Obscure DC Characters:

The Ragman

Written by Rich Meyer

NOTE: This profile just considers the original Ragman, as created by Joe Kubert and Robert Kanigher.

Rory Regan had survived the horrors of Viet Nam to return home to the city and his father's junk and pawn shop, Rags 'N' Tatters, where they made a modest living in the slums. Rory was still haunted by the memory of the men he had killed in the war. Rory spent most of his time running the shop, helping the people of the slums when they needed money to survive.

His father, Gerry Regan, met every night in rear lot behind the shop for a drink with his three old friends, a former circus strongman named Samson, a former boxer who had once been a heavyweight contender, and a man who was an acrobat and once won a National Prize in the sport.

Life went on this way until Gerry and his friends found a mattress in the back lot that was stuffed with over $2,000,000. The guys hide the mattress amid the multitude of others in the lot, and plan to give the money to Rory. Unfortunately, the man who brought the mattress in comes back for it, gun in hand. Two other thugs, who are also looking for the money, kill him. Gerry and his cronies refuse to talk, so the gunmen shoot down the power lines above them, causing them to slowly be electrocuted.

Rory returns to the shop to find his father and his friends in agony. He tells his father to give the men what they want, but Gerry refuses, saying what they want belongs to Rory. Rory tries to pull his father free from the wires with an old tire, but the gunmen shoot the tire out of his hands, telling him to do it barehanded if he wants to be a hero. With all four men holding hands, Rory takes his father's hand and the current grounds through him. When Rory awoke, he found he was the only survivor. Inside Rags 'N' Tatters, he found a note from his father directing him to a present: A strange costume made of rags. It fit like it was made for him, and Rory swore he would honor his father's memory by staying at the shop, and by continuing his new career as the Tattered Tatterdemalion. Rory also found that after his father's friends were killed, he seemed to inherit the athletic abilities of all four men.

Later on, Ragman/Rory met up with Opal, an aspiring singer (who had a definite thing for the Ragman) and Teddy, a young blind orphan, both of whom he protected from the attacks of mobsters (Opal was being used as a lure to draw Ragman out, and Teddy had "witnessed" a gangland killing).

In the final issue of the short-lived original series, a group of mobsters met to figure out a way to get the millions in cash that had been hidden in the back lot of Rags 'N' Tatters. The man hired to find it set up shop in a pet store nearby and planned to eliminate Ragman first, using Opal as a lure to bring him out into the open. Ragman gets her back, but not before Opal takes bullets that were meant for Ragman (it is unsure if this sequence was intended to show that Opal died, but since she did appear in a later story, it's a mute point). Meanwhile, Bette and Teddy come back to the shop and help an old homeless man who was sleeping in the back lot. It was freezing, and the old man asked Teddy to help him find something to start a fire. The blind boy happens to find the mattress stuffed with the money and begins using it to build a fire. The hired thug happens to pass the back lot and sees the money going up in flames and tries to save the money by pulling it from the fire, but can't and severely burns his hands. Ragman apprehends him and takes him away, never noticing the burning money. Teddy's cat was the only actual witness to the scene.

The Ragman was a very local hero...he worked in the slums, only leaving if it was necessary to gather information or right a wrong that had been committed there. He received only a little press in the newspapers, considerably less than The Batman (once it was determined that Ragman's city was indeed the slums of Gotham City). The Batman did very willingly give his respect to both Rory Regan (for his work helping the community through Rags 'N' Tatters) and Ragman (who worked with him twice).

APPEARANCES:

Ragman (volume 1) #1-5
Batman Family #20
The Brave And The Bold #196
Crisis On Infinite Earths #5

Who's Who: The Definitive Directory Of The DC Universe #19

Arizona Raines

Arizona Raines debuted as Arizona Ames in CRACK WESTERN #63 (1949) but was forced to change his name almost immediately (effective with #66), presumably because famed Western novelist Zane Grey already had a character by that name. Under his revised name, Arizona continued through CRACK #84 (1953). He had a horse named Thunder and a kid sidekick named Spurs. Spurs' horse was Calico. Art on the strip was primarily by the renowned Reed Crandall though Paul Gustavson contributed some stories, as well.

Ramulus/Nightshade

Originally called Nightshade, he first appeared in the Simon/Kirby Sandman strip in WORLD'S FINEST #6, Summer 1942. He's a green, weird looking guy who controls electronic plants, and kidnaps a rich couple. Sandman and Sandy rescue them, and one of Nightshade's plants goes haywire, shakes him "literally to death" and flings him away, at which point Sandman and Sandy escape the flaming "Magic Forest", where the Nightshade had his HQ. That was his last appearance in the Golden Age, reprinted in WANTED #9, Aug/Sept 1973.

He appears again 40-odd years later, in ALL-STAR SQUADRON #51, 1985. He was shown to have survived, and was thought by the infamous Mr.Mind how to control real fauna. He's now called Ramulus, to avoid confusion with the Charlton heroine of the same name. He's a member of the Monster Society of Evil, is defeated and not seen again for quite a while.

His final appearance to date was in a dream sequence in JSA #1, 1999.

The Raven I

I remember "the Raven" as being part of M.A.Z.E. (a Hydra/A.I.M. type organization for DC...sort of like C.A.W. or the 100. I wonder if any of these organizations are still around...)

He was a classmate of Dick Grayson's (but that's the best I've got to offer on this...and I don't even remember the Duela Dent appearance!)

And since we are covering DETECTIVE COMICS... what of the Sino-Supermen? (And what hero inspired the Japanese government to think the U.S. did take their experiments?)

Ray Gun S-64

"The Secret Story of Ray Gun 64" is from MYSTERY IN SPACE #5 (1951), reprinted in DC SUPER-STARS #9 (Nov. 1976). By John Broome and Frank Giacoia.

The story is a Space Museum-esque type thing where the history of a gun called the S-64. I know this may be a stretch, but since one chracter calls it an "S-64 ray gun", I could see how this could be abbreviated as SR 64.

Here's the low down on the SR-64; Towards the end of the 23rd century humans are able to spread thru the galaxy and conquer savage worlds. They owe it all (or at least that's what the chracters keep repeating) to the S-64, a ray gun that disintegrates anything it hits - including a Neptunian groud octopus and a Callistan dragon bat, as seen in the story.

The S-64's inventor was one Mark Saunders (wonder if he's a descender of Greg, Saunders, Speed Saunders, etc?). In 2219, Mark and his girlfriend Helen leave for Venus in hopes of testing his disintegrator prototype. Well, SR-1 fails, and so do all the rest, each numbered sequentially. Five years later, S-64 finally works and the galaxy is a better place now that people can disintegrate each other.

There's another interesting background detail in that story. On page two, we see a monument recognizing "Giles Graham, who built the first ship to travel to Rann — 2201 A.D."

Reactron, the Living Reactor

Pre-Crisis

The New Doom Patrol's first, yet-to-be chronicled encounter with the villain known as Reactron, is known to have occurred in Arizona, but little else is known about this battle, except that Reactron escaped and that the team pursued him until they battled the villain again in Chicago, with the help of Supergirl.

In Chicago, the team was pursuing Reactron and Negative Woman engaged the villain in the skies over the city. Linda Lee Danvers (better known as Supergirl) was on hand, but couldn't get away to change into her alter ego to help. Negative Woman caused the villain some pain, but Reactron's powers sped up the decay of her radioactive elements, forcing her Negative Energy Being to retreat back to her body. Celsius made Reactron too heavy to fly by covering him with ice, and Cliff Steele (Robotman) started attacking him once he was on the ground. As they grappled, Reactron grabbed Cliff's head and started emitting a high-intensity proton bombardment into his human brain. Negative Woman forced Reactron to release her friend, but Reactron then escaped by using a concentrated stream of particles to open a space warp. Supergirl (in her civilian identity) managed to watch the entire affair with her super-vision from her friends' car as they sped away from the area.

Reactron struck again, later that evening, attacking a secret laboratory underneath LSU's Fletcher Hall. His attack on the facility left a guard dead, and brought Supergirl onto the scene, taking the battle outside (and unfortunately, with neither combatant noticing that the nuclear reactor in the lab was reaching critical mass). Outside the building, the battle continued, with Negative Woman and Tempest joining the fray. Supergirl realized that she needed lead to contain Reactron, so she left at super-speed to procure some, while Negative Woman again kept Reactron at bay on the ground with the considerable pain her Negative Energy form caused him. Supergirl returned with a lead sheath that she placed over Reactron, much to the dismay of Tempest. He blasted the Maid of Steel to get her attention, telling her that Reactron produces an energy that eats right through lead and causes an explosive reaction with it. Supergirl immediately grabbed the villain and flew up into the sky, with the resulting explosion stunning the Kryptonian. Negative Woman caught Supergirl as she fell, and the rest of the New Doom Patrol arrived on the scene.

Tempest explained that he had known Reactron before either had gotten their powers, back in Vietnam. Reactron was Sgt. Ben Krullen, the man who had massacred a civilian village and whose actions had originally triggered Joshua Clay's powers and his desertion from the Army. Tempest later discovered that Krullen had been one of the soldiers who had been a test subject for the atom bomb tests in the fifties, and the radiation he absorbed had altered his body chemistry. Krullen began working with the international crime cartel known as the Council, which outfitted him in the guise of Reactron. Supergirl believed they all should work together to stop the villain, but had to depart suddenly as her super-senses detected the danger of the melting reactor under Fletcher Hall.

The Maid of Steel bored down beneath them into the secret lab, where she found Reactron in the heart of the reactor, absorbing the radiation. She grabbed him and flew him out and high into the sky. Reactron blasted her with a radiation beam, but she created a wind vortex that sent the villain higher into the sky where he apparently overloaded and exploded. Supergirl fell to the ground, where Cliff's sensors told him that she had been poisoned with a unique radiation by Reactron's last blast.

Appearances:

Post-Crisis

The history of Reactron seems to have changed in only a few ways in the Post-Crisis DC Universe. Notably, Power Girl teamed up with the New Doom Patrol to battle him in an as-of-yet-to-be-chronicled version of the encounter with Supergirl and the team. His real name was now Martin Krull instead of Ben Krullen.

After the Power Girl/New Doom Patrol battle, Reactron was next shown as a prisoner, held at Belle Reve Federal Prison. Larry Trainor went to talk to the super-villain, believing that Reactron held the key to curing his own unique radiation condition (and regaining control of the Negative Energy Being from Valentina Vostok). Reactron agreed to allow Trainor to perform some tests, but the former Negative Man instead attached a regulator device to the control rods on Reactron's costume that could destroy the villain. Trainor wanted Reactron to absorb Negative Woman's negative energy and then radiate it back into Trainor himself (in a controlled manner). He did not want any member of the Doom Patrol harmed, and Trainor agreed to release Reactron after he had performed his task. A fairly brief battle with both Negative Woman and Tempest ensued, with Reactron absorbing the energy from the woman, leaving her near death. Unfortunately, one of his control rods was damaged during the fight, and Reactron returned to Trainor unable to control or contain the energy. Reactron began firing the excess energy into Trainor's body, and exploded, apparently destroyed. (Trainor recovered and found himself to be back to normal, the Negative Energy Being returned to Vostok, who beat the living crap out of Trainor after he admitted what he did to her.)

Reactron apparently survived the explosion and was recaptured by the authorities. He next was assigned as a member of one of Task Force Omega's "Suicide Squads", along with Deadshot, Major Disaster, Killer Frost, and Blackstarr. They were sent to investigate the island of Kooeykooeykooey, where a city full of powerful metahumans had suddenly appeared. He made the mistake of getting Killer Frost mad, and was frozen in a solid block of ice. When the metahumans appeared to them, Deadshot went wild and started shooting everything, leaving several large holes in Reactron's body. As the villain died, his body began to reach critical mass and was close to exploding and causing a major international incident, until it was removed to another dimension by Blackstarr, who had joined up with the metahumans and disappeared when they and the rest of the island faded away.

Appearances:

The Redeemer

"The mission for which I have summoned you ... is no simple one. Not one a mere matter of life and death ... but — of the SOUL! It is the soul that links us to eternity. There is born into each age one with the POTENTIAL to REDEEM mankind of evil and suffering. Although he contains the SEED of the world's salvation ... he himself is NOT AWARE of his power. He must PROVE himself worthy through MANY LIFETIMES ... Only VAGUELY ... as in a dream ... can he recall being tested in past lives ... this REDEEMER. If HE succeeds ... WE are doomed to EVERLASTING PAIN AND SUFFERING! We must LURE him from his path ... to conquer his SOUL. The Redeemer must become one of US ... to assure our OWN DESTINIES!" — The Infernal One, speaking to his unholy forces in THE REDEEMER #1 (by Joe Kubert).

The story of the Redeemer was revealed in the pages of Fantagraphics' magazine AMAZING HEROES #34. The Peter Sanderson-written article clocked in at eleven pages, complete with generous samples of writer-artist Joe Kubert's panels from the first issue and character sketches. Kubert even drew an original cover for the 'zine.

The intention was to preview the twelve- issue maxi-series during October of 1983, the month of its release. Unfortunately, DC decided at zero hour to postpone the title "by at least a couple months and possibly as much as half a year." A chagrined Fantagraphics editor Kim Thompson had no choice but to run "a preview that appears well — and I mean WELL — before the previewed subject." Little did he know ...

THE REDEEMER hinged on the concept of reincarnation and featured a man named Torkan in a succession of time periods — from the age of the caveman to the future of 2557 A.D. In each of his lives, Torkan would be unaware that a higher power had selected him to be the Redeemer. Time and again, he would be tempted by the forces of the Infernal One, recalling his past only in flashes of deja vu.

The Infernal One was an ancient-looking man, bald on the top with flowing white hair and beard. Kubert explained that he was "a wraith ... somebody who is real and yet is not real, somebody who is timeless, somebody who is not alive and who is not dead, a being and yet not a being." Existing in "a timeless place," he selected his agents of evil from all time periods.

Kubert added that there were rules of a sort in the Infernal One's temptation of Torkan. "He can't be forced to do that which is perhaps counter to what we all consider or hope is good. It's not a matter of his being put under any kind of torture and forced to take whatever steps he will. He can't be forced, he can't be twisted, but he can be induced, so that it's his choice. It's a choice that we all have to make."

The twelve-issue series was to have been composed of multiple story arcs, each set in a separate, non-chronological time period. "When we come to the 12th issue," Kubert concluded, "the character himself will be crystal clear, the situation vis-a-vis himself and the Infernal One will be crystal clear, and the battle that takes place between them will be culminated. There will be a culmination as there will be at the end of each one of the stories. But there will never be an end" to the eternal war between Torkan and his adversary.

Ironically, in the same time period that the first issues of THE REDEEMER should have been on the stands, DC featured a similar character in the pages of November and December's ACTION COMICS #552 and 553. Therein, Marv Wolfman had revived 1960s hero Immortal Man (from STRANGE ADVENTURES #177, 185, 190, 198). Like Torkan, Immortal Man had been resurrected multiple times throughout the course of history. Wolfman unwittingly made the character even more similar to Torkan when he gave I-Man an opposite number in the form of the immortal villain Vandal Savage. And more recently, Savage has played the same role in Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's RESURRECTION MAN series.

Unlike I-Man and Mitchell Shelley, the Redeemer would have operated outside DC continuity. According to Peter Sanderson, "Kubert feels that to allow DC's more fantastic characters, including the costumed super-heroes, to intrude upon the Redeemer's world would destroy the basic realism of the series. 'I think that would make totally incredible the character I have here.'"

THE REDEEMER's six-month postponement came and went, but it never reached the stands. Kubert had been unable to find the the time to complete the series (reported in AMAZING HEROES #39) and DC had reportedly received complaints because of the Christian nature of the character's name. In the end, the artwork in AMAZING HEROES #34 may be all that anyone ever sees of the Redeemer.

The Red Tornado I

» SEE: Red Tornado I

The Renegades

+ Pre-Crisis

Chief Crazy Horse, Thunder Cloud, Rain-in-the Face, and Tall Tree were originally a group of young Native Americans who were solicitiing donations for a school (apparently back on a reservation) in Dallas, Texas. It was actually a scam, and one that was not working very well for them, as they only got $1.65 that morning. That prompted Crazy Horse to have them call upon their ancestors using an ancient "Indian" chant. Suprisingly, this time, the ancestors appear to have listened, as a storm suddenly brewed above them and each man was struck by a bolt of "super-charged lightning".

Each man somehow knew he had suddenly been given power: Crazy Horse had gained the speed of the swiftest stallion, Tall Tree could now grow to massive sizes, Rain-In-The-Face had complete mastery over water, and Thunder Cloud had the powers of a storm (including lightning bolts coming out of his eyes). The first thing the quartet did was use their powers to break into and rob a nearby bank. Unfortunately for them, Uncle Sam, the Human Bomb, and Phantom Lady of the Freedom Fighters were in the area. After a brief battle, the four-to-three advantage was the only thing that kept really the four men from being captured. The Freedom Fighters themselves were almost arrested, with only the word of the bank manager allowing them to pursue their foes.

Soon after, the three heroes caught up with the four villains as they tried to rob yet another bank. A more concerted effort at teamwork made short work of "the Renegades" (they were only referred as such on the cover of Freedom Fighters #11 and never given any group name in the story), and they were taken into custody.

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Freedom Fighters #11

The Revenger

See Karate Kid Characters

Rima the Jungle Girl

Rima wasn't created by DC but she wasn't technically licensed either. She was a public domain character from William Henry Hudson's 1904 novel, "Green Mansions." And, yes, Rima did appear in some epidodes of the SUPER FRIENDS cartoon (even though she was actually based in the early 20th Century).

Rima, the Original

GREEN MANSIONS: A ROMANCE OF THE TROPICAL FOREST (W.H. Hudson, 1904)

Published in 1904, William Henry Hudson's novel "Green Mansions" tells the story of Rima, who is discovered in the jungles of British Guiana by Abel Guevez de Argensola. Running from a failed attempt to overthrow the government during the Venezuelan Revolution, Abel makes his way through the wilderness surrounding the Orinoco river, until he reaches the forests near the mountain of Ytaioa. He befriends the natives there and listens to their stories about a mysterious region of jungle inhabited by an evil spirit called the "daughter of Didi". Abel investigates and is lured into the jungle by the mysterious call of an unseen bird. He follows the haunting sound deeper and deeper into the forest until he eventually discovers the source: a beautiful young girl named Rima, who has learned to mimic the sounds of the jungle birds. Abel soon learns that, in order to protect her beloved birds and animals, Rima had driven the natives from their hunting ground by preying upon their superstitious fears. Over time, Abel and Rima fall deeply in love. Abel tries to help Rima find her people, but they discover that she is the last of her kind. Rima is eventually burned to death by some of the jungle's natives, and Abel goes mad. He wanders the jungle, eventually recovering his composure when he reaches Georgetown. Through his relationship to her, Abel experienced the greatest joy and the darkest despair.

Rima in Film

GREEN MANSIONS (MGM-United Artists, 1959)

Audrey Hepburn plays Rima, a jungle girl, in this adaptation of the W.H. Hudson novel. Anthony Perkins plays Abel, the son of an executed South American politician. When Abel travels to the jungle in search of gold to fund his desire for revenge, he meets the native Indians and soon falls in love with Rima the Bird Girl. Henry Silva plays the corrupt son of the Indian chief and Lee J. Cobb plays Rima's grandfather.

Rima in DC Comics

RIMA, THE JUNGLE GIRL #1 (Apr-May 1974) - #7 (Apr-May 1975),
published by National Periodicals Publications (DC Comics, Inc.)

Issue #1: A man named Abel stumbles through the jungles of South America. Six months earlier, he had found himself in the middle of the Venezuelan Revolution, on the streets of Caracas. He was fighting alongside the rebels, against the military regime, but the revolt was put down. Sorely wounded, he managed to escape capture. Weak from loss of blood, he sought safety in the jungle. He followed the shores of the Orinoco river upstream, where civilization came to an abrupt halt. Rumors were often told of tribes who adorned themselves with gold and jewels. These treasures, he decided, could turn the tide of the revolution.

Days pass before Abel locates a village. He finds no gold there, but is befriended by the natives and decides to remain. When he asks what lies beyond the mountain rise, he is told the region is tabu, an evil place. The next day, just before dawn, Abel makes his way into the forest. He eventually arrives at the base of a large, old tree, where he hears the enchanting song of an unseen bird. He senses that he is being watched. He later returns to the village. The natives tell him of a witch who can change form. They say that some of their people have ventured to the tabu place, never to return. However, Abel can not be dissuaded and, the next morning, he enters the jungle once more.

When he again reaches the old tree, he is approached by a beautiful white-haired, fair-skinned jungle girl. She begins to sing songs like one of the jungle birds. She playfully prances through the forest, and he follows. Abel then spots a bushmaster snake near her feet. He tries to save her, but is bitten himself. When he faints from the poison, the strange girl brings Abel to a hut, where he is cared for by an old man. When Abel awakens, the old man introduces himself as Nuflo, grandfather of Rima the jungle girl.

Issue #2: At night, while Nuflo sleeps, Abel makes his way back to the old tree, searching for Rima. He is cornered by a fierce jaguar. Abel watches in amazement as Rima appears and begins to pet her feline friend. After sending the creature away, Rima tells Abel that, many, many years earlier, after her mother had died, her grandfather Nuflo brought her into the forest to live. The jungle became her whole world. She is friends with all the beasts, the birds, and the insects. She even uses the jungle spider's web to make her dress.

Later, Abel wakes from his sleep to see Nuflo leaving the hut. He follows and finds Nuflo eating meat. Nuflo invites Abel to join him. He explains that Rima would not tolerate such a thing, so he must be secretive. He dares not anger or offend her. When the men return, they see Rima and realize that she knows what they have done. Insulted by her attitude, Abel leaves for the natives' village. Soon, however, Abel realizes that he cannot stay away from Rima long. He returns to the jungle, finds Rima, and embraces her. Rima tells Nuflo that she wants to go beyond the forest, to the place her mother came from.

Issue #3: Rima leads Abel and Nuflo back to civilization, to the foot hills of Riolama, where Rima was born. Abel learns that Rima's name was taken from that place. Nearly 17 years earlier, Nuflo had joined a band of men who hated the government. At first, they fought for justice, but that soon changed. They became even more cruel than those they opposed. They began to loot and burn villages, imprisoning the women. Their acts became so evil, that Nuflo could abide them no longer. He withdrew from them, but did not run, for he feared their violent anger.

One morning, they scouted a small village from high atop the Riolama mountains. As night descended, they sought refuge in a nearby cave. They unpacked and prepared to rest. At midnight, standing at the cave entrance, was the most beautiful woman Nuflo had ever seen. She saw the men and fled. All but Nuflo followed. After some time, he exited the cave. All the men were dead, their necks broken, and the girl was gone. As he prepared to leave, Nuflo heard a strange sound. He followed it and found the woman, her leg wedged between sharp river rocks, where she had fallen trying to cross the slippery path. Nuflo freed her, and she promptly fainted. He carried her into the cave, where he tended to her. Nuflo watched over her for weeks. She never spoke, but the sadness never left her sweet face.

In time, Nuflo realized that the woman was going to have a child. One night, amidst howling wind and streaming rain, Rima was born. When a hungry mountain lion entered the cave, the shy, timid woman suddenly turned on the beast. She uttered a sharp command in a language Nuflo did not understand, and the lion turned and left. As the child grew, her mother became weaker. When Rima was 4 or 5 years old, her mother died. They buried her on a crest overlooking the valley, high on Riolama.

Nuflo and Rima wandered until they came across the forest. Rima chose it as their home. Over time, the natives of the region called her Daughter of the Didi (Evil One). Rima detested them because they hunted and killed wild animals. One day, they made the mistake of pursuing her through the forest. She fought back, killing some of the men. The natives fled in fear, never to enter the forest again.

Rima, Abel, and Nuflo arrive at Riolama, Rima's birthplace. Rima states that Riolama was not her mother's home, and that she must go on alone the rest of the way.

Issue #4: Abel stands at the edge of the remote Venezuelan jungle, thinking about Rima. He is attacked and captured by the Malagar tribe, blood enemies of the natives with whom he had lived. The Malagar plan to behead Abel but, before he dies, they want to show him that Rima is gone for good. At dawn, they head for Rima's jungle home. Deep in the forest, they are attacked by crocodiles. Abel escapes and runs to Nuflo's hut, but once there he finds that the old man is dead, murdered by the Malagar. He returns to the old tree, only to find it charred by fire. He has a horrible vision in which the Malagar attack Rima, burning her alive alongside the tree.

Believing Rima is dead, the distraught Abel finds his native friends, and warns them of the Malagar. The natives attack and vanquish their enemies. After Abel buries Nuflo, he walks into the forest thinking of his lost love. Rima miraculously appears, saying she could not leave the forest, for Riolama is too far from all she loves. Abel cannot believe his eyes, but Rima explains that while the flames scorched her arms and legs, she escaped the terrible fire. Hand in hand, the lovers return to their jungle paradise.

Rima on TV

THE ALL-NEW SUPERFRIENDS HOUR (Hanna-Barbera, 1977)
Episode 4/4 "Fire!" (first aired: October 1st, 1977)
Batman, Robin, and Rima the Jungle Girl contend with a spreading forest fire, and have to search for a pair of escaped prisoners who have stolen a forestry truck filled with dynamite.

THE ALL-NEW SUPERFRIENDS HOUR (Hanna-Barbera, 1977)
Episode 7/4 "River of Doom" (first aired: October 22nd, 1977)
Wonder Woman and Rima search for archaeologists who have accidentally stumbled upon an ancient burial ground. The archaeologists have been captured by the angry natives and sentenced to death on the River of Doom.

SUPER FRIENDS (Hanna-Barbera, 1980)
Episode 7/3?? "Return of Atlantis" (first aired: December 13th?? 1980)
When the lost city of Atlantis rises, Aquaman is captured by Ocina and her warriors. They plan to conquer the surface world, but they must first battle another female army consisting of Rima, Wonder Woman, and the Amazons of Paradise Island.

The Rival

FLASH #211 also features a much better Golden Age reprint in which Jay Garrick meets the Rival (from FLASH COMICS #104, Feb. 1949).

Rival would also qualify as an obscure character if not for his reappearance in the pages of JSA during the Injustice Society/King of Tears storyline. Although, if #104 hadn’t been the last Golden Age issue of FLASH COMICS, he might have become Jay’s Professor Zoom. That would have been fitting, considering Rival’s true identity.

In the story, Jay and Joan Williams are on hand to welcome back to America their old chemistry teacher Dr. Clarris. But Clarris is kidnapped by a gang with speed powers on par with the Flash.

The gang, working for the mysterious Rival, begin a reign of crime in Keystone City, while Joan makes a confession to Jay. Nine years earlier, not long after he became the Flash, Joan had proudly boasted of his secret to a college classmate. Perhaps the classmate, Jon Burnes, had found a way to duplicate Flash’s speed.

Flash talks to Burnes, but he doesn’t remember Joan, much less their conversation. Soon, Flash is overcome by the speeding criminals and taken before their boss. Rival dresses like Flash, except his shirt appears to be black with red highlights and his pants are black with blue highlights. He wears a black mask beneath his helmet.

Rival exposes Flash to a gas that makes his body and mind move in slow motion, then resumes his criminal activities, certain no one can stop him. Flash, however, recreates the incident that gave him his powers in the first place and is restored.

Meanwhile, the gang slows down and Rival explains his speed formula is only temporary. Before they can get another dose, Flash shows up and defeats them all. He unmasks Rival, who is actually the elderly Clarris. He had overheard Joan telling Burnes how Flash gained his powers, but not what his real identity was. He assumed the hero was a student who entered the lab after Garrick’s accident.

According to the modern JSA tale, Rival regained his speed powers and became a reoccurring threat to Flash. He later became trapped in the Speed Force for decades and was freed by Johnny Sorrow.

Robin Hood

The Legend

Most of what is known about the Robin Hood legend derives from ballads and tales written from the 14th through 16th centuries. In the early stories, Robin was portrayed as a yeoman, the retainer of a Knight or Lord. This changed in a play written at the end of the 16th century, which established that Robin Hood was originally a nobleman. Various story elements were added to the legend over time, leading to the familiar tales we enjoy today.

The version adopted by DC Comics appears to be that of Robert Fitzooth, the Earl of Huntingdon, born around the year 1160 at Locksley, in the county of Nottingham. Robin Hood's outlaw band, the Merry Men, consisted of Little John, Will Scarlet, Much (or Midge) the Miller's son, Alan-a-Dale, Arthur-a-Bland, Friar Tuck, and others. Robin and his men established a refuge in Sherwood Forest, from which they struck at his enemies, including the Sheriff of Nottingham and the tyrannical Prince John, who had usurped the power of his absent brother, King Richard I a.k.a. Richard the Lion-Hearted. His love interest was the fair Maid Marian. In the end, Robin Hood was pardoned by King Richard. In 1247, he was bled to death by his treacherous cousin, Joanna de Staynton, at Kirklees Priory, in Yorkshire.

Quality Comics Appearances

Quality Comics checklist (incomplete):

DC Comic Book Appearances

Reprints:

The Origin of Robin Hood

In 12th century England, a lonely knight, the Earl of Huntingdon, secretly returns from the Crusades. As he approaches home, he sees the ruins of his castle. He learns that Prince John has usurped the throne of his brother, Richard the Lion-Hearted, claiming that Richard is an unlawful pretender to the throne. John razed the Earl's castle and confiscated his lands by royal decree for his traitorous support of Richard. Richard was suspicious of John and had sent the knight home with his royal ring to act on his behalf, but the Earl feels he is but one man against John's gangs

As he sits by his ruined home, the chirping of a robin catches the Earl's attention. the robin becomes alarmed and flies away. the Earl spots a falcon attacking the robin's nest. the Earl watches as the robin, who is clearly no match for the falcon's sharp talons, bravely meets his foe. the robin lures the pursuer away from its nest and into the underbrush, where the predator becomes entangled. the Earl proclaims that the robin has given him new courage.

Suddenly, the Earl sees a lady's coach being pursued by three of Prince John's ruffians. He comes to her aid, fighting off the attackers. After they flee, the lady introduces herself as Julia, Countess of Lindley. Since the Earl is now an outlaw, he hides his true identity and introduces himself as "Robin". When asked what his full name is, the Earl falls silent. As a token of her gratitude, she offers him her hood, and takes her leave.

After she departs, the Earl notices that he has lost King Richard's ring. the falcon, having freed itself from the brambles, picks up the brightly-colored object, returning it to its master... Prince John. John is aware that his brother gave the Earl of Huntingdon his ring, and now knows that the knight has returned, and thus decides to lay a trap. Shortly, John's men bring the newly captured Countess to him. He orders them to imprison her in Huntingdon Castle.

Not long after, the Earl, who is still searching for the lost ring, hears a cry for help from the ruined castle's tower. As he approaches, the Countess calls out to "Robin", warning him of the trap. the Earl uses the green hood given him by the Countess to hide his identity. John, failing to realize that the rescuer and the Earl are one and the same, orders his men to capture the knave.

Wielding his sword, "Robin" battles the soldiers and is nearly captured and revealed, but turns the tables and rescues the prisoner. He heads into the thickness of Sherwood Forest and conceals himself and the Countess in the higher branches. Through the use of some arrows, he foils the soldiers and the two escape. Prince John swears that they will meet again.

Later, the Countess again asks "Robin" his full name. Thinking quickly, he states that he is named Robin Hood. She doesn't believe him, but he says that until he sweeps evil Prince John from England's throne, it is the name he shall now bear.

Rodeo Rick

Rodeo Rick appeared in WESTERN COMICS #1-27, 31-37, 39-67 and 69 (1947-1958). The creator of the character is unknown but Gardner Fox was the most prominent writer on the strip with episodes in issues #4, 19-21, 23-27, 31-37, 39-42, 44-46, 56-67 and 69 to his credit. Also of note is a run by France Herron (#43, 47-54). Initially illustrated by future "Anthro"-creator Howard Post (#1-5), the art was later passed to John Lehti (#6), Jimmy Thompson (#7-13), Tom Cooke (#14-39), Ramona Fradon (#40-42), Ed Smalle, Jr. (#43-51), Jerry Grandenetti & Joe Giella (#52-61), Gene Colan & Bernard Sachs (#62), Sid Greene & Bernard Sachs (#63), Sy Barry (#64) and Frank Giacoia (#65-69).

In early episodes, Rick (no last name)was portrayed as a blonde with blue hat and jeans and a red shirt. By 1950, though, his appearance had stabilized and he was consistently depicted with brown hair and a white hat and shirt. He rode a horse named Comet and met the occasional "name" villain — the Great Kazoo (#36), the Jungle Hunter (#47), the Black Bandana Bandit (#65) — amidst dozens of ordinary owlhoots of the late 1800s.

As his name indicates, Rick was a rodeo rider and a champion at that. More than one story observed that he held riding and roping records across the boards. In one cute story, Rick's stature worked against him when he learned that crooks were preying on rodeo prize-winners. The villains wouldn't strike at Rick, given his record of catching law-breakers, so he adopted an alter-ego — the Masked Stranger — clad in a BLACK hat and shirt (plus white domino mask) and proceeded to break his own records. Sure enough, the bandits attacked the Stranger but soon found themselves brought down by a master. After the masked man had left town, Rick returned to the rodeo circuit. At the end of the day, it was announced that he'd regained his title as "world champion cowboy."

In the final panel, Rick remarked to the reader that "catching (those bandits) wasn't half as hard as breaking all my own records TWICE in two days" (WESTERN #58).

Rokk and Sorban

Rokk and Sorban, the mischieveous rulers of the Gambling Planet Ventura, appeared in:
SUPERMAN [1st series] #171 (Aug 1964)
WORLD'S FINEST COMICS [1st series] #150 (June 1965)
DC COMICS PRESENTS #79
ACTION #582

Professor Zoom and Abra Kadabra impersonated the two and challenged the Justice League in THE FLASH [1st series] #175 (December 1967).

The planet Ventura also appeared in several pre-Zero Hour Legion stories, and, when last seen, Plastic Man visited it in JLA: HEAVEN'S LADDER.

Mikola Rostov

» SEE: Heroes of Russia

The Roving Ranger

The legendary Texas Rangers were well-represented in DCs Western titles, from "Epics of the Texas Rangers in ALL-AMERICAN WESTERN #109, 110, 112-116, 118, 119, 121 and 125 (1949-1952) to Sam and Rick Wilson in the 1971 revival of ALL-STAR WESTERN (#2-5). Overlapping a bit with Epics were the adventures of Captain Jeff Graham, the Roving Ranger, whose seven-issue run appeared in ALL STAR WESTERN #58-61 and 63-65 (1951-1952) with art by Alex Toth, Jerry Grandinetti (#64) and Irwin Hasen (#65). Set in the late 1860s, the blonde Civil War veteran rode a horse named Fury throughout the state of Texas, reporting to a commanding officer named Major Hawks (seen in #59, 60, 63 and 64). Among the villains that the Roving Ranger brought to justice were El Dorado, a costumed bandit who was revealed to have served under Graham during the war (#59), the Robber Rangers and the Commander (#60) and the Rio Kid and Laughin Joe Sully (#61).

With such a brief career, the Roving Ranger could easily have been forgotten in the passage of time. One child could not forget him, though, or ANY of the Old West heroes who had supplanted his beloved Justice Society of America in early 1951. Roy Thomas had been crushed when he opened his subscription copy of ALL-STAR COMICS #58 to discover that it been completely revamped into ALL-STAR WESTERN. Nearly thirty-five years later, during the time-distorting events of the Crisis On Infinite Earths, Thomas revisited the heroes of ASW #58, dropping the Trigger Twins, Don Caballero, Strong Bow and, yes, the Roving Ranger into a 1985 battle against the Ultra-Humanite (ALL-STAR SQUADRON #54-55). The cameo proved to be Jeff Grahams final bow though it was enough to entitle him to a brief entry in 1986s WHOS WHO #19 (with art by Mike DeCarlo and Karl Kesel).

Rubberman

Rubberman was a former India Rubber Man with a circus sideshow who quit the business because he wasn't making enough money. He turned to using his unique abilities for crime, robbing a payroll and eluding both Robotman (Paul Dennis) and Robotdog with his stretchy and resilient body (he would wrap it around a street lamppole like a snake). Robotman investigated the local circus, where Rubberman had worked. He had been close to Frank the Fire-Eater, and Robotman trailed Frank back to Rubberman, who escaped him by heading into an underground drainage pipe system, pursued by Robotdog.

Two of Rubberman's compatriots, seeing Robotman while waiting for their boss to show up, cracked a barrel of fast-hardening liquid rubber on the metallic hero, making it virtually impossible for Robotman to move or attack them. As Rubberman exited from the drain pipe, Robotman started tossing parts of himself at the thugs, which recoiled back each time for another throw. The barrage of hands and feet caused the criminals to finally give up, and Robotman bounced himself back home to his lab, where he hoped to dissolve the rubber off of his body.

Appearances:

Ruby Ryder

Ruby Ryder was one of the few continuing characters besides The Batman to appear in the pages of THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD.

In her first appearance, Ruby Ryder, the world's richest woman, offers Batman $5,000,000 (to his favorite charity) to find her missing fiance, dilletante Kyle Morgan, who had vanished somewhere in South America while evaluating the emerald deposits of one of her mining companies. Batman agreed and journeyed to South America. He battled and bested the seaplane pilot who took Morgan into the jungle, and had the man drop him in the same place. Unfortunately, the pilot also took off, leaving Batman to the natives. He escaped them, and managed to return, forcing the pilot to take him to the real place where he had stashed Morgan, apparently intent on blackmailing Ruby for his return. After a slightly harrowing plane trip back to Gotham, Batman returned Morgan to Ruby, only to watch him kill him in cold blood and frame Batman for the crime. Batman later discovered, through Ruby's assistant Hinton, that she had planned to kill Morgan all along and had left the country. Bruce Wayne then left Gotham, following Ruby to the Riviera. He also noticed that he was both being followed by Ruby's thugs, and by a mysterious protector who was removing some of the assassins on Batman's trail. Batman caught up with Ruby at her estate at Jebel Al-Dikk, and brought her back to Gotham to stand trial for murder. After being convicted and losing her appeal, Ruby was sentenced to die in the electric chair. On the day of her execution, Batman burst into the execution chamber, declaring that Morgan was still alive...in the guise of the executioner. Kyle Morgan was also revealed to be...Plastic Man! Plas had longed to live a normal life and know a woman's love, so he used his powers to become Kyle Morgan, a man no woman could long resist. He fell in love with Ruby, but walked out on her after discovering her cruel and selfish nature. He paid the pilot in South America to fake his death, but was foiled by Batman's detective skills. He feigned death when Ruby shot him and followed Batman, leaving crucial clues that led to Ruby's capture. Ruby stormed out, and Plas was left with the question "In this wide, wild world of today, is there room for me, or am I really what I feared - an out-of-date freak?"

Ruby Ryder next showed up again to plague both The Batman and Plastic Man. Commissioner Gordon give Batman the assignment of bringing in Bruce Wayne, who is wanted for fraud and murder. At the same time, Bruce Wayne (!?) is halfway around the world, trying to acquire the Neji, the sacred totem statue of the Kahari Tribe of Africa, which he plans to return to its owners. As Bruce returns to his hotel room, The Batman slaps handcuffs on him. Bruce reminds "Batman" of the deal he had and of what happened a week ago, when he discovered Plastic Man panhandling on the streets of Gotham. Batman wanted Plas to impersonate him while he went to acquire the Neji statue. Plas/Batman refuses to believe him and Bruce is subdued and returned to Gotham City for trial. While in jail, Bruce Wayne is visited by his "attorney", Rex Mason, better known as Metamorpho, who brings him his Batman uniform and a way out. High atop the Wayne Building, Batman spies Plastic Man entering Ruby Ryder's skyscraper. A closer examination reveals that Ruby has once again bewitched Plastic Man (as Batman) into loving her and believing he really was the Batman (using a polymeric catalyst to brainwash him), and had provided the fake evidence that was used to jail Bruce Wayne. The whole plot was to ensure that Ruby would get the Neji statue. Ruby went to Istanbul to purchase the Neji, since her's was the only bid now that Bruce Wayne was out of the running. Batman and Metamorpho also hid on her plane, traveling with her to a Caribbean island. Batman got the Neji out of her villa, but Metamorpho was forced to change himself into a copy of the statue in order to give Batman time to get it away to safety. He also created a tape recorder to get the evidence they needed to prove Ruby framed Bruce Wayne and was planning to kill Plastic Man. Ruby's smoking caused Metamorpho to cough, blowing his disguise. Ruby's assistant Hinton stopped Plastic Man from drinking the solvent (that would have killed him) just in time, so that he could defend Ruby. Ruby reminded Plas that he had his powers and he and Metamorpho battled until Plas started getting woozy as the catalyst that brainwashed him wore off. Plas and Metamorpho easily captured Ruby and Hinton, and everyone returned to Gotham. Batman gave Plastic Man hope that he wouldn't return to his panhandling days, and Bruce Wayne returned the Neji to the Kaharis.

Rubynext showed up working with Bruce Wayne and the Metal Men to uncover the Centennial Time Capsule in a vacant lot in Gotham City. Dr. Thaddeus Morgan had buried the capsule on a piece of property that was centered between lots owned by Bruce and Ruby. When the capsule was uncovered, a pair of humanoid robots, both claiming to be Jason Morgan, the son of Dr. Morgan, burst from the site and began to battle. The first fell to the second, who then grabbed Ruby and took off over the rooftops, evading both the Metal Men and The Batman with apparent ease. Batman and the robots brought the damaged humanoid to the Metal Men's creator, Doc Magnus, who determined that the machine was made of modern materials and was apparently planted in the time capsule recently. The other humanoid broke in to the lab and stole a piece of parchment from the other's hand, and then broke out of Magnus's lab, headbutting his way through a steel roof. Batman, while searching for Ruby, saw lights on in her Double "R" penthouse. He found her there along with the Jason Morgan who kidnapped her, apparently both considerably more than strangers. While odd thoughts of jealousy creeped into Batman's dreams that night, Tin of the Metal Men kept watch on Ruby Ryder's building, and alerted Batman when the pair tried to leave. He was spotted and ripped to shreds by the time Batman arrived on the scene. In the meantime, Ruby and Jason had went to see Judge Spencer, who was viewing the recently unearthed will of the late Thaddeus Morgan, who named Jason as his sole heir, and also got a restraining order against the Batman. Back at Magnus's lab, Doc had discovered that Tin's "responsometer was crushed to atoms," effectively killing the robot. They also discovered that the robotic Jason was made from materials manufactured by Ruby Ryder Enterprises. The next day, Bruce Wayne arrived at the Wayne Foundation to find his sign being taken down, his staff fired, and Jason and Ruby in his office. Jason's father owned the land the building was on, so it was now legally his, and Bruce was evicted for trespassing.

After being thrown from the Wayne Foundation building, Bruce realized that this had been Ruby's plan all along, to ruin him. He donned his Batman attire and headed to his penthouse to search for any incriminating evidence against Ruby, but was prevented by a very strong and agile Jason Morgan, who knocked him off his Bat-rope. Luckily, the machinations of the Metal Men below saved his life. Batman tried to gain entrance through a secret panel, but was again stopped, this time by a large python, and Jason cracked the python like a whip, sending the Dark Knight out one of the skyscraper's windows. This time, Batman's life was saved by an opportune arrow, which sprouted hang glider vanes and brought him to a nearby roof, and his friend Green Arrow. Green Arrow was in town to test some new arrow designs with Doc Magnus (who was at the moment, bailing the Metal Men out of jail, where they had been sent for trespassing while saving Batman). Batman was giving up, since Ruby and Jason had the building legally. Green Arrow was very chagrined to see his friend in such a defeated mood, so a few days later, "J. Jacob Archer" (presumably Oliver Queen was still too well-known in the upper class circles) made an appearance at the former Wayne Foundation building. He was an "excavation specialist" who had come to see Ruby because he believed that the land where the time capsule was excavated held even more historical treasures, and wanted her backing to dig there. Mr. Archer ired Jason with his suave ways, and Ruby agreed to the plan. His plan grew unexpected fruit when a cavern full of Thaddeus Morgan's machines was actually found under the site, and Jason grew even more angry and jealous when Ruby kissed Archer. Green Arrow told Batman and the Metal Men of the new situation, and they investigated that evening (Doc Magnus having been gotten them all appointed to an official historical investigation committee to give them a legal right to be there). They arrived just as the jealousy consumed Jason and he attempted to destroy the machines in hopes of destroying Ruby's feelings for Archer. The giant machine he tried to use went out of control and headed for the Ryder Building. Meanwhile, "Archer" had left Ruby in the penthouse and assumed his Green Arrow identity just as the machine was bearing down on the building. The Metal Men made a valiant attempt to stop the runaway machine, but were ground up underneath the juggernaut's treads. Green Arrow was forced to use a powerful TNT arrow to disable the machine, but the explosion caused the Ryder Building to shake and one of the giant "R's" fell off the roof...only missing Ruby because Jason pushed her out of the way and took the full brunt of the impact himself. He died proclaiming his love for the woman. Days later, Batman had also uncovered documents in the lab that proved that Thaddeus Morgan had been certified as insane, making his will invalid and the Wayne Foundation Building was once again his. Doc Magnus had also used information in Morgan's notes to reconstitute Tin's responsometer, bringing the stuttering robot back to "life". Meanwhile, even the tough-as-nails Ruby Ryder shed a tear over the death of Jason Morgan.

APPEARANCES:

Rudy Roodoo

Profile by swingwithscooter

Musicians Elvis West and Rudy Roodoo were childhood friends (in Scooter's home town, apparently). Elvis grew up to become a superstar rock singer, but Rudy never got his career off the ground. However, Rudy has a talent that West doesn't - Rudy can put hexes on people, thanks to his "evil eye." When you combine Rudy's powers with the fact that he is an egotistical jerk who likes to blame others for his own failings, you can be sure that mayhem will follow!

As the story opens, Scooter, Sylvester and Cookie discover the formerly rich and famous Elvis West about to be arrested for walking out of a restaurant without paying. After they pay his bill, Elvis tells Scooter and company that his sudden career downturn is due to being hexed by his childhood friend, Rudy Roodoo. Scooter doesn't believe in witchcraft, but decides to visit Rudy and find out his side of the story. Sylvester (who does believe in the evil eye) reluctantly accompanies him.

When Scooter and Sylvester meet Rudy Roodoo (and his crone-like mother), Rudy gladly confesses to hexing Elvis, and when Scooter scoffs, Rudy uses his evil eye to hex Scooter (and Sylvester) into being "Irresistible to all women!" They think that's not much of a hex, until they leave Rudy's house and are immediately descended upon by all of the women in the neighborhood, all fighting to get a kiss from them. After avoiding the mob, they decide that Rudy may have magical powers after all, and go back to ask him to remove the hex.

When they return, Rudy's mom refuses to let them in, and even throws a punch at Sylvester. He ducks, and she hits her son (who just arrived) in the left eye. Rudy angrily hexes Sylvester to break his arm within five seconds. When nothing happens, everyone realizes that Rudy's black eye has canceled his evil eye-based hexing powers - and Rudy becomes a sobbing wreck. Sure enough, two weeks later Elvis West is back to selling out concert halls.

(No one seems to realize that Rudy can probably re-hex Elvis when the shiner goes away.)

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Swing with Scooter #32

Original text copyright DC Comics unless otherwise noted. Used without permission.