Blazing Skull

Real Name: Mark Todd

Identity/Class: Human mutate

Occupation: Reporter

Affiliations: (Silver Age) Destroyer, Union Jack, Invaders, Thin Man

Enemies: (Golden Age) Big Joe

(Silver Age) Iron Cross (probably not the original), Masked Raider

Known Relatives: Victor (father), Voletta Tod (niece, a.k.a. Ion)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Active worldwide

First Appearance: Mystic Comics #5 (Timely Comics, March 1941).

Powers/Abilities: Immune to flame. Silver age stories added a level of superhuman strength and the ability to make his own flesh (but not bones) turn invisible.

History: (Mystic Comics #5, ga; Midnight Sons Unlimited #9 fb) In 1937 newspaper man and pacifist Mark Todd visited China to report on the Sino-Japanese War. Caught in the open during a Japanese artillery barrage, he took cover in a convenient cave. However his shelter proved to be the home of the Skull Men, a strange race of beings with burning skulls where their heads should have been. They informed him that the Forces of Destiny had chosen Mark to be a champion for freedom, and taught him several of their mystical abilities, notably how to be invulnerable to fire. Once this process was completed, Mark returned to civilisation, where he witnessed the evils perpetrated by the Nazis on the people of Europe. Unwilling to simply watch this injustice happen, he donned a fiery skull-faced mask, mimicing the appearance of his mentors, and became the Nazi fighter known as The Blazing Skull.

(Mystic Comics #6-9, ga) No synopses available.

(bts) Mark's mastery of the Skull Men's ways grew, and, like them, he became able to make his flesh invisible. He abandoned the use of a mask, no longer needing it to gain the appearance of a Blazing Skull.

(Invaders II #2-4) The Blazing Skull was asked by the Thin Man to aid the Invaders in their latest mission against the traitorous Battle-Axis. He arrived in the nick of time to rescue Namor when the Sub-Mariner was trapped by Dr.Death inside a burning building, then accompanied him and the rest of the Invaders as they hunted down and captured their opponents.

(Marvels #1) Some time later the Blazing Skull was part of a mass parachute drop of Allied superhumans into a Nazi stronghold in occupied Europe.

(Midnight Sons Unlimited #9) Near the end of the war, in 1945, the Skull was in England, where he, Union Jack and the Destroyer worked together to stop the Iron Cross and break up a spy ring run by the Masked Raider.

Comments: In the original Golden Age first appearance, Mark's origins didn't extend beyond him encountering the Skull Men and a note that they taught him mystic lore - the stuff about the "Forces of Destiny" was added when his origins were recounted in the modern era.

Prior to his other modern era appearances, the Blazing Skull was seen amongst a number of other Golden Age heroes whose images were used by Rick Jones at the conclusion of the Kree-Skrull War in Avengers I #97. However this wasn't the actual character returning to action, merely a facsimile of him created from the mind of Jones.

If anyone has an image of the Blazing Skull from one of his Golden Age appearances (and I don't mean pinch it off someone else's site, thanks - I could do that myself if I wanted to, which I don't), then I'd love to add it to the page. Thanks.

Thanks to Jess Nevins for allowing me to use information from his excellent Golden Age Heroes Directory and his Guide to Golden Age Marvel Characters. Thanks also to Richard Boucher & Darrin Wiltshire @ PR-Publications for permission to use information from their equally brilliant collection of Golden Age Sites, PR Publications. Their knowledge of Golden Age characters far outstrips my own.

CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with

Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.

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