John Targitt, Manstalker
Real Name: John Targitt
Identity/Class: Normal human, later technology user
Occupation: Special Agent for the F.B.I.
Affiliations: F.B.I., Carl (his boss), Hunch (former partner), Jackie (another undercover agent)
Enemies: Professor Death, the Mob
Known Relatives: Unnamed wife (deceased), unnamed daughter (deceased)
Base of Operations: Active worldwide
First Appearance: Targitt #1 (Atlas Comics, March 1975)
Powers/Abilities: Skilled fighter, trained in a variety of combat styles. Excellent marksman. The "superhero" costume his bosses eventually gave him was bullet proof and had "servo mechanisms" which enhanced his strength to superhuman levels.
History: John Targitt was an F.B.I. Special agent whose wife and daughter were killed when the plane they were on was blown up by a bomb set to eliminate a mob boss, Bert Manetti. Investigating the site where the remains of the plane came to Earth, Targitt discovered clues which led him to Boston on the trail of the killers. Once there he faced mob assassins before locating and eliminating the killer of his family. His vigilante actions had drawn the mobs ire though, and they sought to eliminate him, which in turn led to a gun battle between mob hitmen and several F.B.I. men. In direct defiance of orders from Carl, his boss, Targitt followed a lead he had discovered to destroy a major drugs shipment arriving in the U.S. by sea; this earned him a price on his head from the Mob.
Targitt intended to quit the Bureau after this, believing the Mob held him higher regard than the F.B.I. did, but he was beaten to the punch when Carl fired him before he could resign, because of the unwanted press his actions have drawn. Needing to re-arm himself after handing in his service issue weapon, Targitt went to visit his former partner Hunch, who now owned an antiques gun shop. He was shocked to encounter Carl there, waiting for him. Carl explained that his firing was faked to keep the F.B.I. chiefs happy, but that Carl now wanted him to work undercover as a covert agent.
Armed with a high-tech costume which made him bulletproof, Targitt's first new mission was to locate and stop the people behind attacks on the Alaskan Oil Pipelines. This led to his first encounter with the criminal known as Professor Death.
Comments: Mike Murphy informs me that "Targitt was created by uncredited writer Ric Meyers (author of numerous books and articles on Hong Kong Cinema and acquaintance of Jackie Chan & Jet Li) and former E.C. artist Howard Nostrand."
Paul Muir notes that "As part of the Atlas re-design of their characters (i.e. they were going to the wall and everyone became a superhero to try to save the line) Targitt became "John Targitt ManStalker" with issue 3 (last issue) - the costume was given to him by his bosses to help him fight that issue's villain Professor Death.
Prof Death was Prof Hannibal Burns, born in Munich and adopted by US Army Colonel. He was working on a nerve gas (Dethx-13) when he made a mistake and there was an explosion with the gas whish turned him into Professor Death." Thanks to Paul also for providing an image of John in his full (i.e. helmeted) costume, and telling me about the costume's capabilities. Grant Forsythe states that he apparently got his costume slightly earlier than Paul says, back in issue #2 of his title.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
Target, Golden Age hero
Human Target, a DC hero
Manhunter, another DC hero
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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