American Crusader was originally written about in 1941 by a comic company that changed names. The company being Standard Comics, Nedor Comics and Better Comics. These stories are the original golden age stories. These companies and others like it eventually went out of business and subsequently some characters fell into the public domain. American Crusader was one of these heroes.
Besides the Golden Age comics, American Crusader has appeared in three other companies; AC, America's Best Comics and Dynamite Entertainment.
Archibald Masters is an astronomy professor in a university in the Eastern United States. One day he happened to be in the same room as a device called an Atom Smasher, when an experiment was done with it and it infected him with radiation. The result of the radiation gave him various superhuman powers similar to Superman's.
The American Crusader also had a teen sidekick name Mickey Martin. This was pretty common for Golden Age Superheros.
- super strength
- super speed
- flight, invulnerability
- electromagnetic pulse generation.
In AC Comics the American Crusader is suspended in the Vault of Heroes until they are released decades later.
In America's Best Comics the hero American Crusader is part of the Terra Obscura story line. He along many other Golden Aged heroes live in a parallel dimension. This version of the American Crusader is captured by aliens in 1969 and left in suspended animation for decades until he was released in 2000. When he is released he has to cope with a changed world around him. This is one of the reasons he drinks after his release. His alcoholism is something that he struggles with from that point on.
Dynamite Entertainment Comics brought back many Golden aged Heroes in the Project Superpowers story line. On of these being the American Crusader who had some pretty dark things happen to him after all his friends and fellow heroes started disappearing. after World War II. He did not know that almost every super-powered hero had been capture and placed in limbo by the Fighting Yank who used the Urn of Pandora.
After this he and the American Government became concerned about the loss of their patriotic heroes and with American Crusaders consent he is cloned in a effort to make an army of American Superheroes. The cloning technology was not so good in the 1950's so the experiments didn't work well. The clones also did not have the same power that American Crusader had. In fact they had no power at all. Many of them didn't even live.
In an attempt to make the clones have the same power as the original the clones that survived with minimal mutations are subjected to the same radiation the American Crusader was. This only worked so well and made the clones almost mindless zombies. Also due to the experiment they virtually have no face at all.
The clones are used as the military forces the American Government wanted by for some unknown reason perhaps due to the experiments American Crusader is left in some sort of coma for years. He also seems to either age slower or something has happened to his body that has left him in good shape. When shown in his coma he seems to have the same if not more a a physically fit body than he ever had.
When the Black Terror emerges from the Urn of Pandora he is disgusted to see what has happened to the emblem of the the American Crusader. The American Crusader and Black Terror were good friends and fought side by side in WWII. In particular they fought at the Battle of the Bulge with and African-American tank unit. In this time the Black Terror almost looked to the crusader as a kind-of mentor. Once he sees the grotesque zombie versions of the American Crusader he takes no hesitation in killing as many of them as he can.
The Black Terror goes to Washington and fights and kills many of these clones and then finds a clone that is not mutated like the rest of them. He finds out from this clone that the American Crusader is still alive and wishes he was dead. The crusader kills the clone and then starts his search for the real American Crusader who is hidden in an underground lab in Washington D.C.