Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Good, The Bad, And The Brightly Clad!

This vintage Fred Hembeck cover from those long ago days of 1980 is a crack up of the highest order. Three brilliantly and blindingly hued heroes joined to create a crisis of color in the Hembeckian world at large. It's genius!

Jack Kirby and Mort Meskin
Captain 3-D, created for Harvey Comics during the Atomic Age by the Joe Simon and Jack Kirby duo is the oldest of this trio of colorful protagonists. Created to take advantage of a fad which seems to reappear every several years, Captain 3-D is a surprisingly serious character with echoes of Fawcett's Captain Marvel bonded with the more surreal elements of later comics. Here's a glimpse.

The Prankster is from the final throes of the Silver Age, a one-shot hero created by Denny O'Neil in his guise as "Sergius O'Shaugnessy" and top flight artist Jim Aparo.

Created for Charlton Comics, this futuristic gadfly battles an oppressive and humorless government in the distant future city of Ultropolis.

Pat Boyette
Never cover-featured, the Prankster made his one and only appearance in the tenth and final issue of Thunderbolt, the original Charlton run.

 And perhaps most obscure of all is Steve Ditko's Odd Man. The Odd Man was a truly bizarre creation.

Scheduled to debut in the pages of the ninth issue of Ditko's Shade the Changing Man, the exotically hued hero made his first actual appearance in the dubious offset rarity Cancelled Comics Cavalcade, a victim like so many of the infamous " DC Implosion" of the late Bronze Age.

Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez
Thankfully though he did get a colorful presentation when that story was dusted off, revised and presented to a broader reading public in the pages of Detective Comics.

As you can see, Odd Man is perhaps the biggest eyesore among these disparate brothers-of-the-brightly-clad, his whole look seemingly designed to create a clash.

Only Fred Hembeck would think it a good enough joke to dig out these most obscure heroes (remember it was in those halcyon pre-internet days) for his devoted audience. Good show Fred on a true classic gag!

This Hembeck classic is reprinted in the awesome The Nearly Complete Essential Hembeck Archives Omnibus, though I fear the color might be missing. I hope not.

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  1. Is there an actual story about the brighty clad heroes too or is it just a gag?

    1. Chimeradave, the covers of the Hembeck collections almost never had any connection to the contents; in this case it was just the one gag.

  2. The Odd Man never had a fair shot at success in comics, but he went on to fame in British television.

    1. I looked that up and it seemed intriguing. It's a natural title.

      Rip Off

  3. was the shade stories continued anywhere


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