|Publisher||Fox Features Syndicate|
|First appearance||V...– Comics #1 (January 1942)|
|Alter ego||Jerry Steele|
|Abilities||Originally, no powers, but in excellent physical and mental condition; currently, involuntarily makes people ill.|
V-Man is a fictional patriotic-themed superhero character who first appeared in January, 1942. His name, and the large letter V on his costume, come from the “V for Victory” symbolism that had proliferated throughout the United States and Europe during World War II.
V-Man debuted in the first issue of Fox Feature Syndicate’s V Comics; the title is often listed as “V...– Comics” because three dots and a dash—the Morse code signal for the letter V—overlapped the V on the cover. Along with the stories there appeared a page intended to start a V-Man fan club amongst the readers, called the V-Boys and V-Girls. The series only lasted two issues (January and March, 1942). V-Man then made appearances in several issues of Holyoke Publishing’s Blue Beetle comic, starting with issue #13.
In 2008, V-Man, along with many other characters who’d fallen into the public domain, was included in Dynamite Entertainment’s Project Superpowers; after decades of being trapped in the Urn of Pandora, he was now transformed in such a way that anyone who comes near him becomes fatally ill, and he has to be constantly quarantined as a result. According to writer Jim Krueger, he now represents “that person who gets out of prison but can’t live a free life.”
During World War II, American Jerry Steele freed the inmates of a German prisoner-of-war camp, but was himself captured and apparently executed; however, a peasant was able to revive him with an herbal remedy and smuggle him to a safe haven. There, a man named Father Duroc asked Steele to take an oath called the V-Pledge, after which Steele was suddenly possessed of greater physical and mental fitness and courage, and garbed in a patriotic costume. As V-Man, he fought enemy soldiers in Europe and England. His principal gimmick was a miniature radio in his ring. He was aided by a group of teenagers called The V-Boys, who each wore a sweater with a large V on the front. The V-Boys were aware of V-Man's secret identity and communicated with him using the aforementioned ring.
After the war, V-Man was one of many heroes who were trapped and imprisoned in the Urn of Pandora by the misguided Fighting Yank. Decades later, the Urn was broken and the heroes were freed, some having new superpowers as a result of their imprisonment; V-Man, however, was now a “walking, talking plague,” causing anyone who comes close to him to become fatally ill. His fellow heroes have to keep him in quarantine, and he’s unable to be close to Masquerade, whom he’s attracted to. What’s become of the V-Boys is not yet known.