Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Double Life Of Lancelot Strongest!

The beautiful cover for Blue Ribbon Comics #5 showcases the great artwork of Jack "King" Kirby, the Shield's co-creator and Rich Buckler, the maestro of Red Circle Comics, the 1980's revival of the MLJ/Archie heroes.

Here's a look at the great poster shot in glorious black and white. Blue Ribbon Comics #5 reprinted in full the debut adventures of Lancelot Strong by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.

When the MLJ heroes were revived in the 60's, the Lancelot Strong Shield character was not among them, rather the Golden Age Shield (Joe Higgins) took the helm of the assembled lunatics who passed themselves off as heroes in that wild and wooly run.

But in 1983 when the Direct Sales market boom made it possible for Archie to think about bringing their heroes back, they brought back The Mighty Crusaders and this time both Shields were front and center, despite the inherent confusion of that. There is no connection between the two heroes aside from their names and the patriotic gear they wear, but nonetheless they both got the nod from Rich Buckler.

Again they both show up on the second issue's wraparound action fest cover.

The next month Lancelot Strong, Shield got his own book, so he seemed to be the ascendant Shield for the moment. I really like how they call back to the classic look of the original covers from so many decades before.

Both Shields are on the cover of Mighty Crusaders #3 as well, though neither is looking particularly healthy.

But things start to get rocky as the second issue of Lancelot Strong, Shield is also the final issue, sort of. At least he looks vigorous.

That doesn't impact Mighty Crusaders, at least not yet. The knockout punch Lancelot is getting might be symbolic.

But in the newly dubbed Shield-Steel Sterling comic Lancelot Strong faces his Waterloo and passes from this mortal coil, sacrificing himself in proper heroic fashion. Apparently having two Shields was too confusing after all. Despite a few more adventures in the back pages of the Steel Sterling comic Lancelot's number was mostly up. The Joe Higgins version would get quite the push from Red Circle/Archie after the demise of Lancelot.

But for my money, Lancelot Strong has always been the strongest of all the Shields there have been.

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  1. Interesting to see those '80s covers as I've never seen them before now. I think I've got that first issue of the Mighty Crusaders from the '60s 'though. Have to be honest and say that the comic never really 'grabbed' me.

    1. You have to be in the right mood for sure. I think I gathered most of them up (60's version) because for a time I was an Avengers completist and the Mighty Crusaders felt like some alternate universe version of the team. Weird.

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