Mystery Men & Women:

The A's

  Abdallah: 1937, Funny Pages vol 2 #3/14 (Comic Magazines Co/ Centaur/ Chesler). Abdallah is a mighty fighter and horseman in his father's army in some undisclosed country and time. With his father's blessing, he travels, looking for adventure and goes to the Magic City of King Barbar. He promptly falls in love with the Princess Ahloo and must prove to her father his courage. He's given the quest to descend into a valley of death, ruled by prehistoric monsters. Slaying such a beast proves his love.
  Ace and Deuce: 1937, Star Rangers #1 (Ultem/Chesler/Centaur). Ace and Deuce run a dude ranch in the modern American west. This still brings them into various adventures and conflicts with criminals.
  Ace of the Newsreels: see "Ace Williams" under "W".
  Adventure, Incorporated: 1941, Bang-Up #1 (Progressive). John Pierce and his business partner Buck "Bud" White are "Adventure, Incorporated," and will do "any job, anywhere, any time. We specialize in work others cannot do, in work others fear to do" which takes them all over the world. John and Buck/Bud have no powers but are good at the skills all crimefighters need ala fighting, shooting, and flying. John has dark hair and wears dark suits while Buck is Blonde and seems to like to dress in all white judging by the first issue. Apparently, halfway through the story, the writer forgot Buck's name and started calling him Bud.
Air Man: 1940, Keen Detective Funnies #23 (Centaur). When Drake Steven's father Professor Claude Stevens, a famed ornithologist, is murdered and he gets nowhere with the police, Drake puts together a costume and goes hunting the criminals as Air Man. His costume consists of a pair of gas-filled wings, a jet-pack, and he carries bombs as well as guns.
  Airboy: Nov. 1941, Air Fighters Comics #2 (Hillman). Davy Nelson's father was a government scientist and whose friend, Martier the monk, designed an unusual bat-winged plane. Yet, the plane crashes, killing his friend. Davy fixes the plane, names it "Birdie" and uses it against tthe Axis powers during the war and other evils afterwards while wearing the costume of Martier, which was handed down through generations since the French Revolution. One of the greatest comic book aviation heroes
Airmale: 1943, Prize Comics #34 (Prize). Scientist Kenneth Stevens discovers he is lighter than air after a chemical he was working on enters a cut on his hand. Developing a gravity control device, he embarks on a career as Airmale. When his nephew Bobby is sent to live with him, he takes him into confidence and treats him with the same chemical. Bobby adopts a similar costume and becomes Stampy.
 

Air Patrol: 1937, Star Ranger #1 (Centaur/Chesler). The Air Patrol is active along the border of the US and Mexico. The Patrol is led by pilot Lieutenant Ted Thomson facing off against bandits and smugglers.

 

Air Rover: 1945, Golden Lad #1 (Spark). The Air Rover is a WWII veteran named Johnny Hopper. Bored, he devises a special plane in order to go find adventure and little seen places such as when he encounters the "Sword Women", a tribe of Amazons.

  Air-Sub "DX": 1940, Amazing Mystery Funnies v2 n3 (Centaur). Air-Sub "DX" is one of those marvelous golden-age multipurpose vehicles, in this case a flying submarine of the future armed with a dissolving gun. is actually a flying submarine. It is desired by Curly, a despot of an undersea country but he's continually foiled by the pilot and inventor of the sub, Professor Gray, his lovely daughter Rita and hunky assistant Tim. Tim eventually wears something similar to a costume and becomes acting captain of the sub. Strip is done by Carl Burgos of Human Torch fame.
 

Air Warden Cadets: 1941 Army and Navy Comics #3 (Street and Smit). The Cadets are a group of adventurous boys including Hank Prelton and Biff Morgan protecting the Home Front from spies, saboteurs and such. Things take a strange turn for them when Biff gets the Chronogen Belt and is able to travel through time.

Ajax, the Sun Man: 1940, Doc Savage Comics #2 (Street & Smith). Jim Wilson is the assistant of Dr. Elbe, and the pair are preparing to be the first men to go to Venus. However, a rival sabotages their rocketship and it goes off course to the sun. Instead of dying, Wilson is covered by "zero acid" from the rocket fuel which causes his body to change and adapt to the sun, so he comes back to Earth as a superman with the powers of the sun. After getting revenge on the man to cause the accident, He uses his various heat powers to fight crime as Ajax and in his new job as Jim Wilson, policeman. His powers include the ability to generate great heat, invulnerable to heat (and explosions and bullets), flight, and super strength. Although his powers can be sapped by extreme cold and in some cases, powerless at night

Alabam: 1947, Cow Puncher Comics #1 (Avon). When the elder sheriff of Broken Creek John Hyler is gunned down bymurderer Mike Mantee, his nephew leaves the plains of Texas and comes to town to become the new sheriff. Alabam is a tough fighter and a sharp shooter, but tends to not be the shoot first, ask questions later type to his grief-stricken Aunt Hilda's chagrin. Broken by grief, his Aunt Hilda is gunned down by the outlaw when trying to provoke him so that Abalam would shoot the man down. Which he promptly does. An early strip by Joe Kubert.

 

  Don Alden: 1944, Super-Magician Comics v3n4 (Street and Smith). Don Alden is foreman for the All-American Steel Corporation and with 1200 other employees, they work for over a year to develop a vehicle that he invented: the "Raider-Rover" which travels air, sea and land and is armored as well. He captains the vehicle with a trusted crew and manage to sink a German Sub in the one published appearance.
  Jack & Judy Alden: 1942, C-M-O Comics #1 (Centuar). The lad Jack (age 13), his sister Judy (15) and their cousin Dan Wilkens (16) solve mysteries. The first issue of this comic doubled as a catalogue, listing clothes and accessories worn by the various characters.
 

Alexander: 1942, Super-Magician Comics #7 (Street and Smith). Alexander is an escape artist, billed as “the handcuff king” of Harper’s Five Star Carnival. He claims that “no lock can hold me.” He also proves to be a good detective, solving a murder in his one published appearance.

  Alias the Dragon: Unlike the Alias the Spider strip, this is his whole superhero name. A police scientist, he uses knowledge gained at the police station and his own personal flame thrower to tackle the crooks. He's not above leaving them dead.
Alias X: 1941, Captain Fearless #1 (Holyoke). In the first story, he's already been active for a year, capturing criminals and leaving a calling card saying "With compliments, Alias X". With a public wanting his story, he comes forward the publisher of the Gazette and the Commissioner, and tells how he was a man for the sake of the story named Joe Smith, a taxi driver in a small mid-west town, when he finds himself arrested and convicted for being the driver of some bank robbers who also killed the guard. He spends two years in jail before he escapes with 5 other convicts! He then devotes his time to mastering disguise and able to track down the real killers. But, the day he captures them, he'll come clean and reveal his real identity. NOTE: Ok, the story has a few holes that X tells them. He takes pains not to give his real name or the name of the town he was from, but he tells the name of the murdered man and details of the crime and his conviction. And, why is he here looking for the gang instead of the town that it happened?
 

Perry Allen: 1943, Headline Comics #1 (Prize). Perry Allen and friend Don Powers are American adventurers travelling about the Amazon River. To survive, they must face natives, dangerous animals and even Germans.

Amazing Man: 1939, Amazing Man #5 (Centaur). Orphan John Aman was chosen as a child during the days of WW1 by the Tibetan Council of Seven to be raised and trained to mental and physical perfection; he gained superhuman strength, amazing control of his body, and incredible mental powers (including a low level of telepathy). Also, through the intervention of a woman from the outside world, he was injected with a serum that allowed him to become a green mist (at times, this was also his super-hero moniker). He had to pass some grueling tests which include fighting a cobra using only his teeth, survive a knife being thrown into his throat among others. When he turns 25 he is deemed ready leave the lamasary to fight crime in the larger world. For reasons never fully explained, one of the lamasery's top monks known only as the Great Question opposed Amazing Man's training. He had tried to discredit Amazing Man while he was growing up but had failed. Once Amazing Man was released into the outside world, the Great Question continued to try to discredit him, using an amazing variety of criminals under his control as well as mentally controlling Amazing Man at some times. In issue #11, Amazing Man returned to the lamasery and underwent a purifying fire which "cured" him of his more sinful emotions ie much of his more bloodthirsty tendancies. It also made him immune to the Great Question's mind control. It's at this time he is given the shield & harness that makes up his costume. They are indestructible so serve as some armor as well as a reminder of who he is. The seal also negates the need for routine injections to become the Green Mist, allowing him to internalize this power. It was following this that he became friends with Zona Henderson, who is described as thinking three times as fast as anyone else. Whether this is meant as a literal ability or just some hyperbole is unclear. In May, 1941 Stars and Stripes #2, it is said that the Council of 12 (guess they have grown since the early days) will give Zona powers to help Aman. However, the following issue has her still normal. In issue 23 of Amazing Man Comics (later in 1941) Zona doesn't show powers but her brother Tommy gets some. The Great Question (now called Mr. Que, Que, the Great Que) has grown so powerful with his armies, science and black magic and now allied with the Nazis, Amazing Man telepathically calls on his friend Nika, head of the mystic Council of 12 to grant him more power. Unknown to him, Zona's visiting brother is secretly watching and he receives a portion of that power and becomes Amazing Man's sidekick. Both are able to fly at this point.

Created by Will Everett, Amazing Man had all the violent and angry tendancies that Namor became known for. Modern heroes Iron Fist and Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt were based on this golden-age hero.

amazona
Amazona: 1940, Planet Comics #3 (Fiction). Blake Manners is the sole survivor of an arctic expedition and he discovers the remnants of an ancient race of super-humans that had otherwise perished during the last Ice Age. When he returns to America, it's with the beautiful and super-strong and tough Amazona who'd fallen in love with the reporter.
 

Commodore Ambord: 1940, Hyper Mystery Comics #1 (Hyper Publications). Commodore Ambord is an extraordinary explorer. With his aides Lt. Brundage and the biologist Prof. Hudker they decide to travel on his tramp steamer Katy to Maiden Island to look into the mystery of Werdolfs (or Weredolfs), men who supposedly can transform themselves and others into goats. Only interested in knowledge, Ambord doesn't seem interested in righting the various abuses they see or hear about. In fact, they seem to take the scoundrel and brutal Sivad's account of things at face value.

 

Sergeant Manuel American:1942, War Stories #6 (Dell). Sergeant Manuel Luis Avillo is the "great grandson of a jungle chieftain" as well as part of the 59th Fillipino Scout Regiment in Manilla. He and his unit are waging a guerrilla war against the Japanese, taking no prisoners.

American Ace: 1939, Motion Picture Funnies Weekly (Funnies, Inc). Perry Webb is the American Ace, an American adventurer and ace pilot that gets involved in a war between two small European countries: Attania and Castile d'Or. Note: Of special interest, this character was called American Ace appearing in Motion Picture Funnies Weekly (1939) which was printed but never published as a give-away. What's really unusual is the publisher of that book was Funnies, Inc, a company formed by several of the Centaur staff including Will Everett and Carl Burgos. Thus, that particular book also had the first appearance of Namor, the Sub-Mariner. In addition to this failed experiment, they were hired to produce strips for Marvel Comics #1 which would have an expanded version of Namor's story in Marvel Comics #1. American Ace himself would also appear in Marvel Comics #2 and 3 before getting the name change to Lt. Lank and moving to Centaur. Thus American Ace/Lt. Lank had what seems to be 4 appearances total yet at 3 different companies.
American Crusader: 1941, Thrilling Comics #19 (Better Publications). Meek and somewhat distracted Professor Archibald Masters interupts an "atom smasher" experiment and is exposed to radiation. When he later wakes up, he finds that he feels invigorated. Turns out, he's charged with superpowers (strength, flight, invulnerability). He then puts on a patriotic costume and fights crime, while maintaining his "Clark Kent" demeanor to keep his id a secret from would-be girlfriend Jane Peters. He would take on a youth named Mike as a partner when he gained superpowers through an experiment.

American Eagle: 1942, America's Best Comics #2, 6,7,10-12,14 (Better). Timid scientist Tom Standish is an assistant to Dr. Wolfe who has uncovered and corked a serum with the secret of an eagle's strength and bouancy. He leaves it to Tom to put away while he goes on an errand. Accidentally breaking the test-tube, Tom notices it imparted a strange light to a cathode. Putting the cathode in a projector, it emits a black light ray and makes Tom feel funny. He then discovers Wolfe is in the employ of the Nazis and they throw him off the mountain. Tom is surprised to find that he not only survived but is super-strong and can fly. In New York, he's saved from being run over by a super-strong boy named Bud Pierce who tosses the car to one side. The explanation for his strength is that Bud is the son of a carnival strong man. Tom puts together a costume to further pursue Dr. Wolfe and Bud helps out and so becomes his sidekick the Eaglet. The Eagle's costume was blue (sometimes purple) with red and white stripes. In his first appearance, his boots gloves and capes were reminiscent of Batman! American Eagle's longest run was in Exciting Comics: 22-47 except issues 28 & 39. It was here, starting with issue 22 in 1942 that Bud became the Eaglet. In his first adventure, the Eagle doesn't seem able to fly or is unaware of the ability until he puts on the costume making it unclear whether the flight is part of him or the costume.

 

Dexter Ames: 1940, Planet Comics #6 (Fiction House). Dexter Ames is captain of the space ship Discover. While his first appearance has him fighting Neptunian pirates, life takes a strange turn starting in his second appearance when he and his crew find themselves caught in a time-warp sending them to the distant past, first to fight the Mongol hordes of Attila the Hun and then cavemen in the third and last published adventure. If he will ever be seen again, only time will tell. Note: The three Ames stories were text stories in the comic. The accompanying artwork was sometimes recycled from other stories (such as in issue 7 used a panel of another character in a different story in issue 6).

 

Anzac Hawks: 1941, Rangers of Freedom #1 (Fiction House).. The Anzac Hawks are an English trio of young adults, Tommy and Betty Armitage (who live with their father who designs planes and such for the government), and Roy Blake living on a plantation on the north coast of Australia.Wishing to do their part for the War, they make use of autogyro outfitted with pontoons that the Armitages' father to search for and destroy German raiders and spies.

 

Arabian Knight: 1945, Treasure Comics #2 (Prize). In ancient Bagdad, the Arabian Knight is friend and confidant of Prince Haroun al Raschid. When the prince is betrayed and forced to flee, the Knight becomes the "Thief of Bagdad" to restore him. From there he has other adventures, drawn from the tales of "The Arabian Nights" such as it is he who finds a lamp with a djinn in it.

 

Ace Archer: 1940, Sky Blazers #1 (Hawley). Ace is is your typical freelance pilot hero. He's sidekicked by Bucko an organ-grinder's monkey who is naturally above average intelligence, understanding and obeying Ace's orders. In his two part adventure, he gets the job of transporting gold and runs afoul of indians working for a pilot of an invisible plane! The pilot is apparently the developer of an invisible paint, but his identity goes undiscovered as he's ultimately shot down and the plane crashes and burns.

 

Argus, Inc: 1945, Lucky 7 Comics #1 (Howard Publications). This private detective agency sets their sights a little more realistic than most with: “Have you a problem? Have you lost your ration-book? Have your gasoline coupons been stolen? Have you been victimized by blackmailers? Bring your problems to Nick Proust and Al Blemer who solve anything. Satisfaction guaranteed. Argus, Inc.”

  Arizona the Flying Cowboy: 1940, Sky Blazers #1 (Hawley). Jack "Arizona" Bates inherited a 30,000 acre ranch and uses his piloting skills to run it and fight off trouble.
 

Arizona Kid: 1937, The Comics #1 (Dell) The Arizona Kid is a typical free roaming cowboy hero taking on crooks and thieves of all types. He's good with guns in both hands.

 

Armstrong, Jack: Radio: 1933. Comics: 1947, Jack Armstrong Magazine #1 (Parents' Magazine Press). Jack Armstrong is the perfect all around athletic, mentally sound American lad. When he's not an athlete at Hudson High School, which seems often the case, he travels around the world with girlfriend Betty Fairfield, his best friend and her brother Billy, industrialist Uncle Jim Fairfield as well as criminologist and hero in his own right Vic Hardy. Their regular foe is Professor Proteus, a super-disguise artist and who sells his talents to any who will pay. In 1951, he finally graduates from high school and becomes a government agent on the radio show and it gets renamed "Armstrong of the SBI". Note: Same year as the comic, Jack made it into a movie serial.  He later made it into a Big Little Book. Supposedly, a shelved animated tv pilot got re-worked into Johnny Quest.

 

Bert Arnold: 1940, Sky Blazers #2 (Hawley). Bert Arnold is the payroll flyer for the Tampico Oil. Co. He's helped by Alvarez, his mechanic, and Mex, his faithful dog and in their one published adventure, he fights oil fires and hostile Indians. Just another day at the office.

Arrow: 1938, Funny Pages v2 #10 (Centaur). Ralph Payne puts on a costume and use his incredible archery skills to fight the bad guys when he feels he cannot do enough as a U.S. Intelligence agent. The Arrow is the first of comics' archery based mysterymen.

In the early stories, his identity is kept secret though he's wealthy enough to have a butler and lives in New York. His identity is figured out and known by Inspector Carter of the Chicago police.

  Astron: 1941, Doc Savage # 5 (Street & Smith.) On a secret jungle isle, Astron the Crocodile Queen is custodian of Cleopatra's Flame of Eternal Youth. There, she awaits for her Queen's return and is discovered by patrol pilot Cassidy, "the man of the sky" with whom she falls in love. She uses her power over the crocodiles to aide him and the Allies against the Nazis when they discovered her secret isle.
Atlas: Dec. 1941, Choice Comics #1 (Great Publications). Jim Randall is an office clerk and your typical 90 lb weakling. After a disastrous attempt at trying to stop his date's kid brother from getting beat up, he ends up getting pummelled himself. He's later visited by Atlas, the "Greek God of Strength" who feels sympathy for Randall and teaches him his "strange, secret exercises." Using the exercises Randall gains super strength and agility which he then uses to fight crime, as commanded by Atlas.

Atom Wizard: 1947, X-Venture #1 (Victory Magazine). “Professor Winthrop Lane creates to his astonishment a new element–which as an explosive makes even plutonium obsolete. An atom so unstable that it requires no neutron to split it–but merely a jolt.” After he masters the power, he takes his son into his confidence. He sprays him with a formula that will make him proof to the radiation, but before he can spray himself and continue, crooks burst in. Professor Lane blows everything up by tossing a concentration of the atoms, and only his son survives the devastation, though even he is left a bit loopy afterwards. He then has to contend with some Nazis that want to use it to re-start and win the War.

What other powers he has if any are unrevealed. He doesn't wear the costume except for the first and last panels. Even his surviving the atomic explosions may be limited, requiring fresh coverings of the formula.

  Atom Wizard II: 1947, X-Venture #2 (Victory Magazine). Mr. Mars is the Atom Wizard, he uses his knowledge of Atomic energy to fight against those that would use science against mankind. He has no inherent powers nor wears a costume. In his one adventure, he must go up against Marcia Maxwell, who uses her father's discoveries of "thought beings" and gigantic robots, to kill and continue his experiments. The robots are powered by human brains, while the thought beings take over the vacant human bodies. NOTE: The second issue of this comic had two features with the same name as in the first (Mystery Shadow being the other), but featuring different characters. One could stretch the point and say that Mr. Mars is Drew Lane living under a new name.
  Atoma: 1947, Joe Palooka Comics #15 (Harvey). In the year 1946, boy scientist Dusty Rhodes is fooling around with some chemicals and the resulting explosion sends him to the year 2446. Atoma is an historian and tells him that he discovered the "time element" and he'd write about it and his adventures in the future in his memoirs when he got back to his own time. She shows him the City of Peace, covered by an atomic bomb proof dome that keeps the temperature an even 72.6 degrees, how they have large humanoid robots that are mobile atomic energy plants, that machines and such have made life so efficient, people only work an hour a day. Likewise people can live for centuries, 250 years old is considered young-ish, but when they get that old, apparently they can just disintegrate or fall apart at any time. Things aren't perfect though, as only a few people actually have freedom, the governor is a tyrant "like Hitler". Atoma wears a white flying suit (white mini skirt and long sleeved blouse with red batwings whose ribs are atomic jets), goggles and cowl that has red flanges on the side of the head.
Atoman: 1946, Atoman #1 (Spark Publications). Scientist Barry Dale worked with the Manhattan Project and after the war the Atomic Institute. When he is thrown from a tall building after refusing to work for some criminals who want to sell the secrets of atomic energy to the highest bidder, he somehow survives the fall. He theorizes that prolonged exposure to radioactive materials worked with the stress of the near-death experience have made him an atomic man, a human atom-bomb. Naturally, he puts on a costume to fight crime. In addition to the stardard super strength, flight, speed, and invulnerability, he also has "atomic vision," and can heat his body to the point that he can weld metal with his bare hands.
Atomic Man: 1945, Headline Comics #16 (Prize Publications). Adam Mann is caught in a "weird chemical accident" while working with U-235. Since this is a comic book, instead of killing him through radiation poisoning or cancer he instead gains atomic based powers that he uses to covertly fight crime and and the new evil, Communism. His powers include super strength, flight, and firing energy from his right hand. He wears a lead glove over his hand to control his power, and removes the glove to activate them.
Atomic Thunderbolt: 1946, Atomic Thunderbolt #1 (Regor Company). William "Willy the Wharf Rat" Burns suffered brain damage from a Nazi torpedo during the War and is chosen by Professor Josiah Rhonne as a human guinea pig. Rhonne is looking for a way to change a person's basic atomic structure to them immune to radiation and nuclear explosions, rendering atomic bombs and fear of atomic warfare moot. An explosion in the lab transforms Willy into the Atomic Thunderbolt, curing his brain damage and giving him fantastic powers. Rhonne and his laboratory on the other hand are utterly destroyed. He is bulletproof, can fly and fire energy blasts. He actually just calls himself "Thunderbolt".
auro
Auro: 1940, Planet Comics #1 (Fiction House). Auro is orphaned when his parents Prof. and Mrs. John Hardwich crash their spaceship in the wild jungles on the planet Neptune. Auro, grows up to have Tarzan-like adventures in the alien jungles, eventually becoming "Lord of Jupiter". As is the wont of many of the strips in Planet Comics, the character would have a schizophrenic history. He'd eventually adopt a costume of sorts, flying between the various planets of the solar system. In an adventure, somehow an Earthman named Chet Eddison would come to live inside Auro, experiencing what Auro does and helping at times by exerting some of his will on Auro though Auro seemed unaware of his help and influence. The costume in #44 is similar to the one shown here but with a winged cowl, a yellow cape and a lightning bolt instead of a triangle on his chest.
  Avenger I: 1939, The Avenger #1 (Street & Smith). Richard Henry Benson is on a flight from which his wife and daughter disappear and everybody claims he had boarded alone. The shock turns his hair white and renders his face expressionless but which he can now mold almost like putty into resembling anyone he so chooses. A millionaire, adventurer and extremely knowledgeable in enough areas to give Doc Savage a run for his money, he turns his talents and resources into solving his family's disappearance and turn the tables on all crookdom. He meets up with other like-minded individuals and forms Justice, Inc. Originally a pulp hero, he also made the transition to comics fairly intact starting in Shadow Comics v2n1.
 

Avenger II: 1941, The Avenger (Street & Smith). On radio, the Avenger was changed substantially enough to constitute a new character. Scientist Jim Brandon comes up with two inventions: one allows him to pick up thought flashes and the other a capsule that grants him invisibility. He's helped by Fern Collier who knows his secret.

Avenger III: 1944, Captain Flight #1 (Four Star). When antique store owner Tom Dash's young daughter is killed by gangsters, he vows a war on crime. To this end, he spends a year in intensive training in boxing, jiu jitsu, marksmanship in guns and knives and the art of disguise until he excels at all. He often operates in disguise, but he also once wore a red cape.
  Avenger IV: 1951, Space Detective #1 (Avon). At some point in the future, philanthropist Rod Hathaway becomes the hero Avenger. His secretary Dot helps him as Teena.