I’ve written about a lot of strange, bizarre, and outright odd heroic characters from all sorts of periods in comics history. I’m not sure any of them beat out today’s entry, and the first Misplaced Hero I wrote about was the anthropomorphic Captain Carrot.
So, let’s take a look at Brother Power, the Geek.
Brother Power was, well, a mannequin brought to life. Two hippies snuck into a store to get out of the rain after a bad beating. They put their bloody and wet clothes on a mannequin to keep said clothes from shrinking, and at some point, lightning struck the mannequin and brought it to life. They called the mannequin “Brother Power”. He had superhuman strength, agility, and being a mannequin he was rather hard to injure. I’m not quite sure where “the Geek” came from, but given he was created in 1968, it seems likely “geek” didn’t mean the same thing it means today at this very website (among others).
By the way, who created Brother Power? Joe Simon, the co-creator of Captain America.
Simon by that point was almost certainly not a young man, and as seen with past attempts by middle-aged men to create characters that reflect a youth culture the creator could not possibly belong to, Brother Power could have easily been another Snapper Carr, only with legitimate superpowers to fight the forces of evil. Granted, evil for Brother Power included bikers who beat up hippies, and a governor who looked an awful lot like Ronald Reagan (Brother Power lived in San Francisco after all). Since said governor shot Brother Power off into space in a rocket, you’d think we might have been the end of Brother Power. As it was, that was only his second issue, and his archenemy was a businessman named Lord Sliderule.
But that rocket thing happened in Brother Power’s second solo issue. It was also his last solo issue. His series was canceled after two issues. Were sales that bad?
Actually, if Wikipedia is telling me the truth, Brother Power’s book was canceled for purely political reasons, those reasons being some of DC’s higher mucky-mucks didn’t care for a book that portrayed hippie subculture as sympathetically as Simon did.
Now, Brother Power might then have just been a weird footnote to comics history, but things like that never really die. He actually came back as a Vertigo character. Neil Gaiman, of all people, wrote a story where Power was reborn as a “puppet elemental,” much like Swamp Thing, only in this case he was able to cast his consciousness into any human-shaped figure. A later one-shot expanded on this, where Brother Power’s body was destroyed, so he moved his consciousness into a doll carried by Silver Age hippie girlfriend (now a prostitute because this is Vertigo) Cindy.
After that, Brother Power tended to appear in backgrounds, sometimes literally as an advertised figure of some sort. He did get another revamp in a more recent The Brave and the Bold for a Batman team-up. Relocated to Gotham City, with Cindy a doctor who later opened a toy store(!), Brother Power in that issue lets a building collapse on him since he doesn’t believe he belongs in the modern world. Batman doesn’t mind this too much since at some point closer to the right time, Brother Power will return to do as he needs to.
Given his attachment to a certain time in the past, I hope for Brother Power’s sake, Rust Cohle is right and time is a flat circle.