Scott’s Classic Comics Corner: A Patchy History of Comics
Everyone from Nick Fury to Bette Davis in The Anniversary has proven that eye patches add dramatic impact to a character’s overall look. They have played a role in the funnybook world from the very beginning. This week, I’m taking a look at some classic characters with eye patches.
Captain Battle is actually a dead ringer for the far more famous Colonel Fury. He’s your typical World War Two era patriotic hero, fighting fascists with the help of his son, conveniently named Captain Battle Jr. He is actually a veteran of the First World War, and lost his left eye in that conflict. Captain Battled starred in Silver Streak Comics, as well as his own eponymous title, both published by Lev Gleason. I guess Gleason thought he had struck gold with the Battle Family, as Junior got his own two-issue series. Apparently, the glory was short-lived as Captain Battle was a distant memory by the end of 1942.
One of the best hardboiled characters in all of comicdom is Pete Morisi’s Johnny Dynamite. He’s a PI, known as the Wildman of Chicago, and he starred in his own series published by Comic Media. After they folded, Charlton continued the series for a few issues. It is one of the true gems of the 1950s. Max Allan Collins obviously agreed as he purchased the reprint rights and several Johnny Dynamite stories appeared as a back-up in Ms. Tree. Mr. Dynamite even got his own Collins/Beatty miniseries published by Dark Horse.
Perhaps the most obscure of all pre-Fury eye patch wearing comic book characters is John Force, Magic Agent. He’s a spy with some limited, and ill-defined, powers connected to a coin (or was it a tattoo?). He’s a Cold War era type hero, who could be quite a bit more callous that your typical American Comic Group character. Aside from his own short-lived series, he popped up in several issues of Unknown Worlds in the years leading up to ACG’s demise.
Looking somewhat like a post-Apocalyptic Rooster Cogburn is Gold Key’s Mighty Samson. Although his adventures took place in the future, Samson’s overall look (including a fur eye patch) had a barbaric vibe. He came from terrific pedigree, co-created by Otto Binder and Frank Thorne and his series was semi-successful, finally flaming out in the early 80s. I highly recommend this series for those of you looking for fun, affordable, Cyclopean Silver Age adventures.
That’s a quick look at some eye patch wearing comic book characters of yesteryear. There are plenty more out there, so keep an eye out (get it?). For more funnybook talk, stop by my blog: Seduction of the Indifferent