Clark Mason

First Appearance: Spy Fighters #1 (March 1951).
Appearances: Spy Fighters #1-15.
Years Active: 1951-?

Clark Mason is a stalwart Commie fighter of the 1950s, and perhaps the quintessential Atlas Action Hero. He's a square-jawed, two-fisted, tough-talking American, with wavy black hair and, in the war issues, stubble on his chin. He's more gruff and more of an obvious tough guy than Kent Blake, Rick Davis, and the other Atlas spy-fighter types.

The Clark Mason stories come in two varieties. Sometimes he's Captain Mason, an ordinary grunt fighting the Red Menace during the Korean War. And sometimes he's a top secret agent, fighting Soviet spies at home and abroad, and even behind enemy lines during the Korean War.

Typical missions for the war-time Captain Mason might be: leading two thieves--one American, one South Korean--far behind enemy lines to steal North Korean blueprints from North Korean Army headquarters; helping to escort a war correspondent and his photographer along the front lines, and then leading a long-range sortie behind North Korean/Chinese lines to rescue them once they are "captured," and then shooting and capturing the pair when it's revealed that they're Red Agents (just can't trust the Press, can you?); exposing Red propaganda about American use of germ warfare (it was them Damn Commies what did it); and leading a break-out from a P.O.W. camp.

During the issues when he was not at war, Mason fought against the Communists in places like Caracas, Toulon, Cairo, Mecca, and in Moscow, where he impersonated the "boss of the West German Red Terror apparatus."

Mason is a committed anti-Communist and an enthusiastic and even zealous enemy of spies and all things Red. He takes no guff from anyone and is quite devoutly hard-line in his pursuit of the death of Communism; during the Korean War, when one of his soldiers tries to desert from his command while under fire, Mason says that he'll shoot the man if he tries it again--and it's quite clear that Mason is not only capable of such a thing but is in fact quite willing to do it.

Mason is not, however, completely lacking in sympathy and compassion; in one story he goes out of his way to help a convicted crook and coward become a better man and a complete patriot. Mason is very dogged and determined as an enemy of the Soviet Union, to the point where he places anti-Communism above other, more more humane principles. In one story anti-Communist rebels in Poland blow up the munitions-carrying "Moscow Express." Mason is torn between approving of the act--it hits the Soviets where they hurt--and finding it grim and sad--the Express was a passenger train.

The department or agency that Mason works for was never identified, so far as I was able to read, but it seems to have been an unnamed Central Intelligence Agency. Mason goes where they need him; when he's needed behind the Iron Curtain, he reports to "the Chief of Operations in the Baltic Zone."

Notes: The not-so-distinctive picture on the top of the page is of Mason during the war in Korea, lecturing the homefront reader on the realities of the war. The lower picture is from Clark's spy fighting days, where he dresses a bit neater and has the luxury of wearing a nice overcoat. And, of course, helping attractive blonde women escape over the border of Iron Curtain countries into the Free World....

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