Shock rescues some of America's fighting men.


Original Medium: Comic Books
Published by: Harvey Comics
First Appeared: 1939
Creators: unknown writer and Maurice Scott (artist)
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The impact of Superman, who debuted in 1938, on the American comic book industry can scarcely be over-estimated. And it was immediate — superheroes,

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… including Doll Man, Amazing-Man, The Sub-Mariner and The Wizard, were climbing on his bandwagon even before 1940. Part of that early proliferation of Superman imitators was Shock Gibson, whose first adventure had a cover date of October, 1939.

Speed Comics #1, where that adventure appeared, was published by Brookwood Publications, which disappeared from the industry in 1941. It was bought by Harvey Comics, which, as the source of Richie Rich, Wendy the Good Little Witch and many other kid characters who started in the 1950s, had a much more noticeable impact on the field. It isn't known who wrote Shock's first story, but the artist was Maurice Scott, who has few other credits in comics. The title of that story was "The Human Dynamo", which is occasionally cited as Shock's superhero name, tho "Shock Gibson" is the name almost universally used in referring to him.

Robert Gibson was his name before he powered himself up. He was experimenting to see if electricity, which had already improved people's lives in so many ways, might also be useful in improving their personal selves, by enhancing their strength, health, etc. He found that by proper application of electricity to his own body, he did gain super strength, as well as the ability to emit powerful electrical bolts, magnetize things, weld metal with his bare hands, and even fly. But instead of sharing his discovery with the world, he kept it to himself and became a superhero, using his newly-minted nickname, "Shock", as part of his monicker.

Shock Gibson was the cover-featured star for the first couple of years Speed Comics was published. But he was eclipsed as of its 16th issue (January, 1942) by one of the Captain America-style flag wearers, Captain Freedom, who hung onto the lead position for the rest of the title's run. The only time Shock appeared on the cover again was the 38th issue (July, 1945), when he, Cap and The Black Cat were posed by artist Bob Powell (Thun'da, The Avenger) in a pastiche of the famous flag-raising scene at Iwo Jima.

But Shock hung around in the back pages until the demise of Speed Comics, with its 44th issue (February, 1947). After that, he moved to the back pages of Green Hornet Fights Crime, where he had two adventures before disappearing completely. He was last seen in Green Hornet #38 (March, 1948).

In the 1960s, when superheroes came back, many publishers either revived or did new versions of their '40s characters — DC with The Flash, Marvel with The Human Torch, even Western Publishing with The Owl. But Harvey did only a few reprints of The Black Cat. The rest of its '60s super guys were newbies like Jigsaw and Bee-Man. Shock Gibson didn't come back.


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Text ©2006-09 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Harvey Comics.