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October 16, 2009

WANTED: THE SHIELD(S)!

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WantedPoster6Joe Higgins and Lancelot Strong as the SHIELD

WANTED! is an article that gives me the opportunity to feature characters who are currently not being used, characters who are being used rarely and on characters who are being used but not correctly in comics today. ComicAttack.net presents Stephen Hatfield’s WANTED!…THE SHIELD(S)!

shield1SHIELD I
Created in January 1940 by Harry Shorten and Irv Novick for MLJ (now Archie Comics), Joe Higgins was the son of Lt. Tom Higgins, who was killed by enemy agents over a secret formula. Joe grew up to become a chemist and used the formula on himself to become the Shield. During this time, he answered to J. Edgar Hoover and the President. Not only a chemist, Joe went on to enroll and join the F.B.I.  At some point in his career, the Shield was turned to stone by his enemy, the Eraser but was freed by the Comet (John Dickering) many years later. Since returning, he has resumed his career in the F.B.I. and as the Shield. A second version of his origin shows his father as a F.B.I. agent who was killed by his enemies for the secret formula.

In 1964 (some 5 years after Lancelot Strong was introduced), a new Shield (Bill Higgins) was created and was the son of the original Shield. DC Comics has twice created their version of  Lt. Joe Higgins as the Shield. Once with their Impact Comics line that introduced him wearing an experimental armor and in the current version, the U.S. Government have used nanotechnology in order to create their own Shield.


SHIELD II

shield2Created in June 1959 by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby for Archie Comics, a new version of Shield would come in the form of Lancelot Strong. This Shield was the son of Professor Malcolm Fleming, who believed he could tap into a part of the brain to unleash latent powers which could create within a person the ability to do superhuman feats. To this end, Professor Fleming began experimenting on his 5-year-old son. After surviving a car crash that resulted in the death of Fleming, the child was found and adopted by a farm couple named Abel and Martha Strong. Lancelot Strong grew up to discover his powers, and would later join the Army and begin his exploits as the Shield.

It should be noted that DC Comics believed this character was too similar to Superman, and, naturally, the lawyers sent a letter to Archie Comics and the Shield’s book was canceled after only 2 issues. The Shield made a few appearances in other books and was brought back in 1983, when Archie Comics made another launch with the Mighty Crusaders. Almost 30 years later, Lancelot Strong is still waiting to see the light of day as the Shield!


WHAT I WANT!

While I will hold off on any opinion I have of this latest version of the Joe Higgins Shield, I will say that I probably would have preferred that DC Comics have kept the original version for two reasons. First, he was created before Captain America! This could have established him as a legendary figure in the DCU, much like the surviving JSA members. And secondly, you would have the Shield (Joe Higgins/Lancelot Strong) as legacy characters much like the Flash (Jay Garrick/Barry Allen) or Green Lantern (Allen Scott/Hal Jordan).

That isn’t to say that this can’t work out. With the U.S. military tampering with nanotechnology, it wouldn’t be a stretch for them to take Lancelot Strong and make him a Shield. Or for that matter, any other patriotic soldiers like a Mr. Justice or Captain Flag. And what happens when things go wrong using this technology, or when our own government is in the wrong? Which side of the fence will these people be on? Would they stand as American Soldiers (loyal and obedient) or as Heroes (defending what is right no matter the cost)?

As a side note, if anyone at DC Comics is reading this, how about getting Joe Higgins out of that original version of the Shield costume, and into the sleeker and much better looking version above. Anyway, there is NO reason why we can’t have both Joe Higgins and Lancelot Strong versions of Shield at DC Comics now. Why?

Because, DC… you own BOTH of them!

Coming Up: WANTED!…THE SCARLET SPIDER!

Stephen Hatfield
contact@comicattack.net

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3 Comments


  1. billy

    I think DC should have a Captain America type character. Look at Caps success in Marvel. Plus I think it’s un-American of them not to have one. lol



  2. Which Shield is in the new series?


  3. Nude0007

    I like the original shield as the shield, but I think they should just rename the Lancelot Strong shield to something like the Patriot, The Protector, or Capt. Liberty.



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