Thursday, May 12, 2016

Public Domain Superheroes For Cameraman!

(Note: I did not create these characters but since they are in the public domain anyone has the legal right to use them for their work)

Silver Streak was a taxi driver was hypnotized by a swami who enjoyed building race cars. The swami's best race car, the Silver Streak, seemed to be targeted by someone or something, for every time someone drove it, they were attacked and killed by a giant insect. The taxi driver was attacked and killed, but the swami brought him back to life and put him behind the wheel of the Silver Streak to find the bad guy. Then he became a costumed hero with a "secret fluid" in his blood which allowed him to defy gravity. One peculiar trait - Silver Streak's powers can be transferred to others through blood transfusions. That is how both his sidekick, Meteor/Mercury, and his pet falcon, Whiz, received their powers. He battled the likes of the Green Dragon and many other foes during his superhero career. Silver Streak wore special "suction shoes", which allowed him to reach greater speeds as well as the ability to run up walls. He was based in New York city.

Daredevil (Bart Hill) as a child witness his parents' brutal murder. The murderer also branded Bart with a hot iron, leaving a boomerang-shaped scar on the left side of his chest. This traumatic experience left the boy mute. He trained his entire life in the art of the boomerang, eventually becoming a master boomerang marksman. He then developed a costume and took to the streets as the vigilante crime-fighter Daredevil.

Prop Bowers is a pilot-for-hire whose jobs take him around the United States. Unfortunately, wherever he goes, he finds trouble! Whether from an orange magnate who attempts to use Prop’s plane to poison a neighbor, or from mobsters who want to use his sky-writing to rig baseball games. Bowers is assisted by his resourceful secretary and girlfriend, Delia.

Magician from Bagdad (Nadir Shan) is the young King of Bagdad, is the victim of a plot by his advisor, a sorcerer. But Nadir Shan escapes and finds a “glowing olden jug” which contains a genie. Nadir Shan lets the genie go in exchange for magical powers. The genie, having previously sworn to kill the next person who used him, tries to send Shan into a different time and place. Shan and the genie battle, and the genie wins, throwing Shan into the future of 1990. The traitorous sorcerer sends elementals after Shan, and the elementals go on a rampage before Shan finally defeats them. Shan eventually returns to Bagdad and avenges himself on his traitorous advisor.

Mad Hatter (Grant Richmond) was a little-respected junior partner at the law firm of Fuddy and Bustle who felt that the legal system made as much sense as the work of Lewis Carroll. So by night, he put on a costume and became the Mad Hatter. He can shine his top hat insignia against walls to strike fear into criminals, and he also speaks in rhyme. The Mad Hatter has no powers but is good with his fists.

Black Venus (Mary Roche) was originally an exotic dancer at a Paris night club. She was known as "Black Venus" because of her beauty and the black curve-hugging bodysuit. She was engaged to Jean Cartier, a Parisian lawyer. Unfortunately for Jean, her dancing captured the attention of Yamato, an attache to the Japanese embassy in Paris. Upon learning of Jean's existence, he arranged to have him assassinated. When Mary discovered what happened she swore vengeance on Yomata and the Japanese people in general. Her quest for vengeance led her to study flying. Under circumstances that weren't entirely clear, Mary wound up becoming a hostess at a serviceman's canteen on an American-held South Pacific island off the coast of Australia. She put her flying skills to use by masquerading as Black Venus, a black-suited aviatrix who flew a black customized Lockheed P-38 long-range interceptor. By that point, Mary got a new boyfriend - Lt. Bill Evans, a pilot who was stationed at the base where she worked. As Black Venus, Mary fought against Japanese pilots with ruthless proficiency. In fact, she was so proficient that the Imperial government issued a large reward for her capture. In Contact Comics #4, she learned that Yamato (who, by that point, rose through the ranks of the Japanese military to become a colonel) was stationed at a Japanese base nearby, she deliberately got herself captured so that she may get close enough to get revenge. Realizing that Yamato still had feelings for her, she offered to have dinner with him. With no weapons at hand, she improvised by grinding the glass in her goggles into shards and tossing them into his drink - a painful, but, in Mary's view, perfectly justified death. Getting her revenge did not slow her down - if anything, it made her even more determined to keep fighting as the Black Venus.

Pilot Brad Hendricks wore the costume of the Ghost to fight against the Germans in occupied Europe. He also waged an ongoing war against the Claw, nearly killing the villain on at least one occasion. Ultimately, the Claw still managed to survive. In his final appearance, he was captured by The Claw who had allied with Queen Cobra, tortured and imprisoned in her dungeon. As his story was discontinued, his fate remains unknown. The Ghost had no powers, but he did have the high-tech Ghost Plane (possibly a modified Bell P-59 Airacomet) , which was armed with machine guns. In addition to being a skilled pilot, the Ghost was an exceptional and fearless athlete and acrobat, displaying feats of strength that would otherwise kill an ordinary man. He sometimes carried grenades.

Samson is a direct descendant of the biblical Samson. Like his ancestor, Samson has immense strength and endurance but loses his powers if his hair is cut. However, the fact that his hair grew back much faster than normal made up for that weakness. Samson did not manifest that ability until he reached college age. That's when his mother revealed his ancestry. Shortly after graduating from college, his college friend, Professor Dunn showed him a new invention, the "iconoscope", which allowed the viewer to watch remote scenes without a transmitter. The iconoscope picked up the image of an eastern holy man who was praying for a higher power to send someone to battle evil. Samson used his super powers to visit the holy man and agreed to be that champion.
In issue #10 of Fantastic Comics, Samson gained a young sidekick whom he named David. He had no apparent super powers and was the sole survivor of a plane crash. Orphaned after the crash, Samson took him into his care.Later, Ajax / Farrell Productions revived several Fox characters, including the Phantom Lady, the Flame (Ajax-Farrell) and Samson (Ajax-Farrell). The second Samson had a modified costume and did not possess the same weaknesses as the first Samson.

Fighting Yank (Bruce Carter III) whose great-grandfather Bruce Carter I was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Given a special mission by General George Washington, Carter was killed by British spies, and the information he was carrying fell into enemy hands. His spirit was confined to earth for his failure. Bruce Carter III was the spitting image of his great-grandfather. He was visited by the ghost of Bruce Carter I, who showed him the location of a magical cloak and tri-corner hat that could give the wearer invulnerability and super strength. Only Carter III's girlfriend, Joan Farwell, knows of his dual identity. She figured it out during their first encounter (as she pointed out, she knew him too well to be fooled by a domino mask). In addition to his superhuman strength and invulnerability, Fighting Yank was frequently aided by his grandfather's ghost, especially when he was in mortal danger. The ghost could manipulate the physical world and provide Bruce III with information and encouragement.

Fantomah is a mysterious goddess-like being who protects the jungles of Africa. She has vast magical power, to the point of being practically omnipotent, and can transform herself into a frightening blue phantom/skeleton creature as well as a floating skull with blonde hair. Like her fellow Fletcher Hanks creation, Stardust, Fantomah often used her vast magical powers to sentence her enemies to bizarre and brutal punishments. For instance, in Jungle Comics #7 she transforms a band of greedy diamond miners who oppressed the natives into one man, then sends that man to an "unfound world" to be enslaved by hideous green fanged monsters, then sent into a pit of cobras, and then absorbed into a wall by a giant hand. Besides greedy treasure hunters and slavers she wreaked her brutal vengeance on such bizarre foes as Org, who controlled giant spiders with a hypnotic drum, and Professor Zomax, who wanted revenge on nature after being successively attacked by a lion, an elephant, gnats, a snake, and a gorilla. Later writers and artists who lacked Fletcher Hanks's uniquely grotesque imagination portrayed Fantomah as an ordinary human adventurer. Initially she was a conventional "jungle girl" character along the lines of Sheena or Tiger Girl, although she retained more limited mystical powers. In still later stories she was "Fantomah, Daughter of the Pharoahs," the queen of a lost civilization descended from the ancient Egyptians. She had a pet black panther named Fury. In this incarnation her enemies included Ghazia, "priestess of the vulture-headed goddess," who commanded an army of mummies.

Stardust the Super Wizard lived on a "private star" far out in space. He patrolled the cosmos fighting criminals, racketeers, spies, and terrorists, but comes to Earth after intercepting a radio signal from America. Upon his arrival, he stopped a group of terrorists secretly plotting the assassination of the President. Stardust stopped the crooks by taking their snipers to the police and destroying their bombers by turning their own bombs against them. The spies then tried to hit him with an atom smasher, but Stardust disarmed them by using his magnetic ray to take their weapons and his suspending ray to cause them to float in mid-air until the police could retrieve them.Stardust faced numerous aliens and criminal masterminds including ones such as the Super Fiend who set fire to the planet Mars. The villain then tried to send the burning planet colliding straight into the Earth. Super Fiend was stopped by Stardust who exiled the fiend to planet Mars. Stardust also battled the villainous Kaos who used an army of giant vultures from the planet Venus to attack the Earth and get him a bride. Stardust defeated Kaos' winged horde and saved the grateful girl who came to live on his private star. Kaos is turned into a worm and sent back to Venus as a treat for the birds. Another villain was the Demon who created an earthquake machine capable of creating powerful tsunamis. The Demon planned on using his tidal waves to destroy New York, but Stardust threw the Demon into the wave and then disintegrated his body. Stardust then calmed the waves and, by using fiery skywriting, let the people of New York know they were safe.

Miss Fury (Marla Drake) was a wealthy socialite who discovered that another girl was wearing the same outfit to a party. Her housemaid, Francine, suggested that (to prevent embarrassment) Marla could wear an African panther skin that her uncle had willed to her. Her friend, Albino Jo, advised against wearing the ceremonial outfit, meant to be worn only by a witch doctor however, it fit her precisely.
However, Marla never made it to the party. On the way, she instead ends up helping to recapture an escaped murderer. The press bestowed the name "Black Fury" on her though she later corrected them that she was "Miss Fury." Having enjoyed her first case, Drake continued as a costumed crime fighter. Fighting enemies such as General Bruno Beitz, Baroness Erica von Kampf, Miguel Rico, Dr. Diman Saraf, and Whiffy.
Miss Fury's vigilantism soon got the attention of Detective Carey who sought to find her true identity and if her alliances were with or against the law and later fell in love with Marla. One ongoing plotline was Marla's adoption of Darron, the abandoned son of Erica Von Kampf and Gary Hale (Marla's former fiancĂ©). Marla was unaware of the toddler's parentage but, she rescued him in Brazil from the brutal guardianship of Diman Saraf, who planned to use him in a deadly experiment. She was initially denied custody of the boy because she was a single woman, which broke her heart but, her courage and heroism in the rescue eventually won over the authorities. Marla was then, for the duration of the series, an unmarried woman with a child: a rather progressive scenario for a 1940s adventure strip (and because she had a job with a clothing designer, she enlisted the help of her friend Francine, who offered to be Darron's governess after losing her job in a war plant because of returning servicemen — a significant issue facing working women after the war).

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