The Blue Diamond
Panel from Marvel Premiere #30 (June 1976)
Art by Don Heck and Vince Colletta
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceDaring Mystery Comics #7 (April 1941)
Created byBen Thompson
In-story information
Alter egoElton T. Morrow
Team affiliationsLiberty Legion
Crazy Sues
New Invaders
AbilitiesSuperhuman strength
Nigh-invulnerability
Diamond hard skin
Flight
Slow aging
Ability to survive the vacuum of space

Blue Diamond is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, debuting under the company's 1940s forerunner, Timely Comics. The character was created in 1941 by Ben Thompson, who also drew the first comic book adventures of Ka-Zar the Great and Citizen V for Timely, as well as the Masked Marvel for Centaur Publications and Dr. Frost for Prize Comics.[1]

An unrelated supervillain called the Blue Diamond appears as an antagonist in Timely's The Human Torch #11 (Spring 1943).

Publication history

The Blue Diamond first appeared in Daring Mystery Comics #7 (April 1941), published by Marvel's 1940s predecessor, Timely Comics, during the period fans and historians call the Golden Age of Comic Books.[2] During that time, he appeared only in that issue and its subsequent, final issue, #8 (January 1942).[3]

More than thirty years later, Marvel launched The Invaders in 1975, an intentionally nostalgic comic featuring star characters from the Golden Age — Captain America, Bucky Barnes, the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner — in World War II-era adventures. Writer and editor Roy Thomas wanted to expand the franchise, so he created the Liberty Legion with a group of second-string Golden Age heroes, including the Blue Diamond, along with Miss America, the Whizzer, the Patriot, the Thin Man, Red Raven and Jack Frost.[4]

In a 2018 interview, Thomas said, "I played around a little bit with the Blue Diamond. I made him bigger and stronger. In the original comics, he's just a guy about the same size as everyone else, and I bulked him up to make him a little more unique for that series."[4]

The Blue Diamond fought with the Legion for five stories in 1976. The team was introduced in Marvel Premiere #29 and 30 (April and May 1976), as well as an issue of The Invaders and two issues of Marvel Two-in-One. The Liberty Legion returned for another four issues of The Invaders in 1978-1979, and then the team disappeared from the canvas. Thomas said that there were plans for a Liberty Legion series, but by that point, the sales figures on the Invaders comic were dropping, and Marvel decided against launching a spin-off.[4] He returned in 1981 for a one-on-one team-up with the Thing in Marvel Two-in-One #79 (Sept 1981).

In the 2000s, the Blue Diamond returned in two issues of New Invaders (2004-2005), and Citizen V and V Battalion: The Everlasting #1 (March 2002). He also appears in flashbacks as a member of the Crazy Sues in All-Winners Squad: Band of Heroes (2011).[5]

Fictional character biography

Elton T. Morrow is an archaeologist who finds a mysterious blue diamond on an expedition to Antarctica. The diamond is a piece of the Lifestone Tree, which powers the alien Chosen Eight of Fate. A German sub attacks Morrow's ship on the way home and Morrow is the only survivor. An explosion shattered the diamond during the battle, forcing innumerable tiny diamond particles into Morrow's body.[6] After he is rescued by a British ship, he finds that the shards of the diamond gave him diamond-hard skin, giving him superhuman strength and nigh-invulnerability.[7] Dubbing himself the Blue Diamond, he battles Nazi spies during World War II as part of the Crazy Sues.[8]

After spending years in retirement, the Blue Diamond returns to assist the Fantastic Four's Thing against Shanga, a crystal based alien. Shanga falls in love with Blue Diamond, and turns him into a living humanoid diamond creature as her consort.[9] Morrow returns to Earth to join the new Invaders.[10]

Powers and abilities

The strange blue diamond particles embedded in Blue Diamond's body have made his skin as strong as a diamond, giving him superhuman strength and nigh-invulnerability. After his body was altered by Shanga, Blue Diamond gains the power of flight and the ability to survive in the vacuum of space. The alterations to his body also reversed the effects of aging.

Reception

In Golden Age Daring Mystery Masterworks Vol. 2, journalist and comics writer Will Murray describes the Blue Diamond as "an obvious attempt to imbue some of Superman's strength and invulnerability to a lawsuit-proof character".[11]

References

  1. ^ "Ben Thompson". Lambiek Comiclopedia. Retrieved 11 April 2020.
  2. ^ Brevoort, Tom; DeFalco, Tom; Manning, Matthew K.; Sanderson, Peter; Wiacek, Win (2017). Marvel Year By Year: A Visual History. DK Publishing. p. 19. ISBN 978-1465455505.
  3. ^ Benton, Mike (1992). Superhero Comics of the Golden Age: The Illustrated History. Dallas: Taylor Publishing Company. p. 160. ISBN 0-87833-808-X. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Cassell, Dewey (August 2018). "The Liberty Legion". Back Issue. TwoMorrows Publishing (106): 19–22.
  5. ^ Green, Paul (2017). Encyclopedia of Weird War Stories: Supernatural and Science Fiction Elements in Novels, Pulps, Comics, Film, Television, Games and Other Media. McFarland & Co. p. 29. ISBN 978-1476666723.
  6. ^ Nevins, Jess (2013). Encyclopedia of Golden Age Superheroes. High Rock Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-1-61318-023-5.
  7. ^ Mitchell, Kurt; Thomas, Roy (2019). American Comic Book Chronicles: 1940-1944. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 67. ISBN 978-1605490892.
  8. ^ All-Winners Squad: Band of Heroes #1
  9. ^ Marvel Two-In-One #79
  10. ^ Avengers/Invaders #12
  11. ^ Murray, Will (2010). "Introduction". Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Daring Mystery Masterworks Vol. 2. Marvel Enterprises. ISBN 978-0785133636.