Publication Dates: December 1964 – April 1966
Number of Issues Published: 8 (#1 – #8)
Dimensions: Standard Silver Age US
Paper Stock: Glossy cover; Newsprint interior
Publishing Format: Was ongoing
Publication Type: magazine
Numbering continues with Secret Agent (Charlton, 1966 series) #9.
Created by Pat Masulli.
Information thanks to the Grand Comics Database
Sarge Steel is a detective/spy character published by Charlton Comics during the 1960s. As he was published during the time of Charlton’s Action Heroes line of superheroes, and had loose ties to some, he is sometimes included with that group. He was purchased by DC Comics along with the other “Action Heroes”.
Sarge (short for “Sargent,” as in “Sargent Shriver”) Steel has a mechanical left hand. As Dick Giordano stated in the editorial page of L.A.W. #4 he was created by Pat Masulli, and later written and drawn by Joe Gill and artist Dick Giordano. Other artists, including the team of Bill Montes and Ernie Bache, would later take over.
Sarge first appeared in his own title, Sarge Steel #1 (Dec, 1964). His title would last until #8, at which point it was retitled Secret Agent, and cancelled with #10 (October, 1967). After that, his series continued in Judomaster #91-98 (the stories in #91-96 fit in the year-long hiatus between issues #9 & #10, as all his stories are listed as ‘File #xxx’). Sarge also appeared in short spots on self-defense in Fightin’ 5 #34 and 37 and in the Sentinels stories in Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt #57 and 58 as their CIA contact.
His enemies included characters like “The Lynx,” “Ivan Crunch,” “Smiling Skull” (a Nazi villain who fought Judomaster during World War II), Werner Von Wess, Mr. Ize, and others.
Sarge was originally a hardboiled private eye (in fact, in the book The Fine Art of Murder, Max Allan Collins notes that Steel was the first fictional private eye to be a Vietnam veteran), who somehow also got involved in “spy cases,” and became by issue #6 a “Special Agent.” The final issues were titled Secret Agent, even though Gold Key Comics also published a comic of the same title in 1967 based upon the television series, Danger Man.