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Dynamo, NoMan, Menthor, Lightning, and Raven
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1 (1965)
Wally Wood and Len Brown
Silver Age Origin
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. (The Higher United Nations Defense Enforcement Reserves) is a secret organization formed after World War II to fight covert threats. When UN special agents storm a Professor Emil Jenning's mountain laboratory to drive off the forces of the Warlord, they discover that Jenning has been killed and the Warlord's soldiers have stolen his inventions. But there are a few they missed, which T.H.U.N.D.E.R. takes into custody. These inventions are super weapons to combat the Warlord by providing superpowers to whoever wears them:
- The Thunderbelt was given to Leonard Brown, code-name Dynamo. It increases his density, giving him super strength and invulnerability for a period of 30 minutes.
- Anthony Dunn, a dying scientist, transferred his mind into an android body, allowing him to switch between bodies at will. He was given an invisibility cloak, becoming NoMan.
- Finally, John Janus, secretly a traitor working for the Warlord, was given the Menthor helmet. It gave him mental powers and a heroic split personality.
Together they would become the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents.
They are assisted by the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Squad, a paramilitary group with no superpowers but each possessing special skills. Later, the Squad's leader Virgil 'Guy' Gilbert was given a super-suit that increases his metabolism and became the super-fast Lightning. His powers come at a considerable price--each time he uses them drains a little bit of his life. After Menthor's death, Craig Lawson, skydiver and mercenary with a shady past, becomes the Raven thanks to an experimental rocket pack.
Silver Age Appearances
- T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1-20
- There was also another UN agent known as U.N.D.E.R.S.E.A. Agent who never crossed paths with the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents.
- Tower Comics never registered its titles with the US copyright office, nor did it include a correct copyright notice on their books. The copyright notice on the first issue was not in the proper location of the book which under copyright law at the time of it's publication had to be "either upon the title page or upon the first page of text of each separate number or under the title heading." Secondly, it was hidden in the artwork, which goes against the part of the law that stipulates that "The notice should be permanently legible to an ordinary user of the work under normal conditions of use and should not be concealed from view upon reasonable examination." According to US copyright law, all works published between 1923-1977 that did not comply with copyright law became public domain upon publication. So, because the first issue had an incorrect notice, the characters fell into the public domain.
- Only the Tower Comics version of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents is in the public domain. All subsequent versions published by DC Comics, JC Comics, Deluxe Comics, etc. are NOT. Also the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents are curretly trademarked by John Carbonaro's estate (Carbonaro himself died in Febuaury 25, 2009).
- International Hero
- Interview with Len Brown
- Thunder Agents.com
- Deluxe publisher David Singer's account of the lawsuit (Comics Bulletin)
- Deluxe Comics at Wikipedia
- T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents at Wikipedia
- Explanation of the copyright status of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents comics, (Digital Comics Museum Forums)
- Hero Histories of the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents
- Dial B for Blog