Fred Nankivel's Uncle Mun details the adventures of a fantastically mustachioed fellow with an uncanny knack for outlandish feats of everyday heroism. When the cow kicks the milk bucket in the air, Uncle Mun has his niece fetch another bucket so he can catch the milk as it falls; escaping from a bear finds him skiing on the slats of a barrel, and then creating a safe haven from fallen icicles. In a cheery, eerie Christmas episode, the good uncle dresses as Santa and escapes being stabbed to death by a burglar in one of the most stark depictions of violence I've seen in a gag strip; while the inflated girth of the Santa suit gave him protection, the panel where the villain plunges a dagger deep into the chest of Santa gives one pause (as does the stereotyped depiction of the black maid).
After reading these strips and becoming familiar with Mun's preternatural ability to save the day, I'm reminded of the titular clown from Monkey Shines of Marseleen. If Hugo Hercules is a proto-Superman, then surely Mun and Marseleen could be contenders for Batman's slot, using their cleverness and agility to save the day in lieu of brute strength. Thinking of the three together puts me of a mind to consider the possibilities of a super-team comprised of early comics prodigies. Imagine the adventures that Hugo, Mun, and Marseleen could enjoy, along with other fantastic characters like Billy Bounce, the Wish Twins, and the Woo-Woo Bird. Everett True could join in as well; he lacks supernatural abilities but possesses the spirit of a vigilante and the willingness to lay his fists behind his words. The mind truly reels to consider the heroics that would be performed by this Platinum Age Legion of Superheroes!
By Fred Nankivel