Unnamed granddaughter, Von Hammer (great-grandson)
Hit Comics #18 (December 1941)
Hit Comics #18–34 (Dec. 1941–Winter 1944)
Starman v.2 #37
NAME + ALIASES:
William Von Hammer
KNOWN RELATIVES: Unnamed mother, Stormy Foster
FIRST APPEARANCE: Superman #689 (Aug. 2009)
APPEARANCES: The Shade v.2, #1-2
Despite the feature’s title, which was “Stormy Foster,” the hero’s public
referred to him as “the Great Defender,” and Stormy Foster’s identity was a
secret. His “mask” was naught but a fake moustache, but his creator, Max Elkan,
did a great job at making the two appear different. Stormy Foster ran later
than most of Quality’s costumed heroes and starred on the cover of Hit Comics from
During the day, Stormy Foster was a shy, bespectacled drug clerk—but the Great
Defender in times of need. When thieves came to pillage Doc Vaughan’s drugstore,
Stormy applied a false moustache and popped a super-vitamin which imbued him
with the strength of ten men. His escapades were sometimes aided by the Chinese
delivery boy named Ah Choo. (Hit #19) Ah Choo didn’t have a stereotypical accent
at first, but in time he unfortunately began speaking like the Blackhawks’
Chop Chop—with ‘L’s for ‘R’s.
Stormy’s penchant for vitamins might have been
inspired by his fictional predecessors. At DC, Hourman took “Miraclo” from
the start (Adventure #48, 1940). And though the popular Blue Beetle didn’t
take “vitamin 2X” when he first debuted, he did in Mystery Men Comics #13 (July
1941), several months before Stormy’s first appearance.
The name “Stormy” is usually a nickname, but in this feature,
Foster’s name is never used in quotation marks, so it’s assumed to be his real
name. These days, “Stormy” is more commonly a girl’s name.
DC Legacy: Von Hammer
Foster apparently fathered at least one child.
The hero Mon-El once met a German hero named William Von Hammer who
had inherited a bit of invulnerability from his mother, whose grandfather was
Stormy Foster. (Superman #689)
More was revealed about Von Hammer when he went in search of the anti-hero
called the Shade. This, in response to an encounter in Europe with a
gang of enhanced Belgian assassins called Les Diaboliques. After Von
Hammer killed most of his oppenents, and continued on his mission to find the
Shade v.2 #1) He did this via a mutual acquaintance, Bobo Benetti.
It was something to do with a man named Caldecott, which lit a fire
under the Shade, and the two met during an attack by the shadow villain, Bete
Noire. Von Hammer
then revelaed that he was hired by someone in Caldecott Industries (actually
descendants of the Shade) to find sample of Shade’s blood. The Shade
turned the tables and rehired Von Hammer to investigate the family
in England. (#2)
After taking a super-vitamin, the Great Defender could make great leaps, bend
bars, and was speedy enough to dodge bullets. He sometimes used a “paralysis
gas” that issued from a gun stored in his cape.
Von Hammer seems to have some measure of invulnerability or vitality that
was passed down genetically.