They are Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! Or at least their dollar-store namesakes? Welcome to Ten Things: Ten Avengers (Sorta!)
Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with An Amateur Comics Historian and long-suffering manservant Edwin Jarvis, Presents:
TEN THINGS: TEN AVENGERS (Sorta)!
10) GIANTMAN (BUT NOT HANK PYM)
Perhaps the most obscure of the almost-entirely-obscure heroes of Archie Comics, this cover is his only appearance. Clearly operating somewhere near Riverdale, this cover from 1966 is his entire publishing history, as far as I can tell. Regardless, his costume is choice and I don’t think anybody has pulled off a Tyrolean hat with such flair since Clark Griswold visited his ancestral home back in ’85.
9) YELLOW JACKET (ALSO NOT HANK PYM)
The sole survivor of a squad of WWI soldiers, the unnamed man who would become the scourge of crime took on the identity of one of his fallen comrades. As George Clark, he was once again nearly killed, this time by criminals, in an ambush that killed the love of his life. In revenge, he became an extralegal vigilante, eventually become a member of the hero team called the Star Spangled Squadron. The accounts of his heroic activities may be exaggerated, including the stories that his mother was a legendary voodoo priestess.
8) THOR (BUT NOT CHRIS HEMSWORTH)
Making five appearances all the way back in 1940, Grant Farrel’s costume colors changed repeatedly, and his cape and silly hat eventually disappeared. Wielding the legendary Mjolnir, a gift from the actual Thor of myth, Grant had basically the same powers that Dr. Don Blake would wield some twenty years later. Makes you wonder if a teenage Stanley Lieber was a fan of Weird Comics.
7) STINGRAY (BUT NOT WALTER NEWELL)
On Earth-34, Bruce Wayne was inspired not by a bat but by a cartilaginous fish seen during a boat excursion, leading him to become the Aquarian Avenger of Evil! He eventually joined Earth-34’s premier super-team, The Light Brigade, made up of analogues of the characters of Astro City’s Honor Guard. This version of Bruce first appeared in a one-shot backup story from 1974, alongside a number of other alternate Waynes, including The Iron Knight, The Shooting Star and The Scorpion.
6) SPIDER WOMAN (BUT NOT JESSICA DREW)
Making a single appearance in 1944 in the comics of Harry “A” Chesler publications, The Spider Woman is Helen Goddard, a hermit who lives alone in her cabin in the Ozarks. It’s not clear why she has a costume or what her motivation is, but that sort of thing was less important during the Golden Age. Chesler’s other characters including Lady Satan, Black Satan, and two different Yankee Girls.
5) THE FALCON (BUT NOT SAM WILSON)
Making his debut in the first issue of Pep Comics (the book that would later give us Archie Andrews and the Riverdale gang), Perry Chase was also referred to as the Press Guardian, a name that he would use exclusively from issue #2 on. He ditched his feathers and cowl when he ditched the Falcon nom de guerre, switching the classic pulp-style coat/hat/mask combination, in which costume he lasted another ten issues. There are some on the internet who consider The Falcon and The Press Guardian to be two separate characters, but having read the issues in question, it seems pretty clear to me.
His NOT Flash Calvert.
4) WONDER MAN (BUT NOT SIMON WILLIAMS)
After receiving a magic ring from a Tibetan yogi, Fred Carson gained tremendous superhuman powers. Unfortunately, he fell prey to a force more powerful than even a superhuman: Legal action. After a single appearance, DC Comics protested the new character as a knockoff of their primary guy, Superman, leading to court proceedings in which Will Eisner reputedly testified that editor Victor Fox explicitly tasked him with copying the Man of Steel. Reports vary on the truth of that claim, but regardless, Fred never appeared again, while Eisner went on to fame for other creations.
3) THE WASP (BUT NOT JANET *OR* NADIA VAN DYNE)
Reporter Burton Slade had a strange and well-traveled Golden Age career, making two appearances at Lev Gleason Comics circa 1939. He then appeared in ‘Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1’, the first appearance of The Sub-Mariner and the first publication of what would later become Marvel Comics. After a name change (becoming Dan Burton, the editor of a newspaper rather than just a reporter), The Wasp made three more appearances circa 1941 at Harvey Comics before finally vanishing. In those Wild West days of publishing, a creator using the same character for different publishers wasn’t entirely uncommon, even though it would be unheard of today.
2) NIGHTMASK (BUT NOT ADAM BLACKVEIL)
A revived and revamped version of the Golden Age hero known as The Masked Marvel (obviously not a viable name in modern comic books), Marcia Beckworth is actually the SECOND replacement Nightmask, after the death of Richard Reinhart, the original’s son. (Richard’s death is portrayed in the oh-so-90s issue of ‘The Protectors’ with his fatal bullet hole through the entire comic book.) The granddaughter of one of the original hero’s assistants, she was given powers by the wizard called The Eye and briefly served with the Protectors team before their planet literally exploded.
1) QUICKSILVER (BUT NOT PIETRO MAXIMOFF)
These days, he’s best known as Max Mercury, the Zen Master of Speed and stalwart member of The Flash family, but back in 1940, he was just another super-speed wannabe. A former circus acrobat (which is often visually obvious in his move set, flipping gracefully rather than the standard running straight ahead), his real name and identity were never revealed during his run at Quality Comics. Quicksilver’s run ended in 1949, and he disappeared from comics entirely until after the Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985, save for one reprint in a giant-size Flash comic circa 1972.
This week’s topic, Ten Avengers (Sorta) is all me, but feel free to follow along @MightyKingCobra for more Ten Things madness on Twitter! You can also check out the full Twitter archive here! As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete, if only because there are literally hundreds of Avengers, with more joining all the time. Either way, the comments section is below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!