Lightning Strikes Twice

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This is a dog of two tails. Uh, I mean a tale of two dogs—one fictional and the other semi-fictional.

Last week our old friends at The Spinner Rack posted four covers of comics you could find on the stands on March 23, 1982. Among them was Daredevil #184 (Jul. 1982). Marvel Senior VP Tom Brevoort responded thusly:

 

Another tweeter requested further elucidation, which he promptly received.

Brevoort was then kind enough to share some images of the original Daredevil cartoon proposal, featuring art by Jazzy Johnny (Ring-a-Ding) Romita, Sr.

As Brevoort originally mentioned, the cover to DD #184 scared the ABC network off doing anything with the character and the project died; end of story. But the thing that grabbed my attention was the dog—not just that they created a dog for the proposed show (which would be cool enough on its own), but that they named him Lightning. Why? Because about two years earlier I created my own superhero dog sidekick named Lightning.

Heroes at Large

I made a ton of original superhero characters during my childhood and at one point decided to put myself among them. It was 1980. I remember the year because it was shortly after the movie Hero at Large, starring John Ritter, was released. I took the name and even the costume design from the film’s superhero, Captain Avenger, and made him me. Of course I had to create a superhero identity for my dog, Ginger, as well, because wherever I went I always wanted her with me.

ginger xmas

I wasn’t much more original with her costume design than I was with my own, as it’s basically the costume of Spider-Man’s old enemy Electro, re-purposed for a canine. Here’s how it looked on the cover of my homemade Captain Avenger #1:

lightning-ginger1

You can’t tell from a B&W pencil drawing (and don’t ask me why I never colored these in—I could have at least colored the covers; guess I was a lazy little $hit even then), but the color scheme of Lightning’s costume was also green and yellow, just like Electro.

And yes, I misspelled “Avenger” on the bottom there. Screw you, I was ten! I got it right in the main title, didn’t I?

So why “Lightning”? And why electric powers? I can’t tell you; it was just too long ago for me to recall such specifics. Probably because I thought it would be cool, nothing much deeper than that. Lightning Lad was always my favorite member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, so maybe that played into it. Actually, now that I take another look and think about it, maybe it was the lightning bolt in Captain Avenger’s “A” chest emblem that was the inspiration.

Anyways, here’s Lightning in action from Captain Avenger #2, “Showdown with Dr. Destroyer!”

lightning-ginger2

Love the convenient labeling of Dr. Destroyer’s death-ray switch. Also: the action is taking place on a spaceship above Earth, so why are the evil minions wearing full masks? Who the hell is going to see them up there? I never asked myself these questions while I was making comics back then, obviously. Honestly, it’s painful to look at these old comics now, they’re just so bad. Even for a ten year old, I should have been able to produce better than this!

Ginger passed about a year and a half later, though I continued to draw her adventures with me as Lightning for some time after. I miss her to this day, but it was nice to be reminded of her.

 

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