Tag Archives: Haunted Tank

Harvey Comics vs. DC Comics

Introduction

What would happen if the heroes of the Harvey Comics universe meet their equivalents in the DC universe?  That is the goal of this article.  The challenge is finding the Harvey Comic equivalent character in the very different DC universe.  Also, the Harvey Comic character deserves to meet the most famous equivalent character.  DC characters that had their own title are considered more important than characters that did not have their own title.  If more than one character type had their own title then the character that had more impact on the history of the DC universe is picked as the “adversary” for the Harvey character.

1) Archibald the Talking Wishing Well vs. Haunted Tank

Archibald the Talking Wishing Wellis a very, very minor character in the Harvey universe but I have a soft spot for sentient objects.  I even wrote a book on the subject called Household Fables.  Archibald the Talking Wishing Well is a supporting character in the Casper universe.  Hot Stuff’s trident is also sentient and capable of doing magic.  Unfortunately while the Casper universe is overrun with, one-shot, sentient objects this is really not something that is done in the DC universe.  However, there is the Haunted Tank which is a tank haunted by the ghost of Robert E. Lee and this is pretty much the foremost sentient object in the DC Universe and actually almost the only sentient object in the DC universe that is not a one-shot.

The Haunted Tank gets lost in a back story of Tales of the Unexpected, just before Lee’s fight with the other ghost Captain Fear, and finds himself in the Casper universe.  Archibald asks the Haunted Tank if he wants a wish.  Robert E. Lee wants his body back!  One can assume that Archibald can see and hear ghosts since Archibald communicates with Casper.  Archibald gives the transformation a try but just doesn’t have the juice for such a giant magical spell.  Lee starts to wheel himself back home but Archibald yells “stop”.

Archibald has been a sentient magical well for thousands of years and is sick of his existence.  Archibald gives and gives and sometimes doesn’t even get a thank you.  Archibald realizes that the Haunted Tank is the only being he has ever met in the Casper universe that has the guts to do what has to be down.  Archibald tells the Haunted Tank in piteous voice, “Please kill me!”  Lee understands the pain of the wishing well since he has been trapped in a similar manner.  Lee realizes that Archibald’s plight is far worse since it’s been his lot for thousands of years not just a little over a hundred.  At least the Haunted Tank has mobility and adventures.  Lee slowly lowers the turret of the Haunted Tank and blows the well to bits.

2) Baby Huey vs. Rubberduck

I have written about anthropomorphic animals before at:

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

The anthropomorphic animals of DC include Alley-Kat-Abra, American Eagle, Bulldog Drumhead , Captain Carrot , Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew, Dodo and the Frog, Doodles Duck, Fastback, Flippity & Flop, J. Rufus Lion, Little Cheese, McSnurtle the Turtle, Nutsy Squirrel, Peter Panda, Peter Porkchops, Pig-Iron, Racoon Kids, Rubberduck, Tito and his Burrito , Three Mouseketeers, and Yankee Poodle

Baby Huey deserves to fight another anthropomorphic duck.  The foremost and actually only anthropomorphic duck of the DC universe is Rubberduck.  Rubberduck is a supporting character of a second tier title, Captain Carrot and the Amazing Zoo Crew.  Rubberduck was trying to visit Superman with his interdimensional vehicle but ended up in the Harvey universe instead.

Baby Huey thinks Rubberduck is so cute and tries to give him a big sloppy kiss.  Rubberduck mistakes this attempt at affection for an attack.  Baby Huey effectively has super strength and has been known to toss cars around.  Rubberduck can stretch his body like Mr. Fantastic or the Elongated Man.  Rubberduck wraps his body around Baby Huey and starts the big squeeze.  Baby Huey almost passes out but with one gigantic push of his arms manages to snap out of Rubberduck’s grip.  Baby Huey then whirls Rubberduck around and around by his legs and finally lets him go.  Rubberduck falls into a convenient lake unconscious.  Baby Huey jumps into the lake but remembers that he can’t swim.  Rubberduck drowns.  Baby Huey cries and cries until Papa Duck calms him down.

3) Casper vs. Spectre

DC doesn’t have that many ongoing ghost characters.  Ghosts in DC include: Dark Angel, Dead Boy Detectives, Deadman, Gentleman  Ghost, Haunted Tank, and the Spectre .  The Dead Boy Detectives, Deadman, Haunted Tank and the Spectre have all had their own title.  However, the Spectre has been around since the Golden Age and is generally considered the archetype of the ghostly superhero that abounded in the Golden Age.

Casper hears the meowing of the Phantom Zone Cats and follows the meowing to the Phantom Zone.  Casper is surrounded by evil Kryptonians that have been sentenced to the Phantom Zone.  The Kryptonians are mean and scary, far scarier than the Ghostly Trio, and Casper begins to cry.  The Spectre hears the crying of the ghost child and takes him by the hand and leads Casper back to his own universe.

4) Hot Stuff the Little Devil vs. Etrigan the Demon

The following is a list of demons in the DC universe:  Anton Arcane, Asmodel, Azazel (DC Comics), Belyllioth, Blaze and Satanus, Blue Devil, Chantinelle, Demons Three, Dreamslayer,Etrigan the Demon, First of the Fallen, Great Evil Beast, Heggra, Jeannette (comics), Lucifer (DC Comics), Mazikeen (comics), Mnemoth, Nebiros, Nekron, Neron, Onimar Synn, Raven (comics), Sabbac, Trigon (comics) and Yuga Khan.  Hot Stuff is technically a devil not a demon but these terms are interchangeable in the DC and Harvey universes unlike the Marvel and more especially the Dungeon and Dragon universe.  Hot Stuff should meet DC’s foremost demon since DC appears to avoid the appellation of devil, probably for religious reasons.

Only the Blue Devil, Etrigan the Demon and Lucifer had their own titles at one time or another.  The Blue Devil is an odd little second or even third tier character that is currently in comic book limbo.  Lucifer is one of the most powerful characters in the DC universe and could probably wipe out the entire Harvey universe without much trouble.  Poor Hot Stuff would be hopelessly over matched in a contest against Lucifer.  Therefore, Etrigan the Demon emerges as the champion of the DC universe.

Hot Stuff wanders away from Deviltown and encounters a section of hell he has never seen before.  Etrigan is considered one of the more powerful demons even in the much darker recesses of hell.  Etrigan is probably stronger than any demon in Deviltown.  Hot Stuff is a baby that wears asbestos diapers.  Hot Stuff takes one look at Etrigran and runs back to Deviltown.

5) Nightmare the Galloping Ghost (Casper’s horse) vs. Comet the Super-Horse

There are not a lot of important horses in the DC universe.  Bat Lash has a horse named DaisyVictory and Vanguard are flying horses used by the Shining Knight.  Comet the Super-Horse is Supergirl’s horse and the most famous DC horse and just about the only DC horse even hard core DC fans can name.  Comet was once a human but was turned into a horse and then a super-horse by Circe.  Circe is generally a bad witch but will do good deeds if a good looking blonde hunk is involved.  Comet has all the super powers of Superman and Supergirl but none of their weaknesses.  Comet is immune to Kryptonite and does not lose his powers under a red sun due to the magical rather than Kryptonian origin of his super powers.  A horse is stronger than a man and a super horse is stronger than Superman.  Superman alone can defeat Supergirl but Supergirl astride Comet can defeat Superman.  Super-Girl with Comet beating on Superman is more or less a story line in more than one Silver Age Superman family issue.  Krypto managed to survive the destruction of the Silver Age continuity by DC during the Crisis on Infinite Earthsbut Comet and all the other super pets  that included Streaky the Supercat and Beppo the Supermonkey did not so this adventure takes place in the Silver Age exclusively.  When is HeroClix going to create a Supergirl plus Comet miniature using their Brave and Bold combined hero system?

Casper has disappeared and Nightmare follows his astral trail to the Phantom Zone.  The Phantom Zone Cats telepathically tell that Casper was in the Phantom Zone but was led back home by the Spectre.  You can see the DC Earth easily from the Phantom Zone and Nightmare sees Comet.  Nightmare’s heart beats like her heart has never beat before.

Nightmare thinks, “That’s one fine stud!”

Nightmare descends from the Phantom Zone to the DC Earth and offers her haunches to Comet.  The two can communicate telepathically.  Comet once was a human but has been a horse for a very, very long time.  Normal horses are not as intelligent as Nightmare and break easily.  Nightmare’s fluffy mane is like nothing Comet has ever seen before.  Nightmare’s Disney style eyes give her an exotic look that Comet finds irresistible.

Nightmare and Comet begin a torrid love affair.  Will Nightmare ever return to Casper?  Will Casper care?  Will Supergirl become jealous of Nightmare?  Will Superman become jealous of Nightmare?  What will Lois Lane do?  What convoluted plan will Lex Luthor come up with in order to use Nightmare to destroy Superman?  How will the editors at DC transform Jimmy Olsen into a male version of Nightmare?  Will there be a Nightmare/Ace the Bat-Hound team up against a Comet/Krypto team up?  Stay tuned for another day in the lives of the Silver Age, Super Family.

6) Richie Rich vs. The Green Team: Boy Millionaires

The Green Team is a team of rich kid adventurers.  The entry fee for the club is a million dollars.  The Green Team hates Richie Rich!  They are millionaires while Richie Rich uses millions of dollars to make common place objects.  Richie Rich has slept on a sleeping bag of hundred dollar bills (Richie Rich Dollars and Cents #11).  Richie Rich exercises with a jumping rope made out of precious jewels (Richie Rich Dollars and Cents #23).  Richie Rich made a bridge of dollar bills (Richie Rich Dollars and Cents #30).  The list goes on and on.  The Green Team is in DC comic book limbo and in this state have metafictional awareness.  The Green Team is aware that they are a poor copy of Richie Rich.  They tried to bribe Animal Man (Animal Man #25) into getting them out of comic book limbo but failed.  If the Green Team ever escapes comic book limbo then Green Team plans to buy DC Comics and get Richie Rich to join their team as a butler that works for them!  Of course if they get out then their metafictional awareness will disappear.  The Green Team is aware of this and have tattooed directions on their bodies as to what to do in case they ever escape DC comic book limbo.  Where Harvey comic book characters go when their title and even their comic book company is gone is unknown.  Oh they end up on my blog!

7) Sad Sack vs. Sgt. Rock

I have written about comic book war heroes before at:

https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/dc-vs-marvel-war-heroes/

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. Sad Sack is sadly assigned to Easy Company and has Sgt. Rock has his NCO.  Sgt. Rock takes one look at Sad Sack and knows what he has to do.  Sad Sack is put on point and taken out by a German sniper shortly afterwards.  Even two days later, no one in Easy Company even remembers Sad Sack.

8) Stumbo the Giant vs. Colossal Boy

Stumbo is a giant and logically should fight the foremost giant of the DC universe which is Colossal Boy.  Colossal Boy wanders through a dimensional rift and finds himself in Tiny Town, the home of Stumbo.  Stumbo has once against accidentally destroyed a house in Tiny Town.  Colossal Boy surveys the destruction and decided Stumbo is some sort of evil giant that likes to destroy houses of those smaller for fun.  Colossal Boy grows to the size of Stumbo and loses some self control because at that size his intellectual capacity is diminished.  Diminished capacity or not, Colossal Boy has had extensive Legion martial arts training plus years of fighting experience.  Stumbo almost never fights enemies and mostly has accidents in Tiny Town.  Colossal Boy starts the fight with quick Karate chop to the jugular followed by a Judo throw.  Once down, Colossal Boy get Stumbo in a neck choke and chokes him out.  The small natives start throwing rocks at Colossal Boy and he is confused.  Fortunately, Braniac 5 has found Colossal Boy and uses an interdimensional transporter ray to bring Colossal Boy back to the DC universe.

9) Wendy the Good Little Witch vs. Zatanna

Wendy deserves to fight the foremost witch of the DC universe.  There are a ton of witch choices in the DC Universe including: Alley-Kat-Abra, Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, Circe (comics) , Dark Angel (DC Comics), La Encantadora, Enchantress (DC Comics), Glorith, Jinx (DC Comics), The Mad Mod Witch, Madame Xanadu, Madame Zodiac, Manitou Dawn, Lyta Milton, Morgaine le Fey (DC Comics), Queen of Fables, Raven (comics), Satan Girl, Silver Sorceress,Tala (comics), Titania (DC Comics), Traci Thirteen, Warlock’s Daughter, White Witch (comics), Witchfire (DC Comics), Yellow Peri, Zatanna, and Zealot (Wildstorm).

Only Madame Xanadu and Zatanna have had their own series.  Zatanna has been an important member of the Justice League of America.  Zatanna even appeared in the Superboy TV show Smallville!  Zatanna is also famous for her costume and especially her fish net stockings.  Zatanna wins the DC witch wars.

Wendy accidentally creates an interdimensional portal that takes her to the DC universe.  Wendy is flying around Gotham City with her broom and literally runs into Zatanna.  Wendy is used to ugly adult witches with green skin warts and ugly purple robes.  Wendy can magically sense that Zatanna is a witch like she is but the sort of witch she wants to be when she grows up.

Wendy, “You are beautiful”.

Zatanna responds in a maternal voice, “You are pretty cute yourself kid but do you mind if I give you some fashion advice?”

Wendy, “Please, please, please!”

Zatanna uses her magic to give Wendy a makeover.

Wendy is overjoyed.  Zatanna helps Wendy get home and promises to visit her someday.  Casper meets the new Wendy and feels a strange sickly sweet nausea that disturbs him to his astral core.  Suddenly Casper doesn’t feel so friendly towards anyone that looks at Wendy.  Casper has been lonely ever since Nightmare disappeared but this new Wendy more than makes up for the disappearance of Nightmare.

More comic book articles on this blog at:

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

 

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DC vs. Marvel: Transportation

The most important category of objects in the comic book universe of DC and Marvel has to be the weapons.  I look at this topic at:

https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/marvel-vs-dc-weapons/

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?

DC Transportation

Below is a list of objects of transportation in the DC universe.

  1. Adam Strange’s Jetpack
  2. Alpha Centurion’s Pax Romana
  3. Ambush Bug’s Teleport Suit
  4. Batboat
  5. Batcycle
  6. Batmobile
  7. Batplane
  8. Birds of Prey – Aerie One
  9. Birds of Prey – Aerie Two
  10. Black Manta’s Sea Saucer
  11. Black Manta’s Walker
  12. Blackhawk Planes
  13. Blue Beetle’s Bug
  14. Blue Tracer
  15. Boom Tube
  16. Booster Mobile
  17. Brains Submarine
  18. Braniac’s Skull Ship
  19. Braniac’s Star Ship
  20. Brontadon (Ship)
  21. Catwoman’s Catmobile
  22. Catwoman’s Catplane
  23. Challenger SST
  24. Clockincopter
  25. Cluster Ship
  26. Cometeer
  27. Craddock Carriage
  28. Di’ib
  29. Doomsday Ship
  30. Eye of Zared
  31. Fiddler’s Fiddle Car
  32. Flash’s Cosmic Threadmill
  33. Flying Fish
  34. Flying Sundial
  35. Fokker Dr. I
  36. Gentleman’s Horse
  37. Gibel Ship
  38. Golden Knight Flying Horse
  39. Gorandian Battle Tripod
  40. Gorandian Submarine
  41. Green Arrow’s Arrowcar
  42. Green Arrow’s Arrowplane
  43. Green Lantern Ring
  44. Grumman XF5F
  45. Gyrosub
  46. Haunted Tank
  47. Hawkman’s Wings
  48. Hourman’s Timeship
  49. Huntress Motorcycle
  50. Javelin-7
  51. Jokermobile
  52. Jonah Hex’s Mechanical Horse
  53. JSA’s Steel Eagle
  54. Justice League Cruiser
  55. Justice League Teleporter
  56. Kal-El’s Rocketship
  57. Kanjar Ro’s Spaceship
  58. Lansarian Morphing Disk
  59. Legion Cruiser
  60. Legion Flight Rings
  61. Legion of Superheroes Flying Rings
  62. Legion of Superheroes Time Bubble
  63. Legion of Superheroes Time Cube
  64. Lobo’s Spacehog
  65. LX-811 Star Cruiser
  66. Mark 494 Star Cruiser
  67. Mitsu-Bishi
  68. Mobius Chair
  69. Multipurpose Intercept/Reconnaissance Vehicle
  70. Mustang Three
  71. Nautilus of Earth ABC
  72. Newsboy Legion’s Whiz Wagon
  73. Omega Men Mothership
  74. Orion’s Astro-Harness
  75. Owlship
  76. P-40 Warhawk
  77. Paco’s Convertible
  78. Panzer-Ship
  79. Peacemaker Hog
  80. Pilgrim One
  81. Quantum Jet
  82. Rip Hunter’s Timesphere
  83. Robin’s Redbird
  84. Royal Flush Gang’s Flying Cards
  85. Sam
  86. Samson’s Chronomobile
  87. Sandals of Hermes
  88. Scanner One
  89. Scarlet Skier’s Cosmic Skis
  90. Scorpion-Ship
  91. Sea Witch
  92. Sheba
  93. Space Cab
  94. Space Shuttle Excalibur
  95. Star-Rocket Racer
  96. Starhunter’s Sunrider
  97. Steel Eagle
  98. Super-Cycle
  99. Superman’s Phantom Zone Projector – It transports you to another dimension!
  100. Supermobile
  101. Swinging through the rooftops – Batman
  102. T-Jet
  103. T-Sub
  104. Teen Titan’s Helicopter
  105. Thangarian Star Cruiser
  106. Time Bubble
  107. Trickster’s Air Shoes
  108. User: Bonesaw 19
  109. Vig-Cycle
  110. Vigilante’s Motocycle
  111. Warehouse X Toys
  112. Warhound
  113. Warlord’s Plane
  114. Whirly-Bat
  115. Whiz Wagon
  116. Wildcat’s Motorcycle
  117. Wingcycle
  118. 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.

Marvel Transportation

Below is a list of objects of transportation in the DC universe.

  1. Asgardian Star Jammer
  2. Avengers Quinjet
  3. Big Wheel
  4. Dr. Doom’s Time Machine
  5. Dr. Strange’s Cloak of Levitation
  6. Fantastic Four’s Fantasti-Car
  7. Fantastic Four’s Pogo Plane
  8. Flying Horses – Valyky, Black Knight
  9. Galactus Ship
  10. Ghost Rider’s Hell Cycle
  11. Green Goblin’s Glider
  12. Guardians of the Galaxy – Freedom’s Lady
  13. Hawkeyes Sky-cycle
  14. Iron Man’s Armor
  15. Kang’s Time-Ship
  16. Moon Knight’s Helicopter
  17. Nextwave’s Shockwave Rider
  18. Quasar’s Quantum Bands
  19. Runaway’s Leapfrog
  20. S.H.I.E.L.D. Flying Car
  21. S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier
  22. Silver Surfer’s Board
  23. Spider-Man’s Spider-Mobile
  24. Stiltman’s Stilts
  25. Swinging through the rooftops – Spiderman, Daredevil
  26. Thor’s Hammer Mjolnir
  27. X-Men’s Blackbird

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.

Conclusion

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.

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 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/

 

 

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Western Heroes

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