Thursday, April 5, 2012

Golden Age Throwbacks: Pyroman

Tonight I continue our look back at some of the superheroes from the Golden Age of Comic Books that are now in the public domain and present the next member of the Golden Age Throwbacks: Pyroman. As you will see, his name is a bit of a misnomer as Pyroman's powers have nothing to do with fire but instead are based on his body's ability to store electric current. Pyroman was created by artist Jack Binder but the name of the writer who gave us his first appearance and origin story has sadly been lost to time.

Origin: Transformed
Real Name: Dick Martin
First Appearance: Startling Comics #18 [Nedor Comics December 1942]

Prowess  4
Coordination  5
Strength  6
Intellect  4
Awareness  3
Willpower  3

Stamina  9
Determination  4

  • Electronics Expert (Electrical Engineering)
  • Martial Arts Master
  • Underwater Combat
  • Elemental Control 8 (Electrical) - Body can store electric current
    • Attacking (Lighting Bolts [Blast Shooting Attack])
    • Defending (Electromagnetic Force Field)
  • Flight 5  - By following the electromagnetic field of high tension power lines and moving metal objects like cars
As a stunt, Pyroman can tag his Epithet: The Crackling Crusader quality and spend a point of Determination to use his Electrical Elemental Control power to break down water to its essential parts, hydrogen and oxygen, and use the oxygen released to breathe under water as if he had the Aquatic power.

  • Connections : Professor Clark
  • Connections: Joyce Clark (Girlfriend)
  • Epithet : The Crackling Crusader
  • Catchphrase : Refers to his enemies as 'rats' (e.g. More little rats, eh? Well come and get it, boys!)
  • Catchphrase : This is my knuckle punch - it'll make you knuckle under!
  • Enemy : Axis Powers
  • Weakness : Rubber and asbestos insulate against electricity-based powers (e.g. rubber-soled shoes) and prevent them from working
  • Weakness : Stored electrical charge in his body can be drained preventing power use until recharged (e.g. by absorbing a lighting bolt while in the water to restore powers)
Point Total: 45

Professor Clark and Dick Martin
Dick Martin was an electrical engineering student and research assistant at Central Technical School when he accidentally stumbled upon a gang of arsonists led by the Nazi saboteur known as Dizasta. In order to protect their evil plot against America, the enemy Nazi agent and his arsonists attempted to kill Dick by sabotaging an experiment he was working on in the research lab of Professor Clark - a new dynamo using experimental neutralized current. This neutralized current proved fortunate for Dick because he was able to safely absorb all the electrical discharge in the accident. When they realized that their attempt to silence Dick Martin for good had failed, they set him up to take the fall for a fatal arson Dizasta and his gang had actually committed. Dick was wrongly charged, tried and convicted of murder and sentenced to death in the electric chair. When the switch on the electric chair was thrown, Dick instantly realized his body had developed the ability to store electric current thanks to his work with high voltage electricity and the earlier accident in Professor Clark's lab. He was able to escape from prison with his new found powers and decided to go after Dizasta and his henchmen who framed him to clear his name by donning an old masquerade costume and disguising himself as Pyroman! Using his new powers, Pyroman brought Dizasta and his gang of arsonist saboteurs to justice and cleared Dick Martin's good name. Afterwards, he decided to continue to use his electrical powers and secret identity to fight crime and protect the innocent.

Joyce Clark and Dick Martin
For most of his career during World War II, Pyroman foiled the plots of Nazi and Japanese saboteurs on the American home front. Only one person knew the true identity of Pyroman, Dick Martin's mentor and boss, Professor Clark. Clark was Dick Martin's professor of electrical engineering and one of the country's leading electrical wizards. He was often the target of enemy agents and spies of the Axis powers at war with America because of his research and technological developments. Professor Clark's daughter Joyce was Dick Martin's girlfriend and was often captured or taken hostage by America's enemies when she unwittingly stumbled upon their schemes. And although she was always rescued by Pyroman, she never knew that her very savior was none other than her boyfriend Dick Martin.

Take that, rat!
Pyroman's powers stem from his body's ability to store thousands of volts of electricity in his body. His powers include creating electrical energy and transmitting electrical bolts to strike down foes, creating electromagnetic force fields for protection, and flying through the air by using the electromagnetic field of high tension power lines and moving metal objects like cars and launched torpedoes and then going along for the ride. His powers can only be neutralized by insulators such as rubber or asbestos (his smarter enemies always wore rubber-soled shoes and tied him up with insulated steel wire), and occasionally very powerful effects could drain him of all his stored current that he would later need to recharge to regain his powers. Recharging usually involved being in a large body of water (a great conductor) and getting hit by a bolt of lightning. 

Pyroman was originally created by Jack Binder and first appeared in Startling Comics #18 (December 1942) published by Nedor Comics.

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