The Shield (aka Private Strong). Artist: Jack Kirby.


Medium: Comic Books
Published by: Archie Comics
First Appeared: 1959
Creators: Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
If this site is enjoyable or useful to you,
Please contribute to its necessary financial support. or PayPal

In 1959, the year DC Comics revived Green Lantern, Archie Comics became the second publisher to join the nascent trend of doing …

continued below

… an updated version of one of its 1940s superheroes. The Double Life of Private Strong #1, dated June of that year, aside from being the company's first non-humor comic since Sam Hill nine years earlier, introduced a new character with the same name and motif as one of their earliest long-underwear guys — The Shield.

Joe Simon and Jack Kirby (Young Romance, Newsboy Legion) were the ones who created the new Shield character — appropriately enough, since they were responsible for both the original Shield's biggest competitor, Captain America, and Cap's most prominent 1950s knock-off, Fighting American. Their version of the character is Lancelot Strong, a scientist's son, orphaned at an early age, who grows up to find his father's experiments have resulted in his developing super powers. He appears to be an ordinary draftee in the pre-Vietnam U.S. Army — but as The Shield, wearing a superhero suit with a U.S. flag motif, he secretly battles America's enemies in a more personal way.

The Double Life of Private Strong was the first comic published under the "Archie Adventure Series" imprint. The second, The Fly, also a Simon & Kirby creation, followed two months later. The latter was, by far, the more successful; in fact, the Private Strong title lasted only two issues. It was shut down by a letter from DC's lawyers, claiming the character was too similar to their Superman.

The Shield made a couple of appearances in The Fly's comic over the next year or two, then languished until, in the mid-1960s, practically every costumed character the publisher ever did was revived for at least a walk-on. In 1983, many of them, including Lancelot Strong, were briefly revived again — in fact, the name Lancelot Strong was actually used as the title of a comic book that year, albeit for only one issue. Since then, he's been glimpsed from time to time, but hasn't been what you'd call a major player.

His main claim to fame is that, when the superhero genre started showing signs of renewed interest, he was the first Archie Comics character to jump on the bandwagon. That and, of course, the fact that he was one of the last creations of the legendary team of Simon & Kirby.


BACK to Don Markstein's Toonopedia™ Home Page
Today in Toons: Every day's an anniversary!


Purchase Toon-related Merchandise Online

Text ©2000-07 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Archie Comics.