Dusty: The Return of the Sidekick (Updated 9/1/4)

Unfinished fan fiction. Works in progress.

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Brad Cobb
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Dusty: The Return of the Sidekick (Updated 9/1/4)

Post by Brad Cobb » Mon Jan 24, 2005 2:53 am

This story is a sequel to a previously published story, "Dusty, the Boy Detective: Memiors" The characters contained herein are all property of Archie Comics.


--What's gone before (in case you don't know)--
Dusty, sidekick to the Shield, retired in his early 20's so he could settle down and get married and start a family. In the 1970's, he wrote an autobiography in which he revealed his own secret identity. The book was a monstrous success. Dusty is now in his mid-70's, and Alzheimer's desease has started taking it's toll on him.

The history of the original Hangman is left intact for this story. Since the Red Circle Comics line was cancelled, we don't know if the Hangman's son would carry on his father's legacy or not. I say he does. Now onto the story.


The Date: August, 2004.

The Place: Jackson, NY (about 30 minutes west of New York City)

Helen Rogers sat alone in her chair. She didn’t trust her husband to go to the store by himself, but the doctor said it might be good for him. He said it might help to keep his mind alert and stave off the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Somehow, he had a hard time remembering his own children, and sometimes even her, but he always remembered the doctor’s advice…much to Helen’s chagrin.

He had set off on his walk only 15 minutes before, but already Helen felt that something was wrong. Normally she just felt jittery, wondering if he’d remember where he lived. Today, however, she felt scared. Afraid that something had happened to her husband.

She picked up the phone and placed a call to the only person she knew she could trust at this moment. He answered on the second ring.


“Joe, it’s Helen.”

“Helen? What’s wrong? Is Dusty ok?”

“That’s what I’m worried about, Joe. He left to go to the store today, and I can’t explain it, but I really feel like something’s happened to him. I’m worried, Joe.”

“Don’t worry, Helen. I’m sure he’ll be ok.”

“Joe, he isn’t ok. I can feel it.” Helen started to cry with those words, and Joe gave in.

“Ok, I’ll come down there and see if I can find him.” Joe sighed. “It’ll be good to see him again after all these years.”


Dustin Rogers had his moments of clarity, but today wasn’t one of those moments. He made it to the local gas station, but forgot why he had gone there in the first place. So after buying some coffee, he turned around and headed for home.

He was muttering to himself about how big of a rip-off it was to pay 35 cents for a cup of coffee when a beat-up black van pulled over and stopped next to him. After a couple seconds the van backfired. Dusty dove to the ground, spilling his coffee all over the sidewalk, and screamed “Look out Shield, they’re firing on us!”

The driver of the van opened up the sliding door on the passenger side and said, “Hey, old-timer! Can you tell me how to get to 4th street?”

Dustin took a few seconds to get up, looking around, and wondering how it was that he got on the cracked sidewalk in the first place.

The driver, a rather handsome fellow with about a week’s worth of stubble, grew impatient, “Hey buddy, you deaf? I said, ‘Where’s 4th Street?’”

Dustin glared at him through his slightly dirtied spectacles, and said, “I’m not deaf. I heard you the first time.” He wiped off some dirt from his pant legs before saying, “I think it’s that way. Looking for anyone in particular?”

The irritated man replied, “Yeah, an ‘old friend’ named Dusty.” With that he began to close the door.

Dustin looked up, a somewhat confused look on his face and said, “Hey, that’s my name. . .Do I know you?”

A mischievous smile crossed the man‘s face as the words set in. “Old-timer, we’ve never met, but if you live past today, I doubt you’ll ever forget me!” The man hopped out of the van, grabbed Dustin, and threw him in the still-open side door. He climbed in and put a well-placed kick to the side of Dustin’s head. “That oughta keep him out for a while.” He climbed into the driver’s seat, turned the ignition and pushed the pedal to the floor. His tires squealed loudly as he turned the corner.


Joe Higgins arrived at the Rogers house only an hour after he was called by the worried wife. He knocked on the door and heard the running feet right before the door opened. “Helen, is he--”

“He’s not here, Joe.” Helen was in tears. Her nose was red and swollen, showing that she’d been crying for some time before Joe arrived. “He made it to the store, but never made it back. Something’s happened to him.”

“Did you--”

Helen interrupted him, continuing to cry, “I went out looking for him right after I called you. I searched the whole neighborhood. The lady at the gas station said he’d been there, but no one knows where he went.”

“I’ll do what I can, I promise. I will find him and bring him home safely. You have my word on that.” All of a sudden there was a ringing coming from the cell phone on Joe’s belt.

“Hello?…Yes, I remember him…He broke out?…When?…Really…well, keep me posted….Wait! Where did you say he was last seen?…That’s not good…contact me immediately if you hear anything.”

Helen choked back her tears for a second and asked, “What’s wrong, Joe? That sounded serious.”

“A guy I put away 4 years ago broke out of prison. The last anyone has heard of him, he was headed towards Jackson. It sounds like he may have been headed this way.”

“Why this way?” Helen asked.

“It’s all conjecture, but it’s possible he might be after Dusty.”

“What would he want with Dusty? He’s been retired from crime-fighting for over 50 years, Joe!”

“This guy’s been vowing revenge against me since I put caught him. I’m just guessing, but they do have books in prison. It’s a possibility that Dusty’s book was among them, and maybe this guy’s decided to use him as bait to get to me.”

“Oh, Joe…you can’t let him hurt Dusty. He’s all I’ve got. You have to find him! You‘ve got to keep him from hurting Dusty!” Helen could hold back the tears no longer and began her full-force sobbing again.

“Helen, that’s all a theory. The guy could just as easily be stopping for gas on his way to New York City.” Joe put his hand on her shoulder. “Dusty could have just gotten lost.”

Helen pushed his hand off of her shoulder. “Joe. Listen to me. Something bad has happened to Dusty, and I’ll never forgive you if you don’t get to the bottom of it.” Helen had stopped crying, and had a look of determination across her face. Here she was, a woman approaching 70 years old, ordering around the greatest hero America had ever seen. “Promise me you’ll bring him home safely.”

“Ok, I promise.”

“Joe,” Helen said quietly, “who exactly is this man you’re referring to?”

“Helen, I don’t want to upset--” Joe started to say before being quickly interrupted.

“Joe, you owe your life to Dusty. Even if he does exaggerate some of his stories about when you two were partners, I know he saved your hide on more than one occasion. Now I’m asking you one more time. Who is this man that is after my Dusty?”

Joe lowered his head and said, “His name is Steve Dickering. His father was the Hangman.”


The Date: June, 1985

The Place: New York City

Bob Dickering had been many things throughout his years. He was a super-hero. One of the originals. He fought the Nazis back in World War II, and fought the criminal element on a local level after that. Once, however, he had turned evil. Call it whatever you will, the Hangman had become one of the bad guys. He robbed, murdered, and left all that he’d supposedly held dear for a life of crime. Many a good crime-fighter had been sent packing by his awe-inspiring abilities. That lasted for a stretch of about 4 years. Then he had a son, and things were going to be better.

All that was in the past now. Bob had long-since retired, but his misdeeds still haunted him in his sleep. Now he laid on a hospital bed, dying. His son, Steve, was a medical student at the New York University Medical Center.

Bob, for a long time after Steve was born, had tried to repair all the evil he’d done by staying out all hours fighting the ‘good fight.’ When he’d get home, his nerves frayed, he’d take out his frustrations on his small family.

Steve never forgave his father for the way he’d been treated by him. He refused to speak to him, even as this old man lay dying. Bob’s last words were to his son. He said, “I’m sorry.”

After Bob passed away, the world seemed to forget that the Hangman had ever turned evil. The Hangman was honored with a massive funeral and a burial in Arlington National Cemetery for his service during WWII. The Shield and Steel Sterling were two of the pallbearers. Steve did not attend the ceremonies.


The Date: August, 1985

The Place: New York City

Steve Dickering was a man in transit. He had been one of the most promising medical students to ever attend NYU, but recently he had been skipping classes, and showing up late for lectures, if at all. The bags under his eyes grew larger and darker, and he was no longer the jovial person his friends had grown to love. No one knew of Steve’s new passion. No one knew that he had been moonlighting as a novice super-hero. No one knew that in the span of one month, Steve Dickering had decided to become the next Hangman.

Steve was not as adept to crime-fighting as his father was. He was not the physical specimen that the original Hangman had been during his heyday. Steve was starting from scratch. Learning by trial and error. Mostly error.

Steve’s super-hero career was a series of defeats and embarrassments. He had to be rescued from a burning building by firefighters at one point, and he broke his leg trying to chase down a purse snatcher in the early hours of the morning. Through all of this he persevered. He was determined to show himself that the Hangman was a real hero. He read about how great the original Hangman was, but the only thing he ever remembered about him was the bitter man who used to come home and beat his wife and son.


The Date: April, 1991

The Place: New York City

Like father, like son. That‘s how the saying goes. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. That’s another saying. Just like his father before him, Steve Dickering had become the Hangman. And just like his father before him, this Hangman had turned to a life of crime. He found it a lot easier to plan and execute a crime than to react to one. In doing this, the Hangman quickly became a scourge of heroes everywhere.

Being the son of a world-famous super-hero had its advantages. Steve knew all about the powers and limitations of most of the ‘supers’ that had been around for a while. That helped him many a time to escape and defeat some of the most powerful heroes the world had to offer. A Third-rate super-hero became a first-rate super-criminal. Most recently, he’d crippled a newcomer super-hero known as the Green Falcon.


The Date: January, 2000

The Place: Evergreen, Washington

The Hangman was alone, sitting in an abandoned house, armed with a power rifle that he had stolen from a secret military compound somewhere in Nevada. He was waiting for the inevitable showdown with a couple of the Crusaders that had been chasing him for the past month. He smiled. The uniform he’d been wearing for the past 15 years was in tatters sitting in a broken rocking chair beside him. He was wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt he’d stolen from the house next door.

The Shield and the Comet were closing in. The Comet commented, “Joe, if you’d lose some weight, we’d get there a bit faster.” He was joking. The Comet could fly at speeds that made him unseen to the human eye. The Shield was holding on for dear life to the Comet’s shoulders.

Eventually they slowed down, and landed on the outskirts of town. The Comet landed upright, and peered at the city. The Shield, who lost his grip as they were descending, was trying to untangle himself from the tree limbs he found himself encased in.

The Comet turned and looked up, “Help! Help! Call the fire department! The Shield is stuck up a tree!”

The Shield glared down and said, “Shut up and help me down!” But the Comet was too busy laughing to be of any help.

The Shield finally got free, and said, “OK, where are we headed? Where is he?”

The Comet pointed towards a rather desolate looking neighborhood and said, “There.”

The Shield began walking towards the area the Comet indicated, and said, “I’ll bite, how do you know he’s there?”

The Comet looked at him and told him, “That’s where he grew up.”

As they continued walking towards the Hangman’s hiding place, The Shield quickly raised his hand and stopped dead in his tracks. “DUCK!” His words had barely left his lips when a blast of energy came rocketing through the air right at them. The Shield leapt out of the way, while the Comet flew to the sky.

“You get the North side, I’ll get the South!”

“Gotcha Shield!”

The Comet flew towards the north side of the house and put some well-placed laser beams through the wall, knocking a rather large whole in it. Within seconds, power blasts came from the house towards the flying hero. It was all the distraction that the Shield needed. He ran and shoulder-blocked the front door down. The Hangman turned and faced the Shield, a wide smile across his still-masked face.

“Are you ready to tango, Shield?”

“Bring it on.”

The Hangman leveled his newly acquired power rifle at the oncoming hero and fired. The blast hit the Shield square in the chest and sent him flying into the fireplace, which came crashing down around him.

“The Shield has never been a match for the Hangman.” Steve Dickering cackled a laugh.

The Comet landed softly behind him and spoke. “You’re not the Hangman. You’re nothing but a wannabe.”

The Comet was caught off-guard by a well-placed elbow to his stomach, and then a kick to the head knocked him to the ground.

“I AM the Hangman! The one and only!”

“You’re…nothing…” came the voice from below the rocks that used to be a chimney. As the figure rose from beneath them, he continued, “The Hangman was a great man. I fought with him in the Great War. You are no Hangman!” With that, the Shield dove towards the second generation Hangman and tackled him around the waist. The power rifle slid across the room.

“I am a better, stronger, and more powerful Hangman that my father ever was!” Steve quickly got up and tripped the Shield.

The Comet, meanwhile, was seething. “Steve Dickering,” he screamed, “Your father was a good man! He did some things he shouldn’t have, yes, but he was a hero. A TRUE hero!”

“How…How do you know who I am?” came the voice from the stunned Hangman. He turned slowly to face the Comet. As he did, the Shield’s fist connected with the side of his head, knocking him unconscious.

The Comet looked down and said slowly, “The Hangman was my brother…” With that, he looked at the Shield and said, “You take it from here, OK? I’ve got to go.” Then the Comet flew away.

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Post by Press Guardian » Mon Feb 07, 2005 1:42 am

It is nice to see a story focusing on Dusty.

My Grandfather had Alzheimer's, so there was a conection there for me.

I didn't fully understand what casued the Hangman/Dusty conection.

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Brad Cobb
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Re: The Hangman/Dusty Connection

Post by Brad Cobb » Tue Feb 08, 2005 1:49 pm

Well...If I'd get off my lazy keister, I'd finish the story and it'd all make sense...the next section has Dusty (the old man) being held hostage by the escaped prisoner, the Hangman, who is using Dusty as bait to snag the Shield, who put him in prison in the first place. I'd say more, but eventually, I might finish this story...Oh well...

Have you read the first story in this series? Dusty: Memoirs ? You'd appreciate it, I think.

Thanks for reading it thus far!

Brad Cobb


Same thing

Post by bee533 » Tue Nov 08, 2005 12:23 am

It is nice to see a story focusing on Dusty.
:lol::lol: Hahaha, cant believe it! I was going to say -Exactly- that a minute ago! :lol::lol:

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