Real Name: Bruce Bravelle

Identity/Class: Human mutate (1940s era)

Occupation: Adventurer

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Professor Raymore Davis, Martha Davis

Enemies: Red Terror, Horace Vanderveer

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "The Top" (as dubbed by Professor Davis); "human whirlwind" (as referred to in newspaper headline)

Base of Operations: Patriotville, South Carolina

First Appearance: Red Raven Comics#1/2 (August, 1940)

Powers/Abilities: By crossing his wrists, the Human Top could utilize the opposite magnetic forces generated by his left and right arms and spin at superhuman speed -- while doing so, he created a powerful cyclone which allowed him to travel at speeds of 250 miles per hour, up to 200 feet in the air; additionally, the cyclone could deflect flames or bullets, as well as tear through solid rock and steel. He could also use his power underwater.

The Human Top's mutation allowed him to see, react, and breathe easily, even while spinning at high velocities; it also gave him a resistance to dizziness, and made his skin impervious to air-friction abrasion.

Height: 6'1"
Weight: 185 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown

(Red Raven Comics#1/2 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Bruce Bravelle is largely unrevealed, but at some point he volunteered to be the test subject for Professor Davis' experiment -- this experiment involved the creation of a chemical formula that would allow the human body to receive nourishment from electrical currents instead of food.

(Red Raven Comics#1/2) - After imbibing the formula, Bravelle was connected to a generator. But just as the experiment began, a bolt of lightning pierced the laboratory and struck the generator -- as a result, Bravelle was simultaneously hit by the electricity of the lightning and the generator.

   Afterward, when the professor tested the electric currents in Bravelle's body, he found that the injected current from the generator flowed to the right side of Bravelle, while the current from the lightning flowed to the left, thus creating opposing magnetic forces. Theorizing that Bravelle could utilize the opposite currents in some way, Davis told the young man to cross his wrists, and Bravelle began to whirl about at superhuman speed when he did so. Davis then inspired Bravelle to use this amazing power for good ("You shall fight the forces of crime, and be the savior of the oppressed and innocent!"), so Bravelle donned a costume that would "spread fear over criminals" and adopted the identity of the Human Top.

   On his first outing, the Top saw a speeding police car in pursuit of a carload of bank robbers -- both vehicles were headed to a railroad crossing, oblivious to an approaching locomotive. After crossing his wrists, the spinning Top first dug a ditch in the road in front of the track, thus sparing the two vehicles from colliding with the train. When a gunfight erupted between the lawmen and the gangsters, the Top joined in by spinning around and pummeling the criminals with his high-speed punches.

   After collecting the loot, the Human Top took it with him as he flew to the home of bank president Horace Vanderveer, where the hero intended to return the stolen money. But Vanderveer accused him of being a thief and fired his handgun at the hero -- the Top easily evaded the gunfire because the bullets merely ricocheted off his spinning body. After depositing Vanderveer and the money in a hanging chandelier, the Top left and flew away.

   But the following morning, Bravelle learned from a newspaper that Vanderveer never returned the stolen money, and the corrupt bank president even accused the "human whirlwind" of stealing the loot in the first place! Seeking to clear his reputation, the Top flew out to Vanderveer's yacht, and after diving underwater, he used his power to act as a human rudder and propeller, forcing the vessel back to shore. The Top then urged Vanderveer to confess his part in the crime ("...or I'll spin you to kingdom come!") to the authorities.

(Tough Kid Squad Comics#1/8 (fb) - BTS) - The Human Top's further adventures (if any), are unrevealed, but at some point he adopted a differently colored costume (see comments).

(Tough Kid Squad Comics#1/8) - The idle Bravelle was sitting in Professor Davis' residence, when they heard a radio message concerning a train-wreck. Changing into his costumed alter-ego, Bravelle crossed his wrists and spun away to the wreck, where he discovered the Red Terror and his henchmen stealing a payroll that the train was carrying. As one of the henchmen was about to shoot the injured train conductor, the Human Top came swooping down and struck the thug, thus saving the conductor's life. Meanwhile, the Red Terror and his remaining henchmen climbed aboard their rocket-propelled zeppelin and escaped.

   Concerned about the train's passengers, the Human Top used his power to drill through the wrecked train cars and freed the trapped survivors; after the ambulances arrived to tend to the injured, the Top flew in pursuit of the zeppelin. He soon caught up to the aircraft, which the gang had landed in a deep canyon, and saw the criminals going into their hideout in an abandoned mine shaft. Finding the mine entrance blocked by a foot-thick metal door, the spinning Top easily tore his way through; but as he entered the tunnel, the hero was attacked by a trio of mountain lions! Grabbing one by its tail, the Top spun around and swung the savage beast into the other two, rendering all three of them unconscious. The Red Terror and one of his henchmen stepped out and blasted the Top with flame-throwers -- the Human Top merely spun around and diverted the flames away from him. But the criminals started an avalanche as they fled from the tunnel, burying the Top in tons of rock before he could activate his power again.

   The Red Terror and his thugs climbed back aboard their zeppelin, and they took advantage of the Human Top's predicament by dropping a bomb on a nearby reservoir dam, to flood the canyon. But the Top managed to work his wrists free and crossed them, then he drilled his way out of the fallen rocks. With his first priority being to prevent the flood-waters from washing out the farms and homes in the area, the Top drilled out great chunks of the canyon's cliffs, which dropped and formed a natural dam. After the potential disaster was averted, the Human Top caught up to the zeppelin and tore through the aircraft, leaving the murderous Red Terror and his henchmen to plunge to their deaths.

Comments: Created by Dick Briefer.

Despite the closing caption in the second story -- SPIN YOUR WAY INTO FURTHER ADVENTURES WITH THE HUMAN TOP! -- this character hasn't been seen since; he wasn't even included as a member of the Crazy S.U.E.S., the membership of which included some other one-shot Golden Age characters (e.g. Archie the Gruesome, Merzah the Mystic, Moon-Man). Maybe Bravelle's powers eventually faded away after the second story, which would explain why he didn't object when Davy Mitchell started using the same sobriquet shortly afterwards (see clarifications).

Nearly two years of actual time went by between the Human Top's two appearances -- maybe the second story was just laying around in inventory.

No mention or explanation was given for the costume change -- maybe Timely Comics (now Marvel) was concerned because the original blue-and-red coloring and the shape of the symbol on his chest made the Human Top look a little too much like Superman, and they were worried about being sued by National Comics (now DC).

Martha Davis was only seen in the first story, and played no significant role -- she only appeared in five panels, and only spoke twice -- so I didn't bother to do a sub-profile for her; however, she can be seen in the image for Professor Davis' generator. If the Human Top feature had lasted more than the two stories, maybe she would have been revealed to be Bravelle's girlfriend and/or fiancee.

The Human Top has a profile in Marvel Mystery Handbook: 70th Anniversary Special, from which some of this information was taken.

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

The Human Top has no known connections to:

Professor Raymore Davis and Martha Davis have no known connections to:

Horace Vanderveer has no known connections to:

The Red Terror has no known connections to:

Professor Raymore Davis

An eccentric scientist, he worked in his laboratory with his daughter Martha to create a chemical formula that would allow the human body to receive nourishment from electricity rather than food.

After the formula was perfected, Davis had volunteer test subject Bruce Bravelle drink it, then he connected the young man to a generator; but just as the experiment began, a bolt of lightning hit the generator. Afterward, Davis' test found that Bravelle's body was empowered with opposing electrical currents. Theorizing that the opposite magnetic forces could be utilized, Davis suggested for Bravelle to cross his wrists, and the young man began to spin at superhuman speed when he did so. Davis then inspired Bravelle to use this fantastic power to be a heroic force for good, and he dubbed him the "Top".

Some time later, Davis was sitting in his residence with Bravelle when they heard about a train-wreck on the radio, so Bravelle went into action as the Human Top.

(Comment: This character's name was never mentioned in the first story -- he was only addressed as "Professor" -- and a caption in the second story identified him as "Prof. Raymore"; Martha Davis' full name was mentioned in a caption in the first story. However, the Human Top profile in Marvel Mystery Handbook: 70th Anniversary Special confirmed that the professor's name was actually "Raymore Davis," and that Martha was his daughter.)

--Red Raven Comics#1/2 (Red Raven Comics#1/2, Tough Kid Squad Comics#1/8

Professor Davis' generator

A piece of equipment in Raymore Davis' laboratory, it was used in conjunction with Davis' chemical formula for an experiment -- the formula allowed the human body to consume electricity rather than food.

After volunteer test subject Bruce Bravelle drank the formula, he was connected to the generator, and the experiment began.

But when a bolt of lightning just happened to strike the generator as the experiment was being conducted, the opposing electrical currents empowered Bravelle with the ability to spin at superhuman speed whenever he crossed his wrists. Bravelle would use this amazing ability for his heroic identity as the Human Top.

--Red Raven Comics#1/2

Horace Vanderveer

He was the wealthy but corrupt president of Patriotville's National Bank.

Secretly conspiring with gangsters from the Carlucci mob, Vanderveer sent his guards away at the right time for the criminals to rob a half-million dollars from his bank.

But when the Human Top recovered the loot and returned it to him, Vanderveer fired his handgun at the spinning hero. Afterward, Vanderveer kept the money for himself and locked it in the vault at his home, then he framed the Top for stealing the money from the bank.

The following day, Vanderveer was sailing on his yacht when the Human Top came flying toward it; determined to clear his reputation, the hero used his power to push the vessel back to shore, then made Vanderveer confess his part in the crime to the authorities.

--Red Raven Comics#1/2

Red Terror

The Red Terror (Don Marshall) employed three henchmen; their weapons included machine guns and flame-throwers. They all traveled in a rocket-propelled zeppelin. Their hideout was in an abandoned mine shaft in a canyon; the hideout was protected by three mountain lions.

In a remote location, the Red Terror and his thugs placed logs over a railroad track to cause a train-wreck, then they stole the payroll that the train was carrying. But just as they were making a getaway in their zeppelin, the Human Top flew after them to their hideout.

The Human Top infiltrated their hideout, and although the Red Terror and his men made some unsuccessful attempts to kill the spinning hero, they finally trapped him in an avalanche. Thinking that the Top was finished, the criminals climbed back aboard the zeppelin and flew away.

But the Human Top managed to escape, then he spun right through their aircraft -- with the zeppelin destroyed, the Red Terror and his henchmen presumably plunged to their deaths.

(Comment: The Red Terror's real name was never mentioned in the story, but it was revealed in the Human Top profile in Marvel Mystery Handbook: 70th Anniversary Special.)

--Tough Kid Squad Comics#1/8

images: (without ads)
Marvel Mystery Handbook: 70th Anniversary Special, p49 (Main Image - Human Top)
Red Raven Comics#1/2, p1, pan1 (Headshot - Human Top)
Red Raven Comics#1/2, p2, pan4 (Human Top uses his power to spin for the first time)
Red Raven Comics#1/2, p5, pan4 (Human Top smashes through brick wall)
Tough Kid Squad#1/8, p1, pan1 (Human Top (second costume))
Red Raven Comics#1/2, p2, pan3 (Professor Raymore Davis tells Bruce Bravelle to cross his wrists)
Tough Kid Squad Comics#1/8, p1, pan2 (Professor Raymore Davis, speaking with Bruce Bravelle (foreground))
Red Raven Comics#1/2, p1, pan2 (Bruce Bravelle, connected to generator, as lightening bolt strikes; Professor Raymore Davis, Martha Davis holding tray with formula (foreground))
Red Raven Comics#1/2, p4, pan8 (Horace Vanderveer)
Red Raven Comics#1/2, p5, pan1 (Horace Vanderveer fires his handgun at spinning Human Top)
Tough Kid Squad Comics#1/8, p6, pan5 (Red Terror and his henchmen)
Tough Kid Squad Comics#1/8, p7, pan6 (Red Terror and his henchmen plummet down as Human Top destroys rocket-propelled zeppelin)

Red Raven Comics#1/2 - Dick Briefer (writer/pencils/inks), Joe Simon (editor)
Tough Kid Squad Comics#1/8 (March, 1942) - unidentified writer, L. Bing (pencils), Stan Lee (editor)
Marvel Mystery Handbook: 70th Anniversary Special (2009) - Human Top profile - Gus Vazquez (art)

First Posted: 02/27/2022
Last updated: 02/27/2022

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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