Wonder Man

Real Name: Fred Carson

Identity/Class: Human empowered by magic ring

Occupation: Radio engineer, inventor

Affiliations: Brenda Hastings, Donald Hastings, Yogi

Enemies: General Attilla, Reggie Berold

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Offices of International Broadcasting Co, unidentified U.S. city

First Appearance: Wonder Comics#1 (Fox, May 1939)

Powers/Abilities: So long as he wears his magic ring, Wonder Man has superhuman strength (the strongest man on Earth) and is invulnerable, shrugging off bullets without effort. He is also able to leap hundreds of yards in a single bound, and can catch cannon shells in mid-air and throw them back to source.

   Fred is an inventor, specializing in broadcast technology, and invented a television small enough to carry on his belt, as well as a miniature portable radio capable of broadcasting from Europe to America. He is also a capable pilot, at least for monoplanes.

Height: Unrevealed - he's presumably of above average height, though not ridiculously so.
Weight: Unrevealed
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Blond

Summary:  Given a magic ring by an old Yogi during a visit to Tibet (see comments), Fred Carson swore to forever be the champion of the oppressed, defender of the weak, and relentless foe of all that is evil and unjust.

History: (Wonder Comics#1) - Fred Carson was a radio engineer and inventor working for International Broadcasting Co. During a trip to Tibet he encountered a Yogi who gave him a ring that granted superhuman strength and invulnerability, and pledged to be the champion of the oppressed, defender of the weak and relentless foe of all that was evil and unjust as the costumed Wonder Man.

   Back from his trip Fred came up with a miniature television small enough to carry on a belt and a radio transmitter that could reach across the Atlantic, and was showing them off to his boss Donald Hastings when Donald's daughter Brenda came in unexpectedly to request money for passage to Tatonia, a country suffering from civil war. Sensing an argument about to happen between father and child, Fred tried to excuse himself, but Donald stopped him and told Fred that he would accompany Brenda to Tatonia. Not wanting to nurse-maid a debutante Fred declined, but once back at his lab he watched a news report of soldiers in Tatonia firing upon starving refugees. Deciding Wonder Man should intervene, Fred used the excuse of chaperoning Brenda as his excuse for flying his monoplane to Tatonia. Landing at a Red Cross camp they immediately encountered Brenda's selfish and cowardly playboy fiancee Reggie Berold, who took a swift dislike to Fred. Within minutes of arriving, the camp had to be hastily evacuated as enemy planes were detected heading their way. Fred told Brenda and Reggie to use his plane to escape, then once the camp was deserted he changed into his Wonder Man costume. When the insurgents' bomber dropped an explosive on the camp, Wonder Man caught it and threw it back, destroying the plane. Heading off he came upon a refugee truck stuck in a mire and freed it, pointing those within towards the Red Cross base, then he radioed the Red Cross using his miniature radio to inform the staff it was safe to return to the camp.

   Next Wonder Man headed to the headquarters of rebel general Attilla. Finding the city Attilla controlled was full of starving refugees because Attilla had horded all the food supplies, Wonder Man smashed into Attilla's offices and confronted the general, demanding to know where he stored his weapons. After the terrified despot told him they were kept in the local prison Wonder Man knocked him out and headed there. The arsenal was protected by large cannons set on the roof, but Wonder Man caught the shells fired at him and threw them back, then threw the massive cannons off the roof. Entering the building, Wonder Man freed the prisoners, which included Brenda and Reggie, whose plane had been shot down. Wonder Man told Brenda to organize the female prisoners to prepare to dole out food, then instructed Reggie to get the crowds milling around in the street calmed and organized while he fetched the supplies. When Reggie proved inadequate for this task, Wonder Man handled it himself, then smashed his way into Attilla's vaults and extracted all the supplies. He spent the next several hours alongside Brenda, personally helping hand out food, and unintentionally winning her admiration. After kissing him on the cheek (and apparently winning his interest), she passed out from exhaustion. Locating Reggie, Wonder Man tasked him with commandeering a plane and getting her to safety. Returning to check on Attilla, Wonder Man found the recalcitrant villain planning to re-start the war despite losing his weapons, an idea the hero swiftly and forcibly dissuaded him from pursuing.

   When Fred finally made it home Donald confirmed that Reggie and Brenda had returned safely, and that Reggie had claimed credit for saving her in Tatonia. Donald then asked Fred who this Wonder Man character he had heard about was, but Fred, lost in romantic thoughts of Brenda, declared he had never heard of the man.

(Wonder Comics#2, unpublished Wonder Man story) - Wonder Man intervened to calm things down when a strike in Pittstown turned into a riot.

Comments: Created by Will Eisner, at the behest and to the specifications of Victor Fox. 

   Though unmasked (and orange skinned) on the cover, within the story Wonder Man has the pink skin-tone of a regular Caucasian, and frequently (though not always) wears a domino mask to help hide his true identity.

   Despite his debut story ending with a note that Wonder Man would return for more adventures in the next issue of Wonder Comics, this proved not to be the case thanks to a lawsuit from DC Comics, who claimed that Wonder Man was infringing the copyright of Superman. Fox apparently instructed Eisner to produce "another Superman" - and not in terms of success and popularity, but in terms of having almost identical powers and story set-up. Eisner claimed later that he had protested this idea, but Fox was paying the bills and that's what he demanded, so Eisner dutifully complied, creating Wonder Man. Unsurprisingly, as soon as the character debuted in Wonder Comics#1 Fox was hit with a copyright-infringement cease and desist claim. Fox fought it but ultimately lost. As a result Wonder Man never returned in any subsequent Fox Comics title. However art from his second story has surfaced, confirming that it was at least partially completed before being pulled from publication.

   In recent years there's been a fad from multiple companies, large, small and very small, to revive characters who have entered the public domain, and this has included Wonder Man, who has appeared in Yamraj Comics' Yamraj Universe#1 and Standard Comics' The Sentinels#268 and 269 (no known relation to the Golden Age Standard Comics).

   Wonder Man's sole story does not specifically say he met the Yogi in Tibet. The first panel shows a man telling Wonder Man about the ring's powers (see the Yogi's sub-profile below), and the last panel which has Wonder Man talking to the readers confirms that (a) the man was a Yogi and (b) that he gave Carson the ring, as opposed to (say) Carson having stumbled across it and the Yogi only explaining what it did. We're never told where he was when this happened, BUT the third panel of the story has Mr. Hastings welcoming Carson back from his visit to Tibet, and when Carson later becomes Wonder Man it is clear this is the first time anyone has heard of him. While it's certainly possible that Carson went to more places than Tibet on that trip and could have met the Yogi somewhere else, the implication does seem to be that the encounter happened there.

   Naming consistency was not good despite the character only having a single story. On the last page of the story Reggie Carson suddenly is called Reggie Dawson, despite Carson being used everywhere else, including the two panels on the same page immediately prior to the erroneous one! Brenda Hastings becomes Nora Hastings for the latter half of the story, Reggie is introduced as having the surname Berold which then becomes Barold, Wonder Man switches to Wonderman and back, the country Tatonia becomes Tarovania (and per the page that has surfaced from the second story, Morovania), and General Attilla loses an L to become Attila!

   Tatonia is presumably in Europe or the western edge of Asia, since it was a twelve hour flight east from an unspecified American city.

Wonder Man should not be confused with:

Old Yogi


Apparently having met Fred Carson while the latter was visiting Tibet, an unidentified old Yogi gifted Carson with a ring that granted the American superhuman powers so long as he wore it, and told him to go forth into the world in the name of humanity and justice.

Comments: With only a single panel appearance, we know very little about this character.

--Wonder Comics#1

Brenda Hastings

The daughter of International Broadcasting's owner Donald Hastings, debutante Brenda Hastings enjoyed spending her father's money. When she decided on a whim to become a nurse for the Red Cross relief effort in civil war-torn Tatonia, she went to her father to ask for $2000 dollars to pay for her passage by ship, but he initially objected, fearing for her safety in the war zone, and tried to order Fred Carson to accompany her, only for both Brenda and Fred to object to the idea. However upon witnessing television broadcasts from Tatonia showing soldiers firing upon crowds of starving refugees, Fred changed his mind, wanting an excuse to explain why he was going there while really intending to save lives as Wonder Man. Insisting (for speed's sake) that he fly both of them there in his monoplane, Fred got Brenda to Tatonia in twelve hours, where she was surprised to discover her fiancee Reggie at the Red Cross camp. However, almost immediately they were forced to evacuate as enemy planes were detected approaching. With only two seats on Fred's monoplane, he insisted that Brenda and Reggie take the vehicle, but they were soon shot down by the rebel General Attilla's forces and taken prisoner. Locked up, Brenda plotted to free them with a gun she had somehow hidden from their captors, but before she could do so they were freed by Wonder Man, who Brenda took an immediate shine to. When the hero subsequently raided Attilla's vaults to extract food to give to the starving populace, Brenda helped him distribute it for several hours before finally passing out from exhaustion, and which point Wonder Man entrusted her into Reggie's care, pointed them in the direction of an airfield, and ordered the man to fly both of them to safety.

--Wonder Comics#1

Donald Hastings

Donald Hastings was the owner of International Broadcasting and Fred Carson's boss. While he insisted that he had no time for Carson's "goofy ideas" whenever Carson mentioned a new invention, Hastings would then come round to the idea upon hearing about whatever innovative gadget Carson had come up with. Informed by his daughter, Brenda, that she intended to go to war-torn Tatonia, Hastings hurriedly introduced Carson to Brenda and ordered his employee to go with her, but she insisted she didn't need a chaperone while he didn't want to nurse-maid a debutante; however, Carson soon came round for his own reasons.

   When Brenda returned safely after a close call with rebel forces in Tatonia, her fiancee Reggie lied to Donald and claimed credit, but Brenda talked of her true saviour, Wonder Man. Fred radioed to home to report the end of the war, proving the worth of his latest invention, and when he returned home Donald admitted the device had worked well.

--Wonder Comics#1

General Attilla

General Attilla was the leader of the rebel forces in Tatonia, and was more than happy to starve civilians by hording food supplies for his own forces, as well as targeting Red Cross camps and refugee convoys. When his men captured two rich Americans, Reggie Berold and Brenda Hastings, Attilla listened to Reggie's cowardly attempt to buy their freedom then gloatingly informed the playboy that he'd take the money but still imprison them. However soon after this Wonder Man smashed his way into Attilla's headquarters and confronted the general, got him to divulge where his weapons were stored, then knocked Attilla out. By the time Attilla woke Wonder Man had freed all the general's prisoners, destroyed his weapons store and distributed the food stores to the starving populace. Defiantly, Attilla plotted with his subordinates to stir up the people again and restart the war, but before he could do so Wonder Man tracked him down and warned him off, punching Attilla in the face to leave an indelible mark from Wonder Man's ring in the warlord's face as a constant reminder never to start trouble again.

--Wonder Comics#1

Reggie Berold

Reggie "Playboy" Berold was Brenda Hastings' fiancee. A dilettante with too much time on his hands, he visited Tatonia to "watch the fun" as it was ripped apart by civil war. When Brenda arrived unexpectedly in the company of Fred Carson, Reggie threatened Fred for calling him by his nickname "Playboy," but his true nature as a coward showed through moments later when it was announced that enemy planes had been detected approaching, prompting Reggie to immediately suggest they flee. Fred let Brenda and Reggie take his two-seater monoplane, which Reggie acknowledged with a classy "So long sucker" as they left Fred behind. However their plane was brought down by the rebels, and Reggie and Brenda were taken as prisoners to General Attilla. Reggie tried to buy their freedom, but the sadistic general decided he would take their money and still lock them up. The pair were rescued by Wonder Man, who then tasked Reggie with keeping the crowds of starving Tatonian citizens orderly until Wonder Man could fetch food; Reggie declined until Wonder Man threatened to use force to make him, but then proved unable to calm things down and so fled, finding a doorway to hide in. After finding and distributing food, Wonder Man found Reggie passed out in his doorway sanctuary, woke him, and ordered him to commandeer a plane from a nearby airfield and take Brenda to safety. Upon getting Brenda back to the USA, Reggie lied to Brenda's father, Donald, and claimed credit for saving her.

--Wonder Comics#1

First Posted: Circa 05/11/2003
Last updated: 05/10/2022

Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

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