Noman, and a bust of the man he once was. Artist: Wallace Wood.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Tower Comics
First Appeared: 1965
Creator: Wallace Wood
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NoMan had all the trappings of a spook-type superhero, along the lines of DC's Spectre, ACG's Nemesis or …

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MLJ's Mr. Justice. But as an operative for an up-to-date 1960s-style secret government agency, he derived his spirit-like powers (the ability to turn invisible and survive the demise of his body) from technological sources, rather than supernatural ones.

NoMan was originally a brilliant scientist whose body wasted away from two incurable, degenerative diseases. One of them was old age, the other unspecified. He spent the last few years of his normal life working on replaceable androids into which he could transfer his mind, and succeeded just in time — the very moment he died, he entered the body of the first of them. Once free of his human shell, he was able to transfer instantaneously from one android body to another, thus becoming effectively immortal as long as the androids held out — and tho the androids were expensive, he worked for a government agency with vast funding, so that could be a very long time indeed.

That agency was T.H.U.N.D.E.R., one of those top-secret acronymic organizations that proliferated in popular fiction of the '60s. Having become stronger and more agile than most humans, NoMan (so called because he considered himself no longer a man) was eligible for work as a field operative; and when T.H.U.N.D.E.R. started handing out devices to turn a few of its agents into superheroes, he received a cloak of invisibility. While his android bodies were expendable, the cloak, a unique prototype rescued from the laboratory of a dead scientist, was not, which often put him in the position of having to retrieve it from his own corpse.

NoMan first appeared, along with most of the other T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, in T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #1, November, 1965, published by industry newcomer Tower Comics. Also like the rest, he was created by Wallace Wood, whose prior credits include Marvel's Daredevil and a host of non-series stories for EC Comics. Another thing he had in common with the rest was that he had no non-T.H.U.N.D.E.R. adventures — he did have his own comic for two issues (November, 1966 and March, 1967), but even there, he did only agency-related heroics. Therefore, like Dynamo (the only other Tower superhero to get his own comic) and the rest, his fortunes were tied to those of T.H.U.N.D.E.R.

Thus, when T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents was canceled, in 1969, NoMan disappeared with the rest. When the characters were briefly (tho repeatedly) brought back in the 1980s, so was he. Same when they were reprinted in the 20-aughts. And if they ever get onto the comic book rack again, presumably he will too.


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Text ©2001-05 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Tower Comics.