Wednesday, 11 July 2007
As I've noted, Wonderman has had several incarnations since his first appearance nearly 70 years ago. There have also been versions of Wonderman in England, Australia and France. Here's a brief chronology:
FOX FEATURE SYNDICATE WONDER MAN. His only appearance is in Wonder Comics #1. National Periodical Publications successfully sues Fox for copying their Superman character. Fox’s character was the first Golden Age Wonder Man.
NEDOR PUBLICATIONS WONDER MAN. The second Golden Age Wonder Man made his first appearance in Startling Comics #1. A mummy restored to life by a “vita-ray,” this offbeat version of Wonder Man lasted for two years.
NEDOR PUBLICATIONS WONDERMAN. Spelled as one word instead of two, Nedor’s Wonderman is the third Golden Age Wonderman. The most popular of the Golden Age characters, Wonderman made his first appearance in The Complete Book of Comics and Funnies #1. With his secret identity of scientist Brad Spencer, Wonderman battled evil until 1948 and appeared in several different magazines, including Wonder Comics (see image at left).
DC’S WONDER MAN. Perhaps the least-known Wonder Man is the character whose first and only appearance was in Superman #163. This Wonder Man had all of Superman’s powers, but none of his weaknesses. He was later revealed to be one of Superman’s robot duplicates, turned human by alien invaders. Wonder Man teams up with Superman to defeat the aliens, but shortly thereafter dies, the result of a death-mechanism the aliens had built into him.
MARVEL’S WONDER MAN. First appearing in The Avengers #9, Marvel’s version of Wonder Man (spelled as two words) is actor Simon Williams in his everyday identity. Wonder Man has appeared on-and-off in various Marvel comics and is considered a minor character in the Marvel lineup.
THE NEW BRAD SPENCER: WONDERMAN from the creative team of Stern, Timmons and Florea!
It's a thrill to announce that I'm working on the BRAD SPENCER: WONDERMAN GRAPHIC NOVEL with co-author Stan Timmons and artist Sandu Florea. Wonderman is one of the most intriguing characters to be created in the Golden Age of Comics. The very first Wonder Man (note the two words) was published by Fox Comics in 1939, when former DC Comics accountant Victor Fox had Will Eisner's studio create a "Superman-like" character for his new line of books. No sooner did Wonder Comics #1 hit the stands than DC sued Fox for copyright infringement, and when the case came quickly to court, Eisner took the stand and testified that he had indeed be asked to create a Superman clone. As a result, Fox's Wonder Man was never seen again. But a few years later, another publisher, Nedor Comics, launched its own Wonderman--now spelled as one word. This new Wonderman bore no relationship to the Fox Wonder Man--and, in my opinion, was a much more interesting character. Our Wonderman is indeed a revival of the Nedor Wonderman, whose secret identity was scientist Brad Spencer. To be sure, there have been other "Wondermen" (or "Wonder Men") over the years, even including one from DC, and the on-again, off-again comedic book from Marvel.