Thursday, August 08, 2013

Secret Origin of the American Eagle

The good guys at have posted America's Best Comics  #2 which features the origin of the patriotic hero American Eagle. The title of the comic might seem a little familiar as it is where Alan Moore got the name of his imprint featuring Top Ten, Promothea and Tom Strong which featured some revamps of characters from Standard.

Before this, I always found American Eagle to be one of their more uninteresting heroes. Most of them were variations of themes: superstrength, bulletproof, but susceptible to blows on the head. Doc Strange, Liberator, Captain Future, and the Scarab all belonged to a subset wearing t-shirts and in some cases shorts. Some flew, Fighting Yank had his ancestor that would intervene, Captain Future and Pyroman threw around lightning, and so on.

But, in this first outing American Eagle does stand out. Many of the heroes were a bit timid or physical weaklings before becoming heroes (in his early appearances, the Liberator was drawn scrawny with his clothes hanging off of him before he'd take his secret formula to turn into the hero). Tom Standish on the other hand is shown to be scare of practically his own shadow and a bit clumsy before accidentally gaining his powers. Although, until he puts on the costume, he doesn't seem to be able to fly, or at least is unaware that he has that ability.

His sidekick on the other hand is super-powered for no other reason than being the son of a circus strongman. Now, it made sense for Robin to be acrobatic as he was not only a son of trapeze artists but trained in the skill and not shown to be superhuman so. But, Bud's strength is on the superhuman side as if it was merely genetic. This isn't unheard of in the comics of the day as there are several heroes who boast extreme skills and talents by virtue of circus parentage. As far as I know, Bud's parents aren't mentioned again. Bud's story would pick up in the second appearance over in Exciting Comics #22 where he gains a costume to become the Eaglet.

The Batman similarity continues with the American Eagle's costume. Notice the scalloped cape, the fins on his gloves, the shape of his boots. Even his belt looks a bit distinctive. Now, the American Eagle had one of the more inconsistent costumes, individual elements would change or appear and disappear depending on the story. Each of those specific elements would be gone in .

Exciting Comics

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