Like the randomness in timing of when the McRib is on the menu or the random reasons why it isn’t just in stores permanently, here is another installment in the spotlighting of random comic book characters.
A quick refresher of the rules:
- Never been in a movie.
- Never been in a TV show.
- No rumor or news for an upcoming anything.
- Bonus Points: Never written about in a previous article here.
With that, the random characters featured here are: Wizard of Crime, Human Tank, and Fright.
WIZARD OF CRIME
We’ve all heard of the Wizard of Oz, but what about the Wizard of Crime? The villainous Wizard of Crime, also known as the clinically insane scientist Raymond Cartel, made his first and only appearance in Sub-Mariner Comics #19 (1946), in which he invents a mindreading machine. Immediately, his invention proves useful by foiling a planned attempt by the Submariner to raid the mob. Armed with the ability to mind read, the Wizard of Crime continues to stay just one step ahead of the Sub-Mariner as he goes on a crime spree around town.
Eventually, the Wizard of Crime’s overconfidence catches up to him when he decides to rob a boat that is out at sea recovering lost gold. When the Sub-Mariner intervenes, the Wizard of Crime does at first get the better of the Sub-Mariner, but the Sub-Mariner’s strength prevails in a direct confrontation. In hindsight, probably not the best idea to challenge the Sub-Mariner on his home turf.
Sub-Mariner Comics #19 (1946) also contains the first and only appearance of mob boss, Lynch Mason, heiress Lucille Kennedy and her manipulative fiancé Larry Batten, and ark enthusiast Noah Crane. The latest sale of note for the Golden-Age comic is a CGC 5.5 graded copy that sold for $670 in mid-2017. Higher-grade sales of the book are fewer and further in-between; the highest value was a $5,600 sale of a CGC 9.2 slab in late 2016.
The Golden Age sure likes their one and done villains; keeping with the tradition, the Human Tank made his first and only appearance in Wonder Woman #63 (1954), in which he was billed as “a master criminal against whom every weapon fails” With his invulnerable skin and a tear gas gun, the Human Tank ostentatiously announces a robbery. The police arrive on the scene to stop him, but their bullets just bounce off. In his helpfulness, Steve Trevor tries even more bullets. Eventually, Wonder Woman overcomes the Human Tank simply by lifting him in the air, making it impossible for him to do anything in that position.
After being imprisoned, the Human Tank makes his escape by smashing through steel and brick as if they were paper. On a nitpicking side note, invulnerable skin is one thing, but that doesn’t mean the invulnerable skin automatically destroys weaker materials; as in, someone swinging a steel bar at a tree doesn’t mean the tree will fall, there’s still a strength of the swing component outside of the material properties. Sure invulnerability and super strength are usually abilities that are bundled together, but Human Tank’s thing was he only the first one.
Back to Wonder Woman #63, seeing construction workers use sandblasters to peel away the outer layer of the bricks on a building gives Wonder Woman the idea to use a similar technique on the Human Tank’s invulnerable skin. Again, more liberties were taken on invulnerability consistency. In their final confrontation, Wonder Woman is able to wear away the invulnerable coating on the Human Tank’s skin and capture him for good this time.
Compared with the Wizard of Crime’s key first appearance book, the Human Tank’s Wonder Woman #63 sells for roughly half the value at similar grades.
Even supervillains require a little assistance every now and then; the Scarecrow was down on financial luck and the Penguin’s minions were growing restless. In Batman #627 (2004), they turn to scientist Linda Friitawa (in her first appearance) to help the Scarecrow, who has since entered into the Penguin’s employ, to create a new fright dust. The Penguin hopes to use it to scare his minions into falling in line. During their work, a mysterious monster begins terrorizing the city and killing the Penguin’s minions. This monster draws the attention of Batman, who uncovers the truth behind everything; the Penguin’s true plans were to have Linda Friitawa experiment on the Scarecrow. Even in Gotham, there appears to be a lack of honor among thieves.
Currently, the value of Fright’s first appearance book Batman #627 (2004), graded in CGC 9.8, sits around the $50 level. In 2019, it’s technically up almost 200% from prior years, but that’s not saying very much with the overall lower market value. Interesting character and debut story, but not investible.
“Ah, there’s another subject! Seems deep in thought… wonder why he’s wearing a swim-suit? It’s cool out… well, I’ll soon know!” – Wizard of Crime
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