The Crimson Avenger (Lee Walter Travis) is a masked crime fighter in the and the first to use the name "Crimson Avenger." He first appears in Detective Comics #20 (October 1938) and was created by Jim Chambers.
The Crimson Avenger had many similarities to The Green Hornet, including a sidekick named Wing who was an Asian valet and a gas gun that he used to subdue opponents. He initially dressed in a red trenchcoat, a fedora, and a red mask covering his face; except for the red, he was visually similar to The Shadow. Later, when superheroes became more popular than costumed vigilante, his costume was changed to a more standard superhero outfit, consisting of red tights, yellow boots, trunks and crest, and a "sun" symbol which was recently revealed to have been a stylized bullet hole. Some months after this, the Crimson Avenger made his first appearance as a member of the Seven Soldiers of Victory in Leading Comics #1.
Two separate accounts of the Crimson's origins have been printed which complement each other in some areas, but contradict in others. The first origin story appeared in Secret Origins #5, and was written by Roy Thomas, with art by Gene Colan. Taking place in late October 1938, it relates the history of Lee Walter Travis, a member of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War, and as a young publisher of the Globe-Leader, a paper devoted to progressive causes, such as the support of war victims in Asia. A hard working and forward thinking publisher, Travis nevertheless seemed devoted to selling newspapers and his place in the social set, qualities which did not go unnoticed by fellow journalist Claudia Barker, who was interviewing Travis for Downtowner magazine, and Wing How, Travis' valet and chauffeur. Wing in particular was gently vocal in his distaste for wealthy Americans' predilection for solving problems like the war in Asia with parties and charity events.
That would change with a costume ball being held at the Van Gilder estate on the evening of Halloween. Clad in a "highway robber" costume ordered by his secretary, Lee Travis made his first appearance as the Crimson Avenger on the night of Orson Welles famous broadcast of The War of the Worlds. Having gotten advance notice of the radio show, a group of criminals dressed in alien-like costumes took advantage of the ensuing panic in order to rob the Van Gilder party of funds raised for Chinese war victims. In the ensuing melee, Claudia Barker was shot while one of the criminals tried to steal her gold lighter.
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Official Site: D.C Comics
Links: Wikipedia Unoff. Guide to D.C Universe Toonopedia