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Amazing-Man

Amazing Heroes
by yo go re

Remember when we told you that a failed attempt to reboot Daredevil led to the creation of Thunderbolt? Well, Peter Cannon may be wearing Daredevil's clothes, but he got Amazing-Man's origin.

An American orphan taken to Tibet and raised by monks, John Aman was trained by the mysterious Council of Seven, given a super-human mind and body by their secret techniques. Also he could turn his body into a green mist, because that's a thing. This didn't sit well with another disciple, who became The Great Question and dedicated himself to defeating the hero.

Amazing-Man was the first hero to debut in his own title. Superman appeared in Action Comics, Crimson Avenger and Batman appeared in Detective Comics, Namor appeared in Motion Picture Funnies Weekly, Wonder Man appeared in Wonder Comics, but in the summer of 1939, Amazing-Man appeared in Amazing-Man Comics. Technically he appeared in Amazing Man Comics #5, but that really was the first issue - it was common practice to fake a higher number in order to make readers think the book had an established longevity.

While Amazing-Man is in the public domain, this figure technically isn't part of Amazing Heroes Series 1 - he was funded by the fine folks at Gallant Comics, who currently publish a John Aman Amazing Man comic of their own, making this toy a licensed tie-in! That's why this figure is in different packaging than the rest of the series: the front only shows him, while the back shows the covers of his Gallant Comics run.

The original Amazing-Man was created by Bill Everett, the same guy who created Namor the Sub-Mariner - that may be why Gallant Comics has opted to give their character big pointy eyebrows, as an homage. This figure uses the same curly-haired head as Black Terror and Stardust, but again the paint makes him look like a separate person.

When he first appeared, Aman simply fought evil in his everyday clothes. It wasn't until issue #11 that he started wearing a costume. One of the Council of Seven, Nika, gave John a set of mystical chest straps and an indestructible amulet, and now he really looked like a superhero! Coloring was pretty inconsistent in those days, so Amazing-Man's clothes changed pretty much every issue, but Gallant Comics is much more consistent: the straps are blue, the amulet is yellow with a red A, the trunks are red with blue stripes on the sides, the legs are blue, and the boots are red with yellow trim. He's supposed to be wearing studded red bracelets, but here they're just painted on. That's fine, the fact that the chest straps are a new mold that fits over the chest is cool enough as it is.

Naturally, Amazing-Man uses the same Secret Wars-inspired body as the rest of the Amazing Heroes, and so moves at the same points: neck, shoulders and hips, all swivels. In this case, though, the hips have that distinctive "gummy" resistance that every toy fan recognizes as suggesting the joints are stuck, and will shear off if you try to force them. I don't know what the replacement situation is like on Kickstarted toys, so this particular Amazing-Man may end up with superglued legs. It's probably not a common issue, but it does show that you need to be at least a little careful with these figures.

In addition to Gallant Comics' version of Amazing-Man, the character also lives on at both of the major publishers: DC's version is just an homage, a black WWII hero named Will Everett whose two grandsons both followed in his steps (all three of them basically had Absorbing Man powers); Marvel, meanwhile, had already lifted Amazing-Man's origin for Iron Fist, so they went ahead and put the real guy into their books as "the Prince of Orphans," revealing that K'un-Lun was just one mystical city, and that John Aman was the chosen guardian of another. He's appeared in Project Superpowers, in books from AC and Malibu Comics, but it's only because of Gallant Comics and Amazing Heroes that he has an action figure.

-- 04/06/16


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