Green Mask

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The Green Mask is the name of two fictional comic book superheroes, both published by Fox Feature Syndicate. Both are in the public domain with some of the original stories having been reprinted by AC Comics.

Michael Shelby[edit]

The Green Mask
The first Green Mask
Publication information
PublisherFox Feature Syndicate
First appearanceMystery Men Comics #1 (August 1939)
Created byWalter Frehm (art)
In-story information
Alter egoMichael Shelby (originally "Selby")
AbilitiesSuperhuman strength
Use of gun

The first Green Mask debuted in Fox's Mystery Men Comics #1 (August 1939). The writer was not credited (although it may have been Will Eisner); the artwork was by Walter Frehm. This Green Mask's final appearance was in Mystery Men Comics #31 (February 1942).

Originally, the Green Mask really was a mystery man, the secret identity of this "modern Robin Hood" kept that from the readers for many of his earlier appearances and known only to reporter "News" Doakes (later "News" Blake) who was the only one who could contact the pulp-style costumed vigilante when needed.

Eventually though, the Green Mask was revealed to be Michael Shelby (or Selby, in some early stories), wealthy private investigator and son of a crusading senator murdered by white-hooded gangsters known as the Grim Circle. He was transformed into a super-powered "Miracle Man" (no relation) after being exposed to an experimental "vita-ray" machine created by family friend Professor Lascomb. In Green Mask #1 (1940), he was joined by a young orphan named Don who, after surviving an explosion meant for the Green Mask, was taken in by the hero and became his non-powered, boomarang-throwing sidekick, Domino the Miracle Boy, and wore a costume almost identical to his own. Eventually, Shelby left behind his playboy lifestyle when he met girlfriend Olivia Tracy on a case in Green Mask #6 (1941).

In Project Superpowers, Domino made an appearance in the second series as part of a team of former sidekicks known as the Inheritors. The Green Mask did not appear.

Powers and abilities[edit]

Originally, the first Green Mask had no superpowers. Despite this, the first issue of his series retconned his origin so that he became the Green Mask after gaining a number of superpowers after being exposed to vita-rays, including superhuman strength and the ability to fly. He would occasionally display other powers like invulnerability, usually as required by the plot. In addition to super powers, the Green Mask carried a gun (usually a revolver or an automatic, although he briefly used a "paralyzer pistol" he had confiscated from a mad scientist) for those times when being super was just not enough.

Johnny Green[edit]

The Green Mask
The second Green Mask, in his final appearance
Publication information
PublisherFox Feature Syndicate
First appearanceThe Green Mask #10 (August 1944)
In-story information
Alter egoJohnny Green
AbilitiesAbility to transform into a superhuman adult when angry

Fox Feature re-introduced the Green Mask moniker in issue #10 of The Green Mask (August 1944); the artist and writer were uncredited. In this version, the Green Mask is secretly Johnny Green. He is the son of a previous Green Mask, named Walter Green.

Johnny is a meek bespectacled teenager often taunted as a "sissy boy" by his high school peers who transforms into an adult "Avenger of Wrong" whenever he becomes angry and cries out at any display of injustice ("Eee-ow!"), changing back once he has finished beating up the bad guys, grows tired and yawns (making him a sort of cross between Captain Marvel and the Hulk). While some stories had him aware of his alter-ego, others indicated that he either didn't retain the memory of anything he did while transformed or perceived them as only a dream.

The motherless Johnny lives in a rented room above the exclusive Miramar Club while his father is off serving in the army in Europe, surviving on his father's savings and the kindness of the club's owner, Punchy. He has a dog named Curly and a much more out-going and courageous girlfriend named Suzie who is unaware of his dual identity but, is a big fan of the Green Mask, even dressing up as him once.

The second Green Mask's final appearance was in The Green Mask #17 (October–November 1946).

Powers and abilities[edit]

Johnny Green transforms into the adult Green Mask whenever he becomes angry, gaining all the powers of the previous Green Mask.