Category Archives: DC Comics

Kate the Devil Girl

Kate the Devil Girl

The first volume of The House of Mystery was a horror anthology.  Kate the Devil Girl never made the cover The House of Mystery but was a back story that had a loyal following in the seventies and DC has collected her six appearances into a single volume.  Kate the Devil Girl is a normal high school student until she finds a demonic wand that gives her various demonic powers including super strength, limited invulnerability and the ability to shoot magical flames from her hands.  The catch is that every time she picks up her wand, she has evil impulses that become stronger and stronger and she is in danger of becoming a full blown demon and therefore also more powerful.

At the end of the adventure, Kate always resolves to never use the wand again but there is always some emergency that forces her to use the wand again. In her third appearance, the wand accidentally absorbs the life force of a Cambodian exchange student and the head of the wand can now talk and give her advice but mostly the wand urges Kate to figure out a way to return him to his human form.  In the sixth and final appearance of Kate the Devil Girl the various plot lines that had developed were not resolved.  Many people thought that Kate the Devil Girl would become a Vertigo title eventually. In this incarnation, the various loose plot lines of the original would be resolved but this never happened.  Perhaps this reprint means new adventures of Kate the Devil Girl are possible in the future.

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My other website at:

Fox Superpower List

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https://foxhugh.com/?s=comic

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Hugh Fox III - Alien Glow

 

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Kyle XY vs. Clark Kent of Smallville

Kyle XY and Clark Kent of Smallville have a lot in common.  They are both teenagers.  They both have superpowers.  They are both on prime time television.  Clark fights Luthor Corp.  Kyle fights Madacorp.  Both have fatherhood issues.  Kyle is a clone of a super scientist  Adam Baylin and Kyle has to hunt his father down.  Clark’s dad is Jor El and is dead due to the destruction of Krypton and Clark deals with a holograph of his dad rather than a living dad.  Both have “normal” human parents that teach them lessons in humanity.  Both have female versions with their powers that are slightly more powerful.  Kyle’s clone companion, Jessi XX, was created later and is a more advanced clone model and has super strength unlike Kyle.  Supergirl, Clark’s cousin, can fly while Clark cannot.

I would say there is a strong chance that the creators of Kyle XY saw the success of Smallville and decided to make their own teenage superhero.  Clark of Smallville is very different from   Superman of the comic books and movies.  Clark is young and much less experienced than Superman.  An episode of Smallville starring the Legion of Superheroes, from the 31st century, lets us know that Clark will become Superman but the Legion in general finds Clark less than impressive compared to the legend of Superman. Clark is still discovering new superpowers during the first three or four episodes.  Heat vision turns out to be especially problematic in one episode.  As of episode eight Clark cannot fly with any regularity.  Clark isn’t even really Superboy.   The silver age comic book Superboy would demolish the Smallville Clark.  Clark will probably skip the Superboy phase in this version of the Superman story. Clark hasn’t even put on a costume but this may happen in the upcoming ninth season.

I think one of the keys to the success of Smallville is that the creators have taken a lot of the plot line from the Marvel superhero Spiderman and interjected that plot line into the Superman mythos with great success.  The early Spiderman could be summarized as “insecure teenager becomes superhero” and this is what Clark is doing.  Superman is a DC character and Marvel is their competition.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

One of the recurring plot line weaknesses of Superman is that Superman has been too powerful for interesting battles and/or adventures.  Kryptonite was created by the Superman radio show in the thirties precisely to address this problem.  In recent years Superman has been depowered and the current Superman is far less powerful than the silver age Superman.

The fans of comic books are largely male teenagers.  Stan Lee, of Marvel comic books, figured out in the sixties that male teenagers might relate more to a hero that shared their insecurities like Spiderman.  Marvel then really exploited the teenage superhero idea with the X-Men who are mostly teenagers and reside at the Xavier School for the Talented and Gifted rather than something like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude which is more a married with children man’s fantasy than a teenage guy fantasy.

Kyle XY premiered in 2006 and has a super brain.  Kyle can detect mathematical patterns intuitively.  In superpower speak this is some type of algorithmic pattern awareness.  Kyle has photographic memory.  Kyle excels at analyzing mathematical data but has high analytical skills in general and can excel in any scientific area.  Overall, Kyle has super intelligence but due to not being raised by a family, but grown in a pod, lacked basic knowledge of human society and how people interact.  The discrepancy between his analytical/mathematical intelligence and social knowledge was and is a major theme of the show.

Kyle can control his body and senses at superhuman levels.  Kyle is like a super yogi.  Kyle does not have a super body like Clark but due to his superior control of his nervous system can push his existing normal body to supernormal limits.  This allows Kyle exceptional pain management.  In particular, Kyle can increase his hearing but at a cost.  Kyle becomes dizzy after pushing his body to superhuman levels and can even injure himself through over use of his super hearing.

Clark’s super hearing, on the other hand, does not involve any such price.  Kyle also has photographic memory.  Kyle’s photographic memory can tie directly into muscle memory and he can learn any kinesic skill upon watching someone perform this skill.  If he watches a Bruce Lee movie then he will be able to perform any of the moves Bruce Lee demonstrated in that movie.  In comic book circles this power is also referred to as photographic reflexes.

The Taskmaster is a major Marvel comic books super villain and only has this superpower and takes on the likes of Captain America.  Kyle’s photographic reflexes are downplayed in his TV series and he has not gone the next logical step and mastered every martial art around to become some sort of super fighter.  Instead Kyle tends to try to reason his way out of tough situations.

Kyle has something beyond photographic memory and this is called holographic memory.  Kyle can search through his memories as though he was having the experience again.  Kyle has super learning.  Kyle learned how to talk in one day.  Kyle has the mental equivalent of a firewall and can resist mind control.  Kyle has limited telepathy.  Kyle has limited telekinetic abilities that have two origins.   The basis of his telekinetic abilities lie in his ability to change the polarity of his cells and attract or repel water.  Kyle can also change the gravitational field around an object.

Kyle has an interesting way of drawing and basically draws like a dot matrix printer and makes a series of points, usually with crayons, that allow him to make pictures that resemble photographs in their clarity.  This photographic drawing ability and photographic memory ability means he can make pictures of events and things he does not fully understand at the time and then figure out what is going on by looking at the picture and/or sharing the picture with others, generally his family, who can help him figure out the picture. Kyle is kind of the ultimate eye witness!

Kyle’s major weakness is his aforementioned lack of social experience and he can be easily manipulated by con artist types although his instincts about people are pretty good despite his lack of social experience and over time he is learning more and more about social interaction and norms.  Kyle has all the physical weakness of any human.  His super brain can overtax his all too human body.  Kyle does not have a belly button due to being raised in a pod rather than a womb and his CAT scans show way too much activity but all in all Kyle is human and can pass for human more easily than Clark.  Kyle can hide his superhuman nature via restraint.  Clark is an alien and must avoid a physical examination at all costs to keep his powers secret.

Clark’s superpowers are much more well known than those of Kyle XY and are basically Superman’s but on a lower power scale and minus flight.  Clark’s superpowers include invulnerability, super strength, super speed, heat ray vision, X-Ray vision, and super hearing, far beyond Kyle’s level and without the fatigue weakness.  Clark is bright but does not appear to have super intelligence unlike many versions of Superman.  Clark also cannot fly at this time.

Clark also has a strong sense of ethics that comes from being raised on a Kansas farm and generally knows what the right thing to do is and acts as a natural born leader to those around him including other superheroes, the Justice League, Green Arrow, the Legion of Superheroes, due to this strong sense of right and wrong.  This is in contrast to Kyle who is still trying to figure out the subtleties of human morality and in particular the discrepancy between what humans say is moral and what they do.

Clark’s number one weakness is kryptonite.  Green kryptonite can kill him.  Red kryptonite turns him into a hedonistic psycho not necessarily a bad guy but more of a rebel without a cause on steroids.  Green kryptonite is all over Smallville!  The meteor showers that brought Clark to Smallville also apparently brought tons and tons of green kryptonite to Smallville.  In just about all other versions of Superman, green kryptonite is super rare and bad guys go to the trouble of spending millions to synthesize the stuff because it is so rare.  No need for a bad guy in the Smallville universe to spend a dime synthesizing kryptonite since the stuff apparently is just lying all over the place.  This makes Clark relatively vulnerable compared to other versions of Superman.  Still super speed and super senses mean that Clark can move faster than a speeding bullet including kryptonite bullets and hear the clicking of the chamber before the bullet is even fired.

Clark has fought Braniac, a super computer from his home planet Krypton.  Braniac has super intelligence on a level that dwarfs Kyle.  Clark’s number one enemy is Luthor, who in the Smallville version does not have super intelligence, unlike the Silver Age comic book version.  The Smallville Luthor does have extreme cunning and access to the most advanced research labs in the world via Luthor Corp.  Luthor does have access to the finest minds on Earth and knows how to manipulate people including scientists who may be smarter academically than Luthor but not as cunning as Luthor.  A team of the finest minds with the best research capabilities on Earth might have a combined IQ that is greater and more dangerous than Kyle’s IQ.  The contests between Luthor and Clark can be seen as contests between brain versus brawn to a great extent and Clark has always come out ahead.

Besides Luthor, Clark has gone up against a army of superpowered foes that are far more powerful than anything Kyle has gone up against so Clark has the experience edge.  Green kryptonite can give humans superpowers and apparently every other teenager in Smallville has been exposed to green kryptonite and the green stuff also seems to make humans into psychos but this is debatable.  So in a boring head on contest Clark would probably beat Kyle but the purpose of these posts is to entertain not bore!

The scenario, Luthor manipulates Kyle into thinking Clark is the vanguard of an alien invasion.  This would be no problem for Luthor whatsoever since he has manipulated people far less naïve than Kyle.  This event happens after season six when Luthor knows all of Clark’s secrets including his weakness to kryptonite and Kyle comes up with about a hundred fantastic weapon delivery systems to “stun” Clark with kryptonite despite Clark’s super speed and super senses.  Luthor has lied to Kyle and told him that Kryptonite stuns rather than kills Kryptonians since Luthor realizes Kyle would never agree to kill anyone even an alien invader.

Kyle belatedly does an internet search about Luthor and realizes he has been had and that Luthor is a very, very bad person based on his business practices that are a matter of public record.  Kyle then hacks into the files of Luthor Corp and realizes that Luthor is not just bad but evil!  Kyle warns Clark of Luthor’s impending attack and together they attack Luthor Corp.  Clark explains to Kyle that the best defense is a strong offense.  Kyle attacks the computers of Luthor Corp.  Clark attacks the muscle guarding the computers at Luthor Corp so Kyle can get to them.  Clark is constantly breaking into Luthor Corp secret centers so this should be familiar territory for him.  Even Madacorp has been firebombed by Kyle’s mentor.  As stated, Clark has broken into Luthor Corp secret centers before even with Justice League members but never with someone like Kyle!

Kyle uses a terminal at the secret Luthor Corp lair to erase all data and I mean all data from all Luthor Corp’s computers including all financial data and Luthor is left with a company minus money and research data and Luthor Corp is all about data.  Kyle doesn’t stop there and decides to leave Luthor Corp about a billion bucks in the red and exposes every crime, fraud and misplaced paper clip that Luthor corp was ever involved in to the Feds and the Daily Planet by emailing the pertinent records so Luthor ends up being chased by debt collectors and the law.  Who knows which is worse?

Luthor Corp is destroyed but is Luthor?  Luthor is cunning but not much without the resources of Luthor Corp or at least in the short range.  Years later, Luthor is bankrupt and has served time in jail for fraud.   Luthor even had to use all of his hidden cash in the Caymans, not on the Luthor Corp books, on lawyers and assasins to kill those who could have expose more serious crimes.   His company, his money, his good name and his friends are all gone!  Luthor is pan handling for booze on the streets of some third world hell hole where he is not recognized when he sees a picture of Kyle and Clark on the front page of the Daily Planet that some expat has thrown on the ground.  It is of course raining!  Rain drops and mud cover the newspaper but Luthor can still read the front page.

Apparently Clark and Kyle have started some sort of think tank charity to solve the problems of the world.  Kyle comes up with the science while Clark does hero for hire jobs to pay for the research and implementation.  Luthor raises his fists to the sky, throws the bottle of cheap local whisky he was drinking to the ground, breaking the bottle, and vows, “I will never be poor again”.  “That which does not kill you only makes you stronger”, thinks Luthor.  Of course the guy who originally wrote that died in an insane asylum.  I like to say, “There are many things that will not kill you but can maim you for life in such a way that death would seem like a good thing”.

Luthor creates a new criminal organization that has a corporate structure but is more mafia than corporation and far deadlier and secretive than Luthor Corp ever was and the first thing on the agenda of this corporation is the destruction of Clark and Kyle. Luthor even manages to hire a lot of the more nefarious elements of Madacorp to work for his new organization.  Thus a new series begins that combines the fan bases of both Kyle XY and Smallville and makes untold millions while I suffer the slings and arrows of middle class existence.

WereVerse Universe Baby!

DC vs. Marvel Kids

Casper and Fox

Casper and Fox

This is the eighth post in this series. DC versus Marvel superhero posts have been done to death on the internet and I wanted to do something different. This series looks at what happens when you pit the non superheroes of these two companies. This series also gives me an excuse to revisit some of the obscure comic book characters of my past. The dominance of the superhero genre in American comic books has meant that characters of other comic book genres have been ignored for decades and this series to some extent is an attempt to rectify this unfortunate state of affairs.

The first post looked at Westerns and Western heroes. https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/dc-vs-marvel-western-heroes/

The second post looked at war comics and war heroes. https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/dc-vs-marvel-war-heroes/

The third post looked at women’s comics and working women. https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/04/11/dc-vs-marvel-working-women

The fourth post looked at space operas and spacemen https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/dc-vs-marvel-spacemen/

The fifth post analyzed funny animals.
https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/dc-vs-marvel-funny-animals/

The sixth post looked at the teenagers of teenage humor comic books. https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/07/15/dc-vs-marvel-teenagers/

The seventh post looked at horror comics and horror hosts. https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/07/27/dc-vs-marvel-horror-hosts/

I am inventing a comic book genre name for this series. Women’s comics are defined as comic books that appeal to women. I would like to propose there is a genre of comic books that appeals to very young children as opposed to children in general and I would like to name this genre kids comic’s. The ultimate example of this genre would be the children’s Harvey Comics line that included such characters as Baby Huey, Casper, Hot Stuff, Little Audrey, Little Dot, Little Lotta, Spooky, Richie Rich and Wendy the Good Little Witch. Harvey Comics also published comics with superheroes but is best remembered for its kid’s comics. I see similarities between Harvey Comics and Archie Comics.

Faced with hopeless competition with DC and Marvel in the superhero arena, these two comic book companies found success in non superhero genres, an example of niche marketing in the comic book marketplace. Archie Comics has dominated teenage humor for decades, right up until the present and squashed attempts by DC and Marvel to make titles that compete in this genre. Harvey Comics was also able to survive in a similar manner with kids comic books. Interestingly, both Archie Comics and Harvey Comics tried superheroes but eventually gave up these titles probably because of competition from DC and Marvel. Both Archie Comics and Harvey Comics had to learn hard lessons about their core business which turned out to be genres other than the superhero one.

There is tremendous overlap between the funny animal genre, dealt with in the post about funny animals (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/dc-vs-marvel-funny-animals/) and kid’s comics and many comics fit both genres. Still, characters such as Casper are obviously not funny animals. I would propose that funny animals are a subgenre of kid’s comics logically but the funny animal subgenre is so big it must be treated as a genre. In a similar manner, logically superheroes are a subgenre of science fiction but are such a dominant subgenre in terms of the comic book marketplace that superheroes are best dealt with as a separate genre. This post will only deal with kid comics that are not funny animals.

This genre is characterized by a simplified cartoon style, very G rated material, even by comic code approved standards, and very simple plots. The defining characteristic is that the comic book is aimed at a very young readership. I would say the comic books should be able to appeal to preschoolers and they should be able to handle the material without the aid of an adult. Older readers may like the simplicity of the comic books in the same way that even adults can appreciate a children’s book but the reverse is not true. A relatively G-rated comic book like Superman, especially a more recent Superman comic book, will not be appreciated by preschoolers unless their literacy is especially high.

DC kids include the Brat Finks, Stanley and his Monster, as well as, Sugar and Spike. Stanley and his Monster replaced the Fox and Crow in issue #109 but the retitled comic book only lasted until issue #112. Stanley is a six year old with a lisp that mistakes a monster for a dog and lets him secretly live with him. The monster is covered with pink hair, has enormous fangs and is gigantic, maybe nine feet? The parents never catch onto the existence of the monster. In the innocent comic book logic of that era, hiding a nine foot monster in a typical suburban house is considered totally possible. The comic book was printed in the sixties. In the nineties, DC decided to add some back story to the series and include Stanley and his Monster in some DC crossovers. I still prefer the more innocent less sophisticated Stanley and his Monster of the sixties.

Sugar and Spike was created by comic book legend Sheldon Mayer and is one of the best comic books lines ever! Somehow DC forgot to reprint this comic book in their current reprint Showcase series. This is extremely unfortunate and I urge DC to add Sugar and Spike to the Showcase reprint line. Sugar and Spike are two preschoolers that talk to each other in baby talk that adults can’t understand.

Sugar and Spike are constantly trying to figure out adult logic and the adult world and come up with outlandish explanations that nevertheless are totally logical. Mayer was able to capture kid’s logic in a way few cartoonists ever have. The closest any cartoonist has ever come is Calvin and Hobbes but I actually think Mayer does a better job and he is dealing with much younger children that are harder for adults to understand. Sugar is a blonde haired kid. Spike is a red haired kid. Other characters came and went in the strip such as Little Arthur, Uncle Charley and Bernie the Brain and even the secondary characters of this great strip were better than the primary characters of most cartoons. The strip lasted 98 issues, from the seventies into the nineties, and I am sure would have gone on even longer except for his death in 1992.

Marvel Kids, pre-Star imprint, is a much shorter list and I want to mention Homer the Happy Ghost who was brought to my attention by a reader of this post (see comments).  Homer the Happy Ghost was an obvious imitation of Casper that lasted 22 issues, between March, 1955- November 1958, which for a none superheroe is not bad!  Supporting characters included Melvin the Mixed-Up Ghost, Invisible Irwin, Dugan the Dead End Ghost, and Zelda the Zany Witch.  Homer was reprinted for five issues between from November 1969 to May 1970 and I vaguely remember seeing this version of the title.  Anway, thanks for the info Mark!

Marvel Kids include all the characters of their Star imprint that lasted from 1984-88. The characters of the Star imprint included Air Raiders, ALF, Animax, Bullwinkle and Rocky, Care Bears, Chuck Norris and his Karate Kommandos, Defenders of the Earth, The Flinstone Kids, Foofur, Fraggle Rock, The Get-Along Gang, Heathcliff, Heathcliffs Funhouse, Hugga Bunch, Inhumanoids, Madballs, Masters of the Universe, Masters of the Universe Motion Picture, Misty, Muppet Babies, The Muppets take Manhattan, Peter Porker The Spectacular Spider Ham, Planet Terry, Popples, Royal Roy, Silverhawks, Star Wars Digest, Star Wars Droids, Star Wars Ewoks, Strawberry Shortcake, ThunderCats, Top Dog, and Wally the Wizard. Marvel did publish a couple of Casper comic books in 1997.

Most of the Star comic books are not Marvel properties and will not be looked at given the topic of this post. Spider Ham, Planet Terry, Royal Roy, Top Dog and Wally the Wizard are the only true Marvel properties of the Star comic’s line. Spider Ham was already dealt with in the funny animals post so we are down to Planet Terry, Royal Roy, Top Dog and Wally the Wizard.

Planet Terry, Royal Roy and Top Dog were all written by Lennie Herman. Planet Terry was a space saga. Planet Terry was looking for his parents in space with his sidekicks a robot named Robota and a green-scaled muscular alien named Omnus. I swear that Planet Terry’s facial features are very similar to those of Casper. He flew around in a jet pack and many of his flying poses seem directly lifted from Casper comic books. Top Dog is a talking dog and therefore a funny animal and the subject of another post. Royal Roy is Marvels version of Richie Rich of Harvey Comics. Prince Roy lives in Cashelot (Camelot plus Cash) and only
lasted six issues. Wally the Wizard was an apprentice wizard to Marlin the Wizard, Merlin the Wizards older brother.  Wally the Wizard was created by Bob Bolling who had also created Little Archie.

Sugar and Spike team up with Stanley and his monster for a day at the sandbox and run into these two weird kids in weird costumes. One is dressed like a prince, one is dressed like a spaceman and one is dressed like a wizard. Sugar and Spike know all about Halloween and love that day and know darn well this day isn’t that day. They start laughing at the costumed kids and soon a fight ensues. Stanley’s Monster sits on the Marvel kids until they agree to behave. DC wins this round.

My other website at:

Fox Superpower List

Other DC vs. Marvel Posts

Big Monsters

Fourth Wall Heroes

Funny Animals

Horror Hosts

Kids

Robots

Sidekicks

Spacemen

Superpets

Teenagers

Transportation

War Heroes

Weapons

Western Heroes

Women in Refrigerators

Working Women

WereVerse Universe Baby!

DC vs. Marvel Horror Hosts

House of Mystery #1

This is the seventh post in this series. The series pits non superhero genre characters from DC and Marvel against each other. The first post looked at Westerns and Western heroes (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/dc-vs-marvel-western-heroes/), the second post looked at war comics and war heroes (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/dc-vs-marvel-war-heroes/), the third post looked at women’s comics and working women (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/04/11/dc-vs-marvel-working-women) and the fourth post looked at space operas and spacemen (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/dc-vs-marvel-spacemen/). The fifth post analyzed funny animals (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/dc-vs-marvel-funny-animals/). The sixth post looked at the teenagers of teenage humor comic books (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/07/15/dc-vs-marvel-teenagers/). The eighth and next post will look at kid’s comic books.

This post looks at the horror genre. I had problems separating the horror genre from the superhero genre. This would not have been a problem when I was reading comic books in the sixties and seventies when I was younger. However, since at least the eighties, DC and Marvel heroes that belong to the horror genre have been incorporated into their mainstream comic book universes to the point that they are often just another type of superhero.

For example, Blade, who fights vampires, has done so many crossovers with mainstream Marvel characters that he is no longer a hero of the horror genre but a hero with horror roots who inhabits the Marvel superhero universe. The mystery that is essential in horror is lost when the characters of horror are overused in a flashy superhero universe that in many ways is the antithesis of horror. Superheroes wear bright colors and fly off into the sunset versus inhabiting a world beneath the moon, moss and worms. When you juxtapose a creature of horror with a superhero the creature of horror is lessened. The suspension of disbelief is just too much. I can temporarily believe in a world of horror. I can temporarily believe in a world of superheroes. I can only believe in a world with both superheroes and horror with difficulty.
The entire Vertigo line, a DC imprint, can be seen as an excellent attempt to bring the sense of horror back to DC by creating boundaries between creatures of horror and superheroes for the purposes of better story telling. So who represents pure horror in the DC and Marvel universes? I would argue the horror hosts do! Most horror comic books are anthologies with one-shot characters that often die a horrible death at the end and are never seen again. You have the same problem with romance comics. Both genre focus on single shot stories and finding ongoing characters in both genres is hard do. So what sort of character survives in a horror comic book? The host of the stories is who!
A horror host is the host of a horror comic book anthology. The most famous horror host does not belong to either the DC or Marvel line but to EC Comics. The host for the EC comic book Tales of the Crypt was the Crypt Keeper and perhaps the only horror host to make the transition to TV where the same character hosted the very popular and long running TV show of the same name and also two movies and even a Saturday morning cartoon named Secrets of the Cryptkeepers Haunted House. The Crypt Keeper was one of the GhouLunatics and that included fellow EC horror hosts the Vault Keeper and the Old Witch.

The DC horror hosts include Abel, Cain, Charity, Destiny, Eve, Mad Mod Witch, Madame Xanadu, and Macbeth’s witches (Mordred, Mildred and Cynthia). Abel was the host of the House of Secrets. Cain was the host of the House of Mystery. They are the Cain and Abel of Biblical fame and an ongoing gag is that Cain kills Abel over and over again whenever there is a crossover between the two brothers. The two houses sit next to each other so a little neighborly interaction is only to be expected. Charity was the host of Forbidden Tales of the Dark Mansion and probably wins the title of most obscure and forgotten DC horror host. Destiny hosted Weird Mystery Tales. Eve hosted Secrets of Sinister House from issues # 6-16. Eve later generally replaced Destiny as the host of Weird Mystery Tales. Abel and Cain are officially cousins of Eve. The Mad Mod Witch was the, on again of again, host of Unexpected from issue #108 onwards and with the alias Fashion Thing was rebooted by Neil Gaiman in the Sandman. Madame Xanadu was the host of Doorway to Mystery. Madame Xanadu returned in the first direct sales only comic book in Madame Xanadu. The series is a one-shot. The witches Mordred, Mildred and Cynthia hosted the Witching Hour. Lucian was the host of the short lived Tales of Ghost Castle.  Neil Gaiman made use of all the DC horror hosts, except Charity, in his Sandman series. Heck, even Lucian, perhaps the most obscure of the horror hosts became a librarian of the Sandman.  All the horror hosts have gone onto new fame and prominence in the Vertigo line that probably exceeds the fame and prominence they had during their original title runs in the sixties and seventies.

In the Sandman title, Destiny and is one of the Endless who in turn are mightier than gods. Destiny has been able to resist the influence of Zeus. Zeus is in turn much mightier than for example Superman. Zeus can create a female version of Superman, Wonder Woman. Destiny is one of the most powerful characters in the DC universe but is also considered the most boring story teller by Abel, Cain and Eve.

Despite a slew of horror tiles by Marvel/Atlas including Beware, Chamber of Chills, Chamber of Darkness. Creatures on the Loose, Crypt of Shadows, Dead of Night, Fear, Giant Size Chillers, Journey into Mystery (2nd series), Tomb of Darkness, Tower of Shadows, Uncanny Tales (2nd series), Vault of Evil, Weird Wonder Tales, Where Creatures Roam and Where Monsters Dwell only one of these titles had a horror host! Digger and Headstone P. Gravely hosted Tower of Shadows that was designed to go head on against DCs House of Mystery and House of Secrets. I do remember Tower of Shadows and I even remember the story of the first issue and I was like 14 years old at the time! I don’t remember the horror hosts at all. Two unknown hosts versus an interconnected family of DC hosts that are major part of the current DC/Vertigo universe? This contest doesn’t seem fair at all and I am going to change the rules! I am going to bring in a Marvels number one comic book host! The Watcher!

The Watcher acted as a host to futuristic stories in Tales of Suspense starting in issue #39 in the sixties. The Watcher acted as second story to the main Iron Man story. The stories were titled Tales of the Watcher. I actually often preferred the Watcher stories to the Iron Man stories and am totally aghast that Marvel has not made an Essential version of Tales of the Watcher. I mean Werewolf by Night and Spiderwoman get an Essential volume but not those great stories by the Watcher? The tradition was carried on in the first volume of the Silver Surfer. Later still the Watcher became the host of What If stories that were 100% superhero stories but the original Tales of the Watcher were mainstream science fiction complete with a Twilight Zone sort of lesson about the universe and/or humanity told by the Watcher at the end.

Despite their genre difference the Watcher and Destiny actually have an awful lot in common. The Watcher is a cosmic entity. Destiny is a cosmic entity. Destiny is a lot more powerful but like the Watcher mostly tells stories, and despite being blind, “observes” and doesn’t really do much. The Watcher is bald and for all we know Destiny might be bald as well. Destiny always wears a cowl and this is probably to hide his baldness. I would see Destiny as being somewhere in the power class of the Living Tribunal over at Marvel. Destiny and the Living Tribunal both wear cowls by the way. The Watcher is at least two hierarchical levels below the Living Tribunal.

The Living Tribunal is even more powerful than Eternity or Death that only represent the totality of one universe. Both Destiny and the Living Tribunal are multiverse type beings that more or less bring balance to the multiverse. There isn’t a different Destiny or Living Tribunal in each universe but one for the whole dang multiverse. A being that performs a balancing multiverse function has to be more powerful than any being limited to one universe no matter how powerful they are in that one universe. Destiny could squash the Watcher but this won’t happen.
Destiny and the Watcher are hyper rational, Mr. Spock is emotional compared to those two, and I do mean the old Mr. Spock, not that new guy French kissing Uhura, and would never engage in aggressive behavior except in self defense and neither would attack the other first since that would be illogical, uncivilized and just bad manners. Destiny and the Watcher both exchange the very best stories from their mutual universes and agree I am not a very good story teller and perhaps should find another hobby. This “DC versus Marvel” story ends in a draw.

My other website at:

Fox Superpower List

Other DC vs. Marvel Posts

Big Monsters

Fourth Wall Heroes

Funny Animals

Horror Hosts

Kids

Robots

Sidekicks

Spacemen

Superpets

Teenagers

Transportation

War Heroes

Weapons

Western Heroes

Women in Refrigerators

Working Women

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DC vs. Marvel Teenagers

Archie proposes to Veronica!

Archie has finally proposed to Veronica and in honor of this event I have written the following post about teenage humor comic books.

This is the sixth post in a series that pits non superhero genre heroes from the DC and Marvel universes against each other.  The first post looked at Westerns and Western heroes (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/dc-vs-marvel-western-heroes/ ), the second post looked at war comics and war heroes (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/dc-vs-marvel-war-heroes/ ), the third post looked at women’s comics and working women (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/04/11/dc-vs-marvel-working-women ) and the fourth post looked at space operas and spacemen (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/04/20/dc-vs-marvel-spacemen/ ).  The fifth post analyzed funny animals (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/dc-vs-marvel-funny-animals/ )

The genre of this post is teenage humor and the heroes are the teenagers of this non superhero genre.  The ultimate comic book archetype of this genre would be Archie published by MLJ/Archie Comics.  The enduring success of Archie has created many imitators over the years. Archie was so successful that characters in his universe became spin off titles.  Some of the Archie characters that had their own titles include Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Reggie and even less well known characters such as Principal Weatherby, Dilton Doily, and Big Ethel.   Interestingly, Archie went through a superhero phase.  The Archie superhero stories were written as parodies of regular superheroes.  Archie was Pureheart the Powerful.  Jughead was Captain Hero.

The DC teenagers include Scribbly, Buzzy, Binky, Scooter and Debbie.  Scribbly the boy cartoonist was invented by comic book giant Sheldon Mayer for Dell Comics in 1936.  Scribbly moved to the back pages of DCs All American Comics in 1939.  The last appearance of Scribbly in that title was in 1944.  When Archie became popular, Scribbly returned in his own series for 15 issues between 1948 and 1952.  Binky then appeared in the back pages of DC’s other two teen humor titles, Buzzy and Leave it to Binky.

Buzzy was a hipster, unlike Archie, and one of the few none Archie clones in this genre.  Buzzy was part of a five-piece combo.  Buzzy graduated from the All Funny Comics anthology to his own title that ran from 1944 to 1958.  Buzzy became more and more an Archie clone during the run of the title.

Binky started in his own title, Leave it to Binky, immediately in 1948 in response to the success of Archie.  Binky was a teenager in high school and his title lasted until 1958.  Binky won the Shazam Award for best inker in 1970 and this is not a genre known for winning awards.

Scooter was the main character in the title Swing with Scooter that was launched in 1966 almost ten years after the demise of Buzzy and Binky. Scooter was named after his scooter that he used for transportation and was a British mod.  A mod can be considered a type of sixties British hippie.  Scooter was transplanted to Laurel City, USA.  Scooter was lucky enough to be born in an era when crossovers became more common and he met the likes of Batman and Superman.  There will be no such teen humor/superhero crossover until Archie meets the Punisher published in 1994.

Scooter is probably the only DC character of the teen humor genre that I remember.  I was born in 1957 and missed all the other DC teens due to my age but vaguely remember running into Scooter in the newsstands.  My own parents were into the whole hippie, mod, whatever thing in the sixties, and because of this, I found the character a little interesting but even as a youth was smart enough to realize this comic book was being written by people who had no idea what was going on in the sixties counter culture.  The writers were middle aged, the slang was more lame than hip.  When a 12 year old can figure this out about your dialogue then your title is in trouble.  I had been an on and off, tepid fan, of Archie since I was eight years old until I was about 14, so the problem wasn’t that I didn’t like the genre.  The problem wasn’t I didn’t like Scooter.  Scooter lasted 36 issues and for a non superhero genre that is pretty good so maybe the slang worked on other less worldly teens.

Debbi starred in Date with Debbi that ran 18 issues from1969 to 1972.  Debbi was a red head.  Debbi looked like a female version of Archie, right down to the chubby cheeks and this is not a good thing!  I am surprised the series lasted as long as it did.

I have mentioned in other posts, in this series, how the DC imprint Vertigo has consistently rebooted non superhero material from DC’s obscure comic book past.  I challenge Vertigo to do a miniseries about DC’s long lost teens.  How about a look at the teens twenty years later?  The DC teens are all working as office workers at a paper company, no, the paper company has already been done, maybe a computer support company.  They go to a bar and reminiscence about their lost youth and decide to do something crazy as a group.  Look up their lost loves?  This would give an excuse to see all their supporting casts.  Go to Thailand?  Maybe they do something even crazier.  Maybe they take acid together in Amsterdam that was accidentally mixed with alien DNA and they merge into Super Hip.  Maybe a road trip where they see their lost loves, go to Thailand and then go to Amsterdam.

Super Hip briefly appeared in the Adventures of Bob Hope DC comic book and basically could alter reality as this super power is referred to nowadays.  Mostly Super Hip displayed Superman type powers.  Super Hip’s alter ego, Tad, went to Benedict Arnold High School.  Super Hip is one of those totally obscure DC characters that didn’t even rate a mention in Who’s Who in the DC Universe.  Super Hip was drawn in a cartoony style that was reminiscent of teen humor characters.  I think Super Hip was some sort of misguided attempt to combine a super hero with a teen humor character.

The Marvel teenagers include Millie the Model, Chili and Patsy Walker. Patsy Walker was popular from the 1940s until 1967 and even supported several spin off titles.  Patsy Walker was a red head and her romantic rival was black haired Hedy Wolfe.  Betty and Veronica, of Archie Comics, of course are blonde and black haired respectively and minus super hero costumes perhaps hair color is needed to differentiate comic book characters in situations where a lack of a consistent house style can confuse young readers.  In 1973, Marvel brought back the name but totally rewrote the character, and made Patsy Walker the alter Ego of the super heroine known as Hellcat.  This is similar to what Marvel did with Night Nurse, a romance genre heroine that was remade into the nurse of super heroes.

There is some overlap between romance comics and teenage humor comics.  For example, Millie the Model went back and forth from being a romance comic to a teen humor comic.  The art on the cover lets the reader know which version of Millie they are dealing with immediately.  The romance comic version of Millie the Model issues were drawn in a more realistic fashion.  The teen humor version is in a cartoony style that imitated the Archie Comics house style.

Chili was the red headed rival of Millie and in her own series was consistently a teen humor title.  The clothes that Millie and Chili wore are a big part of both series.  Both titles featured paper dolls and outfits in the comic book.  Many of the Millie comics, the romance version, showed off very glamorous fifties type outfits.  Many covers of Millie had her sporting evening gowns and furs.  Not exactly something you would wear to the mall.  I think Marilyn Monroe might have been the inspiration for these covers.  Chili,in her own series, on the other hand, consistently wore very mod clothes with bright colors and even pant suits and wore stylish clothes you might actually see in the mall in the late sixties and seventies.

Despite the difference in art styles between the teen humor and romance genres, there are many similarities in plot lines.  Both genres highlight male/female relationships in general and love triangles in particular, but the story line of a romance comic leads to love or a broken heart while the story line of a teenage humor comic leads to a punch line.

Another interesting difference between the plot lines is that teenage humor generally portrays a young man such as Archie being pursued by two gals such as Betty and Veronica.  In romance comics, a woman is pursued by two men.  One of the men would be the wild one and one the stable one.  In teenage humor the main difference between the two gals would be the color of their hair.  Although upon further examination Betty represents the nice girl next door while Veronica is more of a vamp but the main difference between them is definitely their hair color.  A Mad Magazine parody of Archie named Starchie highlights this lack of difference between Betty and Veronica.  Starchie tells that parody version of Jughead that Betty and Veronica are drawn totally differently despite the fact they have had identical poses and are drawn exactly alike, except for their hair, throughout the parody.

 starchie1

Teens in this genre do not fight but instead compete romantically and generally win or lose via practical jokes.  The three Marvel female teens, Millie the Model, Patsy Walker and Chili go out on a group date with the DC teens, Scribbly, Buzzy, Binky, Scooter and Debbi.  There are four women and four men so someone is going to go home alone.  Millie the Model is a model!  In teen humor comics looks are everything so all the guys go after Millie, leaving Patsy and Debbie to sulk in the soda shop and reflect how unfair life is.

Patsy, Debbi and Chili decide to play a trick on the guys.  After all fellow red heads have to stick together when dealing with gorgeous blondes!  Patsy and Debbie slip some pepper and salt into the sodas of the guys while the boys all stare at Chili and Millie walking to the restroom together.  Chili is deliberately doing her sexiest walk, in her tight, oh so sixties, short, short little dress.  Did I mention that I have very fond memories of sixties styles?  The boys all choke on their foul tasting sodas and Patsy, Debbie and Chili laugh their heads off.  The boys agree this is a very funny joke and that they deserved their treatment because of how they ignored the red heads.  Scooter is a mod, with a sixties, as opposed to fifties view of sexuality and has actually been with a woman. Scooter starts to reflect that Chili is pretty mod and that the competition for Millie is just too intense.  Later Scooter and Chili will marry and then divorce.  The Marvel red heads hurt the DC men, even if they had help from a DC gal, so Marvel wins!

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DC vs. Marvel Spacemen

Clash of the Spacemen!

Clash of the Spacemen!

This is the fourth post in a series of posts that compare DC and Marvel non-superhero genres.  The first post looked at Westerns (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/dc-vs-marvel-western-heroes/).  The second post looked at war heroes (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/dc-vs-marvel-war-heroes/).  The third post looked at women’s comics (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/04/11/dc-vs-marvel-working-women/).  The genre is space opera and the heroes are spacemen.  This genre is a little harder to differentiate from the common super hero.  After all many superheroes have alien origins.  The very first superhero, arguably, Superman is from the planet Krypton but anyone who knows comic books and science fiction would not argue he is a space opera hero.  The main characteristic of space opera is that the action is almost entirely in space.  Superman has had his share of adventures in outer space but most of his adventures happen on Earth.  Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon are some early examples of the space hero in comic books. 

 

The DC spacemen are Adam Strange, Captain Comet, Knights of the Galaxy, Space Cabby, Space Ranger, Star Hawkins, Tommy Tomorrow and Ultra the Multi-alien.  All of these heroes were brought together in a three issue mini-series Twilight in 1990.  Twilight brought all of DC’s space heroes and characters together in a reboot that is dystopian and very different from the optimistic and naïve tone of the Silver Age originals.  Twilight is a precursor of what Vertigo Press will do on a regular basis when this press is formed in 1993. 

 

These DC space comic books were particularly popular in the Silver Age and I would say this was my favorite non-superhero genre growing up.  Westerns were ok.  I didn’t really get war comics until years later.  Women’s comics in the form of Romance comics were rare and far between.  The space opera titles on the other hand were comics I would keep an eye out for.  Adam Strange, Captain Comet, Space Ranger and Tommy Tomorrow would be the big four of the space men.  The Knights of the Galaxy, Space Cabby and Star Hawkins are much more obscure characters.  An ancestor of Adam Strange and Space Ranger did appear in a comic book together during the Silver Age in Mystery in Space #94.  Mystery in Space was also were most of the Silver Age space men appeared.  Cross-overs at DC in the early Silver Age were few and far between and their common genre identity was probably the cause. 

 

The most famous of all the space men is Adam Strange.  Adam Strange has a ray gun and a jet back pack but aside from that is a normal Earthman or as normal as any comic book hero can be.  Adam Strange is transported to the planet Rann on a regular basis where he has many adventures.  He also has a pretty hot girl friend on that planet.  Alan Moore did a really good story with Adam Strange titled “Mysteries in Space”, Swamp Thing #57, second series.   The title is obviously a take off on the Mystery in Space title.  The relative alien identity of Adam Strange was highlighted.  Adam Strange was offered membership in the Justice League of America, a first tier DC superhero group while the other space men never ever even met first tier DC superheroes.  Adam Strange was also a major player in the recent DC multi-title event the Rann-Thangar War that attempted to flesh out DC space empires in a way similar to the Marvel Kree-Skrull war had many years earlier.

Years later Captain Comet was rescued from comic book oblivion in a Vertigo title but during his original run was very obscure.  Captain Comet is a variation on Superman.  Captain Comet is a mutant that represents what we will evolve into in the distant future who decides Earth is boring and goes off into space.  Captain Comet is nowhere near as strong and invulnerable as Superman but is a fair telepath and telepathy means you know your opponents weaknesses. 

 

A contest between them would be kind of like Kyle XY versus Clark Kent of Smallville and be very interesting.  Kyle would know all about Kryptonite and have the super intelligence to use this knowledge for maximum tactical and strategic advantage. Dime a dozen hoods get the jump on Clark with Kryptonite in Smallville so I think Clark is probably toast.

 

I have not read a Space Cabby story in years but to this day I remember the very interesting premise.  The Space Cabby was a cabby but he had a space ship and he could jaunt around the solar system.  So if you needed a quick ride from Earth to Mars then he was your man.  Space Cabby emphasized humorous adventures and this is in direct contrast to the melodramatic nature of space opera in general. 

 

Ultra the Multi-Alien is the comic book equivalent of a winner of the Rotten Tomatoes award.  The comic book was so garish and over the top, obscure and just plain bad that you couldn’t help but like the title.  Prez and the Geek would be two other Silver Age titles that merit the same type of award.   An Earthman due to a bizarre ray gun malfunction received the body parts of four other aliens.  Each body part has a different power.  Kind of like the movie The Fly but instead of merging with one insect, the character merges with four insects and of course more is better.  I hereby create my own superhero based on this premise!

 

Beware of Insectoid the Multi-Insect Man!  He has the claws of a praying mantis, the wings and eyes of a fly, the stinger of a scorpion and the antennae of a ant that gives him some other super senses that insects generally don’t have.  Anyone interested in this character should contact me at foxhugh@yahoo.com.  Only serious requests will be considered!  So I guess that means no requests will considered.

 

The Marvel list is much smaller and includes Captain Jet Dixon, Captain Marvel, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Speed Carter Spaceman and the Star Jammers.  I would consider myself a bit of a comic book historian and I never read or heard about Captain Jet Dixon or Speed Carter Spaceman until I did some research for this post.  This is unfortunate since based on my research they are pretty classic space men in the Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon mold clearly fit the premise of this entire post.

 

The Galaxy Rangers and Star Jammers are Bronze Age space men.  They are about a thousand times more relevant and famous than Captain Jet Dixon or Speed Carter Spaceman.  The adventures of the Guardians of the Galaxy and the Star Jammers do take place almost entirely in space but are still more superheroes than spacemen.  The tolerance of fans for non-superhero genres during the Bronze Age of comics was a lot lower than during the Silver Age and superhero elements had to be grafted onto heroes from other genres in order for them to survive.  I mention the Punisher as hero that combines war hero and super hero elements in my war hero post and I think this is similar phenomena.

 

I think the Star Jammers are basically the X-Men set in space and have their origins in the X-Men titles.  The Guardians of the Galaxy started more as space men but then evolved into superheroes.  The premise is that in the future solar system planets have been terraformed and genetic engineering has been used to make humans that can live in these terraformed planets that are still pretty inhospitable.  So you have a crystalline humanoid from Pluto and a super strong soldier from Jupiter, etc.  The first issue that premiered caught my eye and they wore futuristic but non-superhero clothing and I liked the premise.  Years later the costumes changed and they started hanging around the Avengers, got a ton more members and became the Avengers in space. 

 

Something similar happened to Captain Marvel who was a Kree soldier who wore a very space man kind of costume and used a ray gun but later got one of the coolest superhero costumes ever and lost the ray gun and gained some nega bands and lot of other cool powers to boot.  The Kree is a intergalactic empire consisting of thousands of worlds that often is in conflict with the Skrulls.  These are very much ray gun and space ship aliens.  The Skrulls even use flying saucers.  Heroes like the reborn Captain Marvel even have a category in the Marvel Universe and are considered cosmic superheroes. 

 

The adventures of cosmic superheroes take place in space but this is a cosmic space far away from anything Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon could handle.  In many ways this cosmic version of space is magical and more importantly mythic.  Characters like Galactus, the Watcher, the Silver Surfer, the Elders of the Universe and Thanos have adventures in the cosmos not space.  They have no need for space ships or ray guns and can often alter reality through a super science that is the power cosmic.  This genre transformation process seems to be a hallmark of Marvel as opposed to DC.  The Skrulls may have thousands of world under their dominion but hide like ants when the Silver Surfer was the herald of Galactus in their original appearance in the Fantastic Four Galactus Trilogy that created Marvel’s cosmic space. 

 

DC takes non-superhero heroes and lets Vertigo Press do really interesting things with them while maintaining their core genre identity.  All non-superhero heroes in the Marvel universe end up becoming superheroes!  Night Nurse, who I mention in my women’s comic post (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/04/11/dc-vs-marvel-working-women/) ends up becoming the nurse of superheroes years after her original appearance.  I guess if I have a choice of being transported to the DC or Marvel universe then I should pick the Marvel universe since I am about a hundred times more likely to become a superhero in that universe than the DC universe and that was pretty much my life goal until I was six and “grew up”.  I put the phrase in quotations since someone writing these posts has arguably not grown up!

 

So hard choices, do I pick the famous hybrid space men/super hero men of Marvel or the pure space men of Marvel no one ever heard of?  I will do a little bit of both.  The Star Jammers and Guardians of the Galaxy are superhero teams that are a hundred times more powerful than guys like Adam Strange and Space Ranger and I like these guys to much due to early childhood sentiment to pit them in such an unfair contest without a little tidbit ahead of time.  So Captain Jet Dixon and Speed Carter Spaceman just got drafted.

 

Captain Jet Dixon goes up against Adam Strange and Adam Strange easily beat him to the ray gun draw since he has had a hundred more issues to master target practice.  The Knights of the Galaxy go up against the Guardians of the Galaxy because they both have galaxy in their name and the non-super powered knights are easily defeated by the Galaxy Rangers with their numerous superpowers. 

 

The Knights of the Galaxy were space man types with ray guns and space ships that followed a knightly code.  The knightly code isn’t going to do them much good against a top tier super hero group like the Guardians of the Galaxy.  This mingling of medieval and science fiction is not a first for DC and the Atomic Knights come to mind.  I do mention the Atomic Knights in another post on this blog (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/dc-vs-valiant-universe-2-armorines-vs-the-atomic-knights/).  I also mentioned in the prior war hero post that the mingling of two non-superhero genres is a hallmark of DC rather than Marvel. DC has weird westerns, weird wars and even haunted tanks, supernatural plus war comic.  I love it!

 

Space Ranger goes up against Speed Carter Spacemen and in a low tone of voice informs him that he is the Space Ranger and nobody’s like Carter should flee and Carter does.  The Guardians of the Galaxy then descend on Adam Strange and Space Ranger and give them a space whupping they will never forget. 

 

Captain Comet fights Captain Marvel since they both have Captain in their name.  This is actually a really tough fight to call.  They both have super strength, invulnerability, and flight.  Captain Marvel has cosmic awareness which is kind of like spider sense on steroids but is not an out and out telepath.  Captain Comet reads Captain Marvel’s mind and realizes if you slam the nega bands on his wrists together then Captain Marvel is banished to the negative zone and proceeds to do just that.  Captain Comet is feeling pleased for about one minute until the Guardians of the Galaxy gang up on him and beat him senseless.  The Marvel, kind of, space men win!

 

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Other DC vs. Marvel Posts

Big Monsters

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Superpets

Teenagers

Transportation

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WesternHeroes

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WereVerse Universe Baby!

DC vs. Marvel War Heroes

sgt. fury013

This post will look at DC and Marvel heroes from their line of war comics.  The DC heroes include Blackhawk, Boy Commandos, Captain Storm, Creature Commandos, Enemy Ace, G.I. Robot, Gunner & Sarge, Haunted Tank, Hunter’s Hellcats, Johnny Cloud, the Losers, Mademoiselle Marie, Red, White and Blue and Sgt. Rock of Easy Company.  As I did in the DC vs. Marvel Western Heroes post (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/02/13/dc-vs-marvel-western-heroes/), I will pit the top three of the DC line against the top three of the Marvel line.  The top three in terms of fame are Blackhawk, Enemy Ace and Sgt. Rock of Easy Company. 

 

Blackhawk is the name of the leader of a free lance fighter pilot squadron and the name of their group.  They wore an aviator type uniform, they first appeared in Military Comics and their missions were decidedly military in nature.  Slowly but surely they became more like superheroes and started to fight more and more enemies with superpowers.  The New Blackhawk era lasted from issues #228-241 and each member got his own superhero costume.  The transition from military heroes to superheroes was abrupt.  Later on the Blackhawk team returned to their military roots.

 

Enemy Ace is the story of a German flying ace during World War I.  Enemy Ace first appeared in Our Army at War in 1965.  Enemy Ace is, as the title suggests, the enemy but has a sense of chivalry and a sense of the horror of war that is universal.  Enemy Ace is an antihero.  I do see similarities between Enemy Ace and Jonah Hex.  Both are none superhero genre heroes that succeed in large part due to their atypical, for comic books, antihero status which makes them more interesting.  Like Jonah Hex, Enemy Ace was later used by the darker Vertigo imprint. 

 

Sgt. Rock of Easy Company is probably the number one war hero of the DC line.  Sgt. Rock first appeared in G.I. Combat (January, 1959).  Sgt. Rock appeared in Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion in 2008.  This is quite a run for a war hero in comic books.  Sgt. Rock for most of his run had zero superhero elements.  Sgt. Rock generally carries a 45 calibre Thompson submachine gun and a .45 calibre Colt M1911A1 automatic pistol.  Sgt. Rock always carries a number of hand grenades that he can throw with great accuracy. 

 

Later Sgt. Rock appeared in Brave and the Bold #84, #96, #108, #117, and #124 in decidedly superhero type adventures with Batman.  This comic book tendency to reinvent war heroes and make them into superheroes is unfortunate.  Alan Moore, In the Twilight of the Superheroes, (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/non-fiction/twilight-of-the-superheroes-by-alan-moore/) points out that the juxtaposition of Sgt. Rock, for example, with the Legion of Superheroes is a bad idea and I agree.  Let the war heroes be war heroes!  Kanigher, the editor of Sgt. Rock, who created the majority of the Sgt. Rock stories, in a letter column in Sgt. Rock #374 stated that Sgt. Rock did not survive past 1945 effectively making the Brave and Bold Sgt. Rock stories null and void.

 

Marvel has a shorter list of war heroes that include Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos, Captain Savage and his Leathernecks, the characters in the The ‘Nam series, and the Phantom Eagle.  The ‘Nam was an attempt to create a realistic war comic.  The comic book happened in real time.  A monthly issue more or less described what happened in a month in Vietnam.  Nam related lingo was explained at the end of the comic book.  The ‘Nam characters are too real and would not stand against a chance against other comic book war heroes that are slightly superhuman.  The title became a less realistic comic book towards the end of its run with the introduction of Frank Castle who later becomes the Punisher.

 

The Punisher can be considered a war hero of sorts in that he was a soldier in Vietnam as detailed in The Nam.  The Punisher uses actual military weapons as detailed in The Punisher Armory.  The Punisher also does not have super powers.  On the other hand, the Punisher wears a costume and that is one of the defining characteristics of a superhero.  Most of all the Punisher fights superhero type enemies between conflicts with organized crime.  A high point of this sort of battle was the Punisher versus Doctor Doom story in Punisher #28.  Doctor Doom is the premiere super villain of the Marvel universe who can take on entire super hero teams such as the Fantastic Four, the Avengers and the X-Men.  The Punisher should have no chance against Doctor Doom at all yet he manages to blackmail Doctor Doom into leaving him alone.  Only a superhero could do this.  No one would argue that Batman is not a superhero despite his lack of superpowers.  The Punisher can be seen as a very successful combination of superhero and war hero elements with an emphasis on superhero elements.

 

The star war hero of Marvel is Sgt. Fury who goes on to become a secret agent of SHIELD and is better known for this role than his war hero role.  Sgt. Fury first appeared in his own title in May of 1963 and is very similar to DC’s Sgt. Rock and probably Sgt. Rock was a model for Sgt. Fury to some extent.  Jack Kirby, who created DC’s Boy Commandos, mentioned in an interview that the Howling Commandos were adult versions of the Boy Commandos.  Sgt. Fury is far more famous than all the other war heroes of both universes put together.  Sgt. Fury was also much lighter fare than DC’s Sgt. Rock and Enemy Ace.  Sgt. Fury stories generally avoided the horror of war theme of the DC titles. 

Captain America even shows up in Sgt. Fury #13!  The cover of this issue is at the begining of this post.  Captain America is created by the U.S. government and is described as a super soldier but is more super than soldier and does not even use military armament but instead throws an archaic shield.  Later Nuke emerges from the same super soldier program and does use military hardware and is a Vietnam vet.  Wolverine also comes from the same program providing some continuity to the Marvel universe but these super soldiers are clearly super heroes and not war heroes.

 

Fury is not some outlier of the Marvel universe but a character that is central to the Marvel universe.  Marvel recently had an event labeled Civil War and Fury as the ex-head of SHIELD plays a pivotal role in this event that involved just about every title in the Marvel universe in 2008.  Sgt. Fury logically fights his DC doppelganger Sgt. Rock.  The other Marvel war heroes are obscure characters but will be drafted in this contest due to a lack of options.

 

The Phantom Eagle is a World War I ace that fights for the allies and logically is an opponent of the Enemy Ace.  The Phantom Eagle had more super hero elements than the Enemy Ace including a mask that concealed his secret identity.  The Phantom Eagle had worked in a flying circus prior to fighting in World War I and was a expert stunt flyer.  The Phantom Eagle is also a very obscure character in the Marvel universe and someone who can describe this character really knows their Marvel universe history.

 

There is no equivalent to the Blackhawks in the Marvel universe.  There is a perfect equivalent to Marvel’s Captain Savage and his Leathernecks in the form of DC’s Captain Storm.  Captain Storm was a PT Boat Captain.  Captain Storm lost his leg in combat and had the leg replaced with a wooden leg but stayed in active duty which would not happen in the actual military.  Captain Storm actually had his own title in his very first adventure rather than having his adventures in one of the war anthologies before getting his own title later as was the custom at DC.  Captain Storm appeared as late as 2003 in the Losers Special.  The Losers were a collection of DC’s war heroes including Johnny Cloud and Gunner & Sarge. 

Marvel’s Captain Savage originally was introduced in Sgt. Fury’s Howling Commandos and the main mission of the Leathernecks was to ferry Sgt. Fury and his commandos around but eventually Captain Savage got his own title.  Pitting a fighter squadron against an infantry squad hardly seems fair but pitting two Captains that are both involved in amphibious operations does make sense.

 

The first battle is between the two Sergeants.  Sgt. Rock has a penchant for hand grenades that he throws with unerring accuracy.  Sgt. Rock believes Sgt. Fury is a Nazi imposter and throws a grenade at Sgt. Rock and blows him to pieces.  Sgt. Fury has a tendency to lose his shirt and run directly at heavily fortified positions with his submachine gun blazing rather than taking advantage of other weaponry such as grenades.  Sgt. Fury seems to think he is invulnerable like a superhero!  Sgt. Fury does not seem to know what cover is unlike Sgt. Rock.

 

In World War I, the Phantom Eagle and the Enemy Ace face off and the Phantom Eagle does all sorts of stunts that do not impress the Enemy Ace. The Phantom Eagle is shot down by the Enemy Ace while doing a loop.  The Enemy Ace wonders why this fool of a pilot was wearing a mask and concludes the aviator was probably deranged due to the horrors of war.

 

Captain Storm and Captain Savage get into a bar fight as to whether the Navy or the Marines are better and Captain Savage punches Captain Storm.  Captain Storm goes down because the wooden leg buckles.  Captain Savage sees his opponent on the ground and notices the wooden leg.  Captain Savage feels absolutely terrible.  Captain Savage pulls up Captain Storm rather than finishing him off and apologizes to Captain Storm. Captain Savage buys Captain Storm a drink and the fight is a draw.

 

DC has two war titles that are very interesting from a genre point of view.  The Haunted Tank is a tank that is haunted by Lieutenant J.E.B. Stuart.  The ghost is a good ghost and helps the leader of the tank crew out with omniscient but cryptic advice.  I think this is the only comic book title that combines the supernatural and war genres.  The Vertigo line resurrected the Haunted Tank years later. 

 

The Creature Commandos appeared in Weird War Tales #93.  Weird War Tales generally combined the war comic genre with another genre.  The sister publication Weird Western Tales combined the Western genre with other genres.  The idea was to have creatures that generally appear in horror and put them in war situations as commandos. 

The original team consisted of J.A.K.E. and J.A.K.E. 2 that were the first and second GI Robot.  Warren Griffith suffered from clinical lycanthropy i.e. he was a werewolf.  Dr. Myrra Rhodes was effectively a gorgon.  Lt. Matthew Shrieve is the team leader and totally human.  Pvt. Elliot “Lucky” Taylor stepped on a land mine and put back together and looked like Frankenstein.  Sgt. Vincent Velcro was the vampire of the team. 

 

The modern team included Alten, a mummy like creature.  The Bogman was an amphibian that resembled the Creature from the Black Lagoon.  Gunner was a cyborg.  Hunter is 75 and formerly of Hunter’s Hellcats.  Medusa is Myrra Rhodes who has mutated even more. Pvt. Elliot “Lucky” Taylor returns and now called Patchwork. Sgt. Vincent Velcro has become even more vampire like. Warren Griffith, the werewolf, has become more feral and out of control in the modern team.  This cross mixing of non-superhero genres is a hallmark of DC that Marvel never explored to the same extent. 

The next post in this series is DC vs. Marvel War Heroes at:

https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/04/11/dc-vs-marvel-working-women/

 

 

My other website at:

Fox Superpower List

Other DC vs. Marvel Posts

Big Monsters

Fourth Wall Heroes

Funny Animals

Horror Hosts

Kids

Robots

Sidekicks

Spacemen

Superpets

Teenagers

Transportation

War Heroes

Weapons

Western Heroes

Women in Refrigerators

Working Women

WereVerse Universe Baby!