Charlton VS Mighty MLJ

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fawcett Fridays: Scarlet-and-Gold Saviors

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.

As the world was heading once more into a war that would grip the globe, a plethora of powerless protectors championed the cause of the everyman. Foremost among them were Mister Scarlet, a costumed hero who in his day-to-day life was district attorney Brian Butler. Tired of the rampant crime going unchecked in his burg, he donned a red and yellow costume, using his natural acrobatic prowess to combat the criminal element. After succeeding in his righteous cause, he found that there were no more criminals for him to prosecute. Left unemployed as the public at large felt Butler was lazy, he persisted in his double identity while adopting a ward named Pinky and supported financially by secretary Miss Wade.

Rip Jagger was a mere sergeant on a southern Pacific island when he encountered a band of Asian freedom fighters fighting against their Japanese occupiers. Once Rip completed his training and adopted the alias of Judomaster, he rejoined the armed forces and proved a valuable double agent while gaining a young lad named Tiger against the Axis.

Similarities? Definite love of red and yellow... not very common among the superhero set. Physically adept heroes equipped with various small weaponry. Mentors to junior partners. And during the latter 1940's, each was pulled from their own time and awoke in a modern age decades later without having aged a day, standing alongside their fellow mystery men.

While the golden age Shield had a kid sidekick, governmental occupation and for a few years only his wits and athleticism (with no powers) which mimic Scarlet's career, a closer analog for the Mister of Mystery may be the Black Hood aka Matt Burland. Himself on the outs with local law enforcement he swore to serve and protect under, the Hood had only his finely trained physique and minor gadgets. And years later, he had a junior apprentice in nephew Kip aka the 80's Black Hood!

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