So what happens when you're Archie Comics and it's the mid '60s and you're watching Martin Goodman over at Marvel do really well with a line of talky, slightly kooky superhero comics? You might remember that back in the day you too had a line of super-characters, and that it might be time to bring 'em back and grab yourself some of that superhero cash. And THEN you might remember that you tried that already in the late 50s with a character called "The Fly". Well, third time's the charm, right?
Yup, Archie brought back Simon & Kirby's "The Fly", renamed him "Fly-Man" or sometimes "Fly Man", hired Jerry "Superman" Siegel to write some scripts and guys like Paul Reinman and Mike Sekowsky to draw the things, and they were off to the super races!
Fly Man notices everyone in the city "looks peculiar" and has headaches and what appears to be indigestion. I think Fly Man has flown into an Alka-Seltzer commercial.
One of the hallmarks of these Archie "Mighty Heroes" comics is the tremendously overwritten dialogue, cramming great wads of unnecessary speech into the mouths of characters. Maybe Siegel was getting paid by the word. And I hope he was, comics owed it to him. You go, Jerry.
"Ouch, my back!" Yup, this comic was written by a middle aged guy all right.
HA, HAAA, HAAA-AAA! And here famous rock star Meat Loaf returns from Hell to wreak vengeance upon the music industry that scorned him! Beware! HA, HA, HAAA-AAA!!!
Writhe and groan in tribute to THE TERRIBLE TITAN who will conquer the surface world with his control of the most mightiest of weapons, XOO2 - RADIATION WEAKNESS! I'll say this for the giant hairy fringe-sporting goof, he's jolly.
Looks like Fly Man is going to give The Terrible Titan the kissing of his life with his powerful "Buss-Gun"!
ALTERNATE JOKE: Fly Man will use his Buss-Gun to send you to a school clear across town!
I'm going to agree with his claim that this is "the most diabolical grasp of all time", because it looks like the hand is not actually grasping anything, and also because the visible parts of Fly Man's body don't seem to fit together in any coherent whole.
I can't wait to grovel cravenly under the hairy fist of the Terrible Titan. Yaaaa. But what's that? A U.S. Security Sentinel alerts THE SECRET SQUAD and their MYSTERY WEAPON? Can't wait to see these guys, I bet they'll be pretty awesome!
And here they are, the Super-Secret Squad, which is a bunch of army guys on a platform with some kind of a searchlight, like a Village People tribute act that got the wrong delivery from the costume rental place.
Had the Secret Squad been able to, you know, actually hit the Terrible Titan with their Mystery Weapon, they might have saved the day. As it is they failed completely and ran away like little babies.
I guess we know why the Secret Squad is such a secret. I'd keep quiet about these guys too.
Meanwhile the Fly Man is saved by two boots to the breadbasket courtesy fellow Mighty Archie Hero and 1940s revival character The Black Hood, who is posessed of the amazing ability to deliver entire paragraphs of speech while swinging through the air.
Saved by the Black Hood's kicking ability, Fly Man and his hooded pal soar into the air to potentially feel the wrath of the Terrible Titan.
Wait a minute, Fly Man can turn himself into a super giant? Why didn't he do that in the first place?
I like two things about this panel, firstly the whole "GR-RR! You have fathomed my most vital secret!" dialogue, and secondly the simple yet effective city scape in the background; I kinda like the clean, chunky lines and the colors. See, we're not ALWAYS negative here.
CURSE YOUR SUPERB DEDUCTIVE ABILITY, FLY MAN
And if you were thinking this comic wasn't enough like a crazy wrestling match, here we go with the telephone pole smashing and THE FLY MAN IS DOWN! THE FLY MAN IS DOWN! The Terrible Titan is - he's about to do a Double Heel Piledriver onto Fly Man's FACE! WHERE IS THE REF? WON'T SOMEBODY STOP THIS?
It's a tag team rescue as the Black Hood's Force Ray zips the Terrible Titan into the air and then Fly Man punches him and... wait a minute.
What the hell, guys? I can't even.
Restored to normal height from whatever drunken spasm Paul Reinman and/or Mike Sekowsky was suffering in that last panel, Fly Man simply kicks the Terrible Titan's ass - literally - all the way back to his hole in the ground.
Once returned to the bowels of Subterrania, the Terrible Titan is taken into custody by the metalheads who inhabit the center of the Earth, and Fly Man is free to soar to unimaginable heights of unique action-thrills as he prepares to meet the most astounding villain in all fictiondom, namely the editor, who is going to ask "is 'fictiondom' really a word?" and "what the hell are 'action-thrills'?"
While we're here in mid 60s Archie Mighty Hero Land, let's take a gander at some of the other Ultra-Heroes the Mamaroneck gang was trying to foist on an unsuspecting public.
Zip to new heights of spine-tingling action, fantastic battles, incredible perils, magnificent artistry! And then, quit reading "Fantastic Four" and check out some of THESE terrible comics, starring the widest, squattest, squintiest heroes ever to combine green and orange tights with a rainbow colored helmet, seriously, these are comics for the blind
Mister Rainbow Helmet Mustache Man here is actually the new and "improved" Comet, shown here explaining how he used to rule the planet Altrox and NOT explaining how the purple guy's hand holding the goblet is facing the opposite of how it should be, try it at home, there's no way you can make your wrist do that. The Comet is one of those 40s characters that used to have a slightly less garish, yet no less crazy outfit and who used to be a young scientist whose origin was explained in run-on sentences.
Archie would bring these characters back on several occasions - in digest reprints, in revivals in the 80s and 90s, and I'm sure somebody somewhere is planning on trying to wring yet more profit out of 'em. Let them rest in peace, is what I say. They, and we, have suffered enough.
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