Abdul the Arab: 1939, Smash Comics #1 (Quality). Abdul, son of Ali Bey, was a handsome young Arabic man who operated out of Bagdad and friendly to British rule. Thus willing to undertake missions that would pit him against his own people if necessary to maintain peace. Aided by his close friend Hassan. A wonderfully rendered strip with a minority hero.
Ace of Space: 1940, Feature Comics #38 (Quality). Millionaire sportsman Ace Egan is flying his plane back to his estate when he sees a space-ship crash landing on his property. When he investigates, a giant creature comes out of the ship, warning of an impending invasion by the Slogons and his own imminent death due to an inability to breathe Earth’s atmosphere. Before he dies, he instructs Ace to take his belt upon which the creature shrinks to more human proportions. When he puts on the belt, Ace grows to gigantic size, finds his mind flooded with knowledge, and has Superman-like powers such as able to leap vast distances and supervision. He rushes the creature to the hospital where it later dies and returns to the spaceship which he now knows how to operate and turn invisible. When the Slogons launch their attack, he uses the ship and his knowledge to repel them. Removing the belt returns him back to normal. He decides to use the belt and ship to do good. Interesting just how much of this origin story anticipates the silver-age Green Lantern.
Bob Allen: 1949, Crack Western #63. Bob Allen is a tough U.S. Marshal and rides the horse Ranger.
Arizona Ames: 1949, Crack Western #63. Arizona Ames is a wandering cowboy and troubleshooter, drawn to helping out those in trouble. He's heped by a lad known as Spurs.
Archie Atkins: 1941, Military Comics #1. British Desert Scout of North Africa, Archie Atkins is fighting Fascist forces in Libya. He is aided by fellow soldier Jack Bailey, native guide Achmed and the goat Billy.
Barracuda: 1941, Military Comics #4. The Barracuda is a British submarine commanded by 1st Lt. Skiff Wilkins, a descendent of Sir Francis Drake.
Barker: 1944, National Comics #42. “Carnie” Calahan is a barker for Colonel Lane's Circus, but being comics, this means the fast talker gets in all sorts of adventures. He's helped by other circus folk: cigar smoking midget Major Midge, the fat lady Lena, and strong man Tiny Tim.
Betty Bates: 1940, Hit Comics #4. Betty is a "Lady-at-Law" aka a lawyer. She's a good detective, a good scrapper when need be as well as a good shot with the small automatic she keeps on her person. More importantly, she's a good lawyer. She is helped by Fred Conlin who does a bit of the legwork for her.
Bill the Magnificent: 1943, Hit Comics #25. Bill Hanson is your average red-headed American young man except for one particular specialty. When he utters the phrase “Jeepers Creepers!” (which is quite often as it seems his favorite exclamation) he becomes “magnificent” ie gains confidence, strength, speed, and toughness. However, a blow to the head restores him back to normal. The catch is that he's unaware of this and remembers nothing that he does during this time. Although, his girlfriend Peggy is aware of what happens to him. NOTE: Fox's second Green Mask also had a hero where a youth becomes the hero without realizing it. There's also a similarity to DC's earlier Johnny Thunder who called on his magic thunderbolt genie by saying the phrase Cei-U or phonetically “say you” but was originally unaware of what the magic word was or even exactly what was happening beyond his wishes would come true for a brief period of time.
Black Condor: 1940, Crack Comics #1. Richard Grey is orphaned when his parents are killed on an archaeological dig in Mongolia by Gali Kan and his bandit raiders. The baby is rescued by a condor and raised with her young who by observation learns how to fly and gains other bird-like traits like superb vision. Older, he falls in with Father Pierre who teaches him of civilization and its ways before he too is killed by Gali Kan. Grey uses his unique skills to put an end to Gali Kan and then heads to the States.
Along the way he gets a black ray gun that can fire destructive blasts and for awhile operates as a superhero with no real secret identity. It's in the eleventh issue that he secretly takes over the role of the murdered Senator Thomas Wright with only Wright's fiancee Wendy Foster's father knowing the truth.
Black X: 1938, Feature Funnies #13. Black X (aka Black Ace) is a debonair appearing agent with his monocle and pencil-thin mustache. Under that cultured appearance though is a man that's deadly and tough as nails. He's aided by his Hindu Indian companion Batu. He has a love-hate enemy in Madame Doom. Created by Will Eisner.
Bruce Blackburn: see Destroying Demon.
Blackhawk: 1941, Military Comics #1. Poland, 1939, and the Nazis are pushing back the armies of the Polish but their air force is still resisting. Captain Von Tepp leads his Butcher Squadron and slowly destroys the remaining planes until a sole black plane is alone, outflying his attackers but eventually, it too is forced down. In an effort to finish him off Von Tepp bombs the area which includes a farmhouse. The house belonging to a Jack and Connie, the pilot's brother and sister. The Un-named pilot vows vengeance and thus Blackhawk is born. In the first issue, it talks about how over the course of months he searched for Von Tepp, asking every German officer or spy he could get his hands on. By this point, he had put together his own squad though they aren't fleshed out. However, we do get the Blackhawk song, designed to strike terror into the hearts of their prey, "Over land over sea, we fight to make men free, of danger we don't care… we're Blackhawks!" Also revealed is Blackhawk island, their secret base. He kills Von Tepp in an aerial duel. Slowly, over time, the squad is filled out and revealed, originally all either from conquered countries or motivated by lost loved ones: there's Chop Chop, Olaf, Stanislaus, Andre, Chuck, Hendrickson, Boris. For many of the early issues, Andre was named long enough to kill him off and then bring him back several issues later( see "Man in the Iron Mask" below). There was another Blackhawk that looked like Andre in scenes in between those appearances. Otherwise, it was mostly Chop Chop who was introduced as a friend to Miss Anne, the Red Cross nurse that Blackhawk rescued in his first appearance. She appeared the second time long enough to introduce Chop Chop. During those early issues, Olaf was the most frequently identified and prominent Blackhawk, played as big, strong, and loyal if not exactly swift on the uptake. All the Blackhawks are extremely capable fliers, able to execute complex maneuvers.
Blaze Barton: 1940, Hit Comics #1. In the future year of 3000, Professor Solis predicts that the Earth's orbit will actually take it closer to the sun and doom life if drastic measures aren't taken. At first, the world's leaders scoff his findings until the heat does start increasing and people start dying. Solis has built his own city, proof against the heat and all the world's knowledge and most influential citizens are taken. The world is cracked open and new tropical jungles and strange peoples from beneath the earth immune to the heat now populate the surface. Into this ventures the adventurer Blaze Barton, Professor Solis and Blaze's girlfriend Betty, the professor's daughter, to help the remnants of humanity to wage war against the Core-men. Succeeding that in the second issue, they set out to explore and rebuild the Earth. By issue 5, several years have passed and mankind has again conquered the surface with new cities and Blaze and a girl named "Teddy" (a re-named/mis-named Betty) head to outer-space.
Blimpy: 1943, Feature Comics #64. Blimpy the Bungling Buddha was originally a statue in a museum. One day Tabby Tyler was reading Greek myths, specifically the story of Pygmalion. He thinks it's all hooey and sets out to prove it by trying out the magic words on a statue himself. And thus, a large blue buddha statue comes to life and hijinks follow. A humor strip, Blimpy even breaks the fourth wall in one adventure, when he must stop an imposter Blimpy from using his strip to commit sabotage.
Blue Tracer: 1941, Military Comics #1. Captain Wild Bill Dunn is an American engineer and the last survivor of a British scouting division that was ambushed in Ethiopia. He's found by a group of natives accompanied by a strange white man. When Bill gets better he finds out the man is Boomerang Jones, whose company, the 25th Anzacs, was also wiped out and he's reported dead. He liked hanging out with the natives, so armed with his trusty boomerang that he learned how to use in the Australian bush, they had been fighting the good fight. Out of the machines that had been captured, Bill builds a new type of machine, one that flies like a plane, submerges like a submarine and crashes through things like a tank. It is also armed with a cannon on its nose and machine guns on either side. Bill adopts a snazzy though functional costume and the Blue Tracer is ready for battle. NOTE: By Fred Guardineer. Normally associated with magician strips, his clear and almost mechanical quality linework was ideally suited for a strip that featured a science fiction style tank/plane/submarine.
Bob and Swab: 1940, Hit Comics #1. Taking a bit of license here. Bob and Swab is the title of a light-hearted adventure strip starring two men: Bob Masters and Swab Decker. Their relationship could be seen reflected in other comics as both are capable men in their own right. Bob is the always dressed in his Marines dress uniform while Swab is always in his sailors' whites and are stationed on the same ship, U.S.S. Scarab. They are simultaneously best friends and rivals, perpetually at each others' throats for some perceived slight when they aren't fighting Nazis and other enemies.
Rock Braddon: 1940, Crack Comics #1. Captain Rock Braddon and sidekick Curly are of the Space Legion, cops of the spaceways.
Ned Brant: 1940, Crack Comics #1. One of those all-around athlete hero types.
Paul Bunyan: 1940, National Comics #1. If Quality can make Uncle Sam into a superhero, why not the folk lore Paul Bunyan? The logger is a giant, described as ten feet tall, but seems more around twice the size of two men, maybe taller. He and his blue ox Babe fight criminals, Nazis, the Japanese, etc.
Captain Fortune: 1939, Feature Comics #25. Captain Tyrone Fortune is an English sea captain in the days of the Spanish Main and the age of piracy. As such, he and his loyal crew fought the enemies of the crown and pirates on the high seas. The artist Vern Henkel had a wonderful illustrator quality for these stories. Not as lush or polished as Hal Foster a pretty line nonetheless.
Captain Triumph: 1943, Crack Comics #27. Michael and Lance are twins. When Michael is killed by a Nazi bomb, his ghost informs Lance that by rubbing the "T" birthmark on his wrist, the two can merge into one super-powered being. At first, Lance did his good deeds as Captain Triumph while invisible. He can fly, is super-strong and bullet proof. On occassion, he can also use his super powers to appear as others. His secret is shared by Michael's former fiance and Lance's current girl Kim and circus clown Biff Banks. Although played for comedy relief, Biff is shown to be a decent fighter if head-strong. As Captain Triumph, he wears the red t-shirt, white jodhpurs, and brown bootsMichael was wearing when he died and continues to wear in ghost form. Nor does he look different but like Mary Marvel/Mary Batson and Captain Marvel Jr/Freddy Freeman, most don't seem to stumble on to the secret identity. Lance is the only one that can actually see and hear Michael's ghost.
Chic Carter: Smash Comics. Chic Carter is a hard hitting reporter and a decent detective. He also briefly adopted the costumed identity of the Sword, so he presumably has some fencing skills. His possible love interest is the writer Gay Nolan. Monahan is the plain clothes detective he shows up.
Clip Chance: 1938, Feature Funnies #7. William "Clip" Chance is a poor boy but because of his athletic prowess, he is being sponsored through college by his hometown doctor at Cliffside College. His roommate is Slim and he has two other pals in Chink and Specs.
Jimmy Christian: 1940, Smash Comics #8. Jimmy is a young mining engineer. He takes on various jobs around the globe in exotic and remote locations and having adventures along the way. NOTE: Text stories.
Captain Cook: 1938, Feature Funnies #13. Captain Cook is a Scotland Yard detective.
Cyclone: 1940, National Comics #1. Cyclone lives in New York City of the year 3000 AD. He's an ace space pilot. He wins a race to a newly discovered planet which is to become his new home base. His would be girlfriend is Joy Daye who stowawayed on his ship because she has a bit of the blood of her pioneer ancestors in her. King Murdo of Mars is their foe and who would like to make Joy his queen.
Death Patrol: 1941, Military Comics #1. Del Van Dyne convinces a group of escaped convicts who are all expert fliers that it would be better to become an air squadron taking on the Nazis vs living life on the run, either being a type of a death sentence (although all were convicted of crimes that fall short of murder: safe cracking, pick pocketing, cattle rustling, etc). They adopt their prison togs as their uniforms and live up to their name, one of them dying heroically in almost each issue, and their ranks being filled by others. In addition to Del, they start off with Butch, Slick, Hank, Gramps, Peewee. Along the way they get various replacement members who aren't necessarily criminas and a few stereotypes such as Boris, King Hotintot, Chief Chuck-a-Lug. In issue 12, previously killed members Gramps, Hank, and King Hotintot return, revealed only to have been badly wounded and captured behind enemy lines and making their escape now that they are healed. Their next appearance would be issue #20 where they dump their prison uniforms.
Destiny: 1943, Police Comics #16. A nameless drifter with no home nor job, goes to the theatre to try his hand at a contest for $500. While waiting for that game to begin, he catches a show by mindreader and psychic Professor Seezall Nozal. During the show, the Professor tries to read the man's future and suddenly ends the show, taking the drifter backstage where he tells him what he foresaw: that trouble surrounds the man and that he is gifted with the ability to foresee death, trouble, and disaster, past and present. All he has to do is clear his mind and he'll be taken to the scene of trouble where he must act to bring the evil doer to justice. He's become a force of fate, Destiny. The first criminal he's drawn to is Oscar Jones, the muderer of the hero 711. An interesting tidbit, on the marquee of the theatre where Nozal is playing is also that of Gil Fox, the Big Snatch. Fox is one of creators of another strip in the comic. Destiny just wears his street clothes unlike the masked and cloaked 711 whom he had replaced.
Destroying Demon: 1940, Feature Comics #32. Captain Bruce Blackburn is a "counterspy" meaning he goes after other spies and saboteurs. In one case (#40), he puts on a costume and puts the fear in his foes by pretending to be a demon.
Kid Dixon: 1940, National Comics #1. “Danny 'Kid' Dixon is the 'fightenest' guy in Jackson Coun. When his dander's up... meddlers and crooks rile him... well, did'ja ever see a tornado get good and mad?” He's a blacksmith in “the little hamlet of Darville” when B. Galsworthy “Bottle” Topps persuades Dixon to leave home and become a boxer with him as manager.
Jack and Jill Doe: 1940, Hit Comics #1. Jack and Jill Doe are a married sleuthing team ala Nick and Nora Charles only they run a detective agency which they depend upon to pay their bills (though it appears they do quite well for themselves) and Jill just may be the better detective.
Sherlock Doyle: 1943, Police Comics #19. Sherlock Doyle is a blind detective, able to solve crimes from his chair due to his cleverness and deductions using his other heightened senses. He generally doesn't let people know he's blind until it suits him as it makes them careless. A murder committed under his nose brings the hero Destiny to his office and the two find themselves fighting two members of the gang committed to killing Doyle. NOTE: As far as I know, he only appeared the one time. The GCD lists him as dying this issue but that's incorrect. The name is obviously a reference to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his fictional hero Sherlock Holmes.
The Dragon: Doll Man Quarterly. "'The Dragon' is the name stubborn Chinese guerillas have bestowed on their two fisted Marine leader Red McGraw who leads them into battle against the invading hordes of Japanese…" While a soldier, the Dragon does go in for a bit of flair, wearing a tight red shirt with a monstrous face on the chest. All in all, it seems to be a well done little war strip, with above average art that does not caricature its renderings of the Asian peoples.
Eagle Evans: 1941, Police Comics #1. Eagle is a skilled pilot and he teams up with pal Snap Smith who is a candid camera/freelance photographer. Snap's enthusiasm to get good photos, especially in dangerous war-torn areas tend to draw Eagle into all sorts of adventures. Before America's involvement in the War, the two find themselves going to London to do what they can there.
Fargo Kid: Feature Comics. At first glance, the Fargo Kid aka Tim Turner seems your average cowboy strip. However, his adventures take place in the “Modern” West as he fights Nazis among other bad guys though he wears the traditional cowboy outfit complete with six-guns and chaps. Turner’s moniker seems as much a nick-name as anything else, he doesn't wear a mask or anything else that differentiates the Fargo Kid as a separate identity.
Flash Fulton: 1939, Smash Comics #4. Flash is an ace newsreel cameraman. He and his assistant Andy travel the world, filming news and having adventures.
Ghost of Flanders: 1940, Hit Comics. The still living soldier 'Rip' Graves finds himself reported dead in battle at Flanders and honored as the "Unknown Soldier". He decides to use the tomb as his base as a costumed hero.
Don Glory: 1941, Hit Comics #8. Don Glory is an ex-prizefighter and now does his bet fighting various dangers to America. He wears a blue suit and patriotic striped tie. Similar in concept to Captain Glory.
Granny Gumshoe: 1946, National Comics #57. An old woman with a passion for crimesolving as well as a bit of a tinkerer/gadget maker such as making her umbrella be able to spray things. Her grand-daughter is Lippy Lu.
Hell-Diver: 1941, Hit Comics #14. Danger Darrow is the "Hell-Diver", a crackshot pilot and troubleshooter for the Marine Flying Corps stationed on the aircraft carrier USS Gettysburg.
Hercules: 1940, Hit Comics #1. Joe Hercules was born in the north woods and has grown up in Maryville, somewhere in the mid-west where he uses his great strength to earn him prize money at places like the State Fair. He plans on using the money to take care of his mother and go to college to become a doctor or a lawyer. However, fate intervenes as his mother dies of a heart-attack when reading an eviction notice from a swindler and racketeer named J. Willstone Jyppe. When Joe confronts him, he is thrown in prison by the Law. While there, he wishes someone could stand up to the crooks where his cellmate points out they do so in the comics ala Doll Man. Inspired, Joe busts down the walls and puts on a minimalistic costume to fight crime as his namesake Hercules. While there is nothing odd about his birth or upbringing, Joe Hercules is obviously far stronger and tougher than a normal human could be, able to crash through walls, tow a ship, haul an elevator up a shaft, catch bus, and possibly bulletproof.
Invisible Hood: 1941, Smash Comics #1. Kent Thurston appears to be a consultant to the police, called in by Inspector Bill Blake for his expertise on strange crimes (inferred from the story as his relationship with the inspector or why he is called in on a secret case is not explained). However, the Inspector might act differently if he knew that Kent was also the mysterious crime fighter called the Invisible Hood. The Invisible Hood is a capable crime fighter, keeps records of various foes and gangsters but at this point he's not really invisible, he's just called that because no one knows his real identity (and he's sneaky). Otherwise, there is no real info on who he is and why he does what he does. However, with his second appearance, he meets up and rescues a Professor Van Dorn who has developed a chemical process for making clothes invisible and treats the Hood's robes and cloak. Unfortunately, Van Dorn is ultimately killed by the crooks, leaving Kent with the sole secret to invisibility. NOTE: There has been some confusion over his name as the name of the strip had been both Hooded Justice and Invisible Justice, neither actually names that he used. He's only referred to as the Invisible Hood in the few stories I read.
Jester II: 1941, Smash Comics #22. Rookie cop Chuck Lane is a descendent of a medieval court jester which is all that is needed to inspire him to fight crime outside of his police duties in the ancestral garb as the Jester. He also makes use of a rubber ball with a face on it. In his first appearance, it is noted that it's Chuck Lane's first day on the job as a cop. However, the Jester has been around for a couple of years, long enough to antagonize Inspector Mulligan and the other police enough to want to catch him and for crooks to jump at the sound of the tinkling bells from his cowl. Close up shots in his first issue also reveal the image of a skull on the front of his collar. The majority of the stories had Inspector McGinty as the police officer that the Jester most often showed up and the little rubber ball with a face he called Quinopolis. Eventually, he got square with the police, though years later, Lane is still a rookie cop.
Casey Jones: 1940, Hit Comics #1. Casey is a heroic train driver/engineer. Not only does he have a sparkling record for being on time, he finds himself fighting crooks and the such.
Just 'N' Right: 1941, Doll Man Quarterly #1. On his 26th birthday, lumberjack Justin Wright is notified that he lost his parents to crime when he was a baby and bounced from relative to relative until he was lost in the system, but now finds he is heir to their fortune as well as their old house and a box that only contains a red silk scarf. He discovers that the scarf makes an excellent mask that he can see through and look a little like the figure of blind justice. Still angry at losing his parents to crime and having never gotten to know them, he becomes the hard hitting hero Just 'N' Right. NOTE: In the splash page, the scarf is white, but in the story itself, it is consistently shown to be red.
Steele Kerrigan: 1941, Police Comics #1. Kerrigan was 17 and tricked into being a lookout for a gang of robbers. He gets caught and is serving the 3rd year of his sentence when he is paroled after saving the life of the Warden. Vowing to go straight, he gets his private detective license and his understanding girlfriend Anne becomes his secretary. Gang leader Spike McGaw is a recurring thorn in his side, trying to either kill Kerrigan or get him back on the wrong side of the Law.
Kid Eternity: A young boy is killed when a ship is torpedoed by a U-Boat. However, he was supposed to live another 75 years and so he's sent back to Earth with the cherubic Mr. Keeper. The Kid has the power to be invisible and intangible when desired and to summon heroes from mythology by saying, "eternity." In addition to calling forth people from the past, the Kid could also briefly take over their bodies and become them! An ability he didn't make use of too much. NOTE: Kid Eternity is a Quality character, not a Fawcett hero though DC linked him to the Marvel Family.
Kid Patrol: 1940, National Comics #1. This kid gang is made up of Teddy, the leader and protects them from the bullies of the waterfront; stereotype George Washington Abraham Lincoln Jones nicknamed Sunshine because of his ever present grin; Spunky, handicapped by a paralyzed leg and uses a crutch; Suzy, the one girl of the gang but follows them on all their adventures; Porky, the ubiquitous cheerful chubby member, and Pat Malone, their good natured Irish cop and adult friend.
John Law: Smash Comics #3. John Law is a "scientective", scientist, lawyer, and ace detective of unusual crimes. He gets involved in a long running bout with a villain by the name of the Avenger who is menacing a group of wealthy men with disgrace or death. June Carter provides the romantic interest. NOTE: Not the Eisner detective by the same name.
Lion Boy: 1940, Hit Comics #6. Lion Boy was lost in the jungles when an infant. A family of lions take him in and he learns the ways and language of the jungle animals. He learns the ways of civilization and human language from a native boy named Togo who becomes his friend. Though appearing to be a still pre-teen, he's able to fight adult men with ease.
Loops and Banks: 1941, Military Comics #1. Loops McCann and Banks Barrows are test pilots for the U.S. Marines in China. They take a plane out for a little joyride, not realizing that it's been sabotaged and thus are blamed and fired when it crashes. They end up joining with a General Cheng, a Chinese General who was also called the Red Dragon and famed freedom fighter. They patch up his planes and become pilots for him before returning to the Marines. Of course, in addition to being crack pilots, they prove to be tough and capable fighting leathernecks themselves.
Madam Fatal: 1940, Crack Comics #1. In 1930, Richard Stanton retired from the stage, his last role was as an old woman. He made millions, got married, had a daughter and she was kidnapped. His wife dies from a broken heart later. He becomes "Madam Fatal", to all appearances an old woman. For nine years he shadowed John Carver. Carver was a racketeer, a rival for the Stanton's wife and who Stanton is sure kidnapped his daughter (he didn't tell the police because he didn't want his wife's name besmirched by being connected to Carver). Carver accidentally shoots himself and lives only long enough to tell Stanton his daughter is still alive. He continues to fight crime as Madam Fatal and search for his missing daughter. At least in the first issue, he has a pet parrott. NOTE: Some sources cite Madam Fatal as the first cross-dressing hero which is not the literal truth. Centaur had the Cat-Man, a man who also dressed up as an old woman to get close to crooks in order to assassinate them and created by Tarpe Mills. They also had the Headless Horseman, a woman who dressed up as a headless man to fight crime in the Old West created by Martin Filchock. Both in 1939. DC's Red Tornado was often thought of as a man though probably not through the intention of the character. However, if you are particular in how you phrase it or parse your definition, Madam Fatal is the first man who created a separate identity as a woman to fight crime as an ongoing superhero. The difference being with Cat-man, his dressing up as an old woman was more of a convenient disguise than an actual separate superhero identity, not being given an official name, whose heroic nature might be questionable and who only made two appearances, not seemingly designed with ongoing stories in mind.
Man in the Iron Mask: 1942, Military Comics #9. In the mountains of Jugoslavia, on Andre's birthday, the Blackhawks are convening on the site where he had sacrificed his life for theirs six months earlier. A sudden storm drives them into a nearby castle where they are warned to leave by the Man in the Iron Mask for it's being used as a Nazi headquarters. Turns out, the Man in the Iron Mask has been haunting them. The peasants call him Iron Face. The Blackhawks are still captured by the Nazis but rescued by the masked man. The Man in the Iron Mask is none other than Andre. Only the landslide that they believed had killed him, had destroyed his face. His face is eventually restored by a crazed but skilled plastic surgeon that Blackhawk rescues from a concentration camp.
Richard Manners: 1939, Feature Comics #17. Richard "Dick" Manners is billed as a super sleuth. Lives with his father.
Marksman: 1942, Smash Comics #33. When the Germans invaded Poland, Baron Povalsky went undercover as Major Hurtz while also fighting them as the Marksman. As the Marksman, he was an expert archer and used his bow and arrow to fight Nazis. His old servant Vorka knew his identity. He had a hidden lair in his castle. NOTE: Centaur also had a hero named the Marksman while Quality also had the Sniper who also operated behind enemy lines.
Pen Miller: 1940, National Comics #1. Pen is a cartoonist but also a detective and uses his adventures to inspire his stories. He's aided by Chop Chu, his Chinese houseboy.
Miss America: 1941, Military Comics #1. Reporter Joan Dale is gazing at the Statue of Liberty and wonders, "Gosh! Just think of all the good a person could do if they had the powers that the Statue of Liberty must possess!! I wish I had them but…. Oh well..Gee, I'm sleepy!" and like that she falls asleep on the bench. And, a ghostly image of the statue steps down and calls to her and tells her that she'll give Joan her magic powers so that she can help her country. And, she discovers that her dream had some element of truth, as by mere gestures she can make a tree disappear, transform people into birds and trees and pretty much whatever else she needs them to do. The first couple of adventures, she didn't wear a costume. She quit the reporting business and joined the FBI the same time that she first wore her costume. Her boss/partner with the FBI and possible boyfriend is Tim Healy. The costume tends to change details almost every issue.
Merlin: 1940, National Comics #1. Jock Kellog is a rather shallow man about town who has spent all of his fortune. When he receives a telegram that lets him know his uncle is dying, he thinks he might be getting a fat little bit of income. On seeing his Uncle on his deathbed, he only chides his uncle as the house being beneath a man of his wealth. His uncle tells Jock that his inheritance is more than money, that he is descended from, and the last of the Merlin line and what is his inheritance is an old cloak handed down throught the generations. He returns to the gay city life of London, but his lack of money leaves him with no friends. He finds that when he wears the cloak, he has magical powers. He gives up his old life and travels the world and battlefields to help others. He fights no less Mars, the god of war and his minions, Hunger and Poverty in order to free the goddess Peace.
Monsieur X: 1942, Military Comics #6. In the harbor of occupied Calais, France is a Nazi prison ship full of English prisoners. The Germans are cautious and edgy as there have been various rescues and escapes, engineered by a man known only as Monsieur X. He sends a note ahead of time warning them that he will free the prisoners and then gets close by disguising himself as a flower woman. Without that disguise, he has dark hair, thin mustache, a domino mask, green jacket and slacks and black shirt. Commandant Schteig seems to be his personal menace that he likes to constantly show up. NOTE: The story is billed as being non-fiction, but there seems to be reason to doubt that. The term itself seems to be a bit of a catch-all in French, almost like someone calling themselves "John Smith" in America.
Neon the Unknown: 1940, Hit Comics #1. Lt. Cracket of the French Foreign Legion is a cruel commander and sends his unit on a suicide mission across the desert, and one by one dies in the crossing from thirst and exposure until only Tom Corbet remains. He sees an oasis and drinks from the waters which contain some strange phosphorescent vapors and elements. It not only refreshes him, but he stands up transformed, even his uniform is altered to a costume. He names himself Neon and calls the energies that infuse him Neonic. He can use the neonic energy to fly in spirals of light, start fires, bring a train engine to a stop without harming it, as well as firing destructive and deadly bolts, or simply casting light, and able to mentally sense danger or apparently pick up radio waves. Pretty much anything that he needs the power to do.
The Old Witch: 1940, Hit Comics #1. The hooded and robed hag and her black cat reside in a house hidden deep in the forest surrounded by old trees. Here she greets you weary and lost travellers and will entertain you with tales of ghosts and horror. Sometimes, she even helps people help themselves with supernatural problems.
Orchid: 1940, Crack Comics #1. A mystery woman that helps the Clock and possible victims of crime by sending them warning letters and intervening when necessary.
The Phantom Clipper: 1942, Military Comics #9. The Phantom Clipper is a masted ship out of New Salem offered to the Navy by Captain Seth Perkins who also wants to join the Navy. Originally, ridiculed, he shows that the ship actually has powerful modern engines, armored plating and modern armament. Lt. Commander "Tiger" Shark has an idea of that they can secretly help the Navy by forming a volunteer organization called the Yankee Clippers and freeing the seas of Nazi tyranny. Glossed over is the fact that Tiger is basically AWOL in leading this crew. The crew is joined by Billy whose parents were killed by bombs who has been affectionately befriended by the large Hindu Jewaldri who becomes the ship cook. Jewaldri has smoke pellets concealed on his person that he uses to convince Billy that he can do magic to help make him forget his parents (he admits to Tiger Shark that he is otherwise not a magician but simply a cook).
Plastic Man: 1941, Police Comics #1. "Eel" O'Brian is a petty thief and is shot while escaping from a crime and some acid spills on him and gets into the wound. The rest of the gang leaves him high and dry and he makes his way to a monestary where he recovers. Waking up, he discovers his body has become like rubber and can stretch. He reforms from his ways, and uses his identity to infiltrate the gangs of crooks, and then bring them to justice as Plastic Man. The slightly humerous strips become more outre as his stretching becomes changing into all sorts of shapes. He beomes a Federal agent and gains a partner in the comical Woozy Winks who has his own unique power of nature protecting him from mortal harm, usually by bringing bad luck and doom on those who try to kill him.
Lee Preston: 1940, Crack Comics #1. Lee is a young pretty farm-girl who decides to get first a pilot's license and then a transport license. She breacks expectations and starts piloting for the Red Cross, ferrying medicines to remote outposts and missions and having adventures along the way. Her boyfriend is Lt. Rick Royce.
Q-Boat: 1941, Military Comics #1 The Albatross is a four masted schooner and boasts a pontoon plane, making it a Q-Boat (meaning it's a decoy or mystery ship, having more armaments than apparent). It's captained by an older man, Captain Foghorn, he boasts descended from John Paul Jones. His crew is several young lads: Bob Wayne, the mate; Dick Martin, the bos'n, and Marmaduke van Weyden, aka Freckle; and several nameless sailors to man the guns and what have you. The Captain calls them privateers, freelance fighters for freedom. The boat boasts an advanced engine invented by Foghorn's son-in-law, especially strong and lightweight metal hull, torpedoes; two eight-inch guns and four four-inch guns, all camouflaged; four torpedo tubes; airplanes as Dick and Bob learned to fly from their fathers who fought in the Lafayette Escadrille.
Red Bee: 1940, Hit Comics #1. Rick Raleigh is the Assistant DA to Tom Darrow in Superior City, a city rife with corruption and mob bosses. He keeps "trained" bees in his belt and uses them and the innate fear most people have of bees to become the crimebuster, the Red Bee. By the time of his first appearance, the mob seems already aware of his work and think he's the DA. The bees are remarkably intelligent and strong as three are able to carry a razor blade to help the Red Bee cut himself free when tied up. One of the bees is named Michael. In addition to the bees, the Red Bee in one story has a powerful car that has an automatic driver feature.
Red Torpedo: 1940, Crack Comics #1. Jim Lockhart is of the US Navy and designs an advanced one-man sub. However, his superiors reject it as being too fantastic so he resigns and builds it himself with the aid of his fiance Meg. The sub has a rotating helm, which allows it to drill through the hulls of enemy ships and submarines. He uses it to wage war against the ships of aggressor nations and enemies of America as the Red Torpedo.
Reynolds of the Mounted: Feature Funnies (Quality). Sgt. Jim Reynolds is a Mountie. He's side-kicked by indian Flatfoot Charlie. Flatfoot speaks in stereotypical mangled english, but he shows himself to be a capable sidekick, able to effect rescues of his partner, take down the bad guys, etc.
Samar: 1940, Feature Comics #32 (Quality). Blond jungle lord in the jungles of India (though at times treated as if Africa with names of various "tribes" of people living in the jungles).
Scarlet Seal: 1948, Crack Comics #57 (Quality).The Scarlet Seal is in reality policeman Barry Moore who had been an actor before taking a job at his father's police department. And like other policemen turned mysterymen, he found that his hands were hampered by the system and bureaucrats. So he devised a secret id to infiltrate the underworld. Interestingly, the id is pretty much the same as his last role in Hollywood, that of a Chinese mandarin.
Perry Scott: Feature Comics (Quality). Recurring adventurer in the text stories of Feature Comics, he operated in the South Pacific taking on missions that were too tough for others both freelance and for Government Intelligence. He worked alone but also sometimes commanded a crew with his chief officer Spike.
711: 1941, Police Comics #1. Even as golden-age characters go, 711 is a little hard to swallow. Daniel Dyce is a District Attorney who bears an uncanny resemblance to his friend Jacob Horn who is on trial for a serious crime. Wanting to see his wife give birth, Jacob convinces Daniel to switch places with him. Tragedy strikes twice as Jacob gets convicted to life in prison and then is killed in a car accident on the way to see his wife, leaving Daniel believed to be dead but actually stuck in prison. Daniel tunnels his way outside only to find he's forgotten. Instead of reasserting his identity, he decides to fight crime as 711 (his prison number) and use the prison as his secret base. He is eventually killed by Oscar Jones (1943, Police Comics #16) but his strip is carried on by the hero Destiny. Created by George Brenner, the creator of the Clock.
Shot and Shell: 1941, Military Comics #1. Colonel Shot presents himself to the Air Corps for service, claiming to have fought with "blade, musket and sinew" and to have fought in the World War, Spanish-American War and the Indian Wars. This should put him in the realm of 60 years old, but he looks younger so his grasp of reality might be a bit off. Otherwise, he comes off as a cross between a circus barker and snake oil salesman. Soundly rejected, he ventures into a nearby work area and meets Slim Shell. Slim Shell is too young for service but thinks he has a knack for fixing up planes and gimmicks. Despite their questionable abilities, the two manage to stumble upon some Nazi spies and defeat them. Commended for bravery, the become a team with the Corps claiming they need men like them.
The Sniper: 1941, Military Comics #5. Dressed a bit like Robin Hood, the Sniper operates behind enemy lines in occupied Europe and wages a one-man war against the Nazis. He's a crack shot, athletic, and good with his fists.
Spin Shaw: 1940, Feature Comics #29. S.R. "Spin" Shaw is a captain in the Navy Air Force. His nickname also applies to his ability to make the heads of the ladies and his fighting foes spin.
Spitfire: 1941, Crack Comics #15. Tex Adams is a heroic pilot although not officially tied to a squadron. The name of the strip is "Spitfire" but he doesn't seem to be called that, nor does he seem prone to flying just the one type of plane, but it's the name under his profile on the cover.
Douglas Strange: 1940, Hit Comics #1. Twenty-five years ago, the Chinese pirate Sin Chow seeks revenge on the Englishman Neville Strange who had smashed his operation. He orders the kidnapping of one of Neville's twin sons. Douglas grows up with the advantages of a fine home and wealth and becomes a famed detective of Scotland Yard while his brother Rodney grows up to rule the underworld of the Limehouse district, each unaware of their relationship. They come to know of their similarity when Douglas is forced to spend years in prison for a crime he didn't commit and discovers that the crooks recognize him as their boss when he tries to clear his name when he gets out. From there, it's only a short time before he and Rodney meet. Only Rodney's right hand man Wing Low knows the relationship between the two. The two are often confused for each other though Douglas smokes a pipe and Rod smokes cigarettes.
Swing Sisson: 1941, Feature Comics #49. In comics from the golden-age, no hook is too oddball for a character. Thus, you get Swing Sisson, a dark haired hip big band orchestra leader but also a rough and tumble detective aided by his closest friends Bonnie Baxter and Toby Tucker, singer and sax player of his band. Created by Phil Martin.
Sword: See "Chic Carter".
Tor: 1941, Crack Comics #10. Jim Slade is a reporter/photographer. He also operates as the magician superhero Tor which helps him in his career getting photos and stories and such. While many magicians operated as stage magicians and fought crimes in tuxes and such that they seemed to wear on stage and everywhere, Tor is one where the suit, cape and mustache (clean-shaven as Slade) are all part of his disguise and not a stage persona. He speaks the backwards magic of Zatara.
Eric Vale: 1940, Crack Comics #2. Eric Vale is a marvel of crime fighting in that even while still a relatively young man he is touted to be the cleverest detective of all time. He operates out of a private island in the Pacific where he keeps a laboratory and has three assistants who are each experts in specialized fields. He has a plane that's almost a rocket and is equipped with its own lab.Despite his description as a detective, his stories have him fighting against invaders and would be conquerors than solving petty crimes. NOTE: Appeared in text stories.
Wizard Wells: 1940, Crack Comics #1. Wells is a former All-American athlete and a talented scientist and inventor. His adventures revolve around him using real and probable science to outwit crooks. He's aided by punch-drunk jack of all trades Tug and his would-be girlfriend Mary Perry whose father he saved from racketeers. In issue 14, he ingests radioactive salts to give paralyzing shocks through his hands ala the pulp's Green Lama.
Wings Wendall: 1939, Smash Comics #1. Wings is a captain of the Military Intelligence Service and an ace pilot. His arch enemy is the Red Menace. He eventually adopts a costume in his fight against threats.
Whistler: 1945, National Comics #48. On the same day that Mallory Drake is hired as a police reporter for the Evening Globe, gangsters kill his stage performer brother. As his brother is dying, he tells Mallory, “remember–once you whistled–three notes? Made shivers–run down–my spine! Scariest sound–I ever–heard. Use that whistle–scare criminals–pay them back!” Drake adopts a pulpish outfit (monotone suit and red mask) and goes forth to fight crime and finds that his whistle is spooky for crooks as well, freezing them with fear just long enough for him to knock them out with his fists.
Wilda/Nuisance: 1946, National Comics #56. A beautiful blonde, she trained since childhood to be a crimefighter. She is clever, quick thinking, knows jiu jitsu, and an acrobat dare-devil. She wants to be Quicksilver's assistant to his chagrin. Thinking crimefighting is too serious and dangerous for a pretty girl he tries to avoid her and calls her “Nuisance” as she turns up anyway. Sadly, I don't think she made any appearances after this.
Wildfire: 1941, Smash Comics #25. Carol Vance is the daughter of Frank Vance, a forest ranger in the great northwest. Fifteen years earlier, a great forest fire rages and looking for his daughter, Frank is killed. She is just a toddler and wanders unafraid from the cabin towards the flames. The Lord of Fire is impressed by her courage and that she luckily had not been hurt so far by his power. He grants her immunity to flame and the ability to control it. She's adopted by Mr. and Mrs. John Martin. Upon adulthood, she feels best when using her powers to help others and thus becomes Wildfire. As Carol, she keeps her hair in a bun, but as Wildfire it is incredibly long and trails behind her. When she flies, it seems to leave a trail (artistic license perhaps), similar to the later Starfire as done by Perez. Her control over fire even extends to somewhat magical abilities such as commanding fire to point out who started it and it becoming a giant hand, and able to grab the crooks without setting them on fire ala constructs from Green Lantern's ring.
Wonder Boy: National Comics #1. (Quality). Anthony Durrant tells us: An un-named native of the lost planet Viro crashlands on Earth in a meteor after his planet is destroyed in a collision with a star. A stranger on a strange planet, he wanders the Earth having adventures wherever he goes, and fighting for freedom with his super-strength.
Steve Wood: 1946, National Comics #55. Steve Woodis a tough private eye. Sally is his long suffering secretary whom he owes pay. Peggy Allen is the stylish reporter for The Tribunal who flirts with him, but might just be in it for the story. The two women seem to be somewhat in competition for his affection. She may also be the better detective. Inspector Flanagan is the cop who is a thorn in his side but secretly admires the p.i.
X-5: 1940, Hit Comics #1. X-5 is a suave secret agent. You can tell he's suave because of the pencil thin mustache he sports. He's also a little taller than average due to a comment from a lady villainess calling him a "blond giant". Other than that, he's your typical secret agent.
X of the Underground: 1942, Military Comics #8 (Fox). X is a raven-haired beauty and spy in Germany often disguised as a female Gestapo agent. X leads a group of women freedom fighters, one of whom is Sonya. Sonya is a Russian woman whose parents wanted a boy, so she grew big and strong able to fight like a Cossack. In addition to the Nazis who would like her head, X is pursued by ex-reporter Bob/Jimmy Gray who would like her heart and join the outfit. The group is more than capable and willing to hang traitors. X is also talented in jiu jitsu.
Yankee Doodle Boy: 1940, National Comics #1. The lad Jimmy Jones is Senate page boy. “He was called the Yankee Doodle Boy by all the Senators because – well, because he was so chock-full of good old American fight.” Because of this, he gets in embroiled in various intrigues in Washington DC. Text stories.
Yankee Eagle (I): 1941, Military Comics #1. Jerry Noble is the son of Senator Walter Q. Noble, a bit of a prankster and ne'er do well according to his father. He's left an independent fortune by his mother and he can realistically imitate the calls of various animals and in later appearances, communicate with them like a jungle lord would. He has as a pet, Sam, an american eagle. He adopts a pet puma named Queen after rescuing her from a zoo where the keeper was mistreating the animals. He uses these skills and animal friends to catch spies and other enemies of America, though he keeps that secret from his father.
Yankee Eagle (II): 1942, Smash Comics #38. The second Yankee Eagle is Larry Noble, an ex-stuntman who puts on what appears to be an all blue sweat suit with a hood and fights the enemies of America. There is no pet eagle or talking with the animals and no explained connection between him and the other.
Zero, Ghost Detective: 1940, Feature Comics #32. Zero is a modern occcult detective. He has no inherent magical powers, but uses his wits and standard tools of the trade.