The Scarab rushes into action. Artist: Ken Battefield.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Standard Comics
First Appeared: 1945
Creators: unknown writer and Ken Battefield (artist)
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By 1945, the superhero fad that had held sway in American comic books practically since they'd begun was definitely fading. At Archie Comics, where they'd proliferated back when the company called itself MLJ, the genre was practically extinct, and that was the year industry …

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… leader DC Comics converted the first of its superhero anthology titles, Leading Comics, to another type of story. But in some parts of the industry, fresh ones were still being created.

At one minor company, which went by the names Better, Standard or Nedor at one time or another, extant superheroes already included Doc Strange, Fighting Yank, Pyroman and others, but it was still to introduce Miss Masque and a couple of other stragglers. The Scarab joined their lineup in Exciting Comics #42 (December, 1945), where the cover-featured star was The Black Terror.

Peter Ward was an Egyptologist, that is, an archaeologist specializing in the archaeology of Egypt — a country second only to Tibet (The Flame, Iron Fist) as a source of the mystic energies necessary to power up a superhero — Ibis the Invincible, The Moon Knight and many others had Egypt in their back-stories. And Peter had a second Egyptian connection as well, being the reincarnation of the Sun god's high priest from the classic era of that locale. What's more, he had a black cat, Akh-tu-men, whose connection to Egypt was somewhat murky, but still functioned as a superhero familiar every bit as plausibly as Dr. Mid-nite's Hooty the Owl or Batman's Ace the Bat-Hound.

Peter had a magic ring, which, when rubbed, turned him into a superhero named after an insect found there (cf. The Blue Beetle). The Scarab had the usual super powers — he was super-strong, invulnerable, and able to fly.

He was created by an unknown writer, working with artist Ken Battefield (Tiger Girl, The Silver Knight). He was in the Exciting back pages for only a few months, but also made a couple of brief forays into other comics by the same publisher. His final appearance was in Black Terror #20 (October, 1947). Battefield remained his artist throughout, and presumably his writer didn't change either.

Like many superheroes from defunct companies, The Scarab was revived by AC Comics (Femforce), which put him in its Sentinels of America title, which it published for just one issue in 2003.

Unlike most, he was revived again by low-end movie producer Brett Kelly, who went into the comic book business to produce trade paperbacks of reprints starring him and The Woman in Red in 2009. Kelly also created a new version of the character. Unlikely as it seems for such a nonentity, Kelly plans a filmed version of his new Scarab, titled Avenging Force: The Scarab, for release in 2010.


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Text ©2010 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Standard Comics.