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Comic Book / Judomaster

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Judomaster was a Charlton Comics character created by Joe Gill and Frank McLaughlin who was later bought by DC Comics. Sergeant Hadley "Rip" Jagger was introduced in an intended one-shot in 1965 where he ended up as the only American survivor on a small island currently being overtaken by the Japanese in the Pacific Theater of WWII. He was rescued by a group of guerrilla fighters trying to push the Japanese military from their home island, who took him to their hidden base and taught him martial arts. He is given his costume and hero name by their leader after he starts helping them fight against the Japanese and manages to prove unbelievably adept at Judo, somehow surpassing his instructor in his short time training. Rip was brought back with his own self-titled ten-issue series due to popular demand where he picked up the Japanese-American kid sidekick Tiger.

Charlton Comics' Judomaster provides examples of:

  • Affirmative-Action Legacy: Rip Jagger, a white man, was replaced with Sonia Sato, an Asian woman. There was a previous Asian Judomaster in the 90s. He appeared in one issue and was never seen again.
  • All Asians Wear Conical Straw Hats: One of these hats even provides the perfect disguise for a white blonde blue-eyed woman in Tokyo. It lets her pass as a Japanese man somehow.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Tiger, Judomaster's Japanese-American Kid Sidekick. He actually got the name due to Rip calling him "tiger" in the same way one might say "kid" or "sport" and his costume does not reflect the animal at all.
  • Asian Speekee Engrish: It's almost always unclear what language is actually being spoken outside of interactions between members of the American military but the Mountain Storm seems to have trouble with English.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: Several of the dinos on can be sort of compared to actual dinosaurs even if they only look kinda inspired by them, but then there's the giant iguana. That is definitely just a giant iguana regardless of what any characters claim.
  • Asian Buck Teeth: Quite a few of the Japanese characters have buck teeth, including Tiger, although only in his first appearance.
  • Badass Normal: No powers, just martial arts training.
  • Chest Insignia: His costume has the sun of the rising sun centered on his chest with the rays expanding out over his torso.
  • Chickification: Suzikawa was an active and stoic member of the resistance fighters in the original comic, where she ended up getting shot and was back on her feet in short order. In the ongoing series, she's reduced to the love-struck love interest who stays cooped up in the resistance fighter's hidden base pining after Rip and only leaves it to join the adventure in the final issue where she is quickly captured and lets men and children do the fighting while she stays behind them for protection.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: The comic is so concerned with reminding the reader that Tiger is an orphan with no family to excuse his becoming a sidekick for Judomaster that he is never given a name. Literally every time he's asked his name he instead reiterates that he's an orphan with no parents, and then gets cut off before having a chance to actually answer the question.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Implied by the island full of dinosaurs being called the island of dragons but the creatures therein are all treated as dinosaurs rather than dragons.
  • Dragon Lady: Tokyo Rose, the seductive English language Japanese propaganda broadcaster.
  • Dumb Muscle: Mountain Storm is treated this way by everyone, and while he is definitely the muscle in his every appearance, he seems no more or less intelligent than anyone else in the story. Save maybe Bushuri, but he cheats by being the only regularly practical character in the book.
  • Fad Super: A twofer, cashing in on the late '60s Japanophilia and the popularity of World War II stories.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Rip basically lunges right into the world's most obvious pit trap while looking for Tiger when the kid goes missing.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: Judomaster and Tiger sneak around in a bright yellow and red costume and a blinding white with red accents costume respectively. Which somehow works, they're even called ninjas by their opponents.
  • Idiot Ball: While the idiot ball is a popular accessory in this series Rip's Judomaster costume nearly seems a visual representation of one as he seems far more competent and sane as Rip, probably due to acting like an Army Sergeant rather than a martial artist superhero who needs to solve everything with martial arts.
  • Immigrant Patriotism: Judomaster's sidekick Tiger was a Japanese American boy a bit too young to actually join the military, so he stowed away on Rip's plane to help America fight Imperial Japan as a costumed special operative instead.
  • Kid Sidekick: Tiger, who was a Japanese-American boy that tagged along with the unaware Rip from the Heart Mountain War Relocation Center, the Japanese incarceration camp in Wyoming.
  • Mighty Whitey: Who knew, for someone to truly exemplify the Japanese code of honor and show them how to really use their martial arts, just teach some blonde white guy about it for a couple of months.
  • Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow: Rip and Suzi, who went from a stoic active member of the resistance in the original comic to the teary-eyed completely enamored non-action love interest in the series.
  • Military Superhero: Rip is a Sergeant in the US Army, and also a special operative under the Judomaster name.
  • Non-Powered Costumed Hero: Judomaster, who uses his mastery of judo to combat crime.
  • No Swastikas: Averted. Not only is Rip running around wearing a slightly recolored rising sun, the Nazi villain Smiling Skull wears a swastika.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Tiger. Rip called him "tiger" in their first meeting and then slowly seemed to forget that it wasn't the kid's actual name, going so far as to call him the shortened "Tig" when he wanted to call him something other than Tiger out of costume.
  • Pit Trap: Rip falls into one while looking for Tiger, even though their original plan had called for one of them staying behind as Tiger is doing. Later he and Tiger are tossed back into it together after Tiger has to try and save him and a real tiger is released in with them.
  • Retroactive Legacy: Years after DC gained the characters Judomaster and Tiger thanks to a buy-out of Charlton Comics, the two were retconned into being members of the All-Star Squadron, despite never actually appearing in that series.
  • Superhero Sobriquets: Judomaster is "The Crimson Crusher", or "The Scarlet Smasher".
  • Token Enemy Minority: Tiger, being Japanese during World War II — his character was first published in the '60s.
  • Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: Judomaster mostly works behind enemy lines and he has some trouble getting back out on at least one occasion and brings up the potential complications a few times.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Rip wears the rising sun emblem of Imperial Japan (his enemies) proudly across his entire torso, which might explain why it was so easy to convince people he'd switched sides. Tiger just straight up wears a Japanese flag motif (again, the county of Japan is his enemy, and he's fighting them because he is American and proud of it).
  • White Man's Burden: Despite initial reluctance Rip takes in the Japanese-American orphan from the incarceration camp who he showed what an honorable fighter really looks like, though he can't seem to be bothered to ask his new ward his name.
  • World War II: The setting is WWII's Pacific Theater, except for the two issues in America one of which was at an incarceration camp and the other of which was as Rip's old college.
  • Yellow Peril: Most of the villains play on this, but "Japanese Sandman" really plays it straight with his Fu Manchu facial hair and long nails.