MAZING MANMedium: Comic books
Published by: DC Comics
First Appeared: 1986
Creators: Bob Rozakis (writer) and Stephen DeStefano (artist)
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Superheroes have a fine track record in saving the world from alien invasions, thwarting super villains, preventing or mitigating titanic disasters, and
dealing with other menaces of similar magnitude. But they're not so good with the things that concern ordinary people, going about their neighborhood business, on a daily basis. That's what makes DC Comics' 'Mazing Man stand out from the crowd.
One of the things, anyway.
Maze's (he was usually addressed as Maze, no relation) greatest super deed was to save a child from being run over by a car. Of course, when things like that happen in real life, usually the hero says afterward that anyone would have done it, he just happened to be in the right place, etc. etc. But even tho that was Maze's attitude as well, it gives him impressive credentials as a hero — as, in a much smaller way, do his less spectacular but more frequent heroic acts, such as preventing kids from eating cigarette butts or rescuing stray dogs from tin cans their snouts accidentally got stuck in.
'Mazing Man's career started when Sigfried Horatio Hunch III, a cheerful and amiable dwarf with as firm a grip on reality as he needed (but no firmer), found a costume helmet in an alley dumpster and decided to use it to become a superhero. Taking his cue from a letter on the helmet's forehead, he immediately proclaimed himself Wonderful Man. Then a slight jolt made the letter swing around, and he had to come up with a new name. He considered and rejected Marvel Man (no relation), Miracle Man (same), Mighty Man (still same) and Muscle Man (same one more time), all of which at least came close to having been used anyway, and settled on 'Mazing Man. He made the rest of the costume later, out of odds and ends.
Maze's financial support comes from a sweepstakes he won years ago, so he can be 'Mazing Man and help people all day long. He lives in an apartment in Queens, NY, with his friend, Denton Fixx (who looks so much like a dog, he's sometimes refused entrance to humans-only establishments), and Denton's sister, K.P. Guido Garibaldi, big, dumb, macho and reasonably good-hearted, who lives downstairs, is also a major character, as are an excessively cute couple named Brenda and Eddie Valentine. 'Mazing Man is known throughout the neighborhood as a harmless nut who likes to do good deeds.
He was created by writer Bob Rozakis and artist Stephen DeStefano. Rozakis has worked on dozens of DC series, including Air Wave and Dial H for Hero, but is best known as the Answer Man (no relation), an expert on DC comics trivia. DeStefano divides his time between animation (where he's worked on such properties as Ren & Stimpy) and comics (where his other work includes Mickey Mouse). Rozakis and DeStefano also collaborated on a not-completely-serious superhero team called Hero Hotline.
'Mazing Man appeared in a 12-issue series from DC, dated January through December, 1986. It wasn't originally planned at that length, but since the world wasn't (and still isn't) ready for a superhero of his calibre, 12 issues is all it worked out to. The company did show enough commitment to the concept to publish three 'Mazing Man specials, dated 1987, '88 and '90, and to devote a page of Secret Origins #16 (July 1987) to the alley story, which launched his super career. All were written by Rozakis and drawn by DeStefano. The closest Maze came to a crossover was on the cover of #12, where he dreamed about an adventure with Frank Miller's "Dark Knight" version of Batman.
Then there was a decade in which he didn't appear at all. In 2001, DC explored a few riffs on its old Justice League theme, and someone who looked a lot like Maze (tho with some rather prominent differences) turned up in a one-panel excursion into surreality, along with Plastic Man, Ambush Bug, The Creeper and a couple of villains, as The Justice League of Anarchy.
Since then, nothing.