In another bite-sized installment of spotlighting a few random characters at a time, with the ultimate goal of eventually featuring every single one that exists. Should just take a few galactic years, no biggy. The random characters today are, an old one and a new one: Yellow Peri and The Signal.
In the New Adventures of Superboy #34 (1982), when Superboy flies off to deal with an invasion by a swarm of locusts, he finds the source of the plague to be a magical spell gone wrong by a mysterious young lady, the Yellow Peri. On a side note, the term “peri” comes from Persian mythology in which peris were beautiful female fallen angels that tended to be mischievous; a bit reminiscent of genies.
Back to Superboy #34, the Yellow Peri’s origins trace back to when she was a young girl named Loretta York, who was so passionate about magic (the conventional stage illusion type) that she ran off to join the circus. One day, she stumbled upon the lone surviving book in the rubbles of a bookstore that had burned down. It turned out that the book contained real magic, which Loretta tried to use to help the people around her. From the book, she also summoned a magical bear-like imp named Gazook, who helps her navigate the book’s magical secrets.
Unfortunately for the Yellow Peri (and Superboy), her intentions might be good, but they only pave the way to disaster. Such was the case when the circus’ electrical generator broke and they were left without lights; so Yellow Peri tried to help by brightening up the sky, but instead, she accidentally sends an asteroid hurtling towards earth. Fearing that Superboy will take the magical book away from her, the Yellow Peri is put at odds with Superboy.
Raw copies of the New Adventures of Superboy #34 can be found for sale under the $10 level. The only sale of note for a graded copy of the book was a CGC 9.4 sold in Dec 2011 for $30.
Who needs a Bat-Signal in the sky, when you can have a hero running around with it on his chest? The ever-growing Bat ensemble went a bit meta with the addition of The Signal. Duke Thomas, the man who would later become the Signal, made his first appearance at the onset of the Zero Year comic event in Batman #21 (Vol. 2, 2013). It was just a brief appearance in which Duke was just an innocent civilian trying to scrounge up food when he was attacked by a gang; luckily, Batman swooped in and saved the day. It would take many appearances over the course of five years, including becoming a Robin and fighting in the Robin War, until Duke finally gets an upgrade and takes up his own mantel as the Signal in Batman and the Signal #1 (2018).
After the fallout from the Amazo Virus, a large number of teenage meta-humans begin appearing throughout Gotham City, and with them, meta-powered up crimes. With Batman already overwhelmed with the crimes that occur in the dark nights, he recruits Duke to be a beacon for the city as a crime fighter during the day. This daytime/light-based character design theme for the Signal extends to his abilities, which as his name might suggest, the Signal wears a suit with a Bat logo capable of emitting a bright light that disorients enemies. Outside of his fighting prowess that he developed from training with Batman and the Robins, he also possesses photokinesis which lets him see the movement of light a few moments into both the past and the future.
At the moment, it relatively affordable to start a Duke Thomas/Signal collection; the latest CGC 9.8 sales of Batman #21 was $26 in Sept 2019, and Batman and the Signal #1 was $40 in Jan 2019. Not bad for what could be the exciting beginning of a young hero.
“My career of choice has crazy hours, bad benefits, and doesn’t pay. But it’s the dream I never knew I always had.” – Duke Thomas/The Signal
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