Second String Supermen Of America:Harry Chesler’s Firebrand – Another Electrifying Hero!
|(An ACG Comic wherein you might have found a G.B. Love ad.)|
Back in the 1960s when comics fandom was in its infancy, G.B. Love, publisher of the foremost fanzine of the era, The Rocket’s Blast Comicollector, took the unprecedented step of advertising his books in the actual newsstand comics of the American Comics Group. Mr. Love was soon the recipient of my hard-saved dimes and dollars and in turn I was blessed with masses of his magazines extolling the virtues of the Golden Age of Comics and the lost heroes of the era.
Though most of 60s zines were printed via ditto (purple chemically-smelling printing which used pectin!) or mimeograph (black ink whose every line needed to be delicately traced onto a ‘master’ stencil with an unfriendly-feeling stylus), modern offset printing was creeping in. That was the case with my very favorite of G.B. Love’s fanzines, The Illustrated Comic Collector’s Handbook, which featured dozens of images of 40s heroes never before seen by me including Standard Publications’ Pyro-Man and his seeming brother from another mother, Harry Chesler’s Firebrand.
I was fascinated by the former’s lightning-bolt head gear, but also spent a fair amount of time trying to copy the latter’s glassine helmet with those interesting-looking vents. For whatever reason, Pyro-Man went on to be a star of the golden age with dozens of stories to his credit while Firebrand was less fortunate and managed to hang around for only five tales. It took me 40 years to see the mysterious Firebrand’s origin, and I was not disappointed, though I never guessed he’d be decked out in Christmas reds and greens. Hope you’ll enjoy this first Firebrand story, too!
(As always, click on any image to see it larger!)