Tuesday, November 6, 2012

John Aman the Amazing-Man

From Don Markstein's Toonopedia:

When the first Superman imitator, Wonder Man, hit the stands only 11 months after the Man of Tomorrow himself, DC Comics sued it out of existence as blatant plagiarism — which, of course, it was, since the only specification publisher Victor Fox gave cartoonist Will Eisner was to make it an exact copy.

But a few months later, as the floodgates opened and superheroes became the dominant genre of comic books, the trend followers were less precise and therefore less actionable. When Amazing-Man came out, four months after Wonder Man (and the first superhero to debut in his own title), DC had to endure him because there was no legal way to shut him down.

The hero was created by Bill Everett, who achieved greater fame the following year, as the creator of The Sub-Mariner. He first appeared in Amazing-Man Comics #5 (the first four issues had been titled Motion Picture Funnies Weekly), published by Centaur Publications and dated September, 1939.

Amazing-Man ("civilian" name, John Aman) came from Tibet, cared for by monks after his parents died. He grew up steeped in their lore, and when he came of age, was chosen by their Council of Seven to receive the exclusive benefit of their highest training and most valued secrets.

This created resentment on the part of another disciple, whose name was never given, but who became known as The Great Question . When John reached the age of 25, he was sent to battle evil in the outside world. The Great Question followed, and attempted to thwart him at every turn.

In addition to great strength and control over his body, plus certain mental powers up to and including a low level of telepathy, Amazing-Man also, through western science, acquired the power to disappear in a cloud of green vapor.

That's a Great Question.

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