Last time ’round, we talked about the ways that super-types get named, this time we have a related topic.  Since the dawn of superhero history, nearly 9 decades ago, we’ve seen a lot of heroes come and go, many of whom shared names.  There are a lot of Spiders, a lot of Sentries, a lot of Protectors littering the halls of hero history, but a few names get used more often than others…  Welcome to Ten Things!

Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with ‘An Amateur Comics Historian’, and ‘An Intellectual Exercise Gone Horribly Awry’, Presents:

TEN CHARACTERS NAMED WONDER MAN!

 

 

44

 

10) WONDER MAN

Though a minor publisher from a historical standpoint, Nedor Publishing (also known as Standard Comics and Better Publications) was a prolific player early in the game.  Responsible for the much-revived Black Terror and Fighting Yank, they also gave us this Wonder Man, whose origin has parallels in both Captain American and Ibis The Invincible.  17 appearances later, Mystico was gone, but the second half of his super-sobriquet was clearly not forgotten…

Wonder Man

9) WONDER MAN

During the “One Year Later” publishing event, wherein DC Comics jumped all their titles forward a year, covering the gap explained in the pages of ’52’, Wonder Woman was taken off the board temporarily.  In her place was demigod Hercules, wearing armor that evoked her costume, and fighting her villains (notably Cheetah and Giganta.)  Wonder Woman returned rather quickly, but Herc’s reign as a de facto “Wonder Man” earns him a spot on our countdown…

waldowm1

 

8) WONDER MAN

Rupert Waldo, aka “Waldo The Wonder Man”, actually predates the modern superhero, appearing in Union Jack Magazine starting in 1918.  Super-strong and possessed of the ability to shrug off even severe injuries, he started as a villainous type, menacing Sherlock Holmes-ish detective Sexton Blake before eventually mellowing into an adventure hero of some note, even spawning a son, known as “Waldo The Wonder Boy.”  If your name was Waldo, you’d probably want to be something more heroic, too…

 

wondrman

 

7) WONDERMAN

Another UK-entry, like wonderful Waldo, this Wonderman has the awesome secret identity of “Captain Jack Justice”, which makes him sound like a superhero in or out of costume, and possessed “atomic powers”, giving away his time of origin as the late 40s/early 50s.  (If you haven’t heard Stephen’s theory of “atomic power eclipsing magic”, ask him about it.  It’s fascinating stuff.)  Cap’n Justice is also notably for sharing a creator with the original Marvelman (who later became Miracleman) as both were drawn by Mick Anglo…

 

4223-audax-n-36-wonderman-trafic-d-opium

 

6) WONDERMAN

Though I have a rudimentary knowledge of several languages, English included, I don’t really read French, and so can tell you little about this Wonderman a francais, other than that his terrible eyes will haunt your very dreams.  He seems to be able to fly, and given his early-50s ouvre, is probably bulletproof, atomic-powered or both…

 

Wonder-Man-Superman

 

5) WONDER MAN

In the Silver Age of Comics, Superman editor Mort Weisinger believed that the cover was THE key to superior sales, and so front-loaded tons of information into the cover to get kids wanting to buy the issue in question.  This one, for instance, gives us a despondent Superman, crushed that his star has been eclipsed by a new hero.  This Wonder Man turns out to have a secret, and dies at the end of the story in heroic fashion, setting the stage for a few other Wonder Man heroic sacrifices, as we’ll see later in our list…

 

Wonder-Comics-11-1947

 

4) WONDERMAN

Brad Spencer was the third time around in less than four years for the Wonderman/Wonder Man name in the Golden Age of Comics, and the second Wonder Man from Nedor Publishing.  (Remember Wonder Man?  This is a list about Wonder Man.)  He got his powers from being electrocuted, a time-honored tradition in super-duper books, but what I want to know is, who is that woman with him?  Because that costume is cooler by far than his suit is…

Wonder_Man_Earth-11_001

 

3) WONDER MAN

In the Infinite Earths of DC Comics, a number of gender-swapped worlds have evidenced themselves, lands where all the women are men and vice-versa.  Why this is such a prolific alternate universe concept is probably worth investigating, but after the reveal that the multiverse still exists in 2008, we met this Wonder Man: Dane of Elysium, gender-swapped counterpart of Diana of Themiscyra.  Standing alongside Superwoman and Batwoman as the greatest heroes of their world, he is (to my knowledge) the only alternate version of Princess Diana to wear the corset and battle-skirt as she does.  To be honest, it makes a pretty decent costume…

 

1403355-wondercomics1

 

2) WONDER MAN

This Wonder Man has already been covered in the pages of our regular Retro Reviews, but his genesis and demise are noteworthy.  Created as either an homage to or a deliberate cloning of Superman, Wonder Man managed only a single issue before DC Comics’ attorneys put the kibosh in his adventures.  Created by comics legend Will Eisner, Wonder Man has a truly excellent costume, and his quashing becomes historically amusing when we view the sheer number of Superman-inspired and derived characters in comics today.  Who knows what Eisner at the peak of his powers might have done with Fred Carson’s (for that is his name) adventures in later years?  It’s kind of a shame that we’ll never know…

 

Wonder_Man_001

 

1) WONDER MAN

The most prominent of those who call themselves Wonder Man, the only thing Simon Williams has done more often than change his costume is die.  Currently once again deceased (Bereft of life, he rests in peace… He has rung down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisib–  Forget it.) Simon Williams has been a key player in many of the most complicated bits of Avengers lore.  With ionic powers that are affected by his emotional state, he’s one of the least Superman-like Superman-types in existence, and his costumes prove that his glowing-red eyes are obviously color-blind.  Still, I’ve always had a fondness for him, especially in his safari jacket, and while working in concert with the bouncing Beast…

As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete, and indeed, if we were to expand the terms just a smidgen, we could do another ten or more featuring the Captains, Boys and Girls of Wonder-dom.  Are there any prominent Wonder Men that I have inexplicably missed?  The comments section is there for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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3 Comments

  1. Malone_hasco
    December 31, 2014 at 10:53 am — Reply

    This is now an official feature? I approve of these, good lists :D

  2. December 31, 2014 at 10:58 am — Reply

    You forgot the 11th “Wonder Man”…Matthew Peterson!!!

    Are you 40-something or 140-something? You went back 100 years (nearly).

    Looking at number two on the list, the look is almost “Miracleman” in my eyes.

    Number 4 costume on your list, looks like inspiration for Simon Williams original (and my favorite) costume.

  3. Ian
    January 1, 2015 at 8:13 pm — Reply

    Honorable mention to Wonder Warrior from the Turnabout Trap

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