Thursday, July 31, 2014


I don’t like to repeat a prefix when it comes to the superheroes I hold most near and dear to my heart, so a showdown is pending between my current favorite Red-preceded Golden Age do-gooder – Red Bee, the man who fights crime with the power of a bee, which lives in his belt, his belt bee – and Harvey Comics’ Red Blazer, the man named after a sportscaster’s wardrobe.

It’s tough to define irony, but it’s possibly highly ironic that a man named “Red Blazer” actually wears a costume which is much tackier than an actual red blazer. Decked out in castoffs from a Cirque du Soleil performance, Red Blazer resembles something like what you might get if a road map and a constellation had a baby in the middle of a small town Fourth of July parade.

"Lovely place you have - HUAAARRRGH"
Establishing a reasonable explanation for why an otherwise normal human being would dress up in ribbed short-shorts and burst into flame requires an extraordinary origin story, and Blazer’s is just that – this is extraordinary. The cops probably think so, too.

As told in Pocket Comics #1, the story begins in the wide open plains of Wyoming where Doctor Morgan and his enormous interplanetary minivan returns from a forty-year jaunt to Mars, accompanied by his Martian assistant Kagah who embraces the beauty of the vast, awe-inspiring prairie by choking to death on our atmosphere.

Doctor Morgan takes it upon himself to bury his beloved assistant, which is when random cowpoke Jack Dawson stumbles upon the scene. The cowboy code – and I know this, you may not know this, this is something I know – clearly states that anytime you find a stranger in the middle of the plains burying a dude, you just take him at his word that it was an accident. If you're trying for your “No Body, No Evidence" merit badge, you be an extra good scout and help the guy with his burying. According to the license plates, Wyoming is the “Thousands of Dudes Buried In Unmarked Graves" state.

Morgan rewards Dawson’s body-burying assistance by slipping him a space roofie, hucking him in the trunk of his interstellar Escalade, and firing him off into the Heaviside layer - which, when spellcheck didn’t light up about, I looked up and it turns out to be a REAL SCIENTIFIC THING. Well, consider me told, Red Blazer! What IS fake, though, are the “Astro-Pyro Rays” which bombard the sleeping Dawson, who awakes later with heightened intelligence, space powers, and wearing Liberace’s swimsuit.

His greatest enemy is his tailor.

Guided by Doctor Morgan via videophone, Red Blazer engages a crusade to rid the world of all crime. This theoretically should extend to guys who bury anonymous bodies in the desert and slip drugs to unsuspecting cowpokes, for instance, but instead it’s mostly a couple of regular crooks and a megacephalic weirdo named Dr.Skull who bothers Red through most of his adventures. He also spends some time saving Doctor Morgan’s beautiful young daughter from danger, although if Doctor Morgan was on a solo scientific expedition on Mars for forty years, where’d he get a young daughter? Kidnapped her in the desert is my guess.

When Pocket Comics folds, so too does Red Blazer. Over in All-New Comics, however – also a Harvey Comics publication -  the hero CAPTAIN Red Blazer debuts, sort of, accompanied by a kid sidekick Sparky and decked out in a whole new outfit, according to the covers. These adventures only ever took place in text pieces – boo, if I wanted to read would I buy comics? Other than that, while Captain Red Blazer shared a lot in common with civilian Red Blazer – same last name, mountaintop fortress, powers given to him by Doctor Morgan – he’s possibly evidence that Doctor Morgan is some sort of serial madman who goes around kidnapping folks and turning them into short-lived superheroes. Sounds like there’s potential for an FX Original Series there, folks, someone call my agent!


John said...

I laughed all the way through this. Poor Kagah.

neofishboy said...

... that is, hands down, the weirdest crotch I have ever seen.

jim kosmicki said...

Check out MLJ's Red Rube to complete your trilogy - pretty much MLJ's last attempt to hit the superhero jackpot, it's the basic Captain Marvel outline fitted into a circus template.

cup king said...

"a road map and a constellation had a baby in the middle of a small town Fourth of July parade."

I remember that parade. Boy, had I been drinking a lot that week.

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