Friday, August 20, 2010
Pair up these paragons of power and you have a truly dynamic duo. Jack Weston was a career soldier enlisted to be a one-man-army in his Minute-Man clad splashed in blue, red and white. With no origin nor explanation for being at peak physical condition and seemingly doing the impossible. He simply accomplishes various feats with one-part daring-do, one-part foolhardy bravado unmatched even by some more famous non-powered golden agers. Minute-Man was the standard bearer for the costumed crusader supreme and eventually teamed up with fellow heroes to honor the Marvel Family... and find himself frozen in time for decades then decide to retire and become a restaurant owner to wile away his days until boredom brought him back as an unmasked man once more.
There was a definite explanation for Peter Cannon's Thunderbolt identity, raised in remote Tibet a student to ancient disciplines leading him to a "can do it...must do it...will do it" mentality which allowed him to achieve feats unimagined by others, save perhaps for Mr. Weston over on Earth-S. Reluctantly protecting his own Earth-Four, Peter rarely mixed with his fellow superheroes until a Crisis graced the skies of his world.
Neither hero garnered the long-term reputation nor mainstream appeal of their contemporaries, yet each earned the respect of friends and foes alike during their brief yet memorable careers. And proved that wearing loud clothes does not diminish your street rep.
John Raymond the Web similarly made the most of no abilities on Earth-MLJ, while a non-powered Joe Higgins as the Shield preferred a similar colorful plumage to Minute-Man's and seemed to be capable of righting wrongs with or without his superpowers during World War II.
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.