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Marvel Boy

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'Atlas Comics' Marvel Boy #1 (Dec. 1950): Cover artist uncertain; possibly Sol Brodsky
Character Name = Marvel Boy (Timely Comics)
Real Name = Martin Burns
Publisher = Marvel Comics
Debut = (Burns I) Daring Mystery Comics #6 (June 1940)
(Burns II) USA Comics #7 (Feb. 1943)
(Grayson) Marvel Boy #1 (Dec. 1950)
(Vaughn) Captain America #217 (Jan. 1978)
Creators = (Burns I): Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
(Burns II): Bob Oksner
(Grayson) Stan Lee & Russ Heath Powers = Telepathy,
Light blasts

Marvel Boy is the name of several fictional comic book characters in the Marvel Comics universe, including predecessor companies Timely Comics and Atlas Comics.

Contents

Martin Burns

Martin Burns is the 1940s Marvel Boy. After a mysterious shadow revealed to him that he possessed the power of Hercules, he became a superhero. The character made only two appearances — Daring Mystery Comics #6 (June 1940), by Joe Simon & Jack Kirby, and USA Comics #7 (Feb. 1943), by writer-artist Bob Oksner — each of which featured a wildly disparate version of his origin (the first had him the reincarnation of the legendary Greek hero while the second had him accidentally scratched by the demigod's mummified remains in a museum and 'infected' with his superhuman strength), although both shared the basics noted above. The Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe: Golden Age 2004 reconciles these different origins by stating that there were two Marvel Boys named Martin Burns active in the 1940s.

Interestingly enough, there was a surprisingly similar one shot character who appeared between the two Marvel Boys in USA Comics #1. Called the Young Avenger, his costume was virtually identical to that of the first Marvel Boy save that it lacked the big white "MB" emblem on the chest and was colored green and orange instead of blue and red. Like Martin Burns, Bill Bryan had the strength of Hercules and received his orders from a mysterious shadow. There is some evidence that this is actually a re-lettered Marvel Boy story because the lettering style on the names seems slightly different in spacing and form than the rest of the lettering.

Robert Grayson

Robert Grayson is the 1950s Marvel Boy, debuting in Marvel Boy #1 (Dec. 1950), from Marvel 1950s forerunner, Atlas Comics. He continued to appear when the series title was changed to Astonishing with issue #3. Created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Russ Heath, with writer-artist Bill Everett taking over with issue #2, this Marvel Boy is the son of Dr. Horace Grabshield (later Anglicized as Grayson), a scientist who fled Earth with his infant during the rise of Nazi Germany. The Graysons landed on Uranus, where they were greeted by the native Uranian Eternals. They presented Robert with a costume and a pair of powerful bracelets that he used to battle crime on Earth. His final story was in Astonishing #7 (Dec. 1951).

Grayson made an appearances in an alternate-reality story in What If #9 (June 1978), as well as in tales taking place before his death, in the 12-issue miniseries Marvel: The Lost Generation (March 2000 - Feb. 2001) and in Avengers Forever (Dec. 1998 - Nov. 1999), although the Avengers Forever appearance is technically part of a timeline that no longer exists.

For many years it was believed that the Grayson Marvel Boy had gone insane following a disaster that had destroyed the Uranian Eternals. Debuting in Fantastic Four #165 (Dec. 1975) under the name "The Crusader," his seeming return was brief and he died at the end of this arc, having exploded with only his Quantum Bands remaining.

The 2006 Marvel miniseries Agents of Atlas explained his survival by stating that The Crusader had actually been a different person — a confused and surgically altered Uranian Eternal who had been using the Quantum Bands as a replacement for Marvel Boy's own power bracelets. This replacement was intended as an unquestioningly loyal servant of the Uranian Eternals, conditioned to obey and to believe he was actually the original Marvel Boy. However, the plan went awry when a disaster destroyed his creators midway through the project, leaving the Crusader in a deranged and delusional state. The Grayson Marvel Boy remains active as an Agent of Atlas.

Wendell Vaughn

Wendell Vaughn, an agent in the Marvel Comics espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D., became the 1970s Marvel Boy in Captain America #217 (Jan. 1978) when he became bonded to the 1950s Quantum Bands. The bands had been remanded to S.H.I.E.L.D. after the events of The Fantastic Four #165, above, with Robert Grayson. His codename was quickly changed to Marvel Man as part of the agency's short-lived Super-Agent program. He changed it to Quasar in The Incredible Hulk #234 (April 1979), and under that name teamed up with the Thing in Marvel Two-in-One #53 (July 1979). After learning that the cosmic entity Eon had intended to give the alien Quantum Bands to the Protector of the Universe, he accepted that role.

Vance Astrovik

Vance Astrovik was the 1980s Marvel Boy. He used the Marvel Boy codename for some time before being sent to prison in the pages of New Warriors. He later adopted the codename Justice.

David Bank

David Bank is a mutant in the Marvel Comics Universe, who can fly and project energy blasts. He first appeared in Justice: Four Balance #4. David Bank took on the name of Marvel Boy in the closing issue of a series featuring Vance Astrovik, the previous Marvel Boy.

Noh-Varr

Noh-Varr is Marvel Boy in an eponymous 2000 mini-series by Grant Morrison and J.G. Jones. He is an alien of the pink-skinned Kree species, although he hails from another reality. Upon arriving on Earth, he became an anti-hero styled after Captain Marvel but with elements of teenage rebellion added to the mix. In 2006 he appeared in the Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways mini-series and later in an issue of the Illuminati. Later on, Noh-Varr joined the Dark Avengers, as Captain Marvel, alongside the Iron Patriot, Hawkeye and others.

Reprints

Marvel Comics reprints of 1950s Atlas Comics stories, listed chronologically from date of earliest original publication:

  • Marvel Tales #13 (March 1968)
  • Marvel Super Action #4 (Nov. 1977)
"Marvel Boy and the Lost World" (Marvel Boy #1, Dec. 1950; art by Russ Heath)
  • Marvel Tales #14 (May 1968)
"Eyes of Death" (Marvel Boy #1, Dec. 1950; art by Russ Heath)
  • Marvel Tales #15 (July 1968)
  • Marvel Super Action #4 (Nov. 1977)
"Caves of Doom" (Astonishing #5, August 1951; art by Bill Everett)
  • Marvel Tales #16 (Sept. 1968)
"The Serpent Strikes" (Astonishing #5, August 1951; art by Bill Everett)
  • Marvel Super Action #4 (Nov. 1977)
  • The Golden Age of Marvel Comics (1997) ISBN 0-7851-0564-6
"The Deadly Decision" (Astonishing #5, August 1951; art by Bill Everett)
"Verdict By Magic" (Astonishing #6, Oct. 1951; art by Bill Everett; originally titled "Murder By Magic")

Notes

References


External links