Real Name: Bobby Fletcher
Identity/Class: Human transformed by magic
Occupation: School boy, space-age sheriff
Affiliations: Lana Fair, Prince Masterman, Professor Greenblatz, Birdman
Enemies: Black Wizard, Martin Weekbrane (school bully), Solig and his Martians, Professor Zounder
Known Relatives: Unidentified father (oil magnate), unidentified mother
Aliases: Prince Masterman
Base of Operations: Unknown.
First Appearance: Masterman (United Anglo-American / Streamline, 1952)
Powers/Abilities: Superhuman strength and invulnerability (the old bouncing bullets off your chest schtick). Able to fly. By invoking the ring's wishing power, he can alter reality to minor degrees - changing the colour of a cat, animating trees, creating sandstorms, etc. Bobby is exceptionally quick-witted and smart, having taught himself how to read hieroglyphs.
History: A studious boy, Bobby Fletcher was often the victim of bullies. His father, an oil millionaire who also owned a highly successful tool company with contracts with various governments, had sold devices capable of detecting gold to the Egyptian government. Theoretically capable of locating hidden tombs, the devices had been stolen from Fletcher's company's Cairo office by local crooks, and Mr. Fletcher decided to go to Egypt to investigate. Eager to escape his tormentors, Bobby convinced his father to take him along too, only to be kidnapped by the same criminals, as they had discovered they needed to have Mr. Fletcher explain how to operate the complex stolen equipment. The kidnappers hid out with their hostage in the remote Temple of Abou Simbal, but Bobby escaped the chamber he was placed in, and while trying to find his way out, stumbled across a secret burial chamber. In the centre of the room, there was a ring, glowing bright enough to light the entire room. Translating the hieroglyphics on the wall, Bobby discovered they said :
"Be it known to all men everywhere that this is the tomb of Prince Masterman who reigneth for many years in the Upper Kingdom. With his magical powers he fought all evildoers and made all his people happy. To whomsoever enter this secret chamber and vow to fight for justice and freedom and to punish evildoers - to him shall Prince Masterman pass on through his "Ring of Fate" his magical powers. He must place the ring on his finger, then rub it slowly while he says "O Ring of Fate, I call upon you to help me to fight for freedom and justice"
Despite not believing in magic, Bobby figured he had nothing to lose, and so did as the inscription instructed...and nothing happened. Speaking aloud, Bobby said he had known the ring was a phoney, noting that if it did work, he would have asked to be bigger and stronger than any man alive. At this, the ghost of Prince Masterman appeared, startling the boy. Telling Bobby not to be afraid, the ghost identified himself and stated that since he knew Bobby would put the ring to good use, his wish would be granted. A second later, Bobby transformed into a muscular adult version of himself, garbed in clothes bearing Prince Masterman's eagle-sigil. The ghost informed Bobby that he could return to normal by rubbing the ring and saying:
"O Ring of Fate, return me to Bobby Fletcher."
Adding finally that if Bobby ever needed him, he need only call and the ghost would answer, and dubbing the new hero Masterman, the ghost of the original Masterman vanished. With his newfound powers Bobby easily defeated his abductors and rescued his father, who had also fallen into their hands. Accepting his son's new powers, Mr. Fletcher counselled him to only use them for good.
Masterman enjoyed a brief career, during which he time-travelled into the time of dinosaurs and the far future, 2530 AD, thanks to the time machine of Professor Greenblatz, one of his father's research scientists. In the latter era he became a space sheriff, allied with Birdman (who flew via wings where his legs should be) and battling the Martian Solig.
Comments: Drawn by Joe Colquhoun, and possibly created by Marvelman creator Mick Anglo. Masterman Comic deliberately aped the appearance of US superhero titles to encourage readers of those imported comics to pick it up. The title ran for around a dozen issues.
Bobby had little to no secret identity - during his first adventure he transformed in front of both his father and the crooks who had kidnapped him, two of whom survived to be arrested (Masterman rather casually killed the third one, Ahmed, by throwing the man's own trained cobra round Ahmed's neck so hard that it broke it), and then he subsequently transformed to scare off the bully Martin Weekbrane, right in front of a gang of kids who knew Bobby Fletcher. In a subsequent issue, the neighbourhood kids clearly know of Bobby's alter ego, as they tell him to transform into Masterman when danger threatens them all.
Masterman had a small cameo in Zenith Phase 3.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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