Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Best Way To Become A Super-Heroine, Statistically Speaking!

Stop me if you've heard this one before...

Betty Barstow, secretary to a gruff but lovable private detective, has plans for the night.

And she decides to go as...a super-hero!!
You almost certainly know where this is going, because this is the exact same origin as Batgirl!!

Of course, she stops by the cemetery to visit a client, the watchman, and stumbles upon a Scooby Doo crime:

Fortunately, Betty is skilled in Jui-jitsu!

It turns out the crooks were using fake ghosts to scare away the watchman so they could use one of the tombs as a headquarters for their counterfeiting ring. As always happens.

But the big takeaway--crooks beaten by A GIRL!!

Well, Betty knows a good thing when she stumbles onto it!!

Look, that's at least two super-heroines whose origin is "woman goes to masquerade dress as hero, ends up fighting crime with her self-defense skills." Ladies, if you want to become a hero, that's the course I'd recommend--it's bound to work!!

It's worth noting that Silver Scorpion was Timely/Marvel's first female super-hero--heck, she even predated Wonder Woman!! But after only 3 stories, she vanished, until Roy Thomas brought her back in the 1993 Invaders mini-series--because of course Roy Thomas brought back an obscure Golden Age hero. Unfortunately, she was put into this horrendous post-Image armor:


Later she was retconned into having hung out with the Invaders and the Liberty Legion, and then further retconned into the retcon-created V-Battalion, which ran around quietly hunting escaped Nazi war criminals.

But in my heart, she will always be the hero whose origin story crossed Batgirl and Scooby Doo.

From Daring Mystery Comics #7 (1941)

Golden Age Idol--The Challenger!!

Friends, sometimes I miss the boat on reviving old Golden Age heroes for fun and profit. Sometimes, modern creators beat me to the punch!!

Case in point:

So wait, what's the premise here?

You have to admit, that's a pretty cool concept.

When we first meet The Challenger, he's protecting a nice young woman from a thug!

Yes, his mask looks like a Starro is controlling him.

But, as the splash blurb told us, Challenger is a master of all weapons, and he can beat you at your choice!

OK, that's at least one weapon he's mastered.

But who is this guy?

Hey--you're breaking the fourth wall--with thought balloons!! I knew I liked this guy...

Anyway, young Bill Waring is, well, kind of the before panel in the Charles Atlas ads:

In a bit of really over-complicated plotting, his father is killed and he is wounded by crooks working with the corrupt district attorney!

And then Bill begins what I've always imagined young Bruce Wayne's journeys must have been like:

Let's face it--that's a killer concept!!

Once he finds Joe Chill his father's killer, it's time once again to prove his mastery of all combat!

Seriously, I love this concept to death!!!

Like many other Timely heroes, The Challenger faded away, and was never heard from again--until Dan Slott brought him back in an issue of She-Hulk!!

It was a throwaway little bit, and they never explained what the hell this "time bounce" was. Post-Civil War, he turned up in Montana's team in the Fifty State Initiative. And that was it--he's been missing in action again for nearly a decade.

But man, this is such an insanely wonderful concept. This guy could be Marvel's Batman--he's already got the origin. A man who sees his father killed, who has no powers but pushes himself to master every weapon and form of combat there is!! Throw in the ludicrous but brilliant gimmick: he'll let his opponent chose any weapon they want--and he'll beat them with it!!

And now you can add in the "found himself in an era not his own" spin. Think of how outdated his knowledge and mastery must be now. He'll have to relearn everything, and master new skills from tasers to computers to paste guns to krav maga to...because you damn well know that he's going to continue his crusade against crime.

So, OK, Marvel, you beat me to resurrecting this guy. But take the next step!! You're sitting on a gold mine here!!! This could be the sensational character (re)find of 2017!! And he fits in swell with the Legacy theme!! Bring back The Challenger!!

From Daring Mystery Comics #7 (1941) and She-Hulk #11 (2005)

Monday, September 25, 2017

Manic Monday Triple Overtime--Oh, So That's Where Superman Learned To Do That!

It's just another day in Keystone City, and the Flash is putting more perps out of action!

The man needs a vacation--and Jay's about to take one!!

Good point...but:

Wait--that's totally ripping off the 1978 Superman movie!!

And what do you know...it works!!

But so much for rest and relaxation--Flash get caught up with Robin Hood shenanigans!! And it turns out--he's supposed to be there!!

Well, after many silly but wonderfully fun pages, Flash rousts the bad guys, and finally gets his down time:

Jay Garrick, you lucky bastard--I miss you.

From Comic Cavalcade #11 (1945)