Jet Powers. Artist: Bob Powell.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Magazine Enterprises
First Appeared: 1950
Creator: Gardner Fox (writer) and Bob Powell, artist
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There was a brief period, from the mid-1940s through the early '60s, when superheroes were not the most prominent genre of American comic books. Even then, a few surivors like Wonder Woman and Aquaman spanned the entire period, and a small trickle of new or revived ones like Captain Comet, The Human Torch and Nature Boy ensured the supply would …

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… never quite peter out. Magazine Enterprises, headed up by Vince Sullivan (whose resumé included having been the editor of Action Comics when Superman started there) was a steady supplier of such characters, with Funnyman, Strongman and The Avenger to its credit. Jet Powers debuted from that publisher in 1950.

Jet was a scientific genius, bristling with military-style weapons, good in a fistfight,, brave, strong, ruggedly handsome, pure of heart, and so tight with the government security apparatus that he could summon the president to his lab (carved out of a Mesa somewhere in the Southwest) for briefing during an emergency and the president would show up. In short, he was exactly the sort of hero America needed in those early days of the Cold War. Plus, he wore a skin-tight costume designed to show off his perfect physique. He had a love interest, Su Shan (formerly a minion of the villainous Mr. Sinn) whom he rescued from danger caused by his own attack on Sinn's citadel in the first issue. The only superhero trope he lacked was a secret identity. Maybe he was too manly to hide behind one of those.

Like many of the publisher's titles, this one was numbered as part of the A-1 Comics series. This was similar to Dell's Four Color Comics, whose individual issues could feature anyone from Beany & Cecil to Turok, Son of Stone, but smaller. Other stars of A-1 Comics include Texas Slim, Starr Flagg and Teena. But issues were also numbered as part of a Jet Powers series. Thus, Jet Powers #1 was also A-1 Comics #30.

Whatever title and issue number one uses, it isn't known for sure who wrote the first issue, tho Gardner Fox (Moon Girl, Adam Strange) is a strong possibility. But Bob Powell (The Man in Black, Mr. Mystic) is not only easily identified as the artist — he even signed it. Powell also drew the second through fourth issues (A-1 #s 32, 35 and 38). The back pages contained Space Ace, where the art varied — it was done by George Evans, Al Williamson, Wallace Wood, all of whom had credits at EC Comics, and more.

Those four issues, the last of which came out in 1951, were all Magazine Enterprises did of Jet Powers (tho a non-scientist who otherwise resembled and had the same name as him starred as a Korean War fighter pilot in their later comics). However, A-1 #61 (1952) was also numbered as Space Ace #5, this one by Fred Guardineer (Zatara the Magician).

The first two Jet Powers issues were reprinted by Israel Waldman (Jo-Jo the Congo King, The Lone Rider) in the late '50s, under the title Jet Power (note singular). Waldman also did unauthorized reprints of his look-alike from the Korean War. Also, Jet wasn't forgotten by AC Comics (Femforce), but then, they never forget anybody.


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Text ©2007-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Magazine Enterprises.