Blue Bolt Comics #2 (July 1940). Cover art by W. E. Rowland
|First appearance||Blue Bolt Comics #1 (June 1940)|
|Created by||Joe Simon|
|Alter ego||Fred Parrish|
|Abilities||Lightning bolt projection|
Use of a "lightning gun"
Initially published by Novelty Press, Blue Bolt Comics, one of the earliest comic books titled after a single character, ran 101 issues, cover-dated June 1940 to August 1951. Its namesake hero was created by writer-artist Joe Simon for Funnies Inc., one of the earliest comic-book "packagers" that produced outsourced comics on demand for publishers entering the fledgling medium. By the second issue, Simon had enlisted Jack Kirby as the series co-writer/artist, starting the first pairing of the future comic book legends who shortly thereafter created Captain America and other characters. As Simon recalled in a 1998 Comic-Con International panel in San Diego, California,:
I was doing freelance work and I had a little office in New York about ten blocks from DC [Comics]' and Fox [Feature Syndicate]'s offices, and I was working on Blue Bolt for Funnies, Inc. So, of course, I loved Jack's work and the first time I saw it I couldn't believe what I was seeing. He asked if we could do some freelance work together. I was delighted and I took him over to my little office. We worked from the second issue of Blue Bolt...
As the popularity of superheroes began to fade in the post-World War II era, Blue Bolt was transformed from a superhero into a plainclothes type of hero.
In 1949, Novelty Press sold its assets, including Blue Bolt, to series cover artist L. B. Cole due to the growing criticism over violence in comic books. Using his new assets, Cole began his own company, Star Publications. By 1951, Blue Bolt Comics' name had been changed to Blue Bolt Weird Tales of Terror and featured the type of horror covers epitomized by EC Comics. A couple of issues after the name change, the Blue Bolt was dropped in favor of horror stories. With issue #120 (published in 1953) the title was changed to Ghostly Weird Stories.
After college football star Fred Parrish is struck by lightning during practice he boards a plane in order to seek help. This plane is struck by a second lightning bolt, causing the plane to crash. Finding himself underground, Parrish is found by a scientist named Bertoff who heals him using an experimental radium treatment. This treatment gives Parrish super powers.
Using his powers and a lightning gun given to him by Bertoff, Parrish takes up the name the Blue Bolt and battles the underground forces of the evil Green Sorceress. After a year, the Blue Bolt discovers that World War II has started. He journeys back to the surface to fight against the Nazis.
After being struck by lightning twice and being healed via an experimental treatment, Fred Parrish gained the ability to project lightning bolts. He also possessed a lightning gun which could shoot lightning bolts.