In 1941, Harry Fowler had a promising career as a film writer with four successful
productions to his credit. World War Two changed everything for Fowler and,
upon his discharge from the army, he pursued a new career in public service.
By 1956, he was a well-regarded police detective on a West Coast police force
but the past had a way of returning to haunt him.
An early morning phone call launched Lieutenant Fowler on one of the most
bizarre cases of his career. An overnight jewelery store robbery had seemingly
been committed by a disheveled man called the Mad Maestro, virtually
replicating a scene from Fowler's first film, also called "The Mad Maestro."
Convinced that one of his former Hollywood colleagues might have a clue,
Fowler summoned producer Ben Gatewood, director Leif Conrad, public relations
man Danny Tell and the star of the movies, Otto Sands. Only three men arrived,
with Conrad reporting that Otto Sands had been incommunicado since escaping
from an insane asylum two years earlier. The revelation immediately made Sands
the prime suspect.
The string of robberies continued with the felon assuming the guise of Mister
Wink (from "The Indigo Vase"), the Black Knight and the
Phantom. Fowler was mulling the strange ticking that he'd heard during
his encounter with the Black Knight when he received stunning news from New
York Otto Sands had died in 1954! Instantly, it all came together.
Leif Conrad had lied about Sands and the ticking sound belonged to a stopwatch,
enabling the obsessive director to time his duplicated scenes perfectly.
For his final act, Conrad planned to reenact the suicidal plunge into the
ocean from the conclusion of "Phantom of the City." Rushing to the
city bridge, Fowler shouted "Retake!" and manipulated the mad Conrad
into coming down until they could "shoot the scene all over again."
As the madman was taken into custody, Fowler theorized that Conrad had hoped
to use the stunts to revive his failed career but lost his final grip on his
sanity in the process (SHOWCASE #5, by Jack Miller and Mort Meskin).
The Mad Mod Witch
As it happens, I just did a piece on all the DC horror hosts for COMIC BOOK
MARKETPLACE #80 so I have a ready-made bio on the Mad Mod Witch. (Obviously,
I don't want to run everything here so the other hosts are off limits for
the time being. Enjoy the preview, though.)
Tiny skulls dangled from her ears and a necklace of bones surrounded her
scrawny neck. A patch covered her right eye, drawing attention away from the
wart at the end of her prominent nose. "Now don't let my appearance throw
you," she cautioned. "I'm not one of those square witches you've
seen before. I might be mad but I'm also mod. See ..." she said,
exposing a bony leg, "fishnet stockings."
One month after Cain made his bow in Joe Orlando's HOUSE OF MYSTERY #175
(1968), it was editor Murray Boltinoff's turn to introduce a host with "Tales
of the Mad Mod Witch" in THE UNEXPECTED #108, a back-up to the title's
Johnny Peril strip. Dave Wood scripted the episodes, which a succession of
artists (beginning with Jack Sparling)pencilled.
As the horror hosts began to proliferate, Boltinoff began to regard them
as stale and dropped all such characters from his books. Neil Gaiman revived
the character in THE SANDMAN as the Fashion Thing, a witch who evolved with
THE MAD MOD WITCH (Earth-One):
DC Special #4
The Unexpected #108-112, 114-116, 140
The Witching Hour #13, 80
THE MAD MOD WITCH (a.k.a. THE FASHION THING; current):
The Dreaming #23
The Dreaming Special #1
Sandman (second series) #2, 22, 27 (behind the scenes), 42, 71
Bandleader Swing Sisson matched wits with the first Maestro in 1948
(FEATURE COMICS #124).
Like Hector Bauer, concert pianist Payne Cardine was motivated by scathing
reviews of his performances. Adopting a costume festooned with musical notes
and assembling a gang, the second Maestro promised to "make my
musical performances more famous than those of any other virtuoso!" He
dutifully left cryptic musical clues to his next crimes for Batman and Robin,
confident that they wouldn't be able to figure them out. Indeed, the Dark
Knight was stumped but he soon solved the problem by taking another costumed
partner, the Sparrow, who possessed an unrivaled expertise on the subject.
The Sparrow was secretly music professor Ambrose Weems, whom Batman had disguised
to protect him from the Maestro's vengeance (1962's BATMAN #149).
Only a few months later, Batman faced another Maestro alongside the Justice
League without leaving the team's Secret Sanctuary. This villain, whose
music controlled the motor responses of his victims and made them virtual
puppets, was the fictional creation of aspiring cartoonist Jerry Thomas (JUSTICE
LEAGUE OF AMERICA #16).
The third Maestro had far loftier ambitions than mere robberies. Using
his tyrano-baton, he stripped Superman of his memories and, using Lois Lane's
family as hostages, forced the Daily Planet reporter to coerce the Man of
Steel into a life of evil. The dapper Maestro, complete with a suit and tails
and a mop of white hair (plus Sivana-esque glasses, nose and overbite), also
possessed an emotion-manipulating keyboard that rivalled the Psycho-Pirate.
Using the device to fill the villain with remorse, Lois learned that he'd
intended to force Superman to lay the groundwork for missile bases in the
Latin American country of Santoro that would eventually lead to a nuclear
war with the United States (LOIS LANE #75).
This was supposed to be one of the features in the expanded Dollar Size ADVENTURE
COMICS, but the DC Implosion left several inventory tales that were put in
there instead, and to my knowledge, this character never appeared outside of
being hyped in the first Dollar Size issue.
I think the Man Called Neverwhere has been handled in some earlier incarnation
of this thread - Round II or III, I think. I'll see if I can find it.
The universe of 2070 A.D. was much different that it is now, as Mankind had
reached the stars with the invention of the Bridwell Drive. All of the planets
in the Solar System had been visited and colonized, as well as many neighboring
star systems and even galaxies. Corporate trade flourished in rare metals
and ores not found on Earth, and this naturally brought out a criminal element,
with space pirates acting much like their ancestral counterparts did in the
days of the Spanish Main. To counter this, a new group of people, known as
Manhunters (no relation to the alien robots created by the Guardians of the
Universe, nor Paul Kirk, Dan Richards, or Mark Shaw) came into being, working
either as police for the giant companies and corporations, or as free-lancers,
much in the same way as bounty hunters operated in the Old West. Starker was
one such Manhunter, working from a plush space satellite orbiting Jupiter,
bought with the proceeds from his successful and high-paying career. Starker
is assisted in his work by 17001, a robot computer more familiarity known
as Arky. Arky's memory banks were programmed with all known data on every
known criminal, and acted as Starker's futuristic Alfred Pennyworth.
Starker has had six recorded adventures. "Incident on Krobar 3"
has the bounty hunter apprehending the murderer of a young girl's grandfather,
killed in a crooked card game. "Planet of Death" follows Starker
as he tracks down three killers to the planet Pheidos on the outer edge of
the Andromeda Galaxy. The three criminals had escaped and killed the crews
and passengers of two space ships, and were looking for a notorious pirate's
lair on Pheidos, which was also known for its hostile animal and plant life.
Starker managed to bring back one killer alive, the other two succumbing to
the fauna of Pheidos.
"D.O.A." revealed how Starker became the man he is. Seventeen years
earlier, his father had been killed by claim-jumping space pirates after hitting
a rich didanium deposit. The pirates took him along as galley help, and Starker
spent his time training and plotting his revenge. He eventually overcame the
entire crew, killing those responsible for his father's murder and turning
everyone over to the authorities. The reward for the combined crew amounted
to over two million credits, earning him the instant reputation as the richest
bounty hunter in the universe.
Starker was forced to have a Space Duel on an uncharted planet that used
high-tech gladiatorial combat as a source of entertainment. Starker freed
himself and a friend and made the calls to have the Federation end the bread
and circuses' attitude of the planet's ruling class.
"Beware of Red-Haired Greenies" was the advice Arky gave to Starker
about the inhabitants of the planet Sodan, where thievery was looked on as
an honorable pastime. Starker was on the hunt for Wallen, an embezzler who
had stolen two million credits from Trans-Planet Mining. Finding that Wallen
had been fleeced by some dishonest card players, he and the embezzler went
after the crooks who took the money. Starker managed to kill the aliens and
recover all the money, but then he encountered a red-haired green woman lying
unconscious on their way to town. Starker forgot Arky's advice and fell into
a trap, which left him unconscious, and his attackers moved off with Wallen
and the money. As Starker lie in the sand, a band of caveman-like creatures
moved closer, and one raised his stone age above the unconscious man...
And that was it for Starker's final adventure. Starker did make one more
appearance, showing up in the time and dimension tossed crowd when an alien
tried to use the entire Earth as a weapon in its war against another planet
in SHOWCASE #100.
Showcase #90, 91-93, 100
Manhunters Around the World
"Manhunters Around The World" was just what the name says,
a series about detectives and law officers from anywhere on the globe. There
were no recurring characters. This series ran in STAR SPANGLED COMICS #94-120,
WORLD'S FINEST #59-61 and SHOWCASE #5. Reprints can be found in DC SPECIAL
#10 (from SHOWCASE #5) and DETECTIVE #422, 444 & 445.
A humor feature starring a group of rock musicians, by E. Nelson Bridwell
and Mike Sekowsky. They ran in several issues of SHOWCASE in the '60's, one
of which had real-life celebrity Woody Allen attempting to star them in a
movie, but didn't get any further.
The Maniaks were Flip, Jangle, Pack Rat and Silver Shannon and they
appeared in SHOWCASE #68, 69 and 71.
Marvel Maid and Marvel Man
Action Comics #272 (Jan 1961)
"The Second Supergirl!"
Action Comics #273 (Feb 1961)
"The Supergirl Of Two Worlds!"
While attending her General Science class, Linda Lee gets the idea that somewhere
in the universe she might have a "double". As Supergirl, she meets
with her cousin, Superman, at his Fortress of Solitude. She asks Superman
to use his super-computer, the Super-Univac, to locate such a world. (Although
it has only been a few months, both Superman and Supergirl have both apparently
forgotten about the planet Oceania!) The super-computer processes all the
data at its disposal, and finally locates the planet Terra, a world in orbit
around Star-Sun-X45-266. This world duplicates most Earthly phenomena, including
the presence of two individuals with super-powers. Supergirl explains that,
if she can handle performing super-feats without screwing up, then it will
prove to Superman that she is ready for her public debut on Earth. Superman
agrees, and she heads into space.
Supergirl reaches Terra and finds a number of differences between Earth and
its "twin". Florida is much bigger. The Statue of Liberty holds
a banner instead of a torch. The Eiffel Tower is in America instead of France.
Metropolis' duplicate is called Macropolis on this world. To avoid notice,
Supergirl changes back to Linda Lee, and continues to observe this world in
her civilian identity. When a tigerrabbit escapes from the zoo, Linda expects
to see a duplicate of Superman come to the rescue. Instead, it is Linda's
duplicate, Marvel Maid, who arrives and captures the wild animal. Her costume
is identical to Supergirl's, except for her "MM" chest emblem. It
is clear to Linda that Marvel Maid's existence is not a secret on this world.
When Marvel Maid heads to her Fortress of Marvels, Linda switches back to
her Supergirl identity and follows. Supergirl is amazed to learn that the
Fortress is in orbit around the planet, and that its giant key is hung on
a nearby radioactive satellite. When Marvel Maid opens the Fortress door,
Supergirl quickly flies in ahead of her. Marvel Maid is surprised when she
finds a duplicate of herself waiting inside. Supergirl explains all about
herself, then asks Marvel Maid about her origins.
Marvel Maid reveals that she was born in an underground city that once existed
in a giant cavern at the center of the planet Terra. Like Krypton, her great
civilization was also doomed. Jaal-Kor, her scientist father, had correctly
predicted that the roof of their cavern would collapse and destroy the city.
He worked day and night to build a small rocket-borer that would save his
infant daughter. The child was sent to safety just as the cavern ceiling collapsed.
Much later, after the rocket bored 4,000 miles upwards, she was found by a
passing couple on the surface world. They adopted the poor orphan as their
own. Later, her startled foster parents discovered that she possessed super-powers.
Years later, she found out that cosmic rays, which never penetrated underground,
had given her special powers when she reached the surface world. She became
Terra's super-heroine, Marvel Maid.
Supergirl asks if there is also a duplicate of Superman, but before Marvel
Maid can answer, her space alarm rings. A forest fire threatens the people
of a prehistoric world. Supergirl asks if she can take Marvel Maid's place
so that she can prove herself to Superman. Marvel Maid suggests that Supergirl
start by replacing her in her secret identity as Lea Lindy, cub reporter.
Shortly, at the Daily Planet offices in Macropolis, Linda meets her managing
editor Perry Waite, an exact duplicate of Earth's Perry White. Later, she
alters her costume to include an "MM" emblem, then goes on patrol
as Marvel Maid.
Supergirl receives a call for help from a disabled ship that is about to
strike an iceberg. She arrives at the site of the emergency and attempts to
melt the ice with the heat of her x-ray vision. Supergirl is shocked when
the iceberg bursts into flames. As she pushes the ship to safety, she wonders
who will protect other ships from the burning iceberg. Elsewhere, a man resembling
Clark Kent, using his telescopic vision, watches the events from his prison
cell. He concludes that Marvel Maid needs his help and, after verifying that
the guards are not around, changes into his costumed identity (apparently
the guards never noticed that he wore his costume under his prison uniform).
The hero, Marvel Man, uses his secret escape tunnel to exit the prison and
soon arrives on the scene.
Supergirl watches as Superman's double pushes the burning iceberg underwater.
He's surprised that his "cousin" couldn't tell that this was a false
iceberg made of flammable salts that crystallized out of sea water. Supergirl
explains that she is not really Marvel Maid, but rather a substitute from
Earth. Supergirl again tells all about herself, then asks how Marvel Man escaped
the destruction of his underground world.
Marvel Man explains that his father, who was Jaal-Kor's brother, also knew
of the coming disaster. He was a small boy when his father sent him away in
a rock penetrator. Unfortunately, his earth-boring machine stalled before
reaching the surface. Volcanic gases that seeped into the machine put him
into suspended animation. Years later, when a big quake tossed his rock penetrator
to the surface, he burst free just as Marvel Maid flew by on her regular patrol.
She immediately recognized him as her cousin. Just like with Marvel Maid,
the cosmic rays reaching the surface granted him super-powers. She made her
cousin a costume similar to her own, and he took the name Marvel Man. They
both soon realized that Marvel Man did not yet have the proper control over
his powers, and decided that his existence should be kept secret until he
was ready to be revealed. Supergirl is amazed at how similar his situation
is to hers.
After returning to Macropolis, Supergirl tells Marvel Man that she secretly
lives in an orphanage on Earth. He explains that he is a prisoner in the nearby
jail under his other identity as "Ken Clark". Supergirl is shocked
that a hero would have committed a crime. Marvel Man assures her that that
is not the case. Everyone on Terra must have identification papers. Marvel
Maid obtained hers from her foster parents. He had none, and was sentenced
to prison for years! He pretends to be the weakest prisoner in order to hide
his super-powers. To perform his secret missions, he comes and goes through
his hidden underground tunnel. He explains that must avoid parole until Marvel
Maid decides that his training is over. Marvel Man then leaves Supergirl and
returns to his prison cell, becoming Ken Clark once more.
Later, a huge meteor knocks Marvel Maid's Fortress of Marvels out of orbit.
Supergirl summons Marvel Man, believing that saving the falling Fortress could
convince Marvel Maid that his training period is over. Fearing that someone
might see him flying in the air, Marvel Man decides he will wait on the ground
and catch the descending Fortress. Supergirl checks a nearby farmhouse to
make sure no one there is watching them. When she sees the farmer's wife and
her daughter outside, Supergirl grabs a lump of coal and squeezes it into
a diamond. Supergirl correctly predicts that the woman will be distracted
by the diamond, and returns to Marvel Man's aid. She is stunned to find that
Marvel Man has collapsed. As the Fortress crashes to the ground, Marvel Man
explains that the reflections of the diamond have weakened him. The great
pressure of their collapsing cavern formed diamonds out of simple carbon.
The concussion hurled many super-hard diamonds from the center of Terra to
the surface. When the deadly effects of the diamonds on Marvel Maid were discovered,
all diamond jewelry was banned. When Supergirl looks in on the farmer's wife,
she discovers that the woman is calling the Diamond Demolition Squad! Supergirl
and Marvel Man look in dismay at the wreckage that was once the Fortress of
The two heroes decide that they must rebuild Marvel Maid's fortress. They
first repair the satellite, then get to work on piecing together all the former
trophies. When they reconstruct the planetarium model of Terra's solar system,
Supergirl learns that their Mars has rings like Saturn, and their Jupiter
has multiple red spots. Marvel Man then shows Supergirl a mystery weapon that
they found in space. Supergirl recognizes it as a disintegrating ray built
by Lex Luthor and flung into space by Superman years ago. Finally, when the
interior is completed, the two heroes fly the Fortress of Marvels back into
orbit. Marvel Man returns to his prison cell, while Supergirl greets the returning
Supergirl explains to Marvel Maid what has gone on in her absence. She tries
to make Marvel Maid understand that Marvel Man no longer wants to be her secret
weapon, anymore than she wants to be Superman's. Marvel Maid decides that
Supergirl should continue substituting for her so that she can prove to Superman
that she is ready. Later, Supergirl saves the first manned rocket into space
from crashing upon lift-off. Supergirl helps put the rocket into orbit, then
discovers that this world's first astronaut is a woman! Marvel Maid is so
impressed with Supergirl that she offers to fly to Earth to tell Superman
that she no longer needs any training. Supergirl remains behind and watches
on Marvel Maid's space monitor.
Marvel Maid arrives on Earth just in time to save a cable car from a lightning
bolt. Superman appears soon afterward, congratulating her for her super-feat.
He does not notice the "MM" emblem on Marvel Maid's chest and mistakes
her for Supergirl. He tells her that this last act has convinced him that
she's finally ready to go public. Superman takes the heroine to his Fortress
of Solitude to show her all the things he has been preparing for Supergirl's
debut, not allowing Marvel Maid to get a word in edge-wise. Supergirl, who
continues to watch on the space monitor, is surprised to learn just how proud
Superman is of her. When Superman finally notices her emblem, Marvel Maid
explains that she is Supergirl's "double" from Terra. She says that
she has come to Earth to tell Superman that his cousin has performed well
on Terra. She suggests that they observe Supergirl on Superman's space monitor.
Even though Supergirl screws up her next mission, Marvel Maid blames it on
her ignorance of the differences between their two worlds, and recommends
that he still go ahead with his plans to reveal her to the public.
Marvel Maid returns to Terra and locates Supergirl and Marvel Man. She asks
Supergirl to stay long enough to attend Marvel Man's introduction to the people
of Terra. Following the celebration, Supergirl returns home, fully expecting
that Superman will give her similar good news. Instead, she learns that Superman
has decided that her training must continue. He tells her that she could have
avoided all her mistakes if she simply studied the differences between their
two worlds ahead of time. He states that, whenever he visits a strange civilization,
he always gets full information from one of their libraries first, so that
nothing can take him by surprise. Although she is disappointed, she consoles
herself with the fact that she now knows that Superman is rooting for her.
The Masked Ranger, alas, appeared in MORE FUN #36-41, issues which
are not available on microfiche. He SOUNDS like a Lone Ranger knock-off but
I have no way of confirming that.
The Master Electrician
The Master Electrician wreaked havoc with machinery within Midway
City, enabling him and his gang to loot the metropolis' bank. As further protection,
he used artificial lightning to render them invisible. Though hampered by
Mavis Trent in the guise of Hawkgirl, Hawkman managed to defeat the villains
(MYSTERY IN SPACE #88, due to be reprinted soon in HAWKMAN ARCHIVES).
The Ending Battle storyline now featured in the Superman titles has
introduced a new villain named the Master Jailer. What many readers seem not
to realize, however, is that another version of this character existed before
The original Master Jailer was introduced in SUPERMAN [1st series] #331 (Jan
1979). He was Carl Moosie Draper, a Smallville native who harbored an obsession
with Lana Lang that dated back to the days when he was a fat, seemingly slow-witted
As an adult, Draper developed his body and his mind. He became a scientific
genius capable of designing cells that could hold even the most powerful super-villains.
He created the high-tech Mount Olympus Correctional Facility, which Superman
encased in a bubble and set on an anti-gravity platform so it could float
20,000 feet above the Earth. Supes dubbed it Drapers Island, but Lana, who
was present for the grand opening in her pre-Crisis role as a TV newswoman,
preferred Superman Island.
When that nickname stuck, Draper became embittered and took on the Master
Jailer identity to capture both Lana and Supes. He was defeated, of course,
and locked up in his own prison. He later escaped and was hired by enemies
of Supergirl to use his abilities to defeat her. Draper also used his scientific
know-how to commit thefts.
Actually, the Master Jailer was Drapers second villainous identity. Years
earlier, Superboy built Kator, a robot meant to test his powers. Kator, however,
developed a mind of his own and almost killed the Boy of Steel before being
destroyed. What Superboy did not know, was that Kator somehow arranged for
his powers to be transferred to Draper. The two teens battled until Pa Kent
shut off Kators powers. Superboy then erased Drapers memories of the fight.
The Crisis rendered him non-existent.
Fact is, there already WAS a post-Crisis Master Jailer BEFORE Geoff Johns
introduced him in "Ending Battle". The Carl Draper of the post-Crisis
DCU called himself "Deathtrap" and was in the Superman titles circa
ten years ago. I'm not sure whether Geoff Johns is aware of this character...
OR the fact that the OTHER "re-introduced" villain, Neutron, has
been seen SEVERAL times post-Crisis, both in Superman books and other titles.
In his latest appearance, it seems like he and Superman meet for the first
time and that is not the case. The new Master Jailer appears to be a totally
different person, but he wears a variation on the original's costume.
Created by Steve Ditko, they first appeared in Charlton's BLUE BEETLE #4.
An ancient cult residing in a small coastal nation of Asia, the Men of the
Mask were based deep in a hidden lair within the much-feared Mountain of Mider,
named for a demon or god that had once been offered human sacrifice. This
mountain was actually atop a long-dormant volcano, and jets of volcanic gas
and flame were still harnessed within for the cult's sinister purposes.
In the modern day, the cult membership was made up of former soldiers, slavers,
prisoners, and merchants(!) hiding out from the law. They greedily coveted
a fabulous treasure said to reside somewhere in the bowels of the mountain.
The cultists wore flowing robes and demonic-looking masks (hence the name).
the rank-and-file wore the Red Masks of Violence; their leader, the White
Mask of Death.
Searching for his old mentor, archaeologist Dan Garrett (who was the original
Blue Beetle), Ted Kord journeyed to the tiny Asian nation and stumbled across
the cult. As the Blue Beetle, Ted was captured and interrogated by the cult's
leader, who revealed that most of their fearsome reputation was a sham and
that the modern cult was mainly common criminals. the Beetle was pitted against
a giant statue of Mider whose many swinging "arms" were animated
by volcanic gas channeled from below.
After freeing himself and learning that the "Garrett" captured
by the Men of the Mask had been an impostor, the Beetle barely escaped the
destruction of the cult's headquarters, when a cache of explosives reawakened
the volcano and the entire mountain erupted in flames. Apparently the entire
membership was trapped within and suffered a grisly death.
The Mercenaries were Gordon (a one-eyed white American), Philip "Prince"
Edwards (a black Englishman) and Horst Brenner (a blonde German). They were
deserters from the French Foreign Legion who sought greater excitement and
riches around the world. They were introduced by Bob Kanigher and Vicatan
in G.I. COMBAT #242 (1982) as a present-day counterpart to World War Two-Korea-Vietnam
fare comprising most of the book. Eventually, the venerable "Haunted
Tank" was bumped from the book altogether and the Mercenaries took the
lead (#282; 1986). Unfortunately, the bland adventures of the trio did not
take hold and the more interesting mix of characters in the Haunted Tank returned
The Mercenaries appeared in G.I. COMBAT #242, 244, 247, 249, 251, 253, 256,
258, 261-263, 265, 268, 271-274, 278-284 and 286, plus an entry in WHO'S WHO
Metalhead And Headhunter
These two heady villains appeared in BATMAN #486 and #487 respectively, circa
1992. Both were basically devices intended to wear Batman down and set the
stage for the whole "Knightfall" story arc.
He was a guy dressed in a costume that covered his entire body except for
his eyes. He had spikes on his face and fists and had a barbed whip-like device
mounted on his head. Amazingly, he could flail that barbed object around very
well, using it to slice people. Aside from some old kung-fu movie where a
baddie used his pig-tail as a whip, I don't think anyone has ever done this.
I certainly question whether it could be done in real life.
Metalhead wanted to find Black Mask to join his gang. He was a bit late as
Batman had just busted the gang and Black Mask was in hiding. That didn't
stop Metalhead from cutting up a few people in some bars, trying to track
Meanwhile, Batman, who was still determined to find the missing Black Mask,
was rushing around town with blood trickling out of his nose, which apparently
had been broken earlier. Despite his injuries, Bats rejects attempts by Alfred
and Tim to help him. In a state of exhaustion, he slugs it out with Metalhead,
suffering several wounds in the process. After knocking off the spikes protecting
Metalhead's face, Bats nails him with a punch in the face and knocks him out.
We never found out who Metalhead is. If he ever appeared again, I didn't
hear about it.
The very next issue, Batman is still in a state of exhaustion and is again
going head to head with a new baddie. This time, Headhunter was a mohawked,
punk rock-looking hit-man with a leather jacket, bandoliers, knives and sharpened
teeth. The gangsters describe him as a "dead man", meaning he was
a psycho who didn't care if he lived or died. But he was a skilled fighter
and marksman and his speciality was nailing all of his targets with just two
shots in the head.
Surprisingly, his target was not Batman. It was Commissioner Gordon. That
didn't stop Batman from rushing out to stop him and Bats narrowly saves Gordon's
life after Headhunter ambushes him. Headhunter uses his two scoped pistols
to shoot Batman's batarangs in mid-air and later cuts Batman with his knives
but in the end, Batman takes him rather easily and Gordon is saved. Again,
I don't know if this character ever appeared again.
Headhunter appeared in the "battle of Metropolis" splash in Infinite
Crisis #7 (2006).
The Microwave Man
The Microwave Man from ACTION COMICS #487-488 who was supposed to be Earth-One's
first super-villain. Anyone have any info about him? Such as who did he face
in his early career? What did his uniform look like, and how did he get his
Without digging through my old comic collection, I can recall that Microwave
Man was a supervillain in the 1920s-30s. (Did people back then even know what
a microwave was?)
He used machines to tap into microwaves that he used to fly, create force
fields, blast objects, etc. He seemed to engage mainly in bank robberies.
He had no opponents as there were no superbeings around at the time.
Amazingly, his microwave antenna was able to contact a passing alien space
ship and the aliens agreed to let him join them on their tour of the galaxy.
Decades later, Microwave Man returns to Earth and finds a world awash with
superbeings, where Superman is now the biggest superhero in the world. The
elderly Microwave Man still possesses his microwave powers however and after
the aliens grant him a boon of returning his lost youth, the guy tries to
finally pit himself against someone else with superpowers.
Because there are so many microwave devices in modern times, Microwave Man
was much more powerful than before. He seemingly defeats Superman, then drops
dead, his last wish fulfilled. It is then revealed that Superman let Microwave
Man defeat him so that the guy could die in peace after proving that he could
hold his own against a real superhero.
That sounds weird but once upon a time, DC superheroes were real big on letting
people die in peace.
"Want to see more of the Mind-Grabber Kid?" the final caption
of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #70 asked. "Let us know ... because we sort
of like him." Reaction to teenager Lucian Crawley's ridiculously costumed
alter-ego, whose envy of the JLA provoked an alien attack on the team, was
tepid at best. His introduction also marked an end to Denny O'Neil's initial
humorous slant on the series, replaced by a more somber approach in the subsequent
accounts of the devastation of Mars (#71), the death of Larry Lance (#74)
and the betrayal of Snapper Carr (#77). Still, if the Mind-Grabber Kid was
not the sensational character find of 1969, he was not entirely forgotten
A Mark Waid-scripted sequence in 1992's JUSTICE LEAGUE QUARTERLY #8 had the
Kid show up in a line-up of potential new members for the Conglomerate:
"'Kid'? How old are you?"
From the other end of the revival spectrum came 1995's PRIMAL FORCE #10,
written by Steven Seagle. In this one, a drooling Lucian Crawley, cured of
his "delusions" of being a super-hero at the cost of his sanity,
was liberated from the Kadmon Psychiatric Convalescent Home by the occult
organization known as the August. By page seven, Lucian had embraced the dark
side, acquiring the new name of Mind Eater. With his powers amplified
to enable him to possess other people's brains, Mind Eater spent the next
few months fighting various members of the Leymen before taking a nasty chest
wound from Claw in #12.
Mind Grabber Kid reappeared in Seven Soldiers: Bulleteer #3 (2006).
Here's the scoop on Miss X, plus a few more details about who the
first 20th Century costumed heroine of the DCU really was.
At the beginning of mid-1940's ACTION COMICS #26's story, Tex Thomson and
Bob Daley revealed that their stereotypical black partner, Gargantua T. Potts,
had joined the French army as a cook. He was replaced on the crimefighting
front (in #26-27 and 29-30) by Miss X, a mystery woman whose disguise consisted
solely of black glasses. The latter three stories also featured District Attorney
Maloney and his daughter Janice (or "Peggy", as she was called in
#29 and 30).
Although there were no heavy-handed hints that Peggy was Miss X, the reader
was clearly intended to assume they were one and the same. Tex seemed to make
the connection himself in #29 when he and Bob accompanied Peggy on a train
trip to Washington, D.C. and encountered Miss X once they reached the city.
In the final panel, Tex confided in Bob that "I think I know who she
Only a few month's later, while sailing to Europe on a secret mission, Tex
was declared dead after a bomb sank his vessel (ACTION #33). The tragedy seems
to have had a profound effect on Miss X, who apparently operated as much out
of an attraction to Thomson as she did a desire to fight injustice. Unknown
to anyone but Bob Daley, Tex had survived, dying his blonde hair black and
taking the identity of Mister America to track down the saboteurs. Choosing
not to immediately reveal his survival to the public, Tex holed up at Bob's
By #43, Tex's survival seemed to have become public knowledge and D.A. Maloney
made his final appearance in the series save for a restrospective of the series
in 1988s SECRET ORIGINS #29). Margaret Janice Peggy Maloney was nowhere to
be seen, however. Miss X was gone for good.
Exempting Rose Psychic, Wonder Woman was originally the TENTH costumed heroine
in the DC Universe (if one uses the month that she showed up on Earth-Two).
The wild card in the mix is Phantom Lady. Roy Thomas established in ALL-STAR
SQUADRON #41 that her decision to become a costumed heroine in the spring
of 1941 inspired her cousin Ted to become Starman. Problem is, James Robinsons
STARMAN SECRET FILES #1 has Sandra Knight talking about becoming a super-heroine
in 1939 a period when even the Crimson Avenger and Sandman were barely
getting off the ground. The story also places Flash and Green Lantern as active
in 1939 (and various SECRET FILES timelines have backdated their debuts from
1939 and 1940 to 1938 and 1939, respectively). The timeline in the issue says
that Starman debuted on Nov. 20, 1939 but didnt go national with the Doctor
Doog case until 1941. If all of this is accurate, then Phantom Lady evidently
debuted in the latter half of 1939 rather than June of 1941.
Heres how things lined up originally (with the retroactively pre-1942 Liberty
Belle also included). For the debut dates, I subtracted two months from the
May: Margaret Janice Peggy Maloney becomes Miss X (ACTION COMICS #26).
September: Abigail Mathilda Hunkel becomes the Red Tornado although the general
public is unaware the costumed figure is a woman.
January: USA, the Spirit of Old Glory debuts (FEATURE COMICS #42).
February: Susan Kent takes the persona of Bulletgirl (MASTER COMICS #13).
March-June: Wonder Woman comes to America on Earth-Two anyway (ALL-STAR
COMICS #8 and SENSATION #1). Notes: I've always used the dates found in the
first issue of SENSATION #1... The date found on the newspaper in the Little
Boy Blue strip is July 1, 1941, while the letter in the front of the comic
is dated April '41. So that gives us a bracket in which to place the stories
in that issue. I seem to remember that the SENSATION Wonder Woman story took
place 3 weeks after the ALL STAR Wonder Woman story, so some place between
March and June of '41 for the pre-Crisis WW, with June '42 for the post-ZH
Golden Age WW.
April: Shiera Sanders becomes Hawkgirl for the first time (ALL-STAR COMICS
#5). Sandra Knight becomes Phantom Lady (POLICE COMICS #1). Note: The headline
on the newspaper she uses as a weapon bears this date (a good resource for
placing WWII heroes is The World War II Almanac, which gives a day-by-day
account of what happened from 1933-1945. Roy was pretty good in placement
of his backround data. ) There's no reason not to give her an April '39 date
June: Carol Vance Martin becomes Wildfire (SMASH COMICS #25) and Joan Dale
becomes Miss America (MILITARY COMICS #1; reaffirmed in SECRET ORIGINS #26).
September: Miss America debuts (MILITARY #1). Note: She didn't start wearing
the uniform until MILITARY #4.
Fall: Libby Lawrence becomes Liberty Belle (ALL-STAR SQUADRON #61).
Only appearance: ALL STAR COMICS #50 (12/49-1/50) Mr. A is a criminal, not
a hero. A graduate of Midwestern U. (class of '38) alongside one Jason P.
Garrick, Ted Kincaid commits crime at the same time as the ten-year reunion
(actually a year late!) based on geology (crime foiled by Hawkman and the
Atom), meteorology (foiled by Doc Mid-Nite and Black Canary), zoology (foiled
by Flash and Wonder Woman) and metallurgy (foiled by Green Lantern). However,
at some point in the "small team" proceedings, the JSAers are captured,
but rescued by a mysterious stranger, who turns out to be Paul Turnbull, another
classmate of Garrick's. Turnbull had predicted in his yearbook that he would
become Mr. Alpha and commit crimes based on the sciences he studied. Kincaid,
who had lost all his money on the stock market, remembered this and sought
to make Turnbull the scapegoat.
Mr. Alpha wore a blue and red costume with a belt with an "A" as
its buckle. He was referenced briefly in AMERICA VS. THE JSA #4, referred
to as Fred, not Ted Kincaid. Garrick reported that Kincaid "went straight"
after he'd served his jail sentence.
"Here is a master criminal, an ingenious plotter of crimes a
fiend who would snuff out life as easily as he would blow out a candle."
The legend of Mister Banjo began with Doctor Filpots, an unseen criminal
genius who'd terrorized the east coast in the final days before the United
States' entrance into World War Two. Law enforcement officials believed they
had their big break when mobster Trigger Danny agreed to reveal all he knew
about the mastermind in exchange for a lighter sentence. In early 1942, the
stoolie was gunned down in retaliation.
As surgeons fought for Danny's life on a hospital table, WHIZ Radio newscaster
Billy Batson slipped into the operating room, intent on getting the scoop
on the wounded man's condition. Instead, Batson would determine Danny's fate.
The plunking notes of a banjo heralded the arrival of a trio of gun-wielding
hoods who were sought to finish what they'd started. With one magic word,
Billy transformed himself into Captain Marvel and left the hitmen gift-wrapped
for the police.
The local story was soon eclipsed by a national crisis. The United States'
efforts in World War Two were being hampered by a saboteur, someone who was
routinely leaking confidential military shipping routes to the Japanese.
Disguised by a rather obvious long white beard, Billy paid a visit to American
Naval Headquarters. There, he witnessed a verbal altercation between a French
"arteest" who wanted to see "zee commanding officer" and
an oblivious secretary absorbed in her typing. Inevitably, a strapping sailor
ejected the troublemaker. Billy followed the stranger, noting the curious
detail that he was vigorously whistling as he strolled away.
The melody was overheard by a balding, well-fed gentleman with a bulbous
nose, a tattered green three-piece suit and a porkpie hat. He rushed away,
gasping, "Gotta hurry before I forget it!" Outside a printing shop,
the fat man strummed the tune of his banjo until a man inside demanded that
he "cut the racket!" Requesting "just a few pennies for Mr.
Banjo," the musician made his exit once he'd received a coin. In turn,
a transmitter within the shop relayed the musical notes around the globe to
a Japanese outpost and alerted them to bomb a "U.S. battleship nearing
Meanwhile, Billy had confronted the Frenchman at the moment that the spy
was assassinated by the returning Mister Banjo. With his final words, the
man identified his killer and explained that "they told me they
would release my family in occupied France if I carry their
messages ..." Billy turned to find a gun in his face. "I'M Mr. Banjo,
buddy! Now it's YOUR turn!"
Calling out "Shazam," Billy changed into Captain Marvel just in
time to beat Mister Banjo's bullet. Before he could interrogate the killer,
Cap was distracted by a man in a Marvel Family uniform who'd just robbed a
With "Cap" wanted for questioning, it fell to Billy to solve the
case. Returning to Naval headquarters, the newscaster found Boogey, the man
who'd pretended to be Cap, chatting with the still-typing secretary. Suddenly,
everything clicked in Billy's head and he asked an officer to detain the woman
and Boogey: "She's typing in Morse Code ... giving that man the secrets!"
"The girl learns the secrets ... and then one of the spy gang calls
in here she types out the message in code on her typewriter
that's how all the messages leak out. ... After they get the code down pat,
the man walks along the street whistling it ... and then Mr. Banjo picks it
up and plays it to some more spies. By this method, it's carried halfway around
Captain Marvel nabbed the conspirators at the print shop and trailed Boogey
to a ship in the city's harbor. There, he smashed Mister Banjo's instrument
over his head and tossed the unconscious musical murderer into the ocean.
Boogey revealed that "Mr. Banjo is really old Filpots that business
of killin' Trigger Danny was just a stall to cover his other activities. HE'S
the real head of the international spy ring he's been in cahoots with
them orientals for years."
"OHO! Then instead of getting rid of ONE killer I got rid of
TWO!" (CAPTAIN MARVEL ADVENTURES #8, illustrated by C.C. Beck) Cap's
tough talk for Boogey's benefit notwithstanding, the World's Mightiest Mortal
presumably returned to fetch Mister Banjo out of the drink. The spymaster
was, alas, long gone.
The Japanese assault on U.S. forces and Captain Marvel in particular continued
when the evil Nippo came on the scene in CMA #9. Within moments of his capture,
Station WHIZ had received an encoded message. His hair standing on end, Billy
told station manager Sterling Morris that "it's our Captain Marvel code!
And it's signed Mr. Banjo!"
"BLF GSLFTSG R'W YVVM URMRHSVW LUU, WRWM'G BLF? DZRG GROO R TVG SLOW
LU BLF MVCG NLMGS!"
Or, for those of you who left your Captain Marvel Code Cards in your other
pants: "You thought I'd been finished off, didn't you? Wait till I get
hold of you next month!"
And sure enough, Mister Banjo returned in the final story in CMA #10 (with
art by Pete Costanza). The nation had been stunned by President Roosevelt's
decision to recall the entire naval fleet from the Pacific. Fearing that the
outcome of the war was in jeopardy, Captain Marvel flew to the White House
and offered to single-handedly take over for the Navy. "I'll thank you
to mind your own affairs, Capt. Marvel!" FDR snapped. "I'll manage
to run the country. Good day!"
As he left the Oval Office, Cap realized that he'd just spoken to an imposter
but, before he could act on the knowledge, the floor opened beneath him and
he fell into a sub-basement. There, he faced Mister Banjo and his gang, who'd
arranged a death trap, a heavy-duty compression elevator designed to crush
Big Red Cheeses. By the time, he'd muscled his way to freedom, Cap had lost
A tip led Billy to the secluded Templar Mansion, where he was immediately
captured by Mister Banjo and company. After his failure in the previous outing,
the saboteur was now being watch-dogged by a beautiful Axis spy named Mata.
She was mystified by Banjo's interest in Billy but the fat man knew there
was a connection between him and Captain Marvel. Though he'd witnessed Billy's
earlier transformation, the villain couldn't remember it because of the magic
inherent in the lightning bolt.
When Batson refused to reveal his secrets, he was flung from the mansion
via an ancient catapult. A bolt of lightning pierced the sky and one of the
gunmen shrieked, "The kid's exploded!" Captain Marvel began a swift
mop-up operation even as the ringleaders fled. Speeding away in a motorboat,
Mata shouted to her collaborator that "you're through, Mr. Banjo. The
cause no longer needs you."
With Cap's hands around his throat, Banjo pleaded, "Don't hit me
I'll talk, I'll tell everything!" A heavy hook near the mansion's ceiling
made a convenient holding device for the villain, who shrieked in terror as
disturbed bats swirled around him. Captain Marvel concluded the case by freeing
the President, who confirmed that "these rattlesnakes meant to kill me
in cold blood."
Scheduled to be tried for war crimes, Mister Banjo escaped from prison in
1943 to participate in Mister Mind's Monster Society of Evil. Though present
in Captain Marvel's first skirmish with the league of villains (CMA #22),
Mister Banjo failed to return in any of the subsequent battles. His fate
and the role he was meant to play in the Monster Society have never
come to light.
Still, his four panel appearance in CAPTAIN MARVEL ADVENTURES #22 was enough
to include Banjo in the Monster Society roster in 1986's WHO'S WHO #15. Because
of that, he was remembered in cameos in 1996's KINGDOM COME #3 (page 7 panel
2, mostly hidden by a word balloon) and the recent WORLD'S FUNNIEST. As immortality
goes, it's not much but it's more than most 1940s villains can claim.
How about Mr. Conan from Sekowsky's METAL MEN? Didn't he mentor the group
while Doc Magnus was crazy and trying to kill them?
Residence: Boston, Massachusetts
Group Affiliation: None
First Appearance: Secrets Of Haunted House #31
Current Status: Active
Vertigo Information: Although Mister E is now clearly based in the Vertigo
Universe, he sometimes appears in the official DC Universe. Sometime in the
future, Mister E will approach the heroes of Earth and urge them to band together
and destroy Doctor Fate. Mister E has knowledge that the Helm of Nabu will
become corrupt over the ages and pose a threat in the distant future. The
heroes of Earth will mock Mister E's theories and consider him quite mad.
He was a member of the Trenchcoat Brigade, who took Tim Hunter through the
Time Stream in the original BOOKS OF MAGIC 4-parter. He later had a 3-issue
limited series with great art (by John K. Snyder, I think), which was later
taken out of continuity when the Books of Magic became monthly. He then showed
up in the Trenchcoat Brigade mini-series.
Powers: Mister E has the special abilities to see the good and evil in people's
souls. Mister E also has the abilitiy to travel to any place that he wishes,
even though he is totally blind. Mister E is an average hand-to-hand combatant
and sometimes uses his wooden cane in battles. On occasion Mister E has used
a handgun loaded with silver bullets and sometimes carries wooden stakes.
In addition he has the ability to walk through time, a skill tought to him
by an older version of himself walking back to the late 80's from the end
of time and his encounter with death (books of magic mini #4)
Limitations: Although Mister E. is totally blind, it rarely effects his ability
to "see" using his innate powers. His limitations are unknown.
Principle Adversaries: Unknown
Books Of Magic v1 #1-2 (Jan - Feb 1991)
Books Of Magic v1 #4 (Apr 1991)
Mister E #1-4 (Jun - Sep 1991)
Secrets Of Haunted House #31 (Dec 1980)
- First Appearance
Secrets Of Haunted House #32-41 (Jan 1981 - Mar 1982)
Surely Mr. Originality is from a "..Meanwhile" column c.1985,
written by some fan. The story told of how the fan left "The House of
Ideas" in search of the long departed Mr. O.. No physical appearance
by said charcter....
It had begun on a balmy September day when Barry Allen's lunch was interrupted
by a gang of motorcyclists who assaulted a man named Andrew Rutherford in
the street. As the Flash, Barry rushed the victim to an ambulance and apprehended
the trio. Unknown to the hero, Rutherford had blinked out of existence a moment
before the attack and was replaced by another man who, in turn, vanished from
the ambulance and left bank president Michael Taylor in his place.
Meanwhile, the Flash was rushing to the Security Federal Bank, where Rutherford
was supposedly locked in a vault. The only person the Scarlet Speedster found,
though, was pop star Cosmo Puree, who'd materialized there in the midst of
an airplane flight to Metropolis. The profit motive, at least, had finally
been explained. The vault had been looted of millions! Trying to make sense
of the bizarre events, Flash sped to the location of the plane, creating an
updraft to catapult him into the still airborne craft. This time, he caught
up with the man at the heart of the mystery. Gray at the temples and clad
in a purple shirt, he vanished again supplanted by Arturo Basura.
"Whoever this guy is," remarked the speedster, "He's got the
most original getaway gimmick I've ever seen ... which is why I think I'll
dub him Mr. Originality."
Running his hands through his hair that evening, Barry found himself chastised
by Iris for ruining the styling he'd just had done at Rasmussen's House of
Hair. In the blink of an eye, Barry had his connection. All the men had been
at the hair stylist on the same day that he'd been there. Making a quick trip
to the salon, the Flash learned that only two appointments for that day had
yet to become entangled in Mister O's scheme himself and magazine editor
Julian Black (also a pen name for a certain FLASH editor named Schwartz).
Black agreed to be observed by the Scarlet Speedster for any sign of activity
but, when the villain made his move, the Flash lunged too quickly, before
Mister O had fully materialized. He immediately teleported to a safer location
only to find himself in a jail cell with the Flash outside holding
his belt pouch of hair.
"Far as I could tell from his confession," Barry explained to Iris,
"It's a form of telekinesis the power to move material objects
he recently discovered he possessed. By holding a natural part of a
person's body like hair and concentrating hard he could
switch places with that person. After mulling over how to profit from his
new-found power, he decided to pull perfect crimes." Using the bits of
hair from his customers at the salon, the cosmetologist launched a new career.
Having deduced much of this, the Flash had sped to jail, guaranteeing that,
when Mister Originality used Barry Allen's hair, he'd end up in a cell (1975's
THE FLASH #238, by Cary Bates & Bob Rozakis, Irv Novick and Frank McLaughlin).
These days, Mister O has another career as a prison barber.
Weird But True Factoid: The only character from this story to appear again
sort of was Cosmo Puree, whose Greatest Hits ("Just $6.98!")
were hawked on a late-night TV commercial in BATMAN FAMILY #14's Man-Bat episode.
The Batman was investigating a string of strange robberies that were besieging
Gotham City, not knowing that they were being perpetrated by the Molder, a
super-villain who wants to bring about "the age of plastic". He
created a small army of "Plastoids" (polymer plastic conditioned
with DNA and bio-genetic plasma) to rob a subway train and stop the Batman,
who was almost killed by an on-coming train. He was saved by the timely intervention
of Plastic Man, who was in town tracking the Molder on a case of his own.
They pursued the Molder, but he evaded them both, rending Plas limb from limb
and bogging down Batman's whirly-bat with a plastic web. the Molder's next
crime was to cover City Hall in a cocoon of plastic, which used catalytic
molecules to increase in size to inundate the city. the Molder also sprayed
Plastic Man with the catalyst, which caused his body to do the same thing.
Batman's arrival didn't help things, as he was soon caught in the virtual
quicksand of Plas's expanding body. A police sharpshooter with a bazooka began
firing charges into Plastic Man's body in hopes of stopping his rapid growth,
but only succeeded in severing his head and shoulders from his body. Plas
landed, by chance, in the Molder's laboratory, where he drank some of his
memory plastic, which allowed him to regain control of his body. This freed
the Batman, who knocked the Molder off the roof and into Plas's malleable
The Brave and the Bold #76
Monsieur Maestro may well predate all of the others but virtually
nothing is known of his criminal career. Today, he resides in an extended
care facility (1999's ACTION COMICS #756).
Mooglie Ned and Ropus
Written by Richard Meyer
After Greg Saunders' first appearance on an Australian tour in Brisbane,
he donned his Vigilante gear to head out to a cattle station owned by Ed Hughes,
a man that he had helped out back in the States. While surveying Ed's property
and the cattle round-up (the "muster of the mob" according to Ed), one of
his drovers (Australian slang for "cowboy") discovered a huge diamond. He
also attracted the attention of some bushwackers, Mooglie Ned and Ropus, who
shot the man in the back. As he fell, the drover stashed the diamond in the
pouch of his kangaroo companion Katie, who hopped off into the outback. Ned
and Ropus were prevented from following when the plane carrying Ed, the Vigilante,
and Stuff spied the action and tried to come in for a landing. The bleak landscape
prevented that, and parachutes carrying the two heroes and their motorcycle
landed them safely and they took up the pursuit. After driving through a fire
set by the crooks to cover their escape, the Vigilante and his young friend
returned to the main site of the "muster". Stuff was perplexed as to why the
other drovers didn't seem to want to do anything about the murder, but Vig
reassured him that it was just that "Aussies don't show emotion much". Soon
after, Katie returned to the round-up, and started "playing" with Stuff.
While Ed was showing off the skill of his masked friend to his Aussie drovers,
Stuff discovered the diamond in Katie's pouch. Mooglie Ned and Ropus found
the teen and knocked him out, taking him and the diamond. Katie went and attracted
the Vigilante's attention and soon there was a big chase with the Vigilante
on his cycle, Katie, and the other drovers on horseback pursuing the murderers.
Mooglie Ned hanged Stuff from a tree to slow down the Vigilante, but Vig didn't
need to stop to get his partner down - he shot the rope holding him and Stuff
landed on the back of Katie. Taking a card from his Australian hosts, the
Vigilante brought down Ned and Ropus with a boomerang. The men were captured
and brought back to the authorities, and the diamond was to be given to the
family of the murdered drover.
Action Comics #128 (reprinted in The Greatest Golden Age Stories Ever
Fury Of Firestorm #48 (June 1986)
Bree Brandon was a college student at Vandeemer University with Ronnie Raymond.
She was studying both acting and journalism... and, as a lark, fought organized
crime dressed in her Moonbow costume, taking their money for her use; which
gave her a bit of a criminal reputation. When actually captured by one of
the groups whose deliveries she had messed up, she was unable to escape them...
until Firestorm happened by to save her (and let her go since he recognized
her as his fellow classmate). Bree was around here and there, covering events
as a campus report, and appeared to be working on Circe's side during her
recent attack on New York and Wonder Woman (which may have just been her working
undercover, since, in her brief time as Moonbow, she was considered to be
Of Firestorm #48 June 1986 "Moonbow Rising"
Of Firestorm #49 July 1986 "Justice: Lost And Found"
Of Firestorm #60 June 1987 "Secret Identities" (as Bree Brandon)
the Nuclear Man #70 *April 1988 "Time-Wrecked" (as Bree Daniels?)
Woman [2nd series] #174
(It seemed to be Bree in Firestorm #70, but, with no explanation, they were
calling her "Bree Daniels").
1st app: WORLD'S FINEST #295 (September 1983)
This all female trio made only one appearance in a 1983 issue of World's
Finest. At the time, Batman and Superman's friendship had been fraying due
to the events that led Batman to quit the Justice League and form the Outsiders
and this issue showcased how their bond had changed and also how it remained
as strong as ever.
The real names or origins of the Moondancers were never revealed. They were
following the orders of a mysterious benefactor (whose identity was later
revealed in that issue) but it was clear that they were working with him for
a common purpose and were not his underlings.
The three members were:
Crescent Moon: silver haired pilot of a crescent-shaped flying platform.
Harvest Moon: muscular redhead with the power to grow to ten feet.
New Moon: a black woman who could fire freezing blasts, as cold as the dark
side of the moon.
The three were radical pacifists who had been secretly sabotaging military
satellites. Batman was brought in to investigate and meets with three men
a Carl Sagan-like astronomer, a gung-ho military general and a soft-spoken
Japanese scientist who are all possible suspects as being the brains
behind the plot. The next time the Moondancers attack the launch of a military
satellite, Batman clashes with them, holding his own. Before escaping, Crescent
Moon hit Batman with some sort of gas provided by their benefactor. She thought
it would merely knock him out but instead, he is stricken with an incurable,
Despite their estrangement, Superman is summoned to the missile base to save
Batman. He determines that the only way to cure his old partner is to find
some power source not of this Earth. So he flies off into space and plucks
"the heart of a comet" out to use it as a cure for Batman.
As he uses the extraterrestrial power source, the Sagan-lookalike, the general
and the Japanese scientist all look on, very interested. Batman is cured but
is still weak so Superman leaves him at the base and flies off to fight a
crimewave that broke out in Batman's absence.
The mysterious benefactor is then shown telling the Moondancers that he gave
them the deadly weapon to use against Batman, knowing that Superman would
be forced to find some invaluble new power source that he can use. Despite
their misgivings about their ally, the Moondancers follow his instructions
to obtain the new power source. They sneak into the rocket base and overpower
the still-recovering Batman, taking the power source with them. But Superman
and Batman follow them and soon have the Moondancers on the ropes.
That is when their mysterious benefactor reveals himself the Japanese
scientist, who it turns out, is a survivor of Hiroshima and is still unhinged
by the event. He tries to use his weapon with the new power source, to destroy
the missile base but Superman stops him. The scientist, now hysterical, rushes
into the flames of his shattered weapon but is saved by Crescent Moon.
The Moondancers tell Bats and Supes they never meant any harm but only wanted
to bring about world peace. While disagreeing with their methods, Batman and
Superman apparently decide to let them go with a warning. "You better
not let us catch you doing this again," Superman says.
"Don't worry, you won't catch us," the Moondancers reply.
That was the last we saw of them. Whether this adventure is still within
continuity is questionable. Of course, if anyone ever needs some radical peace-nik
group for a story, the Moondancers are still there for the taking. You could
even expand their membership: Full Moon, a werewolf, Hunter's Moon, a sniper,
Blue Moon, an empath, etc.
They were seen during Animal Man's visit to "comic book limbo":
ANIMAL MAN #25 (July 1990), "Monkey Puzzle".
Mopee was a diminutive version of Julius Schwartz, with tufts of red
hair on his balding head and a green robe. He was a Heavenly Helpmate, commanded
by his superiors to bestow super-speed on one Earthman. Unfortunately, Mopee
was supposed to use an item owned by the recipient to transfer the power
and the chemicals that transformed Barry Allen into the Flash belonged to
the Central City Police Department. Because of the technicality, Mopee returned
to Earth in December of 1966 and stripped the Flash of his speed. At Barry's
insistence, Mopee restored his powers after the police scientist bought duplicates
of the chemicals so that the imp could replicate the accident. After Mopee
had done so and returned home, Barry realized that there was still a hole
in the Helpmate's story: the duplicate accident that created Kid Flash (THE
FLASH #167, by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Sid Greene).
Ultimately, the whole episode has to be written off as one of those nightmares
that Barry was famous for having. One can only wonder what the newlywed Iris
Allen thought when her husband talked in his sleep about THIS adventure.
As John noted, Mopee also turned up in 1984's AMBUSH BUG #3.
The official account of Barry Allen's origin has been reaffirmed multiple
times over the past three decades, most recently in Waid and Augustyn's 1997
LIFE STORY OF THE FLASH. As in SHOWCASE #4, Barry gained super-speed after
an errant bolt of lightning struck his chemical work station and doused him
in its contents. The account was modified slightly to include a mention of
the subject of the police scientist's scrutiny that evening, a hallucinogenic
street drug named ... Mopee.
The sorcerer of Pompeii who gave Supes a load o' heartache in 1980's SUPERMAN
An accident on the set of a Magna Productions movie brought Supergirl to
the rescue. After seeing the attention given to the female star that she saved,
Supergirl decided to give up her super-hero career to be a normal human girl.
Even her cousin Superman wasn't able to sway her decision, and her foster
parents were letting her take a year off from college and were also sending
her to Europe, so her next stop was Paris. Superman went to see Wonder Woman,
flying above Paradise Island until he caught her attention. Meeting him in
the sky above, the Man of Steel explained the situation with Supergirl, who
was shocked that the Maid of Steel would consider abrogating her responsibilities.
Superman asked Wonder Woman to talk to her in an attempt to change her mind
on the subject, a chance that Wonder Woman jumped at.
Even Wonder Woman was slightly swayed by the romantic sights of gay Paris,
but quickly got down to the matter at hand. She went to Supergirl's last known
address, which was Anatole's, hoping to give the young woman a good talking
to, but found Supergirl inside, playing the role of a fashion model to the
hilt, even having her own gigolo (though I kinda doubt that the more popular
definition of that word was in play in this instance). Wonder Woman met Supergirl
in her dressing room and did her best to convince her of her duty, but both
the Amazing Amazon and the Maid of Steel ended up playing dress-up with all
the wonderful clothes that Supergirl had acquired as a model. A Frenchman
named Andre walked in on them and declared his love for Wonder Woman on the
sight of her in a designer gown, sweeping the Amazon off her feet. Both Wonder
Woman and Andre and Supergirl and her man, Henri, walked the streets of Paris
soaking in the atmosphere and romance ... while trouble brewed on a small
island known as Ile D'Amour, where "Operation Armageddon" was being
put into operation.
In separate planes, Andre and Henri flew with their women to the "Isle
of Love", which neither heroine knew was the secret base for the super-villain
known as Multi-Face. He was believed to have been killed in a prison escape,
but instead an accident during the break gave him the power to change his
features at will into any other human or animal face. His "Operation
Armageddon" was nearing readiness, and he would launch his plan within
twelve hours when he intercepted an international cargo rocket freighter.
However, Multi-Face's look-outs discovered that both Supergirl and Wonder
Woman were on the island, and he decided to try to get them to leave by threatening
the lives of their male companions.
Andre and Wonder Woman stood at the drawbridge of Andre's family home, when
the drawbridge began falling down. Not wanting to ruin the mood or Andre's
perception of her, Wonder Woman waiting until he was about to kiss her (and
his eyes were close) to shove the drawbridge back up at super-speed. On the
island's secluded beach, Supergirl had to solve a similar predicament, with
falling boulders nearly killing Henri, who was saved by a "girl"-like
throw by Supergirl of a ball they were playing catch with.
With Supergirl and Wonder Woman handling the threats so easily, Multi-Face
believed they had made a fool of him. He decided to use their own abilities
against them and tackle them with one challenge after another to keep them
from getting close to Multi-Face's real objective. Soon, while Wonder Woman
and Andre were relaxing at a restaurant (apparently this island isn't quite
as secluded or unpopulated as a criminal mastermind could probably have wanted),
she spied a boat on fire in the bay. In order to save the boat and still not
appear unfeminine, she asked Andre to play Cyrano and Roxanne. Andre, who
makes a point of noting he will be playing Cyrano, went underneath the balcony
to "state his case" as it were, while Wonder Woman flew out to the
bay and saved the ship, returning just as "Cyrano's" monologue ended.
As Multi-Face's rocket freighter was due to dock on the island soon, his
operatives quickly put another diversion into place, with Supergirl spying
a plane in trouble over the island. Her towel went over the edge of a cliff
and Henri volunteered to go get it, allowing her to restart the plane's engine.
She just happened to notice Multi-Face's complex near the center of the island
and used her x-ray vision to check it out, just as the rocket freighter flying
near the island was hijacked and diverted by Multi-Face. She didn't want to
investigate any further because she wasn't a super-heroine anymore (even though
she had brought her Supergirl costume with her), but did start looking at
the rocket freighter, only to notice that Henri had retrieved her towel but
was now trapped on a small ledge.
While Supergirl was checking out the rocket and wishing that the authorities
were there instead, Wonder Woman saw the Maid of Steel in the air and thought
she was in trouble. She tricked Andre into getting a flower for her from the
bottom of a ravine (where he found himself trapped and too embarrassed to
ask for help), and she started to go after Supergirl, but was interrupted
by the appearance of a strange disc controlled by Multi-Face. The disc attracted
the metal of her bracelets and trapped her on it, reversing its path and taking
the Amazon to Multi-Face's lair. He sprayed Wonder Woman and the disc with
a green liquid manufactured from green kryptonite, and sent the disc into
the air to confront Supergirl. The disc neared the Maid of Steel and she began
to grow increasingly weaker from the radiation. She did, however, begin to
come to her senses about being a super-heroine, seeing as how Wonder Woman
had come to her aid when she saw her having difficulties.
Supergirl used the last of her heat vision to melt the gold bars inside the
rocket, moving the rocket enough with the last of her strength to pour the
molten gold out and cover Wonder Woman on the disc. That blocked enough of
the kryptonite rays that Supergirl regained her powers. The gold had also
overloaded the flying disc, which fell back into Multi-Face's headquarters,
crashing through the ceiling and freeing Wonder Woman in the process. The
two heroines made short work of Multi-Face and his men, and returned to their
boyfriends still wearing their costumes, explaining to them that they had
to return to their real lives and their relationships with Andre and Henri
were over. Superman was very happy to have his cousin back as a super-heroine,
though he was as clueless as ever to what had really happened.
I think it can be assumed that this character bears no relation to the Multiface
that appeared in SUPERMAN ADVENTURES #19.
The Brave And The Bold #63
Original text copyright DC
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