Charlton vs Mighty MLJ

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

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Steeler Sundays: Sarge and Sterling Beginnings

Both Steel series from Charlton and Red Circle (Mighty) Comics started off with a bang, but one ended up being more of a whimper while the other held promise of great storytelling.

To start out, we have two sets of panels that present the origins of Sarge and Sterling, which transformed mere heroic lads into men of steel!

For Sarge it was more tragic as he gave up a part of his body to save lives, and this seemed to leave him with not only a hardened left hand but a heart that didn't soften even around the most pleasing of females.

For Sterling it was the thrill of scientific discovery leaving him with a devil-may-care attitude as he plunges into a molten caldron and is forged in the form of steely hide! This leads him to a more cheery disposition than his contemporary and yet he too is rock hard in the attachment department where the fairer sex are concerned.

Two villains are introduced, the generic Humongous which is set up as a mere foil for Sterling on a purely physical level, and the psychotic and strategic Ivan Chang who becomes Sarge's arch-enemy throughout the remainder of the series. While not matching the status of true criminal legends in fiction, Chang still measures up in the critical criteria of plaguing the protagonist. And isn't that the point in comics?

Next week we'll delve further into this pair of tales and separate the wheat from the chaff. Until then adieu.

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