Wednesday, March 30, 2011

One-Shot Hero - Red Raven

I have been concentrating on the Timely/Atlas/Marvel Comics group and thought I would post one of the briefer but rather memorable characters from the Golden Age - Red Raven. His first and only Golden Age appearance was ironically in the pages of his own magazine - Red Raven Comics #1, August 1940. In the story a huge, four engine clipper transport aircraft was flying through heavy weather when the pilot suddenly seemed to be losing control of the aircraft. Suddenly the plane crashes into a cloud-shrouded floating city and all on board are killed except for a small boy. The inhabitants of the floating city are birdmen who, the king claims, were descended from birds rather than apes, although except for wings they appear pretty human. The king decides he will raise the young orphan and for the next fifteen or so years he teaches the young man the ways of the bird people. When the boy reaches his 20th birthday the king sends him back to the world of man to try to bring some of the bird people enlightenment to the humans, who could certainly use it. To aid the young man he is given a pair of bat-like wings, although the bird people themselves seem to have more bird-like wings. He goes back to the human world as Red Raven - supposedly named after the color of his hair, although in the story he's depicted mostly as a blond. He encounters a mad scientist who is trying to corner all the world's gold reserves for his own nefarious purposes and rescues the obligatory girl along the way. Of course Red Raven triumphs in the end and flies off into the sunset. I rather liked the idea of the floating city, which was also used in the early days of Star Trek and of course there were floating islands in the movie Avatar so its become a bit of a staple of science fiction. Red Raven was revived in the 1970s but retroed into 1940s stories. I may take a look at that incarnation at a later date. As for the action figure, I used the body from a Toy Biz Cloak (from Cloak and Dagger) and the head from an X-Force Kane. The wings were from some Batman toy or other than was languishing in my parts box. Just a reminder to all you customizers, always keep those spare parts. You never know when they'll come in handy.

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