Sunday, April 11, 2010

Golden Age Heroes - Hydroman & Rainbow Boy

Today's entry in the lame side-kick name blog arc isn't strictly a side-kick. Eastern Color Printing was the first company to put together a package of comic stories in a format that would eventually become the comic book in the early 1930s. They subsequently joined in the superhero publishing phenomena with their own stable of heroes. Two of these were Hydroman and Rainbow Boy, but they started their careers as solo heroes. Hydroman was Bob Blake, who's friend Harry Thurston created a formula that turned his hand into a water spout - although I'm not sure what he was really trying to create. Bob ends up getting doused with the formula and finds he can control his transformations by sheer mind-control and - of course - adopts the secret identity of Hydroman to fight crime and those pesky Axis bad guys. Where ever there is water Hydroman can make his transformation and manipulate the water column to stop cars and douse those bad guys. In a totally separate story line young Jay Watson, who works for the Wizard Kid Radio Program (rather like Billy Batson of Captain Marvel fame was an announcer for station WHIZ) has strange rainbow powers whenever he is exposed to sunlight (all I do is turn red when exposed to sunlight). He can use these powers to fly and to employ a coherent rainbow effect to manipulate various forms of matter. As far as I can tell the origin of these powers is never revealed. They started in separate strips but teamed up a few times. Rainbow Boy appeared in about eight stories while Hydroman appeared in over 30. I always wondered if the big burly bad boys would blanch and declare, "Oh, look, it's Rainbow Boy! We should all surrender now!" I don't think so. Anyway, I rather liked the look of these characters - Hydroman looks like he climbed out a bi-plane cockpit while Rainbow Boy looks more futuristic. The Hydroman figure was made using the body from a Toy Biz Magneto figure, combined with the head, arms and legs of a Toy Biz Daredevil figure. Rainbow Boy was created using the body of a Jimmy Squeaks figure (bad guy figure from the CHIPS figure line) and the head from a GI Joe Laser Rifle Trooper. I sculpted Hydroman's goggles using epoxy putty and made the rainbow thingy on the top of Rainbow Boy's head from sheet plastic. Painting the rainbow colors was actually kind of fun. And before you ask - no, my Hydroman figure does not transform into water, although I could probably put him in the oven and transform him into a puddle of melted plastic.

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