FLY-MANOriginal Medium: Comic Books
Published by: Harvey Comics
First Appeared: 1941
Creators: unknown writer and Sam Glanzman (artist)
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Fly-Man was a 1940s comic book superhero, one of dozens, possibly hundreds, that littered America's newsstands in the wake of Superman's phenomenal success. He wasn't a particularly notable one in terms of longevity, prominence or impact on the world — just a face in a crowd that included Pyroman, The Marksman, The Black Angel and many more without significant Q-ratings in the modern world. He was published by Harvey Comics, later known for Richie Rich, Little Dot
and other strongly kid-oriented characters — but even that isn't anything special because at the time, Harvey was publishing Shock Gibson, Captain Freedom, and other superheroes, just like practically everybody else in the industry.
The only thing that makes Fly-Man worth mentioning at all is the fact that, like Centaur's The Black Panther and Harvey's own The Black Orchid, he happened to have the same name as a more modern superhero. And even there, the more recent Fly-Man was merely an alternate name used by Archie Comics' The Fly for a brief period in the mid-1960s.
Fly-Man got superheroized in Harvey's Spitfire Comics #1, dated August, 1941. Before then, he was Clip Foster, a professional heavyweight boxer. His father was a scientist working on something of probable use in the coming war, just like those of The Shield and The Human Bomb. This one was a device for shrinking people to the size of — wait for it — a fly. Clip was his experimental subject. As often happens when scientists, like, say, the one in Captain Comet, go experimenting in superhero origin stories, the operation was interrupted by criminals. They killed the old man while Clip was still the size of a fly, disfiguring him in the process by spilling acid in his face.
Of course, Clip swore vengeance. There wouldn't be much a fly-sized guy could do, but fortunately he maintained his full strength. He made himself a teeny weeny superhero suit, including a working set of wings, and went off superheroing. Apparently, he wasn't bothered by the fact that strength is useless without leverage, and a guy a zillionth the size of Minimidget didn't have any.
He was created by that most prolific of '40s comic book writers, unknown, in collaboration with artist Sam Glanzman. Glanzman was later the artist responsible for Kona, Monarch of Monster Isle and Dell's adaptation of the newspaper comic strip Tales of the Green Berets. Probably his best-known work is an autobiographical series he did for DC Comics and later Marvel, "U.S.S. Stevens".
Spitfire Comics itself was part of an experiment. Like Pocket Comics, it was much smaller than other comics, but 100 pages thick, for the same price. But the experiment failed — newsdealers complained about how easy it was to steal. Spitfire Comics failed after two issues. All the characters inside, including The Clown, Rurik the Sea King, and Spitfire himself, as well as Fly-Man, disappeared forever.