Charlton vs Mighty MLJ

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

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Steeler Sundays: The Return of Inferno!

When last we considered Inferno, we learrned of his stunning origin and his radical turn to the side of truth and justice (even though he was framed by an impersonator stealing his unique modus operandi. But how did this famed flame-breathing fearless fighter face his most fearsome foe, Mr. Sterling himself? Let's look into Zip Comics #11 for the second appearance of this golden age villain turned hero, as he once more engages in a crimespree with his pal Flexo the Rubber Man.
With quite the flair for fiendish felonies, this dastardly duo deviously conspire to successfully loot and pillage, this time without the interference of their former foe Steel Sterling. However, their rather low rent approach doesn't seem to match that of their golden age peers over at All-American Publications or Timely Comics (precursors of DC and Marvel, respectively) despite their rather odd modus operandi of flexibility and fire-breathing. One definite difference from Sterling's doppleganger Sarge Steel is that there was some longterm plotting involved in Sterling's adventures, at least the initial ones, while Sarge's formula was more one-and-done tales (although there were repetitive foes that returned later on like Ivan Chung and other rogues). Perhaps Sterling's strip would be considered a launching pad for other characters in the backpages of Zip Comics (recall that this is prior to the debut of the Web, who himself only lasted for a scant ten issue run... they were really struggling with other features to supplement this publication unlike its companion Pep).
Nevertheless, it is quite clear that the seeds are already in place from the first part of this memorable masterpiece that Inferno is set to become something more than a common hood, even though he is shown rather menacely on both the cover and within this tale. Next week we'll carry on with part two of this timeless tale of evil turned to good. Return with us next Steeler Sunday...

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