March 31st, 2012 at 8:16 am
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Dr. Phillip Solar, created by Paul S. Newman and Matt Murphy – transformed by a nuclear accident from a physicist into a being with godlike powers, Solar hid his secret within a bright red superhero outfit and billed himself as “The Man of the Atom” in an early ‘60s series whose stiff scripting and art didn’t prevent it and its readers from enjoying a seven-year run.
Captain Pissgums, created by S. Clay Wilson – the leader of a crew billed as the Pervert Pirates, the ultra-violence and oozing degeneracy of the captain and everyone who came within his sphere set a new standard in outrageousness for underground comix, managing to outrage readers of Zap Comix who had considered themselves outside the mainstream until they got a load of Wilson’s work and discovered just how conservative they really were.
Iron Jaw, created by Charles Biro – one of the great villains of ‘40s comic books, Iron Jaw started his career as a murderous Nazi whose steel-toothed prosthesis allowed him to bite people’s limbs off and perform other atrocities; the recurring bad guy in the “Crimebuster” strip, he eventually dropped the Nazi connections and mutilations and became a standard gangster…at least, as standard as a hulking guy with a bear trap for a mouth could ever be.
Cuing from Tom Spurgeon’s current commendable campaign to give credit where it’s due, this parallel series has linked comics creators to their creations, both well known and obscure. Spurgeon, who proves that his heart’s in the right place more often than any comics blogger, has spent the last month reminding everyone that comics characters were created by individual human beings, and represent more than just some corporation’s intellectual property. Both of us could have continued this for months with very few duplications, proof of the depth and variety of invention by so many inadequately remembered creators over the decades.