THE GREEN MASKMedium: Comic Books
Published by: Fox Feature Syndicate
First Appeared: 1944
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Starting with the 1956 revival of The Flash, the American comic book industry has increasingly depended on the practice of bringing defunct but still trademarked superhero names back in the form of completely unrelated new characters. But while The Flash may have started the trend, he wasn't the first
of them — nor was DC Comics, his publisher, the first to try it. A dozen years earlier, Fox Feature Syndicate had done exactly that, when it revived one of its earliest stars, The Green Mask. Prize Comics' Black Owl had earlier been replaced by a new Black Owl, but there, the new one simply continued the series where the old one had left it.
The first Green Mask had run from August 1939 through February 1942, first in Mystery Men Comics and later in his own title. The second picked up the title where the old one had left off, but 30 months later. The Green Mask #10, where the new one was introduced, was dated August, 1944. (And he wasn't the only one picking up the old title's numbering — The Bouncer did so at the very same time.)
This Green Mask acknowledged the existence of an earlier superhero of that name — but that wasn't the Green Mask readers knew, either. In this one's scenario, the original Green Mask was Walter Green, mentioned but not seen in the first story (the credits for which aren't known). The current Green Mask was Walter's son, Johnny, who was in his middle teens.
Johnny Green did the old Captain Marvel routine, changing from a powerless kid to a grown-up hero (non-powered but good in a fight). In his case, it wasn't a magic word that brought on the transformation, but his emotional state. Anticipating The Hulk, he'd change from his ordinary self when he got angry. Therefore, The Green Mask, when functioning as such, was always in a rage, beating up bad guys like he couldn't help himself — because he couldn't. When he'd done enough beating up for his anger to subside, he'd change back.
This went on almost as long as the original Green Mask had lasted, but he didn't have as many adventures because he wasn't published as frequently. There were eight issues. The last (vol. 2 #6, whole #17) was dated Oct-Nov 1946. Neither Green Mask has been seen since except at AC Comics (Femforce), where defunct heroes from defunct companies often turn up.