Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Beware...The Owl!

"I'm not a Batman rip-off...and get off my flying Owl-Mobile!"

Comics in the 1940s were noted for, among other things, a tendency to see what worked, then take elements from it, mix it with a few other things and see if that new version would sell!

Sometimes the recombination sold better than the original!
For example: Batman's still going strong as a multi-media phenomenon, but most of his "inspirations", including The Shadow and Zorro, are marginal pop culture characters today (though, in the past, both had periods when they eclipsed Batman)!
On the other hand, The Owl was one of those who, while interesting, didn't quite hit the heights.

Nick Terry, a police detective who felt the law was too easily manipulated by racketeers and gangsters (and their lawyers) decided that operating outside the law on behalf of justice would be the way to go!
(Any number of Golden Age heroes, including The Whisperer, Black Hood, Guardian, and DareDevil, had the same concept of one who upholds the law having to indulge in extra-legal methods to achieve true justice.)
He became a Caped Creature of the Night to battle criminals (like Batman, The Shadow, and The Sandman, among others.)
Nick also used a plethora of themed weapons and gimmicks (including an Owl-Mobile, and Owl-Light) not unlike Bat-you-know-who and Green Arrow. (Although since he wasn't a millionaire like most of the aforementioned characters, it's never explained how Nick affords all this stuff!)
His nosy reporter girlfriend (Can you say "Lois Lane" or "Vicki Vale" boys and girls?) eventually discovers his dual identity and forces him (ala Captain America's Bucky) to make her his similarly-costumed sidekick, Owl-Girl! (think HawkGirl, but with hyphenation!)
One of his unique features (he did have a couple, don't get snarky) was that he wore a full-face cowl with sight-enhancing lenses, predating a similar style later worn by Spider-Man!
And, he does have a very distinctive look! You won't mistake him for anyone else!

The Owl didn't have his own title.
Instead, he was the cover-feature of Dell's Crackajack Funnies for over a year before being downgraded to the back of the book in Popular Comics for another year before being cancelled.

But, that's not the end of the story...

In the 1960s, with the pop-culture success of Marvel Comics and the Batman tv series, superheroes were in vogue again!
Curiously, while Marvel, DC, and Archie revived their Golden Age characters, other publishers with old heroes chose to do new characters instead...with one exception!
Gold Key now owned the Dell super-heroes, and though they did several short-lived new characters, they did revive their Golden Age character most similar to Batman.
Guess who?
The Owl finally got his own comic!
And because they felt it should be as much like the tv Batman as possible, Gold Key camped it up beyond belief...
It only lasted two issues.
And except for a cameo appearance, The Owl fluttered into oblivion...

But that's still not the end of the story...

Recently, The Owl was one of the many Lost Heroes of the Golden Age of Comics™ revived by Alex Ross in his acclaimed Project SuperPowers series.
Up to this point, Nick Terry's alter-ego been a peripheral character, but the covers for the second Project SuperPowers mini-series indicate he's about to become a major player in the plotline!
So, we at Atomic Kommie Comics™ felt the time had come to expand our line of Owl collectibles.
(The fact we had just purchased a large comics collection including a near-complete run of Crackajack Funnies had nothing to do with it, we swear!)
Have a look at the half-dozen classic covers we've emblazoned on items from t-shirts to blank sketchbooks, to mugs and many other goodies.
And pick up Project SuperPowers, the best Golden Age of Comics revival on the stands today!
(You thought we were gonna do a "Whooo..whooo" joke of some kind?)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanx for posting!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...