The Golden Age Dr. Light

Personal Data

Real Name Unknown 

Residence: Usually Mobile 
Occupation: Professional Criminal 
First Appearance (Golden Age): All-American Comics #82 (February 1947) 
First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): None

History

        Little is known of the early life of the man who would become known as Dr. Light. It is known that prior to the late 1940's, he occupied a junior faculty position at an Ivy League University but was expelled for conducting experiments with light that were deemed exceedingly dangerous. Obsessed with his research and infuriated at the scorn he had received, Dr. Light determined that what he could not obtain through legal means would be obtained through illegal means, and thus turned to crime.

        In early 1947, Dr. Light  found himself in need of funds to continue his work. He targeted a small New York  town containing a small industrial complex with a significant payroll. At 3 AM on a Thursday morning, Dr. Light strolled through the center of town. As he approached a factory, the city was illuminated with sufficient brightness to mimic daylight. The town arose in utter confusion and while guards and police stared numbly into the sky, Dr. Light used a special light-concentrating flashlight to burn his way into the payroll vault and abscond with large sums of cash.

        Unfortunately for the villain, Dr. Charles McNider, also known as Dr. Mid-Nite was visiting town and was likewise awakened. Using a light-detection device from his own optics research, McNider tracked the source of the light to a local park and, as Dr. Mid-Nite, intercepted Dr. Light as he return to his daylight generator. The two scuffled briefly but Dr. Light gained the upper hand and when Mid-Nite twisted his ankle, took his equipment and the cash in a hasty departure.

    Three nights later, Dr. Light struck again in New York City. Using a "light-thrower" he blinded the guards at Corner Bank and proceeded to loot the safe. En route to a lecture at Sheldon Hall, Charles McNider noticed the bizarre light seeping from the coal chutes and deduced that his quarry had struck again. Quickly ditching Myra Mason, he changed to Dr. Mid-Nite and caught up with Dr. Light. Using a "blackout bomb", Dr. Mid-Nite prevented the criminal from using his light-based weaponry and then waded in to capture him. Dr. Light was arrested for his crimes (All-American Comics #82) and sent to a local jail to await arraignment.

    Dr. Light was not held for long and several months later, had concocted a new plan in which he used his gadgetry to create a giant ruse to fleece the wealthy. Using the vast underground storage area of  Gray's department store, Light created a replica of a giant Roman coliseum. He then used criminal channels to pass the word of a secret civilization, which the wealthy could visit for a price. Quite by accident, Charles McNider dialed his office from a telephone booth near Gray's unaware that doing so opened a chute to this "ancient civilization" used by Light's men to gain access. Initially baffled, Mid-Nite's perspective clarified when he saw Light but the hero was quickly subdued by a large bull Light had brought into his arena for effect. His body was dumped into a sewer drain which carried him to New York Harbor. Coming to his senses, he swam to shore to contemplate his next move.

    Back in his home, Dr. Mid-Nite found his secretary entertaining a young man named Jim, who had been contacted about buying relics from an undiscovered Roman civilization. Suspecting Dr. Light, Dr. Mid-Nite followed Jimmy to a secret chimney passage leading to Light's ruse and caught the villain by surprise. Dr. Lights thugs immediately drew arms but were engulfed in a blackout bomb which allowed Mid-Nite to overcome them with ease. As Dr. Light made a break for the exit, Dr. Mid-Nite quickly closed the gap and apprehended the villain on the sidewalk outside the department store. Dr. Light again made his residence at a New York penitentiary (All-American Comics #89).

    Again Dr. Light was not long for a jail cell. Within weeks of his capture, he had escaped and hatch a new criminal plan. Light developed a special ray which causes plants to grow to enormous proportions and act according to his whims. After giving a carnation to banker Nathan Moray, Light activated a ray which caused the flower to grow to enormous proportions, apparently crush Moray and visiting Myra Mason beneath it. Light then slipped in through a window and proceeded to crack Moray's office safe. Along for the visit with Myra, Dr. Charles McNider witnessed the villain's approach and slipped out to return as Dr. Mid-Nite.  As Mid-Nite tried to grab his recaltriant foe, a ray of light causes a large plant to grow and push him back, while simultaneously lifting Dr. Light out of the hero's reach. Turning back to Myra, Mid-Nite was surprised to find her and the banker gone.

    Returning home, Mid-Nite found Myra in an agitated state and as he tried to speak with her, she flew into a murderous rage and attempted to kill the hero. Their confrontation was short-lived however when a ray from Dr. Light snatched the hero into the air and pulled him in a carnivorous plant grown by the Doctor's special lights. Leaving Mid-Nite to his plight, Dr. Light stunned New Yorkers when he staged a daring robbery of it's Annual Flower Day charity parade with thugs hidden in the flowery floats themselves. However, the day was not yet done.

    Using a blackout bomb, Dr. Mid-Nite had shriveled the would-be man eater and quickly caught up with Dr. Light. Arriving in the nick of time, Mid-Nite not only thrashed Light and his gang but also revealed the conspirator who had allowed his thugs to hide in the floats: Nathan Moray. The entire crew was then carted off to prison, and Dr. Mid-Nite was honored by the naming of a giant black orchid "The Dr. Mid-Nite Orchid".

    Since the late 1940's, the activities of Dr. Light are unknown. Whether he is still active, or indeed, even alive, remains to be seen.

Powers and Abilities: Dr. Light is a brilliant scientist but has no super-powers (or had non by 1950 in any event). His main advantage is his extensive arsenal of light-based technology included devices to alter the growth of plants, generate enormous amounts of heat and a wide array of light emitters and photomagnetic devices.

Weaknesses and Limitations: Without his weapons, which required a steady availablity of light to function, Dr. Light is an ordinary mortal.

Golden Age Appearances

All-American Comics #82
All-American Comics #89
All-American Comics #91

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