Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Red Menace Meets...The Avenger!

There's an interesting sub-genre of superheroes, known as the "inspired-bys".
These are characters who are inspired by other characters to take up the mask and seek justice.
Usually they're family members who take up the same identity as their predecessor (The Phantom, Black Canary, Silk Spectre of The Watchmen, The Black Hood, HourMan, etc.)
Sometimes, as in this case, they're inspired by an unrelated hero who just happened to be published by the same company!
The best-known example is DC Comics' WildCat, inspired by the Golden Age Green Lantern to become a crimefighter.

Magazine Enterprises' The Avenger had a similar origin.
When his brother is taken hostage by Communist spies who wanted the prototype StarJet aircraft, inventor Roger Wright is inspired by remembering stories of the Original Ghost Rider (also published by Magazine Enterprises) to take up a masked identity to rescue his captive sibling!
Proclaiming himself "an Avenger against the evils of Communism",  Roger dons a red costume in defiance (Communists were often described as "the Red Menace" because their flags were predominiantly red) and uses his StarJet to attempt a rescue.
Unfortunately, his brother, who had attempted to escape, was already dead! The Commies were dealing, of course, in bad faith!
Roger captured the spies, and declaring "No man can be complacent while such as you are bent on enslaving all Mankind", began a one-man war against Communists everywhere!

The war lasted only four bi-monthly issues from 1954-55.
The Avenger, like Nature Boy and several other mid-1950s heroes came along just before the audience was ready for the return of superheroes, who had all but disappeared from comics in 1949!
It wasn't until an updated version of The Flash appeared in Showcase #4 (a year after the last issue of The Avenger) that the Silver Age of Comics, and the resulting explosion of superhero books that continues to this day, got going!

We at Atomic Kommie Comics™ have digitally-restored and remastered what we believe to be his first and best cover appearance by Golden Age great Bob Powell, on an assortment of pop-culture collectibles, including t-shirts, messenger bags, mugs and other goodies, in the Solo Heroes section of our Lost Heroes of the Golden Age of Comics™ line!

Show you believe in capitalism and buy an Classic Avenger goodie or two.
You don't want him thinking you're a Communist, do you? ;-)

Note: this character is in no way related to the earlier pulp/comic character The Avenger published by the same company as Doc Savage and The Shadow, and currently being revived by both DC Comics and Moonstone Publishing.


  1. I think the dating of the comic book ages is just an arbitrary convention. It's obvious the silver age started years before the flash. We the Avenger and Captain Flash and Charlton did several lesser known first wave heroes such as Mercury man, Nature boy. There are actually a lot of superheroes around in the mid 50s. We could really say the gap between the ages was from 50-53. Why say there was a gap at all?

  2. The Gold/Silver/Bronze Age thing relates only to superheroes and there were stretches without costumed characters dominating the field which is why the "ages" don't always butt-up properly.
    But since 1956 to the present, the primary genre in American comics has been superheroes.
    And what do we call the present?
    The Post-Atomic Age?