IBIS THE INVINCIBLEMedium: Comic books
Published by: Fawcett Publications
First Appeared: 1940
Creators: Bill Parker (writer) and C.C. Beck (artist)
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Ibis the Invincible was far from a unique character. His origins lay in ancient Egypt, like those of Hawkman and Fantomah. He was a crime-fighting magician like
Mandrake and Zanzibar; and also like them, didn't maintain a secret identity or wear a flashy costume while doing so. He did depart from the Mandrake mold by sporting a turban, but then, so did Mr. Mystic and Sargon the Sorcerer. Least unique of all, he was a comic book superhero who flourished in the early 1940s, and there were hundreds of others like that.
But he was among the more successful of the magician superheroes. In fact, having been in regular publication for more than 13 years, he was the most successful of all, other than Mandrake himself.
Ibis was first seen in Whiz Comics #2, published by Fawcett Publications with a cover date of February, 1940. His origin story was written by editor Bill Parker and drawn by C.C. Beck, just like those of Captain Marvel and Spy Smasher, which also appeared in Whiz #2, tho Parker and Beck both left the character early on. Ibis's later writers and artists included, among others, Otto Binder (Supergirl, Legion of Super Heroes) and Pete Costanza (who for years was Beck's main assistant).
Ibis's original name, 4000 years ago when he was a prince of Egypt, was Amentep. He was in love with the beautiful Princess Taia of Thebes, but an evil magician calling himself The Black Pharoah kidnaped Taia and seized the throne, imprisoning Amentep as he did. Amentep's uncle snuck a magic wand called the Ibistick to him, whereupon the prince became Ibis the Invincible. In the ensuing melee, Taia was struck by an arrow. Before she could die, Ibis used the wand to put her into suspended animation long enough for the wound to heal, then did the same to himself so he could be with her when she woke up. Both came to in 1940, in separate museums, where they were being exhibited as mummies. They had little trouble getting together, and even less adapting to life in the 20th century, in which Ibis, his former occupation as an Egyptian prince no longer available to him, embarked on a new career of using the Ibistick to bash evil.
Like a majority of the features starting in Whiz #2, Ibis proved popular enough to get his own comic. But it came out only sporadically, a total of six issues appearing between 1942 and '48. He did, however, remain in the back pages of Whiz Comics as long as that title lasted, i.e., until #155 (June, 1953). After that, Fawcett got out of the comic book business. It continued to put out a variety of regular magazines, but its only foray back into comics publishing came several years later, when it licensed Hank Ketcham's Dennis the Menace.
Charlton Comics, which picked up several of Fawcett's properties (such as the horror title This Magazine Is Haunted and the western Lash Larue), apparently included Ibis among its acquisitions, as the magician starred in a cover-featured story in Charlton's Danger & Adventure #22 (February 1955), which also reprinted a Fawcett-published story about Nyoka the Jungle Girl. Later issues of Danger & Adventure featured other Fawcett characters, such as Lance O'Casey and Colonel Corn. Ibis may have made one or two other Charlton appearances, but bibliographic material is sketchy.
Nonetheless, when, decades later, DC Comics acquired Fawcett's old superhero characters, Ibis was included again — not a unique situation, as Fawcett was also apparently careless enough to have sold Hoppy the Marvel Bunny to both Charlton and DC.
DC's first use of Ibis was in a very crowded 1976 crossover involving The Justice League and Justice Society of America. Since then, he and Taia (both now colored to better reflect their ancestry, as opposed to Fawcett's standard Caucasian look) have turned up occasionally as supporting characters for Captain Marvel and his entourage, the only Fawcett characters the company has made any great use of. Ibis hasn't appeared under his own logo since the 1950s, and it seems unlikely he will in the future.