I’m away on vacation this week, so I’m turning part of this column over to my official unofficial researcher, John Wells, for a piece about a one-shot Flash villain.
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
“B.O. Schwartz is what they call me — it stands for Be Original! When either of you has an original idea, it’ll be time for me to retire!” — editor Julius Schwartz, addressing writers Cary Bates and Elliot S! Maggin in 1975’s JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #123.
It had begun on a balmy September day when Barry Allen’s lunch was interrupted by a gang of motorcyclists who assaulted a man named Andrew Rutherford in the street. As the Flash, Barry rushed the victim to an ambulance and apprehended the trio. Unknown to the hero, Rutherford had blinked out of existence a moment before the attack and was replaced by another man who, in turn, vanished from the ambulance and left bank president Michael Taylor in his place.
Meanwhile, the Flash was rushing to the Security Federal Bank, where Rutherford was supposedly locked in a vault. The only person the Scarlet Speedster found, though, was pop star Cosmo Puree, who’d materialized there in the midst of an airplane flight to Metropolis. The profit motive, at least, had finally been explained. The vault had been looted of millions! Trying to make sense of the bizarre events, Flash sped to the location of the plane, creating an updraft to catapult him into the still airborne craft. This time, he caught up with the man at the heart of the mystery. Gray at the temples and clad in a purple shirt, he vanished again — supplanted by Arturo Basura.
“Whoever this guy is,” remarked the speedster, “He’s got the most original getaway gimmick I’ve ever seen … which is why I think I’ll dub him Mr. Originality.”
Running his hands through his hair that evening, Barry found himself chastised by his wife Iris for ruining the styling he’d just had done at Rasmussen’s House of Hair. In the blink of an eye, Barry had his connection. All the men had been at the hair stylist on the same day that he’d been there. Making a quick trip to the salon, the Flash learned that only two appointments for that day had yet to become entangled in Mister O’s scheme — himself and magazine editor Julian Black (also a pen name for a certain Flash editor named Schwartz, the probable inspiration for Mister Originality’s name).
Black agreed to be observed by the Scarlet Speedster for any sign of activity but, when the villain made his move, the Flash lunged too quickly, before Mister O had fully materialized. He immediately teleported to a safer location — only to find himself in a jail cell with the Flash outside holding his belt pouch of hair.
“Far as I could tell from his confession,” Barry explained to Iris, “It’s a form of telekinesis — the power to move material objects — he recently discovered he possessed. By holding a natural part of a person’s body — like hair — and concentrating hard — he could switch places with that person. After mulling over how to profit from his new-found power, he decided to pull perfect crimes.” Using the bits of hair from his customers at the salon, the cosmetologist launched a new career.
Having deduced much of this, the Flash had sped to jail, guaranteeing that, when Mister Originality used Barry Allen’s hair, he’d end up in a cell (1975’s THE FLASH #238, by Cary Bates & Bob Rozakis, Irv Novick and Frank McLaughlin). These days, Mister O has another career — as a prison barber.
Weird But True Factoid: The only character from this story to appear again — sort of — was Cosmo Puree, whose Greatest Hits (“Just $6.98!”) were hawked on a late-night TV commercial in BATMAN FAMILY #14‘s Man-Bat episode.
Thanks, John. By the way, Cosmo Puree got his name from an old friend of mine. (His first name was Cosmo and his band was named “Pure.”) He enjoyed his brief fling with comic book fame.
BOBRO’S TRIVIA QUIZ
The following trivia quiz was originally in three parts when I used it in my Monday night chatroom back in 1998. There is no “first letter clue,” but see if you can figure out the theme before checking the answers.
1. Found floating in the Atlantic, Lyla was trained by the Monitor; who did she become?
2. Using a meteorite he discovered, who changed himself into a future-man who was both immortal and immobile?
3. Enemy soldiers bombarded young Sollis with solar energy blasts, turning him into…?
4. Name the tennis player who was a member of the short-lived Teen Titans West.
5. Mineral-laden rainwater and a helmet provided by an ape named Djuba enabled Mike Maxwell to become what hero?
6. What detective worked for the Penny Steamship Lines?
7. Besides Ferro Lad, three others joined the Legion at the same time; which one turned out to be a traitor?
8. Mary O’Sullivan married a lighthouse keeper named Tom. What was their son’s name?
9. After his family was killed in three separate accidents, Joseph Rigger put his demolitions expertise to work as what villain?
10. After it was partially submerged, what city became a base of operations for Aquaman?
11. What former WWI pilot joined the NYC Police Department and later became a private investigator?
12. Give me the exact title of the first DC/Marvel collaboration.
OBRO’S FUN FACTS TO KNOW & TELL:
1. Actress Maureen O’Sullivan was born in Boyle, Ireland on May 17, 1911.
2. The assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 27, 1914 was the pretext for World War I.
3. Though it sank off Cape Hatteras in December, 1862, The Monitor was the model for sixty more ironclad ships before the end of the Civil War.
13. Movie-wise, who is Batgirl’s uncle?
14. Raphael vanZandt came from Earth-X to destroy the Freedom Fighters; what guise did he adopt?
15. Sioux Indian Ohiyesa became a deputy sheriff and was given what nickname?
16. The movie “The 5th Element” brings to mind what MYSTERY IN SPACE series?
17. Preston Payne, Matt Hagen and Basil Karlo share what name?
18. Martin Hawkins was the first resident of what institution?
19. What native of Korugar was the Green lantern of sector 1417?
20. A “Miracle Food” made Albrecht Krieger super-strong, agile and intelligent; what guise did he adopt?
21. Who teamed up with Bat Lash to foil a plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln?
22. Who created the “Iron Curtain of Time” that prevented more than forays into the far future?
23. Known on the radio as the “Prairie Troubadour,” what other guise did Greg Sanders have?
24. Professor Emil Yatz played a part in the creation of what crazed character?
THREE MORE OF BOBRO’S FUN FACTS TO KNOW & TELL:
1. The term “iron curtain” became synonymous with Soviet control of Eastern Europe after it was used in a speech by Winston Churchill.
2. The first advertised radio broadcast was made on December 24, 1906 by Reginald A. Fessenden at Brant Rock, Mass.
3. The Lincoln Highway was the first paved road that ran coast-to-coast (New York to California) in the United States; it opened in 1913.
25. Who rescued Prince Gavyn and gave him his energy gauntlets?
26. Where did Hal Jordan work at the time he first met Abin Sur?
27. Which Substitute Legionnaire could probably earn a living changing comic book separation mistakes?
28. Eve Eden often joined forces with Captain Atom under what guise?
29. What real-world historic event became the turning point that created the Tangent Universe?
30. If WE are in the middle of Stone Boy’s home world, where would WE be?
31. Modern comics history says Charles Collins is “Grim.” What was he originally?
32. Who paid Louis Pasteur to duplicate a chemical that would allow him to live for centuries? [Pasteur failed, by the way.]
33. “The Hook” killed Boston Brand to earn entry into what League?
34. “The Hand’s Five Fingers” launched an attack that resulted in the formation of what team?
35. Mr. Nobody, Sleepwalk, and the Fog are members of what group?
36. On what world did DC’s first official miniseries take place?
TILL MORE OF BOBRO’S FUN FACTS TO KNOW & TELL:
1. Color on a computer screen is created from Red, Green and Blue. Those same colors are created from Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black on the printed page.
2. Milk is pasteurized by heating it to 63 degrees C for thirty minutes, then rapidly cooling it and storing it below 10 degrees C.
3. The human hand has 27 bones.
Thanks again to John Wells for his article about Mr. Originality. Join me here again next week. (I’ll be the one with the tan.)
The answers are ELEMENTARY, as Sherlock Holmes would say. The first thirty-six elements of the Periodic Table are represented, in order, in the answers.
1. H Harbinger
2. He Hector Hammond
3. Li Lightray
4. Be Betty Kane
5. B B’wana Beast
6. C Captain Compass
7. N Nemesis Kid
8. O Orm Curry Marius a.k.a. Ocean Master
9. F Firebug
10. Ne New Venice
11. Na Nathaniel Dusk
12. Mg MGM’S MARVELOUS WIZARD OF OZ
13. Al Alfred
14. Si Silver Ghost
15. P Pow-Wow Smith
16. S Space Cabbie
17. Cl Clayface
18. Ar Arkham Asylum
19. K Katma Tui
20. Ca Captain Nazi
21. Sc Scalphunter
22. Ti Time Trapper
23. V Vigilante
24. Cr Creeper
25. Mn Mn’torr
26. Fe Ferris Aircraft
27. Co Color Kid
28. Ni Nightshade
29. Cu Cuban Missile Crisis
30. Zn Zwen – home world of Stone Boy (Okay, so this one is a stretch!)
31. Ga Gay Ghost
32. Ge General Immortus
33. As Assassins
34. Se Seven Soldiers of Victory
35. Br Brotherhood of Dada
36. Kr Krypton
Add the element of trivia to your life by making periodic visits to BobRo’s Anything Goes Trivia at http://www.wfcomics.com/trivia.
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Copyright ? 2000 to 2003 by Bob Rozakis. All Rights Reserved.