Real Name: Martin Simon Burns (see comments)
Identity/Class: Reincarnated demigod (see comments) (1940s era)
Occupation: Middle-school student
Group Membership: None
Enemies: Nazi fifth columnists (including Friedrich Broen, Gustav Shultz, Frank Stohl)
Known Relatives: Andrew Burns (father), Barbara Burns (mother)
Aliases: "Hercules" (see comments)
Base of Operations: Jersey City, New Jersey
First Appearance: Daring Mystery Comics#6/1 (September, 1940)
Powers/Abilities: As his body was the vessel for the reincarnated soul of "Hercules," Marvel Boy was strong enough to lift 7 tons, and he could run at least 100 miles per hour.
Weight: 139 lbs.
(Daring Mystery Comics#6/1 (fb) ) - Centuries ago, when a hero called "Hercules" died, his soul ascended to the mystic realm of "Valhalla". But in 1926, "Hercules" foresaw the rise to power of Adolf Hitler (see comments). With the approval of "Jupiter," the spirit of "Hercules" returned to Earth to share the body of the newborn Martin Simon Burns.
Even in his early months, the infant Martin's strength alarmed his parents, for he was constantly breaking milk bottles. The years went by, and the baby grew older and stronger -- as a boy, Martin avoided playing with other children, for fear of inadvertently injuring them.
(Daring Mystery Comics#6/1) - One stormy evening in 1940, on the night of Martin's 14th birthday, a mysterious messenger delivered a package for him at the door of the Burns' home; Martin's mother took the package and left it in her sleeping son's bedroom.
Martin was awakened by a silhouetted figure who identified himself as "a harmless but helpful shadow". The shadow revealed Martin's connection to "Hercules" and told the boy that it was his destiny to protect America from "men who hold power over millions". The shadow dubbed Martin as "the Marvel Boy" and bid him to open the package, which contained a costume; Martin donned the costume, and the shadow told him of a Nazi plot involving the smuggling of operatives into America for an upcoming invasion.
Marvel Boy raced to an obscure little inland cove on the Hudson River, where a German U-boat had just dropped off four Nazi operatives; the U-boat headed out to sea and the spies climbed aboard a truck so they could be taken to various parts of the country.
As the speeding truck drove down the road, Marvel Boy dashed for the cab and confronted the driver and his armed partner, forcing the truck to stop. Hearing gunfire, the four spies climbed out of the back of the truck and opened fire, killing the two men in the cab, but missing the nimble Marvel Boy. The young hero tackled the four spies and bound them all together with a length of rope. After searching one of the spies and finding papers with their official orders, Marvel Boy carried them all to FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Marvel Boy next confronted the spy ring's leaders -- Broen, Shultz, and Stohl -- and forced them to radio the U-boat to change its course -- the submarine was tricked into going to the Navy shipyard, where the vessel was impounded and its crew was arrested. Marvel Boy then telephoned the local FBI headquarters to have the three ring leaders taken into custody.
With his task completed, Marvel Boy went home and stealthily returned to his bedroom to catch a well deserved bit of sleep.
The next morning, Martin arrived late for school -- unaware of his heroic deed the night before, Martin's teacher scornfully told him that she was relieved that the country didn't have to depend on boys like him to protect the nation's shores.
Comments: Created by Joe Simon (writer) and Jack Kirby (artist).
Marvel Boy has a profile in All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z: Update#4, from which I got some of this profile's information (e.g. Marvel Boy's physical characteristics, mother's names, etc.).
And although the blurb in the last panel promised another Marvel Boy adventure in the next issue, this would be the character's only appearance. However, this character would be reworked a couple years later as another Marvel Boy (@ U.S.A. Comics I#7/3 (February, 1943) ) who was also named "Martin Burns"; but these two Marvel Boys are distinct individuals, and they are distinguished by their middle names, which were taken from their respective creators (The later-introduced Marvel Boy has the middle name of "Oksner," after his creator, Bob Oksner).
Although this story would seem to contradict some current Marvel continuity, it would be easy enough to ret-con "Valhalla" and "Jupiter" into Olympus and Zeus (not that hard considering Jupiter is just Zeus' Latin name); but the "Hercules" seen in this story presents a problem because he was obviously not the current Hercules, who is still alive. But I have a workable solution:
Maybe "Hercules" was actually "Hercules Jr.", an unknown son that the actual Hercules fathered in ancient times during one of his dalliances with a mortal woman -- being the offspring of a human mother and a demigod father, it would mean that "Hercules Jr." was 75% human, and thus not immortal nor nearly as strong as his father. And going by that assumption, perhaps the earthly remains of "Hercules Jr." were placed in that mummy case that would eventually topple upon Martin Oksner Burns and endow him with superhuman strength.
Both Marvel Boys had a connection to "Hercules,"and the Young Avenger (like the two Marvel Boys) also had a mysterious shadowy figure who instructed him to perform heroic deeds -- perhaps there was some connection between these three young heroes. Since they're all essentially the same character, maybe they could be teamed-up in a new series: The Young Avenging Marvel Boys.
Although the bad guys in this story were identified as Nazis, on page 7, panel 2 Shultz and the U-boat captain greet each other and both say "Heil HILLER" -- my guess is that it probably wasn't a misspelling, but since the U.S. had not officially declared war with Germany at the time of publication of the story, Timely Comics may not have wanted to disrespect another country's head-of-state (...even if he was a paranoid and psychotic madman).
Marvel Boy could be an Eternal. Both his and Mercury/Makkari's Jupiter (Red Raven Comics#1 (August, 1940); Mercury) have white hair and beards and Mercury's Jupiter has been identified as the Eternal Zuras. Plus in Avengers I#308 (October, 1989) Sprite altered the cloak around Olympia to transport it to the Negative Zone, so it would make sense that during WW2 the Eternals would move Olympia to another dimension (Valhalla) to avoid Allied/Axis soldiers from wandering into the city. As for "Hercules", the Eternals could have transferred his consciousness into a computer like Machinesmith's was in Captain America I#249 (September, 1980) and a hologram could explain his soul/spirit talking to Jupiter before he is implanted in a clone body.
Profile by Ron Fredricks.
Marvel Boy (Martin Simon Burns) has no known connections to:
"Hercules" has no known connections to:
"Jupiter" has no known connections to:
The father and mother of Martin Simon Burns, they were concerned by their
infant son's unusual display of strength -- they were unaware that their
newborn son shared his body with the reincarnated spirit of
A legendary hero of ancient times, when "Hercules" (Son of Power) died,
he vowed on his deathbed that he would return when America needed him
most. The spirit of "Hercules" ascended to his castle in the mystic
realm of "Valhalla".
Apparently the ruler of the mystic realm of "Valhalla," he gave his
approval when "Hercules" requested to return to Earth in 1926.
One dark and stormy night, the
unidentified silhouette delivered a package containing a costume to the
home of Martin Simon Burns. The shadow gave the package to Martin's
mother, then walked off into the stormy darkness. Martin's mother
carried the package to her sleeping son's bedroom.
In 1940, the Third Reich set up an
espionage network in preparation for a proposed invasion of America by
Nazi forces. A U-boat (the crew of
which included Richter and Strohm) transported spies to an inland
cove on the Hudson River; the spies would then board a truck and were
driven to various parts of the country to secretly infiltrate American
society and mingle freely, learning as much as they could until the day of
the invasion arrived.
images: (without ads)
Daring Mystery Comics#6, cover (Main Image - Marvel Boy (Martin Simon Burns))
Daring Mystery Comics#6/1, p5, pan8 (Headshot - Martin Simon Burns being told about his destiny by the shadow)
Daring Mystery Comics#6/1, p1, pan2 (Headshot - Marvel Boy (Martin Simon Burns))
Daring Mystery Comics#6/1, p9, pan1 (Marvel Boy (Martin Simon Burns) fights the four smuggled Nazi operatives)
Daring Mystery Comics#6/1, p3, pan7 (Andrew and Barbara Burns notice infant Martin's unusual strength)
Daring Mystery Comics#6/1, p4, pan3 (Barbara Burns answers door, mysterious messenger (left) delivers package)
Daring Mystery Comics#6/1, p4, pan7 (Barbara Burns carries package to Martin's bedroom)
Daring Mystery Comics#6/1, p2, pan1 ("Hercules" laying on his deathbed)
Daring Mystery Comics#6/1, p2, pan2 (spirit of "Hercules" ascends to "Valhalla")
Daring Mystery Comics#6/1, p3, pan3 ("Hercules" (right) advised by "Jupiter" (left))
Daring Mystery Comics#6/1, p3, pan2 ("Jupiter" sitting on throne, as "Hercules" makes his request)
Daring Mystery Comics#6/1, p3, pan6 ("Jupiter" wishes good luck to reborn "Hercules")
Daring Mystery Comics#6/1, p4, pan4 (mysterious messenger delivers package, Barbara Burns (rear, foreground))
Daring Mystery Comics#6/1, p5, pan4 (shadow introduces himself to Martin Simon Burns)
Daring Mystery Comics#6/1, p5, pan6 (shadow reveals Martin Simon Burns' connection to "Hercules")
Daring Mystery Comics#6/1, p9, pan7 (Frank Stohl (standing in background), Friedrich Broen (sitting in chair), Gustav Shultz (operating radio))
Daring Mystery Comics#6/1, p6, pan8 (Nazi U-boat surfaces in Hudson River, about to drop off Nazi operatives)
Daring Mystery Comics#6/1, p8, pan1 (Marvel Boy confronts truck driver and armed partner)
Daring Mystery Comics#6/1 (September, 1940) - Joe Simon (writer), Joe Simon and Jack Kirby (pencils), Joe Simon (inks), Joe Simon (editor)
First Posted: 06/30/2018
Last updated: 08/11/2018
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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