With the recent release of Project Superpowers (Dynamite Entertainment) returning long dormant heroes like The Black Terror and Fighting Yank to the comic book scene, it got me thinking of other characters that deserve another chance to shine. So let’s jump right in and see who made the cut.
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents (The Higher United Nations Defense Enforcement Reserves)
The creation of the legendary Wally Wood from Tower Comics in the 1960s, this blend of superhero and spy genre was ahead of its time. Lead by super strong Dynamo, with members Menthor, Noman and Lighting, these characters were literally killing themselves by using the devices that gave them their power. Not to mention heroic sacrifice being a theme as members such as Menthor and Egghead fall in attempts to protect their allies. Numerous companies have tried to relaunch the series, each failing. But these heroes deserve another shot.
The Lost Generation
Marvel’s so-called Lost Generation was the brainchild of John Byrne and Roger Stern. It takes place between the Golden and Silver Age of comics and followed the exploits of the forgotten heroes of those times such as Oxbow, Pixie, The Yeti, Yankee Clipper and numerous others. The idea had merit as the length of time between Captain America in the Golden Age and the emergence of the Fantastic Four in the Silver had stretched Marvel’s continuity pretty thin. In the hands of the right author, this could tie nicely into the Marvel Universe.
For fans of the old What If…? series of Marvel comics, this is a true treasure. Following the exploits of Mayday Parker, the daughter of Peter Parker and Mary Jane, this series has survived numerous cancellations until recently, when it was announced that it would be ending. Drawing on the rich history of the Spider-Man character, it has updated and mined that material to keep older readers happy and new readers enthralled. Sadly, without being in the proper Marvel continuity, she is always considered the first to go when times get tough. Here’s hoping that the recent announcement of a digital comic will spell great things for the future.
A pulp-inspired hero from the mind of Alan Moore and Chris Sprouse, Tom Strong ran for 35 issues and was well-regarded during its initial run. But with Moore leaving the America’s Best Comics line over a dispute with DC, the character has all but disappeared. It is a shame, as the richly detailed world of Strong and his compatriots was rife with story possibilities. There has been talk that Sprouse will be returning to the character in the next year. One can only hope that they find a writer up to the task of matching Moore’s talent.
One of the numerous creations of the iconic Jack Kirby, Kamandi The Last Boy On Earth took place in a dystopian future filled with numerous creatures and factions. The frantic energy that Kirby brought to this book would be hard to match. But the character and his strange and inviting world are ripe with potential for untold stories. Kirby left a versatile backdrop in which some wonderful science fiction stories could and should be told.
I can hear the groans already. But before the Clone Saga turned into a complete disaster, people forget the popularity of Scarlet Spider. It was only after total clone overload that everyone despised Ben Reilly. I always felt the character had potential, a clone unsure of his place in the world and trying desperately to find it. The moral implications alone could tell great stories. Now, I agree, trying to pass him off as the real Peter Parker was shortsighted, but not any more so than making a deal with the devil.
Monkeyman And O’Brien
Created by Arthur Adams, the team consisted of a super smart gorilla from another dimension, Axewell Tiberius, and newly super strong Ann Darrow O’Brien. A cross between superhero and pulp action with a dash of humor thrown in, these characters had a mini series as well as numerous shorts, most notably a two-issue mini with then super popular Gen 13, in which Monkeyman and O’Brien outdid one of the most popular super teams at the time. But it was never enough, as these characters screamed out for more.
Jarek and Koj
The fantasy series Tellos was created by Todd DeZago and the late Mike Wieringo. It follows the adventures of a boy named Jarek and his tiger-like companion, Koj, in the land of Tellos. It was a bizarre and wonderful series that ended far too soon. Unfortunately, with the untimely death of Wieringo, it’s unlikely we’ll see any new issues. A shame, as the series and characters were great for the whole family.
Aric Dacia was your typical barbarian, that is until he was kidnapped by aliens and had to fight his way back to Earth, picking up a pretty cool set of battle armor along the way. Then, due to Einstein’s theory of relativity, he finds himself on Earth in modern times. Go figure, a comic book that tries to obey the laws of physics. One of the Valiant books that really stood out and did some impressive storytelling, this was before Acclaim bought the company and turned X-O into a derivative Iron Man. Now that a new version of Valiant is up and running, perhaps we haven’t seen the last of the mad barbarian, Aric Dacia. One can only hope.
Didn’t see this one coming, did you? Well, for anyone who hasn’t read the classic Scrooge tales by Carl Banks, you’re missing out on a real treasure. It’s perfect family entertainment that brings you on a whirlwind adventure in every issue. Heck, even Spielberg admitted to lifting the boulder scene in Raiders Of The Lost Ark from Uncle Scrooge. Filled with a great supporting cast with the likes of the Beagle Boys, Magica De Spell and Flinthart Glumgold, how could you go wrong with this character? With Gemstone publishing apparently losing its license, perhaps Boom Studios with its new Disney/Pixar deal will put out a new Uncle Scrooge comic book sometime soon.