Jigsaw defeats a monster without even looking at it. Artist: Tony Tallarico.


Original Medium: Comic Books
Published by: Harvey Comics
First Appeared: 1966
Creators: Otto Binder (?) (writer) and Tony Tallarico (artist)
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Following the mid-1950s formation of The Comics Code Authority, Harvey Comics, which once published some of the grisliest horror comic books of all, retreated into pure children's fare such as Little Lotta

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… and Stumbo the Giant, other than reprints of Dick Tracy and (briefly) The Black Cat. But in 1966, the company succumbed to the allure of the Batman TV show and hired industry veteran Joe Simon, formerly the partner of Jack Kirby on such blockbuster hits as Captain America and Young Romance, to develop a new line designed to appeal to older readers.

This new line came shortly before Simon fully embraced oddballness with such concepts as Brother Power the Geek and Prez, so the fact that he was moving in that direction isn't surprising. Jigsaw, who debuted in Jigsaw #1, dated September, 1966 (a smaller logo on the cover suggested the title was Big Hero Adventures, but the indicia said it was Jigsaw), may not have been the oddest superhero of his time (a time that also included DC's Ultra the Multi-Alien, Archie Comics' Web and an off-brand version of Captain Marvel), but he was definitely an odd one.

Astronaut Gary Jason was placidly orbiting, when his space capsule was battered and shattered by a stream of boulders, tree trunks and other debris rising out of Siberia. Without even a space suit to shield him from the surrounding vacuum, he was sucked, along with the rest of the flotsam, into a laboratory beneath the lunar crater Ptolemy. Fearful of being perceived as enemies of Earth, the aliens running the place, Si-Krell and Plentha, repaired his smashed body with parts they had lying around, making him (with the inexplicable exceptions of his head and hands) look like a human-shaped pile of jigsaw puzzle parts, hence the name. In his souped-up body he was as pliable as Plastic Man and as strong as The Hulk, so when he got back to Earth he went into the superhero business.

It isn't known for sure who write this origin story, but it's likely to have been Otto Binder, whose other oddities include Space Cabby and Fatman the Human Flying Saucer. The artist was Tony Tallarico, who also drew Dell Comics' trio of monster heroes, Frankenstein, Dracula and Werewolf, as well as the same company's more distinguished Lobo.

Simon's Harvey line included at least a half-dozen titles, not one of which lasted as long as a year or left much of a mark. This one ran two issues. Harvey went back to the likes of Little Dot and Spooky the Tuff Little Ghost, and Jigsaw was never seen again.


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Text ©2006-08 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Harvey Comics.