Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cold Hearts - A Frigid Rogues Gallery!

Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella
Today is one of the coldest in nearly two decades, at least around here. To "celebrate" this dubious accomplishment, let's take a gander at some of the truly "coolest" villains in comics history.

We begin with Captain Cold, charter member of Flash's infamous Rogues Gallery. The exquisite design by Carmine Infantino remains perhaps my favorite costume of any baddie, at least at DC. They've screwed around with it in the modern day, and created something far less distinctive and much less memorable.

Irv Novick
Mr. Freeze might be the most famous icy rogue since his arch-nemesis is the Batman, one of the most famous characters in world history. Freeze has been re-designed a few times, and to be honest they've been improvements over the rather basic look seen above, though this remains one of my favorite bat-covers.

Irwin Hasen
One of the first cold villains was The Icicle who would ultimately end up battling the Justice Society and later the Justice League in those iconic JLA-JSA crossovers. Here we see his first appearance banging it out with the original Green Lantern.

Harry G. Peter
Another Golden Age icy villain was Minister Blizzard who appeared in an early issue Wonder Woman. I love this action scene.

Jack Kirby and Don Heck
Marvel had some frosty baddies too, the first of which was the appropriately named Jack Frost who took on Iron Man when Shellhead was still truly the "Golden Avenger". Frost is icy enough in this debut, but a little indistinct.

Ed Hannigan and Frank Giacoia
Fashion though was a highlight when Jack Frost updated both his look and adopted a new name later in the Marvel Age. Blizzard is the same character, but with nifty costume and some amped-up icy firepower.

Charles Nicolas
But Jack Frost was not the first to use that name at Marvel. When the company was just Timely they had a hero by that monicker in USA Comics, who later showed up in the Bronze Age as part of the Liberty Legion.

Ron Lim and Danny Bulanadi
Many moons later Captain America battled this particular Jack Frost who had been...ahem...on ice for several decades by the point.

Jack Sparling
And for the record Harvey Comics had another hero named "Jack Frost", specifically Jack Q. (Q for Quick) Frost.

Al Milgrom
Perhaps the most exciting cold-hearted baddie of recent memory is Killer Frost who debuts fighting Firestorm. From the beginning it seemed clear she was more than Ronnie Raymond could handle in all sorts of ways. She's one villain who ain't afraid to stack up the bodies.

Jim Aparo
The Cryonic Man was pretty unfeeling too, since his gig was stealing organs and preserving them. Batman and Outsiders battled this frosty wingnut.

Steve Ditko and Rocke Mastroserio
A personal favorite villain of mine is the Fiery-Icer, a baddie who battled the somewhat de-powered Captain Atom in the waning day of his Charlton career. The Firey-Icer could, as his name suggests, come with flames from one hand and ice from the other. It was a strong visual power, ideal for comics.

Bob White
Less impressive, but no less memorable is The Ice Cube who battle Captain Pureheart and the other Riverdale superheroes. His block-headed appearance made him stand out in a gang of baddies, many of whom didn't distinguish themselves.

Gil Kane and Mike Esposito
Here's a great cover showcasing the classic battle between the Fantastic Four's Human Torch and the X-Men's Iceman. They teamed up and battled one another several times, which was logical enough. This time though Equinox, the Thermodyamic Man was added, a villain who had both fire and ice powers which seemed to flow through him like waves. It crosses my mind that Martinex of the Guardians of the Galaxy has somewhat similar powers in that he can bring forth both heat and cold from his crystal hands.

Frank Miller
And finally here's a tasty treat. The Icemaster debuted in this Hostess Fruit Pie ad, drawn by Frank Miller no less. He was a delicious bit of nostalgia until Kurt Busiek decided to make him an official part of the Marvel Universe in one of his always-superb Thunderbolts comics.

And to follow up on my recent spate of Space Ghost posts, here's a link to the episode titled "The Iceman" where a classic little green Hanna-Barbera baddie tries to put the whole Ghost Planet on ice.

That's a dandy cluth of cold-hearted crumbs, perfect for a cold day like this. Stay warm.

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