Sometimes, superhero comics get referred to as “cape and tights” books, but nowhere do they say “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service.” Welcome to Ten Things: Ten Shirtless Supers!
Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with An Amateur Comics Historian and the sad fact that today’s collection will be all-male, for obvious reasons, Presents:
TEN THINGS: TEN SHIRTLESS SUPERS!
10) THE GREEN TURTLE
Debuting in 1944, The Green Turtle’s creator intended for the character to be Chinese, going to great lengths to hide the heroes face throughout his short Golden Age run. Years later, he was revived by AC Comics, only to be promptly murdered by the evil Ironjaw. His second revival has been more successful, giving him the secret identity of Hank Chu, who is protected and empowered by a shadow spirit of Chinese lore. Even though it’s just a six-issue miniseries, it’s still longer than his Golden Age run in Blazing Comics.
9) EL MUERTO
A lifelong fan of Superman, Pablo Valdez died trying to save innocents from a collapsing building, but was resurrected my magical means. Taking on a traditional costume, El Muerto rejected Superman, blaming him for not saving innocents in Mexico as often as he did in Metropolis. He teamed with other Mexican heroes and eventually with Superman himself, leading to a reconciliation between the two heroes. When last seen, he was a member of the super-team Justicia under the command of El Dorado.
8) MAXWELL THE MIGHTY
A British hero of the Golden Age, our man Maxwell’s full name is unknown, but he seems to have the Superman power suite. Dubbed ‘The 100 Horse-power Man’, Maxwell is that rarest of heroes whose number is in the phone book, which is a thing they had in 1948. It was like The Internet on paper. Like so many British comics, Maxwell’s adventures were printed in a two-tone format, rather than full color, and like so many of his ilk, Maxwell has sadly been mostly forgotten.
7) THE SPECTRE
On one of the many realities known as Earth-3, there existed an evil Justice Society analogue called the Crime Society, a perfidious precursor to the Crime Syndicate. Like the Justice Society, they have a ghost called The Spectre, though he almost certainly cannot be as powerful as the genuine article, since… Well, since that world continues to exist. What he does have in common with Earth-2’s vengeful spirit is the sartorial choice to go shirtless, all the better to showcase his pasty (but killer) abs.
6) LITTLE GIANT
An orphan who agreed to be an experimental test subject for Professor Rednow, testing a power-serum called “Impruvogen”, which proved to be an unqualified success. Our lad Rusty (full name unrevealed in his two appearances) gained the power of a dozen men and a very Superman-like leaping ability, which he used to punch evil. He eventually settled on a generic red leotard costume, which also somehow limited the effects of gravity, but this first appearance makes a real (you should excuse the expression) splash.
“Rednow” is wonder spelled backwards.
Magically empowered by unidentified gods from beyond the vail of reality, Dave Terry earned his godly boon by saving a stray kitty from death at the jaws of a rabid dog. Imbued with the F.I.S.S. (Flight/Invulnerability/Strength/Speed) package, Litening’s name is fascinating, with all the voltage but 20% less fat. Much like our man Maxwell The Mighty, he is a Golden Age British hero whose adventures aren’t presented in full-colo(u)r and he hasn’t been seen much, if at all, since his 1948 heyday.
4) THE HUMAN METEOR
Taxi driver Duke O’Dowd was gifted a magical belt by a long Tibetan king which allowed him superhuman strength, speed and magnetic powers suitable for deflecting bullets. Unfortunately, his contra-magnetic field is susceptible to wood, an issue which Alan Scott can relate to. The Human Meteor is usually seen in a green costume, but occasionally wore this red variant because editorial oversight was much less stringent in the 1940s. A revived version of the Human Meteor is now part of the Marvel Comics stable, brought back in the same story that revived Doctor Nemesis, now part of the X-Men.
A young citizen of Wakanda, real name unrevealed, the young man called Bull paradoxically has the strength and power of a lion. He presumably gets his name from his aggressive nature, and is currently a student at the Wakandan School for Alternative Studies. Bull was chosen to participate in a Contest of Champions among the teenager superheroes of the Marvel Universe but an invasion by Thanos upset that particular apple cart.
Empowered with “the strength of 100 men”, Hercules’ name (assuming it wasn’t just Hercules) is unrevealed. He first appeared as part of a trio of heroes called The Young and/or Space Sentinels, having gained his powers after being abducted by aliens. He was later recruited to Freedom Force, under the command of Isis, due to his amazing might and the fact that animation design is expensive.
I’m still not sure if his belt buckle is meant to be a ‘T’ or not, and if so, what that stands for.
1) DOCTOR MANHATTAN
After reconstructing his body molecule-by-molecule, Dr. Jonathan Osterman found his perception of the universe had changed. All time was the same to him, and after several decades of trying to find his place in the world, he had tired of human customs and conventions. His costume, originally a full leotard and helmet, got briefer and briefer, turning into little more than a bathing suit by the 1970s. By 1985, the human race on the verge of extinction, and Jon had completely eschewed clothing, floating about completely nude.
Since he could blow you to bits with a mere thought, few ever called him on it.
This week’s topic, Ten Shirtless Supers, is all me (obviously), but feel free to follow along @MightyKingCobra for more Ten Things madness on Twitter. Or you can 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 it gets hot fighting crime all day. Either way, the comments section is below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!