Monday, January 23, 2012

Golden Guardian!

When Jack Kirby revived the Golden Age Newsboy Legion in the pages of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, their mentor could not be far behind. Jim Harper, the cop who adopts the wayward youths who comprise the Legion was the adult hand of justice who added muscle to the Legion's brains. He was a legit superhero, a blue and gold juggernaut of justice, another Kirby hero who wielded a shield. But unlike the Legion, he had actually died and it remained for the DNA Project to revive him.

They did in a manner of speaking, creating a clone of Jim Harper who went on to fight alongside the "new" Newsboy Legion and later other heroes as well. The Golden Guardian was featured in several issues of Jimmy Olsen during the reign of the "King" Kirby, but was seen very little afterwards.

The Guardian only rated one cover during his time in Jimmy Olsen, but it was a stunner alongside the Scion of Krypton and the less impressive Scion of Late Night television.

Here did rate a page in Who's Who sure enough.

And he's been glimpsed a few times, rendered by Kirby on and in the pages of The Jack Kirby Collector.

After Kirby left DC to return to Marvel, the Guardian identity became open game for other creators to use, and strangely it was borrowed by the creators of the Teen Titans to give Mal Duncan yet another identity. Mal was the common man among superheroes and he was constantly casting about for some edge to allow him to hang credibly with his peers. In the role of the Guardian he found it for a short time.

Since then, I've lost track of just who and what the Guardian has become, but he's been many men at different times as DC has rebooted, revised, and redacted their fictional universe over and over again. There seems to be something fundamentally attractive about the look of the character, a tribute to Kirby's exquisite sense of design.

The Golden Guardian may always be with us in some form.

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