Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Legion Of Dustbin Heroes : Micro-Face

Hillman was one of the more modest sized publishers of the Golden Age and one with surprisingly few superhero features. Their biggest property was the aviation hero Airboy and their best remembered one, was probably the  Heap. But few will recall the oddly named Micro-Face.

The hero debuted in the first issue of CLUE COMICS in January 1943. Tom Wood was a factory employee whose workday is interrupted by a call informing him that his police officer brother Jim has been killed in the line of duty. In true GA fashion, Tom vows to avenge his sibling’s murder. Tom was a part-time inventor whose “Micro Mask” was rejected by the US Government. The device is worn as a full hooded veil and contains a microphone/speaker system which distorts, amplifies and throws his voice. It also amplifies his hearing and provides him with x-ray vision via it’s "photoelectric lenses". Heck it can also connect to phone lines and make outbound calls. In a sense he is a kind of precursor to Marvel’s Iron Man.

Aesthetically the hero owes a debt to two versions of DC’s Sandman. The Micro Mask recalls the original’s gasmask appearance while the overall costume reminds me of the Simon and Kirby version. 

Here is his second appearance in CLUE COMICS #2

Micro-Face is credited as the creation of Allen Ulmer, yet another journeyman artist toiling in the era. The GCD only cites him with the art chores on the first two MF stories but to my untrained eye it appears that all three of the tales I’m presenting here are by the same man. So I’ll go out on a limb and credit them to Ulmer as well. Here then is the hero’s fourth installment.

I’m really taken with the splash to this one as it imbues it with a kind of Simon & Kirby feel. In fact a lot of the poses used in the piece show the S&K influence.

The final yarn is culled from CLUE COMICS #6
(Dec 1943)



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