fawcett Comics tried out various formulas based on their already successful franchise of Captain Marvel. Perhaps the second most prolific one was Bulletman, in actuality police scientist Jim Barr. Attempting to rectify his meager physique which genetics bestowed on him and be the officer his father dreamt him of one day becoming, Jim discovered a chemical formula that grew both his physical and mental stature! Deciding to keep this a secret, wearing oversized lab coats, he displayed his new found abilities along with the discovery of an anti-gravity projectile cap to become Bulletman!

Over at Fox Feature Syndicated they had a winner in the form of police officer Dan Garret. Transformed by the miracle vitamin 2-X into a superstrong powerhouse thanks to local pharmacist Dr. Franz, Garret donned a chainmail costume and became the Blue Beetle. Defeating criminals in a manner unavailable to him as a mere beat cop, Garret made a reputation for himself and curried the attaction of crime reporter Joan Mason of the Daily Blade, both in and out of his super-suit. His career lasted into the late 1940's, was briefly revived in the 1950's and then disappeared from the scene. Another would take his place, and a third!

As the years developed, Blue Beetle somehow acquired the power to fly...or at least zip through air effortlessly... much like Bulletman. And like the Beetle, Bulletman gained a partner in life who stole his heart, Susan Barr, who became Bulletgirl. While Beetle never gave his vitamin to Joan, he did bequeath it and a costume to sidekick Sparky for a brief period. Bulletman also had an occasional sidekick in Bulletboy, a local youth who was his biggest fan. And then, of course, there was Bulletdog!

While Blue Beetle was revived in the 21st century with memories of his 1940's and 1960's incarnations, Bulletman awoke from his Suspendium sleep along with his wife and the Marvel Family in the 1970's. Resuming his career briefly, he eventually reverted to the restful slumber of civilian life and marital bliss, not to be seen again after one final outing with Captain and Mary Marvel in the late 70's.

Bulletman and Bulletgirl were reminiscent of Mighty/Red Circle's Fly-Man and Fly-Girl both in their adventures, attraction, and appearances. 
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In 1954, aspiring comic book publisher Charlton purchased the rights to several prominent characters from the expiring Fawcett Comics, such as Ibis, Golden Arrow and Lance O'Casey. In 1980 and 1985, DC Comics purchase Fawcett's Marvel Family then Charlton's Action Heroes, and the two were linked once more, now on parallel Earths, Four and Shazam.Now the MLJ has been added to their stable of characters, we examine the parallels in this series.

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