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"In mystic Egypt the Old Man of the Pyramids bestowed upon FLASH LIGHTNING all the speed, strength and power of lightning with which to go out in the world and fight on the side of justice and right". Presumably Flash Lightning's creators were imitating Captain Marvel, which is interesting as he debuted (the GCD tells me) in Ace Magazines's Sure Fire Comics v1 #1, cover-dated for June, 1940. Captain Marvel's debut, in Whiz Comics #2, was cover-dated for Feb. of the same year, so Ace apparently got its imitation prepared and out pretty quickly. (According to DC Indexes Whiz Comics #2 actually went on sale around Feb 2, 1940. If Ace dated its comics ahead the gap may have been smaller than the cover-dates imply.) Sure Fire Comics became Lightning Comics with v1 #4 (apparently there were two v1 #3s). This story is from the first Lightning Comics issue.

 

Two points to note. First, the Old Man of the Pyramids obviously recalls Shazam; but Shazam was killed in Captain Marvel's debut story and didn't become a regular in Marvel Family universe stories for a while. (I don't know when it was first established that it is actually Shazam who sends the magic lightning.) Second, it's sometimes debated whether Superman or Captain Marvel was the first to fly. This story made me think Superman's other early imitators should also be taken into account when considering who flew first.

A few things.  First, thank you for the link to Impossible Man and the website.  Next, re. the Big Red Cheese and the stories prepared for Canada.  There are other examples of major characters being re-done or having  new stories and art issued for foreign (non American) comics.  The most famous is, arguably, the Spanish Batman stories.  I think I might have mentioned these on this site previously.  These landscape comics were titled Robin and the Bat (Robin y El Murcielago)  and are very good.  Have a look at some examples here:-

http://eldesvandelabuelito.blogspot.co.uk/2010/09/batman-superhombr...

And there is the Japanese version of Batman.

The Phantom also was treated similarly in Italy, (surprisingly, as it is a KFS property) in as much as faces and figures were re-drawn in many reprints, never to their advantage, imo.  In the UK, some features in our weekly anthology comics were re-used with a slightly different name e.g. Black Hawk, who became Scarlet Hawk in a coloured and re-lettered version with some name changes (his assistant changed from Soyo to Strogo.)

Next, before I make a complete horlicks of this, are we talking about flying heroes who do so with super powers, or heroes using gadgets, wings or technology to flutter about?  Because there are a number of the latter in British storypapers and books.

Don't you just love this stuff?

Ironically, I owned that issue, coverless, from some school white elephant sale one spring, and though I thought it was Jack Kirby artwork, I admit something looked a bit off… as you can see in the face of the collapsed girl. Never did I associate this with the same artist who would take Iron Man off the rails just about three years later.

There was definitely something odd about the artwork in this particular story arc, that I could never quite put my finger one. Coupled with the fact that the storyline jumps from WWII tales to modern day and the fight against the Sleepers…but I didn’t have the next two issues, so I never knew how we got from one to the other.



Luke Blanchard said:

Not too long ago someone asked after examples of the layout pages Kirby prepared for other artists when at Marvel in the 60s. I stumbled upon images of three pages here. They were done for the "Captain America" story in Tales of Suspense #70.

Stephen Montgomery said:

Next, before I make a complete horlicks of this, are we talking about flying heroes who do so with super powers, or heroes using gadgets, wings or technology to flutter about? Because there are a number of the latter in British storypapers and books.

 

Imitations of Superman that had the power of flight. When Superman started flying is difficult to pin down because the art early on sometimes suggests he's flying without making it completely clear whether he's flying or leaping. The covers of Superman #1 and #2 are examples. The same ambiguity is often present in the early stories of his imitators, including that Flash Lightning story, I thought.

 

Thanks for the information about the Spanish Batman stories. I have a Man from UNCLE British digest comic from the 60s that advertises Batman and Superman digest comics with original stories on the back. This page has information on original Blackhawk stories produced in Mexico, and this one (scroll down to the bottom) on Mexican Sgt. Fury stories.

 

If it's of interest, I transcribed an ad for an early Australian comic, Fatty Finn's Weekly, here. I misspelt Syd Nicholls's first name.

Excellent info. thanks.  I was aware of El Halcon D'Oro but the link added to my knowledge. 

The other really big one is Catman, when, after discontinuation in the USA, he was re-done in Australia.

http://comicsdownunder.blogspot.co.uk/2007/04/catman-transplanted-s...

These are well done MMM stories with high class art by John Dixon.

Glad I asked re. flight as I would have been shovelling Winged Fury; The Night Hawk and a few others at you.

You're correct about Superman and his "imitators"  But then GA comics were often a bit ambiguous about what powers a hero had.  You got me thinking about the different ways a costumed hero could fly, or leap, for that matter - and there are a number of different, occasionally ingenious methods out there.

You might find this other Bat of interest - Spain 1943.

http://tebeosycomics.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/el-murcielago-1943.html

By all means tell me about Winged Fury and the Night Hawk; I know nothing about them.

 

MMM stories? That goes past me.

Sorry, MMM = Masked Mystery Men.  And actually I goofed.  Winged Fury is something else and I should have written Flying Justice - I can only offer age, a cold and being completely knackered as excuses.  Now, if i can find a scan. I'll point you there.

Here's The Night Hawk:-

http://suloas.stanford.edu/swprd_dp/pnsubs.show_frame?pid=460_57_F_...

And thinking about MMM flying or gliding, or whatever, by other than powers, here's The Falcon.  Complete strip:-

http://comicbookplus.com/?dlid=27539

And, just to confuse matters, if you want a leaper, but not Batroc, try this one:-

http://www.victorhornetcomics.co.uk/jack.html

Still struggling with Flying Justice.  My scans seem to have vanished.

Thanks, Stephen. I've been trying to find more on Night Hawk. To read the date on the cover you linked to I copied it onto my computer so I could enlarge it. It turned out the image information was there for a clear large version; it's dated Feb. 21st, 1931. Jess Nevins has a page on Nelson Lee here that refers to a "Nelson Lee" story in which Lee met "the Night Hawk, who used a winged, motorized flying suit for kidnaping" when visiting the Rockies. That made me wonder if he was originally introduced as a villain, but if so I haven't been able to confirm it. This page has a partial image of another cover featuring Night Hawk. This site has an issue of Nelson Lee Library with a "Night Hawk" story (from Series 3, issue for June 20, 1931).

The Friardale site is simple excellent and I've been using it for ages, mainly for Billy Bunter.  As to The Night Hawk, he is scientist Thurston Kyle - makes no attempt to have a secret i/d -  who invents the wings , power unit etc. and fights crooks and master villains. He has a cohort of helpers including young Snub Hawkins who has a smaller version of the wings. Kyle carries a revolver and has been known to drop grenades on bad guys. The illustrated prose stories appeared in serial form as back up features in Nelson Lee Library, which in turn related the adventures of the great detective Nelson Lee.  But by the time of Night Hawk, Lee was a schoolmaster and the paper featured tales of everyday school life (nothing like what most folk in Britain recognised as real life) and mystery, adventure and crime tales featuring the school kids.  NLL is one of many storypapers that existed at one time in the UK and on Friardale, you can find lots more about them.  Also here for D.C. Thomson titles:-

http://www.kellyscomics.com/

Despite a large proportion of sports stories and adventure tales, there were a number of MMM or costumed heroes in these titles, originally as illustrated stories and later as comics.

Flying Justice was an illustrated prose serial in an even earlier boys storypaper.  Still looking - I'm not very good at some of the tech. stuff.

Here's a cross-promotion I wasn't aware of. Robin Hood appeared in stories in Wonder Woman #82 and #94. According to DC Indexes the former issue came out just after he started appearing in The Brave and the Bold and the latter while he was appearing in The Brave and the Bold and Robin Hood Tales. DC dropped him not long after.

 

According to the GCD the Wonder Woman stories were drawn by Harry G. Peter. Irv Novick, Joe Kubert and Russ Heath drew the Robin Hood stories in The Brave and the Bold. Ross Andru drew the ones in Robin Hood Tales except for those in #2, which were drawn by Novick. Robert Kanigher was involved with editing all three titles and wrote the Wonder Woman stories but didn't write any of the "Robin Hood" ones.

(Corrected.)

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