Charlton vs Mighty MLJ

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

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Introducing the new Jaguar Rescue Team!

Why this was never a crossover is a true mystery. What more could you ask for... a ferocious (or is it furocious?) feline fighter and a trio of love struck sassy lasses.

Oh sure, Cat Girl, Kree-Nal and Jill Ross were a bevy of beautiful broads, however they were quickly forgotten by the time the object of their affection... Jaguar... was revived in the 1980's. However, Josie and the Pussycats are an enduring legacy who hit the big screen.

Imagine had they have met... once would have been all it took for instant sparks to fly and the teen troubadour trio's unsheathed claws to aim squarely at one another... competing for the love of the crossbreeding of Kal-El and Logan. Think about it, having Superman and Wolverine all wrapped in one would make even Lois Lane, Lana Lang and Lori Lemarus jump for joy!

(Wait a second... Lois=Jill, Lana=Cat Girl, Lori=Kree-Nal! Wild!)

Can we solicit here on this prominent forum a request for Archie to make this pairing a reality?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Shovel-Ready Jobs for Super-Righteous Joes

Since unemployment is near double digits in America, we here at CvsMMLJ want to do our part to keep as many qualified spandex superheroes out of unemployment agencies and on the street, entertaining all with their daring deeds to do!

Come to think of it, how would one collect benefits if one is already a jobless vigilante. Forget the wealthy playboys... of which in our stable of mystery men only Peter Cannon (aka Thunderbolt) qualifies for in our crop of both creative and crummy characters.

Perhaps there is some IRS that monitors the selfless deeds of those wearing their underwear on the outside? Only instead of Internal Revenue Service it's the Investigators of Righteous Superheroes, and instead of collecting W-2's the collect newspaper clippings. much like our friend is reading in the same rag where he finds his want ads?

Still, any rube (sorry Red Rube!) could don a cape and garish costume then claim he is a hero. We suspect there is some way to audit such an alleged able-bodies avenger of all-men. Maybe they had to register with the local 7 union before they hit the streets, otherwise the union boss would sick one of his henchmen on the poor unsuspecting rube (once more, our apologies Red).

Otherwise, this was just a throwaway panel in Josie's comic? Kinda funny that Josie #22, wherein we find this clip, is long after her publisher Archie/MLJ and rival Charlton fired their whole crop of costumed characters? Strange we don't see them... oh wait... there's the Fly and Black Hood! Glad they got their 5 seconds of fame in the frigid bronze age!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Under the Hood: The Makings of a Question

Crusading journalist Vic Sage at a deep-seated desire, undoubtedly due to his objectivism believes held by his idol Ayn Rand, felt the need to do more. And more was definitely needed as his home, Hub City, was a cesspool of crime and corruption needing a courageous crimefighter to curtail its cunning crooks.

Enter the Question.

However, while Sage had physical attributes allowing him to hold his own versus most opponents... particularly due to his fueled fearless fighting spirit... he could not openly combat criminals on the streets while televised publicly as an opinionated anchorman.
Enter Aristotle Roder.

Roder was the scientist who developed a revolutionary technique that would, in essence, transform Sage into superhero. And this technique would be the defining trait for Vic's alter ego.

The tool that Roder developed for his friend was pseudoderm, which mimics a a perfect, invisible skin-imitating bandage. 

In one rendition of his origin, the Question first encountered this scientific miracle when Aristotle enlisted Sage's aid to retrieve it from the hands of a felon using it for illicit purposes. Using the material as a mask, Vic decided to wear it as a long-term fix for his alias.

According to DC Wikia: "The Question Mask perfectly hides the features of its wearer, making it seem as though the face is non-existent, and completely covered in skin. It does not impede breathing or eyesight. The mask is hidden in an easily concealable belt. The balled up pseudoderm is in the buckle, where it can be easily removed and rolled out to cover the face. A special chemical applied to the face that mimics aftershave, when combined with a gas released from the belt, makes the mask stick to the face so fast that it cannot be taken off by hand or any conventional means. A second spray of gas makes it come off."

But it is the man behind the mask that truly makes the Question... unique.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Under the Hood: The Makings of a Blue Beetle

Born in an era where there was a plethora of powerful public protectors, Daniel Garret wanted to join their ranks. And donning the blue uniform of a beat cop wasn't enough for the young man, more was needed in his estimation.

Another common aspect of that period was the various sources of superhuman abilities one could purchase at the local pharmacy. Well, that really wasn't the case, after all Miraclo wasn't distributed by Bannermain Chemicals until decades after it was first discovered, and then only had a clientele of... well... two!

Nevertheless, Garret was blessed to live in a neighborhood with a generous pharmacist/inventor who would help Dan attain his dream... and much more...

From this momentous meeting, the original Blue Beetle was born!


Per Comicvine: "When officer Garret received a gun shot wound in the line of duty, his life was saved by this scientist.  Dr. Franz had invented the secret and highly experimental Vitamin 2X, which provided Dan, as the Blue Beetle, with super-strength, heightened senses, faster speed, invulnerability and increased intelligence.  

Dan would return to Dr. Franz's office, where he kept his Blue Beetle costume, each time he needed to super-charge." Well, at least until enough years passed and readers forgot the origin of Beetle's powers, which by then included flight... then Franz and Vitamin 2x faded into obscurity.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Under the Hood: The Makings of a Yellowjacket

Although most golden age masked men had origins explaining their powers, even if said origins were rather flimsy. However, there were those exceptions that 1.) weren't masked and, 2.) just came upon their powers through apparent osmosis (or rather plot contrivance).

Within the story, it appears that crime fiction author Vince Harley gained the ability to mentally control wasps of the variety that he named himself after as the Yellowjacket. And what of his miniature minions?

According to Wikipedia: "Yellowjacket is the common name in North America for predatory wasps of the genera Vespula and Dolichovespula. Members of these genera are known simply as "wasps" in other English-speaking countries. Most of these are black and yellow; some are black and white , while others may have the abdomen background color red instead of black. They can be identified by their distinctive markings, small size (similar to a honey bee), their occurrence only in colonies, and a characteristic, rapid, side to side flight pattern prior to landing. All females are capable of stinging which can cause pain to the person who has been stung. Yellowjackets are important predators of pest insects. They have a lance-like stinger with small barbs and typically sting repeatedly, though occasionally the stinger becomes lodged and pulls free of the wasp's body; the venom, like most bee/wasp venoms, is primarily only dangerous to those who are allergic, unless a victim receives a large number of stings."

Monday, March 21, 2011

Under the Hood: The Makings of a Peacemaker

Christopher Smith grew up the sole child whose father was an army officer turned statesman and whose mother was a research scientist mother. His wealth, skill at flying fighter aircraft and scientific aptitude derived from them both.  Smith was employed as a pacifist diplomat working as a U.S. Peace Envoy for the Geneva Arms Conference.

These two distinct worlds came colliding into one another with an international named Bork threatened the world's security. Donning the alias of Peacemaker, Smith utilized his various gadgets to full effect to topple the aspiring dictator.

This incident led to his fully adopting a new role into his already complex life, as a world-traveling troubleshooter/costumed hero, a venture which would ultimately claim is role as diplomat.

Behind the scenes, Peacemaker incorporated several key pieces of technology into his state-of-the-art costume. Chief among these is his helmet which included a powerful laser always at his disposal, and a jet pack allowing him low-altitude flight when time was of the essence.

Additionally, with such items as his nitrocellulose pack, fire bomb vile and derringer, Smith always had to assess the situation to assure that the maximum effect to resolve a crisis was utilized  while attaining the minimum amount of devastation when such tools were used.

Although most of his career has been left undocumented, those few cases assessable to public record indicates he fearless and intelligently employed his inventions adequately.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Steeler Sundays: Dopplegangers Under the Hood

The Steels known as Sarge and Sterling, were there publishers' renditions for "Men of Steel", each possessing attributes of the original Superman while grounding them to a more human template in both characterization and abilities.

In order to obtain a skill set  necessary to dare approach such a legend, they each depended upon technology to give them an edge. For Sarge, it was his surgically repaired left hand, fully mechanized providing him hydraulic strength in its robotic joints. For Sterling, it was an anti-gravity belt allowing him to hurtle unencumbered through the air.

Alas, they need a steady diet of yellow sun radiation and light gravity to match the Metropolis Marvel's marvelous mighty. Oh wait, they have both! To bad neither was born on Krypton to take advantage of either...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

DC Dopplegangers: Darknight Damsels

These ladies are mirror images of one another, in more than one way actually. DC's Phantom Lady was the premier heroine of her original publisher, Quality Comics, during the 1940's. Bestowed with a black-light beam projector given to her by a friendly professor, debutante Sandra Knight donned this guise (such as it was at the time).

The mysterious Darkling, known through unverified sources as Darla Lang, was a hero in her own right. Although she didn't project dark like her name would indicate, her true ability matched up well to that of Phantom Lady's later legacy, dimension transportation. Both caped lasses joined predominantly masculine teams to save the Multiverse from various threats, and neither returning to her home world because of their self-sacrificing dedication the protection of innocents throughout the cosmos.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

DC Dopplegangers: Sensational Shields

As previously mentioned, DC Comics had rolled out their own Crusaders in the late 1970s to play to part of foils for the Freedom Fighters. Based on Marvel's Invaders, leading to an unofficial crossover as each team battled amalgams of the other, there were traces of Mighty Comics' Mighty Crusaders and their supporting characters.

The most obvious comparison is between Americommando and his 1940 template, the Shield. Besides their red, blue and while plumage which they are arrayed in, they sport stripes, stars, and flowing locks atop their non-traditional masks.

Additionally, each has an indomitable spirit driving them to support their causes. However, while for the Shield it is freedom and peace for all, for Americommando it is to subjugate the masses with his Nazi ideology. Yep, he's really the Silver Ghost underneath.

What's interesting is that in his criminal alias, the Ghost has the ability to turn humans into silver... something the Shield wouldn't like since his foe the Eraser turned him into an iron statue for decades. Hence, of these two, Commando trumps over his adversary in battle.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

DC Dopplegangers: Sultry Sea-Supers

As previously mentioned, DC Comics had rolled out their own Crusaders in the late 1970s to play to part of foils for the Freedom Fighters. Based on Marvel's Invaders, leading to an unofficial crossover as each team battled amalgams of the other, there were traces of Mighty Comics' Mighty Crusaders and their supporting characters.

No line of characters is complete without the sea-faring superhero, and the Crusaders each had one... sort of. Actually over at Mighty Comics, shortly before her love interest Jaguar met up with that league of legends and decades before joining them, the pheromone feline flummoxed fighting feline met the sea circe herself, Kree-Nal.

No, she was not related to Captain Mar-Vell although she was likewise part of an alien invasion, in her case an invasion of one. DC's Crusaders had the Baracuda, formerly an unassuming fanboy who was solicited by uber-Nazi the Silver Ghost to be recruited into his faux-World War II team of heroes. Turned into a man-beast with flight and mighty to exercise his right to fight, Barracuda had like his teammates proved easily dispatched by Quality Comics' finest.

And in a battle between these two wet warriors, Kree-Nal would have the upper hand simply because she can mutate and control any sea life, and that includes a faux-Sub-Mariner. Additionally, what gill breather would not be intoxicated by this bewildering beauty???

Sunday, March 13, 2011

DC Dopplegangers: Fearless Fireballs

As previously mentioned, DC Comics had rolled out their own Crusaders in the late 1970s to play to part of foils for the Freedom Fighters. Based on Marvel's Invaders, leading to an unofficial crossover as each team battled amalgams of the other, there were traces of Mighty Comics' Mighty Crusaders and their supporting characters.

Interestingly, each team sported their own "Fireball". named the same with similar flame-wielding abilities. Of course, Ted Tyler was a firefighter while old Lennie Wein was a fanboy, so while one was a professional hero the other was an amateur nerd. 

Nevertheless, in a mano-y-mano fight between the two human torches, it would seem Fireball-DC would have the upper-hand on Fireball-MLJ, since he in enveloped in all-consuming flames enabling to create tangible shapes and defy gravity, while his opponent merely could absorb and control ambient heat around him... oh and leap mighty bounds. Still, he had girlfriend Hedy (Hedy?) Harris pulling for him, instead of a junior sidekick named Sparky. That has to count for something in the grand scheme of plot developments.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mighty Crusaders in a Parallel Universe

Sure DC Comics tried their hand at Archie's Mighty Crusaders brand twice, in the modestly successful !mpact line of the 1990's and more recently the Red Circle series of in-continuity publications more recently.

What most are unaware of is the first appearance of the Crusaders... not those ones exactly... rather the foils for the Freedom Fighters.

Consisting of pastiche versions of Marvel's Invaders, from Americommando (Captain America), Rusty (Bucky), Baracuda (Namor the Sub-Mariner), Fireball (Human Torch) and Sparky (Toro), these were actually four fan boys empowered by supervillain Silver Ghost seeking revenge on his old foes.
  • Immediately, there is a tip-of-the-hat to the Shield in A-Commando's uniform, head gear, even his own shield.
  • Baracuda channels a bit of Jaguar's girlfriend Kree-Nal in the underwater motif and alien skin pigmentation.
  • Fireball and his MLJ counterpart would definitely have a volatile relationship, energized by equal parts ability and angst.
  • Rusty and Shield's long lost sidekick Dusty could swap tales of goofy names and such.
  • Sparky would encounter a grown-up Inferno whose bad breath matches his own.
  • This would lead the rest of Archie's Crusaders to face DC's Crusaders, i.e. Phantom Lady vs Darkling, Human Bomb vs Comet, Uncle Sam vs Captain Flag, Dollman and girlfriend Martha vs Fly and Fly Girl, Firebrand vs Firefly, Black Condor vs Black Hood, Happy "Ray" Terrill vs Lancelot "Shield" Strong. COOL!
Still, these latecomers of the underwear-clad set were quickly dealt decisive blows by the Quality Comics gang, so the similarly obscure MLJ crew wouldn't have a problem with these also-rans.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Action-Heroes in a Parallel Universe

What may have been in a parallel universe, had DC Comics published the Action-Heroes in the mid to late 1960s rather than Charlton.

When you get down to it, some stark realities reveal themselves through this exercise:

  • All of these characters except one (Adam Strange) were principally defined by the teams they joined.
  • Two had their own self-titled comics (Atom and Karate Kid...although Strange had a mini-series later).
  • All were all zapped by energies (Thunderbolt/solar/Zeta/White Dwarf/chronological) which sent them to unexpected locales throughout the multiverse. 
  • All of them were B-level characters that shined most when they were underestimated by those around them.
And all of them are near spitting images of their brethren over at Derby, if form if not always in substance.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Getting Some Pep Into Your Step: Hangman vs Mother Goose!

Let's get some "Pep into your step" with a truncated tale from Pep #30 featuring the Hangman, prior to his radically rotten disposition as mid-60's villain turned mid-80's paternal ogre. An interesting diametric involves the relationship with he and his Charlton counterpart Punch's blond bombshells, the ever alluring Thelma (aka the "hand-me-down" girlfriend...sorry Comet your bro called dibs when you evaporated) and always evil Jewelee. Not to mention each having a propensity towards...well... goofiness despite the malevolence they try to exude.

Anyways, here we go...

Okay, so we understand around this time that Mad Hatter was already booked for an engagement with a certain Dark Knight detective, but couldn't this erstwhile earl of the eerie have found a better opponent than this creepy crone?

Yikes! On the trail of this pointy-hat predator, after she dealt with two of three sons in a mysterious Dickson family (wait... Dickson... Dickerson... could it be a connection? Or rather, the writer's laziness), our Stringed Sentinel is... roped... into a dangerous situation. Egads, however will he procure himself out of this situation? Never fear, gentle reader...

Well said, Punch, although we doubt Jewelee could get her hair stay immaculately pristine in windstorm quite like Thelma. Either she used a six-pack of hairspray of bobby-pins galore.

And speaking of the fairer sex... no fair throwing us a curve ball... a vengeful dude in drag? Sigh, face it he ain't no Captain Swastika, who had a better costume even though half of it was mere dress slacks.

Stay tuned for more installments of "Getting Some Pep Into Your Step".