Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for Golden Lad & Golden Girl

Teenager Tommy Preston was helping out in his grandfather's antique shop when he found the Heart of Gold, an artifact holding the power of "the blood of a thousand martyred Aztecs." It gives him the ability to turn into Golden Lad at will while granting him super strength, the ability to fly, and x-ray vision.

Golden Boy, as drawn by creator Mort Meskin

Golden Boy was the lead feature in the series that bore his name. It debuted in 1945, and it lasted for five issues. The final issue, like so many comics magazines during the Golden Age, showed no sign that cancellation was impending. In fact, it added a major new element to the Golden Lad Universe--Peggy Shane, a love interest/stalker for Tommy who becomes Golden Girl after she triggers the same magical transformation in herself by holding a chip off the Heart of Gold.

Golden Girl transforms for the first time. Artist & Writer Unknown.

Despite the promises of more adventures of both Golden Boy, Golden Girl, and even the all-new superhero team of Shaman & Flame, Golden Boy #5 marked the end of the road not only for the series and the characters within its pages, but for publisher Spark as well. Spark opened its doors as the comic book market was going through a major contraction, and the outfit simply didn't have the market presence to survive. It's a shame, because Spark was a company that was founded by and with some heavy-duty talent, with Mort Meskin and Mac Raboy being foremost among them.

Golden Lad and Golden Girl will be receiving their own book as part of NUELOW Games' line-up of rpg/comics hybrid books. Shaman & Flame are slated to appear in a future issue of Complete Golden Age Oddballs. (Golden Lad and Golden Girl will also be given stats in both the ROLF! and OGL Modern game systems.)

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