The silver age had just begun, and Marvel Comics was just beginning to hit it big. One of Marvel’s books was “The Mighty Thor,” and Charlton Comics clearly noted the character was ripe for swiping.
With that in mind, Charlton debuted Son of Vulcan in 1965’s “Mysteries of Unexplored Worlds” No. 46, and in it, we get a clear look of Son of Vulcan’s alter ego — Johnny Mann.
Johnny was a Korean War veteran who lost one leg during combat and now wears a prosthetic limb (which reminds me of Thor’s alter ego, who had a bum leg, too). After the war, he became a newspaper reporter for the Worldwide News Service.
But unlike the problems encountered by a typical Silver Age character, Johnny Mann was just Son of Vulcan’s alter ego. The writer never dwelled on Johnny Mann’s problems. Heck, the writer barely addressed the fact that he had lost a leg.
Johnny did present himself as a plucky, take-no-nonsense reporter and he was commonly depicted with a baseball cap — perhaps to hint at his youth or perhaps to be physical representation of his sunny personality. But beyond that attitude, there isn’t much to Johnny Mann.
Johnny is transformed into Son of Vulcan by the Roman gods, who tear him from the Greek island of Cyprete after he dared question their wisdom. After defending himself in their kangaroo court, he is “adopted” and outfitted by the blacksmith god Vulcan.
Still though, Johnny Mann’s body is too weak to use Vulcan’s weapons and armor, so Venus gives him an alternate identity, by creating a magical body he can transform simply by saying his “father’s” name.
With her gift, the true Son of Vulcan is born.
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