By Gary Carlson
A legend was reborn in BIG BANG COMICS #23 as a successor assumed the mantle of the Sphinx!
Peter Chefren was a genius, inventor, industrialist and one of the world’s richest self-made men. He was also known to the world as the super hero the Sphinx. What nobody knew was that Chefren was not of this Earth, but a refugee from a parallel dimension. When that past caught up to him (in Big Bang #13) Peter Chefren returned to his own dimension to close the dimensional gateway and protect this Earth from invasion by his own people.
The world never learned Chefren’s secret, believing that he died in an explosion atop his skyscraper. He left his company and fortune to his friend and business partner Allison Kane, and also bequeathed to her the uniform and legacy of the Sphinx.
BB #23 featured Allison’s inaugural adventure as the new Sphinx, which didn’t start off very well. Trying to assist the police by ending a car chase, her “help” results in a multiple car wreck endangering civilians, and a verbal tongue-lashing from an irate cop.
The despondent Allison returns home, questioning her decision to continue as the Sphinx. Most of her friends and colleagues try to discourage her too, but when a terrible fire rages through a housing project in the city, Allison knows what Peter Chefren would want her to do and suits up as the Sphinx to help!
The fire department doesn’t want her help, but there’s a nine year old girl trapped in the building and the Sphinx goes in after her anyway. After a harrowing battle with the burning, collapsing building Allison finds the girl and both barely escape with their lives. The Sphinx has earned the gratitude of the fire department and regained her self respect.
BB #23 was a 24 page comic with b&w interiors and published by Image Comics in 1998. Story, art & cover for this issue (as well as the other Sphinx appearances in BB #s 9, 13, 20 and elsewhere) were by series creator Jeff Weigel. He is an amazingly talented fellow, and currently the artist on the Sunday Phantom comic strip from King Features Syndicate.
For more about Jeff and lots more samples of his work, check out my previous BANG! Blogs about BB #s 9, 13, and 20. Like the blurb on the front of BB #23 says, Jeff was a 1998 nominee for the Russ Manning Award for Most Promising Newcomer in Comics for The Riddle of the Sphinx from BB #13. You should also check out Jeff’s website at http://www.jeffweigel.com
Like the story which ran in Big Bang #13, this issue’s Who Do You Think You Are predated Jeff Weigel and the Sphinx’s involvement with Big Bang Comics. An advertisement for both of the ashcans for those stories ran along with the Sphinx’s first appearance in BB #9 and can be seen in that BANG! blog. The original front cover to the second ashcan is seen here.
Back issues for most Big Bang’s are available for purchase for $3 at our back issue store:
Big Bang Comics and all related characters are © and TM Gary Carlson and Chris Ecker.
The Sphinx and all related characters are © and TM Jeff Weigel.