Charlton vs Mighty MLJ

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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Team-Up Tuesdays: Malevolent Mobsters

While DC Comics pioneered the concept of a superhero team of diverse heroes from various comic books assembling together to tackle a mutual threat, the same could be said for Fawcett Comic's treatment of villains. As Captain Marvel developed quite an extensive gallery of rogues, it was only a matter of time before a certain wicked worm recruited most of them to try defeating their common foe.

However, after several issues throughout a historic comic serial, Cap himself defeated the whole lot of them. They would resurface again decades later, most preserved in their youthful 1940's forms through various means. Yet despite new schemes and modern technology, this assemblage of evil were still unable to wrest control of Earth -S away from the forces of good!

In the next-door neighbor universe of Earth-Four, the supervillains there didn't always play that nice together. In fact, on only one occasion did a significant number of them join together to lock horns with the Sentinels of Justice (although they were lesser lights Banshee, Fiery-Icer, Iron-Arms and the Madmen led by newby the Manipulator).


However, the Mighty Crusaders' enemies on Earth-MLJ dug getting together from time to time as the Riot Squad. Initially only four members, they expanded to Monster Society proportions in latter years when they faced not one but two worlds of heroes (the others being the Archie gang, who were closet heroes and Crusader cheerleaders at this point).
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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.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Marvel Mondays: Blonde Brickhouse Boys/Babes

So far with Fawcett Comics' Marvel Family we've considered the main man, the young apprentice, the long lost sister, the evil ancestor and the wizened old coots that empowered such beings. Today we depart from the template to reflect on the long-time friends, once foes, of this family. While not appearing a great deal throughout the decade their presence was known and their influence on both the Marvels and their opposite number, the Sivana Family, was felt.

For you see, our two candidates today were actually the first two additions to Doctor Sivana's infamous family, sometime before their younger siblings Georgia and Thaddeus Junior appeared. Magnifus was the firstborn son of Sivana, and a more marvelous physical specimen you could not find, at least not without the souped up powers of Captain Marvel. Both he and his older sister Beautia were the offspring of Sivana and an unidentified woman, whom he left on the planet Venus to rule while he himself returned to Earth to attempt conquering it without success. Evidently, at least on Venus itself, Magnificus' might matched Caps for a brief period. After initial tension between the two, however, Cap and Mag became friends.

The aforementioned Beautia was installed by her father as queen over Venus' strange creatures. Herself immediately enamored by the rugged looks of her papa's arch-foe, she nevertheless did his bidding off and on for awhile trying to defeat the "Big Red Cheese". Instead, she ended up falling in love with him and later returning with her brother to Earth to become extended members of the Captain's family. Both she and her brother were instrumental in later years overturning their sire's sick schemes. On on occasion, Magnificus actually impersonated Captain Marvel while being flown around and protected by Captain Marvel Junior, in an attempt to free Cap's alter ego Billy Batson from a death trap. In the end, both brother and sister were among the Marvel's closest friends and biggest supporters.




Mister Muscle's career in the limelight was about as long (or as brief) as that of Magnificus, as was that of his girl Friday, Miss Muscles. Both filled in the "perfect specimens" of humanity niche on Earth-Four like that of the Sivana siblings.


And finally, on Earth-MLJ, you can't have more direct parallels for Magnificus and Beautia than Steel Sterling and Ms. Sampson, two paragons of perfection!
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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. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Steelers Sundays: Steel vs Sarge Round 2

As Steel Sterling's second adventure rolled around (not counting an aside in Blue Ribbon Comics which insert some character references somewhat concurrent with this and the next issue), we see a new plotter steered the original Man of Steel in a new direction. A more human direction, actually. Gone was the superhuman abilities, now he was just above human with moments of marvelous muscles thrown into the mix to satisfy the superhero fanboys:

You got it... it's Robert Kaningher... aka Mr. Wonder Woman. Making his claim to fame as the plotter for some truly wacky stories during the silver age of the amazing amazon and then creating the most famous fictional sergeant in comics (Rock) and several other World War II characters, he was now winding now his comic book career. Attempting to make Steel "relevant" to modern sensibilities, more tales of angst and human drama would be interjected throughout the remainder of this series. Sometimes effectively, sometimes not so much so.

Introducing a strong female (Princess Diana?) to counterbalance the balance the rugged blonde boyscout (Steve Trevor?), Ms. Samson was more of an annoyance at this point then a love interest. But fear not... once she traded hairstyles and soften her approach she would become the twinkle in Steel's eye. Well, one of them anyways. The point of the above exchange was to motivate our titular tough-guy to push himself beyond his limits. Oh boy, would he!

Facing a rogue motorcycle gang without an appreciation for history (c'mon, you gonna slap around the dude who took out such immortal crooks as Monster Master, the Red Knight and the Magnetic whatishisname?), Sterling now has a tough decision to make... whether to bolt and save his tail or stick to his convictions and face down his fearsome foes?

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Sarge Steel #2 picked up the momentum of its previous issue and carried it further. Mostly due to the introduction of Bess Forbes, who is absolutely one of the best female love interests in comics (although they always tapped dance around something going on between Sarge and Bess). Werner Von Wess was the villain-of-the-week, a passable sort filling the ex-Nazi niche all in vogue in the robust 60's. His scheme to take over the world using a nuclear submarine was squashed by the most indispensable tool in Sarge's crime fighting repertoire: his steel fist (the picture was from his confrontation with arch-foe Ivan Chung last week. This week he used it to bust down a locked hatch!). Not a bad follow-up to a promising series of the P.I./Spy. Each Steel had some more adventures in store for them of varying types which we'll consider in the months to come!

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.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

World's Wickedest Wednesdays: Bad Bugs

Mister Mind had a long and storied golden age career as the mysterious progenitor for the insidious Monster Society of Evil, most of the while being an ominous voice behind the scenes. Until confronted by his most frequent foe, Captain Marvel. Revealed to be nothing more than an alien worm, possessed of tremendous mental abilities and genius level ingenuity, Mind was electrocuted for his various crimes against humanity. Or was he?

Praying Mantis wasn't always that green, or that preying. He was Hunter Mann, a foul scientist plagued with green skin from his excessive use of chlorophyll, obsessed with turning his creations against his fellow man. Turning into a human insect himself, his first foray against the silver age Blue Beetle didn't go quite well. But was he truly finished or simply biding his time until another more opportune occasion?

In fact, Mantis returned once more but fell to his death when the Beetle slayed the rogue's flying insecti-steed. No more Mantis!
Mr. Worm returned in the modern day, revived from his state of hibernation which his species was prone to when exposed to adverse conditions. Alas for him, his latter day ventures into world domination were equally unsuccessful, even on the one occasion when he devised an artificial body of the Invincible Man to house his evil mind. Whether bugs or baddies, this pair lacked the winning touch to complement their massive intellect and huge egos.

Monster Master filled the void of insect-beast-bewildering criminal mastermind on Earth-MLJ, constantly locking horns with Steel Sterling even when he was dispatched by his once faithful artificial intelligence which developed his creepy creations.
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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.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Team-Up Tuesdays: The "S" Teams of Justice

When you think superheroes you think superteams, which help to define the individual members in the context of their fellow teammates. While there are more prominent teams in the cosmos, for our purposes here today we center on two with significant parallels.

The Squadron of Justice was recruited by Shazam when he and his Marvel Family were left powerless by ancient adversary King Kull. Formed out of sheer necessity, some of these previously joined forces in another team during the 1940's known as the Crime Crusaders Club. Surviving into the modern day thanks to the bumbling machinations of Doctor Sivana, these still youthful heroes joined forces to stem the tide of Kull's villainous hordes on three Earths including their own Earth-S. And then they faded back into retirement.

The Sentinels of Justice formed also on one occasion, although there was a hint during their first appearance that they previously met up, and battled a crime lords super-armored forces to save criticial solar technology. The next appearance of this team was during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, when their initial membership of four expanded to included three more drawn towards the presence of heroes arriving from two other Earths, the same two from whom the Squadron met earlier!

The Squadron's membership constituted Ibis Spy Smasher, Bulletman and Bulletgirl, Mister Scarlet and Pinky, as well as allies Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Junior (and, of course, the team's former Mercury who brought them all together under Shazam's suggestion). The Sentinels membership originally comprised Captain Atom, Nightshade, Blue Beetle and the Question with later allies Peacemaker, Thunderbolt and a time lost Judomaster joining forces with them.

Alas, the history of each was fleeting at best. But the potential for both was sky high!

The natural counterpoint to the Squadron on Earth-MLJ was the Mighty Crusaders, of course. And remarkably, that team had a much more substantial run as a team than either of the Justice teams, despite their own short-lived nature in comics.


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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.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Marvel Mondays: Energetic Egyptians

These two cats from the way back are distinct parallels for a number of reasons. Both Black Adam and Blue Beetle were tied to ancient Egypt, the former being its protector in centuries bygone before becoming its dictator, the latter being an archeologist who unearthed its greatest secret and became a guardian of good himself. Each met a tragic end to their ignoble careers, despite what the two old men... Shazam and Pharoah... had expected of them when electing them their candidates of courage. And still they returned...

Teth Adam allowed greed to corrupt him, while Dan Garrett allowed overconfidence to overtake him. Each faced their own mortality and yet were revived in manners only left to comic books through pseudo-science and the like. While Dan proved the inspiration for another to take his name and his place, Adam became the perpetual thorn in the side of his arch-rival Captain Marvel. With but a handful of appearances for each, both men still found ways to leave their mark.

Both possessed vast powers by simply calling out to their mentors, such as flight, superstrength, invulnerability, etc. While Dan continued his career as an archeologist, Adam abandoned his occupation as... royal court lackey? Nevertheless, their greatest acclaim was that the were the forerunners for a new generation of superheroes that would take what they started to greater heights.


A possibility for an Adam counterpart on Earth-MLJ  might be the golden age Red Rube, another "color"ful hero with a short lived career gaining powers from a similar method and quickly fading in the back pages of history. Or not.
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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.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sleepy Sundays at Charlton vs Mighty MLJ

That's right folks. Steeler Sundays will resume next week, at least that is the plan. Right now we're focusing on all the goodness of the DC Multiverse and connecting the dots in the golden/silver/bronze age when comics were done right by yours truly. Fear not, there is still great love for (most) thing  Charlton and MLJ/Mighty/Archie, but for the nonce we're making up lost time plowing through the thousands characters at this site's Distinct Competitor. After eight months of solid back-to-back-to-back posts on these underrated publishers, its time for a well earned siesta. Ciao.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fawcett Fridays: Red-and-Blue Heroes True

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.

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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.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

World's Wickedest Wednesdays: Neurotic Nazis

What would a fictional world be without a nasty Nazi neerdowells needlessly needling noble nice-guys? Well so that we may be homage to this overly redundant category, we highlight to Aryan airheads that really rubbed our heroes the wrong way.

Next to Captain Nazi, perhaps the position for number two national socialist of Earth-S would be Baron Von Gatz, a thorn in the side of Captain Midnight the inventive licensed legend at Fawcett. Not much to say except he definitely crops his hair clsoe to the scalp and is shameless in the plumage he's draped in. And he had a short fuse, but then didn't all these cookie cutter creeps back in the day?

At least Charlton's standard issue socialist had something distinct (unless you count another such character over at Marvel), he was a real bonehead! Literally! The Smiling Skull was born ugly and didn't let that get in the way of his aspirations for world domination, which he never accomplished thanks to the interference of such do-gooders as Judomaster and Sarge Steel.



Steel Sterling's opposite number Baron Gestapo seemed to represent Earth-MLJ's version of the same old same old in crew cut corrupt cronies of creeps.

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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.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Team-Up Tuesdays: Tremendous Trios Triumph!

The Lieutenant Marvels were an early edition to the Captain Marvel mythos, in fact they predated the more famous addition of Captain Marvel Junior by only a few months. Three young men also named Billy Batson, one from the Brooklyn, one from the west and one from the south, met their more famous contemporary Billy Batson the radio host. During a confrontation with Doctor Sivana, the quartet of Billy's learned that they all possessed the powers of the original Marvel, only the three had to call upon such powers in unison. Not to easy to get three distant Billies together given their geographic distances and all.

We previously considered the Sensation Sentinels (of Justice) early this past year. Three young musicians are bequeathed devices by a dying Russian scientist with the intent of protecting humanity. As Helio, Mentalia and Brute. Instead of a Tall, Fat, and Hill version, we have the dashing leader, the beautiful blonde and the muscular guy. All standard stereotypical fair for comics of those times.

While the Sentinels had strength, flight and mind-over-matter abilities dolled out between the three, the Lieutenants had strength, flight, etc granted to each one. Neither team was very enduring, having but a handful of adventures. While the Sentinels were originally known by their folk music handle of the Protesters, the Lieutenants went by the handle of the Squadron of Justice. Turns out, other teams of heroes would borrow those names later.

 Earth-MLJ's Terrific Three consisting of Steel Sterling, Jaguar and Mister Justice were a trio of heroes very similar to the Lieutenants Marvel with mighty powers equally divided between each individual member, with limited appearances.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Marvel Mondays: Glorious Gal-Pals

Every truly successful superhero has a female partner riding his coattails, and hopefully one day stands out on her own as a marketable character. A case study in whether or not this works, and how very often it doesn't, is our skirt-clad sisters of scintillating superheroism.

Mary Marvel was the third (okay actually the sixth if you count three runners-up to her brother's title) of the Marvel Family to debut in the early 1940's. Mary Blomfield, the long lost twin sister of Billy Batson, gained powers like her brother beyond those of mortal men. Soon she was featured in her own titles as well as alongside her new extended family.

Nightshade, whom we've already considered, was Eve Eden a debutante daughter of a U.S. Senator.  However she secretly had a family connection like Mary that granted her immense powers, only hers originated from a mother from another dimension. Like Mary, Eve was separated from a brother, Larry, as he had been trapped in that world when she and her mother escaped. It is unknown if Eve ever reunited with her brother from Earth-Four.

Instead of Mary power to transform into a flying invulnerable version of herself, Nightshade's differed in that she transformed into a shadow that transported from the third dimension. In each case, the gal was rendered immune to physical attack while in that form. And each provided a valuable skill set to aid their Captain comrades, that being Captain Marvel and Captain Atom. While the Marvels had a long documented partnership, Nightshade and Cap only had a few recorded cases together. And rather than brotherly affection like Billy, Captain Adam had something more in mind when he looked at Ms. Eden.

Over at Earth-MLJ, Fly-Girl aka Kimberly Brand was another female given powers that allowed her to mimic a prominent hero, including the requisite power set. Or perhaps the amibguous Catgirl, Jaguar's female counterpart with various superhuman abilities that assisted her male contemporary. There is no clear counterpart on that world for Mary, however.
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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.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Steeler Sundays: Inaspcious Introductions

One had a history of previous stories chronicled for their grandparents and parents in the 40's and 60's to read. The other was a brand new product in those very same late 1960's. Essentially, both Steels were brand new characters where Sarge Steel appeared the 60s and Steel Sterling reappeared in the 80's (we're ignoring his more superhero-type adventures of the 60s as they've been covered in some of our Friday Fiends posts previously). In each we see that our heroes reflect the times in which the writers attempt to market them in.

So Sterling was nothing more than a dime-store Ferrigno or Schwarzenegger? Not much respect for the original "Man of Steel". And apparently not much acknowledgment by his new writers Stan Timmons and Rich Buckler as to his legacy. He was being approached as a notable figure yet with his superhero persona downplayed almost the point of non-existence. Fair enough if the tales are strong enough to stand on their own. Alas, this first one is definitely NOT!

In the course of events we meet Steel's main squeeze (for now at least) Gayla Gaynor, she of the remarkably divergent hair styles/colors. Then we get a quick battle between protagonist and antagonist, in this case the man-monster known as Humongous. Truly a one-hit wonder if ever there was one, all brawn no depth, and despite our knack for scrapping the bottom of the barrel at times to highlight various Fiends... he simply doesn't merit further mention. Nor did his creators feel he had any redeemable value as he was quickly scrapped as a character in favor of more "human" tales of daring do by our hero. Nevertheless, if nothing else we have our hero's courage and might measured in appropriate context to frame future storytelling possibilities around Sterling. On that score and the Hollywood premise they wisely setup, this leads to some memorable yarns to come (although by another more legendary writer who himself aspired to write  of strong champions clad in red and blue from a Distinct Competitor to Red Circle Comics).

The setup for Sarge Steel contrasts that of Sterling only in the sense of what was "in" for movies of that era. While Sterling was featured in the action hero era where might-made-right, Sarge hit his peak during the secret agent phase in Hollywood. While initially a private investigator that dipped his hand in covert affairs only when it suit him, there would be a definite shift toward the latter in subsequent issues. In this initial outing we meet Sarge's fine (and only) supporting character in Bess Forbes, and his chief antagonist in Ivan Chang. Also added to spice things up is the distinctive steel plated left hand which he would use to great advantage repeatedly as a bulletproof shield. The finest component to this finally crafted tale was the use of first-person narrative, and Sarge's distinct personality literally jumping off the page.

Next week we'll dissect more of this pair of pretty potent playboys...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Fawcett Fridays: Goggled Gadgeteers

Another obvious parallel between Earth-S and Earth-Four wherein the Fawcett and Charlton characters resided were this pair of goggle-clad gadget-making geniuses. Not intent to rest on their considerable financial success, Alan Armstrong as a Virginian sportsman/weapons-maker and Ted Kord as a robotics scientist, they decided to do more. As Spy Smasher and Blue Beetle, respectively, they attempted to assert some order in a chaotic world. And wearing a brilliant flue and gorgeous green they stood out from the pack.

Each knew that they needed an edge, beyond their inherent athletic ability and acrobatic agility. So these two built amazing air/sea crafts unmatched by their peers in the superhero set. Spy Smasher's Gyro-Sub was part-airplane, part-auto gyro, part-submarine/speedboat. While Blue Beetle's Bug was either an air or sea vehicle, it had remarkable auto-pilot programming designed by Kord.

One other point of similarity was that both genius good guys were chased by the law. In the Smasher's case, it was due to brainwashing inflicted upon him by arch-foe the Mask turning him into a foreign spy, until Captain Marvel finally shook the influence off his future ally. For the Beetle, it was due to his association in his civilian identity with Dan Garrett aka the original Blue Beetle, who disappeared and was presumed murders by Kord (he was but not by Ted, rather by his uncle Jarvis Kord). After vindicating themselves, they resumed their careers.

On Earth-MLJ,a parallel for Spy Smasher may have been the Comet aka John Dickering, another google wearing warrior in a slick all-environment vehicle. At least during the Comet's power-less phase when he had to rely on gadgets and his wits along, like Armstrong.
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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.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

World's Wickedess Wednesdays: B Class Brainiacs

These two brainiac baddies are "B" class cranium crooks, i.e. they have the requisite intellect and wicked gravitas to pull off being arch-criminals... but not the endearing evilness to match their peers.

Thaddeus Bogus Sivana Junior was the aspiring son of, you guessed it, Thaddeus Bogus Sivana Senior, the latter being Captain Marvel's greatest adversary. However, despite having a lengthy career causing Fredy Freeman (also a junior, as in Captain Marvel Junior) some level of anxiety, alone Junior was unable to match the dasterdly deeds of his papa.

In fact, perhaps his most significant act was actually a mishap, as his father had finally devised a method of removing the entire Marvel Family and their fellow Fawcett friends from planet Earth-S thanks to the element known as Suspendium. However, junior decided to pat senior on the back to congratulate the villain and instead captured both and his sister Georgia in the same snare! As a result, the Sivana Family was left out of commission during the same period as their opposite numbers for decades!

After being released from this floating prison in space, the most Sivana Junior accomplished was to styme both foe and father with his incompetent intellect. Needless to say, this is world's wickedest wednesdays not necessary world's most successful.

Over at Charlton's Earth-Four, Kong whom we previously considered had a modest career during his three encounters with the Son of Vulcan. Utilizing rotund robots, slicing swords and destructive devices, Kong attempted repeatedly to rid himself of his super-powered enemy and make a name for himself. Like Sivana Junior, he ended up a more or less a B class brainiac. And there are several just crooks in Mighty MLJ that fit that bill.
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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.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Team-Up Tuesdays: Watchmen's !mpact #5

The culmination of the visions set forth in Watchmen and Impact Comics' Crucible centered on two key players, but ones were not always featured prominently alongside their peers. Adrian Veidt and Rob Connors were the sons of parents now deceased who found themselves possessing abilities far beyond those of morta men. As Ozymandias and the Comet, these two young men attempt to use their gifts for the good of all humanity. Unlike many superheroes, however, their own determination to stick to the straight and narrow wavered a bit, leading the epic tragedy for those around each of them.

For Rob, it harkened back to the day when he first obtained his energy manipulating powers due to a tragedy befalling his parents and their research. Now possessed of immense power over electricity and flight, he adopts the alias of the Comet and embarks on a brief career. However, when he learns his body was swapped with that of an alien observer... and later still learning that he himself is that alien while the actual Rob Connors perished... he loses a bit of his humanity. After fleeing from the authorities, accusing him of having killed his secret identity, the Comet joins forces with the Black Hood until tricked into unleashing his destructive powers on an entire city. Turned criminal in a post-cold war age, his very ally the Hood is the one who rids the Earth of the Comet once and for all.

As to Ozymandias, after feeling disillusioned over his initial dreams of protecting his fellow man alongside fellow heroes in the Crimebusters, he seeks self-imposed retirement. Yet behind the scenes, he funded his own company development in genetic research that would one day unleash a monstrostity such that the world would have to rally around one another... dropping longterm grudges held throughout the cold war... and join together against a common foe from another world. However, Rorschach had like the Black Hood stood against his one time powerful comrade-in-arms, only unlike the Hood it was Rorschach who perished... not the instigator of so many deaths in that master of manipulation, Ozymandias.

And yet, all such victories are empty when the future in unknown. While the Crusaders ceased to be, themselves just returning from exile in space to face a former friend turned fiendish foe, and the Watchmen went back into retirement in a world now seemingly at piece... still their legacies are safely entrenched in the minds of all who read of their exploits.