In last week’s column, Bob Buethe asked which was the first recurring character to die in a Silver Age, citing Ferro Lad as his choice. I expected something of a debate, but I should have known that my official unofficial researcher, John Wells, would come up with a list:
- Was Ferro Lad the first death of a recurring character in the Silver Age? Not by a long shot. Here’s a list based on the one that was compiled back in
THE COMIC READER #178
- (March, 1980). I’ve excluded villains (Baron Zemo) and one-shot characters (Franklin Storm) and added a few who weren’t on the original list. And I’m sure there are some missing from this line-up.
1) Ice Cream Soldier. Following appearances in OUR ARMY AT WAR #s 85, 96, 103, 105 and 106, Phil Mason was killed in OAAW #107 (June, 1961). He got better in OAAW #110.
2) Lightning Lad. Part of the Legion of Super-Heroes since its debut in ADVENTURE COMICS #247, Garth Ranzz perished in ADVENTURE #304 (January, 1963) but seemed intended from the start to return from the grave. That eventually happened in ADVENTURE #312 although the much later LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES ANNUAL #3 (1992) would suggest that Lightning Lad had not, in fact, survived. In current continuity, the rechristened Live Wire has been presumed dead since LEGION LOST #12 but, as they say, if you don’t see the body…
3) Proty. With only one previous appearance to his credit (ADVENTURE COMICS #308), Chameleon Boy’s pet sacrificed his life to revive Lightning Lad in ADVENTURE #312 (September, 1963). 1992’s LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES ANNUAL #3 revealed that Lightning Lad’s consciousness had never actually been restored and that Proty had secretly assumed control of his body. In post-ZERO HOUR continuity, Proty was reintroduced in LEGIONNAIRES #35 and is alive and well.
4) Jonathan “Junior” Juniper. Introduced in SGT. FURY #1, this member of the Howling Commandos perished in #4 (November, 1963).
5) Bucky Barnes. He was retroactively revealed to have perished in World War Two in AVENGERS #4 (March, 1964).
6) Alfred Pennyworth. Batman and Robin’s butler since the Golden Age perished in DETECTIVE COMICS #328 (June, 1964) but his presence on the 1966 TV series forced his revival in DETECTIVE #356, where it was revealed that he’d been the Outsider.
7) Nor-Kan. The Kandorian scientist who inspired Superman and Jimmy Olsen to become Nightwing and Flamebird appeared in SUPERMAN #s 158, 167, 172, JIMMY OLSEN #69 and WORLD’S FINEST #143 before meeting his maker in ACTION COMICS #317 (October, 1964).
8) Lady Pamela Hawley. Nick Fury’s girl friend (first seen in SGT. FURY #4) was killed in SF #18 (May, 1965).
9) Mark Merlin. The long-time star of HOUSE OF SECRETS (since #23) met his end in issue #73 (July-August, 1965) but was reincarnated as Prince Ra-Man in the same issue.
10) Beast Boy. Not to be confused with the Doom Patrol ally, this champion of the planet Lallor (ADVENTURE COMICS #324) became mentally unbalanced in his second appearance but died a hero in ADVENTURE #339 (December, 1965). In current continuity, he’s alive once more (beginning in LEGIONNAIRES #49).
11) Triplicate Girl. It seemed that this long-standing Legionnaire met her end in ADVENTURE COMICS #340 (January, 1966) but it turned out to be only one of her three bodies and she took the new alias of Duo Damsel in ADVENTURE #341.
12) Menthor. The THUNDER Agent perished in THUNDER AGENTS #7 (August, 1966).
13) Ferro Lad. After a brief run as a Legionnaire (starting in ADVENTURE COMICS #346), Andrew Nolan destroyed the Sun-Eater in ADVENTURE #353 (February, 1967). In current continuity, Nolan (now simply Ferro) returned in ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #540, survived the Sun-Eater affair and was still alive at last report.
– John Wells
As always, John, thanks for your help. Anybody else want to weigh in with characters that have been left out?
BOBRO’S TRIVIA QUIZ
A change of pace this week (and a chance for me to get in some word plays). Can you identify the fourteen Pulitzer Prize-winning novels that have been given a comic book twist?
1. Larry McMurtry’s tale of Don Hall home alone?
2. Harper Lee plots the assassination of Bobbi Morse Barton?
3. Abel’s brother seizes command in a Herman Wouk novel?
4. Edna Ferber’s biographies of Gim Allon and Hank Pym?
5. James Agee writes his version of the demise of Tim Drake?
6. Captain Carrot hits the lottery in a John Updike book?
7. William Kennedy’s suggestion to a Metal Men member about his garden?
8. A.B. Guthrie describes Wally’s modus operandi?
9. Upton Sinclair take Kung-Fu Fighter to the dentist?
10. MacKinley Kantor travels to artist Murphy’s home town?
11. Oliver LaFarge recounts the childhood of The Joker?
12. Robert Penn Warren’s adventures of Faraday’s team?
13. Margaret Mitchell on why she can’t find Pietro Maximoff?
14. Ernest Hemingway’s saga of Aquaman’s father?
BOBRO’S FUN FACTS TO KNOW & TELL:
1. Toni Morrison won a Pulitzer Prize for “Beloved” in 1988 and a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.
2. Ernest Hemingway’s middle name is Miller; Arthur Miller’s is Valentine.
3. Art Spiegleman received a special Pulitzer Prize for “Maus” in 1992.
FROM THE EMAILBOX:
At around the same time or a year later from the Comicmobile, I remember there was a phone number to call about new DC Books. I have somewhere a photocopy of the New York newspaper or magazine ad that premiered this info. I don’t know how long it lasted for as it wasn’t well advertised as I do not remember seeing this info in any of the comics. I’ll have to search and dig up this ad. I think it was printed in a Sunday supplement of the DAILY NEWS, the POST or the TIMES. My mom had noticed it and copied it for me.
Ah, the good old days of Supersnipe, the Phil Seuling comics shows, and going up to the DC offices and drooling over the Conference room showcases filled to the brim with DC Character merchandise from the 40s through the early 70s. I got autographs from you, the art department guys and everyone else I would encounter there. Being 9 years old at the time, I was scared to walk past Sol Harrison’s open office door with that huge Superman painting behind his desk as he sat there on the phone. To my young eyes, with that painting, he looked powerful and made me question my being there, even though my grandfather and parents were friendly with him and Jack Adler since the 1950’s. I still have those autographs and a great ink & colored pencil Batman sketch that Carmine Infantino did for me within a few minutes. The best of times.
– Barry [SpiderBaby4D@yahoo.com]
The DC Hotline, an 800-number that provided a weekly report on which books were coming out, operated for a relatively short period in the mid-70s. Yours truly was one of the voices who recorded the sixty-second message, trying to squeeze all the information in without taking a breath. As I recall, it was set up for limited access as a precursor for nationwide use. However, it was discontinued before that happened.
Hey, thanks a lot for “printing” my question, Bob. It helped make my day. To this day, if I get an older comic, I immediately look for the Answer Man. (Q: “How much does a mint copy of Action Comics #235 cost?” A: “However much you can get for it!”)
– Justin Knapp [email@example.com]
It was during my days as the DC Answer Man that I grew my mustache. Once I decided it was staying, we “grew” one on the column heading over a period of weeks. Dave Manak had provided the original drawing, but it was production artist/letterer Todd Klein who added my hirsute look.
A few weeks ago, you answered a question I posed about who coined the term “Dark Knight.” Since then, I’ve tracked down what I believe is the earliest such reference.
In DETECTIVE COMICS #40 (page 159 of BATMAN ARCHIVES Volume 1), a caption in panel four reads, “A moment later – Batman, the Dark Knight, and Robin, the Boy Wonder…” Obviously, the name predates DKR by quite a few years.
-Shawn Kehoe [firstname.lastname@example.org]
I’m a fan of your work on FREEDOM FIGHTERS — your characters were people I liked to read about. I didn’t read them when they came out; I read them second-hand, as a teen, in the 80s. To me they were a breath-of-fresh alternative to all the grim and gritty stories of the time. Writing this note makes me feel like getting those issues out and reading them again. Thanks for the memories.
Your Comicmobile columns were fascinating. I’m amazed that your bosses at DC didn’t pay more attention to your reports; it sounds like you were providing them with the kind of information that money can’t buy. I would never have guessed PLOP was so popular. Why was the title dropped?
I was also interested to learn that SHAZAM sold fairly well. From its cancellation I’d assumed the title must have struggled. I’m among those who think DC mishandles Captain Marvel (although I should say I never read any issues of Jerry Ordway’s series).
Back when he was writing GREEN LANTERN, Len Wein announced that he was going to use the title to introduce a new superhero called the Image. Mr. Wein left the title abruptly, however, and (as far as I know) the character never appeared. Perhaps Mr. Wein could tell us about the character, and his plans for him.
Hey, Len, here’s another question to spark your memory!
As for PLOP!, it lasted until sales dropped to a point at which it was no longer profitable. The same thing has happened to many titles over the history of comic books.
And on that note, Im out of here till next week.
TRIVIA QUIZ ANSWERS:
1. “Lonesome Dove” 
2. “To Kill a Mockingbird” 
3. “The Caine Mutiny” 
4. “So Big” 
5. “A Death in the Family” 
6. “Rabbit is Rich” 
7. “Ironweed” 
8. “The Way West” 
9. “Dragon’s Teeth” 
10. “Andersonville” 
11. “Laughing Boy” 
12. “All the King’s Men” 
13. “Gone With the Wind” 
14. “The Old Man and the Sea” 
Need some answers from the Answer Man?
Ask BobRo at It’s BobRo’s Answer Board.
Copyright ? 2000 to 2003 by Bob Rozakis. All Rights Reserved.