Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Guide To Golden Age Air Wave and TNT Reprints

This time around, taking a quick look at features that didn't last very long in the Golden Age, but got revivals in the 1970s, 1980s and beyond...

...the great characters of Air Wave, TNT and Dan the Dyna-Mite!

Air Wave

Larry Jordan was a legal clerk, working for the district attorney, who wanted to do more to fight crime.  Larry did, making a special helmet that allowed him to pick up radio waves (and a costume to go with it), and went to fight crime as Air Wave, and he started to give criminals static with Detective Comics #60 (February, 1940, by Murray Boltinoff and Harris Levy).

Air Wave's first reprinted story was from Detective Comics #66 (August, 1942, by Murray Boltinoff and Harris Levy also known as Lee Harris), with "The Adventure of the Shooting Spooks", where the district attorney of the city Air Wave lived in was murdered by thugs, and Larry took the criminals down as Air Wave (and became the district attorney himself!).  All with the help of his faithful pet parrot, Static!

This story was reprinted in Superman #245 (December-January, 1971-1972, also known as 100-Page Super Spectacular DC-7), under a cover by Murphy Anderson (along with Golden Age reprints of Kid Eternity and Superman, and a few other reprints as well).

Air Wave's second reprinted story came from Detective Comics #88 (June, 1944, with an uncredited script and art by George Roussos) under the title of "Underworld Jam Session", where criminal Snake Eyes Bentley planned to go after the two men who put him in jail, Air Wave and D.A. Larry Jordan (not knowing they were one in the same).  Air Wave beat him, even after a fall off of booby-trapped electric lines (which Air Wave use to travel via special roller skates).

This story was reprinted in World's Finest Comics #212 (June, 1972) with a cover by Nick Cardy, having Superman battle the Martian Manhunter (and a Golden Age reprint of the Grim Ghost was also inside).

Air Wave's golden age ended with his last story, from Detective Comics #137 (July, 1948), but he still had adventures in flashback, starting with DC Comics Presents #40 (December, 1981), when Larry's final fate was revealed, DC Comics Presents #55 (March, 1983), when an earlier flashback revealed how the original Air Wave once saved Superboy (the younger Superman; and both his DCCP appearances were by Bob Rozakis and Alex Saviuk, and both also had Larry's son, Hal, who had become Air Wave as well!).  The original Air Wave also made it into both of Roy Thomas' World War II flashback series, All-Star Squadron and Young All-Stars, with issues All-Star Squadron #31, #59 and #60 and in Young All-Stars #3, #9, Annual #1, #27, #30 and #31, set during Air Wave's appearances in Detective Comics.

TNT and Dan the Dyna-Mite

Thomas N. Thomas (called Tex for short) was a teacher (working in chemistry and gym), with Daniel Dunbar as his star student.  The two worked together on advanced chemical experiments, and had absorbed radioactive chemicals that made them stronger after they touched (with Tom being the "positive" and Dan the "negative" of the charges).  The two decided to become heroes, TNT and Dan the Dyna-Mite, all starting with Star-Spangled Comics #7 (April, 1942, with art by Paul Norris and no credited writer), and they appeared in that comics pages until Star-Spangled Comics #23 (August, 1943), with none of these tales being reprinted...

...only their story from World's Finest Comics #5 (Spring, 1942, by Mort Weisinger and Al Carreno), entitled "The Crime Clown", where the explosive duo faced a robbing clown in their only World's Finest story (reprinted in 100-Page Super-Spectacular DC-18 of July, 1973, with a cover by Nick Cardy, which also had Golden Age Atom and Hourman stories; this issue also sometimes gets credited as their first appearance).

The duo returned in Super Friends #12 (June-July, 1978), wherein writer E. Nelson Bridwell had the duo have to remain separated as their powers were growing (and potentially atomically explosive) if they came into contact with each other (and this story was followed up with an appearance of TNT in Superman Family #190 of July-August, 1978, which made the usually not in continuity Super Friends comic seem to count, at least for an issue or so....).

This became more confused, as TNT and Dan the Dyna-Mite appeared in the retroactive series of All-Star Squadron as members (in issues #31, #59 and #60), then TNT was taken out of the picture in Young All-Stars #1 (June, 1987), and Dan became a member of the Young All-Stars for their 31 issues and one Annual (all set in World War II).

Dan returned with a bunch of older Golden Age sidekicks (like Green Lantern's buddy Doiby Dickles, the Star-Spangled Kid's cousin Merry the Girl of 1000 Gimmicks, Hourman's partner Sweep Second and the Red Tornado's Cyclone kids of Dinky and Sisty) as Old Justice in Young Justice #16 to #20 (and Young Justice: Sins of Youth #1 and #2, and Sins of Youth: JLA Jr. #1) in 2000.

Confusing the issue further, both TNT and Dan the Dyna-Mite were retroactively made members of the Seven Soldiers of Victory in DC Universe: Legacies #2 (August, 2010), making TNT's apparent death in Young All-Stars #1 look like it may not have been a final death....

...but it seems these two short run features are in it for the long haul!


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