Real Name: Perseus Ablemarle (apparently)
Identity/Class: Normal human
Enemies: Criminals everywhere; the Fury
Known Relatives: Unnamed parents (both dead)
Base of Operations: Unknown
First Appearance: Frantic #? or Rampage Magazine #41 (November 1981; see comments)
Powers/Abilities: Apart from his mastery of the martial arts and enough agility to swing across the city at night, the Crusader had no powers. He appears to have had an exceptional memory and near genius level intellect if he was able to become all the different professions listed in his origin before he turned 23.
History: Young Perseus Ablemarle witnessed the deaths of his parents, shot by thugs in the street. At their gravesides he swore vengeance on his parent's killers, on gratuitous violence, and on the criminal classes in general.
Soon he had read, learned and inwardly digested nearly every book ever written, and halfway through Stan Lee's 'Origins of the Marvel Superheroes' he felt the heavy hand of fate upon him...he knew what he must do...he must follow the honoured path of orphaned youngsters seeking vengeance...he must become a superhero.
Endless hours in the gym honed his body to perfection of strength, agility and fitness. He did not neglect his mental faculties, and became a nuclear physicist, doctor, lawyer, architect, layout artist and accountant!
After developing the complete hangover cure at the tender age of 23, he then spent ten years mastering the martial arts, then the marital arts, and then one day he said...
"If I don't get on with it, I'll be dead of old age!"- And thus was born...THE CRUSADER!
Having designed a costume and a grapple line, he went out on his first mission, seeking crime to fight late one night. Making his way across the rooftops of the city he spots some criminals loading radioactive material onto a truck, and swings down to confront the villains, crying out "Hold, Evil Doers! The hour of retribution is at hand..." just before one of the crooks machine guns him out of the air. The crooks then race off, leaving his body lying amongst the rubbish in the city street.
Comments: Created by Alan Davis and Paul Neary.
I've seen mention online that the Crusader's strip first saw publication in an issue of Frantic, but nobody, including Alan Davis, seems to be able to confirm this or cite the specific issue. The story was definitely printed (reprinted?) in Rampage Magazine #41 (November 1981).
In case anyone reading the above hasn't realised, the Crusader was a spoof of all the self-taught Dark Avenger of the Night types that abound in comics.
In spite of the final comments of the crooks, there is no certainty as to the final fate of the Crusader. The last text panel casts doubt as to whether or not this was truly the end of this hero. And indeed, the Crusader can be briefly spotted in another Alan Davis drawn strip a little under a year later, as one of the last heroes of Earth-238 and a victim of the Fury. However we have no way of knowing if the Crusader in the story above is the Earth-238 Crusader or his counterpart from another alternate Earth. Although he is inspired to become a costumed avenger by reading a Stan Lee written Marvel comic, there is nothing to preclude the possibility that he is from Earth-616, as Stan Lee and Marvel Comics have both been shown to exist in that reality. For the purpose of the entry above I've assumed that this Crusader is distinct from the one spotted on Earth-238 - if this is not the case then we could add to his history:
[bts] The Crusader survives his gunshot wounds, possibly due to his perfect physique making him quite resilient, and once healed, returns once more to the noble fight against crime.
(fb, Marvel Superheroes #388) Unfortunately his luck remains true, and he falls victim to the hero-killing cybiote, the Fury.
The Crusader's true name isn't explicitly stated in the story itself, but the final text panel asks the question "Were those who said 'You can't become a superhero with a name like Perseus Ablemarle' right?", which strongly implies that this is his real identity.
Profile adapted from the one I did for the Appendix to the Marvel Universe site.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
Crusader, Golden Age hero
Crusader X, member of the Captain Britain Corps, @ Excalibur I#21
The Crusader, el Alemain, a 12th Century english warrior. @ Black Knight Comics#1
The Crusader, Christian zealot who battled Thor, @Thor #330.
The Crusader, Robert Grayson, also known as Marvel Boy, original wearer of the quantum bands, @ Marvel Boy #1.
The Crusader of Earth-Battleworld, Sarah Rogers, the daughter of that reality's Captain America and Rogue, @ What If II#114
The Crusader of the Ultraverse, an immortal warrior who defeated Rune in 1348, @ Rune II#4
The Crusaders, a group of allied heroes during World War II, @Invaders #14
Anyone else with the word Crusader in their name.
Any other self-taught orphaned vigilante types who stalk the night seeking crime to fight.
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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