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Mine & Other Blogs:
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Comicbook plus
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A site dedicated to the Marvel Family, has entries and images to several of the later villains.

1940s MLJ/Archie Comics.

Mikel Midnight's
Golden Age Directory.

Golden/Silver Age Message board

Wonderful site on characters and history of comic books, comic strips and animation:

Major Reprinters and sellers of Pulps:
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What's this page? This page will be characters from the British story-papers, penny dreadfuls, as well as other European fictional characters. The purpose is to give a general view and context of super-hero and super-villain fiction, that it's not solely an American institution and some of which pre-dates or is contemporary to what was occurring in the States.


All-Winners Squad: 1946, All-Winners Squad #19. The All-Winners Squad is made up of Captain America and Bucky, the Human Torch and Toro, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Miss America and the Whizzer. In their two appearances as a team, the face off against Isbisa and his crimes centered around the Ages of man and then against the murderous team of Madame Death and the time-travelling Future Man. Note: This seems like such a natural, don't know why it took so long for Timely to copy the JSA, nor why it didn't last beyond the two issues, other than superheroes were on the wane by this point.

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 and moving to Centaur. Thus American Ace/Lt. Lank had what seems to be 4 appearances total yet at 3 different companies.

American Avenger: 1942, USA Comics #5. American college student Don Caldwell spent several years in Buenos Aires, Argentina studying. He learned the various skills of the gauchos (cowboys) as well as the legends of El Gaucho, a 19th Century hero and patriot. Planning on moving back to the US after graduating his friend Carlos talked of ihs concerns of troubled years ahead for Argentina and that they could use him. He is then met by an old man, grandson of one of El Gaucho's allies and who persuades Caldwell to take up the hero's causes.

Later the statue of El Gaucho disappears and rumors circulate that the hero has come back to life. Sure enough, an identically clad man bursts upon the scene, busting up a Nazi spy ring. Thus the new legend of the American Avenger is born. Caldwell is a good all-around fighter and talented with local weapons such as the whip and bolo thanks to his years there.

Angel: 1939, Marvel Comics #1. In his first appearance, the Angel is a mystery-man recently returned from a case in Europe. He already has a deadly reputation but desperate city leaders contact him anyway. His true identity is unrevealed. Here, he comes off a little more like the pulp's Spider than the Saint to whom he's most often compared. Eventually, in a text story, his history is revealed, that he's Thomas Halloway, son of a prison warden who raised him in the prison where he learns everything that experts of crime have to teach. This story is related by an old man, who heard it when he was a young boy himself suggesting that the Angel is long lived. In his early stories, he has no inherent super powers although he does cast a spooky shadow. He's incredibly fit and is not above using guns to lethal effect. On a more bizarre case, he helps an ancient woman escape from an subterranean city and he is given the “cape of Mercury,” which allows him to fly. One of his more infamous foes is the murderous Axis agent the Armless Tiger-Man who is able to fight extremely well and kill despite having no arms. NOTE: Created by Paul Gustavson, around the time that he revealed the Angel's real name, at Quality comics, the identity of the Spider, another Gustavson character, was revealed as Thomas Hallaway. Both were lethal heroes.

The Angel Detective: 1941, The Angel Detective (Red Circle). Probably banking on name recognition of the comic character, who was a little more pulp-ish in his adventures and outlook than other Timely comic characters, Martin Goodman, the man behind Timely published this title in his pulp line of magazines. Specific information concerning him is scarce. Not even sure if the name of the character is "Angel Detective" or simply "Angel" much as the case of the Phantom in "Phantom Detective." The Angel is a NYC private investigator, over 6 ft tall, broad shouldered and lean waisted. Unlike the comic character who goes unmasked, the pulp Angel wears a white mask. Instead of tights, he wears a tan overcoat and dark hat with a leather band (although a blue suit on the cover). He carries around a special .45 that leaves an identifying mark (apart from the bullet hole i assume) and is hunted by the police. Also unlike his counterpart, he only lasted one issue and is mostly forgotten today.

Archie the Gruesome: 1942, Comedy Classics #10. Archie is a street sweeper in New York City and is inspired by the exploits of Captain America and decides to emulate him and become a hero. Archie puts on a red and blue costume with a big white "A" on his chest and sets out. He cuts a less than awe-inspiring presence, making criminals break out laughing, and which allows him to get the upper hand.

Arizona Annie: 1948, Wild West #1. Arizona Annie is a straight shooting, hard hitting cowgirl with perky good looks and a bit of a fiery temper. She is side-kicked by two men and rivals for her, tall handsome Slim and the rather goofy city slicker Cal. A light-hearted strip. Mostly forgotten, she has actually reappeared recently when Marvel did a few Western one-shots, teaming up with Kid Colt.

breeze barton

Breeze Barton: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #3. In the future year of 1945 (!), the world is still at war with America drawn into the conflict against Japan. Spotting Japanese soldiers marching towards British territories, pilot Breeze Barton attempts to get to London to warn them but is shot down over the Sahara Desert. He wanders and sees a fantastic city and collapses when he discovers it to be a mirage. When he wakens, he finds himself in the futuristic city called Mirage, the miracle city. All men and animals are of Earth, having wandered through the "spot", that transports them to this other-world where they are ageless but cannot travel back. Thus the city and world are populated by men and animals of the ages such as neanderthals alongside dinosaurs and modern man. There is a second miracle city in the land of Mirage, only one peopled by Demon People, half-man and half-animal and able to send deadly astral projections of themselves. They too seek a way to go back through the "spot" in order to destroy the Earth. Breeze's girlfriend in the land of Mirage is Ann Barclay and he's allied by the scientist Zanoba.

When he does return to Earth with Ann in tow, he discovers that 50 years has passed and it's 1995. He is told by a man called Frenchy that the World War has levelled civilizations and mankind has largely returned to a stone-age level. He joins up with Frenchy and a band of others to fight for a return to civilization.

Black Marvel: 1941, Mystic Comics #5.   Dan Lyons' father's life was saved by Man-to of the "Blackfeet" tribe. Wanting to repay the debt somehow, Dan shows up while the tribe are holding a contest for  the role of the "Black Marvel," hereditary hero-warrior of the tribe. Dan passes the tests, outdoing all the others and is thus given the role and responsibility to carry on their traditions and fight for justice. He has no powers, but is in superb physical condition and skilled in various Indian lore and traditions.

Black Rider: 1948, All-Western Winners #2. Matthew Masters was the young outlaw known as the Cactus Kid. However, when he comes across a gang that has taken hostages, he kills the gang though is arrested for murder. The Governor of Texas pardons the Kid, thinking he's learned his lesson. Masters goes to medical school and becomes known as Doc Masters. When a killer comes to town, Masters is branded a coward because he doesn't want to reveal his violent past. Deciding that he cannot also let evil flourish, he designs a black costume and mask and rides the horse Satan to fight crime.

Black Widow:
1940, Mystic Comics #4. Medium Claire Voyant is murdered and descends into Hell. Satan turns her into the Black Widow, to hasten to his domain evil souls that walk the Earth (which you'd think would be a little counter productive on his part). She can kill by touch and has other various abilities as the case may be.

Blaze the Wonder Collie: 1949, Blaze the Wonder Collie #2. Blaze is your standard heroic intelligent animal. In his first adventure, he's kidnapped and sold to the k-9 Corps, meets up with Dr. Glenn Forest in Europe and becomes a war hero and finally reunited with Judy Stanton back in the States. In the following issue, he's still adventuring with Forest though. NOTE: No issue #1.

Blazing Skull: 1941, Mystic Comics #5. American reporter Mark Todd gains knowledge and power in the Orient by a race of “Skull Men”. From them he gains some strength, an invulnerability to fire, and disguise himself with a glowing skull head. Hating War and those who make it, he wages his own fight against the Nazis and other war-mongers. One of the more visually striking characters from Marvel.

Blonde Phantom:
1946, All-Select Comics #11. Louise Grant is secretary for Mark Mason, owner and only agent of the the Mark Mason Detective Agency. Also, she is secretly the glamorous masked detective Blonde Phantom. Despite having no powers, she fought a wide range of crooks and villains.

Blue Blade:
1942, USA Comics #5.  With Japan entering the war, the Blue Blade travels to the Pacific coast. He rescues an inventor and his daughter Nita from Japanese spy Sandai intent on stealing the inventor's atomic smashing machine. NOTE: The Blue Blade is not given a civilian name in the comic. It is theorized that this is a reworked story featuring the Fourth Musketeer last seen in Comedy Comics (hence no civilian id since the Fourth Musketeer is a ghost). Plus, the character is referred to twice as “the Musketeer”. The difference in costume can be chalked up to a change in artists and the company was not very consistent in its rendition of characters.

Blue Blaze: 1940, Mystic Comics #1. In 1852, Midwest College professor Dr. Keen shows his son and college student Spencer Keen his discovery the "Blue Flame". Coincidentally, meanwhile a tornado sweeps through the town, killing most of the population and exposing Spencer to the Blue Flame. Presumed dead, he is buried but in reality he is in a coma-like state of suspended animation. He awakens in 1940 and discovers that he has super-strength, invulnerability, and the ability to travel underground to new locations of crime. He puts on a blue costume and takes his name from his father's discovery.

blue diamondBlue Diamond: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #7/v2 #1. On an Arctic expedition, Professor Elton Morrow finds a huge lump of rock resembling a diamond that shines blue when polished. When the ship enters the North Atlantic, it is torpedoed by a Nazi sub. Morrow jumps into the ocean with the diamond secured in a crate. The sub then fires on the survivors and destroys the crate and shatters the diamond, sending shards into Morrow's body. He's rescued and the docs are able to remove most of the shards except for a few including one embedded too close to the base of his skull. He discovers over time that his body has been changed, he's hard as the diamond and able to split a tree with a punch of his fist. He decides to put on a costume and fight crime as the Blue Diamond.

Butch Brogan: See “The Fighting Hobo”.

Captain America: 1941, Captain America Comics #1. Steve Rogers wants to join the Army and serve his country but is deemed too frail. He is picked to be the subject of a serum developed by Professor Reinstein to create an army of super soldiers. Taking the serum, Rogers becomes a physically ideal man. However, there's a spy in the midst of observers and Reinstein is shot. Rogers easily punches the spy across the room and killing him. Reinstein dies, taking the secret of the serum with him as he never wrote it down. Rogers is then given the uniform and shield, to become a symbol of America as Captain America. However, it's kept a secret and he's enlisted in the regular Army as Steve Rogers where he plays up being clumsy to the displeasure of Sgt. Duffy. He's changing one evening in his tent when the camp mascot Bucky Barnes walks in on him and discovers him holding his mask. Forced by circumstances, he takes Bucky as a partner, outfitting him in mask and costume and training him in various commando fighting skills and tactics.

Captain America (II): 1944, Captain America (Republic Studios, serial). District Attorney Grant Gardner is the famous costumed crime fighter Captain America who's out to stop a master criminal known as the Scarab. In both identities he's investigating a series of suspicious suicides, all of whom are found clutching a scarab. The suicides were all members of an archaeological expedition, all of whom gained fame and fortune except for Dr. Maldor. So Maldor became the Scarab and uses a chemical with hypnotic qualities called the Purple Death which he uses to cause the suicides. In addition to revenge, the Scarab also is after super weapons such as a device that destroys buildings by sound vibrations. Captain America carries a gun instead of a shield and has no apparent super powers but is capable in a fight. By adventure's end, his secretary, the pretty Gail Richards, knows his identity. NOTE: It has been suggested that this film is in the public domain.

Captain Terror: 1941, U.S.A Comics #2. Captain Terror is a masked hero, presumed to have died in the Spain several years earlier. But then, Dan Kane's friend Admiral Leeds believes him to be an idle playboy of Georgia whose weak heart keeps him out of action. In reality, Dan Kane is Captain Terror and has an underground lair with a water outlet for his boat beneath his home. Events unfold that make him take up his masked identity once more. At some point, maybe Spain, he faced the foe the Black Claw before.

Whirlwind Carter: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #4. At some point in the future, "Whirlwind" Carter is of the Interplanetary Secret Service and makes his base on technologically advanced Venus where he keeps interplanetary justice. He's aided by the beautiful Brenda. After helping Earth repel an invasion from Mars he's made of the Earth Department of the Interplanetary Secret Service. NOTE: Another creation of the imagination of Fletcher Hanks.

Flash Casey: 1949, Casey - Crime Photographer #1.  Flash Casey is a tough hard-boiled news photographer on the crime beat and a decent detective as well, often showing up the cops. He's accompanied by writer Ann Williams who is almost as tough and fast talking as he is.  NOTE: The publication information is of the comics, he is from a series of stories and novels by George Herman Coxe.  He started off in 1934 in the pulp "Black Mask". There he's Jack "Flashgun" Casey before it getting shortened to "Flash" working for the "Boston Express" newspaper.  He had his own radio show,  a 1938 movie "Here's Flash Casey" and in 1951, a television series starring Darren McGavin where the character was in New York working for "Morning Express".

Challenger: 1941, Daring Mystery Comics #7.  When his father is murdered by the mob, his bookish son forsakes his studies of the Law in order to travel the globe and learning all the necessary skills to fight criminals at their own games: Japan - judo, Tibet - chemistry, India - controlling his nerves and body, France - the sword, Germany - the gun and markmanship, England - aerial dogfighting and America - sports such as boxing, swimming, polo, and football. When in a hidden lost Roman town in Africa, he fights in a gladatorial bout with the "cestus", spiked gloves. He returns to America, still a young looking man. He gets a job as a clerk in the city's record room, where he familiarizes himself with the names of politicians and crooks. He then seeks out those responsible for his father's death in order to challenge them and defeat them with their own weapons.

Dale of the FBI: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #3. Dale is an ace investigator of the FBI, a crack shot and good with his fists, though when he needs a pilot, he hires one. It is unclear as to whether "Dale" is his first or last name.

Daring Mystery Man: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #1 & 2. In a futuristic city, this hero would fight a hooded gang armed with a rifle that shoots flames, a souped up car (least by our standards, it might be an antique in the future) and a base outfitted with medieval torture devices. The covers indicate that the man on the first cover is the Fiery Mask and the second is the Phantom Bullet. However, the covers show costumes that neither man sport in the interiors and the man that's supposed to be the Fiery Mask does not wear a mask while he uses a mace. Meanwhile, the one that's supposed to be the Phantom Bullet has no shirt while the Phantom is garbed more like the one on the first cover and the hero is using his gun as a club (possibly an editing out of the mace the hero sported on the first cover). Casual examination shows that the two covers are in reality of the same hero and villains with only color changes. Thus the hero in yellow of the first cover fighting green robed men, becomes a bare-chested man in trunks and cape fighting red-robed men. And, if you look at the first cover closely, you can make out nipples on the man's "clothed" chest. Guess you could argue it was just cold clinging to the top of a racing vehicle. Obviously, these covers were meant to be of the same man but someone else and were changed to be different men with copy identifying them as a hero inside the book despite little similarity. In issue 6, the Fiery Mask would finally adopt a costume that closely resembled the one on the first issue cover

Captain Daring: 1941, Daring Mystery Comics #7/v2 #1. At some point in the future, Captain Daring of the US Army and Secret Service Agent Susan Parker lead forces against an underground empire whose cavalry rides large dogs. Susan Parker is made their Queen. At one point, Hitler and Goebbels awaken from suspended animation to threaten civilization once more and Daring finds himself hypnotized to help!

Captain Daring (II): 1943, USA Comics #7. Captain Daring is an ace pilot and leader of the crackerjack team of pilots called the Sky-Sharks. Only one published adventure. NOTE: Possible that Captain Daring is basically Don Gorman under a new name. Timely did this with several charactes such as Hurricane/Mercury and Fourth Musketeer/Blue Blade.

Captain Dash: 1942, Comedy Comics #9.  In the 31st Century, Captain Dash is a patriotic costumed hero. He is head of New York's Security Air Fleet. He has no inherent powers beyond his athleticism and advanced technology and weaponry (least to us 20th Century types, might be run of the mill there). In his one published adventure he fights against would be conqueror Marmon, ruler of the Pacific Isles.“

Dakor the Magician: 1940 Mystic Comics #1. Dakor is a magic practicing detective for hire. His fees are high and he only takes cases that he finds unusual, but his name strikes fear into the hearts of criminals all over the world. He has the necessary vague magic skills as well as hypnotism. His assistant is named Williams.

Dave Dean: The “Devil of the Deep” story is tweaked and appears in Timely's Mystic Comics #1. See "Dave Dean" and "Devil of the Deep" on the main heroes and villains pages for more info.

The Defender: 1941, U.S.A Comics #1. US Marine Don Stevens and his teen pal are secretly the Defender and Rusty. Don's gal is Sally Kean. The Defender seems to be little more than a re-drawn and colored Captain America and Bucky, the character even converting a convenient barrel lid into a shield. At times, you can see the line for Cap's short-sleeved blue top.

Diablo: 1949, Blaze the Wonder Collie #2 (Marvel). Diablo is a heroic, near sentient grizzly bear in the West.

Dorma: 1939, Marvel Comics #1. Cousin of Namor the Sub-Mariner. Like Namor and Fen, she has pink skin while on the surface.

Dynaman: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #6. In ancient times, legend tells of a kingdom called Korug that reached incredible heights of knowledge and civilization and culture. Even among this race of mighty men was a man who possessed the strength of many, lifting the trunks of trees for exercise and able to memorize a book reading it once. He was called Lagaro, which translates to Dynaman. Disaster struck the kingdom and the continent sunk beneath the waves (connected to Atlantis?). Able to fly, only Dynaman survives and he travels to ancient Egypt where he helps the pharaoh Khufor repel an invasion by Ribur (called Tibur in one panel) and the Gurbans, giant primitive men who have a yoked dinosaur. At the end of the adventure, Dynaman leaves to explore other lands.

Electro: 1940, Marvel Mystery Comics #4. Electro is a powerful remote-controlled robot built by Professor Philo Zog. Zog creates an organization of twelve operatives who travel the world to investigate crime and when ready, each can take control of the robot to bring it to their location and put an end to the criminal activities they were investigating. Most of the operatives are known primarily by their number, but through the course of the stories, we get some names. #3 is Dick Gardner, #4 is Bill, #7 is Bill Dunn, and another is is named Jim. Zog's secretary is Wilkens and he has two guards by the name of Briggs and Jones. Electro is able to fly extremely fast, crossing the ocean in merely hours He is likewise almost completely invulnerable, able to shrug off artillery shells. In addition to crooks, he fought aliens, corpses brought back to life and even name villains like the Voice. While he responds to simple voice commands over the proper transmitting devices, he seems to have some leeway in carrying out those commands.

The Eternal Brain: 1940, Red Raven Comics #1. In the then future of 1980, Professor Carmody is gravely wounded when his daughter Mary is kidnapped. He convinces his assistant Jim to operate on him, to put his brain in a device that will keep it alive. Through Carmody's "telepathy receptor" he is able to project his thoughts, speech, and hearing as well as see around the globe via radio waves. He locates Mary and sends Jim to save her. However, she is angry when she sees what her father has become and is set on hating Jim for his role in it. Carmody's telepathic abilities allow him to influence the thoughts of some minds, though those with strong thoughts or wills he's unable to influence from their set goals.

The Falcon: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #5. Assistant D.A. Carl Burgess puts on a costume and fights crime as the Falcon when the law is not enough. He doesn't carry a gun but he's not above using one if it's on hand. NOTE: Preceding this issue, the title had first Laughing Mask and then the Purple Mask who both operated as Assistant D.A.s and moonlighted as non-powered heroes, but neither of those are in this issue. So, it is generally considered that the Falcon is a reworking of those two characters.

The Ferret: 1940, Marvel Mystery Comics #4. The Ferret is a capable private detective with a trained pet ferret named Nosie who helps him out at times. The Ferret also wears a bullet-proof vest that looks like a regular vest. He is good at the various skills that a talented detective would need to be. Note: The Ferret ran for 6 issues which is not a bad run for a Timely character so many of whom were gone in half or less of that time. Whether it was intentional or by artistic limitation, the Ferret was not drawn as a generic handsome man. There was also a Ferret who was a costumed superhero for Centaur Comics at the time who only made one appearance. That character among others from the same company were re-imagined by Malibu as part of The Protectors and had a few issues of his own comic. This new version was designed along the lines of Wolverine and other extremely violent characters that were popular in the 1990s. Marvel bought out Malibu but the actual status of these versions are uknown, if they are tied up in the same tangle of legal contracts that makes them reticent about using other Malibu properties. The original Centaur version is public domain.

fiery Mask Fiery Mask: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #1. Jack Castle is a young physician called to help the police with a bizarre case, people going missing and the returning as human zombies with green skin under the control of someone called "Doctor". Through unusually high electric bills he tracks down the Doctor, a green skinned giant. He understands enough about hypnosis and through his strong willpower, is able to resist the hypnotic rays that the Doctor uses to create his zombies. The Doctor increases the power but instead of breaking Castle's will, it invigorates him until an explosion wrecks the lab. He easily defeats the Doctor with his new power. He tells Police Captain Benson the whole story who notes that Castle's face lights up when he gets angry. Thus, Castle becomes the Fiery Mask. Castle is able to leap great distances, has super strength, and even a super breath. He also radiates intense heat, which he can control and use to melt metal or just to warm someone.

Fighting Hobo: 1942, USA Comics #5.  Hobo Butch Brogan is inspired by a book of Shakespeare that he has found though he is ridiculed by the other hobos. He rescues a dog from dognappers. NOTE: There was the promise for more adventures of  Butch Brogan, the Happy  Hobo, though this is all that the readers got.the fin

Fin: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #7/v2 #1. Cadet engineer Lt. Peter Noble is the sole survivor of an undersea accident while aboard submarine. When he comes to and escapes from the sub, he finds his body changed, able to withstand the pressures, able to breathe under and above water and his natural buoyancy gone. In an undersea cave he finds Neptunia, a kingdom of batwinged mermen. After he defeats their leader, killing him with his pistol, the Neptunians declare him their leader and reincarnation of a great champion called the Fin. He leaves them, puts together a costume and takes on the name of the Fin. NOTE: Created by Bill Everett. It's possible that his name was originally meant to be Super-Shark

Flying Flame: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #6. Red-headed Captain Red Ruff flies a bright red plane so he and it are called the Flying Flame.

Flash Foster: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #1. Flash is a heroic football player for Midwestern University, taking his team to the Rose Bowl.

Fourth Musketeer: 1942, Comedy Comics #10. The Fourth Musketeer is a ghost who returns from the dead to fight the Germans. Recognizing that he cannot free France by himself, he rides to America on a white horse (guess it's a ghost horse), to fight criminals and Nazi sympathizers. NOTE: It is possible that the Blue Blade from USA Comics #5 is simply a recolored Fourth Musketeer. The Victory Boys from that issue also migrated and underwent some changes.

Don Gorman: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #4. Don is a secret service agent rooting out spies. As part of his cover, he is also a test pilot and inventor for National Aero Company and has invented a super-supercharged engine, allowing aircraft to reach speeds of 1,000 mph. His fiance is Betty Nestor,chief stewardess for All-State Airlines. NOTE: Possible that Captain Daring is basically Don Gorman under a new name. Timely did this with several charactes such as Hurricane/Mercury and Fourth Musketeer/Blue Blade.

Human Top: 1940, Red Raven Comics #1. A scientist uses Bruce Bravelle as a human guinea pig, experimenting on him with electricity. At the same time lightning strikes, giving Bruce the ability to spin at super speed. He puts on a costume and uses the power to fight crime.

Human Torch: 1939, Marvel Comics #1. Professor Horton creates a synthetic man but has a problem, with the slightest contact with air, the figure bursts into flame. Other scientists implore him to destroy it but he agrees to a compromise, to bury him encased in concrete and if Horton comes up with a solution he can dig it up. A slow leak allows the Torch to escape and he runs around setting everything on fire. Crooks try to use him for their own end, but he stops them and eventually learns to control his power. Professor Horton confronts his creation and claims they could make a fortune but the Torch has morality and desires to be his own man and he flies away claiming no one would use him for selfish gain or crime. In issue #2, through notes left of the "late Professor Hamilton" the origin story is recapped and it's revealed that Horton died in the subsequent fire. Although, how Horton had written the account of the Torch misunderstanding the nature of his offer and flying away, causing his death is a mystery.

Hurricane: 1941, Captain America Comics #1. Hurricane is the son of Thor and last of the Greek immortals  comes to Earth to fight his enemy Pluto. NOTE: He's Simon & Kirby's Mercury under a new name.

jack frostJack Frost: 1941, U.S.A. Comics #1. In the first issue, Jack is residing somewhere in the frozen north near enough to the wilds of Alaska for a man to reach him, the first he's seen in centuries. Now that man and his crime is able to encroach on his domain, he ventures to civilization to help stamp out crime. In addition to creating icicles and having a freezing body and touch, he can also blow a strong cold wind that can throw a grown man across the room. He's called "the king of the cold" as well as "the lord of the storm." He can also turn invisible when need to.

Jap Buster Johnson: 1941, USA Comics #1. Doug "Jap Buster" Johnson is a pilot in the US Navy.

Zephyr Jones: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #2. Zephyr's father, Morrison Jones, was a scientist and inventor and started building a rocketship to travel to and explore Mars. He died under mysterious circumstances before completing it and his son Zephyr set out to finish what his father started. He and his pal Corky Grogan set out to Mars but instead end up on a lost planet called Sunev where legend has it that at one time it was part of Earth before it broke free into space. Sunev is populated by birdmen, human like men only with wings, and their enemy the Parrotmen. Somehow, because of the connection to the Earth, the inhabitants all speak English (implying that the English language dates at least as far back as the creation of Sunev). Backwards technologically, Zephyr and Corky teach and advance the civilization to the 20th Century while Zephyr and the princess Tonka fall in love. After halting an attack by the Parrotmen (who all seem to be burly bald men with dark wings as opposed to white), Zephyr and Corky return to space exploration, breaking a princess' heart.

K-4 and the Sky Devils: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #2. Captain K-4 is a flying spy and soldier of fortune, the youngest flying lieutenant in the First World War. He had eleven victories in that war, triple that with the Loyalists in the Spanish Rebellion and dozens more in the China-Japan conflicts. He and his two friends now fly their American model planes for the English against Germany. His Sky Devils are: Lt. Rene D'Auvergne, ace pilot for France in WWI and a master swordsman and Lt. Ronald Wolverstone-Clodd, scion of a wealthy English family who gave up his wealth to be an actor and now uses his acting and make-up skills to aide K-4. More than a passing similarity to G-8 and his Battle Aces as both are as much about the hero being a spy as an ace pilot.

Ka-zarKa-Zar: Pulp: 1936, Ka-zar #1 (Manvis Publishing Co.); Comics: 1939, Marvel Comics #1. A plane carrying John Rand, his wife and young son David crashes in the African jungles, marooning the family there. Growing up in the jungles, young David shows a fearlessness of the jungles and a rapport with many of the animals. After his wife dies from fever, John suffers an accident and he becomes addled and gives up all plans to trying to get out of the jungle, saying their home was near his wife's grave. David is taught some rudiments of education as reading and writing, but he learns the ways of the jungle, able to communicate with them. One day, he rescues Zar the lion from quicksand and is introduced to Zar's family. While still a young lad, his father is killed by Paul De Kraft, a greedy white man looking for emeralds. Zar saves David from a similar fate though De Kraft escapes. Zar then takes young David into his family where the lad grows to adulthood with the new name of Ka-Zar aka Brother of the lion. NOTE: The story in Marvel Comics #1 is a fairly faithful adaptation of part of the first pulp story.

Jonah Lamb: 1942, USA Comics #5.  The boy Jonah Lamb is traveling through China with his father. He's orphaned when his father is killed by a falling building in Shanghai during an earthquake. With nothing else to do and nowhere specifically to go, he leaves the city and travels the countryside. Before long, he hooks up with Bud Powers an American adventurer. The two travel together and in the one published adventure they help a village repel a raiding gang. NOTE: There was a promise of more adventures, but this was it.

laughing mask Laughing Mask: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #2. For generations, the Burton family has been involved in law enforcement, and Dennis Burton is no different, having become Assistant D.A. However, he finds getting convictions of gangsters difficult due to crooked politicians. To that end, he becomes the Laughing Mask, lethal foe of the underworld. In addition to being an expert shot, he is knowledgeable enough of science to follow up on his own clues. He also uses a glowing mask to distract would be murderers. While he will take a foe alive, he's not above judging and killing a surrendered foe if he thinks the man's crimes warrant it. The following issue we'd see the Purple Mask, also called Dennis Burton. Note: There is an even older hero by the name of the Laughing Mask, appearing in a silent movie serial. Only one chapter remains to this day, but is an interesting coincidence in names.

Magar the Mystic: 1940, Red Raven Comics #1. Magar has the power to summon ghosts to help him and he uses this power to fight against war mongers and would-be conquerers. He summons Solomon, Houdini, Mata Hari, Thomas Edison, Napoleon, and Wellington.

Major LiberyMajor Liberty: 1941, U.S.A Comics #1. Professor of American History, John Liberty is outraged to hear of innocents killed by anarchists and enemy agents and exclaims, "what we need to battle Amerca's enemies, are he spirits of old! To keep the ideals of American freedom alive! With a man to lead them!" He is promptly visited by a spirit who tells him he is that man and vanishes. Mr. Liberty finds himself clothed in patriotic themed clothes and is promptly visited by the ghost of Paul Revere (whom somehow the hero recognizes by voice alone). He can call other spirits to help, that he alone can see though they fight like physical men. Liberty is willing to throw a few punches himself. The first issue, he's simply called Mr. Liberty. He's apparently promoted to Major in the second.

Mantor: 1940, Human Torch Comics #2. Mantor is a fez and cape wearing magician who works his spells through gestures as opposed to speaking backwards. With his magic, he can transform things, shoot fire, make things appear and disappear including a copy of himself, make things move, etc. In his one published adventure he keeps beautiful heiress Joan Winters from committing suicide because the castle she inherited was haunted. Mantor exposes the ghosts as being the castle butler Saunders and his missing brother who was the gardener. They were hoping to scare Joan off so they could find the treasure hidden on the premises.

Marvel Boy: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #6. I'll warn you up front this origin makes little sense. To quote the comic: "The story of Marvel Boy has its origin in Egypt…ancient Egypt… mysterious Egypt… whose lost civilization historians believe.. was far superior to ours of the 20th Century… Among the secrets which were forever swept away in the swirling waters of the Nile is the Egyptian belief in re-incarnation… re-birth of the dead! Thus for thousands of years the key to the secrets of re-incarnation were buried with the conquest of the Egyptian civilization – almost forgotten until Hercules, son of power… drew his last breath in the form of mortal man.” At which point we see two men in shadow in a room looking like a modern room with pane glass window and curtains and the reclining body saying, “Do not be sad for I do not really leave you. I shall be back – when America really needs me most”

And the narration picks up, “- And so to his castle in Valhalla, glides the soul of Hercules. The soul of Hercules smiles down as a nation guides itself through many years – until one day, a mad dictator makes his bloody bid for fame! …And his power-mad voice echoes throughout the world!”

Thus, with Hitler in power Hercules petitions to Jupiter to go back to America to aide her but Jupiter warns him that “if you are re-born, it will be many years before your new form would reach manhood” but he chooses to do so and enters the form of a newborn baby boy named Martin Burns. Even as a baby and lad, he shows exceptional strength. Then, when he’s 14 (!) a shadowy figure comes during a stormy night and drops off a package. Martin is then woken from his sleep by a shadow who tells him of his heritage, that he will have the strength of 20 men and be “Marvel Boy”. The package has a costume of blue, red cape and a white MB on his chest.

So we have Egyptian culture mixed with Roman AND Norse mythology, the implication that Hercules at one time in the not too distant past resided in America AND that Hitler has been in power for going on 14 years by the time Marvel Boy embarks on his career.

Marvex, the super robotMarvex: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #3. 5th Dimension humanoid beings see Earthlings and think they'd be perfect slaves. They create Marvex in the image of an Earthman but don't count on the mechanical man to be sophisticated enough to not want to be a slave. He turns on his creators and destroys the machines that made him in order to prevent slaves being made. The destruction of the resulting explosion sends him to Earth. Despite being colored all gray, everyone treats him as if he's a man in a strange costume and when he is wearing street clothes they cannot tell that he's not human. He befriends Clara Crandall but he's up front with her, telling her they can be no more than friends as he's not human. Marvex is super-strong, fast and invulnerable and the text tells us that he possesses a super-intelligent mind. NOTE: The fact that he is able to pass as human with little effort leads me to believe that he wasn't originally meant to be colored in a monotone gray but his human features were meant to have skin tones. In subsequent issues, his face is not as lifelike looking.

Mercury: 1940, Red Raven Comics #1. Jupiter sends Mercury to Earth to stop the god Pluto who's disguised himself as Rudolph Hendler, leader of Prussialand).

Mister EMr. "E": 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #2. Mr. "E" is Victor Jay, a wealthy sportsman who pits his mind and skills against crime. He has no special skills or weapons, but he does have a colorful master foe, the Vampire which makes him a bit more interesting than many. Speculation: The name reminds me of actor's Victory Jory, who among many other roles also starred as the Shadow in the movie serial that started a month earlier. Although, as many comics are post-dated, it's possible that the comic preceded Jory's performance of a similar mystery man and the similarity merely coincidence.

Mr. Million: 1941, Daring Mystery Comics #7/v2 #1. Mr. Million is a wealthy businessman and philanthropist, protector of the weak and helpless. He takes special interest in young newsboy Nickie trying to sell papers to earn money for medicine for his ma as well as taking care of his even younger brother and determined to make it on his own. He won't accept Million's charity so he makes him his office boy.

monakoMonako: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #1. Monako, the "prince of Magicians" is a full-on Mandrake clone down to the mustache, tux, top hat, and cape which he wears out in public. He has the addition of a cane to make him a little different and he is able to do real magic, not just gesturing hypnotically. In his second appearance, he discards the mustache and changes his top hat to a fez. His girl is Josie who seems to spend a lot of time getting into trouble. He also has a recurring foe in the mastermind Mr. Muro. His magic allows him to do almost anything, from magically creating constructs out of nothing, changing his size from inches tall to a giant, creating independent projections of himself through which he can view their actions and suspending people upside down in the air.

In issue 5, we get his origin. When he was young, his mother and father were sent into the interior of India as missionaries and set camp near a tribe that practiced witchcraft, schooled in magic and black arts. The whole camp is made to mysteriously disappear and only the young Monako is left. He is raised by the chief, schooled in all matters of magic and supernatural. When 16, the military wipes out the tribe and Monako is formally educated and travels throughout India, trying to right the wrongs perpetuated by the evil tribe.

Moon Man: 1940,

Mystic Comics #5. The Moon Man is a Batman styled hero. He's wealthy, a master of various sciences, lives in a penthouse apartment and puts on a costume of the night to frighten the wicked and fight crime. He roughs up those that he feels that deserve it. In his published case has him going up against Boss McGool, poisoner of children. He is in peak condition and a good fighter. Note: Drawn by Fred Guardineer, his story has a wonderfully crisp style and deserving wider recognition. He also has an interesting meta-fictional history. As noted, he is done very much in Batman mode. In 1958, Batman would fight a Moon Man, a schizophrenic villain who committed crimes by night and have no memory of them during the day. He had a costume similar though with a different color scheme. Later, a Moon Knight comic would play up the Batman similarities with that hero by focusing on different realities' Moon Knights, each a play on iconic Batman stories, most being different "Elseworld" tales. In one, he's drawn in Dick Sprang fashion and called "Moon Man".

Barney Mullen: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #1. Mullen, the "Sea Rover" is a heroic captain of a cargo ship (apparently his own) traveling the seas.

Comet Pierce: 1940, Red Raven Comics #1. In the year 2150, Comet is a space pilot and is flying through space in a race. He crashes into an asteroid where he meets Queen Larania who gives him a new engine so that he can win his race. After which, the two set out to explore space.

the phantom bulletPhantom Bullet: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #2. Allan Lewis (sometimes spelled "Allen" in the story but more often not) is wealthy but opts to work as a reporter for The Bulletin. He is a good reporter, at ferreting out leads and uncovering stories, but does not take the job seriously which drives his editor crazy. Following up one story, a nervous inventor gives him a gun which fires ice bullets and the plans to it as he fears thieves are after it. Allen dismisses the man's story until he ends up murdered. Discovering the gun works, he decides on becoming a one man judge and jury. It is shown that as he doesn't wear a mask, he disguises his features through make-up and puts on a costume to become the Phantom Bullet, (he's called a phantom by a would-be-victim he saves and the policeman turns it into "Phantom Bullet" as the dead assailant has a bullet wound but no bullet). The men behind the scientist's death are not revealed. It may be the same as another case that Allan was investigating but it doesn't fit that one's m.o.

Phantom of the Underworld: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #1. Detective Denton is called "Doc" by his fellow officers as he's also a gifted surgeon. In his one published case, he goes undercover as a corrupt doctor and surgeon to infiltrate a gang and bring them and their leader Perrone to justice. He's aided by Nurse Andrus who decides to help him for the long haul. His boss is Inspector Flynn. There's no reason given in story for why the strip is called "Phantom of the Underworld" or why a surgeon would become a police detective though it seems to make him a cross between Doc Savage and the Phantom Detective.

phantom reporterPhantom Reporter: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #3. The Phantom Reporter is an ex All-American fullback, ex collegiate boxing, wrestling, and fencing champ and is Dick Jones, cub reporter for The Daily Express by day. The editor thinks he's not a very good reporter but does seem able to get things done. Dick has a couple of secrets. One, he has a second life as Mr. Van Ergen, a playboy who lives in swanky penthouse apartment where he is seen going out at midnight each night and returning at 8 the next day. What his editor and doorman also don't know is that he has the third identity of the Phantom Reporter who operates during those missing hours before changing back to his Dick Jones identity in a rented boarding house. In addition to being a very capable fighter and detective though lousy reporter, his mask glows. NOTE: Notice like every one of the heroes of The Twelve, the character is full of interesting material that is completely ignored or discarded in order to turn him into someone far more mundane and dull. The story is unclear as to which, if either identity, Dick Jones or Van Ergen, is the real one.

Tom Powers: 1942, USA Comics #3. Tom Powers is a crusading journalist. He investigates Muscle Moe and his gang's gas attack on an armored car and the deaths of the guards inside.

purple maskPurple Mask: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #3. Asst. D.A. Dennis Burton puts on a purple mask and costume to fight crime. Like the Laughing Mask, he has his own scientific laboratory (though he keeps it a secret) and he carries a pair of guns which he is able to use to deadly effect. However, he does seem a tad more willing to take criminals alive if possible. Dennis Burton seems to be friends with Police Commissioner Herrick. NOTE: Most sources cite that the Purple Mask and the Laughing Mask are the same man. It should be pointed out though that while this is indeed probable, it's not actually stated. It could be just as possible that as the Laughing Mask is from a family with a legacy of being in law enforcement, that he has a cousin with the same first name who also became an attorney and a masked hero, inspired by the first Dennis Burton. This could explain the subtle differences, that the Purple Mask will use his guns in a gun fight, he'll use his fists as well to just subdue his opponents if not met with lethal force. In fact, in his second appearance, he doesn't shoot anybody.

Raffles: Historical: 1898,Cassell's Magazine (England). Timely Comics first appearance: 1943, All-Winners Comics #8. When a gang locks bank officials in a timed vault, the Whizzer recruits reformed safecracker Raffles to rescue them. The story reveals that Raffles served his time for crimes in British prisons and is now living peacably in his late middle age years as a gentleman farmer. He manages to save the men while the Whizzer rounds up the gang. The story ends implying that Raffles would be a sidekick to the Whizzer. NOTE: Created by Ernest William Hornung (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's brother-in-law), A. J. Raffles is an amateur cracksman with his biographer Harry "Bunny" Manders. Raffles lives a life of a gentleman and cricket player but supports his life as a safecracker and thief. He saves Bunny from suicide and convinces him to help him in his crimes. Eventually, they are found out, and Bunny serves time while Raffles becomes a fugitive. Upon Bunny's release from prison the two reunite as professional criminals. They are moved by accounts of the Boer War and volunteer where Bunny is wounded and Raffles is supposedly killed.

Red Raven: 1940, Red Raven Comics #1. The boy who would become the Red Raven is the sole survivor of a plane crash into a floating island inhabited by a race of bird-men. They raise him and when he's an adult, give him a pair of artificial bat wings and send him back to the land of his birth where he uses his power of flight and knowledge of advance science to fight crime.

Roko, the Amazing: 1942, USA Comics #5. Lon Craig is an art student at Goodfried High School. While looking at the adventures of Captain America in a comic with some friends, he wishes he could be like Captain America. Well, he gets his wish. He's visited by the spirit of Menelaos while drawing his picture and is given the Wisdom of Ulysses, battle skills of Agamemnon, and the invulnerability of Achilles as well as that hero's weakness. All he has to do is say “Illium”, he becomes an adult superhero complete with a small shield. In addition to those abilities, he also has super strength and can fly.

silver scorpionSilver Scorpion: 1941, Daring Mystery Comics #7/v2 #1. On her way way to a masquerade ball Betty Barstow investigates the reports of ghosts at Woodline Cemetery that her boss private investigator Dan Hurley dismisses as drunken tales by the caretaker. With her knowledge of Jui-jitsu, she easily takes out the counterfeiters using it as a base of operations. The police get a laugh out of them being taken out by a woman dressed as a "Silver Scorpion" and the papers get quite a few headlines. Betty on the other hand decides to continue moonlighting as the crimefighter. NOTE: The Silver Scorpion's costume is almost all yellow, with what may be silver boots, bracelets and a silver scorpion emblazoned on her red cape.

john steele, soldier of fortuneJohn Steele: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #1. John Steele is your rather typical heroic soldier. In this case he's an American soldier-of-fortune, fighting overseas in WWII before the American involvement.

Strong of the Foreign Legion: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #3. Fair haired Captain Bob Strong is a two-fisted soldier of fortune who joins up with the French Foreign Legion in Africa under the command of Major Renald.

Sub-Mariner: 1939, Motion Picture Funnies #1(Funnies, Inc). 1920, a scientific expedition on the ship "The Oracle" makes its way to the South Pole and make their base on an ice floe, unknowingly above the city of the sea-faring people. Their experiments with explosives destroy much of the city and kill scores of citizens. The female Fen whose features resembles the surface people is sent to the ship as a spy to use her wiles to stop the destruction. Treated nicely by the commander Leonard McKenzie, the two develop feelings for each other and are married under the surface rituals while she gives information to her people. Just as they were preparing to launch an attack despite her feelings that the surface people are too strong, another bombardment occurs that all but wipes the sub-mariners out. Now, almost twenty years later, they are readying for another invasion and the son of Fen and Leonard McKenzie is slated to lead the invasion and be the "avenging son". He has the strength of a thousand, can fly and can live in land and water (the native sub-mariners can only last five hours out of the water and most not that long). Fen, Namor, and Dorma are colored blue in the deep water but caucasian on the surface, implying that the blue complexion of the sub-mariners is really due to being in the shadows of the depths and not their actual skin color. NOTE: The first eight pages of the first story were in Motion Pictures Funnies, a give-away which introduces the character and covers his origin. Page 9, starting with the introduction of Dorma is new to Marvel Comics #1. Fen herself is an enigma. She claims to have fallen for Leonard McKenzie, however she readily admits her mission was to use her feminine wiles on the surface people to gain information and report back to her people which she faithfully carries out. After the attack that destroyed much of her people, she apparently abandons McKenzie and raises Namor to be a weapon against the surface people, indoctrinating him with anger and hate at half of his heritage.

Sun Girl: 1948, Sun Girl #1. Sun Girl is a famous but mysterious superheroine. Two adventures imply that she's long lived. One, she is familiar with a mad scientist being released in prison after spending many years there. Another is a story told by a judge who was set on the straight and narrow as teenager by her. Of course, in the first instance she could just as easily keep up with and be knowledgeable of past master criminals and in the second, the story could be being told from some future date. If she is long lived, she doesn't show any other powers other than being fit and a capable fighter. She carries a solar ray gun. She also teamed up a few times with the Human Torch. In her original appearances, she is not given a real name, boyfriend, or occupation. Everyone just knows her as Sun Girl.

Super-Slave: 1941, Mystic Comics #5. The elderly fisherman Cappy and his daughter Jane are shipwrecked following a storm. They find an old bracelet and when Cappy scratches it, it calls forth a blond giant genie called Super-Slave who must obey his commands. He rescues them and then helps them again when they run afoul a criminal ring.

Taxi Taylor: 1940, Mystic Comics #2. Taxi Taylor designed and operates his Wonder Car which is armored like a tank and decked out with various gadgets as well as being able to fly and travel underwater.

The Terror: 1941, Mystic Comics #5. When Dr Storm's chemicals bring about an amazing transformation in his dog, he extracts a serum to see if he can bring about the same effect in a human being. As luck would have it,  a man wrecks his car and ends up at the doctor's door with amnesia. He injects the serum into the unconscious man and shortly later gangsters arrive and try to force Dr. Storm to help them. The stranger wakes up, his face takes on a skull like appearance and he kills the crooks. However, Dr. Storm succumbs to his wounds. The amnesiac decides to use his ability to take on the frightful appearance and the extra strength to fight crime. When he turns into the Terror, he is surrounded by flame like vapors and appears taller as well as looking a bit like Bela Lugosi's Dracula. He is also stronger and more dynamic.

Texas Kid: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #1. Called the "Robin Hood of the range" the Kid rides the Old West helping others. In his one published adventure, he and his faithful white horse Spot find a gang of masked men trying to take over various small ranches. His real name and motive for doing what he does is never given and he doesn't wear a costume.

The 3Xs: 1940, Mystic Comics #1. The 3Xs are a famous trio of plain clothes crime fighting brothers. 1X is the detective and default leader; 2X is bald, a "walking encyclopedia," and gadgeteer, carrying a disintergrating gun; and 3X is the tough muscle of the group. Although, all three are good in a fight, they take their lumps as well. In their one published mission, they fight the Green Terror.

the thundererThunderer: 1941, Daring Mystery Comics #7/v2 #1. Jerry Carstairs works a mundane job at the F.C.C. offices in Washington, DC. He is also a ham radio enthusiast and has an extensive radio setup in his home where he monitors radio broadcasts. He then follows up leads as the costumed Thunderer. He has a small radio and horn setup around his neck that magnifies his voice. As the Thunderer, he's good in a fight. He has a pet dog Mike and his girlfriend is Eileen Conroy, a reporter who wishes he could be more like the daring hero. His costume in the interior pages has reversed colors than on the cover and in the micro. Unmasked, he looks a bit like Tony Stark only with glasses.

Tigerman: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #6. Tigerman appears to be bronze skinned and wears a turban and accompanied by an ape called Rangoo. Tigerman is captured with Professor Carson and daughter Louise by the Monolink pygmy tribe and taken to their advanced underground city. With the help of Rangoo they escape through an underground river but the professor dies. Rangoo's fate is unrevealed and is possible he found another way out as the natives wouldn't be too interested in him. Louise is content to stay with Tigerman now that her father is gone. NOTE: The opening caption describes Tigerman as a white youth raised by natives and keeping the peace with his tame tiger Balu which is a fairly succint and accurate description of Trojak, the Tiger Man who normally appears in this title accepting that "youth" means "young adult" of around 18 or so years. However, this Tigerman does not visibly resemble or act like Trojak, does not have his supporting cast and Balu is not in the story at all, instead having Rangoo the ape, thus no reason for him to be called Tigerman. Possibly a last minute substitution with some text changes?

Detective Mike Trapp: 1943, Captain America Comics #31? Homicide police detective with a youthful sidekick in Pepper Burns. Solved mini mysteries in "Let's Play Detective" feature that ran in several books.

Trojak the Tiger Man: 1940, Daring Mystery Comics #2. Trojak's father was an explorer in Africa and helped save a tribe that was being warred upon by others. He helps the tribe and leads them into victory but is slain. His infant son is then raised to adulthood by the natives. He not only learns their ways but also the language of the animals, becoming like a white god. However, when he reaches adulthood, the aging chief shares with him and us the readers the story of Trojak's heritage (though not the fate of his mother nor his real name). He sends Trojak out, to seek his own people and his own destiny among them. Trojak is accompanied by Balu, the tiger. His first encounter with white men does not go well as they are greedy men on a quest for gold and abusing their native porters. Because of the friendly nature of Edith Alton, a blonde girl that accompanies them for unknown reasons, he ultimately rescues them from a fate they brought upon themselves and sends them from the jungle. When she is later captured by Nazis, he finds himself getting involved in the War. Trojak has all of the trappings of the Tarzan clone that he is. He speaks some English thanks to the time spent in the company with Edith. Edith's brother Jerry is a spy for the Allies, briefly undercover as a Nazi soldier in the jungles.

Vagabond: 1941, U.S.A Comics #2. The Vagabond cuts a ridiculous figure, looking pretty much like an out of work clown with the unwieldy name of Chauncy Throttlebottom III. He proves to be a whirlwind of a fighter and detective because in reality he's a man called Murphy, who works along with Kelly and Grogan as investigators for the crusading D.A.'s office. Murphy adopts the disguise to throw crooks off kilter and the fact his own face is recognizable. Note: In the text story where the heroes all meet, he's given a first name of Pat and said to be working for the FBI which is at odds with the first story.

Terry Vance: !940, Marvel Mystery Comics #10. Terry is a boy detective. He has his laboratory in the family attic where he conducts various experiments and invents Doc Savage type gadgets such as an ultraviolet flashlight, and the "detectoscope", a battery powered sensitive listening device of a microphone connected to a pair of ear phones. He gets involved in cases by monitoring police broadcasts over the radio. He's side kicked by his intelligent pet monkey named Dr. Watson. Terry is also helped by his adult friend reporter "Deadline" Dawson.

Venus: 1948, Venus #1. The goddess Venus also happens to live and rule on the planet named after her. However, she wearies of being adored and worshipped and longs for simple love and friendship of a mortal earth woman and man. Her pining and wishing to go to Earth results in it actually happening. However, she has no powers on Earth other than being able to travel back and forth between planets. She does immediately attract the attention of many men who are instantly infatuated with her. One is Whitney Hammond, publisher of "Beauty Magazine" who hires her as editor on the spot which earns her the jealousy of Hammond's secretary Della Mason who is interested in both Hammond and the job herself.  She has various adventures, slowly transitioning from slight romantic, comedic stories, to light-hearted fantasy, and even into darker fantasy and supernatural horror. Along the way, she met up with other gods from Olympus and other pantheons such as Loki and Thor (this is all before the 1960s Don Blake Thor).

Victory Boys: 1942, Comedy Comics #10.  Victor, Maxie Stein, Kurt Erzberger, Warren Zumwald, and Gus Weber are boys who decide to fight the Germans from within the Black Forest after their parents are killed. In their second appearance (USA Comics #5), they wear nigh identical costumes, differentiated by the color and use bow and arrows against the enemy. However, on the cover, instead of being monotone colors, the costumes are red, white, and blue with each being identical.

Vision: 1940, Marvel Mystery Comics #13. Dr. Enoch Mason who believes that ghosts and such inhabit unseen worlds that exist alongside ours. He is attempting to prove that theory when attacked by crooks. Out of the smoke from the experiment comes the Vision. In issue 23, it is claimed the Law-Giver (President of the World of Smoke) assigned a volunteer policeman to come to Earth to fight evil, and this volunteer is the Vision.

the whizzerthe whizzerThe Whizzer: 1941, USA Comics #1. Bob Frank is the super-fast Whizzer. As a kid, he's bitten by a cobra and through some kind of logic, his missionary father reasons that a transfusion of mongoose blood will save him. It does as well as giving the lad super-speed. Following the death of his father, he comes to America as a young man and fashions a costume to fight crime. In some of the comics, the Whizzer is named Jack Robinson.

The Witness: 1941, Mystic Comics #7. The Witness is sort of a costumed Shadow hero. He has no origin or powers, but is good with his fists and lethal if necessary and is on hand when crime is afoot. He fights criminals like Natas and his League of Blood and The Imp. NOTE: Naturally, JMS took a fairly dynamic character with potential and made him more passive and somewhat pathetic.

The Witness (II): 1948, The Witness #1. This Witness dressed like the Shadow but narrated anthological type stories that he supposedly witnessed on a radio program in the comics. His comic lasted one issue but he popped up in other titles over the next year.

Young Allies: 1941, Young Allies #1 (Timely). The Young Allies are a kid gang headlined by Bucky and Toro, the junior partners to Captain America and the Human Torch respectively. The gang was originally called The Sentinels of Liberty. The other kids are Percival Aloysius “Knuckles” O'Toole, the ubiquitous Brooklyn tough kid; Henry “Tubby” Tinkle, the ubiquitous fat kid with the cruel name; Jefferson “Jeff” Worthington Sandervilt, the smart one with glasses; and Whitewash Jones, the racial stereotype. They fight colorful Axis villains like the Red Skull as well as colorful and ordinary criminals and gangsters.

young avengerYoung Avenger: 1941, U.S.A Comics #1. Bill Bryon seems like an ordinary youth. He lives with his mom in an apartment, East-side New York. However, he's at times visited by a mysterious shadow that tells him of evil that is afoot and he puts on the costume of the Young Avenger to fight crime. As Young Avenger, Bill has incredible strength, able to burst chains with ease. But, he can be rendered unconscious by gas. Note: The text alludes to him having the strength of Hercules. It also says he has the courage of a lion and the heart of a fighter, so we can assume his strength doesn't necessarily literally come from Hercules. Though the source of it is unknown.

Zara: 1940, Mystic Comics #2. A father is weary of crime infested civilization and brings his daughter to the jungle to raise and teach her. On his death bed, he charges her to protect the jungle from evil. She helps white man Commissioner Jeff Graves against the various troubles that come to the jungles.