Monday, May 21, 2007

Forgotten Failures of the Golden Age

The Golden Age of comics. These were comics' formative years, with each new month bringing a plethora of fantastic characters, all destined for greatness. Or maybe not. For every Superman or Captain America, there were fifty copycats, most of whom quickly vanished. Just like every other boom in comics, the initial success stories bred an army of cheap copies, and overnight, fly-by-night publishers popped up to cash in. The result, after the inevitable bust, were tons of forgotten superheroes, most of whom have since fallen into the public domain through disuse.

Let's go back now, back to a simpler, more innocent time, Back to the days of World War II and the early years of the comic book. Back to the days of flappers and Elvis, penny whistles and moon pies. Back to the days when a man could throw a tablecloth over his head, pull on a pair of fire-engine red trunks and go BUCK WILD on mysterious foreigners like our friend, THE HOOD:

While it's a truism in comics that everyone comes back eventually, who would ever want to bring back RAINBOW BOY? Here, the Chromatic Cadet is seen pulling the old "Grab the Tyrant/Miser from his throne/mansion and fly him down to the battlefield/tenement so he sees the horrors of war/poverty firsthand and renounces his evil/greedy ways" routine.

'Cause that's how they rolled back in tha GA, yo.

Surely, this star-spangled champion must be named Captain Glory, Major Flag or something equally stirring, right? Well, no. THE PUPPETEER doesn't use puppets to fight crime, he does nothing puppet-like himself, and he can’t control other people. No, this genius named himself after his day job as a puppet maker. There’s a reason Clark Kent doesn’t fight crime as “the Newspaper Reporter”, and why Bruce Wayne doesn’t wage his lonely war on crime as “the Millionaire Playboy” There’s also a reason that Superman and Batman are still around today, while the Puppeteer is completely, deservedly forgotten. Puppeteer also had an annoying talking raven sidekick inexplicably drawn to look like an eagle, but I guess we've already established this as a strip that just doesn't make much damn sense, haven't we?

All images were obtained from Pure Excitement Comics, packed with much Golden Age goodness.


LurkerWithout said...

Isn't the Hood the guy the Mist talked about having killed in the first Robinson Starman story arc?

Brian Hughes said...

Nope, that was the Invisible Hood. Different guy, but still pretty obscure.