Comics / DC Comics History

DC Comics History: Manhunters


By Deejay Dayton
Apr 26, 2017 - 19:03

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Of all the various heroes and series to use the term Manhunter, probably the least interesting was the Manhunters series, which appeared in one issue of Showcase during the period 1955 – 1959: Dawn of the Silver Age. Showcase 5 features three stories by Jack Miller, relating cases by different police officers.  Well, not even all policemen.  But all are pursuing criminals.  Manhunters is a very vague theme, and a real step back from the previous issue.  Oddly, though there are no strong heroes in these stories, there are two really good villains.

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Mort Meskin provides the art for the first story, which deals with a criminal who disguises himself and acts out crimes based on old movies. For much of the story those in pursuit think that it is the aging actor, who had played all the roles originally, who is the thief. 

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But when they learn the actor had died, have to look at the evidence again, and figure out that it was the director of those movies who has gone insane.

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Curt Swan and Sy Barry handle the art for the second story, in which an actor and model gets recruited to impersonate a mob boss by the FBI.  The boss has been captured, but refuses to talk about his big plans.  The actor trains to move, talk and act like the guy, and then takes his place at a big planned meeting.

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There he discovers that the mob boss was going to undergo plastic surgery on his face.  Quite the bind.  But he manages to take out the doctor, and then the rest of the gang.

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The last story, with art by John Ely, is a globe hopping adventure as a police officer pursues a villain called the Eel, who has electric shock powers.The story moves from England to France to Egypt to Argentina as the cop, who finds it very hard to keep up with the Eel, keeps losing him. 

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There is a weird moment where the Great Pyramid is called the Great Pyramid of Wisdom.  In the end, using an oxygen mask to give him an extra boost against the bad guy, the cop catches the Eel, and uncovers the device he keeps in his coat which gives him the electric powers.

This Manhunters issue has no connection to the 1940s Manhunter, nor to the Martian Manhunter, nor even to the earlier series, Manhunters Around the World.

Manhunters: Showcase 5 (Nov/Dec 56)

Next up – Challengers of the Unknown!

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Last Updated: May 15, 2017 - 12:13

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