Friday, December 31, 2010
If you were to do an inventory on all the secret (and not-so-secret) origins of heroes with fire-based powers, you'd see a common denominator. Most of them were the result of an accident, allowing the hero (or heroine) to not only project intense heat and gained immunity from their own flames.
Fireball was among the first of such characters, proceeded a couple years early by Timely Comic's Human Torch. While Torch was an android, allowing the reader to more easily accept his ability to cope with such temperatures, Fireball was fire fighter Ted Tyler bathed in an experimental chemical that mutated him into a heat-emitting hero. Decades later, the two-in-one hero Firestorm was composed of teen Ronnie Raymond and scientist Martin Stein, merged together by a nuclear plant accident. While his fire was more radioactive than other flame-based characters, Firestorm visually and conceptually is somewhat similar to Fireball. In a fair fight the younger hero easily out-classes his elder in both power and knowledge.
Abner Jenkins had much in common with Ted Kord, at least at the beginning. Both men were experts in machinery and each mechanized devices in the forms of beetles, allowing them to defy gravity and weaponry that stung their opponents. For Ted, this was incorporated into his flying vessel known as the Bug, while Abner created an armor instead.
However, their motives diverged from there, as Ted was avenging the death of a superhero while Abner wished to make himself a profitable supervillain. As a result, while Ted's Blue Beetle was a success, Abner's Beetle continued to fail.
Nevertheless, the Beetle under a new alias as Mach-IV joined several reformed villains to create a heroic team known as the Thunderbolts. Both on the same side of the law now, a teamup between these two would be interesting to say the least.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
There are literally dozens of sidekicks just in the golden age of comics, alone, yet very few back then actually met other mighty mites. A rare exception was the Boy Buddies, aka Dusty the Boy Detective and Roy the Super-Boy! Even though their padres never much hung out with one another, this pair had a budding relationship.
Poor Pinky the Whiz-Kid. Why? Well his name was...Pinky...the Whiz-Kid! Apparently, all the cool aliases had already been handed out (course he could've swiped one, like a certain Kryptonian brat of one of the buddies). And also, he seemed to be alone in the world of sidekicks on his world...unless you count young Mary and Cap Junior but they pretty much were standalone characters. It would've been neat had he have met a pair... like these two today!
When little Al Pratt first appeared in 1940, the Atom was the tiniest known particle in nature that had near limitless potential. Al was merely a college student trying to protect himself and his girlfriend from bullies. After training, he became a human dynamo at the pinnacle of physical protection. When as the hero named the Atom he encountered the villain Cyclotron, Pratt's body became a sponge for the tholium energy his foe emitted. As a result, he was modeled after the atom bombs on 1945, gaining tremendous superstrength and an "atomic punch".
Before he would return for a new generation, another atom appeared on the scene in the form of Captain Atom, a soldier turned superhero thanks to an atomic accident. He too had atomic powered strength as well as flight and energy blasts that Cyclotron never passed on to Pratt. Were these two to have met in battle, the Captain may've won by shear power alone. But for heart and true grit, the original Atom would've taken him hands down.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Inspired by the golden age funny animal stelwart Marvel Bunny, the 1980's spawned DC Comics' Captain Carrot and the soon-to-be Archie Comics' Thunder Bunny. One an anthromorphic bunny on a parallel world occupied by talking animals, the other a human merging with the body of an anthromorpic alien world. While Rodney Roger Rabbit was dependent on ingesting super-charged carrots to regain his powers, Bobby Caswell found his super-hare body hard to get rid of when trying to regain his human form. The teen had to visualize his human form to regain it, Rodney's reverted to normal much to his dismay.
Cap C was a team player with his Amazing Crew while T-Bunny had a tenative at best relationship with his world's Mighty Crusaders. Nevertheless, each took what would seem to be a ridiculous appearance and comical adventures to show that a hero is measured, not by their exterior, but by their heart.
Now this is a race we'd like to see someday, between a neglected super-mammal and a video game legend. Everyone knows Sonic the Hedgehog, the fleet footed hero of the planet Mobius attempting to free his world from Doctor Robotnik's evil dominance. Things were a bit more easy going for Fastback and his Amazing Crew on parallel world Earth-C, perhaps so much so its easy to overlook him. Despite debuting nearly a decade before Sonic, Fastback lagged behind in notoriety.
Even more interesting then their superspeed abilities is the worlds in which these two resided, with interesting blends of animals interacting with one another in manners similar to humans yet distinctly different is substance. A crossover between these worlds would have immense story potential.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
From a "B" class Superman villain to a "C" class Charlton hero, the name Prankster doesn't exactly inspire mythos nor legends. Still, the premise is the same, a regular guy who through the use of gag gimmicks is able to level the playing field between himself and his opposition.
Oswald Loomis, the original Prankster, went toe-to-toe with the Man of Tomorrow several times throughout the decades... with his punchlines always ending up flat. In the late 60's, another Prankster literally was a man of tomorrow, of a future era where arts and entertainment are quashed for conformity and order... with this unnamed man tried to shake things up.
Card-themed heroes and villains are always fun, particularly when you mix and match the various suits to resonate story themes. Black Jack was an MLJ golden oldie with a simple origin: he was a cop that crooks thought they 86'd, turns out he was alive and wanted to beat the odds as the costumed Black Jack. The Jack of Hearts had a more convoluted origin at Marvel Comics, as the hybrid son of a human father and alien mother. Consumed with energy activated by a special fluid, he needed to wear a special suit to contain his power (shades of Human Bomb).
What would make this crossover terrific is by throwing in DC's Royal Flush Gang as the antagonists that are pair of Jacks have to unite to defeat! With the wildcard, Joker, pulling the strings!
Thursday, December 23, 2010
This is tops on the list of crossovers we'd love to see! Two men of mystery, avengers of the night, part-detectives part-martial arts masters (well, some incarnations of the Hood, anyway). Batman and Black Hood have so many points of similarity if you throw out the rich playboy alias of the former and the beat cop job of the latter.
Still, speaking of Matt Burland's career choice, it perfectly meshes with Gotham City Police Commissioner James Gordon... hence the choice of picture today. Now given, they live on parallel Earths. However, it perfectly reasonable Black Hood could infiltrate into Gotham P.D. as Matt to ferret out information to help his buddy Batman on a personal case. Maybe their old foes the Joker and the Skull teamed up to torment both worlds. Or their young apprentices, Dick "Robin" Grayson and Kip "Black Hood II" Burland. These two would definitely attempt to protect their legacies.
Black Panther really has untapped potential even after some modest runs with the Avengers and a few solo series through the decades. T'challa as the prince of a high-tech African nation while also its chief protector is loaded with possibilities.
One such scenario would be if he met the Phantom, they would make quite the one-two punch versus any poucher who invaded their turf!
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Of the many colorful cats we've introduced into this blog, none are more so than are Doctor Spectro of Charlton and Rainbow Raider of DC Comics. Both rogues and long-time adversaries of Captain Atom and the Flash, respectively. Each utilized technology allowing them to maniuplate emotions through colors they project, as well as more solidified attacks from this same energy. While Spectro was a disgruntled scientist transformed into a supervillain after exposure to his equipment, Raider was a color-blind artist embittered with his lot in life and exploiting the special goggles his father bequeathed him.
While neither were prolific in their number of appearances, they each made their mark while they were being showcased as potential real threats towards their foes... and towards the fashion world as well!
Monday, December 20, 2010
Just imagine all of those 1960's Jimmy Olsen tales where he's in hot water with main squeeze Lucy Lane, and during the same era Archie Andrew's frequent foibles with a Ms. Betty Cooper. Red and Blond is a combustible combination, for sure.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Somehow comic book artists got it in their head, maybe since the time of Dan DeCarlo, that when a female is first rendered with a specific hairstyle she is always sporting that look. Think Iris West before she married Barry "the Flash" Allen, she always wore it in a bum. Or Janet VanDyne with her trademark short hairstyle which never wavered below the shoulders.
And these two lasses, Betty Cooper and Vicky Grant. Oh sure, they had the power to transform temporarily into superheroines and were both teens. But their defining trait was the ponytail look. Or in Vicky's case, her perpetual pigtails which she was never seen out of (until a goofy modern appearance). At least Betty shifted it from back to the sides to back again. Yawn.
It's really surprising that DC Comics never paired these two up in an adventure. Considering they both are schooled in the same areas of discipline, have a similar modus operandi, and each did a fair share of time traveling... it should've been no problem. After all, what's a few hundred centuries for fictional features like these, one born in the 1940's and the other in the 30th Century.
At least Karate Kid journey back to the 1970's for a brief period, and when last we saw Judomaster he had been shunted into 1986. Course, the Kid perished soon after returning to his native century, however an earlier incarnation may've been drawn into the past using a Legion time bubble to check out the original black belt whitey?
Friday, December 17, 2010
Space Ghost was a novel idea for a Saturday morning cartoon. An enigmatic apparently wealthy mastermind inventing various gadgets to battle menaces throughout the galaxy. Alas, the tired formula of always being outwitted by his opponents, and thus always dependent on salvation from a pair of sidekicks and his pet monkey was a bit worn out. Mind you, this is something the Super Friends played up for years with their Wonder Twins and Gleek.
The Ghost's history with Archie Comics was a sole issue published in 1997, while DC Comics picked him up for a half dozen more in 2005 with additional appearances prior to this in Gold Key and Marvel. How would the uber-serious SG stack up to his talk show host counterpart... you know they couldn't be the same character. Perhaps there is a Ghost patrolling every universe!
Poor Captain Comet, he debuted in an era when superheroes were passe. Had he have only been patient and wait until the late 1950s he could've been one of the premier characters in DC Comics. As it was, he was dug up decades later to be the protagonist for a series about a criminal team.
Captain Sprocket didn't fare much better, nor should he have. Ill defined and played up for comic effect solely, he was more of a caricature than a character. Sure he seemed to have cool gadgets like Comet, but not much in the way of head knowledge to use them effectively.
This crossover would be doomed to failure right from the start, as Comet would return to space after seeing how humanity has remained fairly dense since he departed it years ago.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Its doubtful that there are two character that would get along better than Jughead Jones and Dagwood Bumstead. Okay, aside from Dagwood's love for his wife Blondie, which Juggie just wouldn't get at this point in his character development (if ever), the two share a much deeper love.
Imagine, if you will, Mr. Bumstead making one his legendary Dagwood Sandwiches for the lad. This would be an experience that would exceed any other in Jones' life! And they both get plenty annoyed with nosey busybodies like Veronica Lodge and door-to-door salesmen.
And yes, before you ask why Dagwood... he appeared in 46 issues of Blondie published by Charlton Comics from 1973 to 1976.
You can't get much more coarse during the silver age of comics than these two ladies. Already crowned as the primary love interests of their generation's biggest stars in hero and teen comics, Veronica Lodge and Lois Lane always had a paranoia about them when main rivals Betty Cooper and Lana Lang came knocking. Meanwhile, Archie and Superman reaped the benefits of such adoration while continually having to reaffirm their love for these high-maintenance gals.
Could they have been related somehow? Their tenacity, cutthroat demeanor and intoxicating allure on men was near unmatched among their contemporaries. Good thing they never met.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Poor Lana, she is the second most jilted lass in all of comics next to Betty Cooper. Always the bridesmaid and such. She just happened to know Superman from the days of his youth when she fawned after the Boy of Steel, back in the pre-Lois days when all he knew was Miss Lang. She even adopted a heroic alias as Insect Queen, and still he wasn't impressed, although his alias Clark Kent did date her as an adult for awhile.
Maybe what she needs is Archie... ah yes we know he is the King of Fickleness. Still, maybe she has what all his other gals lacked, a Je ne sais quoi unmatched by others. And he meets one of your requirements, at least when dressed up as Pureheart the Powerful.
Doesn't sound like Mary Andrews is to pleased that dimension-traveling Mary Jane Watson is trying to pickup little Archie. Maybe she knows that MJ is on the rebound from a certain webhead she seems to have forgotten lately.
Does Mary have someone else in mind for her only son? Stay tuned...
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Two more different individuals you could not find than Johnny Thunder and Peter Cannon. Peter is Mr. "I can do it. I must do it. I will do it!" while Johnny is Mr. "Say You". One had his powerful Thunderbolt handed to him with relative ease, the other dedicated his life from youth onward to become Thunderbolt. John has tremendous power but not the wisdom to use it appropriately, Pete is able to accomplish seeming miracles though a mortal man.
Imagine the power of Johnny's Thunderbolt controlled by Peter Cannon! It staggers the imagination, although it would probably not make for a good comics series.
And straight from the "B" league of supermen-wannabees are Steel Sterling and Doc Samson. Two scientists who jury-rigged their equipment to gain superhuman strength and durability, in part thanks to radiation the ultimately comes from the sun.
While Samson was always a supporting character for his more powerful contemporary and inspiration, the Hulk, Sterling was a man-unto-himself never depending on others' fame to elevate his own status. As such, Steel is much more prominent in his universe than is Doc in his. However, were these two men to ever meet, they undoubtedly would get along swimmingly after initial fisticuffs had already ensued.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Several characters are connected to a "darkforce" capable of casting darkness over matter in this universe, siphoning it from an adjacent dimension. Two of these individuals were Eve Eden and Laynia Sergeievna Petrovna, heroines with strong attachments to their brothers and ties to their governments as special agents.
Eve as Nightshade and Laynia as Darkstar had brief careers wherein they interacted with a some American heroes and had slight romantic sparks with Captain Atom and Iceman, although this didn't amount to anything substantial.
The ability to cast your enemies in the dark, to teleport from one place to another, and the courage to stand up to the forces of darkness aptly describe our heroines today.
This crossover has it all: The main man, his "sis", his best buddy, and his worst enemy. And if we threw in arch-foes Doctor Sivana and Mad Doctor Doom, we'd have the requisite bald bad guy present as well.
Theoretically, if Fawcett had transformed the aliases of the Marvel Family into teen icons like Archie, Betty, Jughead, etc, perhaps they would've had more staying power. And had Archie Comics incorporated the Pureheart brand of characters into the main series that have thrived for decades, perhaps they would have created an environment that allowed their MLJ heroes to thrive instead of being banished into obscurity.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Jet packs, laser blasters, intellect, beautiful sidekicks, alien intrigue. This is a crossover that would've been worth seeing.
Both Adam Strange and Peacemaker were thinking man's heroes, they had high tech gadgets but often they had to use their minds in battle which made them their greatest weaponry. While Peacemaker didn't do the planetary hopping Strange did, he faced his share of non-human rogues like the subterranean shape-changers and such. So he'd fit right in on Rann, maybe swapping places with Adam who temporarily protects Earth-Four from evil.
On the surface, this could have the makings of the World's Finest Team, doggie style. After all, a Dog of Steel in Krypto and detective in Scoobie on the surface mimics the formula which makes Superman and Batman work so well. However, Scoobie's cowardice does not befit a darknight dog. What is truly amazing, however, is that his 1975 run in Charlton Comics which took over from Gold Key Comics was a substantial seller for a few years. And poor Krypto isn't even given his own title, only odds and ends backup features here and there. Maybe he needed the marketing arm of Hanna Barbera to get him in the public eye?
Sunday, December 5, 2010
One debuted in 1961 under his own title for fifteen issues plus several backup tales in other magazines and a crossover with another hero, the other appeared in 1965 then resurfaced four more times in the silver age. Yep, Jaguar was far more successful, probably because Archie Comics was fishing for the next new hero. Animal Man was simply another character created to fill a series losing readership at DC Comics.
These two, while remarkably similar in adopting powers of animals thanks to exposure to energy from out-of-this-world. Yet A-Man's limitation of needing to be near an animal to keep his power meant his tales were one-note and limited the credibility of his access to such abilities. Jaguar, on the other hand, had limitless potential, except that his publisher mainly focused on teen comics not heroes.
Charlton's master of mirth meeting DC's cruel crime clown would be an epic battle. Which would win such a duel? Ronald's Happy Meal toys vs the Joker's treacherous toys of terror?
Further, how would Ronald stack up against Batman? Or the Joker versus Hamburgler (wait, scratch that) or versus Grimace. Purple purple everywhere!
Seriously, only Charlton could have produced a licensed series in 1971 about a restaurant mascot who, coincidentally, looks nothing like the original on his comic book covers. A memory best left forgotten, it would seem.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Tabu versus Wildcat.
East meets West.
These two stood in the shadows of fellow heroes for years. Would they make the grade on their own?
With Wildcat: yes! With Tabu: nah he's a perpetual sidekick. Or, if you will, while Wildcat was a frequent ally of Batman in Brave and the Bold, often on equal footing with the Caped Crusader, Tabu is a younger Alfred. Always a trust confidant but not much in the way of a crime fighter.
Fred Andews, the long-suffering father of Archie, the all-American teen with the wandering eye. Imagine the advise he could glean from Jonathan Kent, himself a father of a famed figure:
- Train your lad to be selective of his best friends, that they not eat him out of house and home.
- Work on his coordination for those days when the world's security is in the hands of his son.
- Keep the number of love interests in your life to ONE. No mermaids or insect lasses.
- For goodness sake, kick that kid out of your house! He's been mooching since 1942!
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Man of Steel and Man of Stone-Age, Superman and Fred Flintstone, finally met their match.
A pair of imps, Gazoo from an alien world and Mr. Mxyzptlk of the 5th dimension, with vast power to perplex the lives of our heroes.
Still, their deep-down good nature kept them from caused permanent damage. It would've been interesting to see what damage Gazoo may've wrought on other Charlton characters like Captain Atom or Blue Beetle. Or the metaphysical explanations the Question would give to debunk such a creature's worth. And of course Mr. Mxy was way to anal in focusing only on the Big Blue Boyscout, when there were so many other playmates running around DC Comics.
Cheryl Blossom was an attempt to do a few things:
- Break the mold of Archie "good girls", such as they were, with spice
- Add a gal to the mix allowing Betty and Veronica to unite vs a foe
- Cover the gambit of hair colors for our protagonist to select from
She has much in common with Mary Jane Watson, Spidey's main squeeze. Edging out other rivals, she ended up getting her man (unlike Cheryl who toils on the fringes of comic limbo).
Perhaps during webhead's next rebooted history, Ms. Blossom could enter into his life. Then a battle royal between Pete and Arch would ensue, Spider-Man vs Pureheart the Powerful!