"A startling NEW super-hero from the FABULOUS 1950s
," or so the cover of Marvel Premiere
#35 boldly procaimed against a backdrop of the thrilling 3-D MAN himself bustin' out of the comic
right at ya! In riveting RED and GREEN! Hoo ha!
In this Roy Thomas
-penned tale, NASA test pilot
Chuck Chandler is captured by the villainous alien Skrulls
while flying the experimental XF-13 rocket plane, as his horrified younger brother Hal watches from the ground. Chuck critically damages the Skrull ship* and makes his escape, but he is bathed in deadly radiation
from the exploding craft. There is a blinding flash
, and when Hal's eyesight returns he finds his brother has disappeared, leaving only twin images in red and green burned into the lenses of Hal's glasses.
When Hal puts the glasses on, Chuck emerges from the dimension where he now exists in a sort of Limbo
. Clad in a red-and-green colored version of his test flight suit and possessing triple the strength and speed of an ordinary man, he fights the shape-shifting Skrulls who work their evil plans for alien domination while disguised as ordinary humans. In the 1950s setting, this gives the whole affair a Red Menace, even-your-neighbor-could-be-a-commie
kind of feel.
I remember being astonished at the dopiness of the writing at some points in this issue, particularly when 3-D Man taunts a leather-jacketed biker
by calling him "Skrull!" and then is shocked when the biker turns out to actually BE a Skrull! Even though nobody on Earth knows the Skrulls exist, Chuck pulls that out of the air as a good all-purpose insult to really piss somebody off. Bit of an odd duck, the 3-D Man.
Eventually Hal put his glasses away and retired his brother from superheroing, summoning him for the last time (as far as we know) for an encounter with the Incredible Hulk
*With surprising ease. I mean, have you ever tried disabling, say, a battleship with your bare hands? The Skrulls must build their ships out of plywood.