web stats

CSBG Archive

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

8 Comments

Wow, the perspective on the cover of Captain Battle borders on the surreal, I love it! And Mighty Samson looks like fun.

Thanks for a fun list, Scott!

I have never heard of Pete Morisi before but man is his style great. It reminds me very much of Jeff Smith, of Bone and Rasl fame, one of my favorite artists.

Captain Battle may look like Nick Fury, but the trade dress of his book, the logo, the patriotic theme, the use of the word “Captain” and the brown-haired sidekick all scream Captain America to me. Did he predate Captain America or come after?

I agree about that Dynamite cover; it’s fantastic. Thanks for the list!

That Mighty Samson cover is awesome. I’ll have to keep a look out for back issues of that title.

T., Pete Morisi was the creator of the Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt comic at Charlton — which, apart from being well worth reading for its own sake, was also the inspiration for Ozymandias in Watchmen.

Morisi was a close friend and mutual admirer of George Tuska, so there’s another point of artistic comparison in addition to Jeff Smith.

John Force, Magic Agent should be revived, man. A mystical spy? That’s gold, man!

What I’ve read of Johnny Dynamite was pretty good.

And probably most of you know that Mighty Samson has been revived by Dark Horse with Jim Shooter and Pat Olliffe, but the review on CBR was…less than complimentary, let’s say. Not sure if he had the fur eyepatch.

A John Force was a couple of years ahead of me in high school. You don’t suppose …

And my great-aunt’s physician was named Dr. Strange. Hmmmm.

I read the Spanish editions of Mighty Samson as a kid, and while not my favorite series it did leave a great impression in my memory, for two things: first, the fully-painted covers, all of which had him fighting some utterly bizarre monster (not all of whom actually appeared in the stories inside); and the unusually sad tone of the stories- sure, it was a post-apocalyptic thing, but nearly every time a new character was introduced, it was killed in that same story. Sheesh!

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives