Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Iceman? Not quite. This 1941 character was one of Stan Lee’s first contributions to Marvel lore, created with Frank Giacoia and Carmine Infantino. Based on the spirit of winter from European folklore, Jack Frost fought for the Allies in World War II as part of the Liberty Legion, even facing off against his elemental opposite the Human Torch. Nicknamed “The God of Ice” at the time, it’s never been revealed if Jack Frost was the character of folklore or merely a super-powered human who took up the name.
What was Marvel’s first superhero team? The Fantastic Four? The Invaders? Wrong, it was the 3Xs. Appearing in just one issue, 1940’s Mystic Comics #1, the 3Xs were a trio of plain-clothes detectives, each with a unique ability. 1X was a detective, 2X had a high intellect and 3X was the muscles. Decades before Marvel would make coin with the letter “X,” the 3Xs were fighting crime against the likes of the Green Terror. Who is the Green Terror? That’s another story for another day.
The Blazing Skull
A lost classic and a personal favorite, the Blazing Skull is a World War II-era hero with a frightening visage that predates the the modern Ghost Rider by decades. Introduced in 1941 in the pages of Mystic Comics #5, the Blazing Skull was an embedded journalist covering Japan’s war in China. During a horrendous air bombardment, the reporter sought shelter in a mysterious cave, where he found a strange race of beings with burning skulls for heads called the Skull Men. Persuaded by talk of “destiny” and great power, the simple man was trained to become the Blazing Skull, who fought against the Nazis on his own and alongside the Invaders. The Blazing Skull reappeared briefly in the modern era, first as a member of a new incarnation of the Invaders and then as part of the Fifty State Initiative version of the Defenders.