Welcome back to My Hero! Each week, Back to the Past uses this column to tell you why the obscure characters from our custom action figure collection are great! Years ago, we purchased the life’s work of an artist and comic fan whose chosen medium was granting forgotten comic characters the action figure immortality denied to them by major toymakers. We’re still sorting through it all, and we’re making new finds every week! This week’s find, who will soon be available on ebay, is Stuntman.
Harvey Comics’ Love of Stuntpeople
Debuting in April of 1946, Stuntman was a co-creation of the legendary Simon & Kirby team. Unlike the patriotic heroes they’re most famous for, Stuntman is exactly what his name implies. Circus acrobat Fred Drake co-owns the Bandmaster Circus with his performing partners in the Three Apollos…until they die in a trapeze accident. Fred suspects foul play. Trying to investigate on his own, he encounters actor Don Daring. Fred and Don are practically twins, and Don offers the adventurous acrobat a job as his stunt double on the spot. Fred accepts, and uses his newfound resources to continue his investigation.
Donning an identity concealing version of Three Apollos costume, Fred confronts his partners’ murderer. The circus’ manager was eager to bump off its owners and claim the show for himself, but he missed one Apollo. With the killer brought to justice, Fred decides he will continue to fight crime as The Stuntman. Which isn’t the most creative superhero name for a stuntman, but is a cool name.
Stuntman is part of the proud Golden and Silver Age tradition of “circus performer” being an origin story. Unfortunately, Stuntman’s career was short: his title lasted just two issues! Harvey Comics reprinted a few of his stories in their other superhero titles in 1948, but that was it for the character. Amusingly, one of the titles Stuntman’s adventures were reprinted in was The Black Cat – Harvey Comics’ other stuntperson turned superhero. Its too bad that they didn’t crossover or team-up, as Stuntman would have fit well into Black Cat’s world.
An Obscure Creation of Legends
Owing to his short tenure, Stuntman is one of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby’s lesser known creations. Unlike fellow Simon & Kirby Harvey hero Fighting America or Archie Comics’ Lancelot Strong, he hasn’t been been picked up by modern creators for new runs. The fact that he’s not a thinly veiled version of their most famous creation doesn’t help. That said, Stuntman’s stories are ripping yarns and a highlight of the Simon & Kirby Superheroes hardcover.
If you fall in love with the character, you’ll be hard-pressed to find merch for him. The only folks who have made action figures of him are folks like our mad customizer, and we’re extremely happy to bring it to you! if you’ve got collection like our Custom Action Figure collection– be it original art, garage kits, convention sketches, whatever – and are looking to sell it, get in touch!