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Pep Comics #1 (1940)
Harry Shorten and Irv Novick
Golden Age Origin
Tom Higgins was a scientist who was working on a formula that would grant superpowers. However, he was killed during the Black Tom Explosion set up by the Nazis and was framed for said explosion. Tom manages to tell his son Joe about the unfinished formula called S.H.I.E.L.D., which stood for Sacrum, Heart, Innervation, Eyes, Lungs, and Derma. Joe then became a chemist and completed the formula in order to clear his father's good name.
However before using the formula, his father's killer goes after Joe. After being badly beaten, Joe crawls back to his lab and uses the formula into his body. He sealed himself into a special white suit and was exposed to "flouroscopic rays" for 12 hours. This process gave him superpowers, allowing him to become the crime fighter called the Shield. The process also gives his costume its patriotic colors. He joined the FBI with his identity was only known by FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover.
The Shield had several crime fighting allies. One of those allies was the comically clumsy Ju Ju Watson, a FBI combat trainer, and his girl Mamie who was a bit of a ditz. Shield's private detective girlfriend Betty also sometimes assisted her man. Later, Joe Higgins gained a the boy sidekick Dusty the Boy Detective. The Shield and Dusty also teamed up with fellow heroes Wizard and Roy the Super-Boy.
Powers and Abilities
The Shield has limited super-strength, invulnerability, can leap superhuman distances, superhuman stamina, resistant to heat and electricity, and made him bulletproof and flameproof. His costume was also indestructible and protected from fire and bullets. Eventually, Higgins lost his powers and could not repeat the process that gave him his abilities, but continued to fight crime without them.
Golden Age Appearances
- Pep Comics #1-65
- Top-Notch Comics #5, 7
- Shield-Wizard Comics #1-13
- In the Canadian version of the Shield, the hero wore a British flag on his costume instead of an American one.
- The Shield was the first superhero to wear the American flag appearing a year before Captain America, Minute-Man, and Captain Battle.
- In the original issues, the Shield's powers were all described as coming from his armored costume, but later stories confirmed that his powers were in him, a result of using his father's formula.
- The Wizard and the Shield teamed up in a multi-part storyline running through issues 5-7 of Top-Notch Comics (May 1940)-7 (August 1940) and Pep Comics #4 (May 1940)-5 (June 1940). During the course of the storyline, they also met up with Keith Kornell and Lee Sampson. This was the first crossover storyline in American comic books, narrowly beating out the more famous Sub-Mariner/Human Torch crossover in Marvel Mystery Comics #8-9 (June-July 1940).
- Golden Age Hero Directory
- Hero Goggles
- International Hero
- Mighty Crusaders Handbook
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