Steel Sterling (Archie Comics)

Steel Sterling

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


Trad comic books publisher Archie has dabbled on and off with super-heroes. Steel Sterling is one of the earliest one, from early 1940 – back when the publisher still was called MLJ Magazines. There have been attempts to bring him back ever since, every 20 years or so.

Here are rough, generic notes about the older versions of John “Steel Sterling” Sterling.


  • Real Name: John Sterling aka The Man of Steel.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Unnamed father (deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: Terrific Three.
  • Base Of Operations:  ?
  • Height: 6’3”? Weight: 235lbs?
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Blond


Powers and Abilities

Sterling possesses steel hard skin and superstrength. Not even an artillery shell fired at point blank range can penetrate his skin. However he can be dominated by magic and stunned by a blow to the head.

His greatest worry are solar flare-ups, which cause his powers to ebb. His other powers include magnetic properties, and the ability to run his electrolyzed tongue across his teeth to tap telephone wires.

Sterling was also a skilled scientist and detective, as typical of the Golden Age’s omnicompetent heroes.


When his father was killed by gangsters, young John decided to become a crimefighter. Studying chemistry, he searched for something that would give him an edge in battle. What he found was a formula which, theoretically, would give his body the properties of steel.

Coating himself with the formula, he hesitated before taking the last step-diving into a cauldron of molten steel. Mustering his courage, he jumped in and emerged with tissue as mighty and impervious as metal, with magnetic properties to boot.

Rather than adopt a Secret Identity per se, John pretended the superhero was his brother. This gambit proved cumbersome, however, and was abandoned after several months in favor of John being Steel Sterling around the clock.

In a 1983 retelling of the origin story, Sterling is hypnotized by a star, which compels him to walk through flames at an iron foundry, whence he gets his powers. The star thereafter leads him to a garbage pail where his costume is mysteriously planted.


Steel Sterling was driven to fight injustice by the death of his father. However he displayed more of a heroic personality than the “Grim Avenger” type.


“As long as there are evil masterminds, we super cats will continue our ultrafight to see that right always triumphs !”

DC Universe History

A guy who like to call himself the “Man of Steel” who’s powers are affected by the Sun… Hmmmm.

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

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Steel Sterling

Dex: 07 Str: 11 Bod: 07 Motivation: Responsibility of Seeking Justice
Int: 07 Wil: 06 Min: 06 Occupation: Private Detective
Inf: 06 Aur: 05 Spi: 06 Wealth: 008
Init: 020 HP: 090

Flame Immunity: 07, Hypersensitive Touch: 10, Jumping: 03, Magnetic Control: 05, Running: 05, Skin Armor: 05

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Hypersensitive Touch only within his mouth.
  • Magnetic Control is Serious Marginal power.

Acrobatics: 04, Charisma*: 06, Detective*: 07, Gadgetry*: 07, Scientist*: 07, Vehicles (Air Vehicles, Land Vehicles)*: 07

Genius, Scholar (chemistry).

Terrific Three (Low).

Loss Vulnerability (Solar Flare Ups, No Intrinsic Range, Physical Attributes, and All Powers).


  • COSTUME [/BODY/ 07] (only useful during Power outages).
  • STERLING SCOOTER [BODY 09 STR 07, Air-Walking: 01, Attraction/Repulsion: 08, Detect(Seismic): 08, Heat Vision: 09, Magnetic Control: 05, Mental Blast: 07, Running: 07, Built In AC Omni Gadget of 7 APs (used briefly in the 1960s)].
  • ANTIGRAVITY BELT [BODY 07, Flight: 08 (also used briefly in the 1960s)].

HONCHO (pet dog) [DEX 06, STR 04, BODY 05, INT 02, WIL 02, MIN 04, INF 02, AUR 02, SPI 04, Analytical Smell: 08, Extended Hearing: 04, Running: 05, Shrinking: 01, Super Hearing: 04, Power Bonuses and Limitations:Shrinking: Power Always On].

By Jackson.

Helper(s): Roy Cowan.

Source of Character: Archie Comics.