Assuming the Bogey Man persona.


Medium: Comic Books
Published by: Publicaciones Recreativas, S.A.
First Appeared: 1944
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Comic books of the 1940s, when the medium first flowered, had a voracious appetite for new material, and consequently a propensity for duplicating what was already out there. Even master comics creator Will Eisner (Uncle Sam; Hawks of the Seas) once, early in his career, followed instructions to make Wonder Man a virtual clone of Superman. But five years later, in 1944, it was Eisner himself who was plagiarized that way. The Bogey Man, a vanishingly obscure off-brand superhero-like …

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… character, was very nearly a line-for line copy of Eisner's best-known creation, The Spirit. Even some of the supporting characters were easily recognizable from their Eisner counterparts.

If there was even a particle of difference, it was in giving the protagonist a thin moustache, which didn't seem to contribute to his recognizability behind the mask any more than The Wizard's or The Angel's contributed to theirs.

Kendall Richards was a mystery novelist whose knowledge of crime and human motivation had often made his help valuable to the local police, a position much like that of Ellery Queen in his famous prose fiction series, and like many other detective heroes in movies, radio shows and other media. His assistance had been of such value to them in the past, criminal mastermind Rusty Blade sent a few of the boys to rub him out. But the writer easily defended himself from their attack, and they succeeded only in stealing his briefcase, to prove they'd been there.

The briefcase contained his latest novel, "The Perfect Crime", which described a murder that couldn't possibly be solved. Instead of simply discarding the manuscript, which represented two years' work for its author, Blade, intrigued by the title, read it, and copied it precisely in ridding himself of the problem — ironically, making its planner the victim of his own plan.

But like all so-called "perfect crimes", this one worked better in the story than in real life. Unknown to the would-be murderer, the victim escaped alive. He used their belief in his death in a plot to bring them to justice. Afterward, still dressed just like The Spirit, Midnight or anyone else who accessorizes his blue suit with a matching domino mask, he continued to help the police as The Bogey Man — who, as he mercifully refrained from reminding the readers more than three times in his initial appearance, including on the cover, will get you if you don't watch out.

One would think the moustache would be a clue to his identity, but he got away with it, as cleanly as the 1970s version of Green Arrow got away with his yellow goatee being visible both with and without the mask hiding his other features.

That appearance occurred in the first issue (November, 1944) of Red Band Comics. the only comics title published by Entwil Associates, which located its editorial office in Mexico City and used the name Publicaciones Recreativas for the enterprise. He was on all four covers of Red Band, along with Satanas, a green, one-eyed alien from Pluto, bent on robbing Fort Knox. But as of the third issue, the interior contents were completely replaced, eliminating both. Entwil also held copyrights to the "Rural Home" line, which limped along with a few short-lived characters like Jun-Gal, The Black Raider (no relation) and Wiggles the Wonderderworm.

Since the second issue merely reprinted the first, The Bogey Man actually appeared in only one published story. Nobody knows who wrote or drew it.


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Text ©2009-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Enwil Associates