This post will compare sidekicks of the DC and Marvel universes. Which universe has the best sidekicks? First of all, what is a sidekick? Wikipedia provides the following definition “A sidekick is a close companion who is generally regarded as subordinate to the one he accompanies”. Wikipedia in the same article expands on the functions of a sidekick “Sidekicks can provide one or multiple functions, such as a counterpoint to the hero, an alternate point of view, or knowledge, skills, or anything else the hero doesn’t have. They often function as comic relief, and/or the straight man to the hero’s comedic actions. A sidekick can also act as someone more relatable to the audience than the hero, or whom the audience can imagine themselves as being (such as teen sidekicks). And by asking questions of the hero, or giving the hero someone to talk to, the sidekick provides an opportunity for the author to provide exposition, thereby filling the same role as a Greek chorus”. A sidekick is not a villain’s henchmen or the romantic interest of a hero which is generally referred to as a companion.
The picture above got me thinking about sidekicks. The picture is from page 199 of the graphic novel Bizzaro Comics (2001). Bizzaro Comics is a hilarious collection of indie writers and artist’s parodies of DC comic titles. This picture is from the story titled Without You I’m Nothing and follows the travails of obscure discarded sidekicks. I am a comic book historian and do get a kick out of stories that use obscure characters like this story does. I was not able to identify all the side kicks in the picture but have a partial answer key at the end of this post. This post also attempts to provide definitive lists of sidekicks in the DC and Marvel universes and the Wikipedia definition was strictly adhered to. Many obscure characters that have not been included in prior lists of this nature have been included in this post. Below is a definitive list of DC sidekicks that will be discussed later.
List of DC Sidekicks
Aquagirl 1 (Lisa Morel)
Adventure Comics #266 (November, 1959)
Aquagirl 2 (Tula)
Aquaman (vol. 1) #33 (May-June 1967)
Adventure Comics #269 (February 1960)
Adventure Comics #229 (October 1956)
Aquaman (vol. 1) #1 (January-February 1962)
Ace the Bat Hound
Batman #92, June 1955
Alfred Pennyworth (Butler)
Batman #16 (April-May 1943
Bat-Girl (Bette Kane)
Batman #139 (April 1961)
Batgirl (Barbara Gordon)
Detective Comics #359 (January 1967)
Batgirl (Cassandra Cain)
Legends of the Dark Knight # 120 (August 1999)
Robin 1 (Dick Grayson)
Detective Comics #38 (April 1940)
Robin 2 (Jason Todd)
Batman #357 (March 1983)
Robin 3 (Tim Drake)
Batman #436 (August 1989)
Robin 4, Spoiler, Batgirl (Stephanie Brown)
Detective Comics #647 (August 1992)
Robin 5 (Damian Wayne)
Batman #655 (September 2006)
Robin Earth II (Richard Grayson)
Detective Comics #38 (April, 1940)
Lady Blackhawk (Zinda)
Blackhawk # 133 (February 1959)
Blue Devil #14 (July 1985)
Lobo #5 (May ’94)
Booster Gold (vol. 1) #1 (1986)
Captain Marvel Jr.
Whiz Comics #25 (December 1941)
Whiz Comics #21 (1941)
Mr. Tawky Tawny (Anthropomorphic Tiger)
Captain Marvel Adventures #79
Wow Comics #18 (October 1943)
Hooty the Owl
All-American Comics #25 (April, 1941)
Adventure Comics #308 (May 1963)
Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #72 (October 1963)
Detective Comics #20 (October 1938)
Impulse (Bart Allen)
Flash (vol. 2) #92 (June 1994)
Kid Flash I (Wally West)
The Flash (vol. 1) #110 (December 1959)
Kid Flash II (Iris West)
Kingdom Come #3 (July 1996)
Kid Flash III (Bart Allen)
Teen Titans (vol. 3) #4 (December 2003)
Flash vol 2 #235 (February, 2008)
Ernie the Battling Boy
Justice League America # 46 (January 1991)
Amber Archer (Connor Hawke)
Green Arrow vol 2 #0 (October, 1994)
World’s Finest Comics #113 (November 1960)
Speedy I (Roy Harper)
More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941)
Speedy II (Mia Dearden)
Green Arrow (vol. 3) #44 (January 2005)
Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #6
All-American Comics #27 (June 1941)
Green Lantern (vol. 3) #129 (October 2000)
Thomas Kalmaku (Pieface)
Green Lantern (Vol. 2) #2 (September-October 1960)
Icon #1 (May 1993)
Black Lightning the Horse
Flash Comics #1 (January 1940)
The Batman Adventures #12 (September 1993)
Justice League of America
The Brave and the Bold #28 (February-March 1960)
Justice League International
G’nort (Green Lantern, Humanoid Dog)
Justice League International#10 (February, 1988)
Batman #62,(December 1950)
Little Boy Blue
Sensation Comics #1 (January, 1942)
Detective Comics #311 (January, 1963).
Pinky the Whiz Kid
Wow Comics #4 (1940)
Teen Titans vol. 3 #38 (September 2006)
Police Comics #13 (November 1942)
Flamebird (Mary Elizabeth Kane)
Teen Titans #50 (October, 1977)
Star-Spangled Comics #69 (June 1947)
The Sandman #1 (May 1974)
The Sandman #1 (May 1974)
Sandy the Golden Boy (Sandy Hawkins)
Adventure Comics # 69 (December 1941)
Showcase #15, (July 1958)
Strange Adventures #114 (March 1960)
Stripsey (Pat Dugan)
Action Comics #40 (September, 1941).
Superboy #86 (January 1961)
Comet the Super-Horse (Biron)
Action Comics #292 (1962)
Streaky the Super-Cat
Action Comics #292 (1962)
Bo “Bibbo” Bibbowski
Adventures of Superman #428 (May 1987)
Action Comics #6 (November 1938)
Adventure Comics #210 (March 1955)
Superman #123 (August 1958)
Dan the Dyna-Mite (Daniel Dunbar)
World’s Finest Comics #5 (Spring 1942)
Stuff the Chinatown Kid
Action Comics #45 (February 1942)
Sensation Comics #2 (Feb. 1942)
Wonder Girl 1 (Wonder Woman as a teenager)
All-Star Comics #8 (December 1941),
Wonder Girl 2 (Donna Troy)
The Brave and the Bold vol. 1 #60 (July 1965)
Wonder Woman #105 (April, 1959)
Robin wins the best DC sidekick prize easily. Robin is the first teenage super hero sidekick and if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Robin has been flattered to death. DC went ahead and created an army of teenage sidekicks. Eventually the teenage sidekicks of the major superheroes founded a teenage sidekick version of the Justice League called the Teen Titans. The original Teen Titans included Aqualad, Kid Flash, Robin and Wondergirl. Later still, Young Justice is created. The Teen Titans and Young Justice meet in a giant sidekick crossover between their two groups.
The obvious absurdity of Robin is that crime fighting is dangerous work even for an adult like Batman and introducing a minor to crime fighting makes no sense whatsoever except as a plot device. Batman’s villains were obviously very aware that Robin was the weak link and Two-Face even referred to Robin as the boy hostage. The psychologist Fredric Wertham decided there was a homosexual subtext in the Batman and Robin relationship and wrote about this in Seduction of the Innocent. Batman goes through a whole slew of Robins and eventually one gets killed brutally by the Joker with a crow bar in a Death in the Family. Jason Todd is the lucky Robin to suffer death and the best part is that readers entered a poll to decide if he lived or died. Truly a low point in comic book history but a lot of Batman issues were sold so all in all the project was a success. Later Robin 4 (Stephanie Brown) in the identity of the Spoiler is even more brutally killed by the Black Mask with a power drill.
Of course no one really dies in comic books so Jason Todd return as the Red Hood and wants some payback from Batman for letting him die and secondly, and probably more importantly letting the Joker live. The five Robins all get starring roles after Batman “dies”. The ex-Robins have all become heroes in their own right. I would argue that the Red Hood is an antihero not a villain. Robin 1, Dick Grayson, has become Nightwing. Robin 3, Tim Drake, becomes Red Robin. Stephanie brown is resurrected from her power drill death and becomes Batgirl. The male Robins are all potential impersonators of the dead Batman. The Red Hood gets in the act and kind of forces Dick Grayson to become the new Batman because if he doesn’t then the Red Hood will assume the role. The potential heirs to Batman agree that the death of Batman should be hidden and one of them should pretend to be the original Batman. This is similar to the Phantom, the ghost who walks that has the son of the prior Phantom assume the role of the Phantom so as to give the illusion that the Phantom never dies. The Robins are basically sons of Batman but unfortunately there is more than one son i.e. more than one Robin and succession is not clear. This jockeying between the Robins is largely covered in the Batman miniseries Battle for the Cowl but this power struggle affected all Batman related titles of the last year. Dick Grayson does a good job impersonating Batman but doesn’t fool Commissioner Gordon. The new Batman of course needs a new Robin and gets a psychopath kid, due to being trained by the League of Assassins since childhood. This new Robin is the long lost son of Bruce Wayne and called Damian Wayne. Confused? Everyone is confused so don’t feel bad. I am sure the writers of the Batman lines have cheat cards on their desks. Will the barnacles of Batman history eventually sink the line? Maybe!
Robin and his teenage copies at DC and even Marvel have so dominated the sidekick market in comic books that readers tend not to look at the broader literary concept of a sidekick when looking at comic books. Another Batman sidekick is Alfred Pennyworth. Alfred provides an alternate point of view to the audience as well as the ability to aid Batman when he is hurt. Alfred has surgical skills gained when Alfred was an army medic. Alfred was also in the theater and can pretend to be Batman when needed. This is a rarely used skill of Alfred that is nevertheless crucial when someone is too close to discovering Batman’s identity. Robin is presumably too small to provide a similar function and anyway Robin needs to be by Batman’s side so people don’t think Robin is pretending to be Batman. Alfred Pennyworth can be extremely critical and sarcastic with Batman unlike the army of Robins. Alfred provides an “adult” perspective about Batman to the reader. Alfred has known Batman since he was a child. Alfred is aware of the how the killing of Batman’s parents made Batman a great crime fighter at the expense of a normal life. The Red Hood has argued with Batman that most of his hard core rogues gallery only fear death and the fact that Batman does not kill and the fact that the villains know this limits the effectiveness of Batman as a crime fighter. Batman may be able to instill fear in common criminals but provides more challenge than fear to the likes of the Joker. In Batman #647, Alfred actually agrees with the Red Hood mentally but does not express his views to Batman verbally.
Batman is a serial teenage sidekick mentor and there is something very creepy about this. Any “normal” person would not expose even one minor to extreme violence and certainly would not continue this behavior after the death of Jason Todd much less the subsequent death of Stephanie Brown. Alfred has expressed dismay about the use of teenage sidekicks many times to Batman. However, Alfred in the end is the dutiful butler who does what his master wishes despite any misgivings about such a course of action. Alfred’s subordination to Batman’s wishes despite sarcastic remarks is what makes Alfred a sidekick rather than an equal partner. Batman is not the only member of the Batman story line with a sidekick.
The Joker, Batman’s archenemy, has a sidekick! Villains generally do not have sidekicks but henchmen, minions or lackeys. Villains are generally egomaniacs and incapable of having long lasting meaningful relationships or so the theory goes. Villains see their henchmen as disposable cannon fodder. The Joker generally treats those around him in precisely this manner but there is one exception and that is Harley Quinn. Harley Quinn was a female psychiatrist that treated the Joker at Arkham Asylum and turned to the dark side rather than curing the Joker. Harley Quinn is in love with the Joker but the relationship has clearly never been consummated. The Joker obviously sees Harley Quinn as a capable sidekick even if Harley Quinn wants more. Harley Quinn is a near superhuman gymnast who uses her skill with great combat effectiveness. Harley Quinn wears a Jester outfit and became friends with Poison Ivy at Arkham were she ironically resided after her break down. Harley Quinn provides comic relief to Joker stories that despite the name of the Joker were not very funny before Harley Quinn showed up.
The Joker had been jealous of Batman having Robin as a sidekick in the silver age and got his own one-shot sidekick in Batman #186 called Gaggy. The main function of Gaggy was to provide comic relief to then Joker since such comic relief led to the Joker having great crime ideas. Gaggy rather simplistically hated Robin and managed to knock Robin out with a head butt to the stomach. Gaggy was never heard of after that one issue. I think an issue in which Gaggy, embittered by being discarded by the Joker, targets Harley Quinn for assassination might be interesting. Harley Quinn turns to Batman to figure out who is trying to kill her and clues are left that the culprit is a dwarf with a penchant for practical joke paraphernalia. Since not an awful lot of characters fit that description, Batman deduces that the culprit is Gaggy! Did I mention I like obscure comic book characters? Batman’s sidekicks on the whole do not provide comic relief. This is not the case of Captain Marvel.
Captain Marvel also has an army of sidekicks but largely for comic relief. Mr. Tawky Tawny is an anthropomorphic tiger i.e. a funny animal that gets into all sorts of silly trouble Captain Marvel can save the tiger from. Uncle Marvel is an older bumbling version of Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel was always a sillier line than his doppelganger Superman.
Flash is another serial sidekick character that has gone through three Kid Flash characters. Kid Flash was clearly inspired by Robin. Super speed is a major power that is very much underestimated in comic books. Basically you can hit the bad guy a hundred times and dodge whatever the bad guy tosses at you. “Realistically” the foes of the Flash should stand no chance against the Flash. Captain Cold has a freeze gun. The Flash should be able to dodge anything the cold gun can come up with. A teenager with super speed is still incredibly powerful despite being a teenager unlike Robin who has no super powers and even the inferior strength of someone who is younger. Maybe a Kid Flash can only punch with half the power of an adult but a hundred punches later and even the toughest boxer is going down.
Green Arrow has had two teenage sidekicks named Speedy. The first Speedy grows up to become a heroin addict, but recovers, and there is some suggestion that maybe crime fighting as a teenager might not be all that healthy psychologically and contributed to the heroin addiction.
Superman only has one teenage sidekick and that is Jimmy Olsen. In the silver age, Jimmy Olsen was officially Superman’s best pal and again very creepy if you think about it. Superman is perennially in his early thirties and if I saw some thirty year old hanging around a teen rather than a guy his own age then I would wonder exactly what function this teenager serves. Jimmy even has a watch with an ultrasonic signal that allows him to call Superman when he is in danger. Lois Lane does not have such a watch! Teenage guy gets the watch but not the gal? Maybe the silver age Superman had reasons for not marrying Lois Lane that had more to do with subconscious gender preference than any other reason.
Superman has a dog called Krypto. In the silver age, Batman got a dog called Ace but there is no comparison with Krypto and Ace in terms of importance. Superman in the silver age was Superboy and Krypto and Superboy were constant companions. This is one of the healthier sidekick relationships in comic books. Krypto cannot talk but can communicate to the reader via thought balloons that show what Krypto is thinking. Krypto’s attempts to understand Superboy’s behavior using canine logic were pretty cute and comical and one of the few things that made the otherwise lame Superboy title work.
The current Supergirl has no hyphen between “Super” and “Girl” in her name. The current Supergirl is a hot babe in a half shirt who has fled to the 31st century to avoid being a sidekick! The silver age Super-Girl, on the other hand, was very much a sidekick. She was teenager attending high school and was kept as a secret weapon for much of her silver age career. Super-Girl was Superman’s cousin so no fear of hanky-panky that would make her a companion. However, Super-Girl does try to match Superman up with an adult version of her on another planet!
Super-Girl has sidekicks in her own right! Super-Girl has a super cat named Streaky and a super horse named Comet. Somewhere in the Superman family there is a super monkey named Beppo but I am not really sure who he belongs to. All the super animals unite with Proty to create the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st century. Years later Marvel will make its own group of superhero animal sidekicks. Proty is the sidekick of Chameleon Boy who is a member of the Legion of Super Heroes of the 31st century. Proty I sacrificed himself to revive the dead Lighting Lad but a Proty II soon shows up. Proty I and II are aliens that look like blobs and can mimic just about any form.
That leaves us with Wonder Women’s sidekicks. The silver age Woman had several sidekicks. Etta Candy was a fat rather stupid college student who was supposed to be used for comic relief but was more obnoxious than funny. The silver age Wonder Woman went through a rather silly phase in which she had adventures with herself as a Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot! Wonder Woman used Amazonian technology to create films of herself that showed “what if” adventures with her younger versions. I have to tell you I was maybe seven when a lot of these adventures came out originally and I was totally confused. I assumed Wonder Girl and Wonder Tot were sisters of Wonder Woman and didn’t find out the “truth” until I was in my thirties. Wonder Woman is probably one of those silver age titles that is really hard for modern readers to digest but the title had a fantasy quality that was very different from the more sci-fi quality of most silver age stuff and appealed to my young imagination. Wonder Woman may go down in literary history as the only character that had two versions of herself as her own sidekicks. The graphic novel Bizzaro Comics (2001) does have a story with Wonder Tot and Wonder Girl racing to sit next to Wonder Woman during lunch and destroying half the Amazon city in the process. Later, a more Robin like Wonder Girl was created as a sidekick.
Below is a list of Marvel sidekicks that will be discussed at the end of this list:
List of Marvel Sidekicks
Avengers, Iron Man
Edwin Jarvis (Butler)
Tales of Suspense #59 (Nov 1964)
Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941)
Bucky II (Rick Jones)
Captain America vol. 1 #431 (September 1994)
Jack Flag (Jack Harrison)
Captain America #434, (December 1994)
The Incredible Hulk Weekly #57 (April 1980)
Falcon (Sam “Snap” Wilson)
Captain America #117 (Sept. 1969)
Daredevil v1 #1 (April 1964)
Deadpool: The Circle Chase #1 (August 1993)
Deadpool #1 (Jan. 1997)
Bob, Agent of HYDRA
Cable & Deadpool #38 (May 2007)
Captain America vol. 1 #431 (September 1994)
Strange Tales #110 (Jul 1963)
Captain America #117 (Sept. 1969)
Fantastic Four #209 (August 1979)
Incredible Hulk v1 #131 (September, 1970)
Incredible Hulk v1 #6 (March 1963)
Hulk, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Avengers
Incredible Hulk v1 #1 (May 1962)
Human Torch Comics #2 (Fall 1940)
Fantastic Four #45, (December 1965)
Zabu (Sabertooth Tiger)
X-Men #10 (Mar 1965)
Franklin Richards (Son of Reed Richards & Susan Storm)
Fantastic Four Annual #6 (November 1968)
Fantastic Four, Franklin Richards
Valeria Richards (Daughter of Reed Richards & Susan Storm)
Fantastic Four vol. 3 #54 (June 2002)
Lockjaw Puppy (Dog)
Fantastic Four vol.3 #9.
Dum Dum Dugan
Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #1 (May 1963)
Lockheed (Small Dragon)
Uncanny X-Men #166 (Feb 1983)
Niels, Hairball (Cat)
Free Comic Book Day Spider-Man: Swing Shift (May 2007)
Ms. Lion (Dog)
Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends #1
Scarlet Spider 3 (Felicity Hardy)
Spider-Girl # 46
Taskmaster, Agent X
Taskmaster Mini-Series (2002)
Thing, Captain America
Demolition Man aka D-Man
Captain America #328 (April 1987)
Uncanny X-Men #244 (May, 1989)
Young Allies Comics 1941
The first sidekick on the list is Edwin Jarvis who is a butler at Avengers Mansion that in turn is owned and operated by Tony Stark. Tony Stark is of course Iron Man. Jarvis is an obvious clone of Alfred, Batman’s butler, but is much more one dimensional and provides comic relief rather than insight into the super heroes he deals with unlike Alfred. Alfred was a medic during a time of war and may be old but is obviously tough and handles sensitive Batman impersonation missions. Alfred would beat the crap out of Jarvis in any altercation.
Bucky is probably the most famous sidekick in the Marvel universe. Bucky is Captain America’s sidekick from the golden age that was killed in the golden age. In 2010, Bucky was resurrected after more than forty years just to make sure whatever faith readers had in comic book continuity was crushed once and for all so that suspension of disbelief via continuity would be rendered impossible once and for all. Comic sales are down way down. The recession and competition with other media are to blame but decisions like the Bucky resurrection don’t help. Anyway, Captain America is put into suspended animation minutes after Bucky is “blown up” and the guilt Captain America feels upon reawakening in the silver age is a major part of the Captain America story line. Captain America over the last forty years continually demonstrated how the trauma for the death of Bucky affected him mostly in the form of nightmares. Batman has never shown this level of trauma about the deaths of his Robins.
In the first silver age appearance of Captain America (Avengers vol. 1, #1) Captain America runs into a teenager he mistakes for Bucky, Rick Jones. Rick Jones is the side kick of the Hulk but this doesn’t stop him from later becoming Bucky II. The Hulk is not too pleased with this and this leads to altercations between Captain America and the Hulk. The Hulk has a point. Bruce Banner was exposed to gamma ray radiation while saving Rick Jones and became the monster called the Hulk because of Rick Jones. Yeah, Rick Jones owes his life to the Hulk’s alter ego but heck Captain America has wavy blonde hair and also is not a monster, literally, so Rick Jones decides to become Bucky II. Rick Jones is not a very loyal sidekick and becomes Captain Marvel’s sidekick later on. I guess Captain Marvel’s wavy silver hair beat Captain America’s wavy blonde hair. Rick Jones is currently a Hulk type called A-Bomb and is really digging not being a sidekick anymore despite having Hulk monster type problems. Captain America has had other sidekicks beside Bucky I and II including Jack Flag and Jackdraw. Heroes in both the DC and Marvel universe seem to either have slews of sidekicks or no sidekicks. Are sidekicks addictive? For the records there have been several Captain Americas with their Bucky sidekicks but I am only dealing with the Steve Rogers Captain America.
Foggy Nelson is a sidekick of Daredevil. Foggy Nelson is the law partner of Matt Murdock the alter ego of Daredevil. Foggy provided a great deal of comic belief in the beginning but has matured into a more competent brilliant lawyer that is an asset to Matt Murdock. Foggy has an incredible case law memory and might even superior to Matt Murdock as a lawyer but does not have the confidence of Matt and is therefore generally not the lead lawyer. Without Foggy, the law practice of Matt Murdock would have gone down the toilet during his many, Daredevil caused, MIA stints. Foggy Nelson has a paunch and food related jokes are his comic relief contribution.
Deadpool is a hilarious anti-hero that has had several equally hilarious sidekicks including Weasel, Blind Al and Bob, Agent of Hydra. My favorite is Bob, Agent of Hydra. Bob is a parody of henchmen and the number one lesson he learned from Hydra was “hiding behind each other”. Under pressure, Bob tends to shout “Hail Hydra”.
Doctor Strange has and adult Asian manservant from Tibet named Wong. Wong may not know much magic but he is a master martial artist. Wong is fairly subservient compared to other comic book sidekicks. If you do visit Doctor Strange at his Sanctum Santorum in New York then you have to get past Wong first. His role as a literal gatekeeper gives him some power that a lesser servant would not have.
Marvel decided to transform the son Reed Richards and Susan Storm from a typical omega level angst driven mutant to a Calvin type character, as in Calvin and Hobbes, character with great success. Franklin is a side kick to the Fantastic Four that provides a child’s perspective of the Fantastic Four as well as comic relief. Franklin is also a scientific genius who can modify his dad’s super science gadgets but generally his attempts to improve dad’s gadgets lead to disaster. Franklin has his own sidekick, H.E.R.B.I.E. the Robot. H.E.R.B.I.E. provides a logical to the point of absurdity perspective to the childish antics of Franklin. H.E.R.B.I.E. constantly tries to convince Franklin H.E.R.B.I.E. to leave his dad’s lab alone but he is ultimately a subordinate that is then forced to try to clean up the mess created by Franklin.
The Hulk got over the loss of Rick Jones and adopted Jim Wilson. Jim Wilson was an inner city, Black teenager that very poignantly died of cancer later. Doctor Strange has an Asian sidekick. The Hulk has an African-American sidekick. The Lone Ranger has a Native American sidekick, Tonto. Does anyone see a pattern here? My next post will be titled DC vs. Marvel: Multicultural Heroes and I will examine the issue of race in the DC and Marvel universes in detail.
In 2009, Marvel untied all the animal sidekicks into a team called the Pet Avengers. The Pet Avengers are a rip off of the Legion of Super Animals over at DC. The Legion of Super Pets was played straight and this was probably a bad decision given the absurdity of the concept. The Pet Avengers is a silly title with lots of comic relief and one of my favorite current titles. I am not sure how far you can go with this concept but so far so good. The members of the Pet Avengers include Redwing a hawk of Falcon, Lockjaw a giant dog that can teleport of the Inhumans, Zabu a saber tooth tiger of Ka-Zar, Lockheed a small dragon that is a sidekick of Shadowcat, Hairball a cat belonging to Speedball and Ms. Lion a dog belonging to Spider-Man. The team includes Throg is a frog with lesser versions of Thor’s powers and is not a sidekick of Thor but a hero among his frog tribe in his own right. The interplay between the animals is what really makes the team work. Krypto and Streaky were a dog and a cat in the same legion but the fact that dogs and cats don’t get along was never really explored. Hairball the cat thinks Ms. Lion is an absolute idiot and worse, a dog! Ms. Lion is the only one on the team that doesn’t have super powers is very much the pampered house dog of Spiderman’s Aunt May. Ms. Lion claims the right to membership based on her sidekick status alone.
The sidekick status of the members is highlighted in one story of Tails of the Pet Avengers: The Dogs of Summer #1. In the story titled“Garbage Grief”, Franklin Richards teams up with the Pet Avengers flanked with his own sidekicks H.E.R.B.I.E. and Puppy. Puppy is a miniature version of Lockjaw complete with his powers of teleportation. In this story Puppy does manage to teleport the Pet Avengers to deal with a giant humanoid garbage creature that Franklin created more or less accidentally. So this is a sidekick crossover albeit on a much smaller scale than the DC Teen Titans/Young Justice crossover. Another treat of this particular issue, is that the origin of Puppy is finally dealt with. Puppy has been a fixture of the Fantastic Four for a while but his origin has not been dealt with until this issue. Turns out Puppy is the grand pup of Lockjaw and is a present of Franklin’s future self to himself in the past. In another issue, Tails of the Pet Avengers #1 has an adventure with Redwing the hawk titled “Birds of a Different Feather”. Redwing the sidekick of Falcon is chased by a pigeon that wants to be a sidekick of Redwing. Redwing refuses this offer at first but the pigeon pulls a masterful guilt trip to change the mind of Redwing.
I also have to mention the Incredible Hercules that ran from 2008 to 2010. Hercules is teamed up with Amadeus Cho. Amadeus Cho is really smart, mutant level smart but Hercules is Hercules! Normally Amadeus Cho, the brainy, sixteen year old, nerdy teenager, would be the sidekick but an argument can be made that Hercules is the sidekick even if Hercules would smash anyone who suggested as much. In one issue Hercules is up against his old enemies the Amazons. Amadeus Cho is captured by the Amazonians. Amadeus Cho is referred to as the eromenos of Hercules (Incredible Hercules #121, 2008) by the Amazons during his captivity. Amadeus Cho is not happy with this appellation at all. This is one of the few issues that points out the obvious, when older men have sixteen year old guys as buddies then there is usually one sort of relationship at work going back to Greek times. This is an intelligent comic book line that turns the sidekick conventions upside down in an extremely funny manner.
The most famous teenage sidekick of Marvel is Bucky but Bucky is not nearly as important to comic book history as Robin. Probably getting killed in the golden age for plus forty years didn’t help the career of Bucky at all. Marvel has other teenage sidekicks like the golden age Toro but all and all Marvel does not have the rooster of well known teenage sidekicks that DC has. DC also wins in terms of teenage sidekick teams. DC has the aforementioned Teen Titans and Young Justice. Marvel has teenage teams including the Young Avengers and the Runaways but they are not sidekick teams but teams of teenage heroes. In many ways Marvel sidestepped the need for teenage sidekicks by making more teenage heroes than DC. Spiderman began his career in high school. The X-Men operate out of Xavier’s Academy which trains teenagers. The New Mutants are teenagers that go to Xavier’s Academy and are not sidekicks. I think overall Marvel may have been smart to make teenage heroes to fulfill many of the teen identification functions of teenage sidekicks.
DC just has a lot more sidekicks than Marvel period. DC has 71 sidekicks on their list. Marvel has 34 sidekicks on their list. Beyond numbers, DC has a rooster of more famous sidekicks especially in the teenage sidekick category. DC and Marvel have pursued different strategic approaches to the use of teenage sidekicks in their respective universes. Marvel, however, is doing great things with animal sidekicks with the Pet Avengers and funny sidekicks like Franklin Richards and H.E.R.B.I.E. Unfortunately, a two year trend does not negate the fact that DC has historically had the most and best sidekicks.
DC wins the sidekick wars!
Answer to DC Sidekick Quiz
3. Doiby Dickles
10. Mr. Twaky Tawny
12. Ace the Bat Hound
I do wonder if some of the sidekicks I can’t figure out are actual sidekicks in DC comics. Number 5 might be Streaky the Super Cat but looks more like a mouse than a cat.
I would argue that the second most important category of objects in the DC and Marvel comic book universe are objects of transportation. Superheroes fight supervillains and weapons are needed to do this. Unfortunately for superheroes, supervillains are often a cowardly lot that will flee with the loot rather than fight. Some warrior supervillains like Doomsday will stand and fight Superman but many supervillains try to flee Superman. This means the superhero needs a speedy mode of transport to catch the supervillain and the supervillain wants a mode of speedy transportation to escape. Plus when a crime occurs, the superhero needs to show up at the scene of the crime in the first place. Last but not least, most superheroes patrol anything from a sector of a galaxy, Green Lanterns, to a section of city, Daredevil and Hell’s Kitchen, and need a way of getting around.
In other science fiction universe there is a “vehicle” category but comic books are more speculative fiction than science fiction and some of the most iconic and important forms of transport only vaguely fit even the most general definition of vehicle. This post will look at vehicles but also discuss other objects that provide transportation. Does DC or Marvel have the coolest objects of transportation?
Below is a list of objects of transportation in the DC universe.
Adam Strange’s Jetpack
Alpha Centurion’s Pax Romana
Ambush Bug’s Teleport Suit
Birds of Prey – Aerie One
Birds of Prey – Aerie Two
Black Manta’s Sea Saucer
Black Manta’s Walker
Blue Beetle’s Bug
Braniac’s Skull Ship
Braniac’s Star Ship
Eye of Zared
Fiddler’s Fiddle Car
Flash’s Cosmic Threadmill
Fokker Dr. I
Golden Knight Flying Horse
Gorandian Battle Tripod
Green Arrow’s Arrowcar
Green Arrow’s Arrowplane
Green Lantern Ring
Jonah Hex’s Mechanical Horse
JSA’s Steel Eagle
Justice League Cruiser
Justice League Teleporter
Kanjar Ro’s Spaceship
Lansarian Morphing Disk
Legion Flight Rings
Legion of Superheroes Flying Rings
Legion of Superheroes Time Bubble
Legion of Superheroes Time Cube
LX-811 Star Cruiser
Mark 494 Star Cruiser
Multipurpose Intercept/Reconnaissance Vehicle
Nautilus of Earth ABC
Newsboy Legion’s Whiz Wagon
Omega Men Mothership
Rip Hunter’s Timesphere
Royal Flush Gang’s Flying Cards
Sandals of Hermes
Scarlet Skier’s Cosmic Skis
Space Shuttle Excalibur
Superman’s Phantom Zone Projector – It transports you to another dimension!
Swinging through the rooftops – Batman
Teen Titan’s Helicopter
Thangarian Star Cruiser
Trickster’s Air Shoes
User: Bonesaw 19
Warehouse X Toys
Wonder Woman’s Invisible Plane
Some of the more famous objects of transportation are Adam Strange’s Jetpack, the Batmobile, the Flash’s Cosmic Threadmill, the Haunted Tank, Hawkman’s Wings, Green Lantern’s Ring, Kal-El’s Rocketship, Legion of Superheroes Time Bubble, and Wonder Woman’ Invisible Plane. The top two of this list, the crème de la crème, are the Batmobile and Kal El’s Rocketship. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then the Batmobile has been praised again and again. The Arrowmobile, Catmobile, Jokermobile and to some extent the Spider-Mobile, as parody, are all derived from the Batmobile. Kal-El’s Rocketship refers to the space ship that delivered Superman to the planet Earth from Krypton. The Batmobile has been the subject of schematics from the beginning and you can buy toy collections of Batmobiles from the golden age to the present.
Superman’s rocket is a very different affair and the particulars of how the ship looks have varied tremendously from the golden age to the present. This is a contest between a very visually defined vehicle and an icon. The historic significance of Superman’s rocket ship is more important than the Batmobile. The rocket ship is an integral part of the Superman mythos and that mythos in turn largely defined comic books from the beginnings to the present. On iconic grounds I would say Kal El’s rocketship is the most important object of transportation in the DC universe and the coolest.
Below is a list of objects of transportation in the DC universe.
Asgardian Star Jammer
Dr. Doom’s Time Machine
Dr. Strange’s Cloak of Levitation
Fantastic Four’s Fantasti-Car
Fantastic Four’s Pogo Plane
Flying Horses – Valyky, Black Knight
Ghost Rider’s Hell Cycle
Green Goblin’s Glider
Guardians of the Galaxy – Freedom’s Lady
Iron Man’s Armor
Moon Knight’s Helicopter
Nextwave’s Shockwave Rider
Quasar’s Quantum Bands
S.H.I.E.L.D. Flying Car
Silver Surfer’s Board
Swinging through the rooftops – Spiderman, Daredevil
Thor’s Hammer Mjolnir
Some of the most important objects of transportation in the Marvel universe include:
the Fantasti-Car, Iron Man’s Armor, the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier, Thor’s hammer and the X-Men’s Blackbird. I have to mention is the Spider-Mobile that is largely forgotten but was in Spider-Man during the seventies and was hilarious. The Spider-Mobile was a parody of consumerism. Spider-Man agreed to ride the Spider-Mobile for an ad agency. Spider-Man is about always broke. The problem was the Spider-Mobile was constantly having troubles. Webhead would have been better of sticking to his webbing and swinging through the roof tops.
My Marvel favorites are the Fantasti-Car and Iron Man’s armor. Both are marvels of comic book engineering. Schematics of both were provided early on and you could almost believe these machines could be created. They represent very different ideas of design. Iron Man’s armor is a sleek, streamlined, minimalist machine that is a high tech, red and yellow, hot rod of the skies. If Iron Man’s armor is a hot rod then the Fantasti-Car is a Volkswagen that is not streamlined but very practical. The Fantasti-Car has a modular design that looks goofy but allows the individual Fantastic Four members to break away from the main ship and fight more effectively as a group. Iron Man led to any number of armored imitators and again if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Iron Man’s armor wins. However, does Iron Man’s armor deserve to win in this sort of contest? Iron Man’s armor is more weapon than transport. I think because of this the Fantasti-Car is the winner in the Marvel universe. The modular design of the Fantasti-Car might have real life applications.
The Soviet Union often used tank riders instead of trucks for transportation during WW II. Men hung onto tanks for dear life. This was done due to a lack of trucks on the part of the Soviet Union. However, later many tactical advantages came out of this experience. The men could quickly jump from the tank and provide support to the tank and vice-versa in a way troops in trucks could not.
I wonder if there is the possibility of some sort of helicopter rider system in which special forces could break away from a helicopter using some sort of individual pod rocket system attached to the outside of the helicopter allowing for greater speed in exiting than the current rappelling system used by special forces. You enter the external rocket pod using a door on the inside of the helicopter to provide maximum protection until the moment of exit. The rocket pod also allows quicker dispersal of special forces around an area and the pod also offers some extra protection upon exiting the protection of the helicopter.
The winner of the DC competition is Superman’s rocket ship. The winner of the Marvel competition is the Fantasti-Car. I love the sixties campiness of the Fantasti-Car but iconic value beats campiness and Superman’s object wins as the coolest object of transportation! DC wins! In the course of this study something else stood out.
What is very interesting when comparing the objects of transportation of DC with Marvel is that there is a giant difference in the number of such objects. This difference in numbers took me by surprise and is serendipitous result of this study. DC has 117 objects of transportation. Marvel has 27 objects of transportation. I have done my best to be exhaustive in the compilation of both lists but still may have missed an important object of transportation here and there but the difference in numbers is so great that one must come to the conclusion transportation, as reflected in the numbers above, is more important in the DC universe than the Marvel universe. I have my own after the fact theory about this.
I am old enough to have read comic books from the golden age to the present and let me assure younger readers that comic books have changed tremendously! The Marvel universe is a relatively new universe compared to DC whose superheroes and story line foundations were largely created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the sixties. I would argue one basic difference between Marvel and DC, especially in the sixties, was that Marvel focused a lot more on fights than the chase. For example, Superman spent way more time flying around looking for crooks than Thor. Thor quickly found his enemy and most of the issue focused on the fight. Thor fought characters like the Hulk. The Hulk does not flee from Thor that’s for sure. I actually bought the first issue in which Thor and the Hulk fought solo and even then I knew this was something different. For one thing Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created all these fight scene cartoon blurb sounds that had no equivalent in the DC universe. Jack Kirby used a lot more lines showing shock waves than anyone else. The fight looked more real and the key to this was actually using exaggerated action that is less real but interestingly looks more real due to the nature of the medium. I am into martial arts and have at least fifty books in the area with pictures that show each move of a kata and the pictures look pretty boring compared to a well done Jack Kirby punch or kick. I came to the conclusion that Marvel had better fight scenes and certainly longer fight scenes than DC. The difference in the quality and quantity of fight scenes between Marvel and DC has largely lessened over time.
I mentioned Doomsday and Superman in the introduction and their fight as chronicled in the Death of Superman storyline was generally one giant multi-issue series of fight scenes. I hate to admit it but I enjoyed the series! Remind me to grow up one of these days. For the record, Superman didn’t die despite the title of the series and I knew darn well Superman wouldn’t die and was amazed how my friends and family bought the lie hook line and sinker! And also for the record, Captain America and Batman are not going to stay dead!
The greater emphasis on fight scenes made Marvel more “modern” from their beginnings. Movies and TV were becoming more violent in the sixties and it made sense for comic books to go this route as well. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were more attuned to modern media trends than their counterparts at DC at the time and this is one reason Marvel became such a success at the expense of DC. As a side note, I do not consider comic books overly violent at all compared to other media.
Comic books have become more violent from the sixties to the present but are still much less violent than other media. I am especially amazed at some of the cutesy violent video games on Facebook that have tremendous appeal to my nieces and nephews who are in the six to ten year old age group. I would much rather my nieces and nephews were reading the most violent DC or Marvel comic book out there than playing those horrible video games. I guess I am getting old because despite the best efforts of my nieces and nephews to explain the games, I had no interest.
The games are kind of Hello Kitty meets the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. You have these very cute cartoon characters wielding knifes or whatever and doing terrible things to other cute cartoon characters with blood and guts pouring out. I like my genres purer than that. I like Hello Kitty and I like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre but I really don’t care for Hello Kitty acting like Leatherface, the bad guy in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The games are very similar to Ren and Stimpy of The Simpsons fame but again are video games rather than a cartoon within a cartoon. I do think the interactive nature of a violent video game as opposed to a violent cartoon on TV is worrisome. Back to the topic of this post!
Another example of fight versus chase, many fifties Batman issues were reprinted in 80 page Giants in the sixties that I read when I was young and in many ways I grew up with this version of Batman. The fifties Batman is all about the chase! The Batman of the fifties invariably ended up in some sort of scenario with giant objects. Batman chased and fought crooks in an almost surrealistic landscape. Batmite was introduced at this time and used his reality warping powers not to fight Batman but to make the chase more interesting. There is no Marvel counterpart to this sort of chase.
I would argue the greater number of objects of transportation in the DC universe is due to DC having a golden age inheritance in which the chase was more important than the fight. Marvel does not share this inheritance and presumably would have more weapons than DC. Counting weapons is much harder than counting objects of transportation. I spent hours compiling lists of weapons in the DC and Marvel universe for my last post and am still not happy with the result. Weapons are ubiquitous in comic books. Objects of transportation are much smaller in number and easier to count definitively.
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 theTwilight 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: