Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Golden Age Superheroes - Red Bee

Today I'm featuring another Quality Comics character from the early days of the superhero renaissance in comics. Red Bee first appeared in Hit Comics #1 in July 1940 and continued his adventures in those pages through issue #24, appearing on four of the covers. The back story was another one of those disgruntled law enforcement officers, in this case Assistant District Attorney Rick Raleigh, who decides to pursue the law during the day and justice at night by adopting a secret vigilante identity. With no super powers Red Bee fights crime with a special stinger gun and a trained bee named Michael he keeps concealed in a secret pouch on his belt (remember I'm not making these things up). When required Michael is released to sting the guy who's holding a gun on Red Bee and in other ways works with this guy who's imprisoned him in a special pouch on his belt and won't let him go hunt pollen for the hive and serve the queen like he really wants to. OK, they were obviously scraping the bottom of the superhero idea bin when creating this guy but he still ran for 24 issues. I have even seen Red Bee referred to as one of the lamest or one of the crappiest heroes in the history of comics. DC Comics actually used him in their earth X/Freedom Fighters story arc, but I suspect Michael was probably dead by then. Ya think? Maybe he was using Michael-45 by then. As for the action figure, I used a Toy Biz Green Lantern with an Aquaman head and the arms from a Superpowers Collection Firestorm who had the puffy sleeves. By the way, the original diaphanous puffy sleeves later became pink puffy sleeves, which also prompted some pundits to question Red Bee's sexual orientation.

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