Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Defenders of the Earth

When Marvel launched Star Comics in the 1980s to appeal to young readers, one of the titles added to the imprint was Defenders of the Earth. The short-lived series reintroduced several characters who originally appeared in newspaper comic-strips during the 1930s.

  • Flash Gordon, a football hero turned space adventurer. His classic nemesis, Ming the Merciless, became the overarching enemy of the Defenders of the Earth.
  • Mandrake the Magician, a mentalist with hypnotic and illusion-casting abilities. An updated version of his colleague Lothar fought alongside the heroic team as well.
  • The Phantom, an athletic jungle adventurer rumored to be an immortal ghost.

Like other Star Comics, Defenders of the Earth took place outside of the the mainline Marvel Universe. But Mandrake and the Phantom certainly would have meshed well with the Defenders non-team.

Early in my career, I had the opportunity to work for Bob McCoy (son of Wilson McCoy, one of the early illustrators of the Phantom). Bob told stories of modeling adventurous poses as a youth, so his father would have a point of reference when he drew the comic strip.

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