Friday, November 4, 2016

Speed Comics #1 - pt. 1

Two firsts for the blog today -- first post for a comic book from October 1939, and the first issue ever released by Brookwood Publications (a company later absorbed by Harvey Comics).

This is "Shock" Gibson, Harvey's first star. It's remarkable that Gibson lifts only one girder and the doctor proclaims he can lift as much as 1,000 men. The girder doesn't really look that heavy to me. The strength of 1,000 men would give Gibson the Raise Elephant power, incidentally.

This is a rare occurrence of someone else being present at the birth of a superhero.

Corrupt politicians were one of Superman's first targets to go after, but for Shock they are his first.

Shock is the first superhero to work out of an office (though there is a pulp fiction precedent, with Doc Savage having his own office).

Shock isn't using a power here, he's just reaching out and grabbing the guy with an attack roll. However, the Editor would be within his rights to require a save vs. science from Shock, to see if he can hold his ground, or if the other man's momentum pulls him down too.

Rescuing people from suicide was an early trope of Superman comics.

The Raise Building power is higher level, showing that Shock gets to start off with some brevet ranks.

There is no indication to how long a "jiffy" is in game time, but it seems likely that Shock has used Multi-Attack or even Flurry of Blows to take down his eight hoodlum attackers extra fast. Or, maybe he took them out over a series of turns, but the Editor rolled terrible for their attack rolls against him.

Shock is not one who likes to use wrecking things, but he uses it here to comic effect.

Ultra-magnets might need to go in the trophies section. They are small enough to fit into the hold of a small plane, but can select a specific target of up to 2 tons of weight and attract it over a range of ...300'?

Shock is clearly using a Leap power to navigate the canyons of the city, but it's unclear if it is Leap I, Leap II, ...

In moving cross-country, though, Shock is using a more speed-based power. We know how long it takes him to get to the Rocky Mountains, but we never learned his starting location. If it was New York City, then Shock is moving 800 MPH and must be using, at least, Race the Bullet, if not Invisibly Fast. If, however, he started in Chicago, Illinois, then Shock is only going 500 MPH, cruising speed for Race the Bullet.
It's interesting that the story asserts this is a volcano in the Rocky Mountains. To my knowledge, there is only one volcano in the Rockies, and that's West Spanish Peak. The mountain in the background even looks a little bit like West Spanish Peak, if you squint hard enough (or imagined the volcano after a diet...).

Baron Von Kampf is an ultra-mad scientist. His zombies are...really different. Part undead and part robot, Von Kampf zombies are also given green fur and monocular vision for...aesthetic reasons? I would make these tougher than regular zombies -- maybe 3+1 Hit Dice.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum.)

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