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The Steel Claw (comics) facts for kids

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The Steel Claw
Publication information
Publisher IPC Magazines/ Quality Comics/Wildstorm (DC Comics)
First appearance Valiant, 6 October 1962
Created by Tom Tully
Jesús Blasco
In-story information
Alter ego Louis Crandell
Team affiliations The Shadow Squad
Notable aliases Lewis Randell
Abilities Invisibility. Steel Claw containing a different weapon in each finger, the Claw was also remote controlled.

The Steel Claw was one of the most popular comic book heroes of British weekly adventure comics of the 1960s and 1970s. The character was revived in 2005 for Albion, a six issue mini-series published by the Wildstorm imprint of DC Comics.

Fictional character biography

Louis Crandell was the assistant to the scientist Professor Barringer, until a laboratory accident in which he lost his right hand. He then used a prosthetic metal hand to substitute for it. In another laboratory accident, with a new ray, if he received a high voltage electric shock (from power lines, etc.) he would become invisible for a limited period of time, with the exception of his artificial hand.

Crandell initially used his newfound gift to steal, and became a psychotic criminal. In early strips he was clearly a villain, but he later decided to use his new powers in crime fighting (it was explained that the accident which made it possible for him to become invisible had temporarily made him insane). He joined a British secret service and espionage agency, known as the Shadow Squad. Armed with his steel claw, which by now was equipped with a variety of weapons and tools in each finger, as well as with his power of invisibility, Louis Crandell battled various criminal geniuses, aliens, and the organisation known as F.E.A.R. (the Federation for Extortion, Assassination and Rebellion).

Louis Crandell briefly donned a metal mesh superhero outfit for a time during his adventures. His claw had a number of inbuilt weapons, amongst them being able to fire missiles and gas along with a built in radio transmitter and receiver. This was not to last though, and Crandell quickly returned to his secret agent roots. By now his Claw was also remote controlled and stacked full of gadgets. After retiring from the Shadow Squad, Louis Crandell became a detective, and then a bounty hunter, before distrust of his past eventually led him to go to South America, where he continued to fight crime.

When The Steel Claw was reprinted by Quality Comics, a framing sequence featured Crandell (called Randell in this version) as an aging secret agent reflecting on his early criminal career. His appearance in Zenith saw him disabled during battle, eventually dying from blood loss. This was followed by his appearance in 2000AD Action, where Crandell was portrayed as a burnt out government assassin.

In Paul Grist's comic, Jack Staff, a character called Ben Kulmer appears as The Claw. This character is a thief who tries to steal the Claw from a museum, only to have it attach itself to his left hand, and then receives the same invisibility powers, as well as added strength and shock powers in the Claw. He is now working as part of a group called "Q".

In the novel Sherlock Holmes y los zombis de Camford (Sherlock Holmes and the Camford Zombies, Ediciones Dolmen, 2010; ) by Spanish author Alberto López Aroca, Steel Claw (Louis Crandell) appears under the name "Lewis Crandle", and his career as an agent of the Shadow Squad (a branch of the Club Diogenes from Arthur Conan Doyle's stories in this version) is set back to the beginning of the 20th century (the novel takes place in 1903). "Lewis Crandle" appears in this novel alongside a number of other IPC-Fleetway characters (Timothy Jekyll aka Tim Kelly; Seth Pride aka Spider (British comics); Mightech aka Mytek The Mighty; among others.)

Steel Claw around the world

The Steel Claw enjoyed wide popularity in Europe and Asia, the adventures featuring the Shadow Squad being the most popular of the series.

Steel Claw in France

The Steel Claw is known as Main d’Acier in France, which literally means “Hand of Steel”. In France, several series of The Steel Claw appeared, published by Gémini editions and MCL. The early Steel Claw series appeared in the Gémini editions which were published between 1962 and 1980.

Steel Claw in Germany

In Germany in the 1970s the magazine Vulcan was published under the title Kobra, which used most of IPC's adventure strips, including The Steel Claw, Mytek the Mighty, Kelly's Eye, The Spider, and Robot Archie. However, the stories which were published in Kobra were partly incomplete, switching between stories unpredictably. Finally the magazine was discontinued, leaving German fans in dismay. For reasons unknown, the Steel Claw's alter ego was named "Bert Crandell" in Germany.

Steel Claw in Finland

Steel Claw was published in Finland in the early 1970s, firstly in a series of digest-sized pocket books, and then as part of the "Sarjakuvalehti", which had three or four different stories each month. The series were mostly about The Steel Claw's adventures as a Shadow Squad agent. The Steel Claw stories also appeared occasionally in "Mustanaamio" during the early 1980s.

Steel Claw in Netherlands

Steel Claw was published in the Netherlands in the pocket (digest sized) comic serie Superstrip as De Stalen Vuist (Steel Fist) since the late 1960s. #1 in this series was actually a Steel Claw story.

Steel Claw in Sweden

Steel Claw was published in Sweden under the name Stålhanden (Steel Hand) from 1969 onwards, in the magazines Swisch (1969-70 - 19 issues published, then absorbed in Serie-Nytt), Serie-Nytt (1970–74), reprints appeared in Seriemagasinet (1977–80), various very early stories thus far unreleased in Sweden are found in its spin-off SM Special (1979–85). Steel Claw episodes appeared sporadically in Seriemagasinet until the late 1990s. Reprints further appeared in Barracuda (1990-91 - 9 issues published).

Steel Claw in Portugal

The Steel Claw is known as Garra d'Aço or Garra de Aço in Portugal, literally from the English "Steel Claw". It seems all the stories published in Portugal are signed Spanish artist Jesus Blasco:

Portugal Press: Jaguar (1971) #3; Titã (1973) #2; Lince (1974) #6; Jornal do Cuto (1971) #19-#41

Agência Portuguesa de Revistas: Ciclone (1972) #565 / Condor Popular #8704

Mundo de Aventuras: (1966–72) #895; #903; #977; #1013; #1026; #1170

Steel Claw was also distributed in Portugal via Angolan Editorial Globo (1976): Grandes Aventuras #1; #2; #3; #5; #7; #10; #12; #14; #16; #18; #24

Steel Claw in South India

Steel Claw achieved cult status in India becoming one of India's most popular action heroes. In Tamil Nadu Irumbukkai Maayavi, in Kerala, Irumbukai Mayavi and Urukkukai Maayavi, and in Andhra Pradesh Ukkupidi Maayavi became a popular hero for many millions of fans. In Tamil Nadu The Steel Claw was published by Muthu Comics in 1971, under the license of Fleetway Publications. In the early seventies in Andhra Pradesh,Ukkupidi Maayavi, the Telugu language version of Steel Claw comics were sold as a supplement along with a popular Telugu children's monthly magazine. Later Lion Comics, published the adventures of Steel Claw in South India.

This series was published in the Hindi monthly magazine Parag under the name fauladi panja.

The series was brought to Kerala by two publishers- Achuthan Book House and Regal Publishers. Kannadi Viswanathan translated Steel Claw as Irumbukai Mayavi for Achuthan Book House; while Thomas Varghese translated the same as Urukkukai Mayavi for Regal Publishers . The tremendous popularity of the series triggered many rip-offs of Steel Claw. CID Michael, CID Moosa and CID Mahesh were the Kerala equivalents of Steel Claw, though their abilities differed. In some comics these characters would make themselves invisible with a wrist watch switch, supposedly an ultra-modern device. In some comics Mahesh is invisible except for his iron helmet, a direct influence from the Steel Claw series. CID Moosa by Kannadi Viswanathan became a cult favorite in Kerala and enjoyed popularity during the Eighties. His abilities did not directly mimic that of Steel Claw and hence is considered the first original detective comic series in Malayalam for teenagers. The movie CID Moosa was loosely inspired by this creation of Kannadi Viswanathan.

Steel Claw in Former Yugoslavia

Steel Claw was first printed by Croatian publishing house "Plavi vjesnik" in its "Super Strip Biblioteka" edition under the name "Čelična Pandža", back in 1967. Later the stories were printed in several magazines all over the country until late '80s. Serbian publisher Dečje novine published this comic in its edition "Gigant" under the name "Čelična Kandža".

Steel Claw was also very popular in Slovenian language magazine Zvitorepec (1966-1973) with estimated peak readership of 300.000 (with about 1.7 million people speaking the language in that time). Title was "Jeklena pest" which means steel fist. There is also a saying:" ni miru za jekleno pest", which means no peace for the steel fist.

Steel Claw Names

Country Name Meaning
France Main d'Acier Steel Hand
Germany Eiserne Hand Iron Hand
Spain Zarpa de Acero Steel Claw
Finland Teräsnyrkki Steel Fist
Netherlands Stalen Vuist Steel Fist
Sweden Stålhanden Steel Hand
Portugal Garra d'Aço / Garra de Aço Steel Claw
Tamil Nadu (India) Irumbukkai Maayavi Iron hand invisible man
Andhra Pradesh (India) Ukkupidi Maayavi Steel Fist invisible man
Kerala (India) Urukkukai Maayavi Iron hand invisible man
Yugoslavia (Former) Čelična Pandža / Čelična Kandža Steel Claw
Slovenia (in former Yugoslavia) Jeklena pest / Ni miru za Jekleno pest Steel Fist / There is no peace for Steel Fist
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