There are at least four distinct versions of the character called Captain Midnight.
All were named Captain Jim “Red” Albright, and all got their code name during World War I from a general who had sent him on a suicide mission calling him Captain Midnight when, to everyone’s surprise, he survived it returning at the stroke of midnight.
After that the different versions of Capt. Midnight vary.
The Radio Captain Midnight
The original version of the character was the leader of the Secret Squadron, a paramilitary organization made up of ace pilots, both male and female, along with mechanics, and even a few scientists fighting sabotage and espionage during the period prior to the United States' entry into World War II.
Once World War II started the stories shifted to Europe, the Pacific and Asia and dealt mainly with Axis villains trying to steal the newest weapons and airplanes of the Allied Forces. After the war the Capt. and the Secret Squadron switched to fighting criminals.
Running from 1938 until 1949 Capt. Midnight was one of the most popular radio dramas in America with several million listeners, almost half of whom it is said were adults, and a large percentage members of the military, particularly the Army Air Corp.
The radio series, which had a fairly large cast of regular characters was also noted as having one of the most popular giveaways, the Captain Midnight Decoder.
As would be expected with such a popular character it was not long before he showed up in the comics.
The First Comic Book Capt. Midnight
Dell, the home of many newspaper comic strip characters, were also the first ones to produce a version of the Captain.
Cutting out most of the secondary characters for their 8 and 10 page stories in The Funnies they kept Midnight as an extremely competent pilot, but otherwise normal (for the comics) human being.
The Dell version only lasted for 7 issues of The Funnies, which became New Funnies and dropped all their heroes for Andy Panda and friends. While the good Captain flew over to
Fawcett’s Capt. Midnight
Instead of a mere 8 pages the Fawcett Captain Midnight was given a whole comic, as well as being introduced in issue # 1 by Captain Marvel himself.
The Fawcett Capt. Midnight however resembled the radio Midnight even less. The Secret Squadron appeared only sporadically. Out of the comic strip regulars, only Chuck Ramsey and Joyce Ryan appeared as members . Only Ichabod Mudd, Midnight's bufoonish mechanic, showed up regularly as comedic relief.
Most visually obvious was the change to Captain Midnight's appearance. Replacing his flight suit was a bright red 'glider suit' emblazoned with the Midnight clock emblem. The suit's wings allowed Midnight to fly without the use of his plane. In addition, his role as Captain Midnight was treated as a superhero alterego known only to a select few.
Perhaps Midnight's biggest characteristic in this incarnation was his inventions. In addition to his glidersuit, he utilized a grappling hook known as a Swing Spring. There was also the Doom Beam Torch, a flashlight-esque object that could project a burning Midnight symbol to mark enemies before a fight. It could even penetrate walls.
There were single appearance inventions as well, such as a drill tank for drilling underground cities, or a flying aircraft carrier.
As the series went on, the focus evolved from 'superhero' to 'space hero' as Midnight built a series of rockets (First the Comet, then the Meteor series) and took to outer space. Here he would encounter life on various planets and encounter villains such as Xog, King of Saturn and, most notably, Jagga, the Space Raider. Jagga would become Midnight's most recurring foe during this era. Each time Midnight's ingenuity and inventions would save the day.
By the time the Fawcett series ended the radio series was also gone and Captain Midnight, at one time one of America’s most popular fiction heroes, soon flew from the public’s imagination.
There was a television series after the Fawcett series ended, running on CBS from September 9, 1954 to January 21, 1956 for a total of 39 episodes. This incarnation of Midnight hewed closer to the radio show, without the gliderchute. Icky Mudd, however, returned as the sole 'sidekick'. A new character named Dr. Aristotle "Tut" Jones was also introduced.
In the series, rather than a veteran of either World War, Midnight was instead reintroduced as a Korean War veteran. His primary plane was a Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket, named the Silver Dart.
The series was eventually renamed Jet Jackson, Flying Commando after a lawsuit from the Wander Company, the trademark holders for Captain Midnight.
Dark Horse Comics
Dark Horse' Captain Midnight is a mixture of the disparate Midnights. He fought in World War II against genius inventor and Nazi Ivan Shark and his daughter Fury. with the help of his 'Secret Squadron'. During World War II, he creates his anti-gravity 'glider suit' using alien technology provided by what eventually comes to be the paramilitary organization known as Project Black Sky. After Shark's death at the hands of his polar bears, Midnight is warped to the present day during a freak storm.
In the current day, Midnight encounters numerous other superhereos, including a government operative called Skyman. He eventually teams up with Ghost and X against a common foe called Tempus as well.