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Heroes Inc. and the Nedor Characters

The Nedor/Standard Comics

left.h3I’ve written quite a few times about “Heroes Inc.,” the excellent webcomic created by artist Scott Austin.  If you haven’t been reading it, shame on you.  “Heroes Inc.” takes a pretty intriguing take of the Nedor/Standard Comic Lines.

I’ve been a fan of these old Nedor characters for a long time.  Originally published from 1941 to 1949, these characters since have fallen into the public domain.  No one bothered to copy write them, and there are no heirs to the Nedor estate.

This turn of events is probably the best thing to ever happen to these characters, because their public domain status made them sort of open source darlings, familiar characters that can be used again and again by anyone.  In the succeeding years, these characters have been published by AC, Image, First Comics, Eclipse Comics, Wildstorm, and Dynamite Entertainment.

Most of these later comics have revolved around the most popular Nedor character, the Black Terror.  The original Daredevil, Skyman, Catman, the Black Cat, the Fighting Yank, and others have all made numerous appearances.  How they have been put to work varies tremendously, publisher by publisher.

nedor.net

These characters are really cool, because they are pure Golden Age characters, with all their improbable storylines and origins, and none of muddy continuity between that time and now.  Much is made of the “Greatest Generation,” the Americans who won World War II and set the country on its course to be a world power.  The Nedor characters essentially are the Greatest Generation in garish costumes.

In Wildstorm’s  “Terra Obscura,” the Nedor characters were trapped in the past and released in the modern day.  This holds true for Dynamite Entertainment’s “Project Superpowers,” which is still ongoing.  I can’t really speak as to how AC Comics, probably the most prolific publisher of these characters, has handled them because I have had a hard time finding back issues.  When I find them, I grab them, but I don’t have many.

“Heroes Inc.” has taken a different approach from “Terra Obscura” and “Project Superpowers.”  In the Heroes Inc. world, where the Allies lost World War II, most of the old supers lived and fought during World War II and the decade that followed, but now they are retired, dead, on death row, or even insane.  When super violence rears its head in the 21st century, some of the surviving heroes search for all the old heroes, collecting blood samples to recreate a new generation of heroes.

In Marvel’s “Captain America,” the writers are able to get a lot of mileage off the old warrior with ideals and patriotism, and how he functions in a modern society of cynicism and distrust for patriotism.  The same holds true for the Black Terror and Company.

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