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Radar the International Policeman (Fawcett Comics)

Radar the International Policeman


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Radar was a Golden Age  character, from Fawcett Comics. He debuted in 1941 in Captain Marvel Adventures, apparently from the same team as Cap. Radar technology was back then a recent, critical-to-the-war development.

This short profile was done by Sean as part of an “obscure 1940s” character arc, drawing from reprints (though few were available back then) and comic book history articles.


Background

  • Real Name: Pep Pepper.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Mother (mind-reader), father (strong-man/acrobat).
  • Group Affiliation: The International Police (formerly US Army).
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile, and I mean mobile ! Any country is fair game.
  • Eyes: Perpetually squinting. Hair: Black


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Powers and Abilities

Radar has some skills from inherited from his circus parents, and the rest presumably came from military training and/or natural ability.

He is an incredible marksman with a gun (even shooting off someone else’s ropes while his hands were also tied behind his back), but he rarely uses a gun, preferring to resort to his hands.

However, while he can certainly dish it out, he can not take it very well ; he is never hit without being KOed.

He apparently has “one of those faces” that is quite common. In one adventure, a fellow international policeman is killed, and this policeman looks just like Radar (except for having a moustache). This might not seem too odd, until we learn that a criminal *also* looks just like this dead man, and both Radar and this criminal spend some time impersonating the dead man.

Furthermore, Radar knows a variety of languages (presumably), as he is able to travel the world over without trouble (back before everyone spoke English). The only language specifically mentioned that he knows is Spanish, which he is able to read.

Powers

Radar’s superhuman abilities consist of his mind-reading powers and his “radar vision”. As Radar can only read surface thoughts, he often has to interrogate his foes after reading their minds. Radar’s radar vision is a mixed bag of powers, much like “Martian Vision”. At first, it was little more than X-Ray vision, but it developed into much more.

In early adventures, he had to learn his new missions by seeing what was being typed up for him back at Mt. Mysto. Later, he began to “see” radio transmissions sent from Mt. Mysto (It seems as if he could see the words flying through the air near the radio tower.) Furthermore, on one adventure, a friend of his sends Radar a telepathic message about a return to fascism in Spain, which Radar was able to detect by using his “radar vision”.

Furthermore, even when acting as X-Ray Vision, the visions that Radar receives rarely correlate to the scene directly behind an object. For example, when using his power on a picture (behind which was a wall safe), he saw a vision of the picture moved to the side, with the safe now visible.

Likewise, when he used his power on a door, behind which was an ambush waiting for him, he saw the ambush from the viewpoint of a person behind the ambushers, instead of a person in front of them.


History

(plagiarized from Steranko’s History of Comics, volume 2) :

One of the last of the Fawcett characters to classify as super hero material, premiered in Captain Marvel 35, May 1944. His first appearance was, to say the least, rather unusual for a comic hero. He showed up — in drag.

He had the further distinction of being introduced by Bob Hope, pictured as doing one of his famous USO shows for soldiers. Hope announced Miss Dorothy Lamour, but Private Pep Pepper emerged from behind the curtain in a potato sack sarong, with a floor mop for a wig.

Pepper barely escaped being arrested and went on to give Hope and his troop (including the real Miss Lamour) a show they could watch for a change. His acrobatics and magic tricks impressed Billy Batson who reciprocated as Captain Marvel by saving Pepper from a plunge from a trapeze.

Captain Marvel stayed around to put on a boxing demonstration with the talented private, only to find to his astonishment that Pepper was able to dodge every one of his mighty punches. Suddenly Pepper turned and knocked out the referee, Major Stuff. Why ?Because Pepper knew the major was a fake, a Nazi spy. How ? Because he had read the spy’s mind !

Pepper went on: “I come from a line of circus folk,” he revealed. ”My father owned his own show. He was a strong man and an acrobat, and my mother was a mind-reader. Guess I just inherited it !”

Sensing the value of Pep Pepper’s talents, Captain Marvel arranged a meeting with a certain distinguished group in a darkened room. That group consisted of Franklin, Winston, Joe, and Kai-Shek. The spokesman, Franklin, said, “We believe an international police force will be necessary to maintain the peace ! The work will be dangerous ! You’ll have no official backing, but if you accept, speak only the name that shall henceforth be yours—Radar !” Needless to say, Pep Pepper spoke his new name.

Master Comics, issue 50, recapped Radar’s origin tale, and sent him off on his first mission to rout the Nazis out of South America. Radar’s costume consisted of a reversible raincoat which was popular in the forties and a green felt hat.

As Radar, he wore the white side outside, but when in disguise, whether he was indoors or out, he turned the coat inside out and wore the green plaid side outside. Unfortunately, Radar’s attempts at keeping world peace were not much more successful than his disguise. He continued in Master Comics until issue 87 [.]

[end plagiarism]

Radar’s missions come from Mt. Mysto, which is apparently the headquarters for the International Police. Where in the world Mt. Mysto is, I have no idea.

Radar’s adventures take him to a variety of other countries, including real ones like Spain or China, or fictional ones like the South American countries of “Teru” and “Rolivia”.Often, he gets involved with situations that are not usually considered a policeman’s jurisdiction, such as tariffs on imported bricks or missing UN relief trucks, but these situations are readily handled once the villain behind the scheme is discovered.


Description

In his “secret identity,” of Pep Pepper, he wears a green fedora hat and a green reversible trenchcoat over a suit. To change to Radar, he reverses the trenchcoat, so that he wears the white side on the outside. His hat also changes color somehow.

This “disguise” is sufficient to distinguish between the two people so that nobody realizes that one is the other, but few people care that there is a difference. The main reason to change clothes like this is so that Radar can go incognito.

Presumably, the International Police know his real name, and even when not wearing the trenchcoat, he was referred to as “Radar” by a civilian. Under the trenchcoat, he wears a green suit with a white shirt and dark (black?) tie.


Personality

He’s a bland cop.


Quotes

“This fellow hems and haws too much! I think this calls for a little mind-reading !”


DC Universe History

While Radar probably existed on Earth-S, he was never seen there. His existence in the post-Crisis DCU during the immediately post-War years would not be difficult to assume, provided that one can accept the idea of the “International Police” being formed then. (How does this relate to Interpol?)

The only main change to make is substituting someone else for Captain Marvel in Radar’s origin. Since Bulletman is unlikely to be overseas, I would suggest fellow Fawcett character Minuteman.


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Radar the International Policeman

Dex: 05 Str: 04 Bod: 04 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 07 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: International Policeman
Inf: 06 Aur: 05 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 020 HP: 035

Powers: Mind Probe: 06, X-Ray Vision: 25, Telepathy: 25, Super Hearing: 25

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Mind Probe can only detect surface thoughts, ie, what a character is thinking about at a given moment.
  • Furthermore, it appears as if Mind Probe has two further limitations not specifically mentioned ; the existence of these limitations is deduced by the fact that without these limitations Mind Probe would have been used to better advantage. These Limitations are:
    • Mind Probe may only be used on a target that Radar can see with *normal* vision (not using his “radar vision”).
    • Mind Probe only has a Range of 3 APs.
  • X-Ray Vision represents one aspect of Radar’s “radar vision”. This “radar vision” does not always show (due to artistic license) what someone with X-Ray Vision would expect to see (see Powers and Abilities below for more details.) The Range on X-Ray Vision is large enough for him to see messages being typed at Mt. Mysto while Radar is in another country altogether. Presumably, he can see anywhere in the world using this power, which is why he has so many APs (for the Range).
  • Telepathy is “receive only” and can not be used for Mental Combat. In other words, friends of Radar can choose to send him telepathic messages requiring his assistance. This is also a Bonus since Radar need not have telepathic links already established. This is supposedly another aspect of his “radar vision”.
  • Super Hearing represents Radar’s ability to “hear” (actually see) messages transmitted via radio waves from Mt. Mysto. It seems that Radar can only see radio messages which are transmitted from Mt. Mysto. Since this power is visual and not audial, Radar must look towards Mt. Mysto in order to intercept these messages ; thus, unless he chooses to look at Mt. Mysto, he will not know that there is a message for him there. (This is a Limitation since, if the power were audial, he would hear the messages regardless of whether he was trying to or not.) This is purportedly yet another aspect of Radar’s “radar vision”.

Skills:
Acrobatics*: 05, Artist (Actor, Magic Tricks): 04, Charisma (Interrogation)*: 06, Detective*: 07, Martial Artist*: 05, Military Science: 05, Vehicles*: 05, Weaponry (Firearms): 07

Advantages:
Language (miscellaneous languages), Security Clearance (High).

Drawbacks:
Radar does not really have Secret ID.

Equipment:
Pistol. Does not usually seem to carry one, but sometimes he will.

By Sean MacDonald.

Source of Character: Fawcett Comics.

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