The Whizzer in action. Artists: Al Bellman and Al Fagaly.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Marvel Comics
First Appeared: 1941
Creators: Al Avison and Al Gabrielle
If this site is enjoyable or useful to you,
Please contribute to its necessary financial support. or PayPal

The Whizzer has one of the oddest origin stories in all superherodom. His father, Dr. Emile Frank, was chased away to darkest Africa by a mobster named Granno, for no apparent reason. There, Bob, the son, came down with a deadly fever, which the elder Frank was unable to cure due to primitive conditions. To compound the danger, a snake tried to bite Bob — but a mongoose intervened, killing the snake. As a reward for rescuing his son, Frank captured the mongoose and drained its blood into Bob's veins, seized with a notion that the hapless beast could …

continued below

… save Bob from the fever just as it had saved him from the snake. This may have been some kind of near-death delerium, as he promptly dropped dead. Bob, however, survived, was cured, and even became super powered as a result of the bizarre transfusion. He returned to America, dealt with Granno, then continued to use his abilities to fight crime.

His special ability was super speed, not, as perhaps implied by the name, the ability to defeat evildoers by urinating on them. He could run two or three miles per minute and keep it up for an hour or more, a very respectable super power even if his speed wasn't such that relativistic effects became a factor. It was his misfortune that the good names for a speedy superhero, like The Flash (founder of the super-speedster sub-genre), Johnny Quick (both DC characters) and The Silver Streak (Lev Gleason Publications) were already taken.

The Whizzer was first seen in USA Comics #1 (August, 1941), published by the company that would evolve into Marvel. The feature was drawn by Al Avison, whose other credits include The Black Marvel and Captain America, plus minor work for lesser publishers such as Fiction House and Harvey.

The character didn't exactly take off like a shot. He appeared in most issues of USA Comics (which lasted until 1945) but was never featured on the cover. Still, for a second-string 1940s Marvel hero (i.e., one that is not Captain America, Sub-Mariner or The Human Torch) he did okay. He got into All Winners Comics with its second issue. (All Winners was Marvel's answer to DC's World's Finest Comics or Fawcett's America's Greatest Comics, an anthology of the company's most popular characters.) When All Winners converted from an anthology to book-length stories, consolidating the individual heroes into The All Winners Squad, he was on hand for both of that short-lived group's appearances. But when the superheroes started dropping out of sight, he didn't show much staying power. His last appearance was in All Winners #21 (Winter, 1946-47).

That is, his last appearance before the older comics companies started strip-mining the past in search of more superheroes to glut the market with. He was brought back in the 1970s as the putative parent (along with Miss America, a fellow All Winners Squad member) of Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch, a couple of latter-day characters who had started out as X-Men villains. The paternity issue later went away, but meanwhile, he and Miss America, along with several of the more obscure characters Marvel had published in the '40s, were retro-fitted into The Liberty Legion, a hitherto unheard-of super group that Marvel briefly published as a companion to The Invaders (which was sort of a revised version of The All Winners Squad). Also, his name was appropriated for the super-speedy member of Marvel's Squadron Supreme. He turned up in a 1997 episode of the Spider-Man TV show, where his voice was done by Walker Edmiston (also heard in Jem and Gummi Bears).

Once The Whizzer had been converted to a contemporary denizen of the Marvel Universe, he became subject to the vicissitudes thereof. Since he didn't hold down a series of his own, writers could inflict whatever indignities they wanted on him, and not damage anything with very great commercial value. He even had a monster mutant son that battled The Avengers a couple of times.

Eventually, they took mercy on him and killed him off.


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


Purchase Marvel Comics Merchandise Online

Text ©2002-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Marvel Comics.