Destiny, pensive. Artist: George Brenner.


Medium: Comic Books
Published by: Quality Comics
First Appeared: 1943
Creator: George Brenner
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The 1940s superheroes were a diverse lot. How diverse is demonstrated by 711, which Quality Comics (Blackhawk, Madam Fatal) ran in early issues of its Police Comics (The Human Bomb, Flatfoot Burns). He was a convicted felon who escaped prison each night so he could do his superheroing, and was back each morning in time for role call. But for some reason readers don't seem to have believed very …

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… strongly in him, so he got killed off in #15 (January, 1943), and replaced with the comparably improbable Destiny, in a way reminiscent of The Comet's replacement with The Hangman.

The murder scene in #15, which Destiny witnessed, was the new hero's first appearance. 711 reciprocated by making his last appearance, as a ghost, in Destiny's origin story, which followed in #16 (February).

That story started several hours earlier in the same evening, when a homeless man, whose name wasn't mentioned, went to a magic show in hopes of winning a large door prize so he could eat. The star performer, who called himself "Prof. Seezall Nozal", tried to read his mind, and instantly stopped the show to call the man to his dressing room for a private consultation.

It seemed the man had a unique destiny, as Destiny himself. The Professor was vague about exactly who Destiny might be, but did mention his power could be used for either good or evil. Chuckling as he returned to his seat, Destiny tried blanking his mind as the Professor had told him to, and instantly found himself on a deserted street, where he was drawn toward gangster Oscar Jones, 711's murderer.

The story was only seven pages long, so Jones escaped. But Destiny swore to the spectral figure of 711 that Jones would be punished for the crime. That was taken care of in #17, when Destiny delivered Jones to a police station, and suggested (since pre-civilized behavior on the part of law enforcment seems to have been condoned back then) a foot of rubber hose would quickly wring a confession out of him. He doesn't seem to have gotten to eat at all.

Like 711, Destiny was created by cartoonist George Brenner, who had been responsible for the first masked hero to originate in comic books, The Clock. Brenner remained on the series only a few months, after which it was taken over by Jack Keller (Kid Colt).

Destiny's superhero career wasn't as long as those of Quality's best-remembered characters, such as Plastic Man, Doll Man or even Bozo the Robot. He was gone a couple of years later, replaced in #37 (December, 1944) by an Archie-style teenage humor protagonist called Candy.

DC Comics, which acquired properties from Quality with that company's demise in the mid-1950s, presumably owns the Destiny character today. But if Destiny has a destiny there, it remains unfulfilled. DC, which took his name for a supporting character in Sandman, has never used him.


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Text ©2008-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © DC Comics.