Saturday, February 23, 2013
Monday, February 18, 2013
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
In June 1959, Jack Kirby and Joe Simon published a title for the new "Archie Adventure Series", The Double Life of Private Strong, introducing the patriotic character, The Shield. Not related to the prior characters who shared the same name and similar costume in other books, the Shield's real identity was that of Lancelot Strong. Strong's scientist father developed a method to create a superhuman being by expanding the mind, which he experimented on his infant son. Once his father was killed by foreign agents trying to discover the secret, Lancelot was adopted by a farm couple and raised as their own son. As the youth entered his teens, Lancelot soon discovered the truth about his background and his many super powers. Strong had incredible strength, the power of flight, near-invulnerability, super vision, an ability to generate lightning, and other wonders. Discovering a flag inspired costume left for him by his deceased father, he became the masked superhero, The Shield. Joining the Army, Lancelot acted like a foolish country bumpkin, while leading a double life as the superhero Shield on the side (hence the title of his comic). DC Comics soon notified Archie Comics of their concerns, claiming that The Shield was too similar to Superman, so after two short issues, his comic was cancelled to prevent a lawsuit, with Simon and Kirby moving on to their next project.
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Today it's common place to see black and white heroes fighting side by side in comics, film, and television, but fifty years ago it was very rare. Gold Key's Brothers of the Spear was a ground breaking series that secured it place as a first in American comic's history. An original feature that was created by Western Printing's writer Gaylord Du Bois and artist Jesse Marsh as a backup feature to Tarzan #25 in 1951, it ran continuously until issue #156 in 1966. Acclaimed artist Russ Manning helped develop his clean no nonsense style on the series before being chosen to take over the Tarzan title from his mentor and friend, Jesse Marsh, years later. The "Brothers of he Spear" were a black son of a Zulu chieftain, Natongo, and his adopted white brother, Dan-El, who was a member of the lost white tribe of Africa. As sub-chiefs of the tribe in the land that would become modern day Botswana, they had many exciting adventures using their superior spear play. Protecting their jungle realm from other warring tribes and eventually winning their respective thrones, they both took beautiful wives who later shared in their many adventures. After years of publication as Tarzan backup stories, the brothers finally got their own seventeen issue series with spectacular interior art by Filipino artist Jesse Santos, with later issues drawn by the talented Dan Spiegle. The covers, like most of the Gold Key titles of the period were painted, showcasing the talents of George Wilson and other comic masters at Western.