Tag Archives: Tomahawk

DC vs. Marvel: Big Monsters

What is a monster?  According to the online version of Merriam-Webster:

“1 a: an animal or plant of abnormal form or structure b: one who deviates from normal or acceptable behavior or character. “

Using definition (b), then just about every super villain would be a monster.  If you add (a) then you still have super villains like Doctor Doom who are deformed.  IGN already wrote an excellent article about DC versus Marvel super villains and I do not want to go over ground already covered.  This article instead will focus on big monsters.  The ultimate archetype of the big monster would be Godzilla.  There is even a particular word in Japanese for this sort of monster: daikaijū.  Monsters generally are big but how big does a monster have to be a daijuku?  I think over 20 feet and if the monster can wrap his/her hand around your waist with one hand like King Kong picking up a damsel in distress then that’s the clincher.

DC

The Silver age was all about big monsters and although Kirby’s Silver age monsters over at Marvel get all the attention, you can actually find a ton of big monsters at DC if you know where to look.

Major Heroes

Aquaman, Aquaman #7, The Creatures from Atlantis, Aquaman #20, Two-Headed Beast, Aquaman #56, The Creature that Devoured Detroit

Aquaman faced three major giant sea monsters during the Silver age.  The following Aquaman, volume 1, issues have a giant monster: #7- The Creatures from Atlantis, #20 – Two-Headed Beast, and #56 – The Creature that Devoured Detroit.  All the monsters are one-shots and not memorable.  Aquaman is often fighting a whale, giant jellyfish or giant shark or whatever but these are little two panel exercises not even worth mentioning.  The author looked at 61 issues.  The ratio of issues to monsters is 61 / 3 = 20.3

Batman, Batman #75, Gorilla Boss, Batman #104, The Creature from 20,000 Fathoms, Batman #134, Rainbow Creature, Batman #138, Sea Beast, #142-Tezcatlipoca, #143 – Bat-Hound and the Creature, and #162 – The Batman Creature.

Batman has faced at least 20 giant monsters.  In Batman volume 1, Batman fought: #75 – Gorilla Boss, #104 the Creature from 20,000 Fathoms, #134 – Rainbow Creature, #138 – Sea Beast, #142-Tezcatlipoca, #143 – Bat-Hound and the Creature, and #162 – The Batman Creature.

Detective Comics, Detective Comics #252, Creature from the Green Lagoon, Detective Comics #255, Robot Dinosaurs, Detective Comics #270, Creature from Planet X, Detective Comics #272, Menace of the Crystal Creature, Detective Comics #277, Jigsaw Creature from Space, Detective Comics #278, Detective Comics # 279, Creatures that Stalked Batman, Detective Comics #282, Cave Eel, Detective Comics #288, The Multiple Creature, Detective Comics # 291, Creature of the Bat Cave, Detective Comics # 295, Secret of the Beast Painting, Detective Comics # 297 – Beast of Koba Bay, Detective Comics #303, Murder in Skyland

In Detective Comics, Batman fought giant monsters in #252-Creature from the Green Lagoon, #255 – Robot Dinosaurs, #270 – Creature from Planet X, #272 – Menace of the Crystal Creature, #277 – Jigsaw Creature from Space, #278 – Giant, # 279 – Creatures that Stalked Batman, #282 – Cave Eel, #288 – the Multiple Creature, # 291 – Creature of the Bat Cave, # 295 – Secret of the Beast Painting, # 297 – Beast of Koba Bay, and #303 – Murder in Skyland.  The author looked at 667 Batman issues and 800 Detective Comics issues for a total of 1,467.   The ratio of issues to monsters is 1467 / 20 = 73.35

Green Lantern, Green Lantern #6, Giant monster on Xudar, Green Lantern #8, Giant Gila Monster from the Future, Green Lantern #30, Dinosaurs, Green Lantern #34, Giant Iguana, Green Lantern #53, Giant Alien

Green Lantern faced four monsters in the Silver age in Green Lantern, volume 1, in issues: #6 – Giant monster on Xudar, #8 – Giant Gila Monster from the Future, #30 – Dinosaurs, #34 – Giant Iguana, #53 – Giant Alien.  All the monsters are one-shots and not memorable.  The author looked at 201 issues to find these four giants monsters.  The ratio of issues to giant monsters is 201 / 4 = 50.25

Legion of Super-Heroes, Monster Master, Legion of Super Monster’s, Earthquake Beast, Eye Monster, Mirror Monster, Drill Beast, Omnibeast, Computo, Braniac 5, Triplicate Girl, Sun-Eater , Galactus, Controllers, Super-Moby Dick of Space, Action Comics #332, Superboy, Validus

The Legion of Super-Heroes deals with several alien and interstellar monsters in volume 1.  The Monster Master even created the Legion of Super Monster’s which includes: the earthquake beast that can cause earthquakes, the eye monster can shoot lightning, heat-vision, x-rays, and blinding light, the mirror monster can reflect any energy force off its shiny armor-plated hide, the drill beast can drill through anything.  Finally, the omnibeast can travel in space, air, land, or sea.  Computo is yet another giant robot conqueror created by Braniac 5 who kills one of the bodies of Triplicate Girl in the Silver age and death in the Silver age is rare and special plot wise.  The Sun-Eater is probably the biggest, baddest, giant monster in the DC universe.  Galactus is the devourer of worlds but the Sun-Eater is a devourer of suns!  The Sun-Eater is a weapon created by the Controllers, a super race in the DC universe and is generally mindless.  Lighting Lad loses his arm to the Super-Moby Dick of Space in Action Comics #332.  Any sort of permanent injury was almost unheard of in the Silver age so the giant monster is an integral part of an important story.

Superboy faced Validus when he was a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes.  Validus is actually stronger than Superboy and it took the combined might of Superboy, Mon-El and Ultraboy to defeat Validus.  The Silver age Superman and Superboy are much much stronger than the Modern Age Superman.  Validus is probably the second most powerful giant monster in the DC universe after the Sun-Eater which did defeat Validus (Adventure Comics #353).  Three important, powerful, giant monsters come out of the Legion of Super-Heroes including Computo, the Sun-Eater and Validus.  The Legion of Super-Heroes breaks the pattern of many one-shot monsters that are not memorable in order to create monsters of great power that are memorable and an important part of the DC Universe history.

Superboy, Adventure Comics #30, Jimmy Olsen, Giant Turtle Man, Jimmy Olsen, Thought Monster of Krypton, Superboy #87, Superboy #102, Adventure Comics #185, Griffin, Adventure Comics #196, Kingorilla, Giant Ape.

Superboy faced a few giant monsters as well.  In Adventure Comics #30 there is a creature quite similar to Jimmy Olsen’s transformation into a Giant Turtle Man in Jimmy Olsen #53.  Superboy fought a giant Thought Monster of Krypton as a baby and a boy in Superboy #87 and #102 respectively.  In Adventure Comics #185, Superboy fought a Griffin.  In Adventure Comics #196, Superboy fought Kingorilla, a giant ape.

Superman’s most famous giant monster is Titano the Super-Ape who was like King Kong with Green Kryptonite vision. In Adventure #295, the world is introduced to Bizzaro Titano that has Blue Kryptonite vision which is deadly to Bizzaros. Superman has also faced 17 other giant monsters in the pages of Superman including: #78- The Beast from Krypton, #86 – The Dragon from King Arthur’s Court, #110 – Giant Ant, the Flame Dragon of Krypton, #127 – Titano, #138-Titano, # 151-Child of the Beast from Krypton from issue #78, #246 Danger Monster at Work, #324 Titano Returns, #348 Storm God, #357- Cosmic Monster, #379 – Chemo.

Superman’s most famous giant monster is Titano the Super-Ape who was like King Kong with Green Kryptonite vision.  In Adventure #295, the world is introduced to Bizzaro Titano that has Blue Kryptonite vision which is deadly to Bizzaros.  Superman has also faced 17 other giant monsters in the pages of Superman including: #78- The Beast from Krypton, #86 – The Dragon from King Arthur’s Court, #110 – Giant Ant, the Flame Dragon of Krypton, #127 – Titano, #138-Titano, # 151-Child of the Beast from Krypton from issue #78, #246 Danger Monster at Work, #324 Titano Returns, #348 Storm God, #357- Cosmic Monster, #379 – Chemo.

Action Comics, Legion of Super-Creatures, Action Comics #347, Eterno, Action Comics #502, Galactic Golem, Action Comics #516, Army of Dinosaurs, Action Comics #519, Cosmic Creature, Action Comics #664, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Action Comics # 671, Sea Serpent, Action Comics #758, Rock Lobster

In Action Comics, Superman faced monsters in #326 – Legion of Super-Creatures, #343 – Eterno, #502 – Galactic Golem, #516 – Army of Dinosaurs, #519 – Cosmic Creature, #664 – Tyrannosaurus Rex, # 671 – Sea Serpent, and #758 – Rock Lobster. The author looked at 666 Superman issues and 873 Action Comics for a total of 1539 to find the 18 monsters mentioned.  The ratio of issues to monsters is 1539 / 18 = 85.5.

Wonder Woman Monsters

Wonder Woman faces 36 giant monsters in Wonder Woman volume 1 during the Silver age including #64 – The 3-D Terror, #66, #87 – Island of Giants, #91 – The Eagle Who Caged People, #97 – Dinosaur, #100 – The Forest of Giants, #105 – The Eagle of Space, #106 – Giants Olympic Contest, #109 – Wonder Girl in Giant Land, #112 – Chest of Monsters, #113 – Invasion of the Sphinx Creatures, #114 – The Monster Express, #116 – Cave of Secret Creatures, #119 – Sea Serpent, #120 – Secret of the Volcano Mt., #121 – The Island-Eater, #123 – Giant Cobra, #128 – Living Seaweed, #135 – The Attack of the Human Iceberg, #138 – Stone Giant, #143 – Fire Breathing Dragon, #145 – Phantom Sea-Beast, #146 – War of the Underwater Giants, #147 – Griffin & Giant Centipede, #148 – Dinosaur in a Department Store, #149 – Giant Flame Creature, #150 – The Phantom Fisher-Bird, #151 – Gooey Monster, #152 – Ice Bird, #154 – Boiling Man, #171 – Trap of the Demon Fish-Man, #233 – Jaws of the Leviathan, #239 – Animated Statue of Liberty, #257 – Dinosaur, #265 – Dinosaurs, and #284 – A Dragon Stalks the Streets.  The author looked at 327 issues.  The ratio of issues to monsters is 327 / 36 = 9.083.  Wonder woman has the highest number of monsters among major heroes!

Justice League Monsters

The Justice League of America had two memorable giant monsters including Starro and the Shaggy Man.  Starro first appeared in Brave and Bold #28 and was the very first super villain that the Justice League of America faced!  Starro has reappeared many times since then.  The Shaggy Man first appeared in JLA #45 and is another giant monster that reappears several times albeit different persons assume the identity of the Shaggy Man.  The Justice League had plenty of one shot monsters as well.  The Justice League fought several Dungeons and Dragons type of giant monsters in JLA #2.  In JLA #15 the Justice League fights an Easter Island sort of monster.  Superman fights a giant purple roman robot in JLA #34.  There are also one shot monsters that don’t even rate a proper name in JLA #36, #40, and #52.   If you don’t count reappearances of Starro or the Shaggy Man then the Justice League fought eight monsters in 261 issues looked at (261/8 = 32.6).

The Second Tier Heroes

Challengers of the Unknown Monsters

Jack Kirby’s contribution to monsters in the Marvel universe will be discussed in that section of the article but Jack Kirby also created a large number of monsters for the silver age Challengers of the Unknown.  The tone was set in one of their earliest adventures in Showcase #7 when they fought a giant robot called Ultivac.  In Challengers of the Unknown volume 1 there are giant robots 13 in the following issues:  #16 -the Incredible Metal Monster, #18 – Invincible Beast of Tomorrow, #19 Beasts of Tomorrow, #20 Cosmic Powered Creatures, #22 the Creature Challenger Mountain, #26 – Aqua Beast, #27-Volcano Man, # 32 Volcano Man returns, #35 – Moon-Beast, #41 – Quadruple Man, #47 – Sponge Man, #51-Sponge Man returns, and #59-The Petrified Giant.  The author looked at 91 issues to find the 13 giant monsters.  The ratio of monsters to issues is 91 /13 = 7.

Doom Patrol Monsters

The Silver age Doom Patrol had one giant monster they fought more than once and that was the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral ManDoom Patrol ,volume 1, had the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man in #89, #93 – Giant Robot, #95 Return of the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, #96 – Giant Jukebox, #97 – Elasti-Girl Transforms to Crystal Giant Menace, #100 – Dinosaur, #103 – Meteor Man, #105 – Mr. 103, #106 – Mr. 103 returns looking like the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, #109 – Mandred the Executioner, #111-Zarox 13 King of the Criminal Cosmos, #113 – Arsenal, #114 – Kor the Conqueror, #115 – The Mutant Master, and #116 – The Galactic Gladiator.  The Doom Patrol fought 14 monsters in 39 issues.  The ratio of issues to monsters is 39 / 14 = 2.7.

Metal Men Monsters

The Metal Men battled several giant robots that fit the giant monster definition but one of the more famous giant monsters of DC is not a robot: Chemo.  Chemo is a collection of chemicals that comes to life.   Chemo is vaguely malevolent but mostly mindless.  Unlike the giant robots that the Metal Men fought, Chemo survived past the Silver age and made it to the Modern Age.  Chemo was a major character in the Infinite Crisis series (2005).  Some of the giant robots the Metal Men fought include the Skyscraper Robot, Torgola, the Rebel Robot, Robot Juggernauts, and Volcano Man, who is not a robot.  The Doom Patrol and Challengers of the Unknown also fight a Volcano Man but I don’t think this is the same one.  The author looked at 56 issues.  The Metal Men battled 6 big monsters.  The ratio of issues to monster is 56 / 6 = 9.3.

Rip Hunter Time Master Monsters

Rip Hunter Time Master in the Silver age is another “B” title that has more than its share of big monsters.  Ripe Hunter is a time traveler that seems to find big monsters in every age not just the prehistoric ones.  Rip Hunter and his time traveling team fought ten giant monsters.  Big monsters are in #1 – 1,000 Year Old Curse, the volcano Creature, #2 – The Alien Beasts from 500 BC, #3 – Giant Octopus sort of creature, #5 – Alien Beast, #7 – Dinosaurs in the past, #8 – Giant Genie, #9 – Alien Flying Creature, #18 – Dinosaur but in the future, 2550 AD, #28 – Rip is turned into a giant monster, and #29 – Giant insects in the present.  The author looked at 30 issues.  The ratio of issues to monsters is 30 / 10 = 3.

Teen Titans Monsters

The Silver age Teen Titans were a second tier super hero team.  In the Modern age the Teen Titans became a first tier super hero team and giant monsters disappeared from their pages.  In volume 1, the Silver age, Teen Titans giant monsters appeared in the following issues: #1 – The Beast-God of Xochatan, #2 – The Million Year Old Teenager (Giant Caveman), #8 – A Killer Called Honey Bun (Giant Robot), and #32 – A World Gone Mad (Sea Monster).  There were four monsters.  The author looked at 53 issues of volume 1 of the Teen Titans. The ratio of issues to monsters is 53 / 4 = 13.

Tomahawk Monsters

Tomahawk is an especially odd Silver age second tier hero in an era of odd heroes.  Tomahawk is an American Revolution hero who fights British redcoats and their Native American allies except they are definitely called American Indians in these pre-PC comic books.  Tomahawk has the distinction of fighting lots of giant American Indians during the Silver age.  Tomahawk fights giant monsters in the following Issues: #46 – The Valley of Giant Warriors (Giant Indians), #58 – The Frontier Dinosaur, #64 – Mystery of the Giant Warrior (Giant Indian), #67 – The Beast from the Deep, #70 – Secret of the Iron Chief (Giant Indian Robot), #73 – Secret of the Indian Sorceress (Giant Sea Serpent), #74 – The Beast from the Labyrinth (Pink Stegosaurus), #75 Master of the Legendary Warrior (Giant Indian with fangs), #78 – Legend of the Sea Beast (Sea Serpent), #82 – Lost Land of the Pale-Face Tribe (Dinosaur), #86 – Tomahawk vs. King Colosso (Giant Ape), #89 – The Terrible Tree Man (Giant Tree Man), #90 – The Ranger vs. the Prisoner in the Pit (Giant Reptile), #91 – The Indian Tribe Below the Earth (Giant Salamander), #92 – The Petrified Sentry of Peaceful Valley (Giant Petrified Indian), The Return of King Colosso (Giant Ape returns), #94 – Rip Van Ranger (Giant Bird), #95 – Tribe Beneath the Sea (Giant Fish), #99 – King Cobweb and his Giant Insects (Giant Insects controlled by Indian), #100 – The Weird Water-Tomahawk (Giant Water Creature), #102 – The Dragon Killers (Dragon), #103 – The Frontier Frankenstein (Giant Frankenstein), #104 – The Fearful Freaks of Dunham’s Dungeon, #105 – Attack of the Gator God (Giant Reptile), #107 – Double-Cross of the Gorilla-Ranger (Giant Ape), #109 – The Caveman Ranger (Dinosaurs), and #115 – The Deadly Flaming Ranger (Giant Flame Creature).  The author looked at a 129 issues of Tomahawk.  Tomahawk fights giant monsters in 27 issues. The ratio of issues to monsters is 129 / 27 = 4.7.  Tomahawk also has the honor of having fought four giant Indians!  I think this has to be some sort of hero record.

Blackhawk Monsters

Blackhawk had several one-shot monsters including Blackhawk #120 (Metal Cyclops), #140 (Tyrannosaurus Rex), #146 (Giant Mechanical Scorpion), #148 (Flying Serpent), #150 (Giant Eagle), #152 (Octi-Ape, Ape with eight limbs), #154 (Beast that Time Forgot), #164 (Twin Creatures of Blackhawk Island), #193 (Valley of the Angry Giants, Giant Mesoamerican Indians), #198 (Giant Nazi Robot), and #226 (Secret Monster of Blackhawk Island).  The author looked at 96 issues and found monsters in 11 of them.  The ratio of monsters to issues is 8.7.

Speculative Fiction Anthologies

In the Silver age both DC and Marvel had speculative fiction anthologies and these were the true homes of monsters and big monsters in general.  The vast majority of monsters in both the DC and Marvel universes were created in these speculative fiction anthologies.

House of Mystery Monsters

House of Mystery, volume 1, has big monsters in the following issues:  #41 – Brontosaurus, #53 – Forbidden Statues, #70 – The Creatures from Nowhere, #71 – Moon Goddess, #74 – Dragon of Time Square, #79 – Creature of Inner Space, #80 – Earth’s Super Prisoner, #85 – Easter Island Monsters and similar to Marvel’s the Things on Easter Island, #86 – The Beast that Slept 1,000 Years, #87 – The Menacing Pet from Pluto, #89 – Secret of the Cave Light, #90 – The Runaway Bronc from Venus, #91 – The Forbidden Face of Fa-San, #96 – Pirate Brain, #99 – The Beast with Three Lives, #101 – The Magnificent Monster, #102 – Cellmate to a Monster, #104 – The Seeing Eye Man, #107 – Captives of the Alien Fishermen, #109 – Secret of the Hybrid Creatures, #110 – The Beast that Stalked Through Time, #111 – Operation Beast-Slayer, #112 – The Menace of Craven’s Creatures, #113 – Prisoners of Beast Asteroid, #114 – The Movies from Nowhere, #118 – Secret of the Super-Gorillas, #119 – The Deadly Gift from the Stars, #120 – The Cat-Man of Kanga Peak, #123 – Lure of the Decoy Creature, #125 – The Fantastic Camera Creature, #130 – Alien Creature Hunt, #131 – Vengeance of the Geyser God, #132 – Beware the Invisible Master, #133 – The Captive Queen of Beast Island, #134 – The Secret Prisoner of Darkmoor Dungeon, #138 – The Creature Must Die, #140 – Giant Alien, #141 – The Alien Gladiator, #143 Martian Manhunter’s sidekick Zook becomes a giant monster, #149 – Giant Insects, #152 Martian Manhunter fights a giant alien named the Creature King, #153 – Martian Manhunter fights the Giants who slept 1,000 years, and #154 – Prisoner of the Purple Demon.   House of Mystery had 46 giant monsters.  The author looked at 300 issues.  The ratio of issues to monsters is 300 / 46 = 6.5.

House of Secrets Monsters

House of Secrets, volume 1, had monsters in the following issues: #1 – House of Doom, #11 – The Man Who Couldn’t Stop Growing, #19 – Lair of the Dragonfly, #24 – Beast from the Box, #25 – Secret of the Sea Monsters, #26 – Menace of the Alien Ape, #27 – Secret of the Fossil Egg, #28 – Horse like Monster, #29 – Queen of the Beasts, #30 – Creature City, #31 – Hybrid Monster, #34 – Puzzle of the Plundering Creatures, #37 – Secret of the Captive Creature, #38 – The Fantastic Flower Creatures, #39 – Alien Bird of Prey, #40 – Master of the Space Beasts, #41 – Dinosaur in Times Square, #44 – Valley of Doomed Creatures, #45 – Destiny of Dooms, #47 – Creatures of Camouflage Forest, #48 – Beware the Guardian Beast, #51 – Mystery of the Stolen Creatures, #53 – Mark Merlin’s Giant Double, #55 – Battle of the Titans, #63 – Cave filled with various giant monsters, #69 – Kill the Giant Cats, #71 – Giant Who Once Ruled Earth, #72 – Revolt of the Morloo, and #73 – Eclipso Battles the Sea Titan.  House of Secrets had 29 big monsters.  The author looked at 153 issues.  The ratio of issues to monsters is 153 / 29 = 5.2.

Strange Adventures Monsters

Strange Adventures did “spawn” one memorable giant amphibian and that is the giant frogs.  The frogs appeared in issues #130 and # 155.  The giant frogs are pictured below:

Also the Faceless Hunter from Saturn first appeared in issues #124, #142, and #153.  The Faceless Hunter from Saturn has made several appearances in the Modern age and even was in a cartoon episode of Batman: Brave and Bold (Siege of Starro! Part Two, Season 2, Episode 15).  Also yellow giants with ears shaped like butterflies who collected humans like humans collect butterflies appeared in issues #119 and #159.  Giant monsters that appeared in volume one of Strange Adventures include: #7 – Giant Ants, #11 – Serpent, #21 – The Monster that Fished Men, #28 – Indestructible Giant, #30 – The Great Ant Circus, #41 – Dinosaurs, #44 – Giant Plant, #50 – World Wrecker Robot, #52 – Prisoner of the Parakeets, #72 – The Skyscraper came to Life, #76 – The Tallest Man on Earth, #82 – Giants of the Cosmic Ray, #91 – Giant from Jupiter, #97 – Secret of the Space – Giant, #101 – Giant from Stalk, #104 – World of Doomed Spacemen, #112 – Menace of the Size-Changing Spaceman, #113 – Deluge from Space, #118 – The Turtle Men from Space, #119 – Raiders from the Giant World, #120 – Attack of the Oil Demons, #122 – David and the Space Goliath, #123 – Secret of the Rocket-Destroyer, #124 – The Face-Hunter from Saturn, #125 – The Flying Gorilla Menace, #127 – Menace from the Earth Globe, #129 – The Giant Who Stole Mountains, #130 – War with Giant Frogs, #133 – Invisible Dinosaurs, #139 – The Space Roots of Evil, #142 – Return of the Faceless Creature, #151 – Invasion via Radio-Telescope, #153 – Threat of the Faceless Creature, # 155 – Return of the Giants Frogs, #157 -Plight of the Human Cocoons, #159 – The Maze of Time, #165 – Secret of the Insect Men, #167 – Gorko the Night Creature, #168 – The Hand that Erased Earth, #170 – The Creature from Strange Adventures (Infinity Cover), #193 – Zomzu the Living Colossus, and #194 – The Bracelet of Deadly Charms.  Some of the monsters already identified were reprinted in later issues of Strange AdventuresStrange Adventures yields 42 giant monsters!  The author looked at 232 issues for this article.  The ratio of issues to big monster is 232 / 42 = 5.5.

Tales of the Unexpected Monsters

Tales of the Unexpected had big monsters in issues  #17 – Moon Beast, #20 – You Stole Our Planet, #36 – Prisoners’ of the Lighthouse Creatures, #40 – Battle of the Colossal Creatures, #48 – The Beast from the Invisible World, #50 – Sun-Creature, #51 – Mercurian Quill Thrower, #52-Guardian Beasts of the Life Stone, #53 – Creature in the Glass Ball, # 54 – Dinosaurs of Space, #55 – Ghost Creatures of Phobos, #57 – The Jungle Beasts of Jupiter, #59-Org, #60-The Beasts from Space Seeds, #61 – Guardians of the Moon Emperor’s Treasure, #63 – Secret of the Space Circus, #65 – The Alien Brat from Planet Byra, #67 – The Beast that Space Ranger Protected, #68 – Prisoner of the Giant Robot, and #70 – Xorog, #201 – Giant Rabbit!  Tales of the Unexpected has 21 big monsters.  The author looked at 208 issues.  The ratio of issues to monsters is 208 / 21 = 9.9.

Conclusion

Overall, the secret to finding big monsters in the DC universe is to focus on the Silver age.  Also do not to look in the mainstream hero comics like Aquaman, Batman, Green Lantern and Superman.  The range of ratios for first tier heroes is 20.3-90.5.

However, every other issue in the second tier comics hero comics like the Doom Patrol, Metal Men, Rip Hunter Time Master, Teen Titans, Tomahawk, Challengers of the Unknown, and the Sea Devils has big monsters.  The range of ratios was 2.7-9.3.  So a big monster is more or less ten times more likely to show up in a second tier hero adventure than a first tier hero adventure.

My theory is that the editors felt that if the hero could not sell the magazine then maybe a giant monster plastered on the cover could.  Also, one of the defining flaws of the second tier heroes is a lack of a roster of strong recurring super villains.  Big monsters were used as a substitute for strong villains and this strategy in hindsight was not very successful.

The speculative fiction anthologies: House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Tales of the Unexpected, and Strange Adventures are the place to find the vast majority of DC monsters.  The speculative fiction anthologies are generally called science fiction comic books but I think this is a misclassification.  These Silver Age anthologies spanned the spectrum of horror to fantasy to science fiction and actually quite a bit of supernatural fiction.  They were the comic book equivalent of the Twilight Zone, definitely speculative fiction rather than the Outer Limits, a more narrowly science fiction show.  The monsters in these anthologies span the gamut of supernatural to horror to science fiction monsters.  The Vertigo Modern Age reboots of the House of Mystery and Strange Adventures stay far away from giant monsters that are still popular but considered cheesy and not up to the artistic standards of the Vertigo press.  The range of ratios for the speculative fiction anthologies was from 5.2-9.9.  This range of ratios is similar to the range of second tier heroes.  However the range is greater for second tier heroes.

Wonder Woman (9.083 ratio) is an exception to the first tier hero rule.  In particular, the Silver age, Wonder Woman was fighting giant men in a large number of issues.  More detailed analysis shows that these giants often treat Wonder Woman like a plaything or even jewelry of the giants.  All the giants in Wonder Woman probably reflect some weird psychosexual dynamic at work as is often the case with the Wonder Woman title from the Golden age all the way the way to the present.  Could some sort of role reversal be at work?  Young boys who are sick of being pushed around by their giant mothers derive vicarious pleasure from seeing Wonder Woman being played with by giant men?  Or did Wonder Woman just attract the weirdos of the comic book industry?

MARVEL

First of all I want to give special thanks to the Monster Blog!  This website is the ultimate online resource for anyone who is interested in the vast number of monsters that Jack Kirby and Stan Lee created.  These monsters are often referred to as Kirby monsters.  The blog lists 210 monsters and almost all of them fit the big monster definition.  If you remove all human monsters, monsters that are too small, and imaginary monsters, then are still left with the following list of big monsters:

Back From the Dead, Bombu, Bruttu, Colossus, Cyclops, Diablo, Don Russell, Dragoom, Elektro, Fin Fang Foom, Gargantus, Goliath, Gomdulla, Googam, Goom, Gorgilla, Gorgolla, Gor-Kill, Grogg, Groot, Grottu, Gruto, Gxenu and MARK VIII, I Dream of Doom, It Crawls By Night, Jason Wilkes, Klagg, Korilla, Kraggoom, Kraa, Krang, Kurrgo, Lo-Karr, Magneto, Manoo, Mechano, Metallo, Mister Morgan’s Monster, Mongu, Monsteroso, Monstro, Monstrollo, Monstrom, Moomba, OOG, Orrgo, Paul Marshall, Pildorr, Robot X, ROE, Rommbu, Rorgg, Shagg, Shangri-La, Sporr, Spragg, Sserpo, Taboo, Temujai, the Abominable Snowman, the Alien Gladiator, the Alien Observer, the Aliens from Dead Storage, the Aliens from the Wax Museum, the Blip, the Brute That Walks, the Chamber of Fear, the Changeling, the Crawling Creature, the Creature From Krangro, the Creature From Krogarr, the Creature From Planet X, the Dragon, the Flying Saucer, the Forbidden World, the Genie, the Genie With the Light Brown Hair, the Glob, the Gorilla Man, the Green Thing, the Hypnomonster, the Impossible Tunnel, the Insect Man, the Invaders, the Leader, the Living Totem, the Living Trees,the Lizard Men, the Luna Lizards, the Martian, the Martian Plant Creature, the Martian Who Stole a City, the Martians, the Midnight Monster, the Miracle Man’s Monster, the Mole Man’s Monster, the Molten Man-Thing, the Monster At the Window, the Monster Escapes, the Monster In the Iron Mask, the Mummy, the Ninth Wonder of the World, the Other Cyclops, the Robot Colossus, the Roc, the Sandman, the Scarecrow, the Scarlet Beetle, the Scorpion, the Screemies, the Seeds of Doom, the Space Beasts, the Space Dragon, the Spider, the Statue Gods, the Statue Maker, the Stone Men From Saturn, the Swamp Aliens, the Thing, the Thing Called It, the Thing From the Hidden Swamp, the Thing Hunts For Me, the Thing in the Black Box, the Things on Easter Island, the Tree Alien, the Twilight World, the Two-Headed Thing, the Warriors from Igneous Rex, the Weed, the World Below, Thorr, Titan, Titano, Torr, Trull, Vandoom’s Creature, Wilbur Fiske, Xemnu the Titan, X, X-13, Zemu and Zetora the Martian

However, as much fun as all those monster were for me growing up, they are all one-hit wonders with the exception of the Fin Fang Four that includes Googam, Elektro, Gorgilla and of course Fin Fang Foom.  Xemnu cloned five Kirby monster’s including Groot, Goom, Taboo, Diablo, and The Blip in order to fight the incredible Hulk.  The Hulk is kind of a Kirby monster magnet.  The Hulk also fights It the Living Colossus.  The Hulk along with the Beast, Giant Man and the Thing fought Tragg , Groot , Taboo, Grottu , Droom , Vandoom , Gargantus , Rommbu , Grogg , Moloids , Fin Fang Foom , Mole Man  and the Collector in the 2005 one-shot Monsters on the Prowl.  The Hulk has fought a couple of modern age big monsters including the Bi-Beast and Umbu the Unliving (Hulk #110).  Some other modern age big monsters include the Devil Dinosaur, Dragon Man, Giganto , Midgard Serpent, the Moles Man’s monsters and Wendigo.   Marvel has a universe style guide of their monsters: Marvel Monsters: From the Files of Ulysses Bloodstone and the Monster Hunters.

I have not included Godzilla in the list of giant monsters at Marvel!  Godzilla is a Toho Studios monster and his foray into the Marvel universe was poor fit.  Marvel no longer has the licensing rights to Godzilla and hopefully this sorry episode in the Marvel Universe is dead, dead, dead, forever.  Godzilla could lift 20,000 tons with ease.  Thor and the Hulk are 100 ton lifters!  So this interloper is about 200 times stronger than the heavyweights of the Marvel Universe!  How can Marvel superheroes fight this guy at all?  Yet they do rather than being squashed like ants!  Suspension of belief is a delicate thing that Godzilla in the Marvel Universe practically destroyed.  Just a poor fit on every level.  Keep in mind I am the author of Hello Kitty vs. Godzilla so when I find a story to be over the top then that’s saying a lot.

There is a misconception that Marvel has more monsters, especially giant monsters, than DC.  DC actually created more monsters during the Silver age than Marvel but they were much less memorable and spread across many titles as one-shots and many of the monsters did not even have names.  Ironically, Kirby did have a monster comic book at DC, Challengers of the Unknown, but the fact that this comic book was filled with monsters has been totally ignored until now.

Fing Fang Foom is easily the premiere giant monster at Marvel.  Fing Fang Foom has appeared in over 20 issues across the spectrum of Marvel titles.  Fing Fang Foom appears in toy form in Iron Man 2008.  Fing Fang Foom in the only Kirby monster to be made into a HeroClix giant figure!  Fing Fang Foom is arguably one of the more interesting Kirby monsters visually as you can see from the HeroClix figure picture below:

Validus faces off against Fing Fang Foom.  Fing Fang Foom can sense that Validus has a the mind of a child and tries to communicate with Validus but Validus is immune to telepathy.  Validus rips off one of Fing Fang Foom’s arms with ease.  Fing Fang Foom is a genius level strategist and decides it.s time to run for the hills.  Fing Fang Foom starts to fly away.  Validus does not have the power of flight.  Validus zaps Fing Fang Foom from the sky with his unique mental lightning which can even knock out the Silver Age Superboy.  Fing Fang Foom decides to die ironically, and as Validus cradles the dying Fing Fang Foom, Fing Fang Foom says, “Rosebud” with his dying breath.  Validus doesn’t get the joke and looks for something else to smash.

Other articles in the DC vs. Marvel Series:

Big Monsters

Fourth Wall Heroes

Funny Animals

Horror Hosts

Kids

Robots

Sidekicks

Spacemen

Super pets

Teenagers

Transportation

War Heroes

Weapons

WesternHeroes

Women in Refrigerators

WorkingWomen

My other website at:

Fox Superpower List

More comic book articles on this blog at:

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

WereVerse Universe Baby!

WereVerse Universe at Google Drive Link

DC vs. Marvel: Sidekicks

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

Superhero Sidekick First Appearance
Aquaman Aquagirl 1 (Lisa Morel) Adventure Comics #266 (November, 1959)
Aquaman Aquagirl 2 (Tula) Aquaman (vol. 1) #33 (May-June 1967)
Aquaman Aqualad  (Garth) Adventure Comics #269 (February 1960)
Aquaman Topo (Octopus) Adventure Comics #229 (October 1956)
Aquaman Qwsp Aquaman (vol. 1) #1 (January-February 1962)
Batman Ace the Bat Hound Batman #92, June 1955
Batman Alfred Pennyworth (Butler) Batman #16 (April-May 1943
Batman Bat-Girl (Bette Kane) Batman #139 (April 1961)
Batman Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) Detective Comics #359 (January 1967)
Batman Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) Legends of the Dark Knight # 120 (August 1999)
Batman Robin 1 (Dick Grayson) Detective Comics #38 (April 1940)
Batman Robin 2 (Jason Todd) Batman #357 (March 1983)
Batman Robin 3 (Tim Drake) Batman #436 (August 1989)
Batman Robin 4, Spoiler, Batgirl (Stephanie Brown) Detective Comics #647 (August 1992)
Batman Robin 5 (Damian Wayne) Batman #655 (September 2006)
Batman Robin Earth II (Richard Grayson) Detective Comics #38 (April, 1940)
Blackhawk Lady Blackhawk (Zinda) Blackhawk # 133 (February 1959)
Blue Devil Kid Devil Blue Devil #14 (July 1985)
Booster Gold Goldstar Lobo #5 (May ’94)
Booster Gold Skeets Booster Gold (vol. 1) #1 (1986)
Captain Marvel Captain Marvel Jr. Whiz Comics #25 (December 1941)
Captain Marvel Lieutenant Marvels Whiz Comics #21 (1941)
Captain Marvel Mr. Tawky Tawny (Anthropomorphic Tiger) Captain Marvel Adventures #79
Captain Marvel Uncle Marvel Wow Comics #18 (October 1943)
Captain Mid-Nite Hooty the Owl All-American Comics #25 (April, 1941)
Chameleon Boy Proty I Adventure Comics #308 (May 1963)
Chameleon Boy Proty II Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #72 (October 1963)
Crimson Avenger Wing How Detective Comics #20 (October 1938)
Flash Impulse (Bart Allen) Flash (vol. 2) #92 (June 1994)
Flash Kid Flash I (Wally West) The Flash  (vol. 1) #110 (December 1959)
Flash Kid Flash II (Iris West) Kingdom Come #3 (July 1996)
Flash Kid Flash III (Bart Allen) Teen Titans (vol. 3) #4 (December 2003)
Flash S’kidd Flash Flash vol 2 #235 (February, 2008)
General Glory Ernie the Battling Boy Justice League America # 46 (January 1991)
Green Arrow Amber Archer (Connor Hawke) Green Arrow vol 2 #0 (October, 1994)
Green Arrow Arrowette World’s Finest Comics #113 (November 1960)
Green Arrow Speedy  I (Roy Harper) More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941)
Green Arrow Speedy II (Mia Dearden) Green Arrow (vol. 3) #44 (January 2005)
Green Lantern Gen’ma Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #6
Green Lantern Doiby Dickles All-American Comics #27 (June 1941)
Green Lantern Terry Berg Green Lantern (vol. 3) #129 (October 2000)
Green Lantern Thomas Kalmaku (Pieface) Green Lantern (Vol. 2) #2 (September-October 1960)
Icon Rocket Icon #1 (May 1993)
Johnny Thunder Black Lightning the Horse Flash Comics #1 (January 1940)
Joker Harley Quinn The Batman Adventures #12 (September 1993)
Justice League of America Snapper Carr The Brave and the Bold #28 (February-March 1960)
Justice League International G’nort (Green Lantern, Humanoid Dog) Justice League International #10 (February, 1988)
Knight Squire (Cyril) Batman #62,(December 1950)
Little Boy Blue Tubby, Toughy Sensation Comics #1 (January, 1942)
Martian Manhunter Zook Detective Comics #311 (January, 1963).
Mr. Scarlet Pinky the Whiz Kid Wow Comics #4 (1940)
Owlman Talon Teen Titans vol. 3 #38 (September 2006)
Plastic Man Woozy Winks Police Comics #13 (November 1942)
Robin Flamebird (Mary Elizabeth Kane) Teen Titans #50 (October, 1977)
Tomahawk Dan Hunter Star-Spangled Comics #69 (June 1947)
Sandman Brute The Sandman #1 (May 1974)
Sandman Glob The Sandman #1 (May 1974)
Sandman Sandy the Golden Boy (Sandy Hawkins) Adventure Comics # 69 (December 1941)
Space Ranger Cyrll Showcase #15, (July 1958)
Star Hawkins Ilda (Robot) Strange Adventures #114 (March 1960)
Star-Spangled Kid Stripsey (Pat Dugan) Action Comics #40 (September, 1941).
Superboy Pete Ross Superboy #86 (January 1961)
Super-Girl Comet the Super-Horse (Biron) Action Comics #292 (1962)
Super-Girl Streaky the Super-Cat Action Comics #292 (1962)
Superman Bo “Bibbo” Bibbowski Adventures of Superman #428 (May 1987)
Superman Jimmy Olsen Action Comics #6 (November 1938)
Superman Krypto Adventure Comics #210 (March 1955)
Superman Super-Girl Superman #123 (August 1958)
TNT Dan the Dyna-Mite (Daniel Dunbar) World’s Finest Comics #5 (Spring 1942)
Vigilante Stuff the Chinatown Kid Action Comics #45 (February 1942)
Wonder Woman Etta Candy Sensation Comics #2 (Feb. 1942)
Wonder Woman Wonder Girl 1 (Wonder Woman as a teenager) All-Star Comics #8 (December 1941),
Wonder Woman Wonder Girl 2 (Donna Troy) The Brave and the Bold vol. 1 #60 (July 1965)
Wonder Woman Wonder Tot 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

Superhero Sidekick First Appearance
Avengers, Iron Man Edwin Jarvis (Butler) Tales of Suspense #59 (Nov 1964)
Captain America Bucky I Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941)
Captain America Bucky II (Rick Jones)  
Captain America Free Spirit Captain America vol. 1 #431 (September 1994)
Captain America Jack Flag (Jack Harrison) Captain America #434, (December 1994)
Captain Britain Jackdaw The Incredible Hulk Weekly #57 (April 1980)
Captain Marvel Falcon (Sam “Snap” Wilson) Captain America #117 (Sept. 1969)
Daredevil Foggy Nelson Daredevil v1 #1 (April 1964)
Deadpool Weasel Deadpool: The Circle Chase #1 (August 1993)
Deadpool Blind Al Deadpool #1 (Jan. 1997)
Deadpool Bob, Agent of HYDRA Cable & Deadpool #38 (May 2007)
Doc Samson Geiger Captain America vol. 1 #431 (September 1994)
Doctor Strange Wong Strange Tales #110 (Jul 1963)
Falcon Redwing (Hawk) Captain America #117 (Sept. 1969)
Franklin Richards H.E.R.B.I.E. (Robot) Fantastic Four #209 (August 1979)
Hulk Jim Wilson Incredible Hulk  v1 #131 (September, 1970)
Hulk Teen Brigade Incredible Hulk v1 #6 (March 1963)
Hulk, Captain America, Captain Marvel, Avengers Rick Jones Incredible Hulk v1 #1 (May 1962)
Human Torch Toro Human Torch Comics #2 (Fall 1940)
Inhumans Lockjaw (Dog) Fantastic Four #45, (December 1965)
Ka-Zar Zabu (Sabertooth Tiger) X-Men #10 (Mar 1965)
Fantastic Four 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)
Fantastic Four Lockjaw Puppy (Dog) Fantastic Four vol.3 #9.
Nick Fury Dum Dum Dugan Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #1 (May 1963)
Shadowcat Lockheed (Small Dragon) Uncanny X-Men #166 (Feb 1983)
Speedball Niels, Hairball (Cat) Speedball #1
Spider-Man Jackpot Free Comic Book Day Spider-Man: Swing Shift (May 2007)
Spider-Man Ms. Lion (Dog) Spider-Man And His Amazing Friends #1
Spider Girl Scarlet Spider 3 (Felicity Hardy) Spider-Girl # 46
Taskmaster, Agent X Sandi Brandenberg Taskmaster Mini-Series (2002)
Thing, Captain America Demolition Man aka D-Man Captain America #328 (April 1987)
Wolverine Jubilee Uncanny X-Men #244 (May, 1989)
Young Allies Whitewash Jones 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

1. Stripsey

2. Proty

3. Doiby Dickles

4. ?

5. Streaky?

6. Brute

7. Qwsp

8. Glob

9. Cyrll

10. Mr. Twaky Tawny

11. Zook

12. Ace the Bat Hound

13. Wing

14. ?

15. ?

16. Ilda

17. Skeets

18. ?

19. ?

20. ?

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.

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

Super pets

Teenagers

Transportation

War Heroes

Weapons

WesternHeroes

Women in Refrigerators

WorkingWomen

WereVerse Universe Baby!

DC vs. Marvel Western Heroes

marvel-westerns

This is the first in a series of posts that compare DC versus Marvel non-superheroes.  The second post compared war heroes (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/dc-vs-marvel-war-heroes/).  The third post compared working women (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2009/04/11/dc-vs-marvel-working-women/) What if DC cowboys and Native American heroes took on the Marvel cowboys and Native American heroes?  First, who are they?  The following is a list of major DC Western heroes: Arak, Ballon Buster, Bat Lash, Big Anvil, Black Bison, Brass Buttons, Captain Fear, Cinnamon, Dan Hunter, Don Caballero, El Castigo, El Diablo, El Papagayo, Firehair, Frenchie, Hawk, Son of Tomahawk, Healer Randolph, Johnny Cloud, Jonah Hex, Kaintuck Jones, Long Rifle, Lord Shilling, Madame 44, Miss Liberty, Nighthawk, Pow-wow Smith, Roving Ranger, Scalphunter, Serifan, Silver Deer, Stovepipe, Strong Bow, Super-Chief, Terra-Man, Tomahawk, Trigger Twins, Vigilante, Whip, Wildcat, Wyoming Kid. 

 

The Marvel list is a lot shorter and includes American Eagle, Annie Oakley, Apache Kid, Arizona Kid, Ghost Rider, Gunhawk, Kid Colt, Matt Slade, Phantom Rider (Modern West), Outlaw Kid, Rawhide Kid, Red Warrior, Red Wolf, Ringo Kid, Shooting Star, Tex Morgan, Tex Taylor, Texas Kid, Texas Twister, Two-Gun Kid, Western Kid, and Wyatt Earp.  When the two lists are put side by side we notice a couple of interesting differences between these two universes.

 

DC has some superhero type cowboys and Native Americans.  Super-Chief is basically a superman type Native American.  Terra-Man fights Superman.  Some Marvel Western heroes that are more superheroes than Western heroes and include American Eagle, Texas Twister, Red Wolf and Shooting Star.  The “Western superheroes” would absolutely destory the more traditional Western heroes with their superpowers so they are going to be kept off the contest roll call.

 

Marvel also has a couple of real life Western heroes in their universe unlike DC, mainly Annie Oakley and Wyatt Earp.  What both companies share is a list of very obscure characters.  Marvel Westerns are described as having a big three that include the Rawhide Kid, Two-Gun Kid and Kid Colt.  The three kids were united in the title Mighty Marvel Western that ran from 1968-76 and perhaps this was an attempt at some sort of genre synergy.

 

So a logical contest would be the big three of Marvel versus the big three of DC.  Number one on the DC list has to be Jonah Hex due to critical acclaim, popularity and longevity. 

Jonah Hex

Jonah Hex first appeared in the seventies, not the fifties and sixties like most comic book Westerns, and has managed to survive to the present.  This is largely because Jonah Hex is an anti-hero and has had more interesting plot lines and superior artists and writers than other comic book heroes.  I have written about Jonah Hex in another post (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/2008/05/19/the-lone-ranger-vs-other-fictional-gun-slingers/).

 

Number two in the DC pantheon would be Tomahawk due to longevity.  I was born in 1957 and first started reading comic books in 1964 as detailed in my Comic Book Autobiography (https://foxhugh.wordpress.com/about/comic-book-autobiography/).  I remember Tomahawk fondly.  As a kid I always saw Tomahawk as a Davey Crockett/Daniel Boone copy because he wore a coon skin hat.  The series was set interestingly in the revolutionary war rather than the Wild West but when I was young I noticed the coon skin hat more than historical details.  I actually owned an imitation Davey Crokett coon skin cap so of course I would read a series with someone with such a hat on the cover!  Daniel Boone, the Disney TV series, was also very popular when I became aware of Tomahawk.  I was surprised to find out while researching this post that the Tomahawk series lasted from 1950 to 1972 for a total of 140 issues!  This may be some sort of record for a Western comic book.  This means Tomahawk came before the Disney movies and TV series, to my surprise.  Tomahawk even appeared the 2008 series The War that Time Forgot

Bat Lash

 

Number three on the DC list is Bat Lash due to critical acclaim but not longevity.  Bat Lash won the Alley Awards in 1968 and 1969 for best Best Western Titles. Bat Lash only lasted eight issues.  I also picked Bat Lash because he actually appeared on an episode of Justice League Unlimited alongside Johan Hex in “The Once and Future Thing”.  This means Bat Lash has not totally joined the ranks of Westerns in comic book limbo.   Bat Lash was inspired in part by spaghetti Westerns of the time and I love spaghetti Westerns and this is my list!  Last but not least I have some vague memories of the issues I read as a kid and the same cannot be said of other Western fare I read when I was young.  Bat Lash is the weak link of my DC selection and I welcome comments.

 

The DC heroes face off against the kids of Marvel but Jonah Hex is missing.  The Marvel kids outnumber Bat Lash and Tomahawk, brought to the Wild West via a cave that allows time traveling or whatever, and manage to send them running for cover and they are pinned down.  Suddenly a stick of dynamite is tossed from a second story window and lands right in the middle of the Marvel kids and blows them into little pieces.  Jonah Hex is no fool.  He does not fight great gunfighters like the Marvel kids head on.  Bat Lash and Tomahawk are sickened by this dishonorable victory and ride away vowing to never associate with Jonah Hex again!  Jonah Hex could care less.

Another interesting contest would be between two supernatural Western heroes.  DC has El Diablo.  There is more than one reincarnation of Diablo but the Wild West version is host to a minor demon. El Diablo showed up alongside Bat Lash and Jonah Hex in the afore mentioned  Justice League Unlimited episode “The Once and Future Thing”. El Diablo could actually be the third most significant DC Western hero rather than Bat Lash.  The host of the demon is in a coma and the body only moves around when the demon roams the West seeking vengance. 

Phantom Rider

Marvel’s supernatural Western hero is the Ghost Rider, not the one with the bike, but the one with a horse.  The horsey Ghost Rider was retroactively renamed the Phantom Rider by Marvel but sorry the name on the comic book cover is the correct name no matter what Marvel decides later on.  The Ghost Rider wore a phosphorescent costume and was not a ghost at all.  Even minor demons can defeat fake ghosts so that match goes to El Diablo.  Now try to keep this straight, the story plot device of El Diablo is very similar to the Ghost Rider that rides a bike.  The modern Ghost Rider is also possesed by a demon.  The bike Ghost Rider is about a thousand times more famous and relevant than the horsy one but the horsey one does make an appearance of sorts in the Ghost Rider movie as the caretaker (Sam Elliot) who was a Western version of the Ghost Rider.

My other website at:

Fox Superpower List

 Other DC vs. Marvel Posts

Big Monsters

Fourth Wall Heroes

Funny Animals

Horror Hosts

Kids

Robots

Sidekicks

Spacemen

Superpets

Teenagers

Transportation

War Heroes

Weapons

Western Heroes

Women in Refrigerators

Working Women

WereVerse Universe Baby!