The Shark mows 'em down with an uncharacteristic weapon.

THE SHARK

Medium: Comic Books
Published by: Centaur Publications
First Appeared: 1939
Creator: Lew Glanzman
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The Shark "sort of" beat out Marvel's Sub-Mariner for the distinction of first underwater superhero. While Subbie did make his first appearance in the April, 1939 issue of Motion Picture Funnies Weekly, that appearance didn't lead to an actual series, and for the next several decades wasn't even known to comic book bibliographers. Subbie's actual series didn't begin until …

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… November of that year, whereas The Shark (no relation) debuted in the October issue of Amazing-Man Comics. (The fact that the title Motion Picture Funnies Weekly had been continued as Amazing-Man starting with its fifth issue (September) is merely a coincidence.)

Starting in Amazing-Man #6, The Shark joined The Iron Skull, Minimidget and several others, including Amazing-Man himself, who'd been there since #5. He was created by cartoonist Lew Glanzman (The Blue Fire). The publisher was Centaur Publications, which had a number of heroes in the early '40s, including The Masked Marvel, The Blue Lady and The Arrow.

The Shark could swim amazingly fast, aided by his webbed fingers and toes. He was also as strong as ten whales when immersed (tho he had only normal strength on dry land). He had the additional power of instant hypnosis, and could create lifelike images of himself out of nothing but water. He was called "The Shark" (or, more rarely, "Shark-Man") because he was often seen in the company of actual sharks.

He could not only live and breathe underwater — he was the king in that locale, as both Subbie and Aquaman later became in their respective universes. He got into the kinging line of work, along with his superhuman powers, by being the son of Neptune himself (whom he called "Pops"). His ability to create technological marvels, sucn as one-way television that could be projected onto any blank wall, came from his own ingenuity.

The Shark didn't take a lot of interest in kinging. He'd rather deal with any crime that took place on the high seas. He did this in every issue of Amazing-Man until #22 (May, 1941). After that, he was transferred to Stars & Stripes Comics, where he ran from #2 (also May, 1941) to #6 (December, 1941). After that, he was gone.

In 1992 Malibu Comics revived many of the old Centaur superheroes, including Mighty Man, Air Man and Fantoman (under the ever-so-'90s name "Gravestone") for a group called The Protectors. The Shark was not among them.

— DDM

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