The Shield is the name of a patriotic superhero created by MLJ (now known as Archie Comics). There have been several different incarnations of the character to date, with the third being introduced in 2015.
The Shield debuted in 1940's Pep Comics #1. He is considered the first patriotic superhero, predating Captain America by over a year. In his classic origin Joseph "Joe" Higgins is a chemist who gives himself invulnerability, super strength, and the ability able to make great leaps. Using the initials S.H.I.E.L.D. as his secret identity, Joe later becomes an FBI agent.
In 1959, Joe was replaced with Lancelot Strong, but his comic only lasted two issues. Lancelot's scientist father did tests on him as an infant in order to create superhumans. After his father was killed by foreign agents, Lancelot was adopted by a farm couple. It wasn't until he was older that he discovered his powers, which included super-strength, flight, the ability to generate lightning, and near-invulnerability. Using a patriotic costume his adopted father made, Lancelot became the Shield. He later joined the Army.
Both versions of the character were revived by Red Circle Comics in the 1980s. In 1991, Archie licensed their superheroes to DC Comics. Under the imprint called Impact Comics, the series The Legend of the Shield lasted from 1991 to 1995. In 2015, Archie's began publishing new Shield comics under their Dark Circle Comics banner. They introduced a new version of the character, a woman named Victoria Adams.
This comic provides examples of:
- Depending on the Writer: What are The Shield's powers? Is it invulnerability, super strength, and the ability able to make great leaps or limited flight, superhuman strength, and advanced sensory abilities?
- Disappeared Dad:
- In his original origin story, Tom's father was killed by Germans. The plot starts with Tom trying to clear his dad's name after the explosion.
- Dusty's father was killed by foreign agents. Joe adopted him and made him into his sidekick.
- Kid Sidekick: The Shield's original sidekick was Dusty Simmons, a young boy he adopted after his father was killed.
- Legacy Character: There's been three main Shields: Joe Higgins, Lancelot Strong, and Victoria Adams. There have also been a few lesser-known ones, like Michael Barnes,.
- Spin-Offspring: Bill Higgins, Joe Higgins' son, took up the mantle.