Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Archie Comics: The Double Life of Private Strong

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.

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