Spirit of '76 (Harvey Comics)

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This article is about Harvey Comics. For other meanings, see Spirit of '76 (disambiguation).
Pocket Comics #2 (September 1941), featuring the Black Cat and the Spirit of '76. Cover artist tentatively identified as Bob Powell.

The Spirit of '76 is the name of a fictional comic book character from Harvey Comics.

The first comics character by this name is a patriotic superhero Gary Blakely, created by writer Gary Blakey and artist Bob Powell in Harvey's Pocket Comics #1 (August 1941). Early stories are attributed to "Major Ralston," the name of Blakely's ancestors. The personification of American folklore's Spirit of '76, the character would become a long-running feature in Harvey's Green Hornet Comics.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Gary Blakely is the latest in a long line of patriotic Americans, one of his ancestors having served with General Washington. Educated abroad, he excels in his studies as well as various sports like boxing, fencing, rowing and rugby. Convinced that Adolf Hitler wants to take over the world, he tries to become an Air Cadet; but his application is blocked by his family, who want him to instead be regular army and enroll in West Point, which he does. Coming across a group of fifth columnists, he puts on his great, great grandfather's uniform and a mask as a costume and captures them as the Spirit of '76.[1][2] In his second outing, he battles Satan, master of all evil.[3][4]

Fellow cadet Tubby Reynolds figures out his secret and serves as his sidekick. Tubby's sister Susan, a WAC lieutenant serves as love interest. In Green Hornet #35, Blakely helps out Tommy Downes, a newsboy kid who's framed for murder by the crook Dapper Duke using Downes' run-ins with a kid gang called The Society of the Black Skull, led by Kip Roland. While Blakely reconciles Tommy with the gang, his civilian identity gets in trouble for being AWOL and is threatened with expulsion. Tubby tells the kids Gary's identity and they vouch for him, giving him an alibi and form a new gang, The Spirit of '76 Boys Club. Chubby kid of the club has a father who's a uniform cop.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Spirit of 76." Mystery Men & Mystery Women. Golden-Age Comic Book Superheroes & Villains Encyclopedia. http://www.herogoggles.com/Heroes/S_heroes.htm
  2. ^ Pocket Comics #1 (1941)
  3. ^ "Spirit of 76." Mystery Men & Mystery Women. Golden-Age Comic Book Superheroes & Villains Encyclopedia. http://www.herogoggles.com/Heroes/S_heroes.htm
  4. ^ Pocket Comics #2 (1941)
  5. ^ "Spirit of 76." Mystery Men & Mystery Women. Golden-Age Comic Book Superheroes & Villains Encyclopedia. http://www.herogoggles.com/Heroes/S_heroes.htm