Monday, September 17, 2007

Union Jack: Legacy Hero

During the latest Big Monkey Podcast, Devon makes a point about Starman Jack Knight and says the idea of legacy heroes didn't really exist before Starman. I threw out the name "Union Jack," but didn't have a chance to finish the thought.

Union Jack was originally James Montgomery(created in 1976), who first donned the guise in World War I. He returned to duty in World War II, after his daughter, Jacqueline, was attacked by Baron Blood, James' brother, John. Jacqueline, injured in the fight, receives a blood transfusion from the android Human Torch and, developing super speed, becomes Spitfire. James has a boulder thrown on his legs by the vampiric Baron and has to retire. The mantle is taken over by his son, Brian(the guy standing next to Spitfire).

Years later(1980 in our time), after Captain America is revived from the ice, James finally helps end Baron Blood with the help of Cap and Joey Chapman, who dons the suit of Union Jack, after Jacqueline's son Kenneth declines to take over the mantle.

Before Rick Tyler, Beth Chapel, & Yolanda Montez, before Wally West & Jack Knight, Marvel gave you a superhero legacy.


Rob S. said...

I'd say The Phantom was probably the first true legacy hero. Granted, he's in comic strips, but the idea was pretty expicit -- one generation follows another, fightin' evildoers in the jungle.

BIG MIKE said...

Weren't the silver age versions of Flash and Green Lantern the first legacy heroes?

Jon Hex said...

When Barry Allen and Hal Jordan debuted, they had no connection to Jay Garrick and Alan Scott; DC just wanted to reuse the names. Which is probably the reason they separated the JLA and JSA to different Earths. To be a legacy hero, you have to actually take the name of previously known to you hero and carry on the tradition.

That being said, The Phantom is considered a pulp hero, not a superhero.

Rob S. said...

Pulp hero? But he didn't originate in the pulps -- he began as a comic strip. Granted, he's pre-Superman, but I think the uniform and his comic origins qualify him as a super-hero...or at least invalidate the "pulp" label.

Jon Hex said...


I'm 97.8% sure I'm wrong about the pulp, but I still don't think the majority of people consider The Phantom a superhero. It may be because he protects a jungle or the fact he comes from comic strips, but he's bunched in with Doc Savage, Flash Gordon and The Shadow.