Monday, April 21, 2014

S is for the Sword

By 1941, it was obvious to all comics publishers that masks and capes is what the readers wanted. A flood of costumed superheroes swept onto the newsstands/ Even some established characters took to wearing costumes, such as Quality's crusading crime-beat reporter Chic Carter.

In Smash Comics #24, Carter was framed for murder, so he adopted a costumed identity to clear his name. When his series moved to Quality Comics' new title Police Comics (which featured such soon-to-be legendary characters as Plastic Man) he continued to operate as the Sword.

Carter's masked mystery man phase was very short-lived, however. By Police Comics #5, Carter hung up his cape for good, making the Sword's career a total of four adventures before Carter went back to his standard issue blue suit and fedora. The real-world reason was that series writer/artist Vern Henkel had no interest in superheroes. The in-world reason for Carter giving up the mask is probably found in the last panel of the story from Police Comics #3:

That smart cookie is Gay Nolan, Carter's co-worker and girlfriend. In that panel, she proved herself to be smarter than 98% of all comic book characters.

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