The Blue Tracer

piloted by William "Wild Bill" Dunn

Created by Fred Guardineer

Capt. William "Wild Bill" Dunn



Military Comics #1 (August 1941)


Military Comics #1-16 (August 1941–January 1943)


Bill and Boomerang. From Military #1 (1940). Art by Fred Guardineer.
Blue Tracer schematic. From Military #4.

Bill Dunn wasn’t super-powered, but his outfit qualifies him as a costumed hero. Unlike the Red Torpedo, it was never he, but his impervious ship that was called “Blue Tracer.” The Red Torpedo preceded the Blue Tracer in Crack Comics #1 (May 1940). There was also the brief “Swordfish” feature, about a one-man sub piloted by plainclothes Ensign Jack Smith (Hit #22, June 1942). Military #4 depicts a detailed schematic of the vehicle itself. Fred Guardineer was at his best on this feature, crafting utterly stunning scenes of fantastic battle using both real world and fictional war machines.

Captain “Wild” Bill Dunn was an American engineer who was the only survivor of a British “scouting division” in Ethiopia. He soon happened upon Pvt. Boomerang Jones, from Australia, who told him that their enemy was the local tribe called M’Bujies. For months, the two of them toiled to create a war machine from the remains of fascist equipment. This machine was a marvel: the Blue Tracer could travel on land, at sea or in air. Its “hull” resembled a bullet and its chassis included parts from tanks and airplanes. In invading the M’Bujies, they also freed a white woman. (Military #1)

[ Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]


"Boomerang Jones" was the name of another character created by Fred Guardineer, in National's (DC) New Adventure Comics #24 (Feb. 1938). This character was neither Australian nor did he throw actual boomerangs.

The name “Tracer” may have come from the type of ammunition which was developed in World War One, which was designed to be armor-piercing. Indeed, the Blue Tracer resembles a bullet.

The Blue Tracer has never been used by any publisher since Quality’s end (save for a reprint of Military #1 in DC’s line of “Millennium Editions”).

+ Powers

Dunn was a good fighter and great engineer. The Blue Tracer could travel on land, under the sea, and in the air. It had many weapons, could dive like a shell, and could deflect small arms fire easily. Heavily fortified, it could not be pierced.