Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Action Comics - The Vigilante!
A great way to get a handle on the history of Golden Age Comic Book Super Heroes is to somehow wrap your head around the literally hundreds of said Super Heroes sprang out of that flash of heroic deeds from 1938-1946. It's dang near impossible, but I'm going to do my best to touch on 'em ALL.
Comics of those formative years were very different from comics of today. Today a new character comes along and immediately gets his or her own title, but in those first days of no one knowing for sure what this was all about, publishers put outanthology books. 64 pulse-pounding pages of 4 color action and adventure for one thin dime! And in each of these 64 page tombs were close to a dozen characters, all searching for an audience.
One such book is still being published to this day, Nationals own "Action Comics" whose issue #1 touted the first appearance of Superman and brought forth this well-spring of super heroes. But while super heroes would eventually lord over nearly all comic book content, at first not all were costumed folk. Action itself carried humor and adventure by this wide variety of characters...
But the sheer garishness of the medium (I use garish in it's most positive sense here) begs for colorful costumes, and Action wouldn't be left behind. I've already touched on Superman and Zatara, and yes, "The Black Pirate" DID make his debut in Action, but he didn't don a costume till he switched titles. The third costumed vigilante to grace it's pages was, just that..."The Vigilante"!
It was a big time for Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, the "Singin' Cowboy" ruled at the Saturday afternoon matinee and on the radio airwaves...so why not in comics too? Indeed.
Created by Mort Weisinger and Mort Meskin, here's Vigilante's origin from his very first appearance in Action Comics #42 from 1941...dig in, kiddoes!