Sunday, March 27, 2011

Golden Age Hero - The Destroyer

I haven't featured many Marvel characters from the Golden Age so thought I would try to rectify that situation. Actually Marvel started out in the 1940s as Timely and then in the 1950s became Atlas and finally, as the Silver Age of comics dawned in the 1960s became the Marvel Comics we know and have loved since. At any rate, one of their more successful second-string heroes of the 1940s was a character called the Destroyer. He was actually Kevin "Keen" Marlow, an American journalist touring Europe who ran afowl of the Nazis (didn't almost everybody?). Keen was thrown into a concentration camp where he met a scientist named Professor Eric Schmitt, who coincidentally had created a variant of the super-soldier serum that had made Captain America the man he was. He was in the camp because the Nazis wanted the formula and he wouldn't give it to them. However, he just happened to have concealed (and I don't even want to know where he hid it) a vial of the formula, which he gave to Keen. Oh sure, just hand over your precious formula to some strange American with a funny name you meet in a Nazi concentration camp - how do we spell gullible?? Anyway, as it turns out Keen is actually one of the good guys and although he tries to bust them out of the camp the prof is killed and he must escape alone. He then procedes to establish a costumed identity as The Destroyer and takes on the Nazis as a one-man resistance fighter through occupied Europe. (This was a bit unique because most of the comic heroes of the period usually didn't do their fighting in Europe but back here in the states.) Initially appearing in Mystic Comics #6, The Destroyer ran through a number of titles including USA Comics, All Winners Comics, Kid Komics, Complete Comics, all of which bit the dust, and finished up in All Select Comics #11 in the fall of 1946. He was featured in nearly 36 stories and battled the Nazis, the Japanese and finally crime in America when he ran out of war. Not bad for a second-stringer. As for the action figure; I used the body and legs from a Toy Biz Daredevil, the arms from a Captain America and the head from a Superman Animated Series Lex Luthor. I did have to do a little sculpting on the tops of the boots, which were a rather unique design. For the little bib thingy around his neck I cut a piece of T-shirt. A word of caution for the fledgling customizer - painting stripes on legs is a real pain in the butt.

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