and his sidekick
s published by DC Comics
by Jack Kirby
first appeared in Star-Spangled Comics #7
Jim Harper grew up with his friend Leo in a dangerous
section of Metropolis called Suicide Slum. Harper and his
friend grew up committing petty crimes for many years until
they were caught by a man calling himself Nat Miller. Miller
realized these two would come to no good if their paths didn't
change, so he began to train them as athletes to give them
a way out of their circumstances. It was later revealed that
Nat Miller was actually the same man who originally trained
Al Pratt and Ted Grant, who later became the original Atom and
Harper trained under Miller but his friend continued in his
old ways. Harper left Suicide Slum for a time, but when he
returned, he found his friend Leo had become a mobster. Harper
watched in horror as his friend was gunned down in front of
him soon after they were reunited. Realizing that he had to
make a difference, Harper quit sports to become a police officer.
After training, Harper was given Suicide Slum as a beat.
One day, while off duty, Harper was beaten by a gang of thugs.
Realizing that he needed to do more, Harper went to a local
costume shop and purchased the elements of a costume, including
blue jumpsuit, a yellow helmet, and yellow shield. Calling
himself the Guardian, Harper returned to Suicide Slum and brought
the thugs to justice.
Harper continued to fight for the downtrodden in Suicide Slum
for many years. On one adventure, he caught a group of youngsters
from the area committing petty crimes as he once had. Realizing
that he could help these four, Harper asked that he be made
the legal guardian of these boys. The four became known
as the Newsboy Legion and helped Harper both as a policeman
and as the Guardian in his adventures. Harper never told the
four that he was the Guardian though they suspected.
The Newsboy Legion was made up of Tommy (the leader), Gabby
(the talkative one), Big Words (the smart one), and Scrapper
(the feisty little one). The four grew up and became part
of the Cadmus Project, an advanced think tank which experimented
with genetics and cloning. When Jim Harper, a now retired
police detective, was shot and killed, the four decided that
they should clone Harper and give the clone his memories. This
they did and the new Guardian was given the job of heading
security for the Cadmus Project. The four also cloned themselves
with the new clones becoming the new Newsboy Legion.