When I was a kid, I was totally into cars, especially the weird concept cars of Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth, and spent a great deal of time reading about and identifying vehicles of all stripes and origins.  Now that I’ve grown up to become the world’s biggest comic nerd (by volume), I tend to do the same thing with superheroes, but that doesn’t mean that the earlier knowledge has just gone away…  Welcome to Ten Things!

Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with ‘An Amateur Comics Historian’, and ‘Fonzerelli’s Garage’, Presents:

TEN SUPERS AND THE CARS THAT SHARE THEIR NAMES!

10) DART

Dart

Erin Bia O’Rourke-Singh is a mercenary, the daughter of two respected astronauts from the original Atari Force.  She teamed up with Martin Champion, her parents’ former commander, in his quest to find and defeat the legendary Dark Destroyer, an evil space tyrant with a really funny-looking hat.  Erin’s physical prowess is balanced by her strange psychic abilities, a souvenir of her parents’ time in a weird alternate dimension…

 

DODGE DART

Dart Dodge

Starting in 1960, the Dodge Dart was created as a replacement for the Plymouth model as a low-cost, smaller alternative to Dodge’s larger models.  Discontinued in the mid-70s, the Dart name was only very recently returned to production, this time as a compact model…

 

9) STARFIRE

Starfire II

Planet Tamaran is a strange and hostile world, even when you’re born the Princess.  Koriand’r made her way to Earth, and found a surrogate family in the Teen Titans, and a long-term love in Dick Grayson, known as Robin and/or Nightwing.  Her history has gotten a bit complicated after 4 decades, with the most recent version of Starfire causing controversy due to the presentation of her sexuality as the centerpiece of the character.  Thankfully, the upcoming Starfire solo series shows a glimmer of hope that we may be seeing a Starfire closer to the traditional portrayals…

 

OLDSMOBILE STARFIRE

Starfire Plymouth

A name originally assigned to a concept convertible in the 1950s, the Starfire nameplate was used on Olds 98 convertibles throughout the decade.  Popping up again in the 60s, the Starfire was one of Oldsmobile’s most expensive models, and shared many styling elements with the excellent Jetstar model.  (Hmmm…  Now, why does that name sound familiar?)

 

8) THE FIREBIRDS

Firebirds

Part of Jay Faerber’s creator-owned shared universe that also includes ‘Noble Causes’ and ‘Dynamo 5’, the Firebirds are a mother and daughter who share the same powers of flight and energy blasting.  Daughter Emily Reed was in a relationship with Dynamo 5’s Visionary until she was injured in battle, causing mom Rebecca to put her foot down and try to end the relationship…  I am still hoping for a revival of the series, now that Faerber is writing for Image again.

 

PONTIAC FIREBIRD

Firebird Pontiac

The crown jewel of the now-defunct Pontiac line, the Firebird is probably best known for its appearances in movies and on TV.  KITT from ‘Knight Rider’ was a restyled 80s model, while Burt Reynolds titular Bandit (from ‘Smokey And The’) drove a distinctive black-and-gold Trans Am version of the second generation body.  Sadly, the dissolution of Pontiac in 2010 means that we’re unlikely to see another Firebird roll off the production line…

 

7) NOVA

Nova

Empowered by alien Nova Centurion Rhomann Dey in a blatant ganking of Hal Jordan’s origin as Green Lantern, Richard Ryder has been up and down the Marvel Universe power-tables for about 4 decades.  He is currently believed to be dead after saving the entire universe from murderous counterparts of our world’s superheroes, his role is being filled by another Nova, Sam Alexander, who is less interesting in many ways…

 

CHEVROLET NOVA

Nova Chevrolet

Originally designed to replace the oddball Corvair in Chevy’s lineup circa 1962, the Nova debuted as the Chevy II, which is a really weird model name to my ear.  Initially a compact car, the Nova had a run as a muscle car before ending up as a subcompact cracker box in the late 1980s, a terrible end for a once-fine car.  (Incidentally, the urban legend about the name is false, as the Nova sold well in Mexican and Venezuelan markets, regardless of the play on words its name implies in Spanish.)

 

6) CHALLENGER

Challenger

Possessed of no super-powers, Challenger is nonetheless one of the greatest heroes of his world (the strange alternate/future fascist planet Georwell), and has graduated from young gun to venerable hero and leader of the mighty Justice Machine.  He also led the team through their darkest period, a time where their own government turned on them and dubbed them traitors, forcing them to flee to Earth.  Interestingly, Challenger had a daughter who was a member of the J.M. as “Blazer,” which means that her mother was possibly a Chevrolet.

 

DODGE CHALLENGER

Challenger Dodge

The first Challenger was a limited-edition run in 1959, but the real deal made its bow in the late 1960s as a response to the Plymouth Barracuda, itself designed to compete with Ford’s Mustang.  After an all-too brief run, the Challenger name too was given to a subcompact car in the 80s, but thankfully returned to muscle car status in 2008 with a restyled version reminiscent of the original 60s design…

 

5) CAPTAIN RED BLAZER

Red Blazer

Another in a long line of Golden Age lesser lights, The Red Blazer aka Captain Red Blazer aka Jack Dawson got his powers from freezing to death with Kate Winslet in the Atlantic “Astro-Pyro Rays”, which is, I think, Greek for “We cribbed The Human Torch.”  Along with his kid partner Spark and/or Sparky, depending on the issue you’re reading, he fought for justice very briefly, even by Golden Age standards…

 

CHEVROLET BLAZER

Red Blazer Chevy

A short wheelbase truck designed to compete with Jeep products, The Blazer arrived at the end of the 1960s and remained a full-size vehicle until the 1990s.  As with so many cars, a scaled-down version based on the Chevy S-10 eclipsed its big brother as the price of gasoline increased, and remained available until just a few years ago.  When I was in high school/college, they were highly sought-after for off-road activities in the plains and gentle hills of Central Kansas…

 

4) COLT

Colt

Weapons expert, martial artist and snappy dresser Valencia Kirk was first an associate and later a member of Femforce, using the skills she gathered as an intelligence agent for the government.  Dubbed “Shorty” by her teammates due to her diminutive stature, Colt was team leader for a while before she was ousted by the U.S. Government in favor of a new Ms. Victory…

 

DODGE COLT

Colt Dodge

Much like the superhero, the Dodge Colt is known for being small in stature, a subcompact clone of Mitsubishi models sold in the U.S. under the Dodge nameplate.  The Japanese styles were discontinued in the 90s when Dodge created their own compact model, the Dodge Neon, a car that always looked like it was giving you the hairy eyeball with a super-creepy smile…

 

3) NOMAD

Nomad

After a disastrous run-in with the Secret Empire during which he discovered that the leader of the evil coterie was a very highly placed government official (*coughNixoncough*), Steve Rogers was disillusioned enough to give up his role as Captain America.  He instead became the Nomad, man without a country, serving in such capacity until it became clear that no one else could fill the big red corsair boots, and indeed, that trying cost a man his life…

 

CHEVROLET NOMAD

Nomad Chevy

Best known as a two-door station wagon based on the 50s Bel Air model, the Nomad name has popped up several times in the history of Chevrolet, and the original design is the precursor of the hatchbacks that eventually seemed to dominate styling in the 70s and early 80s.  The Nomad name was later briefly applied to the much-maligned Chevy Vega station wagon in 1976, which angered many of the motorheads of my acquaintance…

 

2) EL DORADO

El Dorado

You can say what you will about El Dorado and his Superfriends associates (Samurai, Apache Chief, Black Vulcan and such), but I will forever defend them as an attempt, however stereotypical, to provide some diversity to the otherwise lily-white Justice League lineups of the 1970s.  A mystical hero, seemingly of Aztec descent, his powers were somewhat undefined, but he was easily as competent as the core of the Justice League.  He has never, to my knowledge, made the crossover to mainstream comic continuity…

 

CADILLAC ELDORADO

El Dorado Cadillac

Cadillac’s top of the line model for many years, the Eldorado was a luxury purchase through and through.  Various models of Cadillac have made their way into song and story, notably a run as Boss Hogg’s personal vehicle during 1970s run of ‘The Dukes Of Hazzard’, but declining sales were its biggest enemy.  By the turn of the century, the Eldorado’s sales were in a continued decline, and the model ceased production in 2002 after an impressive half-century run…

 

1) STINGRAY

Stingray

Doctor Walter Newell has never been a major player in the Marvel Universe, with a few brief appearances in Namor’s titles and a couple of runs as an Avengers support member to his credit.  During the 1980s, his Hydrobase home became the Avengers team headquarters, but most of his panel time is as a background player or crowd shot filler.  He was noteworthy as one of the heroes who switched sides during the Civil War from Captain America’s rogue team to Iron Man’s sanctioned one, and was part of Doctor Doom’s Avengers squad during the Axis event not so long ago.  Given his spiffy design, it’d be nice to see more of him…

 

CHEVROLET CORVETTE STING RAY

Stingray Corvette Chevy

Speaking of spiffy design, the Corvette is one of the iconic models of America automobile, original conceptualized as an alternative to European two-seater sports cars of the fifties.  While not all Corvette models are considered Sting Rays, the memorable 1960s and 1970s models are still highly sought-after collector vehicles.  I’m a fan of the split-window design from 1963, myself, but you have to love the swoopy lines of the 1970s models, especially the ones that came in garish colors like lemon yellow and orange…

Feel free to follow along (@MightyKingCobra) for more Ten Things madness on Twitter!  As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete, especially for those who remember the 1966 Opel Iron Man or the Buick Green Hornet.  (One or both of hose may not be real cars.)  Either way, the comments section is Below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!

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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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7 Comments

  1. Cab
    April 22, 2015 at 11:15 am — Reply

    Silver Ghost needs a mention surely (yes I just called you surely).

    • April 22, 2015 at 12:31 pm — Reply

      As might Silver Shadow of the Futurians, I suppose…

  2. Animistic Engine
    April 22, 2015 at 11:23 am — Reply

    Where’s Jetstar?

    :(

    • April 22, 2015 at 12:30 pm — Reply

      Highway 101, in cloud of dust and clove cigarette smoke…

  3. April 22, 2015 at 12:40 pm — Reply

    Heh. I had this as a future topic for a Top 5 Express…Scratch that one off….

  4. Dan Langsdale
    April 22, 2015 at 3:56 pm — Reply

    I appreciate the effort put into finding car photos with color schemes to match/approximate the heroes’ outfits.

    Important honorable mention: The Jeep. Which came first, the car or the character? According to some, the vehicle was named in honor of Popeye’s pet!

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