I remember the first time that I saw Mil Mascaras,the squared circle's legendary Man of 1000 Masks. I was about thirteen. I had traded a copy of Humorama to a friend for two boxing and one wrestling mag. The wrestling mag had an article on Mascaras. I had seen other wrestling " masked marvels " before. But this guy was different. For one thing he wasn't built like a beer truck driver. He had a physique that would not be out of place in a "gladiator movie". Secondly the photos in the article looked as if Mascaras was posing for action shots for an issue of Daredevil.
In the pre-internet days wrestling fans got all their information about their favorite wrestling stars and champions from wrestling mags. And they never broke from "kayfabe". Mascaras had a great kayfabe. The story was that he was a member of the Mexican Olympic team who for financial reasons left the squad to become a pro wrestler. For years it was implied that he was a wrestler. Either Greco-Roman or Freestyle. Decades later it was revealed he was a member of Mexico's judo squad.
A couple of years later I got to see Mascaras wrestling on television for the I.W.A as that wrestling organization's champ. Wow! He looked just like a comic book hero in action. When I found out that he made movies like el Santo I searched them out on Spanish-language TV. And again he didn't disappoint. His were some of the best Mexiluchahero movies made. I couldn't help but imagine them adapted to the comic book page by the likes of Steve Ditko and Wally Wood or Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson. Or John Romita and Frank Giacoia.
Some years back I had created a comic book hero I named after an obscure Batman villain of the 60s. Loosely modeled after Mascaras I referred to as the "Man of Half a Dozen Masks" , the "Poor man's Mil Mascaras" and "America's Cheesiest Comic Book Hero". Enjoy my amigo Vance Capley's Mr.Incognito illustration below and imagine a prequel to the Mil Mascaras movie LAS VAMPIRAS co-starring John Carradine.
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