The Firefly....grim avenger of the night, and nemesis of all crimeland. Long ago, Harley Hudson, brilliant scientist, discovered the secret of the strength of insects. But the scientific proof of his life-work was destroyed by gangsters. It was then that he made the resolve to use his new-gained knowledge in the extermination of the vermin of society and became......THE FIREFLY!
The Firefly was a monthly feature in Top-Notch Comics, beginning with issue #8 (September 1940) and running for twenty issues until #27 (May 1942); after that the publisher changed the format of Top-Notch Comics from a superhero book to a humor book. The Firefly was the creation of writer Harry Shorten (creator of the syndicated feature There Oughta Be a Law!) and artist Bob Wood. Wood was the co-creator of Crime Doesn't Pay, the first comic book without continuing characters; Shorten went on to become a book publisher for Leisure Books, BelmontTower Books, Midwood Books, and Midwood-Tower Publications.
Since he was a child, Harley Hudson had the dream of becoming a crime-fighter. devoting himself to becoming physically a ble to do the job. now -- a few years after his graduation from college, where he majored in biology and chemistry -- Harley made an amazing discovery. The mighty strength of insects was not due to the square-cube law but totheir ability to coordinate their muscles. Harley trains himself to coordinate his muscles as the insects do and soon dons the costume of The Firefly, The Enemy of Crime! Iy should be noted that he has no superpowers -- only his own natural abilities enhanced by trining. Harley's main squeeze was reporter Joan Burton. (Being a gal reporter was almost de rigueur for the female intersest in superhero comics.)
The Firefly's costume appears to be a tight-fitting, black, one-piece costume which covered him for toe to neck and a black mask. The hands and feet of his body suit were orange, each ending in jagged streaks. At the center of his chest was a blazing orange sun. He wore a wide blue belt and orange shorts. And for a special treat, the orange parts of his home-made (?) costume lit up in the dark! Since he did have any of the powers of insects, he naturally assumed the firefly as his avatar because he would be "lighting up the darkness that shrouds the underworld." In his first appearance he is pictured battling (clockwise from the top) Murder, Swindle, Robbery, Blackmail, Arson, and Kidnap -- quite an ambitious agenda, if you ask me. What he really does in this first case is to come up against a mad (unnamed) professor who has developed mechanical brains to insert into people he has kidnapped, turning them into large, green, disfigured slaves. He drugs Harley and plans to use him a kidnapped blonde reporter who shows a lot of leg in her short dress into slaves who will create a new race. (Spoiler alert: the blonde chick is Joan Burton.) Harley must overcome the powerful drug, two mean green creaatures, a large ape named Mongo, and the mad professor himself before he and Joan can escape this mad lair.
And the adventures just kept coming...
Just click on the link to follow Harley through all twenty of his adventures.