Amazing-Man
Amazing-Man Comics 5 page 05.jpg
Amazing-Man Comics #5 (Sept. 1939), first appearance of the Amazing-Man, art by Bill Everett.
Publication information
PublisherCentaur Publications
Malibu Comics
Marvel Comics
First appearanceAmazing-Man Comics #5 (Sept. 1939)
Created byBill Everett
In-story information
Alter egoJohn Aman
Team affiliationsMarvel:
Immortal Weapons
Secret Avengers
Malibu:
Protectors
Notable aliasesPrince of Orphans (Marvel), The Green Mist of Death
AbilitiesSlightly superhuman strength, speed, and endurance
Ability to turn into a green mist

Amazing-Man (John Aman) is a fictional, American comic book superhero whose adventures were published by Centaur Publications during the 1930s to 1940s in the Golden Age of Comic Books. Historians credit his creation variously to writer-artist Bill Everett[1] or to Everett together with Centaur art director Lloyd Jacquet.[2] Amazing-Man first appeared in Amazing-Man Comics #5 (Sept. 1939) (there were no issues numbered #1-4).[3]

During the Golden Age of Comic Books, Centaur Publications produced Amazing-Man's eponymous series, Amazing-Man Comics, which ran from issues #5–26 (Sept. 1939 – Feb. 1942). Amazing-Man was the second superhero to have a comic book named after him, after Superman.[4] In 1941, Centaur also included Amazing-Man in their war comic, Stars and Stripes Comics #2-6 (June — Dec. 1941).[5] The book was cancelled in 1942 when the company went out of business.[6]

The character influenced the creation and origin of Charlton Comics' 1960s superhero Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt,[1] as well as Marvel Comics' Iron Fist character in the 1970s,[7][8] and DC Comics' hero of the same name.[9]

Fictional character biography

Cover of Amazing-Man Comics #14 (July 1940), art by Lew Glanzman.
Cover of Amazing-Man Comics #14 (July 1940), art by Lew Glanzman.

John Aman is an orphan from the West, chosen for his "superb physical structure" to be raised by benevolent monks in Tibet for the first 25 years of his life.[10] Each member of The Council of Seven, as the monks are known, trained him to a superhuman degree of physical and mental ability, while also giving him the ability via a chemical solution to disappear into a cloud of green mist, earning him the secondary title of the Green Mist.[11] His new powers include super-strength, invulnerability and speed, as well as healing and telekensis.[12]

After receiving his final tests, he is sent into the world to use his skills and abilities to do good. Opposing Aman, as he was often known, is his nemesis the Great Question, a disgruntled member of the Council of Seven.[13] Aman's sidekick is Tommy, the Amazing Kid, and he's also aided by "ace girl crime investigator" Zona Henderson.[12]

Malibu Comics

Malibu Comics' Protectors #3, featuring Amazing Man. Cover art by Thomas Derenick & Mike S. Miller.
Malibu Comics' Protectors #3, featuring Amazing Man. Cover art by Thomas Derenick & Mike S. Miller.

In the 1990s, Malibu Comics used the Centaur properties, including Amazing-Man, as the roster of its own superhero team, the Protectors. Aside from the costume, the Malibu version was essentially identical to the original.[14]

Marvel Comics version

Amazing-Man was introduced into the Marvel Comics universe, with the character Prince of Orphans revealing his identity as John Aman at the end of Immortal Iron Fist #12 (Feb. 2008). Earlier in the issue, Prince of Orphans is seen turning into a green mist while battling Davos.

Aman had been sent by the Seven Cities of Heaven to assassinate Orson Randall — the Iron Fist before the present day Danny Rand took on that mantle - in order to kill another "immortal weapon" like himself. Chasing Randall around the world, Aman would come close to killing his foe, only to yield honorably when Randall's allies would be injured. Eventually, Randall hinted that the masters of the Seven Cities had lied to Aman concerning the Tournament of the Seven Cities, in which every decade the victorious city is allowed to merge with the Earthly plane. Feeling betrayed after discovering the cities' masters had developed gateways to Earth without the knowledge of the cities' populace, Aman dropped his quest against Randall and vowed to make the city masters pay. Randall told Aman to assist the next Iron Fist in a revolution against the Seven Cities.[15]

The character later appeared in Secret Avengers #6–12 as the Prince of Orphans, to assist the Secret Avengers against the Shadow Counci, Aman stopped the Shadow Council from resurrecting Zheng Zu (Shang-Chi's fanther).[16][17] During this, it is revealed he met Captain America (Steve Rogers) during World War II.[18]

During the 2011 "Fear Itself" storyline, Prince of Orphans appears in Washington D.C. during Blitzkrieg U.S.A, helping with the rescue efforts, alongside War Machine, Beast and Ant-Man. He tells War Machine that the "Eighth City" has been opened.[19]

The character appeared as an antagonist in Matt Fraction's Defenders in 2012.[20]

Other versions

Under his original name, Amazing-Man is one of many public domain superheroes to appear in issue #0 of Project Superpowers, a miniseries from Dynamite Entertainment; a sketch of him is included in issue #2.

In 2014, Barry Gregory and Steven Butler released a new series by Gallant Comics.[21] The new series, titled John Aman Amazing Man, Gregory and Butler used other public domain characters, like Blue Beetle and Miss Masque. In 2015, they launched a crowdfunding campaign in Kickstarter to finish a six-part arc.[22]

Notes

  1. ^ a b Amazing-Man at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on April 4, 2012.
  2. ^ Nevins, Jess. "The Timely Comics Story". WebCitation archive.
  3. ^ Benton, Mike (1992). Superhero Comics of the Golden Age: The Illustrated History. Dallas: Taylor Publishing Company. p. 149. ISBN 0-87833-808-X. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  4. ^ Benton, Mike (1992). Superhero Comics of the Golden Age: The Illustrated History. Dallas: Taylor Publishing Company. p. 66. ISBN 0-87833-808-X. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  5. ^ Benton, Mike (1992). Superhero Comics of the Golden Age: The Illustrated History. Dallas: Taylor Publishing Company. p. 184. ISBN 0-87833-808-X. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  6. ^ Mitchell, Kurt; Thomas, Roy (2019). American Comic Book Chronicles: 1940-1944. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 162. ISBN 978-1605490892.
  7. ^ "Roy Thomas interview". Alter Ego (70): 38. July 2007.
  8. ^ Jeff Christiansen's The Appendix to the Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Yü-Ti: "In the letter page to Marvel Premiere #15, [Iron Fist co-creator] Roy Thomas commented how the K'un-Lun origin of Iron Fist was inspired by the origin of Bill Everett's Amazing Man".
  9. ^ The All-Star Companion, p. 76, at Google Books
  10. ^ Morris, Jon (2015). The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half Baked Heroes from Comic Book History. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Quirk Books. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-59474-763-2.
  11. ^ Mitchell, Kurt; Thomas, Roy (2019). American Comic Book Chronicles: 1940-1944. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 41. ISBN 978-1605490892.
  12. ^ a b Nevins, Jess (2013). Encyclopedia of Golden Age Superheroes. High Rock Press. pp. 9–10. ISBN 978-1-61318-023-5.
  13. ^ Mougin, Lou (2020). Secondary Superheroes of Golden Age Comics. McFarland & Co. pp. 12–16. ISBN 9781476638607.
  14. ^ "The Mighty Crusaders – The Protectors" Archived 2009-07-09 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall and the Green Mist of Death (April 2008)
  16. ^ "GCD :: Issue :: Secret Avengers #11". Comics.org. 2011-03-30. Retrieved 2013-07-03.
  17. ^ Secret Avengers #10. Marvel Comics.
  18. ^ Secret Avengers #6–12
  19. ^ Iron Man 2.0 #5
  20. ^ Defenders #6–8, #11–12, 2012
  21. ^ John Aman Amazing Man Action Figure CASE
  22. ^ https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ka-blam/john-aman-amazing-man John Aman Amazing Man