I’m out of town at a conference this week, so I’m taking the opportunity to run an article by John Wells, my Official Unofficial Researcher, discussing some of the lesser-known villains I had a hand in creating…
- On the second Tuesday in January of 1977, twin robberies were carried out on the United States’ eastern seaboard. In New York City, the theft of a collection of rare stamps went off without a hitch. In Gotham, where duplicates of those stamps were on display at a local exhibition, an identical trio of thieves had to work a little harder. The Teen Titans — Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl and newcomer The Joker’s Daughter — were on the scene, drawn there by JD’s unexplained “mental link with whomever planned the caper.”
The villainous trio, each wearing thematically appropriate pointy tiaras, were:
Flamesplasher, who sprayed fire from a nozzle attached to his left forearm. The mustachioed rogue wore a blue costume with orange gloves and boots, a red cape as well as a red-orange flame-like tiara/headpiece.
Sizematic, a rough and tumble muscleman in silver armor with a red and white bulls-eye on his chest. He could enlarge to roughly triple his normal height.
Darklight, who projected a cloud of darkness. She had a blue costume, accented with white gloves, boots, cape and tiara.
The battle did not go well for the Titans. Robin was swatted into unconsciousness by the giant Sizematic, Kid Flash collapsed after exhausting himself trying to spin Flamesplasher’s fire away from him and Wonder Girl and the Joker’s Daughter unwittingly knocked one another out when they entered Darklight’s field of blackness in search of the villainess.
A rematch proved just as embarrassing, with a second batch of Titans heading into battle expecting one set of villains and getting another. Flamesplasher doused Speedy with a concussive blast of water fired from a nozzle on his right wrist, Sizematic shrank to Doll Man dimensions to evade Aqualad and Darklight exploded in a burst of white light that blinded Mal Duncan.
The collective Titans finally got their act together at the New York Historical Society, where each set of twins had been spotted. Having clogged the fire-wielding Flamesplasher’s nozzle with a foam arrow, Speedy followed up by using an icicle-arrow to freeze the water-boy’s spray to his twin’s arm. The force building up in the watery Flamesplasher’s jammed arm unit sent him into a virtual seizure that shook both him and his captive brother through a dosplay window.
Meanwhile, Mal used a slingshot to throw the tiny Sizematic into the chin of his big brother and Kid Flash tricked the Darklight doubles into fighting themselves while Wonder Girl stood back and watched (“They pulled this stunt on me — so I’m returning the favor.”). — TEEN TITANS #47 (by the twin Bobs — Rozakis and Brown — and inker Tex Blaisdell)
Elsewhere, The Joker’s Daughter and Robin had found the mastermind behind the crimes — or rather, he had found them. Two-Face — the alleged father of Duela (Joker’s Daughter) Dent — had orchestrated the thefts of the antiquities and their doubles as part of a figurative coin flip that he intended to be the ultimate arbiter of whether he should be good or evil.
At 2:22 PM Eastern Standard Time, Manhattan and Gotham would be struck with nuclear missiles. “Half the loot is stashed in New York, the other half in Gotham. Thus — when my bombs blow up both cities, if more originals survive the blast, I’ll become an honest citizen. If it’s the phony duplicates, I’ll devote my life to crime.” No wonder Two-Face was in Arkham Asylum!
Suffice it to say, the pair of Titans escaped, each nuclear strike was averted by a team of teen heroes and Two-Face was captured (TT #48, by Rozakis, Jose Delbo and Vince Colletta). Left unexplained was the “mental link” between Two-Face and his “daughter.” One might speculate that the Darklights were low-level psionics (Hinted by the first Darklight’s comment that she could “cloud your minds — as well as your bodies”) and that they were, perhaps inadvertantly, leaking details of the crimes to Duela Dent.
Given the uncharacteristically amateurish performance of the Titans’ founders, one might also argue that they were mentally inhibiting the heroes as well.
The twin bandits languished in prison until late in the spring of 1978 when each of the male sets returned. The Flamesplashers struck at the Gabriel’s Horn discotheque, headquarters of the now-disbanded Teen Titans. Mal Duncan (as the Guardian) held his own until the fiery member of the twosome pointed his nozzle at the head of Mal’s fiancee Karen Beecher. The watery Flamesplasher demanded that the Guardian help them commit a new series of robberies or forfeit Karen’s life.
As the rogue escorted Mal outside, they came face-to-face with Jimmy Olsen and the Newsboy Legion, who’d hoped to find information on Jim Harper, the original Guardian. While the Newsboys tackled one of the twins outside — “Hey, Soggy! Dry up!” — Jimmy surprised the other inside the disco and freed Karen (SUPERMAN FAMILY #191, by Tom DeFalco, Kurt Schaffenberger and Tex Blaisdell).
The Flamesplashers burst on the scene one last time in a Chicago-based battle with the Freedom Fighters on the September page of the DC 1978 CALENDAR OF SUPER-SPECTACULAR DISASTERS (with text by Rozakis and art by Dick Ayers and Jack Abel).
Elsewhere, the Sizematic Twins had been recruited by the Secret Society of Super-Villains as part of the Silver Ghost’s plan to destroy the aforementioned Freedom Fighters (SSOSV #15, by Bob Rozakis, Mike Vosburg and Bob Smith).
In the never-published SSOSV #s 16 and 17 (whose contents saw print only in an in-house set of Xerox copies called CANCELLED COMIC CAVALCADE #2), the Freedom Fighters’ forces were split and Uncle Sam and Doll Man faced Copperhead and Sizematic alone in Sun City, Florida.
Doll Man imagined that he could outwit the giant Sizematic by shrinking but he reckoned without the existence of the villain’s tiny twin, who handed him a solid punch. In the end, the six-inch Freedom Fighter was no match for the duo. The entire Secret Society, Bob assures us, was finally defeated by the FF before the heroes left Earth-One for their native Earth-X.
[Note from BobRo: A full account of that unpublished battle appeared in my column last year. Check out the archived files in the column on the left and time travel back to the June 19, 2000 installment.]
BOBRO’S TRIVIA QUIZ
1. Three former members of the French Foreign Legion died, but came back to fight Nazis as what team?
2. Rescuing a harmonica-playing teen resulted in who being exposed to gamma rays?
3. You dial 1-800-555-HERO and who will you be calling?
4. Combat-Happy Joes are members of what group?
5. Overboard and drunk, who learned to hunt with a bow and arrow on a desert island?
6. Uncle to Morty and Ferdy; who is he?
7. Never on a diet, what Harvey character is constantly eating?
8. Titan Argent is known in her civilian guise by what name?
9. In revisionist history, who did Black Canary replace as a JLA founding member?
10. Name the alternate identity of the Spectacular Spider-Ham.
11. Green Lantern Hal battled his sweetheart when she became Star Sapphire; who is she?
BOBRO’S FUN FACTS TO KNOW & TELL:
1. The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time television were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.
2. Coca-Cola was originally green.
3. Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than the U.S. Treasury.
ROOM (AND TIME) FOR A MINI-REVIEW:
I, PAPARAZZI, a hardcover fumetti novel (as opposed to the more tarditional graphic novel) by Pat McGreal, Stephen John Phillips, and Steven Parke, was quite an entertaining read. Photographer Jake McGowran, who makes his living photographing celebrities, has a wild night’s adventure in a well-constructed and cleverly presented tale.
My one complaint is that, since this is a Vertigo book, there is a preponderance of “the f-word” in it. A story this well done deserves a wider audience; it could have gotten with a “PG” approach. As is usually the case, the blue language adds nothing to the story.
By the way, the price ($29.95 – and a whopping $49.95 in Canada) for a 96-page book is steep. You may want to hold out for a softcover edition, but it will be worth the wait.
My thanks again to John Wells for his essay on the villains. Join us again next week when I’ll answer your questions and address your comments (especially if you use the handy box in the column on the left to send them to me).
I’m posting this on the 11th day of the 11th month, so is it any wonder that all the answers are 11 letters long?
1. Ghost Patrol
2. Bruce Banner
3. Hero Hotline
4. Easy Company
5. Oliver Queen
6. Mickey Mouse
7. Little Lotta
8. Toni Monetti
9. Wonder Woman
10. Peter Porker
11. Carol Ferris
Copyright ? 2000 to 2003 by Bob Rozakis. All Rights Reserved.