KARL BARKO

Real Name: Karl Barko

Identity/Class: Human technology user (1940s era)

Occupation: Inventor

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: His attack-dogs and henchmen

Enemies: American Anthracite Company (AAC) superintendent, Blue Blaze

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "A crackpot inventor" (as called by AAC superintendent); "that snake" (as called by Blue Blaze)

Base of Operations: His laboratory

First Appearance: Mystic Comics I#2/5 (April, 1940)

Powers/Abilities: A normal human with a slight build, Karl Barko had no paranormal physical abilities; he wore eyeglasses.

   Barko was knowledgeable in building bombs. He used conventional handguns and a rifle; he also had a pair of handheld ray-guns which projected beams that froze a target within a block of ice.

   An inventive (albeit sinister) genius, Barko claimed to have invented an unspecified safety device for use in the coal-mining industry (see comments).

Height: 5' 8" (by approximation)
Weight: 150 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Brown

History:
(Mystic Comics I#2/5 (fb) - BTS) - The past of inventor Karl Barko is largely unrevealed, but at some point he apparently invented a new type of safety device for use in the coal-mining industry.

   In an effort to create a market for his invention, Barko planted a bomb in >Mine No. 2 of the American Anthracite Company (AAC).

(Mystic Comics I#2/5) - Barko's bomb detonated, and the resultant explosion caused a cave-in that buried the miners. In the midst of the tragedy, Barko went to the AAC superintendent and tried to sell him the new safety device, but the superintendent angrily ordered Barko out of his office; Barko told the superintendent that he was making a mistake, and he ominously warned that the same thing could happen to Mine No. 3.

   But as Barko was leaving the office, the Blue Blaze (who had just attempted to help with the mine disaster) entered. As Barko eavesdropped by the window outside, he overheard the Blue Blaze report that he had found the remnants of a bomb. Now realizing that the cave-in was no accident but actually an act of sabotage, the superintendent wondered aloud if Barko was responsible; recalling Barko's implied threat when he mentioned another cave-in could occur, the Blue Blaze climbed in his speedster and raced to Mine No. 3 to investigate. Barko realized the hero was hot on his trail, so he took steps to prevent the Blue Blaze's interference in his scheme.

   As Barko waited on a hilltop, he saw the Blue Blaze speed along the road below in his vehicle, so he pushed a boulder down--the Blue Blaze caught the boulder in midair and hurled it aside. Barko then fired his rifle at the Blue Blaze--his bullet missed the hero, but it punctured the tire of the speedster; the car swerved crazily along the road, but the Blue Blaze managed to bring his vehicle to a halt, then he ran up the hill to confront Barko. The crazed inventor unleashed his attack dogs, but the Blue Blaze fought off the vicious beasts. When he returned to his speedster, the Blue Blaze found Barko waiting for him. Barko fired his ray-guns, and the beams encased the hero in a block of ice; then Barko ordered his henchmen to carry the entrapped Blue Blaze back to his laboratory.

   After taunting the frozen Blue Blaze in his lab, Barko and his men went to a deserted mine shaft adjacent to Mine No. 3 and planted dynamite, with their intent being that the explosion would cause a cave-in at the neighboring tunnel where the miners were actually working. But suddenly, the Blue Blaze (who had escaped from his icy prison after Barko left) came running into the deserted mine shaft. While the hero pummeled the two thugs, Barko fired his handguns--although he emptied both pistols shooting at the Blue Blaze, the bullets merely bounced off the hero. In a last desperate attempt, Barko once more pulled out his ray-guns, but a well aimed punch from the Blue Blaze sent Barko sprawling to the ground, and the hero defused Barko's bomb.

   Later, the Blue Blaze met once more with the AAC superintendent in his office--the superintendent reported that Barko's men were in police custody, while Barko himself was in the insane asylum.

Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Newt Alfred (artist)

Unfortunately, these were the best images of Barko available in this 7-page story.

No details were given on Barko's safety device, so we can only assume that he actually built something and was not just running an elaborate scam to extort money from the AAC.

But for an inventive genius, Barko wasn't too bright--he could have just sold those freeze guns (...to the military, or even a frozen-food company) and made himself an easy fortune.

Barko's first name was revealed in Blue Blaze's handbook profile in Marvel Mystery Handbook: 70th Anniversary Special (November, 2009).

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Karl Barko has no known connections to:

Barko's attack-dogs have no known connections to:


Barko's attack-dogs

A pair of fierce trained canines (breeds unspecified), Barko sent them against the Blue Blaze.

Both dogs were apparently killed during their struggle with the Blue Blaze.

--Mystic Comics I#2/5


Barko's henchmen

Two unidentified thugs employed by Barko, they assisted him in his scheme to extort a coal-mining company.

After being beaten by the Blue Blaze, Barko's henchmen were taken into police custody.

(Note: I'm assuming there were only two henchmen, and that the thug with the green fedora just changed his jacket (...or else the colorist wasn't paying attention to detail))

--Mystic Comics I#2/5


American Anthracite Company (AAC) superintendent

An unidentified man, he oversaw the day-to-day operations of the coal-mining company.

Following a cave-in at one of the company's mines, inventor Karl Barko tried to sell him a new safety device, but the superintendent ordered Barko out of his office.

Shortly afterward, the Blue Blaze showed the superintendent the remnants of a bomb that he had found in the mine, proving that the cave-in was no accident, but a deliberate act of sabotage. The superintendent voiced his suspicions that Barko was somehow involved.

After the Blue Blaze apprehended Barko and his henchmen, thus preventing another mine cave-in, the superintendent reported to the hero that Barko had been confined to an insane asylum, and he complimented the Blue Blaze for saving the miners from a terrible disaster.

--Mystic Comics I#2/5


images: (without ads)
Mystic Comics I#2/5, p6, pan2 (Main Image - Barko taunting ice-encased Blue Blaze)
Mystic Comics I#2/5, p5, pan6 (Headshot - Barko firing ray-guns at Blue Blaze)
Mystic Comics I#2/5, p4, pan1 (Barko about to push boulder on Blue Blaze)
Mystic Comics I#2/5, p5, pan7 (Barko encases Blue Blaze in ice with ray-guns)
Mystic Comics I#2/5, p5, pan1 (Barko sends his attack-dogs at Blue Blaze)
Mystic Comics I#2/5, p5, pan3 (Blue Blaze fighting off Barko's attack-dogs)
Mystic Comics I#2/5, p6, pan1 (Barko orders his henchmen to carry ice-encased Blue Blaze to his laboratory)
Mystic Comics I#2/5, p7, pan3 (as Barko (right) fires conventional handguns at Blue Blaze, Blue Blaze strikes Barko's henchmen)
Mystic Comics I#2/5, p3, pan4 (AAC superintendent orders Barko out of his office, as Barko warns of another cave-in)
Mystic Comics I#2/5, p3, pan7 (AAC superintendent voices his suspicions about Barko to Blue Blaze)


Appearances:
Mystic Comics I#2/5 (April, 1940) - unidentified writer, Newt Alfred (pencils and inks), Martin Goodman (editor)


Last updated: 12/17/17

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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