The other day someone was asking me if I had a chance to write a comic book feature starring a character other than one of my own what would it be? I suppose he thought I was going to say Judo Master or Magnus,Robot Fighter. Or maybe Nightwing or Thunderbolt. Or perhaps he thought I was going to say Mighty Samson or Iron Fist. Instead I told him "Bobby Bell of the Young Shields of America". He responded with a confused look on his face and asked "who?"
To those of you not in the know Bobby Bell was the star of a series of PSA strips from the early days of the Silver Age of Comic Books.Created by the legendary team of Simon & Kirby he was the Captain of The Shield's Young Americans Club a.k.a The Young Shields of America. In his strips (featured in early issues of Archie Comics' The Fly) Bell taught readers basic judo and jiu jitsu self-defense techniques.
Originally drawn to appear anywhere from 8 to 12 years old young Bobby gave his martial arts lessons dressed in a Shield play-suit. Things got really bizarre in later strips when Bobby a.k.a Billy taught judo in the context of short stories where he fought bullies or a street villain known as the Gargoyle. Bobby by this time was depicted as being at least sixteen and just looked ridiculous walking the streets or going on a picnic in Central Park with his girl friend dressed in an imitation Shield costume.Was he supposed to be a crime-fighter? Or was he just a nut? I thought a T-shirt with a shield emblem on it would have been enough.
I would have liked to have seen the Bobby Bell feature as an 8-page back-up. In it he would have been an all-around athlete and top student. Sort of a modern day Frank Merriwell. But in middle school.Not high school or college. He would still have been a judoka. And he would still use judo to sometimes combat bullies. But he wouldn't be teaching techniques to readers who might injure themselves practicing them without proper supervision. Instead the emphasis would have been on judo's moral teachings. And oh yes he wouldn't be wearing the Shield underoos on the street. Below is the 1st page of what a Bobby Bell strip written by me would look like ably illustrated by my buddy Vance Capley of course.
Look for Judo Comics by
Dave Goode and Vance Capley!
Grab yours today!