Before we begin I would like to talk briefly about the horrible mass shooting in Orlando. Since I write these blog posts several days in advance, and since I make it a point to make these articles goofy and funny, it seemed in poor taste to not acknowledge this awful tragedy and pretend everything was “business as usual”.
I actually went to college near Orlando and as a result I have several friends who live in the general area. Thankfully they are all unharmed but it is important to remember that events like these have a tremendous negative impact on communities, residents, and survivors alike that last well beyond the time when the news cameras stop rolling and the experts stop talking.
This was an awful and horrific tragedy and I respectfully ask for your thoughts and prayers for the victims and survivors of the shooting. Thank you.
Today we’re going to talk about the three Xs.
No! Not that kind of X. Besides, the comic book world doesn’t need my help when in comes to adult entertainment.
No, today we are going to talk about one of the most obscure superhero teams of all time, a rough and tumble group of early superheroes who worked together to fight crime. They’re so obscure that I could barely find any pictures of them and you know what? It’s a crying shame that more people don’t know about them.
Today, I present…the Three Xs.
Origin and Career
The Three X’s first appeared in Mystic Comics #1 in March of 1940.
The only credit I can seem to find is that they were created by a man named Robert O. Erisman. Again, I can’t find much of what he did except for the fact that he was the editor of a magazine called Marvel Science Stories.
The magazine was initially home to trashy science fiction but would later host sci fi greats such as Arthur C. Clarke (the man who wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey) and Issac Asimov (who basically invented everything we know about robots).
If it seems like I’m circling around the subject of the actual super heroes it’s because there wasn’t a whole lot of stuff to write about. The Three X’s were a group of private detectives who went around fighting crime and each member had their own specialties. There was 1x
who was a highly skilled criminologist and detective.
Then there was 2x
the group’s inventor and resident nerd (after all…he has glasses) and finally there was 3x,
a skilled boxer and the group’s resident brawler.
In the group’s first and only case they were hired by the Baltimore Police Commissioner (because law enforcement was something you could just outsource in the 1940’s) to track down a kidnapped lady by the name of Maisie Leeds. The group managed to trace the kidnappings back to a villain known only as the Green Terror.
The Green Terror was actually a pretty effective villain. He was from South Africa and he was basically immortal…so long as he consumed the blood of young people on a regular basis.
The Three X’s track the Green Terror, get captured, manage to escape, and take down the Green Terror with little to no difficulty. It’s a pretty standard story.
So what happened?
Like I said above, the Three X’s only appeared in one issue and that was it. There was no follow up, no second story, and not even a modern revival of the characters.
The sad thing is, I actually think these characters would make a fantastic addition to the Marvel Universe. You have three incredibly brilliant individuals working together to solve crimes.
They are all experts in their fields (I love old school sci fi tech and I just know that someone like 2x could create some really cool gadgets and devices), they are clearly not phased with going toe to toe with some of the more sinister elements of the superhero world, and they are just obscure enough and just generic enough that a good writer could turn them into something really interesting.
What are their real names?
Where do they come from?
How did they meet?
Do they have lives outside of detective work?
What motivated them to become detectives in the first place?
All this and more is ripe for the taking because as far as I can tell, these guys are in the public domain and its about time someone brought them back and made them into the proper heroes they deserve to be.