Thursday, July 14, 2016


The high-flying Hillman characters Airboy and Sky Wolf started out in separate features during WWII, and I don't have the impression that they crossed over much-- certainly not to the extent they did when Eclipse Comics revived most of the Hillman franchises in the 1980s. But I found this postwar adventure, from AIRBOY vol. 3, #12 (1947), to be of more than passing interest.

The scene above may remind some of the typical "Marvel-heroes-meet-and-beat-cute" schtick. In the story Airboy has fallen under the spell of a master hypnotist, and must encourage his friend Sky Wolf to knock him out in order to get him out of the villain's aegis. As a bonus, Airboy's sometime girlfriend the Valkyrie appears in the story as well, making, as I recall, her last Golden Age appearance.

The villain is one of a group of "Tartar" warriors-- all drawn to look like Vikings-- who have been somehow brought back to life by atomic testing. Their mesmeric leader is named "Black Tamerlane," named for the partly-Mongolian conqueror of the 13th century. The modern villain's idea of bringing a new level of conflict to a war-weary world was a pretty common trope in postwar popular entertainment, though it was unusual to see that goal conflated with the old "Mongol peril" trope.

The whole story appears at Digital Comics Museum here.

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