Jack Q. Frost does his thing. Artist: Bill Draut.


Original Medium: Comic Books
Published by: Harvey Comics
First Appeared: 1966
Creators: Otto Binder (writer) and Jack Sparling (artist)
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Superheroes whose special abilities have to do with making things cold are fairly uncommon, but not completely unheard-of. It's just successful ones using that as a schtick that aren't very easy to find. There were a couple in the '40s — Marvel's Jack Frost, who was later quasi-revived as a member of The Liberty Legion and Prize Comics' Dr. Frost, whose most notable moment came when he teamed up with The Black Owl, The Green Lama and the company's other heroes to fight Frankenstein, but they were generally a short-lived and undistinguished lot. In the '60s, the most successful one …

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… was Iceman, who's made it as a team member, notably of X-Men but also, in a minor way, as one of The Champions, but isn't known for attracting readers on his own. The bad guys, like Batman's Mr. Freeze and The Flash's Captain Cold, have gotten more mileage out of super-cold powers.

Then there's Harvey's Jack Q. Frost, who had two issues in the limelight, Unearthly Spectacular #s 2 (December, 1966) and 3 (March, 1967), then sank without a trace. His origin story, by writer Otto Binder (Captain Marvel) and artist Jack Sparling (Claire Voyant), appeared in #2. Together, Binder and Sparling had created The Pirana a few months earlier.

Both Harvey creations were part of a line Joe Simon (Bullseye) developed for the company right around that time. It included reprints/revivals like The Man in Black, new creations like Spyman, and outside properties like The Spirit. Like most of Simon's contemporary creations (e.g., Brother Power, Prez), it's remembered for having come and gone quickly, but leaving a strong impression behind.

James Flynn started as an international doer of dirty tricks, of the kind who are lionized by those glad of dirty trick doing, when done for the proper country. He worked for one of those agencies with cool initials, except his was only "ICA". which stands for "International Counter-intelligence Agency" but doesn't spell anything. While doing their dirty work in the Arctic one day, he got frozen so solid, it took nuclear radiation to thaw him out.

That was a dangerous and improbable enough accident to qualify for a superhero origin, so he came out of it with the power to shoot ice pellets from his hands. But those weren't fast and accurate enough for superhero work, so ICA also equipped him with an ice gun that could do better. He put on skin-tights and and went into the superhero business under a name with the same initials he'd always used — Jack Frost. The "Q" (it stood for "Quick") was probably added to make the logo look a little snappier.

The whole line was doomed not to catch on, but it's easy to see why this one, in particular, wasn't destined for hit-dom. The super power and the fancy gun took away from each other's specialness, resulting in neither being sufficient to interest a reader. This was exacerbated by pairing him with a lame villain, the unsubtle Lord Lazee. This guy was such a slothful slug, he used robots for the more strenuous aspects of villainy. He controlled them from the couch in which he was always ensconced. Both adventures involved J.F. foiling Lord Lazee's evil schemes.

The title Unearthly Spectaculars was an anthology comic from the beginning, but mostly anthologized reprints of non-series science fiction/fantasy stories. The only new character in the first issue was Tiger Boy. After that (and after skipping more than a year between the first and second issues), the publisher doubled its size and added a few more continuing characters. Jack Q. Frost was the cover feature, but Clawfang the Barbarian and The Three Rocketeers were also added.

None of those mid-60s Harvey titles lasted very long. Unearthly Spectaculars weighed in at three issues, and they were over before Jack Q. Frost made more than a couple of appearances. The end came with a cover date of March, 1967.


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Text ©2009 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Harvey Comics.