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 actually a team. Presenting The Target and his Targeteers!
One Hero In Three!
The Target made his first appearance in 1940’s Target Comics #10, but his secret identity wasn’t explored. He was a mystery man who began printing newspaper ads and making radio addresses threatening the criminal element. When he finally appeared on-panel, battling a gangster, it was briefly explained that his costume was made of a bulletproof metal and he wants crooks to shoot the bullseye on his chest, but that was it.
In Target Comics #11, it was revealed that The Target was in reality Niles Reed! Like so many Golden Age heroes, he was a natural athlete and academic wunderkind. His elder brother Bill was similarly successful, getting elected District Attorney and being eyed for Governor as Niles finishes college. Until he gets framed for murder and sentenced to die.
Niles attempts to rescue his brother en route to Sing Sing’s death row, but Bill dies in the attempt. Returning to the city, Niles meets 20-somethings Tommy and Dave. The pair have been orphaned by the same gang that framed bill, and a plan begins to form. Using a flexible, bulletproof metal of Niles’ design (’cause randos could just invent that sort of thing in Golden Age comics), they became the trio of The Target & The Targeteers!
Golden Age Power Rangers?
Ostensibly, Niles wore the yellow costume as The Target while Dave and Tommy wore blue and red as the Targeteers. However, due in part to the deficiencies of Golden Age editing, that wasn’t always consistent. It does seem intentional, though, that which Targeteer wore what color didn’t matter.
The trio would appear regularly in Target Comics for much of its run – it reset its numbering every year, but their feature appeared on-and-off through Vol. 8, #5 in 1948. Like most superheroes outside of what is now called “The Big Two”, superheroes faded out of Novelty Press’ titles before the decade’s end. They’ve made brief appearances in AC Comics’ FemForce line and were a major presence in Dynamite Comics’ Project Superpowers universe.
Thanks to their primary colors and matching spandex suits, they look like a team of Golden Age Power Rangers. Which makes it appropriate that we’re writing about them today: Dwayne Cameron, AKA Tyzonn the Mercury Ranger, is joining us at Motor City Comic Con starting today! Target & The Targeteers won’t be there though, as you can only find them (in toy form) in our custom action figure collection! And if you’ve got collection like our custom figures, be it more customs, original art, garage kits, convention sketches, whatever – and are looking to sell it, get in touch!