Skyman does mighty battle with The Vulture Men. Artist: Ogden Whitney.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Columbia Comics
First Appeared: 1940
Creators: Gardner Fox (writer) and Ogden Whitney (artist)
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Skyman, a minor but relatively long-lived superhero from back when that genre first flowered in American comic books, was a typical member of the genre — but he was also, like Airboy, a descendant of the many aviator heroes in the previous decade's newspaper comics, like Smilin' Jack, Barney Baxter and Scorchy Smith. He'd grown up with …

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… great physical and mental abilities, then inherited a lot of money. He decided to use it to design and build an amazingly advanced aircraft which he called The Wing, for purposes of joining the eternal battle of good versus evil.

Skyman debuted in Big Shot Comics #1 (May, 1940), which was about half full of syndicated stars like Joe Palooka and The Bungle Family, but also included the first appearance of The Face. He was created by writer Gardner Fox, also responsible for superstars like The Flash, Hawkman and Adam Strange; and artist Ogden Whitney, who is best known for Herbie at ACG.

His name at birth was Allen Turner. Orphaned at an early age by an airplane crash, he was raised by an uncle, who was devoted to making the boy as perfect as could be in both body and mind. Thus, Allen became one of those golden boys, not entirely uncommon among superheroes (cf., Mr. Terrific, Ozymandias) but not as credibility-straining as some (cf. Dick Cole, Captain Comet). Using The Wing (a "flying wing", common among experimental aircraft of the time), which could hover motionless or, powered by Earth's magnetic field, zoom at 800 mph, he could swoop down on evildoers with a suspended cable, and use his strength and agility to take them out.

Columbia Comics, Big Shot's publisher, had a very small line compared to big shots like Marvel, Fawcett, Fox etc. — in fact, it consisted mostly of that title itself, and a dozen or so offshoots. But one of the offshoots was Skyman's own title, which started in 1941. Only four issues were published (one each in 1941, '42, '47 and '48). The first of them had The Face and Sparky Watts in the back pages, which also sported an ad for a Skyman newspaper strip that never got as far as actual syndication. In fact, Skyman had no spin-offs at all outside of comic books.

Back in Big Shot Comics, Skyman ran almost to the end. His last appearance was in the 101st issue (May, 1949), and the title ran until #104. The character was spotted but not named in 1965, in Herbie #8 as Herbie contemplated adopting his secret identity as The Fat Fury. ACE Comics, a small comic book publisher of the 1980s, published a oneshot titled Return of the Skyman in 1987, but that was the end of him.


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Text ©2007-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Columbia Comics.