Brother Power, The Geek #1

Brother Power The Geek #1, October 1968

A bunch of “flower children” are hanging out on a stoop. A couple are strumming guitars, some are lying on the pavement, all are contentedly staring at potted flowers. As you do. Suddenly, the tranquility of the scene is shattered as leather-clad bikers roar into view. They beat up the hippies, sending the peace signs scattering.

“The neighborhood isn’t safe any more, Brother Paul..,” says Brother Nick, and Brother Paul, holding his bruised nose, agrees.

At an abandoned tailor’s shop, three hippies rest up. Brother Paul rinses his bloodied clothes. Someone spots a fabric dummy hanging on a wall, and so Paul dresses the dummy in his clothes and props it against a radiator to dry. While doing so, he accidentally knocks over a can of oil.

The dummy is left there for months. One night, attracted by the old iron radiator, a bolt of lightning flies through the window and strikes the “oil soaked, blood stained rags”. As a result, the dummy springs to life. Awakened by the noise, the three hippies are startled at the sight of the perambulating dummy. They’re even more startled a second later by the bikers crashing through the shop window! The bikers kick, smash and stomp on the dummy, but it fights back and throws them out the window.

“Brother Paul, that’s power! Brother Power!” exclaims Brother Nick.

They watch the creature closely. “It’s for real, all right, but real what? It doesn’t talk… is it evil? Good? Or just a Geek!” They decide that, whatever it is, it’s been sent to protect them: “Like, who needs protection more?”

The “Brother Power” tag sticks and he becomes a familiar sight in the area, creating little curiosity. Hey, it was the 60’s!

Brother Power leaps over the city

Impressed by Brother Power’s amazing strength, the hippies feel duty-bound to educate him. They teach him to talk and strum a guitar: “Man, I tell it like it is now! The sound is groovey! It blows my mind!” says Power.

Having taught him all they can, the hippies send Brother Power to school. However, he doesn’t like having to sit with all the little first year kids and so drops out. Determined that he get a good education — obviously they’re concerned about his future career prospects! — the hippies fold Brother Power up and pop him in a school bag and take him to class!! He’s soon soaking up all there is to learn in the science lab.

One evening, a Psychedlic Circus comes to town and captures Brother Power. Nick and Paul race to gather their fellow hippies to help, but come up against some stiff opposition: “Sure, we feel for the freakout, but those mongrels are a bad scene!!”

Nick and Paul decide that everyone should dress up as super-heroes and parade through the town singing songs.

God. Alone. Knows. Why.

The hippies dress as super-heroes and sing

The bikers reappear and beat everyone up.

Later, Nick and Paul track down the Psychedelic Circus and find Brother Power is being displayed in a freak show. They free him thanks to a lucky explosion and take him home. There, girl hippie, Cindy, sews him up and combs his hair, giving him a makeover. “Do you really think I’m attractive, Cindy?” he asks. He decides that he has to make something of himself, be “somebody a girl could be proud of!”

babe magnet, Brother Power

He decides to become President and runs for congress on a platform of “Love, Peace and Flower Power!”.

I’m really not making this up.

The police arrive to arrest Brother Power for smashing up the Psychedlic Circus. He flees and becomes a fugitve from justice, pursued through the sewers by bikers. On live television, he takes on one of the bikers, comandeers his bike and zooms into the city, leaping over skyscrapers on his motor bike — even Evel Knievel would’ve been impressed by that little feat!

The National Guard are called out, and Brother Power is trapped on a bridge. Fearing for his life, and realising there’s nowhere else to go, he guns the bike over the edge of the bridge and down into the river below.

Witnessing all this the hippies lament his loss. “Poor Pow! He had such a short trip on this earth!”

“A hank o’ hair, a rag and a bone! He was hardly more than a dummy! Yet, he was almost the very most!”

“There, in the deep still waters, rests a man who could have been — a Congressman — a Governor — even –!”

“…A President!” finishes a tearful Cindy.

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Like, wow, man!

What can you say about a comic like that? Classic? Hardly. Bonkers? Certainly!

The credits list Joe Simon as the writer and artist of this, er, masterpiece. While he probably wrote the script, I’m not so sure he actually drew the art: it doesn’t look much like his style, and he was more of an inker than a penciller anyway. The inking doesn’t have any of his familiar touches either.

This was published in 1968 when Simon was in his mid-50s. Looking at the changing world around him and the rising tide of teenage disenchantment and rebellion, Simon must have thought that a comic series that focussed on the plight of the hippies would make for good sales. After all, Stan Lee over at Marvel was actively courting the teenage and college readers and getting good figures as a result. Sadly for Joe, while Stan (not to mention Joe’s old partner, Jack Kirby), was a dab hand at tapping into the psyche of college-goers, Joe just came across as a middle-aged man trying to be hip.

Apparently sales on the title were modest, but okay. However Mort Weisinger, DC’s senior editor, hated the whole hippie movement, and resented a title sympathetic to their cause being on the publishing schedule. He had the clout, and so Brother Power’s days were numbered.

I don’t really think anyone missed him.

©2009 DC Comics