Skateman kicks someone in the face with his skates. Fortunately, it's a only villain. Artist: Neal Adams.

SKATEMAN

Medium: Comic Books
Published by: Pacific Comics
First Appeared: 1983
Creator: Neal Adams
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The history of superheroes is replete with characters who don't have any particular reason to exist — characters whose writers failed to provide them with very compelling motivations to put on a costume and fight crime, like Firebrand and The Black Angel; or whose super powers were too dangerous to use in public, at least by people trying to do good in the …

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… world, such as The Comet and The Human Bomb; or whose extraordinary abilities don't seem very useful in the battle against evil, like Fly-Man and Hydroman.

But those are all from the early days, when they didn't have as much practice making viable superheroes, as they did later. Skateman came along when comic book writers and artists had presumably had a chance to get the hang of superhero creation. Besides, he was created by Neal Adams, whose earlier superhero work, such as Deadman and the Green Lantern/Green Arrow series, had won considerable acclaim.

But in Skateman, Adams created what is one the least-acclaimed heroes of all time. Skateman was Billy Moon, an unemployed Vietnam veteran with an interest in (unspecified) martial arts, whose superheroing activities stemmed from his recent occupation as a roller derby star. His best friend, Jack, also a participant in the sport, was murdered during a match, in a way that looked like an accident that was Billy's fault.

Billy quit the game and went into a major depression, which he was nursed through by his girlfriend, Angel — until she was murdered too, for working as a reporter, about to expose a gang of criminals. Taking his cue from a comic book collection maintained by his young Hispanic friend Paco, Billy adopted a masked persona, Skateman, and went after the crooks. For a superhero suit, he emulated Crimebuster, and used a modification of his roller blading outfit, but added a mask.

Skateman #1 was published by Pacific Comics (Captain Victory, Starslayer) with a cover date of November, 1983. The publisher judged that its reception didn't warrant a second issue.

Several years later, Adams formed Continuity Comics, to publish such Adams-created characters as Ms. Mystic and Megalith. But Skateman wasn't among its offerings. In fact. he was never seen again.

— DDM

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Text ©2009 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Neal Adams.