On its launch, I was gripped by the excitement that was ‘Forgotten Heroes’, immediately signing up to be ‘on board’, when I suddenly became aware that I hadn’t a clue what to do! I toyed with the idea of replicating various current celluloid superheroes, but of course that meant that, with franchising being what it is, there were already many viable options of miniatures available on the market, which didn’t seem to fit with the ethos of the event. I decided to cast my net a little further and tried to remember comic book heroes from my youth, but tittles like Warlord and 2000AD* yielded little to work with. Union Jack Jackson and Rogue Trooper were undeniably super, but were they superheroes? This was getting serious, I was starting to worry that I might have to withdraw!
*Young Master Awdry’s preferred reading at the time.
I trawled around the internet for inspiration, but again was left a little bewildered by the current multitudes of squeaky clean and squared jawed defenders of justice and peace. Deciding to go back to its source, I narrowed my search to focus on those Superheroes that were created in, what I now understand to be, the Silver Age of comics. This was a fascinating exercise and it was wonderful to see the original incarnations of many of the now lycra or rubber clad denizens of the silver screen – different times indeed. Eventually my research unearthed a totally new character to me and yet one that seemed to resonate with yours truly – let me introduce you to Bouncing Boy.
Bouncing Boy, created for DC Comics in 1961 by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney, first appeared in Action Comics #276 and was a wholly unlikely member of the Legion of Superheroes, but all the more charming for it. Charles Foster Taine, a 30th Century Earth scientist, accidentally drank an experimental super-plastic fluid believing it to be his sugary beverage of choice while watching a sports match.** The fluid drastically altered his body’s cellular makeup, giving him the power to inflate into a round shape that could bounce and ricochet off walls without harm. As Bouncing Boy, Chuck, was impervious to both physical damage, and of all things, sadness; yes, Bouncing Boy’s good humour and charming personality led him to proclaiming himself the Legion’s ‘Morale Officer’.
Life as a ‘Super’ seldom runs according to plan and Chuck had to prove his worth, having initially been rejected by the Legion. Fortunately an electrically charged villain was duly dispatched, due to Bouncing Boy not being grounded, and all was well. Bouncing Boy then had to leave the Legion when he married Duo Damsel, formerly Triplicate Girl***, settling on the colony world of Wondil IX before ultimately returning to become Headmaster of the Legion Academy. So my unlikely choice for ‘Forgotten Heroes’ is Bouncing Boy, a round, happy chap, with a penchant for sugary drinks – me as a superhero! I just need to build him now.