Dynamo activating his powers. Artist: Wallace Wood.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Tower Comics
First Appeared: 1965
Creator: Wallace Wood
If this site is enjoyable or useful to you,
Please contribute to its necessary financial support.
Amazon.com or PayPal

It was a variation on the old Lois Lane/Clark Kent situation. Lois wouldn't go out with Clark because he looked and acted like a wimp, and besides, she was smitten by the dashing and …

continued below

… heroic Superman — and the joke on her was, of course, that Clark and Superman were the same man. But Len Brown's secretary knew he was the superhero Dynamo — and she still wouldn't go out with him.

Len (who was named after the creator of Mars Attacks, by the way) worked for T.H.U.N.D.E.R., one of those super-secret government agencies employing high-profile operatives, that were so popular in the 1960s. Physically he was a hunk, but his average intelligence and dweebish demeanor relegated him to the status of minor bureaucrat — until his bosses needed someone of his physical description, to wield a new and unique super weapon. It was a magic (actually high-tech, but it functioned like magic) belt, one of several items they'd salvaged from the laboratory of Professor Jennings, recently "the greatest mind in the free world" but now a fresh corpse at the hands of the evil Warlord. The belt was a prototype crafted by Jennings, without whose genius it could never be duplicated. Other non-duplicatable prototypes they acquired in the same operation included NoMan's magic (that is, high-tech) cloak and Menthor's magic (that is, high-tech) helmet.

What the belt did was to make Len immensely strong and very nearly indestructible. But it didn't make him noticeably smarter, nor did it do a thing for his personality. Emphasizing the domination of the physical side of his being over the mental and spiritual, when T.H.U.N.D.E.R. wanted to get him to a trouble spot in a hurry, they'd shoot him there from a cannon, drop him through the bomb bay of a high-altitude jet, or strap him to an ICBM. (He avoided clashes with the Comics Code Authority by wearing a high-tech, indestructible superhero suit.)

He did, however, get a little bit luckier in love. As Dynamo, in a riff on the Batman/Catwoman relationship, he became the lust object of Iron Maiden, a freelance "secret" agent who usually worked for the side of evil. Iron Maiden was drawn even less realistically than most comic book women. Villainesses of that medium are expected to wear outfits that look like they were sprayed on, of course, but in her case, the costume that fit like differently-colored skin was supposed to be plate armor!

Dynamo was strictly a T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agent, and had no adventures not connected with that group. Like the rest, he was created and designed by cartoonist Wallace Wood, who also plotted many of his adventures. Being a part of that gang, Dynamo's fortunes rose and fell with it. With the rest, he was introduced in T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1 (November, 1965), published by Tower Comics. With the rest, he enjoyed a brief period of popularity (even, unlike the others, holding down a comic of his own for four issues, August, 1966 through June, 1967), then disappeared in 1969 and was gone for years. In the late 1980s, they were all back, briefly, as several publishers attempted to revive the characters.

Since then, other than reprints from DC Comics, nothing. In the future, inasmuch as Dynamo is firmly and irrevocably attached to T.H.U.N.D.E.R., probably not much more. Those super-secret agencies with high-profile operatives are a product of their time. Dynamo, like the rest of T.H.U.N.D.E.R., still draws a lot of interest from collectors, but he's mostly a Cold War period piece.


BACK to Don Markstein's Toonopedia™ Home Page
Today in Toons: Every day's an anniversary!

Web www.toonopedia.com

Purchase Toon-related Merchandise Online

Text ©2001-07 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Tower Comics.