created by Jim Chambers
for DC Comics
first appeared in Detective Comics #20
in October 1938.
Lee Travis was the publisher of the newspaper the
New York Globe-Leader. As such, Travis wrote many an editorial
about helping the needy and ill-used. For his enlightened attitude,
Travis became one of the darlings of society cocktail parties.
During these parties, Travis met Claudia Barker, a young
socialite who shared his passion for the down-trodden.
One evening while preparing to go to a costume party to
raise funds for Chinese refugees from the Japanese invasion,
Travis was confronted by his driver, Wing How. Wing, a Chinese
national, challeged Travis as to the good that these parties
accomplished, making Travis realize that he was not actually effecting
any real change in people's lives.
That evening when criminals disguised as Martians attempted
to rob the party, Ms. Barker stood up to the robbers and was
gunned down. Dressed as a highwayman, Travis gave chase to the
fleeing robbers and with Wing's help, brought the men to justice.
That night, Lee Travis became The Crimson Avenger.
Travis continued to fight crime and forces of evil with the
help of his driver Wing. On one adventure, the two adventurers
recovered a "gas-gun" from Nazi spies, which Travis then used
to shoot a crimson smoke to hide his movements. Realizing the
black suit of the highwayman did not hide him well in the smoke,
Travis created a crimson and gold costume. Wing was given
a matching costume, except that the colors wer reversed.
The duo became members of two super-hero teams, the Law's
Legionaires (which later became known as the Seven Soldiers
of Victory and the All-Star Squadron).
During a battle with the Nebula Man, the Seven Soldiers of
Victory were flung into the timestream and trapped at different
places in time. Wing sacrificed his life to destroy the Nebula
Man and Travis was trapped in pre-Colombian Central America. He
and the rest of the members were rescued by the Justice Society
of America and the Justice League of America. Unfortunately,
while only weeks had passed for the Crimson Avenger, forty years
had passed in real time.
The lost years plus the loss of Wing threw Travis into a depression.
While traveling to help lessen his loss, Travis discovered that
he had contracted a fatal illness and would die within weeks.
Donning his costume one last time, Travis rescued a young boy
and sacrificed his life to protect New York from a barge full of
explosives, by piloting the boat out to sea before it exploded.