Saturday, August 13, 2011
Charlton Comics - Judomaster & Tiger
This was really the first martial arts superhero. First appearing in 1965, he predated not only some of the Marvel and DC martial arts characters like Shang-Chi, Iron Fist and Richard Dragon, but he even appeared before the whole Bruce Lee/Kung-Fu movement started in the early 1970s. Judomaster was an outgrowth of Charlton's successful war comics, his adventures being set during World War II in the south Pacific. Army Sergeant Rip Jagger (do people really name their kids Rip?), was stranded on this island where local guerrilla fighters rescued and protected him from the Japs. He is taught the skills of a Sensei Warrior, including karate, judo and Jiu-Jitsu in order to better fight the Jap invaders. He then adopts a costume and, with the aid of the guerrillas, drives the Japanese from the island. He then continues to battle the Japs, presumably for the rest of the war. Jodomaster later takes on a young Japanese-American boy named Tiger as his sidekick - the picture is the debut of Tiger in issue 93. After DC took over the Charlton line there didn't seem to be a lot of interest in this character, who was sort of retconned into the All Star Squadron for better integration into the DC Universe. In the limited series Kingdom Come there was a female Judomaster who is on my list of figures to do one day. Judomaster was made using the body and legs from a Toy Biz Daredevil figure, the arms from a Spiderman and the head from a Captain America. Tiger was made from a Secret Wars Doctor Octopus and the head from a Captain America. The pony tails are both from Toy Biz Gideon figures.