Monday, February 16, 2009

From the Dust Bin: The Human Bomb

Roy Lincoln was a young scientist working with his father on a new explosive chemical called "27-QRX.", when Nazi spies entered his lab and murdered his father. To prevent it from falling into their hands, Roy resorted to ingesting the chemical, and as a result he gained the ability to cause explosions within any object that he came into contact with through his hands; the only way to control it was to always wear special asbestos gloves. Donning a full containment suit to prevent any accidental explosions, Roy Lincoln became the "Human Bomb," removing his gloves only to expose his explosive powers against Nazi and Japanese enemies, as well as ordinary criminals. He later gained enough control over his powers to remove the containment suit, though the gloves were always necessary.

The Human Bomb was created for golden age publisher Quality Comics by writer & artist Paul Gustavson for Police Comics #1 (August 1941), and his feature continued in Police Comics until #58 (September, 1946). After Quality Comics folded in 1956, DC Comics acquired the rights to the Human Bomb, as well as the other Quality Comics properties. The Human Bomb and several other former Quality properties were re-launched in Justice League of America #107 (October, 1973) as The Freedom Fighters who were located on a parallel world called "Earth-X" on which Nazi Germany had won World War II. The characters were featured in their own series for fifteen issues (1976-1978). The Human Bomb was an occasional guest star in All-Star Squadron, a title that was set during the WWII-era, at a time prior to when Lincoln and the other Freedom Fighters were supposed to have left for Earth-X.

The character next appeared in DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths, a story that was supposed to eliminate the similarly confusing histories that DC had attached to its characters by retroactively merging the various parallel worlds into one. This effectively erased the Human Bomb's Earth-X days, and merged the character's All-Star Squadron and Freedom Fighter histories so that the Freedom Fighters were a splinter group of the All-Star Squadron.

Roy Lincoln, like too many other classic characters, was arbitrarily killed off in DC's 2005 mega-crossover series, Infinite Crisis, although his heroic name was quickly tacked onto a new version.


cash_gorman said...

Apparently DC did NOT acquire the characters that made up the Freedom Fighters with their purchase of Quality. What I've heard (and what I've been able to verify does match up)is that the purchase only included the titles that Quality was publishing at the time, that the characters were not copyrighted by Quality but by "Busy" Arnold himself. DC at the time had no reason to expect the defunct characters to make a comeback so the sale didn't include them. What they got was a bunch of military titles including the Blackhawks and Plastic Man which were still going strong at the time. Case in point, around the time of the sale, Phantom Lady was not being published by Quality but Ajax Farrell. Almost all of the characters that have appeared as part of the FF have been reprinted by AC Comics with no notice of copyright ownerships.

Chad Carter said...

Love the Human Bomb! Golden showers to DC for killing him and other Fighters, just for the sake of shock. Loved the 1970s Human Bomb in particular, and his "I'm the Human Bomb, and not because I'm a failure either!" Roy Lincoln deserved better, and if I had the chance, I'd bring him back pronto!