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SHIELD by Mark Lester

The Original www.ArchieComics.com

MIGHTY CRUSADERS

Web Site by Paul Castiglia

 

 

ALL ABOUT MIGHTY CRUSADERS

Archie Comics put out a whole slew of superhero characters beginning in our very first comic publication, BLUE RIBBON COMICS #1-- way back in November, 1939. Other superhero titles we published during the 1940's included ZIP COMICS, JACKPOT COMICS, HANGMAN COMICS, SHIELD-WIZARD COMICS and even PEP COMICS-- which before Archie came along in issue #22, was home to the first ever patriotic superhero, The Shield!

The Shield led off Archie's Silver Age (late 1950s through the 1960s) superhero publications in the famous Joe Simon/Jack Kirby collaboration, THE DOUBLE LIFE OF PRIVATE STRONG. This title was soon joined by another Simon/Kirby opus, THE ADVENTURES OF THE FLY, as well as THE JAGUAR. By the mid-'60s, the superheroes were back in full force in both MIGHTY COMICS PRESENTS and THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS, which featured all of Archie's superhero characters teaming up for epic adventures!


After taking a break in the 1970s, the heroes returned in the 1980s, when Archie spun the heroes off into a new line of comics called "Red Circle Comics." Leading the charge once again was THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS, with THE SHIELD and THE FLY getting their own series and BLUE RIBBON COMICS being revived to highlight the others.

The next incarnation of the heroes was IMPACT! COMICS, a line of comics published by DC Comics, publishers of Superman and Batman. Archie licensed the rights to DC and while many of their titles received critical acclaim, there were already too many superhero comics flooding the market so interest was curtailed.

Now, back home at Archie, the heroes are due for a comeback. With interest in a new comic series at an all-time high and possible movie versions of the heroes under discussion, look for the Archie heroes to triumph mightily as we approach the Millennium!


Here's some background information on THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS:

When evil threatens, the Mighty Crusaders are earth's last line of defense! The roster is composed of earth's mightiest heroes, although the line-up fluctuates from crises to crises. The key team members are:

THE COMET: An experimental substance gives young scientist John Dickering powers beyond belief-- including the power of flight! He soon decides to use his newfound powers in the fight for justice!

THE SHIELD: Chemist Joe Higgins devoted his life to fighting evil after the murder of his father by the diabolical Eraser. Donning a patriotic costume, this G-Man has become an extraordinary hero!

THE WEB: Professor John Raymond, criminologist and famed mystery writer, dons his web costume as he wages psychological warfare against lawbreakers everywhere!

THE FLY: Attorney Tommy Troy, using the powers of the magic ring given to him by Turan, emissary of the extraterrestrial Fly People, transforms into the Fly. He possesses the strength of 100 men, has the ability to see in all directions and is endowed with super quick insect reflexes-- making him a super guardian of justice!

FLY GIRL: Turan, the emissary of the extraterrestrial Fly People, reacting to the fact that evil forces abound throughout the world, decides to bestow a magic ring to another-- this time, actress Kim Brand.

THE JAGUAR: Zoologist Ralph Hardy, friend to all animals, picks up a mysterious jaguar belt left by the ancients and transforms into The Jaguar-- complete with super-heightened animal powers!

THE BLACK HOOD: Following a family tradition of crime fighting, Detective Matt Burland dons a black hood and special utility vest to fight crime and corruption.

In addition to these core members, the following have also served at one time or another:

THE HANGMAN, STEEL STERLING, PRIVATE STRONG, THE FOX, THE DARKLING, BLACK JACK, CAPT. FLAG, MR. JUSTICE, FIREFLY, THE WIZARD, INFERNO, BOB PHANTOM, FIREBALL, and more...

TM/ 2003 ACO


THE ORIGIN OF THE WEB -- THE COSTUMED CRIMINOLOGIST!

Throughout his childhood, John Raymond strived his best to do what was right. His brother Tom, however, chose to follow a different path-- a path that landed him in and out of reform school-- and later jail! John was determined to get inside just what made the criminal mind tick. He grew up to be both a professor of criminology as well as a respected author and lecturer on the subject. One fateful day, the larcenous Tom broke out of prison and into Professor John's residence. Intending to rob his law-abiding brother, Tom cut John's telephone line. As luck would have it, the police were warning everyone in town of an ensuing flood. Since they couldn't reach the Professor by phone, they decided to pay him a personal visit, where they then nabbed jail-breaking Tom! Inspired by the fact that Tom was snared in "a web of crime of his own making"-- namely cutting the telephone wire-- Professor John henceforth adapted the name "The Web." This master of mystery has since donned a colorful costume to keep his own identity a mystery, thereby aiding his fight against the lawless!

This comic retelling of THE WEB's origin appeared in THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS, No. 1, published in March, 1983.

TM/ 2003 ACO


WEB OF INTRIGUE!
November 1997

This month, our featured story is... THE WEB VS. THE VIPEROUS VILLAINS! Originally presented in MIGHTY COMICS #43 (February, 1967), this titanic tale finds The Web up up against not one, but two vile villains! They are Mr. Scare and The Stunner! Mr. Scare, the master of disguise, is the conman's conman, while The Stunner provides the muscle, using his electrified gloves to stop those who oppose them dead in their tracks! Will two times the villains be too much to handle for our hero? Apparently so, according to his wife Rose. To even the odds, she decides to become a hero herself-- donning a mask and costume to become POW-GIRL!

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
December 1997

This month, our featured story is... THE MAD CAPER OF THE MADMAN! Originally presented in FLY MAN #38 (July, 1968), this story starts in slam-bang fashion with the Web making short work of the Madman's "minions"-- namely, The "Acro- Bats!" Once he dispenses with the hopeless henchman, he changes back into his secret identity of criminologist John Raymond and goes home only to face a greater threat-- a wife who feels neglected and her overbearing mother! They're concerned that John's life is much too risky, and lecture him on the dangers of violence. Meanwhile, the Madman, who has trailed the Web, breaks into his home, planning to zap the Web with his Madness ray! In an ironic twist, before John can change back into his costume, the Madman is pummeled by his violence-hating wife and mother-in- law! It's just another day in the life of the world's most harried, henpecked hero!

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
January 1998

This month, our featured story is... THE WEB VS. INFERNO, THE FIRE-BREATHER! Originally presented in MIGHTY COMICS PRESENTS #50 (Oct., 1967), the story starts with The Web, flanked by fellow heroes The Inferno and The Fox, all about to receive awards for their valor. As the police commissioner hands The Web a globe-shaped trophy, he holds it up to his ear and then... he throws a left hook right into the Commissioner's chin! What gives?

It turns out the Commissioner is actually an imposter, and the trophy is a bomb. The Web quickly defuses the bomb and calms the audience, but his troubles don't end there. The Web's beleaguered wife Rose, once again feeling neglected, takes a job at the local museum. When the Web goes to check up on her, he is startled to walk in on none other then The Inferno-- robbing the museum and burning its priceless paintings! This Inferno is soon revealed as an imposter as well, when the Web notices he lights the paintings with an ordinary match-- the real Inferno, being a fire-breather, wouldn't need a match!

The Web still doesn't have this case wrapped up, however, as Mr. Alexander-- Rose's boss-- puts the drop on he and Rose, forcing them at gunpoint into the museum's cellar storage area. The paintings that were burned upstairs were as fake as the Commissioner and Inferno!

Mr. Alexander has the real paintings stored away, prepared to sell them to underground collectors. Meanwhile, the public will believe they were destroyed by the real Inferno! Mr. Alexander didn't count on one thing, however: the real Inferno, tracking The Web because he appeared nervous at the ceremony, saves the day-- and his reputation!

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
March 1998

This month, our featured story is... UGLYMAN'S UGLIEST PLOT! Originally presented in MIGHTY COMICS PRESENTS #40 (Nov., 1966), this story starts smack dab in the middle of the action, as The Web engages in furious fisticuffs with the foul fiend, Uglyman! Uglyman has been wreaking havoc at the Fab Film Corporation-- attacking leading men simply because they're better looking than he is! Chasing Uglyman into the sewer, The Web loses the slippery snake. On his way out of the manhole, The Web gets drenched by a sanitation truck! Is there no dignity for our valiant hero? Reverting back to his secret identity of John Raymond, he returns home in his sopping wet clothes (he wears his civilian clothes under his superhero costume) and tries to sneak in, but his wife is entertaining friends on the patio. If his wife Rosie found out he was out fighting crime again, John would be in real trouble! Thinking fast, he pretends to trip on the lawn sprinkler! His wife is too smart for him, however, and realizes the scheme.

Later, John hears a report on the radio that Uglyman plans to strike at Fab Film, so he decides to take his wife on a guided tour of the studio. Of course, the rest of the tourists don't realize that the saber-wielding musketeer is in actuality Uglyman, and he's not play-acting! Ducking back behind some props, John resumes his guise as The Web and another thrilling battle ensues! With the help of Rosie, who wields a mean handbag, it's "fadeout" time for Uglyman! Unmasked, Uglyman is revealed to be handsome newcomer Ernie Misty-- his motive was to scare off all the other actors so he'd have all the big roles to himself! It's just another day in the life comic's favorite married titan!

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
April 1998

This month, we go way back to the "Golden Age" of comics for our featured story... THE WEB AND THE BOOK! Originally presented in ZIP COMICS #35 (March, 1943), this story finds Professor John Raymond reunited with his former teacher, Professor Andive -- but not for long! It seems the good teacher has come across a rare book of anthropological findings -- a book that finds him murdered that very evening, a bookmark clutched in his death-grip! The bookmark reads has the name, "William Foster" inscribed on it. The Web consults with prison warden Flick, to see if there are any prisoners with the name William Foster. It just so happens he's a recent parolee, and The Web sets out to confront him at his home. He has the book -- but he swears he didn't murder the old professor -- he just stole the book! Just as he's about to reveal the secret of the book to The Web, a shot rings out, claiming his life as well! Now The Web has a real mystery on his hands -- and the cops on his tail, who think he killed the suspect! The Web goes undercover at the State Penitentiary and ends up right in the middle of a prison riot. When the smoke clears, The Web gas taken chase with a renegade prisoner. The prisoner will stop at nothing, and even kills a guard! He almost gets away, when the remaining prison guards mow him down in a hail of bullets and avenge their fellow guard's death. To everyone's surprise, the prisoner turns out to be warden Flick instead! Everyone's surprise except The Web, of course! After all, the warden was the only one who knew of The Web's plans to visit the suspect. As it turns out, Foster had been arrested for robbery but the loot was never recovered. The warden figured Foster may have hid the money in the book-- and he was right! He killed Foster in an attempt to get the money for himself! As always, however, The Web puts it best:

"He's dead!-- Killed! He was killed by a web of crime he could never escape!"

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
May 1998

This month, we go take a peak at one of the Web's more modern-day adventures. In fact, in THE KILLING HOUR (from BLUE RIBBON COMICS #14, December, 1984) the scientific meets the supernatural as The Web teams up with The Jaguar to clear up some mysterious killings that have been taking place. Each victim sports a pair of fang marks on their neck -- the Jaguar suspects a creature who isn't human, while the Web... well, the Web isn't quite sure what the story is but he suspects a cult! But that's the least of their worries as a new threat appears to distract them: The Freelancer! Decked out in a battle suit designed by T.R.I.U.M.P.H. labs, he aims to hold New York City hostage... and ransom it for 10 million dollars! Hijacking a ship at the Staten Island Ferry, it looks like he and his goons might just succeed -- but they don't realize devoted husband and commuter John Raymond... also known as The Web... is onboard! Hearing the news bulletin on the radio, Ralph Hardy, otherwise known as The Jaguar, leaps into action to help his friend! The Freelancer, complete with an arsenal including grenades, is proving to be quite a match for our daring duo, but before it's all done, they've managed to not only cancel the Freelancer, but keep the ferry from colliding with a nuclear submarine! All in a day's work for two of the mightiest crusaders of all

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
June 1998

This month, we go back in time to the 1940s of comics to take a peak at one of the Web's Golden Age adventures. And what a strange adventure it is! In "The Web and the Dream," from ZIP COMICS #36 (April, 1943), elderly John Pierrepont has a big problem: he keeps dreaming about killing people, and then when he wakes up in the morning, to his shock and surprise, he reads in the morning newspaper of the very same people's untimely deaths! The man's son-in-law, Dr. Eric Graham, insists it all must be a coincidence. Ridden with guilt, however, John Pierrepont turns himself in to the police. Professor John Raymond, criminologist and alter ego of The Web, is called in to investigate. The pieces of the puzzle don't fit together for Raymond, and so he decides to don the familiar green and yellow garb of that mighty crusader, The Web. The trail leads to the Bluebird Casino, where The Web acknowledges, "Threads of murder in this town have led there too often!" Finding a file filled with the names of those who owed the casino money -- including those who were murdered. This, plus the fact that traces of medication prescribed to Pierrepont by his son-in-law lead The Web to a sensational conclusion: that Dr. Eric Graham used the medicine to help hypnotize his own father-in-law into believing that he had committed those crimes, instead of the real culprit, the Dr. himself! The Web confronts Dr. Graham, and while he tries to escape, there is no escape from justice! Once again, another criminal goes down, caught in a "web of crime" of their own design -- one which they could not break free from!

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
July 1998

This month, we take a look at the web as a team player -- as a member of that mightiest group of heroes ever, THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS!!! In "Elimination Game Part One" from THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #4 (November, 1983), The Web finds himself in the thick of battle alongside The Shield, as they try to fend off a gang of invaders out to pilfer weapons from the Landsdown Military Complex! This should be a one-two-three operation for our courageous crusaders, right? Wrong! Because without rhyme or reason, the invaders perish before our heroes can find out who sent them! It's just one of a series of thefts of experimental prototype weapons. When The Web and The Shield return to Crusaders headquarters, the Black Hood fills them in about The Death Monger -- a vile villain who got that name because "he has micro-circuitry implanted in the brains of his people -- so that if they should ever be captured -- they die!" The Crusaders deduce that the Death Monger is their man -- but what they haven't counted on is that he and the supernatural entity, The Druid, have formed an evil alliance! With the aid of Lodestone, Rogue Star, Dream-Demon and Brontosaurus -- collectively known as The Eliminators -- they plan to wipe out the Crusaders once and for all! The Druid seems to have a particular interest in Ralph Hardy -- otherwise known as The Jaguar -- and the magical belt he wears! Disguising himself as "Red Bunyon," The Druid "tips off" The Web that the Death Monger plans a raid on Greyfax Base. Of course, it's a trap, and when the Crusaders arrive, a major battle ensues. By Chapter's end, it appears our valiant heroes are down for the count -- but will they stay there? Join us again next month, as we look at the continuing saga as it unfolded in THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #5 (January, 1984)!...

 

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
August 1998

This month, we take a look at The Web as a team player -- as a member of that mightiest group of heroes ever, THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS!!! You'll recall that last month, we revisited THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #4 (November 1983). Since that was on ongoing story, we pick up with its continuation in THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #5 (January 1984).

When last we left our heroes, the Crusaders had been trapped and rendered unconscious by The Eliminators (Lodestone, Rogue Star, Dream-Demon and Brontosaurus) under orders from The Deathmonger and The Druid! More than anything else, The Druid wants the power of The Jaguar's magic belt for his own, and he will stop at nothing to get it! But the will of The Jaguar is strong. While he and his comrades lay enslaved, The Jaguar's subconscious mind is visited by The Guardian - Lord of the Animal Kingdom. With ferocious spirit, The Jaguar is revived -- but only on another plane! A battle ensues in some strange "limbo" -- where he is joined by The Shield, The Fly and Fly Girl. Even though the battle is taking place in another dimension, it affects The Druid -- disturbs him to the point that his evil spell over our heroes in the "real world" is broken! Woken from their slumber, our heroes, including The Web, proceed to make short work of the Eliminators, about whom The Web comments:

"Y'know, I don't like to jump to hasty conclusions...but I'm beginning to think these guys don't have our best interests at heart!"

The battle ensues, but something strange happens -- the villains mysteriously vanish into thin air! And with them, a few of our heroes! Will justice prevail?! To be continued next month...

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
September 1998

This month, we continue to take a look at The Web as a team player -- as a member of that mightiest group of heroes ever, THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS!!! You'll recall that last month, we revisited THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #5 (January, 1984). Since that was an ongoing story, we pick up with its continuation in THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #7 (May, 1984). Note: the story skipped an issue as "The Shield" was featured in a solo story in THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #6 (March, 1984).

When we last left our heroes, the Crusaders had been trapped and rendered unconscious by The Eliminators (Lodestone, Rogue Star, Dream Demon and Brontosaurus) under orders from The Death Monger and The Druid! They even do the unthinkable -- they steal The Jaguar's magic belt! While the villains gloat, however, The Jaguar's subconscious mind is visited by The Guardian -- Lord of the Animal Kingdom. With ferocious spirit, The Jaguar is revived -- but only on another plane! A battle ensues in some strange "limbo" -- where he is joined by The Shield and Fly Girl. Can our heroes ever return to the realm of reality?...

As the latest installment opens, The Darkling, a recent addition to the Crusaders who has mystical powers, is conjuring up an image of The Druid. As luck would have it, her keen concentration enables her to find "the dimensional trail left by The Druid when he teleported away!&quot The trail leads them to...Peru!

As the quest continues, The Jaguar's subconscious is once again visited by Lord Varigon, The Guardian, who explains the significance of his belt and why the villains have stolen it! It seems that at the dawn of time, Varigon was appointed to set up "an order of balance and harmony between the differing aspects of nature." Lord S'ithh, the ruler of the reptile kingdom, "grew greedy and began to expand beyond the parameters of the boundaries set for him." Lord S'ithh ushered in the age of the great dinosaurs, and the other powers warred with Lord S'ithh. These great battles upset the balance of nature, however, and triggered the ice age. This effectively ended the reign of the giant reptiles, and Lord S'ithh vowed revenge on Lord Varigon. He attempted to exact that revenge during the great age of the Incas, by acquiring the services of The Druid and The Dream Demon. In exchange, he gave them immortality. The trio was able to reawaken one of the fierce dinosaurs, but this deed did not go unnoticed by Lord Varigon. He found a worthy Incan woman and bestowed upon her the special Jaguar belt-- which contained his essence -- and restored "the ancient link between man and animal." This female version of The Jaguar managed to drive the dinosaur the villains revived back into its pit.

All remained relatively calm until many, many years later, when the monster was woken yet again and Ralph Hardy was entrusted with the Jaguar's belt. Now, The Druid and The Dream Demon are attempting to offer up The Shield, Fly Girl and The Jaguar as sacrifices to Lord S'ithh, in order to increase his power. But they don't know that The Jaguar has been tipped off by Lord Varigon! In the subconscious plane, however, his friends are indeed sacrificed -- and Lord S'ithh is able to drain the power of Varigon from the mighty Jaguar belt! The power is so tremendous that it enables Lord S'ithh to resurrect the dinosaur once again -- in the conscious realm! This time, however, it is met by the Jaguar's fellow Crusaders, whom he has summoned. The Crusaders, however, don't just have the dinosaurs to contend with -- they also must face an army of zombies, including zombie versions of the Shield, Fly Girl and Jaguar! Will good triumph over evil? Don't miss next month's installment!

 

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
October 1998

This month, we continue to a look at the Web as a team player -- as a member of that mightiest group of heroes ever, THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS!!! You'll recall that last month, we revisited THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #7 (May, 1984). Since that was an ongoing story, we pick up with its continuation in THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #8 (July, 1984) When last we left our heroes, The Druid and The Dream Demon were attempting to offer up The Shield, Fly Girl and The Jaguar as sacrifices to Lord S'ithh, in order to increase his power. But they didn't know that The Jaguar was tipped off by Lord Varigon! In the subconscious plane, however, his friends were indeed sacrificed -- and Lord S'ithh was able to drain the power of Varigon from the mighty Jaguar belt -- a power so tremendous it enabled Lord S'ithh to resurrect a mighty dinosaur! The Crusaders did their best against the dinosaur and an army of zombies -- including zombie versions of the Shield, Fly Girl and Jaguar!

As the battle rages on, The Druid gets the shock of his life, as Lord S'ithh himself possesses his body! With Crusaders turned into slaves and the evil S'ithh possessing immeasurable power, it really looks like the end. As long as S'ithh has the Jaguar's belt, there is nothing anyone can do, including Lord Varigon. But Varigon still has the power of his thoughts, and realizing The Darkling has extra-sensory perception, he wills her to his realm, where he reveals to her that her powers are great enough to defeat the evil that has befallen the heroes. He instructs her to save her fallen comrade's spirits from limbo, and once she does, they are able to return to both their earthly body and the earth itself! A battle of epic proportions ensues, and in the midst of it, The Jaguar, his energy sapped, summons whatever strength he has left to reclaim his belt from Lord S'ithh! S'ithh, his power gone, fades into oblivion, and the dinosaurs destroy the temple and the villains, just as our heroes escape! Such are the cosmically cool lives of earth's mightiest heroes!

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
November 1988

This month, we continue to a look at the Web as a team player -- as a member of that mightiest group of heroes ever, THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS!!!

This month's story is "Grid Lock" from THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #8 (December, 1984). Our story begins with attorney Thomas Troy hailing a taxi as he leaves district court. Imagine his surprise when he hears an announcement over the cab's radio that The Mighty Crusadersare slated to appear at Madison Square Garden! Furthermore, Troy spots a billboard making the same claim! That's news to him. Instructing the cabbie to take him to the radio station, Troy dons his Fly costume to investigate. Armed thugs have sabotaged the station and are forcing the disk jockeys to announce the Crusaders' bogus appearance. The Fly gets a confession out of one of the cowardly curs -- it seems they want the entire city to congregate at Times Square, causing a traffic jam of epic proportions. While everyone's stuck in gridlock, the gang plans to knock over five different banks! Once their plan is revealed, however, it's child's play for the Crusaders, who split up and use their unique powers to thwart each of the bank heists!

Unfortunately, a more nefarious plan was afoot -- while the Crusaders were busy with the bank robbers, the crooked coalition of Delta III had their lackeys procure the military's satellite codes! Will these foul fiends use this against the world? Not if the Crusaders have anything to say about it. Stay tuned for further thrilling adventures of the Mighty Crusaders!

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
December 1998

This month, we continue to a look at The Web as a team player -- as a member of that mightiest group of heroes ever, THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS!!! This month's story is "Old Legends Never Die" from THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #9 (September, 1984).

In this poignant story, the most patriotic, noble hero of all, The Shield, relaxes in his apartment and reflects upon his life, and how he's been given a second chance after being in limbo for over 30 years. His moment of introspection is shattered when policemen appear at his door-- with a warrant for his arrest! While maintaining his innocence, The Shield honors law enforcement and willfully allows himself to be incarcerated.

It seems The Shield busted up a crime scene, and one of the crooks wound up dead! Thus begins the trial of the century, as The Shield's fellow Crusaders must prove his innocence. The trail leads to nowhere, until The Fly comes upon a spider at the crime scene. In a last-ditch, desperate effort, The Fly tries to telepathically communicate with the spider. To his amazement, his psychic power, which previously only worked on flies, also worked on the spider! Perhaps his will to help his friend was strong enough to enhance his powers. Whatever the reason, the Fly soon learns the truth: the robbery was orchestrated by the Brain Emperor!

The Brain Emperor knew that The Shield had been tipped off to the robbery, and planned an extra-special scheme: he'd have one of his henchmen kill the Shield using an "Antlean Atomizer" disguised as a common handgun! He wouldn't tell them which one of them had the special gun, though. He expected them all to follow orders and shoot The Shield. And he used one of his favorite tricks -- "brain disrupters" surgically inserted in his henchman's skulls, so that he can destroy their minds at will! And he does eliminate one of his men -- the one who refused to shoot, who also happened to hold the Antlean Atomizer!

The Brain Emperor wasn't beat though -- he knew The Shield would be blamed for the death, and if he couldn't have The Shield killed, having him behind bars was just as good! But how will The Fly convince a jury that he talked to a spider? The Crusaders still needed proof to clear their friend. Tracking down the Brain Emperor himself, the heroes battled his minions in an attempt to get the Antlean Atomizer. Alas, this attempt at justice failed, as The Brain Emperor managed to escape.

All was not lost, as The Fly -- or more precisely, his alter ego, attorney Thomas Troy, had one last ace up his sleeve: MR. JUSTICE! The supernatural hero resurrected the deceased hood and was able to get him to confess! The verdict: NOT GUILTY!

For The Shield, it was a bittersweet memory, as he pondered his ability to be a hero in the modern world -- a world where the rules change every second and so does public opinion!

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
January 1999

This month, we continue to a look at the Web as a team player -- as a member of that mightiest group of heroes ever, THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS!!! This month's story is "A Hero's Rage" from THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #11 (March, 1985). This epic tale goes down as one of the most hero-filled, action-packed ever -- and a tale where personal values and vendettas clash!

It all starts when Kip "The Black Hood" Burland is summoned to the city morgue. He's faced with the unfortunate task of identifying his slain Uncle Matt -- the previous Black Hood, and the man who taught him everything he knew, training Kip so that he too could carry on the crusade and one day don the black hood himself! Something strange troubled Kip -- his uncle was wearing his original Black Hood costume, even though he had passed that mantle onto Kip several years earlier! Along with his uniform, an pink eraser was left on Uncle Matt's chest -- the trademark of The Eraser!

Determined to bring his uncle's murderer to justice, Kip dons the original costume and brings his case to the other Crusaders. Kip lets the others know in no uncertain terms that he craves vengeance, but it is The Web who is the voice of reason, pleading that due process of the law be followed. What the heroes don't know, however, is that a tracking device was placed on Uncle Matt's costume by The Riot Squad -- a terrible trio consisting of The Eraser, The Sting and The Buzzard. They figured Kip would bring the original Black Hood costume back to the Crusaders' hidden base -- allowing them to infiltrate it!!!

A battle ensues as the villains get the drop on the Crusaders, but the battle abruptly stops -- literally, as the Crusaders stand frozen in place! The Brain Emperor appears, gloating about how he was finally able to cloud the Crusaders minds while they were busy concentrating on the Riot Squad!

While the Riot Squad simply wants to kill the Crusaders, The Brain Emperor proposes something much more fiendish -- brain-washing the heroes to do his bidding! The Brain Emperor convinces the other villains that this is a good idea, and an evil alliance is formed.

All is not lost, however. The Darkling was not present when the rogues' attacked, and she recruits additional heroes -- such as The Fox and (in this story, anyway) ex-Crusader The Comet to help rescue her friends. The villains, however, anticipate them, and when the heroic trio show up at Crusaders' headquarters, they are greeted by the mind- controlled Crusaders, who are programmed to annihilate them!

While the fight rages on, The Brain Emperor engages in a mental duel with Darkling, sending her hurtling through countless astral planes! But this fight has its price, as The Comet takes advantage of the Brain Emperor being distracted and zaps him into submission! Knowing when the time is right to beat feet, the Brain Emperor flees, leaving the Riot Squad behind to tackle the heroes -- no longer brainwashed -- on their own!

When all is said and done, the villains are defeated, but the cost is high: the Brain Emperor is still at large, two Crusaders are lost and Crusaders HQ is totalled! Can normalcy be restored? Don't miss the next exciting installment!

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
February 1999

This month, we continue to a look at the Web as a team player -- as a member of that mightiest group of heroes ever, THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS!!!

This month's story is "Atlantis Rising!" from THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #1 (March, 1983). In this thrilling issue -- the issue that resurrected the Crusaders team, which only previously saw print in the 1960s -- the stakes are raised from the outset!

It seems The Brain Emperor is up to his usual antics, with a plan (once again) to wipe out all the Earth's heroes! Seems he's enlisted the aid of organized crime -- little do they know he'll turn on them and force them to be his slaves! And it all ties in to a later issue -- MIGHTY CRUSADERS #11, the issue we examined last month!

Using his mighty satellite, the Brain Emperor sends energy beams down to disrupt the Earth. Meanwhile, Eterno the Tyrant has his own designs on the planet! He teams with The Brain Emperor, but both secretly plan to eliminate the other once they've achieved world domination! The ensuing mayhem causes all sorts of problems for the individual heroes, who are soon called upon by The Comet to help him "investigate the atmospheric phenomena -- the negative ion transmissions -- that are creating havoc in New York!"

The Comet theorizes that "there is an orbiting satellite somewhere, causing such a disturbance!" The problem is, it's protected by a cloaking device. But these are the Earth's mightiest crusaders we're talking about, right?

Mighty enough, but before the issue's end they'll have some mighty big obstacles to overcome -- the least of which are giant androids rising from the ocean's depths! While the Crusaders mount a defensive against them, however, Eterno plays the ultimate hand -- finally having captured the power he needed, he re-establishes his mind link and he and his living city become one once! Atlantis has risen again! Will mankind survive! Tune in next month!

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
March 1999

This month's story is "The Genesis Conspiracy" from THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #2 (May, 1983), continuing the "Atlantis Rising!" saga from THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #1 (March, 1983), which we examined last month. When we last left our heroes, they had their hands full battling giant androids from the ocean's depths! But that's not the worst of it: while the Crusaders were locked in combat, Eterno re-established his mind link and he and his living city become one once more -- causing Atlantis to rise again!

Since birds of a feather flock together, Eterno enlisted the aid of another tyrant, The Brain Emperor, in order to realize his evil scheme. But The Brain Emperor could care less about Eterno's plans -- he has plans of his own:

While he [Eterno] foolishly basks in the atomic power surge caused by the premature rising of Atlantis, it is I, The Brain Emperor, who shall assume final control!

As The Brain Emperor considers Eterno his only real threat, his plan is to have The Crusaders defeat him so he'll be out of the way!

The Brain Emperor starts by luring the Crusaders to his previously cloaked satellite high in the cosmos -- the same one that was causing all sorts of havoc in New York last issue! Once there, he tells them of Eterno's plans to create Crusader replicants to do his bidding!

Meanwhile, Eterno does just that, but with one catch: he creates them in the form of Crusaders' past, rather than current members. Dubbing them "The Malevolent Legion Of Juggernauts," the replicants have taken on the appearance of such stalwarts as Steel Sterling, The Fox, Capt. Flag, The Hangman, Firefly, etc. Needless to say, a chaos looms ahead as these mighty titans become locked in battle! What will be the final outcome? Will the real heroes beat the fake ones? Will The Brain Emperor get the upper hand of Eterno, or vice versa? Can Earth survive? Be with us next month, as we present the next exciting chapter in this epic saga!!!

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
April - June 1999

This month's story is "The Darkling Ingredient" from THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #3 (July, 1983), concluding the "Atlantis Rising!" saga from THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #1 (March, 1983) and THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #2 (May, 1983). For three issues, the Crusaders have been in a struggle to save the world. Eterno, with the help of The Brain Emperor, plans to rid earth of the Crusaders and take over the word! But secretly, The Brain Emperor has plans of his own. Now, the Crusaders are stuck in the middle of this den of thieves!

The war between these two creeps gets underway when Eterno creates replicants of former Crusaders to do his bidding and dubs them "The Malevolent Legion Of Juggernauts." Now, as the third issue in this epic saga opens, we learn how The Brain Emperor plans to counter this move: by brainwashing The Comet to follow his evil ways! The stage is set for the showdown of the century as mind-controlled titans clash in a fight to the finish -- their evil manipulators laughing maniacally at ringside!

It all comes to a boil when Eterno "separates" his consciousness so he can inhabit the bodies of his replicants. They are holed up in the domed city of Atlantis, where several abducted Crusaders lie unconscious. On the outside world, the army and the "free" crusaders wonder how they'll win this battle -- the army relentlessly bombs the dome, hoping to crack it and gain entry. Meanwhile, The Brain Emperor hops from one dimensional plane to another hoping to gather the psychic energy needed to enter the dome himself. In his travels, he is spotted by The Darkling, a beautiful hero who has psychic abilities of her own! She puts them to use immediately, by restoring The Comet to his right mind, as well as his original powers! Soon, the Comet and Darkling join the free Crusaders, and The Comet has switched back to his original costume! They hatch a plan to get into that dome...

They better hurry! The battle lines have been drawn, and the dome is starting to rock! The evil fiends have sent their mind-controlled captives into battle so intense, it's nearly apocalyptic! With The Darkling's powers of teleportation, however, the party's about to get mighty crowded, as she, The Shield and The Comet join the fray! Just as it looks like the entire dome will explode, The Comet's ship flies by to eclipse the sun-- which changes the trajectory of the domed city and causes it to rise! It also loosens the mind-control of the heroes! Evacuating, the titans land to a heroes' welcome. The victory is bittersweet, however, as the leader of The Crusaders-- The Crusaders-- The Comet, makes a startling announcement: he's resigning from the Crusaders! He explains how The Brain Emperor's psychic jolt triggered a chain reaction of changes in his body:

You see, I thought my powers were on the blink, but really, it was my original disintegrator power resurfacing! It's gone full circle -- and I've become the person I used to be! That's caused a problem. My dark, fateful past has also returned to haunt me. I need time-- to conquer some old "demons" -- and come to terms with a few new ones.

Will The Comet return? Join us next month for another thrilling tale from our "web of intrigue!"

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
July 1999

This month's story is "Liquid Fire" from THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #12 (June, 1985). The story dives right into the action, with theCrusaders trying to avert a major disaster -- a liquified natural gas tranker has run aground on Liberty Island, and they must defuse the situation before the tanker blows itself -- and the whole island -- to smithereens! But can they survive their own explosive personalities?

Yes, it seems the Crusaders have been fighting side-by-side for quite a while now, and they may just be begging on each others' nerves! Nevertheless, they manager to save the day...again! For their efforts, they are awarded a government contract, instituted by one Col. Mike Kold.

Since their headquarters were recently destroyed, the Crusaders needed support for both a base of operations and general funding to support the necessary costs of crimefighting. The Web, however, is immediately converned due to rumors of improper conduct on the part of Col. Kold.

The Web is also concerned that the government may have the right to send the Crusaders off to war in land, like the Middle East! His fears are validated when they arrive at their new headquarters... a certifiable DUMP! But the colonel promises unlimited labor and materials to refurbish it, so the Crusaders soldier on. But will they be safe for long? Does Col. Kold have something else up his sleeve? Only time will tell...

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
August 1999

This month's story is perhaps the most offbeat Crusaders adventure yet: "A Is For Alien, B Is For Boston, C Is For Crusaders" from BLUE RIBBON COMICS #13 (October, 1984). And how could it not be offbeat? After all, it features a surprise guest-star who is not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill superhero-- namely, Thunder Bunny! (Thunder Bunny began life at another publisher, Charlton Comics, before landing alongside Archie Comics' famous Crusaders. His visit was brief but notable). Yes, that muscle-bound rabbit created by Martin L. Greim was soon to find himself up to his rather long ears in action and intrigue.

It all starts when the government calls in The Mighty Crusaders to investigate U.F.O.' sightings throughout the city of Boston. Caught up in the excitement is young Bobby, who secretly is Thunder Bunny! Concerned of reports that officials think HE is one of the aliens, he plans to meet with the Mighty Crusaders and set the record straight. Picturing his super-heroic alias in his mind, he claps his hands and is miraculously transformed into the world's mightiest rodent... er, rabbit! Meanwhile, the Crusaders are briefed on the alien situation at the State House. It seems the crew of the missing Trawler spacecraft returned-- with a holographic message from another world! A hideous intergalactic "merchant" names Lu-Ta from the M-7 galaxy is demanding human craftsmen give up their freedom to act as slaves on his planet-- or earth will face total annihilation!

The Crusaders are incensed by the message and vow to defeat the aliens-- which is exactly the moment Thunder Bunny flies into the room! Believing Thunder Bunny is in league with Lu-Ta, the Crusaders take chase after him, leaving him no time to explain! A massive battle ensues, wherein Thunder Bunny proves you can look goofy and still kick butt! But he's smart enough to know they can't fight forever, so when he's out of sight, he changes back to Bobby just long enough for the Crusaders to compose themselves. Then, changing back into Thunder Bunny, he approaches the more subdued Crusaders in friendship, explaining himself. They are amazed he can talk, and believe him when he says he's not in league with Lu-Ta.

Realizing they've been wasting valuable time, the heroes decide to unite against their common enemy-- and just in time, too, as Lu-Ta has unleashed a deadly fleet of alien-manned space ships to savage the city! The Crusaders and their new friend put up a valiant fight against the aliens, but just as it seems they will win the battle, the aliens prepare to launch their disruption cannon, whose force would obliterate the Earth within seconds! The Crusaders soon learn they have a valuable ally in Thunder Bunny-- since the creatures of M-7 were the one's to destroy his original home planet!

With sheer guts and determination, Thunder Bunny hurtles his way toward the ship and destroys it before IT can destroy the Earth. His energy spent, he falls back to Earth, but where we do not know-- leaving the Crusaders to ponder if they'll ever see his like again!

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
September 1999

In "Heads I Win, Tails You Lose" from BLUE RIBBON COMICS # 7 (April, 1984), The Fox finds himself caught between his livid girlfriend, Delilah, who feels The Fox's superheroics have driven a wedge into their relationship; and The Eraser, who has just escaped from the asylum and is looking for revenge! Well, when it comes to the sour love lives of superheroes, there's only one place to turn-- and so, Paul Patton, aka The Fox, pays a visit to criminologist John Raymond, who in reality is The Web-- henpecked hero!

While The Web dispenses his valuable advice to The Fox, the word comes in of The Eraser's doctor's untimely end, and so the duo find themselves on duty! The Eraser's trail leads to the local hospital, where his numer one henchman, Martial Law, is recovering from a run-in with The Fox. The heroes spring into action, easily dispensing of the dastardly duo. But The Fox's problems are just starting.

Vowing to reveal his identiy to Delilah and patch up their relationship once and for all, The Fox shows up at her apartment-- only to have Delilah lunge at him with a knife! He has no choice to defend himself and then... mysteriously, Delilah morphs into The Brain Emperor!

It was all an evil trick! But most awful of all, The Brain Emperor hands The Fox a "Dear John" note from Delilah-- she just can't endure the rock-em sock-em lifestyle of a superhero any longer! Has she left The Fox for good? In the end, love is the toughest challenge of all for The Fox!

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
October 1999

This month's featured story is an untitled tale from THE BLACK HOOD #2 (August, 1983) and features the "return" of The Fox, part of the 1980s re-launch of Archie's superhero universe. This amusing tale features the unique art of Alex Toth in a story that invokes the classic movies of Humphrey Bogart.

The Fox character is reintroduced with his the mythology of his original 1940s incarnation left intact: he is secretly Paul Patton, ace newspaper reporter/photographer.

The intrigue starts in a colorful hotel in tangier, when a burly stranger sneaks up on Paul Patton and knocks him flat! The thug explains it's a message from Petey Bosco, a Chicago mobster. "He's still pretty hot about yer news pitchers nailin' him into da' pen, from three to ten!," says the thug, making reference to Patton's article that helped land Bosco in jail. The thug reveals himself as Cosmo Gilly, an ex-pro boxer who "came dat close t'bein' heavyweight champeen-- twice!"

In an ironic twist, the two become friendly, and although Cosmo doesn't spill the beans, Patton has reason to believe someone may be after Cosmo. Right he is! Donning his Fox costume, he interrogates several of the underworld riff raff that litter the streets of Tangier. The trail is cold, so the two sit back for dinner at the Hotel Dada, where Cosmo reveals his wife and brother are the ones who suggested he take a cruise to Tangiers.

Suddenly, shots ring out in the hotel restaurant! Patton swings into action as The Fox and who does he find? Cosmo's wife and brother, of course! Holed up in suite 27, the two are booking a flight for their getaway, thinking that Cosmo is done for. It is they who are done for, however, and The Fox makes short work of the dastardly duo, who were out to collect the insurance money on Cosmo!

Getting plenty of photos to use in his article upon his return to the USA, Patton goes to visit Cosmo in the hospital. Being the big strong guy he is, Cosmo has survived! The two friends soon return to the USA for further crime-fighting adventures!

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
November 1999

Ha ha! Snared you! That's what you get when you come too close to The Web! Well, now that you're here, we might as well share one of The Web's "glory stories!" That's right, every month you can get "caught" up in a classic tale featuring that crime-fighting crusader, The Web!

Last month, we took a look at one of the Web's best buddies, The Fox! This month, our focus is on the vivacious SHE-FOX!!

Jumping into action in THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #13 (September, 1985), this sassy heroine loved to upstage The Fox! She starts right off the bat, as The Fox tries to stop street vandals from stealing his hubcaps. While The Fox is outmaneuvered by the teens, The She-Fox appears out of nowhere to stop them in their tracks! The foxy duo soon learn from the teens that an illegal "chop shop" has been sending youth around to steal parts of cars.

Reluctantly teaming up, the competitive heroes crash the chop shop-- literally, as The Fox's "Flying Fox" roadster is equipped with a battering ram! The battle rages, but even though they're winning, both The Fox and the She-Fox are wary of one another-- the Fox is especially embarrassed when one of the thugs refers to The She-Fox as his partner! It seems that, outside of working with The Crusaders, The Fox prefers to work alone, and doesn't want his thunder stolen by anyone! He should be grateful for the help, though, because before too long, the unlikely team has pulled the plug on the operation.

Having cleaned up the crooks, the two quickly go their separate ways, careful not to be seen changing into their secret identities. Little do they know that in civilian life, they already know each other-- as boyfriend and girlfriend!

Later, our heroes-- in their alter ego guises of Paul Patton and Delilah Monaco-- embrace and kiss, as a news report on the television declares, "Now that the voluptuous vixen prowls our city streets, who needs The Fox? Will the black-garbed crusader be forced into early retirement by his female counterpart?" More importantly, can Paul and Delilah stay together if they ever find out they're really The Fox and The She-Fox?!

In the life of a super-hero, the intrigue never ends!

WEB OF INTRIGUE!
December 1999

This month, we take a look at an epic tale that was nearly the Crusaders' last: "The Mighty Crusaders' Blackest Day," from THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #6 (August, 1966).

The action is there from the start, with The Fly and Fly Girl trying to save some civilians from giant metallic dogs being commandeered by mysterious, helmeted figures. Making short work of the metal monsters, The Fly and Fly Girl aren't expecting the reaction they get from the civilians -- they're MAD! It turns out that they're all CIA agents on "special maneuvers," testing out special weapons. Naturally, the "interference" by the superheroes ruined the tests.

Meanwhile, The Shield is having similar problems. Collaring a pair of crooks, he's ready to cart them off to jail when a pair of FBI agents reads him the riot act:

"We recognized these hoods as members of a mob that also runs a big counterfeiting operation! If not for your interference, we could've trailed them to their secret headquarters!"

As if that weren't enough, it gets worse -- spotting threatening orbs in the sky, The Comet investigates. In self-defense, he obliterates it with a de-atomizing ray. But The Comet winds up in trouble too -- the Secret Service was taking film footage of the unworldly orbs for research, and The Comet's attack scared them all off!

Last but not least, The Black Hood commits an embarrassing boo boo -- bringing down the chief of police, who was masquerading as a criminal as part of a prank for a special event in his honor!

You would think the day couldn't possibly get worse -- but it does! To find out how, look for next month's (January's)"Way Uncool Dude Of The Month" column featuring the evil Maestro!

TM/ 2003 ACO


THE "S" FILES!
November 1997

This time, our focus is on costumes. Did you ever wonder what material a hero's costume is made of?

We asked The Web, and here's what he had to say:

"Our costumes are made of neoprene-- the same material that wetsuits are made from. That way, our trunks don't ride up on us when they get wet!"

Be with us next time, when we present another little known heroic fun fact!

THE "S" FILES!
December 1997

This time, we present the top ten gift ideas on every titan's holiday wish list:

TOP TEN THINGS TO GET A HERO FOR CHRISTMAS OR HANUKKAH!:

#10: Boot polish
#9: Munchies for their utility belt
#8: A detailed Atlas, for those long flights from home
#7: A box-set of classic Superguy episodes on videocassette!
#6: The keys to the city... any city!
#5: New knuckles (it's painful punching out punks!)
#4: A gift-certificate good for a year's worth of dry-cleaning!
#3: A girlfriend to keep teen sidekicks out of their hair!
#2: A new pair of X-Ray Specs!

...and the #1 item on every hero's wish list:

A clone of their alter-ego-- who can spend more time with their significant other!

THE "S" FILES!
January 1998

This time, we present the top ten New Year's Resolutions on every heroes' list:

TOP TEN NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS OF THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS:

#10: Ask questions first-- then pummel!
#9: Use more doors-- it's expensive fixing windows!
#8: Be more patient with their pesty teen sidekicks!
#7: Save the world first, flirt with damsel in distress second!
#6: No more corny speeches when it looks like the bad guys are about to destroy them!
#5: Give the right of way to their fellow, flying crusaders!
#4: Work out more-- then they won't need an armor suit!
#3: No more recreational use of X-Ray Vision!
#2: Stop revealing secret identities to everyone!

...and the #1 item on every hero's list of New Year's Resolutions:

Make sure their agent gets them script approval rights on any movies about their lives (nobody likes a BAD superhero movie-- and there have been plenty)!

THE "S" FILES!
February 1989

Since this month is February, and February means Valentine's Day, we thought we'd offer some romantic suggestions for those heroic Romeo's venturing forth this Valentine's Eve:

TOP TEN MOST ROMANTIC THINGS TO DO ON A "SUPER-DATE":

#10: Protect your mate by beating up the phony monsters in the Tunnel Of Love!
#9: Instead of giving her a rose, give her a whole rosewood tree -- after all, you're strong enough!
#8: Instead of a varsity sweater, let your best gal wear your cape!
#7: Wow your date by making her think you're psychic-- use your X-Ray Vision to "predict" what her fortune cookie says!
#6: Use your heat vision to cook the perfect steak, but be careful not to burn it! #5: Take your significant other to the gym and impress her by benchpressing 1000 times more than the strongest guy in the place!
#4: Instead of flying, take a cab to a movie or restaurant for a change!
#3: Go to the laundromat and engage in sweet talk while your super-costumes swirl around in the spin cycle!
#2: Fly over abandoned warehouses and see if you can spot any super-villains smooching!

...and the #1 suggestion for a romantic Valentine's "Super-Date":

Using your super-strength, crush a rock into a perfect, heart- shaped diamond and give it to your sweetheart!

THE "S" FILES!
March 1998

Since this month is March, and Spring is just around the corner. That means that would-be athletes everywhere are forming softball teams! It seems that every supermarket, factory and radio station in a given city have their own softball leagues, so why should superheroes be any different? Well, The Mighty Crusaders are getting ready to step up to the plate too - and here is their starting line-up (and why):

PITCHER: The Shield. Naturally, the leader of the Crusaders should lead our heroes on the mound as well!

CATCHER: The Web. Spiders are known to catch flies in their webs, and likewise, The Web catches balls in his glove !

CENTERFIELD: The Fly (speaking of flies!) He is just the type of level-headed guy you want in centerfield. Of course, he is not allowed to bat - he might hit too many pop-out "fly" balls! So he has a designated hitter.

DESIGNATED HITTER: Steel Sterling. Stepping up to the plate in place of The Fly is this powerhouse hitter - sure to send 'em out of the park! But he needs a designated runner because his muscular legs get in his way.

DESIGNATED RUNNER: The Fly. Okay, once Steel belts 'em out into the field, The Fly is allowed to run around the bases (hey, we don't want to give the guy a complex!)

RIGHT FIELD AND LEFT FIELD: The Jaguar and The Fox. Because you need speedy guys in the outfield to chase after all of those balls!

SHORT STOP: Bob Phantom. Because... well, because he is short!

FIRST BASE: Black Jack. He is sharp and sprightly - and he is sure to tag any runner out who leads too far off first!

SECOND BASE: The Comet . His keen reflexes make him the perfect guy to pull off double plays!

THIRD BASE: The Black Hood. This guy is tough and he has quite an imposing presence. Good at keeping guys from stealing home!

MANAGER: The Hangman. Hey, would you want to upset your manager if his name was The Hangman? Neither would the other Crusaders, into whom The Hangman has struck fear and terror! Expect them to play their best and have a winning season under The Hangman's watchful eyes.!

THE "S" FILES!
April 1998

 

Since this month is April, and April 1st is "April Fool's Day," we thought we'd concentrate on one of the most auspicious members of the Mighty Crusaders -- NOT! We're speaking, of course, about CAPT. SPROCKET, who enjoyed a healthy run for a few years in the pages of ARCHIE'S MADHOUSE. The following strip originally ran in ARCHIE'S MADHOUSE #53 (April, 1967). It's a great example of what made this hero so super-- NOT!!!

THE "S" FILES!
May July 1998

"S" stands for "super," and every month we'll give you tasty tidbits regarding what helps make a hero a hero.

This time, we're offering you something special -- a contest! YOU be the one to show US what makes a hero a hero! Here's the plot: there's a new bad guy in town, called THE MIXER. This diabolical fiend has a special weapon that, when aimed at one or more superheroes, actually combines them into ONE hero! You're job is this: look at the "All About The Mighty Crusaders" page. Pick two or more of the superheroes, then draw one new character made up of all the characteristics of the heroes you've chosen. For example, if you chose THE WEB and THE SHIELD, you might have the top half of his costume red, white and blue, and the bottom half yellow and green. He could have webbing under his arms, but carry a shield. You get the idea. If you want, you can even name this new hero you've concocted. If you're really ambitious, you can even draw your rendition of THE MIXER. What does he look like? Is he a giant cement mixer with legs? A walking blender? You decide! Send your drawings to the address below and we'll put the best ones up on our site in a future edition of the S-FILES!:

Send your entries to:

Paul Castiglia
THE MIXER/WEB SITE CONTEST
c/o Archie Comic Publications, Inc.
325 Fayette Avenue
Mamaroneck, NY 10543

THE "S" FILES!
September 1998

This month, we're proud to present the first winner of our "Mixer" Contest. (To find out how you can enter this contest, check out our previous month's edition of The "S" Files.)

Now, without further ado, our winner is:

Christian L. of New York

Here's his winning entry:

MIGHTY CRUSADERS MELDED IN MIXER MELEE! CITY IN PANIC

Not even in his most diabolical fantasy could THE MIXER hope to ensnare the entire Crusaders team in his fiendish trap, but what if he did? I present THE MIGHTY CRUSADER, a composite of the entire assemblage of Mighty Crusaders.

Here's a breakdown of the costume elements which the Crusader inherits from each team member:

 

Here's a breakdown of the costume elements which the Crusader inherits from each team member:

         Legbands from The Shield

         Collar from The Jaguar

         Belt from Steel Sterling

         Wings from The Fly and Fly Girl

         Cape from Captain Flag

         Sleeves from The Comet

         Chest symbol from a composite of Firefly and The Fox

         Tunic from Bob Phantom

         Leggings from The Black Hood

         Visor from The Wizard

         Rope from The Hangman

         Arm webbing from The Web

         Bracelets from Fireball

         Holster from Black Jack

         Head crest from Mr. Justice

         Mask from Inferno

Congratulations, Christian!

Keep sending those entries in -- maybe next month, yours will show up here! Send them to:

         Paul Castiglia
THE MIXER/WEB SITE CONTEST
c/o Archie Comic Publications, Inc.
325 Fayette Avenue
Mamaroneck, NY 10543

THE "S" FILES!
October 1998

This month, we're proud to present our October winner of our "Mixer" Contest.

Now, without further ado, our winner is:

Miktung K. from Hong Kong

Here's Miktung's winning entry:

FIRE GIRL
A combination of Fly Girl, Fireball and Firefly.

Congratulations, Miktung!

Keep sending those entries in, and maybe next month, yours will show up here! Send them to:

Paul Castiglia
THE MIXER/WEB SITE CONTEST
c/o Archie Comic Publications, Inc.
325 Fayette Avenue
Mamaroneck, NY 10543

 

THE "S" FILES!
November 1998

"S" stands for "SUPER," and every month we'll give you tasty tidbits regarding what helps make a hero a hero.

This month, we're proud to present our November winner of our "Mixer" Contest.

Now, without further ado, our winner is:

Fallon C. of Nash Creek, New Brunswick, Canada

Here's Fallon's winning entry

 

JAGUARFLY
A combination of The Fly and The Jaguar
...and THE MIXER himself!

Congratulations, Fallon!

Keep sending those entries in, and maybe next month, yours will show up here! Send them to:

Paul Castiglia
THE MIXER/WEB SITE CONTEST
c/o Archie Comic Publications, Inc.
325 Fayette Avenue
Mamaroneck, NY 10543

 

THE "S" FILES!
December 1998

This time, we're offering a new feature: origins of some of our favorite superheroes! Let's get the ball rolling with one the coolest, the bombastic Black Jack!

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THE "S" FILES!
January 1999

This time, we're offering a new feature: origins of some of our favorite superheroes! Let's get the ball rolling with the story of The Comet!

THE "S" FILES!
February 1999

S" stands for "SUPER," and every month we'll give you tasty tidbits regarding what helps make a hero a hero.

Here's the third installment of our series re-telling the origins of some of our favorite superheroes. This month, we'll take a look at The Black Hood!

THE "S" FILES!
The Origin of Steel Sterling

March 1999

 

THE "S" FILES!
April May 1999

Here's the fifth installment of our series re-telling the origins of some of our favorite superheroes. This month, we'll take a look at The Jaguar!

THE "S" FILES!
June 1999

Here's the sixth installment of our series re-telling the origins of some of our favorite superheroes. This month, we'll take a look at The Shield!

THE "S" FILES!
July - November 1999

S" stands for "SUPER," and every month we'll give you tasty tidbits regarding what helps make a hero a hero.

Here's the seventh installment of our series re-telling the origins of some of our favorite superheroes. This month, we'll take a look at Mr. Justice!

 

 

 

THE "S" FILES!
June 2000

"S" stands for "SUPER," and in each new installment we'll give you tasty tidbits regarding what helps make a hero a hero.

This time, we continue our special series of public service announcements featuring some of our favorite superheroes! This time, our featured hero is Capt. Flag, teaching us all about Bicycle Safety!

 

THE "S" FILES!
July 2000

 

"S" stands for "SUPER," and in each new installment we'll give you tasty tidbits regarding what helps make a hero a hero.

This time, we continue our special series of public service announcements featuring some of our favorite superheroes! This time, our featured hero is Bob Phantom, teaching us all about Roller-Blading Safety!

TM/ 2003 ACO


WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
November 1997

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present... THE FLIPPER! The Flipper was a rouge circus acrobat who used gymnastics to gyp the law-abiding. In the story, "The Web Versus The Flipper" from MIGHTY COMICS #46 (May, 1967), this nimble no-goodnik terrorized a Mayoral conference and robbed Roxley's Department Store! The Big Top proved to be "The Big Stop" for The Flipper, however, when The Web tracked him back to his circus lair and did some flipping of his own!

 

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
December 1997

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present... THE PHANTOM OF THE PENITENTIARY! The most striking feature of this rascally rogue was the fact that he bore an uncanny resemblance to the title monster in one of the many 1950s monster flicks that's "so bad it's good": ROBOT MONSTER! That no-budget, no-brainer drive-in classic featured a monster from outer space who was less than scary: all the producer could afford was a gorilla suit and a helmet for the poor chap! Of course, an artist's imagination isn't limited by budgets-- so we can only guess that THE PHANTOM OF THE PENITENTIARY wore basically the same exact outfit because the artist was up late trying to meet a deadline, and this turkey of turkeys flickered in the background on his TV screen! But while his outfit may have been uncool, the character turned out to be rather tragic. In a story bearing his name which originally appeared in MIGHTY COMICS #47 (July, 1967), this hairy hooligan hassled The Hangman! Everyone knows that's a bad move! By story's end, it was revealed that this towering figure was none other than former- warden Meggs! How did an average, middle-aged man pull off such a rampage? The thought of enforced retirement pushed him over the edge and started to suffer from a split personality! When his dark side took over, he donned this strange outfit and had the super-human strength of a madman! With a spotless record of law enforcement before his affliction, the Hangman had compassion for him, and looked forward to his rehabilitation.

 

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
January 1998

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present... THE KNAVE! The Shield tangled with this no-goodnik in the pages of MIGHTY COMICS PRESENTS #41, (Dec., 1966).

Poor Shield-- all he wants to do is land a steady job for his alter ego, Joe Higgins. Soon, he's singing "I've been working on the railroad," as a railroad construction worker... but no sooner does he get this job than his livelihood is derailed! Spotting a notorious gang of train-robbers, he feigns cowardice and is fired from his job-- but he had no choice, because he had to leave the site to nab those crooks! Nab them he does, but as he prepares to leave, a young man hands The Shield what he's told is a fan letter-- but he's instructed not to read it for an hour. Well, read it he does... and it turns out to be a challenge from a new super-baddie on the scene: The Knave! This character, claiming to be an all-star athlete using his prowess for crime, wants to play the Shield for sport-- will the Shield be able to stop his crime wave? The battle lines are drawn as The Shield, as instructed, meets the Medieval-garbed crook at the local sports store at Midnight. At first, the Knave appears to be no match for our hero, but when he grabs a bag full of golf clubs and flings them at the Shield, it's lights out for the star-spangled crusader! The next evening, The Shield receives another note-- this time the Knave's target is a wealthy business man's yacht! The game of cat and mouse takes The Shield from the crystal waters to the dock of the pier to a marine museum-- where the Shield finally nabs this slippery suspect-- in a fish net, of course!

 

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
February 1998

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present... THE MIND MONSTER! This creepy crook with the crate- sized cranium created chaos for The Jaguar in a story appropriately titled, THE JAGUAR VS. THE MIND MONSTER, from THE JAGUAR #12 (May, 1963).

It all began when master scientist, Ralph Hardy, invented a "Memory Ray"-- a revolutionary device which increases the power of an animal's brain so that they can memorize facts and learn anything instantly! As fate would have it, late one night a dim-witted thief breaks into Ralph Hardy's lab, hoping to score some "priceless stuff" from his safe! Within moments, he's tripped over the Memory Ray, setting it off! This once typical-looking thug now has a head the size of a medicine ball-- and a lumpy one at that! Horrified at his reflection in a mirror, he wants to destroy the machine-- but then realizes he may need it to change himself back. He reasons that only Hardy would know how to counteract his condition. Miraculously, his mind instantly tells him Ralph Hardy's phone number. Realizing he can instantly solve any puzzle or problem, the crook's mind figures out the combination to the safe's lock! Not only that, he realizes that Ralph Hardy and The Jaguar are one and the same! He comes up with a master plan: steal as much money as possible, and then blackmail Hardy, threatening to reveal his secret identity if he won't change him back! Just when it looks like he'll get away with it, the unexpected happens: the ray's reaction wears off naturally, changing the "Mind Monster" back to his regular, hoodlum self-- with no memory of ever having had intelligence! The security of the world... and Ralph Hardy's vault... and The Jaguar's secret identity... are all safe once more, thanks to the crazy-mixed-up world of science!

 

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
March 1998

 This time, we are proud (NOT!) to present... THE HAMMERHEAD! Appearing in THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #7 (October, 1966) in a story titled, THE SAVAGE HAMMERHEAD, this was a baddie who literally lived up to his name! Looking like professional wrestler George "The Animal" Steele, this brute sported a black and red jumpsuit with a hammerhead helmet! It all begins when The Shield and The Black Hood are high overhead, patrolling the world in their "C-Craft." Suddenly, their flying machine goes off course. It is being pulled to the ground by a mysterious magnetic force! It soon becomes apparent that a magnetic ray machine is behind the abduction. As the duo exit their ship, they are set upon by a humangous mechanical spider - with giant hammers for arms! Dodging the crushing blows of these gigantic tentacles, our heroes are greeted by Hammerhead himself! Hammerhead announces his plans to annihilate them and the rest of The Crusaders and launch a campaign of "larceny unlimited!" While he tangles with The Shield and The Black Hood, his giant-spider contraption resumes its attack, much to Hammerhead's surprise!:

"My mechanism was automated to resume the attack! Now I'll be destroyed, too!"

But then, Hammerhead remembers he has got his very own clicker:

"Wait! This remote control device will switch off the attackorama!"

The fisticuffs then continue, when finally...

"Thanks to the remarkable new costume which had been gratuitously presented to The Shield by the battle-wise technicians of the evil-combating organization called T.R.I.U.M.P.H..."

Yes, those are twinkling stars emanating from the front of The Shield's costume, creating a case of star-spangled blindness for Hammerhead!

Yes, only in the swinging sixties could The Shield be given this truly "grooviest" of powers! Needless to say, Hammerhead was soon "nailed" - and the Hammer was sent to the slammer!

 

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
April 1998

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present... THE GLOATER! Appearing in FLY MAN #37 (May, 1966), in a story titled, THE GLADIATOR FROM TOMORROW, this was one cosmic baddie! Flying through time, seeking anyone who'd fight him, one day he decided to monitor The Shield! Learning his secret identity, The Gloater tracked the Shield down and challenged him:

"I roam through time-and-space seeking adversaries worthy of being combated by my fantastic might! I warn you that this battle-suit I engineered contains a multitude of amazing, deadly weapons!"

And so, being the brave hero he is, The Shield accepts the challenge! The Gloater's suit, however, is proving to be more than a match for The Shield, when they are interrupted by a pack of hungry wolves. The Shield diverts the wolves' attention to his foe, but the Gloater's gadgets make them flee instead! While The Gloater is preoccupied with the wolves, however, The Shield grabs a tree trunk and hurls him into the mud! Back on his feet, the Gloater once again attempts to shoot acid, gas and molten liquid at The Shield, but the spouts on his suit are filled with mud! To quote The Shield:

"Just as I planned, the hard clay you took a mud-bath in has plugged up some of your suit's nozzles! The forces you're trying to unleash at me, are back-firing at you!!!"

Inevitably, The Gloater's suit explodes from the pressure -- revealing a dwarf-like alien within! The malevolent Shield allows the defeated Gloater to return to his home planet, however:

"If I'm a judge of character, he'll return to chicken-plucking, or whatever his job in the future was and quite playing the bully!"

And so, another adventure ends for the star-spangled crusader!

 

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
May 1998

THE MONSTER MASTER! Appearing in THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #7 (October, 1966), this craggy-looking creep posed a multiple - threat to the valiant hero, Steel Sterling! Using his "robot- brain" computer, the Monster Master inputs all of Steel Sterling's attributes, in the hopes that the computer will suggest "monsters capable of defeating that crusading swine!" One by one, however, his creatures of destruction fail. Finally, he enlists the computer to transform himself into "A Steel-Sterling-Destroying-Creature!" The Monster Master gains "Doom Antennae" in his metamorphosis -- "each antennae has a different, amazing power!" For awhile, it looks like The Monster Master may actually be strong enough to defeat Steel Sterling, but when he threatens to dismantle his computer once he gets rid of Steel, he seals his fate! During the heat of battle, the Monster Master is actually sucked into and trapped inside the computer! The computer gave the Monster Master antennae for just this purpose -- he didn't want to be dismantled! Steel Sterling, recognizing the computer's goodness, adopts it as his own, and once again, the earth is saved -- thanks to one of The Mighty Crusaders!!!

 

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
June 1998

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present... THE KARATE MASTER! Appearing in MIGHTY COMICS #42 (January, 1967), this bulky brute badgered The Black Hood! It all began innocently enough, as The Black Hood agreed to take part in a charity wrestling match. His opponent, however, seemed to be out to destroy The Black Hood for real! The two tussle in an all-out frenzy, bodies being flung across the ring! When the Black Hood sends The Karate Master sailing towards the window, The Karate Master draws forth a gun and starts shooting, only to escapes out the window when he runs out of bullets. Needless to say, his actions leaving The Black Hood and the police perplexed. Groggy after his intense battle, The Black Hood tries to rest in his dressing room, but is knocked out by a mysterious gas! Waking to find himself back in the ring, he once again faces The Karate Master! It appears The Karate Master kidnapped him and is now staging his own wrestling match:

"Now it can be told that I have been hired by gangland to destroy you, their greatest nemesis!"

The Black Hood must valiantly face his opponent once more. Flinging him into the gun-toting thugs planted in the corner of the ring, The Black Hood uses those very guns to shoot out the windows, sending the crooks into a panic! Of course, the police were alerted of the gunfire and to their surprise, found the biggest collection of wanted criminals ever gathered under one roof! Unfortunately, in all the excitement, The Karate Master himself manages to escape, but our hero pursues him. The chase leads The Karate Master to hijack a police car, which The Black Hood manages to leap upon at the last moment! A fierce struggle for control of the steering wheel follows, leading to the car careening off a bridge! The water-logged brawlers continue their battle, but The Black Hood gets the upper hand... or should we say fist... and The Karate Master is brought to justice:

"Too bad the audience at our benefit show didn't get to see you defeat the Karate Master," said the policeman.

The Black Hood replied, "You can't have everything, I guess... Ha, ha!"

Once again, a Mighty Crusader proves that crime does not pay!!!

 

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
July 1998

Yowza'! Here we are at creep central! Each month, we'll highlight one of the many crummy crooks to tangle with The Web or the other Mighty Crusaders!


This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present... PHANTASMON THE TERRIBLE! Appearing in FLY MAN #35 (January, 1966), this icky intergalactic eyesore decided to invade Earth just for the heck of it! And he didn't waste any time about it, either, as, astride his demonic winged dragon, he swooped down out of the cosmos in the very first panel, facing off against Fly Man and Fly Girl:

"So... it's Earth's two great champions... Fly Man and Fly Girl! Be warned that I am the mightiest of the the warlords of the planet Diablor... to oppose me is useless and stupid!"

Unfortunately, he may be right, as his powers are many and mighty! He can control fire... he can shoot lightning bolts out of his nostrils... he can stretch himself to fantastic lengths... and worst of all, he can conjure evil alien entities! He does just that, right after he siphons our heroes' strength so they can do nothing but lie helpless and witness the mayhem! Calling the evil entities his "Alieog-Laboid Henchmen," he conjures Sorro -- who has the power of spreading misery; Disastro, who causes disaster wherever he goes; and The Crumbler, whose "mere presence can prove to be uniquely calamitous!" Soon, with Fly Man and Fly Girl incapacitated, they set forth with nothing less than the wholesale conquest of Earth on their monstrous minds! There's only one hope -- and it is as dangerous as it is unexpected: Fly Man calls forth the evil Bee-Man -- his sworn enemy from the underworld of monsters -- and convinces him that the alien Phantasmon and his Alieog-Laboid henchman plan to interfere with the Earth monsters' own plans for domination! Once the monsters defeat the aliens, the heroes' powers return, and in gratitude for tipping them off, the monsters retreat to their underworld domain with their new prisoners in tow, leaving our heroes behind in peace!

 

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
September 1998

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present...THE AMOEBA MAN!

Appearing in THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #48 (January, 1967), in a story appropriately titled, "The Shield Vs. The Amoeba Man," this gelatinous glop of goo tried to do away with The Shield once and for all! That "dreaded international amalgam of evildoers," known as P.E.R.I.L., created another in a long line of weird beings in their efforts to destroy The Shield: THE AMOEBA MAN! The Amoeba Man is not shy -- he attacks The Shield right on the street and really gives him a run for his money:

"Ulp! This is like battling a bowl of jelly! The thing is enveloping me in its substance! And the sustained contact is d-draining away my strength!"

And sap The Shield's strength he does. In his weakened state, The Shield is carried off by The Amoeba Man and placed into a space capsule, where they head off toward another planet. While airborne, the masters of P.E.R.I.L. transmit a message to the spaceship from their subterranean headquarters:

"Hear this, Shield! Your satellite prison will orbit Earth for many years! There is no water and no food in the craft! How long do you think you will survive under such adverse circumstances?"

As if things weren't bad enough, The Shield didn't count on one of his deadliest foes escaping prison: The Wizard! This version of The Wizard (unlike his heroic Golden Age counterpart), was a vile villain whom The Shield had locked away! But when he learned that P.E.R.I.L. might defeat his foe, he felt slighted indeed:

"Know you not that The Shield is my rightful prey? He played a key role in having me jailed! Now that I have escaped, he is mine...and mine alone...to vanquish!"

The Wizard makes short work of the P.E.R.I.L. agents, and proceeds to knock the satellite out of orbit. Landing back on Earth, The Shield must now face the terrible tag team of The Amoeba Man and The Wizard! But greed and pride are dangerous things, and the two villains end up fighting over who will destroy The Shield! Their fierce battle sends them hurtling over a cliff, and The Shield lives yet another day to fight for justice!

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
October 1998

This time, in honor of Halloween, we're proud (NOT!) to present a story called...The Lady and the Monster from ADVENTURES OF THE FLY #13 (July, 1961).

Enjoying a date at the movies, The Fly and movie star Kim Brand take in the latest sci-fi film. After Kim comments that she's glad aliens don't really exist, the Fly tells her they are real, and takes her to the laboratory of Professor Jahkle. The Professor has created a replica of an alien from Saturn, but in the midst of trying to control it, he has a heart attack! Since only he can work the control board, it's up to the Fly to save his friends...and himself...from this robot run wild! It's no use, however, and the monster breaks free and into the street. It seems like a hopeless situation, when suddenly, the monster returns with a bouquet of flowers for Kim! He abducts Kim -- not harming her, but not letting her go, either. The Fly soon follows them to a missile base, but his attempts to stop the onslaught are useless. In the end, it's beauty who kills the beast, as Kim lures the robot to high tension wires, which naturally short him out!

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
November 1998

 

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present a story called... THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS VS. THE BRAIN EMPEROR from THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #1 (November, 1965). In their inaugural edition, the greatest heroes of the Mighty Comics universe were commencing with their formation. Before they ever officially united, however, The Brain Emperor threw a monkey wrench into the works: sending five evil creatures down from the cosmos before his own arrival. The Crusaders made short work of each of them. The Shield shattered Thornaldo, Black Hood blasted Bombor, Fly Girl flattened Wax-Man and The Comet clobbered Electroso. Mysteriously, after absorbing his powers, Force-Man fled The Fly.

After the villains were vanquished, an unforeseen event took place: the heroes squabbled over who was the mightiest! Naturally, this wasn't helping them to become a team! The Brain Emperor was counting on the old expression, "United We Stand, Divided We Fall," to aid him in his quest of world domination. Silly bad guy! Having a common foe to unite against only made our heroes realize the error of their ways! Ultimately, the heroes pretend to have fallen under The Brain Emperor's command, only to mentally defeat him and short-circuit his will! The heroes send him back to where he came from, and from that day forward, pledge to protect the earth as a team -- as earth's mightiest team, THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS!!!

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
December 1998

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present a story called... THE HUMAN OCTOPUS from THE ADVENTURES OF THE JAGUAR #15 (November, 1963). It all starts on Octopus Island, where an ancient legend warns that serious danger will befall those who raid its cove's oyster beds! Well, some crooks don't believe in legends, and it's here that we find two-bit crook Rod Roscoe and his two henchman approaching the cove in their boat. Roscoe, scuba gear on, only has one goal: obtain the million-dollar pure black pearl within the giant oyster below! His henchman get cold feet -- they don't want to test the legend, and they know that The Jaguar is hot on their trail, so they drop Roscoe off in the water and sail away. The Jaguar is two steps ahead of them, however, and stops them before they can make their getaway. The henchman tip the Jaguar off to Roscoe's scheme, and he races through the ocean's depths in hopes of capturing Roscoe before tragedy strikes! But he is too late: as Roscoe approaches the oyster, strange radiation engulfs his body, transforming him into an Octopus man! Not only that, but he now has the powers of all sea creatures at his disposal! A mighty battle ensues, and for awhile it looks like curtains for the Jaguar, until the Jaguar gets a brilliant idea:

"What if he only has his powers within the range of that strange pearl's radiation? I can't lose anything by playing my hunch! So I'll kick the pearl way out to sea!"

In so doing, the Human Octopus turns back into plain old Rod Roscoe again, and barely a match for our terrific titan! Another case solved by that friend of all animals, The Jaguar!

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
January 1999

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present... THE METAL WITCH! This sinister siren proved to be a fly in the ointment for Fly Girl in MIGHTY CRUSADERS #7 (October, 1966).

To find out just why the Metal Witch is in such a foul mood, you have to go back to the beginning -- and this story, entitled "The Origin Of Fly Girl," does just that. It re-tells how Kim Brand received her Fly powers, while also bringing us up- to-date on her current dilemmas. It seems that The Fly himself was once in a very tight spot -- being pummeled by The Metal Master -- and it didn't look good! Turan, the Fly World emissary who had given The Fly his powers, couldn't bear to watch from above while one of Earth's greatest champions was being destroyed! He decided to bestow The Fly powers on another deserving Earthling -- actress Kim Brand, who answered the call and saved The Fly from imminent destruction -- and destroyed The Metal Master in the process!

Fast-forward a few years, and the situation is now reversed: Kim Brand's palatial Hollywood mansion is invaded by The Metal Witch! The Metal Witch announces she is the Metal Master's mate -- and she's come from the "doom dimension" seeking vengeance! Using her command of metals, she levitates Kim's Fly ring right off her finger, rendering her incapable of transforming into Fly Girl! The Fly is returning from Fly World, where Turan has given him a ring granting him even greater powers than before. He can't wait to tell Fly Girl, and is speeding towards her estate, unaware of the danger she's in. But not for long! Proving that one good turn deserves another, this time it is The Fly who saves Fly Girl! The Metal Witch flees the scene, and Kim is once again able to become Fly Girl. She and The Fly take off after The Metal Witch, and in the process, discover the new powers they have when their rings touch: they can change shape and size, move at incredible speed and have enhanced strength! Together, they use these new powers to defeat the Metal Witch, sending her hurling into space!

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
February 1999

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present...THE MAD GADGETEER!

This gimmicky goon turned out to be a real tough game for that master criminal hunter, The Black Hood, in MIGHTY COMICS #44 (March, 1967). It all started when someone masquerading as The Black Hood robbed a local factory. The punk he's pursuing has a devious plan -- frame The Black Hood, then blow him up to make the authorities think the crook has been done away with! But we're talking about The Black Hood here -- master crime-fighter, who easily evades all attempts to make him extinct!

The Black Hood manages to chase the scoundrel into the pit of a cave. But victory is only temporary, as the villain re- emerges, complete with an armor-clad uniform! And that's not all: he can shoot "obliteration rays" from his helmet and "anti- gravity rays" from his gloves! After a mighty assault, The Gadgeteer leaves The Black Hood for dead... but of course, this is our hero! When he comes to, The Black Hood decides to investigate the pit the crook fell into:

Something inside that pit prevented the arch-villain from dying, when he fell into the pit! Not only that, it changed him into The Gadgeteer! Perhaps whatever aided him in his ambition to become what could very well be the world's mightiest crook, may enable me to defeat him!

The Black Hood hurtles into the pit to find an amazing machine. Out of it, a mechanical voice spoke:

This complex was created eons ago by a long-perished, highly advanced ancient race of subterranean dwellers! This complex can make your greatest desire come true! Merely voice your wish, and this machine shall outfit you, by rearranging atomic air-particles about you, so that you can achieve what you yearn for! Speak swiftly...the complex is about to collapse after these many eons...

And collapse it did, in a massive explosion! When the dust cleared, The Black Hood mysteriously found a strange belt around his waist! Returning to the surface, he once again encounters The Mad Gadgeteer. The Mad Gadgeteer throws his entire arsenal at The Black Hood -- but miraculously, it doesn't hurt him:

The mystery belt worn by the man of mystery enables his atomic particles to cling together despite the mighty ray launched against him...

With this new power, The Black Hood makes short work of The Mad Gadgeteer -- and in a split moment, both The Gadgeteer's get-up and The Black Hood's belt disintegrate:

Into the trash can with this armor and the amazing belt I wore! They're already beginning to automatically dissolve, their designed use ended!

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
March 1999

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present...THE STORM KING!

This wizard of weather made things stormy for The Shield back in MIGHTY COMICS #43 (February, 1967). It all began when a strange visitor from another dimension landed smack dab in the middle of The Shield's world! At first, this being seemed benevolent, but once The Shield shook his hand, an amazing transformation took place -- he turned into a diabolical fiend whose most simple gestures could change the weather -- for the worse!

The Storm King proceeds to wreak havoc on the city, and it's up to The Shield to quell his rain... er, reign of terror! This is harder than it sounds, however, as The Shield's valiant efforts are thwarted by The Storm King at every turn! The Storm King uses everything at his disposal: stinging lightning, pounding hail, mammoth winds! To top it all off, he puts the city in a deep-freeze with a blinding blizzard, then melts it all with a "nuclear" thaw! It gets so bad, even the armed forces are called in. But after a raging battle and massive assault, The Storm King manages to escape unscathed. Calling an emergency meeting, The Shield and government officials agree that one man may be able to succeed where many failed -- that perhaps if one person were to get close enough to The Storm King, and learn his weakness, the battle could be won!

The Shield manages to sneak into The Storm King's spaceship, and finds him destroying a rare element -- "intragorium" -- which is contained in a slab. Thinking fast, The Shield sneaks up on The Storm King and grabs the slab of intragorium! As he inches closer to The Storm King with the slab, The Storm King starts to waver:

The closer you approach, the w-weaker my powers are getting!

And he was right. As The Shield got even closer, The Storm King turned back into the kind visitor he was when he arrived! But we'll let The Storm King explain it:

Apparently, while I traveled through time, a 4th-dimensional evil being managed to gain possession of me... and the humankind-hating thing that took over and went on that rampage after I reached this era! That's what caused the regrettable transformation in me!

Taking pity on him, The Shield waves off the being, who returns to his own time and dimension. And so, the Earth is safe once again, thanks to one of the Mighty Crusaders!!!

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
April May 1999

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present...THE SKULL!

This bone-head gave The Black Hood a headache in MIGHTY COMICS #47 (June, 1967) (although our sample art is actually from a "teaser" coming attraction that ran in MIGHTY COMICS #46, from May of 1967). This master of skullduggery faced The Black Hood head-on-- literally, as he pounded forth on horseback, his bazooka lance aimed squarely at our square-jawed hero. A fierce battle ensues, but The Skull manages to escape to his skull-shaped cave. Soon after, a strange little man in glasses, trench coat and fedora enters The Skull's lair. It is "The Abominable Schemer." Apparently:

"The Skull has let it become known through the underworld grapevine that he will gladly pay a million dollars to whomever can cause him to accomplish his most cherished goal..."

...namely, destroying The Black Hood! The Abominable Schemer arrives with just such a scheme -- he has a special "projector" that enables one to enter their enemy's dreams and slay them from within! Once he unveils his equipment, however, the dirty, double-crossing Skull feeds The Abominable Schemer to his hungry, giant spider! The Skull wastes no time testing out the projection device, and as The Black Hood dreams, the ghastly ghoul enters his subconscious -- turning The Black Hood's dream into a nightmare! Another slam-bang battle ensues, but The Skull learns that, even while dreaming, The Black Hood makes a formidable opponent! Meanwhile, in the spider's web, an amazing surprise about the Abominable Schemer is revealed:

"With my Hyper-Mesmeric power over creatures lower than the human species, I can make this looming monstrosity obey my mental command!"

And it does! Soon, The Schemer is riding the back of the arachnid to safety. He quickly shakes The Skull out of the dream world and exacts his revenge for being betrayed -- tossing The Skull into the very same giant spider's web! Can it really be the end?...

It's the end of Black Hood's nightmare, anyway, as he wakes up. It's the end... for now, that is!!

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
June 1999

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present...THE STAR BEASTS!

This classic story found The Jaguar up to his neck in inter-galactic trouble. on a routine patrol through the jungle, famed zoologist Ralph Hardy notices that something has spooked the animals, yet he can hear no sounds! Transforming himself into The Jaguar, Mighty Lord and Protector of the Animal Kingdom, he jets off throug the air -- all the while his animal instict telling him he's being watched! And watched he is, as he'll soon find out! Coming upon a village being terrorized by a giant insect, he hurtles down to investigate. The insect has no eyes -- it couldn't have been watching him! What it does have is the ability to send trememdous vibrations shotting through its giant antennae! It doesn't look to good for the master of all animal powers, until The Jaguar realizes something:

Instead of seeing, that monstrosity uses its huge ears to hear its prey!

That gives The Jaguar an idea, and soon he is bellowing "with the combined powers of a thousand trumpeting elephants!" The sonic blast does the trick, but as the giant insect mysteriously disappears, a giant anteater with wings materializes to take its place! This creature has the power to send force bands at its enemies -- and these force bands are enough to detain The Jaguar!

But The Jaguar notices that if two bands interact, they cancel one another out. He telepathically enlists the aid of two monkeys to distract the beast, and as the beast shoots a force band in the monkey's direction, The Jaguar puts himself in its path -- effectively having the two bands negate each other! But then...a space ship zooms down and two strange creatures emerge. And with them, the answer to the question of who's been watching The Jaguar is answered:

Thanks to you, the thrill-hungry television audience of our planet -- still watching -- is at last satisfied! We are a TV program producer and director -- and we needed a new kind of sensation -- so we pitted you against our planet's most fearsome beasts!"

Naturally, The Jaguar is not too thrilled with this news:

You endangered my life -- and my jungle friends -- just to give your TV audience some "entertainment?" Well, let's not disappoint your audience -- let's give them some more "entertainment!"

With that, The Jaguar handily dispatches the alien TV executives and sends them back from whence they came -- before the next commercial break!

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
July 1999

Yowza'! Here we are at Creep Central! Each month, we'll highlight one of the many crummy crooks to tangle with The Web or the other Mighty Crusaders. This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present...THE GHOST CYCLIST!

This ghostly goon really scared uptrouble for The Black Hood in MIGHTY COMICS #42 (January, 1967). The action heats up from the opening page, where The Black Hood squares off against a madcyclist in the street. As the cyclist speeds toward The Black Hood, he has no time to get out of the way -- but magically, the cyclist turns transparent and drives right through him! The Black Hood realizes he's up against an unusual foe. The Ghost Cyclist proceeds to knock over a an armored truck -- figuratively and literally! -- by using his Blasto-Ray! The Black Hood is right there, however, and the fisticuffs resume. Knocking The Ghost Cyclist flat, The Black Hood ties him to his cycle and speeds off. However, The Black Hood's victory is short-lived, as The Ghost Cyclist presses a button on his belt causing the cycle to eject our hero! The Ghost Cyclist speeds off, taunting The Black Hood and the police:

I've activated a Space Warp, coppers! G'bye now!

He proceeds to make a speedy getaway, leaving a perplexed Black Hood behind. The Black Hood is sure he's seen The Ghost Cyclist's face before, but he just can't place it from behind his goggles. Luckily, he left a fingerprint behind in some wet pavement, and after some tests, The Black Hood is surprised to learn that The Ghose Cyclist is none other than small-time hood Lou Krawl! Now, The Black Hood is more determined than ever to learn the secret of his ghostly powers!

Meanwhile, at the headquarters of one of the city's most notorious crime gangs, The Ghost Cyclist makes an unannounced visit. It seems Lou tipped the gang off to an easy warehouse heist, but instead of being grateful they welched on Lou! Now, Lou was out for revenge! Using his unusual powers, he makes short work of his fellow thugs. Then, he reveals how he got those powers in the first place: After the heist, the crooks unceremoniously dumped Lou on the outskirts of town -- where he had a close encounter with a friendly space alien! As the cycle-riding alien demonstrates his ghostly powers, he mysteriously vanishes in a burst of color. His outfit, helmet and cycle were all he left behind. Realizing he could use these powers to become a successful criminal -- and get revenge on the gang -- Lou grabbed the alien's gear! But as the crooks lay groggily listening to Lou's tale, The Black Hood reveals himself! He heard the whole story! Once again, they lock in battle -- but the battle once again is short, as The Black Hood can't penetrate the Ghost Cyclist's transparency. The Ghost Cyclist takes the unconscious Black Hood to a cliff and ties him to a boulder. He plans to ram his cycle right into The Black Hood!

Just as I bash you and that boulder off the cliff, I make myself immaterial, see? I'll survive, but you won't! Get it?

The Black Hood ha a plan, however. Remembering how the alien disappeared in a burst of color, The Black Hood stalls the Cyclist by pretending to be a coward and begging for him to spare his life. The plan works...just as The Ghost Cyclist speeds toward our hero, he disappears in a flash of color! The Black Hood's gamble paid off, and he lives to fight crime another day!

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
August 1999

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present...THE KARATE MASTER!!

This bombastic brawler really made things rocky for The Black Hood in MIGHTY COMICS #42 (January, 1967). It all began in the wrestling ring, as The Black Hood agreed to perform in a charity match to benefit underprivileged children. Little did he know his opponent would be a behemoth wearing the mask of a fabled demon-- a behemoth known as The Karate Master!

But why is he REALLY trying to hurt The Black Hood in a battle our hero rightfully thought was just a friendly exhibition match? When The Karate Master realizes that The Black Hood just won't take his abuse lying down, he resorts to more primitive means-- by pulling out a gun! Luckily, no one is hurt, but when The Karate Master runs out of bullets, he runs out of the ring as well!

Snatching a motorcycle from the street, he speeds off leaving our stunned hero to ponder the unexpected attack he has just faced! Dazed and confused, The Black Hood wanders off to the dressing room to try and rest it all off. Within moments, a metal door slams, trapping him inside as mysterious gas floods the chamber! In a delusional state, visions of The Karate Master dance through The Black Hood's head, and when he awakes, he is shocked to find himself back in the ring once more-- but this time, he's fighting The Karate Master in an arena filled with mobsters!!! The Black Hood, thinking on this feet, knocks The Karate Master right into a couple of hoods who are watching at ringside. The force is enough to make them drop their pistols, which The Black Hood quickly retrieves! In an unprecedented move, The Black Hood shoots the pistols into the air-- why isn't he just trying to escape? This makes the mobsters angry, as they had paid The Karate Master plenty to do away with their nemesis! But The Black Hood is no dummy-- knowing there is a police precinct next door, an army of police officers swarm the ring in response to the shots fired! In the commotion, The Karate Master manages to escape, but The Black Hood is right on his tail! Jumping into the police car The Karate Master has commandeered, The Black Hood initiates a fierce struggle for the steering wheel which sends them both hurtling into the water below! When it comes to underwater agility, the lumbering Karate Master is no match for the limber Black Hood, and before long justice has triumphed once again, thanks to one of the mightiest crusaders of all!

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
September 1999

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present... THE RED SHADOW!!

This mega monstrosity tried to make mincemeat of The Shield in "The Doom Shadow Of P.E.R.I.L." from MIGHTY COMICS #45 (April, 1967). It all starts when the cowardly criminal minds that compose the infamous P.E.R.I.L. create a device that forms a "powerful, monstrous non-being created out of the atoms in the air." This being, which they call The Red Shadow, is so powerful, in fact, that the villains note, "Whatever it bashes will remain bashed!" They plan to use the creature to defeat The Shield and take over the world! But some among them wonder if it might not be a better idea to try to get The Shield to join them instead. The Vibrateer and The Blender are dispatched to make The Shield this offer "he can't refuse"-- because if he does, he will perish at the hands of The Red Shadow! But refuse it he does! Now, he must face this menacing monster. The battle looks futile, but just as it appears The Shield will have to hang up his boots for good, a strange phenomenon occurs: he wishes he could look upon his girlfriend Nancy one more time before the end-- and then her image magically appears before him! Reasons The Shield:

"Some side-effect of The Red Shadow's substance materializes your heart-felt wish if you concentrate hard enough!"

Realizing the potential of this development, The Shield focuses with all his might to envision a "good" version of The Red Shadow... A Blue Shield Shadow! The battle is short and intense, but finally, The Blue Shield Shadow lets loose with a punch never to be forgotten. To quote The Blue Shield Shadow:

"Good... conquers.. evil! Me... bop... Red Shadow... into... nothingness! Beyond... stratosphere... solar rays... dissolve... you!"

Having served The Shield well, the Blue Shield Shadow also fades into oblivion... and the Shield lives to fight for truth another day!

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
October 1999

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present... EURYSTHEUS!

This legendary tyrant from mythology who gave Hercules a hard time never reckoned on meeting with The Jaguar! But meet they did, in THE JAGUAR #5 (March, 1962).

It all started when famed zoologist Frank Hardy, secretly The Jaguar, visited the ancient Greek ruins in Athens. While admiring animal sculptures, the man with the power of the animals found himself on shaky ground-- literally-- as an earth tremor ripped it open beneath his feet! Thinking fast, Ralph activates his magic belt to become The Jaguar, and in seconds is speeding out of what would have been his tomb! Not realizing he's traveling at the speed of light, he zips right out of the present and into ancient Greece! Just in time, too, as a nasty giant is about to squish a man beneath his feet! The giant proves no match for The Jaguar, and the injured but grateful man tells how an evil tyrant named Eurystheus is holding 1,000 Athenians hostage, vowing to destroy them unless the man accepts his challenge. The Jaguar decides to substitute for the injured man, but only has 24 hours to complete the tasks! The first is a cake-walk, as The Jaguar easily renders a lion helpless.

The next one isn't so easy-- The Jaguar must fight a creature who multiplies each time he hits it! The only way to defeat it is to hit it repeatedly so it multiplies too much and gets stuck in its pit! Then it's back to sure ground, as The Jaguar handily dispenses of a stag and a boar. Next up, The Jaguar lifts King Augeus' entire stable, soaking it in the river to cleanse it. Then it's to the skies to take on the deadly cannibal birds of Lake Stymphalis-- who he dispatches by aiming the exhaust of his jet belt at them! The Jaguar makes short work of the Cretan bull.

His next challenge is to obtain the armor of Queen Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons. Convincing her that he has a special ointment that can make the armor as invincible as his skin, she gladly hands it over! Then it's off to capture the oxen of the Monster Geryon, avoid the dragon guard while gathering the golden apples of Hesperides, and finally, retrieve the three-headed dog Cerebus from the center of the earth! The Jaguar has successfully completed the 12 tasks, but in an attempt to stop Cerebus, who has broken free, he goes through the light barrier again and finds himself back in the present!

Back in the ancient Greek ruins, he notices a fresco on a temple wall depicting Hercules performing the 12 tasks of Eurysthesus and realizes the man he saved was Hercules, and that he, The Jaguar, actually completed the tasks! Such is the strange life of a super hero!

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!

November 1999

Yowza'! Here we are at Creep Central! Each month, we'll highlight one of the many crummy crooks to tangle with The Web or the other Mighty Crusaders.

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present...REDSTONE!!!

This granite-hard brute put the Crusaders to the test in THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #13 (September, 1985).

It was all part of a plot by some of the city's most sinister organized crime families trafficing illegal goods and substances. They want back up for their hired muscle, a super-baddie called Deadly Force. They decide to bust Redstone out of prison, despite Deadly Force's protest: "But Redstone's crazy-- driven insane by the DNA that mineralized his cell structure!"

Before the baddies can snatch Redstone, he busts out of the armored car transporting him on his own!

Meanwhile, The Shield and The Black Hood have their hands full with Deadly Force, who has commandeered the Port Authority Bus Station! When Redstone starts tearing up the city streets outside, The Shield goes into action! Like a giant lump of clay, Redstone is able to shift his shape into any form he wants, and is giving The Shield a rough time! The other Crusaders are notified of the conflict when their microchip beepers go off, and soon join the battle!

It's a fierce one, one in which The Comet is nearly destroyed by Deadly Force's "force bolts!" Dispatching of The Jaguar as well, Deadly Force is able to retreat-- but in the end, the joke is on him -- the money and substances he pilfered both turned out to be phony! Now he has to answer to his bosses -- and they won't be too happy!

Meanwhile, The Black Hood has made Redstone his target, literally! Shooting at the behemoth seems useless at first, until The Black Hood notices some hairline cracks in the stone! Hammering away at those cracks eventually causes Redstone to break apart!

The battle is over, but the city is in shambles -- leaving the government wondering if they made the right choice when they agreed to finance The Crusaders! Will our heroes be penalized for fighting the good fight? Life is never easy for super-heroes!

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!

December 1999

Yowza'! Here we are at Creep Central! Each month, we'll highlight one of the many crummy crooks to tangle with The Web or the other Mighty Crusaders.

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present...FALSEFACE!!

This felon full of phony facades literally "faced off" against The Hangman in MIGHTY COMICS #45 (April, 1967), a battle full of surprising twists and turns!

It all began when The Hangman spotted Falseface driving off to the airport in an attempt to skip out of the country and enjoy his ill-gotten gains!

At first, Falseface tries to run down The Hangman with his car, but The Hangman's magic rope allows him to swing out of the way in the nick of time! Using the rope as a whip, The Hangman pops Falseface's tires, causing a blow-out. The pursuit continues on foot, as Falseface ducks inside the city museum.

Once inside, he disguises himself as a beatnik, and tries to convince The Hangman that he's just a concerned citizen. Although The Hangman is not fooled, it doesn't matter -- Falseface manages to flip him over a railing! The Hangman is saved from doom when he grabs a chandelier, swinging back to deliver a crunching kick to Falseface! As the tussle continues, Falseface is knocked into the statue of an ancient cat god, leading to an unexpected and amazing result:

"As he lurches erect, a device in the artifact, triggered by the impact, shines mysterious rays upon his form... doubling him in size and multiplying his body nine times!"

Now, The Hangman is surrounded by multiple Falsefaces! But The Hangman is not easily defeated. Thinking fast, he reverses the effect of the statue by hurling it against the wall-- causing Falseface to return to his singular self! After that, it doesn't take long for The Hangman to put this creep away, once again, keeping the world safe for law-abiding citizens everywhere!

 

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
January 2000

Yowza'! Here we are at creep central! Each month, we'll highlight one of the many crummy crooks to tangle with The Web or the other Mighty Crusaders!


This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present...THE MAESTRO!!

In last month's installment of "Web Of Intrigue", we highlighted a story that was nearly The Crusaders' last: "The Mighty Crusaders' Blackest Day," from THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #6 (August, 1966). In that story, The Crusaders were defeated at every turn, as their efforts to do the right thing conflicted with the interests of the CIA, the FBI and the Secret Service. Feeling unappreciated, things only went from bad to worse as they held a special meeting to determine their fate. Stepping onto their special "Star-Olator" device, the heroes are taken by surprise as it winds up tunneling through the surface! The Fly exclaims:

"Some powerful force is attracting this gizmo through a great underground tunnel!"

As they land, colorful slide pictures of the day's mishaps appear on the wall, forcing the Crusaders to relive their painful run-ins with the authorities! Those images are soon joined by one of a strange man operating a contraption which is a cross between a giant typewriter and a pipe organ! The man identifies himself:

"I, the Maestro, brought you here! Each console key triggers a different remote-controlled device!" The Maestro then proceeds to put the Crusaders through another round of trials and tests: First, The Fly and Fly Girl must contend with a giant bee-- which isn't a problem for them, because they are able to communicate with all insects, and shortly call off the threat.

The Shield is the next victim-- as a trap door opens beneath him, he heads straight for long, piercing spikes! Thinking fast, he is able to throw a rope up to the Black Hood before his body makes impact with the spikes. Soon, he is pulled back up to safety.

Next on the list are The Comet and The Black Hood, who are sent hurtling through a vacuum jet tube without their weapons! As the Fly and Fly Girl try to help, a mysterious diamond device is lowered, taking away their powers! When The Comet and The Black Hood finish their journey through the tube, they end up in a mysterious room of fire, flames shooting up everywhere! Soon, the flames will engulf the entire room. The Maestro taunts the heroes-- the only hope of survival is an elevating metal disk big enough for only one person to stand on! The Maestro gleefully announces thatThe Black Hood and The Comet must battle each other to see who survives! The joke is on The Maestro, however, the heroes only pretend to battle one another, getting close enough to one another to whisper a plan: at the last moment, both ride to safety as The Comet stands on Black Hood's shoulders!

The victory is short-lived, however-- as The Fly, Fly Girl and The Shield literally "drop in" on the other heroes! Giant clamps secure them to large, metallic horses-- the Maestro's sending them on a race straight into "meat-grinding blades!" The Maestro explains this latest test:

"Ha ha! The winner will lose... because the blades will retract after demolishing the leading jockey! Any Crusader who wishes to be excused from this race to death need only nod this signifying you'll agree to do only evil deeds forevermore!"

Valiant to the end, the Crusaders stick together, not giving in to evil, even if it means one of them will die! With that heroic gesture, they are suddenly released from their saddles. The puzzled Crusaders then learn why they are set free:

"You have just passed some tests, superbly! Actually, emergency devices would've saved you from death... but each time, you cleverly rescued yourselves from peril! You've earned the right to join T.R.I.U.M.P.H., an international organization against evil! As members of T.R.I.U.M.P.H., you will get instructions designed to keep you from stepping on the toes of other law-agencies!"

The Maestro goes on to tell the Crusaders that their headquarters henceforth will be in his underground chambers, and that more changes are to come! Chief among them: a brand-new power for the Shield: "Foe-focusing shooting stars" that shoot forth from the star designs on the chest of his costume!

In the end, it turns out that Maestro is actually a way-cool dude after all! What a reversal!

See you next month...

 

 

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!
February 2000

Yowza'! Here we are at Creep Central! Each month, we'll highlight one of the many crummy crooks to tangle with The Web or the other Mighty Crusaders.

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present...KREE-NAL!!

This sultry siren with the green skin menaced the Jaguar in the tale, "The Sea Circe From Space," from THE JAGUAR #3 (November, 1961).

The trouble all started while famed zoologist, Ralph Hardy (who is secretly the Jaguar) was vacationing at a West Indies resort. Unbeknownst to Ralph, trouble is brewing nearby, a few miles off St. Jean Island. A trio of sightseers on a motorboat notice a strange waterspout following them. Before they know it, a beautiful, green skinned girl has sprung forth from the water! Before they can escape, the strange girl turns them all into animals, simply by glancing at them! Turning them into a pig, dog and rat, she has the power to control them-- they must obey her every command! She orders them to take her to St. Jean Island-- where the Jaguar is staying!

Arriving at the same hotel, Kree-nal starts her rampage by turning beauty pageant contestants into horrible monsters! Soon, she's turning everyone in her sight into monsters. Meanwhile, Ralph, who was admiring the animals in the local zoo, becomes aware of the commotion and decides to investigate. Kree-nal is not intimidated-- she tries to turn The Jaguar into a monster, too! But her powers don't work on The Jaguar. The Jaguar decides he better use his power to communicate with all animals to control Kree-nal's monsters, but just as she was powerless against him, his powers prove to be useless, too! Kree-nal explains to The Jaguar how her people came from a distant planet during the age of the dinosaurs. To escape the brutal beasts, her race adapted to living under water. It was at this time that they discovered that on earth, they had the ability to turn whoever or whatever they saw into monsters! Kree-nal also explains that she can't stand the sight of anything ugly. Realizing her powers combined with The Jaguar's could make them the world's most powerful couple, Kree-nal invites The Jaguar to join forces with her:

"Together, we could rule the universe," she exclaims.

The Jaguar has no interest in that-- he just wants all the humans returned to normal! He realizes there's only one solution. He agrees to marry Kree-nal, on the condition that if he ever became ugly, she'd turn all the monsters back into humans and return to the underwater depths from which she came. The moment she agrees to this, the Jaguar uses his special transformation power to turn his human face into that of a jaguar!

Disgusted, Kree-nal must return to the water before they can even get married! The humans are restored, and once again, one of the mightiest crusaders of all has kept the world safe for humanity!

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!

March 2000

Yowza'! Here we are at Creep Central! Each month, we'll highlight one of the many crummy crooks to tangle with The Web or the other Mighty Crusaders.

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present...THE BULLDOZER! Well, sort of...

Originally appearing in MIGHTY COMICS #42 (January, 1967), this amusing vignette perfectly summed up The Web's existence as a henpecked superhero! The ad's headline proudly proclaims, "This Mag you can't miss and here's why..." The Web assures us that his stories are unique-- they'll "make ya' laugh, cry and mebbe even sneeze! Yes, you'll thrill as The Web battles the worst villains that there ever were! You'll laugh as his wife Rosie demands he get a safer hobby! You'll cry as The Web gets pinned down by the hen-pecking of his (ugh!) mother-in-law!," etc.

As if that weren't enough, a second panel shows The Web's wife threatening to clobber both The Web and The Bulldozer with a rolling pin unless they take the battle outside! It's a reminder of a simpler time, when a superhero comic could be exciting and funny at the same time!

See you next month...

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!

April 2000

Yowza'! Here we are at Creep Central! Each month, we'll highlight one of the many crummy crooks to tangle with The Web or the other Mighty Crusaders.

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present...THE CAT GANG!!

This terrible trio proved to be triple trouble for The Jaguar in ADVENTURES OF THE JAGUAR #13 (August, 1963). But the Jaguar's troubles in that issue started long before he encountered the gang. Tending to an injured gorilla who has escaped his cage at the local zoo, zoologist Ralph Hardy, secretly The Jaguar, is offered assistance from his pretty secretary, Jill Ross. As his secretary, however, there's not much she can do to help him mend the wounded beast. That's when Jill decides to become a nurse... but before she can reveal her decision, the stunned ape awakens! Out of view of the others, Ralph quickly changes into The Jaguar and subdues the creature, Jill swooning over The Jaguar as he rescues her and the Zoo's guard. Moments later, he reappears as Ralph and Jill breaks the news-- she's no longer working for Ralph, she's going to study to be a nurse! This revelation causes Ralph to ponder the past-- how he found the ancient "Jaguar Belt" in the Peruvian jungle and became ruler of the animal kingdom! He also recalls his battles with the infamous Cat Girl-- the living embodiment of The Sphinx! Coincidentally, Cat Girl is traveling down memory lane herself. Now Lydia Fellin, mysterious heiress, she has been stripped of most of her powers due to her exposure to "Strontium 90" during nuclear testing near her domain. All that remains is her power to control cats-- as well as her combination jealousy/love of The Jaguar! She vows to make him fall in love with her!

Meanwhile, a trio of cat burglars knocks over a costume shop and comes up with a sinister scheme-- they'll wear feline masks to strike terror into all those they rob! They start with a factory. Literally hopping over the fence, they set off tape recordings of wild animals on the loose. When the guards exit the building to investigate, the burglars sneak inside! Lurking in the darkness, the guards shine their flashlights, only to see the lifelike masks the villains have donned. Believing them to be real ferocious cats, the guards call The Jaguar for help. By the time he arrives, however, the crooks have looted the safe!

Their second heist occurs at a swank penthouse party. Luckily, The Jaguar is on his nightly patrol, and takes chase. Unluckily, the crafty criminals slip down an elevator shaft and elude him! The next day, on another patrol, The Jaguar spots Lydia and figures she is behind these robberies. However, Lydia reveals the loss of her powers to him as well as her love for him, and assures him she had nothing to do with it. The Jaguar isn't buying her story, however-- he still feels she is behind the crime wave! Determined to win his trust-- and love-- Lydia sets out to catch the Cat Gang on her own! She holds an interview with the city newspaper, highlighting her collection of rare jewelry. Sure enough, the Cat Gang take the bait! They swoop into her apartment, but she's one step ahead of them. She's summoned all the cats in the nearby alley to meow and make a racket-- a racket which alerts The Jaguar! The Cat Gang are soon apprehended, due to the combined efforts of The Jaguar and The Cat Girl-- who longs to be Mrs. Jaguar. She better watch out-- she's got some stiff competition in Jill Ross! Such is the love life of a handsome superhero!

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!

May 2000

Yowza'! Here we are at Creep Central! Each month, we'll highlight one of the many crummy crooks to tangle with The Web or the other Mighty Crusaders.

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present...THE GASSER!

This smoky scoundrel was quite a stinker, as The Fox found out in MIGHTY COMICS #49 (August, 1967), in a story appropriately called "The Gasser Attacks!"

The Gasser isn't the only obstacle The Fox faces-- his alter ego, newspaper photographer Paul Patton, is conflicted over his relationship with Delilah, a pretty professional dancer from the local discotheque. She loves him, and wants him to settle down, but he loves her more when he's in his less inhibitive identity of The Fox. Unfortunately, Delilah thinks The Fox is a "repulsive weirdo!" But Paul is also worried about the gem studded gown the discotheque bought for Delilah to wear... and insured for a fortune! His concern wasn't for nothing, as one night, while Delilah performed for a crowd including The Fox, The Gasser and his gang burst into the discotheque. The Fox is no match for The Gasser's anesthetic gas, and before long the dastardly gang flee with not only the evening's profits, but with Delilah as well! Eventually coming to, The Fox flees to, hopping into his Fox-Car and using its special gauges to help track down his love. The trail leads to a warehouse hide-out. A hail of gunfire greets the Fox, but has no effect against his bullet-proof Fox-Car! Ramming through the door of the warehouse, the Fox jumps out of his car to do battle with the fiends. The Gasser Gang use every gadget in their mighty arsenal to try to stop the Fox. Their efforts are useless as The Fox uses his speed, agility and cunning to quickly defeat the brutish henchmen. Rescuing Delilah, she immediately thanks him... and The Fox asks her out on a date!!! She rejects him, telling him that she is true to Paul Patton-- who she doesn't even know is one and the same with The Fox! Move over, Archie-- even mighty superheroes can find themselves tangled in crazy-mixed-up love triangles!

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!

June 2000

Yowza'! Here we are at Creep Central! Each month, we'll highlight one of the many crummy crooks to tangle with The Web or the other Mighty Crusaders.

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present...DR. EVIL!

No, this isn't the same Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies... nor is it the nemesis of that famous action figure of yesteryear, Captain Action! No, this Dr. Evil is even more evil than them, and he's teamed up with another Crusaders' baddie, The Monster Master, to give Steel Sterling and The Black Hood a hard time in MIGHTY COMICS #49 (August, 1967), in a story appropriately called"The Deadly Masterminds!"

The two villains meet in an unusual way-- Dr. Evil actually figures out how to release The Monster Master from his Robot Brain Computer, where he's been held captive ever since he was sucked into it while doing battle with Steel Sterling back in THE MIGHTY CRUSADERS #7 (October, 1966)! Once freed, Dr. Evil reveals his plan to The Monster Master: "I, Dr. Evil have journeyed from a far-distant era in my time-traveling vehicle! Because of my time-scanning monitor, I know all about you! I freed you so you can accompany me to my era where you will make a splendid addition to my coterie of conscienceless underlings!"

The Monster Master isn't quite so anxious to go to the future-- he'd prefer to get revenge on Steel Sterling first! He doesn't waste any time using his Robot Brain Computer to create new Monstroids to help him carry out his dastardly deeds.

Meanwhile, Steel Sterling and The Black Hood are on patrol, on the alert for evil-doers. The Black Hood is astride his trusty motorcycle, while Steel Sterling pilots his newly-acquired, gadget-filled "Magno-Scooter." Coming across some crooks in an armored tank, he tests the gadgets out, using a heat-ray to melt the tank's gun turrets! In the thick of the battle, the heroes don't realize that the Monstroids have tracked them down-- they're distracted. Once the Monstroids attack, however, the small-time crooks beat feet, leaving the heroes on their own against the horrible creatures. Steel Sterling tries every gadget in his arsenal-- the heat ray, the compressed air jet, the repulsion force device-- but nothing works on them!

The Monstroids capture the heroes and take them to the villain's lair. The battle is hot and heavy as they face off against not only the Monstroids, but The Monster Master and Dr. Evil as well! But Dr. Evil only has the most sinister intentions in mind, and using his multi-effect power ring, he freezes both heroes and monstroids in their tracks! He examines their brain patterns, and decides The Black Hood would make a good slave as well-- but plans on eliminating Steel Sterling! The Black Hood, regaining control of his senses, surprisingly agrees, but only if Steel's life is spared! Dr. Evil agrees, but The Monster Master, driven by revenge, orders his Monstroids to destroy Steel! This upsets Dr. Evil: "You have the audacity to oppose the will of Dr. Evil?!" Dr. Evil obliterates the Monstroids, and a big battle ensues between the two villains-- which, of course, is exactly what The Black Hood had in mind! As the two creeps are consumed with fighting each other, our heroes knock them into the time machine and send them away! Silly villains-- you can never defeat any of The Mighty Crusaders!

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!

July 2000

Yowza'! Here we are at Creep Central! Each month, we'll highlight one of the many crummy crooks to tangle with The Web or the other Mighty Crusaders.

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present...BULGY EYES!

Bulgy Eyes makes quite an impression in a one-page ad from MIGHTY COMICS #49 (August, 1967). The Black Hood is hot in pursuit of Bulgy Eyes, and no wonder, as the caption reads: "The Man of Mystery fights, his honor at stake, to rip the mask of malignancy off "Bulgy Eyes," the leering, jeering jackanape of knavery who has made the inner-life of The Black Hood a sad, mad thing!"

Apparently, Bulgy Eyes either holds some sort of power over The Black Hood or is looking to blackmail him, as we learn in The Black Hood's thought balloon: "If Bulgy-Eyes eludes capture... I will be doomed... again... to dwell, an outcast, on the periphery of the eternal wheel-of-life! I must overcome that monster in human form!"

Whoa, heavy stuff! But we're still not sure what's going on.

Oh, well, there's always our old friend The Web, who makes a guest-appearance at the bottom of the page. And what's he doing? What else-- complaining over how hen-pecked he is!

Of course, most important of all, the ad reminds us that these are very special comics: "Mighty Comics presents a truly fab mag!,"reads the headline. And fab it is...

WAY UN-COOL DUDE OF THE MONTH!

August 2000

Yowza'! Here we are at Creep Central! Each month, we'll highlight one of the many crummy crooks to tangle with The Web or the other Mighty Crusaders.

This time, we're proud (NOT!) to present...THE AWESOME BRAVO! But... is he really an uncool dude? That's the question Steel Sterling pondered as he encountered Bravo in MIGHTY COMICS #44 (March, 1967).

We join our story already in progress, as Steel Sterling is being head-butted into a wall by a vile villain who calls himself, "The Metal Mask." This helmeted hood explains his hostility:

"You shall not cheat me, The Metal Mask, out of destroying The Awesome Bravo!"

The Metal Mask leads Steel Sterling into a building that is nothing more than a death trap-- literally-- where Steel must dodge such perils as secret canons and razor-sharp prongs!

It looks like certain doom for our hero, when all of a sudden, the deadly gears of the killer building grind to a halt. And the man who shut them down is... Bravo!:

"Have no fear, sir. Since you risked your life to aid me, the least I can do is short-circuit this generator so all the deadly devices will cease to function!"

Bravo explains how he has fought villains for years with magic powers, but now his powers are gone and his most feared enemies are out to destroy him! Taking compassion upon him, Steel Sterling appoints himself protector of The Amazing Bravo. And it isn't too long before he's called upon to protect him once again, as a trap door opens and the titans find themselves in the lair of Beastor, an evil being who can create hideous creatures! Thinking fast, Steel uses nearby beakers filled with chemicals to stop the onslaught!

Retreating to Bravo's cave hideout, Steel Sterling encounters "The Deadly Dimensional," the latest fiend out for Bravo's hide! This diabolical baddie has the power to play with time, and takes Steel Sterling to a future where they both will surely perish! Steel manages to wrestle him back to the past, where he makes a hasty retreat.

Now, you'd expect Steel would get a hero's welcome from Bravo, right? Wrong! It turns out Bravo was all the villains that were supposedly after him! This shape-shifting mischief maker was just toying with Steel Sterling the whole time! Something strange happens as he prepares to finish Steel Sterling off, and we realize that the joke is on Bravo-- Steel Sterling figured out his ruse long ago! For within moments, the rocks within the cave transform into "good mutants," who apprehend Bravo, a bad mutant who had broken from their ranks:

"I suspected Bravo was a faker who transformed himself into the villains who were supposedly after him, when it dawned on me I never saw the hunter and the hunted together at the same time! I alerted the good mutants, figuring I'd need their help if I confirmed my deductions!"

So ends another chapter in the amazing career of that Mighty Crusader, Steel Sterling!

TM/ 2003 ACO

"Thanks, Rik. I wish it were possible to find all the graphics, too-- naturally, I have all the text since I wrote it all, but it would be nice to see the full pages archived. I'll look into whether anybody saved the graphic pages... " Paul Castiglia


 

 

 

AMAZING BOY

AGENT SWIFT

BLACK HOOD

BLACK HOOD II

BLACK HOOD III

BLACK HOOD IV

BLACK JACK

BLACK WITCH

BOB PHANTOM

BOBBY BELL

BOY BUDDIES

BRAIN EMPEROR

CAPTAIN COMMANDO

CAPTAIN FLAG

CAPTAIN SPROCKET

CAPTAIN VALOR

CAT GIRL

COMET

COMET II

DAN HASTINGS

DARKLING

DOC REEVES

DOC STRONG

DUSTY

FALCON

FIREBALL

FIREBALL II

FIREFLY

FIREFLY ii

FLY

FLY II

FLY GIRL

FLY GIRL II

FOX

FOX II

GHOST FOX

GREEN COBRA

GREEN FALCON

HANGMAN

HANGMAN II

HANGMAN III

HERCULES

INFERNO

JAGUAR

JAGUAR II

KALTHAR

KARDAK

LADY SHIELD

MADAM SATAN

MARVEL

MIGHTY CRUSADERS

MISTER JUSTICE

MISTER MIDNIGHT

MISTER SATAN

NEVADA JONES
NEW CRUSADERS

O VINGADOR

POW-GIRL

PRESS GUARDIAN

QUEEN OF DIAMONDS
RANG-A-TANG

RED RUBE

RED RUBE II

ROCKET

ROY

SCARLET AVENGER

SHADOW

SHE-FOX

SHE-FOX II

SHIELD

SHIELD II

SHIELD III

SHIELD IV

SHIELD V

SHIELD VI

SHIELDMASTER

SLIVER FOX

SPIDERMAN

SLIVER SPIDER

STEEL STERLING

STEEL STERLING II

TURAN

TY-GOR
WAR EAGLES

WEB

WEB II

WEB III

WIZARD

ZAMBINI

 

Created by Rik Offenberger September 18, 2003

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