Obscure DC Characters: O

Odd Man

created by Steve Ditko

Profile #1

Alter Ego: Clayton "Clay" Stoner
Occupation: Private Investigator
Known Relatives: None
Team Affiliation: None
Base of Operations: River City
First Appearance: Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2 (Fall 1978), Detective Comics #487 (Dec 1979 - Jan 1980)
Height: ~ 6 ft. Weight: ~ 180 lbs.
Eyes: (as Clay) Blue; (as Odd Man) Wears mask with one red eye and one yellow
Hair: (as Clay) Bronze; (as Odd Man) Black

History: "He came from nowhere, garbed in a confused costume that would make a carnival clown blush with embarassment. His weapons were absurd — impossible! But somehow he became the terror of criminals, and everyone began to wonder ... who is the Odd Man?". This is how the Odd Man was introduced in his only recorded adventure to date. This story chronicled one of the character's earliest cases in which he battled and defeated the supposed reincarnation of the first Nile Queen and her Pharoah consort.

The Odd Man is really private investigator Clay Stoner who utilizes a rubber mask, an outlandish suit, and many elaborate gadgets in order to aid in the fight against crime. In the aforementioned story, we learn that Stoner is good friends with a River City official named Judge Brass. In one panel it appears that the Judge may be aware of Clay's dual identity however this is never made clear.

The Odd Man has a very bizzare hideout ... at any given time one could simultaneously find a desk resting on the ceiling, an end table and lamp on a wall, and a door on the floor ... however this could always change since this room could be made to tilt! All this was intended to disorient any person that the Odd Man might bring there for interrogation (not to mention it made for a pretty wild headquarters). At the story's beginning the Odd Man is shown interrogating the city's biggest jewelry fence in the hero's secret hideout. The Odd Man had somehow caused the fence to black out while sitting in his car and later would cause him to black out once again so that he could be returned to his car.

Presumably, the Odd Man is still active in River City.

Weapons and Powers: The Odd Man depends only upon his sharp wits, bizarre appearance, and oddball gadgets in his fight against crime. Among the Odd Man's many devices are his weighted extended tie, a spray he developed which melts certain plastics, powder and smoke gloves which he activates by clapping his hands together, and a slippery oil spray. He also has some unrevealed method of rendering a person unconscious (most likely through use of another spray).

Comments: The Odd Man was originally slated to appear as a back-up feature starting in Shade the Changing Man (first series) #9 (Sep-Oct 1978). The first story was completed however Shade's book was pulled from the DC line-up, along with other books, when DC made major cutbacks during the 1978 "DC Implosion". For copyright purposes, this story was included in Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2 (Fall 1978), the second of two B&W comics which were never intended for public distribution (only 35 copies were made). The tale finally made it to the newsstand in Detective Comics #487 (Dec 1979 - Jan 1980). The Odd Man would not appear again for another twenty years, in Superboy [third series] #65 (Aug 1999).

Profile #2

Steve Ditko character from the 1970s. His name is Clay Stoner and he first appeared in CANCELLED COMICS CAVALCADE #2 (Aut 78) (and later appeared for the public audience in DETECTIVE COMICS #487 (Dec 79-Jan 80. He last appeared in SUPERBOY.

In the darkness, Ike Loges felt the floor give way and grabbed at something — anything — to keep from falling. Blinking as the lights flashed to life, Loges gasped when he realized that he was dangling from a window where the ceiling used to be — a window with a view of a nearly upside-down River City skyline. Seated comfortably on a desk on the wall was a stranger in a garish patchwork three-piece suit and tie with clashing designs and bright colors(mostly red, blue and yellow). Completing the clown effect was a rubber mask with blank eyes (one red, one yellow), a frozen white smile and close-cropped black hair.

"He came from nowhere, garbed in a confused costume that would make a carnival clown blush with embarrassment. His weapons were absurd — impossible! But somehow he became the terror of criminals, and everyone began to wonder ... who is ... The Odd Man?" — 1979's DETECTIVE COMICS #487 (text by Paul Levitz?).

In 1978, DC had planned an ambitious expansion of their line that would transform a standard 32 page comic with 17 story pages into a 48 page comic with 25 story pages (with the cover price increasing from 35 cents to 50). In the case of Steve Ditko's SHADE, THE CHANGING MAN title, the additional eight pages would be given over a back-up feature of his own creation.

First seen in a house ad for the impending "DC Explosion," the Odd Man's debut in SHADE #9 was subsequently touted in a Daily Planet coming attractions page in DC COMICS PRESENTS #2 with a release date of June 19, 1978. Unknown to most readers, however, was the fact that DC had decided in April to cancel several marginal titles that probably wouldn't survive with a 50 cent price tag. These included AQUAMAN, MISTER MIRACLE, NEW GODS, THE SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS and ... SHADE, THE CHANGING MAN. Plans were quickly made to shift at least some of the material prepared for those books to other titles. The Odd Man was slated for December's SHADE THE CHANGING MAN #14, after a Ray three-parter in #11-13 had run its course.

Fate had other plans. In essence, Warner Communications execs decreed that, to test a new form of distribution, the average DC title should have the same page count as their competitors. It was announced on June 22 that, effective with comics on sale in September, all DCs would return to 17 pages of story content (but with a cover price of 40 cents). To provide consistency to the DC line, all of the thirty-two page books were promoted to monthly status. Books whose sales did not justify being a monthly and the new titles whose sales had not yet been proven were cancelled. Consequently, another twenty-three comics met their demise, including six that never even saw their first issue published.

BLACK LIGHTNING's final issue turned out to be #11 and the Odd Man made his debut in a black and white xeroxed collection known as CANCELLED COMIC CAVALCADE that was distributed to DC staffers. Fifteen months after his originally scheduled introduction, Ditko's wildly-dressed hero got a more widely distributed appearance in DETECTIVE COMICS #487 (with an on-sale date of September 10, 1979).

Ditko had both written and illustrated the story but his friend (and current publisher) Robin Snyder reports that the dialogue was altered somewhat when it finally appeared, presumably by 'TEC editor Paul Levitz. The logo box on the splash page, for instance, originally read simply "The Odd Man in 'The Pharaoh and the Mummies!'". In the 'TEC version, the introductory text (used in my second paragraph) appeared.

River City, it seemed, had seen a recent string of jewel robberies and related murders. The Odd Man believed that Ike Loges, "the city's biggest jewelry fence,"would have details on the crimes and he was correct — to an extent. Loges had no specifics but he'd heard that an antiques dealer was a target. "Then the light dims and blacks out — as does Ike Loges. When he awakens, he will find himself back in his car and will try to convince himself he has just had a bad dream ... he won't succeed."

The disorienting topsy turvy concealed room was the most ambitious weapon in the Odd Man's repertoire but it was far from the only one. His polka-dot clip-on tie had a heavy metal weight at its top that made an effective projectile or bolo, his white "smoke gloves" released a cloud of disorienting powder and a small can of oil spray tripped up his foes.

The jewel thief proved to be a madman dressed like an Egyptian Pharaoh but equipped with a futuristic ray-gun called he Mummifier that encased its victims in a cocoon of clear plastic that suffocated them instantly. Escaping the Odd Man, the Pharaoh handed a single Nile jewel that he'd stolen to a Cleopatra wanna-be.

Elsewhere, the Odd Man had returned to his alter-ego of Clay Stoner, a sandy blonde-haired private eye. He drafted his friend and confidante Judge Brass to help him figure out the common link in the thefts. Using his connections, Brass learned that a Nile gem had been among the items stolen in each theft. Brass suggested that Clay talk to the River City Museum's Egyptian authority about "the significance of those gems." Clay, who'd gotten bad vibes from the museum's Mrs. Nyla, decided that the Odd Man should ask the questions.

A visit to the Nyla home revealed a veritable shrine to Egypt, one whose curators disliked uninvited guests. Mrs. Nyla and her lover, the Pharaoh, forced the Odd Man into a sarcophagus, sealing it with the Mummifier. Clay, however, had done a chemical analysis of the plastic after his last encounter with it and had devised a solvent to melt it away.

Elsewhere, the Pharaoh and his queen remained on-model as he announced that he had "restored the Nile necklace."

"Praise Ra!" she cheered. "After three thousand years, I will wear it again!"

The Odd Man disrupted the ceremony and the latter-day King Tut vowed that the hero "would join the others — in sacred mummification!" Instead, the Pharaoh slipped on an oil slick created by the Odd Man and sealed his lover in plastic. In shock, he cried, "my queen — my love — my reason for living. You were the true reincarnation of the first Nile queen. And I have robbed you of this life. There is but one thing left for me to do now — to join you!" Before Clay could act, the Pharaoh turned the Mummifier on himself.

Ditko drew the Odd Man on two further occasions, the first of which, ironically, was in another comic book scuttled by the DC Implosion — SHOWCASE #106, a 25 page Creeper story originally slated for publication in August of 1978. In a cameo with intriguing implications, the Odd Man was present on the set of a TV pilot being filmed at Gotham City's WHAM-TV when the Creeper and the evil Doctor Storme burst in. Was the Odd Man/Pharaoh story merely an episode of a DCU TV series?

The other appearance was a line-up of Ditko's DC creations seen in the "DC Profiles" entry in 1980's BATMAN #322 and LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #262. Looking at the heroes depicted there, one can't help but be depressed by the fact that five of the seven (Hawk, Dove, Stalker, Creeper, Starman) have been killed outright (though the latter two got better) and Shade was altered beyond recognition in the Vertigo series. A far cry from the veneration given Jack Kirby's contributions to the DCU.

NOTE: As were Captain Atom and The Question, two more Ditko creations, in their post-Crisis series. Hawk, of course, was turned into Monarch in the badly-received ARMAGEDDON 2001 series (published seven years early IIRC); a role originally planned, according to reports, for Captain Atom. What did DC have against Ditko characters, anyway?

The Odd Man remains unscathed although that's largely because his obscurity places him below the radar of all but the most hardcore fans-turned-pro. He popped up in one panel of 1989's HERO HOTLINE #5, suggesting a possible connection with the Bob Rozakis & Stephen DeStefano-created team. A decade later, the Odd Man — and Hero Hotline — returned as one of several candidates for a position at Project Cadmus (1999's SUPERBOY #65, by Karl Kesel, Tom Grummett and Dan Davis). In the wake of a brawl initiated by old Ditko villains Punch and Jewelee, the fashion-challenged hero made his goodbyes to Superboy, noting that he'd had "more fun than fish on bicycles. No — I CAN'T stay! Don't ASK, don't TELL!"

Watching him walk away sideways across a wall, Superboy could only think of one thing to say: "What an ODD MAN — !"


In 1966, the Organization for General Revenge and Enslavement threatened to collapse before it could even get off the ground. It seems there was a henchmen deficit. The proliferation of organizations like S.P.E.C.T.R.E., T.H.R.U.S.H., C.A.W., C.Y.C.L.O.P.S. and V.U.L.T.U.R.E. had nearly exhausted the supply of working class hoods that start-up world-beaters like O.G.R.E. needed to prosper. What O.G.R.E. lacked in manpower, it more than made up for in nerve. By early 1966, the group had acquired enough notoriety to induce the U.S. government to recruit Atlantis' sovereigns, Aquaman and Mera, to investigate the villains' interest in an island resort in the Caribbean. Stalking the aquatic duo was another romantic couple, a rough-hewn muscleman known as Typhoon and an attractive brunette called the Huntress who wielded a spear gun.

Capturing the Huntress, Aquaman and Mera learned that she and her lover were pawns of O.G.R.E., forced to their bidding because of the threat of an explosive "liquidation cell" implanted in their bodies. Believing he finally had the upper hand on O.G.R.E.'s Supreme One (clad in a black hood and robe), Aquaman invaded his crab-like saucer and dismantled the liquidation switch — but was taken captive.

Aquaman learned that O.G.R.E. had been contracted by a foreign government to retrieve a forgotten cache of nuclear missiles beneath the island, an arsenal that they'd use to blackmail the United States. The Supreme One had reckoned without Mera, who drafted the Huntress, Typhoon and divers from the U.S. Navy to take on the Supreme One and his partners. The case was closed when the Huntress led Aquaman to the Supreme One's headquarters within the island's resort. The removal of the black hood revealed the hotel manager, who'd been kidnapping guests and forcing them to act on his behalf under penalty of death (AQUAMAN #26, by Bob Haney and Nick Cardy).

Rumors abound that the reformation of O.G.R.E.'s initial pair of agents didn't take. One report identified them as the Huntress and Sportsmaster who fought Batgirl and Robin in BATMAN FAMILY #7. Another suggests that the latter-day Huntress was Artemis Crock, daughter of the 1940s villainess and a future foe of Infinity, Inc. (INFINITY, INC. #34-36) and the JSA (JSA #9-10). None of this has been confirmed.

In November, Aquaman was contacted again by his government liason, the Tall Man, who had been alerted to a new threat by O.G.R.E. to encase the United Nations building in a force field. Liquid would counteract the effect and Aquaman followed through by insulating the U.N. in a cocoon of water. In fact, the Tall Man had been impersonated by an O.G.R.E. leader named Krako and water — far from being a failsafe — was a crucial ingredient in the CREATION of the force field. Once again, O.G.R.E. had overcome its lack of resources.

The imprisonment of the U.N. representatives by the leader of Atlantis made Aquaman an international fugitive, pursued not only by law enforement agencies but O.G.R.E. themselves, whose warriors were clad in brown shirts, white pants and red, ant-like helmets that matched their boots and gloves. In the end, Aquaman managed to get inside the U.N. dome and assist the real Tall Man in defeating the kidnappers while Mera used her hard water power to make the watery force field brittle and easily shattered (AQUAMAN #31, by Haney and Cardy).

Feeling the pinch of its dwindling revenue, most of the remaining O.G.R.E. cells threw in their lot with agents of S.P.E.C.T.R.E., T.H.R.U.S.H. and C.Y.C.L.O.P.S. as part of the European-based Empire of Evil. The amalgamation's assaults on the Blackhawks proved no more successful than O.G.R.E.'s own encounters with Aquaman and Mera had been (BLACKHAWK #229 and 231, by Haney, Dick Dillin and Chuck Cuidera).

By 1970, the sun was setting on the era of the abbreviated criminal group but O.G.R.E. still had one last scheme up its sleeve. A pair of agents approached California tycoon Eliot Harlanson and related a fanciful tale in which they claimed that the impending rise of Atlantis would cause California to sink into the ocean. The dire fate could be prevented if Harlanson would bankroll an atomic bomb to destroy the undersea continent. To ensure that Aquaman was in Atlantis at the time of the explosion, O.G.R.E. hired another dupe to attack the city — Black Manta.

Government agents caught up with the O.G.R.E. duo in Florida but they were too late to stop the bomb. As it turned out, that angle had already been taken care of — the a-bomb bounced harmlessly into the soil outside of Atlantis. The government had planted a lovely blonde agent named Honey James alongside Harlanson and she arranged for the bomb to be a dud.

"Oh, by the way," one G-man told Aquaman and Aqualad, "From now on you won't be having any more trouble with O.G.R.E. We've finally located O.G.R.E.'s secret headquarters. We'll be moving in and mopping up shortly. They'll be having so much trouble with us, they simply won't have TIME to bother you!" (AQUAMAN #53, by Steve Skeates and Jim Aparo).


AN Onyx (an Oriental mobster with a child, who worked for the Sensei) was in the recent DEADMAN series, but she is NOT the Onyx of Green Arrow DETECTIVE COMICS back-ups... (who most recently appeared in WONDER WOMAN #175.)


The Oracle, a robed man with long hair and beard and cosmic-looking eyes, who appeared in JLA #100, was a mystic being who was conjured up by Dr. Fate, Zatanna, and Johnny Thunder's T-Bolt to find the missing Seven Soldiers of Victory.

Dr. Fate described him as a being who knew almost everything. He was pretty much a plot device to get the story moving and had little motivation or background, unlike the Watcher.

When he was conjured up, he remarked that he might punish those who summon him too casually, but he would help the heroes because he heard good things about Dr. Fate. He didn't ask anything in return but he was selective about the information he revealed, so that the writer of the comic could surprise us.

The Oracle never appeared again, sadly. Not even in the re-telling of this adventure in an issue of STARS & S.T.R.I.P.E.

The Organ Grinder

Ted Grant and Stretch Skinner went to Globe Gems to get a boxing trophy with real silver fighters on it for a kids' amateur match. The Organ Grinder that was playing outside followed them in, along with his monkeys. The monkeys threw powder in the guards' eyes and gas bombs that knocked everyone out except Ted, who stayed low to the floor and switched into his Wildcat costume amid the confusion. Several men in gas masks had also entered the store and they and the monkeys began looting the valuable gems. Wildcat waded into them and knocked out several, and managed to jump on the rear of the escaping getaway car as it sped off, leading him to Leo's Health Farm. Wildcat leapt off before it went inside, planning to return later and capture the crooks.

Inside, Leo the Organ Grinder and the rest of the gang were congratulating themselves on a big haul when Wildcat leapt into the fray once again. While Wildcat was fighting the men, the Organ Grinder began playing "The Prisoner's Song", which caused a monkey to swing in and knock Wildcat out with the butt of a gun. When the hero awoke, he was tied upside down hanging in a pool that was slowly filling up with water. The gang left, with the Organ Grinder saying that they had a date to play 'blind man's bluff', leaving the hero to drown. Wildcat found he was able to swing about, but couldn't quite reach a nearby trapeze that he could use to pull himself to safety. He quickly discovered that by whistling "That Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze", he could get the monkey that was left to guard (!) him to move the trapeze, and also managed to get him to untie his hands.

Meanwhile, the Organ Grinder and his gang were set up outside the Gala Benefit for the Blind at Union Stadium and had again used the monkeys to heist the proceeds from the guards. Wildcat arrived in the nick of time, but the Organ Grinder, tired of the hero's interference, bashed him over the head with his organ. As the gang closed in with their guns on Wildcat, he started playing a tune on the organ, which was the same one the Organ Grinder played to tell the monkeys to attack anyone with guns. The gang was disarmed and Wildcat finished them off easily. Ted Grant then returned to Globe Gems to pick up Stretch and the trophy.


  • Sensation Comics #84


The O-Sensei's story began in Manchuria in 1895 when a Japanese army captain faced a Chinese captive in unarmed combat. A soldier "helped" by gunning down the Chinese man and the horrified captain condemned him for his actions, asserting that he had brought disgrace on himself and the entire army. To attone, the captain agreed to the victim's dying request: "I will take his place" (DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL #1).

And so, he began "studying the ancient scriptures, practicing the ancient disciplines, becoming many kinds of a master. Living a life perfect in its austerity, its discipline and, finally, in its harmony." He refused his wife's 1900 plea to return to Japan but agreed to her last request: "Promise your bones will rest with mine" (THE QUESTION ANNUAL #1).

Decades later, the O-Sensei encountered Benjamin Turner (SUICIDE SQUAD #38) and Richard Dragon (RICHARD DRAGON, KUNG FU FIGHTER #1), sensing the innate goodness that lay beneath their surface rage. Over six years, he transformed the men into two of the finest martial artists in the world (#1) and, having done so, declared that there was nothing more he could teach them (#2). Before leaving, he gave Richard a jade dragon's necklace (#3).

Months later, Richard and Lady Shiva sought out O-Sensei for his aid in helping a dying Ben. They discovered that his meditations had been disrupted by Doctor Moon, who sought the master's knowledge for evil purposes (RD #14).

After "more than a hundred and fifty winters," the O-Sensei finally decided that his life had run its course. With Shiva at his side, he sought out the Batman (DETECTIVE ANNUAL #1), Green Arrow (GREEN ARROW ANNUAL #1) and the Question (QUESTION ANNUAL #1), individuals that he believed could help him honor his vow to his wife. For his heirs, feeling that he had brought disgrace on the house, were violently opposed to his presence at the burial grounds.

In the end, it was not the family's actions that stopped the journey but a raging typhoon that washed the O-Sensei from their boat. His body was lost at sea. Arriving at the crypt, Shiva learned that the master's wife was NOT buried there. She discovered later that "the boat carrying the family's goods ran into a storm. The cabinet containing the wife's remains was swept overboard. It rests — at the bottom of the sea" (QUESTION ANNUAL #1).

O-SENSEI (pre-Crisis, Earth-1):
DC Comics Presents #39
Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter #1-3, 4 (mention), 6 (mention), 10 (mention), 13 (mention), 14, 17-18 (mention)

O-SENSEI (post-Crisis):
Detective Comics Annual #1
Green Arrow Annual #1
The Question Annual #1
Suicide Squad #38

Incidentally, the O-Sensei actually first appeared in the novel "Dragon's Fists" by Jim Dennis (Denny O'Neil and Jim Berry) that was published in 1974, which served as the basis for the first few issues of the RICHARD DRAGON, KUNG-FU FIGHTER comic book.

The O-Sensei should not be confused with The League of Assassins leader, who was only called the Sensei.

The Outsiders

by Joe Simon, Jerry Grandenetti, and Crieg Flessel
First and only appearance: 1st Issue Special #10 (Jan 1976)

The year is 1970. The world press reports that an unmanned U.S. space probe has been sent to the planet Venus. There is something more remarkable about the rocket Alpha Zero however. It actually contains a crew of two: Colonel Markie, a military man, and Doctor Goodie, a renowned surgeon. Their long journey to Venus is nearly over. Doctor Goodie questions the need for the secrecy of the mission. He doesn't understand why they are going to such lengths to investigate mysterious laser signals coming from the planet. Markie explains that the laser beams could mean the end to cancer and all mankind's ills. That's the reason the military asked Doctor Goodie to come along. As they approach orbit, a sudden turbulence pulls them into a spin. They are caught in a strange magnetic force, which pulls them crashing into the planet's surface. Mysterious aliens pull Goodie's broken body from the wreckage and begin tending to his injuries.

Two years later, the military receive reports of an unidentified spacecraft, which has put down in the desert near their proving grounds. One General (Stagg?) recognizes the craft as their lost Venus probe, Alpha Zero. There is no sign of life, so they open the hatch and enter the craft. The General recoils in horror. He can't be sure, but he believes the misshapen creature lying unconscious before them is what remains of Doctor Goodie. Later, in a military hospital, Goodie is finally revived after receiving a dose of phenolbarbotus. The General explains to Goodie that he arrived in a state of suspended animation. Goodie feels strange, but strong, and is anxious to get out of the hospital. The General tells him he can't leave just yet, that something has happened to him. The General hands Goodie a mirror. The once handsome Doctor Goodie screams as he views his new, hideous features. The General explains that the military had undertaken a thorough examination of Goodie while he was unconscious, and they have concluded that some advanced medical team has put him together in a miraculous operation. His limbs are functioning through a system of involved computers. He is plasticized and mechanized... a cybernetic! Goodie doesn't understand why they left him with such an ugly face. The General surmises that they didn't feel that appearance was very important. Doctor Goodie has another theory. He suspects that the beings that operated on him didn't know what an Earthling looked like, so they made him over in their image!

A few months later, Doctor Goodie has since returned to his job as a surgeon at the Ronkite Medical Complex, the world's newest and most modern hospital. Goodie has created a convincing mask of his former face, one so realistic that it fools all of his coworkers. Both the female patients and nurses swoon over the handsome doctor, but he must remain distant lest they uncover his secret. Goodie uses his status as the world's most famous surgeon to establish private quarters twenty stories below the hospital. One nurse, Donna, who is particularly fond of him, comments that people are beginning to whisper that maybe he keeps a beautiful woman down there. Goodie retires to his luxurious suite, but it is not a beautiful woman that awaits him, but rather a small group of freaks. Among his grotesque friends, he prefers to be called Doctor Scary. The group, the Outsiders, work out of Goodie's lair in secret, monitoring the television for word of other outcasts like themselves.

The very first freak that Doctor Goodie had saved was Johnny. A man named Ahab Smith was out fishing in his boat. Although he hadn't had much luck all day, he felt a nibble as he reeled in his line for the last time. Smith gasped when he heaved his catch into the boat. It was a part lizard, part human creature. Smith rushed it to the Ronkite Medical Complex, where one of the doctors began examining it. Two days later, the doctor called in Doctor Goodie to show him what he had acquired. Goodie was shocked at what he saw. The doctor told him that the small creature had grown six inches in just the last two days. He grabbed a knife, and exclaimed that the merciful thing to do would be to kill it. Doctor Goodie tried to stop him, but the doctor pushed Goodie to the floor and raised the knife. The creature stung the doctor with his poison tongue, apparently killing him. Doctor Goodie gently picked up the frightened creature in a blanket and carried him to safety.

Goodie realized he could do a lot of good for people like Johnny. He created his Doctor Scary identity, and developed the concept of the Outsiders. Over the next few weeks, Lizard Johnny was soon joined by others, as Doc Scary rescued other freaks. The Amazing Ronnie, a one-eyed, four-armed, green-skinned beast. Hairy Larry, a troll-like man who was grafted to his motorized vehicle. And Mighty Mary, a woman with a beautiful face, cursed with a hulking body covered in orange scales and possessing flippers for hands.

The last freak that Goodie had saved was Billy. Old man Lundy lived and worked alone in his little tailor shop on Main Street. Or so everyone in town thought. It was rumored that Lundy kept his life savings hidden somewhere in his house. One night, two men entered the shop and pulled a gun on the old man, demanding his buried loot. He insisted that he was nothing but a poor working man. When the thugs spotted a trap door, the old man panicked and frantically tried to stop them. One of the men shot Lundy dead, then threw the gun out of the window. The two men descended into the secret basement. The thieves were frozen in terror as they were confronted by a boy with an enormous head. One of the men grabbed a piece of timber and repeatedly bashed the bizarre boy on the skull, with no effect. The men climbed out of the basement, and Billy followed. The boy saw his father lying dead on the floor, and headed towards the two men. They grabbed a kerosene lamp and threw it, setting the shop on fire. When Billy ran out of the burning building, the gathering crowd believed he was a monster and attacked him. News of the disturbance reached the Outsiders, and they rushed to Billy's aid. Billy was rescued and joined the Outsiders as it's newest member.

These aliens were shown to be in the possession of the U.S. Government's Project M in Superman #692 (11.09).

The Overland Coach

From ALL-AMERICAN WESTERN #103 to 106 (1948-1952), Tony Barrett delivered mail and packages across the Old West aboard the Overland Coach which simultaneously thwarting bandits and solving mysteries. She rarely stopped to accept accolades, though, commenting in AAW #112 that "I'm a working girl and the Overland Coach is behind schedule now!"

Based out of Laredo, the blonde young woman, who owned as well as drove the stagecoach, wore a buckskin shirt, blue jeans and gray gloves. Tony's brother Billy, a few years her junior, appeared in some of the earlier episodes (AAW #105, 106). Tony fought the Salinas Kid in AAW #118.

Frank Giacoia pencilled "Overland Coach" through AAW #113 and Gil Kane continued for the duration of the run.


Overman was the first and most powerful hero on an alternate Earth (in the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths DC Multiverse) in which super-heroes were all a part of a government experiment. Other heroes in that world's Justice League were created as modified clones from Overman's cell scrapings (including a tall African-American Wonder Woman, an apparently Jewish Flash, and a punker Green Lantern).

Unfortunately, Overman's power corrupted him after a sex virus affected his brain. He killed the other members of the Justice League and laid waste to the entire planet, killing everyone. He also had a doomsday bomb in his possession, and planned to set it off, committing suicide and taking everything left with him.

He was also one of the characters who got out of the mind of the Psycho-Pirate during the event known as "Crisis 2". In what was probably the most existential battle in comic book history, Animal Man fought Overman, pulling him outside the panels of the comic he was in to face the "readers", and Animal Man trapped the madman inside a shrinking panel that eventually just disappeared. Animal Man returned to the "regular" world and shut off the doomsday bomb that Overman had activated.


  • Animal Man #23-24

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