Mystery Men & Women:

The W's

  The Waco Kid: 1939, Mystery Men Comics #1 (Fox). The Waco Kid roams the Wild West on his horse Flash helping those who need it.
  Wambi: 1940, Jungle Comics #1 (Fiction House). Wambi is a Tarzan-esque youth in Africa who has adventures with his pal Tawn, the elephant.
  Jack Wander: 1940, Super Comics #21 (Dell). Jack Wander is a war correspondent; however, on the way to his assignment in Europe his ship is sunk by a U-boat and he's taken prisoner. After being rescued, he makes it to Britain where he can do his job. He's now motivated to do more than just report the War but to take an active part in fighting the Nazis and spies. His buddy George Melton helps.
war eagle
War Eagle: 1942, Crime Does Not Pay Comics #22 (Lev Gleason). In 1921, Bill Reed as a child came down with a type of infantile paralaysis. He undertakes an intense physical regimen giving him the upper body of an Adonis. However, his legs are still weak and he must spend much time in a wheel chair which leaves him despondent and unable to pursue a romance with Bonnie who obviously loves him. However, he unlocks the secret of winged flight and over two years of practicing jumping and landing, his legs are strengthened to that of a normal man's. He is perplexed what to do next. Wealthy, he has no need of money, parties bore him, and he wants to do something worthwhile. So, he becomes the high flying patriotic War Eagle: eagle mask, large wings, but a blue costume with red and white stripes down his torso. The year is 1929 as he starts his career taking bootleggers, bond thieves, and Germans. He has one notable foe, the Wrench that he takes on in his one published adventure.
  War Nurse: See "Pat Parker"
Bob Warren: 1940, Weird Comics #1 (Fox). "To Haiti, island of mystic voodooism, where black magic reigns and dead men walk as zombies sails Bob Warren, young doctor." He thinks the accounts are a bit exagerated until he comes across both living and un-dead zombies under the control of the Voodoo Man. He's helped by his the elderly Pedro, a faithful native servant, and the lovely Lana, a former victim of the Voodoo Man.
  Strut Warren: 1940, Fight Comics #1 (Fiction). Strut Warren is a gung-ho U.S. Marine fighting the Japanese.
  Wasp: 1939, Silver Streak Comics #1 (Lev Gleason). Burton Slade is a reporter for the Daily Free Press who moonlights as a masked mystery man. He's a little more in the pulp vein in that he just adds a mask and a cape to his business suit. The cape tends to give him a winged look, hence his name He also likes making a buzzing sound to warn/intimidate the crooks and is not above using a gun. Reports that he had a teen-age girl sidekick called the Wasplet are erroneous.
  Wasp (II): 1941, Speed Comics #12 (Harvey). Similar in appearance to the Lev Gleason Wasp, even to the point that his cape is described as being wing-like. His first story reveals little background on this pulp-ish mystery man though he was eventually revealed to be newspaper editor Dan Burton (notice the similarity in occupation and name to the Lev Gleason character as well). His pal Blackie knows his identity. In issue 13, he's described as being a super-agent charged with defending democracy and American liberties and thus a bit of a spy-buster.
  Strange Dr. Watkins: 1940, Amazing-Man Comics #13 (Centaur). Chemist Watkins is caught in a lab explosion that leaves him with the ability to disolve glass (and diamonds) with his hands. For a while, he was coerced into helping a criminal gang.
  Sparky Watts: Newspaper strip: April 29, 1940 (Frank J. Markey Syndicate); 1941, Big Shot Comics #14 (Columbia). Sparky Watts was selling magazines to raise money for college. Scientist Doc Static offers to buy some if Sparky will help him with an experiment. The doc bombards him with cosmic rays and every fan of the FF knows what happens when you do that. He becomes super strong and invulnerable, to the point he has to use a blowtorch to shave in the mornings. He doesn't put on a costume but has all sorts of adventures anyway, always with tongue fully planted in cheek.
  Fighting Rocke Wayburn: 1940, Amazing Man #13 (Centaur). Fighting Rocke Wayburn is an adventurer operating out of the South Seas. However, in his first adventure he is actually fighting for survival in the frozen North where he befriends a penguin he names Oscar. Sadly, Oscar doesn't appear after the first adventure while Wayburn travels the globe looking for adventure. Maybe he went to a zoo.
  Bill Wayne: 1940, Silver Streak Comics #3 (Lev Gleason). Cowboy Bill Wayne is a roaming Ranger, a lawman in the Old West. Because of his guns and leaving justice in his wake, he is called "the Texas Terror", a terror to criminals.
  Boxie Weaver: 1943, Blue Beetle #28 (Holyoke). Joe Palooka type strip only drawn in a more realistic style.
  Werewolf Hunter: 1942, Ranger Comics #8 (Fiction). Professor Broussard of New Orleans is a scholar who has made it his life's work to study lycanthropy and other dark arts of the occult. He stamps out all types of monsters, not just werewolves, but also vampires, various cults, mummies, etc. He uses the traditional methods such as a stake to the heart as well as his occult and alchemical knowledge, and more mundane methods such as chloroform and guns.
Billy West
Billy West: 1949, Billy West #1 (Standard). The man who will come to be known as Uncle Dan'l,comes across a wagon that's on fire. While he rescues a baby boy, the parents only live long enough to give the kid's first name "Billy". Dan'l and his partner hang the last name "West" on him. The baby cannot stand to be parted from the man, and so he ends up settling down and reforming from his outlaw ways to raise him. As an adult Billy and Uncle Dan'l end up taking jobs on the Blue Sage Ranch, helping out the beautiful ranch owner Molly Sage and her young siblings Julie and Snubby. Molly becomes Billy's love interest and is talented with a whip in her own right. NOTE: While there was a much older pulp/dime novel Old West hero by the name of Billy West written by Cleve Endicott, it should be noted that those stories were published by Street & Smith not Standard and several of the specifics such as his sidekicks were different.
  Captain Derek West: 1940, Wings Comics #4. This is a bit different as Captain West is not a character in a story, but the name of the writer. In this case, a series of stories, first with Captain Sheridan/Tim Cassidy and then other pilots are all carry the byline "Based on a famous air story by Captain Derek West."
Kit West: 1947, Cow Puncher Comics #1 (Avon). The sexy Kit West is a crack shot, skilled tracker, tough and ruthless fighter and possesses many of the other skills required of a woodsman in the mid-West of the 1800s that she uses to devastating effect whether fighting various owlhoots or renegade indians. The color of her revealing buckskin outfit was not consistent from story to story.
  Whirlwind: 1941, Daredevil Comics #2 (Lev Gleason). Boxer Terry Turner is the "Whirlwind". Early issues, his girlfriend is Bonnie. But in issue 4, his manager is beautiful movie star Jackie Wings.
  The Whisperer: Pulp: 1936, The Whisperer #1. Comics: 1940, Doc Savage Comics #1 (Street & Smith). The Whisperer is in reality the colorful ex-Army and current Police Commissioner James “Wildcat” Gordon. Hard-boiled, when regular tactics and crime fighting is hampered by things like politics and due process, he dresses all in gray and with some dental plates that change the shape of his face and make his voice no more than a whisper, he goes forth as the mysterious Whisperer, armed with a silenced gun. He's helped by the retired “Quick Trigger” Traeger and hampered by policeman Henry Bolton (who was originally up for the job of Commissioner) and the ever dapper and politically conscious Mayor Ralston. In both identities, he's hard boiled, hard hitting and deadly with his guns. NOTE: I've not seen the comics, but Street & Smith's comic versions of their pulp characters often started off somewhat close to their pulp counterparts.
  Whistler: 1942, War Stories #5 (Dell). Over occupied France, a lone Spitfire is shot down. The pilot tries to bail out of the flaming aircraft but his foot gets caught. A nearby doctor and a lisping tongue tied youth named Louie rescue the pilot and take him to the doc's house. Despite being treated, the pilot is badly burned and his face is completely bandaged up. When Gestapo come looking for the pilot, the doc hides him and Louie in the basement. The Gestapo kill the doc. When the pilot comes to, he decides to get vengeance on behalf of the man who had saved him, tracking down the agents who killed the doctor and then continuing to fight behind enemy lines. He adopts an inhuman whistling to identify and announce himself, becoming a mysterious bogey man to the Germans. Louie remains as his sidekick.
  Whistlin' Kid: Comics: 1940, Doc Savage #2 (Street & Smith). The Kid is an ace range detective for the Cattlemen's Association and when tackling a problem is prone to whistle his one song: “The Cowboy's Lament”. Created for the pulps by J. Allan Dunn under the name Emery Jackson (Pulp Writer: Twenty Years in the American Grub Street by Paul S. Powers).
white Flash
White Flash: 1940, Double Comics #1 (Gilbert). Two-fisted adventurer that fought the Mongolian mastermind Mad Mong. This comic was a series of un-authorized re-packaged comics from other publishers, so several of the cover characters like White Flash and the Green Light are just knock-offs, appearing only on the covers. In this case, the inspiration is obviously Flash Gordon.
  White Goddess: 1940, Amazing-Man Comics #18 (Centaur). This young white woman was raised by an African tribe after her parents' deaths to become a jungle queen. Tricked into leading her people in an attack against the Iron Skull, she is defeated by him. Convinced of his good intentions, the White Goddess helps him stop the real bad guys.
  White Hunters of the African Safari: 1940, Jungle Comics #1 (Fiction House). Buck, Rex, and Slim are big game hunters in Africa. Of course this means they get embroiled in all sorts of adventures.
  White Indian: 1949, Charles Starrett as the Durango Kid #1 (Magazine Enterprises). In the mid 18th Century, Peter Bradford was a rival of Daniel Brand for Lucy Wharton.  He attempts to kill Brand on his wedding day but instead kills Lucy when she jumps in front of Daniel. Vowing to avenge Lucy, Daniel pursues him into the wilderness only to run across an angry bear. He manages to kill it but collapses from his own wounds. Found by tribal chieftain Great Deer, he is nursed back to health and is trained for a year to learn the skills and ways of the Indians. His path crosses Bradford's again when Bradford leads a group of Chippewa renegades and slaughters Great Deer's tribe. With Great Deer's young son Tipi, they track and avenge themselves on Bradford. As blood brothers they continue to travel the wilderness, trying to bring about peace and justice. In one adventure, they even help General George Washington. NOTE: Written by Gardner Fox and drawn by Frank Frazetta, a quality executed strip in both writing and art.
white mask
White Mask: 1942, Champ #22 (Harvey). Steve Saxon inherits the job of publisher of the newspaper The Daily Blade, Seeing corruption and graft, he decides to become a masked crime-fighter as well with only his servant knowing his double life (Shades of the Green Hornet, this sounds a little familiar!). In his one published adventure, he takes on a robed thief called the Ghost.
white panther
White Panther: 1940, Jungle Comics #1 (Fiction House). The White Panther is the last survivor of an ancient race (of white men?) who lived in a city deep in Africa. As he is dying the Panther's father tells him that is able to tell the future and should use it to combat evil. He also has the power of super speed and possesses a winged cowl and shoes.
  The White Rider: 1940, Blue Bolt #1 (Funnies, Inc). While still a boy, Peter is orphaned when the stage coach he and his parents are on is held up. While his parents are slain, Peter is knocked into a stream which carries him into a lost valley deep in a canyon. He's pulled from the stream and protected by a white horse. An old man residing in the valley finds Peter and raises him. Because of the depth of the canyon, it has a much greater pull of gravity and Peter grows up to be incredibly strong and skilled in cowboy skills and bonds with the horse that he names Cloud. On adulthood, they leave the valley to fight crime as the White Rider and Superhorse (presumably Cloud is also stronger and faster than normal horses)..
  White Streak: See Manowar
  Race Wilkins: 1944, Red Band Comics (Enwil/Rural). Undersea explorer ventures the depths in his bathysphere. While two miles down, a superstitious shipmate destroys the cables aboard the ship that control the submersible and something grabs hold and carries the bathysphere around. Running out of air and seeing light from outside, Race ventures out and sees an inner world, populated by creatures of myth and legend: the enigmatic sphinx, centaurs, unicorns, werewolves, etc. The story just sorta ends or the reprint was incomplete, so who knows if this was all just some sort of dying dream on Race's part, or if he ever escaped from this land.
Will o'the wisp
Will o'the Wisp: 1944, Key Comics #1 (Consolidated) In 1925, DA Greg Leary smashes Boss Evans' rackets and puts him behind bars. However, he escapes from prison. He and his henchman Red Brandois break into Leary's home, kill his wife Martha and cripple him for life. In the next room, their baby daughter Gale is crying and is quieted when the crook puts a willow branch in her hand. 18 years later Gale has grown up and looks much like her mother. Reading in the papers that the police have caught Red, she goes to confront him and get a lead on Boss Evans. However, he mistakes her for her mother and dies of a heart attack. In the first issue, she calls herself Will O' the Wisp and mentions that she feels more than just courage whenever she holds the willow branch. The second issue shows her glowing when by luck she and her father find Boss Evans who kills himself. In Issue 3 the comic changed the status quo a bit of several characters. With Gale, she becomes a blonde and her adventures are more humorous in nature and take place in Central America, She now not only glows when holding the willow branch, but it seems to make her invulnerable. By the final issue, she is able to blast things as well, possibly without holding the branch (one of her hands is out of panel in the one scene where she does it so cannot really tell if she's holding the branch or not).
  Ace Williams: 1945, Crown Comics #4 (McComb).Ace Williams is "Ace of the Newsreels", a great cameraman. He shows a little more taste than Johnny Chambers in that he's sidekicked by a beautiful reporter Jessica Frances "Foggy" Gibbons also known as "the Queen of Hearts. Covering stories tends to pit them against spies, thieves, a Yellow Peril type by name of Ling Ti and even a secret city in the Grand Canyon. Not bad for a pair of reporters.
  Dan Williams: 1940, Exciting Comics #1 (Better Publications). Dan Williams is a private detective and runs his own agency: "Williams Detective Agency."
  Wally Williams, an American Boy: 1941, Popular Comics (66?) (Dell). One of the many service cadet strips of the time, Wally Williams is a flying cadet at Belmont Air School. However, a letter from buddy Ted Jackson convinces him to join the Chute Troops (paratroopers). Pretty brunette Arlene Grahame is the only girl for him. The one strip I've seen, it's fairly well done for the time artwise, the story a little prosaic though.
  Peewee Wilson: 1941, Super-Mystery Comics v2 #1 (Ace). Good-natured mountaineer from Bear Wallow Gap who joins the Army and has humorous adventures.
whiz wilson
Whiz Wilson: 1940, Sure Fire Comics #1 (Ace). This young man invents the "Futuroscope" that allows him to harness gravity, space, and time. His gal is Adelaide.
yank wilson
Yank Wilson: 1939, Fantastic Comics #1 (Fox). Yank Wilson is Q-4, a super-spy using fantastic gadgets fighting America's enemies in some near future. Eventually, it appears his adventures take place more in the present day. In issue 22, Captain Wilson gets sidekicks in fellow agents, the beautiful Bette Dana and long faced "Moosefoot" Johnson.
  Wilton of the West: 1938, Jumbo Comics #1 (Fiction House). Wilton, Wiley to his friends, is a cowboy in the old west. His sidekick is the whiskered Snorty. The strip was originally attributed to Jack Kirby.
  Winged Warriors: 1945, Lucky “7” Comics #1 (Howard Publications). Wings, Mac and Chuck are the Winged Warriors, the three musketeers of the air, fighting the War and chasing the girls. The story takes place 5 years earlier in London and places them in Calcutta in 1945. Mac has a mustache, otherwise not much effort to differentiate the three.
  Lucky Wings: 1946, Atomic Comics #2 (Green). "Lucky" Wings is a resourceful pretty blonde reporter and columnist for the Bington Ledger whose pursuits of stories has her crossing gangsters and racketeers. Among her skills, she is an able pilot and singer. Her would-be boyfriend is Denny/Danny Blake. NOTE: Atomic Comics featured some unauthorized reprints early in its run and I've only read issues 1 & 4, so not sure if it was here or elsewhere the strip originated
Don Winslow: 1934 (Bell Syndicate). Don Winslow is a WW1 veteran and a member of Naval Intelligence, thus given assignments and missions over the world tackling large menaces. His assistant is the chubby Lt. Red Pennington, his girlfriend is Mercedes Colby, the daughter of his boss Admiral Colby. Winslow took onn villains with names like the Scorpion, a bald, cigar-smoking head of the secret organization, Scorpia, bent on world conquest; Dr. Centaur, Scorpion's scientist with his own plans for grandeur; the "sinister fakir" the Spider; the Hawk, a magician and warlord; the Crocodile, who had a floating Sky City island in the South Pacific; Dr. Q, who planned to destroy the Panama Canal; and the Dwarf with his main agents and assassins, the Duchess and Dr. Thor. Note: He was originally a comic strip character. His strip started 1934 and was reprinted in Crackajack Funnies before moving to Fawcett with all new stories as well as appearing in two movie serials. Which makes him one of the biggest stars of the 1940s who is all but forgotten today.
woman in red
Woman In Red: 1940, Thrilling Comics 2 (Better). One of the earliest masked women, Police Detective Peggy Allen, aka the Woman in Red, helped the police solving tough crimes. Unlike other heroes, the police commissioner was aware of her dual identity and would send cases her way. As the Woman in Red, Peggy carried and used a gun.
wonder man
Wonder Man (I): 1939, Wonder Comics #1 (Fox). Fred Carson is given a magic ring as a gift from an old yogi to battle all evil "in the name of humanity and justice". Now when the need arises he "removes his outer garments and becomes the Wonder Man, mightiest human on Earth." Endowed with "Herculean powers," Carson has superhuman strength enough to smash through solid walls, could leap over tall buildings in a single bound, deflect bullets with his hands, and outrun a train if need be. In his first and only case, Wonder Man stops a hospital from being bombed by anarchists ("Bomb hospitals, will you? I'm going to teach you a lesson!"). Unfortunately, Fred Carson's boss at the International Broadcasting Company, the gruff Mr. Hastings, has no use for the meek Fred, nor does Mr. Hastings' daughter Brenda, who is a nurse at the hospital Wonder Man saves. Headstrong and spoiled, nonetheless the girl of Carson's dreams, Brenda is engaged to the rich stuffy playboy Reggie Berold, who thinks Wonder Man is a threat!
  Wonder Man (II): See Mystico.
Wonderman (III): 1944-48. Complete Book of Comics and Funnies #1 (Better). Brad Spencer gains super-powers after accidentally being exposed to a special electrical current. A super-genius, he has access to advanced technologies and fights crime on other planets as well as at home. He is helped by his girlfriend Carol Paige who sometimes puts on a mask and goes by Wondergirl and on occasion by Roboroy, a robot. She uses a compensator belt which allows them to travel through space without being disintegrated. NOTE: The first several stories made up a serialized story but after the first story were printed out of order making for a very disjointed read (such as the second story refers to events occurring in the fourth).
Wraith: 1941, Mystery Man #27 (Fox). Gary and his bother are both cops and gunned down by Silky Weaver and his gang of crooks. Gary swore to get revenge even from the grave… which he does as the Wraith. He is only able to walk the Earth between midnight and dawn either as the Wraith and Gary Kennedy. In his after-death, he finds friends and a possible romance in the siblings Irene and Larry. Even though his spirit can become solid and take on the form of Gary Kennedy, his real body still resides in the grave as shown in one adventure where his body is stolen for a crime scheme and he ends up possessing his own body to scare the crooks. Another uncle (last name of Coster this time) of Irene and Larry is killed and leaves them a mine.
  Jack Wright: 1940, Wings Comics #1 (Fiction). A young air cadet who trains to fly fight American airplanes aka "warbirds". Strip was used to show the training American pilots go through, after a few issues he graduates as 2nd Lieutenant of the American Air Corps and presumably goes off to War.
Penny Wright: 1939, Champion Comics #3 (Harvey). Penny Wright is a plucky reporter and travels around the world to exotic locales like Paris and Central America for a story. She's helped by the burly detective Gus Pincher in Central America. They pursue bank robber Juan Santos who is leading a revolution in the hills.
  Roger Wright: 1947, A-1 #8 (Magazine Enterprises). Roger is formerly a flier for Army Air Force but finds himself a civilian again after the War.  Still enamored with his life in the sky, he forms S.O.S. Fighters, Inc, to fly to and handle any emergency anywhere. He is helped by former A.A.F grease-monkey Chips Flye.