Bulletman and Bulletgirl
|Bulletman and Bulletgirl|
Cover of Bulletman #3 (1942). Art by Mac Raboy.
|Publisher||Fawcett Comics (1939–1953)
DC Comics (1976–present)
|First appearance||Nickel Comics #1 (1940, historical)
The Power of Shazam! #8 (1995, canon)
|Created by||Bill Parker
|Alter ego||James "Jim" Barr and Susan Kent-Barr|
|Team affiliations||Squadron of Justice
|Abilities||Chemically-induced super-strength and intelligence, Gravity Regulator Helmet allows each to fly and deflect bullets.|
Fictional character biography
Jim Barr was the son of a police officer who was killed and as a result took it upon himself to fight crime. He was rejected from the police for physical reasons, but got a job in ballistics. Like many characters of the time, he used chemistry to develop powers for himself; in his case greater muscle mass and brain power using his 'crime cure'. He also invented a Gravity Regulator Helmet (which was bullet shaped and gave him his name), which allowed him to fly and deflect bullets. His first case involved capturing a gangster in his hideout.
Shortly after Bulletman began his crime-fighting career, he created a second helmet for his girlfriend and later wife Susan Kent, daughter of policeman Seargent Kent, who adopted the name Bulletgirl. His formula was shown to make him strong enough to smash a tank. The helmet is shown to be so strong that once when Bulletgirl was run over by a Nazi tank she was only knocked out.
Bulletman and Bulletgirl were Fawcett Comics' second most popular characters after Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family. They were leased by DC Comics along with the rest of the Fawcett comics stable of characters in 1972. However, the characters lapsed into public domain prior to the said acquisition, which would later allow AC Comics to reprint their Golden Age adventures.
During this period of time, Bulletman and Bulletgirl appeared with fellow Fawcett heroes to form Shazam's Squadron of Justice against the forces of King Kull, who was trying to wipe out humanity on all three Earths after capturing all the beings who gave the Marvels their powers. Bulletman and Bulletgirl battled villains on Earth-S, the Earth-2 Joker, Weeper, Shade, and Doctor Light. Their age appeared to be as it was in the 1940s without explanation. They subsequently appeared a few times with Captain Marvel and his family.
Bulletman and Bulletgirl were eventually retrofitted into DC Universe continuity as members of the All-Star Squadron. For example, it is established that during World War 2, Bulletman met the long-lived Green Lantern Abin Sur. In issues #39-40 of Starman James Barr is accused of being a traitor to the United States. He is seemingly implicated in the Nazi-attack on the Normandie ocean liner in New York. This contradicts what is known by Jack Knight's father, Ted Knight, whose life Barr saved, in Alaska, on the day of the Normandie attack. Constrained by promises of confidentiality to the same government that is prosecuting him, Barr goes on the run with Ted while Minute Man tries to get the secret oath rescinded. Captain Marvel, currently much younger than Bulletman (than he was back then) fights with Jack Knight in an attempt to arrest Barr. Marvel fails in his mission against Barr, partly because Jack is backed up by human police officers.
In The Power of Shazam #32 (November 1997), James Barr and Susan Kent were given a daughter named Deanna Barr, who donned her mother's helmet and operated briefly under the name Windshear (not to be confused with the Marvel Comics superhero of the same name). She teamed up with her father on his last adventure, to rescue Billy Batson, Mary Bromfield and Freddy Freeman from the villain Chain Lightning.
In 2005, a new Bulletgirl known as Bulleteer was introduced as one of the Seven in Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers of Victory. She is unrelated to these older heroes, though her costume is to some extent inspired by theirs. In issue #3, Susan Barr appeared in a brief cameo, visiting her successor.
Bulletman and Bulletgirl later re-appeared in the pages of Infinite Crisis on the newly reborn Earth-S along with the other Fawcett superheroes.
Bulletman and Bulletgirl had many bad guys during their Fawcett Comics run but only one would follow them to DC Comics. His name was Weeper. He was a criminal mastermind and murderer who cried for his victims and caused tragedies wherever anyone was happy. After his death his son, who resembled him, took his name, however it is unrevealed how the first one died. He was a member of the Revenge Syndicate, a group of three villains that teamed up to cause crimes and kill the Flying Detectives. The Weeper II teamed up with the Joker of Earth-2 in Justice League of America #136 to steal jewels, when members of the Justice League visited Earth-S, home of the Fawcett Superheroes due to King Kull's plan to wipe out humanity on all three Earths with villains from all three, but was captured and probably jailed. He is considered their arch-foe and toughest criminal to deal with. Bulletman fought many other foes, see List of Bulletman enemies. Possibly his second most important foe was the Black Rat, a superstrong criminal who wore a Black Rat costume, and was feared by many other criminals. He was another Revenge Syndicate member, but apparently died in All-American Comics #2 when he fell into a vat of molten steel. The other member of the Syndicate was the Murder Prophet, but this was his second and last appearance.
In the late 1970s, the Hasbro toy company produced an apparently unlicensed Bulletman action figure as part of its G.I. Joe toy line. This foot-tall toy was very similar in appearance to the classic Fawcett character, except that it had vacuum metalized silver arms, and bare legs.
In other media
- Bulletman appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Joker: The Vile and the Villainous!" voiced by Yuri Lowenthal. He is featured in a flashback foiling The Weeper's plot to destroy Fawcett City.
- (1940, May). Nickel Comics #1.
- Greenberger, Robert (2008), "Bulletman", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, London: Dorling Kindersley, p. 63, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5
- (1941, April) Master Comics #13.
- Greenberger, Robert (2008), "Bulletgirl I & II", in Dougall, Alastair, The DC Comics Encyclopedia, London: Dorling Kindersley, p. 63, ISBN 0-7566-4119-5
- Biography of the two heroes
- Toonopedia entry
- Bulletman Chronology
- Earth-S Bulletman Index
- Free Download from Digital Comic Museum
- Golden Age Comics
- Read Bulletman issues at Fury Comics
- Read Master Comics issues at Fury Comics
- Read America's Greatest Comics issues at Fury Comics
- Read Mary Marvel #8, guest-starring Bulletgirl, at Fury Comics