Friday, June 24, 2016

Number 1910: Man (and heel) of Steel

Steel Sterling had a unique twist to the secret identity business...the superhero dressed in a suit and tie and pretended to be his own twin brother. One brother a superhero, the “twin” a private detective, and a heel with women.

I have shown Steel before, and the same things always bug me about the character. He jumped into a vat of molten steel to be come the Man of Steel. Steel was then hardened like steel rather than becoming a steel girder for a skyscraper.

Steel can fly, but has some unique powers: he can magnetize himself to a car so he can follow it (in the days before GPS tracking), and he can also tune into the radio by positioning his tongue to his teeth. Maybe for his amusement he could tune in The Shadow or The Jack Benny Show.

 I showed Steel Sterling’s origin story in 2011, and as a bonus, I am throwing in a story from Zip Comics #11. Just click on the thumbnails.


Daniel [] said...

I guess that the Radium King — a.k.a. “Black Knight” — was one of those villains whose schemes were invariably thwarted by the Hero, yet who somehow managed to have resources for large installations, weapons, and vehicles, all embodying advanced technology.

(I don't know whence the Red Skull got most of those resources in the '60s and '70s. Heinz Doofenshmirtz apparently receives a substantial amount of alimony from Vanessa's mother.)

I'm not sure that I'd call the detective persona a heel, but Dora obviously despises him, which raises the question of why she hangs-out with him. Lois, after all, was stuck with Clark because they worked at the same places.

It may have seemed to you and to me that it would fail miserably to pretend to be a guy who looked just like you and who was never seen in the same place at the same time, but it obviously works, so aren't we the fools! Reverse psychology!

Meanwhile, the physics and physiology seem to be taken from Looney Tunes, or maybe the MGM Cartoon Studio, in-so-far as there's a swordsman paralyzed by the vibrations of his sword.

Pappy said...

Daniel, I can "hear" the sound of the vibration, and yes, it comes right out of Tex Avery or Wile E. Coyote.

You might want to do an article on the economics of super villainy. It probably comes from black ops, funded by the regimes those villains work for.

As far as secret identities go, pretending to be a twin seems fairly clever. That is until your girlfriend decides to go to the county and look for twins' birth certificates.

Grant said...

I always like comic book exclamations and early movie ones, and not just because of campiness, but because they're such a pleasant switch from the small handful I always hear in real life! So "Mother of Caesar!" is one I need to remember. (Another great one is "Gosh all fishhooks!" from the movie VOODOO MAN.)

Pappy said...

Grant, "gosh all fish hooks" is definitely an oldtimer, which you will still occasionally hear today.

I can always tell when someone is from the Utah communities my mother and father grew up in when I hear someone say, "Oh my heck!" Mom explained to me once that the Mormons she grew up with thought using "heaven" in that sense was taking the name of a holy place in vain, so they substituted "hell" or "heck" instead.

I've also heard "good hell!" or "good hell a'mighty" in that same way.

I love dialects, and I love regionalisms.