UPDATE: I’m so glad to have found out that 13 is a Vermont Superhero! Interested? Then read on true believer!
Truly one of the least popular, most obscure and oddly named Public Domain Superhero is 13. Created by writer Dick Wood(!), co-creator of Airboy, and artist Bernard Klein(Dr. Fate, Green Arrow).I couldn’t find any anecdotes to explain why this numerical nonpareil of nomism and his nitid nupsom, Jinx , were created, other than to be another half-baked Batman and Robin crime-fighting duo that Lev Gleason hoped to cash in on(and likely fill pages in the latest issue of Daredevil Comics).
Quote the entry on the PDSH Wikia, ” Harold Higgins was always a lucky child growing up…until he turned 15 and his parents where murdered. He then dedicated his life to capturing murderers, first as a private-eye and then as a superhero named 13. He is assisted by 16 year old Darrel Creig who takes the sidekick identity of Jinx. 13 seems to possess superhuman luck, but it is unclear if it is truly a superpower.”
I thought that his age at the time of his parent’s death was stupid- Harold should have been 13 years old, not 15, right?!? Anyways- The thing I love about this guy is the weird uselessness of him; the odd name, which forces me to imagine some editorial session before deadline- crazed smoking comic book creators up till 3 in the morning rushing to fill that 6 pages with whatever came to fevered minds. I love the look and the hackneyed gimmick, so I took a crack at the character.
What came to me was a Jack Kirby Bronze-Age take on the character. What if old Jack had an idea during his stint at DC during the 70’s to reinvent old Harold? I kept the elements- boots, gloves, bare-legs and the head-gear; only I gave them a bronze-age Kirby upgrade. First off- I ditched the cape and made the cowl into a skull-cap helmet.The cape became a bulky armored collar. I did retain the scale-mail look- I also kept his logo on the chest, upgrading it to a stenciled roman numeral XIII. Last, a pair of energy batons for proper ass-kicking of enemies!
XIII as he is called in my version is one of a set of clones made from the original “13”. A genetically engineered super-soldier made by some fiendish organization like E.Y.E. or The Nixon Administration, Monanto, MicroExxx, Roxxon– SOMEONE like that. Clone-soldier XIII, has some kind of “free will” that has made his programming go ka-flooey- destroying his evil creators lab and escaping with his armor-housed, artificial-intelligence mega-computer “Jinx 2.0“! Jinx is capable of 360-degree analysis of his surroundings and can activate his XIII’s “luck”; actually, “short burst altered-quantum singularity fields” that are focused through good luck charms on each pod on his belt, to deal with a myriad of “bad scenes”, daddy-o. I thought it would be a cool idea for his luck to be a sci-fi/magic kind of thing- tip of the hat to Kirby on that score too.
So as you can see, after making the design and the origin I LOVE 13! Hope you do too. lateroonio.
Here’s a pulse-pounding adventure of 13 in thrilling Embedded PDF-O-VISION:
[ipaper id=27083600 width=600 height=500]
UPDATE: Upon doing some blog edits on this post and others I’ve come to find out that my obsession with the numerically negative negator of nemeses has developed ANOTHER layer of intrigue! Apparently, old 13 is a FELLOW VERMONTER! I found yet another reference to 13 on BLAKLION’s Lev Gleason’s Comic House, a repository of all things Lev Gleason Publishing. In the HEROES section there was a great page on 13 with transcriptions of the narration of several issues, including his origin!
In a small town, buried in the maze of rising hills which cover New England’s picturesque Vermont, Harold Higgins was born. And with his birth on Friday the thirteenth, the hand of Fate placed a bony hand against his throat and proclaimed him possessor of a fearsome plague to man — the curse of “13”, nemesis number of all time. Such was the beginning.
PICTURESQUE VERMONT! So there you have it- 13 is a Vermonter. So cool. I’m so into this guy, I’m definitely doing more drawings of him, particularly my redesign. I think we VT comic creators should adopt Harold Higgins and make a whole anthology or something. If anyone has thoughts on this idea, let me know.