Who is Turan, what can he do, and what about the Fly People and Fly World?

By Joeseph Simon

In 1959, Archie Comics hired Joe Simon and Jack Kirby signaling the return of the Archie Super Heroes. Turan, Emissary of Fly World, is one of their most unusual, mysterious, and underdeveloped characters for Archie Comics. Turan was an important figure in Tommy Troy and Kim Brand’s (A.K.A the Fly and Fly Girl) life.

If you don’t remember Turan, we have you covered! Even if you think you know about the emissary from Fly World, keep reading! There’s more…or, it actually might be less…to Turan than you might realize. Confused? Read on!

The writers were quick to remind you just in case you forgot in-between Turan’s appearances who Turan was. “Emissary of the Fly People” may be the most common and repeated phrase during the “Silver Age” of MLJ Comics! This constant reminder created more problems than solutions for Turan’s character and backstory.

Modern comic collectors might not remember Turan. After all, Archie Comics no longer owns the rights to Fly and characters created during Simon and Kirby’s run on the character. This includes Turan. His recent adventures really are close to non-existent as a result.

Archie Comics decides to bring their superheroes back into action under the Mighty Comics banner. They hired Joe Simon (no relation to me) and Jack Kirby to help kickstart things. Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created the Fly 1959. Simon and Kirby’s issues included the Fly’s back up stories in The Private Life of Lancelot Strong (also created by Simon and Kirby) and the first four issues of the Adventure of the Fly. In 1999, the rights to the Fly (as well as Lancelot Strong) reverted back to the Simon estate. There is hope! Turan may return in new stories. The Simon Estate has started to release new Fly stories, so you never know, Turan might reappear.

To date, Turan’s adventures have been written by a variety of writers. Twenty appearances in total. From Joe Simon and Jack Kirby (Adventures of the Fly #1 – 3), Robert Bernstein (Adventures of the Fly #5, 14, 15, 18, 20, 23, 24) Jerry Siegel (Adventures of the Fly #29, 36, 38, 39 and Mighty Crusaders #3, 7), Jack Harris. This ends the Mighty Comics era. Archie stops the hero line again and then restarts it with Red Circle and here we see Turan in The Fly’s second series (#1, 2, 4, 9) plus Blue Ribbon (v.2) #1 and Mighty Crusaders (V.2) #1. After this point, the Fly, Turan, and Fly World (plus Lancelot Strong) are returned to Joe Simon / the Simon Estate.

So, who is Turan? And what about Fly World and the Fly People civilization? Those are good questions. Let’s find out!

Turan’s adventures start in The Adventures of the Fly #1.

Adventures of the Fly #1

“The Strange New World of the Fly”

Tommy Troy, the young orphan who becomes the Fly, finds a magic ring. Tommy, fascinated by the ring, wears it on his finger. Suddenly a white spotlight beams from the ring onto the wall. The beam seemingly opens up a fiery doorway. Turan steps out of that fiery doorway explaining that Turan has transported from another dimension to being in front of Tommy Troy.

Turan explains to the youthful Tommy Troy that he is an “Emissary of the Fly People to a race of beings who live on a “world (that) exists on a dimensional plane outside (Earth’s) galaxy.”

He tells the young Tommy that “Millions of years ago, my people were wise and powerful members of Earth’s inhabitants. We developed the science of magic to a degree higher than any human could even dream about…but greed and the struggle for power drove our people too far…like your own atom bombs, our magic had the force of giants!”

“Yes, we could move entire towns and cities with the use of it. But when our power was adopted by power-hungry despots, we could no longer control it.

One day a mysterious gaseous explosion destroyed most of our race! Some of us escaped to another dimension. The others were reduced to the insignificant form of life known as the fly.

Now, those of us that are left are at war with all greed and crime on this Earth. All these years we have been waiting for one person, pure of heart, to carry on this war.”

Turan then tells Tommy that he is that person and the Fly People “Bequeath all our powers” to Tommy as long as he is deserving. Turan continues “You have only to rub the magic ring and you will be projected into our dimension, You will assume the identity of the Fly.”

Turan’s initial backstory and other notes:

• This is great. You are essentially getting the Fly’s origin and Turan’s backstory in the span of a few panels here.

• Turan says ”…our power was adopted by power hunger despots…”. This seems to indicate that Turan is saying someone other than Fly People. This potentially indicates someone, not a Fly person was the power-mad despot, He actually says despots, indicating more than one. Who or what are answers that seem to change as the series continues.

• Turan statement “Millions of years ago, my people were wise and powerful members of Earth’s inhabitants” is interesting. It has been theorized that humans have been on Earth for only 200,000 years. Outside of establishing a timeline prior to human life, Turan infers that there are co-existed with other inhabitants on Earth. Who were the other inhabitants?

• Potentially one of the greatest unwritten stories regarding the Fly People revolves around the statement “Now, those of us that are left are at war with all greed and crime on this Earth. All these years we have been waiting for one person, pure of heart, to carry on this war.” Why are they so concerned with Earth and not so much the dimension they retreated to? Is it for benevolent reasons or nefarious reasons? I’d love to find out!

• Take into consideration that the Fly People have existed prior to humanity. Fly People properly exist in another dimension. Why (and how) do they war with all greed and crime on Earth? And how is it they have not come across one person, pure of heart, during those millions of years to help them carry on this war? Who, until Tommy Troy came along, fought the war? Turan?

• Not only do they exist in another dimension, but the dimension is also a galaxy away from us here in the Milky Way. In comics, usually, another dimension means one that runs parallel to ours. That exists alongside our perspective on life. Does this mean it runs parallel or another galaxy than our own? It is not quite clear.

• The mention of being at war with all greed and crime on “this” Earth brings up additional questions. “This” Earth could indicate alternative Earths exist. “This” Earth could have been referencing this Earth as opposed to the dimension Fly World exists in.

• Also of importance, who did they take the battle to before humanity’s presence on Earth? It wasn’t any human enemy. Not millions of years ago. I imagine bad humans are the foil in their war with all greed and crime on Earth at some point.

• Either way, how do they conduct this transdimensional battle? Who were their agents before Tommy Troy? Do Fly People regularly cross over to Earth? Are the Fly People who were turned into the common fly agents? Is Tommy Troy considered an agent and if so, then more people like Tommy are agents?

• More importantly, why is Earth so important to the Fly People? A story exploring this would be an amazing story!

• While silverfish, cockroaches, and other life have been around for millions of years, I’m not quite sure if the common housefly has been. From how Turan tells it, they have.

Adventures of the Fly #3

“How An Orphan Became The Fearsome Fly”

If you didn’t know you were about to read a flashback in the third issue, you must have missed the title of our story.

The story is only intended as a short flashback and nothing more.

Turan’s speech is slightly altered “My people once ruled the Earth. We developed the science of magic as all-powerful as your atom bombs! But greed and the struggle for power drove our people too far. One day our civilization was destroyed by a tremendous explosion. Some of us escaped to another dimension, the others were reduced to the insignificant form of life known as the fly. Those of us who are left are at war with all greed and crime. We have been waiting for one person, pure of heart, to carry on this war.”

Differences in Turan’s backstory and other notes:

• The differences are minor between the first issue and the third issue. Most amounting to the brevity of the flashback. It should be noted that issue one indicated that the explosion that destroyed most of the Fly civilization was gaseous. This backstory is repeated with almost every appearance. The gaseous component of the explosion as related in issue one would be mentioned only one other time in the other nineteen Turan appearances.

• Also note that Turan doesn’t claim to be human. He says his civilization was destroyed. I’d have to conclude that he is not human as a result if you accept that there is still a human civilization.

• The idea of fighting all greed and crime is included but the “on this Earth” is eliminated.

“The House of Solid Nothing”

This third issue is a rare treat. Adventures of the Fly featured multiple stories of Fly. This issue has Turan in two stories!

The Fly is puzzled by the mystery of a robbery he is trying to solve. He decides to summon Turan to help resolve the mystery. Turan is already on top of the situation! Turan doesn’t need Fly to even explain why he is summoning him. The emissary says “our creature flies are sending a message” and tells the Fly to follow him.

The pair go to the place where the robbers are indulging in explaining the very answers The Fly is attempting to find. We last see Turan with the Fly before the Fly crashes the bad guys party. In fact, Turan only appears to show where the bad guys reveal their guilt.

Differences in Turan’s backstory and other notes:

• No differences in Turan’s backstory here. I would note that Turan does not fight or engage. He acts more like a non-player in a video game that gives specific assistance in the story of the video game and serves no other purpose. It is a shame. In my opinion, it diminishes Turan’s character.

• For a race who is committed to fighting evil, and a person who boasts of his races past godlike abilities, Turan seems more like a wallflower here.

• I’m curious if the fly creatures that Turan speaks of are normal flies (that Turan can communicate with and potentially instruct?) or Fly People that were turned into flies by the aforementioned power-mad despots. The idea that Fly People turned into flies and somehow survived through millions of years is pretty amazing. What an incredible breeding program the Fly People must have if this is true. We also return to the question from above, are these the agents that Turan was referring to?

Adventures of the Fly #5

“Return of the Spider”

Things change up in the fifth issue. Tommy Troy is a man, Thomas Troy. No longer an orphan, Thomas is now an attorney (An interesting twist on the rags to riches story). New writer Robert Bernstein has the now older Troy recapping his own origin.

In this recap, Turan says “My people once ruled the earth. We developed the science of magic as powerful as your atom bomb. One day our civilization was destroyed by a terrific explosion. Those of us who are left are at war with tyranny and crime and have been waiting for one person, pure of heart, to wage our crusade against injustice on Earth. Tommy, rub that magic ring and say “ I wish I were the Fly”.

Writer Robert Bernstein was no unknown in comics. Then known for his work at EC Comics, Bernstein also established the origin and mythos of Aquaman. He created DC’s Aqualad, Aguagirl, and Congorilla. He introduced the Phantom Zone and General Zod into the Superman storylines. Not only that, in addition to the Fly, he also created the Jaguar and brought the superhero version of the Shadow to Archie.

Differences in Turan’s backstory and other notes:

• Turan’s backstory remains consistent to when it was last told (#3). Someone made the choice to age Tommy Troy the moment Simon and Kirby left the title. Interesting to note Turan has not aged under this new direction where Tommy (now Thomas) has.

• Berstein also, like the appearance before this, eliminates “this Earth” in the crusade against injustice on Earth. I like the theory of multiple Earths inferred in the older “this Earth.”

Adventures of the Fly #14

Having advanced Tommy Troy’s age to manhood, Bernstein would bring Turan back to the title in the 14th issue. I guess the older Troy doesn’t need his mentor as much as the younger Troy. Turan’s return also brings about the introduction and origin of Fly Girl. And that is exactly what the publisher thought the Fly needed….a woman!

Kim Brand, an actress that is already interested in the Fly. The Fly, in fact, saves Kim from the Metal Master in this very issue. However, the battle with Metal Master is not going well for the Fly and Turan appears in front of Kim. Kim sees a spotlight appearing on her dressing tent wall and then out steps Turan from a fiery door.

“I am Turan, Emissary of the Fly People. A world that exists on a dimensional plane outside of your galaxy. I have brought this ring! It is exactly like the one the Fly wears.”

He then, as is usual, tells his backstory” Millions of years ago, my people were powerful Earthlings who developed the power of magic to a phenomenal degree. We could remove entire cities from their foundations. Then greed and the struggle for power destroyed us”.

“Power hungry despots started a war that wiped out most of our race. Some of us escaped to another dimension. The others on Earth were reduced to the insignificant form of life known as the fly.”

“Those of us who survived in another dimension are at war against all evil on Earth. So we gave (Thomas Troy) the Fly tremendous insect powers to fight evildoers. Just as I now bestow the same powers on you.”

He tells Kim that the Fly will face trouble more than he can handle alone. Thus he presents the same ring, and powers to Kim. He even tells her how to return to Kim Brand (which is less than what he did for Tommy).

Later in the same story, Metal Master disappears into the dimension that Turan and his people live. While deemed a threat to all of Fly World, Fly and Fly Girl make short work of him.

Considering the hype that Turan gave Metal Master as being this grave threat to Fly World, on a planet full of powerful beings, Fly Girl in her first hour with powers was able to quickly beat the villain.

Differences in Turan’s backstory and other notes:

• How Metal-Master teleports to Fly World or even knows of Fly Worlds’ existence is unknown. How, in an instant, he became a threat to Turan’s people is also unknown. Turan does indicate that Metal Masters’s control of metal is a serious threat. Metal does not seem to be a Kryptonite for the Fly People. It is insinuated that metal is everywhere on Fly World, thus it could be weaponized. I’m not sure how different that is to Earth, though?

• While the common detail of an explosion was left out, one can easily imagine that as occurring in Turan’s tale to Kim.

• I’m curious how when Tommy first becomes the fly. The ring advanced the Fly’s age from child to adult. Time passes and Tommy becomes an adult man. The Fly remains the same age as he was when Tom was Tommy. Just as Turan has remained the same age in appearance. Mind you, Kim Brand, when she turns into Fly Girl retains her actual age.

• In this story we get our first real glimpse of Fly World. We don’t see any other residents of Fly World during the Fly and Fly Girls battle with Metal Master on Fly World. It is the first appearance of Fly World! And Fly and Fly Girl not only get to see Fly World, but they also save it!

• In the first issue, Turan says the Fly People were inhabitants of Earth. One can assume that they originate from Earth, but it could mean that they originated from somewhere else and came to Earth. Here Turan says they were powerful Earthlings. This makes it more clear that the Fly People originated from Earth.

• Turan says that Fly just isn’t powerful enough to fight his upcoming battles. Can Turan or his people tell the future? How does he know? If they can, and could empower another human, why did they not do that until now? Is this the first indication of how much more powerful Turan truly is?

• Also, Tommy Troy was the only person that the Fly People knew of that was pure of what to fight evil according to Fly lore. Why is Kim Brand now pure of heart, yet not before this point?

• Also note, once again, Turan does not enter the fight.

Adventures of the Fly #15

“The Master of Disaster”

Turan appears in front of Fly and Fly Girl as he steps out of an orange spotlight. This is a noted difference from the prior white spotlights and the fiery doors. It doesn’t specifically indicate that either Thomas’ or Kim’s rings were the conduit for Turan’s travel.

The conversation between our heroes uses quick shorthand establishing what we already know, then Turan warns them of an upcoming threat.

Turan explains that a tear in space enabled a creature from the sixth dimension (who happens to have prior knowledge of Earth) to receive a human TV broadcast of The Terror from the Space program. With a strange machine, the creature was able to turn the broadcast into reality. Instead of a story projected on TV, the story would come to life on Earth.

Turan discovered this on his Ultra-Telescope. The emissary also knows that the TV show that the creature brings to reality must stick to the script of the TV show. No line or idea can be altered. Fly immediately has an idea to defeat the creature now called the Master of Disaster by Turan. Turan leaves confident that Fly will indeed succeed in his goal. (He does.)

Just as an aside, I’m summarizing Turan’s parts in these stories. There is a lot more to this story than what pertains to Turan.

Differences in Turan’s backstory and other notes:

• From the rings that give Thomas and Kim their powers to Turan’s transdimensional mode of travel and this issue’s Ultra Telescope, Turan has a lot of technology!

• We find out Turan is telepathic (and it was hinted at that Turan can see into the future in the last issue!). Of course, the Fly civilization has been around a significant amount longer than man, it’s to be expected.

• How many ways can Turan appear on Earth? From the first issue, Turan appears to Tommy due to the ring that Tommy Troy finds. He doesn’t need the ring to appear in front of Kim Brand for the first time. And here, he appears to both of them without any assistance from the Rings.

• Turan, as in prior issues, avoids combat.

Adventures of the Fly #18

“Fly’s Visit to Fly World”

Turan appears quickly in this story. The usual recap occurs, but this time, a lot more information is given due to a dangerous threat to Fly World.

“You remember the history of my people. We were rulers of Earth a million years ago when we developed science into sheer magic. It was limitless! We could transport entire cities through the air. But greed and the struggle for power destroyed our civilization! When our science fell into the hands of a power-mad rodent-like creature, we were doomed! An accidental explosion touched off a horrible war” Turan explains.

“That’s why we survived in another dimension hate, war, and greed and gave you two the magic powers to battle tyranny everywhere.”

I’m not sure what the writer was attempting to convey here. The above sentence is from the comic. It does not read properly. My guess is it should read “That’s why we survived in another dimension (( away from)) hate, war, and greed and gave you the magic powers to battle tyranny everywhere.”

Interestingly Fly says “We know all of this, Turan”. How that has not been established. This is the first time the rodent-like creatures have been included in this backstory.

Fly then asks what Turan needs. He claims that a bomb the Fly team (Fly and Fly Girl of course) exploded into space penetrated the dimension Fly World exists in. This caused damage in Fly World creating earthquakes where rock-like creatures emerged and attacked the Fly People. The Fly People are powerless and can not stop the creatures.

As the Fly team and Turan take to the dimensional spotlight, Fly states that Fly and Fly Girl have never been to Fly World.

Given that, things are not as they seem. Fly and Fly Girl are quickly subdued by Chlordane gas as they arrive on the other side of the dimensional spotlight. They are surrounded by rat-sized rodents. Turan reveals himself to not be Turan, but a robot controlled by the rodent creatures.

The rodent creatures quickly claim they are continuing an age-old war against all life. They plan to destroy Earth and then the rodent people will destroy their ancient enemy, the Fly People.

Out of nowhere, Turan comes to the rescue! Turan teleports in with a rifle killing the rodent creatures. Having saved our heroes, the emissary confirms everything the rodent creatures stated.

Turan says one day that Fly and Fly Girl will really get to see Fly World and be greeted with cheers, not Chlordane gas and leaves.

Differences in Turan’s backstory and other notes:

• The Turan robot must have been very convincing to trick both Thomas and Kim that it was their friend, Turan.

• It is an interesting inversion of words. Often people say magic is reduced to science when it is understood or modernized. Here, Turan indicates the Fly People turned science into magic!

• A whole new angle is added when Turan says “When our science fell into the hands of power-mad rodent-like creatures, we were doomed! An accidental explosion touched off a horrible war”

• This is the first and only issue that includes the rodent creatures. It is stated that the Fly Peoples’ defeat came at the hands of the rodent race using the Fly People’s science. An easy conclusion that this race of rats existed on Earth also for millions of years are the power-mad despots that Turan often speaks of.

• Wherever the rodent controlled Turan robot takes our heroes, we’re not quite sure. The writer decided not to tell us. Do the rodent creatures live on Earth still? Do they have their own dimension that they live on? Do they live on Fly World? None of this is answered.

• While Fly indicated he knew the story of the rodent creatures prior to this issue, we, the reader, are discovering this for the first time.

• Both the Fly speaking to the fake and the real Turan claims Fly and Fly Girl have never been to Fly World. That is simply not true. The Fly duo saved Fly World during their battle against Metal Master on Fly World itself in issue #14.

• Amazing! The real Turan somehow busts into the rodent creature’s hideout, guns a blazing and saves our two heroes. Turan in battle. Finally, Turan fights! And he comes at the rodent creatures like Rambo! Turan who said in issue #24 that there are no weapons in Fly World. And here he appears with a gun with the ability to take out a team of rodent creatures with his weapon.

• It should be doubly noted, Turan, who until this issue, has never engaged, used a weapon or helped in any battle, came to save Fly and Fly Girls life. Breaking News: Turan can fight!

Adventures of the Fly #20

“Missing Fly Ring”

This issue presents Turan only in a flashback that reveals exactly what we already know from when Turan appears in front of Kim for the first time.

Adventures of the Fly #23

Turan does not officially appear, but he is mentioned.

Fly, off-panel, meets Turan in Fly World to pick up a surprise gift for Fly Girl for her 1st anniversary as Fly Girl. The gift, a device with a Jaguar head and insect antennae. Fly claims Turan wanted Fly Girl to have it so when Fly is away, she can communicate with Jaguar,

Differences in Turan’s backstory and other notes:

No backstory. There is no published story of the Jaguar meeting Turan. Oddly, Fly is picking up a gift for Fly Girl that Turan wants her to have on Thomas and Kim’s first anniversary. I don’t know about you, but I find it strange that gift is a device to allow Fly’s girlfriend to keep in touch with another man while Fly is on away missions even if the other man Jaguar!

Adventures of the Fly #24

Turan appears in an orange glow of light, gone is the spotlight and fiery door. Thomas Troy questions his battle against evil when Turan appears stating that “Evil cannot endure forever”

Thomas turns around exclaiming “Turan…Emissary from the Fly World!”

Turan explains his sudden appearance “I have observed your actions from the Fly World, and through telepathy, have read your thoughts! Suppose you change to the Fly and follow me.”

Troy changes into the Fly and Turan continues “As you know, the Fly World lies in another dimension! And for Centuries, We Fly People had exactly the sort of problems you now face on Earth.” Troy responds “I know Turan! In fact, wasn’t your world almost destroyed in a civil war?

“Correct! Our Dimension became divided into many political parties. Each seeking control of the Fly World! The result was the most terrible war in history. We almost exterminated each other.”

The story continues in what, to date of this issue, is the most revealing of Fly World.

But those who survived learned a great lesson. That evil must be suppressed or we’d wipe each other out! So we abolished war and crime forever! Look at our Fly World now! Everybody is peaceful and content! Not one crime has been committed in the past thousand years! We don’t have policemen, armies, or guns. There’s no need for them!”

“What if someone breaks the law? Suppose someone turned evil and lusted after wealth and power.”

Turan says they have a solution for that and takes Fly to a room where two Fly People are forcing another fly person into a glass box.

“Remember that we Fly People can read each other’s minds! If one of us detects evil in another person, the authorities are informed and the suspicious citizen is brought here.”

They watch as the man in the glass housing is “bombarded with a complex of fantastic psychic rays which will destroy his anti-social nature”. The man emerges a changed man fit to live in a peace-loving society.

Turan then explains “that’s why I brought you here Fly. One day in the future your earth will have such devices. That’s why you must not despair. Evil must perish in your world. That’s why I gave you Fly powers. You are the greatest deterrent to evil on Earth. And someday you will have a world as perfect as ours!

Fly returns to Earth, re-energized to fight evil.

Differences in Turan’s backstory and other notes:

• Turan uses the word Dimension as opposed to Earth when he tells the story of the civil war. Is what Turan is recounting, then, after the Fly People escape Earth, and populate Fly World in the other dimension that they now live?

• That seems likely. This could, potentially, explain a period of time when the Fly People were not focused on combating crime on Earth. If we are to believe that the power-mad despots that Turan often speaks about were the rodent creatures, then they caused the Fly People to escape to the other dimension. This might mean the civil war was a whole other part of Fly history.

• Given MLJ/ Archie’s tendency to include more than one story with each issue, it would have been wildly interesting to see a Fly World back up story. Even more so if it was developed by the co-creator of the world’s most popular alien superhero, Superman. Siegel happened to Fly’s writer at this point. It would have been just as interesting if Fly creator, Joe Simon who was no slouch when it came to writing about aliens, wrote such a back-up story. Sadly, that did not happen.

• No weapons, police, or armies. Perhaps that is why Metal Master (and others, including Rodent People) were the threat Turan stated. Of course, with this technological panacea, Metal Master could have (as all of Fly’s villains could have) been reformed. Aside from the very debated and occasionally used statement that Fly People don’t have weapons, nor crime if they have been fighting greed and corruption on Earth for longer than humanity has existed, why have they not, in whatever way, implemented this technology on Earth?

• Turan is proud of the idea there is no crime on Fly World. Of course, it did not work out that way in the future (as readers will discover just five issues away and Turans very next appearance!). It is interesting, then, was this technology around during their civil war? Or when the power-mad despot crippled their race and forced them to another dimension? Speaking of which, if they were forced to another dimension, what happened to the power-mad despot?

• Note that Turan can use telepathy.

Adventures of the Fly #29

Turan is revealed in the latter part of the story as playing behind the scenes to overcome the Spider as Fly recounts the steps he took to defeat the Spider.

The thousands of years of peace-loving has stopped on Fly World. This is the reason Turan does appear materialized in front of the Fly. Instead, he gets in touch telepathically from Fly World. Turan explains “Terroro, a Fly Man renegade who mentally sealed the dimensional barrier between this world (Fly World) and Earth.”

“Terroro was one of mightiest mystics, but he’s become power-mad! He wants to destroy you then conquer Earth! After scouting your universe for rare ally he needs, he’s going to clash with you on Earth.”

Fly’s reveal explains everything that led to Spider’s defeat. In this, we see the Fly along with a cast of hundreds including the army pretending to let Spider become King of the World. Thus when Terroro comes to Earth, it is the Spider that he must contend with, not the Fly. The Fly felt Spider had a greater chance of defeating Terroro than the Fly himself.

The Spider does defeat Terroro in quick order. With one shot from a one-shot evolution ray that Spider happened to create. The ray retrogrades Terroro to his “primal origin insect form”.

We discover the barrier around Fly World is gone at the stories end.

Differences in Turan’s backstory and other notes:

• Shocking! Not only does Flys plan work, but the Spider comes up with a weapon very similar to the weapon that the enemies of the Fly People used millions of years ago. Whether those enemies were opposition Fly People in a civil war or the Rodent People or other enemies… we don’t quite know. But somehow Spider comes up with pretty much the exact same weapon that transformed large numbers of Fly People into the common fly. I guess it took a villain to come up with the idea to create the weapon and use it again (not knowing anything of the past creation of the very same weapon.)

• The technological panacea introduced in Adventures of the Fly #24 seems to have failed Fly World as we meet the series first villain from Fly World. Terroro! You don’t need telepathy to determine intent from this Fly person! It’s all in his name.

• It should also be noted that Terroro is turned to his primal original insect form. It begs to question the evolution of the Fly People and a lot of questions surrounding various parts of Turan’s backstory.

• Terroro, an armed Fly Person, resisted the evil thoughts detecting and eliminating machine utilized by Fly People.

Fly Man #39

“Beware of Blockbuster”

Note: Adventures of the Fly’s numbering continue but the title changes after #30.

Fly faces a villain who goes by the name of Blockbuster. Mass destruction ensues as Blockbuster

1. Takes a rocket ship to destroy monuments and other property

2. Terrorizes people

3. Forces a floating dirigible to the ground

4. Get the jump on Thomas Troy (our lawyer has not changed to the Fly) and paralyzes him with a spray)him.

5. Mocks the hero by stating he knows he is the Fly. He leaves Thomas in the paralyzed state.

6. Once Thomas can turn into the Fly, he does and takes the battle to Blockbuster, once again in his rocket ship. The ship destroys a bridged train trestle (however Fly saves those on the incoming train).

7. Blockbuster continues to do damage and creates situations for Fly to be a hero.

8. They then fight. Things look bad as Blockbuster takes a powered flute that turns the Fly into Thomas Troy.

9. The depowered Fly is saved by Fly Girl. While Fly Girl fights Blockbuster, Thomas worries about not meeting the potential Turan saw in him, As Fly Girl is about to meet defeat at the hands of Blockbuster, Thomas rushes in and punches Blockbuster….and….

What does this have to do with Turan?

We discover that Blockbuster is Turan.

Turan takes off the armor shell of Blockbuster and comments on Thomas on his punching ability while our hero attorney wonders why a friend would be a villain.

“I can now explain that according to Fly World tradition, whoever is given a magic Fly ring must, from time to time, be tested to learn if they merit continuing to keep the awesome ring. You two passed the test brilliantly!

Of course, I wouldn’t really allow any lives to be destroyed by Blockbuster!”

Fly replies “No wonder you were able to cancel the power of the Fly ring. After all, you invented it”

Turan claims “It is as simple for me to restore the powers of you and your ring, Fly Man, as it was for me to restore them.”

Fly then inquires about the damage Blockbuster did. We see Turan perform a simple mystical gesture that accomplishes instant reconstruction to all the damage Blockbuster did. The Bridge that was destroyed, the buildings, everything is like new.

Turan parts with the Fly team with these words “And now I must go to similarly test alien Fly men who exist upon, and heroically patrol other worlds. I hope they fare as well as you two did.

Differences in Turan’s backstory and other notes:

• Turan’s power level here is amazing. This combined with all the other powers we see Turan has revealed as the series continues is as he says at the very start….godlike.

• While Turan is shown as a wallflower who rarely entered combat to an all-powerful being, it is obvious that the Fly and Fly Girl have only a fraction of Turan. While it is stated that all Fly People held godlike powers, it is never established if Turan retains those powers and modern Fly People did not.

• Turan returns all the damage he created back to normal with but a thought.

• As Blockbuster, Turan says the phrase Designing Women when fighting Fly Girl. It is highly unlikely Linda Bloodworth-Thomason read Fly a teenager (born in 1947) when she created Designing Women in 1986, but you never know!

• The ending of the story almost touches upon the idea of the Fly being like the Green Lantern Corps. Turan indicates others who are the Fly are tested. Meaning others than the Fly. More specifically, he says alien Flymen. This defies much of what we know about everything concerning the Fly. In that, he was the first (that they found worthy enough over millions of years) and Fly Girl was second. Also, note he says, other Alien Flymen. Is Kim Brand the only female empowered Fly champion?

• The Green Lantern Corps was likely influenced by E.E. Smith’s Lensmen series. It is, of course, now its own individual creation. It would be interesting to see an organization of interstellar Fly Champions become their own creations and what ideas that might bring forth!

• It is also the only time we see Turan’s flute that can depower a Fly powered champion (that, of course, Turan invented.)

• It is also stated that Turan invented the Fly ring and naturally has the power to turn Flys powers off and on.

Mighty Crusaders #3

The Mighty Crusaders find themselves in a pinch. Fly and Fly Girl recount a story.

Fly: Fly Girl, remember that time years ago when we were pursued by a comet monster? Who saves us? What did that monster turn out to be?

Fly Girl: After rescuing us, Turan, the Fly World emissary, said the beast had escaped through a dimensional crack. Because it couldn’t harm Fly People, it was venting its hatred on us.

Differences in Turan’s backstory and other notes:

• There isn’t any differences in Turan’s back story. Just an interesting aside.

Turan appears in the second story in Mighty Crusaders #3!

Origin of Fly Man

A fiery door opens up as Fly signs autographs. Fly enters and disappears to Fly World. There, Fly sees hordes of sad Fly People gesturing to him into a weird structure. Inside “It’s Turan, the Fly World Emissary who played so important a role in my life” Fly recounts. A doctor informs Fly that Turan is dying – “He asked you to be summoned before the end.”

Fly demands “What happened? If a villain did this to my friend, there isn’t one corner in the cosmos in which he’ll be able to hide from my vengeance.” The doctor tells Fly to restrain his anger and continues to explain “While Turan experimented in his laboratory, seeking a means to increase your mighty fly powers, there was a sudden explosion.”

Standing In silence before the prone Turan, Fly remembers how he met Turan. Turan then continues the story the other fly person started to tell Thomas Troy “My magical intuition sensed….you will soon be faced by menaces so staggering that those who battled in the past…will be puny in comparison and so I labored in my mind science laboratory to produce a Fly Ring that could give you additional mighty powers but an unexpected side effect has permitted an occult creature who hates living creatures to breach the psychic barrier.”

Turan continues “I haven’t much time left. Discard your Fly Ring. Don this new Fly Man Ring instead. Then will yourself to become a giant. Fly agrees and magically turns gigantic. Turan goes through a tutorial of Fly’s new powers and then Fly says “But I don’t want these extra powers at the cost of losing you!” Turan replies “The ways of fate are inscrutable. Destiny gives and takes away. Heed my next words and obey promptly. That is my dying request.

There may be an imperfection in the ring, due to the occult creature interrupting my experiment. Go now. Cosmic forces are about to seal the dimensional barrier between our worlds forever.”

Fly bids his friend farewell and leaves.

Differences in Turan’s backstory and other notes:

• The end of the story indicates that the next issue (#4) will reveal Fly Girls power…however, Mighty Crusaders #4 is the famous “Too Many Super Heroes” full-length storyline. We don’t see the Origin of Fly Girl until #7.

• The Green Lantern comparisons continue as the new ring that Fly is given an imperfection.

• I’m also curious, what happened to the Flys initial ring? The Fly People of Fly World reaction of Turan’s pending death is nice. He might be a widely recognized hero for the Fly People. His dedication to fighting crime is shown here. Should he actually pass on, it was fighting evil. I suspect Turan would not have died if the series continued. This issue seems to have the sole purpose to just set up the Fly with different powers and weaknesses. In a way, rebooting the Fly without rebooting him.

• This creature that potentially killed Turan is never brought to justice or even battled by the Fly. Another untold great story that could have involved Fly, Fly Girl, the Mighty Crusaders, other Fly crusaders, Fly People and Fly World all coming together to fight an evil so powerful that it requires everyone to band together: To come together to bring justice to the creature that “killed” Turan!

• I am curious what deadlier threats were coming Fly’s way to prompt Turan to create the new ring and what were the cosmic forces that sealed the dimensional barrier.

Mighty Crusaders #7

“The Origin of Fly Girl”

In a completely retexurialized retelling of the Fly Girls origins, we see the same villain from Fly Girl’s first appearance, Metal Master (looking more like Blockbuster than Metal Master of before). Kim Brand saves the Fly just as before. The outcomes are the same, what leads to them is not. Turan’s part is similar.

Fly Girl recounts “It all began when a fiery door appeared on my dressing room wall.”

Turan: Fear not, I am Turan, emissary of the Fly People. I have brought you this ring, exactly like the one the Fly wears. It has given him tremendous insect powers to fight evildoers. Don the ring! We are aware the Fly faces a situation he can not handle alone. We decided to give another person the same powers so that two of you can fight evil. Just rub the ring and concentrate upon the words “Fly Girl. Now go forth to the aid of the Fly. He may need your assistance many times in the future, too!

The story then abruptly recounts years after Kim received her ring….and shows the Fly visiting Turan at Fly World. The comic narration follows: “It’s the windup, too, of the initial original tale of Fly Girl… but don’t go away yet, ye lovers of socko comics! This amazin’ saga shifts into high gear, years later, when the Fly was summoned to Fly World by an apparently dying Turan.”

Turan “ This new ring I have given you, will endow you with even mightier powers. From now on you shall be known as Fly-Man. Depart at once.” And he does. Fly then saves Fly Girl in a battle against the Metal Witch. In the end, Fly Girl kisses Fly and we should assume that Fly has forgotten his dying friend, Turan, as the story ends.

Differences in Turan’s backstory and other notes:

• Turan on death’s door was mentioned in Mighty Crusaders #3. My comments for that aspect are above under that issue. The first account of Turan on a death bed did not indicate that Fly Girl was in trouble. This second account does not mention the reason Turan is dying.

• Here we also read “…when the Fly was summoned to Fly World by an apparently dying Turan” practically points out that some future storyline will show Turan is still alive. We won’t know though. While not Turan’s last appearance, it is for this version of Turan, the Fly, and the rest of the Archie Super Heroes.


Mighty Crusaders #1, Vol. 2

The Archie Superheroes ceased publication for a bit until we enter the Red Circle Era. We are presented with a retelling of Fly’s origin as a backup story is featured. Made alongside little origin stories of each member of the Mighty Crusaders, Red Circle sets to introduce the heroes as they see them.

The story includes Turan saying “Power hungry despots brought the destruction of our race millions of years ago. Those who could not escape the world-wide calamity on Earth were reduced to the insignificant form of life known as the fly.”

Then in it is stated “Turan related how greed and evil still flourished in the world today. A new Champion was needed…”

Differences in Turan’s backstory and other notes:

• The world-wide calamity on Earth is new. Not significant, but noteworthy. The wording of a new champion is noteworthy, indicating that there were other Fly empowered heroes prior to Tommy. It does coincide with later developments in the previous appearances of Turan ( but not the majority of appearances up to this point).

• To be fair, the following stories are more modern. I think each writer, in their own way, are trying to figure Turan out. These later stories attempt to bridge different ideas from past stories together to somewhat make everything work with a few new ideas.

Blue Ribbon V2 #1

Fly, as he often has in past stories, is thinking about his meeting with Turan. More due to the impact meeting Turan had on his life than anything else.

Turan appears to the young Tommy Troy saying “I am Turan, Emissary of the Fly People….Our world exists on a dimensional plane outside your galaxy.”

Tommy, totally not stunned at Turan’s revelation nor meeting an alien Fly person in a trippy almost dream-like nature, quickly processes the information and says “You mean this ring has power to reach into your world and let you into ours?”

Turan tells Tommy the standard information we all have heard in past stories and then “To you, we Bequeath all our powers….the ability to walk and down the side of buildings, muscles of steel a hundred times the strength of a normal man, the secret of seeing in all directions. The cunning to escape any trap. All these powers will be yours as long as you are deserving! You have only to rub the magic ring and you will be projected into our dimension. You will assume the identity of the Fly.”

Tommy does and Turan disappears.

Differences in Turan’s backstory and other notes:

• The ring allows Tommy the power to reach into his world and let Turan into ours. Later Turan says that Tommy can rub the magic ring and he will be projected into Fly World’s dimension and become the Fly.

• This is also oddly phrased. If Tommy rubs the ring, he will pop over to Fly World’s dimension and become the Fly. How can Tommy fight crime on Earth if Tommy is transported to Fly World? Could it mean that Tommy is transported to Fly World, and the Fly appears on Earth in a weird mix up of Marvel Comics Captain Marvel, DC’s Firestorm or Fawcett / DC’s Shazam? This was never established prior to this or after.

• This is also the first time Turan defines Fly’s powers. It is destined to change, of course. Defining them at this late in the game (of the history of the Fly) or early in the game (the first appearance of this version of the Fly) is like jinxing the whole idea. If the Fly is given the powers of the Fly People, then this issue diminishes the powers of Turan and the Fly People, who at one time were godlike!

Fly #1

Here we see Thomas Troy, thinking to himself how it’s been a while since he was the Fly. Due to recurring dreams of Turan trying to tell him something important, Thomas checks his ring and he sees it is glowing again. He exclaims “Has it’s magic somehow returned?”

Turan appears and Thomas says “Uh, I don’t intend to sound crass or ungrateful, but….in the years that have passed, you haven’t found someone a little more deserving (of the Fly ring/powers)? I mean, listen, I’ve done very well as a lawyer fighting crime in the courts! Surely all my efforts haven’t been in vain?

Turan replies “All of your laws…do’s and don’ts, rules and regulations, have your legislations succeeded in reversing any of man’s inhumanity to man? You have but to glance at the headlines of your own newspaper!

There is a very real and tangible evil in the world, Thomas! An invasion from a “Fourth Dimension,” if you will. But I have not come to argue. I see in your eyes you have gleaned the truth of this. You have to rub the ring, Thomas…

And he does.

Fly then says “I feel an incredible vitality coursing through me! But…it’s somehow different than before!”

Turan replies “Yes Thomas. It is due to the dimensional shift between our worlds that diminished your powers before…and finally…cut you off from us. You must now learn over again how to wield the powers of the Fly in your battle against evil and injustice! Good luck, Thomas” and departs.

Differences in Turan’s backstory and other notes:

• It would seem that a dimensional shift diminished Fly’s powers during his teen and young adult years where the Fly just didn’t exist. That or Tommy Troy did something to make him unworthy of being the Fly. Both are alluded to.

• Further, Turan found no one to replace Tommy. This seems to excuse the Green Lantern like Corps idea in the prior run or the possibility of any others using the Fly ring as inferred other issues. It also indicates that Kim Brand / Fly Girl is a story in the future for this retelling of the Fly’s origin. The question then, what makes Kim acceptable after Troy returns to being the Fly and not acceptable before then?

• Tommy has grown to adulthood and is a lawyer battling crime in his own way Turan doesn’t feel that is as effective Thomas can be. Of course, as seen in the past stories, Turan’s way of dealing with criminal actions (as shown in Fly #24) doesn’t really include a court of law.

• The invasion from the fourth dimension might mean something. I’m curious about what the writers meant by this.

• ALSO NOTE: Here Turan is shown to have two toes on each foot.

Fly #4

Fly, in a delirious state, recalls past events. He is having trouble figuring out that these are vivid flashbacks and not what he is experiencing right now and then. He recalls the battle with Mighty Man.

He asks for Turan’s assistance saying “A gesture will suffice”. Turan says “But a mild gesture will heal this tortured soul of the effects of Mightium!”

Turan disappears. Later Fly recalls an earlier battle with Stoker / Mighty Man and recalls “Turan intervened, ending the flight, erasing all knowledge of Stoker’s Mightium discovery from the Earth. Apparently, that meant my knowledge as well. Somehow Stoker’s subconscious, obsessed with the need for power this Mightium brings overcame Turan’s spell.”

Differences in Turan’s backstory and other notes:

• This is a fun throwback to when Archie published their superheroes under the Mighty Comics banner (thus the word usage of Mighty Man and Mightium).

• Also, in Blue Ribbon V2, #1, if you consider that issue as the relaunch of the Fly, Turan’s powers are not related as godlike. Here, his mighty god-like powers are referenced when Fly says “A gesture will suffice.”

Fly #9

Flashback only. No comments needed due to no additional information given.

And that brings us to the end of Turan’s appearances!


The life and assumed death of Turan during the “Silver Age” of the Archie heroes is noteworthy.

Including the importance of Fly’s origin and development as a character, Turan and Fly World are concepts with great potential. Owned by the Simon Estate, we can only hope that more stories featuring the whole Fly-verse as established during those Simon and Kirby issues are published.

Currently, the Simon Estate / Jim Simon is publishing new stories of the Fly in ShieldMaster Comics (Worth checking out!). Maybe Jim has something in mind? I hope so.

I look forward to reading the Fly’s continued adventures. I’m looking forward to whatever the Simon Estate does with these characters. In my own way, if I can think of Fly World is in a different dimension, then I can think of the new adventures the Fly and Turan taking place in another dimension than the Archie heroes and enjoy them alongside the members of the Mighty Crusaders (even if a dimension separates them). Who knows, if Marvel and DC can have crossovers, perhaps Archie and the Simon Estate can!

As I wrote this article, the word godlike came up numerous times. At one point I thought of the KMFDM song GodLike. If Turan ever appears in a cartoon or movie, here’s a fun idea. Every time Turan appears, introducing himself as the Emissary of Fly World and says something involving the “godlike powers of the Fly People” KMFDM’s GodLike should play! It has great synergy with Turan and Fly.

“Escape your own life of bondage and sin”

(Tommy escaping the cruelty of the family that cares for him)

“Now is the time Get on the right side”

(Turan pitching Tommy to be the Fly)

You’ll be godlike

You’ll be godlike

I know the song doesn’t directly translate into these things, but the words appropriated as they are above, they can!

In writing this article something occurred to me about continuity based comics. I present a few observations for future writers (of comics, not just of Turan) to follow.

Turan’s backstory, when looked at in detail, is a scattershot of ideas serving the vice of an individual story over continuity.

Every character matters. Turan’s backstory matters in the context of the Fly. The potential in exploring Turan as a character vs a prop is considerable. Often, Turan felt more like a prop than a character. What you write now matters tomorrow.

As a fan of the Fly, it matters. I reread these stories, took the time to write this article, which was published and read by other fans. We are talking about these stories and characters decades after their creation. Comics are not a disposable medium. The stories and characters will live on long after the initial creators passes.

The future of the industry, I believe, in part, rests on creators caring enough to know: What they do with the characters in their comics matters. It matters to the fans and the future of those chapters and the comics they appear in. Many problems fans have in today’s industry to varying degrees boils down to this very problem. It was on my mind when writing this article.

Researching Turan was met with some confusing moments. Perhaps your reading of this article was confusing. Any creator who, after numerous changes were made to Turan’s backstory, themselves were put into a situation, ultimately added to the confusion.

The transition from Mighty Comics to Red Circle and likewise any other incarnation made this situation more pronounced. After all Mighty Comics, defined by camp storylines, was not the identity of Red Circle. I don’t think any writer disrespected Simon and Kirby with their interpretation. In fact, I think, in their own way, each respected what made Turan, Turan.

Ultimately, in Turan’s case, more consistency would have been nice. Readers are left questioning what is what. Future writers will have to include and/or discard parts and pieces from those 20 issues or (shudder) rewrite it all.

One could write a like-minded article for almost any character in comics like I have with Turan. Especially with characters that date back 80 years ago!

Focusing on Turan left me wondering what other stories are there for Turan and the many characters of the MLJ/Archie/Simon Estate universes! Turan’s 20 appearances leave many questions about the emissary and the people of Fly World.

Here’s to Turan! I hope we one day read about your adventures again!