Crash Comics, aka Crash Comics Adventures was a comic book series published by Holyoke Publishing in the 1940s. The series ran for five issues before the title was renamed Cat-Man Comics with issue #6. Holyoke went out of business in 1948 and its characters eventually entered the public domain. One of these characters, the Strongman, received top-billing during the run of Crash Comics. The Strongman was one of the public domain comic book characters that Roy Thomas used for the team Battle-Axis in Invaders (Vol. 2). Because of that, this index has included his Holyoke appearances here.
As these comics are now in the public domain and you like torturing yourself, you can read them for free over at the Digital Comic Museum.
Are These Stories Marvel Cannon?
Officially? There is nothing said one way or the other. I do have some speculative ideas on that though…
Looking at these Holyoke stories, it’s pretty obvious that the Strongman was a thinly veiled Superman rip-off. Just like the Superman of the late 30s and early 40s, this nearly invulnerable superhuman would go to countries that were being invaded and smash the invaders with little or no effort. There were cosmetic differences in appearance and the fact that the Strongman’s alter ego was a lazy playboy named Percy Van Norton. The big difference is that instead of coming from another planet, the Strongman got his powers by reading a secret book of yogi exercises. How that makes him nearly invulnerable on top of being super strong is anyone’s guess. It was the 40s, origin stories don’t make sense by today’s standards.
Likely in an effort to make the character less of a Superman rip-off, when Roy Thomas revisited the Strongman’s origins in Invaders (Vol. 2) #3 changed his origins. In that story, Percy explains that he used his wealth for a special formula that gave him his powers. It also states that the formula also affected his intelligence.
To most that would seem to be an open and shut case that the Holyoke stories are not canonical. But that’s just a lazy answer. Marvel has some chronology workarounds that could make this work. For example, All-Winners Squad: Band of Heroes and Young Allies Comics 70th Anniversary Special both present stories that 40s era stories are actually comic books commissioned by the military that are fictional stories based on real events. Based on that, one could assume that this is the case with the Strongman appearances in Crash Comics. It would also would explain why how all the nations that the Strongman saved are fictional ones as opposed to real world ones.
This index only covers the Strongman stories and nothing else. Trust me, the other stories in this series are awful.