Sunday, 24 July 2016

Blue Ribbon Comics #1 (Red Circle/1983)

Blue Ribbon Comics #1 (Red Circle)

Joe Simon (w) Jack Kirby (a)

During the early eighties Archie Comics were publishing a range of super-hero titles under the Red Circle imprint. The Mighty Crusaders, The Comet and The Fly all got their own titles so it was inevitable that Red Circle would reprint some of their earlier stories from the Archie vaults.

Blue Ribbon Comics was originally published between 1939 and 1942 so this is presented as "volume 2". Printed on higher quality paper and aimed at the growing Direct Market, this was a little more pricey than the average comic of the time.

That said this issue represents the origin of The Fly as young Tommy Troy finds himself at the mercy of hoods in the orphanage where he is being kept. Starved and miserable Tommy confronts the warden, Mister Creacher only to find himself in danger but is shipped off to stay with a wicked old couple Ben & Abagail March who treat him like a slave.

Here he stumbles upon their room filled with "black magic" and finds a ring that connects him with the "Fly People, former inhabitants of Earth who have fled to another dimension. Turan, their Emissary appears and explains that his people fled after their magics caused their downfall. Tommy, being of "pure heart" will be granted powers to carry on their war against greed and crime.

Using his ring, young Tommy becomes The Fly. A wee bit reminiscent of Billy Batson, but that's where the similarity ends.

In his first adventure Tommy becomes The Fly and exposes the corrupt Creacher and the hoodlums freeing the orphans from their plight. Not so good for Tommy himself who remains with the March couple.

There is also a reprint of The Fly's first encounter with The Spider (he just had to have a nemesis based on his namesakes predator) and in a third story The Fly discovers his (non-lethal) Buzz gun.


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