Thursday, September 17, 2015
Bronze Age - The Indestructible Man!
When Gerry Conway dropped out of the Marvel Bullpen and arrived at DC it certainly wasn't as big a deal as when "King" Kirby did it many years before. And it wasn't even as big a deal as when Roy "The Boy" Thomas did it a few years later. But it wasn't nothing either. Conway had grown up at Marvel and because he felt overlooked when it came time to snag the big editor seat, a seat he later took and regretted, he bounced to the distinguished competition. And "Conway's Corner" was a notable addition to a DC on the move, though that move was a brief one.
Steel was set during World War II and featured the artwork of "Dashing" Don Heck, a Marvel alumnus of even longer vintage than Conway. Featuring Al Milgrom inks on the covers, this looked and frankly read like a Marvel book, more than any other Conway produced at DC during this stint. Hank Heywood was a version of Captain America, a stout-hearted volunteer who found extra power and used that power in service of his country while wearing its colors. A super-soldier serum was replaced by bionics (thanks Colonel Steve Austin) but the result was the same.
Steel last a mere five issues, falling victim as did many colorful titles deserving of a better fate to DC's infamous "Implosion". The final issue was part of DC's legendary Cancelled Comic Cavalcade.
Later still the story became part of the All-Star Squadron saga as Steel, renamed "Commander Steel" was revived (literally) after a few years M.I.A. He went on to become a sturdy part of Roy's WWII battle-hardened team which filled a niche the Justice Society of America left when they disbanded for a short time during the war.
Later still the Steel legacy found its way into the then modern world as part of the unfortunate Detroit Justice League of America.
The character proved to be a relative success across several eras both before and after DC's infamous crisis point. Not much is happening now with Steel, or at the very least I don't hear about it. Pity.
More on the All-Star Squadron tomorrow.