HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Comics Today's Date:

Defender of the Southern Faith: When Walked The Reverend...

Garcia doesn't just write for us, oh, no. He's been pitching and publishing to 'zines for years. A couple of decades, in fact. So when flipping through some back issues of Once Upon A Dime that Donald Swan loaned me for the online project, I knew that I had to find something by Chris. Here's an excerpt, with the full article being over on Once Upon A Dime.com.

Of all the characters that have graced the shelves of grocery stores and newsstands the world over, none captured the feel of the post-bellum South so much as The Reverend. From the cross that burned on his chest when evil approached, to the eyes of the demons that he battled tooth and nail, The Reverend's seven-year run made him a favorite of children around the country, but especially those who read beneath the covers in former Georgia plantation homes.

The Reverend, written originally by Hap Hanland, appeared for the first time on the back page of In Your Defense, a popular American war comic, during the early months of WWII. Shown defending the stately homes of Savannah from Japanese air attack, The Reverend came to the rescue, and flew off with the cry "always keep the faith!"

Returning as the main feature in Fighting Tales #17, The Reverend accompanied a young Atlanta man across the ocean in his battle against Uncle Fritz, saving him and several of his platoon mates from heavy fire at the hands of the Germans, before performing a mass baptism that made the Gerries lay down their arms. No issue of any wartime comic had approached the sales level of Fighting Tales #17, and it served as the catalyst to turn The Reverend into the star of American Victory comics.

American Victory had been a low-selling title featuring the adventures of Mr. Excelsior, the Harvard professor turned crime fighter who would make daily flights to Europe or Japan to save our boys.

Once the jump-suited and masked Reverend replaced the aging academic as the star, sales jumped greatly, particularly in the South, where The Reverend spent most of his time routing out draft dodgers and stopping Germans from infiltrating the social set. The Reverend rarely handed out true beatings, usually preferring to give wrongdoers a second chance at redemption.

The Reverend, the alter ego of Bible publishing tycoon James Strong, had powers that allowed him to serve both his Southern brethren and the effort abroad. Immune to the bullets fired by the foreign menaces then at war with the U.S., The Reverend could call forth his Armor of God to take the heavy fire. His early adventures frequently took him over-seas, trips aided by his powers of flight and super-vision. He could call forth his cross to show the light of truth to any non-believer.

One of his frequently used powers, "Absolution," allowed many villains to be forgiven, often breaking into tears and taking holy orders in the next frame. His greatest power, Hanland claimed, was his compassionate wisdom that allowed him to bring people together.

"I wrote the Reverend to be the greatest hero ever, not only in strength, but in judgment." The now 87-year old Hanland said in a rare convention appearance this year. "He would defend the South with great pride, encourage sweet Southern children to say their prayers and train hard to defeat the transoceanic threats to our country and his cherished way of life. He was, like all preachers, a defender of children and spirit."

Hanland wrote just nine issues of American Victory before an actual American victory was secured. Hanland, along with Dirk Morris and Stuart Jeallia, launched a new imprint, JHM. The first JHM series to hit the shelves was Tales of the South, the first book where The Reverend starred as the featured character away from the war. There he specialized in saving Georgia and Alabama from villainous attacks, which always allowed him to spread a special message on the final page.

For Tales of the South, Hanland created a rotating series of characters to join The Reverend; including Colonel Sharp, Master of the Buckknife, Southern Belle, a gracious and powerful young thing who fought crime using her superior manners, and Dr. Hound, a kennel operator who could call forth any hound to do battle with him. These characters were opposed by villains who seemed more than a little inspired by those in other, more successful books: the Walking Explosion, Alligatorman, the Miniature Menace, and the Bard.

"These were characters I came up with independently," Hanland protested "They shared characteristics of other heroes, but no more than Superman shared characteristics with Captain Marvel. They were independent creations, and the fact that they took them away from me was a crime!"

For the full article, follow this link!

Chris Garcia

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites